Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Boobs Gone Wrong

I should begin by saying this commentary is a full four days overdue, and people way more qualified than me have had their say. Look at the bright side--I'm not going to bitch about my homework for a third day in a row. And I could people, I so could!

No, it appears I'm going to have to get this "off my chest" as it were.

The photo above is, of course, of Sarah Jessica Parker in her Oscar get-up. A frock that drove me absolutely INSANE every time I saw the woman on my TV screen. Because riddle me this:

How are her nipples staying INSIDE that gown? HOW!!!!????

Honestly, I was a nervous wreck by the end of the night for worrying that, indeed, one of SJP's girls was going to make a break for it at any second complete with ::BOING:: side-effect and just be RIGHT THERE, like Hello America!! And then I would have to personally die of empathetic embarrassment and third-hand humiliation, the victim of a cringe spasm so violent that it could actually be measured on the Richter scale.

Hello Sarah Jessica? An evening gown is just supposed to be pretty, 'k? Just nice and lovely and you are to just inspire admiration and evoke happy smiles when wearing it. If your gown obviously requires, say, an actual certified engineer armed with a slide-rule and six rolls of duct tape or, alternatively, the temporary surgical removal of your nipples until Monday, it is not an evening gown anymore. It's a mistake.

For instance, here's a girl working an evening gown:

BAM! Natalie Portman. See what I'm saying? It's pretty. It's drape-y. SHE'S pretty. The dress is strapless but not threatening. I'm not worried about her when she's on screen. I'm not concerned that any of her intimate body parts are going to break loose and poke someone's eyeball out on national television. It's just...nice. Very, very nice. Calming, even. (And that color is fabulous on her.)

In conclusion, SJP, let's review. In the immortal words of Irving Berlin (and he should know) "A pretty girl is like a melody". And most certainly NOT like, say, the Brooklyn Bridge which, while an engineering marvel, is still not an appealing date for the Oscars.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Musing in the Library

I'm sitting before an ancient pc in the school library, chin in hand. My contacts feel like out sized jagged-edged saucers glued to my eyeballs. Every blink is individually annoying. I have been in this chair for three hours painstakingly working through my latest Microsoft Access tutorial and homework. The lessons are based on the continuing saga of "Oren" and his extremely important work at the "Belmont Corporation".

I am irresistibly drawn, at all too regular intervals, to stare out a nearby floor to ceiling plate glass window. It's nice, really. The library is two stories up and traffic rushes ceaselessly by on the highway below. I arrived at my computer station amidst slanting late afternoon sun. Now, night has fallen, dark enough that all drivers have seen fit to turn on their headlights.

I consider heaving my huge computer monitor through the window. Imagine clumsily picking the thing up, ripping it from its tether and staggering over to the window with it. Imagine the feeling of satisfaction I'd experience as "Oren" exploded into a million pieces on the sidewalk below. Imagine the shocked, confused looks I'd get from the library monitors one of whom, young Brian, had earlier cheerfully helped me locate the awkwardly placed jump drive receptacle on the PC I was using. Imagine Brian's quote beneath tomorrow's headline WOMAN GOES ON LIBRARY RAMPAGE:

"She seemed perfectly normal when she came in except for she was, you know, sort of older."

I further distract myself by looking around the library. Like laundromats, college libraries have changed. The actual "books" section, for they cannot be called "stacks" by any stretch of the imagination, take up less than a fourth of the total square footage. The library mostly consists of computer stations and huge open spaces for quiet study.

I remember going to a different college library with my mom as a child, remember the positively breathtaking number of books and stacks so vast that one had to take an elevator from one section to another. Remember the cozy feeling I had in the tiny aisles and how I could, standing still, touch books on either side even with my narrow reach. The thrilling feeling that one could hide forever in one dark corner or another of such a labyrinth and never be found and, best of all, never be bored with a million books on hand to read on every possible subject.

I force myself back at the computer monitor. Yep, there it is. Still.

Subscript out of range

The error message currently making my life a living hell. It's the same no matter how many times I try to import the table. (And we won't discuss how many times I made the attempt.) Always? The subscript is out of range. With a sigh, I compose a quick message to my professor and send that portion of the assignment as is. Then, with superhuman effort, I successfully focus on and complete the other two sections of the assignment and submit them.

In the end? Oren is likely never going to find himself hurtling out the library window.

But he will have to kiss my ass.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Magnificent Obsession

I so should be doing homework right now.

Which would be why I'm writing a blog post.

O Procrastination! Thou art the most vilest of diseases! How thy stingest my arse with thy sharp stinger thingy and maketh my head acheth as though afflicted with a plague of Egypt or a brown tequila hangover (and I should know)!

When procrastination is coupled with The Ice Storm of the Century and stirred with subjects (Microsoft Access/Atronomy) in which I do not automatically excel? Oh, woe is me. It's like homework has morphed into something like the plant in "Little Shop of Horrors". Only instead of people, I have to sustain it by tossing into its gaping maw a steady diet of paperwork, answered review questions, completed online tests, and thoughtfully composed article summaries so it doesn't KILL ME DEAD.

Worst of all? I've had to begin to come to terms with the fact that: (shhhh):

I might not make all A's this semester.

I know. It's totally embarassing.

