Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tech Resolve

This year, I resolve to stop being a tech-tard, and get myself up to speed with 2010. Or 2011. Whatever. Either one is about just as likely. Maybe I should aim for 2005?

I realized just how isolated from the normal, modern world I've become when this weekend, the simple act of going to the movies became a strange, complex process. Its been well over a year since I was last in a movie theater - this is only the second movie Prof and I have gone to see together.

Even though I haven't looked at movie times in ages, I at least knew that you no longer call Movie Phone to find out what time the movies are. I went straight to Fandango. But I googled it. Clearly, typing in Fandango.com was too much for me.

Fandango is much easier than moviephone, I'll give you that. I know where I live. I know what movie theater I want to go to. The movie I want to see is playing. Great. Let's go. Except, Prof says to me "did you get the tickets?"

What do you mean, did I get the tickets? You buy tickets at the movie theater. Duh.

Except, I guess nobody buys tickets at the movie theater anymore. He hands me his card and I manage to figure it out. I mean, I buy concert tickets this way all the time - I don't know why it threw me for such a loop. Oh wait, no, I know why. The total was 10.50 a ticket, PLUS a service charge!

Seriously? I started counting in my head all the other ways we could spend 24 dollars...Three months of netflix, 6 tubs of hummus, cat food (these things are in no way related, just in case you were wondering)...but I reluctantly finished the transaction anyway. A service charge, for a friggin movie?

I eventually shed my disbelief and disdain and made it to the theater, which, because it was Christmas Eve, was completely deserted except for me, Prof, five movie theater employees and two unkempt teenagers (guess we really didn't need to buy tickets online after all). And here is where the inspiration for this post came from: I had no idea what to do with the printed out tickets. None. Do I give them to the people behind the glass window in exchange for a real ticket? Is there some kiosk you scan them at for a real ticket.

I'm consumed by the need for a real ticket.

Luckily, Prof is not a movie moron or tech-tard and steered me in the right direction. A bored teenager ripped our tickets in half and informed us that the movie was running late and we had twenty minutes to kill before we could get into the theater, so they could show us twenty minutes of commercials and previews. Goody. The delay gave me the chance to beat Prof at both air hockey and Ms. Pac Man.

The irony of the game choices is not lost on me. I know 1982 is calling. On my rotary phone. But I don't hear it. I'm too busy listening to my Walkman.

So, the little movie experience was a reality check. I am way out of touch with civilization. Before you know it, I'm going to be wearing Mom jeans and taking pictures with a film camera. Something must be done. Can I schedule an intervention for myself?

(in case you were wondering, the movie that inspired the movie theater experience was True Grit. And it was totally worth it. If all movies were that good, I might go more than once a year.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Festivustivity

Happy Festivus!!

For the first time in years, I'm not going to bitch about the holidays and be all sarcastic about Christmas and family and presents and gushy smooshy shit. I haven't really had the time to contemplate it; and because we basically decided to just skip it this year entirely, I haven't had to go shopping, hear the annoying Christmas music, deal with stressed out annoying assholes in parking lots and drain my bank account. Even those blow up, glowing yard snow globes (now with sparkly crap inside!) aren't irritating me. That much.

I haven't bought one present, except for a couple things I ordered online to send to friends who live far away. Prof and I decided to not exchange gifts - with the house still getting organized and December being so busy already, it seemed silly to add more stuff to the pile, and more things to the "to do" list. So, we are going to pick a charity and give whatever money we would have spent on presents to a worthy cause. And no, that worthy cause can't be you!

I'll have much more time and energy to catch up on blogs this weekend, so stay tuned....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stired and Crazy

It seems to be a pattern with me: Get through a time of tremendous stress, then, as soon as the final deadline has passed, get sick.

And so, here I am again. We got moved, I finished the semester, I cleared some hurdles at work and suffered through a big meeting with a nasty sore throat. 2 hours later, my voice was completely gone and I could barely swallow. I have hardly gotten up off this couch in 2 and a half days, let alone leave the house, and now that I can breathe (and talk, kinda) again and the searing pressure in my head has abated, I feel jittery and jumpy and malcontent. And I can't do anything about it because its after 10pm and its like 14 degrees outside.

Yesterday, I slept until well after noon, though I did manage to catch most of A Very Brady Christmas on the bedroom tv. It didn't inspire me to stay awake, I'll tell you that much. I watched Julie & Julia later in the afternoon, and I think I took another nap. There has been an awful lot of tv watching in the past 48 hours. Its disgusting. I can't imagine what I did when I was sick before I had all this on-demand, cable, instant netflix stuff. Read? Rent movies? Sleep more?

Today we tried to keep the tv off, so I read, and we played Scrabble which I haven't played since I was like 12. I suck at Scrabble. Seriously. But at least it engaged my mind for a little while as I tried to figure out what I could do with an O, another O, two I's, a Q, a U and a W. Seriously? Who gets a hand like that?

I don't know how or why, but tomorrow I'm getting the hell out of the house. Even if my brain feels like a red balloon on a string, or I have snot pouring out of my nose, or a cough that would make your mamma cry. I will go forth, and spread my disease. But don't worry, I'll put on some hand sanitizer first.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Still here

Yup. I'm still here. Just finding it difficult to find time and topics for blogging.

Its weird to write about how things are going with Prof when he's on the couch next to me, or downstairs, or in the next room. I feel like I'm betraying him, even if I'm not ratting him out for all the things he's doing that annoy me, or how his farts smell (like roses, of course).

