Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beer Run

My paycheck is getting smaller - starting tomorrow. I've tried to have a good attitude about it, but any way you slice it, less money and more work blows chunks. The talking heads had been tossing around a great big number, which would have stung pretty bad. We wound up taking a 2.5% hit. Still blows, but I figured, 2.5% is just my beer money. I can take the hit.

I thought.

I stopped by my friendly Indian owned liquor store today for a 6-pack (maybe a 12-pack if I was feeling especially generous to myself) and thought I'd go for something upscale. A Magic Hat or a Dogfish or a Saranac... Something light, but with some flavor.

Then I choked when I saw the prices on the microbrews.

$9.49. For six beers.

I swear, the last time I was in there, that shit was eight bucks. I've been drinking lots of wine lately (mostly out of a box. I never claimed to be a society type) so its been a while since I've hit the beer aisle. When did that happen? Who authorized that price jump?!

How are we supposed to get through this recession if my paycheck decreases, and I can't afford to buy the alcohol that would lessen the pain?! Come on Obama! You are giving Cletus $4,500 dollars to trade in his El Camino for a Camry! What are you going to do for those of us who already drive fuel efficient cars and ride public transit? Where's the incentive for those of who fuel ourselves with beer, instead of gasoline?

Its time for a new recovery plan people. The Barley and Hops recovery plan. Let the great beer recovery of 2009 begin! Write your Senator. You can make a difference.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Big Trouble in Tiny Cottage?

Next week, I'm headed to the beach for a well-deserved break from stupid bosses, sick cats, bills and housework. My family has a tiny cottage in a place that's nowhere near the ocean but close enough that it could be considered a "beach house." It is close to the community dock, and I can throw my kayak in and paddle around to my hearts content without driving a gazillion miles. The downside? Most of the time there is no tv unless the bunny ears miraculously start working, there's no internet and a.c. units that are so old, crusty and loud you'd rather sit in a pool of your own sweat rather than turn them on. The beds are all too hard or too soft; no matter what choice you make, you regret it in the morning and can't stand upright until noon. And, the best thing? The mildew/mold makes my sinuses scream: 9 times out of 10, I come back with a cold or sinus affliction.

But, I still love the place. And its all mine for six days.

Mine and the professor's.

I don't know what came over me, but almost a month ago, I mentioned beach week to him and said that if we were still together he was invited. It was way too early to be making plans a month in advance, but we've tended to do that, so whatever. Plus his schedule is flexible. He didn't have to take vacation time; nobody knows or cares if he shows up on campus all summer long. So, if we had hated each other, no big deal. Nothing lost.

But, we are still together. And he will be coming to my moldy, tiny and hot cottage. For five days.

I think its going to be really fun to show him around the area that I know so well and to have lots of relaxing time to spend with him. No getting out of bed at the crack of dawn so I'm not late for work. No driving in rush hour traffic to meet for dinner. No mid-day gchatting. Just lazing around, paddling, swimming, soaking up skin cancer and reading the pile of books I got from the library.

And getting on eachother's nerves...

I think it will ok. He's bringing his own car so he can escape (or I can send him for things). We've already agreed that its perfectly ok to do things alone; I like sitting on the beach way more than he does and am perfectly fine doing it by myself if he doesn't want to. We're both adults (well, he is anyway. Not so sure about me.). We can survive. I mean, people move in together after a few months; so certainly I can get through 5 days... Right?

And if I can't, I'll be escaping with my laptop to the nearest Starbucks free internet hub to bitch about it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not-dating: the concert edition

If I told you that a boy picked me up at my house, drove me to a concert, got exceptionally good seats, and bought me dinner, you'd probably think it was a date.

You would be oh so wrong.

Over the years, I have managed to latch on to several guy friends who I do dating-like things with; but never, ever, ever the actual dating thing. In times of singleness (of which I've had my fair share), its nice to have a guy friend or two who you can go on lunch dates with, grab dinner with; sample beer with, see a concert or the ballet with... (ok, I've not made any of them go to the ballet. Shit. I've never made myself go to the ballet!)

