mrissa: (question)
1. What is an interesting object you have out on display in your house somewhere? Why is it interesting, and where did it come from?

On the mantelpiece in the library, we have: three star-shaped crystal candleholders that were in my grandparents' house from before I was born and that only came here when Grandpa died and Grandma moved up here; a vase [ profile] ladysea made for us; a three-vase dealie that looks like a Miyazaki thinger (purchased at the Eagan Art Fair); a blown-glass ship in a blown-glass bottle, imported from Hungary; a rosmaled box made by my grandmother who died before I was born; and a chunk of salt (I forget what kind of salt) that lights up interestingly, purchased by [ profile] markgritter's father.

We are full of cool stuff. I promise.

2. Why is five the canonical number for LJ? Five questions, five things make a post, five times such-and-such a character did X.

I don't know about the other ones. But five things make a post was my friend [ profile] wilfulcait's originally. This is why all my "five things make a post" post are tagged "missing rise," because I do miss Rise every time I do a post like that. We lost her far too young (breast cancer that metastasized), and I am still wistful about the absence of this true and good friend whose face I never saw in person.

Sorry, bet you didn't see that one coming.

3. What is the most recent bit of art you've traveled somewhere (a museum, a theater, a freeway overpass) to see? What is the most recent bit of art you've stumbled upon accidentally? Which approach do you generally prefer?

Well, [ profile] markgritter and I went to the surrealists exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery more recently than to the Inuit Prints exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology. I always think I like surrealists better than I do because I like Rene Magritte enough for all the rest of them. People: painting an eyeball on things does not make them surreal. It makes them eyebally. We are all done with the eyeballs now. You can do something else. (Hint: not the old-fashioned diving suit.)

As for the stumbling, I don't know--do people's homes count? Or foodstuffs? Usually foodstuffs are sought out, but knowing that they're art in advance is not always possible...anyway, I enjoy the things I look for but also things unsought. I wouldn't want to pick just one.

4. Do you any particularly cute/funny/dramatic Ista stories?

Oh yes. Ista is me in a dogsuit. She is frequently quite opinionated, and this translates well into monkey tales. Just today I have generated an interpretive dance of what Ista is like when she doesn't want me to disturb her by printing out my book.

(I do more interpretive dances than people expect, I think.)

And I'm going to steal one you asked me, because it was interesting: 5. What part of your life would be hardest to explain to your 20-year-old self? your 10-year-old self?

I think my 10-year-old self would be more surprised at the inability to do all things simultaneously backwards in high heels, so "here is why you are not a physicist" would take more doing. "Why there is essentially no math in your life at the moment" would take a lot of doing. My 20-year-old self had actually overcorrected in a number of ways there, so it would be very nearly the opposite explanation from the one my 10-year-old self would need. Which somehow seems to imply that my 33-year-old self has found a lovely balance. I chuckle quietly at the thought.
mrissa: (hippo!)
1. So [ profile] alecaustin and I were IMing about our own tendencies in worldbuilding, and his tendencies towards cathedrals with grotesques and gargoyles. And I started to say, "Everyone likes cathedrals!" when I realized that I had neglected several prime cathedral-building opportunities in my worldbuilding in favor of cultures/groups with a flatter, more utilitarian, or generally less opulent architectural approach. And what popped into my head is, "My stuff is more Frank Lloyd Frazetta." I am mulling both the serious and the silly bit of that.

2. My godson is 9. He picked out a birthday card for me that his mother was sure I would find Just Awful. It is a hangman puzzle that lists H _ _ _ Y B _ _ T _ _ _ _, and then on the inside the answer proves to be HAIRY BUTTOCKS. I am aware that I have a 9-year-old godson, so I was not the least bit horrified at this. We are, however, looking for amusing alternatives. [ profile] timprov proposes HELPY BINTURONG. Other suggestions welcome.

3. We have further evidence that I am not being obvious when I think I'm being obvious. Hands who's surprised.

4. Our lettuce may go to seed and not be producing edible crop at any time when our tomatoes and cucumbers are producing edible crop. While not the end of the world, this would annoy [ profile] markgritter. Still, being able to make lettuce wraps and top other people's hamburgers with our own garden produce is very nice indeed, and the eggplant is flowering promisingly, and the tomatoes have set fruit.