Plus, I'm spending a lot of time watching tv (I can hear you all chanting "I told you so"). Tv still sucks by the way, but what doesn't suck is the DVR and On-Demand. Wow. Its a shame I'm so cheap, because On-Demand rocks. I'm back on the Big Love kick, and I just found the Big C. Cynical, cancer patient wreaks havoc on her friends and family 30 minutes at a time. Awesome.

Back to my university-themed snuggie and the Big C. More interesting stuff later.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Initiation

For those of you breathlessly waiting for the stories of the first disastrous week living together, prepare to be disappointed.

I've got nothing.

Don't get me wrong, we are definitely going through an adjustment period. We still have boxes to unpack, and Prof still isn't sure where his contacts or beard trimmers are. And most of his clothes are still in bags and boxes. I think the breakdown will happen when I try to find space in the closet. I forgot that big men wear big clothes; they take up a LOT more space on the shelves. If he wore sweaters, I would be in serious trouble.

Here's some good stuff:

1. I haven't scooped cat poop in days. Yes, that's sweet and all, but if he doesn't scoop it, he has to smell it until I get home. I'm still giving him credit for it though.

2. I showed him my clogged sink, hoping that maybe he would pick up a plunger for me when he went to the store. Instead, he made a coat hanger scrapey/pokey thing and fixed it. I point - he fixes. I like.

3. The bed is warm.

4. He started taping Wife Swap (can you still call it taping, if its really just on the DVR?) and we've been watching it together after I'm done working on homework for the night.

5. Oh yeah. And its nice actually seeing him and talking to him everyday.

And some more annoying things:

1. He makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. As if its not hard enough during the dark cold days of December, not a day has gone by that he hasn't said "play hooky and stay in bed!" Grrr...

2. We have to have that discussion every night. You know the one I'm talking about. "What do you want for dinner." I'm hell bent on eating the damn CSA turnips that are clogging the fridge. Prof? Not so much, and after tasting the roasted ones from last night, can't say I blame him.

3. There is a lot of food in the house. There are not a lot of places to put food in the house. Still adjusting to the caloric intake needs of a full grown Prof and the space constraints of a townhouse.

4. My mother has his cell phone number now. It was inevitable. If there is ever an emergency, my boyfriend will need to be able to consult with the person who can pull the plug. She called his number 3.5 seconds after I gave the number to her, because I wasn't answering my phone. And so Prof gets dragged in to the insanity.

5. We really aren't spending a lot of time together yet, since I'm still trying to finish up the semester. I'm in the office working on it (and, of course, procrastinating and blogging) and he is entertaining himself. But that will be changing very, very soon...

So, that's my story. For now. Anyone have any good turnip recipes?!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Single No More

We locked up Prof's house for the last time yesterday and brought the rest of his stuff to my house. Our house.

Its done. He's here, and he's not leaving anytime soon.

It seemed so un-ceremonial. We were so busy packing and hauling and packing and goodwilling and storing and unpacking and throwing away and organizing and cleaning that we were too tired to go out on a romantic dinner to commemorate our relationship moving forward.

Instead, on Sunday night when it was all over, I sat at the kitchen table immersed in my research paper, and Prof took over the office working on his research for an upcoming presentation. We ate dinner at 9pm. Me, at the table, with a plate full of fake chicken nuggets. Him, in the living room, with a plate full of veggie buffalo wings (yes, they exist and they are quite good) watching Dexter. On the giant tv. On my giant tv. Well, mine now.

It sucks that we are both so incredibly busy right now. It made the move much more stressful than it needed to be. "Should I unpack this box so I have underwear, or should I do my research?" "Should I take a load of stuff to storage, or should I write a section of my paper?" "Should we keep packing, or get some thanksgiving dinner?"

In a week, it will calm down and we can find a rhythm that works for us. Until then, the boxes that are still unpacked are going to sit, and I'm going to work on my paper.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Final Countdown

This is it. My last night alone in my bed.

Prof is coming over early tomorrow morning to sacrifice himself to the Verizon Fios God, who promises to be here between the hours of 8 and 12 to drill holes in my wall and connect me with tv that has more than 5 channels.

I will go to work when he gets here (I'm not sacrificing myself. Well, not for tv anyway), go to my chiro appointment, then we will begin tearing up his place. We'll sleep there tomorrow night, keep packing on Thanksgiving, maybe grab a bite at my family's place down the street, pack some more and come back to my place with an initial car load of stuff.

Then we get the truck on Friday and start hauling the big stuff.

Then it will be over. Or it will be beginning. Or both. But whatever it is, I'll be glad when Saturday comes.

Its traditional for the person moving in to make breakfast in bed, right?

Thought so.

Please tell Prof.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

They're Baaaaacccccckkkkkkk

The Headaches. They are back.

I was fairly convinced that I had them licked. But I'm down for the count for the second time in 4 days and the frustration and anger and general "its not fair!" is building inside, threatening to explode. If my head doesn't explode first.

Here is what I've been doing for my headaches:

1. Pills. 2000 mg of Magnesium Gluconate daily. And 400 mg of B2 daily. Both are supposed to bind to something to stop headaches.

2. Caffeine. And by caffeine, I mean, very little. No coffee. EVER. My name even got crossed off the coffee collection list at work. I've switched to Earl Grey. Couple cups a day. Seems to give me a small amount of caffeine, but not so much that it triggers a headache. Do you know how shitty it is to have to walk by the delicious organic, chocolaty smelling coffee we get, on my way to the water cooler to dunk my tea bag? Well, I'll bet you can imagine.