But now, its a bit different because I'm no longer single. Going on a not-date with not-boyfriend while the actual boyfriend is sitting at home was a bit strange. And while there are guy friends who are definitely just friends, this one used to be someone I thought I wanted to date. For only an insta-second, I swear! Disastrous things happened when we actually talked about dating and we ended up not talking for several weeks. Eventually, we figured it out somehow and went back to being friends. But still... there is a weird vibe sometimes. And seeing Dave Matthews together doesn't much help that weird vibe. But, him annoying the crap out of me by singing every single song out loud? Yeah... Made me pretty glad I'd be coming home to the professor.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Near Cat-astrophe

Leroy the cat is home.

Susan the cat mommy had a bad week.

Normally, the little bastard bothers the crap out of me. He's the reason I can't get a new couch. And the reason there are little shreds of paper everywhere. And why I can't sleep past 5:45. But I missed his cute little face, and how lays down on the count of three, and how he jumps into the fridge when I open it, and gets in the way when I take a shower... And Arlo the cat did nothing but whine for the 48 hours Leroy was gone. Cute, maybe. Annoying? Definitely.

I was overcome with fear, guilt and anxiety for the two days he was in kitty hospital. Fear and anxiety because I didn't know what the hell was going on or how much it was going to cost me, and despite repeated promises by staff, the vet did not call me after Leroy's first night to tell me what was wrong. And, I had turned to my friend, the paranoia inducing internet to diagnose the cat. Leukemia? Fatty Liver disease? Blockage? He had it all. And diagnosis was bad. Feeding tubes. Death. Surgery. I was left wondering which of the various scenarios it was going to be, for two days straight. And wondering just how much money I was willing to spend to keep him alive.

The guilt came from the fact that I was putting a monetary value on his little life and because, had I been home more the last week, I might have noticed the wound on him before it became an infectious money-sucking evil-doer. Actually, if I was a better person, I would have stayed home and kept an eye on him once I found it. But i didn't. I cleaned it out, pat him on the head, and proceeded to spend the next 24 hours hanging out with Prof and kayaking and generally making myself happy. All while Leroy's liver was shutting down and the little bacterial douchebags were taking over.

I was so upset and anxious yesterday before the vet called me that I could literally feel the tension in my face. I was pouting all day. Smiling was an effort, and I didn't do a whole lot of it. I hate not being in control of a situation. And, the fact that Leroy's whole little life was completely out of my hands really got to me. I'm much better at crises when I'm fully in charge. Too bad I gave up on the idea of being a veterinarian in 7th grade (you have to dissect baby kittens? Uh-uh).

A couple bags of IV fluids and antibiotics and two nights in kitty hospital has brought him back to life. As prof so astutely told me yesterday "Good. Now that you've got your kitty back, you can go right back to hating him again."

So true, because at 5:40 this morning, I kinda wished he was still hooked up to IV's so I could sleep.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cat Scratch Fever

I had to take the day off work today...

Because my cat was sick.

I think this makes me a crazy cat lady. At any rate, I'm sure going to take a bunch of shit for it tomorrow.

Leroy the Cat is now in kitty hospital. They put him on IV fluids and antibiotics. I'm not entirely sure he's coming back. They looked pretty concerned. Something about liver function. Which makes me pretty concerned. And makes my checking account want to run for its life.

I don't know, where do you want to go?

"Where do you want to go?"

"I don't know. Where do you want to go?"

"I don't care. I'll let you pick."

"Ummm... I don't know. What do you want?"

Its like the conversation that never ends. Remember, like the song? "This is the song that never ends. It just goes on and on and on..."

I avoid that particular conversation. I detest that conversation. It frustrates the hell out of me. Yet, I found myself in it yesterday with no way out.

