Category Archives: Fire

Evacuate all the schoolchildren…

Sometimes you feel really, really lucky.

Today at work, our on-call called in. We have an off-site on-call who checks in with us periodically, just to see if we’re still alive, if all the employees showed up for their shifts, if the place blew up in a random missile attack, etc. Today’s on-call was CAZ. That’s not her real name. We go by initials there. And strangely enough, those aren’t her initials, as she got married a few years ago. But her new last name doesn’t sound as good as saying “CAZ!” does. So those of us who’ve been there a while still call her CAZ. Yes. Yes, that’s a thing that happens at my part-time job. (I don’t go by my initials there, only because my initials don’t sound good if you say them. I’m just Amy. At one point, there were like five Amys but I outlasted them ALL. I would say “I win!” but I’ve been working at this place for eight and a half years so I don’t think that’s a win for anyone, as that means I haven’t had a true weekend for eight and a half years.)

“HELLO CAZ!” I said. And we chatted a little, because I do so like CAZ.

She warned me that one of the apartment complexes we answer for was on fire, so we would probably be getting a lot of calls on that account.

Which one? Oh, not a big deal, just the one where I live, that’s all.


“CAZ, do we know more about this fire? Like, what BUILDING is this fire in?” I said, in a freaked-out tone.

“Why? Oh, so we can tell callers what’s up when they call. GOOD IDEA!”

“No. Um. I live there?”

“Oh. CRAP. Um. Let me ask my husband. He saw it on Facebook. HUSBAND!” she yelled. It is one of CAZ’s more endearing qualities. She’s really loud. She’s an all-capser, if anyone is. “DID FACEBOOK TELL YOU WHAT BUILDING’S ON FIRE? He says no. Sorry!”

So all day at work, I was freaking merrily the hell out. I don’t hang with anyone in my complex so I wasn’t going to call anyone, and at one point we tried calling the front desk because callers were calling us all “NO ONE’S ANSWERING OVER THERE” but no one answered so I couldn’t even ask them what was up. I assume the front desk guy, who’s super-timid (he’s like a Dumbcat of a human) saw the fire and scurried away into his own personal pots-and-pans cupboard.

I kept thinking of Dumbcat. And all my things. I really like my things. And then Dumbcat again, who, the one time we had a fire at my old place, was SO SCARED. And my things. But mostly my Dumbcat. And I did my job, but I kept thinking, “Maybe you have no home to go to? Maybe the ENTIRE PLACE burned down. Maybe you have no more things or cat. Maybe you have your car and what you’re wearing. You have renter’s insurance, sure, but you can’t buy a lifetime’s worth of things. Or Dumbcat. Dumbcat is worth more than ALL the money.”

I drove home kind of crazily. Sorry, other people on the road. You were driving TOO SLOWLY. I wanted to know if I had a home.

I had a home.

(The building that burned, however, wasn’t far from mine. Only a few away. It’s a HUGE complex. Building after building after building.)

It was all over the news. 4 apartments burned. REALLY burned, too, not just a little singed or whatever.


They don’t know how it started, only that it started in the top floor apartment and burned four of the places to a crisp. Like, nothing left. The Red Cross is helping the people without homes. I didn’t see anything when I drove in (the building that burned is past my driveway) but WHOO does it smell like smoke around here.

In news of “everything is an excuse for getting blasted,” my neighbors decided to have a “WE DIDN’T BURN UP!” party, and a gaggle of like ten of them got drunker and drunker in the parking lot. In-between my frantic pettings of Dumbcat (“OMG, my good, good boy, who isn’t dead, how much do I love you? SO MUCH. More than ALL THE THINGS. You are the BEST.” “MOM! This are the BEST PETTINGS!1!!! PURR PURR o no I falled off the cowch from hapinesss”) I peered at them like a creeper. Things got super-loud about three hours after I got home. One of the very classy partygoers decided it was time to BE VERY LOUD and SCREAM OBSCENITIES and BANG ON OTHER PEOPLE’S CARS (I was all, “Don’t you touch my car. Don’t you even. DON’T TOUCH IT” but he didn’t, I don’t think) and then I wandered off because other people’s insanity due to overimbibing got boring to me in the mid 90s but when I heard someone say “GET IN THE CAR DUDE WE GOTTA GO!” I peeked out and he sped off and there was a guy on the ground in a puddle of blood with a girl hovering over him all “You ok, buddy?” and the other partygoers were scurrying around cleaning up detritus because you could hear cop cars coming.


The cops showed up, and then an ambulance, and they took the Victim of the Fire Party away on one of those backboard thingies that you strap people to when they’ve had a spinal injury and then the lady who lives in that place went around apologizing to people for the ruckus and that was the end of that.

I just kept thinking of this:

OMG I am totally laughing so hard I can’t type properly right now sdohgoisgohsdogih.

So: all in all, it all worked out. I have a home. I have a DUMBCAT in the home. (Who doesn’t like the smoky smell; he’s all sniffing near the windows and making his sour-face and running off.) I feel very, very fortunate. (I feel terrible for the people who lost everything, though. Fires scare the bejeebers out of me. When I was little, I used to have panic attacks about our house going up in flames. Dad was all, “WE WOULD BE FINE I WOULD SAVE YOU” but we had to watch some terrible movie about fires in your home and I WAS SO SCARED so I was all, “DAD YOU COULD NOT SAVE ME FROM A WALL OF HUNGRY CHILD-EATING FLAMESSSSSS” and he just shook his head and walked away which I think is what happened with most of my childhood, to be honest.)

