Hey, remember Rocktober? You know, posting songs that rock every day for a month? That was a stupid idea, huh? A much better idea is posting songs that don’t rock. I’ll dare to get us started….
Hello? Is anybody in here? Anybody home? Anyone? Jeez, what is this place? It smells like moldy pie and taco meat. And it’s so cluttered. There are just piles of…. of stuff everywhere. Nothing makes any sense. Is that a…. I think it’s a Bryan Adams CD. It’s hard to tell. Everything is so goddamn dusty. What the hell happened here? Where did everybody go?
A couple of months ago I was driving up to Baltimore after work to visit my friend Cait when she gave me a call. She told me that she had a surprise for me, and that I should call back after I had made it through the Harbor Tunnel to let her know that I was close. Despite my pleading, she wouldn’t give me any more information than that about what she had up her sleeve. So I all but sprinted from the car to her doorstep, only to be greeted by the foul stench of taco meat. I couldn’t help but laugh as I entered her house. Hanging from the archway between the living room and the kitchen was a handmade sign in three parts that read “Surprise it’s” and “Taco Night!” followed by “Woo Hoo!”
On Tuesday we had tacos for dinner again. It was my turn to cook, and I put the meat on the stove and went upstairs to wake up Cait – who had fallen asleep reading her latest book-club book. Before I did that, however, I had hung a new sign – one that I made – in the archway and I tied a shiny and expensive piece of jewelry to it. She was in kind of a daze when she came downstairs, so it took her a minute to realize that this sign was different. Thankfully, it took her less time to say yes.
I was chatting recently with Dabysan and he suggested that it might be time to drop the “my friend” modifier when I refer to Cait. And he may be right. He suggested changing it to “girlfriend,” but I had a better idea. As of last Tuesday my friend Cait is the real future Mrs. Hotrod. And I couldn’t be happier.
Merry Christmas, from deep in the heart of Texas.
I wonder how many visitors to Austin realize that the North-South streets are named after Texas rivers. I know because I’m really, really smart. And because Lyle Lovett told me so. I wish I could have found his version of the song instead of the joker above.
Anyway, this reminds me that I forgot to mention I’m in Austin for Christmas. You might remember Austin from its prominent placement on the spite list. Now might also be a good time to mention that one of the recurring themes of hotrodtothe.com in the new year is going to be removing items from the spite list. Bah! Humbug.
Hey, remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about my ability to blog – or not blog, as the case may be – from the comfort of my sofa? Well this is actually the first time I’ve done so. And the sort of interesting part is that it’s not really my sofa. It belongs to my friend Cait, and actually the most accurate way to describe it is that it’s not quite my sofa yet. I probably should have mentioned when I was recently cleaning out my closets and throwing away all the useless crap I’ve been saving for the past decade and a half that there was a greater purpose to the endeavor.
Last weekend I piled all my clothes and my boxes of books into my new car and drove them an hour north to Baltimore. Because that’s where I sort of live now. I still have keys to an apartment in Alexandria, but I won’t be there until the new year. And even then I’ll be spending most of my time putting more stuff into boxes. Sometime around the middle of the month I’ll rent a truck to carry the few things I’m keeping that are too big to fit in a car. I might go back to clean up a bit, but it’s just as likely that I’ll give somebody some money to do that for me. Then I’ll take that set of keys I still have and hand them over to my landlord. And just like that, I won’t be a Virginian any more.
It’s weird. I’ve been in Alexandria since a month after I graduated from college, and the hardest thing about leaving is finding the right words for this post. I’m taking that as a very good sign.
The best thing about this time of the year is that it starts the countdown to a real holiday – a holiday actually worth celebrating. And that holiday is, of course, Presidents’ Day. Once we get these lesser days out of the way over the next couple of weeks, we can focus on what really matters. Everything is going really well for me lately, so I don’t know why the Eleventh Annual Karaoke to the Death XI should be any different. I’ve so got this. Make your plans now to see me win. It’s only two months away.
Whispered the spinster aunt to work.
Snodgrass and when is ready.
Asked Bella was placed in astonishment.
Peter Magnus was heard to start.
Lizzie and saying he began.
Asked Mr. Lightwood was conducted on earth.
Cried Mr. Venus with my love.
Everybody laughed at last two hours together.
Bring me round her mother.
— Guillermo Byman, 2010
For the longest time, CarrieNation thought I was a neat freak. This came out after I’d known her for maybe two years. What happened was: the first time she was ever in my apartment was the first time I met her, which was also right after I’d done a fairly major cleaning. My place was…. well, not spotless, but as close as it’s been to spotless in the past decade. And then we always hung out somewhere else after that. So naturally she just assumed I was always so fastidious. She’s under no such illusions any more.