I've no idea where or when the obsession with the perfect grade started. As a kid, my self-set mental goal was always nothing less than a B, but that's about the extent of it. When did I morph into the goob who's willing to do extra credit, for God's sake? How did I become this...this person who gets clammy at the thought of a B and downright dizzy at even the slightest whiff of a C? Who would have thunk I'd be the girl working desperately in the desserted library on Friday afternoon while everyone else is out preparing to get their freak on like The Lord intended?

I mean, seriously, as if, anyone is EVER going to face me across a desk and actually give a sh!t that I, at my age, with my polar-opposite skill-set, do not have a working grasp of The Doppler Shift or will ever want to know why, exactly, I whizzed when attempting to filter my query.

And anyway. I think a girl should be allowed to filter her query in private. Don't you? Most especially if she's wearing her doppler shift.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Still workin' it

Since my amazing spot-on prediction that Michelle Obama's inaugural gown would be white, I now consider it incumbent upon myself to keep you posted on Michelle-related style news (when I remember to, that is). As you see, she's landed the March, 2009 cover of Vogue. The Huff Post has put together a slideshow of her first 30 days, stylistically speaking, as First Lady. (I'm personally coveting the royal blue patent belt.) The Mrs. O blog is featuring her in a fabulous pin-striped suit, though upon closer examination (page down) it is reeeally high-waisted. Hmmm.

SO not safe for work.

I'm posting this video for a friend. This is a excerpt from what is in my opinion the funniest episode of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ever (Season 5). It deals with a subject, the v----a, that is, trust me, not something you want blasting from your work speakers. The last scene in this episode is, unfortunately, not posted on YouTube but is the funniest thing I think I've ever seen on TV.

Granted, I'm a little twisted.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today I woke up, rolled over and nudged Tallulah, a dog always reluctant to face the morning. Tallulah woke herself like she does every day with a looong luxurious butt-in-the-air stretch during which her unnaturally long pink tongue unrolls like a scroll as she yawns expansively. Then she stumbles around the bed, eyes half closed like a drunken person, until she finds my face, puts her nose to mine and tries to lick my face. This is her official “good morning”. If I make no more moves, she’ll immediately heave a sigh of relief, lie down and go back to sleep, and hope I quit bothering her already. I slept late today, so I got up and spent what was left of the morning returning/making employment related calls. My job search is fraught with delays.

Today, I had a sorely needed appointment with my stylist, Amberley, and she worked her usual miracle on my hair as we traded horror stories about our ice storm experiences and I caught up with the latest gossip thanks to her current supply of People, Us, In Style, and In Touch Magazines.

Today, I ran errands. I stopped by the library to drop off some materials that went with a set of movies I’d borrowed through an inter-library loan. I discovered my account showed $225 in late fees. WHAAA? After a little ‘splainin’, I’m happy to report that’s down to $12. I received a very welcome check through the mail. This meant depositing funds in various accounts and settling up some bills. I’d like to say I took care of all of these tasks with one neat trip downtown, but I kept crisscrossing back and forth like a spaz between my house and the other end of the city. I listened to my Be Good Tanyas CD the whole time. It’s been in the player forever now, but I show no sign of growing tired of it.

Today, I ate more Amy’s food; these all organic, vegetarian frozen entres are fast becoming all I eat at home when I’m feeling lazy (read: every day). If you’re local, it’s available at the Park Avenue Kroger in the frozen case near the Deli (we have a hard time finding organics locally sometimes). I don’t know how Amy’s manages it, but their food is spicy and delicious and tastes like it was prepared with actual fresh ingredients as opposed to a big plate full of MSG-covered unidentifiable crap. Their macaroni and cheese is a meal in itself and the best I think I’ve ever tasted anywhere; their Indian food is perhaps my favorite; their pizzas are divine--the dough has the yeasty wang of homemade. Best of all? I’m only four microwaveable minutes away at any given moment from a mostly guilt-free meal with serious nutritional value.

Today and every day recently, I’m checking out TCM’s amazing “31 Days of Oscar” series—I’ve added a live link in my sidebar that leads to the website. Classic Oscar-winning movies are airing constantly on TCM every day leading up to the Academy Awards on February 22nd. Fortunately, it doesn't much matter if you're late to the party. I’ve taken in “Some Like it Hot”, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, “Funny Face”, and, today, “42nd Street”. Love!

Today, I enjoyed sunny, windy sixty-six degree temperatures and took the time to examine the formerly beautifully shaped Redbud tree in my front yard. It seemed hopelessly damaged by the storm a few weeks ago having lost at least a third of its branches to the overwhelming weight of the evil ice. Since then, however, it seems to have rebounded and I now think the tree will live to bloom again.

Today, I smelled spring in the air for the first time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

iList Paducah goes all the way!

It's not news in many parts of the world, but here in Paducah, highlighting alternative lifestyle dating is sorta cutting edge. Fortunately, iList Paducah is the right site for the job, thanks to open-minded entrepreneurs Mary Thorsby and Nikki May. Their regular "iDate" series has already featured gay and bi-sexual men, so if it isn't actually a surprise that the first lesbian iDate is featured this week, it's still kind of a milestone, isn't it?

