Friday, August 24, 2012

"I hate grease and what it stands for." Vita in Mildred Pierce (redux)

(I've been away living with a three year old so forgive if I re-post something from the past. All of the sentiments are still true. The stuff about the e-books is current.)

One of the headlines on the Yahoo home page one morning is: Are repairs to your house keeping you awake at night. Yahoo knows me inside out and there’s little I can do about it.
This is what I lie awake thinking about my house:  The topmost gutter that is now too scary to reach and is therefore clogged with two years worth of rotting leaves that will eventually totally rot and ruin something called a soffit.  I used to be brave enough to climb out the window of the top floor bedroom onto the slope of the roof, hold on to the projecting gable trim until I reached the flat part, climb onto it, get on my stomach and inch my way like a paratrooper at Iwo Jima to get to the gutter grab the contents and put them in the Hefty bag I had stuffed in my pocket. When I was solidly on the topmost flat part, I even had the presence to survey my entire .16 acre and sneak a peek at a few other yards.   Of course, I had on my best ground gripping sneakers and also my best underwear in case I fell and died.
Last fall I climbed out the window three times and could not summon the courage to continue.  There was about a two-foot spread where I could not reach the gable trim and had to just crawl un-tethered up the slope and I could not do it. I think about those rotting leaves and have climbed out onto the roof several times and climbed back in, locked the window, pulled down the shades and gone downstairs.
The second thing I think about is the state of my eighty year old septic system. When you see that cesspool guy pull into your driveway with that huge barrel-shaped truck and his t-shirt reads:  “your s**t is our bread and butter” you realize that you can pay off your mortgage and lock the door at night but you will never escape dealing with the world. 
We’ve all been led to believe that our responsibility for what’s under our care stops at the kitchen drain.  You think that the government or some municipal department or the universe or some other entity is in charge of the place where all waste goes.  Nobody teaches you about drain etiquette.
The drain, I’ve learned, is connected to an unforgiving eco-system that while it sounds sort of simple and dorky can turn on you like a mad cobra. Everything that goes down either helps it or hurts it. Grease hurts it bad. Tempting as it is, you can’t pour all your bacon grease down the kitchen sink without eventual disaster.  And, guess what?  It’s your responsibility to keep the system in good health.  Otherwise you have to deal with the man in the t-shirt with that message.
No matter how much further up we arrive on the evolutionary ladder, how much faster we can download a file, how instantaneously we can connect by phone to China, our waste systems are still in the Middle Ages. In fact, they are worse because back then they used waste to enrich the fields.
This is some of the mind clutter I could leave behind if I would just sell the house and be done with it. If I sold the house, I would take the money, put it all in a big briefcase and sit on a park bench for a few hours without one other possession and then begin anew. No pictures of the kids when they were babies, no sentimental knickknacks, a clean new start.  Buy a toothbrush, buy a bowl, maybe a spoon.  When the old house next door to me sold they tore it down and built a big showy house.  The house across the street has been sold and rebuilt twice in the last five years.  In the current phase, they added another wing and a stone chimney and moved the entrance to the side.
I don’t know what my new wealthier neighbors are going to think about my dowdy little house.   It may become a blight on the neighborhood because of its size and vintage. I see the handwriting on the wall – and it doesn’t bode well for my lifestyle.  Maybe Yahoo will tell me what can be done.

