Monday made me do it.


Wore my uncomfortable shoes this morning, because it was raining and I don’t care if they get soaked, plus I wasn’t planning on doing much walking today.

Dropped off the kids and arrived at work, crossed the street from the parking lot toting my purse, my lunch, and a six pack of 24-oz water bottles through the light rain. Bumped my purse into the staff door’s sensor pad so my badge would register.

Nothing happened. I bumped again. Still nothing.

Dug through my purse, wondering if the chip was finally going in my badge and if I had to get a new one, maybe I should get a new photo, too—one that wasn’t taken the day I came back from my last maternity leave and might not look quite so much like me—and realized that the sensor couldn’t register a badge that wasn’t there.

Trudged back to the car to look for it, figuring that if it wasn’t there, I’d wait for a coworker to arrive and follow them in.

Did I mention it was raining? And that I was schlepping my lunch bag, purse, and nine pounds of water instead of an umbrella? And that my shoes hate me even more after stepping in that puddle, which was an accident?

Found my badge and lanyard, which had wrapped around the parking brake. Freed it, slung it around my neck, and trudged back.

Rain. Heavy. Hurting. Ow.

Bypassed the stairs and headed for the elevator, which took its own, sweet time, and then took me UP, when all the buttons I’d pushed had told it I wanted DOWN. Pushed them again and was punished by stopping on every, single floor on the way to the one I wanted.

Slogged to my desk, wondering why I’d bothered to brush my hair at all, shed my coat and pulled my sweater straight, only to find that my badge had embedded its metal clip in the weave and I’d just yanked a bunch of threads into long, festive loops, directly over my right nipple.*

Did I mention that this is a brand new sweater and the first time I’d worn it?

Took off the sweater, which I don’t really need in our department, since we share space with the boiler room . . . And learned that due to everyone in reference calling in sick today, I’ll be spending the day at the desk not ten feet from the front entrance.

Did I mention that it’s raining even harder now? And the wind likes to come in and browse the new DVDs whenever a patron opens the door? Which is probably why reference keeps calling in sick?

Logged into my workstation to check e-mail for the ten minutes left before I had to clock in, and remembered that I hadn’t written a blog post yet.


Monday made me do it.


*It was suggested by a co-worker, who shall remain nameless, but not forgotten, that I should pull matching loops over the left one for “symmetry” and also to boost the library’s popularity.   As librarians can’t accept tips—and I wouldn’t find the place some of our patrons might want to put tips at all acceptable— I didn’t really see the point.


Poetry Wednesday: A Swift Deluge for Downith

After reading last week’s poem, which painted snow in a more forgiving light than I usually view it, my friend Downith, who appears to have a Canadian’s philosophical disregard for the frozen white stuff, mentioned “the ever-present, soul-destroying rain” she’s been enduring in England for . . . almost as long as I’ve known her, actually.

Naturally, I took her comments as a challenge to find the happiest, most joyful poem about rain that I possibly could without suffering from sugar-shock. And I did, indeed, find such a poem—a veritable syrup-free celebration of precipitation, it is.

But I’m not going to share it with you today, because it’s a poem about spring rain and depressed the crap out of me.

Turns out, Downith was right—there just aren’t any happy, happy, joy, joy poems about winter rain, or not when it doesn’t leave the world encased in diamond-ice, but just makes the snow slushy and slippery and fills the visibly widening potholes with all sorts of yuck.

But there is at least one terrible, awful, nasty poem about English rain that will allow Downith to revel in her disgust and therefore, I hope, make her feel better through sheer validation.

Since Dr. Swift—that canny cannibal—wrote it, how could it miss?

A Description of a City Shower
(Jonathan Swift)

Careful observers may foretell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower:
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o’er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you’ll find the sink
Strike your offended sense with double stink.
Oil puddle
 If you be wise, then go not far to dine;
You’ll spend in coach hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old achès throb, your hollow tooth will rage.
Sauntering in coffeehouse is Dulman seen;

He damns the climate and complains of spleen.

Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swilled more liquor than it could contain,
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is born aslope:
Such is that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then turning, stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her mop.
Not yet the dust had shunned the unequal strife,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life,
And wafted with its foe by violent gust,
’Twas doubtful which was rain and which was dust.
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole coat, where dust cemented by the rain
Erects the nap, and leaves a mingled stain.

Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this devoted town.Unbrella death
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The Templar spruce, while every spout’s abroach,
Stays till ’tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.
The tucked-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
While seams run down her oiled umbrella’s sides.
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.
Boxed in a chair the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o’er the roof by fits,
And ever and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed,
Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, run them through),
Laocoön struck the outside with his spear,
And each imprisoned hero quaked for fear.


Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all hues and odors seem to tell
What street they sailed from, by their sight and smell.
They, as each torrent drives with rapid force,
From Smithfield or St. Pulchre’s shape their course,
And in huge confluence joined at Snow Hill ridge,
Fall from the conduit prone to Holborn Bridge.
Sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drowned puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud,
Dead cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood.

Well, Duchess?


Image of  “Oil puddle” courtesy of Roger McLassus, via Wikimedia Commons.

Image of “Rain in Kolkata” courtesy of Monster Eagle via Wikimedia Commons.

Image of the dead umbrella courtesy of me, because it was mine, dammit.

Colder than a Brass WHAT?

The first day of my childless vacation has children in it, because at the writing of this post, it’s negative 14°F outside and the school decided that since the students have to walk between buildings and most of the kids place fashion over frostbite, it was safer to let them stay at home one more day.  So I didn’t have to get up early to drive the kids to school—a double blessing, since my husband’s car wouldn’t start and he had to borrow mine.

