Yard Day

Edith and I spent most of today lounging around on the back porch. It’s finally cooled off a bit, which for Texas means that it’s in the 80s rather than the 90s, and before noon, it’s quite cool in the shade. The sky was lovely, blue and cloudless, with a visible white moon until well after 11:00.

Edith mostly stared at me and chewed on the blanket, and I was on lizard watch. The little lizard was at his usual post atop the sideways plant pot, doing his sun salutations and preening. I saw at least one other little lizard in the rock bed, and possibly more than one. It’s difficult to say whether it’s another lizard or the same lizard unless you see them at the same time.

I had grown concerned about the large lizard because my mother accidentally flattened a lizard in the driveway (not the green one I brought home from the restaurant), but we hadn’t been out back very long before he ventured down from one of the trees. At least, I think it was the same lizard. It could have been another one — there’s at least one more large one who normally hangs out on the back fence. But I think it was the same lizard I’ve grown attached to, and I felt relief.

Other critters we saw today: lots of birds of course, including a bright red cardinal; hornets, unfortunately; several massive yellow butterflies; and a hummingbird who came right into the porch and hovered there for a beat looking down at us. Also, I saw a squirrel chasing a lizard along the fence line, and I realized that this was the first squirrel I’d seen here! That’s weird — everywhere else I’ve lived in Texas has been teeming with squirrels, but there don’t seem to be many here.

Mom says there’s a large toad who lives out front and waits at the front door every night hoping to slip inside when she goes out to put the sprinkler out (so far, he has been unsuccessful).

I haven’t seen any snakes yet, but I know from the Facebook group that we should be aware of them — other than the usual rattlers, there are water moccasins in the lake, and someone took a photo of a large coral snake (the toxic kind) by the pool! There are also armadillos and coyotes. The other day, I was telling Mom about how something in the yard might have been caused by an armadillo, but I kept saying aardvark, and she was like, “I…do not think that is likely.”

We had a very nice day. The neighbors weren’t out and the construction behind us was paused, so everything was still and peaceful.

What We Do In the Shadows

After my second full week of work and baby, I don’t have any mental capacity for writing, so I’m going to try to talk about my favorite television show, which seems a simple enough task. Let’s see how I do! I will put my struggles in brackets.

My favorite show right now is What We Do In the Shadows. The show is [here I want to say something like it came from or it started with? It is an iteration of, an expansion of? Another version of?] the 2014 movie of the same name, which was also extremely funny, and which I recommend watching, but you don’t have to watch the movie to enjoy the show.

The premise of the show is extremely simple [here I would ordinarily summarize what that premise is, but I can’t now. what if vampires?], but it provides a surprising [here I want to say something like it gives a lot of joke from small thing? How do say? Can get lots of episodes from what you’d think would be a single bit? I keep thinking “deep vein” for comedy which is also a vampire pun! That would be good…but I can’t…put it together. Are veins even deep? Is “vein” spelled right?] fodder.

[I want to say something about how because of the very simple premise the writers are free to explore clever digressions without it taking away from the world of the show or seeming overly self-referential/inconsistent with characters] [then I want to provide examples of them doing that, like Vanessa Bayer’s emotional vampire last season or this season where Colin Robinson explains the origins of the universe to Nandor in a Vegas hotel room, which was my favorite scene of the entire show so far] [laughed till I cried but less cliched way to say…?]

[then I’d end this somehow] Anyway, you should watch it.

San Marcos and Buda

One nice thing about having moved further south is that we’re now in easy driving distance to any number of cute Texas hill towns and other little cities. I feel this new compulsion to go do something every weekend day, because I think I’m afraid that if I don’t, if I let myself succumb to torpor for a single day, I will never do anything with Edith and she’ll become a depressed hermit like I am. Which is a stupid concern, because I’m told that kids eventually start talking, and then they demand things. But I haven’t really thought about it that much — I feel the need to go somewhere, so we go somewhere.

This morning, we drove about 20 minutes south to San Marcos, which is a small college town, to go to a farmers’ market. It was kind of a dumb waste of time, because when we got there, Edith had fallen asleep because she’d missed her morning nap (I was trying to make her fall asleep on her own like I do at night, and it did not work at all). So I sat in the car with her while she slept. Unfortunately for me, we parked right next to the bandstand, and I would not say the musical acts were excellent!

