Friday, October 30, 2009

Photo Friday

View the entire Photo Friday collection on Flickr.

Like a drunk who's lost a bet


This post is a segment of the Fall 2009 Choose Your Own Blogventure Spooktacular, invented and organized by the fabulous Nancy Pearl Wannabe. To start at the beginning, go here. Good luck, and happy reading!

If you have reached this page via Life in the left lane, scroll down and read on!

As her fingers closed around the charm, Annelise suddenly felt one foot slip free. Yelping and nearly letting go of her prize, she tried to hold herself out of the muck by sheer force of will. "DAD!" she shrieked, her cry changing to a strangled whoop of relief as she felt a hand close around her wildly swinging right ankle. "I've got it!" she yelled. "Get me out of here!"

It seemed to take ages for Jenny and her father to haul her up and out of the reeking tank. As soon as her feet hit solid ground, she wriggled backward and staggered to her feet. "All right," she shouted, thrusting her fist into the air. "Let's kick some zombie --" She trailed off as the scene before her finally registered. Jenny was facing off against a growing crowd of shambling zombies, swinging a hacksaw with each hand.

"You want a piece of me?" Jenny screamed. "Come on, you undead sons of --"

"Jenny, on your right!" Annelise yelled, flinching back as Jenny whirled and lashed out, catching an encroaching lurcher across the throat with one saw. The monster staggered back and went down, luckily providing a distraction to a half-dozen of its fellows, who decided it looked like an easier snack than the war-ready Jenny.

"Dad!" Annelise turned toward the professor, who stood with his back pressed against the septic tank, wringing his hands helplessly. "Dad, snap out of it! You've got to get them under control!" She rubbed the charm hastily on her jeans and pressed it into his limp grasp. "Come on, Dr. Ansel! We're counting on you!"

He seemed to come awake then, pushing his glasses up his nose and staring at the moaning mob. "I don't know if I can hold them much longer, even with the charm."

"You don't have to hold them," Annelise said, seized by a sudden inspiration. "You just have to get them inside. Jenny! Give me one of those saws and get them into the diner! I want them in and you guys out, as fast as possible!"

"What are you going to do?" Jenny hollered, tossing a hacksaw to Annelise.

"Save the day, I hope!" Annelise called back, catching the saw and turning to fish her father's lucky Zippo lighter out of his vest pocket. "Now get moving!"

As Jenny began to wave her arms and shout, attracting the attention of the undead and gathering them for a drive back toward the diner, Annelise offered up a silent prayer that the zombies' night vision was as poor as their fine motor control. Bent nearly double, she scurried around to the back side of the tank, sticking to the shadows. Pausing for a few moments, deafened by her pounding heart, she took a deep breath and then moved toward the pickup truck, relying on the fading daylight to shield her. When she reached the truck, she risked a glance toward the zombies, and had to bite her lip to keep from laughing out loud in victory when she saw that the whole group was limping after Jenny and her father, headed for the front of the diner.

She scrambled up into the pickup bed and dove toward the toolbox, quickly finding the two things she'd counted on being there -- a knotted length of rope and a roll of duct tape. Her treasures secured, she jumped soundlessly to the ground and ran as quietly as she could around to the back of the diner, trying to keep one eye on the zombies while keeping the other on her course. Reaching the back door, she let out an involuntary sob of relief when the doorknob turned easily under her hand. She took a precious few seconds to jam a broom and a mop across the handles of the swinging doors that led from the kitchen to the front of the diner, hoping if the zombies did catch on to her plan, the implements would slow them down just enough to allow her to escape.

That accomplished, she turned her attention to the stove that took up half of the back wall, and the thick pipe connecting it to the propane tank behind the diner. She hoisted herself up onto the stovetop and set to work with her hacksaw, swearing under her breath at the impossibly slow progress. Dimly, she heard dishes breaking and chairs being knocked over out in the front of the diner. "I hope that's the zombies," she muttered, using her forearm to wipe sweat out of her eyes. Sawing with renewed vigor, she finally broke through the outer layer of the pipe and was rewarded with the sweet hiss of pressurized gas.

Annelise reached over and unlocked the window beside the stove and managed to open it an inch, after a few panic-filled moments of it not budging. Trembling, she slid down to the floor, careful not to dislodge any of the burners or drip pans, and scuttled sideways to the back door. Not daring a glance toward the kitchen doors, she edged the door open, then propped it with her foot and spent what felt like hours sawing the inner doorknob off so that the zombies wouldn't be able to pull the door open and follow her out once she'd made her exit. In her haste, she didn't think to catch the doorknob as it fell, and the noise it made against the tile floor sounded like the triumphant blare of a brass band to her adrenaline-enhanced hearing. Biting back a scream, she launched herself out the door and let it swing shut behind her.