Photographer Lacy Williams is the right girl for the job: sassy, talented, and all "age is just a number"--find out why this local Sapphic sophisticate is Number One.

Steam Heat!

I can't resist posting this bit of video (4 mins 33 secs) from "The Pajama Game" (1957). The excerpt I'm posting here is the show-stopping number "Steam Heat" featuring Carol Haney (center dancer) who won a Tony for her performance in this role in the stage version of the musical. The amazing choreography is by my hero, Bob Fosse. It's a great example of Fosse's revolutionary moves and the thing just makes me smile throughout. It's only recently been posted on YouTube and I'm so glad somebody took the time to finally make it available online.

As I watched this bit of video again tonight, I was suddenly reminded of how Michael Jackson dressed, for much of the 1980's, in pegged black pants, white socks and dark shoes. It's easy to forget, now that poor Michael is a circus freak, what an amazing dancer he was in his time. I suppose it's a long shot that this bit would have inspired Michael's 80's look. Then again, stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doubting the Duggars

[I post the above video of the Duggar's last month appearance on The View by way of explanation as to who The Duggars are as well as for entertainment value because the comments by View host Joy Behar (far right) are hilarious. 7 mins 25 secs]

Okay, can’t shut-up about it anymore, will somebody please tell me why Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar , stars of TLC's reality show "Seventeen Kids and Counting" keep producing children? For the life of me, I just don’t get it. And their “We took birth control pills and had a miscarriage and then we were traumatized”, in my book at least, does not account for EIGHTEEN CHILDREN. (Two words: barrier method.)

Do the Duggars really think they need to continue to work to ensure their slice of the future genetic pie? Is their desire to mesh REALLY not satisfied by, say, twelve maybe thirteen kids? Are they totally unfulfilled by a mere fifteen children? Are their lives noticeably incomplete with a paltry seventeen children?

And, yes, I’m sorry I’m going to go there (because that’s what I do): Ever pondered the sheer amount of crap produced by the Duggars in a day? Considering the average human produces a pound of poo a day, let’s say the Duggars, a family of 20, produces, conservatively, 15 lbs of crap per day. One-hundred lbs of poo per week. EVERY week. That’s well over two tons per year, people. Definitely? What we need here is another Duggar. Just ask Jim Bob and Michelle. (And the planet.)

Beyond the obvious just plain excessive nature of the Duggar’s need to reproduce is Michelle’s tried-and-true method of raising her brood. She shared this system in one of their many television specials that I seem unable to tear myself away from watching in sort of a train wreck-ish sort of way. What Michelle does, you see, (she cheerfully reported) is to assign each new arrival a “buddy” as she calls them. In this case the term “buddy” refers to an older child that is regularly officially deputized to care for and look after the needs of a younger Duggar, thus freeing up Mom, I imagine, to begin again the important business of whipping up another Duggar.

Is it just me or is this unfair to the older Duggar? Should an older sibling, who didn’t have a voice in the choice to give birth to their assigned “little buddy” be expected, in all fairness, to regularly act as a parent? For that matter, can any two people effectively parent eighteen children?

What is wrong with these people? (And has nobody told Michelle that hair-do is, indeed, a mullet? And why are Jim Bob and Michelle seemingly both wearing the same style of shoe?) Why can't I stop phrasing everything in the form of a question?

Here I’ll pause to explain that, yes I do love John and Kate Plus 8 because while, okay, they had to resort to fertility treatment to have a family, and yes, that is what caused two multiple births (first twins and then sextuplets), they readily admit that HAVING 8 CHILDREN IS PRETTY CRAZY. And they don’t plan on having more. And they didn’t mean to have that many children but when faced with the unusual multiple pregnancy, felt they could not selectively choose to terminate one potential child and not the other. This? I can understand.

The Duggars? Not so much.

Monday, February 16, 2009


This link is a bit outdated but, oh, so worth the jump.

Just pretend it's once again around inauguration time and enjoy this post by Nora Ephron (if you haven't already).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Surprised Waitress

[Please refer to this post for part one of my dinner outing Saturday night.]

Eventually, it was decided, among the three of us in our little party, that, indeed, we had paid the price (for two hours) for our lack of weservation, that in fact it was Our Turn to be seated at a table and that we had no other recourse but to intimidate Drill Sargent Hostess into seating us. We had the support of our fellow comrade waiters (we're planning a reunion at the KC Hall next year). One among our small group (there were 3 of us) was elected to act as the intimidator--and it wasn't me yay!

When DSH came back, we were ready.


We're on the list.

The Rest of Us
(Looking appropriately menacing.)


We're NEXT on the list.


Lady? We're gonna need to be seated. Now.

You sit at bar?


We were in. Oh happy day! We followed DSH toward the bar, and what to our wondering eyes appeared on the journey?

EMPTY TABLES. Empty tables everywhere.

The bar, however, jam packed.

DSH lead us to the farthest, darkest most claustrophobic corner of the bar where there were two tiny empty seats. Um, yah, that wasn't going to work since there were three of us. The four of us stared at each other dumbfounded. This seemed to be the end of the line for DSH. I gestured toward the nearest empty table.

"How about, oh I don't know, this empty table?" I suggested.

And the problem with that table, according DSH, was that it hadn't been wiped off. Like we cared! Finally! A table! We sat down and began massaging away our leg cramps.

