Slice of Life — Craft Division

Me: "Hey, Kevin, do you know where your tin snips are?"

Kevin: "Hmm, I don’t know if I’ve actually got tin snips–there’s a wire cutter in the garage, if that’ll work."

Me: "Damn, no, I need something with more dicing power."

(brief silence from the other room)

Kevin: "I suppose I should ask the all-important question of WHY you want tin snips?"

Me: "To slice the face off a My Little Pony!"

Kevin: ….

Me: "Then I’ll glue it back on, with a tapir snout!"

Kevin: "Ah."

(Bastards got my dremel, which would be the ideal tool. Oh, well…just have to hit the hardware store later, I suppose.)

First actual workday here at the new place!

So far, so good. Kevin wasn’t feeling well last night and so is working from home, and I’m in my studio. Since it’s still jammed with stuff that needs to be unpacked, it’s kind of a tight squeeze getting in and out of the desk, and two of the walls are still bare, but it’s getting there. Ben is playing King of the Desk. Gir is asleep at my feet. So far, everybody’s getting along pretty well. (I anticipate some fine ‘ol fights in a week when Ben decides it’s time to take over the hierarchy, but for now, we have relative peace.)

The new printer–Mr. Printy’s younger brother–has been ordered, and will hopefully be here by the end of the week.

And now, to go locate lunch.

The Perils of Dating Lutherans

Note to self: When the nice Lutheran pastor asks you what you thought of the documentary on the early life of Martin Luther, "Well, I suspect that Luther probably had a fairly severe anxiety disorder, what with the self-mutilation and the obsessive ritual and all," is maybe not the most diplomatic answer.

(Look, he ASKED. I try to be the soul of polite and respectful observance, but if people ask me a direct question, I tend to answer. They either learn to stop asking, or, as in Kevin’s case, they learn to enjoy the results…) 

He took it well. "Well, they were really into the wrath thing back then…" 

Ben vs. Beagle

So my kitties are set up in the new studio, and everybody seems to have accepted this. This is Their Turf.

Yesterday, as I was going into the studio, Smokey darted in with me. Smokey is a lovely lilac-point Siamese that Kevin trapped last year,* loves everybody. He walked through, bumping heads with Ben and Angus,and left again while they were still going "…who was that Masked Cat?"

Next time I went into the studio, Gir the beagle was clinging tight to my heels. "Fine," I said. "Might as well see how it goes."

Hoo, boy.

Gir weighs maybe thirty-five pounds. Ben’s nearly twenty (he’s gotten fat in the last two months, which is entirely my fault for leaving him alone for the weekends and dumping too much food in the bowl to tide ’em over, and his diet/workout regimen begins NOW.) You would think that this would mean that Gir is nearly twice Ben’s size, but when they’re facing each other, you realize that no, these are two comparably sized animals. Ben is practically Gir’s size, and only some of that is personality.

I suspect that Gir, who lives with a kitty rescuer, after all, and has seen many cats come and go, had come to think of them as small, fast, pointy objects that get even more pointy when you attempt to snuffle them. He had never before, in his wildest doggy imaginings, concieved of a cat that fought in his weight class.

Gir came in on my heels, looked up, and saw Death.

Angus let out a brief singsong growl and backed away, more out of surprise than anything else, I suspect. But Ben looked up, and said "You’re a dog. I know EXACTLY what to do with dogs."** And got up. And advanced.

I sat down to try and mediate, although what I was going to be mediating, other than severe lacerations, was anyone’s guess.

Some cats fluff up to try and make themselves look bigger. Ben just hulks like a linebacker. His ears don’t flatten, his tail doesn’t puff, but he does get a line of bristled fur along his spine.

He advanced farther. He opened his mouth and hissed.

Gir said "Ohmygod, it’s the devil," and dove behind me, turning into an improbably tiny little ball of beagle and cramming himself into the corner of the room.

Ben continued to advance.

Gir shoved his chest into my back and tucked his head under my arm so that he could watch the feline menace without actually making eye-contact. I patted him.

Ben hissed again, possibly because the dog was touching his human, but halted. I suspect he was unsure of how to attack without going over the top of me, and was weighing the cost-benefit analysis of taking me out as well.

Unwilling to be collateral damage, I opened the door and Gir fled into the hallway, away from the horrible beast that looked like a cat and was the size of an aurochs.

A few hours later, I opened the door again, and Ben poked his head out.

The welcoming committee was arrayed on the landing outside the door–Sami, the black dominant female cat, Smokey and Gir. And just to one side, at the top of the stairs, not quite visible from inside the room, lay Brandon the border collie.

Ben looked from one to the next, dismissing them with feline contempt. Sami–"I can take you." Smokey–"I can totally take you." Gir–"I will destroy you and sow your bones with salt." (Gir whined and retreated down the hallway from the force of that glare.)

Then he poked his head around the corner, and saw a wall of border collie. (Brandon is a freakishly large specimen, weighing in at seventy pounds, none of which is fat.) Brandon turned his head and looked at Ben.

