Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dad Wants a Blog

"I want to do the bloggy thing," Dad said to me today, at the library. He'd come to visit and use the Wi-Fi. "I have blogses. In my head."

And then he made this bizarre finger flail move that I think was meant to signify typing.

Luckily, I had been prepared for this, and I'd already started setting up a blog for Dad. And I have a great method for this whole enterprise, because I know full well that he won't be able to post a blog any more than he can copy and paste things. My plan is to set up the blog, give him an ID, and have HIM give ME his post in a Word document. Then, I will take what he wrote and copy and paste it into Blogger. I will then publish it.

So I looked up at him, narrowing my eyes. "You mean you want to start a blog, right Dad?" I said.


"Okay," I told him. Now came the hard part. "So what you need to do is go here," I scribbled down the web address for Blogger. "Then make yourself an ID, so you can have a blog. Don't do anything else. Just make an ID."

"Good. I'll do that now," he told me. He had his laptop.

Naively, I thought he'd have no problem. I mean, all you do to set up an account is, what, type in your name and your e-mail? That's not so hard, is it?

When the time came for me to eat dinner, I left the library. I didn't see Dad anymore, so I assumed he'd left. He hadn't.

At about 4:34p.m. EST, I heard the Doctor Who theme, so I answered my phone. (Yeah, that's right. My phone rings with the Doctor Who theme. I am just that cool.)

"Hey," Dad said. "Where are you?"

"Wendy's," I said. "Where are you?"

"I was at the library," he replied. "But then you weren't there, so I thought I'd find you."

Lots of our conversations seem to follow this pattern.

"I'll be here for another fifteen minutes," I said.

"I'll come meet you," he told me. Then we hung up.

Moments later, he was there with a vanilla Frosty.

What is the purpose of a vanilla Frosty? Frosties should only come in chocolate. All other flavors, and those stupid MIX-INS are an affront to God and Nature. They lower the Frosty to the level of milk-shake. It's appalling.

Dad started eating his "Frosty."

"I couldn't get that Blogger thing to happen," he said. "I filled out the forms but it kept telling me something was wrong, but I looked for red marks and there weren't any more of them, so I don't know what happened."

That's right. My dad found a way to screw up typing in his contact information. Oh, yeah.

"Well, do you have a username?"

"I have a password."

"Okay, do you have a username?"

"I got a password. I didn't get a username yet, though."

"You get them at the same time, Dad," I replied. "If you have a password, you have a username."

"Oh," he said. "Then it has to be my e-mail, then."

"Write it down for me," I said. He scribbled down an e-mail and his password. "Good," I told him. "Now I will see what happened and try to fix it."

"It just kept taking me to this place called Blogspot," Dad said. "Whistlin' for Him at Blogspot."

Let me pause for a moment while you all cringe inwardly, the way I did.

Because Blogger and Blogspot are THE SAME THING.

"You know how you have to take continuing education classes?" I said calmly.

"Yeah," Dad said.

"I really think you need to start taking computer classes," I said. "Because I can tell from this conversation that me as your computer teacher is not working. I know everything, but I clearly am not teaching you the way you need to be taught."

Dad looked at me, brow furrowed. "I think I need to take an intro to computers class," he said.

"Yes." I said. "I completely agree with you."

When I looked at the comments on my last post, I saw a comment. It was from Pastor Kelly. He said:

As my darling daughter Laura's "Dad," I would like to remind her millions of readers that blogging is like political commentary, in that the commentator uses only those facts that support his position. As the discerning reader I'm sure you are, you will therefore not want to take all these facts at face value. Just sayin'. --"Dad"

Pastor Kelly. Which means Dad has a user profile. Which means he has a username. Which is Pastor Kelly.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dad's Rooftop Adventure

Darcy has a phobia. She is thunder-phobic. She has doggie brontophobia. It developed last spring, when we all went to bed with our respective bedroom doors closed, but without Darcy inside one of the rooms. During that evening, there was a horrible storm, and the massive amounts of thunder and lightning terrified her so completely, she cannot forget the trauma.

Lately, her anxiety has been escalating. She is now also afraid of rain. Ombrophobia.

