Saturday, September 27, 2008

Got Power?

In Houston, "Do you have power?" has totally and completely replaced the formerly common, "How have you been?"

Sometimes it's shortened to, "Do you have it?" or even, "Are you with or without?" To which I answered today, "I am with electricity. I am without a phone or ceiling."

And ALL of Houston is without safe driving conditions. Most traffic lights in my neighborhood are still out (9/25 - 12 days in, Stella Link at South Braeswood):And the piles of debris are taller than most cars, leaving little in the way of visibility at many intersections.

I remind my gal constantly that she absolutely CAN NOT jaywalk under these conditions and yet I still breath a sigh of relief each day upon learning that she has not been squished flat like a bug.

We are getting back on track though! I start back to work on Monday, the school having regained power yesterday. In the meantime, I amused myself by pondering my recent Google searches***:

"who is the lactating prostitute children of men"
I give up. Who?

"male tampon training"
I've been known to give tutorials to strangers on how to buy them. I didn't know males needed actual training though.

"bloody veins in teeth"
Let's hope this person took a peek around and left, shall we?

"what part of your brain vomiting"
I had no idea your brain could even vomit. I've honestly have thought, maybe not my ENTIRE life, but at least since fourth grade, that it is the digestive system that does all the vomiting.

"raising upstanding citizens"
I'm all about that! No really...

"men who love lactating women pictures"
Because it takes all kinds, after all.

"toilet licking pictures"
Sorry, I didn't have actual pictures, just empirical information on the impossibility of suicide by licking the toilet in the men's room at Lola's. Try the women's room. It's dirtier.

"you're taller and cuter than the average girl"
I'm not actually all that tall, but thanks anyway!

"why do lion tamers use a chair to tame lions?"
I've heard that the four equal length legs confuse them because they're used to seeing legs all running away with one or more lifted up as the run. *shrug shrug* Sounds not totally unreasonable.

"playmobil prostitutes"
'Cause who doesn't want to give children a toy that encourages reenacting the worlds oldest profession? If Playmobil does start up this line, maybe they'll mail them to the Bloggess to go with her angry cross dressing Legos.

Anyway, congrats to those who got electricity back yesterday and Thursday!!! In a city that is still getting near 90 degrees three days short of October, I'd much rather have air conditioning than a ceiling!!!!!!

***My mom...I mean my editor would like me to add an explanation here that these are gooogle searches by random strangers, the results of which landed the strangers on this website. Sitemeter collects the searches for me using some mysterious method that may or may not have to do with cookies, chocolate chip or otherwise.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bloob, Dog Wrongly Accused, Me in a Tree, and other Non-Sequitors

So the gist of this post is basically that my school hasn't recovered electricity after hurricane Ike leaving me nothing better to do than to post inappropriate details about myself onto the internet.

Well...that and to start packing for my move, which may or may not be happening in the near future. I've been trying to tie some random pictures together, but it's a stretch.

It turns out that Andre is a wrongly accused dog. Luc is the psycho dog with good hair, not Andre. Gan, the owner, okayed my use of the label psycho for Luc in exchange for clearing Andre's good name. (Not really. What he actually said was that letting me call his dog psycho was the least he could do.)

And although I still don't have a picture of Luc-the-psycho-dog (nor Andre the sane and friendly dog, for that matter), I do have a picture of my bipolar cat Sugar, reigning supreme over his mattress-dom: He looks quite svelte because the picture hides his bloob, which is what the kids call that flappy fat under his belly.

Why are the mattresses perched against the wall in the middle of the living room instead of happily hanging out in the kids' room being used as bedding? Water damage from Ike.

They had to take out the bedroom ceiling: If you happened to see the the shingles all over the courtyard, that used to be our roof. And as I understand it, you sort of need one of those to keep the water out of the bedrooms. Those two actually make it look sort of fun to be ceiling-less, don't they? But three people and two cats in a now-one bedroom apartment that smells like mildew actually gets old a little faster than you might think, necessitating some outdoor activities. Like tree climbing. See? I said it was a stretch.

