My oldest sister had a dog, a Husky named Cindy, who LOVED to stare at herself in the mirror. Cindy was one of the most vainglorious animals who ever lived. Not only did she love to admire herself in the mirror on a regular basis, she would escape from her leash and play keepaway until someone told her how beautiful she was and then she'd come trotting back, all happy and smug. She was a funny dog. A bit incorrigible until my sister got a 2nd dog and since Cindy now had her own pet dog, she became better behaved since Calvin acknowledged her Alpha Dog status.
Sometimes, I wish I had the mirrors that some of the people featured on People of Walmart use. Because those have to be some kind of magic mirrors if those people leave their trailer or crackhouse and go out in public dressed the way they do. It's like they cram their 300lb body into tube tops and hot pants and their magic mirror tells them, "Damn woman, you are HOT! You should be the Playboy Playmate of the Millenium cuz you are lookin' FINE!"
As I've gotten older, I have discovered that mirrors are not always your friend. Especially those magnifying mirrors. They're mean and cruel. I don't know how many times I've looked into a magnifying mirror and gasped in horror because there was a rogue hair sticking out and looking like a tusk and wondered why oh why didn't anyone TELL me I looked like a wild boar and how many people would snicker as I toddled happily along, completely oblivious to the tusk on my face.
Regular magnifying mirrors are bad enough but lemme give you a Public Service Announcement: never, EVER look into one of those 1000x Magnifying Mirrors because you will see things on your face that you would have been much better off not knowing they were there because it will haunt you. It's like looking at a drop of water and it's all crystal clear and then you look at that drop under a microscope and it's filled with all sorts of icky things and you realize that you had drank that water and now are positive that parasites are going to start growing inside of you and you'll get sicker and sicker and it's all because you looked at something you were better off not seeing.
That's what those 1000x magnifying mirrors do. They ruin your life.
You can't turn on the tv this week without being bombarded by commercials guilting reminding you to go out and buy expensive baubles, overpriced flowers, juvenile stuffed animals and tacky lingerie to give to your Significant Other because otherwise, you're a jerk if you don't.
I really hate the marketing concept that designates a specific day of the year to declare your affections for another person and unfairly leads people to expect tributes of "love" and then dashes their expectations when these tributes aren't up to par.
Any time I've been in a relationship, when Valentine's Day rolled around, I'd start fretting. Would he get me something? What if he doesn't get me something? What if he gets me something like a stuffed animal dressed up in a dominatrix outfit that says, "I'm Whipped!" What if I get him something? What WOULD I get him? What if I get him something and he doesn't get me anything? Should I just play it safe and mentioned casually that a gift isn't necessary and what if he tells me that he hadn't planned on getting me anything anyway and then I feel totally stupid yet hope that he's just saying that and that he really DID get me something lovely but wants me to THINK that he didn't get me anything and then V-Day comes and goes and I find out that he wasn't kidding and then I feel all hurt and think that maybe he doesn't really want to stay together and maybe we should just break up and see? This is why Valentine's Day sucks.
Three particular Valentine's Days stick out in my memory. One was good but the other two were bad. Very, very bad.
The good one was TheManTheMyth's and my first V-Day together. We'd been going out for a couple of months and his first Valentine's gift to me was a dirt bike. Yeah, yeah, and they say that Romance is Dead but this was a great gift because it was something we could do together. Dirt bike riding. It was a good little bike, a Suzuki DR125 and when we went out to the desert, I no longer had to sit back in camp, twiddling my thumbs while everyone else went for a trail ride. TheManTheMyth's next gift to me was to have A/C installed in my truck. Hands down, the best gift I ever received. Those may not have been "romantic" gifts to most women but they screamed "LOVE!!" to me.
Bad V-Day #1 is tied with #2 for Worst Valentine's Day EVER. I had been with M for almost 2 years. To celebrate V-Day we went to dinner with a bunch of friends and everything was fabulous and wonderful and my inebriated little brain thought that Valentine's Day was the logical day to exchange declarations of love for the first time. Boy was I wrong. The next morning I woke up to both a hangover and a cold and empty pillow next to me. And a cold and empty house. And a "Dear Kelly" letter stuffed into my purse.