It has recently come to my attention that I’m not a hoarder. It’s not like this was a huge concern, but I’ll admit I had my doubts. But a friend of my friend Cait’s father is the world’s leading expert on hoarding – he wrote the book on it, literally – and I don’t exhibit any of the big warning signs. It hasn’t been impossible for me to move around my house; I can distinguish between throwing away an object and throwing away a memory or a person or place. It turns out I’m just lazy. And disorganized. That’s why this stupid task is going to take all goddamn weekend.
10-ish PM — I started with the bookshelves, which maybe was a bad idea. There are more tough decisions to be made there than probably anywhere else. It took about an hour, but I think I made decent progress.In the foreground is my first of many bags of trash. I’ve obviously ignored the pressing problem of compact discs for now, but I identified more books than I expected to get rid of.
10:16 AM — After a visit to Alexandria’s finest (and only) breakfast joint, I write my introduction to the live-blog and mentally prepare to tackle the closet in the bedroom. Clothes should be easy, because if they don’t fit or if I haven’t worn them in over a year, they’re going. I give that plan about half an hour before I revise my criteria.
11:40 AM — The Leaning Tower of Pasta clanked against the floor as I carried the trash outside. I’m up to two full bags, and removing them from my apartment was a good excuse to head over to Misha’s for a cup of coffee. I also have three bags of clothes to donate. The less fortunate of Northern Virginia will soon be sporting the fresh styles of 2002. I’ve reached the back of my closet in my bedroom. The excavation has just reached a box of crap from my office two jobs ago and my old cassette tapes. This journey just got interesting.
1:32 PM — If one is inclined to believe – as I am – that an undertaking such as this is a exercise of self-discovery, then the overwhelming revelation this morning is that I really like to swipe pens from the office. I’ve found some in every box, bag, and parcel I’ve sorted through. And of course they’ve all been tested, because I’d hate to throw out perfectly good pens. Trash bags number three, four, and five have been carted downstairs and I’m officially done with all of my clothes and the closet in my bedroom. Going through my tapes was surprisingly anti-climactic because (except for the Mighty Roy’s account of his move across the country) they all got tossed. I have nowhere to listen to them and they have no resale value. The only mild amusement was the occasional reminder that U2 wasn’t always on the spite list.3:14 PM — There is no more appropriate label for the boxes in my apartment than “Misc. Shit”.4:29 PM — The trash bag count stands at seven, not including assorted items that are too large to go in the cans. And these are lawn and leaf bags, mind you – not the wimpy kitchen variety. I just wanted to be clear on that. It’s been over an h0ur now since I’ve touched any of the dozen remaining boxes in my “Misc. Shit” closet, and though I’ve eaten lunch and done some laundry in that time I now need to power through the rest in order to wrap that up before a holiday party this evening. It’s like a game. Can I throw out all my crap before time runs out? We shall see.
7:14 PM — Ten bags. And I didn’t quite make it. I have five boxes left. I’ll have to get to them later.
2:42 PM — Um, okay… This break wasn’t supposed to be so long. But I was wiped out after last night’s holiday party and then had brunch plans with Cait and Daby and CarrieNation. After taking my beater bike in to the shop for a tune-up, I’m finding my motivation at a low point. I’ve already started bargaining: if I get through the middle closet and the coat closet, I can save my storage unit in the basement for another day. I guess I need to get to it. I sure wish the Steeler game was on to distract me.
3:50 PM — Two and a half more bags of trash later and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
4:30 PM — I came across a box of stuff that obviously ended up with me because my mom insisted that I clean out my old bedroom when they moved out of the house I lived in during high school. I know this because I threw out four broken Walkmen. I also found this gem, which makes me think of M-Dashes and is appropriate right now.5:20 PM — Screw it. I’m going to the movies.
8:59 PM — Fair Game wasn’t bad. I’m up to fourteen bags of trash. I’m racing the clock again, because I want to get the coat closet done before I hit the sack. And I’m ready to go to bed now.
9:24 PM — The weekend’s biggest mystery: Why do I own a metal detector and where did it come from?
11:15 PM — I just limped across the finish line – utterly defeated. The final count was sixteen bags of trash, and I’m a little surprised that it wasn’t more. All I can say is that those are some big bags. I have more thoughts, I think, but those will have to wait for another day. 6:00 AM comes around awful early. At the risk of sounding like every other asshole who goes to an office, I need a weekend after my weekend.
Last weekend, I announced my imminent return to the live-blog milieu. Well, I regret to announce that my initial plan has been thwarted by the idiosyncrasies of the NFL broadcast schedule and the miserable football team in the Washington, DC market. But I have something better to announce.
Remember last spring when a bunch of people cleaned up their bookshelves and (ostensibly) their residences and I didn’t participate? Well, I may have missed that party but I’ve got my own going on this weekend. Starting tomorrow – or perhaps even tonight – I will be undertaking a major organization and purge of all the crap in my dingy hovel. This will be my first spring cleaning ever, and some of the treasures I’m about to unearth haven’t seen the light of day in a decade. Or longer. And I’ll be live-blogging the whole process. So stop on by this weekend. This should be fun. And by “fun” I mean – obviously – “moderately terrifying.”