Nevertheless, here's me in a tree:That look on my face is either "What the heck was I thinking?!?! I'm FORTY now! I shouldn't even be playing badminton, much less climbing trees to fish out the birdies!"

Or it could have been, "It's taking him FOREVER to snap that picture! Why the heck didn't I teach my boy to use Razor's camera like AGES ago?!?! I'm going to be stuck in this tree until I break my neck falling out!"

Better yet, why didn't I ever teach my boy to climb trees so HE could have retrieved the birdie? I guess that's what comes out of growing up in the city. Especially one where they do stuff like this to hapless trees: I have no idea what they were doing. But I was under the impression that Ike had actually done a pretty fair job with the tree trimming. No need to start pulling them down with a tractor!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Once Bitten, ready to play with a different dog?

I saw a woman in Walgreens with a tshirt on that said, "Transtar told Ike to take a hike." I don't know who the heck Transtar is, but I'm glad SOMEONE'S standing up these natural disasters. I mean, you've got to be strict with these storms, otherwise they'll just blow things around all over the place.

That last one is looking out my bedroom window. Houston is slowly but surely coming back to life. I mean, they're coming to TAKE THE CEILING OFF my kids' room today, and I have no phone and internet is sporadic and they can't say when my son will be getting back to school and my own school still doesn't have power and we barely have any working traffic lights...but things are generally calming down.

So that's why my gal decided to liven things up by getting friendly with my friends' psycho dog Andre. They also have perfectly sweet and understanding dog named Luke who doesn't even have a hankering for child arm served up sushi style. But, not my gal's thing. Whatever.

I don't have a picture of Andre, but at least I have one of Sugar in a moving box. When Sugar first started batting at me through that hole in the box I was all, "Oh great. My boy trapped the cat in a moving box. AGAIN." But then I noticed that although Sugar was pulling the whole "cat trapped in box" routine, the back of the box was totally and completely open.

Andre can probably be just as playful when he's not chomping the daylights out of my kid's arm. I just don't happen to have a picture of it. But here's the story in my gal's own words:
so i was sitting and petting Andre who is my favorite out of Luke-and-Andre, and then i stopped petting him and all of the sudden he goes all psycho doggy on me and is all chompin' on my my arm like its a doggy bone. it hurt really badly. worse then both my ankles and even worse than the jellyfish sting. mommy really does need to make a new section for all the times we maim ourselves. here's a pic

anyway, it is just a bunch of little red dots again, but unlike the jelly sting, i have to actually be awake for all the painfulness. that and it doesn't last only 30 minutes. ow.

well that's my story. but don't worry or anything. Daniel says that Andre has had all his shots. oh yeah... Luke is my favorite out of Luke-and-Andre now. his hairdo is less cute, but he is also less psycho.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gesundheit Houston! Life in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

So I’m not one of those people who’s all “God bless this person and God bless that person.” It’s not really my style. Unless someone sneezes, and then I go to town with the “gesundheits” and “God bless you, and devil miss you’s.”

Aside from that though, I’m not sure I even believe in it all that much. ‘Cause why would God listen to us mere mortals on who to bless, after all? Especially those people on the news right before the hurricane who were all out in a field trying to pray Ike away.

Did they think God was going to be all, “Y’know what Houston? You’re right. What with the cockroaches and the heat and the demise of Astroworld, you people really have enough to deal with already. I’ll send the hurricane to Pensacola.”

But on the off chance that God does bless who I say: God bless that one lady who opened her Chinese restaurant on Memorial the day after Ike. She stayed up all night being blown around by a hurricane, got ready for work with no power at home and then OPENED at her restaurant so that we didn’t have to eat cold soup out of a can for dinner that night.

And God bless the people working sixteen hour days for the power company or in conjunction with the power company and the city workers who were fixing the streets.

Here’s the bed of a city pick up truck whose drivers were out repairing street signs:

Most people I know still don’t have power, and just buying the gas to be able to shop for food is a major undertaking. My friend Laurie and I waited 45 minutes in line for gas on Tuesday, and that was AFTER calling around to find out where the fastest lines would be.

