I showed an uncharacteristic bit of momentum with those last two posts. Not sure why. Maybe my blood sugar spiked. Or I was just so flabbergasted by the neighbors, whom aliens have clearly kidnapped and replaced with even-keeled replicas. I've taken a bit of a respite since then, mostly because of my pedal-to-the-metal, fire-till-it-clicks, dig-in-the-fangs-and-suck-out- the-marrow type of lifestyle. But also because lots of stuff happened, and whatever free time I had was spent in Absorb Mode (Mr. Show DVDs, acrostic puzzles, Chabon's marvelous new novel). I'm getting ready for more blogtastic blogorrhea, though, because Eden has announced she's helping the world blop its way through November. The experience was so revelatory and fun last year that I have to see if I can pull it off again. Yes, I have climbed Everest. And now it's time to go back and see if all the frozen poop I left is still up there, among all the other piles of frozen poop.
Last week was yet another Week That Was, with the added pleasure of my 42nd birthday. And I'd like to tell you what happened that day, because I will not forget it ever.
It began with a 5:30am alarm, because a bunch of us at work went to Newark to work for Habitat for Humanity. If you've never done this before, I recommend it. Because these houses are pretty impressive. The one we worked on had three stories and some 2,200 square feet, plus a garage. A veritable palace, compared to my own little Manhattan Habitrail.
After a very sweaty morning in 90-degree heat, one of my colleagues suddenly felt very light-headed. Within ten minutes she was on her back in the HforH office, slipping in and out of responsiveness. I was the man at hand, Salieri to her Amadeus, so I got to ride to the hospital with her and shepherd her through all the initial tests before her mother arrived. In those two hours, at that Newark ER, I saw all sorts of man's inhumanity to man, including a knife wound, a battered child, and a derelict who kept shouting he needed to "make peepee." All of which made me give thanks that my biggest complaint right now is the pod people below.
More fun after the jump.
Speaking of those pod people, we learned last week that our bathtub drainpipe had cracked and was leaking on them. Plumbers had to come rip out the old and reconstruct the new, and the day of reckoning was Wednesday. When I got home, at around 4:30, they'd been in my bathroom for seven hours, staring down at the Byzantine mess of piping that probably had last been inspected during the Depression. The toilet was removed and sitting forlornly in the hallway; one plumber squatted where the toilet used to be, and the other in the bathtub, coating it with a special Filth Polymer that resists conventional cleaning supplies and most nuclear weapons.
(On the plus side, though, this is one very good reason to rent. You can watch in comfort as Curly and Shemp stare at a hole for hours on end, because whoever the someone is that will get the whopper of a bill, that someone will not be you.)
Relatedly, we have two new kittens whose first full day in the apartment was ... wait for it ... Wednesday. One is a calico called Princess Blossom Pepper Doodle von Yum-Yum (named after the cat on Fetch!); the other is mostly black and named Alex Rodriguez (named after Voldemort).
We couldn't leave them alone with the plumbers, who would have surely let them escape to forage for vermin, so we had to stay inside with them, in the small portion of our home that wasn't littered with T-joints and gaskets and plumberubble. The kids were addled with cabin fever, jumping on and off of everything, including themselves. Then there was little TwoBert, whose affection for Blossom is so complete that he absolutely must have her in his arms at all times. He just grabs her haunches and hauls her around the place in a full Nelson, and to her credit Blossom doesn't seem to mind all that much. She just stares up at TwoBert, front paws high in the air, and thinks "OK, so this is my life now. Still beats the hell out that cage at Petco."
It's makes an unbelievably cute picture, and I'd love to post one, except Babble would probably steal it and use it in a post about dander allergies.
After three hours, I thought it was time Blossom got a break and walked around under her own power, because if you're finding your way around a new home you've been brought to against your will, you probably deserve not to be so constantly boyhandled by a burly two-year-old. I blame myself for this, since I pick TwoBert up all the time, for everything from belly kisses to sniffing out diaperbombs. The boy has clearly linked affection with constant hoisting.
I told TwoBert to put the cat down about a dozen times before the situation went to DefCon Three and I put him in his high chair. He was furious and anguished, straining against the tray and reaching out in vain for his beloved Blossom, but I stood firm. Within five minutes both cats were asleep on themselves in the middle of the floor. Five minutes after that, TwoBert passed out in his chair, mouth agape.
All of this gave me the opportunity to make dinner and tend to the plumbers, who had their Eureka! moment right before the boys went to bed. I went in to bring them some cold drinks, and they were gleefully fastening up the last connection on the vent pipe. Curly looked at me and said, "I want to tell you something. I love my wife, and I'm very devoted to her. But when this man [he now grabbed Shemp by the cheeks] figured out that last connection, I kissed him on the mouth." And all I could think was, if it means you'll get out of my house right now, I'll make out with both of you.
So they finally cleared up and amscrayed, and my wife got home from the PTA meeting (school is moving along a lot better, btw), and I washed the dishes, and I had a nice lay-down, and 9 hours later I woke up in my clothes. Rock on!
I was exhausted then, and thanks to the length of this post you're probably just as exhausted now. If you made it this far, thank you. Now go take a nap.