Archive | May, 2011

Playlist Weeks 19-20: I Wanna Ride The Big Wave

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard each week (or so!).

Here is the playlist summary:

* Songs listened to in weeks 19 and 20:  168

* Completed:  77%

* Number of double shots:  3 (The Beatles, The Police, Sting)

* Number of triple shots:  1 (Genesis)

With 77% complete, I’m beginning to see the end of this thing. Good thing too, because while I’m still enjoying the actual listening, my original thought about this being an “easy way to get a weekly post” was a load of crap. These playlist summary posts take just as long to compose as my other posts, usually longer.

I’m taking a day trip to NYC next week so I’m hopeful I’ll get a lot of listening done given the nine hours I will be trapped on a bus. I’ve never done this DC to NYC bus thing before, and it’ll be a long (18 hour?) day, so please pray for me.

The past two weeks didn’t produce a ton of noteworthy songs, and some of those didn’t have You Tube videos available, so I only have six songs to highlight this time. I know there’s some sentiment that the 90s sucked for music, but five of the six are from the 90s. Thank god for the Interpol song, otherwise I’d look even more nostalgic than usual.

Toy Matinee “The Ballad of Jenny Ledge” This came out in 1990 when I was still in high school. Like a lot of the music I listened to then, I think I heard it on the Canadian radio station that I could sometimes tune in, particularly during the summer. I’ve mentioned Kevin Gilbert before, and this is one of my favorite songs from the one album he recorded with Patrick Leonard as Toy Matinee. Kevin’s hair in this video is so frightening, please try to look past it. Also, check out Rosanna Arquette in the video.

School of Fish “3 Strange Days” This came out my last semester of high school and this CD helped me bridge the transition from high school to college. I am having a lot of trouble these days finding bands with more than a couple of songs I like, or who I don’t get sick of after a little while (see Franz Ferdinand). But I’ve been shocked at how much I enjoy School of Fish songs when they come up on the shuffle. This whole CD is really good.

The Pursuit of Happiness “Cigarette Dangles” This is a song that Dave and I used to dig the first year we were together, although I absolutely do NOT share the cigarette fetish. I just love the sound of the backing vocals, which incidentally is where the title of the post comes from this week.

October Project “Bury My Lovely” This song is haunting. I imagine it’s about child abuse and while I feel my childhood experience doesn’t reach the level of that label, this song brings to mind growing up in that house with my Dad. I put this song on a mix for my brother and he thought the singer was a man, baby. I have no such confusion, but Mary Fahl’s voice is something else, eh?

“Something that was left behind
Something in a child’s mind”

Ivy “The Best Thing” This is from the late 90s, after I moved to D.C. to become a gainfully employed adult. I never paid any attention to the lyrics to this until today, and I think they might be sort of depressing, but I’ll just continue to ignore that because the song is catchy.

Interpol “Not Even Jail” And here we have our lone entry from the last decade. NOTE TO SELF: find some new music after this shuffle challenge is over.

This is my favorite Interpol song, which I didn’t even discover until I was preparing for the Interpol concert Dave and I went to see last November. Just go listen to this bad boy. Not sure what to say other than I can’t wrap my brain around how this whole song manages to be both anticipation as well as climax.

These Songs Are True, These Days Are Ours

God damn Paul Simon.

I saw his concert last night at DAR Constitution Hall and the mother fucker made me cry three times. In public. By myself.

I knew I was likely to lose my shit if he played “The Obvious Child,” but the one-two punch of that song coupled with “The Only Living Boy in New York” knocked me right into a nostalgia sinkhole from which I worried I would not recover.

“The Obvious Child” was big on my freshman hall. We listened to it all the time and I’ll never forget the joy that song brought to my unrequited love.

Paul seems to want to drag you into the nostalgia sinkhole (“Sonny’s yearbook from high school is down from the shelf and he idly thumbs through the pages…”). The Simon & Garfunkel songs about the tenuous bonds of friendship, a la “The Only Living Boy in New York,” slay me. I cried the whole way through that song.

This was the first concert I’ve ever attended by myself. I wasn’t sure if Dave would want to go, so even though I was theoretically able to pull the trigger on tickets right when they went on sale, I waited until that evening to buy, until I could check in with him. By that point, only singles were available. I grabbed one and hoped I’d be able to find another close by, but it never happened.

