Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thank you, Ann Rule, for making me feel better about my life.

I happened upon a little used book store on St. Marks last week. It was a sweet little shop with colorful wooden stools scattered throughout on which were scrawled in thick black sharpie: "NOT FOR SITTING!!! WE NEED TO PLACE BOOKS ON THESE!! DON'T EVEN THINK OF SITTING HERE!!!"

Charming little out-of-the-way place. Friendly too.
I was especially taken by a sign inviting me to browse their 'outdoor garden' bookery, which was actually a bunch of overstuffed metal shelves stuck outside the door, covered with a tarp. There were chimes out there though. And that was cool. If not freaking eerie on a cold March night. Like horror movie eerie.

Anyway. I damn near peed myself when I discovered an Ann Rule book I haven't yet read, and snapped that bitch right up for just $3. The book is A Fever In The Heart, (A Bestselling Story of Obsession, Manipulation and Murder!) and I'm of course savoring it each night like a sweet little snickers bar hidden under my pillow before bed.

I love true crime books. Love them. There is just something horribly, deliciously captivating about the graphic details of a crime committed by your average American boy-or-girl-next-door. One common thread I find in reading these fiestas of pain and suffering (and I've read a bunch) is that nobody ever would've ever expected it to happen. Ask any neighbor, third grade teacher, babysitter, the guy who sold the victim/perpetrator their cigarettes and whiskey, and they'll all say the same thing: "Those people? Oh, but I can't believe it. They were so nice, such good citizens, neighbors, PTA parents...I'd never have expected he would have been a serial murderer! Or that she'd have shot her children point blank in the backseat of her car! That woman? No way she'd have ever killed her husband for insurance money. I'd never have thought it possible."

Hell Yeah. That's the draw for me, for sure. The idea that anyone can commit a crime of 'passion' if driven to it under the right circumstances. A hot, dry night in the midwest, a lighted match and zip! You've set your house on fire with half its occupants asleep inside. Whoops!

And I admit it. Reading these books makes me feel just the teensiest bit better about my own life. Not that I really have much to complain about these days. But when my single mama patience runs needle-thin at the end of the day and I ask Lily just a little too gruffly if she would just eat one more bite of goddamned macaroni and cheese, I can rest assured that I'm doing a hell of a lot better than these poor saps.

Also, I'm pretty glad I don't own a gun or know anybody with ties to the mafia.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Big day

It's my birthday, and a pigeon pooped on my face!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Corn Pads

So I'm reading Lily Anastasia Krupnik, by Lois Lowry. Since I'm working from home more and am able to pick Lil up several days a week, I've discovered that there is a public library right next to her school. Sweet relief. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I tend to get palm-sweatily anxious if I don't have at least one book in rotation at all times. It keeps me from coming unglued.

I love the library. I love the overheated aisles with shelves and shelves of brand new stories. I love the musty smell of books that have passed through thousands of hands (and maybe even helped some stray scabies make the journey from your home to mine. Thanks!)...several times I've lost track of time and almost gotten to school late because I'm all sprawling with legs askew on the floor, pawing through a pile of novels to decide what to take home and what to leave behind.

I have this new thing with trying to get Lily to love all the books I loved as a little girl, but conveniently forgetting that I didn't discover a lot of these beloved paperbacks until I was at least 7 or 8 and could actually read. Of course I think Lily is smart, but having to stop and explain every concept and phrase from a Judy Blume novel to a 5 year old isn't really my idea of a rockin' good time. (I only read her Otherwise Known as Sheila The Great, which is really innocuous. It doesn't deal with periods or jerking off or mouthkissing or anything).

Anyway, last night we were laying in her bed as I read aloud from Anastasia. We came to a part about Anastasia's teacher taking off her shoes under her desk, and her corn pads being visible through her stockings. This was terribly intriguing to my child.

L: "What are corn pads, Mama?"

M: "Oh, they're just these little sticky things you put on your feet if you have...rough spots."

L: "I want some corn pads!"

M: "No, you don't. You don't need corn pads. Should we continue with the story?"

But she wouldn't let it go. She insisted that she needed corn pads and wouldn't listen to the story until I agreed to take her to the Duane Reed the next day and buy her a goddamned box of them.

Finally, we finished a chapter and she went to sleep, dreaming happily of our trip to the drugstore to buy footcare products.

