The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Friday, July 30, 2004

God?

Like the majority of Americans, I was raised in a Protestant "atmosphere." My mother and I were not church going people. There was never a church that I could refer to as "mine." We went occassionally, for weddings sometimes. Mostly we went when visiting a friend or family member for a weekend who went to church every Sunday. Dutifully, I doned a flower-print dress and patent leather shoes, and I sat in a pew, drawing on a scrap piece of paper and trying to entice someone to play tic-tac-toe with me.

Although my mother was not religious, she gave me the standard, Christian answers to life's big questions: Where did the earth come from? Where did humans, animals, plants come from? Why do bad things seem to happen for no reason? And that elusive question that science will never be able to answer: What happens to us when we die?

As a young child, I believed what my mother told me, but as I entered my teenage years, I began to question her about most things (as most teenagers do), and religion was right up there. As Christianity was only a vague, passing idea in our house anyway, it was quite easy for me to discard it. (Jesus turned water into wine? Give me a break!) And really, the story has a lot of holes in it--holes that are filled in by "faith." Without faith, which was never firmly instilled in me in the first place, the entire story just seem preposterous. When I announced to my mother, at age 13 or 14, that I was now an atheist, she shrugged her shoulders.

Life continued, and I assembled more and more reasons not to believe in Christianity. For instance, the official position on gays and lesbians. Then there's all the bloodshed throughout the years in the name of Christianity. Right wing politicians spew the words God and Jesus freely to justify their positions.

In my early 20's, atheism became hollow for me. I searched for a religion that suited me, and I found Buddhism. The ideology of Buddhism, the freedom and individuality, both allowed and encouraged, made me feel safe and accepted. The only real concept I had trouble accepting in Buddhism was what happened when you died: reincarnation. I had long since rejected heaven and hell. Reincarnation seemed like another nice story, but also one that was not grounded in any reality at all. I've tried to accept reincarnation--believe it or not, there are many different ways you can look at it. And I had somewhat made my peace with it.

Then my grandma died. Intellectually, I still think that the atheist position that when you die, that's it, the end, nothing. Part of my brain tries to argue a case for reincarnation. But emotionally, when I think about my grandmother being dead, almost a primal, inner child voice calls up from my heart, pleading for her to be in the Christian heaven that she believed in. I want for her to have a soul, something real and tangible, that still exists and will exist forever. So that knocks out atheism. I do not want her to be reincarnated and come back to earth for another go 'round. The first noble truth of Buddhism is "Life is suffering." I do not want my grandma to deal with anything bad ever again. That takes care of Buddhism. I want my grandma to be in a beautiful place, filled with light and happiness and love surrounding her. I want for her the ideas of the Christian afterlife.

I'm not sure what that says about me and my spirituality. When I am doing okay, or just with normal daily bullshit, I embrace Buddhism. But when the chips were down, really down, I found myself reaching out for Christianity with a force that surprised me.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Regrets, I've Had a Few

My grandmother died at 4:05am, Saturday morning. At 8:00am on Friday morning, the doctor told my grandfather that she would died within four hours. That doctor didn’t know my grandmother. Many, many times in her life, my grandmother had been told that she couldn’t do something, and many, many times, she proved them wrong. She did so this time, too, living 16 hours longer than the doctor had said she could. If my grandmother had died on Friday, she would have died on her son and daughter-in-law’s wedding anniversary. I’m sure that she held off death, just to try to give them their day without the added burden of being the anniversary of her death. If she had died by noontime on Friday, neither me nor my mother would have made it there to hold her hand and kiss her. Her other daughter, my aunt, who was flying in from California, would not have made it either. But we were all there. All of us. Holding onto her hands, kissing her cheeks, surrounding her bed with love as she finally took her last breath just after four in the morning.

I try not to beat myself up about all the things I wish I had done differently, but there’s a few things that I just can’t help. For instance, on Thursday, my grandmother could hear people and respond by squeezing their hand with her left hand. The stroke, a massive stroke that denied blood to the entirety of the left side of her brain, had left her without her sight, without any movement of the right side of her body, and without the ability to speak. But she could hear people. I know that I couldn’t have gotten to her before she lost all of that, but if I had thought of it, while on the road and in the airport in Florida, I could have asked to have someone put the phone up to her ear. I could have told her that I loved her one last time. But I didn’t think of it. I wish I had. By the time I got to her, the swelling of her brain, caused by the dead brain cells on the left side, were putting so much pressure on the right side of her brain, that she could no longer respond or, most likely, hear us talking to her.

