this beautiful sunday afternoon in ypsilanti

Ive been in the basement, cleaning all morning. Were expecting to have a new furnace installed tomorrow (to replace the inefficient and somewhat-broken 33-year old one we have now) and I felt compelled to clean for the crew. I must have sucked up twenty-five pounds of dusty, old cobwebs out of the 150-year old rafters. (I wonder if antique cobwebs are worth anything. Maybe Ill scoop them out of the shopvac and post a photo on Ebay.)

While I was down there, I decided to clean the washer and dryer. I dont know how its possible, but I discovered a thick brown sludge around the inside lip of the lid to our washing machine. It hadnt occurred to me that the inside of a device created to clean could get so filthy. It was like finding a box full of antique spider webs floating inside a ten-gallon drum of bleach.

I know thats not a great analogy, but Ive got a headache. I think I must be allergic to the mold growing down there on the crumbling cement walls. The walls are almost black in areas. (A bonus moment of home improvement insight for members: When I have time, I need change the grading around the house so that water doesnt run toward it. I think that should cut down on the moist walls to some extent. A dehumidifier might help too.)

According to stories weve heard, an old man used to live down there in the 70s. There are still a few signs of habitation. Theres a disgusting old toilet with a few sheets of plywood nailed up around it, and a crudely fashioned shower stall made of cinderblocks. Theres no telling what kind of sad and/or frightening things went on down there. I try to spend as little time thinking about it as possible.

Linette left a couple of hours ago for Detroit. She wanted to see our friend Monica before she (Monica) leaves the country to visit relatives in Columbia.

The magazine is now being printed, so this evening Im going to work on writing letters to bookstores that should be carrying us, but, to my knowledge, arent. Its something Ive been meaning to do for the past half-decade, but havent gotten around to. Linette and I went on-line last night and got a list of about 50 that looked promising, small independent bookstores that had hosted readings by authors that we like, etc. Hopefully, between our efforts and those of Desert Moon (our biggest distributor), well get at least another 500 or so into circulation this time out.

Linette and I are all excited. Tomorrows the one day a year when Haabs, a local restaurant here in Ypsi that dates back to the Great Depression, opens up their doors and serves their 1934 menu with 1934 prices! Linette and I have never gone before. The long line of seniors has always put us off, but this year were going to get on line and wait however many hours it takes. A sirloin for $1! A fried chicken dinner for $.50! How fucking cool is that? Of course, theyll probably make money on the drinks. Theres no way that theyd have booze for a nickel a bottle. Maybe its a trick they lure you in with 1934 food prices and then they stick it to you with 2034 drink prices. A $20 can of Coke. A $40 highball.

Linette told me not to mention this on my site because it could lead to more people on line in front of us, but I cant contain my enthusiasm for this very cool event. Now if only the hookers and dealers on Michigan Avenue bought into the idea. Could you just imagine $.05 hand-jobs and bags of old-timey crack?

I want to go out and get a burger now. Im hungry and theres nothing much here in the house to eat. I will be back later tonight with the links that I was too tired to post on Friday.

Mark Maynard

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