Scenes of Minor Peril

Sarge had a Boys’ Night on Friday. I may have shut myself up in the office to write, with loud country music on. I may have even forgotten to eat my cheese-centric dinner, reserved for nights Sarge isn’t home.

I flipped between the very sparse notepad on Sarge’s Linux-run computer,, Facebook and Irene updates. At about midnight, I decided it might be a good idea to call my Mom, and left a long-winded message on her machine. So long, the machine cut me off. (Hey Ma, did you get my message?) I then went on Facebook and told the rest of my East Coast contingent to please be safe, wishing them only a little rain.

And then I heard sirens. And saw lights. Four sets of them. Outside my window.   But no fire alarms on the inside.  And I sniffed. I may have sniffed smoke. But possibly only because that’s what a person does when they realise there are fire engines outside their building.

It was about one in the morning. Would I become one of those women who phone their boyfriends during a night out and ask them to come home?   Even though I had a pretty good excuse, what would I do if the fire engines left before he came home? False alarm babe, I was just checking to see how much you loved me?

Because of the presence of actual fire engines and possible scenes of minor peril, I texted him. Two seconds later, he was home. Seriously.

‘Did you get my text?’

‘Not yet. But why are there fire engines outside? Did you burn the popcorn again?’

‘No, but we must have telepathy going on. You DO love me! You really love me.’

‘Yes. So much that I’m going downstairs to see if we have to vacate the premises.’

We didn’t have to. I think the shop below us blew a fuse. Or something.

Sarge made tea and we stayed up until the firemen left. ‘I’d make popcorn,’ I said. ‘But I don’t want to add to their workload.’

Sometime later, my delayed text beeped through on his phone.

The moral of this story is, sometimes you don’t have to call your boyfriend. A good one comes home on his own.

burnt popcorn
Image via Flickr

Zen Like Trees

I had a day-job meeting up North yesterday, which meant I was up at 5.20am.  I gave my PA the front door key, so the buzzer didn’t blast me out of bed and make for an even ruder awakening.  I got dressed in twenty minutes and left Sarge with a pillow over his face, blocking out the untimely light, forgetting to switch it off before I left.

Outside, it was gray and purplepink, tones I usually associate with the sunrise after all-night conversations or early flights to holiday destinations.  Yesterday was more like a field-trip.

I waited for a taxi.  Or should I say two.  The driver of the first one didn’t even open the door before he decided he ‘couldn’t take the chair in.’  He called another one, and I waited some more, hoping I’d make my train.

Of course there wasn’t any traffic.  Everyone else was asleep.  The second taxi was quick, but whiffed of vomit.  I imagined the previous fares got their hang-overs too early.

I made it to the station, bumping into a colleague and a cup of coffee, and ramped onto the train just in time.

Fast-forward a few hours, and the field-trip part of the day was a forest trail where I got the chance to take some photos and forget about trains and taxis and time.

I like how I have the sky in my shoes!
The heather without my shoes.

Through the trees...

Waiting on Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway with Lady Duff Twysden, Hadle...
Image via Wikipedia

As I admitted in a previous post, I fried my laptop.  Again.

I was all ready to cash in my coffee insurance, and was even a little proud of myself that I managed to do THE EXACT SAME THING a second time.  I was racking up crazy writer points.  To go with my Post-It notes and pens and frizzy hair.  Or something.

I had come to terms with the fact that my machine would stay fried, again.  I might have started lusting after Hemingway’s replacement.  Other people name their cars.  I name my computers.  That’ll be another crazy writer point.  See, I don’t even have to try.

I was more than a little surprised when Sarge said he might be able to fix it.  What?  No new toy?  Yes, my boyfriend is a computer geek.  Actually, a Senior Computer Geek.  Or something.

So he did this, and that, and the other thing made an intergalactic noise.

And so, on Saturday he took it to the Gadget Hospital, better known as his parents house.  His Dad took it to pieces, and apparently those pieces  were dried out in different parts of the house.

I may have stayed in my own house, having guilt-free cheesecake while Hemingway dried out.  Just maybe.

The latest report from the Gadget Hospital is that the 6 key is the only key that still sticks.  And this amuses me.  Because 6 is my favourite number.  6 is plucky, and stubborn.  And it needs to get unstuck.

Because as much as I  love playing country music on Sarge’s computer while he can’t stop me, I’ve had enough new technology.  I’ve realised that nothing can replace Hemingway.

No Love in an Elevator

Lift temporarily out of order
Image by warrenski via Flickr

Someone got stuck in our lift yesterday.  No, it wasn’t me.

Unlike other buildings I’ve lived in, the engineers  came out quite quickly, and it was working again almost before I knew it was gone.

People have actually asked me if I’m afraid of lifts.  Well, no.  If I were, I’d be screwed.  Or at least much thinner than I am.

As I’ve said before, I have no issue with stairs if friends and beer greet me at the top.

