Monday, January 29, 2007

Cha Cha's Miss America Recap

Miss Oklahoma Kelly Ripa beat Miss Texas Beyonce.

The End.

P.S. Miss Mississippi? Umm, since when do you need a taped musical accompaniment when you play piano? Is piano karaoke some new art form that's sweeping the nation? You know, Pageant Mama would say you wanted the accompaniment to cover up any mistakes. Not hatin', just sayin'.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Vienna. And Atlantic City.

This was Cha Cha's Weekend of Rest and Relaxation. On one hand, it was wonderful. Friday, I got a massage and a full-body wrap. The wrap part was sort of like being a human burrito and I'll probably pass on that bit of $80 goodness in the future ... but the massage was divine. Saturday, I went antiquing with my mentor and found some goodies of the "This surely will transform my life" variety. And today? Today I took a tour of the community center, spent two hours reading the Sunday paper, and wrote a letter to Cingular telling them to eat shit and die.

All in all, a full and good weekend.

But tomorrow is Monday. And like a little kid who doesn't want to go back to school, I'm not chomping at the bit to get back to Corporate Behemoth.

It's not like they're going to beat me, or that the world will have ended because I had the nerve to take one stinkin' little Friday off. And, believe it or not, I actually really like my job. I like the people and I like what I do, and it makes me feel smart and that I'm contributing something important. It's just a little insane right now. And there are no massages and no being transformed into a human burrito.

However, tomorrow does come with amazing promise. There she is, Miss America!

I have a love/hate relationship with this pageant - err, I mean scholarship program. My mom was the director of our local Miss America pageant when I was growing up, and I just idolized those girls. I even received a baby gift from my state's reigning queen. Yeah, I know people.

My mom used to practice judging by watching Miss America. She'd have a legal pad and jot notes. It's really funny, actually. So many little tricks - wear black if you're trying to look thinner; if you're really thin, wear white to show it off. Your legs should create three diamonds of space when you stand with your knees touching. And yes, I know how to tape boobs to create cleavage. It's truly an art form.

Our local pageant folded after my mom stepped down and before I was old enough to compete. In all honesty, that crown would have been mine easily - I was a size 2 and sang opera in high school in a town where about 50% of girls were married and/or pregnant by the time they were 19. In my mind, competing in a pageant is still an option - never mind the fact that I'm in my 30s. And short and dumpy by glamazon pageant standards.

So, my love of Miss America is in direct conflict with my college minor in Women's Studies. I know, I know - name one men's scholarship program that requires the applicants to parade about in swimwear. I know.

Never mind the fact that most of the contestants spend waaaaaaay more on the clothes, the travel, the training just to have a fighting chance in the cutthroat competition. Never mind that detail. Let me live the dream, if just for one night, ok? For my talent, I'll be singing an Italiain aria, and my platform is breast cancer awareness. You should see me in my evening gown ...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

People generally notice corpses in cubicles

So, you know, I made my mom cry last week.

Yup. I am The Worst Daughter Evah.

On the drive home from The Christmas When My Mom Was Stoned Because She'd Thrown Out Her Back, I realized that I come by my workaholic tendencies honestly.

When I was growing up, my dad would come home from work around 5:30. He's lie on the bed in his underwear and watch the news, and then we'd eat dinner. Well, and he'd get dressed at some point in there, too. Then, after dinner, he'd go back to the office until 9 or 10. He also worked every Saturday morning.

As a child, I just thought that's what you did. And then I thought he was avoiding me. And then I decided that's just what you did to be successful. My dad owns his own business and I'm so proud of what he has built. It all fits together. You have to work hard to be successful.

When I was in third grade, one of my dad's assistants quit, and my mom went to work for him. Temporarily. For 15 years. She became the office manager, a role that grew as the business grew - and she hated it but wouldn't admit it. She worked long hours at a job she thought was supposed to make her happy, but it didn't. And then she got cancer.

These are my work role models. See any issues?

I gently mentioned this in yet another "Cha Cha must stop working so much" conversation with my mom. I left out the cancer part. But she got all quiet. And I knew that I had made her cry. She told me I was very perceptive and that she hoped I could learn from their mistakes.

I felt horrible.

