Sunday, November 30, 2008

The End?

"We got him," announced the b.h., right after I got out of bed. There was another - possibly the last - rat in the trap. He disposed of the corpse and we went on about our day. It was very quiet, not only all day, but all evening. No dishes banging in the middle of the night, no scurrying sounds coming from the walls or ceiling. Cross your fingers, kids. It may be over (for now).
It's been raining for a couple days now, which is fine with me, because we need it badly. Plus, rain is a good excuse not to mow the lawn, or gather firewood, or do much of anything, really. I will try to squeeze in a walk for the boys at some point, but other than that I plan to loaf and read and drink tea to my heart's content. Still reading Midnight..., plus I have an unopened Vanity Fair and TWO copies of The Believer. Also, the b.h.'s mom loaned me a copy of a book called Julie and Julia that I can't wait to tear into. So it might b e a few days before you hear from me again.

Also, I added some photos to the Nashville post, for anyone who might be interested.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Beat Goes On.

Sunday we slept in. We did a bit of housework when we got up, but mostly we relaxed and spoiled the dogs. On Monday we both worked, then the b.h. had band practice that evening, after which we went to see the new James Bond movie, which we both enjoyed thoroughly. A Bond girl that can actually act (as well as kick some ass), character development, and many, many action sequences. Everything I want in a Bond movie. Can't wait for the DVD so I can watch the fight scenes in slo-mo.
Tuesday I worked in the afternoon, then swung by the house, then raced downtown for the R.E.M. tribute show. It was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Murmur. 25 years. Wow. Makes me feel a little old, honestly. Anyway, I missed Jackpot City (or whatever they were called that night) and Liz Durett, but I got to see Iron Hero and Don Chambers + Goat, so I was happy. Also, we got home earlyish, which is unfortunately a big deal to me now. (Again with the old).
Wednesday I took the b.h. to work in the morning and came home to nap. Then I got up and got dressed for work, and as I was on my way out the door, I noticed a furry lump on top of my English cabinet in the kitchen. I guess he though he was hiding, but it wasn't working. I got a box and put it next to the cabinet on the floor, with the intention of knocking him into it. Next I got a very log roll of aluminum foil in a box, and climbed onto a step to prod him off the top of the cabinet from the other side. I pushed him as hard as I thout I needed to, but he didn't budge. I wondered if he was stuck. I didn't want to rip his legs off, so I donned the rubber gloves again and reached up to grab him. He ran to the other side, out of my reach. By this time, the dogs were both very interested in what was going on, and I was nearly late for work. I went back to the aluminum foil box, and this time when I pushed him he ran down the back of the cabinet, out of my reach, and scurried under it. I pulled the cabinet out, closing off one side with the box and posting Kilgore on guard on the other. He wouldn't come out. Even after I had the whole cabinet perpendicular to the wall and was on my knees trying to pry him out with a broom, he wouldn't budge. After about five minutes of this, he bolted out between the box and the cabinet and scurried under the fridge. Bastard. I got up, brushed off my pants, and went to work, promising a steak to whichever dog managed to kill that rat before I got home.
I worked eleven hours at the Local Liquor Store. It was ridiculous. We sold ten thousand dollars worth of wine. Ten. Thousand. Dollars. That's a lot of wine. R and I were running around helping customers and just trying to keep product on the shelves. It was hectic, but it felt good to be busy.
Thursday was Turkey day with the b.h.'s folks, low key and delicious. Friday I worked in the morning, then Friday night we sat on the couch and watched movies and read. That new Narnia movie is beautiful to look at but inexplicably boring. It has been years since I read the books, but I swear they were about something. I know there were plots in them, so i can only assume that whoever adapted the screenplay just made it up themselves. I don't know.
Now I'm re-reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in preparation for our trip to Savannah next weekend. I know we sound very jet-setty these days, but it isn't quite as it sounds. We're still wage slaves, but my sister and brother-in-law are generously putting us up in a lovely hotel where they will also be staying for a few days. I haven't been to Savannah in ages and I can't wait.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rock, A Road Trip, and The (Rat) War Continues.

