Tag Archives: writing

Of Mice, Men, And Smellograms

Ever since we moved into our new house I’ve been waging war against mice.

Some men might be worried if they woke in the middle of the night to find their wife sneaking around the bed with a flashlight, but Hubby greeted the sight with his usual resigned tolerance:

Him:  “What are you doing?”

Me:  “There’s a mouse in here.”

Him:  “Can’t be.”

Me:  “There is.  I heard it.  It woke me up.”

He knows I’m a light sleeper, but he didn’t really believe there were mice in the house; and even if there were, he doubted that I could be woken by the pitter-patter of their tiny feet.  So he observed with skepticism while I bought mousetraps and set them under our bed.

Imagine the scene:

We’re lying in bed in the dark.  He’s snoozing.  I’m staring tensely at the ceiling, clutching a flashlight under the covers.

And then… I hear the little bastard skittering across the floor.

I bolt up in bed, yanking the covers off Hubby and jabbing my flashlight in the direction of the sound.

Hubby:  “What the…?”

Me:  “I saw him!  I saw the little shit!  He ran under the bed!”

Hubby:  “Yes, dear.  Please turn off the flashlight and lie down.  And give back my blanket.”

So we settled down again…


I rocketed out of bed, flashlight blazing.  “I got him!  Ha!”

When I held up the trap containing the still-twitching body, Hubby had to admit that there actually had been a mouse in the bedroom.  But he thought the excitement was over and he’d finally get some sleep.  Poor deluded man.

I got up and disposed of the body (the mouse’s, not Hubby’s); then reset the trap and went back to bed to stare at the ceiling some more.


Once more Hubby jolts awake to find his wife doing a pagan victory dance around the bed, stark naked and waving a dead mouse.

Did I mention he’s a very tolerant guy?

After I’d caught several mice, the traps on the main floor remained untouched.  I still caught one in the crawl space every day or two, but after a while my catch dwindled and I stopped checking the traps every day… until I got my first whiff of rotting mouse and went down to find a bloated corpse leaking malodorous body fluids.


Needless to say, I check my trap lines daily now; and I’m working at closing every tiny aperture around the foundation to stop the invaders.

So when Hubby suggested mice for today’s topic, he added, “Make sure you mention the swollen one.  Maybe you could include a smellogram.”

Me (laughing):  “Is that even a thing?  ‘Cause if it’s not, it should be!  Imagine a knock at your door, and some uniformed guy holds out a jar and says, ‘Smellogram for you.  Please sniff here.”

I did find the word listed in Urban Dictionary, but the definition insists it’s specifically related to farts.  So no smellograms for you today, dear readers.

But if you’re haunted by the recurring image of a naked middle-aged woman dancing around brandishing a dead mouse in the middle of the night, then my work here is done.

Have a good week, and sleep tight…

P.S. I finished the draft of Book 12, woohoo!  It’s with the beta readers now.  Stay tuned for a title announcement and a release date!


Filed under Humour, Life

This Week’s Been A Gas!

We’re slowly settling into our new place, but, like the nocturnal swamp shuttle, there are still a few kinks to work out.  Y’know, little issues like sewer gas.

Sewer gas wafts into corners and creeps along floors and trickles down stairwells, making it nearly impossible to trace its origin.  So I was nosing through the house snuffling like a deranged bloodhound and muttering, “Dammit, I smell sewer gas!” while Hubby, who lacks my sensitive sniffer, thought I was going crazy(er).

I finally figured it out by posing myself a simple question:  “What’s the stupidest thing our homebuilder could have done?”

Yep, nailed it on my first try.  They had routed sewer vent lines up to the second floor for the future bathroom, left the lines uncapped, and then installed the plywood subfloor over top.  So the longer we used the septic system, the more the house reeked of decomposing shit.

It wasn’t a huge chore to saw open the floor and cap the lines, but the whole episode definitely impaired my sense of humour for a while.

Then again, my sense of humour is usually a little messed up:

Hubby, my evil enabler, bought us three big bags of Kernels popcorn.  While we were happily munching, we noticed that their plain popcorn looks like home-popped corn, while the caramel popcorn is puffed up into near-perfect spheres.  (And aren’t you impressed that I didn’t even make a dirty joke about chowing down on tasty balls?  Good Lord, I must be growing up.)

