Random Thursday: Rusty Procrastinator Edition

1. So it’s been a few Thursdays since I randomed it up for all y’all. I’m feeling a bit rusty in the writing department. Writing is like exercise: when you’re on, you’re on. Conversely, when you don’t work your muscles, they atrophy. When your muscles atrophy, your butt gets big, I mean, inertia sets in, and so does fear. Both are hard to overcome, but fear might be the more difficult of the two.

I speak from a place of experience.

2. As we all know, I am a Master Procrastinator. It’s true. I used to bemoan my outcast state (name that sonnet), until the day the question was proposed at a writers’ conference and the entire auditorium rose to their feet.

I’d found my people!

Seriously, Google “Are Writers Procrastinators?” and you’ll come up with nearly 9,000,000 hits.

Procrastinators rule!

3. What was my point?

4. In an effort to deal with the exercise inertia (ahem), I agreed to run the BolderBoulder 10k on Memorial Day with Chris. Talk about fear. Talk about an example of procrastination biting you (me!) on the hiney. Talk about decisions that seem insignificant on the life-event scale when you make them, but then cause you to wake repeatedly in a cold sweat…


5. Procrastination doesn’t always bite me on the hiney. Many times, it works in my favor. Many times, dare I say, the Mother Ship herself provides me with positive reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement (n): the offering of desirable effects or consequences for a behavior with the intention of increasing the chance of that behavior being repeated in the future.

Example: Tuesday is garbage day. I knew the very full can needed to be taken out to the curb. But it was cold. And windy like you read about. When I heard the rumble of the garbage truck I raced to the front door only to see it exiting the neighborhood. “You had one job!” I told myself as I slumped against the open door.

And then it happened. No fewer than seven empty garbage cans blew down the street like so much tumbleweed.

Procrastinators rule!

6. Molly has been running with me. We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that borders dedicated Open Space. The established trails on that space form two large loops, which, when combined, equal about 1.5 miles of varied terrain (according to the track coach, but I swear it’s more like 5). Molly and I are daily visitors. I slog up and down hills as she takes every opportunity to sniff, explore, and chase rabbits while periodically doubling back to check that I’m still breathing.


7. In an effort to deal with the writing inertia, I procrastinated. I procrastinated the writing of several final papers and an extensive treatment plan required to complete the Master Clinical Herbalist program. As a result, I wrote them all in one day, under extreme duress and with exceedingly sweaty armpits. As a result of that, I think I worked the rust out.

See? Procrastinators rule!

Happy New Year And All That Jazz

For several weeks, I’ve been thinking about thinking about composing this first post of the new year for you. The standard format is to talk about resolutions, either those profound changes I have determined to make happen in my own life, or some brilliant words of advice for helping you achieve yours.

Unfortunately, I have a slight and ongoing problem with doing the things I should do. Especially when those things are the things which everyone else is doing. Perhaps it goes back to the Alabama roadies and my unrequited need for wild adventures, but doing the thing that everyone else is doing (that thing I should do) kind of bores me into a catatonic state.

So I’m not writing that post.

I don’t want to talk about what everyone else is talking about.

If you’ll hang out for a minute or two, over here where I am Queen of the Universe, we’re going to talk about……

The bonds of family, and my beloved cousin, who went out of his way to make me this:





..and also this:







And the thing that occurs to me is this: It would appear that my beloved cousin and I suffer from the same rebellious streak.


Happy New Year, friends!

Random Thursday: The Goods Edition

1. There’s this kid. (I love him so.) He’s a reliable sort, dependable as one can expect a young man of his particular age to be. Last night as I was headed out the door to vote, I tasked him with the following:

-Add broken lasagna noodles to soup pot, bring to boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat and stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (See here? It’s already grated and measured out for you in this bowl!).
-Remove bread from oven when timer goes off. If bread is not goldeny-brown (like you have seen it 10,000 times before!) bake another five minutes.
-Take beautiful, artfully arranged, amazingly healthy, vibrantly colored salad from fridge and place on table.