3. Chiropractor. I had two separate people recommend her to me, telling me she cured their headaches forever. I've been going weekly for about 2 months, but I'm still having headaches. I was misaligned, and she has been focusing on keeping my Atlas bone where it should be (its the very top vertebrae, and usually out of whack in migraine patients). Now it stays in place, but so does the head pounding.

4. 3-months of birth control. I suspect this is where some of the problem is coming. Its a full moon. My body wants to do what it wants to do, yet there are hormones there that shouldn't be. I went on the pill a long time ago in part to take care of headaches. And it think its both helped and hurt, but, it might be time to stop.

So, something is working, because I have more headache free days than I used to. I used to have a low-grade headache for days and weeks on end. Now, I go days and day when my head feels light and free and happy and clear. On those days, I feel like I can do anything. My energy is high, my focus is sharp, my wit is terrific (ok, i may be exaggerating). Now, its even more frustrating when I have a bad headache, because the contrast from a good day is so great. I felt so awesome yesterday. Today I feel like shit. Hip pain, I can work through. Shoulder pain, I can work through. Snotty nose and sore throat, I can work through. Someone squeezing my head, slight dizziness and nauseousness. Uh-uh. No go. Home on the couch. Feeling sorry for myself.

Again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Say something positive

It was exceptionally chatty at work today. I did what I could to focus on the couple things I had to get done, then ended up joining in.

Our receptionist, who was been married since the stone ages and is approaching retirement age, had been bitching about her husband for a good portion of the day. Just your general, run of the mill, men can't do anything right kind of complaining. It ended with her telling us that she was going to have to continue to work forever because when he retires, he's going to drive her insane. And our work insanity is apparently far preferable to the insanity she would endure at home.

So, receptionist and co-worker start telling stories of how their husbands piss them off, and then what happens when they do. It all involved throwing shit. Well, throwing things. Fruit, plates, shoes, spaghetti. Nobody actually admitted to throwing real shit, though, I'll bet had it been readily available it would have been lofted into the air in the general direction of either husband.

So, I'm standing there, thinking, "wow. That's going to be me soon. Bitching about Prof, telling stories about how I chucked the remote at his head when he refused to turn Dexter off."

So I said, "Hey! I've got one of those moving in with me in less than a week! Can't you come up with something positive about having a man around?"

There was a very long pause. A perfectly timed, sitcom kind of long pause. Receptionist and co-worker looked at each other, waiting for the other one to come up with something. Co-worker finally came up with this:

"Well. I haven't had to mow the lawn once since I got married."

Ok. Well, that's something, I guess. I pleaded with Receptionist to come up with something better than that. She did, but it was in the wrong direction.

"Well. He can start the lawn mower."

That's helpful.

Since my friends at work let me down (though, it did make me laugh. A lot), why don't you, my internet friends, tell me something positive about having a man live with you? And it can't be about mowing the lawn!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ten Nights

Ten Nights.

That's how many nights I have left to have my house all to myself. Well, me and the cats. Ten nights of hogging the bed. Ten mornings to hit snooze without feeling guilty. Ten nights of cooking for one. Ten nights of not worrying what time I get home.

In ten days, Prof moves in.

I feel ready, and completely unprepared at the same time. The house is halfway ready - I've cleared out some of my shit to make way for his, but I'm sure I need to do more. We got a storage unit and this weekend we put some of my furniture and bins of crap in. Antiques, grandma china, riding ribbons and my Halloween costumes are all safely locked in our $100/month closet. Goodwill got my electric lawnmower, which I had a lot of trouble parting with, and my guest bed (no more house guests!) and old patio furniture. I'm going to have some serious freakin' Goodwill deductions on my taxes this year.

So, we've made headway on stuff. But moving the stuff is not my problem. My head is the problem. I'm having trouble grasping that he's coming, and never leaving.

Or maybe, I'm not having trouble grasping it - I'm having trouble being excited about it.

I'm looking forward to parts of it, but I'm too experienced to be bubbly and excited about living together. So's he. There's going to be lots of great stuff, but we both know from experience that there are going to be hard times and conflicts. That's what happens when you move into the next phase of your relationship. Its just pretty weird that we are both working so hard to make something happen that neither of us is that excited about.

Or maybe, I just don't get excited about stuff anymore. I mean, I used to get giddy with excitement about eating at Taco Bell and Olive Garden. And going on that big plastic slide at the carnival where you have to wrap yourself in a smelly burlap bag. And getting a postcard. And Jello Pudding Pops. And reading a postcard while eating a Jello Pudding Pop.

Living with Prof is definitely going to be better than postcards and pudding pops. Maybe I should be more excited.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Joint Checking

Last weekend, Prof and I opened a joint checking account.

This should seem like big huge news, since it seems like quite a bit commitment to actually, you know, co-mingle cash. Not to mention the co-mingling of credit reports, which may now forever be bound together, whether Prof and I live happily ever after or not.

I thought I would be freaked out about it, but I'm not. Though, when I found out (re-found out?) that several of my married friends don't have joint checking accounts with their husbands, it gave me pause.

The thing is, I trust Prof. 100%. With his money, and my money. Well, ok, 95% with my money, but you get the picture. He doesn't make outrageous purchases, he pays bills on time, he gets this little text message anytime his checking account gets low, and "low" for him is like 400 dollars. Hello? For me, 400 bucks is flush with cash. 20 is low. Ok, so he could be a little more careful about what he throws in his cart at the grocery store (our last trip to Trader Joe's nearly bankrupted me), but other than that, he's very cautious with money.

