grumpy about the construction project (rubble rubble I’m in trouble)

It started out so gently and innocently. One fellow named Dan hung out late last week for a day or two and took out a few bricks and some siding, in a sort of exploratory sparring match with the house.

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Then over the weekend we had to empty the refrigerator and disassemble it, so that the construction guys could move it into the basement for us.

Refrigeration is a modern miracle, but when you have to move a fridge, it’s a modern pain in the ass. First I had to empty it, which is kind of shocking. I found stuff in there that I must have bought five years ago or more. I loaded the perishables into a couple coolers filled with ice so they’d last overnight. Then we had to take the refrigerator doors and shelves off, because otherwise the monster doesn’t fit through our old house doors. That process was enlightening and frightening. There was gunk and junk in nooks and crannies I hadn’t imagined existed, and unexpectedly foul muck on every shelf. New single-cell life forms were evolving. I’m sure I heard them say hello, unless it was the distant sound of my own disgusted grunts. Much washing and wiping ensued.

By the way, what do you make of this ridiculous water line into the fridge?


That’s about 10 feet of bent flexible copper. Who does that? No wonder our water dispenser never worked.

Anyway, we survived the refrigerator job, and then two large burly men hauled the fridge downstairs Monday morning. As I re-assembled the fridge, the pounding began. Two children and a dog huddled in on me, blank and silent. Silence is always the definitive sign of true terror, in my opinion, so I knew they were really scared.


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These pictures are fuzzy because my hands were shaking, due to the anxiety attack I’m having. All of us – the kids, Anthony, and I — are experiencing some sort of primal emotional yawp as the demolition goes down. I guess it’s hard watching parts of your house turn to rubble, even when it’s on purpose.

It must be some paleo thing.

Speaking of paleo, how many peeps do you think it takes to demolish half of a house? The answer is apparently: three.

The fellow in the photo above is named Dan. He seems really easy-going. (He may not actually be, because he’s venting a whole lot of spleen with the demolition.) He came the first couple days with a cotton head band on, to accompany the sledge hammer. Monday morning I opened my mouth and words came out before I could stop them, because I have the social graces of a flea: “Can I call you Olivia Newton John?” I giggled. It looked like Dan bit his tongue, and then his BOSS, Erick, chimed in. “You mean, Olivia Newton DAN.” Snicker snicker snicker. O.N. Dan handled it well, but today he didn’t wear the headband. I hope it was a coincidence.

Dan, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I was very rude. I don’t think you look like O.N. John. She had chicken legs, and you don’t.

Erick is the boss. He works hard, as you can see in this picture.


It’s good to be boss. You can still smile while the hard work goes on, even when your insane client approaches you snapping madly with her iPhone camera.


Okay okay, Erick’s no shirker of worker. He moved my fridge down, which was brutal. Plus he wears those cool metal-tip boots, which have a sort of cartoonish look to them, sort of like heavy metal Popeye. I want a pair.

The third guy on the crew is named Talon. Or Tallin. I don’t actually know how to spell it. Here’s Talon/Tallin working on the brick wall.


He and Dan work clean and fast and careful, a sort of trifecta of desirable traits in demolition work, plus they’re actually cheerful. Weird. I’m pleased to report that, despite the name similarity, this Talon/Tallin is not a fully weaponized bio-mechanoid space alien known as a Leviathon, nor does the Talon/Tallin ripping my home apart serve as a space vessel to an insane, treasonous Peacekeeper commander on a single-minded mission to kill John Crichton.

Which is all good news. Jesse met these three fellows and wanted to know if Daddy is as strong as them. Anthony answered. “No.”

Economists understand efficiency.

The other strong man I’ve met so far can’t be left out of the cast of characters. This is John, our foundation and masonry guy.


