The End of This Nonsense


I was trying to get both the cat and the dog into the frame, but failed. but the thing on my lap is also resting on the dog’s head. This is how we have to do it these days. Everyone must be right on top of me, because I might someday leave and not come back.

Did I tell you that, when we got home from my parents’, the dog ran to every room to see if she could find the Butcher and, when she realized he wasn’t there, she went back outside and tried to get back in the car?

I’m the paltry second prize. But a second prize they’re willing to fight over.

The Butcher is coming home, though. So, that should make these guys happy. I’m happy, too. And sad for him. I’m glad he was brave enough to try for something he wanted and I’m sorry it didn’t turn out how he hoped.


1. I have finished all the revisions on Project X. I cannot tell you how proud I am of it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Nerdy, sexy, sad, creepy. Now I will somehow drag it kicking and screaming into fruition.

2. I finished my 20th story for October, though I’ll probably put it up on Halloween. It’s nicely creepy and involves a doll called “Bad Maddy.” Which just also makes me want to sing “Oh, Bad Maddy, ramalama.”

3. I read Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe. I really liked it, but once I thought to wonder whether the bad guy was loosely based on Jimmy Martin, that was the only voice I could hear for him. Rest your soul, Jimmy Martin, I’ve been called a motherfucker by no one better.

4. I have a story I’ve written that I think is really good that I haven’t been able to sell. And now I realize, I can’t sell it because it’s too much like Bledsoe’s Tufa novels, even though I started it before I read either of his books. Ha ha ha. Well, that sucks for that story. It has some witches in it. I might put it up in October. No, I know, one of you is tempted to say “No, they’re not that much alike.” But dude, my story contains the line “Easy enough to catch, impossible to fetch.” And his book contains a line like “Fit for catchin’, not for fetchin’.” Same damn ground. Covers the same damn ground.

5. Mrs. Wigglebottom and I did the whole loop at Cedar Hill Park today. Normally we just part at the playground and walk up the hill and back down. I figure this is about 2/3 of the distance, by the time we get back to the car. But today the weather was so beautiful and Mrs. W. had a spring in her step, so we just got to the top of the hill and kept walking, down into the flat sunny area by the tennis courts, up the hill by the duck pond, and back around. We went a little slower than I would have liked and a little faster than she would have liked.

But by the time we got back to the parking lot, she was dragging. I mean, just dragging. Like the walk was 100 yards too long. So, I said words of encouragement to her, as you do.

And this gorgeous guy in a Jeep with a VMI cover for the spare tire was putting on army boots and hoisting on a stuffed-full backpack. I thought he was young, but when he spoke, he had that kind of awesome deep man voice of, well, not someone IN VMI. He said, “Looks like you wore her out.” And I laughed and said, “She walked the whole loop, at her age!” “How old is she?” “Fourteen.” “Well, she should get the rest of the day off then.”

People, he had these beautiful biceps. And I know there’s no way for this to happen in real life without it creeping me out, but how come folks like that don’t want to pet me like a kitten? I mean, aside from the smell after walking that whole loop. Little old ladies, I’m going to need one or two of you to practice that kind of voice.

The other day, when Mrs. W. and I were finishing our walk, I was like "Holy shit, what came walking out of the AT&T yard this morning?" Because I am not bright.

The other day, when Mrs. W. and I were finishing our walk, I was like “Holy shit, what came walking out of the AT&T yard this morning?”
Because I am not bright.

Mrs. Wigglebottom Still Has a Wiggly Bottom

Whatever thing is blooming that has my allergies going haywire also has poor Mrs. Wigglebottom all congested. It’s terrible. She’s just a snotty mess. I gave her a Benadryl to dry her up, which resulted in her pacing around all night, wanting to be up in my bed, not wanting to be in my bed, wanting to stand outside, not wanting to stand outside, whining and panting incessantly, and just acting like a dazed idiot.

Finally, she fell asleep out here in the living room. But now I’m the bad guy for taking her for a walk this morning anyway. But I need her to sleep through the night.

Still, it’s funny. She walks so slowly that it’s literally hard for me to keep pace with her. I feel like I’m learning to mosey or something. If there’s any benefit to walking incredibly slowly, I guess I’m going to learn it.

Surprises from The Red-Headed Kid

The Red-Headed Kid came by yesterday to mow my lawn, after we broke the gas can trying to figure out how to undo the child-proof nozzle. It is indeed child-proof. Good job, gas-can manufacturers. It’s now also broken and useless. Oops. Glad there was another gas can then.