She grabbed her duct tape and rope and sprinted for the window, where she fed one end of the rope through the gap in the casement with shaking hands and secured it with duct tape. She imagined she could hear the zombies rattling the kitchen door, breaking the mop and broom, shambling toward her as she stood protected only by a pane of ancient glass. "Come on, girl, hold it together!" she snarled through gritted teeth, slapping strip after strip of duct tape across the opening until she felt that it was well-sealed. Finally, she came to the most crucial part of her plan. She carefully untangled the rope, laying it out in a line leading away from the diner, painfully aware that one too-hard tug would pull the end free and cost her precious time -- and maybe even her life. Later she would realize that resisting the urge to flee screaming into the night was the hardest thing she'd ever done. As she worked, she kept her eyes on the rope, unwilling to risk a glance at the diner for fear of what she might see peering back at her from the kitchen window.

As she reached the end of the rope, a good ten feet from the diner, she heard Jenny's voice, carried to her on the incongruously gentle evening breeze: "Annelise, hurry! We can't hold 'em much longer!" Kneeling, Annelise struck the Zippo and held it to the rope as she held her breath. It had to catch. There was no other option. In seconds, a hungry orange flame was licking its way slowly up the rope, toward the back of the diner. Annelise watched it for a few moments longer, until she could trust that it wouldn't sputter out, and then turned and ran headlong for the front of the building.

She rounded the corner at a dead run, barely registering the sight of her father and Jenny staring at the zombies through the glass diner doors. "We've got to go, NOW!" she bellowed, catching at their sleeves as she bolted past, dragging them along until they got their feet under them and ran with her. "Behind the truck! Go!"

"Annelise," Dr. Ansel gasped, "What are you -- "

"No time to explain, Dad, just move!"

Seconds after they skidded to a halt behind the hulk of the old pickup truck, there was a low, teeth-rattling whump. Annelise popped her head up above the level of the truck bed in time to see the diner transformed into an incandescent ball of yellow flame.

Closing her eyes, she slid to the ground and collapsed onto her back, shaking with laughter. "We did it," she gasped. "I can't believe we did it."

"Oh, my..." the professor murmured, transfixed by the inferno.

"I have no idea what you just did," Jenny said, sinking to the ground beside Annelise, "but I'm damn glad you did it."

"You know that Halloween party I was planning?" Annelise said to no one in particular as the sound of sirens began to drift toward her on the wind. "I think I've changed my mind. There is no way I will ever, ever be able to top this. Ever."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I seem to be making a habit of vanishing for a week or more and then popping in with an excuse for why I was gone. But this time, I've got a really good excuse, I promise. Really. I almost died, y'all!

Okay, not really. And I shouldn't joke about dying, especially now, but judging by recent media hype, that's totally what happened to me. You see, I had the flu. I might've even had swine flu! Quick, Purell your computer screen!

I woke up on Tuesday morning and felt a little off, like I was maybe coming down with a cold or suffering from a bit of a seasonal allergy attack. I took Indy for his morning walk and felt mostly fine, but by the time I got out of the shower I felt a little worse. And once I got dressed and packed my lunch, I felt a little worse. And by the time I drove the ten minutes to work, I felt a lot worse. I was starting to have the prickly-all-over sensation that means I'm getting a fever, and I felt a little achy and just not-right. I probably would've stayed home, but I was planning to spend the morning helping my work friend Julia finish the huge project we'd been slaving over for the past two weeks and then use the afternoon to prep for two huge events that are going on this weekend. I didn't want to risk getting Julia sick, though, especially with a three-month-old at home, so I called her desk to warn her that I wasn't feeling well. She told me what I already knew -- if I had a fever, I needed to go home -- and so I went.

By the time I got home, my joints had started to ache, and I knew that this was no allergy attack. I texted MB, put on my pajamas, and called my OB's office. The nurse asked me a list of questions and instructed me to call "immediately" if my fever hit 100.4. I crawled into bed and napped for an hour or so, and when I woke up my temperature was up to 100.4. I called the OB's office again, and got a call back saying that the doctor wanted to call in a prescription for me for Tamiflu in case I had H1N1. I felt well enough to get up and eat some vegetable soup, go to the grocery and buy chicken soup and apple juice, and pick up my prescription, but by the time I got back home I was feeling downright awful. I took my first Tamiflu capsule and went back to bed. Everything hurt, from my eyeballs to my toe joints. I'd never actually had the flu before, and I was not pleased to note that it really was as bad as people say. Woe! Self-pity! I slept off and on, took my temperature whenever I woke up, and wailed to MB when he got home that I was worried about cooking the baby.