So after that last incident, the b.h. and I hatted up, kissed the dogs good-bye, and headed north to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We had had the pleasure of seeing both Centro-matic and South San Gabriel on Friday night at The 40 Watt, and were eager to repeat the experience. Even though South San wouldn't be playing, Glossary was, and we were happy to make the drive. J was watching the boys, the rats had been wrangled, we had an Ipod full of fresh podcasts, a half a cup of coffee, it was dark out, and we were wearing sunglasses. (Not really, but I noticed that I was halfway to a Blues Brothers quote and I couldn't stop myself. If you don't get the reference, I recommend watching that movie ASAP).
Anyway, I was exhausted, having worked late and then early and then late and then early and then wrestling a candied rat and jumping behind the wheel, but I was eager for adventure. We found our way to the club without incident, despite neither of us having ever set foot in Murfreesboro before. It was on the square, which we both immediately thought bore an uncanny resemblance to Denton, Texas (the home base of Centro-matic).
The club was full of scary frat-boy types and loud drunk women with too much makeup. The upstairs room, where the rock would happen, was mostly empty but for a few bearded hipsters. The guys were nowhere to be found. We decided to go in search of food. The only restaurants open were chains and fast food joints, so we decided to wait until after the show. In the meantime, we went in search of a liquor store.
Whenever we leave the state, it is a requirement that my fellow beer geeks and I return with hoppy spoils that can't be found in the great State of Georgia. Reasons for this lack of availability vary, but in a way I enjoy the idea that there is still a market for regional products. When I was a kid I remember going into gas stations in other states and seeing unfamiliar sodas and potato chip bags. What seemed at the time so exotic to me is now just a reminder of what we have lost. I hope that local beers continue to stay local in some places, because there is a special feeling when I can call my friend S on the phone and say, "They have Dogfish Head 120 minute IPAs. How many do you want?", and get an excited reply like I got Saturday night.
"Holy shit dude. Those are oak aged. That's the best beer in America right now. Buy it all. As much of it as they have. I'll pay you back and give you some."
They had nineteen bottles, which was good, because at $8.99 for twelve ounces, I couldn't have afforded much more. We also picked up some Double Chocolate Stout from the Fort Collins Brewery in Colorado, and a Unibrou 16th Anniversary ale, but everything else that they had is available in our store.
S gave me a double chocolate stout(22oz. of unbelievable deliciousness) and two Dogfishheads for my trouble. Bless that man.
We got back to the bar and killed some time chatting with the guys, and then watched a really great rock show. Chris from the Baptist Generals opened. I like the way he sings. His songs are weird and depressing in a good way. After that Cento-matic rocked a near Greatest Hits set. I decided that "Love You Just the Same" is my current theme song about America.
Hey, you should see us now
Things have really changed.
Reinvent ourselves
Love you just the same.

Will actually mentioned the election and ensuing sense of relief at the Athens show, but wisely kept mum on the subject in Tennessee (they don't know the crowd very well there). Anyway, the show was fabulous, and Glossary was also fabulous, and we had an excellent time. Afterward the b.h. and I stopped to eat at a Waffle House. It was better than our Waffle House at the end of the Universe experience in Asheville. We passed out promptly, and did not awaken until the knocking of the maid at ten after eleven in the am. We got coffee and a snack for breakfast and headed north to Nashville.
Little did we know that there was a professional football game happening right in the middle of downtown, or that the Titans are 10 and 0. Living in a college town has caused me to forget completely about Sunday football. We had a bit of trouble parking, but once we did we walked around and had a relatively pleasant time.

I found this statue in front of the Symphony Hall particularly captivating:

The b.h. had never been, so I wanted to hit some of the tourist spots, but neither of us was really up for the crowds and Hatch Show Print was closed, so we headed back to the car after a bit and drove toward Vanderbilt to find food.

