The Comfort of Knowledge

Rabbit is out of town with her Girl Scout troop, attending an Apple Festival in a town 50 miles away, sleeping in bunk beds in the lodge, picking apples, getting muddy and hopefully having a good time.

PC and I took the opportunity of an evening without her to go out to eat at a restaurant where chicken fingers do NOT appear on the menu anywhere. We had been to this restaurant a few years ago on our 23rd or 24th anniversary and liked the atmosphere and the food.

Tonight he had a ribeye steak and a glass of pinot noir. I had seared scallops, risotto, green beans…with a garnish of bacon and onion jam (which was delicious but very rich). We had coffee and dessert afterward and drifted home stuffed and happy.

Walking in the door of the house, PC exclaimed “Have you seen my phone?” I dryly thought “Not since you took it out at the restaurant to look up the Oscar Pistorius verdict and I told you to put it away.” I thought it but did not say it.

He had apparently set it on top of his coat, folded in the chair next to him, and it had slid off his coat onto the floor when we got up to leave. The waitress had found it and was holding it at the front of the restaurant, hoping someone would come for it. He sped off in his truck to go across town for his phone before I had even put my purse down. He is lost without his phone.

My husband loves having a smartphone: he can look things up on the Internet no matter where he is and, as someone to whom being right is supremely important, this is an invaluable tool.

Here is a brief list of things my husband has researched (or should have researched years ago, based on the number of times the topics have come up over the last 27 years) on his iPhone while we have been eating or watching movies or traveling for hours on long car trips:
1. How many ounces in a magnum of champagne?
2. The name of that guy starring opposite James Gandolfini in that new movie.
3. When did Peter Falk die?
4. Who narrates that car commercial?
5. What time does the Nebraska vs Fresno State game start?
6. Which states do not observe daylight saving time?
7. How many ounces in a shot glass?
8. Does the treasury still print $2 bills?
9. Is a clementine the same thing as a mandarin orange?
10. What is the highest auction price for a Winchester rifle?
11. What year was Mark Twain born?
12. Which philosopher observed that intelligence is invisible to the man who has none? (Schopenhauer?)
13. What year was Vatican II?

The nice thing for PC is that his little portable argument solver/encyclopedia/ready reference guide is also a versatile device that can be used occasionally for phone calls, or for texting his wife. For example, while he was watching the News Hour on PBS in the garage the other night, he texted me to ask “Hey, did you know that Prince William and his wife are expecting another baby?”

To which I texted back “Of course. I follow that sh*t like Fantasy Football.”

Hair Today, Gone in June

Oh by the way.
I got all my hair cut off.

It started out in June (I think) that I went to Annette and said I was ready for a change. She cut off several inches and although I wanted it cut to be above my ears, she felt a gradual approach would be best. Over the next couple of months, we gradually went shorter. By August, I had it the way I wanted, which was an asymmetrical “pixie” modification, with highlights.

I love it. The long hair, while flattering, was a pain to maintain and most days it ended up in a ponytail or a clipped up twist. This is not to say I won’t eventually grow it out again, because I might. For now, though, especially in the summer, it is nice to have short hair.

PC is not really a fan – he told me he prefers my hair longer. Oh. WELL.

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King of Glory, Chocolate Cake

A deeply held and seldom drawn well of Catholicism overflowed from me yesterday as I vainly struggled to keep my grip on a six foot tall bookcase I was trying to ease down the carpeted basement stairs without assistance. As it slid down a step and my arm became caught behind it, I felt that I should call upon a higher power for assistance. I involuntarily shouted “The King of Glory Comes The Nation Rejoices,” a line from a song I have not sung or heard in over 30 years. [For those of you who remember, isn’t the next line “Open the gates before him lift up your voices”?]

I believe God heard me and spared my life, but not the bookcase. It sickeningly dragged itself across my arm, pinned to the stairway wall, and smartly pinched the friendly portion of matronly fat beneath my bicep until I reversed myself and called upon the king of Glory to damn that bookcase straight to hell.

It raced to the bottom of the stairs and wedged itself into the wall, and couldn’t be moved until PC came home to help me and stood there, staring, shaking his head. Consequently, I came away from this most religious experience with a newfound knowledge: God will help you, but you really should have a spotter.

In other news, the kitchen is painted!
BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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My husband, the professional painter, took on a mammoth task of prepping my filthy cabinets and spraying them a creamy white, and prepping my beat up kitchen walls and painting them Mindful Grey. We pulled all the tape and paper last night and last night we had a sit-down meal at our kitchen table as a family for the first time in almost two weeks.

I am so grateful for this kitchen renovation; grateful that PC did such a nice job, grateful to still be married….the intensity of the frustration and irritation are not to be underestimated – we were murderously angry at many points in this little project.

And now, I am sitting at my kitchen table, my favorite spot in the house. A fresh chocolate cake (minus one piece – taking one for the team) is on the counter. The dishwasher is humming away and there’s a cinnamon apple candle burning nearby. I’m making a grocery list for tomorrow’s joyride to Trader Joe’s. Hopefully tomorrow the cats will all be released from their various prisons (all convalescing from various veterinary indignities and emergencies) and we can be snuggling on the sofa together or watching them wrestle in the kitchen.