5. My birthday is Tuesday! This is sort of implied by #2, I know, but I haven't been going on about its approach. There is edamame hummus, though, and there is a bit of strawberry cake still, and the hearth is full of presents and cards, and I am so very very fond of birthdays. This year the scones will be whole wheat raspberry. I will report back in if they're awesome.
mrissa: (question)
Why is it that it's always the weeks when I have a million things to do and zero energy with which to do them in which I discover that I need to clean out the freezer, my sock drawer, or both?
mrissa: (Default)
When [ profile] alecaustin was visiting last weekend, he helped me put together bookshelves for in the guest room, and now I am populating them and letting the other books have a bit more room. I have moved all the poetry, plays, and short stories (sorted into two sections for anthologies and single-author collections) into the guest room, so if someone is staying there and didn't bring enough to read, or if they just want to pick up something that looks interesting but don't want to actually take it home, they have some chance of finishing a meaningful chunk. (Not that we are very hospitable people with the current health concerns, but [ profile] alecaustin or [ profile] markgritter's brother Matthew who is no longer on lj might still like that sort of thing.) I have also put biographies, economics, philosophy, random humanities/unclassifiable, history of technology, and cryptography/spy history (yes, I shelve them together) in there.

In here (that is, in my office), I have moved the brag shelf. [ profile] alecaustin, [ profile] markgritter, and [ profile] timprov agreed rather reproachfully that this is the least braggy location for it, but really, I wanted the novels to have a chance to spread out into the shelf in the music room that was holding it and other things, so they'd all be downstairs together and have more room, and I just didn't feel right about putting the brag shelf in the guest room. "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair. Or browse," just did not seem like the thing.

I am ridiculously pleased with all of this. The history section has a chance to spread out in here, and oh, it needs it. We are getting a lot more history and biographies than we were when we allocated room space, so the expansions are being well-used--especially with a lot of Grandpa's history and biographies yet to read and shelve. (I...haven't shelved the stuff of Grandpa's I haven't read. This means it has taken over my old desk--his desk--completely. It is a bit daunting. I used to have three piles of books to read: fiction, nonfiction, and borrowed stuff. Now I have all of that plus a dozen piles of Grandpa's stuff.)

In less congenial library news, the public library I use seems to have redone its system in a way that obliterated my reading list without warning. I hope this is not the case--I have to call and make sure there's no help for it--but in the meantime I am keening quietly. I had over a hundred books on my nonfiction reading list alone, and it was greatly convenient to just go and click down the lists to request a bunch of books. And now--and now--oh, gloom. I am dreadful at remembering which of the authors I wanted to read were actually at the library in fiction sections, and in nonfiction it's just hopeless, because only about half of the things were either authors or titles I could predict that I would find interesting and the rest were things that sounded interesting when I read or heard about them somewhere. Oh, reading list. I suppose this is what I get for entrusting the reading list to someone else's system, but really, it does seem like they might have warned us at least. And I don't want to have to look in various files to see what I wanted from the library, I want to use their site the way I was using their site. Also even the things I remember I wanted are fraught because I used the list to keep track of what I hadn't watched yet from the library's DVDs. I have my booklog to remind me which Ruth Rendell novels I've read, but where am I in the various British mystery TV series that help me through my workout? I don't know! I had it in electronic brain form!

Sigh. But that's enough woe and doom from me; I should get back to this novelette.
mrissa: (Default)
Here in Minnesota, 10:00 to 1:00 began, as it so often does, at 8:30. When we lived in California, when the internet was broken (as it so often was), the people who were scheduled to come out to fix it would say 10-1, and we would know, absolutely know, that there was no way they would get there before 11, and the likelihood was that it would be more like 2:30 or 3, and that was just the way of it, you couldn't leave your apartment if you wanted the internet fixed. Here, about half the time we're having work done we'll get a call: "Do you mind if we come early? It's just that we've finished the thing we had scheduled before, and it'd be awfully convenient...."

Mostly this works great for us with our circumstances; getting stuff out of the way sooner is lovely. But the thing non-Minnesotans who live here need to know is that you are absolutely within your rights to say, "Sorry, no." They may passive-aggress at you. But if you arranged to be off work and home between 10 and 1 and they are sighing and twitching over the phone at you about how convenient it would be for them to show up at 8:30, if it is not convenient for you, you can say, "I'm sorry, I'm afraid that just won't work, I'll see you between 10:00 and 1:00 as planned. Thank you," and hang up the phone. They are the one asking you a favor, even though it may work out better for both of you.

Anyway, very soon we will have fully carpeted basement stairs, padded against falls, and the peasants rejoice.

