Friday, May 29, 2009

Ethanol, Ticks and Swine Flu

We can't sell the cabin. We totally totally really truly can't sell the cabin.

It is the exact same age I am. It is falling apart in many ways. Which is totally hilarious and sad and somewhat insulting though I'm sure the cabin doesn't mean to point out how old I am by ceasing to function and getting moldy and heaving under the carpets.

My grandfather built the cabin as a fishing cabin. It is the only house I know that has remained with me my whole life. It has grown and changed, but while my family moved and my grandparents moved, the cabin has always been there on Folly Creek. It was never meant to be a beach house, though that is what we want it to be now. It has vinyl siding. Most rooms are wood paneled. The bathroom walls are covered with some kind of plastic substance that I'm sure does keep them from getting moldy but could no doubt simply be hosed down to clean. But they are hideous to say the least. Nearly every room was decorated in some variation of orange and brown.

All this notwithstanding, when I was a kid I thought the cabin was the most beautiful, most luxurious, best-smelling house in the entire world.

We totally can't sell the cabin.

So why am I perusing

How to accurately sum up last weekend. Let me see... in short, the boat crapped out, we were infested with ticks and Doc Hubby got swine flu. Any one of these things would have put a bit of a damper on the holiday. All three bordered on tragic. And each is interesting in its own way. I'm trying not to be too apocalyptic but here's the deal.

The cabin sits on a tidal creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is gloriously remote to this day. Part of what makes it so special is that while every field in my hometown is getting filled with McMansions and mini-McMansions, the Eastern Shore of Virginia remains virtually the same as it was in 1980. I mean, there are many more chain stores on the big route down the DelMarva, but once you turn off 13, it's country. And marsh grass. And towering pines. And barrier islands accessible only by boat with pristine and kinda wild beaches, littered with sea treasures (and I'm not kidding, my Dad saw a guy flip a gold piece out of the sand just while they sat and chatted). And big fields. But the fields have been farmed increasingly heavily in recent years. And agricultural run off and mud are filling up the creek. The dock has been extended twice to create boat slips. But the slips keep filling up with mud. This isn't why the boat isn't working, mind you. It's just context.

The boat isn't working because of ethanol. No joke. Up and down the East Coast of these United States, people are sitting sullenly in their stalled out boats because the carburetors are full of corn syrup. Because the gas that sat in their engines all winter...or in gas cans in their garages, or that just didn't get totally cleaned when winterized...has separated, leaving essentially a layer of corn syrup in the bottom to gunk up carburetors and stall boats. Ours among them. So we had no boat to use to get out to the island to the beach or to go fishing.

So okay, we'll just hang around the house.... Except that with the increase in all that mud, and the growth of tons more marsh grass, and (dare I say it) the increasingly less hard winter frosts, we are infested with ticks. Infested. How best can I express how infested we are? My Dad, who spent one afternoon carefully pruning the azaleas, had seven ticks. I had two embedded and one crawling across my foot. Ticks gross me the heck out. So much worse than mosquitoes. So insidious and flat and creepy and plague-bearing and ick.

So okay, we'll just spend time indoors together playing games and singing songs and telling stories.... Cough cough. Snarfle snarfle. And Doc Hubby, who works at a hospital where there have been no less than 288 cases of swine flu to date, has quarantined himself on the glass and screened-in porch. For days. He takes this seriously. Plagues and the like. I'm a germaphobe and all, but he peed in the bushes and we handed in plates of food to him and he totally didn't come out. So when the time came for us to make the six hour drive back to New York City, we went through this ridiculous comedy of errors that involved many clorox bleach wipes, a trip to Baltimore, and a rented Sebring Convertible (which, Doc Hubby has confirmed, is a piece of crap car but it's still a convertible and I think he had fun driving it home anyway even with the top down because it also rained most of the weekend). We get home to the city. He returns the rental car, and promptly drives upstate for three days to continue the CDC mandated quarantine. FOR A HEAD COLD most likely. But who am I to quarrel with epidemiologists.

So the night we get home and he leaves to go upstate, we eat waffles for dinner. I give the baby a bath hoping for a calm, quiet, lovely evening together. I rinse her pretty little curls, go to wash behind her sweet elfin ears...and there's a TICK! Embedded behind her ear! At this point I am fairly rabid. I can't, in good conscience, call any of the women I know in the building to help me with the tick removal, because we both could be carrying SWINE FLU! So I swaddle the baby in a towel, lay her on the living room floor, all the while she's howling "All done! All done, Mama!" at the top of her sweet lungs, SIT on her, and grope around her ear with sharp tweezers until I remove the tick. Which I place in a ziploc bag to keep to hand over to said CDC in the event she develops LYME'S DISEASE.