Tomorrow I am going on an adventure to meet the most lovely Bronwyn and her EQUALLY-LOVELY fella. I am excited. We will have an adventure of epic proportions! Or just eat dinner and talk and talk, but that can be totally adventurey if you’re meeting someone for the first time you’ve known for years on the interwebs.

Happy Sunday, everyone. May you all have a good thing happen that makes you realize you are very, very lucky to be alive and well and have what you do have in life.

True adventures with wildlife, ZOMG

I have a very brief period of time to write this. FIRST I have a STORY and then I have a thing I stole from someone else’s blog because I’m like a pirate, yo. Arrr.

This is me, I guess. Arr, matey.

This is me, I guess. Arr, matey.


This weekend, I went to the library. On the way home, I wanted to stop at a place to pick up some lunch, and I thought, hey, I know a back way to get there. So I turned down the back way all pioneer-like.

Well, like the pioneers that ended up in Utah or some such shit instead of California, I realized I had made a terrible mistake when the road, which the last time I went down it led me all twisty-turny to the road with all the restaurants on it, it just…dead-ended. I knew they’d done some construction, but a little sign saying “this is a dead end now” might have been helpful. To add insult to injury, the reason it was now a dead-end was because they’d put a little hill across the street. You could SEE the street right on the other side of the hill where I needed to be. I mean, there was no way to get OVER the hill, but you could SEE over the hill, and the street was TAUNTING me. Dammit.

Curses, foiled again.

Curses, foiled again.

So grumblingly, I turned around and went back up the same street I’d just gone down. Well, at least I now know you can’t go down that street to get anywhere. So I won’t do that again, I suppose. So, la la la, here I was, driving back the way I came.

When all of a SUDDEN, what was THIS?, something was in the road! Something somewhat large and…brown…and…

IT WAS A TURKEY A REAL LIVE WILD TURKEY (no, not the liquor) in the ROAD!

So I laughed and laughed! I’ve seen turkeys in the distance, like at the side of the road, but never up close! (I mean, I’ve also seen them dead and waiting to be roasted. And also I’ve eaten them. Because, delicious, you know?)

I turned down the radio and slowed WAYYYYYY down (and peeked in my rearview and there was a truck behind me and I was all “sorry dude, but TURKEY!” but of course it’s not like he heard me) and the turkey STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! He did not move! That was one cheeky turkey! He made turkey noises (which I GUESS are like “gobble gobble” but are more like a weird underwatery blurbling noise, honestly) and just watched my car coming up and didn’t even move!

Well, I liked that turkey. That turkey had CHUTZPAH. So I watched him for a couple more moments and then felt bad for the truck in back of me so I really slowly went around the turkey and he went “blurble blurble!” and then I drove away. And the truck in back of me totally went around the turkey, too, so I decided he was a nice man who went out of his way for turkeys.

Wild turkeys (NOT THE LIQUOR!) are very funny and very prettily-feathered and this one totally had a wattle. And wise eyes. I liked this turkey very much. But not enough that I’m going to stop EATING turkey. I do very much like poultry. Both when it comes up all unexpected-like in the street, and also with some gravy and stuffing.

I told Dad this story and first he was all, “Maybe that turkey was rabid” which made me laugh, and then he said “Make that turkey noise again. Make it again.” Then he laughed and laughed because apparently I made a very funny turkey noise. Then he said, “Maybe that was a turkey vulture. Do you think it was a turkey vulture?” and I said, “No, Dad, I saw a turkey vulture once. We had one when I worked at the animal shelter. We had to keep it overnight for Fish and Game to come and pick it up and we fed it hamburger and it looked like a dinosaur and it was totally frightening but also fascinating? I kept looking at it in awe.” Dad said, “You are a wonder, daughter of mine. You are a wonder. You love all the animals, don’t you?” and I said, “Yes. But not monkeys or apes, though.” Dad understood because we went to the zoo together that time. He knows I don’t like the monkeys because I hid behind him at the monkey cage most of the time. I don’t trust those wily poo-flinging bastards.

This doesn't even LOOK like a turkey. It looks like a VULTURE. Also like an evil mastermind, a little, right?

This doesn’t even LOOK like a turkey. It looks like a VULTURE. Also like an evil mastermind, a little, right?

Here is part two. I am multitasking this post, yo.

So on Emma Wolf’s blog today (which is like your…um…two days ago or something), she did the Daily Prompt, which was to assume you had time to save five things from your home if it was on fire, assuming all animals and people were safe. What would you save?

Things like this make me think and think. (I don’t know that I’ve ever clicked on that Daily Prompt site. Is that something bloggers are supposed to do? Probably. I never follow the rules, do I? Dammit.)

When my apartment WAS actually on fire, I saved the cats and my purse, which had my phone (back before I had a real phone, it was just a crappy non-smart Tracfone, but at least it was a way to call out) and of course my wallet and things in it. It took a long time to round up the cats. They were all I cared about, to tell the truth. The purse could have stayed. But this is assuming Dumbcat is safe, so he’s out of the picture. Well, that sounded terrible. He’s SAFELY out of THIS picture. Let’s pretend my happy little place is on fire and Dumbcat is safely elsewhere. Where is he? Hell, I don’t know, probably in the car in his carrier or something, let’s not think too deeply about this.

OK, five things, quick like a bunny, I have to call Dad and explain Justified to him for the week.