Another thing I want to clear up, because it came up recently in an e-mail, is that I have heard the misconception that you have to be offered something three times before it's polite to accept it--coffee, say, or cookies. Either this is absolutely not true or I have the rudest Scandosotan family on the planet. (Note: this latter case may, I suppose, apply.) Never once have I waited for the third offer if I actually wanted a cookie. Someone offers me pepparkakor? I am on that. Ya sure you betcha. I may even articulate, "You don't have to ask me twice!" Does this make elderly Scando ladies sniff and draw back at my forwardness? Not at all. They are delighted. (They like to see a young woman enjoy her pepparkakor. Or coffeecake. Or like that.)

I was trying to think where this myth might have come from, because I have never, ever seen it work that way around here. I have known lots of Lutheran church ladies in my time, and never once have I seen the dance of, "Would you like some coffee?" "Oh, no, I couldn't trouble you!" "It's no trouble, are you sure you don't want some coffee?" etc.

The only conclusion [ profile] timprov and I could come to is that some of the Lutheran church ladies we know--and this applies to Catholic and Presby and Methodist and Quaker and Episcopal and Jewish and Buddhist and atheist ladies too, and also some ladies who are perhaps gentlemen and so on--are physically incapable of understanding that someone might be saying no to an offer of cookies.

"No, I am allergic to everything you have in the house," okay. But other than that, there are just people who are going to keep offering. And keep offering. And just. Keep. Offering. Because, "I do not care for a cookie, thank you," is not a thing they can really believe in. I think my grandmother has some friends, and I'm pretty darn sure I have some great-aunts, who believe with all their hearts that there are some cookies that I secretly wanted in 1983, and I was just being shy, or trying to be polite, or it was an attempt to look like those silly stick-thin fashion models, or something inexplicable about Kids These Days or my own personal quirks. So if they offer three times in the hour that you are there, and then you go home, it's not that there is a ritual around threes. It's that you didn't stay all weekend, so they didn't get to thirty-seven times for the cookies plus setting out the cereals in a row on the counter plus the late night row of grapes and Doritos and inexplicable cinnamon and prunes.

I try not to do this myself. The way I get around this is by instructing people that I will wait on them for their first visit here but after that they are family and must get their own beverages and second helpings and things. This is not strictly true--I will often serve up helpings of dessert to order. But telling you to get into my cupboards to get yourself a glass of water if you want one (the glasses are to the right of the sink and the mugs above them; the wine glasses above the stove) is my way of not repeating every fifteen minutes, "Are you sure I can't get you anything?" Because, y'know. It's sort of genetic. Or possibly environmental. Either way, I got the full dose.
mrissa: (hippo!)
Some of my friends use an application where they sign in to tell it where they are and it proclaims them mayor of their house, like, five times a day. Or something; I'm not sure on all the details. Anyway, I am champion of our house today, I'm pretty sure, except that [ profile] timprov is getting groceries, grilling fish, and making hot-and-sour soup, so he will probably pass me up later. But here is what I have done today: I have used up the last of a kind of tisane (herbal tea) and a kind of hot chocolate. Yes! Time for a victory lap and a chorus of "We are the Champions!"

([ profile] markgritter and I have a great weakness for trying different kinds of hot beverage. We do not have a matching weakness for building storage additions on to the kitchen. So you can see where the issue comes in.)

Also blah blah writing achievements blah blah housework achievements blah blah baking blah blah time with friends. But! A type of tisane and a type of hot chocolate completely used up! Mris am the greetest! Now I am leaving Earth for no raisins! (Don't have time to go re-watch that Futurama episode. Am too busy being the greetest. And making raspberry buttermilk cake. Ah well.)
mrissa: (Default)
Gradually, so gradually, we make it less likely that visitors to the house will be killed and eaten, or at least less likely that they will be killed and eaten accidentally. Today my dad was a Hero of the Revolution and blunted his chainsaw in the service of same: the bushes that have been trying to devour guests since we moved in are gone, gone, gone. We're not sure what will go in their place, phlox or lilacs or a combination or something else completely. But [ profile] markgritter is currently bundling the corpses of the bushes so that our yard waste removal will take them away tomorrow, and the peasants rejoiced.

(Also there will be less need for me to stamp my feet on the front step in the spring to convince ducks not to nest in our front bushes. I wouldn't mind except that the dog minds immensely and makes sure the rest of us know it, and also if you have ducks nesting in your front bushes, the raccoons who eat the duck eggs don't take them far enough away to do so, and then you have a nasty mess to clean up.)