Yes. Darcy has a doggie anxiety disorder. I know this because she has puppy panic attacks, during which she shakes violently, pants, goes to dark enclosed spaces to feel safe, and sometimes throws up.

All Darcy's fears were realized on Tuesday night. She'd been panicking for a while before the power went out. Seconds after the house was consumed by darkness, the wind picked up.

Standing in my room, I heard something slam into the house and I knew, deep inside, that a tornado was currently rending the house into tiny pieces, including the gorgeous new kitchen floor and probably most of my family.

When no more horror followed, I got back up and made my way to the basement, where death was slightly less likely. We got Darcy downstairs, her poor doggie panic attack in full swing, and Dad recovered from his rude awakening and followed.

After a few minutes, we could tell the worst was over, so we creeped back upstairs (excluding Darcy, who was hiding in the cupboard under the stairs--yes, we have a cupboard under the basement stairs just like Harry Potter lived in back in the Dursleys' house). I mostly just stood there, because I had dropped my flashlight when the giant noise came. Mom was using a flashlight to peer out the picture window intently.

Because there was a tree on our roof.

Well, on and a little bit in.

The giant oak tree outside our window had split apart; part of it was left standing, the other part had landed on our roof like that plane fuselage from Donnie Darko. Except Donnie wasn't killed this time, mostly because we don't have a second floor and Donnie doesn't and has never lived with us, because he's a fictional character. Actually, no one was killed. And the tree wasn't in our living room or anything. It stayed outside, we thought, but we couldn't be sure.

So before the lightning had ended, Dad went outside, got the METAL ladder out, propped it against the side of the house, and climbed up onto the roof with a flashlight to see how bad the damage was.

Luckily, he didn't so much need a flashlight, because the lightning was bright enough to allow him to see. Also, it was constant, so nature provided plenty of light to work by. Never mind the danger of being struck by lightning, or anything. Apparently, Dad believes he is immune to the effects of lightning.

Now, the last time Dad went up on the roof, this happened, so Mom wasn't so happy. With each branch that Dad hurled off the roof, Mom gasped, thinking that the falling branch was her husband, struck dead by lightning. Or just falling off the roof, which is pretty much his hobby.

Paul, convinced that with each passing moment, the likelihood of one of our parents' deaths increased, went outside and climbed up on the roof too, then quickly came back down to announce that we needed tarps and the staple gun, so that we could cover the hole in the roof. Dad reported that the hole was about the size of his thigh (not so big), but that it would cause damage if we didn't cover it. Also, he said, he needed his chainsaw.

Mom and I were willing to go to Walmart to get tarps. None of us were willing to get the chainsaw. Still, Dad was convinced. His mood always becomes...unpleasant when something like this happens. But he kept calling for the chainsaw, until finally he went down to get it.

At that point, I tweeted the following:

Soon, limbs will be flying off the side of the roof. But will they be tree limbs, or human limbs? #ChainsawsintheDark
And then, instead of waiting for more things to go horribly wrong, I went to sleep.

In the morning, we discovered that in addition to the hole Dad found, there were several more smallish-sized holes in the roof. Also, a cracked support beam.

Also, when the tree hit the house, it did so with enough force to cause our ceiling to bow. And the nails driven up into support beams? They were pushed down out of the beams they live in, so now we have several exposed nail heads on the ceiling, which I constantly think are giant spiders coming to kill me. This is more frightening than the prospect of the ceiling somehow caving in.

Dad called his friend Jeff from church, who was also directly involved with Dad's Silver Surfer Wipe out back in November, and Jeff came over to help clean up the damage and patch the roof. This wasn't really what the insurance company wanted, but hey--it's been over a week, and have they sent a claims person to our house to even look at the damage? Nope. So they fixed the immediate problems, to keep water from coursing down on our heads as we watch television.

Dad and Paul cut the remaining chunk of tree into smaller chunks, which they pushed off the roof.

That would have been great, except that one or both of them flunked elementary physics, leading to further complications.

See, the tree was hanging off the house like this:
(Click to embiggen)

The skinny part of the tree, which was hanging over the edge of the roof, was problematic. Dad and Paul decided the best way to remove that section of tree was to cut it, push it, let it hit the ground, then keep pushing it until the end they cut fell away from the house and landed on the ground. Then, Dad and Paul would finish cutting it up and moving it away from the house.

