Dec 24 2013

The most wonderful time of the year.

deerI am the queen of NOT throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I grab that baby, wrap it in a towel and the water can go to hell. Which is just a confusing way of illustrating that I am adept at culling what I like out of things and being just fine ignoring the rest. Nothing is perfect, so why not focus on the good parts and be a little lighter in life? It requires a flexy mind, a blind eye, a deaf ear and a bit of focus or non-focus, depending on how you look at it, but I think it’s worth it.

It would be so easy for me, as a moderately cynical and non-gifty-type person, to abhor this time of year. I also don’t love the smell of cinnamon and Christmas carols sung in Chipmunk voices. But, oddly, I don’t hate it. I love it. I don’t love everything about the holidays – I just love certain aspects quite a lot.

There’s a Dutch word – gezellig – that is untranslatable in English, but as far as I can tell begins to describe exactly what I love about Christmastime. It means cozy, homey, pleasant, convivial and fun. It’s about having your people around you in a warm and lovely environment. It means holing up and eating and drinking and laughing. It means togetherness and twinkle lights, roaring fires and long conversations. It means merry and bright.

We all trim our homes and string up lights and create the spaces to accommodate this cozy time of year and there is something really comforting about it. Whether the party be a grown-up-dress up affair with rivers of booze or a long afternoon at home with just the family, some tunes and some games – it just feels good to preen the house, to hibernate, to be together, to cook and to take stock in the passage of time.

Apropos of time passing, there is honestly no better marker of time for me than the annual Christmas concert. You sit in a pew, shoulder to shoulder with your honey watching as each class performs their little songs. Your friends’ kids who started in kindergarten angel wings are suddenly gigantic 8th graders. You watch chubby cheeks grow progressively slimmer as each grade takes the stage and you marvel at the changes over time. The constant (the church, the lights, the songs, the pews) allows the change (the children) to jump into focus and it is always staggering and beautiful.

And so, with fresh reminders of how quickly it’s all going and how lucky we all are to be going at all, we gather in our homes with each other and try to stop time, for just a little while. We pull out all our tricks to get ourselves to stay still long enough to feel the wonder again, to spread it around, to fill our cups for the rest of the year.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Sep 22 2012


The Heidleberg Project

I’m a Detroit girl. Well, not actually Detroit, per se – I just like saying that – but a suburb to the north. Still, Detroit was my sun as far as cities go. I orbited around, obliviously taking care of the business of growing up, with increasing plunges into the city itself as I started high school. Our brother school was a Jesuit high school called University of Detroit – U of D – and surprisingly, there was little effort to keep us Academy of the Sacred Heart girls away from the boys on Seven Mile Road. Not that it would have worked anyway.

Avalon International Breads, Detroit

Detroit is a fascinating city and in August when I went to visit my family with the kids, I got to bushwhack a little and experience it as a curious grown-up as opposed to a silly, clueless girl. Normally when I go home I sort of regress to my adolescent state – overcome by inertia, I feel like coccooning at my parents’ house, grazing my way through the pantry, watching tv and twirling my hair – maybe letting out a long dramatic sigh every once in a while.

santimeatI’m only partially joking. The truth is that now that the kids are older, I was able to see our visit home through a different lens. Detroit, in parts hopeless and beautiful, is no longer just a place to be ignored, the backdrop for youthful (and dangerous) shenanigans – it’s a place to explore. Just like any other city we would visit. And in this city, we’ve got contacts.

HeidleburgMy siblings live in town and as young adults figured out the city – the hidden gems, the rhythms, the fingerprints. My fairy godmother, Gretchen, is a veritable historian. Curious, intrepid and knowledgable – if there’s an interesting nook or a cranny with a story, she has found it, explored it and can tell you all about it. Sweet Juniper, a blog that’s been in my blogroll from the beginning, has been a lyrical yet honest peek into what it’s like to raise kids in the city; he describes a burgeoning arts and food scene, feral homes being engulfed by nature, mom and pop businesses thriving because of corporate America’s aversion to a high risk markets, empty lots being turned into bountiful and nutritious gardens.

