26 September 2007

Tuesday 25 September

Eric and I went to Tops Bar-B-Q for lunch, opting to have hamburgers with double fries rather than barbecue sandwiches with beans and slaw. I had a # 3, all the way with double fries. Eric had a #4 with mustard, all the way with double fries. A #3 is a hamburger, and #4 is a cheeseburger.

While we were there we had the pleasure of sharing the dining room with Beverly. (I read her name on her employer's name badge.) Eric named her Beverly Kaiser because of the mis-matched fake bun on the back of her head. He said it looked like an unseeded Kaiser roll.

I wonder to myself, do these people even have mirrors?

As a courtesy, I am applying the "Glamour Don't" box in this photo, in which you can get a glimpse of the bun a bit more clearly:

24 September 2007

Take Action against Hate Crimes

I sent messages to the two lame-ass senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and got patent responses that they would not support the legislation. Our third senator, Steve Cohen, supported the measure. Thank God.

Now is the Time That We Wait

This ad ran in yesterday's real estate section. I think Becca did a good job describing the place in such a limited space.

18 September 2007

The Love of My Life

It's a difficult thing to put into words how I feel about the last fifteen years. I never thought I'd meet him. I was done with relationships, content to read books in my worn out bathrobe on the front porch.

I never thought we'd last because no other relationship I'd had in the past did. Exes changed the landscape, creating open relationships or outright cheating.

I never imagined he'd love me like he does. Or, that I'd love him like I do. Especially after 15 years.

We've been faithful to each other both spiritually as well as physically. I know we're an odd bird in the mainstream gay community. But, it's just what works for us. It's what we want.

I believe our love is unconditional. I'm not sure that we always show it to one another, but I love Cameron, maybe more than he'll ever know, because I can be a selfish, hard-headed ass sometimes. Nevertheless, I found this quote several years ago and it hit a nerve. So...

To honor the passing of our fifteenth anniversary, 14 September 2007, I'm posting this:

What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined for life —
to strengthen each other in all labor,
to rest on each other in all sorrow,
to minister to each other in all pain,
and to be with each other
in silent unspeakable memories.

— George Eliot

I love you, sweetheart.

Fresh Hell

Cameron and I are excited at the prospect of this:

Which makes life hell, because I love this:

And, there's so much more to it. I don't like to admit it, but I'm sentimental as hell, and I can't help it. The second photo is our first house together -- my first house. We've lived here twelve years, and during that time we transformed it from a virtually untouched, landscape overgrown, plumbing challenged, electrically underpowered rental home to our home. While we've done much of the work, we've had lots help and guidance from a few talented friends over the years. I suppose I'll post about that later, perhaps when we sell, because this post is already going to be too long.

Anyway, rewind to this spring. After several years of hemming and hawing about expanding or moving, looking for houses in Midtown that we could afford and never finding one that offered what we already had, or finding what we wanted well outside our price range, we decided to build in a new developement where our friends Becca and Petey built, in Hernando, MS. We worked on finding and then buying a lot. But, after a few months frustration we gave up on the idea of building our dream home because Perry Homes (the owner of all remaining lots) would not sell to us -- we wanted to use our own builder.

Back to square one, we resigned ourselves to adding a master suite to the home we already love -- next to the best neighbors in the world -- on our lovely street, knowing we'd basically be pissing away our half our equity to stay here. After a 900 s.f. addition, the house would be over 2,300 square feet. Most of the houses in our secluded neighborhood range between 1,400 and somewhere around 2,000 s.f. We could possibly get our investment back of it if we stayed here another ten years.

Labor Day weekend, however, we had five house guests. Seven people. One bathroom. I'm sure our guests were as miserable with the accommodations as we were. But, they're sweet and would never say that. We realized we were done.

Coincidentally, Becca (who is also our real estate agent), called on Labor Day and told us that INS had come in with a bus and arrested all of the illegal aliens working for Perry Homes, causing the builder of several incomplete homes in Deer Creek to go bankrupt. At least seven homes were in foreclosure and on the market for substantially less than appraisal. We made arrangements to go see what was available.