I do stupid shit like this all the time. I over analyze stuff before committing when I really should be jumping at the chance to do it. Take the spring digital photography class being offered by my County. Improving my photography skills is on my fucking list of goals for 2011. But I still hemmed and hawed about it a good couple of weeks. Even when I sat down to register, I spent 15 minutes Googling the instructor first. Of course, when I was finally ready to commit, I found the class was full…and probably had been the entire two weeks I was thinking about it.

Anyway, being at the concert by myself was fine, particularly after the show started. The two seats next to me were empty during the first 2.5 songs. I started to wonder why the hell Dave couldn’t be there when two girls showed up, beers in hand. They didn’t seem super into it and talked to each other during several songs, including “The Only Living Boy in New York,” which made me ornery.

A cute, overly excited young couple in front of me inexplicably kept checking their phones for texts during most of the show. I know I’m a crotchety old woman, but I seriously don’t understand how people who clearly love Paul Simon so much can be unable to focus on him for two hours. The girl actually responded to a text from her Mom to tell her that Paul was playing “Mother and Child Reunion” at that very moment. Your Mom needed to know that, right now? Really?

Of course, after I got a ticket for this show, I found out Paul was also playing the 9:30 Club two nights later. But I live under a rock so was already too late to get tickets. I’m not sure why exactly, but the 9:30 Club show was the hotter ticket, as evidenced by the fact that Stubhub’s going price for it was $400 yesterday while there were still reasonably priced tickets for the Constitution Hall show available only hours beforehand.

I was a little worried about the venue. On the “I am old and want comfort” hand, Constitution Hall has very comfortable seating and a good view from anywhere in the house. On the “maybe I should want to be a hip music aficionado” hand, the Interpol show we saw at Constitution Hall back in November was kind of lame. The sound was pretty muffled and the crowd, potentially in reaction to this, possibly due to the ass-sucking comfort of the seating, sat the whole time.

No such problems last night. The sound was excellent, crisp and quite a bit louder than I’d anticipated. The crowd was very enthusiastic, but thankfully (I am old!…and inhibited!) stayed seated for a good chunk of the show. But people started getting up and dancing during “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” and I must admit the atmosphere became electric and awesome at that point.

When Paul started “Gumboots,” he seemed to be having some trouble remembering the words, so a dude (apparently Paul Fournier) from the audience jumped up on stage and helped him sing. Paul was cool about it, and unlike with Rayna took turns singing with this guy. But I don’t think Paul actually invited him on stage until after the guy was already trying to get up there. The front row bouncer tried to stop him, but Paul seemed OK with it, so he let him up. I’m wondering if Paul’s going to be sorry at the audience participation trend he seems to have started. The Rayna thing seemed special, but if people start trying to come on stage every show it could get a little old, for Paul and the audience.

This guy did a good job. I loved it when Paul handed him one of his water bottles and insisted he take a sip. I also loved how the guy’s outfit clearly indicated he had come straight from work. ROCK AND ROLL!

During the first encore, Paul and two of his band members played “Here Comes the Sun,” which was the third time he made me cry. I love the Beatles, and I love this song, and George is dead, and Paul nailed this song. So I cried. Again. Fucker.

At that point I realized this might be the best concert ever. The band seriously rocked, Paul’s voice sounded great, the set list was almost perfect, and even the songs I wasn’t as familiar with sounded really good.

Paul also seemed like he was having a great time. It was inspiring.

Lode Runner

Late at night, I would sit next to my older brother and watch him play Lode Runner on our Apple IIe. The room was dark except for the bluish glow cast by the monitor. The room was quiet except for the sharp, but hollow-sounding game noises and our whispering about strategy and barely stifled laughter as we kidded each other. We didn’t want to wake our parents.

Mike was nine years older than me and after he got his driver’s license, he went out every chance he got. With college classes, work and his social life, he was hardly ever home.

I missed him.

In the summer, when Mom wasn’t strict about my bedtime, I would stay up late into the night watching MTV and waiting up for Mike, hoping that he might feel like hanging out awhile when he got home. The hanging out often revolved around Lode Runner.

Lode Runner had 150 levels and started out easy, which was good since it took awhile to get used to the two-handed keyboard skills needed to play without a joystick. It took six different keys to control the white stick figure in his quest to gather all of the gold nuggets while avoiding the orange and white stick figures who guarded the gold. The stick figure could run, climb up and down ladders, go hand over hand across suspended bars, and dig holes in the two-dimensional blue brick to temporarily trap the guards and also to make them give up the gold they sometimes carried.