I had spent the day paddling, and headed over to prof's house afterwards. It didn't hit me how tired I was until I got out of the car. All the ambition and hunger and desire to make happy chat just totally left my body. I wanted to curl up on the couch and be spoon fed large helpings of pasta and gatorade. But spoon feeding wasn't on the agenda and there wasn't a gatorade in sight. And because I truly couldn't make a decision (and because all the good places were closed on Sunday night), we got caught in the "I don't know, what do you want to do?" conversation for way longer than was necessary.

He wanted to make me happy, which is why we got caught in that stupid conversation. Damn him for considering my feelings and desires! There is a time and a place for consideration, but not with brain-dead river Susan. That Susan wants to be told where we are going and be driven there, while taking a nap. After, I swear, 30 minutes of discussion, we wound up at a great Indian place. I was happy. He was happy. It worked out fine, but I was still mildly annoyed the whole time I was eating his chana masala.

Its the first time that I've been annoyed with him. And yes, its minor. But its not going to be the last time, I'm sure. When you spend so much time with one person, squeezing them in between the gazillion other things you are running around doing, some annoyance and irritation is inevitable. I guess its all in how you handle it. And if you can handle it. And by "you," I mean "me."

I suspect that this could mark the beginning of the end of the honeymoon period...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My momma is crazier than your momma

There are reasons that I am a bit screwed up in the head: phthalates from my nalgene bottle; mercury in my food; tv leading me to believe that the Keatons could actually exist somewhere...
But nothing beats my crazy momma.

I love her, don't get me wrong. And she is the reason I am strong-willed and independent and know how to change a tire, fix a water heater and put in new floors.

But love her or no, she crossed the line on Sunday. And Prof got a glance of the very particular brand of crazy that I'm likely to become someday...

Sunday, Prof and I planned to laze around for a while before he got to work on some papers, and I took care of my ailing father. But at 9am, my cell phone started ringing.

Its a new Verizon phone. I thought it would be amusing to choose Whisting Wizard as my ring tone. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The wizard whistles his little tune. I ignore it - besides, the phone is downstairs. Two seconds later, the wizard is whistling again. This is how I know its her - no message, just several calls in a row to annoy the shit out of me so I will pick up the phone. I wasn't playing her game and I continued to ignore it.

Half an hour later, the wizard whistles again. Twice. Ignore.

About an hour later, the wizard is at it again. Now I'm worried. These insistent calls usually mean that someone is dying, and given that both my dad and grandma are on the brink, I decided it might be time to pick up the phone.

Noone is dying, but mom has kindly made some food for my dad and she wants to drop it off to me so I can take it over to him. (My parents are divorced, but my mom feels sorry for him. And for me. So she helps out. Kinda funny/ironic though, that she often makes chicken for both her dying dog and my dad at the same time. I think its mostly for the dog.) I have no idea why this food deal has to be so complicated or why she needed to call me six times about it, but I agree to meet her in about an hour at the local dunkin donuts to pick it up. Then I proceed to have a lovely, leisurely breakfast with Prof on the back deck.

And miss her calls to arrange the Great Sunday Morning Dunkin Donuts Chicken Salad Swap of 2009.

All twelve of them.

When I realize I've missed her calls, I call her and apologize. And she is pissed. You know why?

Because she has been driving around Prof's neighborhood LOOKING FOR MY CAR SO SHE COULD FIND ME!

Except she was in the wrong neighborhood. She was wandering around the neighborhood next to Prof's. Small favors...

Seriously people. Is a bowl of chicken salad really worth the 30 minutes worth of stalking your daughter and her new boyfriend? Holy crap. Its truly disturbing. More so because I could turn into that someday.

The final call tally for the day? Are you ready?

Twenty-one. 21! Twenty-one phone calls within a 12 hour period. For chicken salad.

You should see what happens when something important is going on.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is love, exactly?

Prof asked me yesterday if I had loved BB.

