The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

There is No Answer

John Doe didn't say anything one way or the other. Well, that's it for this cycle, then. I'll probably ovulate in a week to ten days, and we'd need this time to hammer out some of the details and sign the papers.

I'm going to make an appointment today with a gynocologist and get the bloodwork done that I need to register with my sperm bank of choice.

Speaking of sperm banks, I find it hilarious that the ads that pop up at the top of my blog are for sperm banks. I actually looked through the other blogs I frequent and turned my eye to the top to see what ads were there. They were all innocuous--"Blog and Make Money," "A Great Way to Blog," "Gum Care While You Sleep," and "Bachelorette Party Guide." But what do I get? "Sperm Donors and Banking." C'est la vie.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Big Night

So tonight is the night of our little dinner party. It's not really a dinner party. More of just a dinner with three people coming over. As you may remember, John Doe is one of the three people. I have no idea if he even has an answer for me, but I've built this night up in my head as The Night I Find Out the Answer. Having gotten the news that the Bread Winner's sister is pregnant makes me hope he says yes even more. Ick. I hate getting all worked up about this.

I've tried to get pregnant before: September, November, and January of last fall/winter. Then I was also using the fresh stuff from a friend. Obviously, it didn't work. It was super complicated. He lives on the west coast, and I live on the east coast. I traveled to be out west when I would ovulate, but it was a pain in the ass and frought with tension and uncertainty. Guessing when a woman will ovulate can be like guessing which day it's going to rain three weeks from now. Some women have clockwork cycles. Not me.

On top of all that, my friend had lots and lots of issues. I have issues, too, and these things clashed. Making the plans to go out there usually started with an argument and ended with a compromise that made both of us uneasy. Basically, he needs a lot of privacy and "alone time." He wanted me to stay no longer than three or four days. As it was impossible for me to predict my ovulation into that small a window, I wanted to stay for an entire week. Then he wanted me to stay in a hotel; I didn't have the money; etc. etc. etc.

All of the stress around traveling, along with my hope/anxiety about getting pregnant in the first place, wrecked havoc with my cycle. It extended from a normal 30-32 day cycle to a 38 day cycle. Yikes. On top of all that, my weight ballooned, and I found myself 30 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. I wasn't pregnant; I hated the way my body looked; and I was going crazy. A breakdown loomed large in front of me, and I raced towards it headlong.

I ended up in the emergency room last February with a phantom pain in my abdomen. Turned out to be nothing. When I got home after a long night in the ER, I knew that it was anxiety related--that I had done this to myself. I decided to take a break and get myself back on track, both mentally and physically. I've lost close to 30 pounds. That part is done. But the mental part...I just won't know until I get back on the rollarcoaster ride that is trying to conceive.

I don't want to be crazy this time around, but I'm concerned that I will. I've already got myself worked up about whether or not John Doe will say yes or no. It's like a mini-version of what would happen when I had to wait to see if I was pregnant (a two week long torture between ovulation and the arrival of a woman's period). I would tell myself the entire time, "It would be nice to be pregnant, but if I'm not, it's okay. There's always next month. Getting tense isn't going to help anything." But when it came right down to it, I was completely consumed, paying attention to every little quirk and twinge of my body, hoping, hoping, hoping that I was pregnant, secretly believing that I was pregnant, only to be destroyed when my period arrived.

Now I hear the same voice in my head about John Doe's answer: "It's okay if he says no. I expect him to say no. Not a problem." But secretly, I'm desperately hoping that he says yes. The craziest part is, I have no reason even to hope that he'll say anything one way or the other! Is this a sneak preview of what I'm going to put myself through again? God I hope not.

Monday, June 28, 2004

I Hate Pregnant Women

Look, this is how it is. No one, and I mean no one, is allowed to get pregnant until I get pregnant. That's just the way it has to be. This rule might sound a little extreme, but I don't make 'em up; I just live by 'em.

This very important rule was just violated for the second time. The Bread Winner's sister called last night and said she is pregnant. Come again? I said. I mean, hadn't she been informed of the rule? She doesn't even deserve a pregnancy, as far as I'm concerned. She's two months pregnant, and she's not going to see a doctor for a few more weeks! This means no prenatal vitamins for the first trimester! That's when you really need the folic acid and all that shit!