Plus, even though he doesn't own a home right now, that fucker has a better credit score than I do. Suck it Verizon! I hate you. I can't pay my bill if you transfer my account and delete the account number I wrote the check for. I also can't pay my bill when your support staff tell me that the account no longer exists and there is nothing they can do to help me.

I still don't really know how this "joint" thing is going to work. For now, I was thinking that we would each put a set amount of money in each month or each paycheck and pay household bills from that. But what's a household bill? Electric, cable and gas clearly qualify. And groceries. But what about my now weekly trips to Target where I spend 100 bucks on cat litter, cleaning supplies and random household junk? What about going out to dinner? Bottles of wine that only I drink? What about a new kayak? It will be in the house, doesn't that make it a household expense?

I still need to have my own account. And I need my paycheck to go there first, so that I can dole money into the joint account rather than the other way. For some reason, this makes me feel like I am still autonomous and independent. Even if I'm really not.

So, tell me, internet friends... How do you pay the bills with your partner?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Circus Election

I was going to write you up a great blog post last night, but then I started watched PBS.

(How often does that happen?)

It seems sort of appropriate that PBS started running a multi-part documentary about the circus the day after election day. I got totally sucked in for two hours of couch time. I gave up all hopes of cleaning, doing homework and being productive and just sat and watched as these people with incredible talents and difficult lives put together a show that makes everyone in the audience forget their problems for a little while. I've never been a big fan of the circus, what with all the elephant and lion mistreatment and all, but this circus used only horses and dogs. And people. And the people were definitely working harder than the animals, so I was ok with it.

In case you also want to be a big dorky PBS viewer like me, check it out here.

In other news, I've been glued to my computer for weeks as the election drew near. I felt guilty because I opted to skip knocking on doors and being a poll greeter for my local candidates this year. Had they lost, my guilt would have weighed on me for a lifetime. Or a week. But hey, I got shit to do, man. I got a boy moving into my house (our house) in 3 weekends.

Holy shit. My stomach just turned as I wrote that.

Anyway, I walked to my polling place on Tuesday, and was filled with the pride that can only come by feeling superior to everyone who drove to the polls. I voted for cap and trade, carbon regulation and big government spending. The least I could do was reduce my weekly carbon output by .0000000001%. I chatted with friends, and stopped at a new locally owned coffee shop on my jaunt home (more superiority from the pride of supporting local businesses). Then my mom called.

She called for several reasons, but mostly to tell me she wasn't voting this year and to list all the reasons she wasn't. Like it was my fault that the candidates exhausted her with their negative ads and rhetoric. She said she didn't know who was running, and they all seemed like assholes and why should she bother. I tried to explain the Citizens United case to her, and convince her that the elections were being bought by corporations and outside interests and that it was her duty to vote. She said it didn't matter who she voted for - things for her were always the same. I wished I could have convinced her differently, but when that woman makes up her mind she can't be swayed.

There is a purpose in me telling you this story, and its this: it was my mother who instilled in me the importance of voting, and now she's given up. I am so disappointed, in her of course, but in the society that has caused this woman to give up. I couldn't really argue with her because she was right. The candidates were largely acting like assholes, and some actually were (are). And I couldn't come up with any argument for her: her life has largely been the same no matter who was in the Oval office, the Senate, or in the Statehouse.

Her total change in course, and apathy, and thinly veiled anger shook me, and confused me.
The fact that I couldn't come up with a piece of legislation or program that had really helped her gave me pause. I hadn't been at such loss for words in a really long time. Its amazing how a few words and opinions from my mother can have such an impact my attitude towards politicians.

Now you know where my attitude on men came from.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

OkCupid Tells it

Prof found me a new blog to love: Dating Research from OKCupid.

Ever since I was forced to take a stats class several years back and, oh yeah, started dating a professor, data analysis has started to intrigue me just a little bit. Particularly when it has to do with people, and their ridiculousness.

And OKCupid has me hooked. In my Internet dating days, I stayed far away from OKCupid. Its a free dating site, which is great, but the few times I visited, seemed to be filled with 300% more creepy people than match.com. Creepy and cheap. Who wants to go on an Internet date with a dude too cheap to pay to meet you? Not me. I wanted them to pay to meet me and pay to take me to dinner.

But, OKCupid has some serious data, and a blog. And it is super interesting. And you should check it out.

They recently compared the most common words in people's profiles by race and gender. Did I ever mention that sometimes stereotypes are true?

Black men most used the words "soul food" and "ESPN". Black women most used the words "soul food" and "the color purple." So, black couples can't watch TV together, but at least they agree on food.

Latino men like "merengue" and "bachata". Latino women most like, guess what (!), "merengue" and "bachata!" Not only do Latino men and women both enjoy dancing, they enjoy the same kind of dancing.

Now, to the reason that it took me 7 years to find a white guy who I could date more than six months...

White guys like Tom Clancy, Van Halen, golfing, Harley Davidson and Ghostbusters. In that order. White women like the Red Sox (what?), Jodi Picoult, Nascar (what?), boating and mascara.

Not only do white men and women like NONE of the same things, the things that white women pretend to like, like nascar and boating, aren't even the things that white guys like! What is wrong with us! What is wrong with white guys? Can't they like just one girly thing, or the Electric Slide?

I've added a link to OKCupid's blog. Be sure to scroll down and check it out if you are kind of nerdy and like dating data. Like me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Bridesmaid Dress and the Cat Pee

Here's a public service announcement that you never thought would be necessary:
It _is_ possible to get cat pee, and cat pee smell, out of a bridesmaid dress.