The last time I saw my grandma was May 12th. I could have gone down in June when my mother went down. I could have gone down in July when my mother went down. But I didn’t. I can’t remember why. I was tired or wanted to do something else. Why didn’t I go? My grandmother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure two or three years ago. I knew that she could go at any time, but since she’d been going since then, doing well, I lost that sense of urgency. I should have gone. I remember when I made the decisions not to go, in the back of my mind I wondered if I would regret it. Now I do.

About a year ago, I started videotaping my grandmother, sitting with her and asking her questions about her life. I wanted to do it linearly, so we started with her earliest memories, and we were making our way to the present. My grandmother was 87 when she died. We only made it to the time she was about 25. We talked in depth. I have seven hours of tape of her talking about the first quarter century of her life. But there was so much more. And I was learning so much about her through this project. I had so much left to learn. If I had gone down the last couple of times, or if I had tried to tape her for two hours each visit instead of just one, maybe I would have managed to get most of her life on tape. Now I’ll never have the opportunity to ask all the questions—both those that have occurred to me and those that would have come to me as I learned things I’d never expected.

There are countless other ways that I could have been a better granddaughter, but those listed above are the three regrets that I can’t forgive myself for.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Bad News

Hey kids. I know you were waiting eagerly for me to resume my fabulous blogging. Unfortunately, my grandmother just had a massive stroke. I will be at the hospital for the forseeable future. She is the only person in my life who has offered me unconditional love. Mothers have agendas, spouses have expectations. Grandmothers just love you, love you, love you, and leave the boundaries and punishments to the parents. At least, my grandmother did.

Thanks for all your comments to my previous post (and posts). I'll be back when I'm back.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Explain This to Me

I'm not sure what to make of a situation I am currently in, so I thought I'd tell you about it, and maybe you can shed some light on it for me.

I read a posting for an editing job, and the deadline was July 1. The application was actually quite lengthy, as they basically had you edit a portion of the book in question and submit your contribution. It was a lot of work for an application, but hey, what else do I have to do with my time? The job described itself as part-time, and it seemed like the hours would be pretty much up to the editor, although there would be hard deadlines set from above.

So like I said, I submitted my application, which was completely done through an online form (the only option). On this form, they did not ask for an address or phone number--only an email address. I electronically sent my app on July 1, naturally taking as long as I possibly could. July 1 was a Thursday.

When I didn't hear from them for the rest of that week, nor the week after that, I just assumed that they weren't interested. I thought I had done a good job with the application and that I would be a good fit for the job, but hundreds of people apply for writing/editing/creative jobs, and I was prepared to be over-shadowed by someone with more experience and/or more education.

I left for Connecticut with the Bread Winner on Sunday, July 11. While in Connecticut, I did not have internet access--unless I wanted to pay for it, which I didn't. I arrived home on Wednesday evening around 11pm. I immediately checked my email (I did miss it), and I found the two following emails waiting for me:

--------------------------------

Monday, July 12, 12:02 PM

Dear Oz:

Excellent application. When can we call you for a quick interview, can you provide two references, and what phone number(s) are best for you?

thanks!
[Name of Person]
Managing Editor
[Name of Publication]

---------------------------------

Tuesday, July 13, 3:16 PM

Oz:

We liked your application...can you forward me your phone number to set up an
interview?

thanks,
[Name of Person]
Managing Editor
[Name of Publication]


---------------------------------

I immediately replied on Wednesday evening, July 14, 11:30 PM

[Name of Person]:

Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I was away and unable to access my email for a couple of days. Sometimes a girl has to rough it! (Although not when she is working studiously on [Name of Publication], of course.) Anyway, please feel free to call me either at home (XXX-XXX-XXXX) or on my cell phone (XXX-XXX-XXXX). I should be reachable at one of those numbers at any time.

Thanks for your interest, and again, I apologize for the late reply.

Oz


---------------------------------

And I haven't heard back. Is it just me, or is there a bit of a tone change between email #1 and email #2? First it's "Dear Oz....Excellent application ...thanks!" then it's "Oz... We liked your application.... thanks." Am I reading too much into that? I get the feeling that my lack of response within 24 hours has dampened the flames of excitement generated by my fabulous application. Could it be that not responding within 24 hours of the second email took me out of the running completely?