She may be a broken down beauty, but she’s got plans.

emSo this time, in addition to long wine-soaked meals with my family, boat rides and swims in Pine Lake, celebrating two birthdays and squeezing my delicious niece, Manzanita, we did a little exploring. My top three highlights:

brickEastern Market: The mac daddy, grand poobah, god father of all farmers markets, this is the oldest market in the country. It’s colorful and urban and cool  - I liked it so much I went twice. Also Supino’s. Best pizza ever. Worth the wait.

dollheidlebergThe Heidleberg Project. Detroit was literally burning and out of the ashes rose the Heidleberg Project. Artist Tyree Guyton started to fight back with art and created an indescribable polka-dotted neighborhood. Watch this short movie about it – SO FASCINATING! I can’t believe I never went there before. This on my permanent and forever lists of places to visit when I go home.

saltwallFairway Packing Company. My favorite thing of all. Thanks to Fairy Godmother’s hubby, Cabezon, we got to go inside this temple of meaty beauty and see how it’s done. We wore white butcher’s coats and toured the dry age room with all the best cuts hanging out for the area’s best restaurants and clients. The Himalayan salt wall is stunning – a glowing work of art in and of itself. We bought gorgeous steaks, pork shoulder and brisket for the week’s dinners and parties and watched as they were broken down for us. Saint James was all eyes and quiet appreciation. Boy knows his good meat.

All of this was a round about way of getting to this recently released documentary. Detropia explores Detroit’s complicated and painful history, its rise and fall, mingled with the exciting, grass roots, outsider art fringey changes that are happening right now. I can’t wait to see it. I don’t think this sugarcoats anything, which is good – Detroit is better salty anyway.

Mar 14 2012

Chores and Kids

kids-doing-choresThis article in the NYTimes was a good reminder to put my money where my mouth is, and force the chore issue in our house. I’ve been semi-decent at teaching my kids to “help themselves” mostly because I’m a worn out husk of a mother most days. I have long abandoned the notion that turning myself inside out to help with every little thing makes me a better mother.

Yes, I am lazy, but I do also believe we aren’t doing our kids any favors by rushing to help them at every turn. I still make their school lunches, but I haven’t put frozen waffles in the toaster for months. I’ll still pour the milk in the cereal for Devil Baby, but only if the carton is too full for her to do it herself. I only tie skates and cleats for the youngest. Unless it’s dangerously cold, I don’t even nag about wearing a coat anymore.

But I realize that teaching them to help themselves is actually a separate thing from teaching them to help me – and I’m failing miserably at the latter. Right now I’m staring at a muddy yard covered in the white fluff of a disemboweled stuffed lamb that Foxy went to town on. I sent the girls out to deal with it yesterday and frankly, they did a terrible job. Finger pointing, and so and so not doing her share ended up in exactly nada. They came into the house in a swirl of muddy shoes and loud recriminations and I let it drop. Because it was easier.

Earlier in the day, I had found myself picking up handfuls of disintegrating dog crap out of the garden because Saint James didn’t do it on the last cold day when I told him to. He had picked up a fair amount, but again, the complaints about it being stuck in the snow and impossible to pick up got him off. And it it got me elbow-deep in warm, wet dog shit. Was it easier than listening to Saint James gag and whine? Arguably.

How can I expect them to do anything for me if I don’t even make them finish the things I have specifically asked them to do for me? As the article points out, parents have no one to blame but themselves for this. I cannot expect that my kids would have any clue of what needs to be done around here, and even if they did, that they’d have any sense of responsibility to pitch in, if I’m not putting this into play in a more consistent way. Helping to set and clear the table just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Watch out, kids! Mama’s got a bee in her bonnet.

Dec 8 2011

Is it too much to ask?