I didn't really know how to answer. Not because I wasn't willing to share my feelings on that particular matter, but because I no longer know what the answer is. If you had asked me that question in December, I would have unequivocally said "Yes. I love BB more than the sun, the stars, chocolate, coffee and beer. Combined." But, I'm not so sure that was really the case.

I thought that because I was willing to give up so much to be with him, that it must be love. My free time, my individuality, my friends, family, the outdoors - all were sacrificed in the name of this thing that I thought had to be love. What else could explain the crazy feelings I had? The out of control, crazy, unrequited feelings that I had?

Now, I can tell you what else could explain those feelings. Desire. Desire and desperation. Addiction.

I would have moved across the country for him. I would have thrown myself under a bus - to save him, but also to get him to notice me and to pay attention to me. Well, shit. Who notices the girl under the bus? That's a pretty difficult place to be seen. Unless you want to be seen by your fellow roadkill.

So, what the hell is love? Have I ever been in it? I love a lot of people; and have no problems telling them so. But romantic love? With a boy? What is that supposed to feel like? I thought it was the out-of-control, I'd do anything for you feeling. But its not that. That feeling is crazy and unsustainable. That feeling made me crazy and unsustainable.

What I have with Prof is the complete opposite of BB. Its quiet. Supportive. Easy. If I need him, he's there. If I need him to not be there, he's gone. But those out of control, raging hormonal and desperate feelings aren't there and it confuses me. Shouldn't I think about prof every second of every day? If I don't, does that mean I don't care about him enough? Shouldn't I give up kayaking weekends so I can spend time with him? I would if it were BB, but I don't for Prof. I'm not desperate for the love of the Prof. I know I have it, in some form (no, there has been NONE of the love talk. We are both way too broken to be that vulnerable). And I know this for many reasons, but mostly because he encourages me to do the things that make me happy, even when they don't include him.

BB and I burned brightly for a millisecond. I thought it was love, but clearly, it wasn't. Prof and I don't burn anything (except maybe tofu-dogs) and I wonder if I will love him. Or if I already do. Or if I should. Or if I can.

But, seeing as I don't know what this love is, I'm going to have a hell of a time knowing whether I'm in it. And I feel like the "I love you" clock is ticking...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Warrior

I am so freaking pleased with myself. So pleased, I really needed to share.

Had a great weekend. I've been having a lot of great weekends. Its partially because of Prof, and partially because I'm tackling the river, and winning. Unlike last year.

I did a day trip to the river that beat me last year. Its the second time I've paddled that section this year; the first time, I was so nervous I nearly threw up before getting in my boat (not an exaggeration). But I survived last time, and even started having some fun, so this time, I wasn't nervous before getting in the water and I think it made all the difference in the world.

I kicked ass on the river. I flipped in the second rapid, but rolled right back up - to cheers from my paddling buddies who were on their way to rescue me. Nope. I didn't need no stinkin' rescue! All that practice this winter and spring finally paid off. The roll shot my confidence through the roof and I really started pushing myself to attempt more difficult maneuvers. Jumping from rock to rock. Surfing "waves" that I knew would flip me over. There is video somewhere and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Hopefully, I can find a way to share.

I was beaming when I came off the river. Truly. I can't believe how far I have come since last year and how comfortable and confident I am on the water. Well, at least that stretch of water.

I often think about how much my new little hobby has helped me through a pretty difficult year emotionally. True, kayaking caused me a bit of physical damage and some hospital bills, but it gave me a reason to focus on me. Gave me a reason to get out of bed on Sunday mornings and be social. Gave me something to work towards. And gave me something new to think about. The whole thing has made me really realize how important it is to challenge yourself to new things. Even when those new things poke your eye out and scare the crap out of you. Kinda like relationships...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Its Moron Week

Its moron week, and I'm the star.