I've waited a little while to tell you this story, because the offending dress was worn to last week's wedding and I really didn't want to add any stress to the bride. Because seriously, even I wouldn't have believed me if I said "No really! I fixed it! Its totally fine!"

Do you ever do something that you think might be a bad idea but you take your chances anyway? Like parking your car right next to the shopping cart thing in the parking lot? Or wearing your wool clogs on a day that its raining? Or leaving your bridesmaid dress hanging in the living room while you go away for the weekend?

It was hanging on the coat hook in the living room because honestly, it was the best place for it. My closets were crammed, and it would have gotten all wrinkly shoved in there with all those other clothes I buy and only wear once. I swore I'd make room for it in a more protected place when I got back from my Labor Day weekend trip. I had second thoughts about it though, because the plastic cover over the dress was laying on the floor slightly. Arlo the cat often likes to pee on plastic bags that are left on the floor (don't ask me why. I seriously need a cat whisperer). But no, it would be fine for a couple days.

Except, it wouldn't be.

I came home, puttered around, then realized I smelled it. In the living room. The smell of day old cat pee. But I didn't see anything in any of the spots I would have expected. Until I got near the front door. And I saw it. Pee, on the bag, on the floor.

Ok, no problem. Its just on the bag. I'll take care of it. Dress with be FINE!!

Except, it wasn't.

Apparently, cat pee will soak through a plastic bag. Holy bad bridesmaid, Batman.

I dealt with the plastic, took the dress upstairs, hung it on the shower rod in the guest bathroom and proceeded to panic.

I couldn't just saunter into the local David's Bridal and demand a new one. "There's a weird smell on my dress! I need another one." I also couldn't order a new one and get it before the wedding - it had taken something like 2 months for mine to come in. And, there's that whole dye lot thing. The people at the bridal store insist that you get the dresses from the same dye lot, because if they are slightly off, your wedding pictures (and hence the wedding and your eternity together) will be ruined. Ruined!

And its not like you can just toss a bridesmaid dress into the washing machine. Or can you?

I desperately searched the interweb for advice. Do you know that if you google "bridesmaid dress and cat pee" you get nothing?! (Until now, of course). But there were a lot of other articles about cat pee in various fabrics, and it would appear that dry cleaning could take the stain out, but not the smell.

Funny thing was though, there was no stain on the dress at all. Just the horrific, pungent smell of male cat pee. It was so bad that when I opened the door of the bathroom the next day, the smell nearly knocked me unconscious. We had a very serious situation here, folks. A very serious situation. That's when it occurred to me for just the tiniest fraction of a second this might get me out of being a bridesmaid. But I'm a way better friend than that, so I doggedly (cattedly?) kept trying to come up with solutions.

The first solution was to alter the dress - it was a foot too long or so - maybe the cat pee was just at the bottom? It was hard to tell, and that might have worked, but how do you, as a decent human being, take a dress that smells that bad to someone to work on. Its just not fair. Or sanitary.

After a couple days of constant worry about what the fuck I was going to do about this dress, I actually read the tag. And the tag said "machine wash gentle or dry clean." What? Machine wash? Giant shiny purple dress? In a machine?

Well, I sure as hell wasn't going to do that, but I figured that it might be possible to hand wash it.

I was very, very worried that the dress would have a water stain if one part got water on it and the other part didn't. So, one night, I washed the lining of the dress - slightly different fabric but same basic shiny polyester deal. I used my trader joe's detergent and a tiny bit of borax. One of my kayaking friends told me that Borax is the only thing that works for getting the smell out of neoprene. Sweaty neoprene is pretty disgusting - not as bad as cat pee on polyester - but close. So I gave it a whirl.

In the process, the outside of the dress got wet. D'oh. So here it was, it was either going to work, or it wasn't, and I was going to be seriously screwed.

The next morning, I poked my head in. The dress was dry, and unstained. It still smelled awful, but with a hint of borax clean. I put my nose to the section of fabric that I had washed and it smelled awesome. Like clean sheets, with a hint of cat. I was filled with a renewed hope that I could fix this situation without upsetting the bride, losing a friend, or showing up at a fancy wedding smelling like a litter box.

So, the whole dress went into the bathtub, with a mixture of Borax and detergent. I gently smooshed it around. I think I used lukewarm water. I turned it over and smooshed it around some more. Then some more. I didn't really know what the appropriate amount of smooshing around time was for urine, so I may have overdone it a bit.

Rinsing it out was a total bitch. I filled the tub up with clean water and smooshed some more, but suds were still coming out. Fuck. This is not good. I'm going to be own bubble blower at the wedding. So, I had to turn the shower on and try it that way. I got completely soaked in the process, by the way, but I think I got all the suds out.

I hung the dress up on the shower rod - no easy task considering that it now weighed approximately 80 pounds because I couldn't very well just wring the water out of it - and prayed.

Well, I would have prayed if I was religious. I did my version of praying - whatever that is.

The next morning, the dress was still slightly damp, but it smelled awesome. Not a hint of cat. And the color was fine - no fading and no water stains.

