july movie glut
First, notice this is not a picture of Montreal, it is taken in my kitchen. This is because I forgot to put a disk in my camera on the way out the door. But let's back up. My friend, who I had been planning to meet, got in to Montreal early, so my other friend who I was hoping I could grab couch space from, besides moving that weekend, was also completely unprepared and unavailable for an earlier arrival. So, I turned to postcard buddies and received an email from a relative stranger who seemed friendly, about 30 min before I was leaving saying something along the lines of "probably maybe" which was enough to get me in my car....
At the first rest stop, my car, which had been overheating in hot weather and whose symptoms I had been completely ignoring for no reason other than my love of this reckless lifestyle, belched up a big puddle of antifreeze and then sat there as if to say "what?" I persevered and found it wouldn't overheat if I went under 70 mph which is painful for me but not impossible.
I had the city in my view at 11:45, I was scheduled to meet my friend at the library at noon. Suddenly, from nowhere, there was a traffic jam on the bridge! At 12:30, fearing my friend was already gone, I arrived at the National Library [thanks Infotouriste!] which was not at all the same as the public library. I careened through traffic and made it to the public library at 1:20 where the chilly librarian gave me the fish eye as I tried to hack through the OPAC to get my email [which I managed not to do, nice secure system]. No friend in site. I waited outside reading until 3 & checked my messages at home, nothing. Called the relative stranger and was pleased to hear my name on the answering machine "If this is Jessamyn....." which was unfortunately followed by "we're completely insanely busy. Perhaps lunch tomorrow?" Decided to hell with all of it and went to Infotouriste again and said "what's there to do in this town?" and they pointed me to Rue St. Catherine where there was a French street festival going on which was where I spent the next few hours dancing in the road to nutty Quebecoise music before heading home around 8.
Got home to an answering machine message from the original friend who I later spoke with. The power had apparently gone off in my house during the day, erasing all the messages he had left. Didn't matter, he had been to meet me at the library [which I had misremembered as being just like the Vancouver BC library, somehow, giving a completely erratic description of it] at 10 am [which he had misremembered as when we were supposed to be there] and had been long gone before my car was even belching antifreeze.
Today, I stayed home. The day was not quite as eventful, but I speak the language here somewhat better.
Insult to injury! My old criminal roofers who skipped out on my roofing job with several thousand dollars of mine have responded to my small claims court filing. They filed a countersuit! They want the remainder of the contract payment [another six grand] claiming I breached the contract by never telling them it was void. Throughout the counterclaim, they spelled my name wrong [it's on the form, dorks] misrepresented provable facts [no it wasn't the Better Business Bureau I contacted, it was the Attorney General's office] and generally made no sense ["I would surely like to contest the fact that I do not owe her any money...."]. Fortunately, I am a meticulous pest when it comes to record keeping [thank jehu for the upcoming Virgo Month of Leisure] and have documented the crap out of this whole sordid affair. My court date will be October 4th. My new roofers have offered to either go with me for moral support, or break the guy's legs for a share of the refund.
Meanwhile, please check out my new project I'm doing with a pal: takebackvermont.com.
The barn is 99% done on the three sides that have been worked on so far. Some pix are here. The roofers left today without finishing up the last 1% which was mostly caulking and clean-up, promising they'd be back after dropping off the crew, burning all the old lumber, and buying a new truck. I realized I could sit at home all evening getting madder and madder as they didn't return [which I thought was likely, I kept $100 out of the money I paid them for the final clean up] or, I could go outside and get to work myself. So, I went out with a stepladder and a cup of paint and nearly finished priming the milking shed. Then I made travel plans to get to San Fran from Seattle in August. I'm thinking Green Tortoise. It's cheap and I can take my bike for an extra $10. Then I tried to figure out how to get my truck to here from Minneapolis. I have no genuis plans on this one. Anyone who would like to help with this nutty project, let me know.
Also on the nutty project horizon is barn painting. It's a big barn and I am a small person. Anyone who would like to come up for a weekend and get painty, I will supply all the food, drink, drugs, and moral support that you could hope for. Think about it, it's more fun than you might imagine. This is Huck Finn over and out.
Yesterday I had my debutante ball equivalent here in West Topsham. I went to the town auction. I sat in the back with one of my roofers and talked to a guy next to me who wanted to sell me a ride-on mower. I asked for his phone number, but all people will give you is directions to their house. As I was repeating his directions back to him, with attendant hand motions, the auctioneer pointed in my direction and said "Sold!" I looked up, stricken, and everyone started to laugh. Ha ha, big joke. I could almost hear the townspeople saying "one of us.... one of us....." Here's a small photo essay about it.
When smoke starts coming out of your surge protector before 9 am, it's a sign to go back to bed. I had electricians and the power company at my house for four hours today trying to figure out what caused the huge power surge to the house when the roofers started using their chop saw. The upshot? My house may have been hit by lightning yesterday, or the fates are angry. Hard to tell with the fates. Either way, I am out one surge protector, several light bulbs [we'd turn them on to test the circuits and they would pop like balloons], the oven on my stove [it is a gas stove but has this damned digital readout -- now blank -- which is where you turn on the oven, stupid stupid stupid] and I'm sure many other small power-sucking devices I haven't had the chance to use yet. My computer is fine, I am not writing this from the library.
Now that it's dark I am finally remembering that I unplugged everything in the house 12 hours ago. The lights that were not unplugged have burnt out. When the handle on the toilet went this afternoon I was very tempted to tell the electrician to just unhook the fucking power and to turn off the water while he was at it and I would dig an outhouse and buy some kerosense lanterns. Cooler heads prevailed, not mine. The roofers needed to keep working on the siding, so they needed the electricity back on, which it eventually was.
The good news? The siding looks lovely so far and I got to spent some time painting the milking shed that I would have spent working if I had any electricity, or even a decent battery in my laptop.
Oh yeah, the lifetime 74K? that is somehow true too. I don't think they count self-employment income, or gambling winnings.....
Defining terms: I consider home surgery to be any time instruments need to be sterilized, or when the tampering you do to try to fix some sort of injury or malady causes you to bleed where you were not bleeding before. Despite antibiotics, my thumb continued to be angry and painful. Hitting the space key or lighting my lighter were excruciating. I knew if I went back to the hospital they'd just put me back on that IV and scratch their heads and bill me another zillion dollars. So, I, um, took matters into my own hands. [please skip the rest of this if you are squeamish]
I got out the rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment, band aids and a safety pin. Heated it up with my lighter [ouch ouch ouch], rinsed it in alcohol and poked a hole in my thumbnail where the big purple splotch was. It's actually easier than it sounds. I soaked it, dressed it, and waited. It started to feel better almost immediately. Apparently, this technique is not as unusual as I had previously thought.
If I get hepatitis, you can use this entry as a big "I told you so."
Shopping around here can be a constant hassle. Not because the only real department store is WalMart, though that is annoying, and not because you need to drive a half an hour to get to any real stores. The reason shopping is a hassle is because I pretty much refuse to spend my money any place that has a TAKE BACK VERMONT sign, and they are showing up everywhere....
For those of you unfamiliar with the slogan, its loose translation is "go away homos!" People were peeved that the Civil Unions bill was passed by the state legislature without taking it to a full vote of the populace. That's putting it charitably, they just don't like the idea of civil unions. The companion slogans are Votem Out and Remember in November. These signs grace the three nearest places I can get food, as well as the nearest computer store, and the yards of three of my nearby neighbors. It's a weird grassroots movement, I can't find a damned thing about it on the web. Last night someone came through the center of town and spray painted pink triangles on all the signs and put a huge one right in the middle of the road. I applaud them. I'm just trying to find out who gives out the signs so I can get one and rearrange the letters and nail it way up high on my barn:
BAKE TACK VERMONT [incomprehensible in a good way, might be mistaken for real slogan]
This weekend my Mom came to visit. We spackled, moved bookshelves and discussed my new foster brother. That one's true too.
I was introduced to four truths and a lie at some strange birthday party I went to where the only other person I knew well was Anne, and I didn't even know her super well. When it was her turn, I don't remember what the other things were she mentioned, but then she said "and I'm pregnant" Her husband was sitting next to her and his expression did not change. We all wracked our brains to think whether that could possibly be true, and was it a good thing or a bad thing either way, and what that would mean..... For a brief moment in time, Anne was both pregnant and not pregnant, and we were all all little edgy. I thought it was a great coup, and a gutsy lie, and we've been friends ever since.
My truck is currently in Minneapolis, Minnesota and will be here in a week or two. Cost to me: zero [well, excluding some minor parts and maintenance]. That one was true, or true enough.
My batteries in my camera ran out so you are spared pictures of the antibiotic IV drip they put me on [not once but twice] to try to deal with this weird thing that is trying to take over my right hand.
I was at a BBQ on the 4th and my friend said "hey, that doesn't look too good..." and sure enough, there was a red stripe going up the inside of my wrist which, of course, is a big danger sign of infection. So, she bundled me up and took me to the hospital, where they pronounced me infected and put an IV in my hand. They drew a line on my arm in pen to show how far the red stripe had gone and said to hurry back if it got any farther. My friend Jenna -- who had open heart surgery when she was six -- is no stranger to hospitals and so was completely calm and chatty during the whole ordeal. She took me out for creemees [VT soft ice cream] afterwards.
The next day I went back in to get checked out [and get more drugs] and the doctor basically said "damned if I know what that is" and told me a long story about how, after years of observing his dogs, he recommends licking your orwn wounds to keep them clean. "don't lick anyone else's," he said, "and don't let your dog lick your wounds..."
This week my friend Anne is visiting from Bolivia.
I have some sort of completely bizarre thumb infection on the thumb that hits the space bar, so I will be brief:
It's 6:50 on a Sunday morning and I just got finished assembling the replacement burner for my gas grill, see? I am saying many silent prayers of thanks for letting this be so. I am having a BBQ in a few hours. Trying to be proactive, I had set to cleaning and attending to the grill yesterday, fully 30 hours before it needed to be ready. When I opened the lid, I saw the result of cheeseburgers, neglect, and too much Vermont air. My grill was a rusty mess. I had been laughing when the grill cleaning manual said "beware of spiders in the pipes!" but I was not laughing any more.When I tried to light it, flames shot out from all sides including the very very wrong TOP side.
I called the hardware store who said they were open for 45 more minutes. My evening guests were on their way. I dashed out of the house, got the part, and got home to see my houseguests in the yard talking to my drunken neighbor who was just starting to mow the lawn that he had promised would be "done by Sunday morning." I went to dissemble the grill and noticed my socket wrench was missing. Called Dennis the roofer who said "Oh yeah, Donny [the other roofer] was fixing his van, he should be home from the hospital soon, you should leave him a message..." Cursed. Left angry messages on many roofer answering devices. Decided to put it off til Sunday and went to the drive-in which erased my cares until I woke up this morning with a start at 6 thinking "Damnit damnit damnit!"
After all that, actual reassembly went fine. I have really gotten over my fear of fire and hot things since I got a wood stove [and have the scars to prove it] so the fact that I can not reattach the automatic lighter [it's electric and sends a shock down a thin wire; ask me how I know] just gives me another excuse to play with Strike Anywhere matches. Next hurdle: food shopping!
Every now and again, something happens that makes the world at large become more like the world of my dreams.
"While many have noted the symbolic or spiritual significance of the marital relation, it is plaintiffs' claim to the secular benefits and protections of a singularly human relationship that, in our view, characterizes this case. The State's interest in extending official recognition and legal protection to the professed commitment of two individuals to a lasting relationship of mutual affection is predicated on the belief that legal support of a couple's commitment provides stability for the individuals, their family, and the broader community. Although plaintiffs' interest in seeking state recognition and protection of their mutual commitment may -- in view of divorce statistics -- represent "the triumph of hope over experience," the essential aspect of their claim is simply and fundamentally for inclusion in the family of State-sanctioned human relations."