Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dog Doo Afternoon

Mom's been in the house for one week now. But today she is officially moved out of her old place.

Today we went down to the garage apartment that she (and for awhile her children) called home for near 20 years. I packed the remainder of my sister's wondrous oddities, the last dusty bookshelf to go. Mom put the key under the doormat for the landlord. We traipsed down the steep steps, onto the walkway that carved through the backyard. Then she pulled a gardenia close to her face, gave it a sniff and we piled in the car and drove away.

I wonder if there is any bittersweetness to it at all for her. It's hard to tell. It was a place to call home regardless of it's faults. Rather like a marriage that slowly fell apart long ago but you stay together because you need each other. You curse each other but you are used to each other, so it becomes the way things are. You thrive together and you grow old together.

For all of it's cracks in the walls and odors emenating from the minefield of doggy doo in the afternoon heat and boisterous, obtrusive neighbors with their mounds of garbage...There was still a nice breeze that came through the windows on just the right day.

I think now with each day that goes by that I am getting all the piles of my stuff whittled away she is feeling better about the move. We got her a new dresser today to be delivered next Saturday. I was finally inspired to replace the shower curtain and rusted rod that if not positioned properly would flood the bathroom. One can walk now through house from the front door to the back door without a gymnist's olympic medal.

And I mowed the lawn. Can I get an amen? Cause that my brethren is a miracle unto itself.

As I drove to the boyfriend's home this evening, there was an especially spectacular cloud formation brushed across the broad canvas sky. The clouds live for change. They do it freely and at every moment of every day. They cause grace even when furious and they paint just the right nuance. This is why people look to the sky when they need solace, when their trials are bluntly falling upon on their feet to trip them up. It's a place that is different, something vast and always new.

Things are getting done and so the canvas changes with it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No More Jumping On the Bed (The Doctor Said)

Monkeys slept in their own bed yesterday for the first time since the split. It's a fold down futon in the living room, brought over with grandma, as they don't have their own room. It does the job for the time being. Except for now when I'm still herding younger monkey from wandering around the house.

The frustrating part is even when I'm done fixing up the house they still really won't have a proper bedroom to speak of. I'm contemplating giving them my room.

Today is Super X-Wife's birthday. The zillionth August child in a row and they aren't done yet. She's having friends over and I'm taking the boys an extra night. I am more than glad to take them overnight more if it mean's some kind of social life emerge for her.

There may even be a "boyfriend" in the works but I use the term extremely loosely. There is a history of men in her life, even before do I put this lightly... switching to play for the other team midgame. And this new one seems to be in denial.

I don't think mom is doing so well with the boys' chaos. An afternoon with them is at her threshold. A whole weekend is bringing out the worst in her and them. In fact if this is going to be the norm, it's not going to work at all. She's tired, they're at top speed and I'm somewhere in the middle playing traffic cop.

I'm sure there are more important things to say but I can hear closeby echoes of rumblings and tumblings from where there should be slumbering and there's bound to be a throw down soon...

"A" is for Archaeopteryx

I am currently in clean-out-my-life mode... but if I weren't I'd buy this and hang it conspicuously on my wall:

Palaeobet: An Alphabet of Ancient Animals

Click on the image to see all it's delights close up.

Plus I think this comic by the same artist, Rosemary Mosco, is rather brilliant: Mid-Cambrian Morning

via Retaliatory Vandalism

Friday, August 24, 2007

Life As Goldilocks

I can't seem to get back into the swing of getting to work on time again. I've been 15 minutes late every day this week no matter what time I left the house. It's not all that big of a deal with me since they know I'm all crazy with my schedule, but it still starts my days off feeling already behind.

For lunch I ventured out with three coworkers who I'll affectionately nickname The Bear Squad. They are married, burly and scruffy lads of the company. Let's just say I offered to drive and my car had considerably less pickup than usual.

As the Bear Squad likes to eat substantial portions we went to a Spanish lunchtype place. I asked what was good and one said the Cuban. I didn't get it but maybe next time I should order one hot-pressed. And naked. oil... Hungry yet?

The Biggest Bear (the one with the biggest heart of course) of them busted his tooth on a piece o' pork bone and just kept on eating through the pain.

Speaking of which the Younger Monkey's got his first loose tooth. I'm hoping he doesn't chuck it or swallow it but I have a feeling he'll be coming up to me soon with a gap in his smile, location of the wayward chopper unknown. Just in time for school pictures of course.

The other food highlight of the day would be that I used my kitchen to cook dinner for the monkeys for the first time possibly in months. It's only been a room lately where everything piled up while I worked on other rooms. But I had to make sure she had a place to cook for Mom being around, which is at least good for the house.

It makes me clean up after myself. Sorta.

