Got Squat?

The incomparable Co-Witch A. (aka Trothwy) is blogging again. Please rejoice along with me.

The used key is always bright

Got Squat

When you’re a parent and and witch, you rather hope your offspring will follow in your footprints.  But — just as it should be — my son has always been his own person, with his own path to follow.  One that doesn’t usually coincide with mine.

So it was a proud day when I came upon my son looking up dirty nun jokes on the internet.

Before you start hitting your back button, take heart.  It all had to do with Squat, the Goddess of parking spots.

My son explained he was entering the lottery for a parking place at school (there aren’t enough spaces for everyone).  And he needed to appeal to Squat, Goddess of parking places, for Her help.

Awww … it makes a Mother proud.

And in case you don’t know Squat, the folks that call upon Her swear She’s very helpful.  I understand from my…

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Fizzle

[A telephone conversation between myself and a homeowner.]

Homeowner: “I want to paint my house a different color. What do I need to do?”

Me: “All you need to do is fill out and submit an ACC Request form, which can be downloaded from our website, or…”

Homeowner: “I NEVER HEAR FROM YOU PEOPLE.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Homeowner: “I PAY YOU A LOT OF MONEY, AND YOU NEVER EMAIL ME ANYTHING.”

[Ed. Note: The maintenance fees paid by homeowners go directly into the HOA’s accounts, not to the management company. People don’t realize this, though, so when calling to complain, the first thing they do is remind us that they PAY A LOT OF MONEY.]

Me: “Actually, I send out monthly email updates to your entire community. Perhaps my emails have been getting caught in your SPAM filters?”

Homeowner: “NO. YOU NEVER EMAIL ME.”

Me: “Okay, then let me look in my records to make sure we have the correct address for you.”

Homeowner: “YOU NEVER EMAIL ME.”

Me: “Is your email address [I read off the address we have on file]?”

Homeowner: “No. That’s an old address.”

Me: “What’s your current email address?”

[She gives me her new address, and I update our records.]

Me: “Great, so now that I have your email, I will send you the ACC Request form, and you can just fill it out and send it back to me.”

Homeowner: “I CALLED THIS MORNING, AND YOU NEVER CALLED ME BACK.”

Me: “Ma’am, I was out of the office this morning on property visits, but I am in the process of getting caught up on messages… which is why we’re talking now.”

Homeowner: “Oh.” [Beat.] “Thanks.”

[Click.]

But hey, at least she said thanks. That’s a first right there.

The Island of Misfit Boys

So the other day I was texting with Douglas about the weather or whatever, when suddenly he was all, “Oh, hey, I was shopping at Black Hawk earlier, and the guy behind the counter said that Angelo said you’re joining the Misfits.”

Jesus. And I thought Pagans could gossip.

Anyway, as of this week, I am officially the newest Misfits pledge. I am not really sure what this will entail, other than guarding the club’s mascot (a stuffed toy Taz covered in run pins), but I figure I can handle anything they throw at me. That’s one of the fringe benefits of life as a recovering alcoholic: Not to one-up anybody, but regardless of what goes down during the pledging process — if there’s any light hazing or good-natured public embarassment involved — I guarantee that I’ve drunkenly embarassed myself in spectacularly worse ways.

Them: “Hey, pledge! You have to wear the Hat of Shame* tonight! Ha!”

Me: “Have I ever told you about the time I got into a lip-synch battle with a drag queen during a LUEY after-party? It started with the Whitney Houston version of ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ended with us grinding to ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears.”

Them: “…”

Me: “Her name was Vanessa. She was very nice. I’ve got the whole thing on video if you’d like to see it.”

Them: “

Me: “So tell me about this hat again?”

Speaking of drunkeness, the next Misfit event is this Saturday, when we’ll be bartending at the local leather pub. After last night’s monthly business meeting, a few of the guys sat me down to go over The Rules:

1. I am to show up no later than 10 pm.

2. If at any point in the evening I feel even slightly triggered, I am to let one of the other Misfits know and then leave immediately, no explanation necessary. This is not a suggestion.

3. I am to keep Taz away from the Bayou City Pups at all costs.

To be honest, the second Rule caught me off-guard. I mean, they know I’m sober and are not weirded out by that, which is great, but I didn’t expect the level of support and understanding they were offering. And this must have read aross my face, because one of the guys was all, “Dude, you’re with the Misfits now. We take care of each other, and we will not let anything happen to you.”

Which totally made me feel like I was in The Warriors (“All right now, for all you boppers out there in the big city, all you street people with an ear for the action, I’ve been asked to relay a request…”). And I can totally live with that.

The Misfits call each other brothers, which I always taken metaphorically. Turns out, they mean it literally. I am not, as I’ve been assuming, simply joining a social club: I am gaining brothers. And I can totally live with that, too.

*I do not know if there’s an actual Hat of Shame, but if there is, I’ll bet I look fabulous in it.

A Scintillating Stamp of Professional Approval

For my third recovery birthday, my brilliant friend Tod gave me a card of one of his paintings, and in gratitude I ran off in search of the perfect picture frame:

tb chairs 2
The upholstery matches the upholstery.

As you can tell from the radioactive, mutant-green wall, the card ended up in my office, where it immediately stole focus, because it was the only innocuously work-approriate piece of art on display. In contrast, everything else looked… not gaudy, exactly, but like it was trying too hard to make a statement when there was really nothing to be said.

It was time, I realized, to start treating my office like an actual workspace, and not like (as my ex used to call it) a “white trash Pagan temple.” Making a valiant attempt at objectivity, I began pulling decorations that felt in any way over the top. The cauldron and the skull pillow were the first to go, followed by the Poseidon bottle and, with sad reluctance, the vagina bird. The place definitely looked a lot more like an office and less like an occult shop from the 1980s, but it also looked (at least to my eyes) a little colorless and drained of personality, even with the giant, affected Mona Lisa that was here long before I was.

I needed replacement ornamentation, but I needed it to be professional. I needed it to say, “I am salaried and keep my religious beliefs to myself.” I needed it to cost next to nothing and come with free shipping.

And I found it:

Notary
Click to see life-sized. Totally worth it.

I’ve been trying to get a better picture of it, but I just can’t capture how blinding the lettering is — seriously, it’s like it physically emits concentrated awesomeness. Alan walked into my office right after I’d put it up and was all, “Oh holy God. I can’t look directly at that.” And I was like, “I know! It’s vintage. Isn’t it wonderfully hideous?”

“No,” he replied. “Just hideous.”

Then my boss walked in and shielded her eyes and asked, “Is that… pink? Or… orange? Or… what color is that?”

And that’s how you know you’ve arrived: When your titles and qualifications can literally dazzle your colleagues. I’m sure a diploma or an award or something would have made an impact as well, but this particular plaque sums up my accomplishments perfectly, in that I sent $80 to the State of Texas, and they sent me back a stamp with my name on it.

My next mission is to find a matching sign that reads, “I Got Ordained Online.” But, y’know, I’ll probably keep that one at home.