  1. My purse. It has a lot of things in, my wallet, my cell would be in there, keys, etc. My purse is important. Having to replace all of those cards and such would be a colossal pain in the butt, yo.
  2. My laptop. It has a lot of writing on it. I’d hate to lose that. Yes, yes. I know. I should probably back that shit up on a thumb drive or whatever the kids have today, but I also love to TYPE on my laptop. The laptop has to come with.
  3. Photos. I’m not a huge decorator, but the main thing I have hanging on the walls here are a ton of photos. Most of them are irreplacable. Some of the people in them are long gone; some were gone before wee Amy made the scene. I’m going to assume I have a little bit of time to grab some photos off my wall. It’s my fire; I get to imagine it as I please.
  4. Clothes/shoes/outerwear/etc. I know I won’t have a billion years to be grabbing things, but at least a couple basic outfits. Once, a long time ago, I had to quickly leave my place of residence. I did not have time to grab clothing. Living in the same clothes for days while you try to get the money/time to get some more clothes is not really what you need to be worrying about when you’re dealing with a huge life issue, you know?
  5. My teddy bear. Shh, my house just burned down, I’m going to need my comfort object. Yes, I’m a grown-ass woman. You’re not even allowed to judge. I WAS JUST IN A CATASTROPHIC FIRE.
Yikes, don't do a search for "apartment fire" and expect to get any sleep for the night. Good grief.

Yikes, don’t do a search for “apartment fire” and expect to get any sleep for the night. Good grief.

I find this curious, because as I was doing this, I didn’t have many things I COULDN’T live without. Honestly, if I had to do without all of these things, I could. As long as Dumbcat is safe, I’m ok. There are a lot of things I need in life, but most of them are replacable. The two things I can’t replace are Dumbcat (I mean, he’s not going to live forever, I’m not insane, I know that, but as long as it’s within my power to do so, I’m going to keep him around) and my loved ones. Doing without the people I love…well, things are just things. You can replace things. Or if you can’t replace them, you can learn to live without them. But my people? Well, living without them is not something I want to contemplate. I’ve had to say goodbye to too many people in my life, and when you lose someone you love, that you truly love, the hole that’s left…well, some of you know what that’s like, and some of you, thankfully, don’t, but everyone eventually does, and will. That kind of loss, I don’t know if that ever leaves you. So, yes, fire, consume all my consumables, if you must. My cat and my people are safe? I’m good. I’m fine. They’re all I need.

For a short post, this is very long. Goodnight, internet. Wait, you’re reading this like at noon or something. Happy…um…lunch break, internet. I’m going to see Company of Thieves with one of my best friends tonight! Hooray!



She’s talking in her sleep; it’s keeping me awake

Random crap Tuesday? Sure, I don’t have any other plans. Buckle up, cowboys! Wow, that was kind of a stupidly mixed metaphor. Cowboys don’t wear SEATBELTS.

In news of the MOST random, want to hear a most excellent German word? Schnarcht. Guess what it means. No, seriously, guess. SNORING. Now say it out loud. (No, I don’t know how to pronounce it correctly, either. Probably there are like three of you reading that do.) Doesn’t it just LOOK and SOUND like snoring? It totally does. It’s like a little German onomatopoeia!

In news of snoring, which I was explaining to Ken on Twitter, I am the loudest snorer in the history of the world, and probably I need a C-PAP machine but I don’t care for those because Dad has one and I put it on once and it made me feel like I was in a wind tunnel that was sucking my breath.

Seriously, how would a person sleep with one of these on? Comfortably, I mean? That can’t happen. Also, sexy? No.

I snore like a lumberjack. So, probably it’s good that I’m single, because otherwise, whoever hitched his euphemistic wagon to my star would be really, really tired all the time. Or I need a deaf person. Or someone who can sleep in another room with that sound-baffling material all on the walls like in a recording studio. According to ex-roommates, I also hold detailed conversations in my sleep, in which I play all the roles, and I sometimes laugh. There’s even a word for that. Somniloquy! It’s like I’m in a Shakespearean nighttime drama. None of this surprises you, does it? I don’t have an off-button! Even when I’m SLEEPING! Someday (let’s hope) I’ll have a nice repeat overnight visitor who finds this all very entertaining and we’ll get him to record it. I’d like to know what I’m saying in my sleep. Mom was all, “Um, that could be bad. What if you’re spilling SECRETS?” What secrets, like my biscuit recipe? Sheesh, Mom, there really aren’t any bodies buried anywhere. What exactly do you think I do down here all day, mobster-stuff? I’m living a soap-opera? Nope. Nothing that exciting. Sorry to disappoint.

Ay, Dios mio!

(Also, in “I have a very active nighttime life” news, about a week ago, I woke up CONVINCED one of you had died. I won’t say which one. It will freak you right the hell out. That’d freak ME out. It’s like a PORTENT of EVIL. Let’s name the person…Pat. That is a gender-non-specific name.

Pat doesn’t look like this. Pat is lovely.

I sat up straight in bed around 2am, and said, out loud, “Oh, no. I have to let everyone know. I have to. They NEED to know.” See, I apparently had had a dream that I thought was TOTALLY REAL in which Pat had died, and one of Pat’s loved ones had contacted me and tasked me with telling all of the internet that Pat was no longer among us. I was the only one, other than Pat’s loved ones, who knew Pat was dead. Yes, I realize this makes very little sense. Why would Pat’s loved ones only tell me that Pat was dead? I don’t know. It was a dream. They don’t make sense. The thing is, I apparently was kind of sleepwalking. I thought it was real.

Man, it’s a good thing there are a lot of steps and such before I get outside. I’d end up all wandering through the woods in my nightgown. And it’s really unkempt.

