Bugged

•April 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

A little over a week ago, our hot water heater broke down and the pilot light refused to stay lit. At the same time that we discovered this, we also found five or six carcasses of thumb sized palmetto bugs. We left them there for the landlady to find as well and she arranged for pest control to come out and spray inside the house. ( previously, we had a barrier sprayed around the outside of the house, but clearly we were due for an escalation). 

The bug guy came out yesterday and sprayed, exhausting his entire canister of pesticide in the process, so I feel comfortable saying that a sufficient escalation was made in pest defense. In reaction to this, however, the palmetto army has laid seige to the house. The back sidewalk is now littered with the bodies of the invaders. Everywhere I turn I’m discovering another one: in the cupboard over the stove, on the carpet beside the bed, under the washer, in the nook beside the bathroom sink, being stalked by the cat… And, of course, two in the cupboard with the water heater. 

Counter intuitively, I feel confident that this is a good sign that the spray is working since it is forcing the invaders out of their usual hiding places, but dispatching carcasses is becoming a full time job, so I’m looking forward to when the insect armies decide that our house is not the hill they want to die on and retreat back out into nature. 

In the meantime, I find myself glancing nervously into every corner waiting for the next ambush. 

The Glitch That Can’t Be Scratched

•April 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Everyday elegance

I had to admire the elegance of the electric pole that I found myself starting at from the platform of the train station where I was waiting to go home. Somehow, right in the middle of everything, utterly unremarked by everyone, was a functional sculpture of clean lines and shapes. I mean, it’s an electric pole, but it’s also rather sculptural. Is it art? Do we fail to recognize this kind of beauty because it is functional? 

I’ve been in a somewhat philosophical mind space lately. Partly, I suspect, this is due to the fact that my phone has just passed the end of its two year lease/contract/warranty and has begun malfunctioning in the most spectacularly annoying way. The screen has begun blacking out on me. ( Screen just went black. Took three tries to turn it on again) Sometimes it’s a slow, grainy fade into black, sometimes it’s an abrupt cut out. Sometimes it will revive with a click of the power button, other times it will refuse to be cooperative and will show only the briefest of tantalizing flashes of whatever it is I’m trying to work on. This isn’t a unique problem: after a brief search online ( screen just went black again) I found an entire forum thread dedicated to other people who had encountered the same problem (solution: get a new phone). Some people thought it was a hardware problem. Some people thought (screen just went black again) it was a software problem. Some people sent their phones in to the manufacturer for repair (sometimes more than once) only to have the problem persist. And it always seemed to be happening to phones that were just weeks past the end of their warranties. I mean, you would think that a device that costs nearly eight hundred dollars would last longer than two years, you know, like a good investment? But no. If they made smartphones that lasted then how would they force you to buy (screen just went black again) a new one? Right? I’m so angry about it I could scream. I hate being held hostage by never ending payment plans. “Oh, you’re finally going to lower your monthly bill? Here’s a technical glitch that no amount of troubleshooting will ever solve. Guess you’ll have to get a new phone. For another eight hundred dollars. Over twenty four months.” 

The part that makes me the most angry is that I’ll have to eventually give in and do it. For right now I can get by (screen just went black again) by just (screen just went black again) putting the phone down when it starts anything up: I don’t really need to be playing so much Candy Crush or surfing so much Facebook. But the glitch is just inconsistent enough that it could really get me into trouble if it happened when I actually, urgently needed my phone. Like when I get a phone call. Or when I’m trying to reassure the Curmudgeonly Lion that I made it safely to work and I’m not dead in a ditch somewhere. As much as I would LOVE to believe that I could just do without a fancy smartphone ( entitled millennial, you don’t need a new eight hundred dollar phone), no one actually functions anymore without one. Go on, tell me the last time you used a pay phone. I goddamn dare you.

So as I slowly sink towards capitulation in an increasing state of rage induced apoplexy I calm myself by staring out into space, admiring the elegance of electrical poles and train platforms and wishing for simpler times.

And the screen just went black again. Guess that’s my cue to wrap this up.

Ride Long

•April 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The art of the morning commute.

I now take the bus for both my morning and my evening commute, which means that I now get home forty minutes later than I used to. It is taking some getting used to. The stages of the commute that I’m used to from the morning all feel longer on the way home. I’m hoping that it is just because they are new and that once I get used to them it won’t feel so onerous. I’m definitely going to need to start packing a snack: by the time I got home yesterday I was verging on snappish and was not prepared to handle the series of curveballs that were tossed at me with any form of grace.

