Monday, August 31, 2009

better today

It's amazing how cold seventy degrees can seem. Today I'm feeling better, especially since the temperature has dropped and the humidity has disappeared. Why, we're even sitting here with the windows open! And I took Kismet for a walk tonight and didn't come in the door wringing wet. And I made soup.

I never thought a Monday would be better...but I'm glad the weekend is over.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This has been a shitty, shitty day

How shitty, you may ask? Well, I'm sitting here, eating chocolate chip cookies straight from the tub and using the word "shitty" in my hertofore PG-13 blog.

Jeff was supposed to come up today and spend the day with me...until the brakes on his car exploded. So instead of spending the day with me, he's spending it with a mechanic.

Undaunted, I ventured out into the historical area with Kismet. I tried to return his birthday present--a designer collar and leash--only to be told that I could only return it for store credit. Since the only thing I wanted from the boutique was a designer collar and leash, there's no point in returning it...but I could really use the money for the new tire. (remember the new tire? Oh yes, last Saturday was a winner too.)

Decided to be productive this afternoon and do a little cleaning. Stopped by the Dollar General for some cheap cleaning supplies and when I returned to the car I discovered that Kismet had thrown up all over the backseat. Now, I have a towel to protect the seat where he climbs in before he jumps into his little booster seat...but guess which side he threw up on? Good thing I had all those church bulletins in the backseat to clean up what I could.

Did I mention I hadn't eaten breakfast yet? I had planned on coming home and making myself a big brunch, but instead I grabbed bucket, brush, paper towels and my new bottle of extra-strength Febreeze and cleaned out the backseat. Discovered that last week's rainshower (did I mention I left the windows down Sunday night and it poured and my car smells like dead rat, hence the Febreeze?) had turned some magazines in the backseat into mulch and that was probably why Chi-Chi smelled like a dead rat. I managed to get the mess cleaned up, with much diligent application of paper towels...and a liberal spraying of Febreeze.

At last I got to eat breakfast. Whipped up a batch of Martha White's self-rising biscuits, which looked like hardtack next to the apple cake my roommate made to celebrate her wedding. (fine. Not her wedding--she's re-enacting a wedding that took place two hundred years ago) The hashbrowns I made from scratch were undercooked and tasted horrible and the meatless sausage was a joke. (I hate being vegetarian sometimes. I'll do it, but I'm not happy about it.) I couldn't even enjoy pretending that my biscuits were hardtack, because that just made me think about how many Aubrey/Maturin books are out there that I haven't read yet and never will because I have no money either to buy them for myself or pay the astronomical fine at the library.

Then I got busy with the cleaning. I even moved some furniture around so I could vacumn, but when I unhooked the hose I discovered that it was smoking. Something is wrong with the belt, but I'm not touching it today. Luckily we have the extra vacuum (thank you Dumpster Gods), but that shining moment in the afternoon was quickly overtaken when I attempted to wet-vacuum our sofas. Not only is the one cushion I attempted to clean still wet (thank God I stopped after only one), but it STILL smells horrible. Horrible but with vinegar, because I was trying to be green. Screw it. More Febreeze!

Then, the worst thing of all happened. A few weeks ago Jeff made me a present of some glorious blue wool and silk fabric, to match some eighteenth century chintz I had. I was planning on turning it into a beautiful upper-midding class outfit, something I could wear when we were promenading and making everyone jealous. Jeff had even offered to make it for me, all I had to do was cut it to length. Cutting out a petticoat is not hard: it's two straight cuts straight across the width of fabric. Yet I managed--because it is just that kind of shitty day--to screw it up. Instead of cutting 38", I cut it at 36", and when you're talking about hemlines in the eighteenth century, yes Virginia, two inches matters.

At that point I gave up, cried, put everything away. I have to go to work in twenty minutes (going early so I can try to return Kizzy's collar...he deserves so much better than me) and it looks like it's going to rain. So I'll probably have to perform inside tonight, which is hot, small and miserable.

The one high point of the day came when I checked the mail...I was bitter when I saw the fat envelope, figuring it was more love for the roommate, until I saw the return address. Inside: baby pictures. Thank God for baby pictures. Mom, Dad, Lily--you have saved the day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

parallel parking only

Nothing makes me long more for the public transport system of London than a car breaking down. My car, specifically, Chi-Chi the regal Buick, beige arrow of the Williamsburg byways, scourge of squirrels and students alike. When last I had an oil change the mechanics warned me that I would probably need a new battery before November. "November" became "August" Tuesday night, when I turned the key after work and instead of a purr was greeted with a pathetic clicking noise of an unsuccessful starter. Damn. I called the boyfriend to give me battery a jump, and while I was waiting called dad and cried into the phone until I felt better. Honestly. I felt like such a girl about the whole thing. I knew perfectly well that the battery just needed a little help, and then I could get it to the shop and they'd change it for me--or better yet, I'd get my own damn battery and then dive in there and change it myself--but not having a set of jumper cables or a portable battery sort of put a crimp in my style. Jeff arrived and we successfully got the car started...and then we had the brilliant idea of turning in off to see if it would start again.