So I sat up sure this was true. I reached for my phone, so I could tell everyone Pat was dead. However, I had forgotten to charge my phone the night before, so my phone was charging in the living room. I actually GOT OUT OF BED to WALK TO THE LIVING ROOM to GET MY PHONE to tell EVERYONE Pat was dead. I was standing in the middle of my bedroom, kind of swaying? You know, when you’re like 98% asleep? And I actually said, OUT LOUD, “Wait. I THINK I AM DREAMING. PAT IS NOT DEAD.” Then I stood there half-asleep for a few more minutes, thinking, “Is it a dream? Is it not? Should I tell the internet Pat is dead?” Then I decided, no, it is a dream. Because I would be crying if Pat was dead, because I love Pat, and how sad would it be if Pat was dead? Why would I just be SLEEPING? Like it was not a big DEAL? That didn’t make any sense. So I went back to bed. Can you even imagine if my phone had been next to my bed? I would have, like, posted on Facebook or Twitter or here or wherever that Pat was dead. Then I’d wake up in the morning to a million messages, some of them FROM Pat, all, “Um. Amy? I’m …um…not dead? What is happening WHAT IS HAPPENING.” So. There is the story of how my brain works at 2am. Also, I think I need to start keeping my phone in the living room, just for safekeeping. Oh, and because I’m sure you’ve been worried: PAT IS ALIVE. I checked as soon as I woke up.)

It was a very exciting week last week. Much book announcement ruckus. Covers! Release dates! All kinds of excitement. I’m totally bouncing like Tigger right now, I can’t even tell you. Bounce, bounce, bounce. Just a little over two weeks, and then BOOK RELEASE DAY! Also, I have lined up – ready? Ready for this? – REVIEWERS! I know it, right? How fancy is THAT! I think I have 4 now? 5? People who will READ my BOOK! And tell people about it! I am very excited about this. Thank you, my reviewers! I hope they love it. But even if they don’t, doesn’t matter. I’m just excited they’ll read it. I want them to be honest, anyway. I’d rather an honest review than a lying liar who lies review.

Yo, here’s a CAT reviewer. How do I pitch a cat reviewer? I think a cat would give me a VERY good review! I am a FRIEND of cats. ALL cats.

Anyway, when I announced this, I hoped (rightly, I love your faces) all my internet people would be awesome and excited, because you’re all awesome, but as I’ve mentioned a million times before (and I find this utterly baffling, I mean, not because I’m so scintillating in real life, but shouldn’t your real-life people be even more involved in your life than your “imaginary” friends?) my real-life people don’t seem to care what’s happening in the land of me, so I didn’t even tell anyone in real life (and before you ask, YES, I absolutely HAVE tried, and then I gave up), hardly, until I realized, huh, I probably should, even if it sells one book, it might be worth it. Plus I’m super-stoked. So I put it up on Facebook last week. And GOOD GRACIOUS. It’s amazing when sometimes people surprise you, isn’t it? My real-life people WERE excited! I was honored and humbled and also we annoyed poor Ken to distraction because I THOUGHT it would be a good thing to tag him in the post, because he did the cover and I wanted to make sure he got credit for that, but I honestly thought (as with most things I post on Facebook) no one would CARE, I had no idea people would RESPOND, so he started getting a kajillion emails because he’s signed up to get emails every time someone comments on a post he’s tagged in. SORRY KEN. If it helps at all, I felt terrible about the emails. I did NOT feel terrible he was getting the credit he deserved for the beautiful, beautiful cover. (KEN! Take off your Facebook email notifications, goofball.) So, yeah. Real life people, I am sorry I underestimated you. I’ll try to be better about that in the future.

Aw, sorry hamster (or some sort of rodent, who knows what this is, not me!)

Also, this weekend, I got to see the first rough draft of the book (eeee!) and it is BEAUTIFUL. I can’t even TELL you. I had a little editing work to do and I did it and then I honestly fell down a wormhole of paging through the PDF over and over and OVER and saying things like, “Hey, HEY, I totally WROTE that, that’s a nice turn of phrase, right there, too bad the person that inspired that is such an asshat” (oh, wait, no, of COURSE I’d never think that, us poets are SO above that, ahem.) It’s amazing and it’s beautiful and I can’t wait for you all to see it.

On the same day my book’s coming out, my friend and co-blogger at The Loser’s Table (which I SWEAR we have not forgotten about, it’s just…well…we’re all a little busy at the moment) Cara has a book coming out as well. On the same day! So of course you’re going to want to read Cara’s book as well. It is called Elegantly Wasted, look look look how pretty Erin‘s cover is, and I can’t wait to read it.

Cara’s been working her ass off on it and I’m so proud that we’re both Luna Station authors. Congratulations, Cara! You know, I really know some crazy-talented people. It amazes me. I’m so proud to have them all in my life, I can’t even explain.

In weather news (what, that’s fun, right? Don’t we ALL love talking about the weather?) we are having a DROUGHT. Our grass is yellow; our trees are yellow; our skies are blue blue blue blue and it is hoooooot. Hot and humid. It’s like living in a swamp only there’s no water in this swamp. It’s kind of the worst.

This is what our grass looks like right now. It is unpretty.

