May 1st, 2007

May retcons

Sorry to be so late. I've been tending to a sick Cookie Monster, and I think I'm coming down with what he has. Some of what I'm about to say has already been said; bear with me.

Elly: Gardening. And we see how she's not ready to move either. And how does the sale make sense? Mike finding his own house, like a grown-up, would make sense. Disrupting everyone except him and John does not make sense.

And when Liz moves into a new apartment, she removes whatever crud might be lying around? You mean, like, so the place doesn't start out messed up? That's brilliant, absolutely brilliant. And OMG, broken blinds are the first to go? Next, you'll tell us she figured out that the secret to Kraft Dinner is boiling the water before putting in the pasta. Of course, a less sensible person would say that broken blinds should be for the landlord to repair, not for the tenant to throw out. But we don't all have the Patterson gift.

And yeah, you were all tripping over each other, and that was just a teensy bit uncomfortable. More like Liz tripping, period, and Mike walking all over everyone. And you haven't cleaned out the crawl space? I thought since you retired, you got the whole house shipshape? I hope that you're at least going to jettison everything that's worn out or broken or otherwise junk. Because I've been cringing at the idea of Deanna benefiting from the generosity of your curling iron with the frayed wire, and the 937 pieces of 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles, and all that crap that just takes up space and inhibits storage of useful items. In fact, it's creepy when you think about it. Elly's not dead, for crissakes, but the house will be abandoned as abruptly as if she did die.

John: You're not thinking of it; you're doing it. If you're talking about packing, then you've made up your mind. And why would anyone even think of Elly sorting through John's workshop? That would be like my husband sorting through my cosmetics. Shoot, one time I did ask him to bring my daytime makeup bag to the hospital. I said "The big blue flowered one," and he still brought the black-and-white striped one, which is my evening makeup bag! So I had no foundation, and mauve glittery eyeshadow. (I wasn't in the hospital for anything serious, mind you. But that's why I was bored, and wanting to perk myself up.) So no, I can't imagine Elly would know where to begin "sorting through" John's train crap.

Speaking of upheaval, predictably, the one who is taking the idea of moving hardest is April.

Go. To. Hell. And take your trains with you.

Sixteen is that age when you need all the security you can get, and moving is pretty unsettling.

But you're doing it anyway. You know, anyone hearing this for the first time would think you're moving because you have to. Because you have some business opportunity you can't pass up, or the house/community has somehow become unlivable. Something that matters. Instead, you're doing it for your trains. And to indulge your son, who, even though he's a published author and a former editor until he took his ball and went home, can't be expected to make a grown-up decision.

Now that I think about the tension of everyone being together, maybe we aren't the same parents. The upheaval may not leave us "normal" for a while, either.

If there were any justice in the Foobiverse, it wouldn't leave you married. And as has already been said, fuck you for "good LITTLE driver."

Better than Mike. He daydreams - or is a lead foot. I'm glad he's not too macho to let his wife take the wheel.

You're actually admitting that Mike has a flaw? Well, but you're shrugging it off as a harmless quirk. Yeah, I'm sure it's real funny when your grandkids are in the car with him. And dude, Mike is not too macho for a Judy Garland film festival.

April is not being straightforward, unless she's telling you to shove your trains up your ass. Or is she, and all you hear is "trains"? And what basement are you going to make this "sweet 'suite'" (gag) in? If it's the train house, WTF? If it's in the Pattermanse basement, well...that might actually be cool, IF I thought it would ever come off. Because that's the kind of thing they'd promise her just to shut her up, and they wouldn't do it themselves or with her because they'd be too busy with moving, and they wouldn't let her do it herself or with her friends, because they're going to start first thing next week, promise, and in the meantime, don't mess anything up!

And Liz admits that Warren is inconsistent, or at least whatever they have going on is. And "adventurer"?! You have got to be kidding me.

Here, with family and long time friends, you have to work things out, and everything you say and do has a history attached to it. Up north, she was an unknown, and so was everyone else, so relationships were a lot less complicated, because she was starting from scratch. Here, old friends and family have all sorts of history that you have to be aware of, and you never know when something you say might strike a nerve.

This has already been deconstructed, quite skilfully, but I'll take a crack at it anyway. Liz was only an unknown to the villagers. They were quite well known to each other. She was not starting from scratch; she was assimilating into a firmly established group. In fact, is it not rather unusual just how readily she was accepted in Mtig? And if you don't know your own family members' sore spots, and they tend towards taking things hard that were well-meant, that's not a healthy family. Just talk about the weather if you're all so testy.

And, since it's a working relationship with everyone, the "getting along with everyone" aspect is much easier.

Than what?

Everett is now the owner

Whoa! That's a new one on me!

