Monday, December 31, 2007
I have a secret love of all the year-end recap stuff - best movies and music, people of the year, and, especially, the remembrances. I guess that last one is for the same reason I love reading obituaries - people are so interesting! And so much of real life, you couldn't make up, and if you did, no one would believe it.
So, here are my personal year-end picks.
I saw exactly three movies this year, which is humbling and mostly embarrassing. Knocked Up, Superbad and Dan in Real Life were all good flicks. However, I have to give the crown to Superbad. This movie made me giddy and was the first flick to which I've ever snuck in beer.
Juror's Award goes to Once, which is actually making many year-end lists. I didn't actually see this film, but my periodontist talked about it for an hour and a half while I was supposed to be knocked out during a very painful gingival graft.
In 2007, my iTunes list continued to bring me joy and embarrassment. I don't think Gino Vanelli is going to make anyone else's Best of 2007 list. However, my brother saved me and got me James Taylor's One Man Band for Christmas. I've yet to watch the DVD, but the audio CD is amazing. Sweet Baby James is still the man. Mad props to his tricked-out version of Slap Leather.
Oh, so many to choose from! Seeing as how I have no energy for keeping up with the latest releases, this is a new-to-me category. However, I loved Pontoon by Garrison Keillor, which is actually new this year. And I discovered that, err, mass production chick lit on CD is a great way to pass the commute. Jennifer Cruisie, Janet Evanovich and Mary Kay Andrews, you have my ear. And my gratitude.
Roasted Garlic Triscuits. Need I say more?
This one comes courtesy of my coworker Dorothy, who, in an inebriated moment of clarity, proclaimed, "I'm obsessive. But you're a workaholic."
And it's not funny. I'm concerned about what food I put in my body and what chemicals I rub on my face, but I'm actually poisoning my body with stress and tainting my life with a skewed sense of reality. This brings us to ...
Best resolution for 2008
I'm going to remember what's truly important. I'm going to see Corporate Behemoth as a means to an end, not a source of identity. I'm going to relax, and let go of the fear that keeps me stressed. I'm going to focus on joy.
And, of course, I'm going to eat more Roasted Garlic Triscuits.
Friday, December 21, 2007
At first, I didn’t understand, and it made me very, very sad. But having compared notes with Mr. Wonderful and having watched Grandmaster Fluff work a room, it’s really pretty ingenious.
He rams his head into stuff to get a point of reference. Then he goes on his merry way until he rams his head into something else. Another point of reference. We’re cooking with gas now!
He’s mastered not only my house but also that of Mr. Wonderful, who has a big carpeted stairway. Although Geriatric Poodle occasionally wanders aimlessly because he doesn’t realize everybody went downstairs, he’s adapting really well. And we’re learning not to abandon him in a different part of the house.
I walked Foxie Doxie and Geriatric Poodle three times a day, every day, rain or shine, for the two looooong years I lived in an apartment. Admittedly, I bought a fenced yard with a house attached. And so, I’m so excited about not having to walk them that I often don’t. Bad mommy!
However, Mr. Wonderful relishes walking the pups, and the extra exercise is making a difference. Geriatric Poodle has a spring in his step. I can’t even begin to imagine all the smells and delights that he finds, so the fact that he trips over the sidewalk is ok. He’s adapting seamlessly, and I should wake up and appreciate his example.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
You want to read more, don't you?
I'm doing about 27 different things simultaneously, and I'm not doing any of them very well. And a very merry Christmas to you, too.
So, in celebration of overextended women everywhere and the true meaning of the holiday, I'm sharing my favorite Christmas song ever - it even tops Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and that's really saying something.
I know I've posted this before, but it's a sweet little reality check against Martha Stewart, who would have you believe that everyone else's holiday features crystal, brie and Cornish hens. Let's hear it for bloody marys and Robert Earl Keen.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
As expected, the program was a hoot. Kids dressed in holiday finery waved to parents. Kids didn't know when to stop singing "Jingle Bells" - but, to be fair, that song really has no ending. But sadly, no kids cried or hid underneath pews, which was one of the high points of the program I went to last year to see a girlfriend's little boy.
I guess there's a big difference between the 2-year-old program and the 4-year-old program.
I was surprised, though. The program was very Santa-centric. Like, totally about Santa. Eight-pound, five-ounce baby Jesus did not make an appearance of any sort.
Now, I think matrons who wear puff-painted sweatshirts that say "Keep the CHRIST in Christmas" just need to loosen up. Besides, I find the all-caps "CHRIST" to be really condescending. Oh, Christ? Is he related to X-mas?
But it seemed really odd to be in a church sanctuary and have no mention of The Big Man.
Not the bearded one.
Well, except Jesus did have a beard later, since evidently he grew up to look like Ted Nugent.
You know who I mean.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The friend shared that his 4-year-old is jealous of his girlfriend. The child will ask, “Who do you love more? Me or Girlfriend?” And when they’re all watching a movie together, the child will sit between the lovebirds and say, “I’M SITTING BY DADDY!”
Mr. Wonderful wasn’t even finished retelling this tale of woe before my hands were raised in the air and I was falling out. I am so frickin’ lucky. Thank you, sweet eight-pound, five-ounce baby Jesus.
Mr. Wonderful’s daughter, whom I call Ladybug – not sure why, it just seems to fit – appears to really, really like me. When I arrived at their house yesterday, she had about 17 things she wanted to show me and stuff we needed to play with immediately. After about 10 minutes, I finally convinced her that we should go find daddy just to say hello.
And at dinner? She laughed hysterically when I told her that eating pudding was serious business and that there would be NO FUN EVER at our dinner table.
Later, she hugged me. Voluntarily. Completely unprompted.
And then later, we pretended that the living room carpet was actually a sea of pudding that all the stuffed animals kept falling into.
I think I’m finally loosening up.
One of my friends, who has had a stepmom or two, gave me what I now realize is priceless advice. She told me to just own it.
So, I’m trying to not fabricate an ex-wife/mom who judges my every move. I’m working on owning it. I’m a good person. I’m good with kids. And I’m not afraid to pretend like I fell off a couch into a sea of pudding and need to be rescued by a stuffed bunny and a 4-year-old girl.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I think the teachers stood outside and smoked.
There was usually one longer-length main feature that was about the importance of family or some such thing. But there would be filmstrips, too.
Remember filmstrips? If you were super cool, you got to run the filmstrip while the teacher went out for a smoke. The cassette soundtrack would beeeeep! and you’d turn the little dial to change the slide.
Now, I distinctly remember one of the Christmas movie day filmstrips being about … the birth of Jesus.
Yes, I went to a public school.
And no, there weren’t any Jewish people in town.
And no, I don’t think Kwanzaa had been invented yet.
And no, I don’t think cultural sensitivity had been invented yet, either.
This all makes me laugh – teachers smoking in the breezeway while 250 kids crammed into a sweltering gym with one always-on radiator learned all about the birth of our lord and savior from a filmstrip.
You know, if I had to spend the week before Christmas with 25 overstimulated little kids, I’d probably a) start smoking and b) abandon them to pretty much any filmstrip – Jesus? Charles Manson? Fine.
So, to all my old teachers – no hard feelings, ok?
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
While it would have been a contender for Worst Post of the Year, I’m excited to report that Alice called me before I could finish my diatribe.
She’s getting a beagle puppy. Or maybe two.
I’m so very, very excited. Alice is one of my dearest friends and in need of a bit of change in her life. And what better change is there than welcoming a furball who loves you unconditionally?
Hi, I’m a crazy dog lady.
So, bully for Alice. And that lucky little dog or dogs who will soon claim her.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Keep in mind that I still haven’t figured out what my new life goal will be now that I’ve gotten that mechanical bull off my back. But I did a few things this weekend that rank right up there.
First of all, I went ice skating.
Big deal, right? Uh, yeah, it’s a big deal. Because, umm … I never learned how to roller skate. As a third grader, I was cool at the skating rink because I knew all the words to Weird Al’s “Eat it.” But I never actually, you know, skated. I put on the skates and then I sat on the bench. And since no one ever asked me to moonlight skate, well, it wasn’t a problem.
I hated the skating rink.
Anyway, in college, my blessed roommate attempted to take me under her wing and teach me how to skate. At a sorority/fraternity get together lovingly known as a “rollerkegger.”
As you might imagine, this was not the ideal time nor place to learn how to skate. Dear roomie had a full-body bruise to show for her philanthropic efforts.
So, cut to me being an adult and dating Mr. Wonderful. Mr. Wonderful grew up in Michigan. Where they have Winter with a capital W. And they have ponds. And evidently, everyone there just inherently knows how to ski and skate.