And my mom continued with her Hero of the Revolution status by wrapping up the current portion of the Beige Eradication Project: before she went out to help Dad and [ profile] markgritter with yard stuff, she put the last coat of paint on the front door. It had bubbled before, so she had to peel the paint off and start again. Metal doors: I don't recommend them. It looks gorgeous now. I am so pleased. Those of you who are keen on knowing exact paint colors, it's Behr's Night Watch. ([ profile] timprov held up our copy of the Terry Pratchett novel of that title when we were trying to decide. That wasn't the only reason we picked it. But.) Very dark blue. Very lovely. I have to train my brain that that color does not mean that the door is open into night, but that is not the least bit of a problem.

Much of what's left for house project stuff is less all-consuming, or at least less conversation-consuming, so I should be able to get the house ready for our Memorial weekend visitors and should be able to talk about something else. So I suspect that should be a relief for those around me. Unless the something else is the very end of the Carter Hall draft, in which case possibly not such a relief.
mrissa: (Default)
1. The lj community at [ profile] 4th_st_fantasy reminds me that the membership rate goes up for 4th St. as of June 1. Which is not that far away now. It will be lovely, and I'm looking forward to it greatly, and some of you should definitely come.

2. My mother and I wrestled [ profile] cadithial's mega-ultra-super-ladder into place in our stairwell yesterday. Laurel and Hardy, people. Laurel and Hardy. They did not plan those things to be maneuvered by two women of 5'6", one of them with vertigo, but we are mighty and fierce, and also able to hold up long ladders while maneuvering so that one of us always had a steady point to hang onto and laughing hysterically at ourselves. And now the stairwell is painted and [ profile] timprov's Hidden Falls picture is hung in it, and I am pleased.

3. Next time there is a charity auction, do you think "the Carter Hall story of your title or mythological-figure choice, or choose from some ideas I haven't written yet if you don't have a particular idea" would be a thing? Or not so much a thing?

4. It is not the best thing in the world to be eager to see one's neurologist, but on the other hand it is not the worst either. Better, I feel, than being required to do so and yet dreading it personally because the neurologist in question is such a dolt. This is the Very Best Neurologist, Adult Practice Category. (I only know the VBN, Pediatric Category socially, not professionally, and I have hopes of it staying that way.)

5. Why is it that the buttons come off things more when I am trying to finish a book, supervise house projects, do what I can to keep [ profile] markgritter's plants alive while he is gone, get ready for multiple birthdays and company, and generally mop the moose and feed the bear? Buttons! Silly buttons! Stay put, buttons!
mrissa: (mom)
Anyone who needs to see my mom ever again will need to make arrangements through me, since she will apparently have to be scrubbing wallpaper goop off our back hallway from now until the end of eternity.

Lutheran eternity, too, so don't think you can slip in between the time other Protestant eternity ends and the time Lutheran eternity ends.

(My father-in-law, upon hearing Lutherans say the Lord's Prayer, decided that eternity must last longer for Lutherans than for other Protestants, because the Lutheran version of the very last bit is "forever and ever amen," as opposed to Calvinists etc. who say, "now and forever amen" or just plain "forever amen." We have no word as yet on how long eternity lasts for non-Protestants, although if the wall goop continues at this rate, we may well find out.)

Friends don't let friends wallpaper anything. Ever. Because wallpaper is evil evil evil. I theorized this before, but now I know.
mrissa: (Default)
Tomorrow we will strike a major blow in the war against beige. And by "we," I mean Mom and Grandma, since I am even more wobbly than usual and not to be trusted with paint. Still: down with beige!

I'm not sure why the previous owners were so fond of beige and pale yellow. Not my favorite colors anyway, and together...not so charming together, is what. We have completely obliterated the pale yellow (except where we put it in the master bath where it was not before, but we had to do something with the fixtures we had). The master bedroom is currently beige, and so are the upstairs hall, the main floor hall, and the stairs in between them. And the back hall is beige-and-white pillow-ticking-style wallpaper. If there is anything less us than beige, it's beige-and-white pillow-ticking-style wallpaper. Uff da. The living room is also beige and will remain that way until we can agree on a color for it. (I didn't mean that to sound like a threat. On the other hand, I don't entirely mind if it does.)

I strongly suspect that the previous owners chose beige because they felt it was neutral. "It goes with anything." Bah. It goes with very little. If you hand me a specific beige and a rack of paint colors, I can find you three things it looks horrible with in less than twenty seconds. I am not at all convinced on the subject of neutrals. I think very few things are truly neutral, and in any case neutrality is not a very high aim if actual liking is available. If you like beige, go on ahead and like beige, but don't fall into beige because it feels uncontroversial. "Uncontroversial" is a terrible word for a room.