The levels got progressively more difficult and started to require more strategy. Luckily, we earned an additional man for each level we completed, so when we were stumped we could experiment with our backlog of men. In a time when computers couldn’t multitask, Lode Runner monopolized our computer for weeks. We’d leave the game on in between sessions, the white stick figure constantly blinking his readiness for one of us to press a button to start the next level.

Eventually we hit a level with gold that appeared impossible to retrieve. None of the tricks we’d learned in previous levels worked. Mike was obstinate and blew through a lot of men trying the same ideas over and over again without success. We were both getting frustrated. We were worried that we would lose all our men and have to start over.

Finally I had a new idea and though Mike thought it was crazy, he tried it. His timing was off and he ran the white stick figure right into a guard. He was pissed and muttered something colorful. But I convinced him to try again. I don’t remember how many attempts it took, but I remember how amazed and excited he was when it finally worked. My idea had finally solved the level we’d been stuck on for days.

I often came up with the creative solution necessary to complete a level and Mike was better at executing the plan, with the extra years of arcade practice under his belt. We were a team.

It was just a game, and a pretty simple one, but I finally felt like something more than a pesky baby sister. I would play Lode Runner by myself after these times with my brother, but it was never as much fun without him.


This week’s RemembeRED prompt:
“We want you to recall the games you played when you were young…Write a piece that explores one of your memories.”

The videos I found on You Tube make me sick with longing to play this damn game again.

I Actually Read The Sweet Valley Sequel

More than twenty years have passed since I last picked up a Sweet Valley book, but when I heard Francine Pascal had written an adult follow-up, I was unreasonably excited. I didn’t think Sweet Valley Confidential was going to be good, but I figured it would entertain my inner 10-year old and be the kind of mindless fluff that could (hopefully) kick start a return to more regular reading.

Although Sweet Valley Confidential is actually the first of the series to be written by the series creator, it had the same feel, shallow character development, and fixation on appearances that I knew and loved and was always somewhat baffled by. Baffled not because the books were hard to read, but rather because as an awkward 10-year-old Catholic school girl, I had trouble identifying with the gorgeous, boy crazy, clothes obsessed, 16-year-old Wakefield twins.

Objectively speaking, the book was pretty bad. But from a nostalgia perspective, it does its job.

The stars of Sweet Valley Confidential are, as always, the picture perfect twins, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. In the two decades since the twins were 16 years old, they have aged about ten years. I was always jealous of their perfect size 6 figures and popularity, and now I can be jealous that they have grown younger than me over time. Bitches.

In a shocking (!) plot twist that fails to be shocking since it’s essentially the plot from Double Love, the very first book in the series (only now with sex), Jessica has an affair with Elizabeth’s long-time boyfriend during college. When Elizabeth eventually finds out years later, she flees Sweet Valley for New York City, leaving Todd and Jessica free to get engaged and enjoy the most guilt-ridden, depressing romantic relationship ever conceived.

The book splits its time between Elizabeth in New York and Jessica in Sweet Valley. In what I originally thought was a clever device to give the reader extra insight, some of the story is told through first person flashbacks. But hearing the same memories twice gets old and Jessica’s narration is littered with annoying numbers of “like,” and “so,” and “way” that made me stumble through my reading. The device is also overused and by the time I got to the fourth different person whose vacuous mind I could read, I was way over it (as Jessica would say). Whether Pascal is narrating the present or allowing her characters to narrate their own memories, the level of insight is the same—not much.

Elizabeth is the good twin. She is responsible (Jessica would say boring, and apparently so would Todd!), selfless, sweet and moral. Jessica is the bad twin. She is younger by only a few minutes, but it matters. She is self-centered, wild, and fickle. But she is adorable so is extremely lovable anyway.

We know these things about the twins because the author tells us. I have heard the advice to “show, not tell” in writing. If you want to understand the opposite, read this book.

There’s not much more to the twins than these caricatures. Regardless of what Pascal tells the reader, neither twin seems to have many redeeming qualities, other than being drop dead gorgeous.

Jessica herself seems to wish she could think of more redeeming qualities:

“And there I go again, selfish Jessica…What can I do? Twenty-seven is too late to change. Besides, I have some good qualities.”

The only one she can come up with is “I love Elizabeth.” I’d hate to see what she does to people she doesn’t love.

