"Nancy", her so-called husband Banana Nostrils (married on a beach by an actor amongst a pack of leaping dogs), and their brood of l'il translucent vegans are semi-regular visitors to the Surf Report Compound. In addition to being lefty/ hippie/ wackos, they're also scattered and unfocused, and seemingly unconcerned with the irritation levels of those around them. Oh, and did I mention they're both college professors? Was it even necessary? Here's a chronicle of a couple of their latest visits, and I'll be adding accounts of earlier invasions, as time permits.
January 17, 2003
-- I hate to keep writing about these people, but how can I not? A few days ago Sunshine told Toney that everyone was out for a few hours, and when they returned to Nancy's house they found that the dog had been in the trash. She said used condoms and sanitary napkins were strewn all over the place. Any questions? A few jumped to my mind, right off. But what's the point in pursuing it anymore? Really?
January 13, 2003
-- Back to Nostrils for a second... Yesterday, after our emergency underwear meeting, Toney started making a verbal list of all the things she's noticed missing since he left town: Andy's Christmas ball with Santa heads on it, the little plastic scoop we use in our laundry detergent, a can of Pledge, and my raggedy old shorts... Now that's a pervert, folks. He and Pete should hang out, look at some pictures of Lily, and scoop each other to completion. Wait a minute, didn't Townshend have an album called Scoop?! Shit, it's all coming together!!
December 31, 2002
December 29, 2002
December 23, 2002
-- Banana Nostrils had been bragging about the "used" camcorder they bought recently, and was obviously eager to show it to us. After we'd dragged in all their stuff he broke out a solid-body suitcase, cracked his knuckles in a theatrical manner, and opened it in front of everyone. Eventually, after much build-up, he extracted a camera that may have been used in World War II, by Edward R. Murrow. I think it was the first model that didn't use the big dual reels on top, and I'm not sure if it required a hand-held exploding flash powder stand or not. I'm not kidding, it must've weighed forty pounds. Nancy and Banana Nostrils are nothing if not on the cutting edge of technology.
-- Last night I overheard Nancy and Sunshine talking about Time's Person of the Year: The Whistleblowers. I guess Time couldn't stomach the thought of giving it to President Bush so they came up with another of those gimmicky selections, the people who ratted out Enron, etc. This conversation, of course, led to a diatribe by Nancy about the evils of Big Business. I sat and listened to her rant and bit my bottom lip. I was on the verge of running into the room and informing her that Big Business paid for the bed she's sleeping in tonight, and the roof she's sleeping under, not to mention the food she's gobbling down between anti-capitalistic outbursts. It was all I could do not to sit my bourbon & Coke down and begin yelling, "Hooray for Big Business, sport utility vehicles, the Van Halen brothers, and all that make this country great!" But I just bit my bottom lip.
-- Banana Nostrils burnt our kitchen countertop with their ridiculous motor-oil, diarrhea-fuel, faggotty European coffee press. He sat it on the counter and branded a big brown circle into it. Very nice. Toney confronted them with it and they began spinning like Meet the Press. I haven't heard such shucking and jiving since Clinton left office. Ol' BN actually got out a tape-measure and proceeded to perform some calculations. After this big production was over he entered the room and announced that it wasn't the coffee press after all. They were completely innocent -- it was all a big mistake. And then he acted as if the matter was closed. It's like a sitcom. I swear to God. My life is like a sitcom.
December 19, 2002
-- "Nancy" and her so-called husband (married on a beach by an actor amongst a pack of leaping dogs...) will be here within days. She recently mentioned to Toney that if there's snow here she'd like to take her translucent kids out in the yard to build a "snow citizen." I've heard her use this gender-neutral term before, and it's one of my favorite Nancyisms. The only one that might possibly surpass it is when someone says "killing two birds with one stone" and she answers in a haughty tone, "I prefer feeding two birds with one crumb..." She's a classic, that Nancy.
-- Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Nancy and Banana Nostrils' pathetic shit-drizzling dog, the one that looks at you with those big "please kill me" eyes, reportedly has a giant cyst on its neck which has to be "drained" on a regular basis. So, apparently it's going to be an old-fashioned neck-drainin' Christmas around the Compound this year. Ho, ho, ho. Seriously, if that bag of ticks rubs its jiggly fur-sack on my leg or something, I'll blow party mix all over the room. That shit gives me the creeps just thinking about it. Goddamn. How did it all get so complicated?
December 12, 2002
-- Here's part of a funny email I received recently, from a reader in Atlanta. She seems to be developing a "Nancy Theory," which I think deserves further attention.
December 9, 2002
August 10, 2002
-- Nancy and ol' Banana Nostrils have a decision to make, and whenever that happens the rest of us suffer. I've never met a more indecisive couple in my life. Every little thing is analyzed and debated and slept-on... Conclusions are finally arrived at, celebrated with great fanfare, only to be abandoned an hour or two later. It goes on and on and on, and it's enough to make you want to set yourself on fire.
BN was offered a job in southern California, to fill young impressionable minds with Communist Propaganda or whatever it is he does, but Nancy has tenure at the college where she teaches. Supposedly this is BN's "dream job," so you can see the dilemma. To be fair, it wouldn't be an easy decision to make for anyone, but frankly I don't want to hear about it anymore. At this point I couldn't give two shits what they decide. They've been talking about it for months. Shit or get off the pot already! Great Christ almighty.
Anyway, we got roped into several long-winded philosophical discussions with them about what's Really Important in life, usually late at night when everybody was slightly drunk. (Toney accused me of baiting them during one of these sessions, but I was just stating my opinion -- about The People's Republic of Kalifornia.) And after we'd had one of these bullshit pow-wows on our deck, Nancy and BN became teary-eyed and claimed we'd helped them to finally see things clearly. The path was suddenly obvious, and we'd helped them to shed this massive burden. One of them said our advice was "sage," which I'm pretty sure is a good thing. They'd decided they would stay put, and pass up the California job. I think BN even had ideas about hugging me, but I nipped that bullshit in the bud.
Finally! Toney and I were excited when we went to bed, thinking we'd never have to hear about it again. But we should've known better. The very next morning everything was up in the air again. As I was coming down the steps I heard Nancy say,"Gawwwd! What are we going to do?!"
If I'd been Mr. Krabs my arms would've fallen off.
-- Since I'd gone along with everyone to Barnes & Noble last weekend I'd earned the privilege of sitting out the big family outing to a public swimming pool on Sunday. Even under normal circumstances I'm not a big fan of swimming with the great unwashed; I feel like I'm submerging myself in a communal bath. It's like a giant schooner of ball broth, and I generally try to steer clear of such situations. But I apparently missed out on quite a display at the ol' swimming hole that day. Nancy was reportedly not only sporting her traditional luxurious underarm pelts, but I guess there was an added bonus: her bikini bottom apparently wasn't up to the task of containing the wild jungle growth down below! Supposedly it looked like her bathing suit had some sort of unusual decorative fringe. Dammit, I knew I should've gone. All the double-takes from the locals would've made it worthwhile.
-- And speaking of double-takes, one of the l'il translucent vegan children busted into the bathroom while I was taking a leak one evening, causing me to contort my body into an unnatural position, so as to block my junk from being on public display. And at the same time I tried to halt the already-in-progess stream, since the curtains were suddenly in danger, and the whole episode left me in a state of lingering discomfort. Dammit, you can't even take a whizz in your own bathroom! I guess we'll have to buy a Chinese Pissing Screen or something. Goddamn.