Don't get me wrong: we plunked our bedroom furniture down in this beige room nearly seven years ago and are only now getting around to changing it. I understand how this is not everybody's top priority, nor should it be. But I think that if we can get to something we will actively like and not just tolerate, it's worth some level of effort to get there.

Of course, in this case it's worth some level of my mom's effort. And I do appreciate that.
mrissa: (intense)
1. [ profile] markgritter's work is going to be in crunch time for the rest of the spring and summer. This affects him more than it affects me, of course, but it does affect me (and [ profile] timprov). What with one thing and another, we are about half a beat behind here. Sometimes a beat and a half. In addition to [ profile] markgritter's work, we are looking forward to bits of out of town company this summer. (Memorial Day is the start of summer, right?) So if I fall behind corresponding with you, likely it's not you, and if I don't contact you to get together when I otherwise might have, it's probably why. (This is not to say I will be busy if you contact me to get together. Sometimes mental energy doesn't work that way.)

2. I am very close to the zeroth draft of The True Tale of Carter Hall. I am not getting the "run ahead of the rock as it rolls downhill" sensation I've gotten with drafting other books. This is much calmer. Things are falling into place when I look at them. Recurrent motif here, character reflected there. I am noticing how to write this so that even the very few scenes that are much like the original ballad feel mine. This is crucial. I have also gained sort of a tunnel-vision on this: there will not be more short stories until this book is done. There will not be other book bits until this book has its bits. I can feel some of them clamoring in my head, but they will have to wait.

3. I am coming up on a whole bunch more tests and possible stuff related to the stupid vertigo. When I have more I want to tell you about that, I will, but in the meantime it is a more active/unsettled part of my mental processes than it has been in awhile.

4. As a result of all this, I am reading things out of the corner of my eye and mistaking my own very tidy handwriting. The household to-do list includes "restain deck?". I glanced out of the corner of my eye and read, "retrain duck," and instead of thinking, "Oh, that's silly," thought, "Oh, crud, all this and I have to retrain the duck, too?" I do not need to make more work for myself. The duck can go without retraining.

5. It is May, and we are preparing to do a painting project, and I am reminded of May three years ago. Mom was painting [ profile] markgritter's office and the library and the music room, and I found out that [ profile] wilfulcait had died. Now it's May again, and Mom will (kindly and generously!) be painting [ profile] markgritter's and my room, the guest room, and the hallways, and in the way this universe works, [ profile] wilfulcait is still gone. And I still miss my friend three years on. Not just when I do a five-things post, but in flashes and bits, things she would have wanted to read, things she would have commented on. So it was time for five things, because it's May, and we're painting, and I miss Rise.
mrissa: (Default)
We are at the stage of basement-finishing where [ profile] timprov is moving his stuff down to the basement, which means that I can use his old room for a staging area for moving stuff around my office, which means I get my new desk soon. Really soon. I hope. Like, when [ profile] markgritter is done with lunch and can help me with rassling the old desk into place under the window. (No, I'm sorry, [ profile] avocadovpx, no folding chairs will be used in this rassling. Perhaps it is only wrestling after all. Perhaps only manhandling.)

(Edit: Wiktory! New desk! Successfully moved old desk! Etc.!)

We have added usable space to the house in greater (and prettier and more comfortable) square footage than our first apartment. Not all of that space is ready to use yet, but still, it's an odd feeling, because it's still the same house, and yet it substantially isn't. We haven't had to pack up the kitchen and wonder whether we'll get around to unpacking the wardrobe boxes before we run out of clothes in a suitcase, so it's not like moving, and yet there's the "we need to buy another trash can--we'll have to remember to bring another box of tissues down next time we go--where should we hang this?--which bits of that get cold enough that we'll want an afghan?--how do we handle this other thing?--what can we do without disturbing someone if they're sleeping in their room?" that sounds just like moving. And there's terminology that will have to shift--not only are "[ profile] timprov's room" and "[ profile] timprov's bathroom" completely different places than they used to be, "the downstairs bathroom" no longer works now that the main floor is not, in fact, "the downstairs."

And the thing about a major physical upheaval like this--even or perhaps especially a positive one--is that I am finding myself looking at other things as well, deciding that it's time to clean out my office closet or scrub the steps to the hot tub or choose a hallway paint color or make sure I have all the titles of my [ profile] elisem jewelry typed into a file. (Yes, I know. There's just no way to make that last one about house stuff. Except it is, because it's about my sense of order and inflicting the said order on my surroundings.) Projects beget projects. Oof.
mrissa: (Default)
I have already stained some trim, and there is more trim-staining in my future. I feel that I will probably be done staining trim by the end of the week; at least, that is my fervent hope. There are certainly people who enjoy this task, but I am not in their number. But! We have started to get the trim in, so there's that.

