Monday, July 31, 2006

I Heart New Jersey

I appear to be in love with NJ. I've been to various parts of it 3 times in the last two weeks--last weekend for Tara's bridal shower, then Saturday for Julie and Danny's baby shower, and then yesterday to go to the ocean. It's really not a bad drive, but I'm done with it for the next two months, unless we stay over night.

Shawn bought a mantel remnant from Restore on Sunday and our friend Carrie was nice enough to drive us over to pick it up in her hot blue truck. The mantel is now situated in the lounge/record player room/parlor. We need help deciding what to put in the area where the fire would typically go. Here are five suggestions:

1. Of course, candles, but that's kind of cliche.

2. An aquarium but who knows where we'd find an aquarium that's two feet high by two inches wide and wouldn't the fish get stuck sideways? Shawn said, Hey, we can build our own aquarium. I said, You realize it has to be waterproof right? He said, We'll calk it shut. He dreams big.

3. Lite Brite or ant farm or puppet shadow theatre.

4. Bubbly water fountain thing.

5. Fake logs.

This is what it kind of resembles except is has absolutely none of this ornamentation and it's like $1,600 cheaper and made of chestnut instead of marble. Otherwise, a dead ringer:














It's so weird to be in a house now. You start looking at everything a little differently; or at least paying attention to different details. I notice people's doorknobs now and lighting fixtures. I notice shutters on windows and mailboxes. Shawn calls it "house porn;" we're totally fixated by lawn balls and tiki lamps because we want them for our own. I found myself pouring over the "hot" and "cold" faucet handles in restore as if it really made a difference in my life. But oh why can't we have lawn furniture????

Friday, July 28, 2006

Kitty in the Bedsprings...

You have to say the title in a spooky voice ala Lady in the Water, the new movie that looks possibly really stupid though I confess I had a bad dream about it last night; a bad dream about a movie I haven't even seen. I think in the dream, this woman was pushed over a bridge and was drowning over and over again and haunting people because of it. But okay I just watched the movie trailer with QuickTime and it appears that it's about this fairy tale woman who shows up in a pool and accidentally unleashes these bad people from another world. Huh?

But I digress. The original purpose for the title is in reference to Henri's new hiding place. When moving in, we discovered Shawn's boxspring wouldn't fit and so we had to saw it in half. The attempt was somewhat unsuccessful in that it disallowed for later putting the springs on an actual frame. Instead, it's on the floor as though we're still in college. There are two perfect rips on either side of the boxspring that Henri somehow discovered and now he likes to hide out underneath us when he gets scared, all up in the boxspring which has a narrow passage he can crouch in. Shawn likes to whisper, Do you hear scratching? That's the kitty in the boxpring...

Went to Circle Thrift last night to paw through their junk. Two girls came in and one said, "What exactly are you looking for?" The other girl said, "I don't know. Something funky for the wedding." They came upon the old discarded 1980s style wedding dresses and the one girl said, "Omigod, what if I wore a wedding dress to the wedding? And then in all the pictures at the reception of the bride and groom, I'd just be this figure standing in the background in this horrible cast-off wedding dress." I thought it was a fabulous idea.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Remember Pizza Parties?

We're having one today for a student worker who is leaving---she's going off to law school at Drexel. I think the last time I went to a pizza party was maybe in tenth grade and it was probably with the church youth group I belonged to (for the sole purpose of trying to make Rob Dittmer fall in love with me. Didn't work). We didn't drink or smoke or swear so pizza and Jesus were all we had. Oh, and Christian rock (RD was in a Christian rock band that actually toured for awhile to a bunch of venues and churches). It seems like we were always having pizza parties in middle school--could it possibly have happened every Friday? No, I think it was more like something at the end of the year. Good Luck in 8th Grade Pizza Parties!! Reminds me of slumber parties which I never liked because there was always one hyper girl who tried to force everyone to stay awake all night long as though that were the coolest thing ever. And you had to play "Light as a Feather...Stiff as a Board" which never worked but creeped everybody out. Or "Bloody Mary," another creepy game where you go into a dark bathroom and spin around thirteen times repeating, I do not believe in Bloody Mary after each spin and then when you look in the mirror after the last time, you will see Bloody Mary's face looking back at you!