Straight people have it so fucking easy--literally. It's not fair, not fair, not fair [imagine me on my knees, pounding the ground with my fists].

Sunday, June 27, 2004

No 24 Hour Home Depot?!

There used to be a 24 hour Home Depot down on the riverfront. They closed for 2 hours a year to reset their computers or something. Last night around 10:30pm, I realized that I'd bought bolts the wrong size. I really wanted to get the structure done last night. I'd started out thinking all I needed to do was put down some 1/4" plywood over the existing floor and cover it with the linoleum tile I'd picked out.

Then I realized that the floorboards in one corner of the room were rotten, and closer inspection revealed that the joists beneath them were rotten as well. This completely changed the scope of the problem, as now I had to cut out the rotten part of the floor, then the rotten part of the joist, put in a new section of joist, attach a sister board, and lay down some new sub-flooring. Oye vey. And what was I attaching my sister board with? Why, bolts of course. Bolts 1/2" too short. Dammit.

So 10:30pm and off we go to Home Depot, open 24 hours. Only, it was closed. It closed at 10pm. How rude. I'd have to leave the gaping hole in my floor and return to Home Depot after it opened at 8am. Which we did.

While waiting at the light to turn into the shopping center, the Bread Winner noticed a homeless man standing at the intersection with a sign, asking for food or money, I don't remember which. The Bread Winner mentioned that he had also been standing there last night at 10:45pm. It was now 11 hours later. That's a long time to stand there. Especially through the night. How much money/food could he get from midnight till 6am?

This triggered a memory of an IHOP down in Delaware where one-legged homeless people were known to beg. I remember the first one-legged beggar I saw standing under the IHOP sign. I thought for sure that must be a coincidence. Then on another day, I saw a different one-legged beggar there. I wondered, Did the one-legged beggars in Delaware take turns standing under the IHOP sign? Did they have an agreement amongst themselves?

But I digress. I want a 24 hour Home Depot again. I deserve it, and I can't be the only idiot who realizes at 10:30pm that she's bought bolts that are the wrong friggin length.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Bitch

The work on my house never stops. Well, that's not true. It stops for long periods of time, and then when someone says they will come and visit, I fly into a flurry of activity in an effort to make the place presentable. Many of my projects have involved plumbing, either directly or indirectly. For instance, right now I'm putting in a new floor. That's not plumbing, you say. Yes, but before I can do that, I have to get everything off of the old floor, and that involves quite a bit of plumbing: first I had to remove the sink that was in there; then I had to drain the radiators; then I had to remove the radiator from the room; all of that involved water (stoppage) and pipes. Luckily for me, my neighbor is a master plumber. Most of the time, I ask him for advice. Frequently enough, I don't understand what the hell he's talking about, and he comes over to either A) show me or B) actually do it.

My neighbor, we'll call him Angelo, is a 50-something Italian immigrant. He's a wonderful man, married 26 years to the neighborhood gossip queen, with two 20-something children who both still live in the neighborhood. Angelo is a smart, hard-working guy who started out blue collar and has moved up the ranks of state employement to the lower realms of upper management. He doesn't do any professional plumbing anymore--he doesn't have to. That's what the people who work for him do. And although he doesn't help other people in the neighborhood, he helps me because I am cute and he likes me. I wish he was my dad, and maybe I'm kidding myself, but I think he sees me as kind of like a weird combination of a daughter and a son.

He has let me assist him with various plumbing projects on the house he bought as a rental property. He's a great teacher, and I've learned so much from him--including a few mannerisms when working with pipes.

Whenever a pipe or tool is being difficult (which happens all the time when you're working with 100 year old pipes), he says, "You bitch." In order to get the phrase right, you have to draw out the "you," take a slight pause, and sort of softly spit out the "bitch." There are other variations. For instance, "Come on, bitch," and sometimes just, "Bitch."