Cut to yesterday. I woke up exhausted - I had dreamt that I went to my parent's house only to find the leadership team from my division at Corporate Behemoth in my parent's house. The 'rents? Nowhere to be found. Gee, subconscious, could you hit me over the head just a tad harder?

Later that morning, I realized that the department parallel to mine has four people doing the workload that I, alone, carry for my department. Gee, no wonder I'm exhausted. And then I realized that my last vacation day was in August. For my grandpa's funeral.

And then I sort of lost my marbles.

The good news: there was no crying at work. The bad news: I'm ashamed that I've let it go this far. It's not like I think Corporate Behemoth will collapse if I'm not there for one whole day. But I do think that I'm not really needed elsewhere in my life - there's nobody depending on me on a daily basis. Sure, my friends and family love me and want to hear from me, but they don't expect to see me on a daily basis. Sometimes I worry that, like the old lady in the "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" ads, if I got hurt or died in my house, it would take days for anyone to figure it out.

So, one of the things I dig about the gig at Corporate Behemoth is that they need me and expect me to be around. And if I die while I'm there, I figure someone will notice.

But right now, I can barely function. I know that what I need is to detox. To sit. To breathe. To not fucking work. So, tomorrow I'm not working. I'm getting a massage and a full-body wrap instead.

Yay me.

So why do I feel so lonely?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Poop Deck

The Geriatric Poodle can't be bothered with the snow and ice. He is doing me a gigantic favor each time he goes outside - every time, I get the "I'm just doing this for you, bitch" look. And then he takes two steps out the door and takes a dump on the deck.

I'm expecting a call from Better Homes & Gardens any day now.

A few minutes ago, I let him and the Foxie Doxie outside for their evening constitutional. Geriatric Poodle took his customary two steps, made some yellow snow, and then turned back to the storm door, demanding to be granted entree immediately.

Except that he was at the wrong side of the outward-swinging door. So every time I opened the door, he still faced glass and wondered why the hell he couldn't get inside.

At first, I felt bad. But about the third time I stepped outside to "help" him and was met with an icicle melting down the back of my neck, well, I started to laugh. Yes, I'm cruel and I laugh at the elderly.

But then he really didn't get it. And I felt horrible. He's really not that old - maybe about 9 years old. But he was abused and then dumped and has had a variety of veterinary adventures that have put my vet's two kids through college. Free dog, my ass.

After our latest veterinary emergency - which included him collapsing in the vet's waiting room, an emergency splenectomy and me driving across town with a comatose poodle and a bag of donor blood in my lap - well, I know that we're on borrowed time. So I shouldn't laugh when he runs into the coffee table or gets confused and then pissed by the storm door.

Except I think I laugh so I won't cry.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Paris is for lovers. As long as they don't have crotchrot.

My book club is comprised of women with kids.

Oh, and me and my friend Alice.

Sometimes Alice and I hang out in the kitchen and drink our wine a little too quickly if the general conversation has veered into MamaLand and stayed too long. We've heard everybody's labor stories. We know about the mesh panties. I will probably never have sex ever again.

As the only single woman in the group, I occasionally feel like the charity case, or a rare, exotic breed. Like a bird with plumage that they just want to pluck for use in their hats.

I am very well accessorized, after all.

A few days ago, we met and discussed Elie Wiesel's Night. This book should seriously be required reading for all human beings. Go. Now. And read it.

I'll wait. It's short.

Anyway, after some obviously heavy conversation about the book (yes, we actually discussed the book for once! Hurray!), and after a few glasses of wine, the conversation turned for a bit to me. And my Get A Life challenge. And The Recent Unpleasantness.

One new member of our group was sitting next to me. She tapped me on the shoulder.

"So, were you in a relationship? Is that what they're talking about?"

Oh, lord. "Yes. I dated a guy for seven years."


Now, in the past, these conversations have left me a little melancholy. Maybe it was the wine. Or maybe it was the fact that The Recent Unpleasantness isn't so recent anymore. But I honestly laughed my ass off talking about it. And it felt great!

Alice picked up the ball and ran with it. "And they lived together for five years, and even went on this romantic vacation to Paris and he was going to propose but he didn't!"

Around the table, women made exclamations of surprise.

"Yeah," I said. "We went on this amazing trip to Paris and he told me later that he was going to propose to me then but never got around to it."

"Whaaaat??? Why????"

And this is when the true absurdity hit me.

