CJDaily's Blog

July 21, 2010

Suburned and smiling.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 9:38 pm

I keep referring to this past weekend as “vacation.”  It wasn’t a vacation, simply a weekend, but as Jesse is almost invariably working on Saturdays, I only wind up seeing him on Friday nights, Saturday mornings, late Saturday evenings, and Sundays until about 7pm, when I must drive home.  It blows.  But this past Saturday he actually took off from work, and we went to the beach, me, him, and Annabelle.  It was heavenly.

Belle has a new movie, this awful Barbie surfer/mermaid thing, that she is obsessed with.  Combine that with the fact that she has been intrigued by Jesse’s surfboards since last year, and I’m sure you can guess what she wanted to do once we got to the beach.  Oh yes, the 2-year-old had her first surf lesson. 

Not that she can swim, of course.  She had a life-jacket on, and her arms are too short to paddle anyway, but Jesse walked her out to the shallows, and then held her hands as she steadied herself on the board.  She was so excited, so pleased with herself, you’d think she’d cured cancer or something. 

“I surfing!”  she shouted, as she stood on the board while it lay on the sand.

Not yet you’re not, we told her.

“I surfing!” she yelled out as Jesse stood her on the board in the water.

Yes, very nice, we applauded her.

“Hey everyone, I SURFING!” she shrieked above the roar of the waves.  Very self-congratulatory, that child.  You’d think she invented the sport herself.  But it was adorable to see her balancing there, looking so very serious and pleased at the same time. 

All in all, it was a wonderful day.  Regardless of multiple applications of sunscreen, I still managed to burn random spots of my body.  It’s probably due to the fact that I was using the spray kind that’s so popular right now, and the wind was blowing it all away from my body the second I tried to apply it.  Next time I will just suck it up and lather myself in the lotion kind I hate so much.  I feel like I’m greasing up a chicken for the spit, or some other unflattering type of cooking procedure. 

Jesse and I took Belle to Fantasy Island, which I adore, although I’d never admit to him that I’m not going “just for Belle’s sake.”  I mean, it’s full of rides and games, ok, yes, mostly kiddie ones, but still!  It’s fun!  The flashing lights and music, and smelling popcorn and funnel-cake, how can you not be happy in a place like that?  Although I think my secret is out, being as how he knows how my eyes glaze over with mad addiction at the sight of a crane-game.  You know, the ones where you put in 50 cents (ok, or a dollar) and then you get 2 moves, one back and one sideways, and the little arm descends and if you’re lucky it grabs something and drops it into the slot for you.  Last year I think I spent 50 dollars in quarters to get this big Elmo for Annabelle and I was wayyyy more into it than she was, although she was grateful to get it when I was finally victorious.  I think my victory dance might have clued Jesse into my enthusiasm.  And that fact that I was trash-talking the crane machine in my jubilation.

“Yeah, yeah!  What now, crane game?  I just stole your big Elmo!  How’d you like that?!”

Come to think of it, Jesse looked like he was trying awfully hard to melt away into the crowd–not an easy thing to do when wielding a big stroller.  And this year they had one machine with World Cup tee-shirts in it and I practically fogged up the glass salivating over it.  I tried twice to get one, but they were too heavy for the crane–an old trick.  You’d need to get one on its side, so the crane could catch on something.  I spent two dollars trying and then Jesse pried me off of it.  Humph.

But we did all sorts of fun stuff besides feed our money to the games.  We went on rides with Belle, and took her to a candy store, where her eyes almost fell out of her head, trying to take it all in.  We let her eat ice-cream, and funnel cake, and when I wasn’t looking she took a sneaky sip of my iced coffee, which (fortunately) she announced she did not like.  By the time we left it was after 10:30, and by the time we got her home and out of her car seat she slept through being changed and put to bed, which was so alarming that I checked her pulse.  She barely sleeps through the night, let alone being shuffled around and manhandled, so I guess the sun, sand, surfing, and sweets were the ultimate sleep cocktail. 

After Jesse and I tucked her in we settled down with a contented sigh and a glass of reisling.  And I remember, I looked at him and thought, I’ve had a lot of fun in my life but if I died, and had one day to live over again, it would be today.

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July 12, 2010

Splish-splash.

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 8:46 pm

Last weekend was hot.  I’m not going to abuse every adjective known to man to describe just how hot it really was, but if you were on the east coast, you know what I’m talking about.  Annabelle was ok with it, since she was permanently planted in her new pool, a blow-up situation with an elephant shaped slide, but Jesse and I were melting into the grass.  The stone house doesn’t have air conditioning, so we have fans in every window, but honestly, unless you’re going to lay on your back on the floor in front of one, you’re gonna be warm.  Which is fine with me.  Really.  Because at the end of the day, if you’re feeling really gross, you can just jump in the shower and rinse off, right?