Plumbing always seemed very masculine to me: long, hard pipes snaking all around. Because of Angelo's constant referral to the pipes in a feminine way, I now see it more like the "plumbing" that makes up a woman's reproductive organs.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, even for Angelo. As he explained to me the first time he helped me, "Plumbing is just like sex. You've got male ends and female ends, and you need lubrication," he said, holding up a can of pipe dope, "to make it all work. Just like sex, without lubrication, plumbing isn't going to work."

I wonder if the fact that plumbing is Angelo's profession is what makes him okay with me being gay. A middle-aged, Catholic, Italian immigrant is not someone I would automatically assume is fine with my sexual preference. Then I think about plumbing. Yes, the male end does go into the female end. But if you need to get two female ends together, plumbing has no problem with that. Put on a female-to-male adapter, and you're all set.

I was in my former kitchen yesterday. As I mentioned earlier, I need to put down a new floor, which involves removing the radiator in there first. As I practically jumped up and down on the pipe wrench, trying to unscrew a coupling that had been in place for over 20 years and been painted over too many times to count, I found myself mumbling under my breath, "Come on, bitch." Then I took a blow torch to it. "How do you like that, bitch?" I asked before going back to the wrench. After 10 or 15 minutes without success, I said, "Alright, bitch, it isn't over yet." I got out my sawzall and cut the pipe instead of unscrewing it. "Take that, bitch," I said. As I dragged the radiator out of there, I knew Angelo would have been proud of me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

My Period Arrives

Today is the first day of the rest of this menstrual cycle. I am sharing this information with you for one reason: the countdown begins for a July attempt to get pregnant. Even as my uterus sheds its lining, my ovaries are starting to kick into action, tickling about 20 follicles, and in 14-18 days, one follicle will become dominant and then spit out an egg. All of this will happen for certain. The question is whether or not John Doe will provide the other chromosome.

He hasn't told me one way or another. I got an encouraging email from him at the end of last week. He mentioned that he had been discussing my "proposal" with some friends. This means he is still considering the option. As I had anticipated receiving an outright NO, this keeps hope alive. In addition, his grandfather just passed away. Maybe the death of a Doe patriarch will make John Doe want to procreate. Or maybe the death will make John Doe think that this idea is outside his view of "family." (As an aside, his grandfather has been sick for a long time now, so his death was not a shock.)

I haven't asked John Doe how long he will need to decide. He's going to Italy for six weeks, starting in late July. So if he decides that he ultimately does want to do this, but tells me 19 days from now (when my egg is dead and gone), that means we'll have to wait until September. One way or another, I'll try in September--either his sperm or that of a sperm bank.

The Bread Winner and I have invited John Doe over for dinner next week with some mutual friends. I hope that he's reached a decision by then.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Fun Times with Sewer Lines

I'm going to do something big and scary: replace the drainage line that goes out to the lovely Philadelphia sewer system. During the gas stove installation, my plumber neighbor had to go into the crawl space in my basement in order to disconnect the original gas line to the old stove. He looked at my drainage line and said, "See that hole there? You should do something about that." Hmmm, I said. These are serious pipes: cast iron, 4" diameter, and old and crusty and desperate to be replaced by shiney, white, plastic PVC. Putting PVC in is easy. Taking out that old cast iron crap is a pain in the ass.

Luckily for me, my neighbor was planning to replace the sewer lines in his rental property, two doors up from me. I offered my assistance, and I got to help him take out the drainage lines from that house. It actually looks easier than I thought. I just have to convince him to let me borrow his big ass pipe cutter, and I'll be all set.

As an aside, I just wanted to mention that I never had an inclination to do one damn thing for all the years I rented. Now that I own my house, I'm constantly working on it. What's that about?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Seeing Stars

The Bread Winner is Quaker, mostly lapsed, but sometimes she revives her spiritual fervor and attends a meeting (rather than going to "church," Quakers go to "meeting" on Sunday morning). Usually, she tries to entice me along with her. I've gone to about four meetings this spring/summer, and today I grudgingly went again.