That was what they wanted to happen.

Do you know Newton's various Laws of Motion?

My family doesn't.

This is why I can never leave the house.

Objects, whether they be shoes or strawberries or giant hunks of trees, all have mass. Mass means they take up space, have some kind of weight, and whatnot.

When the forces of nature are at "equilibrium," then whatever the thing is, the thing wants to stay where it is. That's balance. Everything wants to not have to move. Like me. I don't want to have to move. Do you?

If equilibrium didn't exist, like if we had no gravity, I could throw my shoe and it would keep flying away in the direction I threw it forever, or at least until it hit something that made it change directions. That's inertia. Bill Nye says inertia is a property of matter. I remember. But because we do have gravity, it fights the inertia, so if I throw my shoe right now, gravity will make it stop, probably pretty quickly.

The reason my shoe won't go very far is because I am a total wimp, and you need lots of force to make things move fast and far away from you when you throw them. That's why major league baseball players take so many steroids.

To make this Sciencey, that means the mass of my shoe, multiplied by the acceleration of me throwing it, will equal it's force. That looks like this when you Math it:

Fnet = m * a


The giant chunk of tree has mass. Lots of mass. Dad and Paul provided a force when they shoved it down off the roof.

But here's the thing. This is where we get into the Big Physics. If the force isn't great enough to combat, say, gravity...then you end up with something like a pendulum. The mass of the big thing has an impact on the way it moves. So does the power of Gravity. You have to fight both to make a thing move. That's physics. This takes us to Newton's third law of motion, which is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Since Dad and Paul didn't account for the various forces of nature, they were thwarted totally by the mass of the tree and, you know, gravity.

They shoved the tree off the roof, as planned. It hit the ground, as planned.

But the big fat part of the tree was in the air, and the tiny, skinny end of the tree was on the ground. That made the tree swing, like a pendulum, from the fixed point of the ground.

What was in the way of the ground?

Oh. Right.

The house.

Basically, my father and brother had a Physics Fail, and the tree slammed through one of the windows of the house, shattering the window inward. Also, it was right in the spot where my mother knits all the time.

So, of course, Dad thought he'd killed Mom, and he totally would have if she hadn't been on the phone with various people trying to explain how we had a giant tree on the roof of the house. Dad ran down off the ladder, making Mom think Paul had fallen off the roof and died, because we have a bad track record with roof-safety.

Instead, Dad came rushing over and there was a touching moment, before Mom realized that Dad could have killed her, plus he'd broken a window, and now there was glass all over the sofa and the carpet, broken glass which was super sharp, and we all know Dad wasn't going to clean it up.

So now there is a boarded-up window at my house, plus various spider-like nail heads poking out of the ceiling, plus a bowed ceiling that may or may not cave in, plus no insurance adjuster guy, because the man assigned our case lives in Indianapolis, so right when he was ready to come visit us and see the damage, he realized where we lived and gave our case to someone else and now we have to wait something like two more weeks before we fix anything.

We're not angry about waiting, though. Mostly, we're just laughing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Happened to My Eye

I feel that I need to confess something.
This morning when I woke up, I washed my hair the way I do every morning, and then I got out my hair dryer, and I dried my hair, because that's what I do.

Then I turned off the hair dryer and pressed the button that retracts the cord. This is a new feature that my old hair dryer didn't have. But my old hair dryer exploded, so I bought this one, partially due to the ease of cord-management.

But when I pressed the cord button, I was holding the cord to my hair straightener, not the cord for the hair dryer, so the hair dryer cord whipped me in the face, and the big square plug section of the plug hit me in my eye, which was open.

Also, it knocked out my contact lens.

This is why I can't have nice things.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Anatomy of a Headache

I always know I'm about to get a sinus headache because I get a toothache.


After several trips to the dentist, it was explained to me in a not-so-patient tone that the roots of teeth come up surprisingly close to sinuses, and sinus swelling can put pressure on teeth, causing a toothache without a cavity.

