Thursday, June 30, 2005

My friend Annabelle is really short. So short she's almost a Little Person. But not quite. She's one inch taller than the cut off of four feet ten inches. Which is lame, because I'd love to go to a Little Person convention with her if she was a member. Not the point here. What is the point: she told me that she just got herself a "midget bike." Her words, NOT mine. Evidently they aren't making the specific bike that she was looking for, so she got one used online and while she is waiting for the last part to arrive in the mail she is fondling it in her living room dreaming of flying over the hills through Gresham on her "midget bike." Oh, do I love her!

She also told me that she hasn't been driving so much after 'the Christmas tree incident.' She was driving down 205 behind a truck with an unsecured dried-up holiday remnant in the back. She watched it warily as it sort of flopped around and then suddenly FWISH! It flew out of the truck and spiraled towards her car like a gigantic football. She swerved in time to keep from totaling her car, although it did shear off her side-view mirror, and the car behind her hit it head on. She followed the guy long enough to write down his plate information and contacted the DMV, who did some awesome investigating and tracked him down through his insurance company. He fessed up about it right away, saying he was indeed surprised when he arrived at work that morning and the tree was missing from his truck.

My tough little nut to crack, ratting out inadvertent tree-dumpers to the proper authorities.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Kristi and I check out different dog behinds at the annual Doggie Dash on the waterfront as Shadow peers intently into the camera. Spooky.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Confessions from a younger age(a partial list):

I spent entire bathtimes trying to pee into empty tic-tac containers. Keep in mind that this was when I was four. And I never really succeeded. I tried to get whatever other little kid was in there with me to help, but they never would.

I hid boogers in the couch. And on the dog.

After the babysitter put us to bed and my sister passed out into the hot, flushed way she would sleep, I would sneak back into the living room doorway and watch the scary movies that my teenage guardians were into. Not that there was anything too explicit. We only had 4 channels.

I cried furiously for ten minutes when I found out that one of our neighborhood babysitters had been killed in a car accident, but less than half an hour later I was splashing around in the swimming pool with my sister, tragedy forgotten.

I tried to thaw out a frozen squirrel by putting it on the furnace in my dad's workshop and just ended up liquefying it.

I kept a dead salamander in a mason jar in an old chicken coop that we played in. When I went to check on it the next week, it was a writhing mass of maggots. I tossed the whole thing behind the building and prayed I would never see it again.

My sister and I had two rabbits and forgot to feed them for several weeks. They died, of course. My mother was furious, but looking back, I think we might have been too young for that sort of responsibility.

I heard that my obnoxious little cousin had jumped into a grave that my dad was digging and I was disappointed when I learned that they had managed to get him out.

Once I picked over 100 ticks off myself after playing in the woods and tossed them all in the toilet.

I thought it was gross that my sister would pick the engorged ticks off the dog and then crush them with stones or put them in a jar and light them on fire, but I had no problem smashing spiders into the carpet.

I swallowed a glittery yellow worm meant for tackle. In my defense, it looked just like a gummi worm.

I drank half a glass of Era because I thought it was flat 7-Up. There's really no defense for that.

I hoarded my Christmas, Easter, and Birthday candy. I could have given it to my little sister, who was always desperate for sugar, but I preferred to have it around so I could sort it into piles. I never wanted to eat it. Just arrange it. Hello, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder! So Kristi would eventually sniff it out like a truffle pig and eat it over time. I never noticed because I was getting more candy all the time.

It was I, Angela, who drank that entire box of red wine my mother had in the refrigerator. It took me three weeks, and it really wasn't worth it.

I hated my kindergarten teacher because when I tried to open my milk from the wrong side and then couldn't remedy the situation and asked for her help, she stood me up in front of the class and called me stupid and asked the rest of the kids if they wanted to be stupid like me. When everyone shook their heads no, she screamed, "Then look for the arrow before you open your milk!"

The son of a family friend tried to entice me into a game of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours," and I hid under a beanbag until he left.

I encouraged my younger and not-so-bright relatives to pitch themselves through the railing of a story of stairs and land in the aforementioned beanbag until their mother found out and freaked, saying it might give them brain damage.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

So I'm pushing Cheerios around on a cookie sheet, trying to get them all equally coated in melted butter and pressed garlic, working around the fact that I've made twice as many as will fit, and that my fantastically expensive wool oven mitt has a dime-sized hole in it, so I am blistering my index finger.

