Monday, December 28, 2009

Packing Tape and Christmas Miracles

Everyone has their own Christmas miracle story. Mine is the miraculous ability of packing tape to stop the loss of blood when one has been stupid enough to use a mandolin without reading the instructions.

I never read instructions. One would think, if one were a rational sort of person, that one would learn, after numerous incidents of this type, that reading instructions is not something people do just for fun, but also to prevent household accidents. As we’ve learned previously, most accidents, especially ones I’m involved in, happen in my house.

So there I was on Christmas, and in my enthusiasm to give my long-suffering husband a break, I went into the kitchen to slice potatoes with the new mandolin. “Be careful,” long-suffering husband said, “do you want me to help?"

“No, I’ll be fine,” I said, and I whipped the new mandolin out of its box and promptly attempted to slice my thumb off.

Fortunately I failed to slice it off, as that would be even worse.

“Uhm, I sort of have a problem here,” I said to long-suffering husband.

“How about if I slice the potatoes?” he asked, already on his way. He would have been on his way anyway – this man does not let me brandish knives without checking to see if I’m using the proper ones – I never am, according to him.

“Great, I’ll just go upstairs and clean this up,” I said, despite the fact the blood was oozing out at an unprecedented speed. I didn’t want to tell him how bad it really was, so I fumbled around with paper towels and went upstairs in search of bandages.

Unfortunately, with my right thumb out of commission, the blood kept flowing until the bathroom looked like a crime scene, the sort of place one sees on TV when there’s been a particularly heinous murder.

Sometimes I think I watch too much TV. Should I be that familiar with what a crime scene looks like?

I grabbed some gauze (from the recent burn incident) and headed back downstairs. By that time charming husband was done with the potatoes, so I had him wrap my thumb in layers and layers of gauze and we stuck it all together with packing tape.

Marvelous stuff, packing tape. Even when the gauze is all bloody and soaked through, the packing tape keeps it from leaking out. And it’s kind of nice and shiny. I’m a big fan of shiny things.

Some people would go get some stitches for this sort of thing. Reasonable people, mostly. I’ve never claimed to be reasonable. Instead I took a Vicodin, my very last one. They’re not something I have access to except once a year or so when I do something so horrendous I really need them, and then I save them up so I have them for my second degree burns and things of that nature.

By the next day the bottom layer of gauze has become a part of my wound, and I considered letting it heal just like that. The only other option was to rip the gauze off, but that would cause more bleeding, not to mention more pain. On the other hand, gauze isn’t meant to be a permanent sort of thing, is it? But I am pain averse.

Eventually long-suffering husband talked me into it, and I began by soaking my thumb in warm water. I still wasn’t convinced however, though eventually I did manage to get all the gauze off. And it only bled a little. So we applied more pressure, and a band-aid.

A friend recently gave me cupcake band-aids: all the healing power of cupcakes in a band-aid. However, charming husband instead decided to use some nifty padded band-aids that were terribly expensive, so I let him. They’re not as pretty as the cupcake band-aids, but I guess they work.

I’ve discovered that without my right thumb, which is still pretty much useless, I myself am pretty useless. I can’t do dishes. Or laundry. Or cook anything complicated. Or fold clothes. I can work however, since working means my thumb only has to hit the space key now and then, and, since it doesn’t have to bend, which it can’t, I can manage that, though after a short while my thumb is very unhappy with me. (This is okay with me, since my thumb and I don’t need to be on speaking terms in order to work together.) This is good since it appears tax season is starting whether I’m ready or not.

I also can’t wrap packages, and since we had a few to mail out today (I know, Christmas was last week, but we’re still sending things, so just deal with it), charming husband finished wrapping them. And guess what? Packing tape works really well for boxes too! It’s like a miracle product. I say it’s even better than duct tape. No doubt the duct tape lobby is going to come after me for that one, but I’m willing to fight the good fight for what I believe in.

So my Christmas miracle is that we managed to avoid the ER, stop the loss of blood before I ran out, and we had a damn fine Christmas despite it all. Sometimes that’s the most we can hope for.

Oh, and charming husband decided the new mandolin was not any good, and he promptly threw it away. Serves the damn thing right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

News Flash! The Recession is Over!

I get all my news from only the most trusted sources, so it must be true. After all, the Federal Reserve Chairman said it himself, and who would know better than he? I, for one, am greatly relieved to hear this. Whew, that was a close one, wasn’t it?

