Friday, November 28, 2008

instant karma

One of the people who was rude to me yesterday got arrested in our store today for shoplifting. This pleases me maybe a little more than it should.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

cheerful, calm and helpful

I am heartily sick of the general public, and it's only November 27th.

"I just hit the wall." I told Geoffrey.
"Don't say that! We have six more weeks!" Liar. It's...well, okay, by the time you factor in Boxing Day sales, it's almost six weeks. I remind myself that 75% of the exasperating behavior I witness is not the result of people being jerks, it is the result of people being in a crowded, overwhelming, unfamiliar environment. It's the other twenty-five percent I have trouble with. Lady, I have explained in a clear and friendly manner why you cannot sit in front of the shelves. I have even invoked wheelchair access. You know, access? So that people can move around as freely as possible in the mall which at the best of times is challenging but during holidays takes on a nightmare quality? That. People might want to look at those books that you're leaning on. Don't be mean about it.

In fact, here's my new rule for how adults should behave (also known as "Why I will never be Empress of the world"): if you can't measure up to the standards I would have for a toddler in my care, you should have to take a timeout. If it's good enough for a three-year-old, it's good enough for you. Say please. Say thank you. Share the toys. Wash your hands. Don't wait for re-election to say that you won't scream at people in Parliament any more. You know, the basics.

Since this also applies to me, I am going to spend my evening doing something soothing, so that tomorrow I'll be ready to go back and face people again, the majority of whom are actually much nicer than you'd think. Just--thank god I get a break till tomorrow.

p.s. Thanks to Ben and Jillian for bringing cookies to us retail drudges. It warms a girl's heart.

Friday, November 21, 2008


...and it is Nathan Kamp. Okay, okay, I suppose if I had thought about it, I would have realized that of course he has a name--but it's so surreal to think of him as having a life outside of the cover of oh, every romance novel published for the last five years, that it never occurred to me. And now I'm weirded out.

For those of you who haven't seen him, wander this way for a refresher. I think I see this guy's face more often than the faces of my dearest friends. I'm going to go and have a little lie down now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Two things you must know in order to appreciate this story: one, Lucy is obsessed with dogs. She has that toddler gift of spotting a dog at a hundred paces, on a leash, in an advertisement, going by in a passing car, and she remarks on all of them. She does not seem to have any trouble with the idea that a Chihuahua and a Great Dane are the same kind of animal, and I can't discern any preference for one or the other. They're all dogs. Uuf uuf. Two, there is a little white dog who lives next door to Lucy, and this dog excites much interest, especially since she can sometimes see him from the window of her living room. You'll catch her peering out the window, standing on tiptoe to get her little chin clear of the sill for a better view. Frequently our conversations on the matter go like this:
"Are you looking for the dog, Lucy?"
"Uuf." [signs DOG]
"Where do you think that doggie is?"
"Homa." [signs HOME]
"That's right. The dog is in his home."
Last Tuesday I looked over to see her standing at the window for the third time in an hour. "Whatcha doin', Lucy?" Without taking her eyes off the yard, she signed WAITING.


"Has she been playing the game where she gives you nothing?" Adam asked me this morning. Apparently, one of Lucy's new things has been to go down the hall and pretend to pick up the light from the digital readout on the carbon monoxide detector. Then she'll deposit the light in your hand, proclaiming "Ta ta." Lather, rinse, repeat.

She did this several times at top Lucy-speed, bolting down the hallway in her staggering run to grab at the light and place it carefully in my open palm, laughing. (On the cuteometer, this is at least a seven out of ten, edging into the eights when her laugh turns into a chortle.) The one thing this game had not taken into account, however, was the reset/test button, located a mere centimeter or two below the glow of the display.

I can now say definitively that Adam and Chelle's carbon monoxide detector works.

Lu is a pretty laid-back kid. When the piercing shriek of the alarm screeched through the hall, she didn't cry. I thought I might, for a few seconds, frantically looking to see if I needed to do something to make it stop. Several earsplitting tones later, it stopped on its own. I looked at Lu. Her eyes were perfectly round. Solemnly, she intoned "Beep beep."
"Yep, it went beep beep. It was quite--" don't say scary-- "alarming."
"Beep beep," she said, a little more certainly, and then signed "All done."

There was no more carbon monoxide detector frolic today. We are all done with that terrible noise, apparently. (Other things Lu is "all done" with: the inhaler she has to use to treat her cough, her last several lunches, donkeys. All done with donkeys.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

baby, baby, it looks like it's gonna hail

At one point this week, I was considering joining the "shelving party" at my store on Sunday night. Sunday, which is my birthday. (We could get a cake!) I think I am...not considering this any more. It's just that this birthday has crept up on me, and I have made absolutely no plans, and trying to plan mostly makes me want to close my eyes in exhaustion, so hey, why not shelve? And make some money? And possibly get cake out of it?

The first thing in ages that's made me feel energetic is accidentally rediscovering the Louis Prima/Keely Smith version of "Jump Jive an' Wail." That is because swing is awesome, and makes me want to dance even when I'm so tired I can hardly think. Huzzah, swing music! Now I am poking around the internets for more songs that make me want to dance. Suggestions? Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"I'm not good at failure!" I sobbed. Greg kept rubbing my back, giving me space for my abject, snotty misery.
"It's not your failure."
"I'm not that good at other people's failure, either. In case you hadn't noticed." There was a hiccup, and then we both started laughing, and I got up to get a kleenex, and now, my belly full of reassurances and the pasta that Lizbeth made for dinner, I can finally breathe again, air this time and not the stale sense of disappointment in myself I was suffocating on all day.

I'll be glad when the Christmas season is over this year. It is not going well. I can hardly get my bearings for bailing out the boat. What is going well, though, is that there seems to always be someone there to pick me up and put me on my feet again, and I am very grateful.

Friday, November 07, 2008

my milkweed brings butterflies to the yard

spook and I went for a walk in the woods on Monday. We saw a fuzzy caterpillar, a porcupine, and:

"Look at that! Slime!"
"It's probably algae."
"It's slime."
"It's algaenous slime."
"But it's like the platonic ideal of slime, it's so green, and--"
"--exactly what Plato was thinking of when he talked about slime--"
"--and banned it from the Republic. Yeah."


In case you're one of the three people on earth who still hasn't seen this, you should also go and check out yet another reason I'm fond of Barack Obama.