Even up where my parents live, where it’s always wet, it’s dry. The governor put the state under a three-month outdoor burn ban because of all the droughtiness. My dad’s all, “well, that’s it, it’s over, it’s never going to rain again” because he’s filled with joy and a whole pot of optimism. And, because it’s so, so dry, guess what happened up where my parents live this past weekend? A GIGANTIC FOREST FIRE! I’m not even kidding! My dad has a wood lot (people have such things at home, it’s where you cut your firewood and also hang out for fun sometimes and look at squirrels), and it caught on FIRE! Two ACRES of fire! Fire that got under the pine needles and lasted until the next DAY! It was all very upsetting and FIVE different fire departments had to be called in and Dad almost passed out from heat stroke because it was over 90 degrees that day and I scolded him and scolded him for almost dying. Apparently it’s out now but that was a scary thing. The whole WOODS could have burned down. That wouldn’t have been fun. Where would the fairies and frog princes live?

I don’t think it was this big. But if you Google “little forest fire” you don’t get a lot of results, oddly.

Also, Dad’s all put out because the local paper but a blurb about the fire on Facebook. “I DON’T WANT TO BE ON FACEBOOK! THAT’S WHY I DON’T HAVE AN ACCOUNT!” he said. “Dad, they didn’t say your name, just that there was a fire somewhere on that road, you’re safe,” I replied. “STALKERS WILL KNOW!” he howled. Oh, Dad. It must be so hard to live in your head. A place so full of ruckus and I’m guessing bees.

In happier news, The Nephew was at my parents’ house the last time I called, and he was building LEGO TOWERS! That almost went to the CEILING, Aunt Amy! And when my mom asked him if he wanted to talk to me, he said, “I do NOT want to talk to her!” (kid hates the phone; that’s ok, I’m not a fan of it myself) but when my mom tried to put the speakerphone on and couldn’t, he said, “WHY can’t you?” as if his wee nephewy heart was broken. I like that he is filled with contradictions. I want to build Lego towers to the ceiling with him. I’m quite good at Lego towers. It’s a secret talent I have.

OK, back to doing many many important things I go.

Oh, who got the title? You totally win my love if you did without me telling you below like I’m going to. Ready? Ok, well, it’s not like the Counting Crows are my favorite band, or anything, but I love love LOVE this song. (Also, what? It was never released as a single? Sorry, this is a terrible version. But the live versions are AWFUL. The album version is best.)

Happy Tuesday!

These guys are pros, Michael. They’re gonna push the tension ’til the last possible moment before they strip.

Random crap post today, you guys. RANDOM CRAP POST. Oh, but FIRST! Happy MONDAY! Are you all totally enjoying your Monday? Was your weekend the most productive? Mine was full of laziness. Apparently the Christmas presents are NOT going to buy themselves. I’ve waited like a month and it hasn’t happened. I think I have to get on that at some point. Also, the cookies are not going to bake themselves, and the cards are not going to write themselves. This is totally disappointing. Why don’t the cats get on this while I’m at work? What else are they doing, just sitting around being lords and ladies of the manor and sunning themselves and sleeping and licking and whatnot? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. They are totally the worst minions. I really have to do something about this. Is there a DVD I can buy or something? I mean, once I saw a video where a dog went and got his owner a beer out of the fridge. I don’t like beer or anything, but the SENTIMENT is totally STILL THERE. How come my cats can’t write some simple Christmas cards? I’m not asking them to write a POEM or anything. Just an “I love you, happy holidays, hope your year was fantastic.” SERIOUSLY CATS.


Everybody out of the pool!

So today, the office caught on fire again. I say again, because this happened once before, a few weeks ago. So for those of you with a scorecard at home (and seriously, that’s kind of awesome, send me a scorecard, I want to play, do I get a bingo dauber?) that’s TWO OFFICE FIRES in LESS THAN A MONTH. The people upstairs are total firebugs, seriously. Last time they set their toaster oven on fire and the firemen came out cradling it in gigantic Ove Gloves like they were in The Hurt Locker (although they did NOT look like Jeremy Renner, much to my dismay) and this time they came out empty-handed because apparently they couldn’t even find a flaming toaster oven. Was it hiding behind a potted plant?

What is going ON upstairs? Are they all Apocalypse-Now-ing in the break room or what? This is very perplexing.

Also, here’s what happens when the fire alarm goes off in my office. Brrrriiiingggg! Fire alarm! And I IMMEDIATELY HAVE TO PEE. It is UNFAILING. I didn’t have to pee BEFORE the fire alarm! And now it’s like this urgent call of nature where I’m going to have a bladder rupture. So last time, I didn’t pee, and it was the worst twenty minutes of my LIFE out there in the cold all “OH MY GOD FIREMEN SERIOUSLY” and “I wonder if anyone would notice if I peed behind this bush right here.” This time, I seriously stood up and said loudly “I don’t care if I burn to a crisp I am GOING TO THE BATHROOM FIRST” and I went to the bathroom. When I came back to my desk, one of my bosses (who I love, he’s like this little Nervous Nelly but sometimes he comes out with these little dry jokes and I just want to hug him because I know making a joke for him is just totally painful like being gutshot would be for anyone else) was running through my area and saw me and was all “AMY OH MY GOD FIRE FIRE YOU HAVE TO GET OUT” and I said, “Yes, I know, getting my coat now, see, all is well, I don’t even smell smoke, honestly” and he got CRAZY EYES and said “NOW THE FIRE IS HAPPENING NOW!!!!” and ran past me with his trenchcoat flapping in the breeze. I’m pretty sure he’s about one more office fire away from a massive heart attack. It’s totally worrisome.