Mr. Wonderful thought it would be a romantic outing to go ice skating after a nice dinner.
I expressed my terror. And then I drank half a bottle of wine. And then we went to the ice terrace. (Notice how “ice terrace” is very similar to “ice terror.” Coincidence? I say no.)
He rented us skates. He put my skates on me. He put his skates on him. I sat in wonder of the multitude of little kids and teenagers around me who were all adept at walking on their skates. I was too scared to contemplate walking on the skates on actual, you know, ice.
We walked out to the rink in time to enjoy the Zamboni. That part was cool. The holding on to the railing while watching the Zamboni was also cool.
And then the Zamboni was done. The ice was shiny like a dagger just waiting for blood.
Mr. Wonderful promised I could hold his hand and hold the railing with the other. I wanted to barf.
We made it out onto the ice. After approximately two feet – and I’m not even exaggerating here – Mr. Wonderful, big stinking lying liar – told me it was time to let go of the railing. And then he pulled me away from it.
I held on to his hand with a death grip as gazillions of happy people whizzed past us. I had a stride of about two inches, but I didn’t fall down. And, strangely, Mr. Wonderful, the devil incarnate, looked really cute in his stocking cap.
I noticed another woman who was obviously skating for the first time. I felt bad that she was obviously about 10 years younger than me, but I immediately adopted her as my BFF.
It was maybe 30 degrees and I was sweating from nervousness (see a trend here?). But when Mr. Wonderful asked if I wanted to go around once more or call it a day, I wanted to go around again. And then again after that.
And I didn’t even fall down.
Strangely, I want to go back. Which is a little bit weird. I feel like I cheated death once and I should be glad for that and not chance it again.
But, maybe I’m all about new life experiences right now. Two nights after the ice skating triumph, Mr. Wonderful took me to a hard rock concert. Like, where the bands spit on the audience.
Because I’m 92 years old, I thought, “Now, that’s not at all hygienic.” But it was fun. And, even though I have a minor in women’s studies, I found myself laughing to a song called “She loves my c**k.”
I know. I’ve obviously lost my mind.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Do I just sign my name? Or do I include a brief note of my doings?
And how do I sign it? Stay sweet? Have a great summer? Oh, no, wait – that’s yearbooks. Definitely a little different than Christmas cards.
I love receiving Christmas cards because it makes me feel so very rich. I have so many amazing people in my life, and I truly love hearing from them. I love the photos of the kids and dogs and sunburned summer vacations.
Right now, the front runner for favorite card is from my friend who writes a hilarious newsletter about her family’s goings-on. She actually included a note about how their minivan window was smashed because some thug thought the diaper bag was a purse. She noted – in her Christmas letter – that her only regret was that the bag didn’t contain a poopy diaper. Best Christmas letter ever.
But so many Christmas letters are just so over the top and wrong. My parents get a letter every year that I make a point to dig out and read. It’s always full of exciting news about prestigious awards won, perfect grandchildren coddled, and trips to Gstaad. And, this close family member consistently misspells my mom’s first name. Klassy.
Then there are the cards that try so hard to make it sound like everything’s beyond perfect that they are desperate in their tone and so brittle that the paper practically cracks under the pressure. Those disgust me, but mostly they make me sad.
So, I took a stab at a Christmas letter from Casa de Cha Cha. Is it too much?
Happy holidays from the Cha Chas! Our holiday promises to be much more aware, culturally sensitive and smugly joyous than yours.
Geriatric Poodle is his usual adorable, young-for-his-age self. Foxie Doxie is actively pursuing his personal jihad against bunnies, squirrels, and all woodland creatures. I couldn’t be prouder of their many accomplishments. Both have been parasite free all year.
I continue to be fabulous. Adding to my fabulousity this year are a handsome, attentive new beau, a pair of gigantic new knockers and a startling lack of shirts that actually fit my bosoms.
Oh, and I remodeled the kitchen. Yes, of course that’s real granite.
From our sprawling house to your sad little shack, here’s wishing you a joyous holiday season. And thanks for understanding why I don’t return your calls anymore.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I think this means I’ve really, really moved on.
Three years ago, I moved out of my cute 1920s bungalow. I left behind half of my stuff and a bad relationship. I moved into a tiny apartment. I cried the entire time.
When I decided to move, I had $25.35 to my name.
But I was wealthy in the really important ways. I had so many wonderful friends who went out of their way to help me in ways that I didn’t even know how to ask.
One of those friends took me out for drinks one cold January night. We sat in a booth and made fun of a girl in zebra-striped pants in a smoky bar. It was one of the first times I remembered really, really laughing in forever.
We made plans for white trash pub crawls. And right then and there, I decided I needed to ride a mechanical bull.
While we have visited our share of white trash bars – bars of the people, if you will – we’ve not yet visited an establishment with a mechanical bull. But the allure of the electric rodeo will not be denied.
Riding a bull has been in the back of my mind for lo these three long years. Some people want to run a marathon or visit every state. I just want to sit upon and then get thrown from a bucking mechanical contraption that’s supposed to represent a sexually frustrated mammal.
It’s good to have goals.
So, I had completely forgotten about the anniversary of my big move. I was busy doing Stuff. Take, for instance, yesterday.
Yesterday, my department at Corporate Behemoth had our holiday outing. We went to a steakhouse. We drank. We rode the mechanical bull.
I was totally game. And then I chickened out. And then I just up and did it.
I rode a mechanical bull in front of all my coworkers. I was sweating profusely, and I’m sure they saw sweat when I raised my arm a la Urban Cowboy. It seemed like I was on the bull for about two weeks, but actually, it was maybe five seconds because maybe the guy felt sorry for me and didn’t make it buck me immediately.
But, I rode a mechanical bull. My entire body hurts, I have a weird bruise on the inside of my thigh, and my hand is bruised all to hell. But here’s the thing:
I did it.
Just like how I went from $25.35 to owning my own home. Just like how I went from completely destroyed to forgetting about it.
It wasn’t pretty. But it’s done. And now I need a new life goal.
And if anyone suggests marathon, I’m giving you a roundhouse kick to the skull.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I know what you’re thinking. You can’t buy shoes for other people for Christmas.
And you’re right. We didn’t. Between the two of us and our four size 6 ½ feet, we bought six pairs of shoes. For ourselves.
I would like to mention that most of the shoes were on sale. And, I had a coupon. And only two of those six pairs of shoes were mine. And, I put not two but three pairs of shoes in my Goodwill pile when I got home, so I’m actually down a pair of shoes.
I fell in love with a pair Franco Sartos. How could I not feel sassy and classy in subtle, coppery goodness that looks dynamite with a pair of jeans or dress pants? Indeed, I could not.
Until a full day of wearing them. My dogs were barking. And howling. And begging for the sweet release of death.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ll totally wear them again. I’m marking this one up to breaking them in. Work with me here.
I didn’t want to risk two bad new shoe days in a row, so I wore some favorite standbys yesterday. And today, I pulled out these new Skechers.
The other day, Mr. Wonderful’s daughter was sitting on the kitchen counter, dangling her 4-year-old feet. She started kicking the air and proclaimed, “Look! My feet are having a party!”
That’s the way I feel today. A 4-year-old trapped in a corporate drone’s body.
Monday, December 3, 2007
The BCS bowl selection show made me cry hot, steamy tears. My team got the shaft. We didn’t get a BCS bowl, but two teams that we beat did. We were ranked higher than four teams who got BCS bowls.
Now, crying because you went 11-2 and are going to the Cotton Bowl is absolutely ridiculous. Ree-deeeeck-you-luss! But I’m overcome by the sense of it just not being fair. I feel like a kid trying to make sense of one of the world’s great injustices.
But the absolute worst? A girl at work whom I don’t even remotely like came up to my desk today for the sole purpose of taunting me and my team.
I told her that I wasn’t going to take that shit from her and she needed to step back.
Because she has zero social skills, she thought I was kidding. I've got your school spirit right here, sweetheart.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Today's an almost-not-quite, as I'm getting up at the crack of dawn to drive three hours to go Christmas shopping with my mom. I'm so excited - we're getting a hotel room and everything. I imagine we will spend at least two hours in Target. And she told me, "I don't really care what we do, but I'm bringing a bottle of wine."
I love my mama.
So, I don't care to get up 20 minutes before the crack of dawn to post before heading out the door, so this late-evening post will suffice.
What I've learned from NaPoBloMo:
1. You've got to produce lots of gunk to produce a few things that are good.
2. The hassle of #1 is totally worth it, and if you're lucky, your gunk to good ratio improves as you go.
3. Writing is something that I need to do to be me. I've tried to deny this, but let's be honest: I am at my best - and my most creatively lubricated, if you will - when I create for myself on a regular basis. I feel more limber and relaxed.
