Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Jennifer complained yesterday. She said, "Okay Laura, it's time for a new blog. Why? Because I said so..." Really. It was in the comments.

But I don't know what to write about!

Does Jennifer offer to come up with a topic for me? Noooo. No topics from Jennifer. I'm just a blog writing machine over here. Insert coin, blog produced. Just like that.

There's just one problem with that.

I have no life.

There it is! I said it! It was painful (lie), but I finally revealed my deepest trauma (yeah, right): that I have absolutely no life (true).

Scouring back over the last few weeks, I have a few mini stories to tell you, but they are mostly follow-ups from OLD stories, things that are only funny if you know all the things that have happened before.

Fine. I'll just tell you.

I went on vacation! And as with any Laura-Vacation, nothing much happened. I think I don't know how to have fun. Or, at least, I don't know how to go out and do something exciting for a vacation, because I grew up without them. Really. We had a couple, but they were just to visit family, and the trips abroad were Thinking Trips, because I had papers to write when I got back, not to mention speeches and the like.

So I started by cleaning my room. Really cleaning.

I tore the whole room apart, including the frame of the bed, dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed, and polished. I sorted drawers and the closet, I took clothes to Goodwill and managed to get control of the ever-growing stash of yarn by building shelves for the closet and securing them to the wall. I also put shelves up on the wall, because I'd moved things around and had to take them down from where they used to be (and hadn't re-fastened them to the wall because I couldn't find the stud-finder and I thought drilling the wall, screwing the shelves in place, putting books on them, and then watching as giant chunks of my wall fell out onto the ground would be a bad way to spend the day). But now the invisible bookshelves are back where they belong, and life is again good. I love those things.

In the process of cleaning, I learned two important facts.

1. Never buy the knock-off Swiffer dusters. They don't hold the dust, they just move it. Not the same thing.

2. There is one brand of cleaner I am not allergic to, even a little. It is the Seventh Generation brand. This is good to know, because it means I can scour things without fainting or spending the evening wheezing, coughing, or with a migraine like with some cleaners. *coughLYSOLcough*

I then put my room back together and dispersed the things I didn't need to keep (crayons, clothing I am too fat for, and the like).

That took us to Tuesday. Three days of cleaning, sorting, building, and so forth. It took that much to satisfy me. See, all the intensive stuff gets put off when I've only two days during the weekend. Who wants to spend their whole weekend cleaning? I want to spend it KNITTING. That is much more FUN.

Then we went to see my 87-year-old grandfather, who is more negative every time I see him. According to Grandpa, we will NEVER get out of this recession. Ever. He has forgotten that we got out of the Great Depression, I think. Maybe. Also, my generation is totally lazy in every way (Paul took that a bit personally, though Grandpa didn't put two and two together to realize WHY Paul would have a problem with that), and the whole world has gone to "heck"--this started a rant that ended with, "Ah, to Hell with 'em!" He ends lots of sentences that way. Grandpa also started a pseudo-racist rant that I stopped. He overlooks that he was once the child of two immigrants who didn't speak English. If you point that out, he goes temporarily deaf or says, you guessed it, "Ah, to Hell with 'em!" But he stops, because he realizes that I really have a problem with that kind of talk. Once he got all the Bitter-Old-Man out of his system, he was his normal self and we could all relax by helping him find the cat every five minutes, buying his lottery tickets, and trimming bushes.

I love my grandpa.

Then we went to Chicago! To the Art Institute!

Some of you might remember our last trip to see El Greco and the Impressionists culminated with Paul grabbing random string that ended up being art, the security guard screaming at him, and Paul proclaiming, "It's a piece of FREAKING STRING!" Oh, and me getting caught in a revolving door.

It was kind of like this, but without all the broken glass and with more bruising.

This time, I survived the revolving door. See, knowing it revolves is the trick. I thought it was a normal door that Mom was holding open for me. But it wasn't.

But, alas, Mom and Paul ended up setting off the little tone that says--"YOU ARE TOUCHING THE ARTWORK!" Except it says it like this: "beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep..." The security guard found them, told them to stop, and went back to glaring at everyone.

Why did it go off? It's because when my mother is in an art museum, she does something she never does when she's out and about normally.

She talks with her hands.

Mom had a visitor's guide, and had semi-folded it. She was using it as a pointer, causing the alarm to sound.

We moved on to the next room, then I took them downstairs, where the colors go from neutral to bold and attention-grabbing. There are also very small chairs. And around the room, there are stations you can visit...

"Here, guys!" I proclaimed, handing Mom back her visitor's guide. "Go to town!"

"What?" Mom asked.

"This is the Touch Gallery!" I said. You can go ahead and touch the artwork now, for as long as you want!" The look she gave me was priceless. Fantastic.

She didn't touch anything.

We spent three days with my grandfather, and during that time my dad called my cell phone about thirty times. I ignored a lot of those calls, because he wasn't calling me at all. He was calling Mom. And I am not an answering service. It got annoying, handing my phone off so Dad could say "hello" and hang up. He didn't even say anything to me.

It was distracting, and we were in an art museum! So I had my phone set to silent, and I just deleted all the missed calls. Don't call me ten times a day, especially if you expect me to call you back, unless someone is missing a limb they had when they woke up that morning. Nothing you have to say that doesn't involve missing appendages is that important.

You know I'm right.

We came home Saturday, slept, and spent Sunday getting the house put back together after Hurricane Dad. It's a trial, I'll tell you. Dad then left, heading off to Florida with his friend Norm, who he's known since they were both tiny children. They drove off into the night, stopping so Norm could sleep (he can't sleep when the car is moving) in a Waffle House. Where Dad texted (sent me a text...how does one verb that?) me. And woke me up, because it was NIGHT. Also, it made me want waffles, which we DIDN'T HAVE.

But Dad got his comeuppance. When the two of them finally arrived in Florida, Dad celebrated by taking a flying leap into the swimming pool, with his cell phone in his pocket.

That makes the score Dad: 2, Cell Phones: 0

Remember the time he killed the phone he had before this one? It looked like this:

I don't think the new dead phone will look this funny. Nothing could ever look this funny again. It's impossible.

So the problem of Dad's excessive phone use is now solved. Ish.

And now I am back at work, the neighborhood kids are in school and not driving the library staff insane (that was why I needed the vacation), and life can get back to normal. Kind of.

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