But! Apparently Tamiflu is made of miracles and the blood of virgins, because that shit works. By dinner time that night I was ready to get out of bed and hang out with MB on the couch and eat chicken soup. By yesterday morning, I felt drastically improved, and by the time my 30-week checkup rolled around at 3 PM, I felt absolutely chipper. My fever had been down for 12 hours, so the nurse said I should come in for my appointment, and I went back to work today and felt about 100% better all day. Blood of virgins, I'm telling you.

In other news, I'm crabby that I didn't think of this long before now, but I finally updated the Rock On playlist over there in the sidebar with some songs for Halloween. I'll be posting a segment of the Choose Your Own Blogventure Fall 2009 Spooktacular tomorrow, which I had WAY too much fun writing this evening. To start at the beginning, you can visit Nancy Pearl Wannabe starting at 9:00 AM tomorrow (Central time).

And in spite of my better judgment, I'm going to attempt to do NaBloPoMo again for the fourth year in a row. I guess you can start taking bets on how long I'll last!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday bullet points

(Because I am lame late for bed already)

>> Our yard sale went pretty well. We had more or less steady traffic, and ended up making about $120, which shocked me considering how much crap we had to box back up and stick in the attic.

>> Thanks to the yard sale money, trips to three Goodwills, and a visit to Target, I now have five new shirts that will cover my expanding belly and two very long tank tops to wear under the shirts I already have that no longer do.

>> There's one benefit to the ridiculous amount of rain we've had so far this Fall -- the leaves are going crazy. Everywhere I go, I'm greeted by trees decked out in bright yellow, blazing red, and even the not-so-commonly-seen orange. It's pretty wonderful, and I'm going to have to find the time to get some photos before it's all over for the year.

>> Tomorrow marks the final week of a huge work project that I really wish I could blog about. It's been fun so far, but it's also a very good thing I work well under pressure.

>> The baby is getting more rambunctious by the day, and it was a shock to see myself in the changing room mirrors this weekend. In my mind's eye, I still don't look very pregnant, so suddenly looking quite pregnant is a bit of a surprise. I have to laugh when I remember worrying that I wouldn't have much of a belly by the time my baby shower happened. It's set for this coming Saturday, and I really doubt anyone is going to question my knocked-uppedness.

>> And finally, check out this awesome onesie that Norahs1213 sent for the brachiopod:

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

some assembly required

This is why I laugh maniacally when people post on my BabyCenter board asking who has finished a nursery for the baby:

It didn't always look like this...I'm preparing for a yard sale this coming Saturday, and we also had to empty the attic last month to get new insulation added.

Here's a bunch of stuff that was in the baby's room until I moved it into the guest room and stuck price tags all over it:

black dog, size medium, definitely not for sale

Cross your fingers that we'll sell a ton of this stuff, if you don't mind. I'm hoping we'll make enough money that we can afford paint for the baby's room and maybe a few maternity shirts.

Speaking of maternity shirts, I went to JC Penney last night to see if I could find any good stuff on clearance after being tempted by a flier I got in the mail advertising a 75% off sale. JCP usually has really cute clothes, and my last three favorite pairs of pre-pregnancy jeans were from their A.N.A. line. But, dude. There was some serious fug going on in that clearance section. I will never understand why somebody is designing maternity tops with giant blousy sleeves. Because of course every woman who just gained 15 pounds of belly and thigh wants her arms to look blimpy as well, right? I should've taken a photo of the last shirt I tried on. It was a really gorgeous print with a flattering neckline and cut to a good length, completed by the most ridiculous billowy cartoony Shakespearian actor sleeves ever. Epically bad. It was such a cute start, too! Oh, well...I will keep looking (as long as we sell some yard sale stuff, that is). Wish me luck!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

There is a season

Today was my work friend Julia's first day back from maternity leave, and her delicious baby's first day being dropped off at the babysitter's. Like me, Julia has little interest in being a full-time stay-at-home mom. She likes her job, and as much as she loves her son, she always said she knew staying home would eventually drive her crazy. But she still came to work with tears in her eyes and a quaver in her voice. Sometimes, neither choice feels like the right choice. When that day comes for me, if I'm lucky enough to still have a job to go back to in this terrifying economic climate, I will at least have the comfort of dropping my baby off at my parents' house, to be spoiled all day by my mother and newly-retired father. But I bet I'll still cry in the car on the way to work.