We looked at two of four unfinished homes. Two didn't even have brick yet so they were out of the question. The remaining two were further along in the building process. The first was over 3,000 s.f. and the second was 2,700. Inside, the first was only framed in. While it looked like it would be awesome upon completion, we really don't need a 4-bedroom, 3-bath house with a media room and smallish 2-car garage. The second, a 3 BR, 2 BA, was drywalled and needed counters, floor coverings (which for us would be scored, stained concrete -- so no covering at all), fixtures, siding on the eaves and gutters. This was the one, or so we thought.

After going through Petey's spreadsheet of the line item expenses from building her house, we figured it would be $30 to $35,000 to finish the house. Purchase price on the house we wanted was estimated at $185 to $195,000. So, a 2,700 square foot house for under $230K -- not bad at all. As we finished writing down the last line item Becca got a call saying the foreclosed houses had been sold at auction.


Over the next few days Becca and I made several calls to the uncooperative selling agents. They wouldn't return her calls. I finally got through to one of them. I realized, through our conversation, that the house, in fact, wasn't sold at auction. The bank had collected on the default insurance and had taken possession of the properties. So, we're on again -- until we started figuring out the process. We'd have to sell this house, put most of our belongings in storage, move into an apartment, get a construction loan, live in the apartment until the house was finished, then refinance the grand total, then move from the apartment and the storage space into the new house. Um, we really didn't want to move two or three times. But we were still considering it.

We drove back down to Hernando to look again before making an offer. We walked through two finished Perry Homes that I didn't like for several reasons, one of which was that I could hear traffic from I-55 while standing in the yard. A third finished home didn't have the features we liked architecturally, including arched doorways in the common areas even though it had a huge keeping room with a gas log fireplace, adjacent to the living room that also had a fireplace. I could have lived with the master bath's unimaginative glass-stall-next-to-tub layout. But, the laundry room was a disaster in bad planning. The Whirlpool Duets wouldn't fit because the cabinets were hung too low. And, even if the cabinets were raised the appliances would have had to sit at a 90° angle to one another, wasting at least 25% of the room's square footage. Then there was the .65 acre yard that went from level at the back door to almost as high as the house at the back. "What the hell do we do with that," I thought to myself for several minutes. Then I expressed my concerns to Cameron and Becca. She agreed that the back yard was an issue. Ultimately, we said "next."

Finally, we walked through a non-Perry home that was still available. It's the one pictured above. If we were going to do this I wanted a walk through shower. This house has it, with two shower heads and a bench. It has two very large walk-in closets between the master and the bath. The common areas are all open to each other and the guest rooms are on the opposite side of the house from the master. Everything is upgraded. Granite counters, stainless appliances, upgraded tile, hardwood floors. We're getting estimates to finish the expandable space which already includes plumbing accommodations for a third bath. The remaining space would be an office and a media room (with no windows). It'll be a perfect place to watch movies in surround sound without having to listen to idiots on their cell phones, or clueless fools rattling aluminum foil from the stash of hot wings they brought from home, or listening to loud conversations between patrons to one another during the show. When it's all said and done, the house is going to be around 2,600 square feet of very livable, peaceful space with a 2.5-car carriage load garage.

Here is where the hell begins.

We've been toiling diligently to get our house ready to show. The sign went out front on Thursday -- the day before Cameron's and my 15th Anniversary. We spent Friday evening with Becca, Petey, Petey's brother Danny, and his girlfriend, Patsy, at Memphis Botanic Garden's "Live at the Garden." Michael McDonald, who has always been one of my favorites, spent the evening doing more Motown covers than his own music. Great night, great weather there on "the Lawn" with my husband and friends. Awesome. Mr. McDonald's concert? Not so much.

The post honoring our commitment to each other is coming. Stay tuned...

Anyway, outside of the normal work for such an endeavor, like cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and decluttering, decluttering, decluttering, there are calls to the alarm monitors to establish a special password for agents, making accommodations for Doris, Billie and Edith, key copying, pruning, raking, weeding, abandoning the thought of a yard sale throughout this madness and making trips to Goodwill.