Anyhow, I wondered if caramel corn is actually a different variety of popcorn.  Turns out it’s not; but I got as far as “why is” in my Google search when their top four searches popped (sorry) up:


It makes sense that a lot of people might wonder about the sky; and since I don’t have kids I can’t knowledgeably dispute the importance of Caillou’s baldness.  But green poop is the third most common internet search?  Are that many people pushing out technicolor turds?

And I didn’t think the FBI showed up at people’s doors frequently enough to warrant fourth place; but even if they do, I wouldn’t have thought people’s reaction would be, “Oh, hang on, Mr. Cranky Gun-Toting Lawman.  I realize by the way you kicked down my door that you might be in a teensy bit of a hurry, but I just want to do an internet search before you drag me away…”

The next giggle happened when we were getting ready to configure my step-mom’s new FitBit.  I looked up the installation procedure, read the first step, and laughed.

Maybe I should kiss it first…

You’ve gotta love it when the first item on the configuration list sounds like a kinky sex act.

And speaking of dongles and related words, I ran across this vintage game in a little store:

From a more innocent time…

I probably wouldn’t have snickered quite so much if I hadn’t just researched gender reassignment surgery (don’t ask why; you know how my internet searches tend to go down oddball rabbit holes).  I discovered that they usually use a skin graft from the forearm to construct a new penis, and one of the potential complications is ‘hairy urethra’.  So you really can end up with a wooly willy…

Okay, I’ll stop now.

How’s it hanging for you this week?


Filed under Humour, Life

Phantom Glasses Syndrome

It pains me to admit that despite my commitment to remaining as immature as possible, my eyes have ignored the mandate and grown up.  In fact, they’ve embraced middle age with the same fervent enthusiasm as a teenager with a first crush.

The instructions on everything are now written in much smaller print than they used to be.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)  My distance vision is sharp and clear, but I spend far too much time hunting for the correct pair of reading glasses.

One pair for computer work.  Another pair for close work.  A third pair for that awkward range between one and four feet.  Bifocals for when I need to alternate frequently between close and mid-range.  I have umpteen pairs of glasses lying around the house, but the chances of finding the pair I need when I need them are slim to none.

Not only that, but I’m developing Phantom Glasses Syndrome.  Again.

When I was young I wore glasses fulltime.  When I finally switched to contacts it took about two years for me to stop pushing my glasses up on my nose even though the glasses were long gone.

Just to compound the embarrassment, I was young enough when I started wearing glasses that I didn’t know the significance of the middle finger.  And when I first developed the habit of pushing up my glasses, that was the finger I used.

Trust me, you haven’t been truly humiliated until you realize you’ve inadvertently flipped the bird to the entire audience at a public-speaking competition.

At least these days I know enough not to involve the middle digit in my habitual tics; but there’s still ample scope for embarrassment.  My distance vision is so good now that it drives me nuts to look through reading glasses and have everything in the distance blurred.  So if I look up from my close work for even a minute, I perch the reading glasses on top of my head.

You can see where this is going.  Yep:  Me, running around loudly cursing my lost glasses, only to have Hubby point out that they’re on the top of my head.

And that’s my other problem:  After spending so much time with my glasses up there, I feel the grip of the earpieces on my temples whether they’re there or not.  So now whenever I need glasses, I pat the top of my head first.  It’s okay if the glasses are actually there, but it looks pretty damn foolish when they’re not.

Fortunately I’ve discovered that my need for dignity is inversely proportional to my age.  So I’m thinking about adding a verbal tic to that habit just for shits and giggles.  Imagine, if you will, a middle-aged woman patting her own head and murmuring softly, “Good girl, Diane; good girl!”

I haven’t done it yet, but I’m tempted.  It would make social gatherings quite a bit more interesting… at least until people stopped inviting that weird old bag who keeps patting herself and mumbling.

But I suppose that’s still better than flipping everybody off.

Or maybe not… 😉

Anybody else have Phantom Glasses Syndrome?