For those of you still struggling with the whole jobless situation, or the lack of money thing, or even, for lack of a better word, poverty, impending or present, I’m certain this comes as a great relief. You may now begin breathing again.

Breathe in, breathe out . . . don’t you feel all better now?

Me either. I mean, sure, it’s nice to hear that we expect things not to get a whole lot worse, and especially for those who haven’t yet lost things, like their livelihood, their houses, their cars, their self-esteem, their savings, etc., but for those who have, the question of the day is: when do I get those things BACK?

Oh, and get this: it’s going to be a slow recovery, which means that many people won’t even notice. At least that’s my take on it. Granted, I’m not an economist and don’t even play one on TV. I’m just an accountant who has lost everything she owned not once, not twice, but THREE times. Of course, by the third time there wasn’t that much left to lose. Honestly, there wasn’t that much by the second time. This was actually quite lucky for me, because by the time this crash came around I had nothing to lose. Okay, I had a bit, but not so much that I had to watch everything I worked for all my short yet stunningly dramatic life slide away into nothingness. I already did that.

I lie. My life has not been short, though if it were to end now, it would be.

Each time I’ve lost everything and attempted the struggle back up through the Pit of Despair and the Slough of Despondency I did not, despite popular wisdom (I picture Wisdom in high school, perhaps she’s a cheerleader, which would account for the popularity) become stronger and learn valuable life lessons. I did not thank anyone for allowing me to feel the depths of utter misery and then emerge, Phoenix-like, rich and successful and brand new, a changed person.

Still the same person. Still struggling with my own personal demons. (I call them Larry and George. Persnickety fellows too.) Still waiting to be discovered by New York (though in what capacity, I can’t say, but I think I’d make a good street urchin, if it weren’t for the age thing.) Still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, which doesn’t seem to be coming at me any faster now than it was years ago.

Still proceeding onward.

Have I told you about my car? It’s an older car, bought in haste when my former car, which wasn’t that old, died an undignified death and blew up but not, unfortunately, with a pretty explosion. The transmission died, and since I couldn’t afford to fix it, I bought another car. This seemed a wise move at the time, though it may defy logic now. The new yet older car was cheap, and I got terms on it, thanks to Stew, who’d already purchased a car from the dealer. (What does it say for my credit rating when a mentally ill unemployed guy has to be my co-signer before I can get a car?)

The new older car died three weeks later, the engine having destroyed itself in a fit of pique. Meanwhile, the other car was being repossessed. I was beside myself. Not about the repossessed car – the thing didn’t run, and there wasn’t much I could do about it at the time. I was the Car Murderer, and even though this is not a crime punishable by jail time, I still felt bad. And poor.

Stew’s parents, my ex-in-laws, loaned me the money to get the engine replaced. Engine, transmission, all new. I never paid them back, though I was supposed to. I was supposed to do a lot of things I didn’t do. I’m still waiting for my ship to come in so I can, but I think pirates got it.

My car runs well. It certainly should. But it looks like . . . well, the paint has sun damage, so it looks like a wreck. Big blotches of sun damage all over it, faded light areas, or whatever it is, and in parts the rust is trying to break through. It’s a 95 Thunderbird, and I love my car, but it looks like crap. I’m certain that when I’m seen driving that car people think, “What’s up with the ugly car?”

It’s turning ugly, and the air conditioner and fan need to be fixed (I’ll worry about that next summer, when it starts to get hot again). My credibility among the business community may be compromised, should I be seen parking this thing next to any of the newer shiny vehicles I see everywhere. (Look, it’s not as if it has cooties.) But I don’t owe anything on it (except for the 5 grand to my ex-in-laws, but they haven’t asked for it lately), and it’s going to last me forever, so I’ll keep driving it. It’s useful. It works for me. It’s not the best car, but I don’t need the best car. I just need one that runs and gets me from Point A to Point B, and it usually does. Except for that time several months ago when a belt broke and it had to be towed, but other than that, it works. It’s not the shiniest, prettiest car, but it does its job, and no one can take it away from me.

(Except the ex-in-laws, who could, theoretically, repossess it, but I don’t think they want it.)