When I got home, more than two hours later, he was gone. The Wonder Hub gave the soup a thumbs-up and we laughed together at the undercooked, mushy-ish bread. Ah well. Such is life. Half an hour later I opened the fridge, where I saw an interesting sight. My salad. My labor of love. It was pristine.

“Why didn’t you guys eat my salad?” I asked (or possibly whined).
“I didn’t know there was a salad,” promised the Wonder Hub.

I thought about the two hours I had spent standing in line to take care of my civic duty. I thought about my aching feet. I was irked. I could have put my feet up instead of making that salad. I could have gone to the bathroom instead of making that salad! I grabbed my phone.

That boy, he’s the goods.

2. About a month before Election Day, I received a new voter’s card in the mail. I opened it,  briefly acknowledged its existence, and then did with it what I do with all mail. The Wonder Hub was in the vicinity and said, “You should put that where you won’t lose it.”

In the morning on Election Day, I began looking for my voter’s card. I looked in the Karen pile the on upstairs desk. I looked in the Karen pile on the downstairs desk. I looked in the pile on the kitchen island, and then the pile I stuff into the kitchen island drawer when people come over. An hour later, I went back through each of these piles. Two hours later, I was getting desperate. I enlisted the Monkey’s help, to no avail. Finally, at zero-hour, I admitted defeat and emailed the Wonder Hub. Normally, I would email the Wonder Hub before I bothered looking. He is, after all, The Finder. My pride was having a difficult time, though. My pride hates it when he’s right. Even worse, my pride hates it when he rubs it in that he’s right (which does not serve to keep me from rubbing it in when I’m right). I really didn’t want to hear about how I should have listened to him, how I should have put the card somewhere (where????) I wouldn’t lose it.

Sigh. I sat back, pride all wilty and pathetic, and waited for the inevitable. I totally deserved whatever he gave me.

3. He didn’t take long. His reply?

“It’s pinned to the cork board in the kitchen. I didn’t want you to lose it.”

Have I ever mentioned that he’s the goods?

4. I went to Tam’s for lunch today. We were starving, so she began dishing up the tortilla soup right away. Instantly, I knew two things:

One- I had to take a picture of it for you.
Two- I would be making it for dinner, tonight.

P.S. It took me so long to set up this little iPhone pic that our soup had to be reheated.

P.P.S. Tam served our soup over rice, and I’m serving mine over Perfect Baked Potatoes.

While we ate we did that 100-miles-an-hour talking thing that happens with friends who don’t see each other often enough. When it was time to go, I realized my heart was in better shape than it had been when I’d arrived.

You’re the goods, Tam!

5. On the drive to Tam’s house (while stopped safely at the world’s longest stoplight), I received an email from Bobbi. I won’t even wait to tell you that Bobbi is


She is. God has blessed Bobbi with some amazing talents (I believe we’ve discussed this before, but I’ll say it again). Bobbi has talents that my talents have never even heard of. Bobbi’s talents probably shouldn’t even acknowledge my talents if they were walking down the same hallway. They would, though. They’re not snobby, Bobbi’s talents. Even though they so totally could be. Snobby, that is.


So this email from Bobbi. Remember Bobbi? Yeah, so this email? It contains the brand-spanking-new banner for this blog. Have you seen it?? Seriously, people, check it out. If you have a minute, leave a comment telling Bobbi how beautiful it is.

Did I mention that Bobbi is the goods?

P.S. The Monkey is a little miffed that he didn’t make the banner.

6. I probably should have made that number 7. I don’t know if you people can hold on to number 5 long enough to remember to comment on it…

FYI-You people are the goods. Your collective memories? Not so much.

7. National Novel Writing Month is shaping up to be quite the experience. Did I tell you that God gave me the idea for this novel while I was in the shower? Yes, I know it sounds weird, but I’ve always done a lot of talking to God in the shower, so it seemed perfectly natural to me. Anyway, when this novel gets published, all y’all can carry your signed first editions around and tell people that not only were you on Team Karen for NaNoWriMo, but also that you just happen to know where she was when God gave her the idea.

Hey, God? You are the goods.