It would not.

And, in our continued attempts to get the car started a second time, we managed to melt the positive terminal off the battery. So instead of driving my own car home, I got a lift from Jeff. The car was so dead, I couldn't even get the key out of the steering column because the car had died when the anti-theft device was activated. When I got home, I called dad again, and cried until he suggested that maybe a shower and bed would make me feel better (It was nearly midnight at this point), and he would call AAA in the morning and see what he could do.

He got me hooked up with the AAA Roadside assistance, so the next afternoon I called them to come and tow my car. You should have seen the looks on the faces of the interpreters heading home from a work as the gate swung open (by the way, did I mention my car died in an employee parking lot? It died in an employee parking lot, safely behind a keycard gate. arg.) and a bloody great flatbed tow truck rumbled in, diesel engine growling. It's a very humbling and yet thrilling experience to see your car slowly hauled up on to the giant hydraulic lift like a whale onto the back of a Japanese trawler. I had the guy take Chi Chi back to my apartment, since the AAA people said that they could send a battery truck. But when the battery truck got there, the guy popped the hood, took one look at the corrosive streak left by the acid slowly dripping out of the battery and announced that he couldn't help me.

It's a very thrilling and yet annoying experience to see your car hauled up onto a flatbed truck by the brilliant light of a new morning. This time, I had them take it directly to a professional shop. By 10:40 on Wednesday I had a message saying that my car was ready. I was so relieved to finally have my own car back. Oh, it was glorious to get behind the wheel and be greeted by the purr when I turned the key.

I had two full days to consider and contemplate the innumerable joys of having personal transportation, especially in the light of the fact that the William and Mary students are back in all their blinkered, pedestrian glory. Driving to meet a friend for lunch in the historic area today, I made sure to go extra slowly, avoiding a freshman with a goatee that would have made Tesla jealous. It's the one year anniversary of Kismet's adoption, so we were headed down to the historic area for a walk and some ice cream. It's about a hundred degrees here. A cold front is holding Hurricane Bill off of the coast, but the humidity is ninety-eight percent, and the dewpoint is in the seventies. Not too hot, but wet as the inside of a pitcher of water.

I was lucky enough to find a parallel parking spot in front of Barnes & Noble...I haven't parallel parked in a while, but when I was in driver's ed, I was the class star. Today I had a bit of trouble...banged in to the curb once..or twice...but I figured, since I was very nearly parallel, that a little more gas would slide me along the concrete and I'd be fine. Not so much. When I got out of the car, I discovered that instead of sliding along a concrete curb, I had been firmly jamming my tire into a steel sewer cover. When you hear "pssssssss..." coming out of your know you are in trouble. I took a deep philosophical sigh and went to eat lunch. On the way back, we stopped for ice cream. I prepared to call AAA (again) and then realised I didn't know the street I was parked on, so I stuck my head in the Baskin Robbins and asked the lady behind the counter what street it was. "Do you need directions? Where are you going?" "No, I...I have a flat tire, I'm calling AAA." "Oh, well, Dave could fix it for you. Dave! C'mere!" And this stringy sixteen year old came trotting obediently around the corner. I mentally weighed up the pros and cons of handing the welfare of my car into a complete stranger, figured I had nothing to lose and five minutes later Dave was laying under my car, wiggling the jack under the axle. And twenty minutes later the doughnut was on. Thank God for mechanically inclined sixteen-year olds.

So now the wheel is sitting at the mechanics shop, waiting for a new tire--I'll get it back Monday--and Chi Chi is Williamsburg-bound for the weekend. So no Yorktown for Kismet on his birthday...but we did get over to Maggie Moo's for some ice cream, and he looks very handsome in his new collar and leash.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

here we go again

Thinking about going back to school because, well, when the economy is crap, that's what people do. Either that or the government puts them to work digging ditches. Basically, I want to become the kind of professor I had at Point: family-oriented, a sane voice in the drama-filled vacuumn of theater, someone who teaches during the winter and enjoys gardening in the summer. I realise that if I enter the world of collegiate academia armed only with an MA, I would probably be adjuncting and have a second job on the side--but I'm hopeful I can get my foot in the door somewhere.

And I also want to start my own community theater. Not a theater company, not a grown up serious regional theater, but a community theater, a space where people who are not theater people can come and create theater. A million years ago I wrote a paper for a class about a hypothetical, ideal community theater, prompting my professor to comment that it sounded like this is what I should do with my life. I brushed him off, convinced I was going to be the next Sarah Kane...but funnily enough, I've never forgotten that comment. Nor that paper...

So onward perhaps. I knew when I moved to Virginia and started working at CW that this was a temporary thing, a place where I could lick the wounds Chicago inflicted and figure out what the hell to do next. I'm ready for the next leap now, but this time I'm doing it the smart way--before I even start any classes, I'm going to have a list of jobs I can apply for when I'm done.