My headaches start between my first and second molars. First it feels like I have something caught between them. Nothing is there. Slowly it starts to feel like I'd better have these teeth pulled or something, before they cause an infection that will kill the nerves of my face, but the dentist says that's not going to happen, so I cope.

If I take two Sudafed (the little red tablets) and two ibuprofen RIGHT THEN, as soon as I feel the problem starting, usually I can stop the headache in its tracks. I usually switch from my contacts to my glasses then as well, because the added pressure of two flimsy little contact lenses is enough to worsen sinus pressure for me, and that's not what I want.

At Loose Ends (that's knit night) yesterday, I got those symptoms. BUT I DID NOT HAVE IBUPROFEN.

As a result, I got a sinus headache. And when I didn't leave instantly for a cold, quiet, dark place, the headache quickly became a migraine.

Believe me when I tell you, if you think you've had a migraine, you're probably wrong. If you think "migraine" means "really bad headache" or "a headache I can live with but I'd rather not have to" or "a headache I have to lie down to get rid of" you're wrong. A migraine makes you think dying isn't so bad. A migraine makes you feel like dying is VERY GOOD. My mother has gotten migraines for most of my life, and people are constantly saying that they get them too, but the way they laugh and shrug and wonder why Mom can't just "pull herself together" the way THEY do means they have no idea what they're talking about. And, as a result, I lose my temper with them.

People who really have migraines talk about them differently. They go very serious and I swear, some of them look like old soldiers talking about war. Because finding medicine that can actually help you get rid of a migraine IS war, I watched my mother go through it all, back when you used to have to take your medicine by injection. Mom would have Dad give them to her because she couldn't manage it herself. He used to have to take her to the emergency room.

A migraine makes you feel like this.

Phineas Gage engraving, 2010, Warren Anatomical Museum,
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine*

Sometimes, a migraine feels WORSE than that. And usually, the angle of entry on that railroad spike is different. Imagine the spike entering from the temple, then it's about right.

Migraines come with other fun things, like a heightened sense of smell. Wondering what newspaper ink really smells like? Walk past the local newspaper with a migraine! You'll also find yourself refusing to buy ballpoint pens because "the ink smells horrible," hating your family for cooking meals, thinking that the flowers outside are punishing you, hating the scent of balloons and inflatable pool toys, and so forth. Not appealing enough? How about sensitivity to light? Suddenly, velvet is in vogue again, and you have double-thick velvet curtains! Sensitivity to sound? Of course! You'll be screaming at relatives to stop "typing so loud" and yelling at your brother, "NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T LAUGH THAT LOUD," and generally making your bedroom a sound-free zone.

How about visual hallucinations? Those are fun, too. No, really. Those are fun. If you can get past the brain-crushing pain. Colors are very pretty and shiny.

You don't HAVE to get all of those extra symptoms with a migraine, but I do. Just like I get all the deadly, deadly side effects that come on the warning labels of prescription medications (metalfishdeath). Luckily, I don't get them as often as my mother does. I just get them when I make the stupid mistake of eating processed meats.

That means no hot dogs. Usually, anything sold in the hot dog section of a grocery store gives me a migraine. I am okay if I have kosher deli meats, because they're safe. But only if they're Kosher. I'm a big fan of Hebrew National hot dogs. The reason is nitrites. Sodium nitrite is used to preserve meat and keep it looking fresh. It does not preserve me.

But I know to avoid those things! So life is more or less okay.

Except for yesterday, when I made myself a frozen pizza. It was a new kind of pizza, with a super-thin crust and roasted red peppers and mushrooms and onion. And pepperoni. I have never had a problem with pepperoni before. Yesterday was an exception.

I left poor Rachael almost the second she arrived at knit night, raced down to CVS and bought ibuprofen. When I arrived at home, I threw up and went to bed. It was a great Tuesday.

You know how people say their leg or arm still hurts, after it's been amputated? That is how my head feels today. I don't HAVE a headache, but I feel the place where my headache used to be. It is unpleasant. And it stole my night from me, which should have been filled with knitting and maybe some Glee.**

No fair.***

*Image from the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard University at Countway Library.

