A couple years ago, before we moved into the place we live now, I had this garland I used as part of my extremely low-impact holiday decorating scheme (the entirety of the scheme is: decorate a tree, hang up any cards we get in the mail, hang the garland. That’s it. It can all be cleaned up and put away in less than an hour. Life is short and I don’t want to waste any more of it cleaning than I have to). The garland was kind of fake-pine looking and it was pre-lit with a string of twinkle lights. It looked nice draped (artfully, I liked to tell myself) across the tops of our bookcases, or hung up swag-like between some little hooks on the wall. Every year when I was done with it, I’d stuff it all back into the box it came in and chuck it in the hall closet. No muss, no fuss.
Until the mice got into it.
Our old apartment was a frigging mouse superhighway, and the hall closet was their on/off ramp. Over the course of the several years we lived there, I tried everything from snap-traps, to those sonic deterrent things, to attempting to train the dog to catch them (no dice. He made it clear very early on that Maltese are not a working breed. Unless you count barking at everything that moves as work. He’s got that shit on lock), to stuffing any holes I could find with steel wool (surprisingly effective, but only if you can locate every single hole ever. Otherwise those sneaky little fuckers will always find another way in). The only thing I didn’t try was poison, because while I apparently don’t have a problem with a spring-loaded metal bar snapping a mouse’s neck once they’ve been lured in by the smell of a delicious snack, I can’t stand the thought of them eating poison and then getting a bit of a poorly tum before dying.
Whatever. I contain multitudes.
So those little bastard mice got into my garland box, chewed all the wires, built a nest, and had a shit-and-piss-athon the likes of which I have never seen before (and hope to never see again). Needless to say, that garland ended up in the dumpster when we packed up to move to our current, blessedly mouse-free abode. Last year I meant to buy a replacement garland but I got distracted with…who fucking knows, probably BREATHING, knowing me…and never got around to it.
This year when I pulled out the holiday decorations I remembered the garland again, and I wrote it down on a LIST. If something makes it onto a list, I have about a 40% higher chance of actually remembering it. That still only bumps the total chance up to about 47%, but still. So it was on the list and when we went to Walmart on Monday night (which is another story in and of itself, oh my fucking word), we found a replacement garland. Happy happy, joy joy! I set it off to the side in the living room when we got home, intending to hang it up the next day. Which didn’t happen of course, because “hang up garland” wasn’t written on a list anywhere and I fucking forgot. WELCOME TO MY WORLD.
Wednesday afternoon I finally remembered I had bought the garland and decided to hang it up. The plan was to string it around the opening between our living room and kitchen. I call it an opening rather than a doorway because a) there are no doors and b) if there WERE doors, it would take like 3 doors to fill the opening. Tangent: is there an actual word for that? When there’s a hole in the wall that is clearly a transition from one room to the next but isn’t a doorway? It’s not a hallway or a passage because it’s not, like, its own space…it’s just a much-wider-than-a-door-shaped hole in the wall. Jesus, I’m making it sound like it has sheetrock and wires hanging out of it and shit, which it totally doesn’t. It’s finished and painted and whatever.
Sorry, back to the story.
So, Wednesday afternoon I went to hang up the garland. Now, before I go on, I want you to look very closely at this picture and come up with a good solid mental picture of what you would expect to come out of this box:
Spoiler: this box is full of lies.
You would expect an 18 foot length of fake pine garland with a string of clear twinkle lights incorporated into it, just like the picture shows, would you not? Granted, the picture only shows a couple feet of garland, but you would expect there to be roughly 18 continuous feet of fake greenery with lights in / on it. And probably a cord hanging off one or even both ends. That would be a completely reasonable expectation for this product.
Unfortunately, it would also be completely wrong.
The garland definitely did have lights incorporated. I’ll give it that. And it WAS green. And the lights WERE clear. But, as I unwound the garland from the cardboard it came wrapped around, something was amiss. Instead of 18 continuous feet of garland, what I ended up with was about three feet of cord with a plug at the end (reasonable), maaaaybe six feet of lighted garland, four more feet of bare green cord with a plug and socket (like the normal two-sided kind that comes on twinkle lights) in the middle, then another maaaaybe six feet of lighted garland, and three more feet of cord with another plug (which is the only other reasonable part of the whole bloody thing).
So I thought I was buying an 18 foot garland but REALLY what I got was two six foot garlands strung together with a GIANT FRIGGING BLANK SPOT IN THE MIDDLE. If the blank spot had been at either end, I could have just ucked the extra bare cord in behind something and been ok with it…but in the MIDDLE? Come the fuck on. I ended up kind of half-assed doubling the garland over on itself so that it would stretch across the top of the opening (seriously, tell me if there’s a real word for that, it’s really bothering me) and hang down a little on each side while disguising the NEAR ENTIRE THIRD of it that’s just bare green cord.
It looks exactly as weird as you’re imagining. Possibly worse. It was embarrassing enough that I didn’t take a picture of it, so that should tell you something.
The morale of this story, I think we can all agree, is to not buy garland at Walmart.
Or, if you’re going to buy garland at Walmart, open the box and check that it is what it says it is.
Or, just eschew garland of any kind.
And don’t let stupid incontinent mice get into your stuff because they’ll ruin everything. EVERYTHING.