Photo Phriday: Fall 2012, Week Four

These are a combination of Cher’s pictures and my pictures, taken the weekend she was here, which was the fourth Photo Phriday of 2012, which was the first weekend in October. For the record: the good pictures are Cher’s. Also for the record: I can’t believe how green the trees were when Cher was here. Next time she’ll come later. Or maybe next time I’ll just make sure she misses her plane.


See? It’s all good, Cher. We can joke about it, and it didn’t even taken five years!


It was too sunny when we went to the marina, but we didn’t have a choice. I don’t remember why. We probably had something really important to do, like shop for boots.


There’s a little guy in that boat with his dad. He was helping with a fishing pole and almost fell in. I had to turn the camera away because while I might have found that hilarious, I didn’t get the sense that his dad would have.


See how the green is just barely starting to turn to yellows and reds? I want it all back. I want to do fall again. I wore a coat today and I am sooooo not ready for winter!



After we took our marina shots, we headed back into the woods. I love this path. Unfortunately, it rains enough in Virginia that this path is often too muddy for my sissy dog to walk on, so I don’t come back here often.

You can tell that these are all Cher’s photos, by the way. At least I can. I really, really love them. Especially this one.

When I walk in the woods with Molly Sue, I lay her leash over her back and she is happy as a clam to walk right next to me. She’s such a good girl. Unless, of course, she sees a deer. This photo was taken approximately 2.2 seconds before she saw a deer and approximately 2.0 seconds before she took off after him.

Oh Molly Suuuuuueee! Tell me, people, when will I ever learn?

Have no fear, she came back.

She always comes back.

Bahstun, Ducklings, And A Stranger Named Miguel

Seeing the Make Way for Ducklings! ducks was on my list. We walked to the Public Garden first thing, first morning, to see the little guys. My photography simply can’t do them justice, so you’re going to have to believe me when I say that it was mad, crazy, can-I-take-them-home-with-me?, love at first sight.

They are magnificent.

I found it interesting that while I had been excited to see Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack, the duck I fell hardest for was Mrs. Mallard. Just look at her, with her well-mannered ducklings marching along behind. She’s the woman, I tell you. It would have been no small feat to keep those ducklings in line, and I tip my hat to her.

Something else happened at the Public Garden, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Of all the lovely things in the very lovely city of Boston, this is the one I can’t get out of my mind.

As my newly caffienated group of tourists marched purposefully toward the ducklings, a solitary man smiled at me. He was lounging comfortably on one of the benches that face Mrs. Mallard and crew, looking for all the world like he belonged there. I smiled back, of course. It’s what I do. I’ve tried to train myself not to, but smiling at strangers is ingrained in my South Dakota heart by my South Dakota upbringing, and for better or worse, I smile. He said, “Good morning!” and I replied in turn. There were nine in our group, hustling along as they checked out the ducks, posing and snapping pictures, laughing and chatting and excited at the onset of adventure. Despite having been stricken with a profound case of duck-love, I found myself slowing to a stop before the man.

“How are you?” I asked.

He smiled, “I’m grrreat.” He paused, just a fraction of a second, before adding, “Most people don’t say hello to me. They see me and keep right on walking. Thank you for talking to me.”

I smiled my South Dakota smile, and he took his cue.

“Most people see me and keep right on going. They’re texting or talking on their phones, they have those buds in their ears, and they keep right on going. They don’t talk to me and they don’t talk to each other. I did tours in Iraq and tours in Afghanistan, and I’m telling you, it’s not right.”

I said the words I love to hear others say to my veteran, “Thank you for your service.” He bobbed his head and closed his eyes for the briefest second, and I took my cue. “What do you do now?”

“I’m a drug and alcohol counselor. I was a junkie, but now I’ve got God. He’s all I need.” It was my turn to bob my head, acknowledging the simple truth of his words.

My group was ready to move on, so I stuck out my hand. “It’s an honor to meet you. May God bless you in your work.”

He thanked me again for stopping and told me again about God, as if he needed me to believe. Still grasping his hand, I lifted my knee slightly and showed him my leg. It was covered with the goosebumps I’ve come to understand mean that I’m in the presence of the power of my God. Smiling my biggest, joyful-est smile, and looking straight into his steady blue gaze, I replied,

“I know.”


