Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kelly Goes to Boston

Friday I went to a party to say goodbye to a good friend who is leaving for Boston. Kelly is a stalwart feminist comrade who can belt out the most amazing renditions of Irish Freedom songs (I highly recommend requesting one if you ever meet her). I gave a drunken toast of my five favorite memories of Kelly that I thought I’d share here, so those of you who don’t know her will get a taste of what I will be missing.

Steph’s Top Five memories of Kelly

1. Moving Kelly’s behemoth treadmill. It was easy enough to roll from living room to moving truck, but eight of us attempting to hoist it into the U-Haul felt half like a moving company’s instructional video blooper reel and half like a reenactment of ancient Egytptian slaves hauling house sized bricks up a hill to build the pyramids.

2. The seven page instructions required for taking care of her cats/fish when she went away. Instructions included (but were not limited to) checking the cat for moles and removing misbehaving fish from the general tank population and putting them in their own holding cell tank (if necessary).

3.Getting arrested in front of the FDA Headquarters—Kelly had the courage to sit with eight other women (not the same ones who moved the treadmill) and block the entrance while the Department of Homeland Security stood by with handcuffs and an armored truck…(Kelly taught me that the term “Paddy Wagon” is an ethnic slur and that we should refer to what they were packing us into as an “armored truck.”)

4. Kung Fu Class (see Whirling Tiger Hidden Idiot)

5. Our long car talks which sometimes led to run-ins with the law…(as reported below in something I wrote but that never made it to this blog, think of it as a deleted scene…)

The Long Arm (chair) of the Law

Last week I was nearly arrested. Ok, that’s a gross exaggeration, but whatever, it’s my blog.

It started when Kelly and I couldn’t find the location of the party we were going to
(again, an exaggeration, it was more like a potluck/meeting but I wanted to sound exciting and cool). Anyway, we were in our separate cars, on our cell phones trying to help each other out when we discovered we were on the same stretch of 13th Street.

“Pull into this furniture store,” I said, “you can park your car there and we’ll ride together.”

We left Kelly’s car in the closed furniture store’s parking lot and were off to find the, um, party. We eventually did and had a smashing time eating a lot of carbs.

When we came back to pick up Kelly’s car we got to talking. We have a lot of meetings you see, and not much time for just talking, so often very earnest, heartbreaking and funny conversations among my friends happen in the front seat of a car after giving someone a ride. We talked for a long time about life, love, heartache, being single, being childless etc. We watched several stray cats go by. We got a little freaked when the street lamps went out leaving us in complete darkness in the empty lot.

We kept talking until I noticed a cop pull in. I got nervous, even though I had not been drinking, clam-baking or making crack in my back seat. I was not in a stolen car and was not planning on breaking into the store to make off with some bedside tables (which I do need by the way).

He got out of his car and flashed his light in. We giggled like middle-school girls.

“What do we do?” I said, “Do I get out? Wait for him here? Which is less suspicious?”

“Well,” Kelly said, “For starters we should probably not be laughing when he gets here.”

“Right. Okay, don’t laugh.”

I rolled down my window. “Hello officer.”

“Hi ladies, everything okay in here.?”

“Yes, we’re just talking.”

“Can I see some ID?”

We handed over our ID’s and he walked back to his patrol car to run them through whatever magic machine they have in there.

“Oh shit.” I slapped my forehead.

“What? What’s wrong”

“My fucking license is expired. If I get a ticket for that from just sitting in a parking lot I will laugh and cry so hard.”

Kelly always knows the right thing to say. “This might not be the right time to bring this up but, can’t you get arrested for that?”

“Oh God, I don’t know.” I looked back at the patrol car.

Officer was taking a really, really, really long time. Another cop car pulled in.

“There’s another one! What the fuck!” Various possibilities ran through my head.

Does our Department of Homeland Security arrest show up on his little screen and he thinks we’re terrorists? (The Anti-high end furniture kind?) Did he see the 50ft orange extension cord and boom box in my back seat and think I’m stalking an ex-boyfriend Say Anything style? Did he see Kelly’s bumper stickers and think we were running some lesbian/feminist prostitution/furniture stealing ring?

But the other cop left and our officer came back to my window. “Which one of you is Stephanie Seguin?”

Oh god, here it comes.

“I’m going to give you a warning on your expired license but you need to take care of it.”