Our waitress, clearly surprised (<---hint: key word) to see us at the table showed up a few minutes later.

Surprised Waitress
Can I take your order?

Can we have menus?

(looking surprised)
You need menus?

Well, that would sure make it easier for us to decide what we'd like to order.

It was a suprising evening all around for our waitress. She was surprised to learn that we needed those little square bowls so we could mix dipping sauce for our sushi. She was shocked, shocked to learn that we needed some sort of extra plates so we didn't have to eat straight off the serving trays. She seemed perplexed when we asked for the check.

Finally? (And granted? We were a downright confusing group) We asked for to-go boxes.


You know, boxes?

(looking surprised)
What sized boxes would you like?

(exchanging disbelieving looks with my cohorts)
Aren't you the expert on that?

(Taking over and speaking slowly)
Okay, we need boxes? The boxes would be (slowly passing her hands over the leftover sushi) for this food. This food right here. Okay? We want to take it home.

Big boxes or little boxes?

And there I'll finally draw the curtain on our evening out. Because I'm just tired all over again. Eventually, we got boxes.

On the plus side? The food was delicious! We LOVE sushi!


Call Ahead. Please.

I went to a favorite local restaurant with some friends tonight. I was in stellar company and the food was eventually awesome, but the service? Oy.

Our hostess? Was bad. The waiting area at this place is itty bitty. And tonight it was jammed with hungry people. I knew there was a problem when, upon my arrival in said itsy waiting area, I was met by a person in my dinner party who confirmed that not only did we not have a reservation, which meant we would have A Wait, but that we had to get on a waiting list in order to wait for a table. Are you with me here? Because this meant we were waiting to wait.

And so? We waited.

And waited and waited. Occasionally, smart people with RESERVATIONS would come in and get seated. But mostly? We waited with these same, oh, about 10 or 12 people or so jammed into this little waiting area. The hostess, mysteriously, would disappear regularly for ten minute stretches. Then she would return to the tiny, jam-packed waiting area in order to to scream at us, the poor bastards who had been waiting for approximately an eternity, at point-blank range,


You know? We didn't has weservation, because probably if we did, we wouldn't have been standing here for an hour. We began to discuss, among ourselves, the 10 or 12 of us or so (because by this time we'd exchanged e-mail addresses and cell numbers and two of our number had fallen in love and were attempting to conceive a child in the corner) that maybe we could somehow, belatedly, get weservation. The hostess obviously seemed to keep expecting us to suddenly has weservation.

We hatched a plan. We would sneak over behind the hostess station while the hostess was on one of her many mysterious forays to points unknown and secretly write our name on weservation list. MWA HA! After a thorough investigation of all the nooks and crannies of the station, however, we learned the wiley hostess had taken the list with her. Damnit!


You know? We still didn't has one. Not a single one of us. Damn the bad luck. But we were getting curious about where the hostess was disappearing to on such a regular basis between weservation interrogatories. It was suggested that maybe she was actually in a workshop out back constructing the tables at which we would (in theory) some day be seated.

At nearly two hours we got brazen and began spilling out into the dining area. Maybe we could intimidate a group of diners into giving up their table with our desperate, angry, exasperated, hollow-cheeked stares.

Just then, two fresh people from the outside world wedged themselves into the waiting area. The hostess returned.


One of the new waiters whispered something to the hostess. The hostess whispered back (and who could have guessed Drill Seargent Hostess was even capable of whispering?)

And then they got seated. Just like that! Shazam! And, ya'll? We knew those new people most certainly did not has weservation. Because we would've smelled it on 'em.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Because we don't have enough going on weather-wise...

I returned to class tonight after missing the last two Tuesdays due to the storm damage and resulting power outage difficulties (classes were actually cancelled). As I walked to my car with a classmate after my last class, he told me that there was significant concern that the huge storm systems effecting Texas and Oklahoma and moving steadily east may pose a serious threat to this area. The fear is that the storm systems would have sufficient steam left by the time they reach our battered shores to possibly wreak further havoc with our situation due, in part, to limbs weakened by our recent ice storm catastrophe. Not only do many compromised limbs remain lodged in the trees, but huge piles of gathered and piled up broken broken limbs awaiting pick-up line nearly every residential street. Many of these brush piles are 6, 8, even 10 feet tall and many more feet wide.

My imagination immediately began to (helpfully) paint a vivid picture of what could happen should high winds begin picking up sending all these limbs whipping about the countryside at high speeds. Local news is predicting sustained winds in the 30 MPH range with gusts in the 50 MPH range. Also, the ground is now saturated with moisture increasing the probability that more trees will give way and topple over.


My conversation with my classmate was the first I'd heard of a really serious threat, though it's been raining and increasingly windy this afternoon and into the evening. My first reaction was: That's it, I'm loading up my dogs and driving away. Far, far away. West maybe. Or possibly north. Some place where there isn't any trouble, Judy Garland.

Cooler heads have since prevailed and I'm staying put, but still.


Empowered in Paducah: The First 12 Hours

Someday, I'll be able to stop writing about power and the lack thereof and the joys of reconnection. But, sadly, that day is not today. Don't stop reading? K? Please?

