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August, 2008:

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

People ask us these questions (usually in this order)

Do you know what you are having?
Have you selected names?
What are they?
Why won’t you tell me the names?

(and then they generally proceed to suggest their own names (sometimes, literally, their own name)

After that, the next question is– will you circumcise if it’s a boy?
In the hospital?

Here are the answers (mostly in order)

And in case you were wondering, here are a list of 52 names we have 98% ruled out:

PRINCE (or any rep. symbols) PLATYPUS

Many other names are also not on the table, but I leave it for your overactive imaginations to conjure.
And the middle names that we have ruled out… well, it just boggles the mind!

If we must continue to wait for the baby, we might have to scrap our names entirely and just go with Godot.

The unwanted visitor, or something stinks in the state of Yonkers

Thursday was a harrowing day for me– less so for Stephanie, so the answer is no, we did not have a wanted visitor arrive on Thursday. She is still pregnant (at least as of Saturday morning) Instead this is a story of how we had an unwanted visitor.

This is a long story, so get settled now– get a drink, sit in your comfortable chair, and get ready to read.

Let me preface this by saying that we bought the house in part because of our garage. It’s a gigantic 700 square foot structure with 3 wooden sliding barn doors that are approximately 7 ft long by 12 feet tall. One of the doors has a little utility door through which you walk, and it’s just a cool old building.

When we were looking at the house and we looked at the garage for the first time, I was like “Wow! We’ll take it!” I imagined it as a really cool clown studio that served the same function as the loft that I was leaving– a repository for my stuff, a place to rehearse, and a “place of my own”– ie, a private den in which I would (I thought) retreat to when I needed some private time. Having lived by myself for most of my life, I thought I would need that, and I had grandiose plans for how to achieve that place. My loft was 1200 sq. ft, my studio would be 700, and I’d still have the house to live in. Perfect!

Well, here we are, 3 years later, and the garage is still packed to the gills with all the stuff that won’t fit into the house. (IN that sense, it represents perfectly my loft, which, truth be told, was always two parts store-house to one part tiny theatre.) I include in this stuff 65 boxes of books, my mom’s two chairs that got displaced when we bought our couch, half of a packing crate from India that I’ve stood upright to hold more stuff, my circus ring, my clown props, a bicycle that I haven’t ridden in 3 years, but that I have had since I was 14, and lots of other stuff. Not to mention a door from India that my brother bought that he intends to turn into a table, 3 office chairs that my other brother salvaged from his old studio, 3 boxes full of glassware, silverware, and plates that are owned by our synagogue, a whole mess of wood from our renovation, and about a million shelves ready to be put together (metro shelves– thank you Nancy and Steven!) and even more stuff.

But this isn’t an inventory of my garage (impossible!), this is a tale of my harrowing day.

I was in the garage on Thursday putting some stuff away, and I thought I heard a noise. At first I thought it was on top of the roof (our roof is flat, and apples drop on our roof. But it seemed a little closer than the roof. I stopped stock still for a moment, heard a rustling, looked up, and saw a black and white animal slowly walking away from me.

Hey, I have a riddle for you: So, what’s black and white and is apparently living in my garage?

A skunk!

I’d seen skunks around the house in the last year or so (I came back last high holidays to see a skunk near our porch and nearly freaked out) And of course, there was the skunk incident of about 3 weeks ago, when I saw a plastic bag in the road, I went to go pick it up, and it turned out to have a dead skunk in it. But I never for a moment thought that they were living in my precious garage! It was a shock to the system.

At the moment of spotting, I had a typical clown moment: I did what is called a bunny hop (a yell and a take to the skunk, a take to the audience, and then I beat a hasty retreat into the house. I called the Yonkers Police non-emergency number (I really should put it on speed-dial) and called them– meantime I opened up the garage to see if I could convince the skunk to leave.

The police came about an hour later, only to tell me that I needed to hire a pest control company– apparently Yonkers, thriving metropolis that it is, does not have an animal control department. I called about 6 companies, and finally found one on the phone (one guy was too far north, another company in White Plains doesn’t come down to Yonkers) AAA Pest Control, based in NJ, has some guys who come to Yonkers. For a huge sum of money ($200!) they lay a trap for the animal, and will come and take it away. The trap is a metal humane trap with a slide that releases the door when a pressure plate is stepped on. They take the animal into the woods and release him.
If they don’t find a skunk, no refund.

Meanwhile my neighbor and I are trying to figure out how the skunk came in, and we are pretty sure that it slid under one of the garage doors. There is a little space under one of them. And we are looking in the garage to see if we can see the skunk before the pest control guys get here. No dice.

The pest control guys arrive, they lay the trap, I pay them, and start wondering if I imagined it– perhaps it was just a figment of my overactive imagination. I go into the garage several times to look, including once with the laser pointer that we use for the cat. No dice.

I check the trap several times during the day. Nothing.