I exhaled. “Yes sir, of course. I promise I’ll do it first thing in the morning.” He politely asked us to leave since it was a closed business and we looked suspicious. We politely complied. I understand, when I see two cars together in an otherwise empty parking lot I only think one thing, drug deal (or a furniture stealing crime ring led by local feminist leaders).

When I got home I told Danny I needed to renew my license. “Did you get pulled over?” He said.

“Um, more like…pulled up to. And by the way, we seriously need bedside tables.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

How does my Garden Grow? Completely at random

Nine months out of the year, the area directly outside my kitchen window is a brambly sandbox blanketed with weeds and dead pinecones. Each spring, I load up on plants from a nearby nursery and attempt to resurrect this prickly patch.

The annual extreme makeover usually consists of various plants I have chosen, all of which must be labeled something like, will grow in shitty grit soil under non-stop fire hose of blazing sun rays. It helps if the label also says something to the effect of, will also withstand copious amounts of battering by pets and a gardener who will most likely forget all about it in three weeks.

Despite my lack of ability and wilting interest, one or two of the plants does well, only after it wins at the foliage and flora version of survivor that unfolds (slowly) outside my window.

Last year’s winners were a red Salvia plant (that I only bought because I read in the paper it may have hallucinogenic properties) which grew to be a four foot tall explosion of red while its nearby blue tribe member cowed in it shadow. The year before that, a sturdy Oregano smothered the dainty Purslane and a sprawling Verbena crowded out the golden Lantana.

Even the plants that thrive in the short-term, die at some point during the year because I’m too lazy to cover them when we have our one or two freezes of "winter" (in quotes because my Northern readers would die laughing at what we Floridians "suffer" during our coldest months.)

Thus far in 2008, I have done nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Rien. But, last weekend I went out into the yard, (probably to get the dog to stop barking/eating cat poo/battering herself against the back fence) when I saw this:

This is a Black-Eyed Susan that promptly died shortly into the game last spring. But as you can see, the dead have resurrected themselves.

I am beyond shocked that these plants have crept out of their graves because I didn’t even have to perform any kind of voodoo chant or inject them with a virus that is supposed to cure cancer but that actually turns things into crazy rage zombies.

I digress.

Further inspection of the yard revealed more shocking floral happenings. I looked into a far dark corner, one that gets even LESS attention than the sand dune I annually try to wring into a lush English style cottage garden.

In this corner lives the rosebush that was planted (too close to the house according to the home inspector) by the previous owners. This rosebush has somehow, beyond all rhyme, reason or logical possibility, managed to eke out an existence for itself against all odds.

The only thing I ever do to this rosebush is occasionally look over to find these:

Perfectly velvety fist sized crimson roses.

The point is, well I don’t really have a point. This is all totally random. I guess the point is, I completely and absolutely suck at gardening. I kill things. They should probably hang my picture over every Lowe's garden center in the vicinity. Do not sell plants to this woman.

Despite my shortcomings though, every once in awhile, something beautiful grows anyway.

P.S. In other totally random, non-related, existential news. I may be making a foray into a puppet related enterprise. More on that later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Country for Scardy Cats

Sunday night my sister came over to watch No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers’ Oscar winner about a man who walks around killing people with some sort of freaky air canister thingy.

In the movie, Josh Brolin’s character, a rugged country cowboy type, happens upon a grisly death scene and a briefcase stuffed with bills. Which he of course takes and for the rest of the film is pursued by Anton Chigurh (the canister killer) who is in some way (that I never really figured out cuz I’m not that smart) connected with the money.

The movie was pretty suspenseful and scary. Without realizing it, I’d gone from splayed out on the couch to curled into a protective shell. By the end, I was nearly watching it through my fingers.

The air canister thingy can put a hole in a head or blow out a door lock with equal ease. Javier Bardem (Anton)had a freaky fucking mug, which was not helped by his freaky fucking pageboy hairdo. Danny pointed out that Anton always drove with his hands exactly in the ten and two position. I found it impressive that he was a conscientious driver. Granted, he shot a bird out the window while his vehicle was hurtling down the highway, but aside from that, he had a firm grip on the steering wheel at all times.

When it was over, my sister, who still had to drive home, park in a campus parking garage and walk to her dorm, was scared. I assured her it was fine (even as I told her to call me when she was safely home and offered her my pepper spray). I told her to apply my rules of horror movie watching (see Steph vs. The Scary Movie for full details). She was safe. She had not stolen anyone’s drug money or discovered anyone’s pile of dead bodies. She wasn’t even in Texas (where an unusual amount of horror movies take place I’m noticing.)