Also, listen, aren’t firemen supposed to be hot? Television and movies tell me this is the case. Neither time the firemen have been especially hot. Also, they haven’t come out all sooty, and I was really looking forward to the sootiness like on television. This time, I got very excited and when the doors of the fire truck opened one fireman came out and he looked FOURTEEN. This is very upsetting. I mean, there are CALENDARS of these people. I KNOW. I have PURCHASED THEM. As GIFTS. Was this fourteen year old in the calendar? That’s probably violating a bazillion laws I don’t want to know about. Then later a hotter fireman showed up but I didn’t get a very good look because he went in to battle royale with the toaster oven or whatever the upstairs tenants lit up today and I didn’t see him come back out so I could ogle so he might be dead up there, I don’t know. UGH. This is SO DISAPPOINTING. (I will also take Arrested Development’s Hot Cops, in a pinch. I AM NOT PICKY.)

That is not a good idea, Mom. Seriously.

So apparently, when you have a blog, people think it’s a good idea to tell you things like “I found something for you to blog about! This is SO FUNNY!” and sometimes that’s really nice because then you have something to blog about that’s not a post just randomly putting together a bunch of crap because your brain is too fried from doing a fat lot of nothing all weekend to put together a real post.

So my mom told me this weekend, “I found something you have to blog about! It is the worst thing! Ever!” So I’m not really sure what she thinks I talk about here. Apparently, the worst things ever. She hasn’t ever even read my blog. She thinks it will get her fired or possibly download porn onto her work computer.

This is what she found.

Did you click? If you didn’t, here is a photo.

IT IS A REAL DEER BUTT WITH A BOTTLE OPENER IN THE ASSHOLE. You are supposed to hang it on your WALL. So you can open your BEER with a deer’s ASSHOLE.

Although, my mom didn’t say “asshole” because my mom doesn’t cuss. I think she said “bunghole.” Because she is a CLASSY LADY.

Um. I don’t even know…this…this is for Truck Nutz people, right? Can you even imagine going over to someone’s house, like on a date or something, and he brings out a couple bottles of beer and is all, “Hey, we need to open these I HAVE JUST THE THING” and then OPENS THEM WITH THE DEER BUTT HE HAS ON HIS WALL.

Also, just so you know, on that same site, you can buy a kit? So you can make your OWN Deer Ass Bottle Opener. Or, if you’re a conservationist or just classy, a PLASTIC deer ass. Or a Deer Ass Bottle Opener with deer fur Truck Nutz hanging off it, for that added touch of je ne sais quoi. Or a taxidermied squirrel holding a bottle of alcohol so he looks like a little furry drunken hobo. OR ALSO GIFT CARDS.

My question is, how did my mother find out about this? And I’m pretty sure the answer is, there was probably an infomercial on about it. Because my father watches a lot of hunting shows and NASCAR on the weekends. That seems like the place where an infomercial for those things would be shown, right? Also, have you ever watched a televised hunting show? They are totally the funniest. The hunter always is saying “Shh…shh…coming up on the prey now…shh” and when I mock it my father’s all “SHHH AMY COMING UP ON THE PREY NOW” and I’m like “DAD THEY CAN’T HEAR ME.” Then I start saying “RUN AWAY DEER! RUN AWAAAYYYYY! LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY MY FRIEND!” and he gets mad and tells me to go do something else because I’m ruining his program.

So listen, it’s that time of year! When you are looking for that perfect gift that NO ONE ELSE will buy for anyone! So you know what’s a good idea? NOT THIS.

I think it’s slightly better than being a regular whore.

So apparently, the spammers I’m getting on my blog now are trying a new tactic to get me to publish their spammy links, which is to INSULT AND INSULT ME. That’s totally humorous? But I think a little misguided? Because why would I a., publish a comment where your link is not a link to your blog or your Twitter feed or whatever but a link to an erectile dysfunction site, and b., publish a comment where you’re insulting me?

Their most common insult (I’m pretty sure they work from some sort of common spamming script, which makes me laugh, thinking they pass the script around or something, “YOUR TURN WITH IT NOW JIMMY”) is “It’s obvious you’re just begging for attention with this blog post.”

Dear Spammers: YES I AM. Yes we ALL are. Why the hell would we be bloggers if we didn’t want attention? I mean, I like doing this so much I’d do it even if only a few people read it, or no one, or whatever? But you know what’s awesome? ALL THE PEOPLE READING IT. Because I like attention. If I didn’t like attention, I probably wouldn’t have an online presence. Right? I’m a TOTAL attention whore. For the love of Pete, spammers! I’ve been a theater person since junior high. If I didn’t want people to look at me, I probably wouldn’t have gotten ON STAGE IN FRONT OF ALL THOSE PEOPLE, I’m thinking. Who doesn’t need validation? That’s stupid. YOU’RE A JACKASS VIAGRA SPAMMER.

I refuse to have my feelings hurt by “attention whore” because the WHOLE INTERNET IS ATTENTION WHORING and I totally accept it. I think it comes down to a., your clientele, and b., how you go about ATTRACTING said clientele. If you’re a sad panda attention whore (i.e. those people on Facebook who are all “Life has lost all meaning…I feel like a grey cloud, drifting from place to place, aimlessly…I can’t taste food”), you’re going to attract the rough trade of attention-whoredom. And who wants that? NO ONE. Well, maybe sad pandas do, I don’t know. But if you attention-whore by doing something you love, and you have fun with it, and you’d be a whore even if you DIDN’T get money left on the metaphorical nightstand, then probably you’ll get the classier clientele. Like SENATORS and CONGRESSMEN and maybe CHILDREN’S BIRTHDAY PARTY MAGICIANS.