Frankly, I don't care that much, but I was just wondering about etiquette. They never specified a time frame for getting back to the applicants--like, "We'll notify you by July 13." If they had said that, I would have shucked out the money to check my email at least once. Am I expected to put my entire life on hold on the off chance that I might get an email from a company to which I've applied for a job?

In addition, I am in a little of a conundrum about next week. I am leaving on Monday to go to Key West. I'll return late Thursday night. I may or may not have internet access. However, my cell phone should work down there, and it appears that the next step is a phone call. Should I send them another email and say something like, "Just wanted to let you know--in case you're still interested--I'm going to be out of town from Monday to Thursday"? Should I bother? Or will that ultimately make me look even worse: She's constantly out of town! We don't want her!

So please, I'm dying to hear some opinions on this. I feel that getting back to them within three days should be acceptable, and maybe it is, I don't know for sure yet. But I get the feeling that this opportunity has passed me by...

Friday, July 16, 2004

Interesting. Very Interesting.

I came home last night to a message on my answering machine. Who? you ask. I'm glad you did: John Doe. I had counted him out weeks ago. I know that he doesn't like to say no to people, so I thought that his silence was doing the talking for him. But according to him, he's been "thinking very long and very hard" about contributing his DNA to the Get Oz Pregnant Cause.

John Doe is leaving for Italy next Friday, July 23, and not returning until September 4. He wanted to get together with myself and the Bread Winner next week to talk things over. I guess he has some questions, and that's understandable. Unfortunately, I am leaving for a little Key West vacation with mommy dearest (who is footing the entire bill--how could I say no?) on Monday and returning Thursday. And John Doe has the audacity to be going out of town himself this weekend. So that leaves us with a Thursday night meeting.

I can see it now: I'll step off the plane from Key West, looking like a bronze goddess. John Doe will be so excited by my stunning beauty, not to mention my wit, charm, and overall intelligence, that he'll get a woody right then and there, desperate to make a baby with me. Handing him a cup, with a finger languorously pointed towards his bedroom, I'll direct him on his way. The Bread Winner and I will laugh the laugh of the confident, knowing that John Doe is busy producing 100 million young, healthy, robust sperm, and we'll raise our wine glasses and drink a toast. As the glasses touch, a beautiful flash of light, reflected from the sun, will fill the room....

Okay, you got me, none of that will happen. First of all, I won't be ovulating, so there wouldn't be any point in him jacking off. Second, we still have papers to sign, etc. Third, I wear like SPF 75 sunblock, so if everything goes according to plan, I'll return from Key West just as pale as I was when I left. Yeah, yeah, not a word of it was possible, but it sounded nice, didn't it?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Assholes, Assholes, Everywhere

I know what you're thinking: some people were rude/stupid/downright mean to me, and that has inspired this post. Au contraire, mon frere. I am talking about actual assholes--the orifice from which shit leaves our bodies. I realized today that I must look at an asshole dozens, if not hundreds of times, each and every day. Now, now, get your minds out of the gutter. I'm not talking about porn or even a hidden camera in the toilet. Rather, I am talking about all of my animals.

This occurred to me as my cat ran in front of me, being his cutest and trying to get my attention. In order to facilitate this, he walked halfway under the futon and looked back at me while raising his tail straight up, revealing, yes, his asshole in all its glory. It was hard to miss, looking like a round target with a tail pointing down towards it, "Lookie here!"

This is a common cat move. My cats constantly walk on top of me while I'm lying on the couch or on the bed. First, they drive their forehead into my face, then turn around, tail in the air, as if to say, "Check this out too!" Then they complete the circle, ramming their foreheads back into my face. I cannot count how many times that happens in a given hour, let alone an entire day.

And that's just the cats. The dogs also run around with their tails in the air. With the dogs, I get the added bonus of spending many, many minutes of my day actually watching shit come out of assholes. One of my dogs, Blue, freaks out if I close the back door while he's in the yard. This means that I stand there and wait for him to be done with whatever he's doing. You may not know this, but dogs tend to shit two or three times a day. That's a lot of shitting, and I have a lot of dogs. I stand there, the screen door propped open, and watch as they shit. Sometimes I actually cheer the shit on, "Come on, come on, that's it, drop off..." Why? Because once they're done shitting, I make them come in so that I can return to watching TV and/or reading blogs.

While contemplating assholes and the frequency with which they are brought to my attention, it occurs to me that I go to rather great lengths to keep my asshole from ever being seen by anyone. I don't even like to bend over from the waist when I'm naked, because I can then feel the air breeze by my asshole, and I know it's there for the viewing. No, no, I bend from the knees, asshole pointed safely down.

