Another modern tragedy, narrowly averted

A figure from Robert Hooke's Micrographia, whi...

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A couple weeks ago I bought a pair of overpriced pants. They were cute, okay? They cost more than I’d ever spent on a pair of pants, but one could certainly spend a lot more on a fashion item.

Anyway, the store didn’t have my size, which made me all heartbroken. The clerks, seeing they had a live one on their hands, ran around looking for something between a zero and an eight, which was all they had on the shelf. Finally they turned up a six. But, unsurprising in a nation where vanity sizing runs rampant, even these didn’t quite do it. The waistband (which, typical of modern styles, hits the hipbone, not the waist) sagged, leaving an unsightly gaposis between the belt thingie and the waistband, exposing an unfortunate triangle of underwear and belly real estate. If they hadn’t been so expensive, I would have just tied the belt thingie loose and prayed for gravity to be kind, but for that kind of money I wasn’t going to risk leaving my pants on the sidewalk the first time I had to run for a bus.

My newest, bestest friends said, We’ll check the mail order warehouse! And yessss! Almost immediately, a size four was on its way to my mailbox. Unfortunately, the mail order dude must have sent long instead of regular, because when I opened the package and tried them on–well, these pants would have been the right length if I was six feet tall and wore high-heeled boots. At 5-5 and wearing sandals, I’d be mopping the floor with the hems.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, on this beautiful, lazy day when my house is off limits. I’m sitting at a picnic table in the park with a view of Lake Monona, underneath a pair of cottonwood trees trading a very noisy bird back and forth between them, painstakingly taking up the hems of my overpriced pants. Sliding buttery, overpriced fabric through my fingers, stitch to stitch, checking the seam gauge every few inches. This is the kind of thing I find hard to get around to, but exile has its advantages.

Yesterday, last night, and this morning until the Flea Man came, Kid B and I were cleaning and throwing stuff away and cleaning some more. Of course you’ve got to get anything food-related out of the way, but the more you can throw stuff out and leave cleared-off surfaces for flea poison, the better. I threw out my futon, but sleeping on a yoga mat isn’t so bad. We tossed a bunch of papers. We’re washing all the bedding. The Kid, who tends to toss everything on the floor of his closet, gave me half his wardrobe in the wash. I even finished installing some carpet squares at two o’clock this morning, to give another bit of floor covering the benefit of the industrial-strength bug spray. Personally, I’m fatalistic where fleas are concerned, but maybe all this will work.

I bought some mousetraps. With the cats living outside (and mostly flea-free, thank you very much), the mice have morphed from protein into problem. And fleas looovvvve mice. The cats won’t be coming back inside until the mice are gone, the poison is off the floors (two weeks till we can vacuum again), and we have no sign of any fleas. Nor am I getting a new bed until that time. And if the poison makes me sick, I’m prepared to live in the yard and workshop. The yoga mat is very portable, and at least it’s not a bad year for mosquitoes.

I dread going to work tomorrow. I’m sure the Darth Vader theme song will start playing when I walk through the door. I’m doing everything they want me to do, and more, but I still feel like everyone there must hate me. For consolation, I’ll be wearing the world’s nicest pants.


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