Also, there’s one spammer who keeps saying “you relied too much on videos to make your point” on posts WITHOUT VIDEOS and that is very confusing. SPAMMERS I AM ONTO YOU. Sort of. Mostly I’m just befuddled.

I want to go to there

So in about two and a half weeks I’m off for Christmas. And you know what that means, right? No, not presents. Well, YES, presents, but not the point. NO NOT FOOD. Although yes, that too.


I spoke to The Nephew on the phone last night, which is always the most exciting because if there’s anyone who’s more excited about life, the universe, and everything than I am, it’s The Nephew. Here is how a typical conversation with The Nephew progresses:

Someone gives him the phone.

He holds it to his ear.

I say “Hello The Nephew! Hello baby! I miss you! I love you! I can’t wait to see you!”

He starts pushing all the buttons until the phone disconnects.

But yesterday, we had the following conversation:

Me: Hello, The Nephew!
Him: Who’s The Nephew?
Me: YOU are The Nephew!
Me: Yes! You are! Do you know who this is?
Him: On the PHONE.
Me: It’s Aunt Amy!
Him: (button-pushing noises…my father saying “Let’s not do THAT, The Nephew, because then Aunt Amy will disappear like she does EVERY TIME YOU TALK TO HER”)
Me: I will see you soon, babe! In a few weeks! For Christmas!
Him: *squeal noise so high only dogs in outer space could hear it, banging noises, screaming of “Presents! Presents! PRESENTS!”*
My dad: Nice one, Amy.

Apparently, The Nephew (and NO, I didn’t SAY “The Nephew” in our conversation. I said his NAME. Which I’m not going to TELL you. Because you might be KILLERS or KIDNAPPERS. And I’d totally go all psychoballistic on your ass if you touched my kiddo. So that’s his internet name, until he gets old enough to pick one out for himself) is as excited about Christmas as anyone can be. Is that not the best? Listen, my heart’s a total lump of COAL, you guys, but you can’t help but melt over a child’s excitement over Christmas. Especially when said child is one of the only people in the world you’d stop a stampeding wildebeest for with your bare hands and a bent paperclip, were those the only weapons available to you.

As stated multiple times recently, I am not in the Christmas spirit. I put up the tree this weekend but it produced a big old meh. I don’t want to shop; I don’t want to do anything holiday related. What I want is to sit on the floor and put together endless Duplo towers with the best little person in the planet and let him knock them over and squeal with joy and say “Again! Build it again!” And I will. Over and over. Unceasingly. He’s just that kickass.

OK, that was a LOT OF CRAP. Don’t you totally feel more enlightened? I know you do. Enjoy your Monday! Kick its ass squarely! YOU CAN DO IT! If not, well, it’s almost HALFWAY DONE! There is always a silver lining, what can I tell you?