Everyone knows that dogs (and probably cats, too) get all sorts of useful information from sniffing assholes: age, fertility status, health status, position in the pack. I wonder what we are denying ourselves by working so hard to keep something covered that might, actually, be very informative.

Well, here's my cat again, weaving his way around my legs, meowing, wanting love, trying to entice me to pet him by showing his asshole.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Going to the Chapel, Gonna Get Married

And that's just what I did two years, one day ago. Well, I didn't go to a chapel, and as far as the wonderful US government is concerned, I did not get married. But I think you guys are following along--yesterday was my anniversary.

We had planned to go away for the weekend, since our anniversary fell so nicely on a Saturday. But then our dog Chester wrecked his knee, and we figured we'd better save all the money we possibly could. Today, we go on a little three day trip, courtesy of the Bread Winner's employer. She has to go to some special training thingy, and when I hear that, I hear "Free hotel with pool and jacuzzi, all for you, Oz."

Last night we went to see a play called WAIT! Ooh, I felt so sophisticated, going to a play and all. Then we got to the theater. It had about 30-40 seats. It was pretty dark and, frankly, dingy. Then I felt super cool, super hip. I do have to admit that the feeling that I could reach out and pet the actors was, perhaps, a little too close to the action for my tastes, but c'est la vie.

The funniest part of the night was that when we got to the theater, we noticed that two of the other people in attendance had ridden on our train with us into town. Then when we came home, we saw those two people plus two others who had been in the audience. Considering that there were about 12 people in attendance, we found it hysterical that six of us all came from our little Philadelphia neighborhood. The Bread Winner and I weren't sure if we should feel less cool, less hip because we were like everyone else around us, or if maybe we should feel that we live in a super trendy neighborhood. I tend towards the latter, the Bread Winner towards the former.

But it was a nice night, anyway you slice it. We've been together for five years now, married for two. It's amazing to me that it still feels so good. I've never been with anyone for this amount of time--by a long shot. I still wonder when she's going to wake up and realize that she can do better than me, but until that day comes, I'm going to enjoy myself.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Stuck with a Needle Again

I had blood drawn this morning. I've been dreading this for weeks, but I finally did it, and I didn't pass out. Goodie. I never used to be afraid of bloodwork. In fact, I sort of looked distainfully at those who were afraid of needles. Yes, it hurts a little, but really, it's not a big deal. Then I had to have blood drawn after fasting (to check glucose and cholesterol and all that good stuff). I was fine the first time. The second time, I passed out. That's what scared me this time around. I didn't want to pass out.

I attributed my passing out to the fasting beforehand. I tend to eat as soon as I get up. I think I'd be fine with a half an hour or an hour of being up before eating, but getting bloodwork done is never that easy. Take for instance today. I got up at 7:30am, took the 8am train into town, was at the lab by 8:30am, and then had to wait until 10am before it was my turn. By that time, I was completely stressed out about the whole thing.

In addition, I had to pee in a cup for some test or another. When I arrived at the lab at 8:30, I had to pee, but I figured that I should wait so that when my name was called, I'd be ready to go. By 10am, I really had to go. But you get stuck in that conundrum: Okay, it's 9am now. I really have to go. If it'll be another half an hour till they call me, I'll be fine, but if they call me in five minutes, the tank will be empty. Then at 9:30am you're saying, If only I had gone at 9am. Now, should I assume it will still be another half an hour till they call me? Or since it's already been an hour, I should assume I'll be called any second? Then you look around the room. Who the hell was here when I got here anyway? But you can't figure out how many people are ahead of you. You've been too busy obsessing about 1) passing out and 2) having to pee to pay attention to who was there and who wasn't.

Now, to top all of that off, it was cold in the waiting room. I would love it if someone could explain to me why air conditioned buildings must be kept at a temperature of about 55 degrees when it is 85 outside. I mean, you dress in shorts and a t-shirt in order to be comfortable outside, then you walk into a building and feel like you've stepped into the artic circle.

So I was anxious, needing to pee, and shivering by the time my name was called. But I did not pass out. Good for me.