-- Monday night the golden couple told us they would be leaving early Tuesday morning to go to New York City, or something along those lines. All I heard was "leaving Tuesday morning," and then the theme to Rocky started playing. Hell, yeah! Visions of calm evenings spent watching The Sopranos danced through my head. We all got up early Tuesday, and BN began loading the hippie van while Nancy rustled up some inedible organic grub. After about fifty trips back and forth, the van was finally loaded, then the translucents were strapped into their car seats. We all started saying our goodbyes, there were a few hugs, and then -- wham! -- Nancy dropped another bombshell. "You know, we don't have to leave today...," she said. Sweet mother of Pearl, they decided to stay a couple more days -- just like that! And after taking all morning to load up!! I was shocked, and struck speechless for at least an hour. I drove to work muttering to myself, in a state of absolute disbelief. I kept thinking, are we on Candid Camera? Is all this being secretly filmed by a Fox camera crew? Is Bob Sagat somehow involved?
-- That night, to show their appreciation(!?), Nancy and BN made plans to cook us dinner. When Toney broke that bit of news to me I made a mental note to stop at a store on my way home from work for a pack of hotdogs. I didn't know what to expect but I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant. And I was right. When I got home I snuck my contraband into the refrigerator, and went out on the deck where everybody was already seated. There was wine, and a big plate of sliced French bread. And in the middle of the table was a huge stainless steel bowl filled with long-grain rice and apples and walnuts and a bunch of other crap. I couldn't believe it. That was dinner! What am I, Seattle Slew? It looked like something you'd feed horses. I sat down and choked down a little of it, and truthfully it wasn't too bad -- but it was a fucking side dish, not a main course. Shit. Later that night I nuked a couple of hotdogs, popped the top on a can of Yuengling, turned on The Munsters, and silently dared anybody to make a comment. I was ready to throw-down with some no-holds-barred vegan wrestling, if anybody uttered a goddamn word.
-- The next night Banana Nostrils disappeared after dinner and we didn't see him again that evening. I guess he went to Borders, or some shit. Who the hell knows? But he didn't come back to the house until around eleven o'clock. Everybody was asleep except me, and I was lying in bed reading. I guess he thought he had the house to himself, because I could hear him down there firing off loud, powerful farts, one after the other. And I went to sleep that night being serenaded by explosive PhD gas.
-- Toney went downstairs later that night to get a drink of water, and she said ol' BN was still up, and had a bunch of gigantic wall maps spread all over the dining room. She said it was after 2 AM, and the man was consulting military planning charts or some shit. I mean, what the hell?
-- On Wednesday they left town all day, to visit some college library somewhere, and Toney watched their kids. It was amazing how well they behaved once you told them what to do, instead of leaving everything up to them. It probably crushed their self-esteem, and it'll all be brought up in counseling sessions fifteen years down the road, but it worked out well for us in the short term. I guess it wasn't nearly as hard on Toney as I had predicted, and all was calm when I got home from work. When Nancy and BN returned around seven, they asked us if they could stay through the weekend, and we both just about soiled ourselves. Toney hesitated a little, and finally told them no, that we'd had enough. So, even after all that we'd put up with, they left the next morning with tension in the air, feeling as if we'd dissed them somehow. Unbelievable.
Toney asked them where they were headed, and Nancy said they were going to visit an old friend in NYC. Then she went on to tell us he's a homosexual former actor who ran for City Council in a logging town in Oregon on the Socialist ticket, and made a name for himself by refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I guess he's in New York to interview a dying Communist historian who was blacklisted in the '50s, or something equally fucked-up. (At some point it all just starts rolling off you like water off a duck...) But, get this, the Socialist actor told Nancy he really only wanted to see her. He said he never cared much for Ol' BN, and he doesn't like kids! They left here offended because we wouldn't allow them to wreck three of our weekends in a row, but this guy can get away with a comment like that? Try to figure that one out. Perhaps if I started fantasizing about Karl Marx in a pair of tight briefs I'd get a little more respect?
-- So, they're gone, but not before dropping yet another bombshell: "We'll see you at Christmas!" Nancy hollered over the noise of German engineering laboring under the hood of their hippie van. And she wasn't joking.
Somebody needs to drive up here and kick my ass. Do it... shoe me in the nuts, I beg of you... I have it coming.