Random Thursday

1. Moose borrowed my phone and took pictures of himself making funny, crazy faces. He then made those the contact pictures for random and sundry people in my address book. Mel, Wendy, Charlotte, Sissy, to name a few, all pop up with crazy Moose faces. If you call and I’m laughing, you’ll know why.

2. The Monkey decided to get himself a job. The older boys have jobs and are busy making money this summer. They are rolling in the dough, from his 14 year old perspective.

Our street is made up of three cul-de-sacs, and he’s hit up every single household. I think he started this just over two weeks ago. He has mowed, and edged, and pulled weeds. He has swept out garages and is about to begin a big-money deck-staining gig. To date, he’s made more money than Bubba, who took the time and spent the money to become a certified lifeguard.

3. Moose had a slow work week and decided to go out and get himself some big-money neighborhood jobs. Since TM had claimed our immediate neighbors, he went to the neighborhoods on either side of ours. He wore a polo shirt, and explained to homeowners that he works for a county contractor and heads a crew that mows schools and parks and medians, etc. He’s a professional, for Pete’s sake.

The poor kid can’t buy himself a mowing job.

4. Bubba came over to where I was standing in the kitchen the other day. I was mid-text message as he snuggled right up to my side. I took a deep breath and relished the snuggle, even while 3/4 of my brain was texting. Because 3/4 of my brain was occupied, it took several beats to realize that he had hit play on his iPod so that The Police were singing, “Don’t stand so, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me.”

5. The Wonder Hub got sick at the tail end of our Tenth Anniversary Roadtrip Adventure. (Yes, I know I still need to write about it.) We drove into town and straight to an emergicare-type clinic, where he was given antibiotics for some strep-like throat thing, and eyedrops for the creepiest case of pink eye I have ever personally witnessed. And, listen people, I’m a child of the 80’s. We used to rock the black eyeliner and black (or purple or blue or green) mascara like..like rock stars, and we weren’t afraid to share and swap. What I’m saying is this: I KNOW my pink eye, and this topped anything I had ever seen.

The next day he saw his own doctor, who dragged him down the hall to an opthamologist, who immediately put him on quarters for a week.

On quarters = go home and stay there.

6. Approximately seven days later, I got his crud. Not to the extent that he did, but still. I left the very same clinic with antibiotics (strep) and eye drops (just in case), but NOBODY PUT ME ON QUARTERS. I was miserable. I texted my Sissy and told her that I was dying, and that she could have my boots. I spent yesterday fading in and out of a miserable fog, throwing myself dramatically on every horizontal surface available and whining to the empty house that NOBODY PUT ME ON QUARTERS. I went to bed early last night, and woke with the idea that just maybe I wouldn’t die. It’s a good thing, I guess. Even if I did die, I bet they wouldn’t put me on quarters.

7. There’s a butterfly outside my writing window. Day after day I watch him use the draft from the air conditioning unit as his own personal amusement park ride. The first day I was worried that he got sucked into its vector and couldn’t get out. The air cycled off and he disappeared, much to my relief. Ten minutes later I saw him in my peripheral vision, riding the loop-de-loop like there is no tomorrow.

Which totally makes me think of the Monkey, who used to HATE roller coasters. “I yike roller posters, Mommy,” he would say, “but not the big downs.” So we would lie to him, yes we would, and promise that this roller poster was one without the big downs. We felt justified in the lying, because after the wailing and gnashing of teeth, after the clawing of my neck and the attempted climbing onto the top of my head, after the hateful looks from the parents of non-psychotic roller coaster riders…about the time the ride was coming to a stop the child of my womb would throw his arms up in the air and yell at the top of his screechy yittle lungs,


Random Thursday: Communication Edition

1. Communicating with teenagers is fun entertaining challenging. One must be technologically savvy and in the habit of deciphering poor penmanship, nonexistent grammar, and all manner of juvenile bafflement.

2. Take this note, for example.

Uhhhhh. Court? Mom? Jury duty? Speeding tickets? Secret law degree?

