I write this with the full understanding that I will lose some potential houseguests. You know who you are. I apologize in advance if you can't get a refund on your plane ticket.
Last night, Tigger the Dog went out with Husband for her evening bathroom break, spotted something tempting in the bushes and took off. Snug on the couch playing my online puzzle, I missed this all go down. I only became aware that something was amiss when I heard Husband yelling his head off for TTD in not a very supportive “Get that squirrel/fox/rabbit/deer” way but more in a “GET YOUR BUTT BACK HERE YOU STUPID DOG!” kind of way. I paused whatever crap I was watching, put my puzzle on pause and pulled myself off the couch to look out the window. Husband was standing on the edge of the patio, gesturing for TTD to come back and yelling at me to get the flashlight. I found my slippers and found the flashlight, turned it on and shuffled myself down the basement stairs to the outside patio door. And just as I opened the door, the light from the flashlight scanned across the floor and skittered across a bat. A BAT!!!
Now, when I was a kid in Kenya and there was one in my room pooping all over my giant polar bear stuffed animal. I thought it was cool. And I thought my father trying to catch it was funny. And I’m all about the bats being good little mosquito eaters. I don’t like mosquitos so that’s a win. I’ve even got over their pooping all over the kitchen deck and have been taking their guano and feeding the plants. And this bat book made for me by my friend is the cutest thing ever but BATS IN THE HOUSE??? NO!
When my heart started again and I stopped shrieking, I opened the door and screeched at Husband to come look at Bat. Husband, not understanding the severity of the situation, shouted at Tigger the Dog to come. He yelled at me to bring him the flashlight. I screamed at him to look at the bat. There was lots of screaming and yelling and freaking out and Tigger the Dog could careless her part in the whole thing.
Finally I stopped my freaking out and realized that Bat hadn’t moved. He appeared to be dead or playing opossum or trying to hide by not moving. Whatever the reason, Bat wasn’t going to jump up and fly in my Criss Cross hair and get stuck. This terror eliminated, I got curious. I’ve never seen a real bat up close. Well, I’ve been in the attic and at the zoo but every time I got close to looking at those, I was sure some weird thing would happen, the glass would suddenly melt away and I would instantly end up with bat in my hair. But this guy, this Bat wasn’t going to move because he was Dead Bat.
So, I did what any normal person would do in that situation. I took pictures. Well, I made Husband take pictures because I am awful at pictures. This is totally morbid but this is what Dead Bat looked like before I scooped him up with a dustpan held at arms length and took him outside.
Now we have no idea how bat got inside. He'd been there at least a week since he was covered in the cinder block dust from the stud removal project I started but then abandoned last week. The basement is unfinished as of yet. Don't judge my housekeeping. It's like a garage right now. A very dirty, dead bug littered - and apparently dead bat - crap filled garage.
Husband’s theory, which is probably more likely, is that Dead Bat flew in the garage door when we came home one night, couldn’t find any food and died of starvation. My theory, which is less awful to imagine, is that Dead Bat was very, very old, was looking for a place to rest his weary bat bones, found the corner of the door outside, died and then when I opened the door, he fell inside and landed in the corner. I like my story better. It’s less depressing and it means we’ve not had a bat inside the house for an unknown amount of time flying about looking for an Afro to get stuck in.
I slept under the covers last night just in case he had a lady Bat friend looking for him.
When we bought the house, it had stood empty for a year and been neglected for far longer. The yard had been invaded by honeysuckle and privet bushes and weeds the size of small houses. I had grand plans to make it a showcase yard, the kind you slowdown to look at and then circle the block to see again.
That has not happened. Yet.
Yesterday, we finally got the second section of our front yard installed, a small wall holding back the mounds of muck that runs into the house wall and down the hill. Today, I was going to get up early, blog and then plant before the fire of the sun made it impossible to move. And then I didn't get to bed until 1am because of that dang online puzzle app...
This is totally "The dog ate my homework so I can't write this blog post." only the dog was sleeping and I'm just lame. I have to get outside now and put plants into the ground or they'll quickly die as I slowly melt. It's almost 8 a.m. and it's 70 degrees and already the humidity is at 97%!!!!!! I'll post before and after later - if I'm still alive.