Thanks to my handy horror movie rationalizations, I slept soundly that night and didn’t give a second thought to Anton Chigurh and his creepy air canister thingy.

That is, until yesterday. Yesterday, I was sitting in Starbucks when this guy walked in. He wore a dark green jumpsuit and boots. A silver canister dangled from his fingers. The tube from the top of it looped across his body and ended in a silver gun-like attachment gripped in his left hand. He was grizzly and unshaven. He looked decidedly unhappy.

He was standing at the front counter, his eyes boring a hole right through to the back of the store where the employees buzzed about, making espresso and baking “glorious morning” muffins.

I realized I was holding my breath, desperately trying to pull my gaze away. Was he a spurned former employee? Back to seek revenge on his caffeinated cohorts? Maybe he was the love-lorn ex-boyfriend of one of the several cute blondes who worked here? Or maybe he was just a complete fucking PSYCHO.

I’ll just slouch here. He won’t notice me. I’ll blend right into this maroon velour wall couch. Why? Why me? Why couldn't I have gone to the library to work today? I just had to have a fucking venti Earl Grey (with two Splendas). And now I'm going to die. Great. Just fucking great.

A girl came out from the back. I tightened up as she walked brazenly to the counter to meet her fate. “Hey Jack!” she beamed.

“Hey Carly! How’s it going?” He face broke into a broad grin. “I just wanted to let y’all know I’m here. I’m gonna go ‘round back and start spraying.”

“Great thanks. We don’t want any buggies!”

“All right then, I’ll see you next month.”

The killer tipped his cap and turned to leave. I took a sip of my Earl Grey, thankful to be alive. My first thought was that I, like Carly, did not want any “buggies.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Night in the Life of an Insomniac

You can tell a lot about a class of people by TV programming. For instance, watch TV during the middle of the day. What’s on? A Baby Story, 10 Years Younger, Matlock. The commercials are for diapers, welding school, check cashing services, Life Alert bracelets.

We can conclude from this content that people home during the day are:
a. caring for children
b. retired
c. out of work
d. wish they had children, act like they’re retired, and feel guilty that they probably should get a real job like welding and not spend an entire day posting a blog.

A few nights ago I couldn’t sleep. After many years of insomnia, I have learned that at some point you might as well just get up and do something productive. Like laying on the couch flipping channels.

Since I imagine most people are not privy to what’s on television at 3AM, let me share it with you and maybe we can draw some conclusions about insomniacs as a class. Also, so you can get a taste of the exciting world of middle of the night television.

Channel 60: Coming up—Paint pouring tips

Channel 59: ExtenZE (pronounced ex-ten-ZIE) “What if I told you there was a pill that could extend your special manly area.” I’m not kidding, the girl said, special manly area. Much to Danny’s dismay I will now always use this term in reference to men's manly parts. (It’s better than HOO HOO or HEE-HAW). Watch Ron Jeremy refer to a penis as “down there.”

Channel 58: A poorly animated vegetable support group. Moral of the story: if you don’t eat your vegetables they slowly rot and die which makes them really, really sad. Also they chain smoke and eat a lot of doughnuts.

Channel 55: 700 Club Q&A “When did Satan get to Earth and where did he go when he got here?” (for what it’s worth, my guess is FOX—c’mon Moment of Truth? That show might as well have a snake hosting with a free fruitbasket). Pat Robertson says yoga is spooky.

Channel 54: Pos-T-vac (I am not making this up) Vacuum therapy for that certain someplace.

Channel 48: The cruelest joke of all, the Sleep number bed infomercial. I've seen it a thousand times. “You’ll sleep like a dream for only 6, 543 payments of $79.99!”
Watch this clip without sound and see if you can guess the product.

Channel 46: Kevin Trudeau. The “Natural Cures” guru is convicted for fraud and STILL SELLS BOOKS. Gotta love this guy.

Channel 43: “Just $240.00 buys you the Prophecy Bible.”

Channel 40: Life Magazine presents: Legends of Country (all of whom sing from a barn doorway).

Channel 39: Ted Kennedy, “The numbers have spiked! The numbers have spiked!”

Channel 22: Knife TV, now showing “The Enforcer.”

