Sunday, September 24, 2006

Time for a List

I was about to go off on a three-hour rant about a great hardcover essay book I got for 25 cents that had been a text at a local private school in 195o. Our grocery store collects and sells 25 cent books for charity, and I thought getting a pile of them would be a good idea for us to take on vacation. That way, if we lost some on holiday, it wouldn't be a big deal. But I'll spare you that story until later. (It is an awesome book except for the "thoughtful" questions and "composition ideas" at the end of each essay. They completely miss the point of every piece and reliably enrage me after all the joy I get from reading the essays.)

That was a non-sequitur before the blog entry even got started. Is there a name for a pre-non-sequitur? I guess it's "pre-non-sequitur."

Today I think it's time for a list. I have loads of lists in my head. I will never get rid of them, and certainly never get rid of a whole list at a time. That is the nature of lists; they evolve. I'm feeling irky today. How about a list of things I dislike?

There are many things I hate. This is just the beginning.

  1. Shoes that make noise. Anyone's shoes. Any noise. Just make them silent. Don't wear any noise-making shoes indoors. High heels should be shot out from under women stupid enough to wear them. Oh, and men who wear them, too--unless it's for a drag show. And all the people who design high heels should be put away.
  2. Socks that wind up getting wet on a floor. Anything wet on a floor. Bare feet that touch something wet if it's not in the shower or on the beach. Eeeww.
  3. Sand under the legband of a bathing suit. No matter how diligently you scrub, it never, ever washes off and you walk around chafing. Ow.
  4. Alarm clocks. Alarm clocks that work; alarm clocks that are inaccurate; other people's alarm clocks, which don't jive with my need for an alarm, and wake me up in their sequence three times before it's time for me to wake up.
  5. Worms (not expected worms; surprise worms, such as when you take out the trash and aren't expecting maggots in the garbage can, or such as when you are minding your own business in the kitchen, take out a frying pan, and find some sort of dried-up larva in it. It does not belong there. Which is just a crime against nature any way you look at it. Also, weevils in flour or other kitchen dry goods. I once had an apartment mate who bought a huge amount of birdseed and stored it in the pantry cabinet. One day I opened the cabinet and the entire bag of birdseed appeared to be crawling. Heart-stoppingly hideous.
  6. slugs
  7. snails
  8. mosquitoes
  9. flies
  10. That is the complete list of critters in the animal kingdom I don't embrace. I don't scream, or anything. Except for the mosquitoes and flies, which I will actually kill, I just shudder a lot and feel faint and get out of the way. On the other hand, I am a great advocate of spiders, and routinely save them from others who would stomp or otherwise kill them. Snakes don't faze me in the least and I even find them quite beautiful, except for huge black water moccasins that almost silently slither off tree branches and drop in the river right above the bank where you're standing--they could have knocked you in the head and taken a bite on their way down--creepy.
  11. This one is really out in left field, but I have to say it. There's a particular kind of front-seat lean in drivers in front of you that I absolutely cannot abide. This driver is always male. The driver doesn't sit up straight and has one arm slung lazily over the wheel. He is driving with the underside of his right forearm. The car is usually a type that would have bench seats, like an old model Buick, a big low-slung Pontiac, or an ancient Chrysler K-car; sometimes an old huge stationwagon like a Chevy Caprice. The guy is possibly two or three seats wide himself, but not always. He has wrecked the seat by leaning his weight in it improperly until the springs have given up. The driver's head and shoulders are leaning way over toward under the center of the rear-view mirror, but driver's head is trying to stay level. Driver is almost always wearing a gimme-cap of some sort. There is never anyone else in the car. These men don't have kids, or they skipped off from the ones they do have. No self-respecting woman would ever ride with them. You can tell they're unsafe in both driving and in life. I want these people off the road. And SIT UP, dickhead!!!
  12. Wet towels on the floor, ever. There is just no excuse for that. I bought a rack for my sons' bathroom. Thinking ahead, I didn't get the kind they'd have to actually fold the towels to use (too much work, obviously). I got a rack of hooks. And for months, even that proved too challenging. And please, boy (only one of them does this), do not drop your wet towel on the expensively refinished wood floor, or try to hide it on the closet floor!
  13. Confusing "codes" that family members leave around, thinking that I will immediately "understand" the code and know what to do without explicitly being told. Also, the fact that they expect me to do something about their stuff in the first place. [Go do it yourself.] For example, there's stuff all over the "laundry room." (We don't actually have a laundry room; we have a garage corner.) Some of it is clean, and some of it isn't. Some's in the washer, and some isn't. Some more has been on top of the dryer for three days and feels dry. Is it clean dry or dirty dry? Does it still need a bit of drying? (Don't assume I can tell. I take medicine that kills my sense of smell for anything but the strongest odors; our laundry is in a cold, damp garage and I can't tell if it's still wet or just cold.) But usually I can tell which laundry is still dirty. Also, in what order did all of this take place, and on what step is it now? And, since it's been here for four weeks, would you please finally get your stuff out of here so others who need them can use the appliances?