Filed under Humour, Life

Flash Fiction: Nun For Us, Please

Yesterday I was texting our contractor about some budget items when my phone autocorrected my sentence to: “Once we have the nuns we can decide”.  I chuckled and corrected “nuns” to “numbers” before I sent it, but the phrase stuck in my brain because it really sounded like a flash fiction prompt.

So here goes:

Nun For Us, Please

“Once we have the nuns we can decide when to perform the ritual.”  Zaz raised her carapace and ruffled her iridescent wings in a show of confidence.

Chith eyed their acquisitions, antennae drooping with doubt.  “I don’t know…”  Squealing and grunting from inside the pen made her spring back with a chitter of alarm.  “Are you sure?”

“Magic brought us here.  Magic will take us back,” Zaz said with more certainty than she felt.  “The incantation I overheard mentioned us by name and talked about going home, so it has to be the right one.”

“It didn’t say ‘Zaz and Chith’,” Chith objected.

“Well, no, but it said ‘Pik’ee’ over and over.  An incantation that repeats our race in every line is obviously about us.”  Zaz ruffled her wings again.  “So all we need now is nuns.”

“You said ‘nun’ when you first told it to me, not ‘nuns’,” Chith argued.  “Maybe we only need one, and we’d better get it right.  If we hadn’t been so careless last time, we wouldn’t be in this fix.”  She peered into the pen, her mandibles drawing back in revulsion.  “I hope nuns aren’t like this.  These are so noisy and smelly.  Are you sure they’re the right thing?”

“This is what the human male with the face-fur showed me when I told him the incantation.”  Zaz drew herself up on her hind legs to deliver her newfound knowledge with authority.  “These are pigs.  Nuns are some kind of special human, so they should be cleaner.”  She hesitated.  “Though the furry human was actually quite smelly, too.”

“Are you sure he wasn’t lying?  Because that…”  Chith indicated a malodorous lump beside the pigpen with a contemptuous mandible-click.  “…is either a joke or an insult.  Or both.”

Zaz’s thorax bristled.  “It’s human food.  The cooked muscle of an animal; a ‘cow’, the furry human said.  I can’t help it if it’s disgusting; the incantation required it.”  Her thorax hairs wilted a bit.  “It didn’t smell as bad yesterday, though.”

“It must be rotting.  We’d better hurry up and get our nun.”  Chith backed away from the pigpen.  “Do you know where to get one?”

“Yes, the furry human showed me.”  At the skeptical dip of Chith’s antennae, Zaz bristled again.  “I’m sure he wasn’t lying.  He was very religious.  When I spoke to him, he ritually smashed a beautiful shiny vessel of liquid and prostrated himself to pray to his deity.”  She paused, one antenna cocked mischievously.  “He said ‘Please, God, I swear I’ll never drink again, just make the giant talking bug go away’.”

Chith clacked her mandibles in amusement.  “Let’s go get our nun.”


Sister Mary Agnes made the sign of the cross and gave herself a firm mental reminder that all creatures were precious to God.

“I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand,” she said faintly to the two huge beetles standing on the convent doorstep.  “Exactly what do you need me for?”

“I told you, for a magic ritual.”  The larger beetle, Zaz, buzzed the words by modulating her carapace over her vibrating wings.  “We are small Pik’ee and we want to go home.  The incantation says we need a nun.  We have roast beef, and pigs, too; though I’m not sure about them.  The incantation didn’t mention pigs, but the furry human said ‘definitely pigs’ so we got them just in case.”

“And this incantation…” Mary Agnes asked with rising trepidation.  “Where did you overhear it?”

“A human female was teaching it to her young one.  Like this.”  Zaz recited:

This little Pik’ee went to market
This little Pik’ee stayed home
This little Pik’ee had roast beef
This little Pik’ee had nun
And this little Pik’ee went
Wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

Mary Agnes closed her eyes in a short prayer for strength, then drew a steadying breath.  “I’m afraid I have bad news for you…”

* * *

P.S.  And now I want to write a joke that begins, “A nun walks into a bar with two giant talking beetles…”  😉

Anybody else want to have a go at it?  Please do!  Write a flash fiction piece of 750 words or less using the prompt “Once we have the nuns we can decide”, or tell a joke about a nun and two giant talking beetles.  If you have a blog, post it there and link back here; or else drop your joke or story in the comments below.  Have fun!  (You retain full copyright to any joke or story you post here.)