4. Having a partner who is supportive of your creative endeavors to the point of lugging his laptop home for you every night and telling you to take your time is an absolutely priceless gift.
5. Everybody loves Journey.
I will definitely be posting much more that I was before NaBloPoMo, although I doubt I'll drive to a Panera parking lot to steal wireless signal to do it. And I feel better able to share more of myself. Perhaps I'll even post a picture of my short haircut, per Mrs. G.'s request. You just never know.
I *heart* Journey.
I *heart* any video with gratuitous use of an empty warehouse.
I *heart* songs that involve making a fist as a form of enhancing your vocal stylings.
C'mon - what's not to love?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Today is sooooo that day.
It’s 5:25 and I’ve put in a long and frustrating day. And any normal human would know that it’s now time to go home and continue the good fight in the morning.
But it just occurred to me that I don’t want to go home.
I have book club tonight, but it doesn’t start until 7. If I go home now, I’ll be faced with an hour of having to entertain myself, all alone, in my house. Just like every evening pre-Mr. Wonderful.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like some alone time. It’s not like I’m filled with such self-loathing that I can’t stand to be alone. I’m actually pretty entertaining. And I’m not some freak in need of Ritalin who needs constant entertainment. Dance for me, boy, dance!
No. It’s that sitting alone on my couch in a dark house makes me think of this time last year, when I purposely worked late every night because I was too scared to actually, you know, have a life. Working to the point of exhaustion was so much easier. And socially acceptable.
Mr. Wonderful is a wide-open book. He’s the most emotionally available person I think I’ve ever met. Mostly, this is good. Sometimes, I think, “You’re such a girl. WTF?” But mostly it pushes me to open up the dark little creases and crevices that had started to form in my slightly under-inflated heart.
As our courtship started to get more serious, I worried that I was literally incapable of matching him – his ability to communicate about his feelings and to give a shit. I had turned very much inward, and while it was great fun to be challenged by a handsome smartass, it was quite another thing to truly let him in.
I didn’t know if I could do it. I knew I wanted to. But finally, the idea of not being able to let him in was way scarier than actually letting him in.
I still have moments of stretching, but like a yoga class, it’s all good in the end.
And if I can accept his crimson and blue heritage into my black-and-gold, ranked-number-one heart, surely that means something, right?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Ice cream. Lots of ice cream. Every night.
There are never fewer than six varieties in his freezer. And while some suitors would bring over a bottle of wine when coming to call, Mr. Wonderful regularly shows up on my doorstep with two containers of Breyer's.
Hell yeah. That's my man.
Now, he is sort of a freak about it all. He pours milk into his ice cream and then stirs it all up until it's the consistency of soft serve. However, he hates soft serve.
Umm ... ok?
And his favorite ice cream receptacle is a Gladware plastic container.
He's making us ice cream as I write. Sadly, there were brownies left over from this weekend's tailgating. Brownies that, when heated, work nicely with mint chocolate chip ice cream to create a gooey nirvana.
You understand why this post is short, right?
I think it's the fact that I'm still fighting the remnants of The Cold of Death. And somehow, I have poison ivy on my face. Again. And now, Mr. Wonderful has a sinus infection that caused him to keep talking in his sleep.
"I feel soooooo baaaaaad."
"I love you. I'm so sick!"
I sort of like the last one, as it at least tries to pretend that he's not waking me up just so he can complain. And I'm a horrible sick person, so I really have no room to talk. He never made fun of me the whole time I was sick. So, basically, I'm a horrible girlfriend. But at least it gives me something to blog about.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Pooh on me for waiting a bit too long to get him a haircut. But at least the extra three inches (ok, I jest) of hair kept him warm. It also allowed him to keep it real, as his rapper name is Lil Fluff.
When I picked him up from the groomer's, there were a few little girls there. They oohed and ahhed over Geriatric Poodle, and their mom said, "Oh, look! He's old."
And part of me sort of died. This dog and I have been through so much. He has to live forever. And that's just all there is to it.
So, now he's cold, so he's wearing his little grey sweatshirt with the navy sleeves. It's pretty damn cute. And he's also staying young.
Lil Fluff has discovered the Sit 'n' Spin.
Remember those plastic disks from when we were little? There was a handle in the middle of it, and you sit on it, and it spins? Hence the name?
Mr. Wonderful's daughter has one, and Geriatric Poodle has discovered it. He likes to walk on it, and it spins and sends him flying across the room, or it makes him do the splits.
I must say, it's damn funny.
So, we're respecting the elderly and embracing our inner children. It's all good.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Yes. There are only two-story buildings. This never occurred to me.
And it is mostly blue collar. Again, this didn’t occur to me, either. It was a given that I was going to college. But it was also a given and a non-issue that many of my classmates would go right to the farm or the foundry. No fuss about it – that’s just the deal.
On the country radio station in town, they read obituaries at 6 a.m. and noon. Trust me: when your clock radio goes off to a dark, cold Iowa winter morning and the first thing you hear is an obituary, it’s hard to get out of bed.
I could walk downtown. And the air has never smelled as sweet as those first warm spring days when the teachers make recess extra long. I’ve never seen a sky as clear as the view from my parents’ backyard.
But, like Sara, I knew I wouldn’t stay there. I make fun of my hometown, but will come to blows with an outsider who dares to do the same. And I doubt that I’ll ever move back.
Maybe we left because somewhere along the way, we were lured by the ideas of More and Different.
Our families traveled. Like visiting? What would it be like to live there?
We read a lot of books. For a while, I fantasized about living in a boxcar, thanks to The Boxcar Children. I was in second grade and couldn’t fathom anything more glamorous.
And, we imagined. Which is a nice way to say we were suckered into small town Iowa community theatre. And we both wore body makeup in fifth grade to portray Siamese princesses in The King & I.
And because I have no shame, and because I’m feeling charitable, here’s some photographic proof.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I miss being away from my parents and brother today, but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, and I'm happy.
As I sat at the table, waiting for grace to be said, I thought of the countless dinners my grandpa presided over and the blessing he always said. I'd forgotten about it until a few months ago. Now, I find it running through my mind at the most random times.
Thank you for this day
And for the privilege of being together.
Bless this food to the use of our bodies
And us to thy service.
In Jesus' name,
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It's crazybusytime at Corporate Behemoth. I'm working like a dog, but I'm somewhat mellow.
That's right. I'm mellow.
So mellow, in fact, that I'm taking a day off to drive three hours to go Christmas shopping with my mom. Because what's the point of working my tail off if I don't ever do anything outrageous?
We have it all scheduled for next week. We both agreed that we don't even care what we do - it will just be fun to hang out.
And now, it's 4:42, the afternoon before Thanksgiving. I've been the only one left in the office for the better part of an hour. And now, I'm going to go home.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Things that pleased me today:
Talking to my Lunch Crush and his helper about the big game this weekend. Lunch Crush's wife won tickets to her company's suite and they are very excited. This pleases me, as Lunch Crush deserves random happiness. Yay for Lunch Crush and karma!
My latest book on CD. I've been spending a lot of time in the car lately, and I've enjoyed every second of it, thanks to Uncle Garrison. I'm listening to Garrison Keillor read his latest novel, Pontoon. It's like an extended News From Lake Wobegon from his radio show. I love his voice, so soothing and honest. And of course, I'm a sucker for unsentimental stories from a small town.
Foxie Doxie and Geriatric Poodle. The kids seem to know that it's the season for being thankful. And don't you dare suggest that I'm anthropomorphizing, here, either. Geriatric Poodle jumps around like a puppy every time he comes out of his kennel. And Foxie Doxie just looks so pleased lately, like the human has finally succumbed to his will. This pleases me.
The miracle of not-so-modern pharmaceuticals. Thanks to the cheap, store-brand versions of NyQuil, Robitussin and Pepto-Bismol, I'm starting to feel human again. And, I got the added bonus of arguing with Mr. Wonderful about NyQuil. He was certain that Alka-Seltzer was the sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy-head-fever-so-you-can-rest medicine. Not that I'm mocking him in a public forum, but this was one of the few highlights of my recent Cold of Death.
My new haircut. Same style, but since it's shortshortshort and my hair grows approximately 27 inches every month, I need a cut every four weeks. I always feel refreshed and youthful after a trim. Very satisfying.
Chatting with newly-discovered sarcastic coworker. He seemed normal. And then I realized that he wasn't - he was one of us. Most excellent. Another reason not to jump off the roof of Corporate Behemoth.
Monday, November 19, 2007
So, like, there are some U2 songs that make me cry.
My grandma died five and a half years ago, which seems impossible. I think about her everyday. I was lucky enough to grow up five minutes from my grandparents' house, and my brother and I spent so much time there. It wasn't perfect - they bickered, my brother and I often wanted to be somewhere else as we got older - but all the imperfect stuff falls away.
I remember witnessing my grandpa sneaking a macaroon out of the cookie jar at about 4:30, knowing that my grandma would be furious if she caught him. That cookie jar is now on my kitchen counter, and it always makes me think about that first realization that grown-ups could be naughty, too.
I remember hulling strawberries with my grandma, watching as she sliced them with a silver knife, plopping them in a green FireKing dish and covering them with sugar.
My grandma taught us every card game under the sun. One of my greatest joys is the discovery that Mr. Wonderful loves games, too, and that I inherited my grandma's sweet ability to kick the shit out of an opponent with absolutely no remorse. She played to win, even against a 5-year-old, and I respect that. All of us grandkids used to gang up on her in Uno - so much so that we renamed it Beat Grandma. She still won, but all of her grandkids are card sharks with a proud heritage.
Grandma died on a Friday night, the week before my brother was set to go to Wales for a semester. The funeral was Wednesday, and he flew out Thursday.
I told one of the church ladies who prepared the funeral luncheon that it was almost like she knew what she was doing. The church lady, who also happened to my 7th grade algebra teacher, looked me square in the eye and said, "Your grandma always knew what she was doing."
We knew that she was holding on for all of us - for the boy she'd been married to for 69 years, for the son who got stranded in the Denver airport and got to the hospital an hour too late. I think letting go was really difficult because she loved us all so much. But I believe in my heart of hearts that the last thing she heard was laughter.
My mom was fanning her, and my brother and I sat with our grandpa. My aunt, dad and cousin were in the hall.
I got my brother to tell grandpa about his trip preparations. My parents' dog is a bit of an ass, and he gets really bent out of shape when luggage comes out. He hates being left behind.
When my brother got his suitcase out to pack for Wales, the dog went ape. So, my brother made a big show of "Oh, I changed my mind! I'm putting the suitcase away!" And the dog was pleased.
The suitcase came out again later under the cover of a giant blanket, but the dog was clueless and happy. My grandpa gave his deep belly laugh that could fill a room - he threw his head back, it was glorious, really - and that's when the machines started making noise.
I'd never been present when someone left this world, and it's something I'll never forget as long as I live. It was very quiet, and still.
It has taken me a long time to move past the actual moment, the machines, the guttural noise my dad made, the flurry of activity after. It's taken me a while to let the imperfect stuff fall away.
But I still love this song, in spite of and because of how I associate it to that time. Stay safe tonight.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
A few recent cold evenings have made all of the leaves in my very wooded neighborhood drop with a giant thud. One afternoon, the sidewalks are totally clear. The next morning, you can't even tell there's a sidewalk, or even a driveway. Leaves, leaves, everywhere.
I love it. And today was a brisk fall day perfect for raking. I saw families raking, little kids eager to help mom. Teenagers going after leaves, trying to pretend that it isn't fun. And lots of men doing battle against errant leaves - some with rakes, and others not putting up with any shit, leaf blowers in hand.
My favorite was a man in a suit, leaf blower in hand. I was stopped at a light and I thought, "That man has lost his mind!" Then I realized that the house had an open house sign in the yard. He was the realtor. The realtor in a down market, desperate to have a good showing.
It made me think of Annette Benning's character in American Beauty, stripping to her slip and cleaning like a woman possessed before showing a dated and unappealing - though clean - property.
But the man in the suit with the leaf blower? Well, at least he had a demonic look in his eye that admitted that yes, leaf blowing is darn good fun.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
After two days of laying about in my pale green pajamas, I'm going to get dressed and leave my house. It's been approximately 45 minutes since I last hacked something nasty into a kleenex and tried to pretend that I was being ladylike about it.
I'm going to meet Mr. Wonderful and his daughter for dinner. It's our six-month anniversary. And I'm just immature enough to celebrate things like six-month dating anniversaries.
For our four-month dating anniversary, I made a cake with canned frosting that was so sweet that neither one of us could eat an entire slice. It was a disgusting way to show my appreciation.
I think that hacking up all over myself and my pockets full of tissue in a public place will also qualify as a disgusting way to show my appreciation. At least I'm consistent?
Really, at least I'm clothed. Trust me - the green pajamas? Starting to get a bit ripe.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I took a sick day today. The entire day. I slept until 10:30, then spent the rest of the day camped out on the couch. I don't think I ever got around to brushing my teeth, which I am not proud of, but it's ok.
I'm hacking like a TB patient. I now have what could be termed "a productive cough." I talked to my mom and she was all, "Honey, that's great! That means your body is getting rid of the bad stuff!"
Is it wrong the the gunk I cough up interests me just a teensy bit?
Mr. Wonderful has been a great caregiver and has shown that he still has that special flair for knocking my socks off. The first time he ever came over to my house - on our third date - I had poison ivy on my face, which my dogs had so graciously shared by rubbing up against me.
Mr. Wonderful ran to Wal-Mart, bought some toxic chemicals and then sprayed the yard. And then he kissed me.
When I got a flat tire, Mr. Wonderful took my car and bought me tires.
And now that I'm sicker than a dog?
Mr. Wonderful bought me chicken noodle soup. He heated it up. And, because he knows that canned meat of any sort heebs me out, he picked all the chicken out of the soup.
Every last piece.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
And to celebrate that, I want a set of those markers that we had as kids - you know, the ones that smell like the color. The orange one smelled like orange and the blue one smelled like blueberry.
I distinctly remember the day in kindergarten when we had been deemed responsible enough to color with markers. And one of my tablemates turned to me ... with a giant blue marker spot on the tip of her nose.
But mostly, what I want for Christmas is not to feel like death on a stick. Perhaps magic markers would help with that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I'm talking about the hectic, why-do-I-do-this-every-year time at Corporate Behemoth. Ah, Sweet November, the month when corporate panic coincides with that first rash of late fall colds and flu.
I always get a cold in November. Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner to not sound appetizing and to taste like cardboard.
I promised I wouldn't get a cold this year. I take enough vitamins (under a doctor's care, thank you) to nourish a village that has no food. I figured mind over matter.
And yet? And yet, it's 7:14 p.m., I'm going on hour 12 of work today, and I have a fever because my cold is morphing into something ugly.
Hurray for November!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Last night, Mr. Wonderful and I watched one of the classics of American cinema: Roadhouse.
This gem stars Patrick Swayze as Dalton, a cooler hired to clean up a rowdy bar in a Missouri town that’s run by an evil rich dude.
And that’s basically it. Yes, I’m happy to answer your questions about Roadhouse:
A cooler isn’t a bouncer. He’s the mastermind behind the bouncing philosophy. In fact, Dalton has a PhD in philosophy from NYU. He also does tai chi, so you know he’s deep.
The evil rich dude is evil. And rich. And he has lots of buff goons who try to kill Dalton for no apparent reason other than to show off their late 80s feathered hair.
Evidently, Missouri is very, very dusty. And there are mountains. Methinks Roadhouse was filmed outside of LA, but whatevs.
Mr. Wonderful and I watched as Dalton beat the crap out of people and the thin plot basically disappeared into vapor. We then developed a fun game.
Dalton versus Darth Vader?
Which led to …
Dalton versus Yoda?
Which led to …
Yoda versus Jesus?
You can see where this is going. Basically, we determined that Yoda and Jesus are the supreme beings and could never fight each other. Clint Eastwood and Rocky Balboa would try to kick Dalton’s ass but would be unsuccessful against his significant tai chi mastery. And Dalton and Chuck Norris would be BFF.
Because, really? Who doesn’t want to be Chuck Norris’ BFF? He’s totally got your back.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Yes, I was shacking up with him this weekend. No, I'm not a shameless hussy. Yes, I will mind if you tell my mother. No, she wouldn't be shocked. But yes, I'd like to avoid the conversation altogether.
Mr. Wonderful has a sweet wireless card on his work laptop and therefore has no need for an Internet connection at his house. Yesterday, his work laptop was at his office. So, I drafted my blog post on my sad little laptop with no wireless card and set out in search of a little conductivity.
First up: Starbucks. One overpriced tall decaf house blend and I discover that no, their wireless doesn't have a password ... but it requires you to have a T Mobile account. Uh, next?
