« Local PS | Main | Rain »

MenFebruary 12, 2009

We are having all kinds of ruckus around here this morning. I hired a handyman to come over and deal with our gutters, which have had problems with pigeon poop from the birds that have been nesting in our eaves. I thought they were a problem, and that they were gross, but I didn't know the extent of their grossitude. The handyman was rather horrified, and did what he could, but he's not a pigeon guy.

But he cleaned the rest of the gutters, which needed help, and then found some problems we didn't even know we had. Now he's at the hardware store, getting supplies to fix a stand-pipe on the roof and our toilet, which has been leaking a little bit lately.

While he was on the roof, I was researching pigeon removal companies, and the one I called came over immediately. So now I have two guys working on the house.

AND THIS STRESSES ME OUT NO END. We have barky dogs in crates, and I feel like joining them in there. (Waylon was being a punk-ass and jumping Digit every time poor Dig turned around, so I threw Waylon into Clara's crate which was GEENYUS.)

I am a Cancer, through and through. Even a piece of paper or a glass left on the dining room table gives me a headache, and it depresses me to see the state of the old rusting tub (literally, it is depressing to me. I know it's not a big deal, and we'll fix it when we can afford to, but I have to keep the shower curtain closed at all times). I like most things just so, although in marriage I have learned to compromise on things like dishes. I can leave dishes in the sink now, which is not something I could do five years ago.

But men, even very, very nice men, crawling all over and through the house, freaks me out in a little-dog way. I feel all jittery. The only one completely not fazed by this is Harper.



Introducing, my Betta, Harper! He's much more blue and scarlet than this picture shows -- it's so hard to photograph his colors. (The name is courtesy of my friend Stephanie. She suggested it, and I said, "Oh, like Harper Lee?" She gave me a look and said, "No, like HarperCollins." Duh. She seems to be prescient also, as Collins is going the way of the Dodo this week, dismantled in cutbacks, leaving HarperCollins just Harper (my imprint, Avon, is unaffected, thank goodness).

(I have a publisher. Squee!)

But Harper is COOL. I've never had a fish, ever, except for ill-fated goldfish in my youth. I lurve writing next to him. When I'm stuck, I stare at him. It doesn't really help, because he's interesting, but it's nice.

The handyman (thanks, Janine, for the ref!) just came back and went through the house on his way out. He asked why the dogs were crated, and if it was for him. I said yes. He said, "Oh, let them out. I love dogs." I said they were bouncy and barky. He said, "I used to have thirty-five sled dogs." Now, THAT'S a line to be saved for fictional dialogue later. And I let the dogs out.

Neighbor Sam is barbequeing right now, and blasting old-school R&B. It's nice. And soon the men will be gone, and so will the pigeons, and all will be quiet again. Then I'll write better. But for now, I'm just going to write as well as I can.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Men:


I am totally with you on tne fixer people in the house thing. I get too anxious. We had the plumber come a couple of days ago and I was pacing the house until he came. Bleh...

well, if you can't write because of stress you shouldn't force it. doesn't really help your frame of mind! heh! 35 sled dogs. you HAVE to use that!

I thought you might have gotten a betta when I first read that you got a fish! Yay! I dunno how familiar you are with them, but they are a little more delicate than goldfish, and I have had great success keeping mine healthy/rescuing sad sick ones using this website as a reference: http://bettatalk.com/ I would, however, recommend not looking at the pictures of the bettas she breeds, because they are worlds away (and expensive) compared to normal ones, and it is a trap! ;) Good luck, and what a great name!

Yep thrills. I just got the quote to replace our water heater (turns out our present one is 17 years old!)So some time next week I will have the plumbers installing it. This means I will have to round up 8 cats, 3 dogs(bouncy and barky too) and try to keep 4 parrots quiet... (not to mention clean the house before they arrive)sigh... Fortunately we only have to get professions in when we have to deal with the natural gas lines everything else we can do ourselves :)Why yes I am getting quite good at hanging my own drywall.

The name Harper just makes me think of the Prime Minister...

I feel your pain-I cannot leave dishes in the sink or the bed(s)unmade. Have been known to make the bed before getting back into it. Aack. Odd coincidence-had my dogs crated/ shut in my bedroom today because of people in the house. Decided wine is on the agenda tonight-Happy Valentine's!!!