I’d like to tie this up neatly with a message, but I’m not in a philosophical mood at the moment. In fact, I feel like going for a drive in my crappy car. It’s a sunny day, but not too hot, and I could use the air.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fear of Pancakes

Life was not particularly easy for me at the age of seven, despite the mythology about childhood being so much fun that we want to constantly relive it. For one thing, I abhorred milk, unless it had Hershey’s in it. Could not abide the stuff, and still can’t. It’s . . . chalky, and the flavor? Who decided that was a good flavor? Granted, it goes well with cereal, but by itself? It’s simply inedible.

Or so I suspected. No one would listen to me when I told them this, and the theory at the time, and perhaps still is, I don’t really keep up on theories, is that milk is good for children. So when chunks of my hair began disappearing I was quick to jump on the “it’s the milk” story that somehow popped up. I can’t believe that I would have been smart enough to come up with that one, but I certainly didn’t try to dissuade anyone from that theory.

At the time, my brother and I were living with my mom, who was living with her sister, who had three of her own children. With two parents who liked to go out and party and five children often left on their own things were bound to happen. One of the things that happened was that one of my cousins ripped out my hair. But since no one would believe that particular story, the milk story came in quite handy. With this excuse, I could avoid milk successfully.

Until someone noticed that my cousin actually was tearing out my hair, and I hadn’t even been drinking milk. It was a good plan while it lasted though.

Later we went to live with my dad, a man not so predisposed to partying, perhaps because he was so old by then, having a good ten years on my mother. He married again, and my stepmother made it her mission to be sure I was properly nutritionalized. I suspect her real wish was to see me institutionalized, and she certainly expended every effort to see that happen, but fortunately I’m resilient.

She insisted I drink half a glass of milk every morning with breakfast. Ew, yuck. With cereal it was no problem, and even now in my advanced state of older age I eat cereal with milk. But straight? With eggs it wasn’t so bad – I could take a quick drink of milk then immediately shove some eggs in after it. But I still remember the horror of the pancakes.

Pancakes. There’s nothing wrong with pancakes, is there? But when they’re accompanied by a glass, even half, of milk, they take on the proportions of some giant ungodly demon, and taking a sip of milk and then a bite of pancake does not make the milk more palatable, but instead makes the pancake a cloying milky mess that tastes all of milk and is difficult to swallow. Substitutions were not allowed. It had to be pancakes with the milk.

Stepmother did not care that it made me sick. Pointing out that I was certainly not nutritionally deprived would not have helped. That was irrelevant. I had to have milk with my pancakes, even if it killed me. Once or twice I thought it might. That’s because I was young and had an active imagination, and my stomach was in agreement with me that it just might be the end of me.

Veering off the milk subject for a moment, my stepmother was a woman of odd insistences. She insisted we eat breakfast every day, and she was quite insistent on what constituted “breakfast.” One day, while in high school, I woke up early and left for school before anyone else was up. (Not just one day, I did this often.) On my way out, I made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, calculating that bread was often a breakfast item, as it makes up toast, and jelly is often used on toast, and peanut butter is known to be a staple for any meal and is especially good on bread.

When my stepmother found out what I’d done she had a fit. Peanut butter and jelly was NOT an appropriate breakfast. It was not breakfast at all, as far as she was concerned, it was LUNCH, and why was I having lunch that early in the morning? Was there something wrong with me, other than the obvious? I was, she stated firmly, not to ever do that again.

So I went to school in the early morning hours sans breakfast at all, but at least I wasn’t having lunch.

Anyway. For years I had this idea in my head that pancakes are not good, even though I’d readily admit that I liked pancakes. Not stepmother’s, of course, those were ruined for me for life. But other pancakes. And yet, I’m still loathe to order pancakes, and they’re not my first choice when it comes to “what am I going to make for breakfast?”

And this is just silly. I’m punishing the poor innocent pancake for its previous association with milk, an association the pancakes itself did not insist on, an association that stopped long ago, when I was old enough to free myself from my stepmother’s grasp (18, which, if you ask me, wasn’t entirely soon enough, but it was the best I could do). I still suspect the innocent pancake of being on HER side, as if pancakes can even take a side, being the inanimate objects they are. (At least mine are – if yours aren’t, you might want to get that checked out.)

So I’m on a mission to get past my fear of the pancake, to not suspect them of wrongdoing whenever they make an appearance on a menu, to give them a chance to prove themselves to me. It’s the least I can do.