In a panic, I called his house and his brother had the uncomfortable task telling me that M refused to come to the phone and didn't want to talk to me or see me again.
To use an old-fashioned term, I literally "took to my bed" in hysteria and grief for an entire week until my mom got fed up with my dramatics and made me get up, take a shower and go back to work.
Bad V-Day #2 was when a friend of the guy I was crazy/sick in love with, let slip a few days before Valentine's Day that "Somebody" had bought an expensive piece of jewelry for a special lady. How giddy was I in the days before Valentine's Day? At first I wasn't concerned when the Object of My Affections called to tell me that he had to work on V-Day because there wasn't anything unusual in his working on a Saturday. I figured I would get my present either the day before or the day after. V-Day came and went and no bauble was presented to me along with a declaration of love. Maybe his buddy was wrong but how do I say, "Hey E! Where's the jewelry J said you bought for a special lady?" because it was supposed to be a surprise.
Oh, I was surprised when someone else innocently asked me if I had seen the gorgeous bracelet C got from E for Valentine's Day. Wait. What? Yeah, that was how I found out that E was a two-timing ratbastard.
Years, decades later I can feel my blood pressure start to rise remembering these two debacles. Yes, they were jerks.
A couple of days ago, a beloved and long-time part of our family coughed, wheezed and then gasped its final breath while out in the garage. We stood there staring down at the corpse and and gave a collective sigh of sadness. "It had a long and productive life" we told each other.
No, I'm not talking about Lucy, the kids claim she's indestructible,
I'm talking about The Blue Pig.
The Blue Pig was the best damn vacuum that ever lived. It had been part of my life ever since I could remember. Growing up, we had 2 vacuums, a basic upright (Kirby? Hoover?) and The Blue Pig. I think my parents got The Blue Pig even before I was born and that's been 4 decades plus change. I have no idea who named it The Blue Pig but we never called it anything else. If anyone said, "Get the vacuum" we knew to get the upright.
When my parents divorced, my dad got custody of The Blue Pig. When he died, I called dibs and brought The Blue Pig home where I could give it a happy, loving home. Oh sure, there are SOME people who think I didn't take it out as often as I should have but rest assured, The Blue Pig KNEW it was wanted, needed and loved. TheManTheMyth would even take The Blue Pig to work with him because it was a good little shop vac.
And then one day, another vacuum, that %$#*! vacuum, arrived at our home and The Blue Pig was relegated to the garage and suddenly, it started showing its age. Wheels would fall off, the cord became frayed, the latch had to be held shut with duct tape and the receptacle bag started to rot. But the little Blue Pig was courageous and tried to prove it could still Get the Job Done. And it tried. It tried so hard but we knew it was just a matter of time. We could hear the struggles in the motor. And then several days ago, while TheManTheMyth was cleaning up the Factory garage, The Blue Pig's little heart (motor) coughed and sputtered, there was a tortured gasp and then all was silent.
TheManTheMyth gently picked up The Blue Pig and laid it in the back of his work truck. The Blue Pig would be laid to rest at an undisclosed location, most likely the dumpster on the jobsite.
With the demise of The Blue Pig goes yet another part of my childhood. I had always thought The Blue Pig would always be around, like Lucy, but The Blue Pig turned out to be mortal after all.
Farewell, Blue Pig. There will never be another as good as you. You were Family.
So the Offspring, my kids and not the Alternative rock band, were off from school today and TheManTheMyth didn't have to work today so what that meant is that my weekday routine was totally shot to shit.
Lucy and I have a set routine once everyone has left the house. Lucy moves from her bed in the living room to her spot by the dining room table and settles in for her post-breakfast nap and I head to my office to check e-mails, the District 37 website for race updates and info (and gossip) and read the various blogs I subscribe to and even contribute to my own blog. If my poor, ancient and gasping for its dying breath iMac decides to start coughing and sputtering, which seems to happen more often these days, I'll mosey to the kitchen and do the dishes, start a load of laundry and get the house in a semblance of order in the time it takes poor ol' Mac to stop coughing and wheezing.