As an aside, did you know that you have to sign a special piece of paper in order for them to test you for HIV? For all the other tests (that I had anyway), the doctor just checks off a box on a piece of paper and says, "Give this to the lab." But for an HIV test, you have to sign a piece of paper that says something along the lines of "The doctor is ordering this test and that's okay by me." And they won't even mail the results to my house. They'll only give them to my doctor, who can then tell me. Learn something new every day.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Tarot Anyone?

Years ago, I lead an alternate online life as a fortune teller. For the life of me, I can't remember what website I was involved with--just did a quick google search and turned up nothing familiar. I see my various fortune telling cards around my house on a daily basis, and a few days ago, I picked up my favorite tarot set and dusted it off.



I peered into my future and, my friends, the future did not look bright. Even though I was crushed and spiralled into a pit of depression, I started thinking about that old cliche: Misery loves company. I thought maybe I should not only give myself bad news, but others as well. Why keep my talent of predicting dire futures all to myself? Wouldn't that be selfish?

I don't really feel like joining another tarot website. Instead, I thought it would be more fun to attach it to my blog somehow. With some nifty free forum hosting, I could do it. So what do you think? Would any of you decide to tap into my psychic prowess and ask a question?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Five Thousand Dollar Dog

It might have been three months ago to the day that my dog, a yellow lab named Chester, wrecked his right knee. Chester has one obsession: playing fetch. As Tony Kornheiser would say, "That's it! That's the list!" Like any good ball player, Chester tore his ACL, a stabilizing ligament in the knee. I took him to our vet, and he said, "This dog needs to go to an orthopedic specialist." Huh? I said. I didn't even know such things existed for dogs. About $2200 later, a piece of nylon was in Chester's knee instead of the ripped in half, worthless ligament. The surgeon told me that there was a 60% chance that Chester would wreck the other knee within the next year or two. Apparently, the lifespan of a ligament is genetically predetermined. For Chester, an ACL lasts about 9 and 1/2 years. I know this because this past Sunday, he wrecked the other knee, formerly known as the Good Knee and now known as the Worse Knee since we still consider the recently repaired knee to be the Bad Knee. This means, yes, that we will be shelling out another $2200 on Chester, which basically raises his value to $5000 when you figure in food and other routine vet visits.

I don't think that I've mentioned that we haven't even had Chester for a year. We got him from the humane society last August. I like adopting older dogs because I think most people walk right by them, and I'm a sucker for the down-trodden. I also like that older dogs have usually been house trained and have learned a few other social skills. In addition to all this, they are generally quieter and tend to sleep a good deal of the day away. I had no problem with adopting a dog who was closing in on 9 years old (at the time). But it sure is hard to spend $5000 on a dog that you've had for 8-10 months.

When I tell some of my neighbors about Chester's injury, they usually ask how much it costs to fix, and I tell them. Almost all of them advocate putting the dog down. I can't say that we didn't think about it when the first knee got wrecked. But it was a fleeting thought that was never seriously considered. It would be one thing if he had cancer or some other disease, and he was in pain and there wasn't much to do about it. But this surgery has a 95% success rate and the repair almost always last for the lifetime of the dog. Now that we've put $2500 into him, we didn't even consider whether or not we would do it again. After all, he's now an investment.

And he's a good dog--sweet, kind, not a bad bone in his body. He lived with one family for 8 years, and they gave him to some friends when they moved. I can't understand how you can have a dog for 8 years and then just give him away. Their "friends" barely kept Chester for a week before taking him to the humane society. He stayed there for about 6 months (it's a no-kill shelter) before the Bread Winner and I adopted him last August.

Soon there will be a cast on his left leg just like there was one on his right leg three months ago. On the first cast, I wrote, "Live by the Ball, Wreck Your Knee by the Ball." On this cast, I'm going to write, "$5000 Dog."

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Stranger in a Strange Land

Yesterday, I took photographs at a wedding reception. This was my second time taking photos of complete strangers. The first time (see here and here), I was taking headshots of one person, and the photo shoot took place in my neighborhood. Mildly stressful, but not that bad. I'm pretty personable when I'm one on one with someone else. However, groups of people remind me of how I wasn't popular in high school, and therefore I feel an irresistable urge to sit in a corner and keep my head down.

The wedding reception wasn't huge (about 40 people), and it was also quite casual, located in the "backyard" of the bride's aunt. I put the word "backyard" in quotation marks because the aunt owned about 40 acres.

I almost wonder if I felt so much like an intruder (well, intruder is too strong a word, but you know what I mean) because of the intimacy brought about by the small, closely-knit crowd and having it on a family member's property. I had never met the bride or groom before nor obviously anyone else. I knew nothing about them except that they had been married earlier in the day.

