Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Something I Ate?

It’s astounding, really, to observe how fast a person can go from being hale and hearty to begging for quick merciful death, but even a minor bout of food poisoning will do it.  Just past midnight Wednesday I woke up with acute stomach cramps, and at 5 AM I was still lying curled on the cool tile in my bathroom, realizing that my grand scheme for finishing the whole book-cataloging project out in Potomac by Friday afternoon was just not going to happen. 

August has been a mad rush.  By Sunday I had worked 160 hours in just three weeks, which I know is nothing for your average health-care provider but for an hourly-wage slogger in the estate sale world, it’s a decent cumulative.  Besides, I was taking care of six cats and one dog in Rockville, so there were ears to rub, mouths to feed and poop to scoop once I was off the clock at my day job(s). 
Even before the food poisoning, I’d lost eight pounds in the last six weeks.  Sadly, it wasn’t fat, it was all muscle, because my schedule hasn’t permitted me to get to the gym at all.  And now in post-poisoning mode, I feel too weak to lift a chopstick.

My friend arrived safely in Seoul, South Korea, last week.  I’m going to have to figure out Skype.  On my last day caring for the furries in Rockville, my friend Mary’s mother, who had come down to welcome her daughter, son in law, and new baby from China, was Skyping with her other daughter in Singapore— one of those “gee, you’re online, let’s chat” casual conversations, just catching up on the minor details of the last few days.  Technology is awesome.  Just a couple of decades ago, getting a long-distance (only out of state) telephone call was something of an event; now one can idly shoot the breeze, looking at the other’s transmitted image, with someone on the other side of the globe without incurring a huge bill.  It certainly does make international moves less onerous, when you can see and talk to your friends and family on a regular basis. 

While we’re on the subject of Southeast Asia, I continue to enjoy K-drama, courtesy of other’s internet connections.  My nudist temporary roommate sent my own hotspot into the red zone in just a few short weeks (before I concealed it, off, in my room, just before I left for Rockville), and I haven’t turned it on more than a handful of times since, mainly to communicate with potential roommates via a local churches housing bulletin board.  One such in-person meeting I unfortunately missed yesterday due to the aftermath of the food poisoning—a nine-alarm fire wouldn’t have budged me from slumber.

I’ve just rehydrated and eaten a couple of ginger cookies, and now my stomach is roiling again.  If I can just get back to unconsciousness, perhaps all will become right with the world and my insides.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

My Flat(s)

One of the reasons that I haven’t had a roommate the past two years is that Susan would be virtually impossible to replace.  She was and is wonderful in every sense of the word, from being kind and sweet and easygoing to being a good cook, a diligent housekeeper, and quiet in the mornings (not that I am easy to awaken in the pre-dawn, early dawn, or even mid-morning hours).  Lately, however, I’ve been reconsidering having company.  Partly the reason is financial—paying about $1400 a month, plus electricity, is a heavy weight for a person in my impecunious state to afford alone month to month.  The other, is, of course, social—it would be nice to have someone around to chat with on the odd occasions when I actually get off work before dark.  So, this summer, first with my brother, and then with the Navy midshipwoman, had been a trial run of sorts to see if I could accommodate such a person.

I have had more flat tires in my twenty-one year driving career than most people have in a lifetime.  I average one every third year, and today, of all days, turned out to be the day for this triennial event.  I’d been invited to lunch after church with the Wiggles, but had been asked to work.  It occurred to me even before I’d reluctantly declined their company that even before the work, I’d already booked the afternoon to go out with a Russian-speaking friend (she and I went to a Peruvian festival down at the National Museum of the American Indian last Sunday, and rode the Smithsonian carousel on our walk back to Arlington), so as work didn’t need me, I confirmed with her that we were going to the National Gallery of Art and I would be at her house by two.  Needing to change out of my church clothes and grab a bottle of Gatorade before we met, I parked on the street at home, because temp. roomie had texted me asking if her friend could take my lot spot for the afternoon.  Hisssss!  In less than a second, my rear passenger tire was flat as the proverbial fried batter, and I was looking at the wreck of my afternoon social calendar.

I went inside, changed, and called AAA, which promised assistance would arrive within 45 minutes.  I went outside to clear the books out of my trunk (a heavy task) to make the donut tire accessible, and finished just as the repairman pulled up.  He confirmed what I’d already observed, that the tire was unfixable, with a deep gash in the side.  So while he put on the donut I rooted about in the middle console for the paperwork on my tires, which if you remember I bought new just a few short months ago.  I found the paperwork for my old tires, but not the new, which I surmised to be in my filing cabinet, in the second bedroom, where temp. roomie is ensconced.  I went in and knocked briskly on her door.  Silence.  I opened the door, and, there, spooning in the nude with a person of indeterminate sex but the same dishabille, lay she, asleep.  I muttered a hasty “sorry!” and quickly shut the door. 

