mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

charm the wolves


A few entries ago I talked about the roofing contractor and his epic flakiness, including a list of excuses for being late/not showing up that looked amazing once I typed it all out. I do not think I mentioned that all of the communication ‘twixt me and the disastrous roofing contractor, who I will call Vince because that is his name, is being accomplished through text message. Because his phone won’t ring, receive calls, or make calls, which is probably another excuse in a long list of excuses, but whatever. Can I just say how strange it is to text with someone who is not a friend? I have no idea why it feels more intimate than calling, but it certainly does.

Everything was done but the stairway painting, which Vince was supposed to accomplish beginning at 9 am on Black Friday. Since he has never been less than an hour late, I let 9 am come and go, and continued reading in my pajamas. However, by 10:45 I fired his sniffly tattooed ass with this text:

Vince, I think we are done here. Don’t bother coming today. We will pay someone else to paint the stairway.

And…nothing! No response! Not, that is, until Saturday afternoon:

Sorry about yesterday, got arrested for an old warrant I didn’t know I had, I just got bonded out this morning. I completely understand and I’ll bill only what we did.

If true: uh wow. If another excuse: it is the dumbest one I ever heard because do I want to know that? Okay Mr. Unreliable Jailbird! By all means let me recommend you to my friends!

I have not replied and he has not contacted me again. Technically we should pay him the rest of the bid—minus the painting bit of course—which is several hundred dollars. If he texts me about wanting to come pick that up, I plan to be unavailable on some of the days he suggests. Or maybe just be late getting home, so he has to wait around for me. Or maybe I’ll suddenly be taken ill or get arrested and oh dear, looks like we’ll have to hook up another time.

The “we’ll pay someone else to paint” part of my text was mostly for rubbing-it-in purposes, since the holidays + home improvement + my increased need for wine have combined to make the budget on the slender side. LT did it himself, despite the awkwardness of painting in a stairwell. And he has to do it again—because the paint I fell in love with from design blogs looks great in a room, terrible in a stairwell! So…yay! He gets to paint twice! (I think he may be less enthused, although luckily he agrees about the paint.)

The skylight has turned out to be a real “give a mouse a cookie” project, since the sudden abundance of natural light showed off the dinginess of the walls and carpet, and I had the bright idea of pulling up some of the carpet, anticipating lovely vintage maple like in the rest of my house, only to find that the stairs and bedrooms do NOT have wood floors, probably because the whole upstairs was unfinished attic at one point in time. So yeah, now we definitely need new carpet, thanks to my curiosity. On the bright side, LT will not have to be careful with drop cloths and stuff while painting. For the second time.


I need all the internet’s wisdom on how not to get involved in arguments with my child, who is being exceptionally tween-y and illogical lately. I think the answer is fairly obvious: Be the adult! Don’t get emotional! Let it go! All of that is really hard for me, especially when she is flat-out WRONG, will contradict herself several times in the middle of a single argument (started, by her, for the sake of starting an argument), and flip her lid when this is pointed out. MOM! That’s not what I MEANT! (Well, it’s what you SAID.) MOM!

Is there a solution? Besides sedatives for both of us?

Recent problems have included homework that she CAN’T do (baloney), a winter coat that is SO AWFUL why can’t she just have a NORMAL coat (she picked out the abnormal coat herself, last year),* and why does French have all those stupid ACCENTS it’s like they DELIBERATELY WANT TO MAKE IT HARD.

*This is the only problem that I solved, thanks to a ridiculously on-sale “normal” coat from a big-box store…can’t beat those sweatshop prices! (Sigh.) Homework is a fact of life, deal with it. And I will happily help her draft a letter to the French government about their STUPID IMPOSSIBLE language, but I don’t think much action will be taken.


As I’ve said before, my neighbors have chickens and I sort of want chickens. Because chickens are funny. Sometimes I think that my life is too complex for chickens right now, and I should wait until retirement or something to get chicken friends. Then I will read some urban-homesteading propaganda and get all excited about chickens again. THIS COULD BE DOABLE. Then something will happen to make me go back the other way.*

Recently one of my neighbor’s chickens got sick and she had to “put it down.” I wondered how you euthanize a chicken without the assistance of a vet. You’d chop off the head if you were going to eat it, but why make a mess if you’re not? Chickens: too big to flush. Would make a ruckus in the freezer and possibly not even die. My neighbor thought I was nuts to even wonder this and said, “Uh, you just pull on its head. Crunch.” I cannot picture myself doing this, because I would inevitably fuck it up and get an angry chicken with a neckache. Can’t you just Heaven’s-Gate it with some Klonopin in its feed and a plastic bag? And little black Nikes?

*I have this flip-flopping brain an awful lot lately, particularly when it comes to consumption of things. I will get deep into reading about things like climate change and America’s slow decline into plutocracy. For a while everything will be about thrift and scrimp and being present in the moment and feeling slightly guilty about all that I have. Then I will read lovely-lifestyle blogs and all thoughts about my carbon footprint and my soul fly out the window, and suddenly I want to buy beautiful expensive light fixtures and skincare items from France. (Which will undoubtedly have STUPID DIACRITCAL MARKS on the packaging.) I don’t know if it’s normal for a modern person to be so easily buffeted back and forth between ideals and whims, or if I have a particularly wishy-washy pile of pudding for a brain, or something in between.

—mimi smartypants gee your brain tastes delicious.