This week is the annual local street festival, and everyone on staff has permission to go down for three-hour lunch breaks, as long as we pass out fliers for a fundraiser while we're there. The girl I was supposed to go with ditched me for legitimate reasons, but I ended up going with my old officemate, who had to leave for another job when his grant expired in August. Most of the people I work with are much older than I am, and even the ones close to my age never seem interested in hanging out socially, so it's been a recent development to have coworkers who are also friends. We have a lot in common, he and I, and I miss having him around, miss having someone to send crazy BoingBoing links to and bitch with over people's inability to accept basic scientific principles as fact. It was a perfect Fall day, with egg-blue skies and just a bit of a breeze. We gossiped and ate ourselves half-sick, and happily, it was just like old times.


When I got home from work, I let Indy out into the backyard and followed him with his rope toy in hand. He saw me get it down from the shelf and bounded along at my side, ears alert, eyes alight, his expression fairly shouting Throw! the! rope! So I gave it a good fling, and when Indy skidded to a halt and grabbed for it, he missed, scooping up a big mouthful of grass clippings instead. He whirled, grabbed the rope, and then stopped. Realization dawned on his face, the toy dropped from his jaws, and because dogs can't spit, he stood there working his mouth in an exaggerated smack smack smack, trying to dislodge all the dry grass from his tongue. And because I am an asshole, I laughed and laughed. My God, I love that dog.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cold September rain?

Oh, internetz, I hate to bitch, but this is going to be a long one. It has been a crazy month. MB and I both got potentially scary news at work. Some of it has been settled and is most likely going to be fine, and some of it remains to be decided. I don't feel like it's appropriate to talk about it here (or really at all), but if you could cross your fingers for us, it would be much appreciated. In addition to my regular Tuesday yoga class, I picked up a prenatal yoga class on Monday nights and have been trying to meet up with my sister to swim laps on Wednesday nights. Oh, and I got my old part-time craft store job back, and will probably be working there at least one night a week.

Starting a second job near the end of my second trimester probably sounds crazy, but there was that work news. And before that, there was the fact that the escrow on our house was vastly fucked up at the beginning of this year, to the point where our house payment jumped almost fifty percent. To break that down into its ridiculous parts, let's pretend that our original payment was $1000. All of a sudden, it was $1500, and that extra $500, that was an entire week's paycheck. So you can imagine how awesome that was. We called the bank to demand an explanation, and were told they couldn't really tell us anything until our tax bill was printed. Tax bills came out in May, when I was in the throes of the worst of my first trimester fatigue, when I was probably less capable of dealing with red tape bullshit than ever before in my life. The bank told me to call their "escrow expert" line, and so I did, and was basically blown off by a guy who sounded like a bored call-center drone. He said he couldn't explain what had happened, he didn't know how to fix it, and he had no way of knowing if it would go back to normal at the end of the year or if we'd be eternally fucked over.

Great! Thanks so much! I'm ashamed to admit this, but in my exhaustion, I more or less gave up. I felt that I had tried all the avenues open to me, and that there was nothing else I could do. I came out of my tired fog at the end of June, got pissed off all over again, and called the woman who had set up our mortgage for us. When I told her what had happened with the "expert," she was embarrassed and apologetic, and was able to call up our account, verify that something was very wrong, and request that our escrow be reanalyzed. In July we got our new mortgage payment, and it had dropped down to slightly below what we were originally paying. Thank God. But by then, we'd gone through a lot of the money we'd been saving to help pay for this baby.

And then (because of course there's more), on the 23rd, MB's car went into the shop with a mysterious shifting problem that ended up being a dead on-board computer. Hooray! Expensive shit! AND THEN when he got home from work on Tuesday, his laptop wouldn't power on and was giving him a hardware error message. The good news is that his hard drive isn't damaged. The bad news is that, well, the computer is, irreparably. I'm actually typing this on a loaner laptop, courtesy of BoMB, who is moving the hard drive and RAM from MB's dead laptop into my laptop, which we'll have to share from now on. problems, less free time, and now a shared computer -- it hasn't been the best month for blogging.

Plenty of good stuff has happened, too, but this post is way too long as it is and MB needs to use the computer anyway. So I guess to wrap up, I never meant to be so boring for so long, but life sort of happens sometimes. Hopefully (hopefully) things will get a bit more smooth in the days to come. And maybe we'll win the lottery or inherit some money. Or something. Gah.