Anyway, he started mowing and I went to work. Then like at 1:30, he called to say he was done mowing and that he’d run the dog out and was now leaving. And I was like “Christ Jesus, did it take him five hours to mow the lawn?” Because I’m not sure I want to spend five hours on a lawnmower should the task ever fall to me.

But I came home and found he’d eaten a pork chop (but not any asparagus, which is his loss), left a bunch of Gatorade in the dining room, watched some TV and, I’m guessing by the towel in the bathroom, taken a shower.

All things that are fine. And he is more than welcome to do any of those things in my house as often as he wants. Hell, especially if he’s going to mow my lawn for nothing.

But it still startled me when I got home, to see all this evidence of someone else, going about his ordinary day in the house, coming and going, and doing things.

It made me miss the Butcher.

But the best part was how happy it made the dog. From her perspective, she had a visitor. The Red-Headed Kid appeared when no one else was home, and hung out with her, and then left. And she was exhausted when I got home, but happy, and that made me happy.

Financial Annoyance Summer

Weekend One of “Financial Annoyance Summer”–Ha ha ha. I debated calling it “The Summer of Poor-dom,” but honestly, I’ve been poor, and this is not it. This is just feeling financially insecure for a bit. Which is, in part, why I need to stop being a baby about it and just do it. Anyway, I bought groceries on Wednesday and managed to spend nothing else all weekend except for the must-be-spent money on my prescriptions and a Mini Blizzard from the cash I got for an unexpected book sale.

In related new, the Joelton Dairy Queen now has fried cheese curds. Because Joelton is in Wisconsin now? What the fuck, people? The girl behind the counter was like “I don’t know what those are.” And I was like, “Yeah, because this is Tennessee.”

I’m still getting a feel for how much food I need in the house at any given time, if I can’t just be all like “Oh, fuck it. I’ll stop and pick up Chinese on the way home.”

Anyway, I think Weekend One of “Financial Annoyance Summer” went fine. I saw a bunch of people and got almost all my errands ran and all my chores done. The dog and I got to the park and then the Professor came over and we were hanging out in the back yard, the Professor cleaning some pots, me spraying the dog with the hose and the dog with a huge smile on her face, lopping off to go roll in the dry grass, and I thought, “For better or for worse, it’s not always going to be like this.”

And I was happy and sad at the same time.

Wherefore Art Thou, Sleepy John Estes

We went clear the fuck out to Fort Pillow, which was hot as balls. And I am covered in mosquito bites. Then we tried to find Sleepy John Estes’ grave and we finally found the cemetery and we looked all through it and even took the find-a-grave picture of his gravestone as a guide, but we never found it. We found other Esteses, but whether they were sleepy, I cannot say; their gravestones were silent on the matter. I took a few pictures of them. And we did see the oldest synagogue in Tennessee and it is charmingly small. Like a large gingerbread house. And, my god, we saw this thing. I don’t… I can’t even begin… You hear about folk art installations, but I’ve never seen anything like this. None of my pictures do it justice. And then I dumped Dairy Queen in my purse. And it was awesome and wonderful. And I am so tired. But I think Brownsville is now one of my favorite places in Tennessee.

Edited to add: And we saw a camel!

Now It’s the Dog’s Turn to Look at My Butt, I Guess

So, even though the dog enjoys walking at the park, which is a much more challenging walk than our morning walks, she has started being a big baby about walking in the morning. She walks behind me like a recalcitrant schoolgirl, who’s not that anxious to get to class. But then, when we turn around, she still walks behind me like she regrets having to make the effort to get home. And then, when we get back to the yard, where she can run free, she still walks behind me like that’s just where she wants to be, creeping up on me.

And today, guess who hit her?

No. Not New Kitty. The orange cat. Who also waited yesterday for the Butcher to put down his glass of milk so that he could stick his whole face right in the cup.

No more Jason Statham movies for that cat. He just starts strutting around the house like he might fight any one of us at any minute.

Speaking of Jason Statham movies, we watched another movie where he kidnaps/rescues an Asian chick!

It’s gotten so noticeable now that the Butcher was all “He’s our generation’s Jessica Fletcher, isn’t he?”

And our friend, T. was all, “What do you mean?”

And the Butcher said, “Where you start to think maybe he just fakes solving the crime he’s busy committing.”

I’m just saying, if you’re an Asian woman and you find yourself in a Jason Statham movie, just go ahead and get in his car. You’re going to end up there anyway, so you might as well save yourself the effort of trying to escape your fate. Hell, maybe if you get in his car before the gun fight starts, he’ll have time to run you through the drive-through at McDonald’s before the bullets start flying.