OMFG, ya'll. Still can't believe I have power. Can't. Believe it.

I learned of the blessed reconnection via a cell phone call from my Mom I received just before heading into noon meeting. I was completely worthless at the meeting because all I could breathlessly think about was GETTING HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND WALLOWING IN ELECTRICITY.

I broke away quickly and made a beeline for my home where, sure enough, flipped switches responded with floods of light, I was finally able to insinkerate the rotting food that had been festering in my kitchen sink drain, and newly formed ice cubes were automatically once again being regularly born in my freezer. I replugged all the stuff that had been powered by the Husky into wall plugs. I texted everyone I knew who had ever inquired about my situation. I called my Dad and someone else who had been exceedingly concerned and wildly supportive during my ordeal.

And then? I slept for four solid hours. Just in the middle of the day.

When I woke up I realized a whole two weeks have passed and, while I've chronicled my experiences here, it still, in the weirdest way, seems like those days disappeared into some kind of void, like they were sucked into the time/space continuum or down a rabbit hole and weren't actually lived. At the very least, they shouldn't count against me on the Big Wall Clock of Life, I think. I mean, it's FEBRUARY, for god's sake. WTF?

Another oddity is Tallulah. She is HUGE. Apparently, she went through a growth spurt during the outage; at one point my Mother remarked she could tell the dog had gotten bigger overnight. Now that we're back to regular life, I can tell Tallulah is SO MUCH bigger than when this all started. She barely fits into her usual snuggle places and she towers over Mom's dog, otherwise known as her Uncle Dudley. I can only conclude the dog is part mushroom and thrives in darkness.

I continue to have to remind myself I can, indeed, go into the bedroom without my little flashlight or a candle and sometimes find myself peeing in a dark bathroom for no particular reason. I haven't been to the gas station for fuel in, well, many MANY hours. I'm starting to feel some backlash against my formerly coveted bright purple flannel jammies, like at a minimum I might never wear them again or, at a maximum, I might invite my friends over for margaritas and an official Jammie Burning Ceremony. (We used to hold such ceremonies after breakups during which we'd drink cheap beer and burn all photographic evidence of the ex. We're much more mature now. We quit smoking cigarettes during these sessions. Mostly.)

You'll notice I've posted a new feature in the sidebar thinking of all those still suffering without power (the Power Guilts set in quickly) with links to the most updated information posted by area power companies. Hopefully, I'll be able to take that down quickly and rejoice in 100% restoration soon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's Electrifyin'!

Yep, I'm back on the grid, folks!

I'm relieved on so many levels, not the least of which is that this blog can return to its usual ridiculousness rather than acting as a chronicle of despair.

My thoughts are with those still without electric power. This experience has been worse, so much worse than I would have thought before it happened to me. Though I consider myself pretty high on the empathy meter I will never, ever think of "power outage" in the same way again.

And then? The generator stopped.

Oh, you guys. I don't even want to report that the Husky is on the blink. For some reason, when it ran out of gas this morning, it would not re-start. The motor seems close to turning over, but just won't catch for some reason (yes, it has oil). It's to the point where we're reading the instruction manual; I grabbed the stack of papers that came with the machine and read a few paragraphs about the celestial equator before realizing my Astronomy homework had accidentally gotten mingled with the Husky papers. It's a damn good thing the celestial equator isn't really a factor in the Husky's performance; I was feeling extra special f!cked there for a minute. Especially since--let's review--the celestial equator is imaginary.

An hour or so after the Husky debacle began, Jackson Purchase Electric trucks began whizzing down my street (first one then two--then THREE) and a crew is clearly working not two houses away. I've also received an e-mail communication from a friend and reader that has given me further reason to retrieve my dust-covered sack of hope from an obscure storage bin labeled "Sh!t you really don't need" deep in my psyche.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

In Which I still Don't Have Power, but Manage to do Laundry

Our dark street is now approximately half-lit; my across-the-street neighbor has power and many of those east of my house are back on the grid. To the west of me, however, both sides of the street remain dark on either side all the way to the dead end. I would estimate the continuing outage encompasses-- maybe ten or twelve houses? We are treated to very regular police patrols after dark now since there was a burglary about two houses down; some thieves taking advantage of the situation and robbing an obviously abandoned home. I don’t know the details beyond those I just typed and haven’t investigated. I don’t want to know.

We have been blessed with rising temperatures, today reaching into the mid-sixties, praise the Lord. This means I do not have to run space heaters off my generator—those babies really suck the watts. With only a couple of TVs running and some lamps, the Husky can easily provide us with 12 hours of power at a stretch on five gallons of gas; the output is reduced by approximately a third when the heaters are running.

The warmer temperature meant I was able to retire to my bedroom to sleep in my actual bed on my Simmons Beauty Rest last night for the first time in a long time (I heat only the main living space during a cold snap). I spoiled myself by pre-heating my electric blanket and then Talullah, Furgirl and I piled in for the most glorious night of relaxation we have known since this all began. It may have been the most glorious night of relaxation ever in the world.

