Thursday, May 23, 2002

Vacuum Cleaner; crazy marblehead neighbor

Yesterday I got home from my day of many adventures to find a wonderful thing.

The vacuum had arrived and had been test driven by Doug and Jessica. But I'll tell you more about that in a minute.

Yesterday was a road day. Some days just are. Instead of hangin' round the homestead, you use a ton of gas motoring around the northeast.

Geoff and I did our trip to his school, stayed for chapel, had a great time. His friends were really happy to see him, and he seemed... stunned. I think he was scared I would leave him there, so he tried to hang on me. I foisted him over to N and K and said "Those boys miss you, get over there and BE with them!" And all my little career advice giving friends were there to hug me and sit with me.

Geoff's teacher bothers me. I'm glad she won't be his teacher next year. She is SO strict with all the kids, I wanted to tell her to knock it off. The girls wanted to sit as close to me as possible, and were wriggling between my side and the side of whomever was sitting next to me. It was like sitting in a basket of puppies, puppies who love you... and she got after them and made them sit a foot away from me saying "She doesn't need people sittin' all over her." Jeesh. Sure I do! Someone lovin' me and wanting to hang out with me? Just 'cause yer stuck with'em all day doesn't mean I don't care to talk to them when I come visit. Man alive. So it is no wonder Geoff didn't get on with her well. Next year's teacher is pretty rockin' and cool, and I think Geoff will be fine with her.

He was with his last year's teacher, but she moved down to be with the 3 year olds. I was bummed at that.

She (Geoff's current teacher) was supposed to give me his artwork portfolio when we left, but she was on the phone, so I'll pick it up another time. She said it's all great stuff, and they did an art show the Friday before Mother's Day, but I didn't know about it. She acted like I should have. Duh? He's been out of school since fucking MARCH lady. My crystal ball is in the shop. You coulda called me and told me. Man.


After the trip to school we went to Beverly to go see Clayton's gravesite.

Pet Peeve here kids: When someone dies and is buried and you go to the cemetery, do me a favor and don't say things like "I'm going to see Grampa," or "I'm going to see... Fred." You're not seeing them in any way. You're seeing the dirt that covers them and it's a good thing too because I've seen movies like "Night of the Living Dead," and "Dawn of the Dead," and Michael Jackson's "Thriller." You don't want to see your dead friends and relatives. It's a good thing... they don't look well. So they're in the ground or the mausoleum, so you're going to see their gravesite. Got it?

You can use terms like, "I'm going to spend time with Aunt Sally," or "I'm going to go talk to dad..." just stay away from the Going To See thing. It irks me.

So we went to "spend time with" and I wanted Geoff to see where he was at the cemetery. We cleaned up all the old dead flowers. There were three or four bunches tucked into the ground around a little copper placename. The ground was recently seeded, and the seeds were dry and sad looking. It seems like they seeded yesterday, after all that great rain. Now the seeds are going to blow away or get eaten by sparrows. Seems kind of sad. So after tidying up a little, Geoff and I said a prayer and I had a good cry quietly while he sat in the car with his pokemon cards.

I realize that every time I go to Beverly now I'm going to be doing that. Stopping in to tidy up, make things look respectable. Pray and cry and move on my way.

We had lunch with good friends of mine from College who I haven't seen in quite a while. One of them is now a yoga teacher, and is quite funny and bohemian... typical post-evangelical college adulthood. Actually, she was all boheme in college too, which is why we got on so well. The other is running a Shakespearean camp for kids in Marblehead, MA, and is the BEST. I remember being the editor of an annual literary magazine at college one year and having her on my panel of reviewers. We sat on my bed on the top floor of the dorm I was living in, the oldest and least insulated room in the universe I might add, and we read poems and reviewed things together. I remember her reading one of mine (they were all anonymous, so unless you already knew the poem, you had no idea who submitted it) and she was gapemouthed in astonishment and praise for the stupid thing. It was funny to sit there and watch her read it and like it, and have no clue it belonged to me.

So catching up with them was absolutely delish, especially after spending time at the cemetery. It was good to reconnect, and there were promises made to spend time together this summer, and she needs a website for the theatre company, so perhaps we shall make one.


Then, we were on our way home and I decided to do two things. Swing by my old house in Marblehead, and swing by the college to visit the guys.

This was where we lived with Tony. Our happy second floor with the cool window box seats and horsehair plaster walls, orange bedroom (our fault) for Jessica, and lead paint. It's the only place I've ever lived that I cried when I left. I loved this house. After someone bought it, they fixed it up on the inside and out, and it is now gorgeous... not that it didn't have its own special unique charm back in the day. We didn't have the money to fix it up, nor did we have the money to buy it after Tony died. How I would have loved that... It still breaks my heart when I see it.

Here it is in 1994:

and here it is yesterday from a slightly different angle:

The forsythia is still thick on the corner, and I checked in back and my favorite rose bush in America seems to still be there too. They've done some nice patchwork on the stone fence, parts of it would cave in every spring and Doug and I would carefully place the stones back where we could.

And the piece of shit shed in the backyard, barely visible in yesterday's photo in the far left side behind the porch, is still there. I laughed when I saw it. It needed to be replaced in the 70s. So some things just don't get around to getting changed sometimes...

The people who bought it in 1995(?) are really nice. He's a carpenter, she's a school teacher. They've welcomed me into the house before, happily, joyfully. They weren't home yesterday though, so I didn't go in.