**Yes, I'm watching Glee. I hate myself a little.

***Was this entire blog post one long build-up to a complaint? Why yes, it was. I'll try to make the next one a bit less whiny.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Physics Is Not the Answer

What is wrong with this state?

The weather here is insane. I know I should be used to it by now, and I also know that I shouldn't be blaming Indiana for having crazy weather when I don't really know about the weather in other states, but STILL. I don't see how the weather in New Jersey or Texas or Colorado could be as bizarre as the weather here.

Last week, I was wearing a winter coat everywhere. Sunday, it was over 80 degrees (we're talking Fahrenheit, if you were wondering) outside, and easily 90 in my bedroom. I thought I could combat the rising temperatures by taking a fan and putting it in my window, so the cooler air from the outside would come inside and make my life happier.

But it didn't work.

I spent Sunday night sweating in bed. On bed, really, because I threw off all the covers hoping that maybe, just maybe, I could lower my body temperature that way. Nope. When I get home and look at my sheets, they will look like the Shroud of Turin, only Laura-shaped. That is gross beyond belief. C.S.I. gross.

When I was a little girl, we didn't have air conditioning. Luckily, I didn't know the difference. Dad bought us fans. Three of them. Four, really. I got a small pink fan, Paul got a tan colored one. They didn't rotate. If there was any such thing as rotation back then, I didn't know about it. I used to sit with my face inches from the fan and wait to cool down. It never worked.

We had a large industrial-strength metal fan that sat in the living room. It didn't rotate either. This led to me convince my brother that sitting behind the fan meant he'd get the cooler air faster than me, because the air had to go past him to get through the fan to get to me. That was a lie, and this is another reason why I am on the Bad Sibling List.

On one very exciting day, Dad brought home another fan. This one was tall and it MOVED on its own. So Paul and I started sitting next to each other, and that was when he stopped believing my lies.

Well. He stopped believing the lie about the fan...he still believed other ones.

When we reached junior high, Dad decided that, while we were too immature to use a real paint brush, we were allowed to have box fans, which he shoved into windows. Wow. It was the best invention ever. Cool (humid) air came inside the house, and although I still felt like I was about to die, at least the situation had slightly improved.

We went on that way for several years. By then, my cousin was in college, and one of his roommates had a window air conditioner. Then the roommate replaced his window air conditioner and gave it to my cousin, who then passed it on to us.

It was huge. I think it was the first window air conditioner ever to be invented. It spat out dank air, but the air was cool, and it made the living room habitable--no more sticking to the couch! We peeled the sheets off of the furniture, we didn't need them anymore. Sure, the air conditioner sort of made the living room smell like a swamp, but a cool swamp was way better than basting in the rotisserie that was our home.

Paul and Mom looked at me. I looked at them.

Moments later, we'd disassembled our mattresses and pulled them into the living room. We carefully arranged them in a manner reminiscent of a malaria ward or one of those hospitals in Panama they built for all the workers keeling over with yellow fever, but what did we care? We were no longer sweating out half our body weight at night. That was enough. I nicknamed the air conditioner "Swamp Cooler" after the air conditioner in Laurie Notaro's books, and we were happy.

But all good things must end.

One summer, the Swamp Cooler spat out humid, legionnaire's disease-ridden air...and nothing else. There was no more cool air. The air conditioner had died.

Dad was happy to just sweat. He'd been sleeping in his bedroom without the air conditioner for years, he said. We could live without air conditioning.

He was wrong.

Before, the heat had been a fact of life. I would leap into the bathtub or go into the basement to cool off. But now I knew what life could be. It could be a happy place where driving to the mall meant shopping, not just sitting in the food court until it was time for the movie because it was too hot to stay home. Standing in the front yard waiting for a storm to come and rain so maybe, just maybe, the temperature would drop a few degrees had lost its appeal.

Mom, who had always been plagued with migraines, now had to lie in the path of several fans, her brain poaching like an egg inside her skull. I took to driving the lawn mower extra fast, so I could have a cool breeze while I mowed.

And then it happened.

I didn't believe it at first, but soon the house was in the midst of construction. First, there was new wiring. The Swamp Cooler, infamous for blowing fuses, had done so because the house had old wiring. New wiring would mean we could run the washer and dryer with the air conditioning and still open the garage door if we wanted to.