Then I’ll tackle dill pickles. One thing at a time.

Looking for Lumber at Macy's

Looking online today for the location of a hamburger place (one which shall remain nameless as I don’t want a crowd next time I’m in the mood for a hamburger), I decided to look at the FAQ for said hamburger place. Hours later, I’m still amused by one question in particular.

Q: What options do you have for vegetarians?

This is a frequently asked question? My response, should I be the one answering the question, would go like this:

A: There’s a nice vegan restaurant close by.

What is there about the name Five Guys Burgers and Fries that would indicate it’s a happy place for vegetarians? I mean, I like vegetarians, some of my best friends are vegetarians and vegans, but do I go to a vegan restaurant and say, “I’m a carnivore. What options do you have for me?”

First they’d make fun of me and then they’d offer me a veggie burger, right?

I don’t know about you, but I’m surrounded by restaurants. Not at the moment, since I’m at home and I can’t fit any inside my house, but out there . . . in my city, and the neighboring city, and all the cities that surround us, little fiefdoms full of shopping and food.

Going to a burger place and asking for the vegetarian options is like going to a hardware store looking for shoes to go with the lovely dress you just picked up at the pharmacist’s.

(The real answer seems to have been lost in my rambling, but it went something like this: “The fries are made with potatoes. The veggie burger has veggies. However, when we say veggie burger, we mean, you can order all the veggies that normally come on a burger, and we can leave off the hamburger patties.” How much more vegetarian can you get?)

Moving on to my next subject, which is a bit related to the topic of Mysterious People, I just spent two days at a writer’s conference. I had a fabulous time, met some fascinating writers, agents, non sequiturs, editors, film people, more writers (they weren’t all fascinating, after all), and many more, though I’m not sure exactly who they are or what they did, but they were definitely there. One youngish man (by which I mean, younger than me) was there to pitch his novel. The tables were big and round and seated 8, so meals were a good time to talk to strangers.

These conferences are not terribly inexpensive. I worked my way in, volunteering for half the time I was there to get in for “free” the other half. This youngish man had paid his way in and bought several pitches, so it hadn’t been cheap. All that, and he’d failed to research the likelihood of finding an agent/publisher with a half-written novel. Like walking into a hamburger place that’s going to serve meat when you really want a salad, he thought that perhaps he could walk into a place where people were looking for completed novels and non-fiction proposals and do just fine.

Non-fiction is great to pitch when half-written. Or unwritten. It’s not necessary at all. It’s the proposal (which is much like writing a mini-version of the book) that matters. For fiction, the novel needs to be complete. What good is a half-finished novel? Most half-finished novels don’t get finished. Many novels start out strong and then sort of . . . drift . . . off to an ending that makes the entire thing useless. That’s just a fact.

We, I and another interested party, asked the youngish man to pitch his book to us, as practice. He didn’t want to talk about it anymore. That’s not a good sign as most writers won’t shut up about their books (me included), but I believe it was just conference fatigue setting in. He’ll go home and finish his novel, and then he’ll come back next year. Maybe he’ll sell it before next year, now that we’ve set him straight on how the novel industry works. We explained about the differences between non-fiction and fiction, and told him his concept was good. (I tell most everyone their concept is good because there are very few bad concepts – it’s all in the execution, after all.)

There’s nothing I can do about the vegetarians however. They don’t listen to me at all.

Do You Know Where Your Fire Extinguisher Is?

Do you keep in regular contact with it? Give it a call now and then, just to make sure it’s still around and hasn’t departed in a huff because it feels unloved and unwanted?

Not me. I know where mine is, now that it needs to be replaced. I wasn’t so sure before. I knew we had one, of course we did, we’re big believers in safety, and in my case that’s generally an attitude that is best expressed in this manner: “I saw a fire extinguisher around here once, so I know it’s here. I’ll worry about finding it when I need it.”

There’s an obvious problem with my philosophy, which is that there’s really no time to look for a fire extinguisher when there’s a fire. Those suckers move fast.

I love fire. Bonfires. Camp fires. Fireplace fires.

I loathe fire. Wild fires. Countryside decimating fires. House fires.

It’s all about the proper time and place, see?

I was enjoying a quiet time of lethargy yesterday, after having prepared potatoes for dinner and put them in the oven. Charming husband, my own personal hero, was grilling lamb on the cheapo Weber grill. He’d been outside watching it and reading, but came in to check on me. I distracted him with witty banter, and since I am irresistible his return to the outdoors was delayed.

