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Harry and Steve have bonded

Harry and Steve have bonded

So much for the never-ending “I hate that useless little freeloader.”

The boyfriend and the dog are now BFFs. It all started when I went to California a few weeks ago. Steve took Harry swimming every day. Now, he takes him everywhere he goes. Day before yesterday, Steve actually threw him in the Jeep to go to the bank. (When asked why, he said–rather defensively–“I’m trying to teach him fiscal responsibility.”)

Yesterday, Steve bought a canoe in preparation for his nephew coming to visit. He bought it off Craig’s List, so drove a pretty fair distance to get it, and then he went canoeing up by Deception Pass.
canoe

And yes, he took the dog. Apparently, Harry was so traumatized by being in a canoe that he kept jumping in the water. And he was tired. So tired, in fact, that he permitted this indignity upon his person:
indignity

Pug pix: Harry and Oliver

Pug pix: Harry and Oliver

Marie came over for dinner last night, and the boys chilled under the table.

“Hmmm, is there any food under here?”

“Um. That’s not food.”

“I’m feeling very uncomfortable.”

“WHOA!”

“Perv.”

Bye now.

Nadya Suleman should have been a chicken …

Nadya Suleman should have been a chicken …

… because then hatching that many eggs would would have been completely normal. Observe:

eggsincubator

I’m nervous. I am not sure I completely trust this thermometer. But oh well. Here goes the grand hatching adventure.

It’s a rainy, gloomy, cold sort of day, and Steve is back to working on the house:

eggsincubator

And Harry is doing his favorite thing:
eggsincubator

New Kitchen Windows

New Kitchen Windows

Mr Demo didn’t like the old windows he installed, so he put in new ones. It’s hard to tell from my pictures, but this is a huge improvement. I didn’t even mind the old ones, but then again, I didn’t have the vision. As I keep being reminded.

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And while I’m uploading pictures, here’s a snap of Harry on Christmas. The ribbon traumatized him.

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A simple equation

A simple equation

(harry)(foster pug)*(steve)(nightshift)=crazy pug lady

To explicate: I am fostering a pug for Seattle Pug Rescue. He’s a little, erm, bundle of energy named Obie. He and Harry get along just fine, though sometimes Harry has to put the smackdown on the rambunctious puppyness. Which secretly thrills me because most of the time, Harry just lets Obie hump him.

Also, Steve is now working the night shift. He goes to work at about 3, and comes home about 2 in the morning. He’s actually on a schedule that’s more like mine, which is weird because he’s always gone to bed at something obscenely early like 8 in the evening. But I find that I’m lonely rattling around the house at night.

Which leads me to the whole point of this post: I have become a crazy pug lady. Steve pointed out the other day that I actually CONVERSE with the dogs.

Scary.

Tanglewreck – Jeanette Winterson

Tanglewreck – Jeanette Winterson

This summer, I’ve wended my way through a long series of completely forgettable books–aside from Harry Potter, of course– and so haven’t felt compelled to post reviews of anything. But my luck has turned! A few weeks ago, Steve and I went downtown and hit Elliott Bay. Lo and behold, I hit the kiddie lit mother lode. Actually, I only bought two (the rest are on hold at the library), and one of them was a complete dud (Adam Gopnik’s “The King in the Window”). But Jeanette Winterson’s “Tanglewreck”–well!

The time tornadoes are raging when Abel Darwater pulls up to the old house Tanglewreck, where Silver lives with her horrible guardian aunt. He’s looking for the Timekeeper, a mysterious clock that will allow him to control time forever. He whisks Silver and her aunt off to London, still trying to wheedle information out of Silver–who escapes into the underground world of the Throwbacks. Along with her Throwback friend Gabriel, Silver goes on a quest to find the Timekeeper, where she runs into clever plays on words, imaginative representations of particle physics, a commentary on commercialization, and a whole host of other adventures that are surprisingly sophisticated yet still palatable to a younger audience

I don’t really know how to describe Tanglewreck, except to say that it’s a little “His Dark Materials,” a touch “A Wrinkle in Time,” and a smidge “The Phantom Tollbooth.” But we all know that comparisons are odious, and this is wholly its own imaginative work. Highly recommend.

On not having cabinet doors

On not having cabinet doors

“Harry can’t play with Sasha and Willy any more,” Steve said this morning.

“Why?” I asked, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and preparing to stagger into the kitchen for coffee.

“They’re a bad influence.”

Indeed. Mr Potsticker pulled the flour off the bottom shelf and proceeded to wreak havoc.

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And as if that weren’t enough, he also started licking it off the floor.

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Remember how you were a kid and made paste out of glue? Harry discovered that if you lick up enough flour, you’ll eventually glue your mouth shut.

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Oh yeah, Steve HATES pugs.

Oh yeah, Steve HATES pugs.