Yesterday, after slicing up the second electric cord and stealing and breaking the neighbors mower, I started cooking dinner for Prof. If I was a food blogger, you would all be drooling right now. I made salad, homemade pizza with pesto, farm-stand tomatoes, artichokes and roasted red peppers. And grilled veggies on the side.

Except, that, for some reason, the grill got really cold halfway through cooking the zukes and squash. Prof was supposed to be in charge of grilling. "Dude! Don't you know how to use a grill?"

Well, that wasn't the problem.

The problem was that i haven't replaced the gas since I bought the grill. Two years ago. Stinkin' canister was empty. Isn't the gas canister like an Everlasting Gobstopper? You mean, I have to like, replace it?!

So much for grilled veggies. I thought very hard about sending Prof to Blowe's to get more gas, and an extension cord while he was at it, but thought better of it. I was the moron - why should he suffer? (being with me is punishment enough)

I truly felt like an idiot. I seriously couldn't get anything right yesterday.

But, clearly, I couldn't really do anything right today either. I got home and there was a pile of cat poo in the living room (arlo) and a pile in the dining room (leroy). Somewhere in the chaos of yesterday, the basement door got closed - cutting off the cat's access to their litter boxes.

One thing went right though. I caught the neighbors outside with their (very chubby) baby - I cooed at it (to butter them up) then told them the story of the mower. They laughed their assess off. Then discovered that their dog had gotten into the diaper genie and there was human poo all over the baby's room.

In retrospect, maybe I'm not such a big moron after all.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Electric Boogie

I have so many real things to say, but not much time to say it. Prof is on his way over - I'm making dinner. Its so nice to have someone to cook for. Someone who eats (and likes!) vegetables. And tofu! I got a little carried away at the farmers markets and trader joe's, so there is a lot of great stuff that needs to be eaten before the mold takes over.

So, I leave you with this little story: the story of why I am a total moron this week.

I tried desperately to get my grass mowed yesterday so that I could enjoy tonite with Prof. I went kayaking, got home about 30 minutes before the sun set and got to work. I refuse to have gasoline lying around my house, so I have a corded electric mower. It is a pain in the ass. But, I live. The 100' cord that I use is pushing 10 years old and I've gotten a bit lax in making sure I don't run it over with the mower. In fact, I've been running it over on purpose - because the mower is set so high that the cord is unaffected.

Except, I reset the mower last time. And didn't put it back up. And I ran over the cord.

Cord Cuisinart. Orange cord all over the place.

Ok fine. I gave up. Felt silly. Ate dinner and got over it.

Bought a new cord today at Blowe's. Super special deal - $10. I shoulda gotten the expensive one.

I made half a swipe down the backyard before...

(you know what's coming, of course)

Orange cord puree. Again.

Not even 2 minutes of use and I've boogered the thing beyond recognition.

I paused for a while, cursed for a minute, then spied the neighbor's mower, in all of its gasoline powered glory. They weren't home, so I stole it.

I made one swipe down the yard before it stopped working.

I tried to restart it but the cord wouldn't pull. I put it back - shamefaced. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly to tell them. "I stole your mower. But don't worry. God smote me already for it."

I mean, come on world!! Today was supposed to be the best day ever - my coworker told me that numerologists think this is a special day: 7/8/09. Sequential, you see... Maybe good for people, but bad for machines. And cords.

Can't wait 'till prof gets here with a bottle of wine. I needs it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Learning to be nice

I am not nice.

I mean, I am a perfectly wonderful individual and a great friend. I've got your back in any situation. In a crises, I'm pretty good as long as the hysterics are minimal, then I'm kinda at a loss. I'm quite sure that if any of my friends even get stricken down with some horrible disease, I'm going to be the one organizing the casserole brigade to make sure she doesn't starve. I pick up trash off the street when I walk, and smile and say hello to strangers.

But I'm not nice.

In a relationship, I do all that too - the support, the encouragement, the making hummus from scratch so we have something to take to 4th of July picnic, the birthday weekend planning, nice dinners made with a loving hand... But, I don't say nice things often enough. Apparently. I think that doing nice things should be enough, but I'm not sure that it is.

