I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday, 9-5-08

The iPod, on this day in history...
Helter Skelter by The Beatles
Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll) by Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Cachaca by Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Woods
Eleven by Primus
Keep the Car Running by Arcade Fire
Senor Blues by Taj Mahal
Never Been to Spain by Three Dog Night
Underdog World Strike by Gogol Bordello

Yeah. That was just weird. Old, new, latin-based, funky anarchy. Should I be concerned about what my weekend's going to look like?

I've run out of Bum Stories, at least until I get hit up again (and today is the Farmer's Market, so it's possible!); so until I do, I've reached deep into my soul, past the warm gooey parts, past the sticky bits with the lint on them, and discovered the section of my life that I'll just refer to as "Hey! You Missed A Spot!"

Driven by both a fear of poverty and a need to keep moving, I’ve always had more than one job at a time.

Would you believe I used to be a cleaning lady?

You would?

Oh.

Going into people’s homes to clean them is a strange thing, particularly, I suspect, for the home owner. Some home owners are at work or set up the cleaning to be done while they are else where, leaving the money on the kitchen table. Others stay at home and watch you clean, asking questions, hovering and directing, waiting until you're packing up to leave before they hand you the money.

Guess which ones I prefer.

Of all the Helicoptering Clients I’ve ever had, my favorite was a woman we’ll refer to as Phyllis (because that was her name). I cleaned Phyllis’s house every two weeks for almost a year.

Phyllis lived in a quiet and respectable suburb. Everything in her house was done in white, blue, and gold and covered with plastic: the couches, the lamp shades, runners in the hallway and up and down the steps.

Cleaning her house was very unsatisfying. Why? Because it was never dirty.

What kind of fun is that? Because it doesn’t matter that I’m paid to clean, I want the satisfaction of making a difference. Normally, cleaning gives you an instant-gratification buzz. The floor was dirty? Now it’s clean! The couch was covered with cat hair? Not anymore it’s not!

You know what I mean, right?

But Phyllis’s house was always spotless, and the list of things that I did every two weeks was an odd collection. She didn't want me to wash the floors or dust or vacuum, none of the normal stuff. Here’s what I can remember of that list:
• Remove, wipe down, all light bulbs and return to their sockets
• Wash inside of all windows
• Remove, wash, and replace window screens
• Pull out fridge and stove and clean the walls and floor behind them
• Apply oil to all door hinges
• Shave and disinfect cat.

OK. I made up that last one, but you could see where that list was going.

I finally had to give Phyllis notice of my intent to stop coming to her house. Oddly enough, she seemed sorry to see me go; but washing and re-washing her window screens had ceased to be fun after, oh, the second time. I had hung on to the job for eleven months, just for the money; but finally, I had to have satisfaction as well.

I think about Phyllis and her dozens of light bulbs every now and then and wonder how she’s getting along.

Good ol’ Phyllis.

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