For those who don't know anything about Quaker meetings, you basically sit in a room, the benches lined along all four walls in an ever shrinking square, the idea being that everyone is facing everyone else (unless someone is sitting behind you). You sit in "quite contemplation" until the "light moves you to speak." There is no minister or officiant. No Friend (how Quakers refer to one another) is considered anymore important than any other Friend. At the end of a meeting, an "elder" stands up, signifying that the meeting is over. This is supposed to occur when "the light moves" the elder to realize that the meeting is over. However, "the light" always moves the elder to this realization about an hour after the meeting began. Then, the elder (or elders) will ask new people to introduce themselves to the meeting. Finally, the elder makes annoucements about events, births, deaths, etc. The end.

Well, imagine my surprise when one of the meeting's elders invited people to introduce themselves, and from slightly behind us and to our right, who should stand up but actor David Morse, who introduced himself (just by the name David) and his wife and three sons. David Who? you say. Well, he's mostly been a supporting actor, in movies like the Green Mile, Contact, etc. etc. (see his bio if you're curious). Most recently, he starred in the short-lived police drama Hack. This series was not particularly good, but it was set in Philadelphia, and I watch just about any show set in Philadelphia (there aren't many--I think only Cold Case at this point). As the scenes roll by, I jab my finger at the TV and say to the Bread Winner, "I know where that is!" She nods at me and smiles a smile usually bestowed on the mildly retarded, while saying, "Mm-hmm."

So I was surprised, to say the least, at the appearance of David Morse in a summertime Quaker meeting attended by maybe 20 people. He's a lot taller than I thought he'd be.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The World's Oldest Chicken

While playing the blog linking game (you check out a blog you like, then check out a blog that author likes, then check out a blog that author likes), I stumbled across an article from a website claiming to be "Everything Alabama" about the world's oldest chicken. Matilda, a bantam hen, is 14 years old and counting.

I was very intrigued by this article because, believe it or not, I have a minor fascination with chickens. It was started by my father-in-law, who lives in rural Wisconsin, and had chickens for about a year. Notice I said had.

For Easter 2003, my father-in-law purchased 8 live chicks through a mail order catalog. They arrived via Federal Express. He built a coop, and there the chickens stayed during the night. During the day, the chickens were set "free" to roam the Wisconsin countryside. Unfortunately, they were picked off, one by one, by owls, hawks, and various farm dogs. When I was visiting my father-in-law last March, there was only one chicken left. As he set her "free" in the morning, I joked, "Yeah, free to get killed." The carcass of the second-to-last chicken was just over the hill, not yet picked clean. Not long after, the last chicken met the same fate.

Nonetheless, this piqued my interest in chickens, so I bought a book titled Chickens in Your Backyard to see what was involved. On page 52, I ran across an interesting couple of sentences: "We are often asked exactly how long a chicken can be expected to live. We have no success in finding out since...[c]hickens rarely die of old age." Makes sense actually. Chickens are generally eaten, if not by a dog, a hawk or an owl, then by a human. Since they don't lay many eggs after about 5 years old, there's not much point in keeping them around.

So congratulations, Matilda. You've made it to 14. Quite an accomplishment, when you think about it.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Let's Get Physical

As John Doe will "probably say no," I am proceeding along as if I will end up getting sperm from the known donor bank I mentioned before. This requires getting a physical, coochie exam, and bloodwork to make sure I don't have various forms of the cooties. So I got the physical done, and I really should go in tomorrow to spread my legs for some stranger or another, but I don't think it's going to happen. Why? I found out that I have a fever. Here I thought I was just so hyped up about the NBA playoffs, but I'm actually sick.

For those on the west coast, watching the Pistons/Lakers series has probably been a relaxing and well-timed affair. Games start at 6:15pm. You order a couple of pizzas or some chinese food, and sit back. When the game is over at 9pm or so, you celebrate with your friends (if you are a Detroit fan) or cry pathetically (if you are an LA fan). By 10pm or 11pm, you've gotten it all out of your system, and you settle back for a nice, solid, long night's sleep.

For those on the east coast, it's a little different. You wait until 9:15pm for the game to start. By this time, you've probably already eaten, so there's nothing to do but drink beer. The game is over after midnight, but you're probably a little too wound up to hit the sack immediately. So you end up staying awake until 1am or later. Then you're exhausted all of the next day. It's hard to get a good night's sleep on the day off because you're sleeping pattern is all fucked up, and the day after that, there's another game, so you're up half the night again.

