Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is what it says on our front door. It's one of those thermal-printed labels that are the modern equivalent of the dymo labels we stuck all over everything when I was a kid. Robert, in a fit of anger, put it there because he was sick of the yard crews looking for work who kept stopping at our house. Never mind that there was a reason they stopped at our house, but it was aggravating.

Now, nobody hates people who are not friends or neighbors ringing the doorbell to sell us things, or tell us about their (insert religious document here) more than me. I came so close to making a laminated sign to put on our door listing all of the people who are liable to be met with a large, rage-spewing woman if they ring the bell. I have not completely ruled out that option, as our cute little "NO SOLICITING" sign has been ignored. As far as I am concerned, they can all just jump into the fiery pit along with spammers, telemarketers and pushy car salesmen. If I had lived in the day of the Fuller Brush and bible salesmen, I would probably today be an aged woman who spent most of her adulthood in jail. I don't even like most commercials. Watching programming directed at kids especially pisses me off. I find it hard to believe that most people don't feel insulted by the crap that shows up between shows, and even in them sometimes. I love my DVR.

To further illustrate how much I hate being solicited, with few specific exceptions, let me tell you about the fitness center. I recently went to the new fitness center that opened up in my neighborhood a few months ago. I went in on the defensive, because the sales people at fitness centers are notoriously pushy. My jaw nearly dropped when the guy actually asked me if he could call me to remind me before the sale ended. I told him he could call me if he wanted to irritate me. He said he would not. I was even more surprised when the end of the sale passed (yesterday) and he did not call. I was tempted to join, in spite of the fact that the new-building smell of the place made me dizzy for the remainder of the afternoon after just being in there for 20 minutes. I so appreciated being treated as if I could decide on my own! The fact that I am so surprised by the experience is sort of sad.

I was thinking about it this morning. I was thinking about how our kids participated in so many fundraisers one year that our neighbors quit answering the door if any of our family members rang the bell. We could actually hear them walking up to the door to see who it was and walking away. I was thinking about how good it is supposed to be for the kids to go door-to-door...or at least that is the idea behind it, right? Why don't more parents object to having their kid put people on the spot so that their school can keep a relatively small fraction of the overpriced crap that they are selling? We stopped buying most of it. Now we just donate a little money to the cause, and let the school keep all of it. Even though we would cost ourselves more by buying, the school gets to keep more that way.

So, why this today? No idea. I was just thinking about it. I guess it is time for me to get out of bed and clean the bathroom now, before someone smells it from outside and rings our doorbell to ask if we need someone to clean it. I would be so tempted...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Life In Beds

Haha! You don't really think this is going to be about my sex life, do you? I would be happy to talk about it, but there really isn't much to tell. Well, I might mention parts of it, since it is relevant.

The semester ended the other day, and I have over a month of break. A month! Usually I take intercession classes. For those of you who don't know what that is, imagine taking a class that crams a whole semester into a two week (or so) period. It pretty much obliterates any real breaks between semesters, but it gets things done.

This time, there are none that I can take, and I am so glad.

So, I have been thinking about bed, and beds. I love being in bed, and most of the things that happen in bed. I remember the bed I had when I was little. It was a cheap, lumpy twin mattress. I could feel the springs. Little kids can handle things like that though.

When we moved to the house my father owns now, my mother refinished a beautiful wrought iron double bed in a slightly metallic rose color. She took it to a place that makes headstones and they sandblasted the rust and old paint off of it for her. I loved that bed. Somehow it found its way to Texas with me, but it just sat in our garage for years. It has flowers on it. I have boys. They were not interested. A few years ago, my friend Susan was looking for a bed. It was perfect for her.

Back when I slept in the bed, it had an elderly mattress that sagged so much it was almost like a hammock. I loved it because I had dreams in that bed like no other I have slept in. Every night, curled into my favorite modified fetal position, I had crazy, vivid, colorful dreams. I lived in mansions and flew around. I got chased by a hag in a hot air balloon. Here's the sex part... When I was in college, I had my first being-tied-up experience in that bed. Nothing too wild. My wrists looped lightly with some old panty-hose to the curving bars of the headboard. It wasn't that exciting, so we never did it again.

I moved in with my grandparents when I was in junior high. The bed itself- nothing too memorable. The memorable parts are the atmosphere. It was a completely unremarkable double bed in a room that was right by all of the noise. The bathroom door across the hall from my broken-doored room was a woven, accordion-pleated thing through which I could hear everything. My grandmother got up and banged pans every morning at 5:30 without fail. Every time someone walked through the house to get a drink of water or a pill in the kitchen, it woke me up. I am, and always have been, a light sleeper. My bedroom closet was full of Grandma's old coats, so my grandpa installed a long dowel near the ceiling over my bed and I stood on the bed to hang my clothes... when I bothered to hang up my clothes. Usually they were all over the tiny room. There was a window at the head of the bed. When I was in college, my friend Sean, who liked to be referred to as "Smud" often knocked on the window and startled the daylights out of me. I don't know how long he stood there and watched me before he knocked. He would never tell me.

After that bed came the king sized bed that my friend Lea and I slept in. For a summer it was in the garage of her sister and brother-in-laws house. We made a shelf out of a scrap of lumber and some chains to put candles on. Every now and then one of us would get the surprise of hot wax dripping off of the shelf and on to us and the bed. We never were able to get the wax out of the sheets. In Illinois you can't sleep in such a garagey sort of garage during the winter, so we got an apartment together for a year.

After that I slept in a series of short-lived beds that were not mine. I stayed with my boyfriend and his mom, in a room separate from his, and we all pretended that I didn't spend most of my time in his bed. After we broke up I came to Texas and slept for a short time in an extra bed in his grandmother's house in Abilene. Her neighborhood seemed to consist entirely of old people. Her next door neighbor collected cats. He bought huge bags of cheap cat food and dumped it on the ground to watch cats swarm from everywhere. People dumped them off at his house, and they bred. There were a few deformed ones. The whole neighborhood stunk of cat urine.

I quickly went from that bed to Terrell to stay for a couple of weeks with my ex's aunt and uncle. They were very sweet people. He managed a restaurant in a truck stop complex, and she did the accounting for the complex. They were poor, partly due to his health problems, I think. The house they lived in was tiny and hot. The room I was staying in contained a twin bed and a lot of boxes of stored belongings. My suitcase was perched on top of the stacked boxes and the door would not open all the way. I had to squeeze in and climb over the bed to get my feet on the small area of floor next to it. I could hear gun shots going off almost every night I was there.

I found a job as a nanny. The woman who hired me... that is another story to be told. I left her one day, after being woke up by men shouting outside my bedroom door and peeking out to see my employer's boyfriend and two of his buddies watching porn, in a cloud of pot smoke. Almost immediately I went to work for some people who were, by my small-town standards, rich. They were also insane, but in a completely different way. I got fired from that job. It was a relief. From there I went to a bed I had already been in. I met my husband when I was working in the first nanny position, and I met his bed on the same day. Together we have been through a few mattresses, most of them hand-me-downs from his brother and sister-in-law. They would buy them and decide they didn't like them. We would have a new mattress.

The one we have now is, as far as sleeping goes, the best bed I have ever had. It has a thick pad of memory foam over it, so my hips no longer feel bruised when I wake up in the morning. It is a king-sized bed, but I sleep here with my dog. Walter and I get along fine, and I barely mind the dog hair all over everything.