1766566I really try not to air our dirty laundry on this blog, but I must ask: whattup with Doctor Dash setting the Christmas lights timer for midnight? Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful he put the lights on the bushes and I’m grateful that he set them on a timer so we don’t have to tramp out there to plug them in every night. But midnight? MIDNIGHT? What are we, eighty? Last week Mister Lady Crow Call pulled around in front to drop us off after the British Advertising Awards (which, oh, were just so good this year!) and our house was all dark and sullen and depressing and sheepish. What a missed opportunity for a bit of picturesque holiday cheer, for a bit of razzle dazzle. Is it too much to ask for a just a little bit of razzle dazzle at the end of the night? I mean, doesn’t he read this blog? Wasn’t I just talking about how much I love Christmas lights? Do we not owe it to our neighbors and all passersby to be festive? I noted my objection right then and there and every day thereafter until he finally caved and moved the timer to – get this: one o’clock! Hooo boy! We are living LARGE people. It’s like Neverland Ranch over here. I’m back to my pestering, because I, unlike he, have faith that my fellow Minneapolitans do not always retire before one a.m. I, unlike he, believe that you all deserve a little late night razzle dazzle. So I’m working on three a.m. If I had my druthers, it would be four, but we all make little compromises.

Jun 3 2011

Cleanliness is next to godliness

mr-cleanI don’t really believe that. If I did then this mama would pretty much be heading to hell in a hand basket. For the life of me, I can’t seem to motivate to clean and straighten on a consistent basis (the only things I do well are cooking and laundry). Instead, I see the smudges, the fingerprints, the crumbs, the syrup stain and they bug me, but not enough to go after them right away. I like to tell myself that I’m fending off any OCD tendencies that may lie latent in me, but who am I kidding? Me? OCD? Have you seen my minivan?

I clean in flurries. Today I had a flurry. Not the kind of flurry that would be detectable to the book club ladies who came over last night. This was a flurry of unsung cleaning – behind the scenes, non-showy, back to the way it’s supposed to be cleaning. And during my flurry, I got to musing.

I cleaned walls and in doing so I discovered hand and FOOTprints in places that can only mean one thing: my children are secretly training to be ninjas.

I did laundry and there is no longer any point in denying the fact that my first born has reached the age where his dirty clothes stink. Like stink stink. Like sweaty locker room, cheese feet, body odor funk-a-nasty.  I’m afraid the innocuous biscuity sweat smell of a kid is a thing of the past. P.U., child!

It really does help to time yourself. It sounds silly, but Lady Tabouli turned me onto this little trick. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done in 10 minutes. If you had asked me how long it takes me to empty the dishwasher, I would have said 20 to 30 minutes. I HATE emptying the dishwasher. It is an exquisite torture to me. But when I looked at the clock I was shocked to discover it takes less than 5 minutes. If I’m flying, I can do it in 2. Two minutes! Sometimes I race the microwave heating a cup of tea. It seems I am not too smart for myself and quite susceptible to all manner of self-administered tricks and mind games.

I am a frustrated perfectionist – a  term I picked up from a birth order book that Gigi the Animal Whisperer lent me years ago. Being a first born, I have all the makings of a Type A personality. I have high standards, I like order and perfection. But I’m a titch lazy, so I don’t have the goods to back it up. I’d like every thing to be perfect and clean, but it’s just so boring to get it that way. Boring. BOOOORRRRRING! Ug. So boring. So I sort of wallow around in limbo, wishing it could be so, but dreading making it so. There are so many better things to do with my time, so I just do them.

And wait for a flurry.

May 5 2011

Damn squirrel eatin’ my flower and makin’ me feel all crappy.

Today I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a squirrel standing on its hind legs with its arms wrapped tenderly around my jonquil – only he wasn’t wooing the flower, or even making out with the flower, he was eating the flower. My only friggin’ jonquil in that part of the garden was being mauled and consumed in broad daylight. I burst through the back door and scared him away with all manner of screeches, hisses and wild hand gestures – I think I get very Latina all of the sudden when I’m trying to shoo something. Perhaps it’s the years of watching my mother scream and fling herself out of the house to scare Mallard ducks out of our pool so they wouldn’t get too comfy and make it their home for the summer.

