Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Feeling better now that I have this off my chest.

Today, I have one monumental thing to be upset about. Like, a life-changing thing to rattle my cage.

So, I'm focusing on the minuscule shit that pisses me off.

1. Mr. Wonderful's ex doesn't make eye contact with me. When I speak to her, she leaves the room without acknowledging me. This, gentle reader, hurts my feelings.

2. I spent half an hour in traffic, only to find that the tile shop did not have the tile for Mr. Wonderful's bathroom as they had promised. They apologized profusely. I cussed profusely once in the safety of my car.

3. The cheese-o-rama book on tape that I'm listening to in my car features a heroine who is known for her colorful language ... which amounts to "double damn." Who the fuck says "double damn" without incorporating at least three more naughty words into it?

Friday, May 23, 2008

File this under "surreal." Also "I love my family."

I'm in the homeland, visiting my folks before my dad and I head off to The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

After dinner, we piled into the car and drove to the cemetery. There are flowers everywhere, and large flags lining the road. It's quite lovely. We were headed to my grandparents' grave, to see if the new dirt and leveling was acceptable.

As usual, my dad drove a teensy bit faster than generally recommended. And also as usual, the radio was on. We were listening to a CD I'd made for him a few years ago.

This meant that we sat in the car, surveying the grave site while also singing along to "Cover of the Rolling Stone."

Yeah, that sounds like us.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Comfort. And food.

The lovely Melissa recently waxed poetic about high school graduation parties in the Midwest. Folks sitting on folding chairs in a cleaned out garage, noshing on ham buns and sheet cake.

Ah, yes.

I’m headed to my homeland this weekend, the traditional high school graduation weekend. The local paper prints the senior photos of the graduating class, and my mom and I look through them all. We used to look for the little brothers and sisters of my friends, or those of my brother. Now we look for kids I used to babysit. Even those kids are starting to fade – the toddler I babysat the most is about to be a college junior! But the last names stay the same, and the fashion travesties always keep us intrigued.

The local graduation parties do feature sheet cake and ham buns, and like Melissa noted, no graduate actually has fun. The people attending the parties don’t have fun, either, come to think of it. But it’s a rite of passage. And if you’re really lucky, you hit the mother load of Iowa food.

I just finished listening to Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Read by the author, it’s the tale of his childhood in Des Moines.

Bryson writes about all the random foodstuffs available at Iowa potlucks – dishes made by and consumed by women named Mabel, dishes that combine foods that should never be thought of simultaneously, much less mixed together. If you’ve ever enjoyed any casserole featuring Cheez Whiz, you know what he’s talking about.

In a line that almost made me drive off a bridge as I convulsed with laughter, Bryson notes that Jell-o is the state fruit of Iowa.

Yes. My family has an official Jell-o bowl – I think you could buy them with stamps at the grocery in the early 70s. Jell-o made in any other bowl just doesn’t taste right. And there’s a secret to getting your fruit evenly distributed in the Jell-o instead of just floating at the top. I, admittedly, have not yet mastered this fine art. But I’m working on it.

No, my great Iowa food claim to fame is that I make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. The secret? Low heat and real butter. Shh!

My greatest Iowa food wish? Perfect ham balls.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

These are not a graduation party food, but rather the food you take when someone dies, these suckers are basically a meatball made of ground beef, ground ham and onion. Oh, and ketchup. They’re covered with an orange glaze, and your grandma would serve them with potatoes and green beans.

Mr. Wonderful is obviously my soul mate because he considers ham balls to be culinary nirvana.

I’m thinking about driving home, about the random, delightful things sure to be waiting in my mom’s kitchen. It’s helping me detox from a rather stressful week as I sit in my cube at 6:15 on a Thursday night. Because dreams of Jell-o? They have restorative properties.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Butt naked with glitter on ya. And a beeper.

Check out Erykah Badu talking about how to make it in the music business. It involves getting a scalp implant and shilling for Nabisco and super deluxe tampons.

Don’t mind me. I’m just convulsing with laughter. In my cube. At Corporate Behemoth. And thinking that perhaps corporate life isn’t all that different from the music industry.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blessed are the 33-year-olds.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now an age that is a multiple of 11. So far, it's pretty kewl.

I must say that this has been pretty much the best birthday ever. Thursday, Mr. Wonderful and I got all prettied up and went to a fancy restaurant ... and made an entire table of old people goo-goo over us when Mr. Wonderful pulled a small box out of his coat pocket.

It's the most beautiful necklace. It marked the first time I've ever cried for joy as a room full of strangers looked on.

Yesterday, we both took the day off. My crazy generous boyfriend bought be hiking shoes. For lunch, we went to Chick-Fil-A, the greatest restaurant ever, where the owner gave me a stuffed cow, a cow for my car antena, and a Chick-Fil-A clock. Birthday princess, indeed!

Then, Mr. Wonderful and I went hiking. It was a lovely, sunny day - the kind of day that makes you feel really alive. And I did.