Jessica’s shallowness can be excused because she is supposed to be shallow. But what about Elizabeth?

The twins’ older brother, Steven, compares the twins and finds Elizabeth to be “extraordinary.” Elizabeth’s extraordinary alright, and don’t think she doesn’t know it.

“She’d always thought of herself as moral, ethical and compassionate, and—possibly somewhat immodestly—as one of the better people.”

Ick. Immodest? Perhaps just a touch.

Elizabeth, the “compassionate” twin, thinks the following about a dead man at his funeral:

“People who didn’t know him would have thought Winston was a winner, but we knew he was the model of a true loser. After making gobs of money in the dot-com venture with Bruce–and getting out just before it all crashed–Bruce was better than ever, but Winston was the classic spoiled-by-success story.”

She then goes on to remember how ugly he was:

“his ears still stuck out and his Adam’s apple jumped up and down on his long, skinny neck.”

Judgmental much?

Bruce now likes Elizabeth and that is apparently enough reason for her to think he’s no longer “impossibly arrogant and conceited.” One of the reasons given for Elizabeth’s friendship with Bruce is that:

“they didn’t like the same people, which gave them lots of fun conversations and private jokes.”

Let me remind you that this is the good twin.

Elizabeth spends most of the book obsessing about revenge while simultaneously worrying the achievement of revenge will ruin her perfect reputation. She is completely preoccupied with what people think of her (“She…wouldn’t be the Elizabeth everyone knew and loved…”) which is ironic given how judgmental she is.

Jessica and Todd spend most of the book feeling guilty and miserable about hurting Elizabeth, being gossiped about and also judged by civilized society.

Sure the original forbidden sex was hot, but an engagement? I kept waiting for Pascal to show me (or even tell me!) why the Jessica-Todd relationship was worth all of the angst (Jessica herself wonders “what was good about what they had”). But on this point, and most others, the reader has to take the author’s word for it.

She attempts this explanation for the key plot device of the book from Todd’s perspective:

“Yes, she could be self-absorbed, yes, she could be a little selfish, but she was delightful, charming, smarter than most people knew, and utterly captivating. He would never really know her completely, and that mystery fascinated him. He’d never felt that way about any other woman. He couldn’t get enough of her.

And she was in love with him…She’d sacrificed her sister for him, a thought that tortured him… But every day that he was with her was glorious despite the family troubles.”

Each day is “glorious” because Pascal says so. Never mind how each chapter includes Jessica crying and Todd wishing he could move to escape their miserable life in Sweet Valley.

So the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But there were some things that resonated with me, mostly about what might make Jessica tick.

Pascal clubs the reader over the head with Jessica’s inferiority complex. She makes it abundantly clear that people can tell the twins apart based on their character. Jessica is “the wrong twin.” She looks exactly like Elizabeth, but always comes in second. She has always felt that she doesn’t measure up and after hearing pretty much everyone in Sweet Valley confirm how much they prefer Elizabeth, even though Elizabeth sounds like a pain in the ass, I felt sympathy for Jessica even though she’s a shit.

Jessica impulsively marries a rich older man partially to avoid that she’s fallen in love with her sister’s boyfriend. Once she realizes what a mistake she’s made and how trapped she is (her new husband is controlling and more than a little creepy), the part about her escape was both a little funny (there was some cute French miscommunication, in which I learned that Jessica and I have the same favorite French word: caoutchouc) and kind of suspenseful. It was the one of the few times I felt invested in what happened to any of the characters.

I don’t want to ruin any more of the plot, so I’ll close with a tribute to Sweet Valley’s impressive continued commitment to shallowness through some of my favorite character descriptions.

“Bruce Patman was, as always, Bruce Patman…”

Um, that’s…helpful? Bruce is a very important character in this book and I know more about his home furnishings than who he is.

Jessica on her boss:

“Good teeth. Beautiful teeth. Very white, but not that artificial paint white they do in those storefront shops. His teeth were slightly transparent, just right, and perfectly even. Also, there were no show-off dimples or chin clefts. His was a look for the long term.”

Have you ever thought about anyone’s teeth in this much detail?

Jessica on her brother:

“It’s a body I would know anywhere, even from the back: broad shoulders, neat waist, good legs. So many men have spindly legs, but not him. And they’re in great shape and not too hairy. In fact, he’s an absolute hunk, even if he is my brother.”