Actually, it isn't.

I can totally understand his point of view. He says nice things to me all the time: how he likes being with me; feels happy when I'm around; he comments on my outfits and tells me I'm cute; tells me I have beautiful eyes, feet, ass, eyebrows and whatnot (no, he has never really told me I have beautiful eyebrows. I am just illustrating a point here, people). I totally and completely know how he feels about me.

I, on the other hand, do not say these things to him. I don't think I know how to. He does cute things, and I note to myself that he is being cute, but I don't tell him. I don't tell him how it feels to be around him; I don't tell him that I think his eyes (eyebrows?) are beautiful. But, I will point out if he is ripe, or sweaty, or has deodorant on his shirt or has told a joke that simply is not funny (happens a lot. Although there is an occasional good one in there). I think its ok if I say these things, then laugh and kiss him. But, it might not be. And if it is ok, it won't be for long.

Its been pointed out to me that I don't say nice things - so, it is starting to bother him. And, absolutely, for good reason.

But this is my ingrained behavior. This is my thing. This is how I operate. You be sweet to me; I suck the life blood out of you. Any wonder that I haven't had a real boyfriend for more than 6 months since 2002?

So, it has been recognized. And it has been discussed, a little bit. And regardless of the reason, I need to get over myself and start saying things out loud that I am thinking in my head if I want to keep this one around. I have vowed to say nice things tomorrow - even if its just one. His heart will probably stop from the shock. And then I'll have to start all over again...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Kill your tv

Seriously. China is going to overthrow this country with little more than game-show reruns and an unlimited supply of twinkies.

(this post sponsored by a 1.5L bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio. $8.99 at participating retailers)

I just wanted to fold laundry and watch a half decent sit-com for 20 minutes because my wine buzz isn't really allowing for anything more involved. But what did I get on the TV, that I pay 13 dollars a month for? Some crime show on CBS, possibly one of the 24 versions of CSI now in circulations (isn't that what's always on CBS?); some Japanese game show that's funny when Japanese people are playing but really sad when Americans are; America's got Talent (no, we don't. Trust me) and some reality show about interracial marriage where the guy's mom calls his fiance the white devil (she's probably right though). What happened to shows? With plots? And paid actors? And plots? And canned laughter?

I had to turn it off before I could even finish folding the towels.

I feel so cheated. But before the aggravation set in and I switched off the set, I did learn that those desperate Hollywood geniuses are bringing Melrose Place back! 90210 clearly wasn't good enough for them - they've got to go resurrect Melrose Place. I hope they remember to include their tokens, like they did last time (you know, the black woman, the gay guy...). If Hollywood is going to resurrect a show, they should make it a good one. Bring me a little A-Team, or some Dukes of Hazard. Something lunchbox worthy. Melrose Place, old or new, will never rate a lunchbox.

Now I'm going to be forced to improve my mind by reading, instead of letting it rot by watching tv. Damn you, basic basic cable. It might be time to unhook entirely and see what this antenna thing is all about. At least I'd be getting what I paid for.

The New Right-Wing Strategy

The Christian right-wingers have apparently launched a new strategy to eliminate the non-believing left-wingers.

I was innocently walking to lunch with a co-worker yesterday - reducing my carbon footprint and doing my part for society. As I was just starting to get near the edge of the sidewalk, at the handicap ramp no less, a dark colored large cadillac makes a right hand turn. ONTO the sidewalk.

That bastard had his tire 6 inches from my foot. On the sidewalk!!

I was shocked and horrified and turned to shake my fist at him, but I didn't get that far. Because on the license plate was the following text:


He is Lord.

Oh my god.

I nearly got taken out by a Jesus Mobile.

The irony was too much. And I had to laugh rather than shake my fist. But I'm worried he might come back to finish the job...