The list, the list, the list is on fire

By Mir
July 23, 2006

Greetings from bizarre juxtaposition central! On the one hand, I am enjoying a rare child-free weekend with another adult. If I don’t want to get up, I don’t have to! If we want to have ice cream for dinner, we can! If we want to… um, well, HEY look over there, something SHINY! Anyway! That whole side of things is lovely and carefree and relaxed.

On the other hand, there is The List. And The List demands that certain things be completed before this visit is over, and try as I might to fill the list with items like SMOOCHING and SLEEPING LATE, it remains chock-full of actual to-dos that mean we have to, well, DO THINGS.

So last night, for example, we were eating chinese food and watching a movie like we didn’t have a care in the world. But today, after church, it was time to Be Productive.

(I’m sure it comes as a huge shock that I much prefer the “nary a care” stance.)

Otto whipped out the list and started reviewing items. (I swear I only giggled a little while I typed that.) We decided to start with… the Dreaded Photo.

Did I mention that Otto is a photographer? He is! Like, for money and stuff! I mean, mostly he’s a professor now, but I hear he’s really good with cameras. And so despite my loathing of every photo ever taken of me, I agreed to let him take my picture.

Because in the space of about two months I’ve had to produce a photo of myself about four times, and I was getting very tired of always having to send along the same picture along with OH MY GOD THIS IS THE WORST PHOTO EVER I HATE IT SO MUCH BUT IT’S ALL I HAVE AND I WISH I COULD SHUT UP BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT AND PLEASE DON’T STOP LIKING ME JUST BECAUSE I LOOK LIKE THE OFFSPRING OF LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE AND MR. ED IN THIS PICTURE OKAY THANKS!

And we’d just been to church, so I was relatively well groomed and all. We stepped out onto the back porch and Otto told me where to stand and which way to look and when I should smile.

Except that sometimes he’d say “Smile!” and I couldn’t really think of a compelling reason to smile, so I’d say “Tell me a joke,” and then he’d snap my picture while I was talking and then I strangled him with his camera strap. No, actually I would ask him for a joke and then he’d go through the same litany of bad one-liners until I cracked.

“A horse walks into a bar… and the bartender says, ‘Why the long face?'”
“A man walks into a bar… and says ouch.”
“A dyslexic walks into a bra….”

By the time we came back inside, he’d snapped roughly 300 photos of me looking stoned, angry, nauseous, or mentally challenged. “Wow,” I said, while we looked over the pictures. “People pay you for this? Really?” And then he strangled me with his camera strap.

Finally we’d narrowed it down to a couple of photos and I told him to pick one, and he did, and now I have a photo that I still hate, but hate less than any other photo I have, which a professional photographer assures me is a decent photo. So. There’s that.

And one item got crossed off the list.

[Okay, before y’all scream at me: I put a teeny version of it over here and you can see it bigger here but if you say anything other than “nice highlights” I will cry. (My favorite reactions include “Um, where did my upper lip go?” and “Well, it’s nice foliage.”)]

We had some lunch and decided to go to the LL Bean outlet, because I still needed a few camping items for The Walk and for some strange reason, there are no Bean outlets in Georgia. Go figure. (Yes, going to the outlet was on the list.)

I found what I needed and Otto found a few things he needed and then we went up to pay. The very effusive cashier asked for Otto’s zip code and he gave it; I watched as a shadow of confusion flickered across Effusive Cashier’s face.

“He came ALL THE WAY FROM GEORGIA just to come to the outlet!” I told her, making my eyes as wide as possible.

“Yeah, I was gonna say, I couldn’t think of any other reason to come HERE,” she laughed.

I waited for Otto to say something like “I’m visiting” or “she’s the reason” or even “I’m from around here” (which he is), but did Otto say any of these things? No. Here is what Otto said:

“There’s a great reason, but,” and here, he leaned in and lowered his voice just a little, “I can’t really say what it is in public.”

The cashier tittered nervously while I crumpled to the ground and died of embarrassment. Twice. Another item was crossed off of The List while I beat Otto about the head and shrieked “You cannot SAY STUFF LIKE THAT!”