Or, could it be, that this particular child loves to play basketball, and knows (from experience) that his mother will string him from the hoop if he goes to the court without letting her know where he is?

Your guess is as good as mine.

3. Sometimes, communication happens in the strangest places.

 What, you may ask, is the teen trying to communicate here?

Well, dear reader, to my well-seasoned eye, the teen is doing his best to tell me:

“I love to annoy you!”

I would even put money on which kid did this, and gleefully, knowing full well that my grammar nose would sniff it out like a…like something with a really good nose sniffs out something smelly.

4. Sometimes communicating with teenagers is downright frustrating. Sometimes you do your darndest to provide for their every need, sacrificing your own well-being (and ignoring the call of your bladder) by standing in the men’s department pacing and fidgeting and bouncing on crossed legs in front of the underwear rack for hours on end, waiting for the answer to one simple question.

In cases such as these, it is advisable to go with your gut and let them deal with the consequences. In this case, the very dire consequence was one package of five long-leg boxer briefs.

I’m just sure he learned his lesson.

5. Sometimes, when one teenager (who is normally connected to his cell phone like an unborn child to its umbilical cord), leaves you standing in the men’s department, pacing and fidgeting and bouncing on crossed legs in front of the underwear rack for hours on end, the answer is to text yet another umbilical corded teenager to enlist his help.

And sometimes it’s not.

6. Sometimes, communicating with a teenager will cause you to double over in hysteria in the midst of a crowded (and otherwise silent) room.

On this occasion, for example, I sent one (unnamed, for reasons of privacy (but really so I can use this as blackmail at some later date)) teen the following simple instructions. I sent them via text message, which, as we all know, is the favored method of teenage communication:

UNNAMED BOOOOYYYYYYYYYY! Put the chicken from the fridge in the crockpot with a cup of water and turn it on low. Please!!!

The following reply came (via text message) less than ONE MINUTE later:

Are you feeling my pain here, people?

7. Other times, when you mistakenly put a teen driver in charge of a vehicle and let down your guard just enough to enjoy an adult beverage with a girlfriend, you live to regret it.

And there you have it, friends. Communicating with teenagers. As you can see, I have mastered this difficult field of study. As your resident expert, I will be accepting questions (at $20 each) from 2-4pm on Thursdays.

Thank you.

Random Thursday: Levities Edition

1. Since I’m too lazy to haul myself out of this chair to grab the Oxford English Dictionary (which is ten feet away, right there, on the bookshelf, hanging out comfortably between a leatherbound compilation of the writings of Mark Twain given to me by Mel, and The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare) (I tell you all this as proof that I possess a respectable literary pedigree, a statement which I will now endeavor to make highly suspect), we will work with the sometimes questionable, yet always readily available, Dictionary.com definition of levity, which is:

(noun, plural levities): lightness of mind, character, or behavior; lack of appropriate seriousness or earnestness.

2. This word, perhaps more than any other, describes my life. Case in point:

After four weeks spent in a generalized housebound state, the need for, shall we say, maintenance, has become quite dire. KP and I had a pedicure two days ago, and my only regret is that I did not photograph my toes for you before that glorious event.


any old day.

As a result of aforementioned pedicure, the parts of my person requiring spa intervention dwindled to the double digits.

3. Let’s talk about that for a minute. This, this maintenance, if you will, of the 40+ year old frame is highly offensive to me. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t feel pampered by it. It’s boring, and over here anyway, the list of parts that require maintenance appears to be growing daily. It’s appalling, really, to find that every time I turn around, some other piece of this complex puzzle has gone rogue and must be preened into submission.


THIS is why I don’t own an eyelash curler. On principal, I refuse to curl my eyelashes.

(Well, that, and the fact that I could never master the mechanics of that thing. It’s terrifying, and it reminds me of…never mind. Ask me in person sometime what it reminds me of.)