In all seriousness, I would love to read someone’s commentary on this. It’s apparently a pretty appealing fantasy to Statham’s audience, seeing as it’s featured so often. But I’d like to read someone smart’s thoughts on why.

Evidence of an Unseen Flood

The dog and I tried to walk, but it’s too wet back there. We did, however, find firm evidence that the creek flooded this weekend, though it never made it far enough into the yard for us to see it. Thank goodness.

Moderate Grossness Within

The dog did poop in the house. Which I cleaned up. And which, along with the disgusting regular poop smell, had the pleasant spicy undertone of her eating something she goddamn shouldn’t have.

And she threw up the Pepto-Bismol I gave her before leaving for work.

So, that was fun. But then yesterday, there was a good six hours between when I got home and when I went to bed where she was fine.

I thought we were through, but no, every two hours like clockwork, she was up and had to poop.

So, this time, I got Pepto down her with cheese, and one of those things is going to constipate her, so help me.

Friday of Unimportant Dread

The dog got up three times to shit in the night. And then ran out to shit again right before I left for work. I repeat–she willingly shit in the rain.

I gave her some Pepto before I left, but I’ve been sitting here all day wondering how early I can cut out, to ensure no poop on my floor.

In Which I Feed the Rolls to the Dog

Our parents arrived yesterday. The Butcher was stuck in a broken down truck in Gallatin, so just the three of us went to dinner over at whatever the new restaurant at Fontanel is. I guess it’s not that new anymore. We just hadn’t been over to it. But it was fine. They serve you these big buttery garlic rolls, which they then send you home with. I fed those to the dog.

But I also had this delicious carb, cheese, spinach, and broccoli thing. Like a calzone but smaller?

Did I tell you that the Butcher and I are trying to eat more vegetables? Ha ha ha. I was teasing him that we are going to be the most successful “more vegetables” people in the history of people who have improved their diets because we have been, in the past, terrible about cooking vegetables at home. This week he made this fettuccine alfredo thing with carrots and peas and broccoli and… I forget what else, but I was all “four vegetables in one meal! That’s all the vegetables we get in a week usually!” (Which is not strictly true, but was funny in context.)

It’s really good to see my parents. My dad was all “I was so shocked by your brother’s news that I forgot to ask when the baby is due.” And I laughed and said that I knew what he meant because when my brother told me, all I could do was listen and will myself to not scream “What the fuck?” in a long, drawn out manner for like five minutes. But then I did later ask.

Families are funny. You think you’re all on the same page, but really, a family is a collection of people all on slightly different pages, in slightly different editions of the same book (or different books by the same author) trying to read in unison.

The Dog is Weird

I pull in my driveway last night and get out of my car. I hear a noise. I can’t quite place it at first. Is it someone yelling? No. Dogs barking in the distance? But then why does it sound so distinctly muffled? And then I realize it’s Mrs. Wigglebottom, barking from somewhere deep in the house. Not near the door, where it might make sense for someone to stand and bark. But off in a far corner.

My heart sinks. I’m imagining her trapped or broken some place. Or at least cut or cornered by a cat. I run to the house. I’m saying calming things in a calm voice. I struggle with the lock and I throw open the door. “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m here. It’s okay.”

And she just comes trotting out of the Butcher’s room with this complete look of surprise like “Oh, is someone home now?”

This leads me to questions:

1. Was she barking because she heard me pull up? She’s about as deaf as a doorknob, but could she have some hearing I didn’t know about?

2. Did she forget no one was home and so was just barking until someone came and let her up in the Butcher’s bed? If so, then why did she seem so pleasantly surprised when I arrived?

3. Was she barking at something? Was someone to close to the house and I just didn’t see them running off? Was a cat in need of a good lecture?

4. Was she just barking for the hell of it?

The Old Dog has her Routines

She gets up. We either go for a walk or we don’t. But she does go outside. Then she gets a treat. Then she waits for me to be done in the kitchen and she gets to lick out what’s left of the wet cat food from the can. Then she either joins me on the couch while I blog, or she goes and sleeps in the Butcher’s room. Today she wanted to go sleep in the Butcher’s room.

Yesterday, the Butcher got a new bed.

Oh my god. That reminds me. Did I tell you all about my parents’ crazy obsession with getting the Butcher a bigger bed?

Their last two visits, they’ve been talking incessantly about how much they enjoy the children at their church. And they’ve been calling me trying to suss out any information they can get about whether the Butcher has any special friends. And then, out of the blue, they decided to buy the Butcher a bigger bed.