Until something made him look back towards the door. Smoke, I think it was.
Smoke drifting in through the open doorway, billowing clouds of it.

He went running towards the back door and then yelled “Fire! Call 911!”

I, being rather slow to respond and not altogether bright in times of crisis, instead went to look at the fire, not that I thought he’d lie to me, but just to check, y’know, because why would we have a fire?

While I was still pondering the fire part of his message, and confirming that it was indeed a fire, leaping up against the siding right outside the back door, he came running past me again, fire extinguisher in hand, and put out the fire.

“Call 911,” he said again.

I looked around for my phone. Now, I was pretty sure it had been around somewhere, but where? The problem with cell phones is they tend to travel, sometimes on their own, as if they become impatient with one location and move themselves to another.

I found it, and called 911, and the nice lady on the phone asked me a list of questions. Yes, the fire was out, we thought, but it had been right in the area where there was a crawl space underneath the house. Yes, we just needed to be sure it was actually out, and not lurking underneath the house, ready to explode through the floor when we least expected it. Yes, we were safe at the moment. Yes, there was smoke in the house, and the color of the smoke was sort of . . . light smokish? Grey smoke color? (I’ve used the word smoke so much it sounds like a parody of itself.)

I disconnected, and heard sirens.

How embarrassing.

It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with sirens, but usually when I hear them it’s not because they’re racing to my house. I swept the hallway and went out the front door. Don’t ask me why I swept the hallway. There was a broom hanging around (at least I know where that is), and I just thought it’d be nice if I swept up a bit on my way out the door. I enticed the dogs, who had been watching events transpire from a corner of the yard, with doggie treats to get them inside and upstairs, where they could be locked away so they wouldn’t feel encouraged to welcome the firemen. I’m not sure that would have been at all welcome.

I stood out on our front lawn. A couple with their little boy were across the street, taking him out for a walk. They called over to me, “Is that for you?”

“Yes,” I had to admit, “It is.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, we just need to be sure the fire’s out.”

“So we might get to see a fire engine!”

“Yes,” I said, “Any time now there’ll be a fire engine.” I knew this because the sirens were getting closer.

They turned their little boy towards the street so he’d have a good view of the pretty fire engine when it came rolling up.

A neighbor from an upstairs next door window called down to me, “Are you okay?”

“Yes, we’re fine. Just a small fire.” He started to say he’d been looking out his back window and had seen smoke, but then the fire engine turned into our street, sirens blaring, and it was time for more neighbors to come out of their houses and stare.

That’s what people do, after all, when there’s an exciting neighborhood event going on.

As embarrassing as it is, it’s not nearly as embarrassing when the fire gets bored with the crawl space and reaches up through the floorboards and starts in on all the flammables we have laying around, such as ourselves and our dogs.

What nice fireman. Two of them came in, and while one took heat measurements of the floor the other looked at the crawlspace area in back. Out front, another fireman set up a fan. There was a bit of smoke billowing around after all.

The hall closet was cleaned out, since the crawlspace entrance was in the floor there. Just like making sure you have clean underwear on in case of an accident, make sure your closet is clean just in case firemen need to get to your crawlspace. Another life lesson.

They looked, they measured, they used the water hose in the crawl space. And the temperature of the floor started to go down, which is generally a good thing.

We were pronounced safe from fire, at least until we start another one. We don’t have any other plans for that at this time.

Oh, and the lamb! The lamb was fine. The fire hadn’t been the grill itself, it had been the chimney starter, which became overexcited, as near as I can tell. Charming husband felt bad about the entire incident, but I told him not to – there’s a reason they call these things accidents instead of arson.
Now if it had been arson, he and I would be having a little talk, but as it is, I was thoroughly impressed with the speed with which he responded and put the damn thing out. That, and he knew right where to find the fire extinguisher. While my brain was still processing the idea of a fire he was already putting it out. Isn’t he wonderful? And in the future, the grill will be kept much farther from the house.

I watched the fireman pack up their truck, at least for a little while, but the crowds of neighbors began to be a bit daunting, standing around as they were, wondering if we were a danger to their houses, and so I went back inside. Charming husband didn’t even want to be seen out the front, so embarrassed was he at the possibility of answering questions like, “What happened? How did it start?”