This girl is not a Christian (her mom is, and had asked my friend Paul’s mom if he knew of anyone with whom her daughter could room during her Pentagon internship), but I would think that one should, out of mere courtesy, not engage in intimate activity while a guest in someone’s home.  I had said her friends were welcome, and even offered an air mattress to one. But somehow I didn’t imagine that this would be received as carte blanche for sexual relations.  And I’m somewhat nonplussed—how should I react?  Should I just pretend that nothing happened?  I mean, I was at church when she texted me about the parking spot, and I got home just twenty minutes later, with the flat tire affair occupying the best of the next hour.  Had they only just commenced in the meantime, and I burst in on some sort of post-coital nap?

Speaking of naps, I think I will temporary avoid considering the complexities of this question by sleeping.  I can’t get to the tire paperwork until they awake and go out, and Walmart’s Tire Center probably isn’t open on Sundays, anyway.  But I think if I do advertise for a permanent roommate, I shall specify that they should be a practitioner of the Westminster Confession, a requirement which is vague enough to appear non-discriminatory, but specific enough to attract only Shorter Catechism types.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Monthly Update

I cannot believe it’s freaking August already.  July shot by with tremendous heated, humid force in a series of estate sales having the peripheral involvement of various interesting animals, including a trio of guinea fowl in the basement of an international opera singer’s home, and a duo of curious and escape-prone cats in a Georgetown split level who supervised our entire setup sequence.  Those feathered and fuzzy beasts were all accompanying their owners to the next house, whereas at the place we’re working now, in Bethesda, there is a 9-year-old American Bulldogee (an early version of the modern bulldog, with a less squished face) whose picture we posted on the website along with those of furniture and fur coats.  Humphrey is just a love bug.  He spent each of our setup days wandering from one person to the other, resting his head on their knee so his ears could be scratched, and even tried to lever his 75-pound bulk into my bosses lap, he’s so needful of attention.  It’s a divorce situation, and he was left with the wife, who is shifting into a smaller place and wants to travel.  I’m not even particularly a dog person, and I can’t imagine giving him up, but perhaps he’s a reminder of unhappy times.  Be that as it may, my boss has worked with another breed rescue organization for years, so she’s going to inspect potential homes, once applicants for his paw have been screened by the owner.  I hope we find a good match for him—someone who’ll be around to rub his head and tell him what a good dog he is.  There’s a list of some six people who’ve expressed interest.  If none works, I’m taking him over to the house of my friend and colleague Amy, who’ll be in China for two weeks, retrieving her new daughter.  There, he’ll have another beta dog to pal around with, and six cats who’ll put him firmly in his place. 

Sheila and I are back writing our novel.  We’ve determined the end, which is always useful—it’s nice to know how the story will conclude, so we can fill in the details on the way there! 

My temporary roomie, a second-year Naval Academy midshipwoman, is a doll.  Rachel and the NPV brought over burgers last night and she ate dinner with us and then joined our criticism of the NBC Olympics coverage (anyone else think Bob Costas looks like a semi-animated corpse?  And how about the snippet-only coverage of every event?!).  Alas, as my brother Bob has returned to Charleston, I missed his magic touch with the apple cobbler, and so it turned out ugly and less than the delicious treat I was hoping to enjoy.   Rachel sweetly ate her portion and insisted that it would be great with vanilla ice cream.  The woman is an angel.  I think I’m going to have to do some surgery on the leftovers (those that I didn’t manage to pawn off on my guests) to make them more palatable.  Fortunately, the Giant Food flyer I got in the mail today tells me that Edy’s is on sale, so there’ll be ice cream of several sorts to help me choke it down.

I made a cake this evening, using my ginormous round pan.  Two vanilla layers, liberally salted with miniature M&Ms.  It’s for our associate pastor’s retirement party tomorrow night.  Determining how to ice it after both layers were done, I discovered that I don’t own a platter big enough to accommodate the thing.  So, some emergency shopping is in order.  Maybe I’ll pick up some more lampshades while I’m at Ross.

I sold only one lamp last month in any estate sale, which was pretty disappointing.  I took the leftovers (which had multiple exposures in sales over the last several months) to the Bethesda consignment gallery, which has had a perfect record in unloading my illuminators.  Here’s hoping it continues its lucrative run.