After two late nights in a row, painting, vacuuming and scrubbing, this morning started at 5:30. I let the dogs out and fed them, took out the trash, emptied the dishwasher, scrubbed the sink with Ajax, cleaned the toilet and sink. Cleaned Edith's cat box. By 6:00 I started outside, feeding the koi, quietly moving empty flower pots to the potting table and generally just picking up. Mowing started sometime around 7. Blowing followed. I cleaned the pool, added chlorine and reattached the fountain. Trimmed the taro in the pond. I called the office and told them that Becca was bringing her colleagues over around 11, that I was preparing the house and would be in around 9:30. I went back out, uprooted spent tomato plants, swept and weeded.

Then I came inside and started a load of whites. Put a tablecloth on the table and set it. Changed the water in the vase on the table. Threw away the spent flowers in the bathroom and cut a rose to replace them.

I suppose that until I look around and see that nothing needs to be done that this is what living in a house that's on the market will be like. It's sort of hell. Especially since Cameron is out of town. But, he gets home tomorrow. And, I suspect the first order of business will be spending time together, rather than working on the house. At least, that's what I want. And, I don't expect much resistance even though it will make Thursday a bit more hellish. Plus, I've taken tonight off to write this post.

Oh, and I forgot, Thursday is the day I have my second review at work.

I need another martini.

14 September 2007

I Disagree. Mostly.

So I'm on Blogthings this morning and find one called "What Does Your Pizza Say About You". On most points, I think I disagree with the assessment with a couple of exceptions. One of those being the freak part.

The quiz asked how many slices (or the whole thing) do you eat, what type of crust (I picked thin), favorite sauce (red), favorite vegetable topping (since we're only allowed one choice I chose onion but prefer both mushrooms and onion), favorite meat topping (I chose anchovies, knowing that I always order sausage and pepperoni, too). So, to me, the quiz is incomplete.

And, I guess anchovies make me a freak.

What Your Pizza Reveals

There are no limits to your eating. You often devour the scraps your friends can't finish.

You are a very picky pizza eater. Not any pizza will do. You fit in best in the Northeast part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You have many conflicting and complementary layers to your personality. You should consider traveling to Australia.

The stereotype that best fits you is freak. Obviously.

12 September 2007

What Sucks, Part Two

Back in April I posted about my history with vacuum cleaners and the purchase of my new Kenmore.

I sold the Kenmore today. Not because it wasn't awesome -- it was. But, I found out last week that Hoover was manufacturing this again.

So, after an appointment with my friend Greg at Epic to have my hair cut I drove out to the Hoover store in Cordova and purchased a stainless steel model that follows me around the house on a cushion of air. It's fantastic and I LOVE IT.

04 September 2007

AAA (ATL. Alex. Awesome.)

This post is a week late.

After a rough Thursday night and questionable Friday morning, Cameron and I started our journey to Atlanta to celebrate Alex's 40th birthday. We got to MEM with no problem, I got my boarding pass at the e-ticket kiosk and met Cameron at the credit union. We went outside for one last smoke and made our way to gate B3. According to the gate agent, who was sporting a mustache similar to "Mythbusters" co-host Jamie's, we were delayed. A mechanical. An engine. "They've been working on it all night." This statement unnerves me because I still get nervous about air travel, albeit not as much as I used to. I realize, though, that if this flight is canceled we're screwed -- because all the passengers on this flight will by vying for the same open seats on the next flight -- just like us.