"Whoa." Ben stepped back into the room, trying not to look alarmed. "I don’t think I can take you."*** He looked at me, looked back out into a world which contained gigantic fluffy dog things, and allowed as how I could probably close the door now and that would be okay.

At the time of this writing, Gir is crashed out at my feet, and Ben and Angus are cautiously exploring the house. The studio is now Their Turf, and they retreat here, but so far, everybody seems to be getting along fine. The day will undoubtedly come when Ben drops on Gir like the angel of death and rides him around the house, whooping, but it hasn’t happened yet.

So far, so good…

*He’s part of a local feed-trap-neuter program. They’ve run out of space at the moment, so they’re doing fix-and-release trapping. Mind you, if anybody wants a rescue kitty, we’ve got two here that could use new homes…

**All translations from Feline and Canine approximate.

***The irony being that if he smacked Brandon, Brandon would say "…okay. I suppose I deserved that," and hang his head, and go find a human to reassure him that he is still a good dog.

I have the best friends ever…

Whew. Dude. What a couple of days.

Okay. Sorry for the incommunicado thing–last night, in an orgy of packing, I Got Moved. Thanks to some good friends and their Pickup Truck of Holding, everything except my futon frame and a couple of bookcases got moved out. It was amazing. Kevin’s living room now resembles an explosion in a furniture and plastic bag factory, and my computer didn’t get hooked up again until tonight.

Thanks, first of all, to my buddy Brooke, who called me up, listened to me babble for a few minutes, and then said "Right, I’ll be over in an hour," and showed up with food. This is particularly noble because Brooke is allergic to cats, but she packs like a demon nonetheless, while sneezing madly. Greater love hath no woman.

Huge mad thanks to Mike & Amy, Wes & Elizabeth, who showed up with a truck. Mike & Wes are two of the finest specimens of the uniquely southern variant of geekdom you will ever meet, and their packing skills are Epic. They turned my furniture into a 3-D tetris set and fitted it into the truckbed without an inch going to waste. It was incredible. If they packed a clown car, it would be so dense that not even light could escape.*

And, of course, the biggest thanks of all to Kevin, who orchestrated the whole move-a-thon, took very good care of me while I was still wandering around going "Wait–what–I’ve been robbed? REALLY?"**–plied me with fifty-year-old whiskey when appropriate, and spent this evening assembling my desk and setting up my computer. (And, perhaps most notably, nearly reduced me to tears, when after we had unloaded everything into the living room, and were going off to get food, turned to me and said "Welcome home!")

And then, of course…there’s you guys.

Jeez.

I’m getting a little choked up here, but y’all came through amazingly with the orders and the donations. I’ll be able to replace Mr. Printy (the exact model was discontinued, so I’ll have to get Mr. Printy’s cousin, but that’s okay) and the scanner, and my vital tools (I discovered today that they carefully picked through my tool bin and took everything. Pliers and an electric screwdriver are pretty essential to my job. And tin snips. I mean, Kevin has a pair, but a woman needs her own tin snips, damnit. If zombies attack, you don’t want to have to share.) plus a few other things.

I don’t know how to thank you all for the kindness, and I’m too fried after two days of frantic coping to come up with anything eloquent, so–THANK YOU. I don’t know if I deserve you, but I am the luckiest artist around, and I will arm-wrestle anyone who says differently.
 

I promise you amusing stories of Ben vs. Beagle tomorrow, when I am less fried.

*Clowns stuck all over the event horizon. Very unpleasant.

**I still keep doing this randomly. It’s not even traumatic so much as just so WEIRD, ya know? I mean…really?

Robbery

My apartment got robbed last night.

Important stuff–The cats are fine, the guppies are fine, I’m fine–I was at Kevin’s.

They came in through the sliding glass door and cleaned out my game consoles, all my video games, Mr. Printy, and my brand new scanner.

They left the computer, obviously.

And, to my complete and profound horror, they took my sex toys. Which is wrong on more levels than I can really express. They even took the one on the nightstand that hadn’t been WASHED, okay? WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Thankfully the majority of my stuff, laptop included, was at Kevin’s. They didn’t touch the art. And Ganesh is obviously kind, because despite leaving the sliding glass door wide open, Ben and Angus were both still here.

I’m moving everything over tonight, if I have to work until friggin’ midnight and STEAL a fuckin’ truck.

Um. I can still take print orders–and in fact, if people would like to buy art, or just feel like sending money*, now would be a Really Good Time, because I’ve sold pretty much nada this month, and my renters insurance lapsed LAST month. Unfortunately I can’t fill the orders until I get a new printer, which is the priority, so if you’ve got a standing print order (only like three people, I think) there’ll be a slight delay.

(I mean, shit, I needed to upgrade the consoles, but this is NOT the way to do it…’course, it won’t matter, since I no longer have anything to play on them.)

Waiting for the cops to show up, then the frantic loading and freaking out will begin.

They left my copy of Spore in the CD drive. At least that’s something.

ETA: Oh, for god’s sake. They cleaned out Money Frog’s little pile of change. That’s just cold.