As a consequence, it was a short and rather tense night and today is off to a weary start.

Ride Long

•April 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The art of the morning commute.

I now take the bus for both my morning and my evening commute, which means that I now get home forty minutes later than I used to. It is taking some getting used to. The stages of the commute that I’m used to from the morning all feel longer on the way home. I’m hoping that it is just because they are new and that once I get used to them it won’t feel so onerous. I’m definitely going to need to start packing a snack: by the time I got home yesterday I was verging on snappish and was not prepared to handle the series of curveballs that were tossed at me with any form of grace. 

As a consequence, it was a short and rather tense night and today is off to a weary start. 1p

Ride Long

•April 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The art of the morning commute.

I now take the bus for both my morning and my evening commute, which means that I now get home forty minutes later than I used to. It is taking some getting used to. The stages of the commute that I’m used to from the morning all feel longer on the way home. I’m hoping that it is just because they are new and that once I get used to them it won’t feel so onerous. I’m definitely going to need to start packing a snack: by the time I got home yesterday I was verging on snappish and was not prepared to handle the series of curveballs that were tossed at me with any form of grace. 

As a consequence, it was a short and rather tense night and today is off to a weary start. 1p

Matateral

•April 19, 2017 • 1 Comment

“You’re next.” 

The dreaded words that accompany weddings and births hang in the air just waiting to find a well- meaning mouth to trip out of. In the wake of Nuggets arrival I’ve been hearing it a lot from the older ladies at work who are convinced that I want children and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I work in a company that is about eighty percent women, a significant portion of whom are committing to their babymaking years in a big way. In the six months I’ve been at the company there have been two gender reveals and one baby shower already, so they might be forgiven for assuming that I’m similarly inclined.  I haven’t exactly trumpeted my stance on the issue: one does not typically announce to ones co-workers that one has committed to a long term IUD with the same freedom that one might announce that one has committed to motherhood. One of these things is considered an Overshare. 

So in spite of my concerted efforts to the contrary, I’m assured that I’m Next. I’m pretty sure that they’re just teasing, so it doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother other child-free women who want their choice respected, damnit. I choose to believe that it comes from a well-meaning place and that it has no influence over my actual personal choices.

But having made that particular personal choice, it does take some of the fun out of enjoying somebody else’s new baby when everybody sees a question mark hovering beyond the tail end of ‘child-free?’ while you see only a full stop: ‘child-free.’ I feel a constant need to explain myself: that I can enjoy babies, particularly newborns, without needing one of my own. I think I can be pretty good with kids without having to be a mother. 

Partly, I think the problem is a matter of semantics: we just haven’t evolved the language to describe a non-mother nurturing figure besides ‘aunt’, which works well for as much it can cover, but is still shaking off the stigma of the Victorian era ‘spinster aunt’ as a category of stern, prim, dried out old ladies.  I think I’ll be a pretty good aunt, but there’s no word for aunting-instinct. I mean, there is: ‘materteral’, but even I had to look that one up. It’s not exactly an SAT vocabulary word the way ‘avuncular’ is. No one comments on a woman’s materteral instincts. Men can be paternal or avuncular, but language-wise women are maternal or nothing at all. 

It seems like a small thing- it’s just a word after all, but without a word to stake out a claim to that middle ground between mothers and old-timey spinster-aunts the decision to stay child-free becomes a hard line decision that requires a lot of explaining and discomfort. I’d rather just enjoy being materterine. Or materturtle. Hmm… This has potential.

Drive In

•April 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I drove in to work today instead of taking the bus and traffic was tolerable so I arrived at the office with about an hour to spare. Not gonna lie: I was going to spend the time on Facebook, except that visor parking is in the basement and there isn’t enough signal to log in. So I’m being productive instead. 

Now that I don’t carpool home with the Curmudgeonly Lion, my evening commute takes an extra twenty to thirty minutes. Normally this with be fine, but tonight is the one night when nearly the whole family will be in town and I’m anxious to get to Bean-mom’s place quickly after work to meet everybody for dinner. Driving seemed appropriate. It wasn’t my first instinct, however. I really had forgotten that driving was an option because is gotten so used to the idea of taking the bus.

So here I am an hour early. 

Tonight will be a combination birthday celebration for Nugget and my sister Filbert who now share a birthday. There is plenty to be celebrating these days, but unfortunately a working phone isn’t one of them: the screen keeps blanking pot between every third words. So I’m going to cut this short until it feels more cooperative. 

 
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