I probably would have done the same thing had there been a hundred jonquils in my garden, but the fact that there is ONE just makes it so much worse. First of all, we work hard for our spring here in these parts – March and April are a bitch and the first crumbs of spring we get are these bulbs that start to crop up against all odds. This one flower, probably because there is just one flower, becomes a symbol of spring, of warmth, of hope, of change, of new beginnings. And by eating it, the squirrel is basically saying,You don’t even get to enjoy this one measly thing to the natural end of its short measly life, peevish mama. (Actually, the squirrel is probably saying something more like, Come closer my crumpet, I wish to ravish you, so ravenous am I after this long winter with nothing but a handful of bitter acorns for sustenance. But you know what? This blog is about me. Screw the squirrel.)

And as quick as the flick of a furry tail disappearing through the fence, this one flower also becomes a symbol of my failings. Do you remember this post? Just in case you ever read this blog and feel like, wowee, she’s real neato and thoughtful and motivated, rest assured that I’m not. I’m a lazy slacker. If I had simply followed through with my impulse to plant more – what were my words? “bulbs of joy” (insert eye-roll here), then I guess I wouldn’t be in my current predicament of hating on myself and hating on a squirrel. It makes me ornery that I’m so lackadaisical about every thing. Why didn’t I just plant some more damn bulbs like I said I would? Where is my follow through? What was I doing with my time? Honestly, I don’t even know. I really shouldn’t be this lazy. I come from very motivated, conscientious, busy-bee stock. What’s my excuse? I have no excuse.

And lest you think I’m being too hard on myself over a flower, rest assured that this is just one example of many. Look at my car, look at my house, look at my baby books. It’s all going to hell in a hand basket. But don’t worry, I’ll manage to forget about all of this by tomorrow and be back to my free wheelin’ lazy-ass ways in no time flat. In fact, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to turn this into a business – there must be a market for someone who can lounge around and shoot the shit, drink wine, listen to hip hop, over-analyze everything, peruse fashion magazines and make pretty good chili. Someone hire me! Quick!

I think this is all percolating because of an article I read in the New Yorker last night. First of all, let me pause for a moment. The New Yorker. The first magazine I subscribed to after college. The only magazine to which I’ve had a consistent subscription since then. The magazine that makes me feel smart and entertained at the same time. The magazine that I share with Doctor Dash. The mother of all magazines – for me – my best me. OK, so I open it up in bed last night and there’s a huge article about this blogger who goes by the name Pioneer Woman. I’ve been to her blog a handful of times over the last few years, but I had no idea she had reached the level of being worthy of an article in the New Yorker. Basically, she was a city slicker who fell in love with a cattle rancher and it changed the trajectory of her life.

She seems sweet and engaging enough, but also, suspiciously, like one of those people with extra arms and hours in the day. She home schools her kids, cooks all sorts of fancy cowboy food, takes gorgeous pictures of all of it, teaches photography, oversees monster additions to her home and ranch, decorates it all, grows a garden, writes cookbooks, writes memoirs, writes children’s books and writes a blog. All of it with a wink and a smile. Which is fine. Obviously this is really compelling to a lot of women. I think her story and lifestyle are what people would consider aspirational. To me it’s kind of demoralizing. She makes Martha Stewart look like she’s in my league, which leaves me looking like I’m barely more animated than that piece of stucco that chipped off our house over the winter that I walk by every day and haven’t picked up.

I think you, my readers, are better served by hearing about how much I DON’T get done. My laziness is not only my gift, it is my gift to you. Tomorrow you can vacuum your cars with the satisfaction of knowing that I won’t be vacuuming my car. Or my house. What can I say, besides . . . you’re welcome.

Feb 14 2011

Sweet Valentine


Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers out there. And, of course, to mine. This will be my Valentine’s present to Doctor Dash. Unorthodox, admittedly, to post before purchasing, but what can I say? It gets the job done, no? What a cute print! And where to hang it? Mudroom? Bedroom? I suppose we’ll decide together.