August 9, 2002
People are starting to turn on me because of this Nancy stuff. I'm not joking. One of my best friends threatened to drive up here and kick my ass earlier in the week. I'm paraphrasing, but there was no mistaking what he meant. He wanted to kick my ass! Everybody wants to know why we put up with it all, and why we don't just throw Nancy and her brood to the curb. And since I'm now apparently in physical danger, I thought I'd take this opportunity to clear up a few things...
First of all, "Nancy" is Toney's sister. When I started writing about her in the early days of this site I decided I needed to keep her identity a secret. Even now I'm a little concerned she's going to find my swirling pit of internet bitterness, and the proverbial shit will hit the mythical fan. As hard as it may be to believe, I would actually feel a little bad about insulting them and hurting their feelings; they're not evil, just fucked in the head. But the worst part would be the position it would put Toney in. I really don't want my goofy little hobby to cause my wife a bunch of grief. Ya know? Holy crap, I can only imagine the dramatics! And if Sunshine and Mumbles got dragged in, it would become positively apocalyptic.
I briefly considered never mentioning Nancy again, because of the danger of her finding out (all she would have to do is plug my name into a search engine and my tofu goose would be cooked!), in addition to the fact that it makes me look like a goddamn wimp. I probably am a little wimpy, but I can promise you I'd never put up with much of this horseshit from friends. When relatives are involved though, things can get a little complicated -- especially when they're your wife's relatives.
After some thought I came to the realization that there is no way in hell I could not write about Nancy. She's comedy gold, and I simply can't turn my back on that. I'm sorry, but I'm only flesh and blood here.
So... I've gone back and extracted any major mention of her and her so-called husband (married on a beach by an actor amongst a pack of leaping dogs) from the last two months of my journal, and moved the important stuff to this new page. It's a half-assed insurance policy against her finding out -- any links to it will be very low-key and quiet -- and I'll just continue on as before, and hope for the best.
Perhaps I'm both wimpy and paranoid? Not to mention a little mean... Shit, why do I feel guilty all of the sudden?
Anyway, "Nancy" and the gang finally left Thursday morning, and I'll post some of the highlights of their final few days here, as soon as possible. Sorry, but I'm all out of time. But I think it'll be worth the wait...
August 5, 2002
This is going to be a half-assed update, so prepare yourself now. "Nancy" and her brood are back in town, and my free time is taking a real bite in the ass. I was hoping we'd pissed them off and they would bypass us on their way back from Canada, but apparently not. They arrived back at The Compound Friday night, and I overheard her telling her mother on the phone that they'd be here until Wednesday. Wednesday! The only good thing I'm getting out of this week is that I'm no longer afraid of hell.
I don't want to keep beating a dead horse, I think you get the idea on these people, but here's a progress report on part two of their visit...
-- We all went to Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, to Barnes & Noble and a couple of other stores, and it turned into the fiasco you might expect. We were all packed into their van (a Volkswagen minibus, I shit you not), and the stench of garlic was overpowering. There's nothing quite like high heat -- no air conditioning, of course -- and the scent of garlic sweat swirling all around. Fucking disgusting. It oozes from their pores!
Ol' BN wanted to buy a pair of "short pants" (what is this, 1965?), so they dropped us off at the bookstore, and continued on to Old Navy or somewhere. I'd been given the choice of doing this Wilkes-Barre trip, or going to the pool with them on Sunday. Toney knew I wouldn't go for both, so she left it up to me. I thought: let's see, air conditioning and books, or ball-baking heat and cheesesteak-fed factory workers with no shirts...
So we walked around the bookstore in Wilkes-Barre, enjoying the cool temperatures, and the peace and quiet. I found a really cool book about 1980's underground music, and settled into a big fluffy chair to check out the chapter on The Replacements. But before I could get to the bottom of the first page I heard a familiar wailing from the front of the store, and knew I should just look at the pictures, since concentrating was no longer an option. The Replacements would have to take a backseat to The Translucents.
Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a very skinny man round the corner wearing a pair of huge neon-yellow old-man shorts, and was shocked to learn that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. It was Nancy's so-called husband sporting his new purchase! Obviously they came off the clearance rack, and weren't even close to his size; they would've been baggy on my big ass. And what did he do, change in the parking lot? I couldn't believe it. Who in their right mind would voluntarily wear such a garment in public? They looked like they'd been stolen off a bingo card-clutching corpse in the activity room of a Florida retirement community. It was all I could do not to laugh in his face.
I kept my distance, but I guess Nancy had a few run-ins with people in the store. They have problems wherever they go, because their kids are like wild animals. Any structure or limit is simply out of the question, because of self-expression issues and the like. Consequently, they leave a path of chaos and destruction in their wake, wherever they roam. Their kids are allowed to do anything, and nobody can comment on it -- even if they tear up your shit (more on that later).
On our ride home Nancy started talking about the rudeness of people in the northeast, and I just sat there and bit my tongue. She launched into this big production about the socio-economic situation here, and how it breeds hostility. It went on for five or ten minutes, this highbrow excuse-making, and I could feel my blood-pressure rising. Their kids walked around that store, knocking stuff off shelves and probably biting people, but folks only reacted negatively because of their low salaries. This is the kind of thing that drives me mad. They fuck shit up, but still go around with their noses in the air. They preach tolerance and equality, but act superior in every situation. Grrr.
-- Before we left for the bookstore Ol' BN suddenly turned around and went back into the house. We were already packed into that garlic box when this happened, but it surprised nobody. These people have doctorates, but they can barely function as human adults; everything is perpetually scattered and disorganized. We thought he'd forgotten something (maybe a light jacket, since he's so sensitive to commercial air conditioning), but it turned out he'd gone back in to take a shit. We sat there in that cube of heat and waited, and waited, and waited some more. I'm not exaggerating, he was in the shitter for a full half-hour. When he came out he rubbed his stomach and said, "People always say I'm full of it, but I'm not now!" I could feel my lunch rise up into my throat.
-- Later that night Nancy was walking around the house passing out baked garlic cloves to everyone. When she got to me I waved her away and said, "I'd rather eat one of Andy's yard biscuits." I could see Toney shoot me a look, but it was the truth.
-- So far the little misunderstood translucents have broken a VCR (non-repairable, according to the TV guy), screwed up one of our TVs ($37 to repair), burned out one of our remotes (it finally just said, fuck it), knocked a picture off the wall, and snapped a DVD in half. I didn't even know that last one was possible! After each of these events we've been told that we should just expect a certain amount of damage whenever young kids are around. So, you see, it's our fault if we get irritated. We're ignorant if we react.
-- On Sunday morning Toney told one of the kids that he couldn't hurl a big-ass Tonka truck against the living room wall anymore, and Nancy got all pissy with her, and there was reportedly tension for hours. I wouldn't know, because Andy and I were still in bed, with the covers pulled up over our faces.
-- Some newly discovered Nancyisms: "Would anyone care for a segment of orange?" and "Saturday night maybe we should do a spaghetti." Who talks this way? How did I get here? If I click my heels will it all become normal again?July 30, 2002
Hurricane "Nancy" has come and gone. She blew into town Thursday evening, deceptively subdued, but built up to full devastating power before continuing northward on Sunday.
Iím not going to try to string it all together in a chronological story line, Iíll just give you my fleshed-out notes from the weekend. Iím too tired and hot to work. Sue me.
-- Nancy and her gang were supposed to arrive at our house Thursday evening, or Friday afternoon. They couldnít tell us for sure, because they have to play it by ear. Toney and I have a unique approach to our life: we make plans and follow through. Itís highly unorthodox, but it seems to work for us. When these people are involved, however, everything can change from minute to minute. It sends me up the frickiní wall. We once spent hours - and I mean hours - driving around Greenville, SC with Nancy, trying to decide on a restaurant for dinner. Round and round, up and down, for hours. I canít begin to describe the frustration. It was right after Toney and I started dating, and I was trying to put on a polite face, but I secretly wanted to gnaw my way through the fender of that Volkswagen, and escape to a Wendyís somewhere, free of that crazy indecisive intellectual.