Today was taken up with laundry; my friends Jan and Jae extended a generous invitation offering me the use of their washer and dryer. I was shocked and amazed at what was going on over at their house in Reidland. They have this stuff over there? This invisible force hooked up to switches that makes lights come on and go off and clothes become clean at the touch of a button. They also fed me food prepared on a big white box with a window in the front and four hot plates on top; the dish was spaghetti to be exact. Warm, delicious spaghetti. I have a similar box contraption at my house; its function is, ostensibly, to hold down the floor. I looked around Jan and Jae’s house while I was there and didn’t see a gas can anywhere, or a huge tangle of extension cords, nor did we at any time have to shout at each other so as to be heard over the roar of the generator. It was all very strange.

Upon returning home, I set about my usual evening preparations. I changed into my super-cute flannel jammies (coordinating pants and top) they are decorated with festive little white grinning doggies with jaunty little red scarves wound about their necks on a bright purple background color; I finished off the ensemble with a pair of ancient Birkenstock clogs. I then emptied the remainder of the contents of the five-gallon gas can into the roaring generator by the glow of a small flashlight held firmly between my teeth.

It was then time to head down to the BP Station to refill the gas can so as to be prepared for the inevitable early morning refill. If you’re still with me here, you realize I made this trip still in my jolly flannels because—let’s be clear—FRANKLY MY DEAR, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN (we're back to GWTW today).

Fortunately, the people at the BP were either too shell shocked to notice I was in (really loud) sleep wear or immediately understood, on a deep, instinctive level, that one does not verbally acknowledge the situation when a middle aged women, quite obviously without electricity, shows up at the BP Station in bright purple flannel jammies at nine o’clock on a Saturday night.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Day 11 without Power in Suburban Paducah

Oy vey.
Yesterday was a bad day. A call to Jackson Purchase Electric brought a chilling answer to my query of when the power might be back on. The Jackson Purchase Electric spokesperson responded, "Not for a long time." And then he laughed. He further told me, when I suggested they needed more help under the circumstances, that they "had no place to put" more help and that it would likely be mid-next week before my power was restored (recent press releases previously estimated end of this week). You can only imagine how crestfallen I was at this news. When I suggested again that they had inadequate help considering the magnitude of the problem I was told, "Honey, you can just grab a hammer and come on down here if you think you can do any better."
That's when I hung up.
I won't be calling again.
A worker knocked on my door this morning requesting I turn off my generator so he could clear the remaining trees from our power lines, a concession I was happy to make. I wish this were an indication that the power will be on soon, but have learned not to hope.

Thanks to all of you who have extended generous invitations to both my dogs and I to stay in your electrified homes. Your concern means everything and knowing you care so much helps more than you can imagine at this point. So many of you have shown concern and various kindnesses to me throughout this ordeal. You know who you are. Thank you so much.

With the Husky, I continue to be minimally equipped to stay put. Next door, my mother has perfected the art of cooking biscuits in a cake pan atop her Kerosene heater. She flips them rather like burgers and they taste delicious. The Husky generates adequate power for us both to run heaters, TVs, and a few lamps.

Both Mom and I faced the faced the grim tasks (me last night, her this morning) of clearing our respective refrigerators of what once was food. In the beginning, we had a strict policy just not to open the doors of the appliances; back when we thought the power would be restored "just any day now". Having given up this hope, we could postpone the job no longer. I'll leave it to you to imagine the gagifying nature of the process. Thankfully, it is done now, and we have washed out and stuffed the now empty appliances with many boxes of baking soda in the hope that the lingering putrid smell can at some point be eliminated.

Thankfully, there is a warming trend predicted weather-wise and we may see temperatures as high as in the sixties this weekend. It is surprising to me how demoralizing living without electricty is for those of us still experiencing it. As I wrote previously, we continue to be tired no matter how much sleep we manage to get and it is quite a struggle to remain positive; much harder than I would have thought before I experienced it myself. On a happier note, most of my friends in places like Lone Oak, Littleville, Reidland, the Southside, and Lowertown are back on the grid.

Someday, we'll all be there. I think.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Day Nine without Power in Paducah

[Please Note: For those of you who read my yesterday's post that said ABC's Peter Jennings introduced a report about Paducah on the news that night, know that that was a mis-type on my part. Poor Peter Jennings did not return from the grave to introduce a story about Paducah. It was actually NBC's Brian Williams.]

Wednesday greetings from Thunderdome.

I am coming to you today through a combination of the miracle of chemistry and a grant from the Brimstone Corporation, plain and simple. After nine days of darkness in suburbia, I am not the only one at the end of my tether. One might expect such lag time in a cabin perched on a remote crag of, say, Brockeback mountain. Within spitting distance of the mall and a major interstate? Not so much.

The fact that my suburban street remains a pocket of darkness surrounded by a sea of light has now become newsworthy. A WPSD-TV news crew filed a report yesterday interviewing on-site one man without power on one side of my street and a woman directly opposite him across the street who does. I cannot find the story posted on the website or I'd link. It's aired at least once; I saw it on the six o'clock news cast this morning after firing up the Husky in the bitter eleven degree cold with a wind chill that I know was much lower.

My evening was brightened last night considerably by a visit from my young friend Stephanie. Her power, praise be, was restored the day before yesterday and she stopped by to check on me last night as opposed to basking in the warmth of her newly electrified house. She entertained me with stories of her stuggle to keep her one pet, a fancy-finned beta fish named Ramone, alive throughout the disaster.