Then a man came with booklets, and Mom studied them carefully. Then he came back. With our new air conditioner. It was the best part of the summer, maybe even the best part of my life.

But I can't justify turning on the air conditioner when it's a nice, breezy 60 degrees outside. Or even if it's 70! Think of all the electricity it uses--we can still just open a window then.

So Sunday night I roasted, feeling that the hand of death was surely upon me. I hated my life, I hated my stupid fan and the pathetic way it was churning out room-temperature air all over the room. I decided that there must have been some kind of issue with air pressure. The wind, I thought, is hitting the garage door, after all. My room is on the other side of the house. In fact, my window is EXACTLY opposite. That means, I thought, that there is a vacuum or something that's making the hot, gross air in my room stay in my room and never move. Physics, I thought. That is why I am suffering.

Monday evening.

The air outside was lovely and cool. I was still in a roasting hot bedroom. What was I to do? I pried my window open again and waited for cold air. This time, I thought, air would come in. Air COULD come in, because the wind direction had changed!

But there was no cool air.

Why, I thought, does Paul's bedroom get cool air from outside while my bedroom got nothing? Clearly, something was wrong. I was being punished for lying about that stupid fan.

I grabbed my little fan and shoved it into the window again. But the air was still the same as it had been the night before. I was going to die. I would have to sleep in the basement. But there was a weird smell in the basement, and we hadn't figured out what was making it yet. I wasn't going to sleep next to a dead mouse or a spider colony. No way.

I sat up and yanked the fan back out of the window. And I saw myself. In the window. Except the window was open.

The window was open, but not the storm window. I had been lying in bed, miserable, wondering for DAYS why I was so overheated. And all because I opened every storm window in the house except mine.

This is why I need a special sticker for my car or something. Really.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Found: A Study in Relief

I called home. I really couldn't help it.

"Mom," I pleaded. "Could you go check the pockets of my corduroy pants? I think my key is in one of them."

Because she loves me, Mom checked.

There it was. My key. Nestled in a pocket safe and sound. No horrible, gruesome death for me. Tonight I will go home and fashion some kind of key-bracelet or key-necklace that I will put on and never remove, just in case.

Missing: A Neurosis

I am missing a key.

I can feel the space it once occupied. It's like a hollow place, a sinking pit. Deep inside, I know it's not where I think it is. It's missing.

I do this thing with important things. Keys, iPod, phone, inhaler, book--all go into my purse and stay there. During the day, I remove them as needed and replace them when I finish with them. But that doesn't stop me from pausing, a sense of dread washing over me, to rush back to my purse or coat pocket so I know I still have keys to my car and my cell phone isn't in the hands of terrorists or tourists who make long international phone calls.

It's not that I don't think these things are where they belong--far from it. They have never been missing before. I go hunting for them compulsively, and when I find them, I feel a sense of peace and joy, a contentment that comes only from knowing that I haven't locked anything in my car or dropped whatever it is in a public restroom. I do it for the rush I get when I discover the objects aren't missing.

I think it's evidence of mental illness.

In the seventh grade, we got lockers for the first time.

In the beginning, I got a lock with a key, because I couldn't figure out the combination lock Mom gave me to practice with. But then I lost the key, so I used the bolt cutter-thing from the front office, and I had to get a new lock.

I repeated this process a lot. I went through seven locks in the first semester of junior high. I killed two more in my second semester. Keys, I explained to my mother, are hard. They can't just live in your pockets, because then you wake up and put on CLEAN pants, and the keys stay in your dirty ones in the laundry basket, where they are of no help to you.

Mom bought me a purse, but I refused to carry it, mostly because it kept me from carrying around the giant Complete Sherlock Holmes book I was reading when I was bored in class. It was over a thousand pages of Holmesian Goodness.

I had a lot of friends in junior high.

To make matters worse, I couldn't use the bolt cutters. They were heavy, with long handles that made aiming them difficult. If I positioned them around the lock and tried to reach back and take the handles, the blades (are they called blades?) would slip and mean I'd only managed to scratch the locker's paint. I used to have to beg an office helper to come with me, or else wait for someone to walk down the hallway to help me.