This is when the phone rings. I run over to the table to see who it is, scattering cereal in my wake. It's my sister, Kristi, and she's usually got something juicy for me, so I drop the hot tray and hit the flash button.

"Hello, Lady!" I watch as Little Portly executes some cat choreography across the tile floor, batting buttery Cheerios into the depths under the fridge. Her fuzzy front legs disappear as she tries to dig them out.

"Angela. I've lost my keys and I'm freaking out. Can you work with that?"

"Oh, I can work with anything. Where are you? Locked out of your apartment?"

"No. I let myself in earlier this evening and when I tried to leave to go to work I couldn't find them anywhere. Jackson already left for work so I can't leave the house. I can't lock the door! I've been looking for two hours!"

Kristi and her boyfriend live right downtown in a semi-underground condo the size of my front hall closet. There weren't too many places for keys to get lost in under 700 square feet.

"Did you check your pockets? That's where mine always turn up. Remember watching mom run around the house looking for her glasses when they were on top of her head the whole time? Those were good times." I chuckle and sigh, thinking about mom, hind end in the air, digging in the couch cushions and coming up with stale popcorn, dog hairballs, and crusty bits of things pulled from our noses.

"Angela. I'm being totally serious here. I'm really losing my marbles. Because if they aren't here in the house, that means I left them dangling in the door and someone took them. And if someone took them, that means they could steal my car or come back here later tonight and loot the place while I huddle in the shower with only a rolled up yoga matt to use as a weapon."

"Wow, okay. Do you want me to come over and help you look?" I ask jokingly.

"Could you?"


"I really just need some help here."

"Okay, I'll tell you what. I'm about five minutes from finishing up a batch of hot, buttered Cheerios. I'll bring you a bag and be over in like, twenty minutes."


So now I'm back to juggling the cereal into a Ziplock while the cat claws at my legs, trying to orchestrate a Cheerio catastrophe that would end in her being showered with hot crunchy oats, hundreds of little edible pieces for her to chase under the furniture.

I pick her up and toss her in the bedroom with Chris, who is watching "Children of Paradise," a long and depressing French movie.

"I'm, uh, going to help Kristi look for her keys. She can't leave the house until she finds them."

"Wait, so she's not locked out? She's locked in?"

"Pretty much. I'll call you when we see some resolution."

"Have a good time."

I leave the house armed with garlicy snacks and race downtown, making the trip in a record 18 minutes.

Kristi opens the door before I have a chance to knock and gives me a look that could melt glass.

"Two hours of my life! I'll never get them back!"

"It's okay, they have to be here somewhere. Your house isn't that big. I'll start from the beginning, but how about you take a break and just tell me where you've looked and what your strategy is." I drop my stuff and throw her the bag of Cheerios, which she breaks open and starts pouring in her mouth.

I pick up her bike bag by the door and start taking stuff out of it.

"I've emptied that bag twice. And all the other bags by the door. I've looked in all the shoes, behind the furniture, and in that bag of empty beer bottles. I looked in the refrigerator crisper drawers, because, you know, I was in there making myself a sandwich. I checked in the dishwasher. We don't even use the dishwasher. I looked in the toilet. The bathroom drawers. The kitchen cupboards. Under the couch. In the plants. The catbox. Under the stairs. I dug through the garbage. The GARBAGE!"

"Did you call Jackson and tell him to check his bag, just in case they got swept in there as he was leaving?" I ask while dismantling a pyramid of shoes.

"Yes. He told me he looked and that he didn't have them."

"Hmm. I guess that means that, unless your cat ate them or they warped to another dimension, that perhaps they were left dangling in the door."

"But I never do that. I always toss them on the fireplace."

We spent the next hour going over the same ground she had covered twice herself. We even rechecked the toilet.

"I have to pee."

"Yeah, but what if my keys are just out of sight in the pipe and you flush it and then they disappear forever?"

I held it.

We had just finished taking all the recycling out of the paper bags and sorting it into piles; 'not keys' 'and keys,' with 'not keys' winning 53 pieces to 0, when I decided to run out to my car and get my flashlight.

When I came back in, Kristi was on the phone with Jackson, pleading with him to check his bag again. I rechecked under the stairs and the major appliances, finding lots of cat hair I hadn't previously seen, but no keys.

Then Jackson called back.

" WHAT?...YOU DID?...They were in YOUR BAG THE WHOLE TIME? Do you have ANY IDEA what I've been doing for the last THREE HOURS?...Angie had to come over and help me look! I though I was losing my mind and you'd have to commit me! Or at the very least you'd have to have everything re-keyed. I can't talk to you right now."

I looked at her. She threw her hands up in the air.

"What happened? Didn't he look before?"

"All indications are that he didn't. But he said they were really busy at the ICU tonight. Two people died in the same room at the same time. But still. What about my keys? He could have just looked."

We finished the garlic Cheerios and called it a night. And Kristi slept well, knowing that her Toyota would not be stolen in the night with her own key.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Let's just talk for a minute about why those fire alarms scared me to the point of catatonia:

The first conditioning came from when I was but a wee little scamp, toddling around my father's workshop in the frigid cold of a Minnesota winter. I could really tear around, and within moments had lapped the sawdust filled room so many times my dad said that his head was spinning.

He picked me up and put me in the nest of blankets he had in a corner for our Shepard mutt, Ginger. She was excited to snuggle up to another warm living thing and wrapped her front paws around me and licked my face with great enthusiasm.

Thinking he could now get some work done, a common misconception among all new parents, his eyes left me and the dog and focused on some project or another.

I bolted up from the cozy slurp-fest and ran towards the space heater, which was center stage behind the band saw. It was one of those heaters they would never sell today. Wildly unsafe and a fire/explosion waiting to happen, it was cylindrical, metal, glowing red on the end, with a powerful fan blasting dry super-heated air into the shop.

It was beautiful, the only warm thing in the room. The furnace was having trouble keeping up with the wind chill from outside, and my dad kept the ancient space heater around for taking the edge off. Of course I went straight for it. The hot side was the color of molten lava, and its fan was my siren cry. I reached out and placed my tiny finger on the orange cone of heat. I watched as my fingertip melted onto the surface. Then the pain registered.

All hell broke loose.

I opened my mouth and screamed in slow motion. The dog jumped straight up out of her grungy little blanket snarl and bayed. My father's eyes got enormous and the blood drained from his face as he knocked over the saw table to get to me.

I don't really remember anything after that. It's safe to say that my mother was consulted, the dog was shut in the bathroom, and sedatives were administered. The hospital was no doubt called, and ice cubes wrapped in frayed brown towels were probably my best friends. Blame was assigned and anger was deflected for the first in a long series of dramas my parents starred in, called "Oh yeah, well whose fault do you think THAT is?"

And my little fingerprint is still grilled onto the end cone of that space heater, a shadow burned into the wall of my childhood, and a reminder for my father that little kids should really just be chained down.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I was thinking about all the times I have lost control. I started out with your average temper tantrums: best friend making out with my boyfriend, little sister borrowing my favorite shirt without asking me, patrons at work being obnoxious, the normal gambit of stuff that upsets people.

Then I started branching out with my interpretation of 'losing control.'

I now include it all:
-When I was three, my mom liked to dress me in these bell-shaped dresses and wiggle me into fuzzy textured tights. One day, while gurgling in the back seat of her Galaxy 500 while she was getting ready to unstrap me from my car seat harness thing, I lost control of my easily irritated bowels and shit in my fuzzy tights. I don't remember a whole lot of the scene, because, you know, I was three, but my mom has said that it was like watching a pureed banana being squeezed through a sock. Which is probably close to what it was. I really loved bananas. But so then she had to deal with me, screaming and hating being in what amounted to a shit wet suit, feeling the stinky liquid turd spreading along my tights and dripping into my shoes. She yanked me out of the car and held me dangling over a trash can, peeled off my tights and tossed them, then squeegeed most of the mess off of my legs with some dusty Dairy Queen napkins from the glove compartment. Good times.

-When the fire alarm went off in kindergarten, and I, in my special, home-made mouse Halloween costume, panicked and climbed up on one of those little chairs and shook my fists at my sides and screamed and punched anyone who tried to pick me up and carry me outside.

