Month: May 2002 Page 1 of 3

A creature of habit. Before I forget, here are some of the things Ray’s doing:

Banging two rocks together. Or anything.

Making a race for the plug-ins, mouse/keyboard cords, and the kitty’s tail. And getting closer every day.

Picking up things and shaking the hell out of them. If she likes them.

Putting everything in her mouth. Note: leaves don’t go down well. She choked on one while we were crossing the street. Reevaluated ideas about harmless bushes.

She likes the rugs in the front room. Striped yarn.

If it’s not too hard, she’ll bang the back of her head against it. For the noise?

Bouncing on the exercise ball. One of her favorite games with papa.

The syllables mama, dada, and nainai. May or may not mean anything. As well as other babbleage.

She hums while she zrbbts.

Feet in the mouth.

Pulling poppa’s beard. With all the passion her 7 1/2 month self can muster.

Sitting up in the cart at the grocery store. Safety straps in place.

Likes cheerios, ritz crackers, and a little bit of bagel crust that I gave her the other day.

There is much goodness in juice from a sippy cup. And much spillage. Or should I say backwash?

Nods. And shakes her head. And sits up and shakes her hands until she nearly tips over.

Likes going with mamma to work. Flirts with anybody that makes eye contact. Usually gets hogged by Megan K.

Poops. With solid food comes solid stench.

Sings to herself. And will sit up and dance to what she’s singing about.

Doesn’t sleep through the night. Not remotely. Probably my fault.

Likes the little girl next door who speaks nothing but Spanish. Her name is Lis. I think. She’s threeish.

Interested. Too interested to bother with crying. At least once the shock of tipping herself over backwards onto the carpet is over.

Hot. Always just a little bit warm. Still kicks off the blankets.

Cute. People say she’s beautiful. I’m fine with that.

Loves to be sociable. The moment you make eye contact, she’s smiling. And if you babble back, or do something to amuse or impress her…neat.

Likes to be held. Likes to be put down. Likes to be picked up and dangled upside-down.

Ticklish on her feet, under her chin, on her sides, between her shoulder blades. Not as ticklish, I think, as she pretends to be…strangers never get the same response.

Cries whenever Joe comes over. But soon thaws. Lee’s theory: big guy, loud voice.

Likes to watch papa play video games on the computer. Then likes to attack the mouse.

Shreds magazines. Pulls books off the bottom shelves, but doesn’t. Maybe she can’t get the covers open and shred at the same time.

Likes music. Headbangs to Carrie Newcomer. Folk, that is.

Hums her anger. Rarely cries with her mouth open unless she’s just bonked herself.

Likes to wake up her father by grabbing the edge of the matress, shaking it, and yelling.

Loves animals. Wants to put them in her mouth. I want to get her a puppy so baaaaaad.

Has short bangs because her father cuts them, and her hair’s short in the back because she wore it off. So the sides are really long, comparatively.

Her eyes still haven’t decided whether they’re brown or blue.

Terms of endearment: bebe, bebela, frogbutt. (She has little green onsies, even.)

Doesn’t puke much. Much.

Her favorite parent is whoever just walked in the front door. Unless she’s hungry.

The coolest thing in the world is to be naked. And loose on the floor.

Cuteness. Lee saw this. I didn’t. He has Ray to himself in the mornings when I’m at work. He has a bottle of pumped milk that he adds some iron-fortified cereal to (no spinach for our princess). She can guzzle the stuff on her own now. Well, he heats the milk, adds the cereal, shakes it all about, serves it up, leaves her in a safe room, and wanders off to do some computer fixin’.

She’s quiet. Too quiet. He goes into the room to see what she’s doing.

She’s crawling around on all fours with the nipple clenched in her gums, sucking mightily and getting nowhere with the last half-ounce of milk. But having a grand old time.

More Mrs. Kurtz: On Hold, ep. 3

But the voice of Jim T. Biggins continued:

At first, it was just the cleaning staff. We never could keep cleaning staff. A couple of night-watchmen. Support personnel. Forms processors, accountants, mailroom staff, file runners. Finally, even the phone staff–

YOUR CALL IS VERY VALUABLE TO US. PLEASE STAY ON THE LINE. [RRRRING!] HAVE YOU HEARD? OMEGA COMMUNICATIONS NOW PROVIDES LONG-DISTANCE SERVICE! FIVE CENTS A MINUTE ON ALL NATIONAL CALLS ON EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS! AND ONE MONTH FREE VOICE MAIL MESSAGING! (SOME RESTRICTIONS DO APPLY.) [CLICK!]

–and now they want to be promoted! Do you know what these foreign scum want now? Health insurance! There’s not a doctor on this planet that knows how to treat these bastard slime molds, and they want an HMO! Pension plans, 401(k)s, dental! Dental? They don’t have teeth! They’re illegal immegrants! Don’t they have any respect for this country?

The voice of Jim T. Biggins sobbed over the phone line.

NOW YOUR FAVORITE CABLE TV PROVIDER, OMEGA COMMUNICATIONS, CAN BRING YOU TODAY’S BEST HIGH-SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION! ASK YOUR SERVICE ENGINEER FOR INFORMATION. FREE MONTH OF PREMIUM CABLE FOR ALL CABLE TV CUSTOMERS THAT SIGN UP NOW!