So I guess I won’t be going back to the Bean outlet… ummm… ever again.

Back home, the rattle in my car’s dashboard had begun to make Otto’s left eye twitch, so I came inside and looked for a screwdriver for him and then he went out and fixed it. And then came back in to tell me that my screwdriver was a piece of crap. And then he said some other stuff but all I heard was “WA WA WA” so I kissed him and pointed out that I had some work to take care of, so Otto scanned The List and headed off to Home Depot for supplies.

He returned with a bunch of things, among them a new tool set—including a lovely, working screwdriver.

I tell you what, a man like Otto buys you tools, you know it’s serious. I think I got a little weepy.

Anyway, now I am doing some work in here and my car is fixed and my mailbox is being fixed and oh, heck, I have no idea what all he’s doing out there. It makes him happy to fix things and cross them off the list and it amazes me to watch him putter around and seemingly enjoy taking care of all the things which I am too lazy or unskilled or just plain overwhelmed to bother with. It amazes me how nourishing it is to do nothing at all and how much more productive working feels when I’m not doing it alone.

And you know, I added a few things to The List, and earlier when Otto was checking things off he told me, “Well, I’m going to cross off this and this and this… but THIS one, I dunno, I think we might want to do that again… I’ll just leave it on there.” So I guess I feel like we’ve reached something of an understanding about that there list.

Even though I am still a little bit sad about never being able to go back to LL Bean.


  1. Carmen

    Wow. That sounds like a wonderful day. A very prodcutive kind of day.

    Mir is pretty! Mir is pretty!!

    (like we didn’t already know that….)

  2. Melissa

    What a very pretty picture! And ooh, what nice highlights.

  3. Sheryl

    It sounds like your having a lovely weekend. Otto, if you break Mir’s heart, her readers will hunt you down and hurt you. I’m only 4’10”, but don’t mess with me. you sound like a lovely man.

  4. Sheryl

    Oops, the threat was supposed to have a line through it. Sorry Otto. It’s just a joke. Mostly. I’m not really psycho. Okay, I’m going to stop tyrping now.

  5. Sheryl

    And typing too.

  6. dad

    The picture is fantastic! My god, your’re glowing. You should definetly want to look like you look in that photo. It says beautiful but not bimbo beautiful. It says sassy and introspective and intelligent and mabe a little bit of a wise ass. It says look out world, you’re mine. It says …you.

  7. Kari

    Oh! Nice photo! I don’t want to make you cry, so… um “nice highlights!” (And what Carmen and Melissa said.)

  8. daysgoby

    Great highlights and I love your earrings too.

  9. Marvo

    Nice highlights! Also, walking through a Home Depot makes me dizzy because I don’t know where anything is, but I love the Home Depot smell.

  10. Woman with Kids

    Great foliage! And nice photo! Sit back and enjoy Otto’s help, don’t strangle the nice man with his camera strap. At least until the big stuff on the list has been completed…

  11. David

    Yep, nice picture. Nice weekend, too, sounds like. And you should totally go back to LLB. But ONLY with Otto!

  12. Erin (erin-erin-bo-berin)

    Nice highlights… I’d like to have brows like yours. Being a natural redhead myself, my eyebrows and eyelashes have no color. Nada. Zippo. My eyebrows and eyelashes (without makeup)make me look like an albino wearing a red wig. I say any woman with a genuine smile who wears glasses should be feared. It is only because I meet those requirements that I do not fear you.

  13. foodmomiac

    You look so very happy in that photo. And I LOVE your glasses.

  14. Velma

    Nice highlights, but even nicer…what your dad wrote! It sounds like you are having one of those fabulous weekends that seems like it is 5 days long. You must be getting kind of swoony from the loveliness of it all!

  15. Amy-Go

    Mir and Otto, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…sorry.

    I’ve been Away. I get back to find you have rockin’ new hair, an on-site man, and a fabulous picture to share…all seems right in your corner!! Is there a new world order or something? If so I’m liking it for you!

