ain’t no free (except outside our house)

Monthly heavy trash pickup in our neighborhood is this week. We’d been waiting for this opportunity to get rid of a lot of things we hadn’t found a home for, and I was excited to get the stuff out of the house yesterday. Evidently the roaming neighborhood pickers were excited for us to get the stuff out of the house, too, because things barely had the chance to get comfortable on the grass next to the curb before quickly being scooped up.

At one point, there were two cars idling in front, waiting to see what we brought out next. It was quite an eclectic collection with enough variety to outfit an apartment. Table and four chairs. Set of plates. Various cooking implements. Working electronics. And also some crap. Three chipped salad plates. Cobwebby stuff from the back porch. An old futon that was the daytime bed of the big dog (who farted every time she hoisted herself up on it and is quite pissed at its disappearance).

Judging by the excitement of the people who were happily taking the stuff and their desire to talk about it (“You’re just GIVING this away?”), our trash was their treasure. And we avoided it all going to the dump, which was optimal.

The dogs are not happy, though. Not just because of the missing couch. They know that something big is going on around here, and they’re pretty sure they aren’t going to be involved in it. I keep telling them that they get to go on this trip, but I can tell they don’t believe me. Every time Stella looks up at me, she has big sad eyes. She doesn’t understand. Doesn’t know about the fancy doggie car seat I got for her so she can see out the window as we trek across the country. Stella, the dog who’s never been more than 80 miles from home, is about to have her little doggie mind blown.

I have no idea what they’re going to think when their paws touch the Pacific.

that time I went sleepwalking

James was in the den watching TV. It was around 11:30PM, and I’d gone to bed an hour or so earlier. He heard the door to the laundry room open, the light switch flip and the door close, which was odd. The laundry room is so tiny you have to leave the door open in order to have enough room to get the clothes out of the dryer. But someone was in there. Creepy.

He opened the door, and I was standing in front of the washer with the lid up. Sort of pawing at the air inside the machine but not really making contact with anything. He asked if I was okay. I said, “I’m just so tired. I’m tired. So tired.” (Martyr.) My eyes were open but not awake, and he realized I was sleepwalking. He walked me back to bed, and I didn’t remember any of this the next morning.

The first thing I did was start googling to see what dread disease causes one to sleepwalk. Because, even though I’ve slept approximately 15,877 nights in my life and this was the first (only?) time I’d ever gone sleepwalking, I was sure it meant something horrible was coming. And maybe it is, but the “incident” was 10 months ago and hasn’t had a second appearance. As far as I know.

Sleepwalking is common in children but less so in adults–maybe 4% of the population. Almost half of adult sleepwalkers have an incident at least once a week, and 25% deal with it nightly (!). An isolated incident in adults, which is what I assume I experienced, is usually related to stress + sleep deprivation + alcohol or some other sedative. Hmmm. Those are three of the main ingredients of my life.

It happened last December when I was applying to grad school for fall of 2013. I’d been riding the fence about getting an MFA in playwriting for years and decided to stop talking and start doing. We regret the things in life we never tried, blah blah blah.

Applying to grad school is a bitch. It’s easy to spend a month or more just checking out programs, trying to find the ones that have the right mix of funding, location, programming and reputation. At the same time, you have to track down copies of your college transcripts, study for and take the GRE, write some bullshit  about why you’re applying to the program (and you’re not supposed to say, “because I’m having a midlife crisis”), wrangle recommendations from people who are really too busy to make up nice things about you, and pay $50 to $100 for each application. Oh, and there’s the writing sample, which, for an MFA program, would technically be the most important part.

I applied to four fully funded programs, being unwilling to go into debt for a graduate degree that doesn’t lead to a job at the end of the rainbow. Of the four programs, I got into two. Of the two, I was especially excited about the one that was in southern California. James and I went to check the area out. I’m pretty sure in a parallel universe we’re still stuck in traffic on I-10 outside of LA.

Since it’s now October and I’m writing this in Houston, I guess it’s obvious I decided not to go. It didn’t feel right. I think I really just want a change of scenery, and that can be accomplished much easier than by going back to school.

Meanwhile, every time I travel alone (most recently to Chicago this week), I worry that I’m going to get up and try to do laundry in the hallway of the hotel, only James won’t be there to guide me back. I wear a shirt and shorts to bed, just in case.

Monday dump

some of the ingredients for last night’s stir fry – it was so colorful, I had to stop and take a picture – now my phone smells like garlic
  • When we go to California on vacation, one of the ways we offset being in an expensive part of the country is by preparing some of our meals instead of eating out the whole time. We always go to Trader Joe’s to get inexpensive food and–more importantly–inexpensive wine. I’m excited that TJ is opening stores in Texas. The first Houston-area store opened in the Woodlands last month, and two more (actually in Houston) will open before the end of the year. We went to the Woodlands location this weekend and weren’t disappointed. In fact, for the hour or so we spent in the store, I felt like we were on vacation. Then we walked outside, and I remembered where I was.
  • I follow a lot of tiny house blogs. You often see the same houses (literally the same photos) over and over, from blog to blog. Which is fine. What’s not fine is that one blog, Tiny House Swoon, has decided to charge 49 cents for you to view their posts. Now, if these folks were searching out the houses and taking the photos themselves, no problem. But they’re just posting things they’re finding on the internet. Needless to say, I unsubscribed.
  • While showering this morning I was thinking that if I were to open an Italian restaurant, I’d call it Manipesto. (some people sing in the shower, some people come up with stupid names for shit) Figured I wasn’t the first person to put that word together, and google confirmed it.
  • A short play I wrote a few years ago–Militia Slumber Party, or Embracing the New World Order–will be produced by Revolution Theatre Company in the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Festival next month. Revolution Theatre is an awesome repeat customer–this is the third time they’ve produced my work for this festival. If you’re in Chicago, you should check it out. The festival goes for 72 hours straight. I’ve always wondered what kind of stuff is happening in those overnight slots. Because the audience is bound to be drunk. Or over-caffeinated.
  • Got up to pee in the middle of the night. (note to self: quit drinking 20 ounces of water before going to bed) Guess I was half-asleep (and hunched over) because I ran face-first into the wall. Hoping this isn’t emblematic of the kind of week that’s ahead.