Friday, April 16, 2010

State of the--criminy I need more caffeine.

The last couple of weeks have been mostly school, work, and semi-disastrous attempts at knitting. I wish I could show you my semi-disaster projects, but my camera is broken.

I mean, it's been broken. I got it in 2003 and it's been broken in one way or another since about 2007, but now it's really broken. This camera has slowly been working its way toward becoming a battery-eating vortex for a while now. It started by burning through two sets of batteries in a week, then it ate three sets of fresh batteries in the half-hour photo shoot I did for my Sylvi coat, and now it's taken the next step and eaten the batteries completely. They're just gone. There were batteries in the camera a few days ago, and now - without the camera having moved from the pile of art supplies it was nestled in - the battery case is empty.

I'm taking this as evidence that my camera has progressed to full-on vortex mode, and it will soon begin engulfing other things, so I should probably get it out of the apartment before it gets the dog.

Unless the Roof Dweller snuck in and took the batteries. There's something living on my roof that creeps around at night, making the ceiling groan in a really unsettling way. Judging by how big it it sounds, the loping rhythm of its footfalls, and the turkey bones it keeps leaving on my deck, it's either a very large raccoon or a disturbed but ambitious neighborhood child. (A friend suggested it might be Spider-Man, but he's way lighter on his feet than that.)

Anyway, I had a point. Coffee, where was my point? Oh yeah. Camera.

I would replace my camera were it not for two very exciting but expensive things going down this week:

1. The vanquishing of the Stink. On Tuesday, Hobbes spent all day at the vet getting a dental cleaning and tooth removal - as well as some fine sedatives, which he loved because my dog is a fuzzy little junkie at heart. When I got him home, he spent 22 hours straight lying in one spot on a blanket in the living room, occasionally giving me "YOU DID THIS TO ME" looks. Now he's back to his old self, minus the Stink. I've held back on saying it because I was afraid the Stink would make a sudden resurgence like the supposedly-dead killer in a slasher flick, but it's been four days, so I think we're safe...

Ladies and gentlemen, the Stink is dead!

My dog's breath smells like dogfood and not like a repository for the stenches of every wild animal that's died in the last month. Which means that I'm no longer living with a creature that belches near-visible fumes as he walks across the room. I can't describe how happy this makes me. Hyperbole doesn't cut it.

2. Kiah and I found a new place to live! We sign the lease tomorrow and move in July. I'll hold off on squeeing too loudly about it until the signatures are dry, but I'll tell you this:

The ideal new apartment we were envisioning included: two bedrooms and a den/sunroom/smaller third bedroom for me to use as an office, a sane and responsible landlord, a decent amount of space for the two of us, nice neighbors, proximity to the bus lines we frequent in a neighborhood not too far from my campus, and a fenced-in yard.

The only thing on that list we didn't get is the fenced-in yard. Everything else exceeded our ideal by quite a bit. And the yard doesn't really matter, because the duplex is right across the street from a park. Right. Across. The street. And that has a truly epic playground, which Kiah and I are excited about, because we're grown-ups.

Further evidence that we're grown-ups: I'm planning on having a small potted veggie garden in the sunroom at our new place. When I pitched this idea to Kiah, she didn't even hesitate before responding, "I will put little dinosaurs in all your potted plants." Cue an excited conversation about how the sunroom will be the perfect place for our plastic dinosaurs because they need to keep warm.

I've got my fingers crossed that this will be an apartment in which we can be grown-ups for a good long while.

And that's what I'm up to.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Rise of the Fort

Forts are awesome. There are many types of forts - pillow forts, box forts, forts made of the neighbor kid's building block set, bedsheet forts - and all of them are works of beauty. If you disagree, I'm gonna come right out and say it: you, sir, are wrong.

Building a fort is one of the purest joys in life, and not just for kids. As a grown-up, building a fort is an act that taps into childhood nostalgia and glee, forcing you to embrace the part of yourself that will always be six years old and think chocolate milk is ambrosia from the gods. That part of you knows that when you're in a fort, you're protected from anything, be it obnoxious little brothers, bedtime restrictions, or America's clusterfucked political system.

It's also an act of defiance. Building a fort in your living room says, "I can't afford a mortgage and my landlord won't let me paint the walls, but I am going to make this my kingdom." It also says "I do not accept society's ageist bias against fort building," which is an important statement in itself.

I myself am a lifelong fort builder. As a kid, I was a fort-building master, covering my babysitter's entire basement in forts. (My brother helped, but I was always Queen of the Fort.) Up til high school, I would occasionally turn my room into a fort, making myself a sleeping and reading nook under a canopy of Ninja Turtles bedsheets.

It was college that killed it. College killed everything fun. I tried making a fort out of my loftable dorm furniture, but it just wasn't the same.

Then, there came the 2008 presidential elections. I remember election day fondly, in part because of the feeling of history being made and the grins on the faces of all the people I passed on the way to my polling location - but mostly, I remember the fort. The election day fort was magnificent. My roommates and I had decided to host an election night party, which morphed into an election night regression party, where everyone built a fort to hide in, wearing pajamas, hugging stuffed animals while we watched the election coverage.

And drinking. There was a lot of drinking. I think that was the night I discovered my level 6 of drunkenness (which is marked by the thought, "Hey, the cat's bed looks like an awesome pillow!"). But that's beside the point.

The point is, that night, as Barack Obama was voted in as president of the United States, a new era began. The Age of the Fort.

The forts began again. They were small but classic, bedsheet tents attached to the overhead fan in my attic room. Last June, when I was preparing to move, the attic forts culminated in one glorious hybrid fort made of moving boxes and bedsheets. It was storming that night, and my friends and I went outside in our pajamas to puddle jump and wild rumpus in the rain, then we retired to the fort to hang out, sprawled across a heap of pillows like lazy royalty. That was one of the best nights of my life.

And then there was the Post-Move Fort, which was small and ineffective, mostly me figuring out the layout of my new apartment.

And the "Abandon All Hope" fort downstairs, which Kiah and I built in which to watch an episode of Supernatural we knew would kill off characters we loved. (The reasoning being: forts protect you from anything, even your own emotions. And yes, it worked.)

This weekend marked the greatest fort-building endeavor since the great Pre-Move Fort of 2009: the Easter Weekend Fort.

Pictured above: the fangirl nest.

This fort served multiple purposes. Kiah and I were re-watching an episode of Supernatural that had torn out our hearts and stomped on them, and after that, we had planned an Easter marathon of the show: all the episodes in which one Winchester or another rises from the dead. There was an obvious need for protection from emotions. The fort was also necessary in that we had a lot of leftover snacks from the most recent Drunk Star Trek Night and needed an environment in which eating nothing but snack food was not just acceptable but encouraged. This led to a wonderful weekend of vegging and TV, insulated in our fort.

And this fort...well, it made me proud. In spite of the ottoman/table/cupboard that blocked easy entry, it was one of the most functional arrangements I've had a hand in making in years. More than that, it showcased Kiah's and my ability to fort-build as a team - the whole thing went up in under half an hour, with zero arguing over placements. I think this marks a turning point in our fort-building relationship. Once we're roommates again at the end of our current leases, wherever we live will have an abundance of well-constructed forts. We may never take them down. I have a whole trunk full of cartoon themed bedsheets just waiting to become something magical.

The Age of the Fort is upon us, and my life is better for it. Embrace the fort, friends. You'll thank me later.