Postcard from the edge of the road

We're taking off for Hilton Head in a few minutes... My mother, sainted creature that she is, volunteered to deep-clean my grandparents' carpet this weekend. Oh, and she needs me to help too, and it'll be GREAT! Of course it will.

So Happy Halloween, tricksters, and be sure to update your blogs with at least one picture of you and/or your preciouses dressed as monkeys (either this kind or this kind) or other hilarious things. Boo!

Late night giddyfest

First of all, one big fat HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my best pal, who joined me in the League of 26 this weekend (although she managed to do it sans bebe). Eat cake and pretend I'm there, babe.

Congratulations to my favorite graphic designer, Miss Zoot, whose baby girl arrived yesterday. And is she pretty! Such skin, the lucky little devil.

And finally, were it not for the fact that I'm somewhat committed to photo holiday cards, I would so get the ones I saw today at Metropolitan Deluxe, a grand store in the mall. Joseph and Mary were busy loving on their little miracle, and there were the three kings, there were the shepherds, and from somewhere in the crowd a voice bubble rose up:

Jesus Jesus Bo Beezus, banana fana fo Feezus..."

I totally snorted right there in the store, next to a middle-aged fat woman who was buying the Bad Girl's Guide to the Party Life. I don't know which of us was more ridiculous.

One given Sunday

(Editor's note: this post does not contain references to bodily functions. Although I WOULD like to point out that if I want to talk about such things, this is my blog and I CAN. Nyah.)

This was Rob's last day off for quite a while, as he's started his oncology rotation and he'll be working long days with the extremely sick. I asked what made it harder; he explained it with, "Before, when someone came in with a cough, they got some cough drops. Now, if they come in with a cough, they're probably about to die." Ah, I said, and immediately mixed a g-&-t.

So we futzed around in the bathroom (and isn't it SAD that that doesn't mean what it used to mean, instead of meaning sanding down the ridges in my rawther impressive new plastering job), and went for a brief foray around a nearby neighborhood, and roasted a chicken with much success and garlic.

And then, the miracle of miracles: Norah sat up. Granted, she was parked in her Boppy pillow, and she was hypnotized into stillness by the wonder of Desperate Housewives (child-rearin' question: when does she start understanding what "extramarital" and "homicide" actually mean?). But she sat, she sat right there, lounging on her fat little arms, and all I wanted to do was hand her a cocktail with an umbrella and get her some tiny Ray-bans. GENIUS, I'm telling you.

And speaking of precious babies, get a load of the happy face on this wee girl!

Why I had to change my pants today

I took Norah and Astrid to Jordan Lake today, one of our favorite activities now that it's not hot enough to melt butter in my hair. There's a nifty little trail that meanders through the woods on a long and pointy peninsula (question: is a lake big enough to have a peninsula, or is it called something else? A peninsulette?)

Today I pulled a complete genius move, and decided to walk halfway along the trail and then take the pseudo-beach back. What with the drought and all, the lake is super low, and so there's a dry, walkable area around the edge of the water. Ah-ha, sez I, I can just beachwalk all the way back, since the trail - and the parking lot - start at an edge. How lovely!

Ha. A peninsula, in case, you didn't know, can be quite long. This peninsula was not only quite long, but also was completely devoid of shade trees, so after the first ten or so minutes it felt like we were in our own private lakeside version of Sahara, and I was definitely not feeling cute enough to be Penelope Cruz. The temperature was decent everywhere else in the world, but it was 900 degrees where my brilliant mind chose to walk.

We finally got within spitting distance of the parking lot beach, just as I was pretty sure my ears were sweating. However, our progress was abruptly halted by one big, fat, motherfucker of a snake. (And since I'm trying not to swear anymore because of the baby, you KNOW how seriously huge this creature was.) But no, friends, it wasn't just any snake.

It was a COPPERHEAD. (Having grown up in Indiana, where the only predators are snakes and distant cousins who want to hook up, I knows me some copperhead.) And it was on the narrowest part of the beach, apparently enjoying its vacation from the relative shelter of the woods, and it was RIGHT THERE, looking at me like a fat kid looks at a Ding Dong.

I froze, while the idiot dog tried to teach the snake to squaredance and the baby dozed in her carrier. (This is definitely one of many reasons why the world is not ruled by dogs and babies; they have no concept of impending death.) Seriously, I was freaking out. My only option, other than trying to walk past the snake, was to go into the woods, where there were 300 other copperheads who would most certainly chase us down and eat us all alive, bones and everything.

I must have frozen there for ten minutes, or maybe two, I can't remember. All I know is, the little bugger finally turned around and slithered under a rock (you fool, I thought, you stereotypical fool) that was only slightly to the left of where we needed to walk. I decided that this was the part where I put my big girl panties on and deal with it, as they say, so I took a deep breath and started running, and here, HERE is where it gets good: at the exact moment that I passed the snake's rock, I tripped.

I grabbed at whatever I could find to keep me from falling directly onto Norah's squashy little body. Of course, the only thing within desperate grabbing distance was the rock, and after I realized that I was on my knees - in the mud - NEXT TO THE SNAKE ROCK, the adrenaline really started rocking my world and I crawled at about 35 miles an hour, all the way to the clean safety of the parking lot beach.

When I got back to the car, I had a series of park ranger thoughts, like the fact that the poor little snakie had probably made it clear to Chapel Hill by that time, and I probably scared him more than he scared me, and you know, Wild Kingdom shit like that. But then I saw the state of my jeans, and I thought, YEAH FUCKING RIGHT, you little bastard.

(And in case you're concerned, both Norah and Astrid are fine, but Norah has declared that she is the only one entitled to any pants-wetting, so I'd better just grow up and get over it. She's a bossy one, she is.)

You're never too old for a hosing

I used to think that a wild night meant coming home at 4:30 the next afternoon. When I was in college at a certain university (and those of you who know which one, keep your traps shut - they can revoke diplomas, you know) most of the week was spent waiting for the weekend, or at least for Thursday, when the Gin Mill had Ladies' Night.

On a certain friend's 21st birthday, three of us went downtown dressed in our finest stretchy polyester and sparkles. My shirt, a lavender number with the merest suggestion of glitter, had no back, and worse, had ties that ran from side to side. One misplaced hand in a noisy bar and the twins would have been set free to create utter havoc. (And back then, I was way thinner and way cuter - think of the rioting.)

The three of us got thoroughly intoxicated, dragged around the bar district until everything closed down, and piled into a cab to go home. The quickest way from downtown to school runs via an elevated expressway with no shoulder, so we thought we'd be home in plenty of time to watch late-late-late night TV and eat an entire box of frozen pierogies. With butter. And salt. Oh God.

However, the birthday girl opted not to mention how remarkably intoxicated she actually was, and just as the cab mounted the expressway, said birthday girl leaned over and deftly tossed her cookies INTO MY PURSE. I sat there, holding a bag of barf, rather remarkably intoxicated myself, trying to keep my shit together and prevent the cab driver from seeing what had happened. Of course, when you're remarkably intoxicated, keeping your shit together means making frantic gestures and stage-whispering to other people that DUDE THERE'S PUKE IN HERE SHE PUKED IN HERE WHADDAWEDO?

Of course we were busted, and the cab driver jerked over into the right lane and made us get out. Right there on the expressway, with no exit in sight and a two-foot shoulder to walk in (and I ask you, all of you who have been remarkably intoxicated: can YOU walk in a two-foot space without crossing the line? I THINK NOT). We looked like three very expensive teenaged hookers, blindly grabbing at the guardrail and walking home barefoot, dangling blister-inducing platform shoes in one hand.

Fortunately, we only had to walk about a mile before a friend of ours drove past, screeched to a halt, and piled all three of us into his tiny car. The birthday girl and I ended up tangled in one seat - either I was in her lap or she was in mine - and I spent the entire ride just positive she was going to hurl again, yelling into her ear "I swear to God, if you throw up on me one more time, we are no longer brothers!" It made sense at the time.

You know what I did last night? Stripped the baby, her diaper, her blankets, sheets, and mattress pad, and marched the mattress outside where I could hose it off. WILD NIGHT, THY NAME IS BODILY FLUIDS.

Annie needs... to win the Powerball

Well, here we are, boys and girls. My new blog. I miss that Typepad one, I do, but it's better this way: cheaper, more private, and hey, look at that nifty star thing up top! I didn't have a nifty star thing before! These little things, they just send me.

I tried to think of something vastly important to write about for this first post. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything - not because there isn't an important thing, but because there are too many. So here they are in four paragraphs or less:

Norah, my most wonderful and beautiful babycakes, has decided that being naked really isn't all that bad. Hence this picture of her butt. (Sorry, sweetie, but Mama had to put up something.) Before today, getting the baby naked was somewhere on par with setting the baby on fire, if you consider the howling and contortions and expressions of agony she went through, so this is a major step forward.

I have successfully stripped the ugly-ass wallpaper from our downstairs bathroom (if you were with me a few months ago, you know about the saga of the ugly-ass wallpaper, and you know that we had decided to leave the bathroom alone and learn to handle the brown with white and navy posies, because we couldn't deal with any more house work. Turns out my handling skills are zippo.) Now it's ripped-up drywall, but I have the necessary tools to fix it up, and so I shall continue.

Tonight is Rob's last night on call at the VA, a very special place where old soldiers go to get their drugs and hassle the nurses. I like the idea of it - after all, these old fellas were very brave and served their country and all - but between the management and the excessive paperwork, it sounds a little nutty over there. Needless to say, Rob is delighted about the prospect of rotating back to That Other Hospital, where the floors are shiny and it doesn't smell like old man skin.

I played a pretty funny game that I got from Adrienne (although it seems that several other people are playing it too) wherein you Google "[your name] needs" and see what comes up. Apparently, I need a wide variety of things, including your prayers for my Himalayan cat, a good home, a job, to escape from the forces of male oppression or something like that, and a creative outlet for my boundless energy. Outlet, indeed.