Here’s one of the city guys next to his truck:

We asked truck-guy how him and the coworker can even get food if they’re working all day since they  don’t have time to wait in the lines.  And even if they had time to wait in the lines they'd still have to drive around hoping to find an open grocery store first. He more or less said they couldn’t and that they were subsisting on crackers and chips.

So when Laurie and I happened to find out that that her mom had some of those pod-meal-things, we chased down the truck guys and gave them a few.

I told my brother how happy they were to have semi-real food and he was all, “Of course they were happy! It’s not every day two beautiful women pull over their car to sympathize with you and then bring you a meal. It was a red letter day for them!”

Thanks to people like those truck-guys working their butts off, hopefully situations like this will be remedied soon:

Yes, that big ole’ branch is hanging on a power line over a busy boulevard by a little tiny twig the size of…I dunno…maybe my index finger?

So anyway, I know the economy’s going down the tubes and there’s an election and stuff, but just to remind you: it’s still HELL here for lots and lots of people in the fourth largest city in the United States.

My gal wants me to mention the tiger that was on the loose at Crystal Beach, but the situation there and in the areas around Galveston is just so very awful I can’t even talk about it on a silly blog like this. Even though I just did.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Don't Like Ike

But we do want pictures.

They told us to hunker (and hunker and hunker). And we hunkered with the best of them. Look, here are my kids a hunkerin':Even though Hurricane Ike caused the windows to whine louder than any dog, you may notice that they’re sound asleep.

Here’s my guy a hunkerin’ by candlelight: He's awake. It’s not as easy to sleep through a hurricane after a certain age I suppose.

We hunkered and we hunkered and we hunkered. My boy wanted to hunker in the closet. Sleeping in the closet seemed like a fairly safe bet, since the closet had no windows and no outside wall.

I was glad he hunkered on the floor right next to me instead though, because what the closet DID have (unbeknownst to us) was attic access. Somehow or other there was enough of a change in pressure that the closet door popped off in the night. Here's my gal surveying from Razor's patio:The courtyard outside our apartment:

At the end of my block:
Of course there are trees down and bayous up:

That's the path we walk on near Razor's.

Anyone for a picnic? I hear the water keeps the ants away:
A gas station near where we're supposed to be buying a house in two weeks:The house is still there. We checked.

A couple more pictures from around my neighborhood:
This was my favorite sign:‘Cause we don’t want grouchy people drivin’ through these floods. Never mind all the debris; driving grouchy is the real danger ‘round here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh Here We Come a Hunkerin’ Among the Leaves so Green…

Oh here we come a hunkerin'
Among the leaves so green
Oh here we come a hunkerin’
So fair to be seen…

Oh no wait…that’s wassailing, not hunkerin'. Though I do wonder, aren't the green leaves usually off the trees by wassailing time? At any rate, to quote The Blogess (whose blog I LOVE):
Hi. I’m alive. I know, half of you are all “THANK GOD! I’VE BEEN SO WORRIED!” and the other half are all ”Big whoop, so am I” and the other half are like “this girl can’t do math”
In addition to loving that blog, I also love electricity (which we got back last night).

I LOVE electricity!!!!! LOVE IT!!!! Love it, love it, love it! I especially love being able to heat food.

I hope to love running water again sometime soon. In the meantime at least we figured out that we can use the neighborhood pool water for flushing the toilet.

We still have some bottled water though. Because, y’know, they advised us to buy bottled water. They advised us to tank up on gas.

But if there was any one thing they advised us to do over and over and over (and over and over and over), it was hunker.

How exactly does one “hunker”, you might ask? We weren’t really sure ourselves, but by Saturday afternoon we got pretty dang good at it.

I have a bunch of pictures of us hunkerin'. But at the moment I'm missing the little thingy-me-bobber that makes the pictures load into the computer.

Of course I have the requisite pictures of damage and destruction. Thankfully I took MOST of those pictures outside the confines of home.

I hope to be reunited with the pictures AND running water sometime soon. And I'll post the hunkerin' pictures as soon as I can.

In the meantime...

Love and Joy come to you
And to you your wassail too
And God bless you and send you a happy new year
And God send you a happy new year

At least a happy Jewish new year (later this month), and one free from hunkerin’.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

WOOHOOOOOO!!!! No school tomorrow!!!!!!

