Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pop culture and sleepless nights

Since I last wrote, I have been back to Mommy's, home again, and now back again. This time, I'm here bunny-sitting while she and some friends take coastal New England by storm (look out, Maine, you're next). While Mommy's out blazing a new trail, my life's path seems to have gotten stuck in a rut between Dracut and Worcester.

Last night I lay awake in my mom's bed until probably 3 a.m. after watching two hours of I Love the New Millennium on VH1. Thank goodness we have VH1 to tell us what was important in the past eight years! Sarcasm aside, I love these shows because they are so sarcastic, and so telling about the state of inanity that pervades our culture these days--the lines between culture and pop culture are increasingly blurred. Arguably, a Broadway show is culture--or is it? RENT (culture) is about a group of friends living, loving, and dying in New York City. The TV show Friends (pop culture) was about a group of friends living, loving, and (not) dying in New York City. Same general idea, different income levels and health problems. What makes one culture and the other pop culture? How do we tell? Is "The Thong Song" pop culture, or is it social commentary on young female millennials' inability to keep their underwear in their pants? Not that I'm not guilty of that crime against fashion. I am also very guilty of loving to watch people fall over, evidenced by my background noise of choice right now: Wipeout! Decidedly pop culture.

These are the things that keep me up at night. I don't know why I couldn't sleep--I was exhausted. It was the same old, same old: no husband, strange bed, weird lights shining in, scary shadows, the works. Happily, Jason is coming to stay here tonight to get a head start on yet another business trip to New York in the morning.

Our weeks aren't very exciting, but we try to make up for it on the weekends. Two weeks ago we got season passes to Six Flags New England! It's a good thing, too--the Saturday we went turned out to be rainy, and we only managed to make it on three rides between the inclement weather shutdowns. Maybe we'll try to go again this weekend. Last weekend we had dinner out Friday (at our favorite Indian restaurant, Mehmaan), Saturday (at a hibachi grill/sushi restaurant we'd never tried before, Takumi, where we had piles of delicious sushi--we can't wait to go back so Jason can experience a hibachi meal for the first time), and Sunday (at Uno Chicago Grill, an old favorite). We saw two movies, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (at the theatre on Friday) and National Treasure 2 (rented on the Xbox 360 on Sunday), both good old action/adventure flicks with a dash of history thrown in--a wonderful genre of films.

Now that Jason has arrived, I'm going to cut this off and enjoy my time with him... and make my case for getting tickets to see New Kids on the Block in Boston in September! Yeah, I'm a sucker for pop culture.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Welcome home!

I am home, and how sweet it is! I came back last night after getting the go-ahead from Mommy. When I got here, Jason was fresh out of the shower and starving after waiting for me to make the hour drive home. We ordered calzones from our favorite calzone place and enjoyed a lazy evening together. Going to sleep in my own bed next to my husband was a dream I didn't think I would get to have for a while.

more cat pictures

This afternoon he went off to Maine for the night, but he'll be back tomorrow. We have a nice weekend ahead of us--Jason wants to see the Indiana Jones movie (I saw it in Michigan, but am happy to see it again), and I want to see The Happening. Other than that, we'll probably go out to eat and get our freak on to make up for the past few weeks... but not like these people.

Tonight I'm dorking it out and watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and Resident Evil at the same time. It's a good thing I'm already married.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nobody's home.

Between Mommy's surgery and going to Michigan, I haven't spent a night at home since May 20--and I didn't sleep that night because I was up all night packing for my trip home. Luckily my darling husband loves me and has come to stay with me at my mom's the past two weekends. If it weren't for those visits, I don't know how I would stay sane. He keeps me centered enough to hold it all together.

On Saturday we went home for the afternoon/evening to check on our kitties and so I could have a break. My mom probably wanted me to get laid so I wouldn't be so tightly wound. Well, mission accomplished, and I also managed to do a load of laundry (to clean up the bath mats the cats puked on), clean the kitty water fountain and litter box bathroom (yes, they have their own bathroom), work on Jason's Corvette with him (we went through the car wash!), and have a nice dinner out. Score--on all fronts.

Meanwhile, other family members are also living out of suitcases. My sister has been in a hotel for a week because she and her roommates discovered a terrible mold problem in their apartment. They're trying to get out of their lease, but it's complicated with three people. Daddy and April moved to a hotel last night because of the tornadoes in Michigan--their plumbing doesn't work right now so their insurance company put them up until it's fixed. It could be worse--their neighbor a quarter mile down the road was killed. And Jason is on the road this week--tonight in New York, tomorrow in Vermont, and Thursday in Maine.