Anyway, when they said Thursday or Friday I assumed that meant Friday or Saturday. Thursday was completely safe in my mind. I donít know when Iíll learn... We were all kicked back watching The Sopranos, around eight oíclock on Thursday, and they called from someplace called Cornhole, PA, or something - roughly 100 miles away. Crap.
They busted through the doors around ten, and we sat up talking until midnight or so. I finally threw in the towel and went to bed, and Toney was only minutes behind me. I laid there reading and heard a lot of crashing and slamming coming from the kitchen, and wondered what in the living hell they were doing down there. Then there was a powerful wave of cooking smells, followed by coffee fumes. Coffee! At midnight!! And what exactly were they cooking anyway? It smelled like a goddamn Dennyís. More slamming and crashing and high-pressure water and microwave beepings, etc. etc. - and then the smoke alarm went off. And it went off for a long, long time. I guess they like their shamburgers well-done, but they could've at least waved a copy of The Nation around to try to get that beeping to stop. Here we go...
-- The next morning I went into the downstairs bathroom to take a shower and I had to cut a path through the truckload of fucked-up hippy toiletries lying everywhere. I have no idea what it all was, I couldnít even look at it because it gives me the creeps, but there was one of everything, I bet. A lot of it seemed to be made from honeycombs and river rocks and shit. I saw a tube of some kind of clear goo with yellow jackets imbedded in it. Who the hell knows? For some reason it bothers me to see other peopleís personal ointments and stuff, especially when you know itís being applied over thick thatches of dark hair that Western culture frowns upon. But maybe thatís just my hang-up?
-- The shower nozzle was all screwed up, and tilted radically to the left - just like the people who'd used it previously. Weíve had a long-term battle with them over shower nozzles; they canít leave them alone. In California they fiddled around with one so much it finally snapped off. When I got home from work one day Toney was seething, and there was a pipe sticking out of our bathroom wall. Just a big curved pipe. They also like to have sex in there, and put on a big show for everyone. Iíve written about how they thrash around and bang against the walls, and moan and groan. Itís all for everybody elseís benefit. My running line is, ďWatch where you step, Ďcause that ainít Tilex.Ē Itís a lot to think about when you just want to take a quick shower in the morning. Am I standing in sex juice here?
-- They had their kids, both little boys, dressed in girl clothes most of the time. And Iím not just talking mildly feminine shirts and the like, I mean actual blouses. Their youngest was wearing a smart little number with bees on the front, and buttons shaped like flowers. It was long and flared out at the bottom. I couldnít believe it. It was a frigginí dress. Toney asked Nancy about it, and you could see her eyes sparkle at the opportunity to climb up on her high-horse. She went on at length about how she refuses to be a slave to gender roles, that her kids will grow up unencumbered by such social baggage, blah blah blah. Then she said she finds herself treating her kids differently if theyíre dressed like traditional boys, which contradicted everything sheíd just said. Sounds like she's just a man-hater. Whatever. Iíve learned that it does you no good to even try to think about any of that stuff. If you go down that path youíll surely go insane. Itís best to just grab another Yuengling, and move on. And after the school shootings occur in fifteen years or so, just answer the press's questions the best you know how.
-- One morning Nancyís so-called husband was reading the paper and drinking a big steaming cup of oily-black diarrhea coffee (itís European) when he suddenly began convulsing with laughter. He threw his head back and started snorting, his nostrils flaring and his Adamís Apple dancing in a sickening manner. I was afraid he was going to suck a shade off one of our lamps, or inhale a couch cushion or something. "This is one of the smartest, and funniest cartoons I've ever read," he finally gasped. Here it is. You be the judge. I'll make no comment.
-- Five or six times a day they come together in the kitchen, and completely ransack the place. They eat constantly, and can turn a simple peanut butter sandwich into a huge production. They don't believe in just taking the top off a tub of butter and getting what they need, they dig out an ice cream scoop of the stuff and place it on a saucer, like they're the goddamn Vanderbilts. At one point I walked through the kitchen and the counters were piled high with glasses and plates and stuff, and it had been all-clear only minutes before. Nancy was in there loading up bamboo skewers with eggplants and mushrooms, and god knows what all. Just a light mid-afternoon snack. She had Toney's CD player cranked up with some horrible tribal music that sounded like a mental patient passing a stone in the middle of a swarm of angry hornets. I checked the clock to see if it was too early to start drinking.
