Tuesday, September 21, 2010


So I was driving into the alley behind our townhomes to pull into our driveway when I noticed two of our illustrious board members skulking about. I say this because, quite frankly, that's what they do.

I'll admit it, I fought the urge to duck. Normally I would be afraid they might be running reconnaisance on us since Joe has made it his mission to be the proverbial thorn in the board's side. Ever since they approved increasing the very reasonable HOA dues (that runs us hundreds of dollars a month as it is) by $20 a month, Joe has been ineffectually attempting to wage war on them. Every time there is a meeting, my hubs beats the pavement campaigning for every owner's by proxy vote only to be told he does not have enough of them to do anything. Let's not forget the time we were cited for our solar screen being on backwards--after having it up for three years. Joe crafted a very strongly worded letter for that one! And what about the time we were notified at 8:00 pm that our alley would be closed for 3 weeks to repair a sinkhole, thereby trapping half our neighbors' vehicles in their garages. They really screwed the pooch on that one (not to mention incurring the wrath of the drunk next door, which was absolutely hilarious and a story for another time).

Needless to say, we are not very popular with the powers that be. Which is sad because we have have an enemy in common.

The Joneses.

Remember them?

Well, as I fought the urge to just end it all and run them over, I realized that finally--finally!--they had bigger fish to fry. Big Jones-y looking fish!

I parked the car as quickly as possible, and loitered around with the garage door open. All I could hear was, "Is this your unit?" Music to my ears! I craned to listen; I even considered poking my head out, but figured that would be rude.

I decided maybe I could hear better from somewhere else. I ran upstairs and pressed my ear to the window directly above them. Just murmurs. I was missing everything!

As I re-opened the garage door to go "get the mail" five minutes later, I could hear one of the board members saying, "...well, and you should quit cigarettes all together anyway." Finally! I can only assume that they were referring to the cigarette butts in the drainage grates.

So when are they getting the boot? That's what I wanna know.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Page Punishment

One of my first professional jobs out of school was at a small publishing house in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was an editorial assistant, which is an official sounding way to say you have the most boring job in the world. To make matters worse, we edited medical textbooks. And to make matters even worse than that, it paid a whopping $23,000 a year.

I won't bore you with the details. The long and the short of it is, I was awful at this job. It wasn't a good fit for me in the slightest. It did not benefit at all from my skill set (of which I had no understanding at all), and I was basically told after six grueling months (and an incident where I accidentally deleted a ten page section of text from an online textbook I was working on) that I would have no future in the publishing world. I remember feeling devastated, albeit not entirely surprised.

In all honesty, that was never the side of publishing I truly believed I should be on--I always wanted to be the one getting published. So, after tearfully allowing myself to be consoled by my parents, I decided to find my new path. And it's worked out for the best.

However, lately I have been haunted by people who apparently are just as shitty as I was at that job. Recently I read a memoir published by a rather large press. In 348 pages, I found eight unforgivable typos. Is it just me, or is this ridiculous? I kept thinking I would be so angry if I had poured my blood, sweat, and tears into a publishable piece to have it accepted, only to have some twit editorial assistant crap all over it with incompetence.

Hello, pot? This is the kettle calling....I know, I know. It would be karmic.

And then I had to take pause. I mean, if I were lucky enough to ever be published, should I just be happy it's happening and not look a gift horse in the mouth? Nope. It would piss me off.

Speaking of pissing me off...I recently checked a book out at the public library, and someone who apparently thinks he is an editor has been kind enough to make corrections with a pencil all throughout the book. Except this idiot is correcting things that are already correct, therefore highlighting why he (or she) should also never go into the publishing field.

The thing is, I understand grammar and spelling. I just can't handle the idiosyncracies outside of those things in the publishing biz. The deadlines, the solitude, the unnerving quietude. The fact that you use certain fonts and types for this and for that. There is minutiae that I can't force myself to care about.

Until some idiot with a pencil goes rogue in a library book.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So my right middle finger is sprained. Apparently pretty severely. At least that's the current theory as proposed by a hand specialist, so I'm willing to have faith in his expert opinion. The solution? A splint on it for two whole weeks and steroids.

As many of you know, my finger has been swollen and painful for the better part of seven months. Totally ridiculous. Not only does it interfere with my ability to drive effectively in our neighborhood (the finger and the horn are universally recognized signs around our neck of the woods), but it huuuurts.

Sprained, I scoffed at the doctor initially. It couldn't be sprained. However, after an extensive and exhaustive look at my history, the good doctor seemed satisfied with his diagnosis in light of the fact that I biked hundreds of miles last season in preparation of the MS 150, and then participated in the ride. The whole time I was complaining about my back and my butt, my middle finger was, well, giving me the finger.

Even though I hung up my bike in April and haven't touched it since, I have always envisioned getting back into the saddle once we settled into the cooler weather. The irony is that I even bought Joe a bike for a wedding present.

I pictured this.

And for now those dreams are crushed.