Thinking about other peoples' situations makes my cozy digs here at Mommy's seem not so bad, after all. It's not home with my kitties and husband, but it's home away from home with my Velveteen rabbit. And who can resist him? No one--not even the maintenance man who came to unclog the toilets today. Yes, the two toilets in Mommy's apartment clogged up at the same time over the weekend. We had to use the bathroom by the "community room" in the basement for anything nonliquid. Good times. Jason and I used it for more than just its flushing ability--privacy is hard to come by these days, and we were both pretty desperate. Although, if I had known we were going to get time off for good behavior on Saturday, I would have been glad to avoid the rugburn on my knees.

In a couple of weeks my life will start getting back to normal. I anxiously await this time. Until then, every day is filled with surprises like poopy toilets that I have to plunge until I have blisters on my hands.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Surgery, travel, and baby raccoons, oh my!

What a crazy few weeks it has been.

The weekend before my mom's surgery, Jasper hurt his toe and had to have emergency surgery of his own. When we vacuumed that Saturday, my poor big kitty took off like a shot, and one of his back claws must have caught on the carpet, because the outer claw sheath broke off from the inner part of the claw and was just hanging there, barely attached. He was bleeding and limping and hiding in the corner, afraid to move. We took him to the vet first thing Sunday morning, and she said the best option was to remove the claw entirely, because it would never grow back properly and would likely cause him pain. They did the surgery that afternoon, and we got him home in time to go out for mother's day dinner. Jasper's on the mend now, but it was a rough few weeks. Next up is more blood testing to determine if he's diabetic or not. Because I can't resist plastering my cats all over the internet, there's also a brief synopsis here.

My mom had her heart surgery on Tuesday, May 13 (and luckily Jason didn't have to travel that week, so could take care of Jasper while I was with her). It was a difficult and emotional week, but the surgery itself went off without a hitch and she came home on Saturday, May 17. My sister and Mommy's boyfriend, who'd been in town for the week of the surgery, went back to their states of residence on May 18, and my aunt arrived that afternoon. I got her settled in at Mommy's and went home to Dracut to get Jason packed up for a four-day trip for work. He left Monday morning, then I turned my focus to getting ready for my own trip.

That's right, I went home to Michigan for a whole blissful week. I communed with family members galore, human and otherwise, including my dad and stepmom's eleven cats (they have a big house and lots of rescued kitties) and two new chickens, Sylvia and Sally. They live in a section of the new red barn gracing the backyard, and spend most of the day roaming in the mini pine tree forest pecking amongst the needles and pine cones. They've laid three eggs since they got them a few weeks ago, but Daddy has refused to eat any of them due to Sylvia's affinity for pecking at the insulation (and also at Sally). Daddy calls her "that bitch Sylvia." He and April are hoping to sell free-range, organic eggs as part of their farm business (they also sell a variety of organic produce) once the chickens get settled into their new digs and start laying (and stop eating insulation).

I also had the pleasure of spending the whole week cooing over the wildlife friends who showed up the first night I was there. What wildlife friends, you ask? Baby raccoons!

At first, there were two. A couple nights later... three! Another couple of nights... four! When they first appeared, two of them were huddling amongst some potted plants near the garage door. Daddy brought them out a dish of cat food and they ate every bite. Since it was cold that night, we also put down some hay so they could nest in it. We hemmed and hawed about whether or not we ought to touch them, and whether or not they would try to bite us. Daddy was the first to pet them, a day or two after they showed up. Once I knew it was doable, I tried it too--and they liked it! They just sat there while I petted them lightly on their backs, enjoying the cat food far too much to be concerned about me. Every so often they'd look up at us, as pictured, then go right back to eating or washing their hands or face. You'd probably be surprised how clean they were. I think they used the dish of water more for washing their hands than they did for drinking!

The down time at home was much needed. There's something so centering about being back in Michigan--when I'm there I have a sense of belonging that I don't have anywhere else. Luckily, I'm going back for a long weekend in August, so I don't have to face the uncertainty of not knowing when I'll be back.

After having a week off from work and real life, I was reluctant to return to Massachusetts and responsibility. Common sense won out, though, and I came back. Now I'm staying at my mom's in Worcester for the forseeable future, helping her while she recuperates.

At some point this summer I expect my life to get back to normal--but it definitely won't be for a while.