Meanwhile I start reading all about skunks and skunk traps– most of the books say to use canned cat food or herring. They used marshmallows to bait it. Skunks aren’t good climbers, eat just about everything, have thick hides and so often eat bees and beehives, since they don’t feel the bee-sting, and can spray 7-10 times accurately to the distance of 15 feet, and I am thinking, “Oh No!” Skunks are also nocturnal, and they don’t spray unless provoked

Early the next morning I check the trap, warily peeking around the inside of the door– Omigod– there’s something in the trap! It’s black and white and got beady eyes– I’m pretty sure it’s a skunk!

I call the pest control guys, and they come around 9:30 or so and take the skunk away. There was a big fear that the skunk would spray when they came to get him, thus rendering my garage skunked. They wrap the cage with plastic wrap, and amazingly, the skunk did not spray. They took him away to a state park where they will let him out far from here. (Skunks have a general radius of about 2 miles, but can go up to 5 in hard times)

I fixed the hole where I thought they were coming in (which is a whole ‘nother maladjusted tale) and I was feeling a whole lot better, but then I had an awful thought– what if there are more skunks?

The hole fixed, it’d be impossible for the animal to escape!

Looking through the internet, I got a solution- I laid down some talc powder near where the hole was– to see if something tried to get out.

This morning I looked, and the powder was unperturbed– but that just means that nothing went over there.

But what if it had been perturbed? What then? I am thinking about buying a skunk trap– but if it fills up, who am I going to get to go inside and take it someplace far away?

I have the feeling that I will be in the garage looking over my shoulder for a long time to come. I think the time has come to clean out the garage and get rid of a lot of the stuff where a skunk (or other animal) may be hiding.

The Bacon Krispy Kreme Burger- Or a Delicious Heart Attack on a Plate

Bacon Krispy Kreme burger
Originally uploaded by satanslaundromat

A friend of mine posted about these– and apparently Google had them recently in their NY cafeteria. (I found this photograph on Flickr)

It’s got everything that a person could want — except for the death by fat-cell asphyxiation.

Still it sounds delicious….

My brother works at Google, and I’ve eaten there, but didn’t see this on the menu.

These are the cakes we DON’T want

Found a hilarious blog about when professionally designed cakes go wrong


Here are some selected images of pregnancy and baby cakes that are bad bad bad.

In case you were thinking of ordering us a cake or something (which I don’t suggest you do– we both are not huge cake lovers, and when we do eat cake, we’re particular about it.

Anyway, here’s what not to order.

Olly Olly OxenFree!

That’s the signature call of our backyard Hide and Seek, meaning– the game is over, no more hiding, come on out. (It’s also a movie featuring Katherine Hepburn, lovingly featured on the right.)

It’s also what S has been yelling out at her stomach for the last few days.

Or to put it in a cooking metaphor– Put a fork in her, she’s done.

Up until now, she’s had a very mild pregnancy– no morning sickness, no bedrest, no interminable crankiness– well, VERY LITTLE interminable crankiness, all things considered.

But these last couple of weeks she’s been in a lot of pain, having a hard time moving around, has been unable to get comfortable even while sitting, and has been sleeping poorly. And the crankiness– well, never mind. Let’s just say that when she reads this, she’s going to be upset. And when she stops reading it. And even after that.

Lately, she’s been having the Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are basically practice contractions. Named after the handsome guy on the left, who first described the false contractions (I’m sure people were having them before, but apparently nobody ever thought it would be important to write about them. Pregnancy SHOULD be mysterious!)

S says they don’t really hurt, and they are not regular, but at this point she’s kind of hoping that they start to hurt, and that they are regular, so that we can get this baby out of her and into our Graco Stroller/carrier/ other cool Graco products. Her line lately has been “I now UNDERSTAND the value of scheduled C sections!”

As for me, well, there’s been a lot of last minute house things that I am trying to get done, including cleaning up the baby’s room, moving everything around (mostly done) and then cleaning up my office on the third floor so that there’s some semblance of workspace there. And then I can try to do some work there. (As if!)

And don’t forget that I’m still the model of friendliness, good humor, and bon vivant-ity that I have always been (which is to say that I’m freaked out, a little grouchy myself, and nervous nervous nervous about my upcoming starring role in the Danny Aiello re-make film known as … DADDY! (Now in technicolor!)

I was initially very excited about being cast (and still am, honestly) but I’ve already signed the contract, and I didn’t read it too closely. There are no residuals, poor hours, a crazy shooting schedule, bad billing, a do-it yourself craft service, and the trailer is small and also never clean. I have to get a better agent.

All kidding aside, I’m very excited, but also nervous. Which is apparently how it should be.

I keep on kidding with S that I’d like the baby in there for a couple of more months just so I could finish all my projects, but she knows I’m just kidding. (I think)

In a couple of more days, I’ll be yelling “Come out Come out wherever you are!”

