Letters to Holly

Friday, July 27

Me vs. Dog

Because the landscaper is building a more elaborate walkway in the backyard, a pile of bricks sits between the tomato plant garbage can and Kempas's house. I arrived yesterday to find Kempas's chain stuck in that pile and the dog going batshit. There was nothing wrong; she just couldn't get loose. A neighbor girl was trying to pet her and somehow didn't think to enter the yard to free her. I got her extricated and talked briefly with the girl. She says Kempas is barking throughout the night, and Your Parents are keeping her outside at night when they're home. Maybe they were trying to get the dog used to being out while they were gone. She was so freaked that I had to take her for a walk to exhaust her energy.

I'm glad I only have another week of this. I appreciate how much Your Parents helped us with the car, and it doesn't much time to visit the house after work, but I have no answers for Kempas except to feed or walk her into submission and leash her to keep the fence intact. It's not my dog, and I'm limited in my options. Actually, the one problem is the fence. The answer to that problem is to remove the wood and install a metal fence along the carport. I haven't seen Kampas dig her way under the fencing. That would keep her in and let her walk the entire back yard.

We ate at the local Japanese steakhouse again and followed it up with dessert at Jason's. We tried out a new USA show called "Burn Notice." As a new series, it's still trying to find its footing. It feels thin, but potential is there.

Picture of the Day
The poster for the upcoming Sweeney Todd. It will be a musical, like the original show. But it won't be based on the recent revival-update of the show.

In the News
It sucks to be a sports fan right now. Football has Michael Vick, Beckham missed his US debut in soccer, the Tour de France is falling apart, wrestling is still dealing with the Benoit tragedy, and an NBA ref may have swayed the outcome of playoff games. Baseball sees Barry Bonds just two shy of breaking the home-run record but the steroid allegations may erase that before it becomes legend.

Thursday, July 26

Bite the Borders

Your Sister suspects the landscaper has moved Kempas around or even unleashed her as he works on the backyard brick path. Seems likely. I found Kempas leashed but with much more reach than she had Tuesday night. She was able to reach the fence and chew it again. I shortened her chain just in case the leash length was the problem. But I don't think it was. I don't mind her getting a supervised break from the leash but not if she's going to walk right over and chomp the fence. That's the very reason why she's chained to begin with.

We made another dish with the new potatoes, and we so far haven't contracted a form of tuber-culosis.

We'll avoid the upcoming Belle Chere, but we might attend the Montford Players' performance of Cyrano DeBergerac. I managed to stay clear of R&J.

Picture of the Day
The official site for the fall Beowulf movie is one. It's made in the same way as Polar Express: motion capture of actors at work. It looks a bit Shrek-yin design, but I like everyone involved.

Wednesday, July 25

Closing the Book

Normalcy reigned at Maison Bullock when I arrived. The workers had fixed the mailbox and frame, planting them where they belonged. Inside was all the mail we had missed since Thursday. The crew is now finished digging in front of the house and seems to be moving around the corner to the street running parallel with the driveway. I unleashed Kempas briefly to untangle the chains. She seems to be eating now. The cats are not eating all the food I leave for them, thankfully, because they might explode any day now.

Your Sis made a dinner using the potatoes we plucked last week. They tasted just like they should. I couldn't believe I was eating something I grew. Everyone should grow a garden. We'll probably plant corn and some pumpkins before the end of August.

I finished up the last Harry Potter book last night. It's a tight conclusion to the franchise, touching on all the previous books and rewarding readers who paid attention. It's impenetrable to new readers though. It follows the formula of the previous books -- each installment is a mystery quest surrounded by a giant conspiracy -- but offers exposition a'plenty to tidy up all the loose ends. A lot of characters die, and some of those deaths are affecting. The author recently said she's considering making an encyclopedia based on all her histories and notes she didn't reveal in the series. I'm now curious to see the newest film, but the Simpsons film has priority.

Picture of the Day
And they fix mailboxes.

Tuesday, July 24

Strange Events at Your Parents' House

1) The landscaper removed the plywood from in front of the wooden gate. He then reattached it exactly as I had, but with new screws.

2) There has been no mail delivered because the road construction has blocked off the mailbox from the street.

3) And now the mailbox and the ivy metal frame are both in the new trench. I can't tell when the workers were last on site, and it's possible that the recent rains washed them down there. I assume so. I can't believe they'd just leave them and work around them. I left a note in the cab of the backhoe asking if they'd remove them, and whether there was any chance they'd reinstall them. There's no note at the house serving as a warning of possible lawn damage, and no messages left from the city saying as much. If the mailbox and frame are still down there tonight, I'll call the city offices tomorrow to complain. That's also when I'll call the post office to politely request all the mail the carrier has apparently kept instead of putting inside the front door. Your Parents leave, and everything goes bizarro on me.

I fetched my suitcase -- newly smudged and smelly -- from the airport.

My eyes are shot from weekend reading, traveling, and massive office copy-editing, but I'm still trudging the new Potter book. Just 200 pages to go.

Picture of the Day
A new pic from the upcoming Iron Man film. This weekend, the nation's largest comic convention promises to announce and unveil material to make us all crazy with impatience for the next year or so.

Monday, July 23

Flying by Plane and by Broom

Your Sis drove me to the Greenville Airport to take advantage of a $50 ticket straight to Tampa, where my friend Rebecca was getting hitchified. I had a flight scheduled the next day also from Tampa, but it wasn't until I arrived at the Greenville airport that I realized Tampa has two airports. Esther, who you met at our wedding (she was the photo wrangler), offered to pick me up when I arrived, and we had to make sure we were talking about the same airport. The one commonly referred as the international airport isn't officially called the international airport. The other one is. And they're about 20 miles apart.

The Warrendorfs and I ate at a Carolina-style BBQ joint they found, and the fare was right close to what we're used to. Your Sis called me as I ate a BBQ sandwich to say she had locked herself out of the house with her common habit of not carrying keys. It bit her in the butt the one time I'm out of state. She hired a locksmith, but he couldn't pick our locks and had to break the garage lock to get inside. He's supposed to install a new lock this week. Esther and I went to the hotel and chatted with Rebecca while she got ready for the ceremony.

The hotel provided all the wedding and reception material, including the bouquet. We watched her get her hair done, do her make-up, complete her dress ensemble, and take casual pics with the official photographer.

Becca gets her hair done.

The camera's batteries and the iPod batteries were apparently killed by the airport x-ray machines. I got maybe ten pictures with four brand-new batteries. I offered my hotel room for Esther's babysitters and son during the wedding. About five hours later, the party wound down, and the Warrendorfs left for their condo across the bay. I talked to Your Sis, who used the weekend to work on school stuff and catch a play with a college pal, and hit the bed after midnight.

It storms in Tampa often and loudly.

I got up at 5:30 to catch a taxi and hit the appropriate airport. I gave myself plenty of time and found myself without new reading material. I read Watership Down on the flight down; Your Sis, I'm convinced, wants me to bawl after reading every book she hands me. I picked up the new Harry Potter book after all. I knew the airport stores would have them, and they all had many, many copies. And many, many passengers were carrying them around.

The flight out of Tampa was overbooked, and I only got aboard when some folks traded seats for later flights. The Atlanta to Greenville flight was complicated by numerous get changes (four within 15 minutes) and a tarmac delay of about half an hour. One of the gate attendants asked me if Potter book was for her. She was a cute, black woman about 25 years old, and she single-handedly destroyed the stereotype of adult Potter readers. Also, Delta misplaced my luggage. Your Sis met me at the airport, and we had a late lunch with My Parents. We also gave them our first handout of garden potatoes. Delta called to say my luggage could be driven to our house after flying into Asheville, but I arranged to pick up the suitcase on the way home from work.

We snacked for dinner and watched the third X-Men film DVD. By the time I had gone to bed, I had read half the Harry Potter book (so far: very dark, very charming). This morning, I am a zombie, but I look forward to wings and fries tonight.