But when the familia is home, especially TheManTheMyth, everything is thrown out of whack. It drives TheManTheMyth nuts when I'm on the computer when I could be doing something productive, such as scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush, cleaning the rain gutters and organizing the pantry in alphabetical order instead of spending all day on "Twit and Headbook." It took me a minute to realize he meant "Twitter and Facebook." Which I actually don't spend much time on because I'm actually too busy reading all the different blogs I subscribe to and Facebook just made changes that are just plain stupid if you ask me and I know you didn't but I figured I'd let everyone know how I feel about these new changes.
Anyway. Thing 1, who is milking this knee injury the way a farmer milks a cow, needed me to drive him here and take him there. And he chose the time I take Lucy to the park, which delayed park time almost 2 hours. Lucy wasn't pleased to have her day disrupted just because The Red Rocket needed to have yet another smog test done since it failed the first test (study next time!) and then off to Auto Club to renew the registration and Gimpy the Kid claims he can't do it because he's injured even though he's been Mr. Party Animal all weekend but is suddenly completely helpless. And TheManTheMyth keeps coming in to my office and stands behind me and I turn and say, "What?" and he just shrugs and wanders off and I think he needs me to entertain him because he hates being idle and since when am I Cruise Director Julie?
Oh geez, I just got a chain e-mail that was all religious. I hate chain letters. Hate. Them. Anything that tells me to "forward this" automatically gets forwarded straight to the trash. Sorry, Fleetwood Mac but what you hear me sayin' is that I DO break the chain.
Thank goodness the kids go back to school tomorrow and TheManTheMyth, well, I hope he has somewhere to go so that I can get back to my usual routine of blogs, message boards and Headbooking Twits.
You know all those "Sell this House That's Designed to Sell and Get it Sold!" type of shows? I'm totally addicted to them. I won't be selling the Family Homestead anytime soon (read: this lifetime) but I cannot get enough of these shows.
15 years ago when TheManTheMyth and I were getting ready to sell our first house, the house that was obviously built on unhallowed and cursed land with the bodies of murdered Indians (feather, not dot) buried deep within the ground under our foundation because of all the bad stuff that occurred during our residency and that's the only explanation I can come up with because really bad stuff went down from almost the day we moved in and I was never so glad to have the front door hit me in the ass as we said Adios and started afresh in the Old Family Homestead and where was I? Oh yes, selling the House of the Damned.
Well, it sold. Even though I was completely clueless and had this misguided thought that realtors would call ahead of time to show the house, giving me time to clean up but imagine my surprise when I would come home from work, to a very messy house because my housekeeping skills were deficient and find cards on the dining room table from realtors who had shown the house in the middle of the day. Oddly enough, we were home on a Sunday morning, plopped on the couch reading the Sunday paper while still in our robes when the front door opened and in walked a realtor with some clients. Everyone was a little uncomfortable but the house was actually clean for a change and we went out and sat in the backyard while they toured the house. I said to TheManTheMyth, there's our buyers and sure enough, the next day we got an offer and SOLD!
Anyway, I just love Staged to Get it Sold shows. I love seeing how bad the BEFORE house is and wonder what the heck were these people thinking, showing their house in that condition and seeing exactly why they weren't getting any offers. I crack up at the homeowners who oppose the ideas of the designers because they like their house the way it is and think everyone should love to live in a house that is decorated like Bell Watling's house of ill-repute. I don't always agree with the AFTER staging (putting beds on the diagonal = wasted space, IMO) but just about anything looks better than a house decorated in Our Toddler Is In Charge style.
The changes don't always work, though. How many times does the show's host(ess) close the show with the words, "They're expecting an offer any day" which means they got nuthin'.
I'm envious of the people who get a new kitchen from these shows, new counters, cabinets and floors. It's tempting to try and get on one of these shows just so I can get my 1973-era kitchen redone and then tell the show I love the changes SO much I changed my mind about selling. Yeah, I don't think that would go over so well, though.
I'll just keep watching and getting ideas for staging my own house even though I'm not selling.