So I've been feeling tired and like crap, but I blamed it on the NBA. But now that I know that I'm sick, I can lay in bed and feel sorry for myself and convince the Bread Winner that she should pet my head and feed me soup.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Seventeen and Life to Go

I did it. I asked John Doe. He said he would probably say no, but that he wanted to think about it. That's more than I expected. The most important thing to me about yesterday was that we managed to get past it and enjoy the rest of the time we spent together. My main agenda for seeing John Doe yesterday was to pop the question, but I'd said that I wanted to try painting (John Doe is a painter) as an excuse to get together. So after we had our little talk, we got down to the business of painting. Let me tell you, working with oil paint is a pain in the ass. I expected my painting to be bad because A) I've never done it before, and B) I have no reason to suspect that I am talented. However, I had not anticipated that the paint itself would be such a motherfucker. Anyway, we painted for a few hours, which was a very nice way to distance ourselves from "the talk." Then we went out and grabbed some dinner. John Doe and I have known each other for a year or so, but we're not particularly close. By the end of the evening, I felt like we really had a connection. So no matter what his ultimate answer is, I'm happy that I got to know him better.

Jesus Christ, this entry is a sappy piece of crap. Sorry about that.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Sperm: the Missing Ingredient

I mentioned briefly in an earlier post that I intend to have a child. For you heterosexuals out there, this is a fairly straight forward process. You get busy with your sex partner of choice, and for most of you, this will result in a pregnancy within six months. Now, for women with no sperm in their sex life (i.e. lesbians), things are a bit more complicated. The most common option is to buy frozen, anonymous sperm, produced mostly by smart, young, financially-strapped, college men desperate to make a buck and have a good time doing it. However, I would like to have an answer for Oz, Jr., on the day when she asks, "Who's my daddy?" A friend of mine recently got pregnant. She used "identity release" sperm. Once the kid turns 18, s/he can find out bio-Dad's name. There's one sperm bank out there calling itself a "known donor" sperm bank. Once the kid is 3 months old, the mother and bio-dad find out each other's identity, thereby allowing the bio-dad to have some sort of relationship with the child. And the final option is to find a guy, ask him if he would produce the missing ingredient, and then try to get pregnant that way. (Sorry, boys, I'm not willing to have sex with you. You have to jack-off into a cup and then hand it over.)

I'm probably going to go with option 2: the "known donor" sperm bank. However, there's a guy I have my eye on. It's funny how when you want to get pregnant, you start looking at and evaulating your male friends in an entirely different light. "Hmm, Justin has allergies, doesn't he? Isn't Rob on anti-depressants? Frankly, Alex annoys me, and I don't know why I'm friends with him anyway." But there's one guy out there; we'll call him John Doe. He's in good physical health, no mental problems, good family, artistic, smart, and yes, good-looking. The whole package.

I'm hanging out with John Doe in just a couple of hours. How do I go about asking him to wack-off in a cup and then hand his genetic code over? And in addition, he has to be willing to terminate his parental rights once Oz, Jr., mkaes it into the world. I'm 90% sure he'll say no anyway simply because I think 90% of men would. But I'll never know until I ask...

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Cooking with Gas

So I'm wide awake at 4 o'clock in the morning. First I tried reading. Next, food. I had an [insert fruit]-protein popsicle, created from a "Zone" recipe. This particular popsicle contained strawberries. It was my very first [insert fruit]-protein popsicle, and I must admit, it was a strange experience. This was not one of the homemade popsicles of my youth--frozen kool-aid or Tang. Rather, the large amount of soy protein powder necessary to propel me into the "Zone" made it taste remarkably like strawberry flavored sand. And to think, I've got 19 others (peach, blueberry & strawberry, for the curious) just waiting for me in the freezer.

I was reading a blog a few days ago about one woman's quest for mint condition toys and board games from decades past. She referred to the game "Which Witch" as her holy grail. Yesterday, I stumbled across a holy grail of my own: a 30" gas stove with (drumroll please) a pilot light.