He is perfect – he has the right kind of grumpy written all over him, crunchy outside and marshmallow inside. I said I was taking his picture and he reacted like a runway model, taking off his glasses, striking this pose, and popping me a smile. Awesome. On the few occasions we’ve had a chance to chat, he grumbles about this and that, complains about bureaucrats and politicians, and then smiles a big winning smile and just gets the work done with a jolly flare. What’s not to love. I was told his brother and business mate died less than a year ago, so he’s going on building foundations for other people’s homes and lives while he learns to live without one of his own foundation stones. I can’t be grumpy about that.

grumpy about lady bodies (thank goodness for women’s soccer)

How cool that the US women won the world cup?? Not that I’m super nationalistic, but every time women athletes get a lot of airplay, it’s good for our girls. Athletes don’t have chicken legs. Real women shouldn’t have chicken legs. Our little girls shouldn’t dream of having chicken legs.

Jesse and I recently watched a PBS show on the history of the ABT, the American Ballet Theater. We loved watching the incredible athleticism of classical dancers. They are ridiculously strong and flexible. They do things that are impossible, holding their legs out at angles that would land me in the hospital. The women, who are otherwise tiny, have relatively enormous calves and thighs. They could never be hired by a modern modeling agency. They don’t have chicken legs. Their muscles are real, not ‘scaped. I know the dance world has issues with asking its women to be too skinny, but at least it allows them to have real muscles. 

Watching the show reminded us of Misty Copeland, whose career Jesse and I have followed for a year or two. Now she’s the first black female principal at the ABT. Beautiful athleticism and artistry, sweet intense face, historical significance — what’s not to love?

Some time ago we watched the UnderArmour ad that she starred in.

Jesse was captivated by Misty’s musculature, her strength and balance, her determination, her story. One day recently, Jesse wanted to see that ad again so we went hunting on YouTube. We watched it, and then we looked for some different ads by UnderArmour. We found this one of tough female athletes working hard. They have big thick muscles where they’re needed. There’s nothing delicate about them. 

We continued our browsing and came across an UnderArmour ad with Giselle Bundchen.

Sigh. I know, I know. Don’t hate on models. But let’s face it. Giselle ain’t got the chops.  I mean, I’m sure she works hard, but her motivation is modeling. No matter how much screaming there is about it, modeling. is. not. an. athletic. venture. There is no air-brushing on an athletic field of play. 

The thing about athletes is, they come in all shapes and sizes, even within a particular sport. Think about Venus and Serena Williams – could two world-class athletes in a single sport be any more different physically? Who could ever claim that there’s an optimal body type for tennis after those two?

Models all have to be the same skinny and tall. What matters is appearance, not strength or speed or a particular physical skill or tactical sense. I’m not able to grasp how there’s even a debate about this. 

I tried not to say anything though, as the Giselle ad ran. And I was pleased by Jesse’s reaction. In the ad, Giselle takes some roundhouse kicks at a punching bag, and then she rapid-jabs it. Jesse, who’s actually shown real talent in tae kwon do, offered up a real-time critique as the ad ran. “Those are pretty bad roundhouse kicks, mom. How come she’s only taking one at a time? Why is she waiting so long between kicks? Is she supposed to be good? She doesn’t have good snap. Wow, those are bad punches. She looks weak. Why is she so sweaty?” Jesse was making “WTF?” faces. 

Sorry, Giselle, you’re not motivating my daughter. Women’s World Cup soccer? That’s some serious motivation! Speed, snap, strength, endurance, grit. Congratulations to all the women who played in the World Cup, and an extra congratulations to team USA. 

If you love athleticism and dream of a strong, healthy life for your daughters, and if you dream of a world where your daughters can market their strength instead of their skinny to potential mates (even if they happen to be skinny), check out these awesome photos of World Cup athletes and their muscle-ripped thighs.

Awesome. As for underArmour, well… I’ve been a fan of their products since their beginning, but now I’m going to be looking around for a replacement. I guess they’re looking for another market niche, but I wish they would try to win that niche without turning to a runway model. They have the power to empower (and pay) real athletes in the sale of their athletic gear. I’m disappointed they moved in a different direction.