Shawn and I had a Scotch Party last night. We went to eat at Taste, the only byob in a 5 mile radius of Fishtown. We brought some beer, but then the owner, Billy, a very gregarious and friendly man, opened a bottle of Scotch and keep pouring us glasses. He explained too that you don't sip Scotch--you drink it like a shot. I'd estimate we had about 4-5 big shots of Scotch. Needless to say, neither one of us wants to smell alcohol ever ever again. I do recommend Taste, by the way. I do not recommend slumber parties or Scotch parties, however.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Am Charlotte Simmons

That's the book we're reading for the September book club and though I've never read any other Tom Wolfe books, I dove right into this one and like it a lot. He has one line I read this morning where he describes a timid mother as "a lab rabbit" which I thought captured her perfectly.

More Fishtown news:

*Kali told me that there was a naked fifteen year old girl standing outside of Crazy Fish peeing the other night (this is the bar near the house where I've gone by myself and met a 58 year old guy who bought me a shot before going off to meet is young mistress. After he left, I had a conversation with an older lady who was drinking and smoking and she told me about how she had cancer). Later, a friend from work dismissed the naked kid, saying she had spotted a 40 year old woman naked and peeing outside of a bar in Center City, so maybe it's just a new fad.

*I am scared of teen boys in long white t-shirts. They're on every corner. Kali is not scared of them. She runs out of the house brandishing a rolling pin and screaming. She's happy to be known by the kids on her block as the insane lady.

*We stopped in the Lost Bar off of Frankford Avenue and met one of the bartenders who was very nice and offered to send out for pizza. They have a pool table and Ms. PacMan and an aquarium. We will most likely return.

*Gretel has become a wild cat. We were out in the back on Sunday and she squatted down to pee in the dirt and then buried it. Good girl!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Italian Stallion and I

Dear Joey,

I realize we barely know each other, but from the moment I first saw your well-oiled, muscular body at the Cave on Saturday night, I understood that we are meant to be together. Remember what you were wearing? Remember how you came out on-stage in those cute overalls with a white wife beater and construction boots? You carried a Goodrich tire which you bounced seductively right in front of me. The room rang with the screams of women and young ladies waving dollar bills toward you. Cameras flashed in your doe eyes, making you blink, though you never once faltered in your striptease. I saw soon-to-be-married women in their Bachelorette gear jumping up and down, overweight suburban secretaries, and bleached blond, fake tanned ho's vying for your attention. You gave the crowd a brave, toothy grin while simultaneously ripping off your pants to reveal your tight spandex underwear. It was so beautiful. That's when you glanced over at me. I hope you could see that I wasn't acting like the other girls. I wasn't jumping up and down or clutching my face or playing the fool. I was trying to show you that I want to know the REAL you; the man behind the spiked hair and diamond clip on earring. I wondered, What does he do for fun? Where did he grow up? Does he collect anything like maybe ships in a bottle? What are his true dreams? You winked at me in that moment and I knew we shared something true. When you came around to collect dollar bills placing your pelvis in my face, your eyes lit up when you noticed I held a five instead of a one. I slid it into the waistband of your jock, but was careful not to grope you like the other girls had done--like you were some kind of exotic animal or a dolphin or something. I couldn't believe it when you leaned down and kissed me on the mouth! I could smell your rough cologne and taste the bubblegum on your lips. I will never forget it.

I only regret that when I ran from the building to withdraw more money from my ATM, I missed my chance at a lap dance with you. But I will be back, Joey. I will be there on Friday and Saturday and Sunday (possibly Monday if my book club is cancelled).

Until then!

Love,

The Woman in the Hawaiian Print Caftan

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fame without fortune

Shawn has made it into the cover story for the latest version of Philadelphia Weekly with his brilliant urban planner knowledge. There's even a picture of him looking earnest and heartfelt in his beard.

Took the number 3 bus again today. Interesting mix of people on board, including an overweight woman with an oxygen tube up her nose, lugging the tank in a large white handbag. It's much more precarious to hold coffee on the bus than on the subway because the bus stops more suddenly, sending people swaying into one another. It's exciting that way.