So, that's the story of the bridesmaid dress and the cat pee. And reason number 457 that I swear up and down that I am seriously, never, ever, ever again going to be a bridesmaid. Or groomsman. Reason number 458 has something to do with the lopsided, dragging on the ground hem job I got from the local, highly acclaimed, dry-cleaner, but I'll save that for another day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Deathiversary

Today marks one year since my father passed away, and one year 2 days since my Momom passed away. It feels like forever ago, and like just yesterday, both at the same time. I still haven't managed to shake that feeling that I should be taking care of someone, and worrying about someone. A couple weeks ago, I was driving to Target and an elderly man was limping along, carrying his groceries towards a senior, affordable low-rise. I involuntary starting thinking about what a good place that might be for my dad. I could visit after work, he could walk to the grocery store so I wouldn't have to drive him... Then, oh yeah, I realized I don't have to worry about that any more and was hit by an odd sense of sadness and relief.

Anniversaries don't really speak to me that much - yes, it was fun and all doing the monthiversary counts with the Prof - but like birthdays, I don't see what the difference is between 363 days passing and 365 days passing. It is a nice chance for reflection, but I'm not sadder or more upset today than I was yesterday, just because its October 22.

Besides, October 22 is one of my best friends' birthdays. I forgot it last year. I think she forgave me, considering the circumstances.

I had a huge moment of sadness in Clark's the other day, as I was desperately searching for a pair of flats dressy enough to wear with my giant purple bridesmaid dress. The last time I was in that store was the last time Momom had called me, and I think the last time I actually got to have a conversation with her. It hit me like a brick, but just for a second, then I was able to find a footie sock and try on some shoes.

I went back and read some blog posts from this time last year. I haven't looked at them since I wrote them, and I was surprised at how honest I was about how I was feeling, and how coherent I was. I've sort of forgotten exactly how difficult that October was for me - squashed it deep down inside I guess. It really amazes me the strength I was able to muster, and that I have such great friends who were really there for me when I needed them.

Ironically, I spent some time today scrambling for flowers for yet another October funeral. My great aunt died on Thursday and the funeral is Saturday. I didn't know her - we'd only met in passing at family functions years ago - so its not terribly upsetting or anything, but its eerily reminiscent of exactly what was happening for my nuclear family last year. Maybe we can get through next October without a funeral.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crazy Town

Have you ever just sat back and realized "Holy shit. All of my friends are bat-shit crazy."

That realization has been slowly creeping up on me for quite some time and Kiwi's wedding brought it all home. They were all there, they were all dressed up, they were all drinking classy drinks, they all had dates, and they were all crazy.

(and no, of course I'm not talking about you! Just all of my other crazy friends)

One on one, my friend's neurosis are quirky in a funny, cute, just a little bit of therapy will go a long way, way. Together, en masse, they were more One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but dressed in a tux. I can't tell you exactly what threw me over the edge; but I think it had something to do with the fact that all my bat-shit crazy friends also brought dates/boyfriends/spouses. Who, by default, must also be bat-shit crazy. And I'm pretty sure they are.

There was no one event that made me think this - I just watched and listened, and giggled, and drank. There was the jump rope dance, crazy ramblings from an unstable drunk husband, conversations where only one person was talking (and guess what? it wasn't me!), a close talker, and the bridesmaid pyramid tradition that should have been stabbed through the heart five years ago, before any of us turned 30. Oh, and then, there was P.Rex, the man who sponge painted my house with me 8 years ago, talking to Prof and inviting us over to his house to make hard cider the next day with the 85 pounds of apples he and his wife had picked the weekend before.

My head wanted to explode. And if I felt that way, I know Prof was ready to chew his eyeballs out. He was a good sport, and extremely patient through the entire evening, but don't feel too sorry for him. I haven't told you about how insane his friends are - and they get together every weekend, not just for weddings.

Its been a long time since I've been in one room with all my college pals, and few things have really changed in that time except that their tolerance for alcohol has decreased and they've managed to find crazy people to love them (myself included). Unfortunately, I think some of them are going to start reproducing soon....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MeldDown

Ten years ago, while my single friends were spending their weekends picking up men, I spent my weekends picking out paint colors. I watched a ridiculous amount of Trading Spacing and the Garden Guy. I lived for the Home Despot. I had yet to discover kayaking, so its just what I did. Me and PRex. Living the American Dream, and boosting Home Depot's stock prices.

Then he moved out, and I moved on, and the house was totally painted, and I stopped spending my weekends on home improvement and I started to LIVE on the weekends. Not surprisingly, my yard has never looked the same since, but whatever.

That phase of my life was done. I had moved beyond it.

Except, now, I'm back.

The weekend mission was to turn my basement from the pit of despair into an area that doesn't make you want to take a shower when you emerge from it. Easier said than done. The basement has been ignored by me for years and years and years, and with the cat boxes, and spider webs, and dust, and more dust, and dirt and rusty shit, it has turned into one nasty place that contaminates the rest of the house with its mere filthy existence.

So, we went to Lowe's for some basic supplies. There was something strangely familiar, and aggravating, about wandering around Lowe's with Prof. Picking out some new mini-blinds for the windows I've never bothered to cover; looking at ceiling fans, light fixtures, cable splicer dealies, reciprocating saws and totes. Lots and lots of totes.

Over a hundred bucks later, we started in the basement by refastening some insulation that was hanging down, then tacking up some cables that had fallen down and threatened to strangle me every time I walked through the only pathway available from one side to the other. He helped me fix an overhead light clicky light whose clicker no longer worked. And saw through and chuck a half-finished shelf thing that PRex built that has been in my way since 2002.

And then my aggravation turned into a melt down.

I don't know what it was. The fact that I was doing a home project with a boy again - significant in so many ways? The fact that I was embarrassed beyond belief about how long I had let things go down there? And about the number of things we unearthed that smelled like cat pee (damn you, arlo!)? The fact that it was 3pm and I felt like we hadn't made any progress and we were supposed to be at a surprise party at 4:45?