Then I drove to McDonald's. In a move of stunning brilliance, I ask about the wireless before purchasing my second cup of coffee in 10 minutes. Mac Shack has wireless ... but it's five bucks. Seriously? Yes. The manager with the molester 'stache suggests I try Panera.
So, third time's a charm, right? I drive to Panera. And by this point, I'm plenty pissed off. Panera has a little bit of signal creep, so I access their signal from the parking lot. The question of ordering a cup of coffee is, mercifully, moot.
I connect. Life is glorious. Except ... Panera filters out all Blogger content. I can't open blogger.com. I can't even get to the sign-in link at the top of my own blog screen.
So, I posted yesterday's post when I got into the office today. And if anybody says I'm no longer on the NaBloPoMo wagon? I will share this here tale of my dedication to blogging.
And then? And then I'll kick them in the skull.
In fact, my mom’s avocado green crockpot is one of two items that my brother has said he wants from my parents’ estate. No furniture, no cars, nothing like that. He wants a quilt and the crockpot.
I found an identical avocado green crockpot at an auction last summer. I stood guard over it and bought it for one whole dollar, fully intending to give it to my brother – not so much to be kind, but to get him off of the idea of getting our mom’s.
Sadly, he had absolutely no interest in the pseudo crockpot. He only wants the real deal. Maybe this Christmas I’ll wrap up the pseudo crockpot and plop a tag on it like it’s from our mom. Then the real crock pot will be mine, all mine!
I know. Siblings fighting over a crockpot is pretty much a sure sign that somewhere in my lineage, somebody appeared on Cops. Without a shirt.
Trashy or no, I do still enjoy some of the finer things in life. This is one of my favorite poems of all time. I have it permanently bookmarked in a collection of ars poetica with a photo of me with David Cassidy, circa 1992. I can think of no greater compliment to a poem.
The Poem You Asked For
My poem would eat nothing.
I tried giving it water
but it said no,
Day after day,
I held it up to the light,
turning it over,
but it only pressed its lips
more tightly together.
It grew sullen, like a toad
through with being teased.
I offered it money,
my clothes, my car with a full tank.
But the poem stared at the floor.
Finally I cupped it in
my hands, and carried it gently
out into the soft air, into the
evening traffic, wondering how
to end things between us.
For now it had begun breathing,
putting on more and
more hard rings of flesh.
And the poem demanded the food,
it drank up all the water,
beat me and took my money,
tore the faded clothes
off my back,
and walked slowly away,
slicking its hair down.
Said it was going
over to your place.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I got rid of a lot of her junk, but once I got to the messy stage of moving, the garage became my personal dumping ground. Dunno where to stash that box of dog stuff mixed in with photo albums? Why, the garage is a perfect place!
Soon, the garage consisted of a pathway around my crap. Meanwhile, my Honda sat in the driveway. And wept.
Mr. Wonderful challenged me to get my car in the garage by November 1. I hated him openly for this, but took him up on the challenge.
A few weeks ago, I cleaned out all the crap - including moving a sweet 1930s love seat that I picked up at a garage sale for a mere $20 - which included delivery, thank you. The love seat is now in the laundry room. The random crates and a desk top that were left by the previous owner were configured into an exciting new garage storage solution. All that was left was some random shit - like seven bags of stuff and two microwaves to go to Goodwill.
Well, I dropped the stuff off at Goodwill last week. And today, Mr. Wonderful helped me move the last of the random shit. And then?
And then, I pulled my car into the garage.
The angels sang. My parents probably felt the sudden urge to weep and didn't know why. Foxie Doxie and Geriatric Poodle were very impressed.
It's a tight squeeze, and thanks to Mr. Wonderful, I now have one of those old lady tennis ball contraptions to tell me when to fucking brake already. But the car? She is in. And the world is my oyster.
Friday, November 9, 2007
You love it, don’t you?
I’m sure I will make exactly zero dollars from this Bold and Daring Experiment, but it has brought me hours and hours of enjoyment.
When I flew into a blind rage over hearing Christmas music on November 1, our friends at Google provided me with days and days of ads for Christmas music. Thanks, Google! You’re swell!
Now, after my tale of discovering that my boobs – unlike the rest of my petite frame – could shop at the Hefty Hideaway, I now have a new Google ad friend.
Plus Size Playtex Bras.
The Internets have discovered that I’m one of their big-boobed brethren.
I wonder if Blogher has a special section of blogs for and by otherwise petite women who – through no plastic surgery – lug around giant tatas. It's important that our voices are heard.
Surely we are a group that warrants our own presidential debate, don’t you think? I mean, which candidate best understands and represents the needs and concerns of the short, not big-boned but big-chested 30-something woman?
It’s probably Dennis Kucinich.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I have been flexible. I haven’t been hiding in the ladies’ room. Much.
In the past, I’ve had a balanced, focused view of my stressful job situation until about Wednesday. Wednesday was typically the day the shit hit the fan. The last week or two, this hasn’t been an issue, as I have been channeling my inner saint.
Saint Cha Cha evidently went out for a smoke break and never came back. There are now cracks in my shiny, nonplussed veneer. I’m starting to stress. Just a teensy bit. But instead of leaving meetings to go cry in the ladies’, I’m sitting in meetings and making the decision whether or not to get upset.
Let’s just put it this way: I am still kind to children and animals. But if you work in IT at Corporate Behemoth, you might want to stay out of the crosswalk if you see me behind the wheel. Like I said, I’m no saint.
Do I still qualify as balanced if I spend the evening wrapped up in blanket on my couch because I can’t muster the strength to do anything else? Is that still, like, emotionally healthy and shit?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Sometimes, it’s that crappy frozen California medley. Other days, you hit the jackpot and its collard greens made with ham drippings. That’s still healthy because it’s a veggie, right?
Lunch Crush is always smiling, even at grouchy corporate drones. How these people cannot smile at him is beyond my comprehension. It’s contagious. And he always hands you your plate with a smile and “Enjoy your meal, and come back and see me!”
Today, I asked him how he was doing. He smiled and responded, “Blessed!”
Oh, Lunch Crush. Bless you. And keep making those greens. It was totally worth it the day I walked around all afternoon with a big green thing in my teeth.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Heading out to the parking garage at Corporate Behemoth, I was squished in an elevator with approximately 47 other people. Not cool. But then I realized: I ride an elevator a minimum of four times a day. Minimum.
Growing up, there were exactly two elevators in my hometown. One was in the bank (booring!) and the other was in the department store (thrilling!).
When my mom had errands to run, she would bribe me by saying that if I was a good girl, we could ride the elevator when we were done. Of course, I got to push the buttons. This was a thrill beyond all thrills.
I remember the department store as being quite large and cosmopolitan. Of course, I now see that it was tiny. And as an adult, I would be claustrophobic in the elevator all alone. But as a three-year-old toting along an old purse of my mother's that I had crammed full of poker chips and Old Maid cards? Well, it was uptown nirvana.
If it was a really big outing, we'd head to the hotel restaurant and have cottage cheese. They served it with an ice cream scoop, so it came in a perfect little mound.
I'm not 80 years old. I just grew up in a small town where we only had to dial five numbers instead of seven until I was in high school. I think I was lucky to grow up in that environment, although I always knew I wasn't meant to stay there. Good thing - my hometown is much different now.
When I was on the elevator today, I felt a jolt of excitement.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Finally, I just experienced a dramatic surge of hormones.
Bon Jovi tickets go on sale this Saturday.
My inner eighth-grade girl is absolutely sick with anticipation. I just walked down the hall at Corporate Behemoth to get some tea, and en route to the break room I actually caught myself thinking, “OMG! What will I wear to the concert?”
Seriously. I am So. Excited.
In my mind, it will be 1988. Only I won’t have glasses and braces. And my hair will be permed, but not the nightmare perm I sported. No, I will sport Dream Perm, with bangs that are big but not too big. And my dreamy, mulleted boyfriend will pick me up in his Camaro. He’ll lift me up on his shoulders during the show, so Bon Jovi himself can see my Dream Perm, concert t-shirt and stone-washed jeans. And I’ll probably end up being in a Bon Jovi concert video, which I will surely list on my resume until I retire.
As an eighth-grade girl, that’s what I imagined teenaged nirvana to be like. As a 32-year-old woman, I’m embarrassed to say that it still doesn’t sound half bad.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
This year's extra hour is especially welcome since my brother is visiting. Ok, well, crashing is more like it. We hung out yesterday, and then he got up at 3:30 this morning (yes, I said it: 3:30 AM!) to drive to and compete in a rowing event.
Yes, I am related to a jock. No, I don't know how it happened, either.