4. So I took my Andy Rooney eyebrows and Hulk Hogan mustache


to the spa, where it seemed that every.single.woman in a ten-mile radius was also requiring maintenance (although none in yoga pants and a Nike Dryfit T, and most of them in heels, for the love. I’ve got an idea. Let’s dress up for torture!) where Lin put to rest an ongoing debate between myself and the Wonder Hub concerning a single, blond, wayward eyebrow hair I’ve been sporting as of late. The WH has delicately suggested that I “pluck that white sucker,” calling it the first evidence of my long, downhill slide into cronedom. I, on the other hand, have held to the belief that it is but a blonder version of my own blond(ish) hairs and choose instead to keep it in place and trimmed (despite the fact that it grows like bamboo in the Congo), simultaneously mocking him for the prematurely graying buzz atop his I-still-get-carded, 14-year-old face.

Lin, who should really be considered for a diplomatic post of some sort, plucked that white sucker without ceremony, and held it out for all to see, much like a child caught in the cookie jar.

Wonder Hub – 1
Queen of the Universe – Still Queen of the Universe.

5. I left Lin, skin smarting from the violent nature of her brand of maintenance, and realized that at least in part, my discomfort was heartburn.


In addition to my great offense in regard to all that is expected of an American woman of a certain age, I am exceedingly offended by this newest plague. It’s uncalled for! It’s unjust, in the cosmic sense of the word. Unjust! Unfair! Unmerited!

Sigh. Looking back, perhaps two mugs of Italian Roast and a handful of wasabi almonds wasn’t the best of breakfast choices. The fact that the iron-gutted teenagers with whom I live made far worse breakfast choices with impunity adds insult to acid-reflux.

6. Speaking of teenagers. The college student, fresh from a year of parent-free living, is home, doubling the laundry and tripling the grocery bill.

I love that kid.

I did, however, threaten to take away his Teenager Card. It went down like this:

KP and I were out one evening. Because my driving privileges had not yet been returned to me, I had no reason to take my keys. We returned home to a dark, locked house. Moose’s bedroom lights were on, so I didn’t panic. The Old Man goes to bed early and I didn’t want to wake him, so I texted the man-child, who, for the first time in the history of cell phones, didn’t reply to my text.

So we knocked gently.

And then a little louder.

And prayed he wasn’t in the bathroom (seriously).

And then KP started throwing her flip-flops at his windows. It went down like this:

Toss. Smack. Giggle. Toss. Smack. Guffaw! Toss. Smack. Hardee Har Har!

..until they both got lost in the monster Azalea by the front door.

And I texted some more, but this time I texted Carey.


7. The flashback, in case you were wondering, took me back to a night in 1987. My beloved brother, the same brother who once put me in the trunk of the car to sneak me into the drive-in movies (and then, um, forgot to let me out), the same brother who once duck-taped me to my bed and then did his darndest to head for the hills,

locked Carey and me out of the house. It was an innocent sneak-out, as far as sneaking out goes–we had just gone across the street to watch late-night movies–but he did it anyway, and there was nothing we could do. I remember distinctly that he stood at the front picture window, waving and laughing.

And then he went to bed.

Carey and I? We sat down under Myrtle’s green canopy in the front yard, and did what teenage girls do. We talked. When Mel got up to get the morning paper, he left the door unlocked (a routine on which I was counting heavily), at which point we, exhausted, silly, and delirious, army-crawled across the yard to the front door before strolling in like we owned the place.

That part about the bush? I’m pretty sure that was Carey.





The Saga Of The Smell

Way back in early December, there was this smell. It was sour in nature, but easily remedied by lighting my Yankee Holly Berry candle, which I did religiously each morning. Other than that, I didn’t stress. I didn’t even spend much mental energy on The Smell. Perhaps my lack of concern was related to the simple fact that living with four members of the male species provides me with an intimate understanding that sour is not the worst smell in the vast smell repertoire.

By the time my in-laws arrived for Christmas, the The Smell was downright embarrassing, and quite possibly a health hazard. The Wonder Hub and his Wonder Dad set out to locate the stench, and in a relatively short period of time, found the culprit.