Okay, I swear I just heard someone out there make a taunting giggle-snort.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brain Scramble

Today my hair woke up and said "I think I'll stand up straight today." So instead of fighting it's revolt against gravity, I decided to play along and look like a junior high schooler. It's funny how a hair style can tweak one's personality if done right. Maybe the follicles are connected to my brain. So they kind of act like presonality switches. I love how I can convince myself of preposterous things.

Fun as that was, I'm pretty sure it affected my mathematical skills as they went haywire several times. I'm no computational whiz but I thought at least I knew my times tables. Today, however, I was adding instead of multiplying, counting fingers I didn't know I had and numbers were generally doing the polka all through my cranium. I can't dance the polka you know.

And then when it was all done we had to count all over again. Maybe I should invest in a monacle and a Transylvanian accent.

Luckily, I have other mad skillz that make people forget about all that. Um, I'll let you know what those are when I figure out what they are.

I left work early to take mom to the psychologist. She's preparing for a disability court hearing and needed her to fill out something or other. She also hadn't seen her in about a year and first thing said was a comment on how thin she has gotten. And, wait for it, that she needs to eat more. I promptly exited with monkeys since this line of questioning would be going on for about an hour.

I also went to the boyfriends house for dinner. I haven't been there in a while since he lives rather far away. He cooked a tamale pie with cornbread crust. It was scrumptious, but then everything he cooks is. He 's got the culinary touch. I'm not just saying that cause I'm sweet on him.

It's because I get free food if I keep telling him I like it. And hot lovin'. Because that's the secret ingredient. Duh.

It seems like my days are packed to the brim now and I'm starting to get exceptionally tired in the evening, especially when I try to write incoherent blog entrys at nigh.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I'll admit that working from home all that time spoiled me. The thing I'm not thrilled with the most about having to go into work again is that I don't see the boys after school anymore.

Mom was feeling sicker today, but not frazzled so that's good. Some days are better than others.

Apparently, I am told, that the Elder Monkey had a major meltdown regarding playing video games this afternoon.

He was doing so well with the listening, too. At least with me. He knows when it's time to turn it off and often does it himself now. I mean I KNOW what it's like to be in the middle of a level and it's all the sudden time to go. I've been there, I relate. So I thought things were well in this arena.

Which means when you throw new people into the mix, we start all over again.

I'm told he's been talking back to his mom harshly. That is so not cool.

Have I taught you nothing, monkeyboy? You don't talk back to The Mother. She will always win. Or she will behead you with her stare. Didn't you see the tongue of the School Transportation Call Person as she pulled it through the phone and made balloon animals out of it? Have you forgetten the ancient training, grasshopper?

Sigh. I heard him do it once now and it really shocked me a bit to hear this was the norm. For all the communication the Super Ex-Wife and I keep up, it's still like "He did what?" Apparently, Daddy is much more fun (which really doesn't work out to be fun in the long run).

I'm seeing the brat-beast emerge from it's hibernation state and venture out into the open. It's indeed fugly with all those fangs. But if that's the way he plays it, he knows the cost by now. So no games or TV of any kind again for quite a while. I'm inclined to make them go away for good actually. We shall see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School Daze

Today was the first day of the new school year here. Elder Monkey is in Second Grade and Younger Monkey in First Grade.

That last sentence makes my eyes cross every time look at it. Mainly about the Younger Monkey. It means my youngest offspring will be six years old next week. No more babies here! I suppose there haven't been for quite sometime but that's not the point.

I got up in time to see them off at the bus stop. The bus was twenty minutes late. Standard fare apparently for a first day, but a bit worrisome considering the Epic Battle of the Super Ex-Wife vs. the School Transportation Department that transpired the week before. I had to call yesterday to settle it since both sides now channel Vigo the Carpathian (In stereo!) when speaking with at each other. I have no intention of taking anyone to the hospital with a phone inserted in an inappropriate body part.

Anyways, all told I heard there was some writing and reading, lunch, P.E. and maybe a teacher or two. I know it's not a sparkly new experience for them anymore, but that was about all I could pry out of the Monkey Mind Meld so it'll have to do.

In other news, did you know that Second Graders do research papers? I will spare you the gory details about the joy that should bring around here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Part of the plan for mom moving is so that she can watch the boys for us after school for about an hour each day until someone can get home. Yesterday evening was all around frightful. I got a really sinking feeling wondering if it will be okay.

Mom is doing better today. She is starting to adjust to the change at her own pace. It's going to take a while. Today went well once they figured out the PS2 is also a DVD player and Pandas ran amok on screen. For now there is going to be lots of after school movietime.

So far, monkeys don't react much about why Grandma is always feeling sick. They do know that the rule is to take it easy around her. One of the major causes of her depression is that she wants to feel useful, so it does give her a purpose if only for an hour each day. Boy, does it ever give her something to do. I'm thinking this will help her not be so lonely at least.