Filed under Flash Fiction, Writing

I’m Moved… To Profanity

So… the movers arrived last week to carry all our worldly goods into our new house.

For those with a keen memory and/or a recent move under your belts:  You already know what our lives have been like this week.  But if you’ve been blessed with a long-term fixed address and/or a mercifully short memory, I can sum it up in two words:  Utter chaos.

We had six men (plus ourselves) going flat-out for six hours.  I had a vague idea that we had ‘way too much stuff; but since I had only packed and loaded a couple of dozen boxes personally, the reality was an ugly shock.

At the beginning of the day, I had a plan:  Boxes would be placed in tidy groups in pre-designated areas so I could easily unload their contents into their intended locations…  Hey, you in the back:  Stop snickering!  And you in the front, pick yourself up off the floor and quit laughing your ass off!

Okay, fine; so I was delusional.  That’s what happens when you haven’t moved for 18 years.

The boxes just kept coming.  And coming.  And… coming.

By Hour 2 they had overflowed my tidy designated areas.

By Hour 4 my directions to the movers had devolved into, “I don’t care; put it wherever you can find a space.”

By Hour 5, I was begging them to break stuff so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

By the end of the day I was seriously considering moving back to the hotel and living there for the rest of my life, leaving the gargantuan mountain of boxes to moulder slowly in the ruins of the house.

But I didn’t.  I sucked it up and carved a bedroom out of the disaster zone that night.  And ever since then, I’ve been organizing the kitchen.

I’m a major foodie and I live to cook and bake.  I love all my kitchen gadgets and dishes, truly I do.  BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PEOPLE; WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP ME WHEN I WAS BUYING ALL THAT SHIT?!?

It’s finally more or less under control, though, and after the marathon of kitchen organization the rest of the house will be anticlimactic.  (Says she with ridiculous naïvete.)

So here are the top three lessons I’ve learned from this move:

  • No matter how organized you are with your “pack-last-unpack-first” boxes, there will always be one critical item you’ve forgotten… and it will always be at the bottom of the very last box you unpack.
  • Self-adhesive shelf paper was created by Satan himself in the fiery depths of hell, solely to torture poor fools like me. I wrestled with it for at least 20 minutes per cabinet and it still looks as though I applied it in the dark with one hand tied behind my back while completely inebriated.
  • When weathering the stresses of moving with a dearly beloved spouse, it’s important to remember that marriage is all about give and take: Give blame and take credit.

Seriously, though, Hubby and I haven’t killed each other yet, so that’s gotta be a good sign.  And now that the boxes are diminishing, it’ll be sunshine and Disney from here on in, right?

(Shhh!  Don’t burst my fragile bubble of hope.)

What’s moved you this week?


Filed under Humour, Life

Launching The Swamp Shuttle

We finally got our new home – hooray!

The new homestead – still some work to be done, but it’s getting there!

The movers come tomorrow so we’re “camping” with our bed, a couple of folding chairs, and minimal cooking gear until then; but at last we’re IN!

We’re already discovering some of our new home’s quirks.  Such as:

Our water filter’s controller periodically takes the system offline and forces water back through the filter to clear it.  When it’s backflushing, we’re not supposed to run water or flush toilets because that would allow untreated water into our system.  So the cycle is programmed to run at 3 AM when everybody’s asleep and unlikely to be using water; and it’s supposed to run for about 15 minutes.


It’s directly underneath our bedroom.  And the backflush sounds like the space shuttle launching out of a particularly viscous swamp:  A cacophony of high-decibel roaring, sucking, and gurgling.

And it’s “about 15 minutes”.  Which equals roughly an hour and a quarter.

When the first eruption rocketed me out of bed at 3:08 AM, I clung to the ceiling hyperventilating for a few seconds, then slowly lowered myself back to the mattress after I realized what was creating the godawful racket.

“Fine,” I thought.  “It’ll only run for 15 minutes, and then I’ll go back to sleep.”