All of This Greatness, and It Being Constantly Thrust Upon Me, is Exhausting

Here are two important things about me: I love animals more than a normal person (three places I’ve worked in my life: pet store, vet clinic, humane society) and fire scares me more than anything. Well, except clowns. Clowns with razor-sharp teeth.
When you were a kid, did they ever make you watch that “be careful because you are about to lose everything and everyone you love in a fire” video (well, filmstrip, I’m old) at school? It scared the SHIT out of me. I BEGGED my parents for one of those ladders that folded up under your window. I slept with all of my favorite toys within grabbing distance in case we had to evacuate. It taught you that fire was insidious. In the filmstrip, a smoker put out his cigarette on the arm of a chair (why did he do this? Fire probably told him to. Evil, evil fire!), and three days LATER that chair burst into flame. No one in my house smoked, but what if someone who visited us had an ash in their pantleg they were unaware of? Stowaway fire! This was a very major concern of my childhood. Fire would kill and eat everyone you loved, leaving you a sad, dirty-faced orphan who smelled like woodstoves, like the poor kid that sat next to me once and then he disappeared and they said he moved, but I was never quite sure about that. That’s what I took away from that filmstrip.
A few years ago, we had a severe thunderstorm on my way home from work. I got home and settled in with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and some HBO. You know, as you do. It was summer. The smell of barbecue grills was wafting gently through my open windows. (“It’s curtains for you, Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.” No? Fine. Go watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, you heathens.) It was a lovely post-storm afternoon. Then someone started banging on my door. I went downstairs to the door, grumbling about my ice cream melting and wondering exactly how many people were barbecuing, because the smell of smoke was really getting strong.
My neighbor, who never knocked on my door. Odd. He said “Fire,” and pointed at my bedroom window. He had a very thick accent, and I wasn’t sure what he was saying. He repeated himself. “Fire!” and pointed again. I looked – and smoke was pouring out of the roof right over my apartment window. The neighbors were all leaving the building. My building was on fire. (I found out later that it had been hit by lightning right before I got home.)
And here’s the best thing. My neighbors? Were setting up lawn chairs to have a front-row seat to the fire. One of them brought out a cooler and started passing around popsicles. Apparently, this was their fourth of July; my apartment was the fireworks. Lawn chairs. Freaking LAWN CHAIRS. And they were jostling for the best sightlines like it was the Kentucky goddamn Derby.
He gestured for me to leave, and I almost did, but then – well, not that I wish intense situations on any of you, but have you ever been in a situation where your brain just kind of takes over and breaks down a task and you’re in the zone? Oh, what’s that you say? Sports? I know nothing of this “sports” of which you speak. I’m talking about disaster, people. I was about to leave and I realized two things, one of which had three parts: a. my purse, with my apartment keys, was upstairs, and the door would lock automatically behind me if I closed it and walked away right now; and b. my two cats and my roommate’s one cat were upstairs. And the smoke was really starting to billow. Oh, and there were no barbecues. In case you didn’t figure that out yet. (I was foreshadowing. Fancy, right? I know! I went to college for that!)
The cats were upstairs and there was a good chance the apartment was going to go up in a cinder and our three cats were upstairs. And my roommate didn’t get home from work for another half an hour. And fire was insidious. I had seen the filmstrip!
I ran back upstairs, pulling the door shut after me. The neighbor was yelling something after me. In the zone. I was in the ZONE. I saw the cats, two napping peacefully on the couch, one on my roommate’s bed. I grabbed the cat carriers from the closet. I whirled around.
No cats. Not one. Cat desert. Tumbleweeds blowing by. (Also, smoke. All the smoke. Coming in the open window.) See, the cats even see a carrier, and their cat brains light up with “Carrier. Vet. Shots. SHOTS! OWIES! RECTAL EXAM AND OWIES!” And they are in the wind. We used to put the carriers out a week before the vet visits so they’d think they were new kicky decorating choices and forget about their impending doom, just so we could get near them on vet day.
Someone was banging on my door. Firetrucks, alarms clanging, were pulling up outside. And where were the ever-loving cats?
I found one under the bed. With the strength of a mother whose child was trapped under an Explorer, I grabbed her and threw her in a carrier. (The claw marks I had in me, later, were kind of epic. Didn’t feel them at the time.)
The second cat – well, he’s dumb. There’s no other way to explain him. He’s mentally challenged. He’s a polydactyl with more toes than brains; he’s got a stub tail that the vet thinks is a congenital deformity (and when he gets excited, it splits at the tip like little devil horns), and he’s slightly walleyed. When he hides, he does the ostrich thing. He only hides his head. “I cannot see her,” he “reasons” (he cannot reason, he is dumb, hence the sarcastic quotes), “so therefore, she cannot see me!” And then when I grab him, he always looks at me like I am a goddess and a finder of lost things. I “found” him with his head half under the couch. Bam. Carrier.
“Ma’am? This is the fire department? And you’re going to need to come out, as your apartment is on fire?” Bang, bang, bang. One more cat! One more cat! Where is the last cat? The apartment! It is on fire! I DO NOT HAVE ONE OF THOSE LITTLE HANDY UNDER-WINDOW LADDERS!
(Have you forgotten about my ice cream? It melted. I had to throw it away. I know. Ben & Jerry’s isn’t cheap. And “act of God” doesn’t cover ice cream in your renter’s policy. Keep that in mind when purchasing insurance. It’s apparently “not an item of value.” Tell that to my TASTE BUDS, insurance adjustor.)
The last cat was under the loveseat. Whenever I tried to reach her, she scooted away. She was not having this. There was a carrier. There was probably a vet visit coming up. And I was acting weird.
I threw the loveseat (no, seriously, that bad boy went over like the Titanic, we found it in the middle of the living room when we were allowed back in and my roommate was all, “Whaaa?” and I was like, “Those firemen! Man! Take care of personal heirlooms, guys, am I right? RUDE” but it was me and my super-adrenalized and possibly ice-cream fueled strength) and grabbed her, more scratches, and ran downstairs, throwing my purse over one shoulder, cat carriers in each hand, two in one carrier, one in the other. Flung open the door. Fireman standing there, his hand up ready to bang again.
“Had to get the cats,” I said. He was not amused by me. At all.
“Ma’am, you never, never run back into a burning building, didn’t anyone ever teach you that?” he said (YES I WATCHED THE FILMSTRIP DAMN), and then, “Last apartment’s clear,” and I walked the cats to my car, crashing, exhausted, my neighbors watching me with their little avid eyes from their lawnchairs (LAWNCHAIRS! at a FIRE!) and put the cats in the car and waited for my roommate to come home. When she did – running across the lawn, petrified because the fire department had put someone at the end of our street telling everyone that if they lived in building 11, they couldn’t go home, it was on fire – we met like lovers at the airport.
“Did you –the..” she said, tears in her eyes.
“They’re fine. They’re in my car,” I said, and we hugged, because I was a huge hero. A parade? Yes. It wasn’t too much to expect. Maybe a small, tasteful piece in the paper. A monument in our local park. I had braved the flames, people, and I had won. Without a little ladder. The insidious flames, they had not gotten me OR my furry kiddos.
Hubbub! Hubbub! What was going on?
The lawnchairs started getting up and going in. The excitement was past. What? Why, you ask? Because – get this, are you ready? – the apartment wasn’t really on fire. No. Seriously. Well, there was a fire. A tiny one. More smoke than anything. It would probably have gone out on its own. We were allowed back in. The fireman had gone through our apartment to put out the gigantic conflagration (tiny smoldering baby fireling) and left it a mess. (And of course there was the mess I’d left, “rescuing” the cats from a danger they weren’t even in.)
Please, let me reiterate.
I saved the cats from a NONEXISTANT FIRE.
Whatever, shut up, I’m still super-brave. I’m sure the firemen weren’t laughing at me when they drove off; they saw something humorous in my general direction.
Well-played, fire. I was not prepared for just how insidious you are. I’ll be ready next time, though. I’m getting TWO of those little ladders. One for me, one for the cats. BAM.
(Note – in looking for a title for this post I found that there is an album by Cat Stevens entitled “Teaser and the Firecat”. That – well, that is kind of the most awesome and terrible and also awesome.)

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