No.  Not at our house.  Because I think I told you about the maroon atrocity that was the single bathroom in the whole house, yes?  The crumbling tiles, the holes in the floor, the bubbling, painted-over caulk?  It was like something out of a Saw film, and Jesse demolished the whole thing to start from scratch.  Everything in this bathroom needed to go, right down to the walls, floor, and ceiling.  So 3 weeks ago Jesse had it all down to bare bones, and put in a new toilet and laid a new floor.  It was a husk of a room, with a potty in it.  The plumbing for the new bathtub, however, was going to take a little more time, and until 2 days ago, there was no way to take a bath or shower in the house. 

Now, I’m only there on the weekends, so my solution was to shower before I headed down on Friday nights, steal a shower at my sister’s house on Saturdays, and wash my hair in the sink Sunday morning.  Jesse was on a similar routine, showering at his parents house before work, and hosing himself down under the apple tree at midnight when the going got really rough.  But last weekend, my sister wasn’t home, it was over 100 degrees out, and I am too big to fit into the kitchen sink, which I was contemplating.  I was hot, I was sweaty, I was desperate for a bath. 

I would have gotten into the “elephant cool,” as Belle calls her little pool, but it was full of grass clippings, and I’m pretty sure she pees in it, despite our spasmodic potty-training successes, so it would have been counter-productive.  I had just put her down for a nap, and Jesse and I were in the kitchen, sweating and whining. 

“Honey,” I cajoled him, “I will give you anything you want if you can get the bathtub to work.”

“The pipes don’t fit yet.  I have to get my dad over here to… (jargon I didn’t quite understand, etc.)”

“Access to my meager bank account?  Personal slaveitude?  Anything.”

“I could spray you down with the hose,” he shrugged.

I laughed.  Then stopped.  Then raced for my bathing suit.

Five minutes later I am in the yard, shrieking under a spray of almost unbearably cold hose-water.  Dog-walkers and stroller-pushing neighbors alike had the benefit of seeing both Jesse and I shivering in our bathing suits, taking turns spraying each-other, while gasping and pleading with each other to stop.  I’m sure the sight of me standing in the yard shampooing my hair made for some good neighborhood gossip, but at that moment it was heaven.  My scalp started to go numb, it was so cold, but I felt clean.  White trash, but clean.

So when I arrived at the house last Friday, Jesse and his dad were just finishing the complicated jargon that made the tub work.  And it works!  We now officially have running water in the tub!  No shower-head yet, but that first bath in the new tub–our adorable white claw-foot tub–was positively decadent.  Being clean all over at once it not a luxury I will take for granted again any time soon.  Nor will I discount the pleasure of shampooing in private, rather than out in the yard, whilst waving to passersby.

July 1, 2010

Going batty…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 9:57 pm

Obviously the bats have read my blog.  And they took my relaxed stance to mean total acceptance of their presence.  Which I did mean, when they were bunking down in the attic.  But it became a different story last week when Jesse and I were having coffee in the morning and his eyes slowly lifted above and behind my head.  I took his expression to mean that there was someone with a hockey mask and chainsaw standing behind me and whipped around, ready to throw scalding hot coffee on the intruder.  But his gaze was on the mantel over the living room entrance.  Hanging by his toes from the corner of the ledge, wrapped snugly in his little wings, was a tiny bat.  Sleeping.  In our kitchen.

I looked at Jesse, looked at the clock and said, “Gotta run to work babe.  Love ya!”  I was out of the house in record time, leaving the poor guy to capture the bat with a kids butterfly net he duct taped to a broom.  I congratulated him on his manly hunting skills when he called my cell to tell me about it.  Obviously, I would have helped him, had I not needed to go to work that very second. 

I thought nothing further of it until last weekend, on Friday night.  Jess was closing at the restaurant, so he wouldn’t be home until 1am or later.  I’d already put Belle to bed, and was sitting on the couch, reading a book and thinking of going to bed soon when I heard a noise.  A noise IN the house.

This house, let me remind you, is well over 100 years old.  It is on top of a mountain where our neighbors houses are barely visible through the trees.  There are no streetlights.  Just stars and darkness.  Very, very dark darkness.  So when you hear a noise outside it is more than a little creepy.  When you hear a noise inside the house itself, you might feel inclined to wet your pants.  (I didn’t, by the way.  We can’t afford a new couch.)

So this noise was coming from the hallway, and the hallway, coincidentally, is where the only exit out of the house is.  There’s a side door there that we use on a daily basis.  The front door is in the oldest part of the house, which is unfurnished and full of power tools and stacks of wood, and you’d have to walk through the hallway to get to the front door anyway.  So I immediately know that both doors out of the house have been blocked off to me.  Whatever is inside the house is between me and the doors.  Not that I could go anywhere, because my child is asleep in the next room.  SO.  I must confront this noise.

I look around for a weapon, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing useful to be seen.  I fleetingly recall that in the old part of the house there is a machete (don’t ask me why a guy needs a machete, I don’t know).  I make a mental note to keep this very handy weapon under the couch for future use, should I survive tonight’s encounter.  The best thing I come up with is a tee-shirt.  Seriously.  It was that or a magazine.  Come to think of it, the magazine might have been a better choice, but my heart was pounding with terror at that point, and I guess I was thinking I could suffocate or maybe trap something with a tee-shirt.  So I have that in my right hand and grab my cell-phone with the left.  Slowly creeping towards the kitchen, I call Jesse at work.  It was late enough that he was able to pick up the phone, and in a strained whisper, I rasp, “There is SOMETHING IN THE HOUSE!” the minute he picks up.