But after my violent awakening and subsequent adrenaline surge, I needed to pee.  But I couldn’t because if I flushed, it would suck untreated water into our system.

I realize now that I could have peed without flushing, but in my sleep-deprived state I somehow confused the knowledge that if the water level drops in the toilet bowl (as with a flush) it will draw more water in; while if the water level rises in the toilet bowl the excess will just dribble harmlessly down the plumbing stack.  So I was afraid to pee in case it somehow sucked untreated water into our system.  No, I’m not at my best at 3 AM.

So I lay there thinking, “I can wait.  Fifteen minutes is no big deal.”

Except it wasn’t fifteen minutes.

I dozed fitfully.  Every ten minutes or so I’d wake to another barrage of borborygmi from the nether regions (the house’s; not mine, fortunately).

Check the clock.

Think, “Gawd, I’ve gotta pee.  Isn’t that thing done yet?”

Repeat in 10 minutes.

And repeat.

After an hour I was cranky and exhausted, and my back teeth were floating.  And still the infernal rumblings continued.

Finally around 4:15 AM I couldn’t take it any longer.  I got up, scurried outside into a spectacularly starry (and damn chilly) night in the silent peace of the country, and marked my territory with intense relief.

Just as I crept back into bed at 4:23, the goddamn backflush stopped.

Clearly its programming is more sophisticated than I realized:  It must have a sensor under the bed to make sure the occupants are fully awake by the time the cycle ends, and it may even have some advanced technology to determine exactly when a human bladder reaches maximum capacity… after which it runs for another 10 minutes.

Needless to say, we’ll reprogram the system.  One nocturnal shuttle launch was enough for me.

So does my swamp-shuttle experience make me an ass-tro-not?

Or only a space cadet?


Filed under Humour, Life

Jusht An Ash Hole

I was on the phone with my step-mom the other day when the conversation turned to my messy painting habits, and I confessed that by now I have paint on my jacket, shoes, jeans, and even my socks.

My step-mom expressed concern about my jacket, but I assured her, “Oh, no, it’s only my old camping jacket.  It’s ancient and full of ash holes from sitting around the campfire.”

I should have known she wouldn’t let me get away with that.  She hesitated, then let me have it:  “Are you saying there’s an ash hole in your jacket?  So who’s the ash hole?”

Needless to say, I laughed my ash off.

And I was ready for a good laugh, because my patience with the construction process is wearing thin.

But… *drumroll please* …we might get the all-important Occupancy Permit in a few days!

These days Hubby and I utter the words “Occupancy Permit” in the same way one might say “Holy Grail”: with capital letters and in a hushed tone of awe.  The other day our neighbour’s truck went by towing a flatbed trailer with an oak dining room suite on it, and Hubby said, “Mike got his Occupancy Permit last week.”

I sighed with the same hopeless desire as if I’d just found out Mike had won $50 million in the lottery.

Wait, no.  If he’d won $50 million I’d be pleased as punch for him.  But an Occupancy Permit?  I admit it:  I’m rabidly envious.  Imagine, an actual dining table and chairs.  And a kitchen to cook real food instead of microwaving plastic prepared stuff.

And maybe… dare I even think it?  *whispers* A dresser and a closet.  We’ve been living out of suitcases for so long I can’t even remember if I have other clothes besides the same fourteen T-shirts I’ve been wearing over and over for the past five months.

But despite my limited sartorial options, I’ve discovered that no matter how few clothes you have in your suitcase, the item you want will always be at the bottom.  And when you have multiple T-shirts of approximately the same colour, you will have to unfold each and every one of them before you finally find the one you want.

And socks?  I’ve previously speculated that socks are the work of evil; and their behaviour in my suitcase confirms it.  No matter how carefully I pair and arrange them so the best ones are on top, the sock imps rampage through my suitcase at night, pulling pairs apart and hiding the best socks in odd corners while moving the second-string ones to the top.

Here’s proof:  My painting shoes have holes in them.  Ergo, I have a pair of socks with blue paint on the toes.  How many times do you think I’ve pulled that pair out of my suitcase thinking they were good socks?

Yep, you guessed it.  Every… single… time!  This despite the fact that each time I find them, I push them back to the bottom of the suitcase.

