Adventures in cleaning

Things we’ve learned in the past few days:

It’s only when rearranging furniture that hasn’t moved in eight years that you realize how really disgusting you are.

When eight years of cat fur tumbleweeds accumulate behind a bookshelf and are suddenly loosened in the breeze it can look a lot like some kinda rodent of unusual size is running straight at you.

When attempting to move a bookshelf you should probably take all the shit off of it first.

Ask me how I know.

PS. Still needs a lot of work but the “after” picture is worth it.

Our house is haunted.

Since we moved into our house eight years ago Victor, Hailey and I have each seen a ghost here. It’s not a person though. It’s a large, dark dog that hangs out upstairs and it doesn’t bother us. We just see a glimpse of it around our legs once or twice a year and we always tell it, “Good dog” because I assume it belonged to one of the families who live here before us. But other than that this house is very peaceful.

Until a few weeks ago when we were woken up in the middle of the night by someone loudly knocking in our bathroom. We tiptoed around until we figured out it was coming from the bathroom window but there was no one there. We went back to bed. It started again.


Then we’d look…and silence. No one was there. No footprints outside the window.

And the next night it happened again.

Then again a few days later.

We’d lift the blinds but there was no one there. And it kept happening. Every time we thought it was finished it would come back.

Then, it happened in the daytime.

I was stepping out of the shower and I heard the tapping. I didn’t have my glasses on but I knew no one was there because I would have seen their silhouette through the blinds. So I screamed, “THIS IS NOT YOUR HOUSE, PEEPING TOM FUCKER” and then it stopped. And I relaxed and then it immediately started again so I grabbed my glasses and saw this.

I can only assume it’s taunting the ghost dog or that birds are getting perverted now too.

These are a few of my favorite things: DAY 5 – The unexpected positives

So every day this week we all shared our favorite things. We did podcasts, tv, internet haunts and books. And today we’re doing something a little different. This pandemic is bullshit and hard as hell for everyone. Victor and Hailey and I haven’t seen anyone but us in real life in close to seven months and god only knows when this will be over, but one thing keeping me sane is looking at the positives.

Things I’m happy about:

Because Hailey is staying virtual she can sleep in later and that’s great for her mental health.

So many of the rules that we thought were set in stone are becoming more lax. The level of acceptance and compassion is on the rise if you know where to look for it.

Every time I see someone walk by my window with a mask I am reminded that they are doing it to protect others.

Reading is keeping me sane right now. I have not read this much since I was in high school and it’s made me rediscover the joys of hiding in my stacks of books.

I get asked to speak at a lot of places but I say no to almost all of them because my anxiety is just too overwhelming. But in the last six months I’ve been able to speak to libraries and on zoom calls with my book club and at conferences that I’ve always wanted to go to but never could before. I still can’t do as many as I want because even online it’s overwhelming but this week I got to meet Allie Brosh (of Hyperbole and a Half) online when we had a live keynote conversation especially for independent booksellers. She was in her blanket fort and I was hiding in my office and after so many years of being friends it was the first time we’d ever really “met”.

I’m just noticing that you can literally see my bra because the neckline of my dress is too low and I can only hope people thought it was an intentional fashion choice rather than me flashing everyone on purpose.

We’re both naturally reclusive so I’m not sure we ever would have met without this strange time and so it’s moments like these when I try to appreciate that there are some golden spots that shine. (PS. You should read her new book. SO GOOD.) I suspect we won’t be asked back as we ended up going way over our allotted hour and talked about completely inappropriate things but it was too much fun to stop. She says “hi” by the way.

So how about you? What’s something lovely that’s keeping you going right now? Someone who inspires you? Something you’re grateful for? A product or person or moment that makes this weird time a little easier?

Thank you for being one of those golden spots for me. Even introverts are struggling and I can’t tell you how much your interaction means to me.