I woke up to my alarm at 3:30, heard him already in the bathroom, and figured I'd roll out of bed to wish him good luck. Except the next time I rolled over, I heard the key in the lock and he was off. Yeah, I'm totally a supportive sibling.
So, I woke up again around 9 to find the fall sunlight dancing across my bedroom wall in a most pleasing way. My bed felt squishy and warm and wonderful. All was right with the world.
I thought about the hand lotion I'd bought last night (don't ask - I don't know why, either) and how I used to work at that store two - no, it was three! - years ago. Three years ago when I was convinced that I had ruined my life irreparably. Three years ago when I was struggling to make my way as a freelance writer, struggling to keep a shitty relationship together, and struggling to keep my pants up as I continued to drop weight for no apparent reason.
Ah, good times.
I was a broken little bird who moved out of my cozy house with the arts and crafts tiled fireplace into a shitty apartment with noisy, lotsa-sex-havin' neighbors. I cried for an entire month.
And then, it started to get a teensy bit better.
If I close my eyes, I can still feel the raw sense of having all of my skin peeled off my body. There was no hiding - I was in a world of hurt. But now? Now, I have to close my eyes and remember hard to get the feeling. Now, it's not an ongoing reality, but a point for gauging movement.
Now, I'm in love with a wonderful man who is in love with me. I want to marry him and he wants to marry me right back.
Now, I'm successful in my chosen field and I own my own home.
Now, I've gained back the weight and then some ... but I have a boobtacular rack to show for it.
So, really, three years ago seems like a minor lifetime ago.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Yeah, I know.
I asked my mom about her plans.
"Well, I went online and ordered my secret family recipe stuffing and gravy from Williams Sonoma. You know, the usual."
I hope she doesn't mind me giving away the secret family recipe right here, for all the Internets to see.
Mr. Wonderful has his daughter on Thanksgiving, which also happens to be his mom's 60th birthday. My work has a huge deadline the week after Turkey Day. Last year, I drove four hours to my folks' house for Thanksgiving, only to sleep the entire time I was there.
Yes, I'm totally Daughter of Shame. You can see where this is going.
My sainted mother's response?
"I have spent too many holidays making appearances at places where I didn't want to be to impose those sort of expectations on you."
I felt like I lost 20 pounds.
"Now, Christmas is another story."
Excellent. I was afraid aliens had taken over my mom's body, but the last joking/serious comment told me not to worry. Excellent.
Friday, November 2, 2007
I took my shabby-bra-ed self down to Nordstrom last night. This store both intimidates and thrills me. I love it, yet I never buy anything there because it’s a little more expensive than, say, Marshall’s. But I knew that desperate times call for desperate measures. So, I marched up to the cute woman in the lingerie section and told her I needed to be measured.
Her response? “Oh, good! I’m bored.”
Having worked retail, I totally respect that.
Lingerie girl and I then spent a very intimate 40 minutes wrangling my cleavage into various and sundry brassieres. And guess what?
I was wearing the totalllllly wrong size. Like, wrong band size. And super, super wrong cup size.
Let’s put it this way: pretend that my old bra was a size S. The two $70 (!!!) bras that I walked out with are both size XL.
I’m still in shock. Having been mocked by my friends and, oh yes, my family for being small-chested, I’m still not accustomed to the fact that sometime between ages 30 and 32, I finally hit puberty. Seriously. The fitting was a confirmation of what I sort of already knew, but DAMN!
I walked around all night asking Mr. Wonderful, “Have you seen these giant knockers? My boobs are HUGE! I mean, have you looked at these giant gazongas?”
And, of course, he’s all, “Uh, I’m a guy? They’re all I look at? Please don’t ask me to pick your face out of a line-up?”
So, I was feeling all sassy this morning because I’m wearing a new bra and for once my sweater doesn’t scream, “Lady! Cross your arms and get thee to a Vicky’s Secret, stat!” It’s Friday. I was feeling good.
And I had a very in-depth conversation with my boss about strategic planning and my department’s workload – you know, my department, of which I am the manager, like a grown-up. And at the end of the meeting, he said,
“Great. Thanks, kiddo.”
My chest swelled with indignation.
It took all of my inner reserve and strength not to say, “Haven’t you seen these enormous boobies? I’m sooo not a kid anymore!”
Thursday, November 1, 2007
But mostly, I’m excited about the challenge – especially since it hits at a super busy time at work. I started this blog as part of my Get a Life challenge, and if I can write for myself in the midst of work insanity, it will be further proof that I have, indeed, managed to patch together – and hold on to – a life outside of work.
So. We shall see.
Hopefully, I will be able to blog from prison, as I may be incarcerated for hurting a handful of radio executives. Because it’s November 1, and not one, but TWO radio stations in town have started playing non-stop Christmas music.
Christmas. The sale Halloween candy isn’t even down to the crappy stuff nobody likes yet and you’re stuffing Christmas music down our throats? Are you kidding?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love all kinds of music. And I love Christmas music. But I love it at Christmastime. Not the day after Halloween.
I love me some Perry Como and even The Chipmunks, because that’s what we listened to when I was growing up. Johnny Mathis’ Christmas album? I could probably sing it all, side A to the end of side B. Andy Williams? John Denver and the Muppets? Hell yeah.
However, I have a problem with the Christmas radio stations passing off shitty music by every random idiot with a recording contract as classic holiday fare. Happy holidays do not include anyone remotely associated with American Idol.
I have, however, found one album of, umm, “non-traditional” holiday tuneage that might be welcomed into the fold. Monster Ballads Christmas features such goodies as Nelson singing “Jingle Bell Rock” and Lita Ford teaming up with Twisted Sister for “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” And really, who doesn’t love a train wreck in a jewel case?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
BeneFest! was an exciting opportunity for all employees of Corporate Behemoth to grab free shit, such as magnetic clippie things from the 401(k) people. My favorite was a plastic card from the vision insurance people – you look through it and it’s like you have macular degeneration. Disturbing, yet strangely pleasing.
At BeneFest!, I also got a flu shot and had my finger pricked for glucose and cholesterol screening. This was my first cholesterol screening since my doctor sounded the “Sweet Jesus, your blood is actually butter!” alarm in March.
The months and months and months of fish oil, niacin and green tea have paid off. My cholesterol dropped 36 glorious points. I’m now in the high normal category.
I about started breakdancing in the middle of BeneFest!. It was glorious. I wish they had a Jenny Craig for cholesterol, because I could totally be the spokesmodel/Kirstie Alley wannabe.
In honor of my health breakthrough, I’m going to eat approximately 72 pounds of Halloween candy tonight. Diabetic coma? Don’t mind if I do!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Yes. He suggests that I think about all the stuff at Corporate Behemoth as the equivalent of helping a 4-year-old use the potty.
“If you pretended that everyone at work was a 4 year old that you were teaching to wipe from front to back, you would no longer stress out at the idiocy of work. You might be able to laugh at some of the situations you end up in and then no more stress.”
Obviously, CB is a wise sage. I’ve been thinking about this all day. And I met a situation that normally would have set my hair on fire with a “Hmm – my bad.” The potty thought is working!
I’m going to add a footer to my e-mail signature. “Helping you wipe front to back since 2005.” Because two years is a freaking long time to potty train.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Going to Disney with kids was fun – sort of like how Christmas is a totally different gig when there are young’uns around. Only a 6-year old girl would think it was totally worthwhile to stand in line for an hour to get Goofy’s autograph. I have to respect that.
This weekend was also a crash course in Stepmomming 101.
I adore Mr. Wonderful’s 4-year-old daughter. She’s a pretty low-maintenance, good-natured kid. But she’s 4. This means that at times she screamed because the sky was too blue or some such thing.
Sometimes, she wanted to hold my hand or swim only with me. Other times, she screamed because I looked at her. Again, she’s 4.
First of all, I highly recommend a weekend with an exhausted and over stimulated 4-year-old for any idealistic, moon-eyed person who romanticizes about having kids. I love this kid, yet I suddenly feel super vigilant about taking my pill at the exact time every day. Down to the minute, people.
I felt like an understudy. At today’s performance, the part of Charming Young Mother will be played by Cha Cha. Walk around Disney or through the airport with a cute 4-year-old holding your hand and people will assume you’re some sort of parental figure.
I found myself wondering if I was pulling it off, or if other parents could tell with one dismissive glance, “Oh, she’s sooo not that kid’s mom.”
I also found myself looking at other parents and realizing, “OMG, these people look like me.” For some reason, I could easily identify the drunken frat guy, despite the fact that he was carrying a princess backpack and was, regrettably, sober. And that mom with the three screaming kids? Weren’t we in Econ together? When did we get old enough to be responsible for kids?