And I'm thinking all this easier access to Grandma's toy collection won't hurt either. She's always had cooler toys and movies than I.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Problem With Mom

I now have a housemate. Mom moved in yesterday.

We get along better than most I think. There are no hardcore personality clashes or overbearing traits of which to write about. In fact I thought of selling my house once and moving in with her. So I find it funny when the first thing I get from others is a cringe and an apology as to my sanity. I imagine the first thought has to do with some Overbearing Mother Syndrome.

Mom is a beautiful person. People used to think she was my big sister sometimes when she came to pick me up from school. She has a tattoo of a vampire bite on her neck and a phoenix on her arm. She loves comic books and anime and Star Wars. She got me to breathe when I starting shaking at my wedding rehearsal. She does not tolerate brash stupidity or being lied to. She has wonderful handwriting. She always knew how to take care of me when I got my annual vomity sickness. She was a very strong person.

Oh, how I wish that her being an interfering busybody were the reason for condolences. I wish I could write about how it's going to be great that she's here. I wish I could tell you that.

Mom is not strong anymore. Doctors can't tell her what's wrong. She is in pain all of the time. She is slowly losing weight. She can only eat a few types of foods that don't make her sick. She can't take drugs that might help, because most the side effects make her even more sick. She can't move with speed or dexterity. She can't push or pull or drive. She doesn't have the physical well being to hold any kind of job anymore. She is exhausted to the point of tears but does not ever sleep.

So the problem with mom is that..we don't know what the problem actually is.

She is down to 100 pounds. When I hug her, she is only a fragile frame of what she once was. When I hug her I can feel the bones in her wearily protrude with hardly anything but a layer of skin to separate them from my touch. While only a mere unit of measure, only a fraction of a space between 100 and 99, I greatly fear for the depth at which her state of mind will plummet the next time she has to approach that scale and the nurse tells her "You need to eat more..." I kind of fear for the nurse as well. With every pound of flesh she loses along with it goes a portion of her hope and will to continue.

But it is not only her body that is a crumbling structure. What remains of her spirit is hanging from it, almost crucified, nearly suffocated. She doesn't care to see the living anymore. Her anger and jealousy tell her it's not fair to see people healthy and living their lives. It's not fair to be a mere witness. To just exist and nothing else.

The only time we go out is a weekly trip to take her grocery shopping. It takes her three times as long to walk, to think, to read, to try something new and decide whether it will make her even sicker. She's tired of eating. She's tired of trying, failing and weeping. She's tired of living.

And yet she can't ever fall sleep.

I don't try to tell her anymore that it will all be okay, when all my hand can feel when I hug her are the segments of her spine, no muscle or fat or substance that has now vanished. I don't tell her anymore not to be sorry for imposing on me when nothing can console. I don't think there are any words that can heal. I am not a doctor and the ones we've seen haven't done any good.

I don't say anything at all. I just breathe comfortably like she told me to once before. The air of my calm is all that I can pass onto her. But we are here together nonetheless.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Which Ancient Language Are You

Your Score: Linear B

You are Linear B. Even those who can follow you think you're all Greek to them. Which, after all, is true - Linear B being the first known text for written Greek. To most people, you're incomprehensible. But what do you care? You're tough, hard, long-enduring and have greater nobility than most. Naturally, you don't admit to borrowing extensively from your brother Linear A.

The Which Ancient Language Are You Test

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All In Good Time

According to mom, she went into labor at 7:00 AM. However, much to her chagrin, I got all distracted, stopped to see the sights and maybe have a chat with the white rabbit along the way, and arrived at precisely 11:20 PM. This slow and steady pace has set the prescendent for everything I have ever done since. Which is why it just makes more sense to write about my birthday the day after.

For a few hours, I contemplated having a gathering of some sort. But then I came to my senses and remembered that I don't actually like organizing or socializing in groups of people for extended periods of time. Whew, that was close.

So being a man of simple pleasures, I got a haircut.

And my sweetie sent me flowers.

And because he knows I forget to eat lunch I promptly ate them.

Which may be why I have been thirty for exactly one day now and survived to tell about it.

Amazingly, it has all culminated thus far in learning something that I probably knew a long time ago but am just starting to heed: For this Tortoise it's far more satisfying and in fact essential to stop and ask Hare if he likes lemon and honey in his tea instead of winning that silly race. How about that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dear Merv Griffin

Seeing as I had neither respect nor disdain for you, my only memory of your name will be forever emblazoned with this classic piece of American artistry which I now present in tribute:

Merv Griffin! (Warning: Not really safe for the Lactose intolerant.)

UPDATE: On the author's blog.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ten Random Facts About Yesterday

In order of appearance:

* Every morning should begin with a bang. Like a literal loud "BANG!" Wait, it shouldn't?