The last of the floorboards went down on Friday in the late evening, to much rejoicing from all housemammals, except for Ista, who disapproves of noises and smells in the basement where she is not allowed to be. I think that the manual labor was good for my brain, helped reset and all that. I hope so. We've had enough stuff on the schedule otherwise, between the basement and prior commitments, that I haven't had a good chunk of time to sit down and work. But the brain is being promising.

My main piece of advice for those laying engineered hardwood floors is: have a bigger saw than we had. Have a very big saw. They call it hardwood for a reason: its lack of softness. And the means of engineering the tongue and groove involves layered hardwood, which is otherwise known as very hard plywood. With a finish on one surface. Saws do not like that, not one little bit. On the up side, we do know that the smoke detectors work in the basement. One of them, in addition to beeping, announces, "Fire. Fire. Fire." Gee, thanks, smoke detector.

We are so close to done. So very close. And everything takes time, and the rest of our lives have not gone on pause in the interim, so...yah. Stuff. Uff da.
mrissa: (Default)
Yesterday I had about four hours of steady time. The day before that, three. The day before that, eight. Today, none, but still: this is the second time I've had three days in a row with some steady time in them. And I thought I should say, because it's a good thing. The previous time wasn't last week. But still, progress, definitely progress.

(Please do not congratulate me on three steady days or three days' steady time. That is another milestone, and one I am nowhere near yet; I haven't gotten a full 24 hours without getting dizzy yet, much less 72.)

So what did I do with yesterday's bonus steady time? Power tools. I ran the circular saw. We are getting close to done with the floors in the basement, and then we can do the trim and clean up and start moving [ profile] timprov's stuff into his new room. So very close, and yet so much still to do.
mrissa: (Default)
What I didn't manage to say in the last post is that I am really, really happy with the wood now that we're getting it in there. We still have to put up trim, and we still have to get the stairs carpeted, so I'm not getting the full effect of what it'll be like downstairs when we're done. Still, we have all the wood at the base of the stairs in, and also significantly into the rooms adjacent, so when I open the basement door and flip on the light, I see the dusky blue walls and the warm glow of the hickory. And it's sort of like when you come up over a rise and can see the Minneapolis skyline at night, it's that kind of good. And it makes me very happy.
mrissa: (thinking)
I have been having a craptastic writing week, to be honest. Usually people will say, "Don't edit, just write," and then the results are not as bad as you think they are. This time they really are that bad. No, really. I am taking hours to get mere paragraphs of prose, which would be bad enough except that it is not good prose and is derailing the stuff that was written when I was writing better.

I don't have anything like a large-scale worry about this: it is a blip, I will get through it, I will get over it, it will be fine. I am not wailing and gnashing my teeth that I will never write again oh woes or that maybe I am not a real writer oh doom. I'm just frustrated that I'm having an off week.

So I am deliberately not writing today, rather than trying to write and failing. (And yes, I do have Bea Arthur and Mel Brooks in my head: "Did you bullshit last week?" "No." "Did you try to bullshit last week?" "Yes.") It is not as though other things to do are in any way lacking at this particular time. I mean, frankly, they aren't ever, that's how it works being a Mris: full of projects. But now [ profile] timprov has gotten to the point with the basement flooring where more than one person can actually be useful, so we are in floor mode for sure.

Here is the thing about floors: it is very hard to fall down from a kneeling or sitting position on the floor, and if I do, there's not that far to fall. So really this is an ideal project for a vertiginous person, as long as there is a non-vertiginous person (in this case T) to run the circular saw and stuff. So I have been hammering happily away with my bottle of Gorilla Glue by my side, so if you ever need a glue a gorilla, ask us, we know where to get the stuff. (If it's a wood gorilla, I mean. Apparently the kinds of gorilla take different glues.)