    What Otto said to the clerk? It seems to be agreeing with you, too. Heh. ;)

    I’m so happy Mir’s so happy!

  16. Susan

    Can I adopt your dad?

    You are so lovely. I think it’s the highlights. Or maybe it’s The List. Or just your general loveliness.

  17. Carol

    I love the highlights! I love the picture! (Oh, was it okay to say that???) I’m feeling little pangs of excitement for you with your newfound “Otto”! I will stop using these exclamation points now!

  18. Chookooloonks

    Nice highlights. And thanks Otto — saves me from having to bring my camera to BlogHer! :o)


  19. FTS

    So why is it every time a guy is home the woman has a list for him? Huh huh huh? ;)

  20. Lisa

    Mir you have a glow about you in that picture that shows a woman that definitely got a new screwdriver. And, you know what they say? First you’re shunned from the Bean, the next thing you’re picking out china patterns and making demands about just the right color Gerbera Daisy to match “the dress”….

  21. Carolie

    Oh, Mir! Sure, we all say “you’re so pretty, you’re so pretty” all the time–but the truth is, you’re beautiful! I’m so envious!

    Of what? Of your luminous skin, your gorgeous eyes, your beautiful hair, your spectacular smile–you’re absolutely lovely!

    (…and I’m jealous that you have someone who knows his way around Home Depot, and can *dreamy sigh* FIX things!)

  22. Vicky

    Has anyone mentioned those highlights yet? They’re gorgeous!

    And the picture? Gorgeous!

    And Otto sounds like he’s? Gorgeous!

  23. Cele

    Your dad is right, you definatley glow.

    What a happy…hmmm now is that a satisfied posted or what?

  24. Shash

    Beautiful Photo, great highlights..much better than mine. :)

    Nice to see that you are enjoying your weekend. Carry on.


  25. Brigitte

    You look just like my REALLY PRETTY sister in this picture! The beauteous, skinny one that my mother always insists on taking pictures of when she’s next to ME, in order to accentuate my frumpiness and fatness . . .

  26. Nothing But Bonfires

    Seriously, you have two children? Really? I refuse to believe it. I’m afraid the only explanation is that you must have had them when you were, like, NINE or something, because you look FAR too young and lovely in that picture. I’m willing to bet Otto agrees with me.


  27. Stacia

    The picture is beautiful! You look very happy, the highlights are gorgeous (but once you get them done professionally, you can never go back to home jobs), and Otto sounds like a keeper.

  28. Bob

    Sounds like a terrific weekend. It is also a lovely picture of a lovely person. (you look a bit giddy in the picture!) I am so happy for you.

    If I’m ever in the market again, I’ll have to remember the way to a woman’s heart is home repair.

  29. peek317537

    Ma’am, that is a GORGEOUS picture. I love it. Your hair looks very nice too. Love the highlights. Otto rocks!

  30. Ben

    Okay, I love your dad (my dad has never said that I don’t look like a bimbo) and I’m very excited about your non-crappy screwdriver.

    But you haven’t said one word about getting your driveway sealed!

    And next time you and Otto go to the Bean outlet, you HAVE to ask where the handcuff section is. They’ll be singing songs about you…

  31. chris

    Wow, that is a gorgeous photo. You look stunning!

    I guess doing all those, uh… imporvements thatare on the lkist, really agree with you ;-)

  32. Chris

    That is a great picture. And can your dad be my dad too?

  33. Aimee

    What a gorgeous haircut! With gorgeous highlights and gorgeous you. Very nice.

  34. carolyn

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned this, so I’ll just come right out and say it….Your highlights are fabulous. Also, you are glowing, and it comes from more than having beautiful skin, baby!

  35. bad penguin

    That’s a great photo. And I really like your earrings!

  36. Liz

    I don’t believe that I’ve seen lovelier highlights – or, whiter teeth and more beautiful-looking skin – evuh! Gawd, but I’m totally envious and green sooooo does NOT look good on me!

    Seriously, it’s what’s inside – you know, the deepest parts of you that you so kindly allow your readers to see – which makes you truly irresistible!