*[email protected] and this is the only time I’ll ask.

Well, I was going to share the Common Flapalope and Megaflapalope with y’all, but there’s apparently some kind of bug with the buddy system–Kevin and I can’t locate one another, despite knowing each other’s log-ins. (I found another buddy okay, but I’m wondering if it either takes awhile to update, or if I’m temporarily invisible. Still, if you want to try to find me, I am Wombattica. Um…I probably won’t add you back as a buddy if this is the sort of system where I get flooded–nothing personal, but y’all know how it is. Still, if you manage to locate me, let me know–I’d like to know if this is a systemwide bug or what…)

(Possibly I can just get a pic at some point and inflict it on you, the bio-gamer-geek equivalent of "Look at these pictures of my grandkids!")

I managed to get some sketches done yesterday, in hopes of actually doing a painting, but since my art supplies are getting boxed up, Spore is about the only creative outlet I’ve got until after the studio gets set up for good this weekend. Bookcases are about half moved. Cats are looking suspicious of chaos.

My computer is the great definer of my Place of Primary Residence,* and it won’t move for another day or two, but my underwear drawer, one of the secondary characteristics, has moved, along with some of the art supplies and half the barong, the other two, and my toiletries are sort of inching over, sometimes being ferried back and forth. Soon enough…

ETA: Hey, look! Behold the flapalope horde (which needs to have a few specimens edited out, for the sake of efficiency…) 

*The cats being the other great definer.

Stick a Fork in Me…

I find myself looking around my apartment and going "Yeah, I’m done with this place."

Not that the packing and moving is done–it is to laugh!–but with a couple of bookcases, most of the books, and some of the art gone, I am definitely not comfortable here any more. Being here alone, even working, is depressing me.

I suspect part of it is that the last few moves I’ve made have been INCREDIBLY depressing–of the duct-tape-and-sobbing variety–so it’s a bit Pavlovian–perhaps my brain now equates moving with despair. But moving into this place was good for me. I threw myself into it like a psychotic, trying to make a place that reflected ME, as part of that whole identity-nesting thing that you always go through after a divorce. You’re not entirely sure who you’re going to be, so "I am the person who lives HERE," is a pretty good starting point.

Maybe that’s the problem–having so vigorously created an environment to reflect my personality, its dismantling feels rather personally unsettling. Even with barong still conspicuously placed everywhere, even with Ganesh’s shrine on the countertop and my computer where it always is, and Ben giving me the I-want-to-jump-in-your-lap look from the floor…yeah. It doesn’t feel like home anymore.

This place was a blank canvas a year ago, and it was good for me, it was proof that I could make myself a perfectly comfortable life with just me and the cats, but now it’s just a storage place that’s emptying much too slowly. I want to be gone.

I had planned to take a few weeks to move, transfer all the computer stuff this weekend, culminating in the final furniture transfer the last weekend of the month, but now I just want out of here. I can actually feel the stress, a kind of pressure against my throat and my soft palate (what a weird place to carry stress) and an itchy anxiety under my breastbone. My fingerbones feel like they’ve been hollowed out and poured full of itch and static.

Maybe I should just sweep the contents of my workdesk into a couple of garbage bags, toss ’em in the car, and go.

Dream Theatre

Had a weird nightmare last night that my buddy Brooke and I were being chased through these strange quasi-industrial, quasi-Victorian halls by these freaky mutant dogs with spider mandibles instead of teeth. They were trying to get to a little girl who we were attempting to escort to the top of the building, where she would get to ask a question of some kind of fascist oracle.

We delayed the dog-spiders by throwing pastries and holy water at them (there were a whole bunch of tables of donuts and muffins for some reason…) and finally reached the top of the building, where we got the little girl into this strange ceremony, taking place in a huge formal ballroom, just in time. I was on the edge of a set of bleachers, decorated with velvet barding, with three dog-spiders jumping at me and barking.

Rather than ask a question, however, the little girl–much to her own horror–turned into a freakishly growing monster–somewhere between Humpty-Dumpty* and Cthulhu–and attacked the oracle and assembled guests, while screaming that it was her father who had done something to her and turned her into a monster.

Brooke and I surveyed the growing carnage. "Right," she said, "I’m outta here." I agreed that this was a good idea and we broke out a window. Fortunately, the top floor seemed to be at ground level (most of the building must have been underground, ala Lovecraft’s "Outsider") so we wandered out into the parking lot, hot-wired a pick-up truck while Armageddon erupted behind us, and then the cats woke me up just as I was trying to explain about the difficulty of getting art shows these days.

There were other dreams last night, but all I really remember is a single, rather interesting line–"There’s a fox spirit who lives in my nostril. But I don’t think he knows how long humans live."

And also I was Batman for awhile, but I spent most of my time on a message board dedicated to modding My Little Ponies with female Batman character themes. (I recall that I was very impressed with the Huntress mod, and less so with the Batgirl one.) Which is neither here nor there, except I kinda wanna do Superhero ponies now…

*I have always found Humpty-Dumpty creepy. Possibly it’s because he’s a little like a clown or something…