-- I almost swallowed my tongue when Nancy's husband said something about their youngest kid taking after him, and not eating much. He said this as he folded yet another fully-loaded slice of jelly toast into his mouth. Strawberry and saliva was flying everywhere, as he explained how he's never had much of an appetite. I had to look away.
-- For some unknown reason they brought their broken-down old sack-o-ticks dog with them, even though they know Toney won't allow it in the house. The thing is mean, partially blind, and constantly filthy. It also drizzles liquid shit out of its ass, almost continuously. It hung out on our driveway, tied up to their van, the entire time they were here. Just hanging out and drizzling. You can almost see it pleading with you, "Please kill me. Do it, Mister. Please."
-- One day Nancy went to the YMCA for a swim, and returned angrily preaching about the small-mindedness of segregated locker rooms. I'm not making this up.
-- Similar to their conspicuous shower-stall encounters, Nancy and her "hubby" also put on a grand performance every morning with their daily exercises. Nancy starts with her stretches -- in the middle of the living room floor -- complete with exaggerated breathing and the rolling of eyes. Ol' B.N. usually just does some pushups -- in the middle of the living room floor -- but sometimes adds in a few squat 'n' thrusts. Toney told me that one morning, before I'd summoned enough courage to get out of bed, Nancy was complaining that she'd forgotten to bring her weights. Toney left the room for a couple of minutes and when she came back Nancy was sitting in the floor, waving around two plastic jugs of milk. Then after her workout she calmly got up and returned them to the refrigerator!
-- The final day was the worst. The golden couple was arguing, and sniping at each other all morning. Their kids were screeching and wailing, and producing an incredible sustained cacophony the likes of which I've never experienced. One just sat in the floor and made noises like a fax machine for an hour. It was excruciating. It reminded me of the primate house at the Cincinnati Zoo. I think it all ended on a bad note. These things always seem to go a day too long. We were all thoroughly sick of each other by that point, and everything just started to come apart at the seams. They're supposedly passing back through here on their way back from Canada but I wouldn't be surprised if "something comes up," and they have to change their plans.
Whatever. I've moved on. I'm now fixated on this goddamn heat. This is the worst summer ever. When will it end? I'm going to start drizzling shit myself pretty soon. I can't take much more. I'm about to impale myself on a bamboo eggplant skewer. Goddamn.
July 24, 2002
As of this moment, "Nancy," her so-called husband Banana Nostrils (married on a beach by an actor amongst a pack of leaping dogs), and their brood of l'il translucent vegans are due to descend upon The Compound on Friday. Of course the plans will change twenty or thirty times between now and then (it takes these people half a day to decide what to get on their pizza -- a road trip is like a NASA project to them), but it looks like they'll be here this weekend sometime. If I'm unable to update the site again until Monday or Tuesday, please bear with me. I'll shoot for Friday, but that might be impossible. I'll probably be busy taking our new screen door to the repair shop, after one of those devil children hurls a bust of Herman Melville (or whatever it is they play with) through it. I'm convinced our new door will bite the dust before Monday. ...Shit, am I turning into a bitter old man or what?
July 9, 2002
-- And speaking of sitcoms, "Nancy," her so-called husband Banana Nostrils (married on a beach by an actor), and their brood of li'l translucent vegans are planning to descend on Jeff and Toney's Bed & Breakfast Inn and Old Country Saloon in a few weeks. And you know that new $225 screen door we had installed? I'm taking bets on how long it will take before one of their crazed, undisciplined devil children hurls a frozen block of Not Dogs or Shamburgers through it, and we have to put up trash bags to keep the elements out. And afterwards we'll get to hear how it's unfortunate that our door was ruined, but you just have to expect a certain amount of acting-out among young geniuses, so bored they are with the mundane -- or some such bullshit. Then they'll ask if the trash bag is biodegradable, in a haughty tone. You think I'm joking? Mark my words; it'll happen by the end of day one.
