First Day: Thanks Garden

It’s the first day off no school! (I have a ton of stuff to do and will have to go back in the building, but without students!) I’ve been productively trapped by the gaping window of a delivery time. My seventeen-year-old washer and dryer set – my first big girl job purchase after adopting Bella Luna– was just not functioning like it used to and I finally resigned myself to purchasing a new set.

Workers in the house means packaging up four cats into bedrooms along with water bowls and litter boxes. Seventy-five percent of my population would panic at strangers and noises and could unpredictably decide to dart anywhere. Twenty-five percent of the population is incensed that I have locked him into only one room of HIS house when there are workers to be overseen, and spent the day banging on the bedroom door and clawing at the carpet. He had a litter box, a water bowl, a bed, a window, and his girlfriend, but oooohhhh nooooo.

I spent the pre-delivery down time vacuuming everything which shut my captives up pretty quickly. Vacuums are scary. I even busted out the Bissell and shampooed the carpet! Mostly, this happened because I had to move it out of the laundry room along with a  myriad of other items so the delivery guys could reveal the accumulation of “ick” when they removed the old washer and a dryer.

Things under and behind the washer and dryer:

  • Dust bunnies so big that I had to switch heads on the vacuum.
  • One hair tie
  • Stuff that looked like coffee grounds, but…..IDK
  • One sock
  • One pair of underwear
  • A cardboard toilet paper roll????
  • And, shockingly, only one cat toy. I thought there would be a whole nest of jingle mice.

By the time they left me alone with my new appliances, my productivity was waning and I needed food. A friends homemade hummus plus some goat cheese, with cilantro that re-seeded itself, and an entire salad of a very young onion, lettuce, kale, and spinach from the garden.

I love being able to go foraging!

The First Day

The last exam was graded yesterday. The last yearbook underclassman released from duty and obligations within minutes of the last bell. Check.

Traditional pedagogical Dionysian carousing completed. Check.

Now dawns a new morning, a new era of “freedom”: the first day of summer break.

So early, in theory.

So early, in theory.

(Except that I have about 3-4 weeks of publication editing and submitting ahead for me, a senior editor to help wrap up graduation spreads, materials to gather for a workshop I teach, and I need to sign up for summer classes. Other than that…sweet, sweet freedom.)

I awoke at what I was sure had to be well past 10 a.m. Dionysus does not recommend getting up before at least that time. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my body clock had let me “sleep in” until 7:30 a.m. A time when the morning sunlight is still cool, and most of the neighbors seem to still be asleep.

One of the good bugs.

One of the good bugs.

The cats and I opened the kitchen curtains and surprised two large rabbits who were also enjoying the quiet morning. Opening another curtain revealed a baby Praying Mantis clinging to the window screen outside. I’ll take

They don't take dill and basil in their eggs.

They don’t take dill and basil in their eggs.

both of these nature sightings as good omens.

A quick walk out to the dewy garden for dill and basil to complete my breakfast eggs also reminded me that I’m supposed to harvest lettuce early in the day. Lunch is planned.




The Summer To-Do That Won’t Get To-Done….probably

The Farmer’s Almanac says that TODAY is the summer solstice which means that today is technically the first day of summer! That means that this list is totally timely and meaningful!

I’m as surprised as anyone. 

I’ve been thinking about writing this list since the last day of school which was three weeks ago. That delay is more typical of my procrastination skills. My report card comment would say: “Sets goals and fails to

Me versus rain barrel. A battle 5 years in the making.

Me versus rain barrel. A battle 5 years in the making.

meet them.” For example, I’ve wanted to install a rain barrel since I bought my house…five years ago. When did I finally install one? A week ago. It didn’t matter that over an extended period of time  I’ve researched it, priced it and thought extensively of how a rain barrel would benefit my garden, it just didn’t get done. Oh, well.

I feel like if I was more goal oriented, I would get more done like cleaning my house, grading papers, exercising etc… But aside from things involving my cats and their well being, there is nothing that mentally makes me think, “Go get ’em, Tiger! Let’s do this.” The mental monologue is generally more along the lines of: “Hmmmm…well…fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”

So this is basically a “to-do” list that may or may not get done but will be considered extensively.