Other than that, and other than the insight I put on Facebook, that this is very much like a Girl Scout project, it is not the kind of work that lends itself much to chatter. Put in some flooring. Yep. Sure did. Oh! One of the tools we have is for hammering in things on the periphery where you can't fit the usual thing, and we have been referring to it as the shoehorn with teeth because of the They Might Be Giants song. Only in the original they sing, "People should get beat up for statin' their beliefs," and around here this year we sing, "People should get beat up for skatin' like the Leafs." So many of the teams I like are so bad this year: the Leafs, the Wild, the poor dear Oilers who are so obligingly keeping my Wild out of the basement. It's very sad. But with a perky beat and a little bit of gratuitous triangle! Thanks, They Might Be Giants! You are not the designated band to make me feel better about hockey, but hey, if it works.
mrissa: (Default)
This morning [ profile] timprov and I used the Home Despot flatbed truck rental and got our money's worth out of it. We brought home trim for the basement around the floor's edges. Oh lordy, I am going to be staining trim until my thirty-seventh birthday--at which point, coincidentally, I will be un-grounded from all the smartass remarks I made as a child that made my mother say, "All right for you, kid, you're grounded until you're thirty-seven," so that'll be a good milestone, un-grounded and done with staining the trim. And we brought home the new recumbent stationary bike, which is good, because everybody including the dog was starting to have serious worries about my safety on the old one. We have worn that poor thing into the ground. And also we went to Ikea because that is where you can get adjustable height desks.

Ohhhhh, I am so pleased at this prospect. We still have to deal with moving this desk, my grandpa's old desk, under the window, and putting together the new adjustable height one, and finding out what height to adjust it to. But I said about two books ago, "I should not write another book on this desk, it'll kill my arms," and now we are acting on it. (Grandpa's is a lovely desk, and I'm really glad to have it, but it will be my writing desk, not my typing desk. Also to a certain extent my storage desk.)

The new desk is called Frederik. I have never had a named desk before, but it says right on the box, "Frederik," and on the box for the drawer, it indicates that it is a drawer for Frederik. So all right: Frederik. I fear this means my next computer will have to be named Mabel. I'm glad that my new desk grew so brave and daring, but I'm hoping that it doesn't apprentice to any career seafaring. I'm also hoping that I can someday get that bit of Gilbert and Sullivan out of my head, but in the meantime I have shared it with you. Yes. You're welcome.

([ profile] timprov's new desk is called Galant, but I call it Goofus, because apparently part of my brain is still five years old and waiting for the dentist.)

Apparently the purpose of rental trucks from Home Despot is twofold: one to get things home that will not easily fit in the Volvo, but the other to make me immensely grateful for the said Volvo. Good grief, the ride on that thing. Uff da.
mrissa: (Default)
Today, perhaps in honor of [ profile] timprov's birthday, we had the final inspection on the basement. It passed! No more contractors going in and out! Yay! We still have to do the floors and carpeting, but that will not mean hordes of contractors routinely in our space for months on end. Very nice, polite hordes. But still. There will be fewer extra monkeys in my space, and there is much rejoicing.

The thing the inspector found that needed fixing--which the contractor fixed on the spot, fairly quickly--is that apparently the city of Eagan requires a hand rail on the stairs to have "returns," the little thingummies that connect the ends of the rail to the wall so that you don't, in the words of the inspector, snag your coat on the end of the rail and fall down the stairs to your doom. I would like to think I am something of an expert in falling down the stairs--wait, no, I hate thinking that, actually, but it's true all the same--but never once have I found my doom. However, it didn't take long, didn't affect the price, didn't make me suddenly hate the (very plain and functional) hand rail, so whatever. If they feel it makes our house less doomful, that's fine.

Also perhaps in honor of [ profile] timprov's birthday, but really more likely not, our car, which was fully functional this time yesterday, will be fully functional again. He and I went out for sandwiches after the US/Japan curling match was over, and he hit a pothole going all of 15-20 mph, and I don't know if someone crept out to edge the potholes with razor blades or what, but it completely took out the driver's side front tire. Eeeesh. So Dad (a Hero of the Revolution) and [ profile] timprov attempted to repair the tire, with me helpfully shouting instructions from the front seat, but it was past repairing, so Dad took T and me home, and the nice Volvo Roadside man took Lucy to the shop where they are fixing her.

And really, while one prefers not to have to cope with these little, um, bumps in the road, we can in fact cope, and it will be fine, and situations that can be kept from being doomful by the application of two pieces of wood and a tire replacement we can afford, well, those could really be a lot worse.
mrissa: (taking a break)
One of the advantages we talked about, when we were still talking about carpeting the basement, is that we could go to a carpeting store and tell them to come today or tomorrow or possibly Saturday if they do that, and then the whole thing would be done before [ profile] markgritter's next trip to California. We are so very very glad we did not do that. The estimate at the beginning of last week was that the contractors would finish their work at the end of last week or the beginning of this week. And it would have been really convenient to be able to get [ profile] timprov's bedroom moved before [ profile] markgritter went out of town. But I am so very, very glad we did not plan on that, not just because we will like the wood better, but also because they are not done yet. Still have access panels to do, the bathroom stuff to redo from the inspection mixup, the handrail to install, and various other things. Those of you who have done this sort of project before are not even remotely surprised that it's gone longer than expected; still and all, I am surprised that the estimate was this far wrong this close to the end. It's not like we were expecting them to be done a week ago based on what they thought on Santa Lucia Day. It's based on what they thought a week and a half ago. Rather different.