Nov 15 2010

Timorous Beasties

Sometimes I walk around carrying something in my mind, turning it over for days like a smooth rock in my palm, before taking one last look and putting it down somewhere safe. Then I stumble upon something else that makes me think of that first stone and I rush to pick it up again. Holding one in each hand, I see things I didn’t see before and as if by magic, the connection becomes clear: Why they struck my fancy to begin with. Why, among the reams of sounds, sights, and ideas that pass through my sieve of a brain without sticking, these were worth holding on to.

Here are some cool things I’ve stumbled upon in the recent weeks that seemingly had no connection up until the point when their connection was utterly undeniable. For lack of a better term, these all involve the “mash up.” Worlds, aesthetics, genres, technologies and moments in time colliding to create something new, and for me, irresistible.

Peevish Mama loves herself some cross-pollination.

The Bronx is a hard core punk band out of L.A. who just put out a mariachi album. For real and legit and totally catchy.

YouTube Preview Image

Art, architecture and technology = large scale mesmerization. Is that even a word?

1727This line of fabrics and wallpapers by a Scottish design firm called Timorous Beasties, is sick, subversive and sublime. The name alone is something I want to wallow in. I especially love the toile, which at first glance looks like the bucolic vistas stamped across tablecloths and throw pillows in the most proper of homes, but upon closer inspection reveal some serious heavy, sad, violent urban decay. Crack addicts, prostitutes and blighted landscapes on toile! So cool.

Men’s fashion meets ganstah swagger for the most clever thing I’ve read in ages. This tumblr feed called Fuck Yeah Menswear is seriously my newest favorite discovery and quite possibly my first web crush. Who are you FYM? I am intrigued, to say the least. Here’s just one of many brilliant examples:

tumblr_lbjr9ydwy41qetbkqo1_500You think I give a fuck about chambray?

Just make sure you bring my critters, bitch.

Tryna get WASPY.

Lilly P belts with the guns still tucked in them.

Volvo station wagons with boarding school girls still getting smashed in them.




Fuck with me real quick.

Turning out VIP with my squad.

Rugby’d out.

Wrist on bling.

Making herbs Kiel over.

Left and right.

Bow ties.

Bow ties.

Bow ties.

They can load up if they want.

Aim atcha boy.

Take shots at the throne.

But these workwear goons should know.

I never leave the cape without protection.

Patchwork Kevlar.

Unabashedly Teflon.




Got my hater blockers on too.

Warby Parkies.

Clear lenses on smash.

Always watchin’ that money.

New or old.

I don’t give a fuck.

As long as I stay stacking cheddar.

Boat shoes.

Boat shoes.

Boat shoes.

Go to hell pants hand sewn by demons.

The same beasts.

Who haunt you.

When you flip through the pages.

Of that one Free & Easy.

Your cousin got you.

Because he lives near a Japanese bookstore.

The same beasts.

Frankie exorcised in ‘08.

When he took over The Crew.

Vampire Weekend.

Vampire Weekend.

Vampire Weekend.

Me and my clique.

Leavin’ chalk outlines.

Outside of the Pop Up Flea.

Peep these rugged clowns.

They soft.

They shook.

They leaking.

They sleeping.

Forget The Bloods, son.

You got bigger problems.

We bleeding madras up in this motherfucker.

Nov 11 2010

Good bye, Old Friend.

couchWhen the glorified futon in the sunroom becomes known as the BARF LICE COUCH, it is high time to kick it to the curb. Good riddance, I say. Although BLC will be missed . . . by one small person, which, I suppose is appropriate, it being her barf and all.

Apr 10 2010

We’re Back!

beaver1I’ve been dying to sit down and write a post about our trip to Tulum, but in the last couple days we’ve been home, I’ve been a whirling dervish of activity and I just don’t want to interrupt myself. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I started with the mountain of salty, sweaty laundry from the trip and that quickly snow-balled into washing and putting away the winter gear, cleaning out the fridge, washing kitchen windows, organizing the mudroom closet, and a trip to the garden store to see if it’s too soon to plant ground cover. This never happens to me. I tend to have fits of industriousness lasting no longer than the effects of my morning coffee, into which I must cram all of my household duties. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t had to cook or clean for eight days. Maybe it’s the fact that spring has arrived. Who knows? But it’s been two whole days of takin’ care of business and I’m going strong, babies. This must be what those meth-addicted housewives on Oprah feel like – knocking out chores as if they were bowling pins! I’m afraid this laptop is my anti-meth, so I’m going to forstall writing for a little longer and ride this wave of assiduousness as long as I possibly can. I’d better go. I can feel the diligence draining out of my fingers with every word I type. I’m off. But you know I’ll be back all too soon – lazy beast that I am.