Ewww...pigeons. I don't trust them with their shifty eyes. Glad they've been ousted.

Good luck on writing more when the house calms down.

You know that if you hold a mirror up to him he'll puff at himself ... I don't know if it's that healthy to make them mad at themselves, though. I had a great betta named Mr. Fishkers ... and he had a pet snail named Speedy.

Oh darlin', as a fellow Cancer, I totally relate. Try hard as I might not to twitch over such things, they haunt me. I carry a worry stone in my pocket, given to me by my honey, for just such nerve-wracking occasions. Oh dear, now you know this long-time Rachel fan is whacked, but fear not, I'm harmless as pudding. I had a Betta fish, Henry that lived for over 5 years! What a character he was! I didn't get another one, since no other could compare. :)

I got all anxious just reading this post and comments. Pigeons and workmen, talk of dishes in the sink and unmade beds, barky dogs and jumpy cats.......All make me hyperventilate, I need to go lie down, on my made bed of course, and comtemplate whether or not my gutters really need cleaning. Is it too early for a marguarita?

I have taught myself to do just about everything over the years to avoid having people come in and be in my house! I am making an exception for the granite countertops, though...yikes. I'm not that strong.

Sometimes that's all you can do. I'm feeling similarly unproductive. Listening to Serena Ryder is helping me worry about it less.

I had a beta fish that survived two assassination attempts by my lovely furbag boy, Mortimer. He stalked that poor fish (Fishyface, clever no?) but was ultimately denied the pleasure of terminating him. Fishyface died peacefully in his old age.

He was a glorious red. I would get another one, but the cat is still stalking his empty fishbowl so we'll wait.

Speaking of pigeons and the fact that you're a 'detailed' orientated Cancer...you simply must read the book 'The Pigeon' by Patrick Suskind (same author as Perfume). It is my alltime favourite short novel and I guarantee you'll love it...in fact, you won't look at a pigeon the same way again!

You let dogs out!
woof! woof...woofwoof!

Totally couldn't resist.

I am also a textbook Cancer in most ways, but I'm absolutely able to leave dishes in the sink. From now on, I will consider it a blessing in disguise. ;)

Yikes with the house work! Good luck! Gotta love a workman who loves dogs :)
I had beta in college. One was named Hot Chili and one was named Juan Carlos. :)

For more fun with fighting fish:

Hold a hand mirror up to the beta and watch his reaction.

Don't leave it there for more than a few minutes at a time,I've heard it can get kinda stressfull for them.

Is it having strangers or strange MEN in the house that freaks you out? I am not a big fan of having anybody in my house, male or female. I like my house to be the place where I hide away from the world.

We had a piano tuner guy who gave me the willies. Our poor piano is in desperate need of repair and he was the only tuner in our area, but I haven't called him in years because he makes me nervous. If I'm lucky, there are more tuners in the area now.

Men in a predominantly (or totally) female space do disrupt the energy of the place, what with them wafting great gouts of testosterone about, while simultaneously making lots of noise and to-do over every little step of the process. Still, think how lovely the quiet is after they leave... and after you close the windows you had to open to let the macho fumes escape. Sweet peace... with repairs done. Sigh!

The financial principal I work at has a Betta named Mr. Francisco d'Anconia (aka Francis).

We've had him for about a year now and use him as a visible measuring stick of success: The more successful we are, the bigger his fish bowl gets. He currently has a 3 and a half gallon fish bowl, and we're looking to upgrade his pad pretty soon.

One thing to remember (especially if you live in a chilly climate) is that Betta are tropical fish and require warm waters to remain healthy and active. During chilly days and night we make sure his little heater is on (small heaters cost about 15 to 25 bucks) and that the water remains a nice room temp of 78 some degrees. Anything below that and the fish will get lethargic and die. Get a thermometer, this will help a lot.

Remember to change out about 50 percent of the water with new treated water, every 2-3 days and clean it out completely once a week. Keep a smidgen of the old water to mix in.

These fishes are more than just beautiful, they're smart. They'll perk up when you enter the room and show an interest in what you're doing. Do some work next to the little fella and you'll see how inquisitive it is. They can also learn their names.

Enjoy your new Betta. I hope it will bring you as much luck as it has brought to us.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


Subscribe to Rachael's mailing list

knitting projects

DSCN13632.jpg Email me