We had dinner with the Ladybug that involved balloons and the waitstaff serenading me, then we went to the park. All said, we walked about six miles and consumed about 56,309 calories.

And today? Today is the one-year anniversary of my very first date with Mr. Wonderful.

He is delightful. I can't believe we've only known each other for a year. And necklace and fancy jocky shoes aside, he is still the most generous, loving friend I have ever known.

And yeah, he's totally cute, too. Happy birthday to me, indeed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The very best wrong number evah.

This happened on Sunday. Yeah, I’m a little behind. Who are you to judge?

Me: Hello?

Older female caller: Hello?

Me: Hello?

OFC: Is this 123-123-1234?

Me: No, I’m sorry, you’re one digit off – it’s 2234, not 1234.

OFC: Oh, I’m sorry! I’m trying to reach my daughter-in-law to wish her a happy Mother’s Day, and you just didn’t sound like her.

Me: Oh, that’s ok.

OFC: Now, if you are a mother, I hope that you have a very happy, very blessed Mother’s Day!

Me, suddenly wanting to adopt OFC and make her a necklace out of macaroni: Oh! Well, bless you! Thank you! You have a happy Mother’s Day, too!


I thought about explaining that I’m not exactly a mother, but I was too busy holding Geriatric Poodle. And emptying the dishwasher of Mr. Wonderful’s daughter’s colorful assortment of plastic cups, spoons and plates.

I don’t feel like a mom … but maybe this is how it sneaks up on you when you don’t have the benefit of, oh, say, giving birth to herald your arrival into the strange, new land of parenthood.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Now I'll never be a teen model!

This weekend, Mr. Wonderful and I stained his patio furniture. On Sunday night. Pretty much in the dark. Because he was certain it would take an hour.

It took three and a half hours. Back-breaking hours.

The furniture looks great. We picked a very mellow green stain, and the furniture? She is fresh! And lovely! And Martha would be so proud.

But my aching arse? Not so great.

Last night, I was enjoying a moment of respite, my back flat against the living room floor, my elevated knees providing a bit of relief to my aching back. And then?


I saw stars. And tears flooded my eyes. And I realized that I had just been head-butted by Geriatric Poodle, who navigates by ramming the top of his head into walls and furniture to get the lay of the land.

He rammed his head directly into my nose.

While I gathered what little composure I manage regularly, I held my hand over my throbbing nose and considered the facts. I could feel my pulse in my nose. I had a sudden, splitting headache. And there was absolutely no way in hell that I was going to let an 11-pound, blind and deaf poodle break my fucking nose.

So. My nose is fine. And I don’t have to categorize this episode with the time that Foxie Doxie gave me a black eye. All is well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Buy diabetic socks.

Really, Google Ads? Really?

In other news, I have discovered my life's ambition.

On the way to Corporate Behemoth this morning, I got behind a semi. Normally, this would be bad, right? Except today, it was brilliant!

I was behind a Keebler semi. You know, Keebler? Maker of Deluxe Grahams, the most awesomest awesome store cookie ever? Keebler, of the elves?

Right. There were Keebler logos on the trailer. But the best part?

The mudflaps. Every single mudflap featured a full-color Keebler elf.

I now know that I will not rest until I, too, drive a vehicle with Keebler elf mudflaps.

I mean, seriously. Can you think of anything better?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Outing myself as a giant bitch.

I've been home all day, chained to my computer. It's a lovely spring Sunday, and I'm working on a freelance project. Or, rather, trying to work on a freelance project. While I've managed to get several loads of laundry done, I've only actually completed about an hour of billable freelance work.

Yes, I've been doing this for six and a half hours.

Foxie Doxie has spent the day happily sunning himself on the deck. But because sunlight doesn't exactly have the same impact on Geriatric Poodle, he's spent the day with me. On my lap. Then helping fold laundry. Then in the Baby Bjorn.

The thing about the Baby Bjorn is that it contains him and keeps him from continuously trying to rearrange my lap. The bad thing about the Baby Bjorn is that it gets top-heavy with poodle and actually requires a little arm support.

It also hurts my back. Imagine - typing with your arms wrapped around a Baby Bjorn that's holding a dog that never really holds still hurts your back. Who knew?

When I finally had enough, I put him on the floor. He wandered through the cables of my computer. When I extracted him, he wandered off and, as I discovered later, couldn't find the door and so peed in the living room.

I found the pee. I put him outside. I cleaned up the pee. I heard him bark, so I went to let him in. He can find the deck but he can't find the door. I helped him to the door. He inexplicably took a hard left and started wandering aimlessly around the deck again, barking and wondering where the fuck the door was.

I wish some gypsies would come to the door right now. I would gladly sell the Geriatric Poodle. For, like, a box of Junior Mints.

I feel terrible. I feel guilty. This is so very hard.

I'm not a saint. I'm trying. But today? Today, when it's still nice out and I should walk the kids up the street to the park? Today, the idea of carrying Geriatric Poodle the block and a half and then taking 20 minutes to walk 100 feet with him sort of makes me want to hurl.

I think this is why god invented alcohol. And kennels.