And then I went into the kitchen and poured a glass of wine and planned to get some fucking Dr. Seuss books tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Parasites 'N' Me! A History.

Warning: this post contains copious amounts of icky. You may come away scratching yourself. Not for the faint of heart. But then, if that describes you, you wouldn't be on this blog anyway.

Hi! I'm Kristin. And I'll be your host (HA!) through this historic journey. If at any point you feel the need to throw up, I totally don't blame you.

When I was four I was a little dirt digger. I had a fun hobby of collecting ants from the back yard and placing them in my roller skate wheel. I'd place the skate on its side and then spin the wheel to give the ants a 'ride', like their own little amusement park. Sometimes the ants would fly out and I'd have to gather them and put them back in. It was my understanding that ants liked to be entertained in this way, and that I was doing something to make their mundane lives more fun. By my side was always my faithful black lab, Samantha. I have very distinct memories of sitting outside with Sam during this time, and feeding her ice pops. What I don't remember is developing ringworm. My mom said I got it probably because I was always naked running around in the grass and I hated taking baths. Some things don't change. Maybe I stepped in dog poop or even sat in it and didn't know it, because I think ringworm is spread through feces or something.
I don't remember the treatment for ringworm but I remember being completely freaked out that there was actually a worm lodged under my skin. I kept squeezing the skin to try and get it to come out. I'm pretty sure it went away quite quickly though.

When I was six I got lice. Probably from some dirty kid. There's always that dirty kid in your class and I always ended up befriending that kid. What sucked about this was that I had long, tangly hair that fell to my butt almost (my mother liked to keep me looking like a fundamentalist mormon) and the toxic chemical treatment that mom force-combed through my locks until my scalp was bloody didn't work. It got so bad that I had to cut off all my hair to a shoulder-length bob. Lice was maybe the best thing, fashion-wise, that ever happened to me in childhood.

When I was about ten I was doing my homework and playing with my hair when I found a tick behind my ear. That was fucked up. I remember scratching it and thinking, gross. How did I get a fuzzy pimple back there? And why can't I pick it off?
I ran downstairs and my poor mother had to deal with my hysteria. She tried everything to get it off...I think she even lit a match and tried to burn it at one point, but in the end we drowned it in rubbing alcohol and intoxicated on fumes, the fucker fell off. Mom flushed him down the toilet and I remember being nervous for a while that it would make its way back up the bowels (excuse the pun) of the septic system and bite me on the vagina.

Let's fast-forward a bit now. Remarkably, I made it through my college years without any nasty bloodsucking parasites living in my pubic hair, but when I was 25 I got married. Then I was legally bound to a parasite. Ha! Seriously though.

I went on my honeymoon to Puerto Rico. I spent the days of that week reading Ann Rice novels and baking my skin to a golden bubbly eating delicious tropical fruit. No problem, right?

Wrong. About three months later I expelled, during a (somewhat lengthy, but) routine bathroom visit, a flat worm the length of my arm. You may ask, how did you know you shit out a worm? Do you look at the toilet after you have a movement? Yes.
And so do you.

I had to fish it out of the toilet with a pair of tongs (that went straight to the dumpster) and put it in a coffee can to bring in and show my doctor. Ever sat in the waiting room of your doctors office with a giant Chock Full O Nuts can between your legs? It's mildly humiliating.

In the end, I was prescribed some kind of poison that tasted like baby aspirin, which killed anything that might have taken up residence in my intestines. And I haven't seen the likes of those guys since.

Which brings me to my most current brush with parasitic nastiness. I started developing what I thought initially to be a rash on my hips, legs, and boobs. It itched like a bastard, and nothing seemed to help it...not calamine lotion, not tea tree oil, not epsom salt baths, not getting drunk and trying to forget about it. My whole life became about scratching. I was like a homeless dog with incurable mange. I was actually rubbing skin off from scratching.

Scratch, scratch, scratch. It gets so you can't even think about anything else.

I finally went to the doctor and was told that I had scabies. Yes. Scabies. What almost-36 year old woman gets SCABIES?!
That'd be me. I'm still not sure how I got these nasty little mites that lodge under your skin and just relentlessly bite the fuck out of you, but I'm now focused on getting rid of them. I had to coat myself and Lily last night in a toxic cream that 'must be washed off in the morning!', according to the novel of a warning label.

And so here I sit, sippin on coffee, still with the urge to scratch, but less so.