When the Bread Winner and I bought this house a year ago, we planned on moving the kitchen from its current location (a tiny room that used to be the back porch before it was enclosed) and back to its original location (a moderately sized room, big enough to be an eat-in kitchen). We're almost done. One thing left: the stove. I had given up hope of finding a 30" stove with a pilot light and, therefore, braced myself to learn yet another skill--running electrical wire. Knowing myself, I realized that reading about running new wire, figuring out all I needed to buy, and actually drumming up the nerve to do it would take me weeks, if not months.

And then, there it was, at Lowe's, a place I'd been to previously, and when I'd asked the salesperson if they had any 30" gas stoves with pilot lights, I'd received a look of disbelief and then a window into the salesperson's private musings: "Do they even make those anymore?" In fact, they did, but such an item must be special ordered, I was told. The price quoted to me was a couple of hundred dollars more than the cheap gas stoves with electric ignition on the floor, and as I mulled it over, I eventually decided that I should just bite the bullet when the time came and run a wire over to where the stove would go and then plug that bad boy in. Again, I wasn't looking forward to this, but all of our home renovations have been about saving as much as possible, which is why I've done most of the work.

Then there it was. I wasn't even looking for it. I'd put it from my mind. A 30" gas stove with a pilot light, for $249. We bought it immediately. Tomorrow (actually, later on today), the kitchen will be done.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Damn Ronald Reagan for Pre-empting My Soap

I like TV. I like it alot. I just read on another blog about a fight two roommates had, seemingly started over one thinking the other watched too much TV as opposed to doing something "meaningful" (like writing a script that might one day be filmed, and then might one day be shown on TV....oh the irony). But back to what's important in this blog--ME. I was in the process of explaining that I am a TV addict. You want proof? I have over 150 channels and a Tivo. You do the math.

One day, trapped in New Jersey of all places, having missed our train, the Bread Winner and I started asking each other random questions as a way to kill the 90 minutes until the next train. She asked me, "If you could only watch one television show, what would it be?" ONE TV SHOW?!?!?! When the world stopped spinning at the mere thought of that, I hunkered down to some serious thinking. My eventual answer: All My Children. The reason: it never re-runs and it's on five days a week. Are there better shows out there? Of course! Just about any show is better! But if I was ever limited to one tv show [it's not real, it'll never happen, relax, Oz, relax], then I'm after quantity as opposed to quality. One hour show, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. That's 260 hours of TV a year. What would a sitcom have given me? 24 episodes at half an hour each? 12 hours of TV? For a year? Now that I've put it in these terms, you see that All My Children is the clear winner.

So damn you Ronald Reagan. Couldn't you have managed to die so that your funeral fell on a Saturday or Sunday? Or to whomever planned this long, drawn out affair, couldn't you have scheduled a lunch break between 1pm-2pm? Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I Fought the Law, and I Won

Yesterday, I went to traffic court...and I won. Yippee-yi-yay! And we're not talking about a little parking ticket either; we're talking about a $323 ticket for an "abandoned vehicle." The ticket confused me, mostly because the vehicle, a 1975 Honda CB360 motorcycle, was not abandoned. Yes, I had let the registration lapse, and it was sitting like a piece of junk in front of my row home, but it wasn't abandoned. It was right out front, being loved in a I-know-I've-been-saying-this-for-three-years-now-but-really-one-day-I'm-going-to-fix-you-and-make-you-fabulous kind of way. It used to be parked behind the house we rented across the street, but when the Bread Winner and I bought this house, there was no where for the bike to be except out front (where, mind you, lots of other people park their bikes). Then one of my back-stabbing, petty neighbors called the cops on me. Bastards.

I know what you're thinking. The registration was lapsed. It did look like a piece of junk. And Philadelphia's Mayor Street has that whole neighborhood clean-up thing going on where he's already dragged something ridiculous like 100,000 abandoned cars off the street. But hear me out on this.

It all started on 10/10/03. I looked out my window, and I saw a cop taking a polaroid of my bike. Hmm, thinks I, this isn't good. Then I see him go back to his police car and sit there. I was waiting for him to drive away, but he didn't. He just sat there. So I went out there, and I started wheeling the bike away. The cop says, "What are you doing?" I say, casually, "Oh, I'm just going to put this in a garage." He says, "Fine. But if I see that bike on the street again, it's going to get towed." I say, "Right-o." And I put the bike in my neighbor's garage. The end. Or was it?