We were tempted to take a carriage ride with this guy, but decided to spend our money on food instead.

These pis were taken out the car window while we were driving down Broadway. Sometimes i like extremely candid shots best.

This building was so stunning that I actually had to pull over and get a better look. It being the Customs House and all, I am surprised I wasn't questioned over my enthusiastic photography.

I had never thought of Nashville in terms of architecture before, but I am very impressed. Now I feel like I might be taking extra time there whenever we pass through.
We wound up at a fantastic Indian restaurant, where we stuffed ourselves crippled at the buffet, and then headed home.
When we got back I called J to thank him and he informed me that we were not, in fact, through with the rat problem. Crap.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, Rats.

Many, many rats. Not mice. So we have, as readers of this blog may remember, had some rodent problems in the past. Recently (like a couple months ago) we started having them again, and then we plugged some holes in the house and set a few traps and we thought we were done. Then the scurrying in the walls started back up, then we started setting a trap again nightly, and in the past couple of weeks we have bagged about five or so. The b.h. has been good enough to dispose of the bodies, citing my vegetarianism as a reason why I should be exempt from the task. I chose not to argue.
Then, on Saturday, we both came home from work and were running around trying to get packed for a road trip to Murfreesboro. Our friend J was going to be coming over to dog and house sit, and we wanted to straighten up. The b.h. had forgotten to put up the trap, which was fine because it went off before we left, and he (rather than J) was able to deal with the corpse. As he was doing this, he heard a sound in the kitchen.
"There's a rat in the white thing," he said, referring to an English cabinet that we keep various food items and plastic wrap in.
"Okay, I'll deal with it."
"What are you going to do?"
I don't know. I guess I'll just try to trap him in a box or something and take him outside."
I peered into the cabinet. The section that the rat was in was the top portion, one that has two sliding panes of glass with two shelves inside. The rat appeared to be hiding behind a box of tea. He was very small, but I could see him clearly, and i wondered why he wasn't already gone since he could obviously see me. He was sitting in what appeared to be a pool of his own urine. It looked gross- really, really gross. And then I realized that it also looked voluminous. He couldn't have been there that long, I reasoned. We had been at work all day, but it's not like he would just stay in one place, right?
Then I noticed the honey bear. Perched on the second shelf, his right foot had been chewed through. There was only just a bit of honey left in the bottom, the rest having run out all down the top shelf and onto the bottom one. The bottom one where the rat was sitting, stuck in a quarter inch of honey.
Poor thing. I can imagine his thoughts as he broke through the plastic foot of the honey bear.
"Man, this is great! This is my best score yet! This shit is- oh motherfuck."
So I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and a grocery bag and went to work. It was difficult to tell when I had my hands on him, since the gloves are for yard work and are quite thick. I had to be careful not to squish him but also not to free him to run back into the walls. Once I managed to get him (plus about a tablespoon or two of honey) into the grocery bag, I walked him out to the yard. I went around the pond and to the other side of the driveway before squatting down and peeling him out of the plastic bag. It took me several minutes. He was not happy. In addition to having to peel the bag off of him, I had to free his little arms, which were stuck to his body at an awkward angle. Once I managed that, I help my (gloved) hand open for about ten seconds before he dropped into the brush at my feet and ran off. He went about fifteen or twenty feet before disappearing completely from my view, in which time he was sufficiently camouflaged by bits of leaves and twigs, not unlike a soldier with jungle growth strapped to his helmet in a war movie. Somehow I don't think it will be enough to protect him (the b.h. pointed out that he was now simply candy-coated for the nearest stray cat), but at least his blood won't be on my hands.
Today we came home from work to find another one, roughly the same size, dead in the middle of the rug in the living room. The dogs had obviously caught it and played with it until it died and then got bored and left it there. After he cleaned it up, the b.h. went to shower before band practice. A moment later he came flying out of the bathroom in his boxer shorts.
"That was definitely not the last rat. There's one sitting on top of the toilet tank in there."
Since it was alive it was my job. I went in and trapped it in a cardboard box and walked it out ti the yard, freeing it where I had left its brother on Saturday. Was that the last one? Alas, I see Kilgore running back and forth to either end of the bookcase, so I guess not.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Food, Fire, and Beer.