1. Conquer my grill.- I bought a grill. It cost too much. I’m afraid of it. The instruction manual was quite brief, but involved the words “fire, explodes and danger” at a frequency that confirmed all the paranoid visions I have of what would happen were it left up to me to grill stuff. I have made a few simple meals thus far but with great trepidation.

It's gray and it has friends.

It’s gray and it has friends.

2. Figure out what color my hair is.- This goal is perfect because it requires me to do NOTHING except wash my hair and since it is summer, I barely have to do that! By temperament and skin tone, I should have been a natural red head. I blame my parents for their shoddy genetics. I’ve been dyeing my hair since college when we all started playing with bowls of henna dye that looked like mud pies – dirty hippies. Since I fully acknowledge that the carpet does not match the drapes, I have the freedom to dye my hair whatever ridiculous unnatural shade of red I want. However I have noticed within the past year that there are some extra shiny, light strands that don’t quite take the dye like they ought to.

3. Avoid committing to unnecessary activities that I don’t want to do.-It’s summer, duh.

4. Get to a point where I can stop getting that anxious feeling that I had better hurry up and have fun before I have to go to school. – This one is tough given summer workshops, online work and conversations with teacher friends during which we talk about ….school.

5. Attend the World’s Longest Yard Sale. -So cool! I love other people’s junk!

6. Solve the hairball problem.– Dramatic long-suffering sigh- My oldest cat’s capacity for hairballs is stunning. When she gets enough built up, she can wake me up 3-4 nights running with her dry heaving followed by a wet slapping sound that my brain always visualizes as her intestines smacking together. She can only throw up a hairball between 3 a.m.- 5 a.m. During the school year, her preference is Sunday nights when I can barely get to sleep as is. Due to the frequency, a routine has developed.

The Routine: Last night I was peacefully having sex dreams about Jason Segel (  when the dry heaving began. The sound of a hairball will bring me directly out of bed and flailing for a light switch. Find cat- she’s usually sleeping next to me if not on me-; pull rug out of small bathroom; toss cat- gently- into bathroom; close bathroom door; lay back down on bed; listen to what seems like an eternity (actual time about 5 minutes) of what someone with the Ebola virus might sound like; wonder if she’s dying but am too sleepy to get concerned; listen for paw scratching door, signaling that she is done barfing; wait another minute just to be sure; release barfy cat from bathroom; assure other 3 cats who never get hairballs that all is well; return to bed. ***An alternative to the routine is her waiting about 15 minutes, just so I’m almost asleep again, before she barfs in the living room.

I am waiting until you are asleep so I may vomit repeatedly.

I am waiting until you are asleep so I may vomit repeatedly.

Jason Segel and I will never be able to consummate our love until this problem is solved.

7. Lose weight, be healthier.- This has been on the “to-do” list since birth. I’m so sick of it that it barely warrants mentioning yet here it is. You would think that this would inspire that goal oriented mindset but it is way easier and more pleasant to take naps than it is to exercise. I just have to stay away from shame triggering reflective surfaces and be resigned to never have sex again unless it’s with a dude who has built a shed for his tool (Get it? He’s a fatty too.) because realistically we rarely end up with people outside our own zones of attractiveness.

8. Take naps.- Fuck yea, I’m gonna take naps! Whoot!!! And then I’m going to stay up until midnight watching bad t.v. Cause it’ summer, motherfucker! Blonde doctor always gives me the stink eye when I respond that yes I do take the occasional nap. I have decided that she is jealous. She has children which are natural nap preventatives and she must maintain whatever lifestyle gets you your own Pelotonia poster that you can creepily smile out from in all your exam rooms.

9. Fantasize that someone pays me for writing this.– Even if it was just a little fun money, wouldn’t it be nice if I could somehow be paid to rant, make stupid lists, and use profanity? If you’ve ever read my blog and laughed or peed a little, you owe me  a dollar.

10. Date?– This could be  a whole entry by itself. While this would provide good writing material, see #7 on attractiveness zones and #2 on level of commitment to maintaining appearance and being clean.

I nominate the following as Best Sentence in This Post:

“Last night I was peacefully having sex dreams about Jason Segel when the dry heaving began.”

Remember, you owe me  a dollar.