-Again, when the fire alarm was pulled by some mischievous kid at the YMCA while I was immersed in learning the American crawl, I shot up out of the water and bawled all the way to the locker room, where I waited for my mother to come upstairs and take me away from the screeching noise. Luckily, she had been reading Good Housekeeping in the pool observation room, and saw the whole thing: me biting the wrist of my instructor when he tried to lift me off the deck and put me back in the water, me running at full speed across the slippery tile and slamming my tiny saggy-swimsuited body into the locker room door, me disappearing into the stairwell with my mouth open in a terrified scream that no one could hear over the alarm.

I'm sure she was pissed about losing the only 45 minutes that she had to herself all week, and while she was dressing me, she yanked my clothes on a bit harder than usual, and left my soggy braid INSIDE my shirt, which left a huge wet snail trail that leaked into my buttcrack, which I totally HATED her for, and she kept sighing, and said, "For Christ's sake, by the time we get you dressed, they'll have shut off the alarm and the $2.75 I spent on this lesson is as good as flushed down the toilet."

So many more stories, so little time left to type them. More later, I promise.
Things that are in dispute:

1. Does Little Portly have enough chemical coating to eliminate the POW fleas that I keep pulling off of her every day?

2. Did I, in fact, pose for the picture in which I am seen at the Newport Aquarium gift shop wearing a hat shaped like an enormous bat and a dippy, open-mouthed expression on my face, or was it taken in a candid camera sort of way?

3. Did I "flee the room in tears" at work after telling Hapgood that I don't "need his crap" in response to his acidic comments including, but not limited to, a criticism of my proclivity for following procedure when faced with a software problem?

4. Did Eddy appear to be having his genitals twisted by our yoga instructor this morning during a demonstration of 'partner supported down dog,' or was it just me?

5. Do men avoid going to the doctor on purpose, or do they really 'just keep forgetting' to make the appointment?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Whenever I go in to see a doctor about my asthmatic lungs, they have a standard list of questions they ask:

Q: Do you smoke?

A: Are you kidding? Just walking into a bar where other people are smoking is like my own personal Fear Factor. I have to carry an inhaler with me everywhere I go. If there isn't one within reach, I panic. This is not for show. If my lungs are irritated by the slightest thing, my bronchial tubes swell up like pufferfish.

Q: I see. Do you have any allergies?

A: Shouldn't you have that information? I mean, you're looking at my record right there in front of you.

Q: It just says 'amoxicillin' here. I was thinking more along the lines of seasonal allergies.

A: See, that's the thing. I feel crappy when the pollen count is high and you can SEE the stuff floating around in the air, but the guy I saw in the emergency room last night said that it wasn't necessary to do any specific allergy tests because, well, I'm not sure why.

Q: So, just the average pollen and dust stuff that affects everyone?

A: If I had to commit to an answer here, I guess I'd say yes, but obviously it's more than 'average' since most people with 'average' allergies don't have to make 3am urgent care visits.

And we do this thing where they ask me questions that they should already know the answers to, as this happens once or twice a year, and I become this bitchy patient that I don't even recognize because no one will just GIVE ME THE STUPID CORTIZONE SHOT ALREADY SO I CAN BREATHE!

More on this later.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Chris didn't sleep last night.

This morning waiting for the bus, he and I looked like zombies. Not cool half-rotten zombies, but recently dead, waiting to kill our first victim and eat their brains type of zombie. Instead we got coffee at Stumptown and waited for the 4 on Division.

"This one time when I dropped acid...I was living with my dad and stepmom in the mountains at the time, anyway: we went camping. When I came back the next day, Ingrid handed me a package of socks and I broke down sobbing."

I laughed and nearly snorted up half of my latte.

"Why did you cry over the socks?"

"I don't know. It was one of those post-LSD moments where everything is ripe with complex double meanings. Like, 'Here, you asshole, you can't take care of yourself so I bought you some socks,' type of thing. You know?"

We boarded the bus and sat down near the back. There was no unpleasant smell that usually accompanies the 14 or the 15. We had chosen wisely.

When Chris blinked, took a sip from his coffee, turned his head, it was all slow motion. He would make a great zombie. All he needed was the drooling and maybe a little moaning.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

We are relatively flea free. Portly told me just this morning. I asked, she responded. The only talking cat in the world today. Sure, she sounds suspiciously like me on helium, but based on her body language, I'm fairly certain I'm interpreting correctly.

Flea free.

The greatest phrase in the English language.