A perfect recipe for Sunday. The b.h. is in the kitchen making Welsh rarebit, and I have built the fire and cued up a DVD. I will be enjoying a Victory Storm King Stout with my meal, courtesy of my co-worker M, who bought me the sixpack to thank me for giving him a pair of jeans and an old Carhart jacket just in time for our weather to dip into the thirties.
I slept in yesterday after a very long week. It felt great. Woke up around ten-thirty and had coffee and read while the b.h. made some breakfast. We walked the dogs before I had to go to work and he to Birmingham to play a show.
Work was busy but mostly uneventful, and though I was working with my least favorite co-worker, she is just back from a three week holiday so was much less moody and more pleasant to be around than usual.
Afterward we sat around and had a beer and then I came home and finished up a giant piece of veggie lasagna that I had leftover (Depalmas - Lauren is really the shit), drank another beer and answered an e-mail from my sister.
Today I slept in again, this time even longer (I know, but I worked eight shifts this week so I feel entitled to some serious loafing), put some cardamom in my coffee, and took the dogs to Ben Burt0n Park. Kilgore spent the bulk of his time in the river, despite the presence of five or six other dogs that would have been happy to play with him. He loves to swim, and will chase sticks for hours if I let him, but he never actually brings them back to me so the game usually ends when the stick supply runs out. Wyatt spent his time sniffing around the other dogs and waiting by the water's edge for his brother to emerge so he could attack him.
We spent some time hiking in the woods, then I packed them back in the car and took them to the pet store to bathe them.
I usually bathe them at home, but we don't have a bathtub, only a shower stall, and with Wyatt being as low as he is the the ground, it is difficult to get him fully clean. My crazy co-worker from the ISA told me that a pet store in town has an actual dog washing station, so I decided to give it a try.
Since they were both wet and filthy, I went in without the boys first, to see what the deal was.
The deal was that it would cost me thirteen bucks for both of them, but they were closing the dogwash in half an hour.
"Is that going to be enough time?" the cashier asked me.
"God I hope so. If it takes me longer than that, then I'm obviously doing something wrong."

I paid up and went back to fetch the boys from the car. The room with the dogwashing station has two large sinks, each of which has a ramp you put in front of them so your dog can walk up. Then, in theory, they walk through a sort of chute and into the sink, you close the chute behind them, and commence to bathing. The sink, however, has a grate on the bottom, which some dogs don't particularly like the feel of. Even Kilgore, who is normally quite well behaved and doesn't mind a bath at all, gave me a hard time. I had to leave his collar on and hold him in the sink while I turned on the faucets and adjusted the water temperature. Even when I got the water warm and started to hose him down, he wiggled and squirmed and tried to jump over the side, so I had to wash him with one hand while I held his collar with the other. I also had to body block him the whole time, so water was running all over me and the floor. In the meantime, Wyatt was still on the floor, alternately sniffing around the dirty towel bin and scratching at the door to get out.
I finished up with KG and let hime down, and he ran circles around the tiny room on the wet floor, whining loudly while I hoisted Wyatt's wide ass up into the sink. (I had tried to get him to go up the ramp on his own, but after witnessing what his brother went through he was having none of it. Funny thing is, the whole point in taking them to the pet store to bathe them was that bathing them at home hurts my back.)
Since he is much shorter, I had less trouble keeping Wyatt in the sink, but because the grate scared him and he was shaking the whole time, I got even wetter from his bath while trying in vain to comfort him. When he was done I put him back on the floor and proceeded to chase both of them around the room with a shop vac on reverse that served as a blow dryer. They were having none of it. Kilgore likes to be towelled off, so I was able to get him at least partly dry, but Wyatt was by this time freaking out and clawing at the door.
Did I mention that this room, which is probably about ten by ten feet, also has a large window that opens out into the store? Yep, that's right. So my sweating, cursing, and sliding all over the floor chasing the boys with towels and a dryer was witnessed by all of the other shoppers. It was fantastic. When I was finally able to leash them both again, they pranced happily through the store, clean and fluffy and happy to be done, while I followed, bedraggled and freezing, out into the fifty degree afternoon. Fortunately, I was wearing a black shirt. I seriously doubt that I will be repeating that adventure.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Last Night We Partied Like It Was 1992.

