Sunday, July 20 2014
My cleaning jihad continued today as Gretchen toiled in the kitchen making various finger foods for today's party. Most of what I did today involved scrubbing windows and walls of accumulated grime. Today's party was scheduled for the afternoon, and you have to clean a house more thoroughly when the party happens in the daytime. The problem with our house (and I've probably mentioned this before) is that the more one cleans, the more one sees to clean. The dirt is, in essence, fractal in its depth and tenacity.
Gretchen idea for today's party was that it would introduce Susan and David (who are in the process of moving here full time) to our social group. In a way, then, it was similar in some respects to a housewarming party, though not in their house. Since it was partially their party, Susan and David were the first to arrive, but then David had to drive off and get a loaf of bread so Gretchen could hollow it out and stuff it with a creamy cheeselike material. By this point, Gretchen was deep frying vegan ravioli in oil. I've never heard of such a thing, but I can't imagine anyone thinking that anything but a brilliant idea.
Something like 23 people eventually showed up. They were mostly the usual people who come to our parties, so later when I led a tour of the greenhouse, just one couple was on the tour. Usually I go to the greenhouse basement first and then the upstairs, but this time I mixed it up, and went to the greenhouse basement last. Before I opened the door to that crazy bedrock & Portand-cement space, I said that it was a view to the "inside of my brain."
As usual for parties like this, Gretchen and I mostly mingled with others and didn't interact with each other much at all. At some point I was out on the east deck smoking pot, and as I passed the bowl (a brass thing I'd just made from my fitting collection) to someone beyond Nancy, I asked to confirm that she doesn't smoke pot (I've never seen her smoke it). She confirmed that she didn't, that it wasn't her kind of drug. It makes her unusually anxious, she said. I said that I understood, knowing how anxious she already is, I said that the thought of being her and being stoned was too terrifying to contemplate. Nancy then proceeded to relate a story about the last time she'd been stoned. She was at someone's house and she was stoned and she needed to take a dump. And when she finally emerged from the one bathroom, there was a long line of people waiting to use it. It was a classic defecation anxiety story, turned up to eleven by the demon weed.
Now that Nancy had told a poop story, it seemed everyone at my end of the table want to tell their stories as well. Deborah told one about being on a first date with a guy, going back to his apartment, and overflowing his toilet with her poop. It was the kind of poop that had formed little balls, and the overflow was so bad that those little balls floated out into the hallway and required the guy's help to clean up. Nevertheless, they date for years after that. And then I told the story about eating suspect lnguine alfredo in Costa Rica and having to clench my buttcheeks for the flight home. Somehow the desire to poop had vanished by the time we landed at JFK, but returned with a venegeance while riding the monorail to our parking lot. In the version I told tonight, I realized that I wouldn't make it across the parking lot, so I sent Gretchen on ahead and then squatted next to a huge SUV with Bush Cheney bumpersticker and expoded with such force that it formed a brown fog filling the entire space between that SUV and its neighbor. For some reason, my audience tonight weren't as icked out by that part of the story as the part where I said that I washed off my posterior in a huge pothole nearby that was luckily full of rain water.
This particular party was strange in that a certain group of people who would have normally been out on the deck, in the living room, or out in front of the house vanished for long stretches of time, and it wasn't as if they were down in the greenhouse smoking pot. It was almost as if the Rapture had a happened during our party and Jesus had decided a small but not-insignificant fraction of our numbers were worthy. What had actually happened was that these people were up in the bedroom with the door shut, admiring the new baby kitten as she romped around and played enthusiastically. In the space of 24 hours, she'd become completely comfortable with the new space and had lost all of her sad deliberativeness. As a bonus, she was also getting along great with her new brother Oscar. By this point, Gretchen and I had decided to name her Celeste, and so that was what everyone was calling her. We've had a lot of experience with neurotic and otherwise shy cats, so it came as a bit of a revelation to see Celeste stretching, pronking, sideways hopping, and running around tackling her various toys amid a group of six to eight strangers. It should be noted that Oscar stayed hidden beneath the bed the entire time.
Meanwhile, there were six dogs at our party: Ramona, Eleanor, Nancy's dog Jack, Michæl & Carrie's dog Penny, Maresa's dog Lydia, and a smallish sheepdog style dog named Lulu (belonging to that couple I took on the tour of the greenhouse). While the humans kept mostly indoors, the dogs mostly stayed outdoors, often running at full tilt as a pack (or in sub-packs) through the yard and into the nearby forest. Sometimes they also wrestled with each other (particularly Lydia and Ramona or Jack and Ramona) or did various naughty things like excavate holes in the garden. The cumulative effect of all that running around was to completely destroy several moss "toupée" I'd used to cover holes in the lawn that I'd recently filled with dirt — holes excavated by our dogs in the recent past. I was delighted that one of the dogs, Jack, made extensive use of the kiddie swimming pool that Gretchen and I bought last year in hopes that Ramona and Eleanor would use it to cool themselves down. They never do anything but drink out of it, but Jack kept jumping into it and lying down, soaking his thick Laborador fur and then, on occasion, bringing it into the house, where it made the dining room floor into something of a slip & slide, particularly for dogs running into the house at relativistic velocities (one such dog barreled directly into our friend Eva, almost knocking her over).
Lydia (left) and Ramona playing in the yard this afternoon. You can see one of the bear-inflicted injuries as a light spot near the corner of Ramona's eye. That woodpile is mostly the green White Ash I salvaged from the bottom of Dug Hill Road. It's just a small fraction of the wood I've gatherered this year. Photo by Lydia's human mother, Maresa.
A devoted core of our partiers stayed until after dark, having lasted five and a half hours. After putting away the food (particularly some now-semi-melted icrecream cake brought by Maresa), Gretchen and I went upstairs to watch teevee. I would worry about doing all the dishes in the morning.
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