    Have a great time at BlogHer and good luck on the 3-Day — wish I could be there (both) to cheer you on.

  37. Ben

    You know, of course, that we can’t live without a picture of the screwdriver. Just sayin’

  38. Stephanie

    You are so beautiful! You look like a fun, smart, happy person. And wise ass, like your dad said, in an ‘I know something you don’t know’ kind of way. Great to hear you are having a nice, romantic weekend with Mr. Fix-It.

  39. Tuesday

    Lovely highlights AND really nice earrings too.
    (the cornerstones of great grooming.)

  40. Vanda

    Mir, that’s a lovely picture. Love the highlights.

  41. rachel

    gorgeous photo! I love the highlights. pretty foliage, too. :)

    sounds like a wonderful weekend, I’m quite envious!

  42. Kestralyn

    FTS: In Mir’s defense… Otto started the list, not her. She’s just, hmmm, added a few things to it ;-)

    And to mirror what everyone has said, you’re beautiful, and that’s a fantastic photo. Amazing what being happy can do for you!

  43. Elleoz

    Great pic and I love your hair! It (& Otto) definately suit you. I can practically see you glowing from the computer here. Sounds like you had a great weekend, and got a few things done around the house too. :)

  44. Red

    Way to go Otto! And Mir, you are a cutey! Woohoo!

  45. DebR

    You look pretty! Also, nice highlights!

  46. Gillian

    See there, timeless beauty. She of the Dresden China skin. Any more aspersions cast on your good looks and we will all give you rasperries.

  47. The Other Leanne

    Mir is HAP-py! Mir is HAP-py! And pretTEEEE! And HAPPY! You can see it in that picture. I agree with Dad.

  48. Zuska

    I love your Dad; do I say that every time he makes a comment? I think I do!

    Anyway, the photo is great, the highlights are great, and I’m so happy Otto’s visit is going great. But I hope you don’t get TOO many things checked off that list, wink wink.

  49. kirala

    Well, you’re a very pretty, very YOUNG woman! And also happy. With a sweet dad. But you’re so young!

  50. Emily G.

    I love your photo! I think it’s beautiful (which, yes, translates into “nice highlights” in Mirese).

  51. Bob

    we don’ need no water let the m*#@*f((@# burn…..

    Hot weekend, huh?

  52. Shiz

    You are such a hottie.

    He’s lucky.

  53. Jenn2

    You are totally neurotic. That is a great photo and yes, the highlights totally rock, but so does the smile and your eyes… Sorry. Post labor babbling.

    I agree with dad. You look great.

  54. Snow

    That’s a great photo, the highlights are fabulous, and I love your smile. I need to scan a photo of one of my great-aunts and send it to you, Mir. It’s uncanny! She was a beautiful harpist and a lovely woman, if you’re curious.

    Otto sounds fabulous. When you’re done with him, could you loan him to me briefly for some repairs? Thanks!

  55. Melissa

    You are very very pretty!

    I’m glad you got a new screw driver!

    You should have your Dad tell Ben he doesn’t look like a bimbo… maybe a skinny panda.;)

  56. Mary Tsao

    Otto this and Otto that. Are you going to spend the entire weekend crying and text messaging him?

    I kid. Sounds like a fun time together being all domestic and stuff. AND STUFF!

    Beautiful photo!

  57. Zee

    Mir, that’s a great pic!! Now, where’s the pic of Otto? :)

  58. Susan

    Okay, first of all, my day is MADE! I didn’t realize you had a website other than the Want Not one, which I adore! Between you & Chris, my life is now complete. I absolutely love your writing! And besides the fact that I now sound like some of crazy internet stalker, I wish so much I were a part of Blogher and could hang with you guys in San Jose! I am so envious. You all sound like the neatest bunch of ladies.

    Secondly, that picture is gorgeous! Do you know how many women would kill for your complexion, straight teeth, thick eyebrows, and deep brown eyes? You’re much too hard on yourself, woman!

  59. Suzanne

    Wow! What beautiful teeth you have!!! nice highlights too! You look happy!

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