A couple of weeks later, I get an letter in the mail from a towing company. They said that they'd towed my bike on 10/10, and now I have to pay them $X00 for towing plus $XX per day for a storage fee. I said, "Really?" I actually considered that I was remembering an alternate reality for the day of 10/10. So I got up from in front of the TV and walked across the street to the garage. I went in, and there was the bike, just as I remembered. I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn't have to check myself into the local psyche ward.

In late November, I got a ticket in the mail from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. It had "Abandoned Vehicle" checked off, and in the comments section, it said, "Vehicle towed on 10/10/03." If it was a $15 parking ticket, I might have just paid it, but $300? (plus a $23 late fee). Sorry, can't do it. I appealed it, and yesterday, I went to court.

I told my story. I said the bike was never towed, like the ticket stated. I said that I talked to the cop, and he let me move it, then I get this in the mail a month and a half later. I said, "This is bizarre." Amazingly, the traffic judge lady agreed with me. She dismissed the ticket. "I could have held you liable because the bike was on the street and the registration was lapsed, but I'm going to just dismiss it," she said. "Thank you," I said.

You know, it's not often that a city employee is reasonable, i.e. makes things go my way. I have a warm, fuzzy feeling about the Philadelphia Parking Authority. I'm enjoying it now. I know it won't last long.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Photo Shoot Update

I suppose I should update my "Cat O' Nine Tails" post with news on how the photo shoot went with actor boy. It was strange. First of all, I don't have a studio, and he was looking for headshots. At first, this didn't seem like a big deal to me. But then before the shoot, I went down to the local Barnes & Noble and flipped through a bunch of fashion magazines. Then I went up to the photography section and flipped through some How to do Portrait Photography books. Here's what I figured out: 1) the background is blank so as not to distract from the subject, 2) the subject is looking at the camera, and 3) no shadows on face or in background. All right. So for those not into photography, here's why a studio is by far the best way to accomplish these objectives: 1) if you're shooting outside, it's almost impossible to have the background be blank, 2) shooting outside makes the subject and photographer feel self-conscious, especially in posed photography situations and 3) if you shoot inside, without a studio and appropriate lights, there will be shadows everywhere and the crappy flash on your camera will wash out your subject. To top all of this off, I've never really done posed photography. I'm more of a catch-the-fleeting-moment-as-it-happens kind of photographer. Therefore, it doesn't come naturally to me to instruct my subject to turn this way or that way, do this or that.

All of that being said, it didn't go too badly. I definitely got some nice pictures of actor boy. However, I'm not sure they were good headshots because of all the reasons mentioned above. He got a couple of shots that he can use, and we'll see what happens. It was a good learning experience for me, and it didn't cost him anything.

On a side note, I responded to an online ad for someone searching for a wedding photographer. The woman wrote back to me and said the wedding was May 21, 2005. I was like, 200--FIVE? It hurt my brain just comtemplating keeping that date open for the next eleven months. I bowed out gracefully.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Eleventh Hour

I went to the dentist yesterday. Oh my god, the pain, THE PAIN. Okay, it was my own fault. I haven't been flossing. I haven't even been brushing very regularly. It used to be that all the sugar I ate put a little film on my teeth (sounds sexy, I know), and thereby encouraged me to brush every night before bed. Well, I gave up sugar about four months ago, and it's amazing what a difference it makes. But I must become dedicated to good dental hygeine again....or suffer the consequences. I even had her numb me for the "root scraping" (AGGHHH!), but it still hurt like a motherfucker. I shudder to think of what it would have felt like if I hadn't been numb. And then, she did the thing where she crammed these little cords soaked in antisceptic between my teeth and my gums (AAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!) and left them there for 10 minutes, oh no, why don't we do it for 15 minutes (KILL ME NOW!). I almost cried then. My eyes are getting moist thinking about it now.

The moral of this story: Floss is my friend.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Smarty Jones. Sigh.