Oct 12 2009

Silver Lining

30704131          Photo: Nicole Bengiveno NY Times

It isn’t often I read about something in the paper that doesn’t make me flare my nostrils in frustration or click the screen closed with a shudder. Spend too much time scratching the surface of anything from what goes into the box of Frosted Flakes in the cupboard  to the “changing school options” in the Minneapolis Public Schools to healthcare reform and you see the politics, the machinations, the behind the scenes special interest mongering that seemingly drive everything these days. Humans are indeed Machiavellian, to the point where it defies reason, defies rightness. The shortest distance between two points hasn’t been a straight line for as long as I have been paying attention. But then you see an article like this one and you realize that sometimes things work themselves out as they should. Sometimes people figure out how to bring some good out of a bad situation. A little creativity, a little cooperation, a little open mindedness and suddenly you have art and light and life in spaces that were empty, gaping reminders of failure, blight and recession. Commercial landowners, unable to rent or develop their properties, are turning them over to artists at deeply discounted rents and in return their spaces get a little love. Less crime, more interest, more traffic and the artists get a chance to spread their wings. It’s a win win that will hopefully lead to changes in those neighborhoods that no one can even begin to anticipate. Simple proof that the shortest distance between to points can be a straight line.

Jul 5 2009

You say vaaahse, I say instrument of death.

gunEvery moment is a teaching moment, if you’re a calamatizer. I bought this vase for Doctor Dash’s birthday, but let’s face it, it was one of those gifts that was really for me. I just used his birthday as an excuse to get it. What, after all, does a thirty-nine year old non-gay male need a vase for? I love it. I hate guns, but I love this.

When we took it out of the box, the first thing Supergirl did was point it at her face. No! I jumped. Never, ever, ever, EVER look down the barrel of a gun. EVER . . . Even if the gun is, um, ummmm, a vase.

Apropos of vases, get a load of this sweet thing. You know what it is, don’t you? The first flowers I put in wilted almost immediately. I suppose one can assume tequila is kinder to fauna than it is to flora. Remember to rinse well.patron-vase

Dec 3 2008

Judy’s feeling weepy.

shapeimage_2-1and I’m about to bitch slap her across the face.  I couldn’t begin tell you why I insist on likening our house to Dame Judy Dench, but it’s working for me, so I’m going with it.  We have a mysterious leak in our mud room.  It’s a slow leak – a bleeding, beading, weeping leak down one particular two by four that Doctor Dash exposed in a fit of manly, muscular plaster ripping.  Our mud room now looks like a crime scene and has for weeks upon weeks now.  We’ve got a guy on it . . . a jack-of-all-trades contractor who loves hunting and Jesus.  He chuckles with pleasure when I call him the Leak Detective.  He also chuckles when I tell him I think it’s a poltergeist.  He’s smart and has a nose for these kinds of things, but he’s slow, and in my opinion, barking up the wrong tree.  So last night after he left, no closer to figuring out why Judy is in the grips of such melancholia, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  

Rule out. Rule out. Rule out.  

Dash and I have been thinking our shower is somehow involved, so I gathered all the food coloring in the house (which is usually slated for play-dough, one of the things that makes me feel incredibly domestic and domesticated when I make it from scratch – narrowly elbowing out chocolate chip cookies) and grimly poured four bottles of green and blue down the shower drain and let the shower run for half an hour.  As my turquoise stained fingers will attest, food coloring is some mad concentrated stuff.  I look like a hapless bank robber sullied by an exploding dye pack stashed in a bag of stolen money.  Despite my little experiment, Judy’s tears run clear, so I think we can safely and finally, rule out our shower . . . which is good because the next move was to rip out the shower floor.  The Leak Detective is at it again, and I’m feeling confident that with the click of my tiny piece of the puzzle, he’s going to nail this baby today.  Lordy, he’d better.  It’s winter.  I need my mud room.  

Come on Judy. Chin up, old girl!

Oct 9 2008

Predecessor Booger Meister Ragamuffins.


shapeimage_2-4_2This old house needs a fresh coat of paint as badly as Dame Judi Dench needs a bath after a sweaty tussle with one of her young lovers on a steamy afternoon in her Corsican villa.  Fighting against every hasty, lazy, short-cut-taking fiber of my being, I have decided to be a responsible homeowner and prep the walls before they are painted.  Meaning I am cleaning them – old school style – rubber gloves, huge sponges, buckets of warm water and TSP/90 (which, incidentally, is amazing stuff if you’ve never tried it).  TSP/90 takes everything of the walls: dirt, grime, greasy fingerprints, pencil, pen, spaghetti sauce, chocolate and most importantly as it turns out, boogers.  

Never have I cleaned so many crusty boogers off a wall.  Actually, before yesterday I can say with confidence that I had never cleaned any boogers off a wall.  I am no forensic pathologist, but I know a booger stuck to a wall when I see it.  Perhaps it’s all the years of public library patronage in my youth that makes me such an expert (you check out enough books from the library, and you are bound to come upon a booger stuck to a page – a disgusting but true fact of life.)  Seriously, I only cleaned the walls going down to the basement and the basement hallway and I must have scraped off twenty boogers.  What was going on with these children that they were sticking so many boogers to so many walls?  Was there only one culprit or did all four of them get in on the action?  And where was their mother?  Why didn’t she ever wipe a booger off a wall?  

Inhabiting a new house goes so far beyond moving in your furniture, redecorating, changing wall colors. It’s really much more elemental. It’s about substituting your DNA for your predecessors’ DNA.  Doctor Dash and I can still make ourselves writhe in disgust at the memory of the veritable paste of red beard trimmings I scrubbed out of the rim of the sink in our Boston brownstone.  As I gagged and scrubbed and cursed the name of the divinity graduate student who had sold us the brownstone, I kept calling Dash into the bathroom, so he could bear witness to the first truly selfless act I performed as a newlywed.  In our last house, it was the fridge that had me gagging.  It was coated, positively shellacked, in the hair of the old black lab who lived with the old man who lived there before us.  I still haven’t resolved how you get that much dog hair in your refrigerator, short of actually putting the dog in the refrigerator.  And here, apparently, the biggest DNA issue is boogers – walls speckled and spackled in boogers, everywhere you look, everywhere you touch.  Who needs stucco when you’ve got kids like those?  She should have put them to work on some chipped patches on the outside of the house.  Next time I pull out the bucket and gloves, I’m going to be prepared with a little tool, a booger scraper.  As God is my witness, people, I will get every last booger . . . if it’s the last thing I do.

Aug 29 2008


Yes yes yes!  It finally fucking sold!  And who do we have to thank (besides the young couple who is buying it)?  Saint Joseph and La Virgen del Valle – sweet mama of God!  And what’s in the foil neck roll, you ask?  No, it’s not a joint, although that was heavily considered.  In that suspicious looking packet is a little bit of baby August’s hair.  In my delirious desire to sell our house I went a little voodoo on top of crazy fly-by-night Catholic, and it occurred to me that we needed a bit of August’s hair so that it would sell in August.  Logical, right?

We had buried Saint Joseph in the backyard in the spring, but he wasn’t exactly working his mojo, so Doctor Dash exhumed him and put him in a fine cigar box donated by Salt and Pepper Polymath.  We added La Virgen for some company, a bit of comfy bedding, and the rest is history.

So, thank you to our friends Ivory Tickler and Sweet Jessamine for not thinking us completely insane and for showing up on our doorstep with a little foil packet containing a lock of their newborn baby’s hair within minutes of our sheepish call.  

Joseph, Mary and August – it worked, you sexy mother fuckers, it worked!!!!

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