Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blow Up the TV

It's a good night to tell you about what I hate.

I hate the television.

"Were you watching something?" Mike asked as he walked into the room. Yes, as a matter of fact, I was. I was watching a stupid romantic comedy and I was curious about how it would end.

"No," I said. I know that he wasn't asking if I was watching TV, because we both could see that I was. He was asking if he could change the channel.

The menu tonight didn't include me, a horror flick. I hate horror movies. I don't need to be scared. I'm scared enough as it is. Every night, I check to make sure the front door is locked. Sometimes it isn't, especially when Nick has taken out the garbage. Nick didn't take out the garbage tonight, though I asked him, twice, but I'll still check the front door before I go into bed. Teddy walks downstairs with me. It helps.

The moment, after everyone else is asleep, when I walk into the foyer, flip the light, and look at the dead bolt, I imagine the handle turning ever so slightly as I watch it. Stephen King would be proud. Yes, I had to stop reading his novels too. They were just a little too good at what they did. What's down under the sewer grate? What's in the back of the closet? What is on the other side of that door? No, I don't want to watch another horror movie. I make an exception for horror comedy. 'Sean of the Dead' is one of my favorite movies. 'I Am Legend,' though, still tortures me, though Mike says it wasn't that scary, those crazy faces leaping out of the dark with their gaping mouths, the abyss lying down their deep throats.

No, I don't want to see his movie tonight, not ever. I don't even want to look at the cover.

Now, I have to either leave the room or turn my back and log onto the computer. I opted for Facebook on the computer. I couldn't hear the shared videos that I tried to listen to. Mike asked if I wanted him to put on the headphones. I did, but I wasn't willing to say it. I am not the alpha dog in our home, despite what my son might think.

But reading the rest of the Facebook posts didn't help either. It was the screaming. I can't stand the screaming overlaid with the music indicating fear and suspense. The music doesn't help. I'm particularly susceptible to the effects of music. It's why my jumbled mess on my iPhone throws me off so easily. It jumps from one type of music to another leaving me confused and frustrated. I really need to take the time to make playlists for it. Mike's movie doesn't leave me confused. It leads me down the blind alley of horror flicks. Without the screen to guide me, it's often worse, my own imagination taking hold and explaining the agonizing screams.

I try not to stay there, but focus on what I'm reading. I latch onto supportive and funny reposts, but I can't not hear the TV. The screaming, the breathing, even.

Finally, I put an audio book on in the kitchen and do a load of dishes. I really didn't plan to get up and do more work at 10:45 at night, but it helped. What I really need is a library, a room with comfy chairs whose walls are lined with books and art. I'd like to have a quiet room. We used to have a decent couch in the den, but these days, it's taken over with camping gear and the futon is broken in a half-upright, half-flat state. I worry that if I try to sit on it, I'll end up on the floor, jarring my back, and in any case, it isn't comfortable. Mike says he's going to fix it. I wonder if that will be after he mows the lawn, hangs my bulletin board, finishes building the railing on the back steps, and replanks the deck. No, he's not going to fix it yet he doesn't want me to throw it away and get a new one. I know he's overwhelmed, so I try not to bother him with it. It's why I let him take over the TV at night too. I know he needs a break.

I wish the TV could go off at some point. I can tell it isn't good for me, especially the incessant screaming of horror. Finally, when I hear the music from 'Lord of the Rings' I'm relieved and go back into the living room to spend a few minutes of quality time with Mike, me at the computer, him watching TV. It's a lovely scene, isn't it?

Oh, I hate the television.

Thank you for listening, jules

Thursday, September 5, 2013


The computer didn't work. It wasn't charging even though the plug was plugged in. The boy decided to yell at me while I was trying to make turkey burgers. Yup. Turkey. Good name for what's happening, don't you think? I'm not calling anyone names here. Really, I'm not.

1 pound ground turkey

I washed my hands in the middle of working with the turkey and then double-checked connections. No problem that I could see.

2 tablespoons olive oil

The computer stopped functioning altogether. I abandoned the spices I was staring at in my cabinet.

"I'm not available," I chimed in at the summons from Nick, though I walked into the living room and looked over his shoulder first before saying it. Mike was playing video games and I was on dinner duty. Why is it my problem?

1 teaspoon garlic powder

It's my problem because I'm the homework helper. But, I can not claim to be an IT kind of person. I walked back into the kitchen.