Poor Ramone withstood quite an ordeal, first enduring the cold at Stephanie's until he began swimming sideways and looking panicky. Stephanie, having braved a night without heat decided to evacuate, but first ran a steamy shower warming the bathroom and then slid Ramone's bowl in wrapped in a towel to hopefully benefit from the steamy warmth while she was gone. She returned the next day to find what initally looked like an empty fish bowl (Stephanie suspected suicide). Upon closer examination, she realized Ramone had pre-buried himself in the gravel at the bottom of the bowl, his near-lifeless fins just barely visible above the gravel. Knowing Ramone was near death, Stephanie wrapped the bowl in a towel and cradled it close to her body for warmth on the trip to her in-law's house. Once there, Ramone emerged from his gravel grave just long enough to take up residence inside a conch shell also in his bowl. This is where Ramone remained until power was restored at Stephanie's and he was able to return to his normal shelf in Stephanie's kitchen. At last report, Ramone seems to have made a full recovery, and is enjoying fresh water in his bowl.

Stephanie and I agreed that while Ramone's physical ordeal is over, his emotional scars will likely require years of therapy.

Sorta like the rest of us.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Heart of Darkness: Day 8 Without Power in Paducah

Greetings from Thunderdome. The bad news? Yah. Still no power at my house. My little street (a suburban dead end) has been passed over by the miracle of light. Tucked between the bright lights of the mall and "The Pines" one of the largest subdivisions in Paducah, now also re-lit for a full three days, it's hard not to feel discouraged by the relief evident all around us.

Still, there have been bright spots. While the first night with the Huskey (generator) we contented ourselves with a few lights and space heaters, last night we branched out. There was much rejoicing when my Mom's television sprang to life as did mine shortly thereafter. Now both on satellite service, we were, for once, less effected than those around us, many of whom have Comcast cable that is still not back in service. For all my talk of not needing the TV, the image you see above assuring me that, indeed, the TV was in the process of reacquiring a signal, was nearly on an emotional par with "It's a boy" and "It's benign", I'm a little embarrassed to report.

One of the first shows to be broadcast on the newly re-working TV was ABC Nightly news, where Peter Jennings introduced a report on the situation right here in Paducah. Of course, anyone watching the report anywhere else in the country would have had to assume Paducah is a city of trailer parks, since those were the only residences ABC felt it necessary to show. Please note, America (because I'm sure you're all reading), there are many MANY folks in Paducah, and even in all of Kentucky, who DO NOT live in trailers, I promise.

After settling down from the excitement of TV, I broke out my new griddle. Though it sucked a massive 1,400 watts of power from the Husky, I still managed to fry my own self a hamburger, plus three more. Also, there has been blow drying of hair and lit make-up mirrors, also cause for celebration.

I am beginning to get used to falling asleep to the lawn mower like hum of the Husky and the other generators around us. It's taken me a week to retrieve the memory from childhood associated with this sound. It finally hit me yesterday: The Fair. That's the place in my past where this sound normally lives.

The Husky will run nearly twelve hours at a time. For the last two mornings it has stopped at right around 6:00 a.m. The sudden silence wakes me with a start, and I immediately become conscious to the sudden cold and darkness and, at first, a little panicky. At these times, Tallulah's small body feels almost glowing with warmth--she has taken to stretching out on me--and she snuggles nearer to me to share more vital body heat. I can no longer share the bed with Isabelle as I've taken to bedding down on the couch and there is not adequate room to accommodate her. I conserve and concentrate heat by only heating one large area (the main living space). I stay on the couch in the dawn light as long as I can stand it before steeling my resolve and throwing off the covers, donning my warmest coat (a long wool dress coat) and setting about refueling the Husky in the chill of the January morning. Few sounds are more relieving than the sound of the generator restarting for another long run of heat, light, and television. It should be noted, however, that one cannot check the oil in a generator while said generator is running. Yah.

Today during an eight minute wait for chicken strips at Kentucky Fried Chicken, some guy from Ledbetter in line ahead of me tried to lure me to his bed with the promise of the newly restored electricity flowing back at his place [cue "Deliverance" bango solo]. Color me particular, but somehow, the whole prospect just wasn't too tempting.

We are bracing for temperatures back in the teens tonight, the coldest it has been since the frigid days following the ice storm. Winds up to twenty miles an hour are also predicted. Thanks to the Husky, and Mom's Kerosene heater, we should be able to ride it out in relative comfort until the predicted weekend warm-up. Still, we long for electricity.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Monday: Day 7

Among the many things you don't learn about a situation like this until it happens is just how incredibly tiring it all is. While it sounds like a terrible sentence to give up every night and go to bed at 9:00 PM, the truth is, I don't have much more energy than that, no matter what time I rise. Wherever I go, I can tell most everyone else is just as exhausted. I'm tired is the refrain most often on everyone's lips.

A trip to the bank today was an unusual experience with tellers clearly overwhelmed and tempers running short, the lobby line stretched to the front door while the drive-thru line snaked down the street. I learned it was the first day they'd been open since the storm hit and everyone was in need of cash or making a deposit, or in my case, a very important transfer to cover the cost of the coveted generator for which I'd written a cold check the day before. Word to the wise: keep a cache of cash somewhere at your house. Always.

