Tuesday, July 26, 2011


For the past few days I have been "decluttering" my house. And I must admit I'm disappointed.

Anyone who's ever dropped by the old Desperate homestead know that yours turly is not exactly a fanatic when it comes to housekeeping. Good Lord, what a waste of time. When I could be watching "Law and Order" reruns or staring vacantly into space? Please.

But something sparked a decluttering spree a few days ago. I forget what. Maybe I thought I would find a pile of cash or my old iPod Touch. Whatever it was, it got me going. And now I'm finding it hard to stop.

Check this out:

Kitchen junk drawers-- DONE! All five of 'em!

Laundry room- DONE! (Note to self, stop buying gallon-sized Windex. Have six.)

Bathroom cabinets- DONE! (Note #2 to self: stop buying makeup. Or buy three new faces, either one.)

This may not sound like a lot of decluttering but trust me, it filled many a trash bag.

So now in addition to staring vacantly into space I have a new pastime: staring at my cleared-out kitchen drawers. Which, I have concluded, is nowhere near as satisfying as all those decluttering articles led me to believe it would be.

Moral of the story: if you get the urge to declutter, go on and do it, but it is not the path to inner peace. I still think that lies with the "Law and "order" reruns. You might be a slob, but hey, at least you're no mass murdered.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

...And Tomorrow's

WASHINGTON- A panel of clinicians, psychoanalysts and other authorities has recommended that health plans cover a broad range of sunblocks, sunscreens and parasols for nudists without copayments.

The IONA/ON, or Institute of Nudists and/or Naturalists, has recommended that American nudists be provided with the protection their situation requires.

"Nudism is a natural state and as such involves certain health risks," says Dr. Marie "Buffy" Jacobs, president of the Gypsy Rose Lee Federation of Naturalists. "Skin cancer is a big risk. And windburn? Have you ever had a really bad windburn? Ay yi yi."

"Nudists are protected by the Constitution just like everyone else," says Dr. Sigmund Sigfried of the IONA/A. "And heaven knows they've had enough harassment from those pesky 'right to privacy' people. In case no one's noticed the Constitution also protects the right to self-expression. Somewhere. I'm like totally sure."

In addition to various skincare products, the IONA/ON plan also recommends the institution of nationwide network of hedges and other protective cover. "People see a couple of naked guys in the bushes and they make, well, certain assumptions," says Dr. Sigfried. "We want to dispel the notion that all naked people crawling around int the greenery are looking for spare change and returnable bottles. Some of us are just taking a break. You know?"

Dr. Jacobs said she would not rest until nudists are given the free health care they deserve. "I let public pressure force me into clothes for years," she declared. "They day I decided I would no longer allow my essence to be obscured was the greatest day of my life. Also the chilliest, as I recall, but that's normal at first. It's a cold world out there."

The panel said it would consider recommending portable personal heaters, paid for by the taxpayers, in the near future.

Today's News

"Panel Supports Free Birth Control

WASHINGTON - An independent panel of doctors and health experts recommended Tuesday that health plans cover a broad range of contraceptives for women without copayments, setting the stage for another debate over the impact of the health care overhaul.

The law that President Obama signed last year requires new health plans to cover many preventive health services without copayments or deductibles for patients, a key provision that experts believe will encourage more Americans to get recommended immunizations, cancer screenings and other services.

But the law directed the Department of Health and Human Services to seek input from clinicians and other authorities about which additional services should be covered for women.

That prompted the report Tuesday from the Institute of Medicine, or IOM, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences that provides guidance to policymakers.

Among eight recommendations, the IOM panel urged coverage for "the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling."

With close to half of all pregnancies unplanned in the United States, many experts see easy access to contraception as critical to women's and babies' health."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On The Index

The current temperature here in Minneapolis is somewhere in the low nineties, but the Heat Index is telling us it feels like 116.

I never heard of the heat index until today. All my life all I've ever heard is "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" and all complaints were left at that. But now I have a real scientific tool to refer to whenever I want to kvetch about the summer weather.

So we're in the midst of a heat and humidity wave that is not expected to break until tomorrow night. Time for a pop quiz:

True or False: DIH's air conditioning is broken.

Ha! Trick question. Only half my A/C is on the fritz. I can keep it running on the first floor, but not upstairs. As a result the current temperature in my bedroom is 90 degrees. I know because I just checked. Also the varnish is melting off the bannister. Checked that, too, but not on purpose.

So tonight, once again, we will all be camping out on the porch with the dogs. It's not exactly comfortable and it's definitely on the hairy side, but at least we will be able to breathe.

And no, I still do not wish it was winter again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Gardening, Con't.

The City of Minneapolis has decided to give me a present. They have planted a little sapling tree on the strip of lawn that separates the sidewalk from the street, right in front of my house.

They also left me a note. "Please take care of your new baby tree. Baby trees need an amount of watering that will astound you. Please make sure Little Tree gets her water!"

At first I thought, They're kidding, right? They can see my front yard, for god's sake. They can see the crispy brown "lawn" and the shriveled daylilies, can't they? And they want me to water this thing?

Well, I took a walk around the neighborhood the other day, and I discovered quite a few of my neighbors have received the precious gift of new arboreal life.

But guess what?

They also got Treegators.

A Treegator, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of encountering one, is a kind of enormous plastic sack that comes halfway up the base of the tree. The sack is filled with something like 50 gallons of water. The City refills the sacks when Little Trees have drunk them down. This keeps the Little Tree alive and lets it grow into a Big Tree.

So my question is, Where the hell is my Treegator?

What, I don't rate? I have to know somebody? Or do I have to call the powers that be downtown and spell it out for them: "If you don't put a 'Gator on this sapling pronto you can expect to be clearing firewood in the fall."

Listen up Minneapolis: this is Desperate talking. I AM NO GOOD WITH PLANTS. I have killed every shrub, every evergreen, every annual I have ever tried to make grow. This is spite of water and weeding plant food and loving- ok, grudging attention.

That the City would see my yard and still stick me with a baby tree amounts to nothing less than Baby Tree Abuse (BTA). Unless the City wants that on its conscience they'd better send somebody 'round right now. I cannot be responsible for the wellbeing of this little tree. It's a disaster in the making.

Ask any plant on my property.