1 teaspoon white pepper

"Mike, can you help with this?" I yelled from the kitchen.

1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Mike figured out, while I came back into the living room and stood there, my hands in the air like a surgeon, that the switch on the power strip had been turned off. The cat probably walked on it.

1/2 teaspoon chili seasoning

Then, the roasted potatoes decided to smoke me out of the kitchen even though they weren't nearly done. The cooking spray was burning.

1/4 teaspoon salt

Somebody - I won't name names here - saved a file in some strange place without bothering to manage where it was going, so homework got lost. Magically, that was my fault too, though I didn't have a hand on the computer at the time.

Blend all ingredients well in a bowl.

"Get over here and help me. Now!" Nick yelled. I heard an echo of my own voice and was humiliated at the thought.

Form into patties.

"You can sit on the stairs until you decide to treat people with respect," I chimed in from the kitchen. Nick didn't move. My hands went back into surgeon position and I walked out into the living room to stare him down.

"Now," I said, trying to use a quieter tone than he had used. He glared at me and sauntered to his timeout spot.

Grill patties and just before taking the cooked patties off the heat, add sliced cheddar to each.

"I'm sorry dad," Nick said as he rose from the stairs and returned to the computer to finish his work.

Serve on a toasted English muffin with mayonnaise, mustard, a slice of dill pickle, and a thick slice of the neighbor's tomato. Life is delicious. Don't you think?

Thank you for listening, jules


Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Philosophy of Cleaning

My eyelid is swelling. I don't know why. I hate when that happens. The last time I did that, I found out that I was allergic to shrimp. I love shrimp, so it stinks. I don't know what I'm allergic to today. Hopefully, it's my laundry detergent.

There are only two days until school starts. I have to admit that I'm ready. I want a schedule. I want to be able to go back to sleep after the kid goes to school. I want to clean my dirty house. Okay, I don't want to clean my dirty house. I don't, but there was a guy, today, who was showing me photos of his house. It was beautiful. It was clean. He'd painted it inside and out himself. I wanted to go sit in his house until my house was clean.

I don't want anyone seeing how dirty my house is either. I don't want someone else rearranging my stuff, using their own methods to do my dishes, my laundry, dust. Not interested. One week in Hawaii with the women moving stuff away from where I put it was enough of that. If I put my shoes by the door, I want them to be by the door when I come back into the room later.

It's an easy place for mind games to begin. They tell you about your slovenly nature by the way they reorganize your shoes. Sometimes mind games are fun, but not when you're on the receiving end.

This is boring.

So, why is it important to clean your house?

So you feel welcome when you sit down on your couch. That's all. You want to feel cozy, comfortable. If your stack of books by the recliner makes you happy, you should leave it there, let it lie, forget that there's a world of moms out there who would tell you to put away that pile of stuff and while you're at it, put that glass of water into the sink.

It doesn't help to have someone else do the work for you. That kind of thing just twists your perception of reality, messes with your affect on the world. Tell that to a bunch of litter bugs.

Tell that to the people who cut in line in front of you, thinking they're entitled. Don't you hate those people? They should never have been allowed to hire house cleaners. If your work is so important that you don't have time to clean, tough. Make the time. Hire people to manage your money. Hire people to fix your car, grow your food, shop for your groceries, even, but wipe your own piss off the sides of your toilet. Do you know what I mean?

Is it relevant to have a philosophy of cleaning?

I think so. You don't? Have you ever been in a house that's so clean you can't relax? Have you ever sat on a couch so dirty you couldn't lean back? Did you ever say 'No, thank you' to lemonade because you got a look at the crumbs on the counter or the film on the drinking glasses?

Yup! You have a philosophy of cleaning.

So, which is it? Clean, dirty, or in between?

I'm a big fan of in between.

And right now, after yet another vacation and just before school starts, my house is leaning toward the dark side. It's not quite evil, but it isn't welcoming either.

I'm out of shape too. It turns out that all those summer activities weren't as good for me as walking my dog.

So, here's my plan:

The first day of school, I'm not going to schedule anything, maybe the second day too. Then, on the third day, I'm going to get to work, scrubbing, reorganizing, donating, walking the dog, making my living room inviting again, and cooking some decent meals.

I ate a lot of crap this summer too.

Thanks for listening, jules