Husband calls me The Questionnaire because, apparently, I ask a lot of questions. He started calling me this when we began this house remodel and he couldn’t get through a project without me questioning his choice to do this or move that or use that material instead of this one… He fired me from Lovely Assistant duty and now only asks for my help with the caveat that I can’t speak and calls me The Questionnaire when I do.
When we meet new people, he warns them that I’m The Questionnaire and tells them to tell me to stop me when I get too personal. I always tell folks that I’ll ask but they don’t have to answer. I figure, if I don’t ask, I’ll never know and the stuff I make up in my head about people might be wrong so why not ask. And I know really fascinating people with really messed up bizarre stories that I never would have known if I hadn’t asked, so there!
Saturday we went to visit a few friends who just bought a home in another part of town. After admiring their home and giving them way too much advice and, Husband would say, asking way too many questions about what they were going to do in this room or that, we went out to dinner. In their new neighborhood is this pizza place that just opened where you get to make your own pizza. The guy behind the counter will ‘build’ your pizza from the various cheeses and meats and condiments and then cook it for you. It’s a neat concept. No need to pick off the awful slimy olives if you don’t put them on in the first place.
I was first in line, which was probably not a good thing. I had questions about the process. I had questions about the condiments. I had questions about the tools. Husband straight up introduced me to Dude Behind the Counter as The Questionnaire. Sigh. Thankfully Dude Behind the Counter thought it was funny and didn’t do weird things to my pizza while I was watching. Then Dude Behind the Counter asked Husband where he was from and made a joke about Scotland. We all laughed and made small talk while he made our pizzas and answered my questions. The end of the story.
Husband would say that in the movie version of this of fascinating this story, Brad Pitt would play him. For a guy whose nickname is Shrek, he's got delusions of grandeur.
Anyway, Sunday we went back - Husband loves a good pizza – and we walked in the door and Dude Behind the Counter called out “It's The Questionnaire and The Scotsman!” Apparently, I am now considered a superhero with questionable (snort) talents.
And thanks to our Sunday night visit to Target for light bulbs, I now have a costume.
Now do I go with a cape or without a cape? Should I use grey as my color or try something a bit brighter. What kind of mask looks good with glasses? Should I have a website so folks can find me or do you think a giant question mark projected into the night sky will do the trick? Or has that been done? Should I....? Would you...? What do you think of....?
I'm really good at this. I could go all day...
People are doing horrible unthinkable things to other people in the Ukraine and Israel and Palestine and Africa and America and… just about everywhere. As children, if we had done or said some of those horrible things - like taking peoples stuff and calling people names and throwing things at others because of how they looked or dressed what they believed – it would have gotten us spanked and put on a timeout. Toys would have been taken away. Dessert would have been taken away. Free time to play with friends would have been taken away and my lesson would have been learned. And I would never have done whatever the offending thing was again.
For someone like me with a tendency to get stuck in the darkness and drown in the muck of hate, this is not an easy time to pretend that everything is okay. It’s not. Mean people suck and I wish I could punch them all in the nose.
Husband and I had a list of things to do this weekend to start the basement phase on the house. But we got up on Saturday, looked at the news and took ourselves back to bed to pretend everything was hunky dory. It’s easier to do that under the covers on a rainy Saturday watching Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee while doing an online puzzle.
Productive? Nope. Necessary? Hell, yeah.
When I woke up this morning, everything was not all better. Mean people are still doing stupid mean awful things to other people. Sadly, it is not at all like a Bruce Willis movie or twenty-four hours of Kiefer Sutherland’s TV life; there doesn’t seem to be a single barefoot man out there trying to save the world with nothing but some duck tape and a gravely whisper. We are all going to have to pull our shit together, put on our big boy pants and stop being wieners. "Grow the eff up and act like the grown-ups you should be." Do you hear me heads of state and presidents of countries?
Russia, so they don’t want to play with you? Take your ball and just go home. Stop making the Ukraine participate if they don't want to. And stop breaking other people’s toys! Seriously! Someone has gotten hurt and that is not okay!
Israel and Palestine. Just STOP IT!!! You keep this up; there won’t be any land to play with. Stay in your own corners and shut up about who is right. You’re both wrong. And stupid.