February 11, 2002
Please forgive what one of you affectionately (?) calls the "annual abomination." Like others who employ this keeping-in-touch device, we have been insanely busy, too much so to write the personal messages we would like. So please take this for what it is, the best we can do to say hello. And though January is past the midpoint, we figure that as long as the fruit cake is still tasty and ornaments are sold in stores (75% off), we are still "in the window" of polite timing. (we are inflicting on you what you have heaped on us -take that!)
[They also talk this way.]
First, some sad news. Our cat Mini died of cancer, peacefully and at home, just before Christmas. I spent 16 years with him--he's been there for me through a lot; he's taught me a lot. His zen-like life and death was a real gift.
[I swear this is real, I didn't add the words "zen-like" for comedic effect; I'm not that clever. BTW, this cat she's talking about had a fucking horn or something growing out of its nose. I've never seen anything quite like it. It was a mutant. All of her other animals hurled themselves in front of moving vehicles to escape one additional day of living in that freak house, but Mini stuck it out to the end. I think he was a feline vegetarian, and staunch Nader supporter.]
Keep the medical establishment out we say--as much as possible. Our greatest news of the year was the birth D-F----- on Feb 8. After four hours of labor in the early morning and under a full moon, I pushed him out after three pushes on my great grandmother's brass and iron bed. No docs, no hospital, just us, a bathtub, and a couple of incredible midwives. This was a dream come true for us. ("Nancy" was amazing. Absolutely beautiful and amazing.)
[I'm sorry...I'm getting a little emotional here... OK, I'm better now. Forgive me. I just have one question: bathtub?]
(Cue Poppa -- WRITE ABOUT S---) S---- had a difficult time after D-F's birth, but is now over that and merry and happy. He now spends his time drowning flies. He enjoys dance parties, making jigsaw puzzles of construction machines, saying no, taking D-F's water , playing town (on a green-felt table his poppa made) with trains and 3,426 Matchbox cars, saying no, watching videos of talking construction machines, saying no thanks, mamma, reading stories about construction machines, saying no, no, no, and playing the little 17th-century harpsichord we bought him.
[Drowning flies? Dance parties? A 17th Century harpsichord? Ah yes, who among us isn't experiencing a flood of memories from our own childhoods after reading this poignant passage?]
The next major development was our move across town to a sweet little house (cottage) 10 minutes walk from campus in September. We cut our square footage in half and our possessions accordingly. Downsizing in this way, simplifying, feels really good and is working out for us surprisingly well (we no longer talk to each other over cell phones).
[The logical thing to do when you have two young kids is to move to a house half the size -- that is if you have a PhD.]
Since there is no such thing as privacy in this family we had little to lose. I love being able to walk to work and getting by with just one car (since we rarely have two operable at once) is a necessity as ideal. The Jetta is now 255,000 miles, and 16 years old, the Vanagon 198,000 and 18! (Have we got a deal for you).
[Next year I hope they include their oil change information. I'd be very interested in knowing what grade of gasoline they use as well.]
This semester was very difficult since we had only 20 hours childcare in our home and we both worked full time. I mentored (nursed) 20 mostly weak students (some had no pulse) through their senior theses. I was so proud when they all passed our department's rigorous vote (they use dice), but the cost to me and all of us was great.
[Note the respect she has for her students. If you think I'm a little cruel for posting this stuff, just re-read the paragraph above.]
Meantime as Director of Women's Studies I try to stay away from budgets and politics and get to do lots of creative work. I am planning a conference in April called "Bodies in the Classroom" which will highlight intersections between feminist theory , queer theory, and disability studies. I also eked out a little time for my current research project on francophone refugees in Charleston in the 1790s which I presented at a national conference last month.
[I took English in college.]
It goes on and on, but I think you get