On the e-book front August has been a very slow month.  Sales are way down except for Daughters and Nothing To Lose.  They continue to sell even though I haven't done a lick of marketing all summer.  Now here’s the thing about selling books on the internet:  things happen and you don’t know why.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I took a walk with a three year old

I’ll tell you a story, she said.
Ok. Tell it.
Corduroy Loses A Button
Oh.  What button did he lose?
He lost the button on his pants.
Did his pants fall down?
She emits a short ironic laugh as if to say, ‘this is one dumb grown up I’m saddled with.’
No, no. He didn’t have pants.  They were overalls.
Oh, so he still had one button holding them on.
She had not considered this and was annoyed with me for bringing it up.
He lost a button, she said emphatically. She didn’t want me dragging in unnecessary baggage into her story.
Then he went up the escalator and saw two chairs and a fine little bed. Then he got in the bed and found his button.
Oh, he found the button in the bed.
Yes.  And the overalls were green.  Dark green.
Was he happy?
No. It wasn’t his button.
She stretched out her arms and turned her palms up to dramatize this dilemma
Were there two lost buttons?
No, no. Just one button.  One.
Well who’s button did he find?
I don’t know. 
By now she was exasperated and regretted telling me anything.
Ok, I said.
She was silent for a long time.
Is that the end of the story?
Ok then, let’s sit on this bench and have our snack.
Twenty minutes later, fortified with orange and raisins, she said. Lisa sewed the button on his pants.
That’s nice, I said.   
I may be one dumb grown up but I know when to shut up.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Feng Shui can't fix this

The best quotes from recent news stories

Fairytale revenge

A mother bear and her three cubs broke into a Norwegian cabin drank 100 beers, ate all the food and knocked over a wall.  “They had a hell of a party in there,” said the owner.
Why wasn’t Goldilocks ever booked for breaking and entering?

Feng shui can’t fix this

"I have looked at these things about as long as I can look at them, and I'm ready to blow this joint." Darlene Cates, who once appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael show, “Too Heavy to Leave the House,” and landed the role of Leonardo DiCaprio’s mother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, recently lost 244 pounds (nearly half her size) and hopes to be able to leave her bedroom and attend her grandson’s confirmation in October.  I know what you mean, Darlene.  I’ve looked at all the stuff in my house about as long as I can, too.

God is so good

I met Taylor Swift with my absolute best friends like we said we would do one day. We saw her with her new boyfriend. We told her how happy we were for her and she had the biggest smile on her face. God is so good." A fan who bumped into Taylor Swift and her new boyfriend Conor in Nashville.  Yes, God is good.  God is also mysterious.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Go Cedric!

I’m interested in Cedric, the Entertainer. Here is someone who had the naïveté or the gall to attach what he wanted to be to his name and pouf - he was it.  It’s as if I called myself Consuelo the Heiress and hired a butler and moved into a deluxe apartment in the sky (still sad about Sherman Helmsley).

Before Cedric was the Entertainer, he was Cedric the Insurance Claims Adjuster and Cedric the High School Substitute Teacher.  I’m sure his mother must have asked one day, “Do you want to be a substitute for the rest of your life?”
“No.  The kids don’t respect a substitute.”
“What would you rather be?”
“An entertainer.   I want to entertain people.”
Now here’s where I have to believe that Cedric’s mother must have been a can-do sort of woman because her response must have been. “Well then be that.  Be Cedric the Entertainer.”

In case you don’t believe this sort of career scenario can succeed, Cedric not only won the Comic of the Year award from BET in 1994 but he was included in the St. Louis Walk of Fame.  His star is located at 6166 Delmar.

In 2008 everyone thought Cedric had died and David Race of Celebrity Eulogy gave a eulogy for him.  You can see it on U-Tube.  It was as if he was so generic and interchangeable that it didn’t matter what black comic died so they picked Cedric instead of Bernie Mac who really had died and had a real last name.

Cedric has a long list of credits and is never out of work.  He was the voice of Golly the Goose in Charlotte’s Web and has had several successful sit-coms.  In a June 21, 2011 interview, Cedric confirmed his latest reality game show, It’s Worth What?

Unfortunately, as of Spring 2012, the show will not be renewed. Never mind, Cedric is now starring in a new sit-com on TVLand called The Soul Man.

Cedric the Entertainer has so much money he has a charitable Foundation. That means he has so much extra money he has to find an alternate entity to use some of it otherwise it would get out of control.  Or something like that.

Go Cedric!