February 2006

We return from the ER!

They were very nice. Cary, never known for its running gunbattles, had even left off the car accidents for the evening, so it was deader than dead and only took about two hours all told.

That miracle of medical mystery, my husband, has baffled doctors.* It looks like a break, it hurts like a break, it’s localized like a break, it’s swollen like a break, but it X-rays like a happy foot. Best guess is some kind of truly nasty sprain. He’s got crutches, painkillers, a weird flat-soled boot, and the number of an orthopedic specialist to call if he isn’t back to normal in a week.

I am very much relieved it isn’t broken, and I appreciate all y’all’s suggestions in prior entries!

*Okay, one very nice doctor. Who appeared to be younger than I was. Kids, this is one of the signs you’re getting old.

…and it’s startin’ to look weird. James is glumly admitting that yup, that could be a break, and that nasty little popping sensation could be…err…more badness. And he can’t walk on it at all.

So now I’m waiting for an on-call doctor to call back, and let us know whether he hangs out overnight, or whether we get to make a trip to Ye Olde E.R.

James and I both feel awkward about going to the ER for things that are excruciating but not notably life-threatening–I mean, don’t we need to leave that for the cardiac patients and the people with gunshot wounds? That’s an emergency. This is just a serious pain in the ass, but it’s not like he’s gonna die of it.

What to do, what to do…

Well, the house hunting was kinda disappointing.

The agent was fabulous–she had a terribly suspicious mind, which I approve of greatly in an agent as long as they’re working for me (i.e. “What is this new wallpaper hiding? It’s a lousy job, and nobody hangs wallpaper right before they move unless they’re trying to hide something. AHA! Feel this! There’s a crack behind here!”)

The houses varied. We looked at six, some of which were regrettable, some of which were okay but didn’t grab us. The one we had hopes for had a really neat design, a huge yard, and so many structural problems in the roof (including massive squirrel holes that you just KNOW means that the area between roof and ceiling is carrying a half-ton of stored acorns) that there was no way–we can fix anything that requires paint and tile and sweat, but once the ceilings start cracking, that’s out of our league. But tomorrow is another day, there are more houses to be looked at and more comin’ up all the time, and I didn’t really expect to find a place the first day out anyway.

James, meanwhile, is now in desperate pain, his foot is a bit swollen, and we’re planning on taking him in to the doctor tomorrow–our insurance’s 24-hour nurse line says either severe sprain or a fracture. He still wants to look at houses tomorrow afternoon. I suspect this will not be happening. James occasionally reveals himself as one of those people who, having accidentally cut their arm off with a chainsaw, walks ten miles out of the woods to help, fighting off bears with the severed limb and thinking of geeky new ways to mod their stump. Me, I get a stubbed toe, I retire to the couch with a comfort book and send out for pudding.

We’re off to look at houses today, a trip corresponding to James coming down with an agonizing foot pain. It’s not swollen or bruised, toes are not sticking off at odd angles, it’s not the big toe and thus probably not gout, but the side of his foot for some reason is killin’ him. It’s either some random weirdness or he broke a wee bone in his foot, but he can rub his foot and not suddenly scream in agony, nor did he feel any breaks. He has no memory of having injured it in any fashion, the foot looks fine, but he’s still hobbling around like Gimpy the squirrel. Advil helps a little, but I am getting the impression that this is some mondo pain.

Like the stoic he is, he waved off my suggestion we cancel the house-looking trip and go to the doctor. So we’re still looking at houses. James WANTS to buy a house, and if he has to use me as a crutch, so be it! Crawlspace? Hey, you use your knees in the crawlspace, not your feet. (I may wind up in the crawlspace with the agent, for all the good I’ll do.)

And tomorrow, if it’s not better, I’m taking him to the doctor, come hell or high water.

It is possible that my unhealthy obsession with giant fruit has taken an even more disturbing turn with this one. (One might well question why, at a time I am thinking of buying a house, I am making art that no one in their right mind will buy a print of. I know *I* am.)