Oh, right. The rest of the world didn’t lose their desire to procreate, didn’t drop it in the parking lot one day, never to be found again. That was just me. It never showed up in the lost and found.
Truth be told, the weekend was exhausting, physically and emotionally. And dealing with the realities of a child put a new spin on my interaction with Mr. Wonderful. He’s used to this; I’m not. Not that I’m against it, but it’s new. I hope he doesn’t confuse my trepidation and teensy sense of ohjesuswhathaveigottenmyselfinto with regret or the desire to run for the nearest exit. It’s just a lot to process.
If I didn't take it seriously, this would be cake. But I do take it seriously. So I'm thinking about it seriously.
I mean, when’s the last time you gave a tutorial on the finer points of wiping from front to back? Seriously. I think I’m entitled to be a little shell-shocked.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I hate it when my stress and neuroses get it on and don’t use protection. When will people learn?
I have a headache in the base of my skull. And I literally considered screaming at a coworker this afternoon. She totally deserved it. But this is not who I am.
At least I weighed the pros and cons of the screaming. I determined that I couldn’t do it without crying. Since my only cry is The Ugly Cry, this was not an option. I think I lose my ability to be an effective communicator when I’m blotchy and covered in mucus.
I need to be kind to myself and take a brief respite to rally the mental troops. I know this. But I’m so upset about being burned out that I can’t even accept it. A heavy workload and an uncomfortable social situation aren’t kryptonite – I should be fine. But I’m not.
I need a break. I need to sleep. I can’t respond to any more demands right now.
I’m going to be naughty. I’m leaving work 15 whole minutes early to go to the bookstore. David Bowie wrote “Rebel, rebel” about me. Obviously.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Ok, not really. Just sort of.
Ex-MW showed up, all high-pitched voice and mommy excitement. We shook hands and both said, “Nice to meet you.”
And then she knocked me down, pulled my hair and beat me to a bloody pulp.
Ok, not really. She sat on the floor and, for the next eight minutes, proceeded to show off her superior mommying abilities. She was very ENGAGED with her daughter, hearing all about her day. She was very animated and energetic with her child.
I literally ceased to exist.
Ok, not really. I sat on an ottoman and smiled. Engaged, yet invisible.
And then they packed up and left. The end.
So, for eight whole minutes, I managed not to do drugs, get drunk or strip. I guess I passed. Mr. Wonderful joked that I should have been all, “You guys? I’m really nervous, and I’m more comfortable when I’m topless. Mind if I take off my shirt?”
Yet another reason why I love him.
So, the whole thing was rather anticlimactic, except, as a woman, I’m pretty sure that my appearance and behavior is being discussed (cattily?) amongst friends. I’m somewhat amazed that it was so important that she meet me, yet she literally spoke four words to me. I guess the real test was whether I could go eight minutes with no meth, likker or peeling.
I’m trying very hard not to be catty about the whole situation. I don’t want that sort of energy to taint my thinking on this one. But I will say that I can’t in a gazillion years picture Mr. Wonderful and Ex-Mrs. Wonderful together. And I’m also thankful that I basically never have to see He Who Shall Not Be Named ever, ever again.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Due to a not very interesting set of circumstances, I am meeting with The Woman Formerly Known as Mrs. Wonderful (Ex-MW) tonight. And she is pissed as all hell. Yippee!
Although I have spent time with their daughter, this will be our very first meeting. Evidently, Ex-MW needs to check me out and make sure that I’m not a meth-dealing pedophile.
It’s a lot of pressure. Good thing I don’t drive a van.
I’m nervous like the first day of junior high, when I was absolutely certain that I wouldn’t be able to get my locker open or find any of my classes. I had reoccurring dreams about still standing at my unopened locker at the late bell, then realizing that I was naked. Having failed Junior High 101, I would be forced to walk home sans clothing.
So, yeah, this is sort of like that.
I could write about the sordid details of why we’re meeting and the back story and meow, meow, meow, but I don’t want to perpetuate that kind of energy. I will most likely be dealing with this woman for years to come and I don’t want to saddle an already challenging situation with undue negativity. Besides, the one thing that has me totally sick over this is the idea that she hates me and she doesn’t even know me. So, hopefully, I’ll earn a tiny karmic gift by not hating her sight unseen.
Besides, I’m too busy being nauseous to hate anything right now.
There are no manuals called “How to Date a Guy With a Kid.” I’ve yet to run across any stepmomming Web sites that aren’t just diatribes against the ex. All of my friends have been married since the dawn of time – I don’t know anyone who’s dated a divorced man, much less one with a child, much less one with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives. I am adrift in uncharted territory.
I shall report back. If I don’t drown.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
So, the plumbers are here for the fourth time and I’m yet again attempting to work while my entire home sounds like the inside of an operating – and off-balance – washing machine.
So, to make myself feel better, let’s talk about music.
For your listening and making-fun-of-Cha-Cha pleasure, here are some of the more interesting ditties on my ipod.
Living inside myself – Gino Vanelli
Mr. Wonderful has already proclaimed his love for Gino. Why this Canadian with Louis IVX hair didn’t become a huge superstar is, in fact, a mystery.
I’ll be there for you – Bon Jovi
This was my very favoritest song evah in eighth grade. I know Jon Bon Jovi didn’t mean to miss my birthday – he wishes he’d seen me blow those candles out. Whoooooo-hoo!
Merry Christmas from the family – Robert Earl Keen
The best holiday song ever. A song for the people. Seriously. Why don’t more Christmas songs talk about bloody marys and tampons? I savor this one year-round.
Roll with the changes – REO Speedwagon
Contrary to popular belief – and this list – I’m not 50 years old. I’m 32, so screw you. This song is on my “Deadline!” mix and makes me hyper. Plus, I just love me some REO. Kevin Cronin’s Time Life infomercial is the best!
Guilty – Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb
I do feel guilty for liking this song. It makes me feel unclean and unworthy of their all-white, let’s-embrace-and-look-dirty album cover.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
God is evidently forcing me to give up my June Cleaver on Crack persona. It's really hard to believe for even a moment that you're the hostess with the mostest when your BFF travels across the country to visit you and the two of you spend an entire day watching the plumber drag all sorts of equipment through your house in an effort to clean out your clogged main line. You're really delusional if you think that giving your house guest your car keys and telling her she can run down to the Wild Oats to heed nature's call is among Martha Stewart's guidelines for hostessing.
The main line is clogged and bent and generally wonky. I've been crying and drinking heavily and praying that I won't actually have to shell out $4K to replace it. Meanwhile, Mr. Wonderful has been talking to the plumber, the plumber's boss, RotoRooter, and the city. He now boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of residential plumbing. I now have yet another reason to love him for all time.
And BFF and I just sat on the couch and drank and talked about life and people in our hometown. We've been friends for 21 years now, so we got our friendship good and drunk. And we watched Bon Jovi hosting SNL. And she was delighted to schlep down to Mr. Wonderful's house - dogs en tow - when we couldn't use my plumbing at all.
See why she's my BFF?
The plumbers are going to come back tomorrow, and hopefully $100 and an hour should solve the problem. BFF flew back home this afternoon, and so I won't have her moral support here. If the $100 and an hour don't fix the problem, I just might show up on her doorstep and demand to sleep on her couch indefinitely.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Not because I’m a perv, or I’m hiding from an evil co-worker. I’ll go in there to do what you do in the ladies’, and then I’ll realize that it’s quiet in there. And it’s white and calm. And the walls are tiled with lovely white subway tile that’s laid vertically, not horizontally, which is unusual and strangely pleasing.
Usually, I’ll stand in my stall, take a few deep breaths and then be on my way. But yesterday? Yesterday, I’d been in four hours of meetings with my boss. Yesterday, my world was spinning. And so, I stood in that white, quiet space for about 15 minutes. I lost track of time.
Yes. It was wonderful.
I was jolted out of my peace by the sound of another woman entering the restroom. I walked out of my stall all “Oh, hai – I haven’t just been standing in that stall for half a Scooby Doo. I just went potty like a normal human being. Heh.”
So, it’s nice that I can find a brief respite just down the hall from my cube. But the fact that the ladies’ is a refuge is sort of fucked up. Ok, really fucked up.
All of the messages I’m getting are that my job function is going to be making the best of a bad situation for the next 12 months. It’s a stressful job, but I am well paid and in the general scheme of things, I am one incredibly fortunate Cha Cha.
I need to find a way to disengage from the stress, to not take it personally, to not drag it home with me every night in my ipod case. I’m about a bajillion times calmer now that I have been at any other point in my life. I think this helps, and/or is a symptom of the degree to which I’m already disengaging.