Oh my God, no. Just no.

Bruce on a minor male character:

“He’s slim but he’s got that hidden threat of an incipient eater with the rounded cheeks and the beginnings of a small softness around his middle.”

This is a dude describing another dude. Seriously? And also, incipient? I had to look that shit up. Let’s leave such fancy words for literature.

Playlist Weeks 15-18: I’m Climbing Up An Endless Wall

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard each week (er, yeah…or every four weeks). I planned on combining weeks 15 and 16 due to my Mom’s visit over Easter. But then I started reading a very important work of literature on my commute, which interfered with music time. Then my computer’s hard drive crashed. I am behind…on life.

The title of this post comes from my theme song, “No Time This Time” by the Police. Indeed… “If I could, I’d slow the whole world down, I’d bring it to its knees, I’d stop it spinning round, but as it is I’m climbing up an endless wall…”

Here is the playlist summary:

* Songs listened to in weeks 15 through 18:  201

* Completed:  70%

* Number of double shots:  7 (The Police*2, The Beatles*3, Genesis, The Innocence Mission)

With so many weeks of listening to summarize, I just picked some songs that resonated most with me.

Some might call this a guilty pleasure, but I love April Wine’s “Caught in the Crossfire” too much to bother with that label. Picture 1981. My older brother had just gotten some nifty new headphones when this album came out and he called me over, plopped the headphones over my ears and said “listen to this.” The laser gunfire during the chorus sounded like it was skimming right past my ears, each shot alternating left, right, and back again and it blew my 8-year old mind.

I have fond memories of belting out the do-do-do part of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” back in high school with my friends. Multiple times I have stayed in the car and driven further than I’ve needed to just so I can finish listening to this song. How can you miss the big payoff?

Freshman year of college. I’m dating a guy who has, along with his girlfriend, “agreed to see other people.” She is over 1,000 miles away and I am a naive 19-year-old who is also desperate to get over an unrequited love. Dating this guy starts to seem like an OK idea. But the girlfriend visits over her spring break and although I know about her, she clearly hasn’t been told about me. I am persona non grata all weekend, while they get to monopolize most of my damn friends. One of my best friends is away, but I have access to his room while he’s gone. Luckily, he has a copy of U2’s Achtung Baby, and blasting the shit out of the song “Acrobat” makes me feel quite a bit better about life.

While many songs bring back memories, The Ocean Blue’s “Between Something and Nothing” somehow manages to just feel like my freshman year of college, not a specific event or a specific person or interaction, but the whole damn thing. Before this week, it had been at least five years since I heard this song (and, uh, longer since freshman year itself) but the second it started, a movie of freshman year started rolling in my head.

Chimera’s music bridges the gap between graduate school and my adult life. Their CD Earth Loop was on heavy rotation during my onerous drives from D.C. to Syracuse to visit Dave. I particularly remember one Friday night when I thought it might be a good idea to avoid the traffic on the Beltway by taking 66 all the way to 81, since I needed 81 to get to Syracuse anyway. Um yeah, that was dumb, but at least I had some good tunes, because that was a long drive. “Catch Me” is the song that got the most airplay. Seemingly nothing came of this group and they disappeared just like that after this CD. Too bad really.

I think many people probably only know Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” because it’s the theme song for House. I had the opposite experience. I was obsessed with this song when it came out back in 1998 and listened to it over and over again until I became one with it. Years later, flipping through channels looking for something to watch on TV, I heard “Teardrop” and that was enough to make me stop to see what the heck the show was. A TV show using Massive Attack as the theme song seemed worth watching.

Though my time in Belgium preceded the release of Mew’s album And the Glass Handed Kites by more than a decade, the song “Louise Louisa” reminds me of my time in Brussels anyway. With the dual-language system used in Brussels, the Louise metro stop is “Louise/Louiza.” Tenuous connection, I know, but the mind makes links where the mind wants to make links. This song came up yesterday and I had it in my head all day today. For the first time in shuffle challenge history, I went back and listened to a song again. After finding this video, seeing them live is now on my life list (preferably in Denmark!).

I have been finding it harder and harder to develop a taste for new music. Land of Talk’s “Some Are Lakes” is an exception. I keep internet radio on very low at work because I don’t want to disturb my colleagues. So a song has to be pretty special for me to even notice it. The lyric “I’ll love you like I love you then I’ll die” really jumped out at me and after several listens, I decided I really loved this song. The rest of the lyrics are harder to decipher, but I have it on good authority that the bit before the part I like is: “We’ve seen how Sick Wind blows, but I’ve got your bovine eyes.” Say what? I’m no poet, so if anyone thinks they can help me understand what the fuck that is supposed to mean, that would be great.