In other news, just a minor complaint about what "kids-these-days" are wearing. Like, I think it's cool to be comfortable in your clothes. It beats the hell out of the clothes I wore in middle school--tight designer jeans (except I didn't have designer jeans), long sleeved shirts with lyrex sparkles, tons of hair spray and bangle bracelets, sweatshirts with "Relax, Don't Do It!" air-brushed across the front, pincy high heels. I don't wish for those fashion days to return (though they slowly are if you shop at H & M), but I also am a little offended by the college campus trend of wearing your p.j.s and/or work out clothes in public. Was behind this girl today who had on tight gray cotton leggings with a wide hem, a thin white t-shirt, and sneakers. She would've been fine if she were booking it to a weight-lifting class, but she wasn't. This is not okay:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why'd Youse Tear Out the Carpet Anyways? Was it Broked?

Our old neighbor-ladies wanted to know why we got rid of all that perfectly good dog-stained carpet in the house (they saw it sitting outside for the garbage people to pick up). Francis, who had a carton of Marlboro Lights next to her, asked me if there was something wrong with the carpet. I didn't know exactly how to answer because I didn't want to say, Yes, the carpet was super ugly and smelly and then have her say that she has the exact same carpeting or that she was best friends forever with the previous owner. I also didn't want to sound frivolous or like we were ripping it up to increase the value of the house because we don't plan on sticking around forever. I think I said something like, Oh, we just love hard wood floors so much!

Three guys from Mambo Movers did most of the packing and unpacking for us. I highly recommend them, but only if you yourself can refrain from carrying boxes, etc. It's difficult to stand there in the shade while they trek in and out of a hot truck with your precious little boxes of crap. So if you're going to hire movers, go to the swimming pool while they unload. Except you can't really do that because they won't know where to put anything. The other option would be to put your arm in a sling. That way, you couldn't possibly pick anything up.

We painted the bedroom all day Sunday and we sweated off ten pounds each. I think Shawn worked harder--he scrubbed the hardwood floor about three times and it was still dirty. Here is our bedroom before we moved in the furniture. Please note the beautiful painting job:


Shawn also installed the ceiling fan, a job that he looked up on the Web to discover that it was of "intermediate" difficulty. If you look to the right of the picture, you'll see where we ripped out an entire closet and you can also see the little built in shelves on the side for storing sweaters, shoes, and various dildos. (WHAT?). The wall color looks much mintier here than it does in real life. I'd also appreciate it if you'd note the floors which used to have the carpet on them that we wastefully tore out to have those dusty hardwood floors revealed.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Girl Who Dies with the Most Bones Protruding Wins

Seriously, I feel like it's a competition lately among the YAT (Young and Talentless) to see who can make it on the front covers of US Weekly and People because of their anorexia. They need to publish really gross pictures of people with anorexia--like, let's see the bald patch on the back of Nicole Ritchie's bubble head or the fur growing on the stomach of Keira Knightley or let's talk about how everyone in Hollywood has an eating disorder. Does no one notice that Nicole Kidman has for the last decade or so weight about 90 pounds and 5 pounds of that is her heavy curly hair? I can see a bunch of actor's agents talking to their clients, Look, just stop eating for like 3 weeks. We've got an awards ceremony coming up and you haven't been in the public eye for months! You need to shrivel up! We are going to need to see ribs and collarbones and I don't care what it takes.

Also, am I supposed to feel bad? I know Hollywood is competitive and cut-throat and you can never be too rich or too thin, but can't anyone figure out how to be attractive and healthy? Or thin but well nourished? Do yoga. Meditate. You have all this money, use it for something good

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The new Borat/Ali G. movie will soon be out!

I can't wait! My friend Julie just sent me the link to the trailer.

Good bye and Good Luck Bella Vista. Hope to have you in some classes next year...

In two days, we move to Fishy Fish Town and there will be no turning back. The difference in neighborhoods is striking. Bella Vista is more anonymous, the residents keep to themselves, and you hardly ever see the same person twice. In Fishy Fish, I've met about twenty-five percent of the population already. Let's see...There's Daniel, the possibly stoned clerk at Circle Thrift off Frankford who gave us a deal on the ugly sofa and chair we bought Saturday. Then I met the butcher across the street who gave me advice on how to unclog my bathroom sink (hey, use a plunger). The man working at the ice cream shop/pizzeria/drug store on the corner of Norris and Memphis already calls me sweetheart, and our next door neighbor's name is Eugene. I met Angela the disgruntled teen on Friday night and her little dog whose name escapes me. My friend Kali and I were introduced to two other dogs, a hyper Pekinese named Sandy and a lab type dog named Lou-Lou (I think). In Bella Vista, I know the slightly retarded guy next door and his senile 86 year old mother who always thinks she's lost her cat (the funniest thing she ever said to me was, It's a shame! I've had that cat since she was a puppy!). But on one hand, I enjoy the anonymity of Bella Vista--I like my privacy.