(Yes, those are giraffes in the distance. No, I don’t know why they’re there.)

Adventures in Real Estate

Today we met an agent!

It was not as alarming as I had feared–she was very nice. (Presumably you only get into that field if you are capable of being very nice and personable and whatnot, but she did it well, and like all cat owners, I am willing to bond with someone over Tales of Feline Projectile Vomiting.) She came recommended by some friends of ours, who had apparently abandoned her during a giant water moccasin attack at a house showing, but she didn’t seem particularly bitter. Must come with the territory.

Armed with paperwork, recommended loan places, and the new knowledge that North Carolina is a non-escrow state, we will shortly begin actually looking at houses.

And then we might actually buy a house. But that’s a future madness.

Opening at the Toad went off fairly well, except that nobody realized that a live musician had scheduled himself in at the same time. So that was a little awkward. It’s hard to talk art when someone’s belting out “Moonshadow” in the background and accompanying himself on the harmonica.

My thanks to those friends and fans and combinations of the two who made their way out! Badger, Shimmerling, Fluffytoes (see, I remember handles–don’t ask me what their real names are!) thanks for comin’ out!

Hanging the show was a lot more trouble than I’ve ever had with a show–our first piece went on the wall, Carlota stepped back, and the thing lunged off the wall and to the floor, shattering the glass in a cataclysmic explosion of axolotl and armadillo art. Fortunately no one was hurt. (I got to hang the rest of those, though.) Then we discovered that another painting had no hanging hardware, but fortunately the frame shop down the street, having provided all my custom mats recently, tossed a coupla screws and a wire onto it gratis, which was terribly kind of them.

And the ladder. Let’s not talk about the ladder. If ladders can pass into that undiscovered country, and out the other side, and return as undead, with a thirst to pinch the fingers of the living, this ladder had done so. I have seen toothpick bridges made for sixth grade science classes that were less rickety than this thing. (My toothpick bridge could support sixty pounds! I used a glue gun, though, so it weighed close to that…)

Sold a coupla prints–don’t really expect to sell any originals, so that was a nice little fillip! Handed out some business cards. Life is good.

A straightforward wildlife portrait, although if you squint, you could make a good case for a certain grizzly bear chef with his shirt off.


I never fail to be amazed by how THICK bears are. There is a bulk to them that seems patently absurd. It’s one of those things where you almost have to work from reference, because the mass of neck and shoulder seems ridiculously overexaggerated otherwise, and you stare at it and think “Oh, surely not.”

In case anybody’s interested, my art’s goin’ up at Mr. Toad’s Coffee tomorrow, and there will be a…well “reception” is a grandiose term for me and my agent and James hangin’ out at a table, but a thingy from 6-8.

Mr. Toad’s is in a shopping center at the corner of High House and Cary Parkway, (in Cary, North Carolina.) They have excellent coffee. My agent Carlota is the one with the boobs. James is the one with the beard. By process of elimination, I am the other one. Come by and say hi!

Still lookin’ at house stuff.

We’ve moved on to the “getting loan quotes” bit, and having established our max limit, we are shortly moving to the “call the realtor” stage. My father calls me now and again to utter dark prophecies about the horrors of escrow (He says it’s bad, but just when you hit the breaking point and are about ready to declaim that you will live in a cardboard box from now on, goddamnit, it’s over.) I have always had a horror of paperwork, since my student loan days, and now it’s as if a demon I had banished to the back of the file cabinet is starting to claw its way into the light. It’s not here yet, but I hear the heavy tread ‘pon the stair, and all my incredulous glee at the notion that I could buy a house! me! and put in bird feeders! and foxglove! and bat houses! and paint rooms any damn color I want! cannot save me from the chill dread. Soon, the forms will come.

Fear! Terror! Panic! Buying of gardening books! Fear! Contemplation of potential decor! Horror!

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of stuff I need to work on. So of course I have a painting idea. Because that’s just how it works.

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