* In almost all Super Mario games where Peach and Yoshi are playable, the computer wants to make Peach a royal bitch and Yoshi a punk. And why exactly does Yoshi lay eggs when he is a boy?

* I used some of the Alpha Male Cooling Body Scrub in the shower. I hadn't used it in a while and I suddenly remembered now that it gives orifices of the nether regions a perky, minty-breath freshness.

* When I think I've got The Elder Monkey figured out, that's the moment he will change his mind about everything. The Elder Monkey now likes bagels and cream cheese after deciding to eat my breakfast, since it was obviously better than his.

* When I think I've got The Younger Monkey figured out, that's the moment he doesn't change his mind, but brings it to the next level. The Younger Monkey wants macaroni & cheese and/or cheeseburger and/or a block of cheese for every meal including breakfast.

* The Elder Monkey knows that "I'm not a plant!" as he explained to me he doesn't need the photosynthesis from sitting in the hot car. Also, whining about it helps.

* Even though I have to move my mom in with me by next weekend I decided to spend the day with the boyfriend relaxing and doing, um, almost nothing. Twice. For quite a few hours.

* Peanut butter and banana in a smoothie is apparently quite different from peanut butter and banana in a sandwich.

* I am contemplating a really, really short haircut. And sweetie, it's not a thinning bald spot. When you tuft it with gel it's a "no-hawk".

* Alcohol is generally expensive, tastes horrible and makes you lose all your balance. I fall over myself without being drunk I don't need help with that, thanks.

Was some of that TMI? Oh well. This is what makes my life worth living, people.

I still don't feel like doing much today but my house is a post-modernist art project that needs to come back down to earth. Otherwise, the holes in the walls are... supposed to be there. Yup.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Go Go Gomotaku!

I suppose I should mention that I do still podcast regularly. Once a week in fact on Thursday mornings.

So if for some odd reason you've been missing my voice here you can find me as one of the hosts at the AnimeNation News Podcast. I probably haven't mentioned it before since I'm quite sure upon listening some of you may not know what the hell we are going on about.

I actually wasn't keen on doing it at first as I do not claim to be anywhere near a full fledged otaku, but it's gotten to be fun. So if you are fellow anime fans, do give it a try!

Will The Real Thomas Welch Please Stand Up (And Give Me My Money)

I hope Thomas Welch is enjoying my paycheck.

If you are a twitterati* you've probably gathered that I worked at Target for a total of one day. Um, night. For whatever reason the highly advanced timecard system spit-up all over me and thought my name is Thomas Welch. You may also gather that because of this I've only been paid $23.96 for the few hours of humorous propaganda videos we had to watch but nary much else.

I'm sure Thomas is a very nice bloke and I hope he uses it to perhaps better himself. Perhaps numerous trips to IHOP, some fancy new bling for the lowrider, or taking your woman to the roller derby is in order. Until I can track him down and either threaten him with the boxcutter they foolishly thrust in my hands or offer him a bag of lollipops in return. Whichever works better.

Anywho, it's all way too complicated to condone explanation but I am employed by my old job again. The one that technically never was my old job because I never officially came off the payroll. The only change being after a year and a half of working for them from home I am back to the good ol' daily traffic jam and 40 hour week at the place that is said old job. It's all coming back to me now: The forgetting to eat lunch, the formations of dark matter that overflow from the rafters and the feeling that when I get home I don't really want to DO anything else aside from cauterize my legs at the ankles.

Unfortunately, there is lots going on after hours, in fact much more than usual and labor intensive. It involves drywall, terrazzo and inventing a raygun to vaporize a lifetime of stuff. Or at least the ducks who keep pooping on my front porch. Living life upside down is interesting if for nothing else that you get strong wrists and fingertips from walking on your hands all the time.

Before I forget, my humble thanks to the kind snarky bastard who sent me the colorful parachute. While it turns out I don't need it for the moment I've passed it on to my dad who is in much harsher dire straits regarding employment. Also to Jon and Mush for offering to help with my resume. What can I say I feel, loved.

Back to the grind.

*Not to be confused with a group of twits. This is of course up for debate.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bring on the Rain

August has always been my favorite month. But in recent years August hasn't been itself.

I always used to remember summers in my youth still as a hot breath of fire, but was quickly quenched every afternoon without fail by a swift roaring storm. I could time my day to it, always in waiting with excitement for that rumble and drop that would wash all the heated dust and sweat away. For the past few weeks it seems summer has been behaving itself a little more and recapturing some of this which I used to love, instead of a recent history of split personality; a fidgety snap of drought for months and hurricanes the rest.

Aside from today when it rained elephants and rhinos. The dogs and cats were on vacation you see. And apparently not only here, but other unexpected locales.

My personal tempests have gotten into a similar kind of groove and show no sign of slowing. I won't let them beat me but I'm a bit exhausted tonight.