"Well, he said it just never seemed like the right time. He said, 'You were sick and it wasn't right.' I HAD A YEAST INFECTION! HE WOULDN'T PROPOSE TO ME BECAUSE I HAD A YEAST INFECTION!"

The eyes around the table got big and their owners laughed - guardedly at first, and then joined me as I really, really laughed about it. C'mon - talk about absurd! And thank god for small favors.

I hadn't thought about that for a while. And I certainly hadn't laughed about it ever. In fact, when he admitted to me - after a few scotches - on August 2, 2003, that the proposal on our trip hadn't seemed right and that in the 18 months following the trip, he "just hadn't gotten around to it," well, I grabbed him at the waist and sobbed like my family had been killed. The noises that came out of my body shocked me as much as his drunken, stupid admission. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill him. Spasms of sobs rocked my body as we stood in the doorway of our bathroom.

And then he just walked away and got ready for bed like everything was fine.

That memory smarts just a tad. But the laughter? And the unexpected realization that "OMG, that is fucking ABSURD?"

Well, that felt great.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

But my dogs think I'm pretty

Today was Day o' Errands here at Noodleroux headquarters. Note to self: do whatever it takes - including selling a kidney - to avoid the Target returns desk on a Saturday afternoon.

I guess that's what I get for repeatedly staring at a package of sheets I got for Christmas, thinking, "Gee, something about these is not quite right," and then biting the bullet, washing said sheets, and only realizing when the fitted sheet was a foot too long that the sheets were the wrong size.

Hi, I can't read.

And have you ever attempted to fold sheets back into the little plastic baggie thing they come in? Dude, don't try it.

And the 12-year-old at the returns desk told me that since I didn't have a receipt, I needed to go find ONE ITEM of EQUAL PRICE from "that part of the store where we have sheets and stuff."

So, it was an adventure. And repayment of some sort of karmic debt - oh, like returning sheets I already washed. They CAME with that dog hair on them, I swear.

I then had the rare delight of meeting a college friend for lunch. I adore her, but she has fallen into the category of Friends With Kids. She has a 2-year-old and a 3-month-old and is barely keeping it together. I have never seen anyone with so little faith in their parenting abilities. She feels like a failure because she had a second child earlier than planned and the 2-year-old still needs her.

Umm? I'm 31 and I still need my mom. Am I over-simplifying or am I a brilliant and wise sage?

I'm thinking that both kids are still alive, so what bigger victory can you ask for? It's thoughts like this that make me realize that I should just keep my big mouth shut because I obviously have no clue. And since all but one of my friends has kids, well ... that makes for a rather lonely and isolated Cha Cha.

Really, it's a good thing I don't have kids. I can't discern the difference between the terms "full" and "queen."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cha Cha gets a life

I'm not much for new year's resolutions. I sort of want to borrow Ellen DeGeneres' resolution to not finish beauty school. My new year's "date" didn't kiss me at midnight and jumped out of the car before I even had it in park when I dropped him home. Cha Cha + New Years = No Love.

However, a storm's been a-brewin' for a while. I need a life.

Here's the deal. I work all the damn time. Like, All. The. Time. For a very long time, this working all the time business was a very convenient crutch. I was starting my own business and had just endured the mother of all break-ups. Working was a pleasant and socially-acceptable excuse to never leave my apartment and to gracefully bow out of uncomfortable social situations. Cha Cha + Work = Love.

However, our relationship has soured.

After being self-employed for three years, I bit the bullet and heeded the siren's call. I am now the mistress of Corporate Behemoth, and believe it or not, I took the gig with the hopes that instead of working 24/7, I would have time for more creative endeavors. Like leaving my house. Oh, and writing for myself.

So, a couple of months into my new love affair with Corporate Behemoth, I'm still out of sorts. I don't know what this having a life business actually entails. But I have a good idea that there's more to it than hanging out with my life partner, DVR. And the creative and social outlets?

Umm, does watching HGTV count? Probably not.

So, here goes. A-blogging I will go. And maybe if I get really brave, I'll dip my toes into the world of online dating. And actually join that gym that all my friends go to ... even tho the free childcare they rave about doesn't do much for me. Can my dogs go?

So. Welcome. And please join me in what should be an adventure. Or incredibly boring. Whatever.