Liz: Whatever you're paying for this craphole where you have to do your own repairs, it's too much. And yeah, she's admitting that some of the Paul breakup was on her. And wow, she's giving Iris a whole Saturday afternoon a month off. During the time Jim naps, most likely. And when she says it "gets April out of the house," I wonder if that's supposed to be good for April, or for Liz. Fuck your condescending attitude: "Of course Grandpa likes the attention." And yes, you're not lucky to have Iris; Jim is. If not for her, he'd be staring into space stroking a cat, like Uncle Jun.

April: As has already been pointed out, swerving hard around pylons is not a necessary skill. Even if I believed that Mike would actually find pylons and set up a slalom course in the first place. I believe it like I believe him writing wedding vows and editing dissertations.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to marry my brother, but hey - she's fun to hang with (just kidding!).

Which part are you kidding about? And gee, Liz is high-strung in the car. When is she NOT high-strung?

Okay, so April will move upstairs, but to Liz's room, not her own. And then...what? To the TTH? Back to the basement?

But... she thinks that just because she's an adult she knows how everything is. She doesn't really understand me.

Well, no, but she doesn't understand anything or anyone else, either.

She doesn't get my frustration about having to leave my space! She enjoys moving, or at least she must because she does it so often.

The first remark is outrageous, when you think of how fiercely protective Liz is of HER space (while leaving the door wide open, of course). The second makes Apes sound ten again. Liz doesn't move, dear, she runs away.

Duncan won't take sides. I guess we kind of talked about Becky behind her back for doing the same sort of thing, last year.

I can only hope that that's WHY he's not taking sides. Because there is no need to guess, and you DID talk about Becky behind her back, not "kind of." And it was two years ago.

Liz said I should break up with Gerald even if it wrecks the band. I don't know. He's a good musician, even if I am really upset with him.

That's a real conundrum. If you stay with your childhood sweetheart, you'll be doing it for the sake of ambition.

Mikerobe:

My head is firmly wedged inside novel number two.

My eye just keeps skipping over the word "novel."

It feels good to be back within the comfortable confines of a world of my own creation. I'm in control. Every character, every event, every turn of phrase is generated by "the gift".

Um, confines are not usually comfortable. Unless you're into that kind of thing. And he's done a 180 here. Sheilagh directed her own story. Now Mikey is the one in control? That might be a good thing, if his "gift" did not "suck."

Having no skills other than short order cooks (learned in my parents' dockside restaurant in Galveston)

Then it's not his first job. Last month you said it was his first job. And shouldn't it be short order cookING? And isn't it just too bad the guy won't still be in Galveston in time for the hurricane?

I am only just beginning to realize the seriousness of my situation as I discover hidden cargo and a captain whose past transgressions include piracy, kidnapping and murder. There is also a stowaway, a man whose ancestry connects him to Mayan royalty and a fortune in Spanish gold.

Now, I wonder what he means by the bolded phrase. Does he mean he just realized that being at sea is alternately dead boring and mortally terrifying? Because the thing is, there's enough drama in the man-against-the-elements aspect of a sailing story that you don't HAVE to bring in all this gothic shit. Robert Louis Stevenson always kept the seafaring element as a crucial aspect of the story. So did Herman Melville. And what is a flipping cook doing poking around and uncovering hidden cargo and stowaways? I thought it was funny that the cook in "The Open Boat" was such a dolt, because how bright would you expect a sea cook to be? But of course our hero, who hasn't been named yet, is Frank and Joe Hardy, all three Investigators, and probably Danny Dunn and Encyclopedia Brown when the time comes, all in one glorious package.

And OMG, you toured a landlocked windjammer once! Dude, that was NOT a "step into the past." And the past was not IN sepia, you moron. It's not like Calvin's dad said.

I also don't know what it's like to sail in a storm, to be shipwrecked or to be left for dead on the coast of Belize, but I'll find out.

Does it all happen in that order? Because I'm wondering what Leonard did to be left for dead after a shipwreck. Does he get blamed for it? Is he the only survivor? Because if he is, he wouldn't be "left" for dead. And how are you going to find this out? GO to frakking Belize and pay someone to stab you?

Outside of the world I'm creating (the one in which I live)

So you admit it.

I'll see my children grow as I did, as my sisters did, in a neighbourhood full of wonder. There are trails to discover, a creek to wade in, an alley where trash can lids and willow branches pit knights against villagers in loud, clanging swordfights. There's history in the hills and in the ravine behind this house and not all of it is make-believe.

Again with the creek. Loud clanging swordfights? That ain't gonna happen. And what history? This is a frakking suburb!

What if we commit to buying a house and something happens to one of us?

If it's you, Deanna will carry on as she has before. If it's her, you'll fall apart and your parents will bail you out.

What if another fire happens?

I dunno. Ever think of learning fire safety?

What if I never sell another story?

Too easy.

What if my parents get ill?