Anyway, after the "run-up" it's determined that the airliner is repaired and we were given my first class seat assignment. Cameron had booked the jumpseat. Once we took off, I was reading the latest issue of NWA. Cameron surprised me when he touched my sleeve -- he'd been moved up to a seat across the aisle and one row behind me. After arriving in ATL, we rode the undergound people mover to the ground transportation stop and walked to the Hertz counter where we were reminded that with a Hertz #1 Gold reservation we needn't stop but go straight to the shuttle. Once we arrived at the Hertz location we should look for our name on the tote board and walk directly to our awaiting car. Much to our surprise, we were in slot #1. We walked up to this:

We threw our luggage in the diminutive trunk, which was ample for our needs, and followed our AAA maps heading for Chamblee to meet our friend and my former (sorely missed) copywriter partner, Jacquie. After two or three phone conversations she instructed us to stay put at Peachtree and Chamblee-Tucker where she would meet us. While we waited I listened to the three voicemails I'd received from the office and was responding to the second when she arrived. It was so good to see her. Once we decided that we'd follow her to a lunch spot she got a call from the office. After she finished the call we headed into Buckhead. Friday lunch traffic around Lenox was hell. We got past that into Buckhead with constant construction-induced lane changes looking for a place to eat. Meanwhile, she was getting texted, called and voice-mailed to death. Finally, there was an emergency (Coca-Cola needed something right now, the guy who covers her when she's out was out sick) and she would have to ditch our loosely cobbled-together plans and return to work.

Getting turned around as we were, she headed back to her office in Chamblee and we started looking for places to eat. There was an Arby's right in front of us, but I just couldn't stomach the thought of fast food. We stopped at the next available place, La Fonda Latina, a locally owned authentic "chain" of Mexican restaurants with some Spanish and Mediterranean overtones. We chose Paella di Mare for two, which came to the table in a large, sizzling hot cast iron skillet loaded with shrimp, mussels, calamari, salmon, peppers with quartered limes. It was fantastic.

After lunch we headed back out on Peachtree toward Downtown hoping to find directions to the new Georgia Aquarium or the World of Coke. We passed the Margaret Mitchell house and Alex and Henry's church, St. Marks, just like we do every time we go to Atlanta. We passed Underground Atlanta and remnants of the 1996 Olympic Games. Detouring just past the underground our surroundings got very bleak, very suddenly. This was obviously a part of Atlanta that hasn't been included in the renaissance. Turning a couple of blocks left to head the other direction, we passed Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves and The Atlanta Civic Center. I used the Georgia Power building as a navigational aide to get us back on Peachtree.

We turned onto Peachtree Battle where we would end up at Alex's. We had a cocktail and waited for some of the other out-of-towners to arrive so we could go to Roxx for dinner. A big storm rolled in and gave the city some much needed rain. Alex had mentioned that there were restrictions on watering lawns/gardens: 9P to 4A, once a week. Power was out. Drinks were on the house and we were told just to take care of our waiters. We were later told that the owner is a young Greek man and his wife, and that the place started out as a "straight" restaurant. Apparently it wasn't doing so well. So the owners decided to hire a couple of gay staff, and shortly it has become what appears to be a very popular queer spot. We had some buffalo wings and Elvis pickles before dinner. I had a burger and Tavern chips for dinner. The homemade potato chips were fantastic.

Alex had previously made arrangements for us to stay at a friend's new house around the corner from his, but the furniture still hadn't arrived. Alternatively, he asked two other friends, Ed and Chris if we could stay with them. Both of them were out of town, so another friend of theirs, Jeff, met us at their house with a key. We had this house, currently on the market for $900,000, all to ourselves. Pool, hot tub, master as large as half of our house. Carpeted garage. Poolhouse. God love him, Cameron was ready to go swimming so I told him to go. I was beat. I went to bed.

I awoke at 6 A.M. and plodded downstairs to make coffee. I grabbed a cup and went outside to sit in the muggy, yet cooler, air by the pool and enjoyed the solitude. After a few minutes, though, I started to get bored and decided to return Thom's call from the previous day. He'd called when we were trying to make our way through the airport so we didn't answer then, and we were too busy until Saturday morning. When Cameron got up and came down, I finished my call with Thom so that Cameron and I could drink coffee and sit by the pool while he woke up. We both got in the pool for a bit and just relaxed until we needed to prepare to meet Alex, Lara, Mark, Terry and Bill at The Clubhouse at Lenox for lunch.