    A couple more examples of mysterious codes: The Motrin bottle has been left out of the medicine cabinet. Is this a sign that I am supposed to get more Motrin when I am out? Also, the man's deodorant is sitting on the counter. Am I intended to replace it? Well, I won't, because no matter what it is always a brand I cannot find, and it has to be deodorant not antiperspirant, and I can never find the right combination of brand, deodorant, and scent all in the same product, and if I choose the wrong product I will get yelled at. The man's electric toothbrush has been standing on end for two weeks. No one ever said anything about a battery needing replacement. So I put the toothbrush back in the medicine cabinet. Sick of looking at it and cleaning around it. Kids: the milk bottle has been left out of the refrigerator. Has that whole tablespoon of milk you left inside gone bad? Okay. Then pour it out and rinse the bottle and put it in the recycling.
  14. Kids sneaking all the batteries. I have a "lock box" for the batteries. LOL. They have figured out how to bend the plastic box and slide their greedy little hands in to pilfer. When it comes time for the legitimate persons of the household to really need a battery, the box will be discovered empty. This will lead repentant children to cannibalize batteries from other sources, and those batteries will invariably be dead and useless.
  15. Gross stuff in my car. They treat it like a toxic waste dump and it's so embarrassing I hate to give a ride to their friends or, worse, my friends. Since I am busy driving, I can't monitor what the kids are doing in the back seat and where they have stowed the trash from the sticky snacks they spilled and didn't ask permission for and the toys that don't belong there. I have almost solved this one. I made them spend a few hours one weekend day cleaning out my car. They actually took it in shifts, divided the tasks, did an excellent job, and haven't made a bit of mess since! The law of cause and effect might have sunk in after all.
  16. Lego, Lego, Lego. Deliver me from Lego. In future years I will know that I am an empty nester only once the Lego finally stop appearing on every square inch of every floor in every room. I saw a cartoon a couple of years ago with a father in an emergency room and the doctor saying, "No, no, Mr. Smith, the Lego-ectomy is our most common surgery." We have a stone floor in the open-floorplan part of our home, and it has nice little gutters between the slate tiles, just the right size for little Lego and K'nex to lodge and hide from the vacuum but not from vulnerable feet.
  17. The boys' bathroom. Ugh. Absolutely toxic. Thing #1 had a bad case of strep (not as though there's such a thing as a good case) for ten days, and I am convinced he contracted the bug from his own sink. At the moment, there is a huge patch of unidentifiable black crud in the sink. Honestly. I gave up cleaning in there a long time ago, and though they are coerced to clean it, their definition of "clean" leaves much to be desired. I will not go near the tub and shower enclosure. The glass, after six months of not being cleaned, is nearly opaque. Good; that means I can't see the brown crud on the frame and fixtures.
  18. Waking up, stark, sit-up-straight awake, a few hours before real wake-up time and seeing the clock announcing boldly that I have only a little time left to fall back asleep, otherwise I will completely miss the window of opportunity fo ra good night's rest. I positively refuse to get up and use the insomnia to get productive things done. I have heard from sleep doctors that this only "rewards" the insomnia and makes it more likely to recur. I then lie back down obsessing about whether I will be able to fall back asleep, which worry invariably keeps me awake until the alarms go and I indeed have missed the window of opportunity. I have intentionally bought a clock that came equipped with several light settings, and keep it on the lowest one; many times I have resorted to tossing a little black guest towel over the clock so I can't see it in the middle of the night at all. Of courses, if some morning light has begun to creep in, I'm not fooled.
  19. Deer, because they eat all the beautiful flowers in the garden, including my favorite giant Casablanca lilies. Deer are nothing but oversized rodents. Vermin. Also, I hate the garden. There's a fantastic, huge perennial garden on this property, courtesy of the previous owner, who spent (so neighbors tell) twelve years becoming a certified Master Gardener and designing and nurturing the garden. When there are flowers, that's wonderful. You'd think it would be great for an inveterate lover of botanical beauty such as myself. Unfortunately, nearly all of the garden is on a very steep hill and in the shade as well, and impossible to weed. And putting pre-emergent weed preventer on it has no effect except, it seems, to encourage the weeds instead. Also, I am lazy about yard work. People who try to weed there--and I have occasionally been one of them--slide down the soft soil and all the way down the hill into the corral below. Actually, people get some momentum going and slam into the corral fence. All the "stepping stones" just come dislodged and roll down with you. It is simply a no-win situation. The garden's creator herself told me that before the fence was there she rolled all the way down the hill and into the yard of the neighbors below us. That's a loooonnnnnnnngggg way, folks. Hmmm, maybe it was a sign? Does anyone get this? WHY is there a garden on a cliffside in the shade in the first place? She told me, "When I first owned the house, I just couldn't stand looking at all that boring groundcover on the hill. All just plain green." And I wanted to scream, "Why didn't you just leave the friggin' groundcover???"
  20. A number of comics whom I find simply unfunny, and not even funny because stupid. For example, Adam Sandler. Not funny. Just no-account pathetic.
  21. People who put leftovers into containers that aren't the right size, then shove them into the refrigerator in such a way that the container tips and the lid falls open and the food comes out all over the fridge shelf, and they just leave it there. This only happens withreallly messy things like pesto or a nice smooth spinach soup. Never with dishes that have distinct chunks, like chicken drumsticks.
  22. Writers who use parentheses as much as I do. As a professional writer and former university English instructor, I know how to avoid using parentheses. I should just restructure what I'm saying.
I guess that's enough of a rant for today. By tomorrow, I'll have a whole other list.

And now for a complete non-sequitur (this is the post-non-sequitur, and here she goes again with the damned parentheses).

(I'd swear you used to be able to put a caption on these. What happened to that feature?) The image above is Lucas, a.k.a. Luke, our surrogate dog. He thinks he's at the spa when he comes to our house. His current spa sentence ends October 2, at which point his real owners will return from Nova Scotia. In this scene, Luke has appropriated my knitting spot and is guarding one of two squares I am knitting for the Crazy Aunt Purl Grandma Blanket Project.


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