And here's where I risk the whole apocalypic thing...I'm no conspiracy theorist but what is up with these whack ass plagues? Lyme's disease? If rats were causing this public health crisis no one would think twice about taking major action against the carriers. So because the bugs live on Bambi we're not doing a thing? I'm not saying I want to go out there and shoot them, but really? The choice is to do nothing? You can't play in your yard anywhere in the East Coast without worrying about this nasty and weird and totally creepy disease that started on an island off the coast of Connecticut. And now swine flu???? Where did this come from again? Some kid in Mexico and a pig? Sounds really fishy to me but what do I know? I'm just high on all the carbs I've been eating to make it through the last week with some shred of sanity remaining. Pass the brownies.

So Doc Hubby is back now. He's cursing in the kitchen chasing a "wiley" roach around. I am trying not to throw up over the concept of bugs hanging out on my fridge where this guy was spotted, and at this point I'd like to live in a tupperware container for a few days. Maybe if I did my skin would look as lustrous as Bernadette Peters' does.

I digress. All this said...we really totally can't sell the cabin, right? I mean, right?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My First Run with the Jogging Stroller

Running with a jogging stroller is a unique form of torture. I happen to think running is torture, period. I have, at various points of my life, done more or less running. I have never gotten to the place where I thought "ooo goody, I get to go for a jog today." Or conversely, "oh man I feel like crap because I haven't gone for a jog today."


I never get past the place where it hurts.

But we were so generously handed down a jogging stroller and let's be frank, I need the exercise. Last year at this time I was walking every day. At least two miles. Sometimes more. Often vigorously. Both with the plan to lose weight and also because there wasn't anything else to do with the baby and I had no friends. Now I have a few friends and we meet at playgrounds and the kids run around and get exercise and we drink iced mochas and eat the bits of muffin that fall on their shirts.

Doc Hubby and I actually spent a half an hour two Saturday nights ago watching an infomercial for P90X. Some exercise program that you're supposed to be able to do in your home with just weights and a chin up bar (who has a chin up bar in their house???). And in 90 days you get ripped. Neither Doc Hubby nor I has ever been ripped. And we sat and watched this thing like crazy people for thirty minutes, I think kinda seriously considering doing it. I actually wondered if you can get it on Ebay. You can...OF COURSE. You can get a spare lung on Ebay.

I mean, who doesn't want to be ripped? And 90 days? That sounds like a decent amount of time in which to get ripped. Then we watched the first two hours of "Dances With Wolves" which is honestly a totally brilliant movie. I know how some people feel about Kevin Costner, and I agree in some, though not all ways. And I totally don't think this movie should be a punchline. But I have to stop watching it when it starts to get bloody because since the baby was born I just kinda can't stomach any violence in movies. So how do I think I'm gonna make my way through P90X if I'm such a wuss? Excellent question. I'll get back to you on that one.

So in lieu of P90X I jogged about a mile pushing the jogging stroller. Then turned around and walked home as vigorously as I could manage.

I discovered that I missed the crab apple blossoms this year. Because it rained a lot in the last few weeks and also because we keep going to the playground and not for walks.

I just feel...kinda antsy and rambly and itchy. Can you tell? And I totally have the hiccups.

Nothing a little P90X wouldn't cure.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Time to Cook or Get Out of the Fire

I said this to my friend Rebecca on the phone yesterday. "It's time to cook or get out of the fire."

I meant kitchen. We both decided we like fire. I am not totally sure what it means.

We are all about to turn a big number. Birthday-wise. And we've all got something stuck in our craws, it seems. All my "about to turn a big number" actor friends.

It comes down to several things, Chris said. Do you really just want to do good work? Or is it the whole being famous thing. Because we really are in a place now where we could just decide to do good work and then do it.

My video did not win $10.000 on YouTube. A big company was sponsoring this contest. I was so sure I would at least be a finalist. I really was. I was ridiculously disheartened when I wasn't chosen as a finalist. I was all ready to launch my Facebook campaign and my Twitter campaign and win. That money was already in the baby's college fund. But I may have said "poop" too many times and talked about my underwear too much for this squeaky clean company's liking. Or it may have been just too much about me and not enough about the cute baby. Honestly, I thought that the whole idea was for them to choose a new spokesperson for their YouTube channel. So maybe it should be an itsy bitsy bit more about me than her. But then again. Maybe they just didn't like me.

There's this theater company that I love and I have worked for for many years. I have become friends with the people who work there. I feel, in a way, that they are my family. Or I am a tiny part of the family. Maybe just that weird sister-in-law who reads books out on the deck and sips sweet tea while everyone else is in the kitchen laughing and drinking red wine. But as time goes on, it appears that I'm kind of not being chosen to be a part of this company. I have been passed over.

Wah wah wah. Poor me. Not everyone can like you. Not everyone will like you. I feel like a pretty likeable person most of the time. But I have got to come to terms with the fact that I just don't float everyone's boat.

Not everybody will like me.

So therefore, it is time to get together with my friends. And cook or get out of the fire. There are people I adore and respect and would love to work with. So maybe I should stop sitting around waiting to be called in from the deck, and actually get out my own damn crock pot and start cooking. They all seem ready to cook too.

So we're doing a reading. My friends and I. Here in New York. To benefit a new theater company. I had rehearsal for it last night. The first rehearsal I've attended in over two years. It felt really nice.

If you're here, do you wanna come?