Channel 21: QVC, my usual lullaby, now selling pants. Selling point: “This zipper goes all the way up ladies, AND the zipper handle folds down flat.” (other features: has leg holes, waist band, is sewn together.) British QVC selling fans.

Channel 18: Jack Van Impe ministries. The upshot: Mosques hate America (cut to shot of Muslims in prayer) buy my book Global 666 where I explain how the government wants to microchip you and form a New World Order (not an electronic band), beginning in April 2009. (I changed my mind, I don’t think the devil went to FOX, I think he went here.) Oh, Jack will also sell you a piece of Jesus' tomb, set in 14 karat gold, for only $199.99 (limited amount folks.)
Watch Rev. Jack's segment on Extra Terrestrial invasion
They’re making millions of trips to earth daily!!!!!!

Channel 15: Two old guys read the bible

Channel 14: The Trikke (a fun way for the whole family to get in shape!)

Channel 12: A middle aged woman reads the bible

Channel 10: Fitness Made Simple. If you haven't heard the classic song, I highly recommend it.
A couple Andy Samberg wannabes had some fun with it.

Channel 9: Saved by the Bell, "No Hope with Dope"

Based on the programming, what can we tell about those of us watching TV in the middle of the night?

Insomniacs are:
a. not very well endowed in the manly department if you know what I mean (wink, wink)
b. gullible
c. extremely religious (or in extreme need of being saved.)
d. non-vegetable eating, fat dope smokers who like scooters.
e. lost souls who desparately want to fall asleep and are glad they're too lazy to get up and get their wallet because they would totally buy the entire Bare Minerals make up set.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I have gone _______ days without an accident or injury

Sunday we drove home from Miami. It was one of those drives where I counted every single mile. When we stopped for gas the credit card machine wasn’t working so everyone had to go inside, stand in line and talk to an actual person to pay for gas

Waiting for my credit card to go through, I noticed a sign on the wall. This station has gone 237 days without an accident or injury. I’ve seen these signs before. Every time I see them I think, well, what WAS the accident or injury 237 days ago? I feel I’m owed some explanation. Did a gas pump explode? Did someone get maimed in the car wash? Or did Jed just burn his bottom lip on the coffee pot again?

On second thought, maybe we’re all better off not knowing when the last accident occurred. Let me just live in my happy little universe. Because what if whatever law that’s forcing places to put these signs up spread to other places? I can’t imagine getting on a roller coaster after seeing a “This coaster has gone 237 days without death or dismemberment” sign. Not cool.

And what if the signs were extended to individual citizens? We’d all have to walk around in sandwich boards, “I have gone ___ ___ ___ days without accident or injury. (Mine would rarely be in the double digits).

Today’s number would be 7. It has been seven days since I closed the washing machine on my finger. Oh but wait, Wednesday I slammed my head into the bathroom door jamb while getting ready for bed, so that would make me a 4. Maybe less, depending on what counts as an injury or accident…since on Saturday night I accidently spilled half a glass of rum in my cleavage, so that would put the number down to 1.5 except that… earlier today, while making dinner, I happened to look at the oven window to see flashes of light, and opened the oven door to find tiny grease sizzles jumping up from the tilapia filet to the broiler coils and forming BALLS OF FIRE.

Okay, my number is 2 hours. I have gone 2 hours without an accident or injury. Only then, mere minutes ago, as I was typing the last paragraph, I grabbed my mug of tea but didn’t realize the label and string of the tea bag were tangled in the wrought iron lamp that sits on the end table, so it pulled out and splashed boiling hot water on my hand and the pain shocked me so I dropped the mug and spilled the hot tea onto my cell phone. (I wonder if the contract covers hot beverage related damage?) So that brings me to 5 minutes. I have gone 5 minutes without accident or injury.

Luckily, there is no form to fill out every time an “incident” occurs. If there were, Danny would have an awful lot of paper work on his hands, and he’d probably lose it or crumple it or chew it and then we’d have to fill out another form and Danny would ask why don’t I just fill out the online version of the form next time.

I could just be honest with myself and know that between tripping, stubbing my toe, spilling things, dropping important items in unreachable places, putting my foot in my mouth (figuratively), setting things on fire and the random pangs and twitches that occur throughout my body for no apparent reason, I should just set my number to ZERO and leave it at that.

Print ‘er up….I have gone ZERO days without an accident or injury.