So, between the malevolent sock imps and the irritation of STILL not having a finished house, I’m a woman on the edge.  If we don’t get our Occupancy Permit by next week, I’m gonna put on my ash hole jacket and start kickin’ ash!

Am I the only one with sock imps in my suitcase?


Filed under Humour, Life

It’s Just ‘Pain’ With A ‘T’

I’ve been doing quite a bit of painting on our new house, and I’m here to tell you that the root word of ‘paint’ is ‘pain’.

But I’m practically a painting guru now, so as a public service I’m sharing my very best answers to common DIY painting questions:


Q:  When using a roller, how much paint should I put in my tray?

A:  How much do you want to mop up?


Q:  What is ‘cutting in’?

A:  ‘Cutting in’ means using a paintbrush to create a sharp accurate edge, which you can then completely wreck with the paint roller.


Q:  What is the best technique for cutting in?

A:  Inhale, then touch down the brush and slowly exhale while you stroke smoothly down the edge. This steadies your hand, and conveniently conserves your breath for swearing after you get paint all over everything.


Q:  Should I apply masking tape before cutting in to keep my edges sharp and clean?

A:  Absolutely!  There’s nothing more fulfilling than spending hours painstakingly applying masking tape, only to remove it and discover that the paint has seeped under it and dried, and/or the tape has peeled the original paint off the wall.


Q:  What is the best way to clean up a small paint spill?

A:  There are no small paint spills.  Even though it takes a gallon of paint to do a tiny room, a single drop of spilled paint is capable of spreading over a thousand square feet.


Q:  So many types of paint!  What kind should I buy?

A:  Just pick one at random.  Whichever you choose, it’s guaranteed to be the wrong type for your project; even if you’ve described your project in detail to a professional paint seller and bought exactly what they recommended.


Q:  What is the best cloth for wiping up drips?

A:  Whatever you’re wearing at the time.  You can try a special clean-up cloth if you want, but your clothes are still going to look like paint rags by the time you’re done.


Q:  How can I choose a colour I’ll like from those little paint chips?

A:  You can’t.  You need to paint three-foot swatches of the colours you’re considering.  Then, after agonizing for days over the subtle differences between ten shades of the same colour, you’ll feel confident when you finally choose the perfect one… which will last until you paint the room and discover that it looks entirely different than the chip or the swatch.


Q:  How much paint do I need?

A:  Half a cup more than you bought.


Q:  Design magazines recommend choosing colours from a colour group so they’ll look nice together.  What are the colour groups?

A:  There are two basic colour groups:  “Muted” and “Clear”.  Muted colours fade into dismal anonymity and look as though they’ve all been mixed with mud; and clear colours leap off the wall with super-saturated brilliance that hurts your eyes and causes psychotic episodes if you stay in the room too long.  All paint colours belong to one group or the other; and you won’t know which you’ve got until it’s too late.


Q:  What’s the best way to use a dropcloth?

A:  Spread it out in a nice grassy area and anchor it with a cooler full of alcoholic beverages.  Recline and enjoy a cold one… or several.  Trust me, it’s far better than trying to use the dropcloth to keep paint off your floors and furniture.


What are your best painting tips?


Filed under Humour, Life

Too Many Balls

It’s been one of those weeks – our house still isn’t done, and I’ve had to do the exterior trim painting because we can’t find a painter to do it (the market is booming and all the trades are insanely busy).  Between doing part-time construction work while living out of a suitcase and (still) trying to finish Book 12, I have far too many balls in the air.

That causes quite a bit of stress for me, but it also creates ample opportunities for my mouth to run amok while my brain is momentarily occupied with juggling the aforementioned balls.  (And just never mind what my hands are juggling… but at least Hubby’s smiling.)

Moving right along…

A few days ago I discovered that one of the deck railing systems we’re considering has the option to install an ornamental ball as a post cap.

And yes, you know I’m snickering at using “post” and “ball” in the same sentence.  After all, I’ve written a post about balls and a post about posts, so it was practically foreordained that I’d end up putting a post and balls in the same, um… post.

Anyway, the conversation went something like this:

Me:  “We’re going to have to spend an extra $27 on the deck.  I just found some ornamental post caps I like.”

