1. Verizon SUCKS. I am not a big cell phone person. I have one and I use it for two main purposes: driving assistance and child safety. I like to have it when I drive because I invariably get lost which leads to panic and hyperventilation, neither of which are conducive to finding my way. Also, I am the world's worst driver and it's quite possible that I will hit things and need assistance. Secondly, I have my cell phone so that if my children are not with me, I can always be contacted for the inevitable emergency. Thus far, we have had no emergencies and I attribute that to the fact that I am always within cell phone contact. The day I leave my phone at home and drop my kids off at school is the day a meteor will wipe out my town. (Believe me, it's exhausting to keep the earth safe.) I don't give my cell phone number out, except to schools and a few close friends who may be caring for my children. And really, let's face it, do you want me to be trying to drive and talk on my phone at the same time? Not good. Like, the Perfect Storm of bad ideas right there.
But when we put the house on the market, it became necessary for me to circulate my cell phone number so that realtors could call and make appointments to show the house. This meant that my phone became my lifeline. Any time I was out, I had to call and check my home messages obsessively because occasionally a realtor would call that number, but not the cell. Usually, they would call my cell directly and that's when I realized that I had the world's worst cell phone service. My calls would drop or static out if I did unreasonable things such as stand indoors while using my phone. Also, it turns out that my friend Jimmy's house, which became a second home base for my family this summer, is the swirling vortex of cell phone signal hell. Not only would my phone not work inside the house, it wouldn't work outside either. However, there was great entertainment value in watching me prance about onto various levels in the backyard trying to get a steady signal. Oh, and one last example. While on the cruise, Ritu's and my cell phones were nothing more than paperweights. But there was our friend Kenny standing on the ship in the fucking middle of the Pacific Ocean downloading baseball scores with his Cingular phone. Can you hear me NOW, Verizon assholes?
2. House-arexia. Before we put the house on the market, I went through and removed all kinds of personal items like family photos, trophies, and all the crap that covers the fridge. I took things to Goodwill and rented a storage unit. I had beautiful clear, clutter-free surfaces and just a minimum of decorative items. My mother used words like "spartan" and "sterile" when she came to my house. After awhile, I noticed that I wasn't satisfied. Everywhere I looked, I saw things. Things that needed to disappear. Things that were distracting potential buyers. My God, I'd left a set of candlesticks on the mantle. What was I thinking? No wonder nobody wanted to make an offer on my horrible pigsty of a house! And I had to stop cooking a whole variety of things because they would make the house smell. Like cauliflower, salmon, and bacon. Stricken from the list, I tell you! Not worth it! My mother as much as told me I was insane. "You have to live here", she'd say. "People looking at the house know you are living here." Foolish woman. She obviously didn't get it. I"d look for more things to hide. Once the move came around, I was faced with a whole new problem. I was so tired of keeping the house perfect, but I'd heard that trying to sell an empty house was the kiss of death. I contemplated having us sleep on the floor at the new house so we could keep the old house perfectly staged with our furniture. I was crazy. Agitated all the time and not sleeping. A joy to behold. I've never had an eating disorder, but I started to understand how those kinds of thoughts can insidiously take over your mind.
3. Hummingbirds Can Be Pissy. I suck at gardening. I don't mind weeding because that's a nice satisfying task with visible results, but the ongoing nurturing of plants eludes me. I have one indoor plant, a ficus tree, which we got as a housewarming present 15 years ago. We've moved that sucker from New Orleans, to Pittsburgh, to North Carolina, and here to Oregon successfully. One reason is that I've trained it to need water only every 6 weeks or so. I'll get all enthusiastic at the beginning of each summer and put in a bunch of flowers, but that doesn't last long. If the sprinkler system can't reach them, well, then it's back yard Survivor. It makes me anxious to know those plants are depending on me. I feel horrible guilt when I don't water them. Um, but not enough to actually get out there and water them. My mother encourages me to pull out the plants that I don't like and replace them with something else. Pull out a living plant? Why not just drown a kitten? This summer, though, I bought three pots of flowers for my back patio, all part of staging the house, of course. I kept them alive ALL SUMMER but the effort practically exhausted me. All that watering. Jesus, talk about needy.
Could I digress more? This is about hummingbirds. While I ignore most of the great outdoors, I am thoroughly invested in my hummingbird feeder. I cook up big batches of fresh nectar and make sure it is always full. At the old house, I had an Emergency Back Up Sheltered Feeder Location for when the weather turned bad. The feeder hung from a hook on this trellis-y thing in the back. At the new house, however, there is no trellis. Only a collection of fairly small trees. I tried it in one of the small trees and was horrified to find it lying on the ground later that day. Before I had much of the house unpacked, I made a trip to the Backyard Bird Store for a pole from which to hang the feeder. I placed it in the back where I could see it from the kitchen window. Let me point out that this new feeder location is maybe 20 feet from the old one. It's a bright red feeder. They could see it with their little hummingbird eyes from the old spot (which they were sadly buzzing around). They nest in a tree in the greenspace and the new feeder is DIRECTLY in the line of sight from there. Well, those little buzzing bastards boycotted the feeder for an entire week. I would see them--it wasn't like they'd migrated. I don't know what they objected to but they made sure to punish me. Ungrateful giant bugs. After all I'd done for them. I was this close to despair when today--TODAY--I saw one at the feeder. Apparently all is forgiven.