Many books have been put in boxes and many comics have been given away to a good home.

Shelves and a desk have been erected. They’re pre-fab deals but I still feel like a carpenter when I manage to insert Tab A into Slot A and make something with it.

My mother was a huge help, situating the kitchen and just being all around support. I am convinced that based on the post-grad. school residency funk I was in, if my mother hadn’t visited, I’d still be staring at an empty apartment, paralyzed by the sheer mass of the attic’s boxes.

I left some shelves for Janaki but I think we might need one more. There’s a spot on the wall for it. We’ll see.

I don’t have to move anymore. *sigh* What a fuckin’ relief.

Now its just tinkering, getting stuff in its spot.

And tonight, for the first time in weeks, we game.

Limited Owl Access

My internet access will be limited due to the move.

I have finished book four of Harry Potter and now I’m halfway through five. My goal is to be all caught up by summer’s end. I had dreams about taking the O.W.L. tests.

There are millipede-ish bugs in my apartment but I am told they will go away soon.

Mom’s in town to help me with the move. She is the queen of furniture arrangement.

Its a cool day with a nice breeze, a perfect day to shlep boxes down from the attic.


They got me. They got me but good.

My mother convinced me that she wanted to have an intimate dinner with me and Janaki. They urged me to take a nap as my allergy medicine took hold. I woke up while they shopped and nailed down final details. I woke up from a drug induced slumber, read and welcomed them home.

Then I went to my intimate dinner.

All of the gaming groups, the Swamp Road Regulars, Cindy, her husband, Bhak and her newborn child and the big surprise, my father.

It was the perfect birthday surprise and my mother and Janaki planned it.

I am blessed.

May my second thirty years be as wonderful and blessed as my first thirty.

Thank you all, you know who you are.

A Special Kind of Revenge

Revenge comes to those who wait.

– My Mom

When I ran an after-school program in a small New York state town, there was this librarian.

She had hair like a helmet and complained vocally when her biblical quote was taken down from the library’s walls…or as she put it, HER library’s walls.

I asked if my after-school program could have some access to her library and she said, “Fine, you can use my library but you can’t play those games.”

“What games?” I asked.

Her eyes narrowed. “The ones I don’t like.”

I didn’t push it. I didn’t want her to specify. I didn’t want to hear it.

On my entrance essay, I cited her, not by name but in talking about my many jobs in the past five years, the ones on my resume, I said that I forged a strong relationship with the school library. Yeah, I effin’ dare ya to call me a liar.

And when I am a school librarian, kids will play THOSE games in the library after-school. Hell yes, they will.

I hope somehow her helmet hair somehow will pick up my geek vibes and know that she helped put me in charge of a public school’s library (if that is what I end up doing with the degree after all).

Business advice

My own mom gave me some business advice. I found myself writing it in response to someone on my Friends list’s post. I will pass it along here:

1. C.Y.A. Always cover your ass.
2. Never shit where you eat. Now its common parlance but I had heard it years before Moonstruck made it famous.
3. Everyone’s a whore but your mother. EVERYONE. They all want something or need something in the business world and if they want you it just means that they can get it from you somehow.

You Need Heimlich

JJ’s parents have always been nice to me ever since he was bedridden in a car accident a few years ago and I came over every week to game with him or often just to talk. Appreciating my loyalty to their son, they always welcomed me into their home with a smile and often with a few of Mrs. Enslow’s delicious biscuits.

The family driveway greeted me with a Bush/Cheney sign. I drove down their dirt driveway, shocked at their political leanings but knowing that bringing it up would be fruitless and frustrating. Above their door and on their mini-van’s back bumper is a sticker that proclaims, “YOU NEED JESUS.”

JJ took a shower while I packed up the car, since we were in a rush. Mrs. Enslow offered me a biscuit and I happily chomped away while taking JJ’s bag to my car.

Then I found it difficult to breath. The biscuit went down heavily, I put his bags in the car and took a long swig of water, thinking it would wash the biscuit down.

When choking, there is no worse feeling than trying to drink the stuck bit the rest of the way down and find that it only fills your throat and windpipe up with water. Water filled my throat and a gurgling sound came soon after. I couldn’t cough, couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breath. Some of the water spilled out of my mouth and I thought to myself about how much I hate this sensation.

When I was in fifth grade my mother did the Heimlich Maneuver and saved my life as I turned blue due to an overly ambitious bite of chicken.

But this past Friday, while choking on the Enslow biscuit in rural upstate New York, my mother was 220 miles and one political world away.

I stumbled back towards the Enslow home and the bumper sticker’s letters stared down at me. I won’t die here. I won’t die with that fucking sign staring down at me. It occured to me in that moment, as it only can during the intensity and adrenaline of a near-death experience, that perhaps God, or even Jesus was sending me a message.

Wrong message. Try a burning bush next time

Mrs. Enslow, JJ’s infant son and a family friend were in the living room but hadn’t noticed me out in the rain yet. I wondered if they would realize what was wrong, if they could help me or if they would just watch me turn blue and die. One thing, I decided, I’d try one thing before going in and gambling.

Remembering my junior high health class with eerie clarity, I balled my hand up into a fist and approached a sturdy lawn chair. I stumbled to the chair and put my fist on the back-support. I heaved my stomach onto my fist, doing the Heimlich Maneuver on myself just as my junior high health teacher taught me.

I vomited out the water that had filled my throat and the biscuit exploded out like a soggy musket ball soon after.

With vomitish water on my chin, I entered into the Enslow home. I shuffled on still uneasy feet past the sticker: YOU NEED JESUS.

Not today. Today I needed Heimlich.

Heimlich or my mother.

Mother’s Day

I would go to this diner in Sea Brite every Saturday morning. I was served by the same waitress almost every morning and was polite, even friendly.

My mom and I were going through Sea Brite one afternoon and I reccommended the diner, always enjoying their greasy breakfast sandwhiches and friendly service. We sat down and the same waitress was serving us.

While she gave us our menus and silverware my mother asked her a few polite questions that the waitress responded to. When she came to take our order, the conversation continued. By the time she brought us food, the waitress was telling my mother the in’s and out’s of her life, her dreams and what her long-term goals were. She wasn’t responding to some kind of prying but telling us because she earnestly wanted to.

It has been this way my entire life. On line to buy clothes for high school, my mother would get the entire line talking to one another when they otherwise would state straight ahead, ignoring one another. She used to know the 7-11 attendent’s names and life-stories. Bank employees treat her like a long lost aunt.

It is something I have taken from her in some ways. It is the palpable feeling that everyone has their story and somehow they want the ability, the circumstances to be just right so they can tell you. All you have to do is smile and find the right words to make those circumstances come to pass.

Happy Mother’s Day.