Then you'll ignore them, the way your mom ignores her dad.

What if?!!!

Cripes, you sound like Too Much Coffee Man.

I'm beginning to realize that the older I get, the more cautious I become.

Right. That's why you cautiously quit Portrait. Because you were asked to make a decision, instead of cautiously passing the buck.

There are fourteen crew members down with the trots and the seas are blowing high.

Aren't sailors made of sterner stuff than that? Anyway, there wouldn't be any fruit or dairy this far out to sea, so what's causing this?

It looks like a night of bad weather and Leonard Driscoll has his work cut out for him. I should go and see that he does it well.

How is the storm or the diarrhea his problem? What does he have to do at night? He'll have to get up early to prep breakfast, but that's not an ALL night job.

Deanna: Yes, your presence was causing some strain. Now everyone else leaves and you get to stay.

April, we're not sure about. We did offer to let her stay with us. She so desperately wants to be in her house, in her room. The problem is - until our two are older, Mike and I need her room, and our kids will soon have to have rooms of their own. But we told her she was more than welcome.

Dammit! If she can't have her room back, then she's not welcome. And think about this a minute. You want her to be the nanny. So why shouldn't she have the room close to the Patterspawn? And I would think they could wait two years to have their own rooms. I have never thought this about you before, but you are such a bitch. You want April to stay, but you won't do one. damned. thing to make it worth her while.

We've even talked about sort of "adopting" her. But, there may actually be custody legalities involved in doing that, so she may just come for extended visits.

Why would she come for extended visits, except to take care of your brats? Put down the whitewash brush, Tom Sawyer.

I'd like her to have two places to go, really. It's nice to have her around. I like her. She's smart, she's sarcastic, and she's good with Merrie and Robin. She treats other people well and she's a good role model for my little guys.

Why do they need a good role model? Why do they need one that's not a parent? How is she a good role model anyway, if she's sarcastic? And why do you want her to have two places to go? She should have ONE place, where she'll know she'll be wanted, not just used. The way this is going, it looks as if both houses are filling up, with no one saving a space for April. She'll just have to stay in the basement or go to the farm.

And why would you have to fold laundry on the kitchen table? I fold mine in the bedroom. And since when is Mike handy? Oh right -- he fixed Lovey's porch. And why do you need privacy to barbecue? Do you plan to do it in the nude, like on King of the Hill?

Already I can see him writing an article about first time home ownership. It's a good thing he writes with a sense of humour.

What's that supposed to mean -- that otherwise he would just write a scathing rant about house buying? And that would probably get published anyway.

The Olds: I can't face it.

Pets: Now, this is the bullet I take for you guys. Here we find out that Liz would like her classes to have a pet, but then she'd have to take it home for the summer, and she can't be bothered. And kids have allergies anyway.

And this: If Shiimsa was a bit more sociable, I might bring her with me for show n' tell sometime. She came to the school in Mtigwaki once or twice, but there were far fewer children and the distance was a lot shorter. blows my mind. Liz is so not living in the real world.

She'll like the new place, I hope. It's tiny in comparison to the family fort, but she'll have a lot more peace and quiet - no one will be around to disturb her sleep while I'm at work, anyway. Her routines are of the utmost importance to her. She'll have to work out new ones again in the new place, but she'll manage.

Like owner, like cat.

I started to pay a lot of attention to the birds in Mtig, and now I can identify quite a few of them and I like to try and find the same species down here. I also like to see the big, fat, bushy-tailed squirrels run around in the trees. We didn't have those guys up North - there was a thinner red-tailed variant that was fun to watch, but not as entertaining. The squirrels down here are clowns.

So that's the Mtig legacy. Birds and squirrels. All it's going to be is a footnote, for her to tell her real children about.

Wednesday, May 2

Panel 1: That sounds so innocuous, coming from Liz. Imagine, though, if it was Granthony saying it to her. And crimeny, Guisewite doesn't draw Cathy's ass that big. And Granthony's tie is way too short.

Panel 2: A lovely office? Liz, offices are very rarely "lovely," and when they are, they're usually occupied by women. Then again, Granthony has been feminized quite a lot recently. And we're being informed that he's a manager (did we know that already?) so it's clear what a great catch he is. And am I reading too much into his phrasing that Gordon "made" him a manager, rather than him becoming a manager, or getting promoted?

Panel 3: Oh, he did get an invite! Please already have a date...please already have a date... And stop dancing around with the "honor of this most welcome visit" garbage.

Panel 4: "Escort" in "quotes" now? In this instance, I'm thinking Ford Escort.

Panel 5: OH! OH! OH! Oh, thank you, Flying Spaghetti Monster! I'm loving Liz's expression! Now watch: she's gonna go home, stomp around slamming things, then fling herself on her bed and sob, and her family will tell her...What, I wonder? I really can't predict.