Whatever it was, I snapped. I felt like I wanted to cry. There was too much to do. I needed his help, and I didn't need his help. It was never going to get done. Etc. Etc. He sensed my frustration, thankfully, and gave me some space. I didn't know what to do. I wanted him to stay and help me, but I also wanted him to go far far away so I could sort through things by myself. Its been so long since I've had someone to help me do anything, I don't think I know how to handle it anymore. My fierce independence is often an asset, but its starting to become a liability.

We talked about it later a bit. And the Lowe's / Home Improvement thing threw us both off. Last time he did a big Lowe's day, it was with his ex-wife. The last time I did, it was with my ex-boyfriend. But now we are doing it together - but all those other experiences are still there with us. And this is just the beginning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Palm Saturday

Put enough girls together, and drama will always emerge. And I will look to escape it. But I never thought I would take refuge at a palm reader.

This weekend was dedicated to Kiwi's bachelorette party in NYC. We did dinner, then headed out for a mini bar crawl. It was extra-mini, since we got kicked out of the second bar we went to because one of the girls was "visibly inebriated."

Isn't that the point? God, NYC has gotten SO P.G.

When we got the word that our friend had gotten bounced, there was mass pandemonium, and girls rushing in and out and congregating on the street, then not. I spied a sign that said "Palm Readings - $5" next door. I knew it would take at least 15 minutes for the girls to work out the plan, so I grabbed one of them and descended into the psychic basement.

I've never ever gotten my palm read, or tarot cards or called the psychic friends network. But for the cost of a beer, I could sit down for a few minutes and do something interesting, while the rest of the girls figured out what to do with visibly inebriated friend (now clinging to KT and a light pole).

I sat down and the reader took my right hand. Without hardly a pause, she showed me my life line and told me that I would live to between 88 and 92. But that's what she probably tells everyone. I'll bet if you tell someone they kick it at 45, they leave and you don't get paid.

Then she looked at my career line or whatever its called and told me that I am comfortable in leadership positions and that my career will shift in this direction soon. All true, though she could tell I was a natural born leader just by the way I walked in the door.

Then she moved on to my love line. She said that I would have three loves in my life, and that the third one would stick. She saw no divorce (though, you'd have to be married to get divorced), no cheating, no strife. She seemed quite enthusiastic about it, really. She also said I'd have one girl and one boy. Eh. I doubt it. Let's ignore that part.

She recommended that I have tarot cards done in November, when a big change would be coming. Hmmm. Very interesting. Prof is moving into my house in November.

So, is Prof #3? If I had counted, I would have said he was #4, but you could make a persuasive argument that TS or PRex didn't count. Boy would it suck if he's actually #2.

She said a bunch of other stuff that I don't remember. I had been drinking all night, after all. But when we were done, she looked at me and said "You have a very positive palm. I haven't seen a palm this positive in a very long time."

I've always been a grade grubber, so getting an A+ on my palm sent me into orbit. I have the most bestest palm!! I have the greatest future!! My love line kicks your love line's ass! So what if I kick it at 88? I don't have a divorce! Positive palm! Positive palm!

Even though I felt kinda shitty the next day, her words were still in my head. I do consider myself pretty fortunate these days, despite the hip and the homework and the headaches (why do all my ailments begin with H?). I've made great strides in staying positive, even when its raining shit. So maybe its paying off in cosmic karma points.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Aggravation

If I had one word to describe myself today, it would be aggravated. Very, very aggravated.

I can feel it in my body; my shoulder/neck is tense and pinched and my jaw is clenched, in a quasi pout. I haven't been this aggravated and anxious in a really long time, and I really hope its the steroids talking and not me.

The steroids: one of many reasons I'm aggravated.

Its just been a shit pile of a week, and I don't have time to relax or chill - except for the time I'm taking out to blog and bitch.

So there's this:

The orthopedist wants to send me to another specialist for my hip - nothing showed on my MRI, but he is convinced there is something torn. If the steroids don't clear the pain, he wants the other specialist to go in with the camera. Surgically. 6-12 month recovery period. For an injury they don't even know I have!

And this:

I helped move my brother out of his house and into my dad's house on Wednesday. It was an incredibly annoying and long day. He hadn't packed anything or prepped in any way until that morning. I packed his kitchen, his bathroom, CLEANED his nasty bathroom, cleaned bedrooms carried shit and unloaded. Only to find out after 8 hours of work that he had loaded EMPTY boxes on the truck, and stuff that belonged to his old roommate because he didn't know what else to do with them. Yeah, I definitely don't know what brother is going to do with a car seat, a thoroughbred racing saddle and the box for his Kurig coffee maker. Except that if I had known he had the coffee maker box, I could have put the friggin coffee maker in the friggin box.

Since then, he's in a panic, because he's living in a house with one toilet, 0 sinks and 0 showers. And his OCD prevents him from making any reasonable and rational decisions about what to work on first. I'll give you a hint - it wasn't a sink or a shower. Think garage doors.

I don't think that dude has irritated me this much since I was 16, when he refused to leave me and my friends alone and kept coming into my room doing his Erkel impression.

And then:

This morning, I lost my wallet. Not usually a big deal, except that I'm headed to NYC for a bachelorette party tomorrow. No wallet = no NYC. I did find it, but spent most of the day obsessing over it. Don't get me started on trying to figure out the best way to get into the city.