Americans who are preaching the lord and saving a child in Africa with a penny a day and then actively pushing starving terrified children back across the stupid line, shame on you. How can you sleep at night knowing you’re sending them back to die? Yes, I know they are on “in your yard.” That sucks. I get it. But fix the problem there or shut up and figure out how to make it better here. Don’t just shove it out the door and call yourselves human beings. You’re not.
As Corky St. Clair would say: “Well, then, I just HATE you… and I hate your… ass… FACE!”
Here are pictures of the baby deer that have been hanging around our yard. They are finally old enough to have overnight sleep overs without mommy deer. This is why I’m not in bed under the covers crying. Look around you and find your version of baby deer. Otherwise, nothing is going to get done around here while the bedding industry rakes it in.
There was a period of time when I thought my mother was going to marry my theatre director, merely because he would stop on his way home and talk to my mom for a few hours outside our house. His name was Michael and I was sure he was going to be my new father. I was twelve. It was a disturbingly upsetting thought.
Years later, he cast me in a show and gave me the solo, ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy.’ I burst out laughing when I heard the title. I had to explain to him that, at age twelve, I’d been sure he was going to marry my Mom and be my new daddy. He almost laughed himself into a heart attack. Mom was equally amused. So was everyone we knew. Apparently the thought of him marrying my mother was enough to send folks into hysterics. That might be because the general consensus was that he was gay. Or it might have been because the thought of him, a grumpy crusty mess of a man marrying anyone, even my mother, was absurd. Whatever the reason, people would laugh themselves silly at the image of him as my father.
Ironically, at this point Michael was the closest thing I'd had to a father figure since we’d moved to America and my father had disappeared from my life. During my teens, I spent far too much time each summer in his theatre; building sets, taking classes, performing and working as crew. I’d usually arrive before 9am and not leave until 2am. That would be totally illegal now but back then it was awesome! I learned so much about theatre and life and weird personalities during those intense angst ridden years. It was an awesome training ground. And, without either of us realizing it, Michael became a replacement for the father I’d never had growing up.
As fathers go, he did a pretty good job. I have a solid moral compass. I have a very twisted sense of humor. I can quiet a room of fifty children with a shout and shut a kid up with a look. I can take a group of kids, with a myriad of issues, and turn them into a team working toward a single goal, letting them figure out the way with a nudge here and snarky comment there. And I know how to keep going despite the chaos and drama that surrounds me. Because that’s what you do in theatre, keep the show going on.
Michael has been on my mind a lot of late. One of his catch phrases was “A well is a hole in the ground.” Which he said every time an awkward child stammered “Well...” to a question they should have known the answer to. Conversations usually went like this - Michael would spot us in the hallway or theatre or backstage and bark out, “What the hell are you doing with that boy/girl/hammer/spear?”
“Um… well…” we’d stammer out, totally in the wrong but terrified to admit it.
“A well is a hole in the ground.” He'd snap in a tone that could freeze fire. And we'd put down that boy/girl/hammer/spear and scurry to some dark corner and giggle, marveling at our near miss.
He had other phrases that he’d use; “I breathe louder than that!” might be bellowed at you from the back of the audience as you struggled to get your lines out on stage. “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” would be grumbled at anyone who approached him and asked him if he was okay as he stormed outside for a cigarette - back when you could smoke outside a children’s theatre. Or my personal favorite, “The grass is always greener. But somebody has to mow it.”
But the phrase I personally heard most was, “A well is a hole in the ground.”
I was in a One-Act event last night where that phrase featured heavily. "Well...” my character would say. "A hole in the ground." the other character would respond. It was a short nine-minute play that shouldn’t have really affected me but those lines have time warped me back to those summer days and to Michael and his cantankerous self. Today, everything he stood for, everything he taught me seems to be swirling about my head.
Five years ago, the same year he died, I ended up in his position at the theatre. My dream job. A job I thought I would have forever. When one person turned the dream to poop and broke me, I had to walk away. I have been struggling since then to figure out where my place is in this world. Where I can take my weird path of training and experience and do some good with it. What that good might be, I don’t know. Broken is a hard place to stand up from. This little One-Act play; the folks in it with their enthusiasm for theatre and all it can be, that phrase repeated like a mantra, have been like a Band-Aid on my wounds. It’s almost like Michael is standing next to me, blowing out smoke and telling me to get off my ass and mow my grass… I almost feel like I can do that now, move forward on my own path.
If I can go without picking off the scab, I might actually be okay.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me