I’ve been teasing him about this for weeks–since they announced the bed-buying scheme–because it could not be any more obvious that they are doing everything they can to get some more grandchildren short of starting a rumor that the Butcher is the Greenman and letting him loose around a bunch of chicks dancing the Maypole.

His response to the teasing has been “It’s not like they erased my memory of how to use condoms.” Yeah, try using a condom in a magical woods full of dancing Maypole fairies, the Butcher. Come on. Don’t be ridiculous.

Anyway, where was I? Yes, the bed. It’s too tall for the dog to get in by herself. So she paced around until I lifted her into it. We’re going to have to get her some steps.

Which, yes, the Professor did say we should do about my bed years ago, but that was obviously silly and this is obviously a good idea and a necessity.

The dog and I had been walking by a garbage bag for weeks. Finally the vultures or the crows got into it.  This was the contents.

The dog and I had been walking by a garbage bag for weeks. Finally the vultures or the crows got into it. This was the contents. I thought it might be a coyote, but there’s no need to dump one in a bag. They’re never illegal to shoot. So, maybe it was a deer. Though why they wouldn’t go ahead and butcher it, I don’t know.

(Not) Walking the Dog

It’s been so rainy here that, even though there hasn’t been rain falling the past two days, the yard is still too mushy to walk through it to walk the dog. This makes me grouchy. So very grouchy.

Otherwise, not much going on here. Which is kind of strange, but nice.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take the dog to the Whites Creek Greenway. The nice thing about a greenway is that it’s paved. So, wet or not, we can walk. I think we both need it.

Catch my post on our favorite pirate later today at Think Progress.

Here’s a song for you to dance around your day to:

Everyone at My House is a Jerk

The Butcher–still making fun of me for Silver Bullet-ing my story.

The dog–woke me up at some ungodly hour so she could go stand under a bush in the front yard while I yelled at her to come back in the house. Now she’s back to sleep.

The new kitty–I was trying to count out 212 small afghan squares while this asshole laid right down in the middle of my pile and began to fling squares around until it exhausted her and she had to fall asleep, again, right in the middle of my squares, which I was trying to count. Jerk.

The orange cat–No new jerky behavior, but I swear, every time you’re petting him, and he’s totally into it, eventually he’s like “And now I’ll bite you.” What a fucker! You came up to me. You asked to be petted. And I get bit? I should bite him back.

Me–The Butcher announced that he’s going to the Titans game and I said “Oh, fun. You’ll be easy to see on TV, since you’ll be the only person in the stands.” and “Oh, maybe they’ll get you and [his friend] great seats and a bunch of puppets to sit with so that it’s not so terrible looking when they get accidental crowd shots.”

In Which I Laugh at the Dog

Yesterday, the dog got stuck under the camper, which is stuck under a tree in our back yard. And somehow, eventually, she wiggled her way out the far end, instead of just turning around and exiting the way she’d come. Who even knew her hips could still flex like that?

And, really, they can’t. She tried to go for a walk this morning, but we got to the shed and she was like “Ugh,” and I was like, “Ha ha.”

The “ha ha” part is probably why I’m going to Hell, if there is such a place.

I Took My Strut

People, I honestly feel like this afghan is an epic battle between me and my ability to fuck shit up. And yet! I pieced together two blocks and found one of my missing squares. Even this morning, when I woke up, I wanted to shout “In your face!” at… well…. I guess I’m my biggest nay-sayer about this afghan. Shouting “In your face!” at yourself is a little weird.

So, I thought I might take a stroll around the neighborhood with my dog, strutting about as one does when she’s feeling proud of herself, but the dog refused to go. She went out to pee and then she went back to the door and stood there.

“Fine,” I said. And I went for our walk by myself. It was a little weird. And seemed ungodly long. But if I’m going to be a pirate, I have to learn to do things even when my crew mutinies. I tried to make Mrs. Wigglebottom walk the plank, but when she got to the end of it, there was just grass. So… you know…. being a land pirate is not as easy as the old pros like John Murrell made it look. Don’t even get me started on the problems I’m going to have getting my ship under the stop lights on Clarksville Pike. TDOT has made NOTHING in this state accessible to the land ships of land pirates. Which is why I’m totally going to fight them first. Once I get my cannon.

But it was beautiful this morning. Cold and a little foggy up in the hills and I was filled with this longing. I don’t know how better to explain it, but no matter how long I’ve lived here, when I walk in the morning I am overcome by this enormous longing to live right here. It’s weird, because I do live here. But somehow living here is not enough to quench my desire to live here.

I guess I’m lucky, then.