Hubby:  “Oh?  What do they look like?”

Me: “They’re balls.”


Me:  “You know, an ornamental ball that sits on top of the post.”

Hubby:  “Okay… How many for the deck?  One on each post?”

Me: “Oh, no, only three; one on each outside corner.  There’s such a thing as too many balls, you know.”

Hubby:  “Yeah, I’d say three might be one too many…”

So there you have it:  Too many balls in the air, and too many balls on our deck.

And I’m nobly restraining myself from making any more deck jokes, but I’ve just gotta say that I think we’re going to like it here.  Hubby’s deck is bigger than it’s ever been!  And with three brand-new balls; well, what’s not to like?

What’s bouncing in your world this week?



Filed under Humour, Life

Marvin Goes To The Library

Remember Marvin, the desperately depressed robot from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy?

Well, I just witnessed an interaction with a real life “Marvin” (or perhaps “Mavis”, since she was female).

I was in the library avoiding the chaos of the house construction to work on Book 12, when an elderly lady came in accompanied by a younger woman.  It was unclear whether the younger woman was her daughter or merely a hapless stand-in, but in any case their mission was to get some audiobooks for “Mavis” (the older woman).

Mavis was blessed with one of those voices that is perfectly pitched to carry with maximum efficiency – quite an attractive voice, but very… audible.  And she had one of those dry British accents:  the kind where you suspect the speaker is making fun of you but you can’t respond in kind because you’re not certain.

So I couldn’t help overhearing.

It started as soon as Mavis came in the door:  “My daughter got me a bunch of books but they’re all science fiction and I hate science fiction.”

I missed the first bit of the exchange because I didn’t immediately recognize the comedic value, but here’s a transcript of the conversation after I started paying attention:

Daughter:  “…How about Robert Ludlum?”

Mavis:  “I don’t like Robert Ludlum – I never understood the Bourne thing.”

Daughter:  “How about Danielle Steele or Debbie Macomber?”

Mavis:  “I don’t like girly books.”

Daughter: *Reads off a title, something about joy*

Mavis:  “I don’t fancy that; I don’t have any of my own.”

Daughter:  *reads off another title:  Ten Steps To (something)*

Mavis:  “Well, I don’t believe in that.”

Daughter:  *reads off *A doctor’s guide to (something)*

Mavis:  “Pooh.  It’s too late for me.”

Daughter:  “This one’s about Zimbabwe…”

Mavis:  “Oh, no, I don’t want to read that.”

Daughter:  “Well, do you have any authors that you’re interested in?”

Mavis:  “No, not really.”

Daughter:  “Do you like Shakespeare?”

Mavis:  “No.”

Daughter:  “This one’s about the Persian war…”

Mavis:  “I don’t like old stuff like that.”

Daughter:  “How about…”

Mavis:  “Are those scary? I don’t like scary stuff.”

Daughter:  You said you like biographies; here’s one about Oprah…”

Mavis:  “I don’t like Oprah.”

Daughter:  “Here’s Marley and Me; it’s about a dog…”

Mavis:  “I’m not into dogs.”

Daughter:  “Would you like this one?”

Mavis:  “No, probably not.  Well, I’ll take it anyway.  I’m getting tired.”

Daughter:  “Here’s a book on end of life…”

Mavis:  “Oh, good, maybe it’ll tell me how to end it.”


I fully expected her to moan, “Oh, what’s the use?” in Marvin’s gloomy tones.

And then…

Super-Librarian to the rescue!  In only a few short minutes, the brilliant middle-aged librarian determined Mavis’s interests and loaded her up with biographies of Katharine Hepburn and Steve Martin, and an account of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Mavis brightened visibly.

As they moved toward the checkout counter, Mavis’s voice receded:  “You know, I enjoy biographies.  I liked the Schwarzenegger one.”

Librarian:  “You like Schwarzenegger?”

Mavis:  “Oh, yes!”

So, just in case there was any doubt… librarians rock.  But Mavis’s over-the-top gloom and doom gave me my chuckle for the day!

P.S. If I ever get that negative, please remind me of Mavis – it’s sure to make me laugh.




Filed under Humour, Life