I'm hoping this is the last chapter in this here story.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

That was an accident.

Sorry about that blanky mcmystery post, guys. I wrote something, then deleted it because it was stupid, but accidentally hit 'publish'; then my computer was feeling ornery and every time I tried to go back and delete the post itself, the internetz crashed on me!

Goddamned bastards!

So then I said fuck it, I have better things to do. Like watch youtube videos of bedbugs.

Oh, but more on that later.

Anyway, I assure you that my strange black hole of a post was not a philosphical experiment in headfuckery, though I am thrilled that you guys think I have enough flickering brain cells left to pull that off. Ah, if only I could give you all a soft, patronizing pat on the head for that one. Or a loving tap on the heinie. To show my great and abiding appreciation.

Anyway, I've just been busy busy busy. I cannot tell you how much time I have spent on Google this week researching bedbugs, convinced that I must have a little army of them burrowed in my mattress or light switch (they can hide in there!), or pillows or something. This research takes up so much of my time, I hardly have the energy for anything else.

I have been waking up for the last week with angry clusters of welty, itching bites all over my hips, butt and back. I don't know what the hell is going on. I changed my facebook status last week to say something like, "I hope it's just a spider bite!" and about 12 of my helpful friends commented that spider bite my ass, it sure as heck sounded like bedbugs.

Yet, a thorough search of my bed, floor, walls, bookshelves, drawers, pillows and couch revealed nothing. No indication of anything amiss. Not even bedbug larvae or a dead stray guy or anything. I did however find an overdue library book. That was nice.

So the itching continues. It's killing me. Tea Tree Oil and Caladryl are not alleviating my discomfort, but are staining my clothes and making me smell like the Whole Foods.

On the upside, the kid seems unaffected. So, maybe it's hives? eczema? Or shit, maybe it's that flesh-eating bacteria. That would be just my luck. Now that I think about it, that's probably it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

The people I meet

I'm lucky enough to make friends wherever I go. That's because I'm friendly and really open-minded. Also, many people frighten me. And I tend to be nice to everyone, especially when I'm afraid that being anything but will perhaps get me backhanded in the mouth or burned with a cigarette.

Case in point...

I've been spending a lot of time in the south lately.

I found myself traveling a long distance in a Louisiana taxicab yesterday in the company of a very interesting lady driver. Because she caught me at a vulnerable moment and called me 'baby', I said, "Sure! No problem!" when she asked if I minded her smoking.

Immediately I slunked down in my seat and started to roll down the window ("That one don't work,, let me put down mine...") and thought, you asshole, Kristin. What the hell did you just do?
See, when it comes to carsickness, I am even worse than your nerdiest, most hayfever-prone, nearsighted, cape-wearing, drooling, sniveling second cousin. You know, the one that puked in your dad's hat on every car trip you ever took as a family? Yeah, that's me. Only I get even more nauseous and can gag on command. I've been known to groan and put my head between my legs on rides to the 7-11 down the street.

And here I am telling this woman she can smoke on an hour-long ride to the airport. Duh.

There was something charming about her though. Even in her spandex shorts and flip flops, which showed off a red chipped-off pedicure on her dracula-ish toenails. The woman was so obese her cheeks almost hid her eyes. But she was sweet. And I was having a bad day. So I needed a little sweet. I got the sense that she would invite me over to her trailer and make me ovaltine and give me fresh mint from her garden or something.

Then the inevitable happened.

We started talking about Hurricane Katrina. This poor woman's house was leveled during the storm, but she proudly announced to me that she would not take a handout from the government. "No sirree, I work for my money. Not like some people..."

I love sentences that start with, "I'm not predjudiced, but..."
And this one was no different. Sigh. This lady opened her mouth and my, what a rant came tumbling out of it.

And since I'm a nice person, and tend toward passivity, I find that people feel comfortable being racist around me or something. She started talking about how the only people accepting help from FEMA were the black folks, and how they were dragging the culture of Louisiana down, and blah, blah, blah.

I wasn't feeling feisty enough to get into it with her. And plus, I know I cannot change a woman's mindset in one cab ride.
So I didn't say anything. And I kind of feel bad about that now.

I got to the airport and surprisingly didn't vomit on the street as soon as I stepped out of the cab. Even though I kind of really wanted to.

Maybe I should have asked to borrow her hat.