It was almost like a good mystery. As I wandered around, taking pictures, trying to capture moments, I learned about these people. When the bride's sister made a toast, I learned that their mother had died of a long illness, during which time the bride met the groom. The sister, apparently a speach writer by profession, said many beautiful and poignant things like: "Their courtship took place in hospitals and on trains." I learned that the bride and groom met each other on the internet, that the bride was the oldest member of her family to get married, and that the groom's sister had given up on the groom ever marrying anybody. The father of the bride stood up and played two songs on an acoustic guitar while wearing khakis and a hawaiian shirt. I learned that the bride's favorite song is "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison and that her father has a pretty good voice.

While I learned all that, I wondered about many other things. For instance, who was the woman who sat next to the father of the bride? Had he re-married? And who was the man who sat next to the groom's grandmother? Was that his grandfather--even though he lived in Kentucky and she lived in Florida? Who was the woman with the curly, bright red hair and big teeth amongst all the demure blondes? Did a pair of rebel recessive genes combine to create her? Was she adopted? Was she an in-law? There was a little girl, about three years old, with a slight limp. What was wrong with her?

As I was doing this for free, I didn't feel much pressure. I think I got some good shots, hopefully the bride and groom will be happy. But I wonder, as I look through the images and see a good picture of some person or another: Who was she or he? Someone's girlfriend or boyfriend whom the bride hardly knows? Did I miss out on photographing her favorite aunt or cousin out of ignorance?

I don't know them, and they don't know me. I doubt I'll live long in anyone's memory, but they'll stay in mine. If nothing else, I'll always remember the tower of Krisy Kreme donuts with a plastic bride & groom on top that substituted for a wedding cake.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Testing it Out

My grandparents used to drive down to North Carolina once a month to visit their son, my Uncle Tommy. The drive was about 700 miles, round trip. One time, the car started driving weird by the time they got to NC. They took it to a mechanic down there, and the mechanic told them that there was something seriously wrong with the engine, and they would have to put in a new engine--to the tune of a couple thousand dollars.

Now, my grandparents were raised during the Depression, and they don't like to let a dime out of their sight, let alone lay out $2000. My grandparents talked about this and then decided that they would drive the car some more to "test out the engine."

And drive it some more, they did. They drove back home. They drove to the store. They drove to see their friends and to do volunteer work. The next month, they drove back to North Carolina and then returned again. They've put another 60,000 miles on that car since the mechanic told them the engine was no good.

Now I have a running joke with my grandfather. I ask him, "How's the engine in the old Cadillac? Ready to get it fixed yet?" And he always laughs and says, "Not yet. We're still testing it out."

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Home Improvement Formula

I was inspired to write about a formula because of the amazingly complex formula presented in this blog. My formula is much simpler. Actually, I shouldn't call it "my formula" because I didn't come up with it. Now that I think about it, I have no idea who did. But I heard it at my dinner party a couple of nights ago.

John Doe was there, you already know that. Also there was a couple, we'll call them Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill bought a house about two years ago that was close to being condemned. They have worked on this house non-stop for the last two years, and they're still not done. They finally, finally, put up drywall, but they still don't have their floors in on the second and third storeys, and when it rains, the water comes right in from the plethora of leaks in the roof.

As you might guess, Jack and Jill are familiar with home improvement. If you've been reading my blog, you know I am too. Naturally, conversation turned towards our various house projects during dinner. Jack said that he was looking forward to the time when he and Jill would be working on "weekend projects," like mine. He described a "weekend project" like this: you buy the materials during the week; you work on the project on Saturday; you spend Sunday cleaning up. I started laughing the hearty laugh of someone who's heard something ridiculous as images of the floor I just put in danced like sugar plums in my head. I said something along the lines of, "Jack, things rarely go according to plan. For instnace, blah blah blah" I told him about the floor in the back room.

That's when it happened. Jill told me the formula. It was so true, so stunning, so revolutionary, that I'm still in the process of absorbing it. I spent a good part of last night just thinking of how profound it is.

Okay, enough already, I've drawn it out as long as possible. Drum roll, please.....

When embarking on a home improvement project, you will pay twice as much as you thought you would and spend three times as much time, or you will spend twice as much time and pay three times as much. You get to choose.

That's the part that kills me, at the end: You get to choose. You get to choose. You get to choose. That's some deep shit right there.