What else? Fishy Fish isn't as well maintained as Bella Vista. The streets have garbage on the curbs and the neighbor two doors down from us keeps her dryer on the front porch (You also get a sense of this underlying tension among the neighbors--they've known each other for years and years and so even if you wanted to stop being that punk who used to smoke cigarettes on the corner, you could never really escape that label. "Remember when little Johnny used to light his sister's hair on fire with sparklers? I knew he'd turn out bad"). And obviously, Fishtown doesn't have the same number of options for shopping or restaurants though truthfully, I go to the same places pretty much every time I shop or eat out. We'll have the Rocket Cat Cafe on the corner--a little hipster joint that only accepts cash and they're building a bistro nearby too. We'll see.

I am going to become a gardener, that's one new thing. We have a front and a back yard and I can't tell you how satisfying it is to yank weeds out of the ground. It feels heroic--like all the other plants are silently cheering me on.

Here's a little fact about our street stolen from the Internet:

That brings us to Norris Street. Named for previously mentioned Isaac Norris, a
wealthy merchant and diplomat who arrived in Philadelphia from London, in 1693.
Isaac Norris had an active civic life, including speaker of the assembly, a member
of the Provincial Council, and as Mayor of Philadelphia. The road that later
became Norris Street, was originally Lancaster Street and ran from the Delaware
River to 2nd Street. The name changed from Lancaster to Norris in 1858, due
mainly to the land surrounding the road once being owned by the Norris Family.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dude, Where's My Car?

Here's a little cautionary tale for youse all, though I'm not yet sure what the lesson is. I think it has something to do with drunk driving, but not really as no one was harmed in the making of this story.

Went to happy hour with co-workers on Friday night--to Ludwig's AGAIN and had four tall beers in about fifteen minutes. Left there to go meet Shawn and friends at the Fishtown house and drank another beer. Decided that I must leave that instant and demanded my car keys from Shawn. Drove home and could not find a parking space (in the one loop I made) and so parked the car somewhat illegally in the free municipal lot between 7th and 8th street off Christian. Walked to my apartment, devoured fistfuls of cereal straight from the box, and went to bed. Shawn arrived home a few hours later, but I barely noticed.

The next morning, Shawn left to get started on the house and Liz delivered about 25 boxes for him to use when he packs, which I'm guessing will happen about 15 minutes before the movers arrive. She and I drove over to the municipal lot to pick up my car which was, in fact, gone. Liz said, Are you sure you parked here? I was pretty sure--89.5 % sure. We sat in her car, using up all her gasoline while I called six different numbers trying to locate where my car had been towed. You know what they authorities ask you if you're trying to locate your possibly towed car? They will request your license plate number. I don't know about you, but this is not something I've memorized like say, my phone number. Then they'll pretend not to be able to look for your car without the license plate number, but that is not true. You can also tell them the make and model and they can search that way, though they don't want to. So, we went through this process about six times and no one could find my car, though I feel bad for the guy on 43rd street whose silver Mazda was towed at 12:38 AM. I started to consider the other option--that my car had been stolen. Truthfully, I prefered the later option as it would mean I wouldn't have to come up with $300 cash to pay towing fees. Finally, Liz had the brilliant idea to call Shawn and tell him what was going on. She called him and told him the situation and he said, Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that I moved the car last night.

There are several lessons to be learned from this story:

1. Don't park illegally in municipal lot after driving home from the bar.
2. Memorize your license plate number in case your car turns up missing.
3. Do not give your partner access to car keys as s/he may forget to tell you that s/he has relocated the car to a different spot in the middle of the night b/c s/he had a substance in the car s/he wanted to get.

And they all lived happily ever after...