We may be blown off the face of the planet by hurricane Ike, but at least we won't be at school while it's happening!!!!!

Much as I poked fun, a car with more than a quarter tank of gas MAY have actually been a good idea, because you could use up your entire tank of gas just waiting in line at the one or two stations in town that have any gas left.

But what the heck - a car with a transmission that doesn't buck us into the next century whenever it gets tired might have been a good idea too. Come to think of it, food in the pantry would have been a fantastic idea. But it's okay, I think my aunt said she bought out Houston's entire stock of tuna and peanut butter.

But I got the drinking water part covered at least. I'd like to claim it was because I was ever so practical, but it just happens that I just bought a kajillion water bottles for lunches for the kids earlier in the week.

Luckily The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken thinks up all these phantasmagorical ideas like food and gas and we're like good to go for..I dunno... least a day and a half.

KIDDING! I'm sure we can hold out for longer. He's talking about cooking & stuff...whatever that is.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I'm on the Wagon

KIDDING!!!!!!! I'm really IN the wagon. But The Gal took my picture and wanted me to post it.

The Gal has a job now. Can you believe someone this cute has a job?
Of course, she has teeth these days, and more hair, which she just got cut to look like this:So while The Gal was getting her hair cut, The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken and I wandered Houston's version of Chinatown. Not because that's where the gal gets her haircut (it is) but because we were meeting friends for dim sum. We saw some seriously delicious looking treats, but we passed on these "dry paste buns":
Hard to believe a guy who was willing to try cuttlefish cooked in its own ink didn't want to indulge in dry paste, isn't it? But, y'know...we didn't want to spoil our appetite for dim sum. For real.

So that's about the news from our end. They do have some great electronic signs up on the freeway that flash between "It's hurricane season" (subtext: Be afraid!!!!) and "Fill your gas tank" (subtext: Buy more stuff! More stuff makes you less afraid!!!!!!). But I haven't managed to get a photo.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My Gal Says it's Called "Word Vomit"

You know when someone asks you a question and part of your brain is listening but then part of your brain is totally going about its previous business and another part of your brain is thinking about what chores still need to be done before bed and another part is wondering what will happen to the lesson plans you left sitting on the keyboard at someone else's computer at work and part of your brain is composing a grocery list?

And so then your mouth chooses some words to use to answer the question, but the words don't have anything to do with the words that are in your brain to answer the question because, HELLO! your brain is sort of busy right now.

It's like this:
My gal - "What happened?"
Me - "The electricity went off."
Gal - (sitting beside a fully operational lamp), "It did?"
Me - "What?"
Gal - "When did the electricity go off?"
Me - "I meant that I need a computer cord."

Well, my gal says that's called Word Vomit. And she says not to give her any credit, because it came from a movie. But I don't sit still long enough to see many movies, so in my mind she still gets credit.

In totally related news (related because it filled up my brain too much to worry about what came out of my mouth) we got back from our annual labor day camping trip yesterday.

Some years we've had insect infestations. One year my friend's son got his cornea scratched. Another year her other son fell out of a tree.

One year the bathroom was haunted. Seriously. The ghost flushed the toilet and everything.

Here's my boy and my friends' boy camping last year:And me, camping and reading a biography of Townes Van Zandt at the exact same time. Aren't I talented?This year we had:
raccoons stealing chicken from a cooler
fevers (my boy, then my gal)
an ear infection (my friend's nephew)
a torn ligament (by one of the adults)
streaking (including but not limited to a friend's 11 year old - "It was fun!")
consumption of mustard by teenagers until they vomited (as payment for a bet)
heavy downpours (did I mention our tent leaks?)
tent flooding (my friends' tent leaks worse)
screw your neighbor (The card game! Not an orgy!)

Let me just say that it turns out to take very little mustard to make a teenager puke. Razor says that's why they used mustard gas in World War...ummmm...One. Or two. Well, one of those two at any rate.

In all honesty, camping is way more fun without the rain and fevers. But I've gotta admit, there's something to be said for watching teenage boys barf mustard.