Like most women, when I was a little girl, I had a fascination with horses. I was fortunate in that my parents found a way to get me riding lessons. Also, I had a aunt who had a horseback riding summer camp, and I could go there for free every summer. Even though my mother had, I guess, a lower middle-class income, and my father had a blue collar income (my parents were divorced), I still got to live out my fantasy of riding horses from age 9 onwards.

Allow me to digress for a moment. I used to hate reading, but I've always loved money. My mother had the great idea that she would pay me to read. My love of money overcame my dislike of reading, and I read books for cash (at the rate of $1 per chapter book). Naturally, my interests ran towards books about girls or boys and horses. Eventually, I stumbled on The Black Stallion series of books. The Black Stallion, if you don't know, was basically a racehorse. So I became interested in horse racing.

There has not been a Triple Crown winner since I was 3 years old (1978--I would turn 4 later that year in September, but at the time of Affirmed's Triple Crown victories, I was 3). Not surprisingly, I don't remember it. So basically, I've never seen a Triple Crown winner. We've been close a number of times. I remember jumping up and down in front of the television screen in 1989 for Sunday Silence. But it never happened.

This year, I really thought it could happen. I really thought that Smarty Jones would do it. I felt a connection with the horse. Not only is he a Philadelphia colt, but his name is Smarty JONES. My maiden name is Jones. And let's face it, I'm smart. We have things in common. But he didn't do it. He couldn't do it. Sigh.

I try to remind myself not to feel too bad for him. After all, he's already won more money than I'll ever see in my life (over 7 million and counting). One shot of his jiz will probably be worth more than I could make in five years ($200,000 or so). Ah, screw him, he's got it good.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Cat O' Nine Tails

I haven't worked for a long time. Let's see, it's been about two or three years. I've done the odd job here and there, but none of it's really amounted to much. The situation is that I have a "problem with authority." I know, I know, who doesn't? Well, apparently, lots of people. For instance, the Bread Winner. She actually likes authority. Go figure.

Now, the obvious solution for a person with a "problem with authority" is to be the big boss. No authority over you, no problem, eh? Only, the way one usually becomes the big boss is to work one's way up the ladder, i.e. through LOTS of authority. A conundrum, wouldn't you say? Solution number two is some sort of solo operation. No one below you, yes, but more importantly, no one above you. The problem with this is that it's really hard to get an individual business going. But I'm trying. In my half-assed way.

Photography. Something I've done for the past ten years. Now it's time to make some money. But first, I'm dedicating my summer to building a portfolio, i.e. working for free. And tonight, I've got my first non-paying gig lined up. An actor/model GUY. He's been an extra in about a million things. Never spoken on film. But he's supposed to be a jogger in Spiderman 2, and that's something. He wants new headshots, and for some reason, he has faith in me based on some pictures I have up on my website. But I'm feeling tense about it. The pressure is on. Tonight is the night. I will take pictures and hope they don't suck.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

CPVC Rules!

We have water in the house again! So refreshing. Best of all, now we don't have to truck on down to my mother's house again for the night. Of course, I'm not all the way done with the little sink project. Still have a couple of loose ends to tie up--like actually installing the sink. But the pipes, the beautiful, plastic, easily assembled CPVC pipes, are there, ready and waiting.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Copper and Solder and Flux, Oh My!

Remember that little sink installation project I mentioned a few posts ago? Well, the Bread Winner pushed me into it yesterday. Now she regrets it--ha! No water in the house; it's shut off at entry to prevent mass flooding. Now I get to give it another try today. The problem is that I bit the bullet last fall and replaced a supply line to one of my radiators. So I had this feeling that I could deal with copper pipe. Well, that whole soldering thing turns out to be a little trickier when there's water pressure in the pipes. Oh what I wouldn't give to be working with the slow moving heating system. I put all my little pipes together; soldered them up; and went ahead and switched the water back on. As you can probably guess, it didn't go well. Water sprayed forth from my pathetic soldering like the fountain in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. So now the big debate. Do I try to put in more copper? Or do I find out if CPVC is legal here in Philadelphia and just install that (so much easier). Decisions, decisions...