My God, they’ve found me–No! Get away from me! What? Give that back! What do you mean, I’m no longer Director of Human Resources? You’ve renamed the department to Personnel? Director of Personnel? What kind of pansy title is that? What? You feel I’m too bigoted to continue? Well, you can kiss my politically incorrect–

Click.

You probably aren’t familiar with my name, but it’s Jim T. Biggins, and I’m one of the national directors of Omega, The Last Word in–

In the mail again, just can’t wait to get in the mail again…

“Customer Service” is in the mail again, this time to Hoot Island.

“As usual, everything was wrong when I arrived at work. Bob hadn’t opened the case on that system I told you about on Thursday, let alone replaced the video card. There were six systems on the floor, no documentation; nobody knew anything. Arnold took one look at me, pointed at a system, and said, “This guy’ll be back in ten minutes,” and disappeared for eight hours without another word. Some guy with manure on his jacket–I kid you not–slams his wife’s system on the counter so hard you could hear something bounce inside. When I asked him if he wanted us to back up his data before we looked at it, he said we’d better since the only copy of his farm’s books was on it–as soon as he heard how much it cost, he changed his mind…”

“One Cool Million” is still waiting for a print job. It’s my system that’s down this time.

Haircut update. Lee said it looked perky. Apparently that means he likes it. Heh.

Million. I figures out how to cut a couple hundred words out of “One Cool Million.” I thought.

Turns out, what with I’ve learned since I sent the thing out the first time (December 2001), I was able to cut…uh, 2500 words. Rereading it, I finally admitted to myself that it wasn’t as baaaad as I thought it was, not great, not even impressive for what I knew at the time, but not as baaad as I always knew it was.

Now, uh, it’s, well, shorter.

What the hell did I cut?

a) Adjectives and adjectival phrases of all sorts.

b) Setups. (I started in the middle of the situation in scenes instead of bothering to explain how everyone got there, if unnecessary).

c) Cut 2 sections of character sketches about a side character (the cuts I originally planned).

d) Cutesies. (Not all of them, for those squirrel afficianados out there; just the ones nonessential to the plot).

e) Cut internal dialogue. Not all of it, just the stuff that was there for Creation Purposes Only, but was redundant now.

What else? I took one of the characters from offstage to the set in the last scene, to make things a little more in-your-face. Other minor changes. And you know what? I think the best thing about this story is the main character. She comes across as being more fully human than I’d realized. And a lot of episodes that I put in there for plot purposes actually contribute something to the ending, as far as character goes (there’s a scene where she acknowledges that a teacher of hers in grade school made her feel so stupid that she eventually flunked out…an oversimplification, but one that she believes in–anyway, this scene helps anchor the climactic scene, in which her father rips her to shreds in front of her fiancee).

But the essential information here to note is: those 2500 words were pure excess. Roughly 1/3 of what I wrote. Wow.

Words, to paraphrase, almost mean stuff. Ray can say, “Nie nie nie nie nie” and “dada” and “mama” and “mymymy” and all sorts of squealing zrrbts. She doesn’t mean anything by it, though. Yet.

And she’ll look up if you say her name a couple of times. Whereas she’ll ignore you if you say “bebe.”

Hack job. Got a haircut.

It was a walk-in appointment at Costcutters at the mall. I don’t know, the last time I established a relationship with a hairdresser it was with my then-aunt, who, as it turns out, isn’t mentally stable enough to stay on Prozac and threatens to kill herself every once in a while. And I just can’t bear to go to somewhere that calls itself a salon…or somewhere with a bad pun in the title. Normally I try to avoid National chains, but…

The hairdresser is Russian. Or at least sounds Russian and has a last name that ends in -ov for professional reasons. She’s got too much…eyes, a painfully upswept ‘do, a silver velveteen shirt with black diamond outlines printed on it, matching pantyhose, a miniskirt, and about fifty years under her over-moisturized belt.

“I’d don’t know the name of the cut…a bob, I think? Anyway, I want it cut to here.”

“You vant it cut off dat much?”

“Oh, I’ve had it that short before.”

“You von’t cry?”

“Promise.”

So she sprays the hair down and does various hairdresser stuff. This eighteen-year-old wearing red velvet Marilyn Manson pants that lace up the thigh and a very covering smock, with flawless, non-split-end hair down to there walks by.

“She get it cut to here,” my Russian says.

“You’re kidding,” says the neo-goth.

The Russian takes a small hank of my hair from the back, combs it out, snips it off slowly. If slowly you can snip.

“Not kidding,” says the Russian.

“Vot your husband tink of dis?” she asks me later.

“I warned him this morning,” I said.

Ray likes it. I can shake my head and my hair flies around like cocker spaniel ears. Guess where we went (next door) after the haircut?

Raynotes.

Her face is changing. Every day it seems she’s a little more aware of her surroundings. She likes to hang out with a three-year old Lantina kid next door that doesn’t speak a word of English. And she figured out how to pull down the zipper of my sweater…you don’t know how hard that is when you don’t have much fine motor control.

Celebration!

Lee just got his MCP computer certification yesterday! AND after Microsoft threw in many questions that their official home-study book didn’t cover…ooh…tricky.

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén