Monday, November 30, 1998

Soap Scum and Naked Mole Rats

If there is one thing regular readers of the newsletter should know about me by now it is that there is nothing I enjoy more than endorsing newly marketed bathroom products.

For those of you who haven't discovered it yet, there is a great new cleaner on the market thanks to the fine folks at our favorite chemical company, Clorox. The name of the product is "Tilex" which you use, as it so conveniently states on the label for "The easy way to step into a clean fresh shower every day." With Tilex you spray the product on your shower's surface after you shower. No more need to rinse, wipe or scrub. Dirt, soap scum and mildew stains don't get the chance to build up! I'm a stickler for a clean tub but even I must admit that I've never seen my shower look cleaner.

I can at times approach Howard Hughes in my need to live in a clean environment. Yet much as I demand a clean bathroom, I'm not quite obsessive enough about it to have made the cut as a subject in Errol Morris' wonderful 1997 documentary, Fast Cheap and Out of Control. The documentary features the stories of four rather eccentric men whose work is their lives passion. On the surface none of the four appears to have much in common with each other (or with most of us for that matter), but by the end of the movie we begin to see there is a definite story Morris is trying to tell.

The stories are interspersed and edited together along with scenes from the men's work (and old Clyde Beattie movies) in such a skillful manner that the movie visually is a treat to watch. The first man we meet is Dave Hoover, a wild animal (mostly lions and tigers) trainer. Hoover is a humble and soft spoken man but compared to the other three he is almost charisma defined (he clearly has the most "exciting" job of the four). The next man we meet is George Mendonca, who sculpts animals out of shrubs, hedges, and bushes in a large garden. The third man is Ray Mendez who has spent his life's work studying the hairless mole rat, an animal that lives an insect like existence in underground colonies. The last man is Rodney Brooks who builds elaborate robots at MIT.

The documentary is put together so that each of the four men's stories weave their way in and out of the other's words (and images from their work). Their individual stories aren't what keeps our attention, rather it is the themes that begin to emerge from the images and their words. It's the type of a movie that not only gets you wondering what it's ultimately about, but also wondering what the bigger picture is about. We see the animal trainer and the gardener's work is about the past. Both men have spent their lives trying to control the uncontrollable- nature. The mole rat guy and the robot man tell stories about our future. We see that human life can be like mole rat life in that we often do meaningless tasks to give our lives meaning. It may not even be that far a stretch to believe it when the robot guy says the next step in our evolution will be silicone not carbon based.

All four men are passionate about their work to the point of obsession. Just listening to how much they know about their work and their love for their work makes one wonder where passion becomes madness. Each is ultimately trying to obtain some type of immortality: the animal trainer by trying to tame the wild; the gardener by trying to shape nature into that which is not natural; the mole rat observer by building artificial mole rat communities to study; the robot builder by trying to build human's ultimate replacement. (It is he that appears to be almost crazy at times- especially as he is describing the practical uses we will have for robots in the future. His example is a bunch of tiny robots that will live off the electrons on our television screens that will be programmed to keep the dust off the screen in a cost effective manner.)

The documentary concludes sadly with the animal trainer realizing his industry (the circus world) is dying and even as he tries to pass his knowledge on to his replacement- it somehow has been a life's work that will be lost when he is gone. More so for the gardener who knows that once he dies his life's work- his sculptures- will not be maintained. The closing shot of the movie is of him in his garden in a heavy rain storm, faithfully carrying his most trusted tool, his hand shears, as the light swirls in the rain around him. As the other two men try to describe our future- of trying to learn lessons from the mole rat, and trying to design robots with human knowledge and without human frailties, it dawns on us that life is indeed a fast, cheap, and out of control proposition.

Monday, November 23, 1998

Thanksgiving Day Tale

Editor's Note This story was written in 1983 following a campus visit to Macalester College. I spent the day touring the Mac campus with the reigning Ms. Austin MN pageant winner. Over the years this traditional story has only grown more poignant with its touching holiday message. We hope you enjoy... (Certain bits were edited to bring the story up to date.)

"Hey wake up!" Tommy Turkey said to his sister Tawnda, the reigning turkey beauty queen. Tanwda remained very still. "C'mon sis, don't you remember what today is?" Tommy asked.

Tawnda took a quick glance at her watch and saw one leg on the ten, the other leg on the twelve. "MY GOSH, it's almost Thanksgiving!"

Poor Tommy jumped a mile. "Do you want all those hungry hunters to find us? he angrily asked her. Tawnda being as bright as she was (she always did well on the intellectual part of her pageants) knew the two of them had to find a place to hide. She looked at her brother and asked, "What did we do last year?"

"We lost all that weight so nobody would want to eat us," he replied.

"We can't do that this year. I don't want to upset my delicate figure," Tawnda said. She noticed Tommy was staring at her legs with eyes befitting a skunk. "What are you looking at?" she asked him.

"I know what we can do Tawnda," he said looking quite confident. "We can enter you in the Miss America Pageant."

Tawnda blushed (or as close to a blush that a turkey can get). "Gee do you really think I could win?"

"Of course you can. You have wonderful legs," Tommy quickly replied. "This is America. Anything's possible."

The next day Tawnda and Tommy flew to Atlantic City. Since turkeys can't fly so well, they took an airplane. The two went directly to the Miss America building where they were greeted by Mr. Ross. "Just call me Mac," he said with a slight British accent.

"You see Mac, my sister here wants to be in your pageant," Tommy said. Ross looked Tawnda up and down finally fixing his eyes on her legs. "You've got the best pair of turkey legs I've seen in quite some time. Sure, I'll let you be in the contest," he said holding back his drool. Tawnda squealed in delight.

The first event was the talent competition. Tawnda gobbled her way through "New York New York" and received a standing ovation from the other contestants.

Next was the swimsuit competition. "I hope the judges just don't look at me as a piece of meat," Tawnda said to one of the other girls. No one ever saw a turkey in a swimsuit before, but Tawnda stunned everyone with her poise and her legs.

After all the other events were completed it was quite clear Tawnda was the sentimental favorite. Thus nobody was surprised when Kathie Lee announced, "The new Miss America is... Tawnda Turkey!"

Tommy and Tawnda were safe for another year. They stayed in an expensive motel in Atlantic City with a hot tub (which they were careful not to stay in too long less they risk being poached), a big screen TV and mirrors on the ceiling above the vast bed. All that mattered though was that they were many miles from those nasty hunters.

Late Thanksgiving night Tawnda asked Tommy, "What are we going to do next year?" She was busy grooming her prize winning gams.

"We'll think of something," Tommy muttered. "We always do."

Monday, November 16, 1998

34 and More

Monday: Birfday. Highlight? Woke up and my dear friend had dropped off a card and little thing she had written for me- top ten reasons to celebrate my birthday. In ten statements she was able to capture the essence of what has been the best friendship I have ever known. It made me laugh, it made me cry. And you know? It made me appreciate that once in a while a friendship comes along that makes life seem so... worthwhile? Also got a couple nice emails from family. Maybe just maybe I've reached somebody once or twice...

Tuesday: Meeting in Burnsville with a former sort of associate who wants me to sell insurance. My biggest suspicion? He says he knows I'm a people person. HAR HAR! Prepaid legal. Not a bad concept but how does it coincide with my distaste of everything the legal profession stands for today? I once told someone I used to supervise who told me she was thinking of applying to law school that if she did, I would never speak to her again. The only thing better than a lawyer? A dead lawyer...

Wednesday: Shopping with my friend and I was so out of it that I came home and cried. I don't get to see her much and when I finally do I act like a cadaver.... SNIFF.... My problem- more systemic than muscular. But no time to think... it's off to Uptown to have my birthday lunch with Al, Mary and Dave Higel. Chicken wild rice soup. Damn tasty. It's always good catching up with our favorite record store owner and GM (and getting to know Dave too- although he didn't conform to our group's order of Sprite and the soup of the day. He just HAD to have the Calzone). Dinner with Spunky, whose input and insight remains ever so important. Chinese chow fun!

Thursday: Brought Max in to get his teeth cleaned. They told me he had a moderate case of Gingivitis so I figured it was probably prudent to spend the $200 it would take for the procedure. Can I say I was more than a little worried about him having to be anesthetized? I was told to cut off his food at 7 p.m. the night before and to have him in at 7 a.m. Max is used to eating at night so even though I put out his food extra early he was disciplined to save it until later on only to find that it was gone later on. So when I overslept and woke up at 7:10 a.m. and bolted out of bed he expected to be fed. I instead stuffed him in his traveling cage. When we got to the vet (7:20!) he was not the usual nervous he is when visiting his least favorite place. Nope. He was pissed. Howling his displeasure at me. And as I watched the intern take him away I seriously wondered if this was the way it was all going to end. The guy who has sat with me through all that has transpired for the past seven years. My partner.

I went home and as I was doing some work I kept looking up expecting to see his nonchalant little face looking around the corner. As I lay down to watch some TV I kept expecting him to jump up on my chest. He wasn't there... I go in at 6 p.m. to pick him back up. He's still more than a little groggy. We drive home in silence (which has never happened before- he's always so willing to let me know his distaste of riding in the car). We get inside and I let him out of his cage and he stumbles out, barely able to walk. (Acting I'm sure, quite like when I get too much whiskey inside of me.) He of course heads straight towards his supper dish. I don't want to feed him knowing his dazed drugged state but I do have to give him his first anti-biotic pill, so I stuff the pill inside some canned food and he snarfs it all right down more out of habit than need. He proceeds to head toward his litter box (which is downstairs). I don't want him trying to maneuver stairs so I carry him down. He does his business. I carry him back up. He goes and lies underneath my bed for a bit and gets up to head back to the basement. I carry him down again where he does some more business. I bring him up, shut the basement door behind me as I go to my office. I hear him wandering about and then notice a strong odor in the air. He has tried to go down but couldn't so he found the softest spot he could (his flannel blanket) and did his business again. This ever so proud cat, who is immaculately groomed now doesn't care about the overwhelming urine stench coming from him or the fact he took a dump on the place he likes to lie. My heart is heavy. Then he throws up dinner.

Friday: Have lunch at Sawatee's with a long lost much missed friend from the past that I shouldn't lost contact with. It was great catching up with her (she's a recent new mother for the first time! UDO!) Max's test results come in. Negative on both leukemia and feline AIDS. They don't know however, why his white blood cell count is so low. But the news is good and we celebrate by trying to get him to swallow his anti-biotic pill. Turns into a scene straight out of a Stooges movie...

That evening I head over to our favorite Nagel Woman's (quien mas sabe) house for a post election party with all of our favorite election people. I'm on the fringe of conversations as I most often am. I'm feeling sad that I can't talk to my host because she is too busy hosting. But after everyone else leaves we finally do get a chance to talk. What she tells me helps me see how different we are, how different our situations are and yet? I relate to everything she tells me. Every time we talk I come away learning more about her and even more about me. That's quite rare indeed. I look in her eyes (she obviously was very tired) and I must admit I've never seen anything in my life so beautiful and rare. Bliss and sadness. Holding on for dear life while learning to drive the line between safely and carefully.

One Day Too Long

Every step of the way. We walk the line. Your days are numbered, so are mine. Time is piling up. We struggle and we scrape. All boxed in, nowhere to escape...

Hey Pepe! Listen up! This is one of those voices inside your head. Not the one that gave you that swank advice that if you ate a steady diet of Snackwell brownies it would ensure you a place on that next shuttle to heaven. Nope I've got more common sense than that. I'm here to tell you that you can stop listening to any new songs. I've found one that contains everything you need to know.

The city's just a jungle. More games to play. I'm trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away. I was raised in the country. Been working in the town. I been in trouble since I set my suitcase down...

Of course this song, Mississippi, was written by that fellow Dylan you are so fond of- left off his Time Out of Mind where it would have fit perfectly. Instead he gave it to Sheryl Crow to record for her newest CD, The Globe Sessions. She does a good job with it- better than most Dylan covers- and clearly it is the best song on the entire CD (what is up with that annoying My Favorite Mistake? What a great title for an awful song...). Still it would be fun to hear what Bob could do with this song. The tricky meter changes, the shifting melody line- I'm sure he would bend and twist the words in his own unique way to make this song something quite different than Crow's version.

I got nothing for you. I had nothing before. Don't even have anything for myself anymore. Sky's full of fire and the rain is pouring down. There's nothing you can sell me so I'll see you around...

What makes this song something you just have to pay attention to? First and foremost is its "refrain" tag of "The ONLY thing I did wrong was stay in Mississippi a day too long..." What a great line! Makes one wonder what exactly went down in Mississippi, especially on that last day. And it sets the tone for a vague story about being on the run; about being where one does not belong. Swampy. Very swampy.

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime. Could never do you justice, reason or rhyme. Only one thing I did wrong, stayed in Mississippi a day too long...

Could it be said any better? Your exact current feelings. This is where you are! Listen up! Remember that birthday party you went to in kindergarten at Sally Murakami's place? Everyone expected you two would naturally get married since you were the only two Japanese Americans in your class. And Sally brought you to her grandfather(?) who you impressed with your ability to spell "MISS- ISS - IPPI..." Yes if forced to testify under oath you could probably get away with saying that the only things you've ever done wrong were to stay in certain places a little too long.

The devil's in the alley, the mule kickin' in the stall. Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all. I was thinking about the things that she said. I was dreaming I was sleeping in your bed. Walking through the leaves, falling from the trees. Feel like a stranger nobody sees. So many things we never will undo I know you're sorry, I'm sorry too...

The common themes of Dylan's work that always speak to you. LISTEN UP! The devil is after you. Thinking you've heard it all before. Dreaming about being with her. So many things you somehow wish for a second chance but it ain't to be. Sorry? Who's sorry now?

Some people will offer you their hand and some won't. Last night I knew you, tonight I don't. I need something strong to distract my mind. I'm gonna look at you 'til my eyes go blind. Well I got here, following the southern star. I crossed that river just to be where you are. Only one thing I did wrong, stayed in Mississippi a day too long...

Last night you knew her and now you don't. What else needs to be said? Distractions. That's all you've been seeking for eleven years! But take a closer look...

Well my ship's been split to splinters; it's sinking fast. I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past. But my heart is not weary, it's light and free. I've got nothing but affection for those who have sailed with me. Everybody's moving if they ain't already there. Everybody's got to move somewhere. Stick with me baby, anyhow, things should start to get interesting right about now.

No future and no past. Admiration for those you've stumbled across. Things will get interesting. They always do. The penultimate line? "You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way." Did you hear?

My clothes are wet, tight on my skin. Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in. I know that fortune is waiting to be kind. So give me your hand and say you'll be mine. The emptiness is endless, cold as the clay. You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way. Only one thing I did wrong, stayed in Mississippi a day too long.

Monday, November 9, 1998

Looking for Nancy

When you turn thirty four stuff just doesn't make much sense anymore. It's like your long lost Lara who broke down crying in front of her family during Easter dinner, and couldn't exactly explain why. What exactly did happen underneath the soccer goal posts? They say heading the ball is causing brain damage. I can go along with that. And why did you think of that just now?

Snippets sniffles. Film at ten. A flickering heart. A broken car window. After a 22 hour work day I come out to the chilly street just wanting to get home- to a familiar place. But the shattered glass is a reminder of what is up ahead. My partner is worried. But I want to tell her that of all the things that have gone down this past year, this particular one doesn't even make the top ten. Reaching out but losing touch. My favorite Nagel woman. And none of it makes much sense but you seem to remember that none of it ever did and none of it is ever supposed to. 34.

My favorite Tina memory? We were moving stores east to west, west to east. During a break in the action we decided to go to lunch, Tina and I. I had recently given her a copy of my novel to read and now was my first chance to ask her what she thought. She said it seemed mighty personal. But then she shared more. That of me and my friend she had seen me as the "original" because "you lead the way and then they react." And she recalled her favorite time with Wounded Knee who she noticed I was now emulating with my black Converse canvass shoes. "I came in with a hangover and she was blasting Ted Nugent... I told her to turn it off..." I wrote Tina a song. The only song I've ever written. And it was good. Damn good.

Tina and I also agreed on another thing. Just when we would hit it big something disastrous would occur. It was bound to happen. Happiness? A losing proposition. I do sincerely hope dear Tina doesn't feel that way no more. Because the one thing I've learned is it doesn't have to be.

Another memory I can't quite explain. I started at a new job and was helped by Ms. Nancy K. And I was feeling a bit lost and out of place and she drew me a map of where everyone was at and I appreciated the help oh so much. Finally someone that saw the new guy needed some guidance. But she frustrated me to no end; only because she was so smart, and so well read, and could have... but she let her past, a past she somehow did escape on some level, be an excuse for not taking advantage of opportunities that could have been hers. F***ing the most frustrating person I've ever come across. And now she is missing. Emailed her. Called her at home and work where she is no longer at. Went to her place to find a porch full of newspapers and unanswered mail. Called the cops who couldn't do nothing. Worried but in a guilty way. I was told as a manager by a manager that if I could turn Ms. Nancy around (I was about to throw in the towel) that it would be the best feeling I ever could accomplish as a manager. And I tried, I really did.

I finally had a chance to bring my favorite furry feline in for his annual check up. I was a bit annoyed to find out he has a mild case of gingivitis and the cost it would incur to fix the problem. And my natural reaction was to make my defensive joke. I'm payin' how much? I don't pay that freaking much on my own teeth and gums? But as part of the procedure they did a blood test where the results showed his white cell count is too low. Way too low. And it can mean a few different things, the never before seen vet told me. Doesn't have to be feline leukemia which is the leading killer of cats. Could just be feline AIDS. Oh boy what a relief.

So I tell my drooling roommate, my friend that he can't abandon me now. He has to stick around. He looks at me and wonders why now the special attention. Why I'm holding him tighter and recalling all we've been through together...

They say you can't die of a broken heart and yet they still seem to want to monitor things when they aren't quite right. All the feelings that bore. Right through you. All the feelings keep leading right back to the one. And with another passing anniversary of the beginning of all this I come to wonder why it is when you do make the decision (and why is it so naturally difficult) to reveal that part of you- the part that beats even when it feels ever so beat- that you always wonder whether or not you've done the proper thing. It never fails until it does. So this is 34.

Venturing Forward

Let me start by saying I voted for Norm Coleman. I know it's an example of my political superficiality but the sole reason I voted for Norm was because I figured he was the best candidate to get a baseball stadium built. I personally believe a child can learn more by going out to watch a baseball game than they can by going to school. But that's just me. I voted early by absentee ballot and admit that I had a change of heart after my ballot was cast. Right after Jesse Ventura said he was in favor of legalizing prostitution I said, "Now that's a guy I could vote for." Not because I necessarily agree that is a good solution to that particular problem, but because we finally had a candidate who was willing to say what he believed and not what he was told was what the voters wanted to hear.

For me the governor's race was the least interesting of all the state constitutional offices. I thought Ken Pentel of the Green Party was clearly the best candidate. He was a bright, practical and articulate candidate but he wasn't on my side of the stadium issue. Besides I've reached a point, like many, where I truly feel government has little ability to offer effective solutions. It is all just a matter of politics.

What happened last Tuesday was quite astonishing. I spent the day problem solving voting equipment in various precincts in northern Hennepin County. It was clear during the day that anybody who doubted that Mr. Ventura had struck a nerve had greatly underestimated his speak from the heart message. Precinct after precinct was packed with people- and many who have seemed to be the least interested in elections- young people.

Thus during the night while I was down at the Hennepin County Government Center helping accumulate results, it wasn't much of a shock what was happening. The people of Minnesota (at least the 37 percent that voted for Jesse) clearly saw this candidate as something other than just another politician. That during the campaign he was less than specific about what he'd do if elected didn't seem to bother them. That his communication style of talk show radio host speaking his mind regardless of the obstacles it will create in coalition building ( a necessity in accomplishing anything in the political system) actually appealed to many. It was a campaign rooted in anger and it touched a nerve in many people.

What Jesse was clearly about is less intrusive government. Yet there was a contradiction: how could voters vote for him and also overwhelmingly vote for government protection of our right to hunt and fish? (Likewise how could voters vote to abolish the State Treasurer's office and yet not vote for the only treasurer candidate who was for that issue?)

By election day I think like many, my view of Jesse as this eccentric fringe candidate who had no ability to be our next governor drastically had changed. Why not Jesse? What we have had is no longer working if for no other reason than no one seems to believe in it. To see people energized by a candidate, by a campaign rather than turned off into indifference was quite refreshing. After all the line between professional politics and grass roots efforts is just as great as the line between professional wrestling and other sports. It gets a bit disheartening to see all the professional campaigns that run slick candidates with slick advertising saying their person is for lower taxes and less crime (like anyone would want otherwise). As we lose our belief in government we just want it to be entertaining like anything else in our culture.

Yet there still is a bit of trepidation about what we have done. During the day I was partnered with a woman who was the type who seemed to love the sound of her own voice. I've never seen a better example of a person who talked a lot and said very little. By the end of the evening I was more than a little glad to get away from her. I wonder if at the end of four years we will have tired of Mr. Ventura's act in the same way? Sure it's refreshing now to have a candid candidate but he still needs to follow through on what his campaign was about. What did mama always say? "It's much easier tearing something down than it is building something up;" Jesse was an effective critic of the status quo. It will be important that he offer a viable alternative. If you energize people and then disenfranchise them, their cynicism doubles and you usually don't get another chance.

I did find the first area our governor-elect has to do something about: crime in the streets. At 4:30 a.m. post election day, I wandered out to my car parked on the streets of Minneapolis. Upon inspection I noticed someone had broken my passenger side window. They had not taken anything but it was a rather disheartening scene to come back to. It was a bit nippy driving back in the chill of the twenty six degree air and I have a feeling I will be picking up shards of glass from my car for a while. I was cursing to myself all the way back home. "If only we had a baseball stadium there'd be more people on the streets, more activity, less crime and this senseless act would never have happened," I said trying to console myself as I was quickly losing all feelings in my ears.

Monday, November 2, 1998

Domestic Dave

You may not notice it by looking at me but I ain't exactly an expert when it comes to home furnishing and decorating. I tend to lean toward comfort over style and thus my house contains a mishmash of contrasting colors, textures, and shapes. I figure what good is a piece of furniture that you are going to worry about whether or not someone sits on it? So I when I went to Linens 'n' Things last week to buy a new shower curtain I may have gotten a tad carried away.

My wannabe housemate had big plans for helping to eliminate the bachelor decor that my house obviously has. (I told her she had free rein to do as she pleased as long as she didn't touch the ever famous pink bathroom). Her criticisms of my decorating abilities were appreciated but I still think they were a bit harsh. First of all I may not be Mr. Art Deco when it comes to fashioning my household purchases but I do tend to lean on the side of being more Felix Ungerlike than Oscar Madisonlike. I am most definitely not a slob. I don't like clutter and a messy house bothers me (not quite to the degree of my sleep walking favorite mother of two who actually cleans her house in her sleep). I'm not exactly a neat freak but I do like a clean place to live. I think it may surprise those that know me best that I long ago so easily gave up the fight against cat hair (it was a hopeless cause after all)- the lil' guy sure sheds (Mr. Max has no need to worry about male pattern baldness). Still I must confess with more than a little trepidation that I've had the same shower curtain for at least the last seven years and I still use a set of sheets I had in college. Thus I was a bit perplexed to discover the price of replacements for the old reliables.

Since we are on an official boycott of Target I chose Linen 'n' Things simply because I figured they would have both a shower curtain and sheets. I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed when I walked in. Not only did I have quite a choice to make but I had no idea what an outrageous price was to pay for such items. I even had to sheepishly ask the saleslady what was bigger- a queen sized or twin sized bed since I wasn't exactly sure what I've been sleeping on for the last three years.

When I saw how much it was going to cost me to purchase a set of sheets I nearly ran from the store screaming. I was hoping to buy two sets and finally allow myself the luxury of getting rid of my 15 year old, now see through sheets. I looked a bit further and found a discontinued rack where they had some flannel sheets. Now I come from a house where we always used cotton sheets and thus that was the only fabric I've ever bought. I've experienced satin sheets once or twice in my life but I ain't exactly an emperor and they seemed a tad extravagant. I was leery of buying flannel sheets because I didn't know whether or not the change would interrupt my already wacky sleeping pattern or whether or not they required any extra care. Would they stand up to the sure to happen times when Mr. Max decides to urp up a hairball on my bed? But they were the cheapest set I could find so I put them in my shopping basket and hoped for the best.

Next up was a shower curtain. They had several patterns but quite frankly I'd hoped they would just have a clear sheet of plastic. I like to see what I'm doing in the shower. I picked out the clearest one they had, with little green squares on it since green is my favorite color. While in the area I also decided to pick up a bath mat since my last one disintegrated in my washing machine a few weeks back. I learned that bath mats are paired with larger bath mats and toilet seat covers. Once again I was brought up in a family where a toilet seat cover was determined to be an unnecessary luxury. But I decided to splurge since my toilet seat cover's paint has some cracks in it. Green all the way around.

I came home and installed all my new purchases. Mr. Max was quite curious with all the different smells and wrapping and unwrapping. Twenty minutes later he was enjoying the feel of flannel and I was wondering whether my toilet seat cover now clashed with my pink bathroom walls.