She finally woke up, and I put her in her carrier and got our high SPF parasol out and we walked through the farmers market, which was probably about ten booths, but very cute. There was a tarot card booth and an astrologer and lots of cakes and barbecue and honey and only one produce stand, and everyone there was very attractive. Then, we walked around San Marcos’s historic little town square — every Texas town has one, and I love all of them. It was boiling hot out and I had to pee and was wearing a jumpsuit and realized that there’s really no way for me to pee with Edith with me without help, especially in a jumpsuit, and especially without setting her carseat on a public bathroom floor, which I would just as soon not do. So, we got back in the car and headed home. On the way, Edith started wailing because it was time to eat, so I fed her in a parking lot about a block from my house.

It was still nice to get out and drive around. As we drove through the countryside, we passed a lot of big old farm houses and ranches and things that are open to the public either as a store or a winery or whatever and that I want to check out at some point.

In the afternoon, Mom and Edith and I all went up to Buda and had a very late lunch on the patio at a Mexican restaurant in the charming little downtown there. They were having a plein air festival and there were a lot of people out and about, and Edith got to watch the train go by twice (she hated it) and to play with a menu (she wanted to suck on it and I cruelly thwarted her), and I had some outstanding breakfast tacos. Now we are home and she is passed out in her carseat, and I get to go to bed in a mere two hours.

Back To Work

Today was my first day back at work in six months.

It felt very weird to be back, but I was happy to chat with all my colleagues again. The best part of my company and job is that I truly enjoy spending time with my coworkers. I like them all so much, and they’re so much fun. To me, this is the most important thing to a happy work life.

Being apart from Edith was less difficult than I’d feared. I was so busy and absorbed in what I was doing that I really didn’t have much time to think about it. The day went very fast.

All in all, it was a smoother transition than I’d anticipated.

Brunch

This morning, Edith and I went out in search of brunch. We visited the nearest of approximately one thousand Mexican restaurants and sat on the porch and I had some substandard migas and Edith looked around. She is just the happiest, best natured baby. When I take her places, she is chill as a bean. Every time I looked at her, she gave me a big, sunny grin, and otherwise, she was content to take in the scenery.

Did you know that there are places in this country where one can still smoke in the outdoor sections of restaurants? I did not, but I am apparently living in one. It was like revisiting the most disgusting aspect of 2003. However, it wasn’t very crowded and I only got a single whiff of cigarette smoke before whoever it was put it out, and then later when I asked for the check, the server told me that someone had already paid it, so there are also advantages to rural living. I would like to tell myself this is evidence that I am still attractive, but more likely a good ole boy saw a single woman with a baby and assumed we could use the help. Either way, I’ll take it!

When we got back on the road, a little green lizard scampered across my windshield and hung ten on the hood, face into the breeze. I was worried she (I say she because I think it was a green anole and the males have a pink dewlap which this one didn’t) would fly off, so I stopped in a park and tried to nudge her into the grass, but she kept running into my hood, so we just took her home with us. She made it safe and sound and hopefully doesn’t leave any family behind in the restaurant parking lot. I don’t think she’s the one who paid my tab, but I suppose it’s possible.

Garage Door

Yesterday, everything was finally finished at my old house and it was ready to be photographed and listed, and then my mother tried to open the garage door and it slammed itself open and closed repeatedly for a minute and then fell apart.

I was apprised of the situation through a series of cryptic texts:

“Did you happen to lock your garage door when you were up here earlier? Unrelated, do you know of anything one can do to a garage door that might, say, cause it to spontaneously explode? Theoretically? Not asking for any particular reason! Just something I’ve been musing about re: garage doors in general and certainly not related to any garage doors you might personally know of, and that might or might not be partially to totally fucked at the moment!”

Upon hearing the news, I sank into a state of resigned catatonia because I quite literally could not even. I sat around not evening for about an hour, while my mother got a garage door company with the right door in stock to agree to do a rush job and replace it this morning.

So everything was fine!

My particular brand of anxiety is such that the more things that go right for me (or even just fail to go terribly wrong), the more I feel like I am racking up some cosmic debt whereby I will have very bad luck later to balance out the good luck I am currently enjoying. This is a really fun way my brain destroys any bit of enjoyment I might get out of life, because if bad things happen, I am obviously unhappy about the bad things, and if good things happen, I cannot enjoy them because I feel I am “using up” my good things quota and will surely experience a run of terrible luck later. I have been very fortunate in my life thus far, and so I am always terrified that something truly godawful is looming over the next horizon to even out the score. Intellectually, I realize this is nonsense, but I hate myself, so I can’t stop feeling like this in my viscera. And of course, being a parent now, that grim sense of foreboding is a thousand times worse.

However, the garage door is fixed, so my karmic reckoning is delayed for one more day.