We are all fine, though I’m not sure my heart resumed its regular rhythm for a couple of hours. The house is fine, except for a bit of scorched siding and a few needed replacement parts.

So where’s your fire extinguisher?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rearranging My Office

It wouldn’t have occurred to me to blog about rearranging my office if my friend Mark, who has longed to be in my blog for months, hadn’t I said I would. So this is for you, Mark. Can’t say I never did anything for you now, can you?

Today I rearranged my office.

Short post, wasn’t it?

There’s a bit more to the story, so I might as well continue. Long ago, when we first moved into this house, I set up my desk so I could look out the window, assuming I could see through my monitor. I can’t see through my monitor, but I could still see a goodly portion of outside. There’s not a spectacular view since my office is at the front of the house and I therefore face the house across the street, but occasionally there’s something interesting going on out there, like the time the fire trucks came to put out the car fire across the street. I look to have a good view just in case.

It wasn’t long before I realized that by placing my desk in this position I made it nearly impossible to open and close the window. I love opening and closing windows. I like to open them when I’m hot and then, five minutes later, close them again because I’m cold. So I was always calling out to charming husband, “Charming husband, can you come help with my window?”

Way to be an independent person in my own right.

I tend to attract clutter. Some women attract men, some attract wealth and fame and fortune. I attract clutter. Assisting in this process are loyal clients who send me home with boxes of paperwork they’re not sure what to do with (but they’re quite certain I’ll know, as if I have some secret knowledge). So these accumulate. During tax season, the accumulation grew and grew and grew . . . Occasionally I start sticking things in the shredder so I can clean off my desk.

Unfortunately, it’s not an industrial shredder and before I know it, I’m emptying it, which means there are pieces of shredded paper everywhere. Theoretically I should be vacuuming quite frequently, but given the way boxes and files and, most importantly, plastic organizational products, accumulate around here, I wait until I have enough clear floor space to actually vacuum.

This never happens.

Speaking of plastic organizational thingies, I like to collect those too. No one ever mentions that just possessing such things does not mean I’ll be organized, but I keep falling for it anyway. I also use quite a few wire baskets. The problem with these is things get dusty.

I attract clutter AND dust.

I am singularly blessed.

I’ve been meaning to rearrange my office for quite some time. I had this great idea: instead of having my desk in front of the window, I’d put it in the corner, so it’s partially in front of the window. What a concept. It seemed to me I’d have more space this way too. As it is, my printer stand stands forsaken in the corner because I can’t reach it easily. So it gets dusty and the things on it are forgotten. The printer itself was sitting on the credenza next to the printer stand. Don’t ask me why.

Every time I say the word credenza to charming husband he says, “What’s that?” I keep thinking it’ll sink in someday. Then again, I’m not sure who’s playing for the Mariners this year, so we’re even.

This idea has sat in my brain for quite some time – in two months we’ll have been here two years, and I’m always thinking, “I’m going to clean this place up and rearrange it.”

Right. As if that’s going to happen. Then again, can you change a space if it doesn’t want to be changed?

So today I forgot about cleaning it up and just started moving things. I had to unplug my monitors, my printer, all those things that connect. There were cords and cables and wires that went to places and came back again, and I was fairly certain that I didn’t have that much technology when I started. After moving the desk, which is really just a table that I inherited a couple of years ago but is perfect desk height for me, I sat underneath the desk and plugged in my surge protectors, my computer, my monitors, my printer, my shredder, my speakers, my lights, and whatever else seemed to need to be plugged in. There were a couple of random cables left. How could there be random cables? Do they multiply down there when I’m not looking? Is this the inverse of the missing sock question?

Then I remember that I once had a cable modem on this computer. And a couple of other things.

I’m looking out the window now, while I sit at my computer. It’s just off to my right. I can open and close it without calling for reinforcements. My entire printer stand is right where it always was, but it’s now all usable space. I have more room. It’s as if I created space out of . . . air. Wait. Space is air, right? Never mind.

The dogs are happy. They like to sleep on my feet while I work, and now they have more room to congregate down there. They’re fairly certain I did it just for them, so please don’t tell them any different.

Fall can show up now. I’m ready. Well, this half of the room. The other half, where I put everything while I was rearranging, is still a mess. Maybe tomorrow.

And say hi to Mark when you see him.