I thought leaving the house at 11:30 would be plenty of time to get to Lenox by noon, and ordinarily it would have, but I was in the wrong lane where Roswell Road splits off of Peachtree, (and if you've ever driven in Atlanta, you'll understand that I had no recourse but to follow the lane I was in). We ended up on Roswell for a mile or two, turning right on some street I was convinced would go through to Peachtree, passing Lenox Road then backtracking and weaving through various parking lots and such until we arrived at Macy's, and on the opposite side of the mall, The Clubhouse. Valet parking (for $6 at a mall, no less) saved us some time and aggravation. We ended up being 12 minutes late. But, mojitos were flowing when we walked in and I guess there were no worries.

Once we were seated the others who'd been there ordered another round of mojitos, Cameron ordered a soft drink and I ordered a bloody mary. It may be tired (according to last month's issue of Out), but I knew I couldn't go wrong.

When it came time to order, I followed Alex's lead and ordered The Clubhouse Garbage Salad: Grilled chicken, egg, cheddar cheese, Roma tomato, artichoke heart, green onion, bacon, green & black olives, with balsamic vinaigrette. Because it was enough salad to feed at least two, I suppose it was well worth the $14. At the very least, it was good and I ate every bite, save a leaf of lettuce and a dice of tomato. Somehow, I think Miss Manners means for me to leave more than that on my plate for good etiquette, but I was hungry. And, it was a salad -- I knew that I'd be hungry again sooner if I didn't stuff myself with the abundance of greens. Cameron, of course, was more sensible. He ordered Signature Turkey Club (for $12) which included roasted turkey, smokehouse bacon, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, lettuce, tomato and ranch vinaigrette on toasted wheat bread with bleu cheese fries (which were outstanding).

After lunch we shopped at Crate and Barrel, the two-story Target and Filene's Basement on the corner of Peachtree opposite Lenox, Borders a block away for a gift card and a new book, "Loving Frank". We then stopped back at Alex's to help with last minute party details. Later, we headed back to the house where we were staying, and were surprised by Ed who had returned home from his and Chris' cabin in eastern Georgia. We freshened up for the party. Met Judy, Chris' mother, who had arrived while we were changing clothes, then Chris after he returned home. Met Matt and Gary as they arrived, followed by Jeff.

We all left for the party and arrived there by 8. The cake Jim had custom made for Alex was was a 1967 Buick LeSabre convertible. Not a sheet cake cut into the shape of a car -- a 3-foot long three-dimensional convertible with a windshield, bench seat and wheels. A torrential downpour arrived as the party started winding down, and we headed back to Ed and Chris', where we stayed up chatting with some of the others who had been there before the party until well after 1 AM.

The next morning, we got up early to prepare for our trip home. We jumped on I-85 toward the airport but elected to exit at Peachtree to visit Starbucks. We later arrived at Hartsfield. Returned the Crossfire to Hertz and boarded the bus to the terminal. Checked in. Bag check, again. This time it was a belt buckle. We met our neighbor, Lara, who had also come to ATL for Alex's birthday, at Chili's to Go for lunch. Afterward, she made her way to her AirTran gate and we headed to gate D16. We were given First Class seats and had time to go for a quick smoke before boarding. The "smoking room" was a disgustingly yellowed watering hole that charged $8 for a glass of water and a diet Coke. When Cameron asked if I'd like to smoke a second cigarette, I said, "no" and downed my soda. I was ready to get out of there and be on our way.

After we boarded and pushed back, the captain announced that there was a guage malfunction and that we'd experience a slight delay. Forty minutes later we began to taxi out to the runway. The flight was pleasant with some slight turbulence upon decent into Memphis.

It was a great trip, but I'm glad to be home.

Straight Lines

Straight Lines

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I saw this video on Logo yesterday and liked it. After reading the article about Silverchair on Wikipedia I realized I might be a bit behind "discovering" the band, but I'm glad to add them to my iTunes library. Daniel Johns' vocals sometimes remind me of Freddie Mercury's. I guess that's what appealed to me at first. Hope you like it.