(Pretend I found and inserted here pictures of dead, decaying mouse, to include WH removing little buddy with my kitchen tongs and simultaneously realizing that our friend still contained…juice. )


The smell was horrific. It brought to mind every single tv/movie rendition of a newbie cop at the scene of his or her first decaying body…and made me realize that every single rendition had likely been under-acted. It was beyond horrific. How one little dead dude could create that much odor is beyond me. In fact, the smell of mouse juice exceeded any previous mouse smell by such a great degree that we had no choice but to leave the house and take a week-long cruise to the Bahamas.

It was a hardship, to be sure.

We returned on Christmas Day to a mostly smell-free home and carried on with our lives.

In mid-January, I started smelling The Smell again.

In February, the Wonder Hub (finally smelling what I smelled) joyfully and with an inordinately calm spirit (ahem) removed the garbage disposal from under the sink and cleaned it thoroughly.*

It was full of a dark sludge he repeatedly (and obnoxiously) referred to as Pâté.

*I was really busy that night, and couldn’t help.

In early March, we removed all the kitchen lights to see if a mouse had died in the ceiling. We (and by we I mean the WH) cleaned dishwasher lines and traps and whatever else you clean to make a dishwasher smell better.

In late March, we took everything out of the kitchen cupboards to see if a mouse had given up the ghost there. Finally, one desperate night, I convinced the Wonder Hub to pull the dishwasher from its housing under the counter….and voila!

Standing water and black, black, horrendously smelly mold.

What happened next included dudes in Hazmat suits tearing out ruined cupboards and flooring before applying numerous toxic-smelling, throat-searing, black-mold-spore-killing chemicals to the general area. They left industrial-sized, conversation-prohibiting fans with enormous HEPA filters running in the house for 24 hours..

It was really fun. When they came back to collect their gear, we kindly asked them to hook up the dead dishwasher so that we could have hot water in the kitchen. They obliged before going on their merry way.

The very next morning, I smelled it. The Wonder Hub had a cold, and didn’t. The dude who came to lay new tile and put in new cabinets didn’t. They both thought I was nuts when I sent the tile dude away and asked my Hazmat buddies to come back. Which they gladly did. They happily tore out more cabinets and more flooring and more drywall…

and found nothing. While I was at a bit of a loss, I knew what I smelled, and I knew I was not going to have my brand new kitchen installed on top of black mold or mouse juice or whatever it was that was now stinking to highest heaven. I stood my ground. Finally, on the glorious three week anniversary of the Black Mold Discovery, the Wonder Hub’s nose cleared. Hallelujah, he smelled it!

What happened next could have been written into a sitcom script. I picture Will and Grace:

 The Wonder Hub stands in one area of the kitchen, I stand in another, and he calls out urgently (and perhaps a little louder than absolutely necessary),


Then we both move, as fluidly as dancers, to different areas of the kitchen (and surrounding rooms, as The Smell has now officially breached the perimeter), and– one of us with a head in the sink, the other balancing precariously on one leg–  freeze in position…


We do this on and off for some time, both freezing instantly when the other yells, “I SMELL IT!” while the Monkey sits idly by, sipping on juice and periodically flashing his best are you kidding me? look, when all of a sudden, we hear a


The Wonder Hub whips around and stares at me. “WHAT.WAS.THAT?” I make my eyes big in response and put a finger to my mouth. We hold our awkward positions in absolute stillness and wait…and wait…and wait…


The dead and defunct dastardly dishwasher! All inertia forgotten, the Wonder Hub may or may not utter a teeny-tiny expletive that may or may not curse all future generations of anyone dumb enough to run the dead, defunct, dastardly, LEAKING dishwasher, while simultaneously throwing open its door.

AAAAAHHH! We stumble backward as The Smell hits us like a Mac truck doing 80. In the 3.5 seconds it takes the Wonder Hub to slam and lock the dishwasher door, I catch a glimpse of several inches of murky-colored standing water in what very well may be the largest, smelliest Petri dish on earth.

As quickly as we could manage, we* unhooked the hot water and dragged the smelly, mold-filled dishwasher out to the garage and placed it next to the new, bright and shiny dishwasher, patiently waiting for Julio to find the time to come back to lay new tile, build new cabinets, hook that bad boy up, and bring this particular saga to a blessed, stench-free close.

*you know