But the place where I choose to burn my popcorn, take my shoes off and live must have a lift.

And sometimes those lifts don’t work.  I’ve missed concerts, appointments, really good chocolate and hours off my paychecks due to faulty lifts that mean I can’t leave my flat.  On those days, the party comes to me.

And yes, I have been stuck in a lift.  I’d just come back from shopping and so my friend and I ate sushi while waiting to be rescued.

I’ve also been stuck in boxy “open-air” stair-lifts.  Up in the air.  From my vantage point near the front door, I greeted people I knew as if sitting in a box suspended off the ground was something I did for fun.  I was on a first-name basis with the engineers who took the call-outs for that building.

All of this has provided me with an interesting excuse for days off, a cool vantage point from which to people-watch, some nifty refunds and good stories to tell n the pub.  Which is where I’ll be tonight.   If the lift works.

And the story I’ll tell will be the one where I got in the lift after work today, and the belt from my jacket got caught in the door.  And I really did look to see if the belt was attached to the jacket, and therefore to me.  It was not.  The belt crept higher and higher up the doorway.  I stayed on the ground.  And then I made it to the ground.  I held my breath until the doors released my belt, and the lift released me.

One Umbrella Flying in the Rain

Mary Poppins: Umbrella
Image by jpellgen via Flickr

I like my rain like I like my snow.  Drumming on the roof and trailing down the windows while I read a book and sip hot chocolate.  Candles optional.  Marshmallows mandatory.

I can’t drive in rain jackets.  They flap about and slow me down and are generally useless.  They get caught in my wheels and rip and get gross and unpresentable.

I do have ‘clothes guards’ on my chair.  But I think they should be fired.

One of my nicknames at University was Bat-girl, on account of the black rain cape I wore when the weather called for it.

I’ve even been known to wear waterproof trousers.  OK, I only made that fashion statement once.  In a field.  Listening to music. In the rain.  It was great, and trust me, nobody cared how they looked that day.  And neither did I.

On rainy days, I could get an umbrella to hook on the back of the chair.  I prefer the cape and frozen hair look, more suited to my personality.

But I haven’t worn a cape in years.  My most recently retired rain jacket had ingrained tire tracks at the sides that eventually refused to come out in the wash.  I ‘lost it’ in the back of my Dad’s car.

I got something a bit more fitted that doesn’t touch the wheels when I drive.

Sarge says I look like I should be out solving crimes while saying ‘one more thing!’

Last week, during a particularly epic down-pour on the way to work, I actually held an umbrella while my PA pushed me.  The windier it got, the more the umbrella acted like a sail, and I kind of glided to work.

It was difficult to keep a hold on the umbrella.  I found my own version of Mary Poppins frustrating and then funny.

The sailing umbrella was fun.  But kinda useless.  I arrived to work soaking wet, making puddles on the floor as I trailed to my desk

‘Anyone have a hair-dryer?’  I asked.  ‘For my clothes?’  Nobody did.

I would have even parked myself underneath a hand-dryer in the bathroom.  But we don’t have hand-dryers.

Perhaps next time it rains I should wear my waterproof trousers.  Or take the bus.

Grandma Lied. Coasters Are Bad.

Coffee Mug and Computer
Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

And so, I am on my way home from work, with a blog post or two playing around in my head.

I get home and I am all set to write.  Actually can’t wait.  My PA makes me a coffee before she leaves, and the cursor is blinking expectantly on the screen, ready for my words.  My fingers reach for the keys.

And my phone rings.  I talk to my Dad, listening while my own sentences run through my head.  I can multi-task.

I get off the phone.  Billy Joel starts to sing what I think of now as an appropriate song, and I lift my mug to take a sip of by now luke-warm coffee, just the way I like it.

I’m going to write.  Billy Joel is singing.  I’m happy.  All is right with the world.

And then the bottom drops out.

No, really.

The coaster, sneakily stuck to the bottom of my mug, clattered onto my keyboard.  Because of my slightly delayed, over-zealous fright-reflex, my butt left my seat, my hand shook and I spilt the coffee on the keyboard.

Billy stopped singing.  All was quiet.  Well, except for me.

After making the air blue, I switched off my sticky computer and hung it upside down.

And then, not unlike the time I couldn’t work the blu-ray player, I called Sarge.

‘I’ve done it again,’ I said.  It was true.  The reason I have insurance on this computer is because I did the VERY SAME THING  to my old one.  It was probably the same coaster, too.  The technician said I blew the mother-board.   Which is just a nice way of saying I have too much sugar in my coffee.

My current computer is drying out in our boiler cupboard as per Sarge’s suggestion.

I am writing this in my notebook and then I will type it on his computer.

I have actually thrown out the offending coaster.  I hope my coffee mug is making a mean ring on the table.

If my computer doesn’t switch on again, I shall be cashing in on my coffee-meets-computer-mishap insurance.  That’s what it’s for.