“Is it the bat?” he asks right away.

“I thought you got rid of the bat last week!”

“I think there was another one in the house last night.  I heard squeaking in the bathroom.”

Dimly I realize that every so often, the noise I am hearing, mostly a scuttling, flapping noise, includes some squeaking.  With a sinking heart, I take a step further into the kitchen, through which I can see most of the hallway.  There’s an open doorway into the hall, and two low walls on either side of it. 

“Well what do I do?” I ask desperately. 

“Go open the side door, maybe it will fly out.”

“Whatever it is is IN the hallway,” I hiss.  “I can’t get to the door!”

With cold dread, I suddenly see something black scuttle across the hallway floor.  “Oh sweet Jesus!” I gasp.  It flops over and reverses its direction and my brief, sweet hope that it might be a bird is crushed.  It is indeed a bat, and my best hope now is that it’s crawling around because it’s injured, and won’t be able to fly around. 

“It’s a bat!  It’s a bat!  What do I do?”  I am up on a chair now, not wanting it to venture into the kitchen and crawl towards my feet. 

“Block the doorway, and I’ll let it out when I get home,” he suggests, but this is not going to work.  To block the doorway, I’d need to hang up a sheet across the entire wall, and that would involve finding a sheet, finding tacks to hang it with (where does he keep those, anyway?) and getting close enough to the hallway that the bat would easily be able to get at me. 

I tell him as much, and then add, “Well at least it’s not fly…”  Before the word can even escape my mouth there is a sudden flap of leathery wings and there is a bat, a real live bat, flying in mad circles in the hallway, from the bathroom door to the side door and back again.  I give a scream and retreat back about five feet, off my chair now, and crouched to about half my normal height.  I am gibbering at Jesse through the phone, though what I expect him to do for me I have no idea.  “Flying!  Flying!  It’s flying!” I think I am screeching, and then, without warning, it changes course and comes right at me.

I can see it in slow motion, its wings unfolded, its little bat fangs bared, zooming straight for my face.  With a reflexive roar, I whip the tee-shirt I nearly forgot I was holding up at it like a whip.  A sudden surge of battle-rage overcomes me as it shrieks and wings back the way it came.  Jesse is still shouting suggestions on the other end of the phone, and I only dimly hear what he is saying.  The cold focus of the hunter has fallen on me. 

“I’m going to take care of this,” I say calmly into the phone, and snap it shut. 

“Ok bat,” I say out loud.  “It’s you and me.”

It has gone back to swooping back and forth between the doors and I snap my tee-shirt at my side again in frustration.  I don’t really want to kill this bat.  I just want for it to be gone.  I don’t want to charge for the door, in case we collide and it has rabies and bites me and I die in agony.  I have a young child to think about, here.  Plus, I hate agony.  So I must trap it somehow. 

I move closer and snap the tee-shirt at it as it passes by.  It drops to the floor close to the bathroom door, even though I’m sure I haven’t touched it.  Maybe it ricocheted off the door?  But I’m excited because now if I can just open the door to the bathroom and get it to fly in, I can trap it there and pee in the woods for the rest of the weekend.  I look around for something long to push the door open with, and my eyes fall on a level.  I lean over the half-wall, stretching as far as I can, and manage to nudge the bathroom door open.  I had figured on this movement making the bat get up, but it’s still laying there, so in a burst of inspiration, I toss the tee-shirt on top of it and sprint for the butterfly net.  I grab a sheet of cardboard too, and armed with the net, I flip the shirt off the bat and bring the net down on him just as he is lunging for me. 

It’s a rather unsettling sight, this bat hissing at me and flapping all around inside the net.  As gently as I can, I slide the cardboard under the net and, at arm’s length, turn and bring him to the side door, which I manage to get open with my foot.  Once safely out in the garden, I overturn my net and dump him unceremoniously on the ground.  I don’t stop to make amends or say farewell, but rather, beat a hasty retreat back into the house.  I slam the door behind me and permit myself a roar of victory.  A quiet one, since Belle is sleeping and all.

I pick the phone back up, dial Jesse’s number.

“Are you ok?” he says in a rush.

“The bat is gone,” I say with quiet pride.

There is a moment of silence.  “He flew out the door?”

“No.”

“He flew into the bathroom?”

“Oh no.  I caught him, and took him outside.”

A longer pause.  “You… what?”

“Oh yes,” I say as nonchalantly as possible.  “I caught it with a net and your tee-shirt.”

“You… you did?  Really?  YOU caught the bat?”

“I did.”  Huge silent grin.

“You’re…”  he pauses again.  “You’re awesome.

“Yes.  Yes, I am.  Could you bring me home a very strong drink, please?”

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