PS. I’m not doing a lot of events at the moment because I got overwhelmed and need a tiny break but I am doing a virtual event at the Richland Library in November if you want to check it out. It’s free and I think there are still spots available. 🙂

These are a few of my favorite things: Day 4 – BOOKS

This week we’re sharing our favorite things each day. Monday we looked at podcasts. Tuesday we did TV (shout out to everyone who suggested Enola Holmes, which we loved). Wednesday we did internet delights. And today? BOOKS!

Books are saving me during this time. I spend at least an hour a day outside with a book and a cold drink and it’s the closest thing I have to travel and visiting with imaginary friends. Some days are harder to focus so I lean on graphic novels. Sometimes I need to escape into deep, complex books. Sometimes I just reread the same books I’ve loved forever because when I lose my place I still know where I am.

One of my favorite new reads was Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas.

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.


I also can’t recommend enough everything my book club (The Fantastic Strangelings) has read this year. Click right here for a list that shows everything we’ve recommended since January, including the optional bonus books for those of use who need more than one book a month to keep their hands busy. The book club is keeping us in business even when we can’t open our doors so thank you if you are a member or if you’ve gifted a membership to someone else. (I’m not sure if we still have spots for October’s book left but if you sign up now you’ll definitely get in for November’s book, which is so fantastic. It’s nonfiction and it is FASCINATING and I can’t wait to discuss it with all of you. I’ll announce it in a few weeks probably.)

So now it’s your turn. It can be old, new, a comfort read or something challenging. What’s a great book you recommend?

These are a few of my favorite things: DAY 3 – Internet delights

This week we are sharing the things that are getting us through the harder times. Monday we did podcasts, yesterday we did tv and today we’re doing the wonderful internet things keeping you going. (Non-porn edition.)

The internet can be a scary sort of place where the loudest and most horrible people get the most attention but it can also be an amazing community of kind and wonderful people and it also houses most of my favorite cat videos.

So today let’s share our favorite online distractions. Maybe it’s a website or blog you love or a youtube video that makes you incredibly happy or someone you follow online who always makes you laugh or feel seen or an online group that is a second home.

I’ll start:

I spend way too much time online so one of my favorite things is falling into dark rabbit-holes on wikipedia like this List of unusual deaths, which kept me clicking on more links until 3am.

Also recommended: Atlas Obscura, which makes me feel like I’m traveling even when I can’t. (I use this site for almost every vacation I take because it gives me weird-ass recommendations that are so me.) And xkcd, which you probably already know. And reddit (once you find the subreddits that are right for you) is fascinating because there are so, so many subreddits for everything you can imagine. (Explain Like I’m Five and Submechanophobia are two of my faves.) And instagram, which uses my past likes to suggest videos for me except Hailey steals my phone and likes weird possum videos and other weirdness so it’s always a surprise.

Hailey suggests The Useless Web (which gives you random, weird websites) and we played with it for a few minutes this morning until it gave me this one which was actually very satisfying to play with.

Now it’s your turn, but first I will show you the best things instagram recommended for me today:

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The best boy

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😭 @p.aciencia @thanatos_lana @_.ashanti_

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Follow @clout9clips via: @tonybaker

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Nightmare fuel 😱

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Okay. Your turn. What wonderful internet place do you love?

PS. Thank you for making this a wonderful internet place for me.

A few of my favorite things. DAY TWO: TV edition

This week we’re sharing some of our favorite things getting us through at the moment. Yesterday we did podcasts and now I have a ton of new podcasts to binge while cleaning my house and avoiding deadlines so thank you! Today, it’s tv/movies. What shows have been giving you life or vital distraction lately?

I’ll go first. A few of the shows that I’ve been loving lately:

Ramy, pen15, Lovecraft Country, Raised by Wolves (please let it make sense in the end), For All Mankind, Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father, The Boys, Love Fraud (documentary-series), Ratched (worth it for the wardrobe & cinematography), The Great, You’re the Worst, Shrill, 90-Day-Fiance, Love After Lock-Up (don’t judge me), What We Do in the Shadows and HARLOTS (which I always recommend to people but can never remember the name of it and inevitably call it “Humpers”.)

Even the monkey in Ratched is better dressed than me.

Your turn. What should we be watching?

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