Ummmm… Joey… I don’t think we’re in Yonkers anymore…

Yesterday there was a Tornado warning in Yonkers. That’s the same day that S’s family flies into NY for the weekend (for a show, and to hang out with their very pregnant daughter one last time before she gives birth to the kicking giraffe who has been eating up all of the real estate in her belly (with any luck, he or she will be a Donald Trump- but with nicer manners and better hair)

We didn’t know about the tornado warning until it was over (thank you Gothamist!— see below for the Tornado warning), but we did notice the deadly looking clouds as we took Joey back from the vet. Yes, his once yearly shots and check up are on the day of fear, when lightning, thunder, and deadly winds are going crazy– that’s the day we decide to bundle Joey up in the cat carrier and take him out of his nice warm cozy hidey-hole and bring him into the smelly vets office.

He was so scared and upset that when we took him home and gave him treats, he didn’t even eat them at first. About ten minutes after we got home, it began to hail. Hard. I guess that was the Tornado clue that we missed.

Today, all seems calm, but who knows. Perhaps this will be baby day? Or perhaps a natural disaster will strike? Or perhaps a house will fall on our mortal enemies, and we will all burst forth into song?

If any of those things end up happening, panel, you’ll know about it here first next time on Yonked, Yonked, Don’t Tell Me.

August 15, 2008

Hold onto Your Hats: Tornado Warning in Effect



Elfa-sizing and the Nuclear Knitting Proliferation Treaty

We spent this week continuing on the never-ending home improvement binge, in which my wife spends thousands of dollars on (admittedly needed) home improvement, and then says “Hey, we’re nesting!” when I grumble at the (mumbledy mumbledy) expense of it all.

This week it was fixing up the master bathroom closet, which has been built since January, but empty (well, filled with a jerry rigged system of laundry stuff, but nothing permanent, and the Crafty Cat Room, because S has decided that this is the place where she will stockpile her nuclear supply of yarn for her knitting projects. I believe, although I can’t be 100% positive, that she is in a knitting arms race with several people on Ravelry. And the de-proliferation treaties are not going well.

So we went to the Container Store and studied Elfa. Elfa is a very clever storage system by the Container Store, where you screw one standard to the wall very securely, and then hang all of your other standards off of it. It’s clever, because you don’t have to line up all of your standards and hang them on the wall by themselves. As well, the standard you do drill into the wall is secured with very heavy duty stuff that clings to drywall or wood, and therefore doesn’t even have to be screwed into the studs. That’s right, no stud finder for me! Which is good, because we have one, but it never seems to work properly. At least, I’ve drilled several times in places where it told me to drill, but never found any oil (or even any wood.)

We had california closets (who did a great job in our master walkin closet) quote us the master bath, including doors, but it was approximately 1200, and didn’t quite look the way we wanted it. We were able to put the shelves up for approximately $400, and we still have to figure out a door solution, but at least its more to our liking. And we didn’t have the $1200 anyway. We were too busy buying expensive dinners!

Anyway, we managed to hang the master bathroom closet in about an hour or so, and it was pretty sweaty business, but relatively easy. Stephanie than spent a lot of time emptying the thing that held the towels before (an armoire, that will now become the baby’s closet/armoire)

The next day we did the Crafty Cat room (yes our cat is a crafty devil) And now he’ll be living with a sewing machine!

This was actually a much harder proposition, as we had to do some creative problem-solving. The crafty cat room was at one point a long time ago the outside of the house, so it has outside of the house shingles that are not a flat wall, and elfa relies on a flat wall (or at the very least a standard vertical plane, for you gentle geometrists). And the shingle/clapboards are 6″ long and vertical. But Stephanie, who was an architectural student in college, had a great idea– we bought two 1×6 shelves that were the length of the wall, and screwed them into the shingles. Those 1×6’s overlapped the shingles, creating (voila!) a plane that elfa could use. We then screwed the elfa into the 1×6 and the wall, using longer screws, and we had our elfa. And it all worked!

It was also hot and sweaty work, because the crafty cat room does not have its own air conditioning duct and because our drill bit sucked (and the screws stripped out a couple of times) But through the sheer brute and animal force of a manly man, I was able to do it.

We also had to take down the Metro shelf that was there, which meant emptying all of our stuff onto the floor of the other room (former office, soon to be baby’s room) And now MOST of the stuff is up, although somethings have been displaced by the vast amounts of aforementioned radioactive yarn that we have been amassing. The Metro shelf went into the garage where one day it will be set up again, once it has been properly decontaminated of its knitting stature, and it has earned the glorious right to become a clown shelf again.

Watch out Pakistan. We are now a nuclear knitting power.

And here are the pictures to prove it.

The beautifully arranged Master Bath Closet, complete with new hampers
The Yarn of Nuclear proliferation.
Some more of the everpresent stockpiles.
The cleverly hidden 1×6
The sewing machine table that I lovingly (and with great amount of curses) put together back in May or June.

It just got dark

So dark in fact that the streetlights went on. Which wouldn’t be a problem normally, except that it’s 11:30 am. In the summer.

The satellite is having problems too. CNN is in nad out.

I think we are in for a hell of a storm.