Mostly I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

That was how my System was devised. First, you make certain you have lots of sets of keys, then you put them in various places. Then you panic, check that they are still where you put them, and after that, you can relax and go to class or work or home to sleep.

I'm telling you--mental illness. I scare myself on purpose. I like to scare myself. Are your keys still there, Laura? (I think to myself in the third person, like my brain is the narrator). Then I check. Good, I think. Keys are good.

This morning I did that when I got to work. Car keys? Check--just finished driving. Key to the building....what?


Naturally, I am panicking. At some point between yesterday and today, my key VANISHED.

Now, I know where it is. It has to be in my pants pocket. Really. There is no other place.


In the car, maybe? Did it fall into the seat? What could I have done to it at the pizza place / Walmart / home that made it leave me?


Certainly they are in my pants pocket. My pants from yesterday. And they are in my room. In the laundry. So they can be washed. But there are keys there. Unless they fell out, and then they're somewhere else. Like at the pizza place, where I ate dinner, in that booth by the window, across from the woman who left her teeth at home when she went out for pizza. She spent the whole meal using her gums to tear off pizza chunks, then her whole face seemed to collapse as she tried to chew without teeth. It was...alarming. And maybe it was why I didn't hear it when my keys fell out of my pocket. If they fell out. Because maybe they didn't.

Of course they didn't.

Since when does stuff just fall out of my pockets? The only pants with that problem are these pants, which I am wearing today, which means I most definitely did not wear them yesterday. And still, even with these, I only lose lip balm--never keys. Keys are heavy and not round, so they stay where you put them, generally.

Unless they fall out.

But they didn't.

You know, if people use those keys to break into my house and murder me and use my skin as material to make a dress like that one man I heard about on TV did, it will be because I could not find my keys*. He will be waltzing around in his Skin Suit and hating his mother, who made him crazy, and I will be skinless, dead on the floor. It will be on Dateline, and it will all be because I could not find my keys.

Or I could just get robbed. Because there is so much robbery here in the country, where no one lives.

Maybe they will steal my car, and they will use it as the getaway vehicle and there will be a nation-wide manhunt because of the Skin Suit thing, and that car isn't even paid off yet.

But I will be dead, so I guess I won't really be in a position to care.

Still, I would rather stay alive and find my keys. I need my keys. They let me into places, like my house, where my books live. And me--I live there too!


I need to find them.

But I can't go home at noon like some people do, because it takes me 30 minutes to drive home and 30 minutes to drive back, and that adds up to my whole lunch hour. Notice that it would not include time for eating. That defeats the purpose of having a lunch hour in the first place.

Maybe I can call home.

Mom could look in the pockets of my pants, and then she will find my keys!

Unless they aren't there. And what if they aren't? THEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

You cannot use bolt cutters to take off the door of your house when you lose your keys! You have to call a guy to come, and he'll make you a new key--BUT THOSE GUYS ARE EXPENSIVE! Also I don't think anyone would be walking down the road to help me work the bolt cutters. People don't just walk down our road, mostly because there is no sidewalk and it would be easy to die when large trucks barrel down the road at a high speed.

This is bad.

I think I was the only one with a key to the house! Maybe Dad has one too, but everyone else doesn't! Or maybe they do, but they always have me unlock the door! I won't be able to unlock the door without a key?

We will have to start living in the garage.

And spiders already live there. We ceded the garage to the spiders when we ran out of Bug Death Spray in the fall. They are as big as my face, and they want me dead, I'm sure. I could see it in their eyes, which are big enough to see from across the room. Shelob lives in my garage.

Please don't make me share a bedroom with Shelob.

If you see a set of keys, they will have a key ring on them from my college, which is what they give you when you graduate even though it is worth a fraction of a percentage of what you spent to attend school there. If you find them, please tell me. Seriously. Call me on the phone. I will come pick them up, and then I will be able to, you know...


*You probably shouldn't click the link to Wikipedia, but I'm putting it there anyway so you don't think I'm making horrible, disgusting things up, because I'm totally not. I just remember everything and some of the everything involves the life stories of gross and morally reprehensible people whose lives inspire movies like Psycho and books like Silence of the Lambs.