Though cell service comes and goes (and it's gone at the moment), I've managed to touch base with lots of people and it has become a past time to commiserate about our current state of continuing powerlessness. Two friends have had to actually brave the laundry mat and each has shared stories of kind-hearted ghetto people having to walk the clueless upper crust and middle class through the complicated process of operating the washing machinery, guarding their washer, which dryers are a better value, basic laundry mat etiquette, etc. Are you aware, for instance, that laundry mats no longer take quarters? They take swipe cards. Who knew?

Fortunately, I have a fairly extensive stash of clean underpanties because I have a habit of buying them in bunches and then not wearing them if they are the least bit uncomfortable. This means I'm constantly washing my starting line-up on good days, but that an extensive B team is at the ready. It's the little things that keep you going. I continue to moisturize, make-up, shave my legs, and apply high-dollar perfume. They may eventually find me dead, but not hairy or smelling exclusively of gasoline.

Lately, my movie association is back to Gone With the Wind, particularly the time when Scarlett dresses up in her Mama's curtains and visits Rhett in jail in Atlanta at the horse stable. At one point Rhett tells her, " My dear, there is much more money to be made in the destruction of civilization than in building it up."

I think Rhett just might have something there.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

This little light of mine.

My constant companion almost since the darkness began: a little silver flashlight acquired in a previous life. It gives off an exceptionally white and bright beam of light, fits easily into a pocket, and is never far away. With the light in one pocket and cell phone in the other, I feel at least minimally armed to deal with the continuing lack of power.

On the bright side, more family members are back in the light; the rural town of Bardwell is completely up and running (my Grandmother lives there). [Update: My son, Chase, has power! Yay!]

My big news? I now have a generator. Praise be. I acquired it right here in Thunderdome, at Home Depot where the blessed shipment arrived in a semi driven by An Angel of The Lord guided by that big black spot on the horizon that used to be Western Kentucky.

I am learning way more than I ever wanted to know about living off the grid. Up to now, I wouldn’t have known what a generator was if one bit me in the ass, now I can pull the ripcord and start one and have a fairly good idea of the wattage requirements of most of my electric appliances and lights. I have a 4,000 watt capacity (the motor is a Subaru design just like my trusty steed) which means, I can basically run all the necessities —a list drastically reduced from what it would have been, say, a week ago. TV, for instance, has long since ceased being a must-have. Basically? What I need is what is plugged in right now: two space heaters, a lamp, this here laptop (sans internet access, ouch) and…well. That’s it. I felt just like a mountain woman filling up my five gallon gas can at the BP Station earlier today. Not to mention all my newly acquired knowledge in regard to the foraging for and use of kerosene. Later, I’ll shoot us a squirrel for dinner.

While the generator was procured as stated earlier here in Thunderdome, the space heaters required yet another out of town run. I didn’t have to drive as far before getting lucky this time. I located a Walmart at the Carbondale exit off I-57 that had just three heaters left of which I bought two. I also couldn’t resist an electric griddle on sale for a mere $17.
In other news, Mom’s dog, Dudley, a dachshund, had a bout of something that seemed somewhat like the flu yesterday and last night. He gave us a bit of a scare being lethargic and feeling warm and feverish throughout the day, but improved with aspirin as the night wore on. This morning, he seems back to his usual self, thank goodness. Of all the dogs, he was the most distressed over the days we spent in the cold.

Yesterday, while I was out on the hunt for C-Batteries (it took me 2 days to find them, but we have a radio now), I’m told Isabelle was out frolicking in the yard, jumping about and chasing her tail when, on top of the hill just up the street appeared a fierce looking German Shepherd normally penned and barking ferociously a few houses down. As the story goes, the Shepherd was surveying the territory as if it were his own and had begun sauntering toward the house when spotted by Isabelle. My Mother, having never seen Isabelle’s aggressive side (and really sort of doubted its existence knowing her only as a mild-mannered fun-loving treat hound) was surprised when it sprang to the fore when faced with the dangerous looking Shepherd. Her frolicking forgotten, Isabelle immediately went into a crouch baring her teeth menacingly and growling, then shot toward the Shepherd who, startled, turned tail and ran like a girl, glancing over its shoulder in terror several times as Isabelle began gaining on the fleeing dog. Isabelle is no long distance runner, but she is a surprisingly fleet sprinter for her size and heft, and can giddy-up like nobody’s business for about three blocks (usually requiring a nap immediately afterward). The two dogs disappeared over the hill and I’m told Isabelle was soon sauntering back alone with a Suck on THAT, Mr. German Shepherd look on her face. She was duly rewarded with treats and we have seen no sign of the questionable dog since.

It’s good to have a little extra protection in Thunderdome.

Speaking of which, this morning, two kindly firemen knocked on our door; they were checking the neighborhood for anyone that might be in medical distress. I said I was fine, but that our dead were out back where we’d plunged them in a snow drift for safekeeping before the thaw and could they please retrieve the corpses as they were starting to smell now that it had warmed up? Okay, so I didn’t say that. But the storm was Tuesday. This is Sunday. I’m thinking in six days those with serious medical issues have resolved them one way or, ahem, the other by now.