However, I need to take another step away. For my sanity, my health, my relationship and my ability to continue in this job.
I don’t think that hiding out in the ladies’ room is the answer, but for the time being, it doesn’t hurt.
Monday, October 8, 2007
It’s not because Casa de Cha Cha is so super deluxe or anything. It’s because shacking up with Foxie Doxie and Geriatric Poodle in tow is a ginormous pain in the ass. I need to buy a kennel to leave at Mr. Wonderful’s so that I don’t have to transport Geriatric Poodle’s 50-pound monstrosity.
(I know, I know – he’s an elderly 11-pound dog. I know he doesn’t need the reinforced steel cage that can withstand attack by a pit bull. It was free. Give me a break.)
So, I have company pretty much all the time. Because I am sick and in love like that. Because we cannot stand to be apart, even for one night.
Yeah, we disgust me, too.
This means that I feel a weird pressure to be the hostess with the mostest like, all the damn time. This is a self-imposed pressure; Mr. Wonderful empties the dishwasher and offers to clean the bathroom. These make me think, “Pshaw! Darling, rest your weary self here on my dog hair-encrusted sofa. I shall take care of you!”
Let me recap: he’s there every damn night. Meaning this hideous, June Cleaver on Crack personality flaw is working overtime.
I’ve started getting snappish.
He asks for a new towel and I scowl. I notice dust bunnies and feel a deep sense of shame, even though Mr. Wonderful honestly doesn’t give a shit.
Once upon a time, in a relationship far, far away, I was The World’s Most Disgraceful Housekeeper. I could clean for an entire weekend – like, really clean til I was high on Pine-Sol – and my efforts would be greeted with an offhand comment like, “This place is a pit. I’m going to have to take a vacation day to clean.”
Evidently, I have completely internalized this dialogue. I expect to be inadequate. I expect to be reprimanded. And damn it, Mr. Wonderful is totally not living up to expectations.
So it’s making me June Cleaver on Crack. It’s making me feel slightly uneasy whenever I’m in my house. And yet, it’s making me appreciate Mr. Wonderful all the more.
We talked about June Cleaver on Crack and how I feel like my hair is on fire. And he offered – again – to clean the bathroom. Which is kind and yet horribly embarrassing – I should have my shit together and be able to keep a clean house. I shouldn’t feel like it’s a personal failure if I don’t switch out the towels every three days. I need to truly acknowledge the insanity of my internal dialogue.
It’s sort of like head lice. Sometimes you move on, not realizing that you did, in fact, bring a little pesky baggage.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
For some strange reason, he’s decided that he trusts me implicitly (wha?) and I am now his barber. He has basically put his social and professional lives in my trembling, inexperienced beautician hands.
The last time I cut anybody’s hair, my then junior high-age brother thought it was really cool to have a shamelessly shitty haircut. And I was just the stylist.
Mr. Wonderful keeps his hair shorn very, very short – not clean-shaven, but the shortest setting on the clippers. The first time I cut his hair, it took me about half an hour. I was convinced that I would accidently slice his ear off. But now, I’ve embraced this new responsibility and love the tangible results of it all. I zoom across his scalp with joy and ease.
We end up with giant clumps of dark brown hair after the clippers and I have had a whee of a time together. Since he always takes off his shirt for a haircut, there’s always some sort of joke about his “hairy” back, which is always good for a laugh. But since we are either situated on his deck or in my garage, the mess is fine.
Yes, I cut my boyfriend’s hair in my garage. I am *this close* to opening a beauty parlor in my garage, just like half the ladies in my hometown. You can take the girl out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the girl.
And the best part? After I cut his hair *in my garage,* I was able to use my very favorite item ever – my ShopVac. Since I bought my house 13 months ago, I’ve purchased paint and toilets and a dishwasher – but his is by far the best purchase I’ve ever made. Almost as good as the $140 Banana Republic flats that I got for $9.99.
At first, I started out ShopVac-ing the hair on the garage floor. And then I realized that Mr. Wonderful was covered in hair droppings … and about to walk through my entire house to get to the shower – shedding the entire way.
I ShopVac-ed Mr. Wonderful.
I did. And I’m not ashamed. It was wonderful. And I even managed to avoid giving him a hickey with the ShopVac’s superior suction power.
He laughed the whole time. “Oh my god! You cut my hair in your garage and now you’re ShopVac-ing me. You realize this means we’re totally white trash, right?”
Friday, September 28, 2007
Anyway, you know what I mean. The days that leave you a mushy pile of yuck.
Lately, I’ve been having these days with increased frequency. Days that leave me staring at my cube walls, counting down the minutes until it’s acceptable for me to leave the office. Days when I wake up filled with dread. Days when I can’t even fathom what it is that I’d rather be doing.
Welcome to today.
The good news: it’s Friday. I haven’t yet completely biffed any work that would, oh, get me fired. So far, I’ve resisted the temptation to start carrying a flask. And I have a job where it’s perfectly acceptable to be lost in ipod land and therefore ignore the world around you.
So, I’m listening to Bon Jovi. But even they aren’t helping my outlook.
I’m frustrated because I hate feeling like this. I know that the real truth of the matter is that I like my job. I like where I work. I like the people I work with. I enjoy the work. So why do I feel like the sky is falling? And what can I do to get over this slump?
The idea of cleaning out my garage this weekend is actually sounding really appealing. Do you see why I’m worried about my current mental state?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I got a little hot. And sweaty.
He told me I smelled like a trucker.
Ha ha, that's funny.
And then? And then he asked, "Will you humor me and take a shower?"
And he didn't mean it in a pervy, hey-babee-yur-hot sort of way, either.
Are you fucking serious? Seriously? Seriously.
If I smell that bad, dontcha think that just maybe I will take a shower of my own volition? Have you noticed at any time during the last four months that I occasionally practice sound personal hygiene?
I called him on it. I repeated to him, verbatim, exactly what he said to me. And then? And then, he fell down laughing. He couldn't believe he'd actually said that.
I took that as a good sign. And then?
And then, I informed him that I would exact my revenge by blogging about his mad boyfriending skillz.
Hi, honey. You suck. But what sort of crack whore am I to be head over heels for you - not in spite of your suckage, but because of it?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
1. Mr. Wonderful and I sat on the beach and did absolutely nothing for two glorious days. Well, ok, that's sort of a lie. We also walked up and down the beach, smuggled wine onto the beach, and walked to a beachside bar.
Favorite moment? Drinking wine out of a water bottle in the dark, and then attempting to contain Mr. Wonderful as he screamed up to all of the residents of our condo building, "I'm not drunk! And you know it's true, because drunk people don't say that!"
I told him to use his inside voice, which upset him, as we were outside. I guess he did have a point.
2. I returned to The Worst Vacation Hangover Evah. And not because of all the wine we drank. No, I had vacation hangover because I returned to a messed-up workplace, the details of which I won't bore you with. Just feeling overworked. And under appreciated. And if I have to tell my boss what, exactly, it is that I do one more time? Well, it won't be pretty.
3. I received a phone call at 7 a.m. on Wednesday from my lovely parental units. They have been on a cruise of the Rhine. As you do. And they had returned to the states, and wanted to let me know that a) they were back and b) they thought my dad had a heart attack in Budapest but he didn't and it was ok because the hospital discharged him just in time for them to make their plane.
I had to call them back later in the morning when I was awake. Yes, he had chest pains. Yes, the EKG was abnormal. But the angiogram - which he had with absolutely no sedation in a hospital that was literally short on light bulbs - showed no arterial blockage. No heart attack. Just some weirdness.
So, that's good. He now said he never wants to see Budapest again. I can't say that I blame him. He also says that he's just going to give his copies of the Hungarian labs (sounds like a dog breed. heh.) to his small-town family practitioner and call it good.
I am very, very blessed that my parents are vital, healthy people. I think we all appreciate that even more since my mom's bout with breast cancer almost 10 years ago. And my parents are smart, educated people. But I can't help think that someone is sticking their head in the sand on this one.
At what point do you (for lack of a better word) bully your elders?
You had chest pains severe enough that your surgeon brother-in-law took you to a hospital with no light bulbs. Thank god it wasn't a heart attack, but it was still something wrong. You owe it to the people who love you and want you to be around for another 40 years to figure out what it was so that it doesn't happen again.
Leaving it up to your small-town doc, whenever you get around to dropping the labs at his office, may not be the best way to move forward. Please, please, please reconsider this plan of action.
If you don't, I'll conspire with Mom. And that's the worse threat I can imagine.