Michael K. Williams

I’m the sort of basic white bitch who still thinks The Wire is the best television show ever made. It’s not perfect, but it’s literary. I think it’s a contender for the great American novel. And Omar Little is indisputably the best character of a roster of amazing characters (runner up Stringer Bell, third place Bubbles).

Williams did a bunch of other good stuff, too (I especially enjoyed his Community appearance), but Omar was a career defining role. It’s sad that he has died so young.

COVID/Bricks

I had my first ever COVID test today. I had woken up with a headache and a sore throat the last couple mornings. I think the issue was really just a combination of post-nasal drip and being roommates with an infant, but our new nanny is starting this week, so I wanted to be sure. This morning, I felt totally fine, but I already had the appointment so I went anyway. It was very easy — there was a truck in a parking lot and you just walked up to the window, showed your ID, and they dropped a test packet into the slot. In it was a Q-tip which I swished around in my nostrils, then put it in a tube, and then put the tube back in the bag and dropped the whole thing in an open trash bin next to the truck and got back in my car. It took like two minutes.

After I got my COVID test, I drove the hour up to my old house to relocate some piles of bricks (that I had never noticed but which would apparently be off-putting to house-hunters) from the yard to the garage. It was very hot work, so I turned the sprinklers on, and so then I was wet and hot.

The other thing I did was root through a trash bag from the big outdoor trash bin to locate a blaring smoke alarm that my mother had thrown away without disabling, apparently not realizing how smoke alarms work.

So, just a super glamorous day all around.

But I’ll also admit this: before I started hauling bricks, I went into the house and lay on the couch for an hour in the quiet, and finished a novel I’ve been reading, which honestly made it all worth it. It wasn’t even an especially good novel, but my reading of it was uninterrupted. Hard to imagine I used to do that all the time!

Scorpion

At some point I heard an anecdote or read a story or something about someone who put their foot in their shoe without looking first and there was a scorpion in it and it stung them and they died. It was one of those little bits of information that stick in the mind.

I keep an old pair of shoes in the garage to slip on whenever I need to take the trash out or something, and I don’t always shake them out first, but every single time I put a foot into one of them, I think “maybe this is it.”

Of course, I think “maybe this is it” about a million things; if I indulged every bit of paranoia that flits across my mind with an actual ritual, I would live in a state of constant paralysis.

Anyway, since moving to the Southwest, I had yet to encounter a scorpion, until yesterday. I was moving a big pile of broken down moving boxes from the living room into the garage and as I carried them through the house, a scorpion fell out and waddled away. I squished it, but two things: one, it was REALLY difficult to squish. Like, I stomped it multiple times and finally had to grind it with my heel. Those things are tough. Second, it was IN THE HOUSE.

Now, as a lifelong singleton, I know how rare my lifestyle is: everybody couples. That scorpion has a partner. At least one. It might even be poly. What if they are everywhere?

I had this idea that scorpion stings were highly toxic, but I googled it, and turns out they’re almost never a big deal. They’re just painful.

Still, though.

Selling

I had no idea what selling a house entails. First, my realtor (who is wonderful) did a walkthrough and said, “oh, this is in great shape. We just need to do a few little things.”

Three weeks later, I feel like we have cleaned and spruced up every square inch of the house, and I’m exhausted, even though my mom did everything so I could spend all this time with Edith since I’m going back to work soon. I’ve been a real pain in the ass throughout, because I’m really lazy, and I would rather simply not do things even if it costs me money. But this is apparently not an option when you’re selling a house.

When I bought the house, there were renters in it, and it looked bad — it had old ratty carpets so dirty they were black and splotches on all the walls and stuff piled from floor to ceiling in every room. I paid over the listing price for it anyway, but apparently most people are more particular than I am.

The main thing that’s been difficult is that you have to coordinate so many different types of people to do so many different types of things, and this always involves a lot of phone calling. The people you are dealing with tend to not be especially precise or communicative about scheduling — they love to say things like, “I should be able to stop by and do that sometime next week.” And then they don’t. Then, too, doing some things relies on other people having already done other things, so each last minute reschedule or failure to show necessitates calling everyone back again and asking them for new commitments that they won’t be meeting anyway. Then, after the work is done, there is often one more small thing that needs to have been done that necessitates getting them back out there (or it was all done wrong and has to be redone).

I don’t know why I’m complaining, because again, my mother did basically all of this. But having to think about it at all has been very depleting.

One thing my realtor said we needed was a stager to augment my furniture with accessories — pillows and artwork and vases and things. I didn’t understand this, because I thought my little house was very attractive as it was: sparsely, simply, and tastefully decorated. But then I saw what the stager did, and I realized that it had looked like shit before and that I have bad taste.

Well, now the house has never looked better. I wish I still lived in it.