Once the kids got up and got fed and sufficiently televisioned—by our lights, not theirs—Jane read one of her books and Sunny and I created our own little ponies over at HubWorld.

Hers are veritable  fashionplates, with names like Moonshine Velvet and Shimmersong Bling.

Mine are a tad more autobiographical.

This is Frostbite Shiver. Note the expression.  And the cutie mark.

My dad would say it’s colder than a brass toilet seat out there, and last week, I heard library patrons compare the wind chill to specific parts of a brass monkey’s anatomy.  Or a witch’s.  Or, in one case, a brass witch’s.

Is brass really colder than any other metal?  Is metal even required at these—and I use the term loosely—“temperatures”? ‘Cause after going out for the thirty seconds it took to get the paper this morning, colder than frozen snot is remarkably apt, believe me.

Or colder than my husband’s engine block, which is not a euphemism, thank you very much.

I’ve heard colder than Khan’s revenge, because I hang out with the kind of people who would get the joke, and one of that crowd also tried colder than Lord Kelvin’s sex life, which doesn’t seem a fair thing to say about a sociable and not unattractive Irishman who published On the uniform motion of heat in homogeneous solid bodies.  

I usually say, colder than a polar bear’s nose, at least when my children are around.  Or colder than Sunny’s feet, which is a unit of measurement that would have boggled Lord Kelvin.

Regardless, I’m staying inside today, where it’s warmer than out there.

And you can quote me.

What do you say?

First Signs of Autumn

Outside my window

It rained all Sunday, Mother Nature paying what she owed us this Summer in a lump sum, rather than the bimonthly installments we would have preferred.

The temperature has dropped over the past few days—Nature giving us a heads-up on the rain delivery—so I put blankets into the dryer  for a few minutes last night and tucked the kids in toasty warm.

Sunny and Jane have been poring over a Halloween Costume catalog and begging for hot chocolate and popcorn and wigs and wings and Monster High heels.

And my mild sore throat, which I assumed was a combination of weather change and too much choir rehearsal yesterday morning, refused to be drowned by gallons of hot tea or soothed by an unscheduled afternoon nap.  Instead, it’s spread its prickly warmth to my upper chest, started aches into my muscles, and produced sneezes that give me chills—also signs of Autumn.

The confused trees outside my window haven’t changed much, yet, but the cat has, pulling his furry, inkblot self into a primly wrapped knot and sneaking under the covers to purr against my tummy as I stay home from work with a box of tissues and a mug of warm soup.

Because I’ve never mastered the art of typing while laying down, I’ve tucked a legal pad and a pen under my pillow—a sign of baseless optimism that I might work a little this afternoon, until the kids get home from school.

See you tomorrow.

What are your signs?

Weatherwhine in Vane

Real Time Weather

The rains came back this weekend—I wish they’d give us time to miss them— and by Sunday evening, the stormwater drains on our street couldn’t cope any more.  A few of them even sent up distress geysers, to the awed delight of the neighborhood kids.

At least six cars stalled in front of our house and my husband had a great time offering advice from our front porch about how to get through the rapids without sucking water up their tailpipes and, inevitably, the phone numbers of tow trucks.  Eventually, he waded barefoot across the street to consult with the neighbors, taking Janie with him without mentioning it to me.*

In my defense, I was too busy looking around for Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, and Robert Redford to notice they’d gone—I figured if a river was gonna run through it, there should be some compensation.

Sunny, who had been left behind once again because of blatant size discrimination, promptly ratted them out and left button noseprints all over the windows, while giving running reports on her father and sister—“They’re still there!”— and also on the impressive lake forming at the bottom of the slope behind our house—“Can we have a pet duck, now, Mommy?”**

By Monday, everything had drained enough for Sunny to go rain-puddling in the late afternoon with her sister without adults worrying about undertow or sewer mutants climbing out for a breath of air.  Dry feet, though, were another matter—at one point, Jane took off a rain boot and upended half a gallon of dubious-colored water onto our driveway.  Her sister, or I’m told, tap-danced in it—squish-danced seems more likely.***

Eventually, my husband hauled them in for decontamination^ and we all had barbecue—from our favorite smokehouse restaurant, since it had started raining again.

My husband, it should be noted, is my hero.

But we never lost power and my MIL’s lower-level apartment—ie, our basement—was never at risk, and none of the kids are itchy around the calves this morning.  And I had naps and a pile of smoked chicken.  Sure, getting to work was tricky this morning—most of the towns between the kids’ school and the library were preemptively closed in case the river decides to go exploring again and not many detour signs were up—but it was more of an adventure than a cause for Road Rage.

So it was a good weekend, despite the weather—I can almost ignore this week’s forecast and the Armageddon-expression the sky is currently wearing.


How’s the weather over there?


*This was a wise move on both their parts, since the idea of touching floodwater gives me the scrub-my-skin-off-squickies, but I can usually cope with what’s done is done when it comes to the rest of the family—before scrubbing off their skin.

** Stupid livestock ordinance.

***Or so I’m told; I’d snuck off to have a nap at that point.  I’d like to say it was so my hydrogermaphobia wouldn’t ruin the kids’ fun, but I’m not that altruistic.

^Thus ending the nap.  Why is it that kids who are incapable of passing by a shallow indent filled with liquid filth are so loudly allergic to clear water produced in a relatively clean bathroom?  And why does my husband seem to take such glee in using them as alarm clocks after his wife has only had her head down for a measly two hours or so?  Yeah, yeah, rhetorical, never mind.