Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FIE YOU, tree roots!

Robert Burns (1759-1796) wrote in a poem, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men /Gang aft a-gley;” translation "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

I believe it was General MacArthur who modified this sentiment to state, "The best-laid plans won't survive the enemy."

In this case, the plans were to attend the final of the season's Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Concerts On the Square. The enemy was a ball of tree roots clogging the exit route for the sewage from my house. The results were a foul cocktail that saturated and ruined my basement carpet and a Persian runner. The terrible reality is, my husband and I have many of these stories that unfold in much the same direction:

*I have a meeting to attend and Sammy pees on Cheddar necessitating an impromtu bath time
An anniversary camping trip mid-July turns into a chilly, muddy, wet, tick-infested bout of Man versus the Elements and Flora and Fauna and Time and Dimension
*A rare date to see Coraline (in 3-D, no less) turns into a dead car battery in a very reliable car (and, yes, the battery was relatively new ... and, yes, we only have and need ONE car)
*My folks' visit to my new home, after I had worked extreme overtime to accommodate my absence from work, turned into a mad rush to my dying grandfather in San Francisco one day after their arrival (he's still very much alive two months later)

The list of time-consumptive, expensive, irratating, and generally disgusting events goes on and on. I am completely unfamiliar with WHO would INTEND any of THESE events to happen. I think that the moral to be derived from these ramblings is clear ... I should greatly minimize the number of social plans I invest more than a few hours time toward. Philip and I settled for a nice, quick, stress-free dinner at one of his favorite haunts, Tex Tubb's Taco Palace ( It was lovely ... and utterly unplanned.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

40 and Lovin' It!

We attended our friend's fortieth birthday bash tonight. These things are happening more often than not these days. He had a great time, but he told us all about how it was expected. Well duh, he IS turning 40-years-old. Next week we'll surprise you with a vintage Winnabago with four flats or a septic system overhaul. Just you wait and see, Suckas!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

With a Name Like ?, It's Got To Be Good ... or Bad

Something is terribly off when you are worried about product placement in your home.

I have an extremely amiable and non-judgmental friend, Connie, who is coming over today at noon to take me out to lunch to celebrate my job loss. She is very kind and well-meaning, so I just didn't have the heart to tell her that I'd like to spend a day glowering and stewing. Naturally, I'm also a little bent that I have to 'tidy up.'

Not only did the dynamic duo -- namely Cheddar and Ham Sammich (Sammy) -- do a number late last night on several houseplants/pots/dirt and a piggy bank I use to put my swear quarters in, but camping gear from last weekend and all the bags filled with what used to be my office are, quite literally, everywhere. It's also smelling a mite sour in here, as there's aromatic evidence that the pups have had a few accidents in the house while I was away. The kid next door often gets sidetracked into fun summer things and forgets his responsibilities.

While cruising around the front room, dining room (full of the aforementioned camping gear), and kitchen, I find myself hiding things. Now when I do this, I often times end up hiding them from myself and now I am questioning my motive. Why don't I want a very dear friend, a neighbor, or even my husband to know I use this or that? Why stress over something so silly? I'll tell you why, because we market and PR ourselves to no end.

We are very careful not to be seen as offensive or dirty or gluttonous or passive. We foster the illusion of ingenuousness and candidness. We like those who know us, love us or not, to know us as we wish them to know us. We manipulate the details of our environment to tailor our outward appearance to what we wish that person to see of our taste and talent. I am a common enigma. My house is full of objets d'art and products from all over the globe AND I pride myself on my efforts these last few years to become a decent localvore of seasonal food and products of Wisconsin/Midwestern origin.

So, you might ask, "What are you hiding?" Well, in this particular instance, I am stashing away the likes of DVDs I own and plan to watch (Religulous and Magnolia), books I want to read soon (Simple Prosperity), mail order catalogues (AMERICAN SCIENCE & SURPLUS), and any objects brought home from my cubicle (she sits in the next cubicle over).

Now, you might ask, "Why are you hiding these things?" I may answer that the office stuff is pretty obvious. The other stuff ... well ... I have no idea whatsoever. I only know that for some compelling reason, I do not want her to see these things. Self-analysis is futile. I prefer to redirect my atttention toward 'tidying up.'

The next time you find yourself hiding something from someone's view for some unknown reason, just chalk it up to good PR and public image preservation and move on. I know I am and my home will look and smell all the sweeter for it.