AND…there should be a word for a doorway that contains no doors. The doorway, I mean. Not the word. The word can have door in it, but I don’t really see how that could work unless it was like…non-doorway…and that’s really not any better of a word for what I’m trying to explain.
On Mondays we still have some of the after-glow of the weekend to get us through. Wednesday are the mid-point in the work week and we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Thursdays often involve starting to plan for the impending weekend. Fridays practically ARE the weekend – any time after noon on Friday is pretty much gravy.
But Tuesdays…Tuesdays are for impotent rage, I’m convinced of it.
On Tuesdays you can’t just throw your hands up and blame shit on still being hung over from the weekend, and you have way too many days left in the week to just bury your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. If Monday is a dumpster fire, Tuesday is the fully involved three-alarm structure fire that the flash-over from the dumpster has caused. It’s not just a little smoke and the lingering smell of burnt hair…it’s your propane tank blowing up in an eye-searing blaze while you stand at the end of the driveway clutching your shivering dog and wondering what the fuck went wrong.
I don’t like Tuesdays, in case that wasn’t clear. And this particular Tuesday has been especially rife with fuckery of highly non-amusing sorts (although my propane tank didn’t actually blow up or anything, thankfully). It’s mostly work stuff so I can’t really get into it, but just trust me when I tell you that if I could procure a boat right now, I’d name it the S.S. Fuck Right Off, pack it with as many boxes of Pop Tarts and bottles of Rex Goliath merlot as I could afford, and shove off from the nearest dock to start my career as a small-time pirate queen. Imagine an obese female version of Jack Sparrow. That would be me. I’ve already got the eyeliner and the struggling to remember words down pat.
I need to do something to counteract the angry. Sending people mail makes me happy, so tonight I’m going to go home and address a bunch of holiday cards.
If you’d like a holiday card from me, you can add your mailing address to my address book here and I’ll happily send you one.
Although, caveat: if you’re international, the card may not get there by Christmas because I’m very bad at judging how long international mail takes to get from point A to point B and also sometimes I have every intention of getting my ass to the post office but then get distracted and end up carrying a bunch of cards around in my bag for an extra week. Just so we’re all on the same page.
Also, you have my solemn oath that I will not sell your address or use it for any other purposes, nefarious or otherwise.
And if you don’t want to give me your address, that’s totally cool. I still love you, and I’ll just beam you holiday cheer with my mind instead.
I should probably pick a specific day and time to do it though, otherwise you’ll spend the next few weeks wondering if every random warm tingle and whiff of gingerbread you notice is me beaming you that cheer I promised you.
Or you might maybe start to worry that you’re having a seizure or a stroke, and I don’t want to do that to you, because after all, I might be a small-time pirate queen, but I’m not a dick.
Guys, I bought a sweater in my regular size online last week and when I put it on this morning it was ENORMOUS, and it’s certainly not like I’ve shrunk any so I’m kind of thinking either someone was asleep at the wheel when they cut the pieces out for this sweater, or the person writing up the descriptions on the website forgot a crucial part about how “this sweater is cut extremely generous, to the point where the sleeves will completely cover your hands and you’ll kind of wonder if your arms shrunk a couple inches in the night, and also the bottom of it will hit halfway down your thigh even if you’re five foot ten. If you’re a shorty, you can wear this sweater as a full-on dress”.
I’m not complaining. It’s super soft and comfy and I actually really like the longer sleeves because I prefer to be able to hide my hands and the shanks that I may or may not be holding at any time. That’s not true, I don’t even have a shank, but still. I prefer my hands to remain as enigmatic as possible. If you don’t KNOW I don’t have a shank, you might be slightly less inclined to mess with me. In theory.
Anyway, what’s new? I know I was quiet for most of November. Originally it was because I was raring to go on my very first NaNoWriMo project. Then we took a road trip to Philly (which was mostly super fun), and I came back with the plague just as the election was happening. Then I spent a couple weeks basically wanting to just run away to Tazmania and pretend I’ve never even heard of the United States (that’s still a lingering thing, to be fair). Then it was Thanksgiving and I was like “OMG PIE FOREVER”, except the pie never lasts for more than a couple days because I will eat it for every meal until it’s gone (notice I do NOT say “until I make myself ill”, because even that doesn’t usually stop me. There are no stomach aches in Pie Club). And basically that whooole time from right after we got back from Philly until now, I haven’t managed to even LOOK at my NaNoWriMo project. In the past I’d have beaten myself up for that, called myself a failure, thrown my hands up and wailed about how this is why I can’t have nice things and be a writer because JFC I can’t even write every day for a whole week straight let alone a whole month….but I’m not letting myself do that this time. I’m attempting to actually be kind to myself instead, to look back and say “Hey self, you were REALLY sick and then you were REALLY down in the dumps and then you went through your first official big holiday without your Nana around. That was all kind of rough and no one else is going to hold not sticking to NaNoWriMo against you, so you shouldn’t either.” And it’s…kind of working? I can’t say that I feel super OK with the whole thing, but I’m not actively beating myself up and that’s several steps in the right direction and I’ll take it.
I also bought myself a set of watercolor pencils off Amazon because they were like 65% off for Black Friday. This weird derpy owl was the first thing I attempted to draw with them. I think his name might be Phil.