Thanks to my new status of "Splintzville," my couples skate equivalent of biking with Joe is now splitsville.

Of all the rotten luck.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Privacy Please?!

Okay. The nitty gritty, people.

Nothing--absolutely NOTHING--is sacred after marriage. At this point all of my married friends and family are undoubtedly either sagely nodding in agreement or simply laughing their butts off at me, but I have to put it out there for the benefit of everyone else. You see, you thought you were raised to be modest. You thought you would be able to maintain a modicum of what's "your" time and "my" time. Oh, how wrong you were!

This occurred to me yesterday as Joe and I were getting ready to go over to a friend's house for barbeque, beer, and pool time. We had just showered. I was in the guest room; Joe was in the master bedroom. He was dressed and watching television. Correction: He was watching television in every room of the house. The show was echoing from upstairs to downstairs, which is always a little annoying (but I digress). I ran to the master bedroom in my towel to put on my swimsuit, and was about to start tugging that sucker on, when it occurred to me that no one--not even my husband--should ever see me stuffing myself into a bathing suit. It involves too much of all that converts "good nudity" into "bad nudity".

Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry has the girlfriend who enjoys sitting around the apartment in the buff? That was good nudity. Remember how she sneezed naked, and he broke up with her because he couldn't get the image of what it made her figure look like out of his head? Bad nudity. That Seinfeld episode has resonated with me for years.

So as I began to pull (um, tug) my one piece over my hips (red-faced, huffing and puffing), I became irrationally irritated that Joe was even in there watching t.v. (and my discomfort). I found myself saying, "Could you go downstairs, please, so I can do this without an audience?" To which he expressed that he felt I was being ridiculous and left.

Here's the thing, though. The lines have started to blur. We pee with the door open. We have conversations through the bathroom door. We walk in on one another while we're showering. Absolutely nothing is sacred anymore. But I draw the line on "bad nudity". I refuse to allow anyone to witness the horror of me squeezing into a swimsuit, Spanx, or panty hose. Even my husband.

At this point I feel that I should own up to my culpability in this regard. I may have started it all, and it's all my friend ****'s fault. You see, at one point about a year ago, she told me this funny story about how she had pranked her live-in boyfriend. He was in the shower, sudsing away. She crept stealthily into the bathroom, and flung the curtain open, screaming "A-HAAAAA!!!!" Her boyfriend proceeded to hit the deck. He screamed (a manly scream, I'm sure), and assumed the fetal position. It was hilarious. I felt inspired.

So I, too, waited until Joe was in the shower. I crept into the bathroom, and I flung open the curtain screaming like a banshee. Joe continued shampooing his hair and looked at me like I was a nutcase. "What the hell is wrong with you?" was all he asked. Oh, Joe. So many things, really. Needless to say, Operation Scare-the-Poop-Outta-Joe was a complete failure. It was also the moment. The moment I inadvertently gave the signal that it was okay to totally ignore each other's right to privacy.

Can I please have a do-over?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Dog Ate My Homework

In my case, it would be much more likely to be a stout little Tazmanian devil who goes by the name of Shakes, but nevertheless I'm as full of excuses as the kiddos I teach. Since school has started I have been a very bad blogger.

And honestly, kind of a hypocrite.

Every day I tell my students I'm not interested in their excuses. Just do your work seems to be my never-ceasing mantra. Don't have your homework because milk spilled on it? Just do your work. Ink out on your printer? Just do your work. Dare to complain to me about the heat (like I can even fix that? Really?) Just. Do. Your. Work.

And here I squat. Like the toad I am. Don't get me wrong--I do my work--that is, I work hard while I'm on the clock. Then, by the time I get home I just want to curl up and figure out the crossword puzzles that the librarians ever-so-kindly print off for me. I am actually so lazy that I bark out commands to Joe--my designated Google captain.

Poor Joe. Never a cross word over my crosswords, though I know he gets tired of providing me with all of the answers that involve sports or the armed forces. And when absolutely necessary, he searches the answers for me so I don't even have to leave his recliner that I've taken to hijacking. It's so comforting.

Well, it was comforting. Until Joe gave me a sidelong look tonight when I asked him if there was any other trio famous for their beards besides ZZ Top because it wasn't fitting in my puzzle. Then I realized that the sadistic bastards who created the NY Times crossword (ahem, Will Shortz) were counting two ZZ's as one space. During my squeal of triumph Joe pooped on my parade.

"You know," he said frankly (for Joe does not say anything any other way), "Your crosswords are really cutting into your blog time."

"Blog time/shmog time," I responded maturely (for I do not say anything any other way).

And then I had an epiphany. I am as bad as the kids I teach. Except instead of my parents hollering at me to get off the video games and do my homework, I have my husband telling me I need to get out from under my puzzles. He was then ever-so-kind enough to comandeer my puZZle so I could refocus on my writing.

Helpful? Definitely. A diabolical attempt to get at my puzzle? Perhaps.