A newly elected Democratic President and Matthew Sweet. What more could a girl ask for? Well okay then, how about two consecutive days off?
It was frustrating that every person that came up to me at the show started off with a remark about how fat Matthew Sweet has gotten. Masters of the obvious, they were. I mean, yeah, he's chunked out a bit, but so what? He sounds great, and all of us old folks (the b.h. and I both remarked that this was the first show this year where we remember feeling young in comparison to the rest of the crowd) finally had an excuse to get out, so everybody wins, right? The band that opened was called The Bridges. I had seen them before at Tasty World. Young and beautiful and very talented. We didn't see them play this time, but I remember their music being accessible enough and thinking that they were probably going to be huge. They have done several shows on this tour with Matthew Sweet, and he produced their record, so he called them up on stage to join him for a couple songs. Four young ladies (and one guy, but he was mostly in the background), all beautiful, as I said, and all wearing tight clothes and bouncing around happily. I have never seen a drummer so happy in my life. (The drummer, incidentally, resembled Floyd from The Muppets.)
We went out late and came home as soon as the show was over, and lit the fire and started to watch Kung Fu Panda. We both fell asleep before it was over, not because the movie wasn't great (it was hilarious- I can't recommend it enough), but because we are considerably older than we were in 1992, and because our couch seems to have some sort of sleep-inducing drug leaking from the cushions (further evidence of this phenomenon is the fact that I am currently flanked by two snoozing dogs).
Tonight the b.h. is going over to a friends house to participate in a manly night of playing poker and eating lots of meat. I am going to Earthf@re to buy some toothpaste and conditioner, and then to watch Matt's band play at Kingpins.
Tomorrow it's back to the grind, but for now I will get another cup of coffee and dig into my next book. Just finished Elmore Leonard's Killshot, which was okay, but not anything near Get Shorty. Still plowing through David Foster Wallace's Oblivion, but I can only handle that in small bites due to it's linguistic depth and generally bleak feel (at least so far). It's another book that makes me feel, at times, like I am reading the inside of my own head spilled on the page. So yeah- baby steps. Now I've just picked up Dishwasher, a book by a guy named Pete Jordan, purchased for the b.h. by a friend (and fellow former dishwasher). He rarely reads fiction, so I feel okay jumping ahead of him in line.
The best thing about choosing laundry as a chore is that there's all kinds of down time, but you still wind up with a sense of accomplishment (and a pile of clean clothes) at the end of the day.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Okay, it is after one in the morning and I have worked a fifteen plus hour day, and this is frustrating. I am, of course, thrilled by the outcome of the election, drunk on the idea that we will once again have a leader who can not only pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly, but give an entire speech without sounding like a total doofus. I feel great, I feel inspired, and unfortunately, I feel pretty damned tired. I have been burning the proverbial candle at both ends for a few months now, and both my writing and my general sense of well being are suffering immensely(Oh yeah- reading, too). I have had some funny things to say, some weird and annoying and bizarre experiences with co-workers and friends and customers that I simply do not have the time and ebergy to share. I am really trying to fix that. Hopefully in a couple weeks I will be back on top of my game. For now, I will just try to pass on a few nuggets.