Sigh. I love this house! That's the porch where my daughter and Missy played. I've got shitloads of pictures from the winter and us digging the steps out. Watching the traffic on fourth of July after the fireworks over the harbor were done... on that porch, with a glass of wine. Such good memories. I wish we'd had the money then to buy it.

Okay, enough. I'm making myself so sad.

Interlude: Lovely Marblehead Neighbor

Two doors up to the left as you're looking at the front of this gorgeous old house is the home/office of a very successful Psychiatrist. I forget his name. Regardless. He was an ass (probably still is for all I know...).

He had a huge atrocious Bulldog, and daily would walk his dog around our house, up the one way street around to the backside where we parked our cars. He'd walk up the outer edge of our car park to the backside of the neighbor's property, and let his dog dump like mad.

He'd look around to make sure no one was looking, and he would casually read the morning paper. He always did this really early in the morning... and we'd come out to the car area to find a huge steaming pile of bulldog refuse waiting for us.

Able to help other people with their mental defects and psychosis, he obviously had several of his own.

One day, Doug decided he'd had enough, and saw the Good Doctor Dogshitter standing by our car, with said dog shitting up a storm. Doug went down to the street to confront him in person, and him to let him know the level of our displeasure with the shitfest that we got every day.

"Don't bring him around there to do that," said Doug.

"No one talks to me that way!" said the good Doctor Dogshitter.

"Well, I'm talking to you that way, and will continue to talk to you that way as long as you bring your dog around here to continue doing that!"

got this confrontational around foodstuffs!>

Doctor Dogshitter showed Doug that he had a bag to clean up after the big bulldog, which was a town law, and stated that whatever shit had been there before wasn't his dog's doings.

Thing was we saw him on several occasions walk away with the dog without cleaning up, simply folding his Boston Globe up under his arm... so we knew that once the dog was empty of shit, that the good doctor was then full of it.

It continued until one day Doug reached his threshold of tolerance and bull shit, and he went over, picked up several newer piles in a bag, and flung them into the man's driveway over his gate.

The dogshit discoveries stopped immediately.

Moving on... Seeing the guys was fun. They had no idea I was coming by, and it was fun to surprise them. Geoff loves them, they have all kinds of toys and snack and stuff to mess with... Geoff lovingly wrote "Braon isa losr" or, Brian is a Loser on the whiteboard by Brian's desk. He also wrote a large amount of numbers, backwards but in sequence, and said he was doing Brian's job. It cracked my shit right up. Ben and Dan took Geoff for a walk to the soda machine so I could spend time with My Rupa, whom I never hardly get to see, and it was a lovely time.

We got home, and met the new member of our family, the vacuum.

All I have to say is God Bless the South Korean Manufacturers, Designers and Constructors of my new Samsung Quiet Jet Vacuum.

It kicks major ASS.

It rocks any friggin' party.

It is sublime. It is surreal. It is delightful, delicious, delovely. It made my daughter's dirty ole nasty wall to wall carpeting look almost brandnew. Now, with a good shampooing, it will look as if Hastings Floor Covering was here yesterday instead of six years ago.

It vacuums hardwood floor. I used it in the kitchen and dining area. Our wood floors are dead old and totally have lost their finish and really need refinishing or replacing. When I go to wash them, the wood absorbs all the cleaner and water before I can even get whatever is on the floor off. But even though they look like utter shite, they look like better utter shite after being vacuumed. Huzzah!

And my room.

My room is pathetic. I have NO idea how old the carpeting is. It is this nasty old blue wall to wall, and in its heyday it was probably lovely. Seeing as our old vacuum never did a really good job of getting stuff off it, years of black dog habitation and messy human habitation have resulted in years of ... shit buildup.

Each time I've vacuumed lately it has been with my handheld Dirt Devil that my mom bought me in college. On my hands and knees. It isn't necessarily meant to be used as a complete floor solution, but it did an okay job.

Until today, I thought it did.

I vacuumed 50% of my room. The results are simply ass-spanking. I stood, agape with wonder, staring at the blue carpet saying "Jebus, this looks like a nice assed carpet for a change!"

One of the killer places in my room is under and behind the bed. We never move our bed. Ever. And this is what it looked like behind my husband's nightstand:

and then after:

I'm impressed. I hope to hell you are!

And yeah, I know, I know, I KNOW picture number one is so gross that you're probably curled up in the corner sneezing just after seeing it. And you have lost any and all respect for me that you may have maybe sort of had.

I've never pretended to be a good housekeeper.

I always clean AROUND obstacles rather than move them. So I was just as grossed out when I moved the table and saw this, and needed just as much antihistamine as you.

But it's over now.

Quiet Jet has come to live at my house, with its space age design, and it's super vac brush, and it's super suckability!

No more crazy dog hair infested rooms! No more dust bunnies the size of Corgies. It is the beginning of a new age of freedom in my home. I have not been so thrilled since the new Washing Machine came to be here. A new age of optimism! A new age of joy in the existence of technology and machines! God Bless America and the ability to buy stuff like a vacuum cleaner! Sniff. Weep. Wipe away tear.

Okay, enough. I'm being a total ass. I have gardening to finish, my daughter's bus will be home any second. Tonight is the first night in four nights that I don't have to be somewhere, so I'm gettin' me some beer and hanging out with my family. I sense a barbecue in my near future... I sense a quiet evening just hanging out. Aaaah. With clean carpeting.

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