They are nice contractors, and they seem to be doing a good job, but I will be so glad when they are not in and out of my house on a mostly-daily basis.

I'm hoping that I can finish up this short story that fell on me earlier this week, "On the Purchase and Sale of Phoenix Eggs (Used)," but I am trying not to stress about the short stories. Ages ago I was writing multiple short stories a month all year long. This is not going to be my usual thing, and I wouldn't be happy if it was, so I really, really need to keep perspective on how many short stories I "should" have in circulation at any given time. If it drops below fifteen I get twitchy. This is silly and wrong. On the other hand, here is this short story, and it sort of fell on me, and I'm at least going to get the bits cleaned up, whether or not I finish it right now. Then back to the Carter Hall novel, really really really. I have had some goalie-related insights that should be fun. Maybe. I hope.
mrissa: (tiredy)
Some days the chores sort of cascade down into a chore avalanche. Today, for example, I was going to get the bathmats washed, only to find out that after a mere ten and a half years of daily use, the little green one had fallen apart. Fallen rather comprehensively apart at that: so now we have another thing on the "to buy" list and a very, very clean washer and dryer, because the sensible thing seemed to be to throw the other bathmats in the dryer after I'd cleaned them up as best I could, and let the dryer tumble the crudlets out, which it did, but then there was cleaning the dryer. Whee.

Also, if you like Goldfish crackers but were thinking, "It's too bad they don't taste like manchego and red pepper flakes instead of general supposed cheesiness, and also they are inconveniently fish-shaped," do I ever have the recipe for you. But if you suspect that there are better uses for your time than grating and grating and grating a very firm cheese in order that it might eventually remind you of Goldfish crackers, you may have a point there.

I deviled some eggs on the theory that it's SuperBowl Sunday, and plenty of atheists eat gingerbread at Christmas without feeling the least need to go to church. Actually I deviled quite a few eggs. And then we got two fewer potential deviled egg eaters than expected, and...yah. So the menu for the week appears to be manchego cheese straws and deviled eggs. I am not even interested in SuperBowl commercials, frankly. I know a lot of people find them entertaining, and I'm happy for them, but: meh. I think part of the problem--aside from the fundamental "look, people attempting to sell me things using a value system to which I do not subscribe" thing, which is a bit of an issue--is that they are supposed to be the cleverest and best commercials by such a long margin that I end up depressed that this is as clever as it allegedly gets. Best to just dodge the whole thing.

Maybe it's just that we don't get any commercials featuring Theresa Mauer or Al Newman during the SuperBowl. Silly marketing people.

In other depressing news, our governor thinks domestic violence metaphors--in favor of the violent party--are the way to elevate the tone of political debate. Way to stay classy, T-Paw. The Strib gives the quote as, "It's just like Tiger Woods' wife. We should take a nine-iron to the back windshield of big government spending and smash it out." Hahaha. Oh, the hilarity. When spouses get really angry with each other and do violent things, that's awesome, and should be the subject of both jokes and serious emulation on a state and national scale. I tried to figure out what the alleged Big Government Liberals should try to do in this metaphor, but I was offended by all the ways that could go. All of them. Ye gods.

And anyway, seriously, seriously, don't politicians know to stay away from pop culture by now? "My party, um, like, the M. C. Hammer of American political life: u can't touch this. Unless u can. Because u have moved on in the many years since then. Um. We are the Prince of the American political landscape: you might have made jokes about our symbolism for awhile because you were ignorant of business practices that caused our seemingly bizarre behavior, but we have reverted to a much more familiar labeling now. And also making up really stupid football fight songs, we have reverted to that, too. You can't vote us off the island! Well, you can. But you shouldn't. Because then it would be a one-party state. Unless you counted the Greens or maybe the Libertarians, and the what's-their-names, Independence Party? Something like that." Really, really: pop culture: leave it alone. You are not shooting for, "what a hip and with-it person that politician is." You are shooting for, "That guy knows his ass from first base." That is enough to set you above the pack. Try to nail it. Do not get fancy. Fancy is not your friend.

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