I have said it so many times; find joy in the small things, find pockets of holiness in the joy of your life. You don’t need to shout lyrics from old Catholic songs – you just have to know you are not God, and that you can’t control the world. You can only experience it and choose to either love it or not.

Mic Check

Tap…tap…

Testing 1..2..3..

I thought about starting up a new blog and even had a name picked out for it and everything, but when I went to write something, there was no voice there.  I didn’t feel like explaining to someone who might stumble upon it why there was so much about hair or cats or real estate or Alzheimer’s disease – explaining who I am is just so damn much work.

And I have missed this thing.  I have missed having someone to talk to, even if it is only myself.

If it’s okay, I’d like to catch you up on what’s been happening, which is EVERYTHING.

Rabbit is going to be twelve years old soon!  She has braces and started middle school this month, and will be starting on prescription acne medication next month.  She also, this week, announced she has come down with another case of motherthumping HEAD LICE.

Which is fun because we are also tits-deep in a home renovation project involving our kitchen, so everything from that room is stacked in the living room and hallway.  So. Much. Stuff.  I am already a wreck with that because the fridge is masked off with painter’s plastic and I can’t eat my feelings like I am accustomed to.  We are living on fast food and pop tarts, the household cleaners are packed in a box in a far corner, and Hazel (our old cat) is so worked up about the disruptions, she has stopped using her litter box, preferring instead to leave gifts on beds, rugs or in the middle of the basement floor.

Part of it, I’m sure, stems from her disgust with new members of our family.  Rabbit’s cat, Flower (whom she got from Santa in 2007) died in May, after swiftly deteriorating mental and physical health required us to have him put to sleep.  Hazel always hated good old Flower and was ecstatic for the few weeks she was again a solo cat up until Memorial Day weekend, when we drove to a farmhouse near town and chose two very very small kittens to be companions for each other and our daughter (and us).  They were only five weeks old and when we set them down in the house, we were all goners.

So we have Buttercup (a boy) and Ivy (a girl).  This is not supposed to be a blog about cats, but you guys.  They are so ridiculously cute.

Hazel despises them.  And she kind of despises us now, too.  And now we have three cats.

The kittens were neutered/spayed and declawed last week.  Ivy tore open her abdominal sutures Saturday, mere minutes after the vet’s regular closing time.  We took her to the emergency vet, who must drive a Rolls Royce, based on projected revenues from veterinary procedures they perform at double the regular rate because they are open after hours.  The kittens are confined to my office for two weeks, wearing little blue fabric cones around their heads to keep them from getting at their surgical sutures.  They look like little blossoms of muchkinland flowers from The Wizard of Oz.

So, to recap: my kitchen is torn up, the house is more of a shambles than ever, my home office is now a convalescent ward for kittens and has litter boxes in it, I am banned from my kitchen and fridge, my 12 year old cat is shitting all over the house, my daughter is in middle school and just announced that on top of everything else, we get to comb lice and eggs from her hair and do endless loads of laundry.

On the bright side, I have a beautiful new washer and dryer that steams the clothes.  I have a husband who is a professional painter, who set aside a week of his business to paint my kitchen cabinets, trim and walls, and brought in a laborer to help him.  For PCs services, we don’t have to write a check – just keep the coffee flowing and make sure he gets a good night’s sleep after a bourbon and Coke in the evening.  My daughter is a huge help with the kittens and is enjoying middle school so far.  Our back yard was recently cleared of brush and old debris and a broken swing set, and Rabbit decorated Flower’s grave beautifully to blend in with the landscaping.  We will soon be getting a new patio where the old deck had to be torn off.

Home life is absolutely nuts, but our families are doing fairly well.  My mother in law is getting remarried next month, God bless her!  My mom is getting moved about six hours closer to me to an assisted living facility near her hometown and two of her sisters – it will only take me two hours to drive to her now.  PC’s painting business is steady.  My real estate business is steady and improving, although it’ll be a chore to match last year, which was freakishly productive.  My brother continues to do well after years of struggle – he’s been in an apartment for two years and works a full time job with support from his case worker.  He has not been homeless in three years.

HOW IN THE WORLD ARE YOU?

And All Of The Old Has Been Swept Away

Over 1,500 posts have been trashed.  But not before being backed up onto Pressbook for future editing and possible later publication in print or e-book format. I figure that out of 1,560 posts, there should be a book or two that can be wrung from the contents.

I started this blog in June of 2006 – nearly eight years ago.  In that time, I have written about love and death and birth and joy and poop and hair and television.  Politics, veganism, cattle, Wal-Mart, and consignment stores.

I have raged and ranted, cried and laughed and waxed rhapsodic.  Readers have come and gone and there are a few faithful who still tune in occasionally to see if I’m alive, or still writing.

I am.  Still writing, that is.  To be more specific, I am re-writing.  I am taking what I put out into the ether and making from it a silk purse.  I thank you for reading, for sharing your lives with me, for sharing in the evolving story that has been my life.

Email me at marymurtzblogger@gmail.com for more info on where to find and read me in the future.

And from the bottom of my heart:  THANK YOU.