Thursday, July 6, 2006

This happens every single night at around ten or eleven PM

Henri has his routine. It includes meowing in the morning after my alarm has gone off, wobbling to the food bowl when I fill it, pooping on the floor in the office, hiding in the bathroom closet, and this, his ten minutes of love per day:
















And here is a picture of yours truly's legs in H&M pull up stockings ($7.50), stepping on the landing of our new house before ripping the shit out of the floor.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Ennui, Henri (say that ten times fast. It makes your mouth hurt)

The World Cup is ruining my life. It causes my boyfriend to drink too much on Saturday afternoons and pass out face first on our bed and lie there for hours drooling all over the quilt my mother made. It has caused me to drink too much and be similarly out -of-order too. It has caused Shawn's little work crush to replan her life around where he might or might not show up for the game so she can stand around smoking nervously and trying not to look at him and to also pretend that I'm not there. There is nothing I love more than to spend my 4th of July crushed in a booth in a crowded bar full of drunk Penn graduate students trading unclever quips throughout the match (including one fat guy with a mullet who yelled, "Motherf-ing faggot!" to my favorite player, that German goalie after the ball got away from him in the last minute and a half). Two more games to go. May the best team win and win quickly.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Let Freedom Fries Ring for White People!

Or "Happy Independence Day!" We're celebrating the 4th by watching the World Cup at Ludwig's. I think Germany is playing Bangladesh. We're rooting for Germany. It's interesting to watch a game that lasts ninety plus minutes and where usually only one or two goals are scored the entire time. Is it rude for me to finish my book in the bar? Because I'm reading Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone after having finished his later book last week, I Know This Much is True. I didn't think I'd like either book that much as they have Oprah's stamp of approval and god knows I'm snotty about that kind of stuff, but they've both been enjoyable reads. Would've been even better if I'd been able to read them while lying on the beach, but we're stuck here for the time being.

Carrie was telling us this story yesterday about how her friend Andy's girlfriend called him "common" because he wouldn't take a hard enough stance on Hegel or some other philosopher (I tried first to type "Kierkigaard" and then "Nietzche" but I obviously don't know how to spell either name). That's the kind of things academics break up over. Us regular folk struggle with things like trust and commitment and who will be in charge of the garbage. Could you imagine dating someone who didn't see anything wrong with saying your views are "common?" As if the masses have taken an uneducated stance on Hegel. As if you hear discussions about Hegel's philosoph all the time in line at the grocery store and they are just totally ill-informed.

More later....

Monday, July 3, 2006

Where did I leave my tool belt this time?

Shawn and I have become the kind of people who should wear their keys on their jeans. We actually went to Home Depot to buy shit yesterday. For the uninitiated, here's an array of the items you can purchase at HD: a spanking new toilet, Sponge Bob wallpaper, curtains, ugly Oriental rugs, shrubs, Martha Stewart's Living magazine, Diet Coke, candy bars, door knobs, doors, a mini saw, a chain saw, chain link fences, ceiling fans, sauna tubs, and flooring. I know this may not be surprising to everyone, but it was overwhelming to me. I couldn't believe we were standing in the aisle evaluating toilet seat lids. I mean, it's a toilet. Sometimes, I think it's better to have fewer options.

Then we went back to the house in Fishy-Fish town and proceeded to pull up nails and staples in the floor with the newly purchased nail and stapler tool and I went up to the big bedroom and ripped up the carpet in there. We discovered one part of the landing that was lined in newspaper from 1957. Newspaper that STILL smelled like cat pee, this many decades later.

Must run. Padhraig's in town and I have to show him my new bike.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

five days off in a row and I feel like getting a second job

I was owed vacation time and then we have the fourth of July off anyway and so here I am in day three of a mini break from work, much needed in some ways though the weeks fly by. I don't really know what to write about today because I'm in a funk.

One funny but not so funny thing is this kid at work, John, was telling me about the crack whores in his neighborhood. He lives around 15th and Girard and he says that you can see the women, day or night, trolling the streets in tight spandex and little tops, sometime swith a titty hanging out. They always say something to him like, You want some, white boy? If he doesn't answer, they get more aggressive so he usually says something. There's one woman, Cookie, who walks around with her shirt yanked up in one hand and her pants yanked down with the other and she says, Give me some money for these! They take their customers to an abandoned building, crawling underneath this hole in the wall that they've covered with cardboard. John says the actual "Johns" are anybody--white or black, and not sleazy guys, just guys you'd pass on the street and not imagine giving twenty bucks to a strung out addict with missing teeth and jittery eyes to suck him off in a garbage infested abandoned building in North Philly. Go Eagles! (By the way, if you type "crack whore" into a Google image search engine, you get mostly photos of Courtney Love).