1) My co-worker at the Local Liquor Store, whom I will refer to as Stan, is slowly driving me insane. He is one of those people who argues for the sake of arguing. He is a nice enough person, mind you, but he always, ALWAYS talks with his mouth full (and he eats all the time, so it goes on all night), he is forever responding first with "WHAT?!" whenever I need something from him, no matter how close I am standing to him, but somehow manages to insert himself in every conversation I have with anyone else from across the whole store. He is, to put it mildly, a person who might could use a bit of -er, counseling. My friend Matt might say he belongs in a "nervous hospital." And tonight I discovered that he actually carries not one, but two- TWO, dos, deaux, a duece- guns while at work. When I knew he had one, I was comforted. After all, we are a liquor store, we are open late, and we do have cash in there. It seems reasonable. But TWO?! Really?

Also, there is a woman at the Importer of Smoking Accoutrements who I am likely to flip out on if I don't reduce my hours soon. At least one of you knows her. She, like Stan, is a nice enough person, but seriously. She talks to her dog, repeating the same phrases over and over and then answering for the dog in a baby voice, for the first two hours of my day, every day. I'm starting to think about borrowing one of Stan's guns.

Additionally, not that I am scarred for life from my Big Box Corporate Job experience or anything, but I went in to buy some rat traps at the Big Stupid Box Store last week, and I came around a corner and saw my old buddy Grandma, and I literally jumped. And then I ducked behind a row of power tools. And then I laughed out loud at myself at a volume that made other employees and customers alike stare at me. But I didn't come out until I was sure she was gone.

How's everybody else doing? I am keeping up with reading your blogs, even if I haven't been commenting much. It's really the only thing keeping me sane, so thanks for that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Athens does that "Small World" thing to me Again.

So I'm at the Local Liquor Store, and I am assisting a customer with beer choices. He is a regular customer who comes in once a month or so and stocks up on different beers, tasting and taking notes as he goes. He looks to employees for recommendations, and since W, the beer guru, was not working, I was lucky enough to be able to help him choose. We strolled the beer cooler, I gave him some Arrogant Bastard and a Young's Double Chocolate Stout and a few random singles, and we got to talking about our respective cases of Anglophilia. He asked if I had ever been, and as we walked up to the front counter with his four six packs, I replied that I hadn't, and that I was afraid if I ever went I might never want to return.
"I do have a blogger friend there, though we have yet to meet in person," I explained, wondering if that sounded weird.
"Where?" he asked, not missing a beat(I guess it didn't).
"She lives in Bungay"
"Where is that?"
"Not entirely sure, but I get the idea that it's about a hundred miles North of London," I answered, suddenly wondering why in hell I had never looked on a map.

A woman who looked to be about sixty, standing in line in a Georgia Bulldog Cheerleader outfit (not that weird on game day, I'm afraid) suddenly piped up:
"Bungay England?"
"I thought that's what you must be talking about. We have friends that live in Bungay England. It's about a hundred miles Northeast of London."

Of course she does. Because that's how it is here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mmmm... Beer.

A buddy of mine brought back some beer from Asheville last weekend. Due to weird distribution laws and simple low production, there are a lot of craft brews we can't get here in Georgia. But for all you hop heads in the rest of the country, here are some suggestions:

This one is from Founder's Brewery. The label is creepy and reminds me, for some reason. of Jonathan Srange & Mr. Norell. I got it on a recommendation from one of my bosses at the Local Liquor Store. It is hoppy and delicious.

This one is from the Green Flash Brewing Company. I can't quite remember the name of the other beer I tried from them and unfortunately it went out with the recycling bin before I remembered to take a photo. Something red. Again, though, this is hoppy and lovely. I'm fairly certain that they use cascade hops, which are by far my favorite. Get some if you can.

Halloween Torture.