I’m dogsitting for Nicki while she’s in Italy. Willie’s eye was all goopy (it was cheatgrass, embedded in his eye, owie), so I took him to the vet, where I started talking to a woman who fosters pugs for Seattle Pug Rescue. I’ve been meaning to volunteer for ages–but first Harry got sick, then I forgot about it, then we did a stint of traveling, then I forgot about it again. Anyway, I sent in the application, and then informed Steve that we might be a pug foster family. I think he’s a bit excited about having another pug because 1) he called me this afternoon just to tell me that he saw an adorable pug puppy and 2) he started trawling youtube for pug videos. He CLAIMS there was a link from yahoo. Wink. Wink.

Anyway, he came across this. Which had us ROLLING.

And then we found this … pure pug porn:

Thoughts on the Latest Harry Potter Movie

Thoughts on the Latest Harry Potter Movie

1) It was tiresome. Actually tiresome. I couldn’t wait for it to end. The only reason I didn’t walk out was because it was that day where the temperatures reached record highs in Seattle, and the theatre was nice and cool.

2) I really, really hate the girl who plays Hermione.

3) What happened to Harry’s scar?

4) I understand it’s impossible to fit umpteen hundred pages in a two-hour movie. But still. They made characters do completely uncharacteristic things. Would Neville really tell Harry that his parents were driven mad by Lord V.? Would Cho have really been the one who snitched on the DA? Would Dumbledore really have COMPLETELY ignored Harry like that? These fell by the wayside in favor of special effects and suspenseful scenes. Which lasted for EVER.

5) So much charm was sucked out of the story. Like Dumbledore’s neat checkmating of Fudge during Harry’s trial.

6) Just wondering: would anyone who hadn’t actually read the book understand what was going on in the movie? This was the issue with number 3 too; when I dragged Steve, he kept on asking what the hell was going on.

7) Helena Bonham-Carter rocked. As did Ralph Fiennes. Dolores Umbridge was good, but didn’t mesh with my impression of her character at ALL.

On Kitchen Non-Progress

On Kitchen Non-Progress

Steve was home sick yesterday. He’s not a very good sick person because he can’t seem to loll around and read all day. Instead, he has to be doing, doing, doing all the time. This elicits very little sympathy from me; I am the queen of lolling about and reading. But anyway.

His mother is coming for a visit week after next. And he realized that he needed to get the sink hooked up. (Apparently his mother can goad him into action; I should invite her to visit more often.) So we hoisted the darn thing off the pedestal so he could connect the faucets, cracking the pipe on one side. This was completely my fault; the thing weighs, like, 3 million pounds. There are two sinks, with two sets of faucet holes. He got one faucet attached, thinking that one is god enough for now.

YAY! Running water. We danced around the kitchen, Harry barking at our feet. Only to realize that there’s a major leak. Somewhere. We don’t know where. he dismantled the pipes trying to figure out where it was leaking. So the status update is this: We now have running water in the kitchen, only it doesn’t drain. We also have no dishwasher now.

There is some good news, however. He works in construction, and is now doing some pretty nice condos. The architect had specified these really cool, ultra groovy subway tiles from France, which are 2″ by 8″. They came in and the color was slightly off–they’re a light mushroom and apparently he says they’re too pink. No one can see any pink to speak of–and it means we’re getting them for free. Also, we’re getting new fridge, also free. Stainless steel, with the freezer on the bottom. It has a minor ding on one side.

Too much Internet is a bad, bad thing.

Too much Internet is a bad, bad thing.

Normally, I don’t write about really personal things. I mean sure, I talk about Steve and Harry, and post pictures of the house and all that–but I tend not to write about work, or very personal issues.. So this post is an exception, and you are forewarned that it’s personal and also very long. I’m still a little freaked out, but it’s a more controlled freak out because I know exactly what is going on, and have a clear course of action.

A couple of months ago, I was shaving my, uh, nether regions, and noticed there were some white patches of skin. I thought it was really weird, but I was super busy work-wise, and I meant to look it up, but didn’t. Then, two weeks ago, I was running out to a client meeting. While I was brushing my teeth, I couldn’t remember if I had put on deodorant, so I raised my arms to check in the mirror. “Wow,” I thought. “I put on way too much!” Rubbed the white patches and they didn’t come off.

I got in a car and called Steve in total freak out mode. He interrupted me when I started telling him about the nether region patches. “Oh you’ve had those forever. You have some under your arms too.”

“Were you planning on telling me this?” I asked. “How long have they been there?”

“I just figured it was another one of your skin weirdnesses and didn’t want to get you all paranoid.” Much as it pains me to admit, he’s right on both accounts: 1) I have weird skin stuff; and 2) I am a complete hypochondriac. So when I got home, I made an appointment with the dermatologist. For the record, on the question of how long they’ve been there, he wavers between “since we’ve been together” and six months. Typical guy.

But then I noticed a patch on my face.

It wasn’t white–but it was definitely paler. Is it my imagination? Is it really there? Is it exactly like the other patches, or could it be something else? What about that red circle around it? And those bumps? So I started in on the Internet research.