The Joys Of Home Ownership

If my responsibilities would just fuck off for a minute, that would be great. I don’t need any more lemonade making tasks added to my schedule. I’m busy.

I would soak in a tub of Calgon if I thought it would take me away. But I probably shouldn’t introduce any additional liquid into this house. With my luck, the tub would fall through the kitchen ceiling.

When we moved in 2006, we purposely bought a home that had been completely renovated. We seem to have a “please screw us” sign on our backs, so we wanted to minimize having to deal with contractors.

Everyone was so impressed with the house we bought. Our realtor was salivating over it. The home inspector rhapsodized about how well it was built. The two other bidders who drove up the damn price loved it too.

When water seeped in through the foundation and ruined part of our entertainment center in the finished portion of the basement, I took it in stride. We didn’t even have to pay to fix that. Dave diagnosed and fixed the problem himself. Go Dave.

When we learned that the A/C unit in the attic didn’t have an appropriate emergency back up pipe to avoid leaks, I was pissed but basically took it in stride. We fixed it before it was ever a problem.

When water started dripping through the ceiling in the master bedroom, I took it in stride. OK, that’s a lie. The dripping woke me up and forced me to sleep on the futon in the guest room and that really made me cranky. But a thousand dollars later, the roof seems fixed and there’s only the tiniest spot of water damage on the ceiling that will inevitably stay there until we want to sell.

When Dave said there was water in the basement over Easter weekend and he didn’t know why, I lost my shit.

Call me picky, but I prefer NOT to have water in places not meant to house water.

Memories of our previous place, a townhouse built of sugar cubes, filled my mind with dread. Every day that fucker sprung a new leak. Fixing those leaks so that we could sell the house was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Not a single one of the endless parade of contractors that came out had any fucking idea what was causing the water to pour through our kitchen ceiling every time there was a hard rain. We had the roof over the window re-caulked multiple times. We had the seal on the second floor windows checked, we had the brick and flashing inspected. We considered giving up and trying to promote the leak to potential buyers as a “water feature”.

Our realtor said no. So it came to a physicist and a social science researcher having to diagnose the problem. We are available for consultation, call now.

Dave cut a big hole in the kitchen ceiling, so we could shove our heads up there and see what was going on and also so the mold spores could escape their confinement. It wasn’t raining at the time and even if it were, I don’t know what the hell we thought we’d see up there that would help (unfortunately there was no shoelace untied or snowman with his hat blown off…check out 23:35 to 26:50 of the video below).

Once we cut the hole, it completely stopped raining for days and days. Our new pastime became watering the house with a hose while standing on a ladder. Yes, this looked just as odd as you might think.

Things we learned:

* Brick is porous!

* I’m allergic to mold!

* Contractors suck!

* We should move!

So we bought this newly renovated house. The current leak here came from a burst pipe going to the fridge. Ironically, this is the same pipe that has been failing to provide water for the ice cube maker and filtered water dispenser for over a year (the plumber said it was the fridge; the appliance repair man said it was the plumbing, we said fuck it and bought a Brita pitcher).

Score one for the plumber because even though water wasn’t getting to the fridge, it sure as hell got everywhere else it wasn’t supposed to go when the pipe burst, as evidenced by the water in the basement, the mold growing behind the fridge and the damage to the wood floor and the pantry cabinet.

It is not exactly clear what to do. Our high bid is definitely a Cadillac–$2500 just for mold remediation, not including reconstruction afterward. We’d likely be without the use of our kitchen for a while as the area would be blocked off during the work. This firm also suggests we hire a separate firm to create the plan and inspect the work, to the tune of an additional $1000. The low bid came last week in the form of a guy who essentially told Dave he should put some Windex on it. Voila, problem solved.

But at least we have ants!

Go Back Up, I’ll Wait…

This unplanned break in regularly scheduled blog posts is brought to you by my iMac and its fried hard drive. The WordPress interface on my iPad won’t allow me to post anything more substantial until I get my computer back from Apple with a new (heartbreakingly empty) hard drive.

Stay tuned for a backlog of posts that will be as timely as last week’s headlines.