I’m good at research. I love research. And I’m also on the computer all day long. At home. Alone. Where I have ample opportunity to imagine the worst. Before long, I was convinced I had both vitiligo and lichen scleroma, but was hoping that it was systemic tinea versicolor–not that the systemic part exists, but one can still hope, right? And my doctor’s appointment was still two weeks off. Then, I met Steve up in Victoria and we spent the day walking around in the sun. The next day, in a client meeting, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and while washing my hands started fixating on the light patch on my cheek.

And then I noticed that the areas above my eyebrows were sunburned.

“Of course, they’re redder,” scoffed Steve in an attempt to comfort me. “They stick out more.” The countdown to my doctor’s appointment began in earnest.

Still hoping that it was tinea versicolor, I started applying an antifungal lotion on my face. They just kept appearing. I hoped against hope that it was the versicolor thing, but I knew different. It was vitiligo.

I was bordering on hysterical. In the course of the next week, I went through all the stages of grieving–including acceptance once I realized that pretty much anything can be covered by makeup. And there’s specific makeup for this. The fact is, I spend less time on makeup than any other American woman alive, so who cares if I need 10 extra minutes every morning.

Meanwhile, I missed my hair appointment and my grays kept on growing in grayer. (I’ve been going gray since I was 25; my grandmother was completely gray when she was 35.) I was examining my head in the mirror, and noticed a patch of white. And then it seemed to me that my hair was thinning. Like seriously thinning. Alopecia (I had a bout of alopecia areata my early 20s) and vitiligo can go hand in hand. Never mind that Steve insists it’s been like that forever. Now there’s more Internet research. And there’s more hysteria.

So in other words, the last two and a half weeks have been absolutely terrible. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything. I had my appointment this morning. “I didn’t shave my armpits,” I explained, “so you could see that some of the hair is growing in white.” I didn’t even have my shirt off when her ears perked up at the mention of white and she said the dreaded word: “Vitiligo.”

I knew it.

But all is not lost. It’s all over my face–but it’s also early in the game (which means it’s just paler–you can only really see it up close). There are treatments. So we’re starting with Protopic, and she seems to think that repigmentation is more than likely. There are other, more aggressive treatments if the Protopic doesn’t work. And there’s always makeup. After the past couple of weeks, just knowing for sure makes a huge difference.

And there’s nothing wrong with my hair, except for the fact that I’m 33, not 23.

Dog Daze of Summer

Dog Daze of Summer

You wouldn’t know it today–which is damp and drizzly–but yesterday was HOT. Steve and I took the dog around Seward Park, and then the two of us collected bathing suits and hit the open waters of Lake Washington. We left Harry at home. When we got back, this is what we found:

We puttered around the house, doing laundry, dishes, nagging Steve about hooking up the water to the sink. Finally, Harry finally moved …

…outside.

Tennis Pro Harry

Tennis Pro Harry

Harry’s latest obsession is tennis balls, which somehow or another he manages to cram in his mouth. He wanders around the house like this:

On Being a Terrible Housekeeper

On Being a Terrible Housekeeper

Maribel, our cleaner, was on hiatus for several months, during which time I did the cleaning. But all of a sudden she’s back–and even though I swept, dustmopped, and mopped the entire freaking house on Saturday, you should SEE the amount of stuff she’s managed to unearth. And since we know that even Harry doesn’t shed that much in three days, we may as well admit (and yes, we’re sticking with the royal we here): We are terrible at cleaning.

And this is sexism at its finest. If a man isn’t that great at cleaning, he’s a bachelor. But, heaven forbid, if it’s a woman: she’s a slattern.

And just as an aside:
A few Thanksgivings ago, we were in Rockford gathered around some godawful Jesus loves me movie special. Jane, who is Steve’s stepgrandmother, got her hands on the remote, turned the volume down, looked piercingly at me, and said, “I just don’t believe a man should come home and night and be expected to cook dinner, clean the house, or do any woman’s work. It’s just not right.”

I mumbled something. Looking back, I wish I had said something funny, you know, “Well, you’d change your mind if you say the way I cleaned.” But in looking back, I can also see her point. She puts breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the table every day. She serves Harold at every meal. She grows her own produce and fruit. She picks, cans, jellies and pickles. She does laundry, makes the bed, washes all the dishes, and scrubs the house from top to bottom. And her real point–the words she doesn’t know how to say–is not that she doesn’t believe that men shouldn’t do “women’s work” but that she’s surrounded by a young female whippersnappers who work at jobs outside the home and in many different ways either consciously or subconsciously devalue the work she’s done her entire life. So when I think back on that, I always want to acknowledge in some way the work she does.

Then I get over it.

As spring edges into summer …

As spring edges into summer …

“Do you think you might hook up the kitchen sink?” I asked wistfully.

“Nope,” said Steve. “I’m going to jackhammer more concrete out of the backyard.”

Such is life. But the yard is looking gorgeous.

This is my all new Vegetable Jungle. I mulched, planted, and am now waiting …

Harry, warming a zucchini plant.