And this:

I made final arrangements today for my beloved Herman Humphrey the Hyundai, who will be donated to the Kidney Foundation on Monday. I had a harder time doing that than making funeral arrangements for my father. THEN I find out that my brother, who insisted I get the car out of the garage as soon as possible so he has a secure place to put his replacement windows, got a dumpster - effectively blocking Herman back in the garage.

I have to stop calling him Herman. And remind myself that he is just a hunk of musty, unworking Korean junk.

But he will never be just that. But soon I fear he will be very, very flat.

And to top it off:

Prof and I went back and forth ALL afternoon about whether we should hang out tonite. Annoying in and of itself because of the number of emails and gchats it took to come to the conclusion that hanging out is a bad idea, but also because of what its meaning for our relationship.

He must have picked up on my ambivalence about spending the night with him. I hate that I'm ambivalent about seeing him. I want to see him. I want to spend quality time with him. We haven't spend any real time together recently - its all family get togethers, home destruction and parties. What little time we have alone is usually late at night, lots of time after my class, when we are both cranky and spent. But I have a shit ton of work to do for class, I'm leaving for NYC in the morning, and had errands that had to be done. Tonite. Its almost 9pm now, and I still have several hours of homework to do.

I know its just a phase, and things will calm down again, and Prof has been very understanding (he knows what grad school is like) but it still sucks. I feel like our relationship is supposed to hit this wall after we've been living together, not before.

********

10:34 pm update:

I'm finished my homework. My "group" project members continue to ignore me on email. Word shut down on me "unexpectedly" losing some of my work.

And then.

I picked up my beer bottle to take a big swig.

Except it wasn't the one I just opened.

It was one that has been sitting on my desk for several days.

Warm, putrid and with little fuzzy things floating in it.

And I drank it.

(I did not puke, but it was close).

Aggravated, Annoyed and now in need of Antibiotics.

Shit pile week, indeed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Controlling the chaos

At some point in my life, I'm going to realize that things are never going to "calm down" and that I'm always going to be "crazy busy." I used to think it was my fault - have a free night? Fill it with banjo lessons! You have a board position open? No problem, I'll take over! Do you need the number of a good plumber? Hell no, I can DO IT MYSELF!! But I control only so much, and I'll take my share of responsibility for it, but folks, things are "crazy busy."

And here it is:

My brother miraculously sold his house in two weeks, sending the whole family (what's left of it) into panic mode. He's moving into my dad's house, and is buying me out of my half. But before he moves in, the whole house has to be gutted and remodeled. Well, we did the gutted part. My childhood home now has no bathrooms on the second floor and no kitchen. There are holes in walls and floors all over the place. And brother is moving in on Wednesday. And I'm helping. Not because I'm good at demolition, or enjoy week long arguments about whether it is truly necessary to knock out and replace every single wall in the house (not an exaggeration), but because I'm a good sister. And I want him in, so he can get his mortgage, and I can have my money. But mostly because I'm a good sister.

As we are filling the biggest dumpster money can buy with barbies, drywall and toilets, Prof is busy cleaning out his house, and I'm desperately trying to get things fixed and organized at my house so he will be able to move in. Its less than two months away and I've made little progress here. Basement still needs a cleaning and organizing, kayaks need to not be in the living room, closet has to be cleaned out so that there is room for boy clothes in there. There is SO not room for boy clothes right now. But at least I still have kitchen cabinets. And two months.

Two months seems like a long time, until you count the weekends. And take away the two weekends that I'll be away for wedding celebrations, and the weekends I'd like to dedicate to knocking on doors making sure that the village idiots aren't elected to office on Nov. 2 (or going to the Rally to Restore Sanity), and the weekends I'm supposed to be researching and writing my 20 page paper for my class (not to mention the group projects. Group projects!), due right after Prof moves in.

Did I mention the Great Kitty Litter Battle of 2010? That's pretty time consuming too.

I should probably also mention that I've taken a new board position, but I'm not in charge. I narrowly escaped being in charge by grabbing the second-in-charge position. But I'm totally screwed if the chair can't fulfill her duties and I have to wear the tiara.

Things would really be out of control if I could exercise or kayak, but thanks to my elderly hip, I'm still sitting on the bench with a doctor's note. Susan can't participate in gym until her doctors can figure out what the hell is wrong with her.

So, before I drop into bed today, I'm hoping to get my group project rolling, write an analysis of a case study, and clean some crap out of my closet. And have a lengthy conversation with my brother about insurance and bills at dad's (brother's) house. But I wanted to also let you all know that I was still here and still kicking, and still have lots of stuff to say. Just not the time to say it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting down, geriatric style

I really, really, really hope that Prof and I stay together forever and ever and ever. Because last night, I got a taste of what the 50+ single scene is like. And folks, it is not pretty.

Oh, and also, Prof's the most awesomest boyfriend that ever was (he reads this now, you know).

My friend KT came into "town" ("town" meaning the vast suburban/rural hell region where I live) to visit. Thankfully, she was staying with her other friend, because my house and my life right now aren't really up for accommodating overnight guests (unless they will soon be paying half my mortgage and will occasionally pick up some cat poo for me). So instead of a slumber party, we went out to dinner at the "best" restaurant around.

Its only the "best" because its the only one not in a strip mall.

The place is on the water, in the middle of nowhere and has a big deck. The food is, of course, overpriced and not that good, but I was willing to sacrifice just to avoid hanging out next to the Shop n' Bag. What I didn't know is that we were walking into a baby boomer dance party.

That's right. Baby Boomers dance and get it on at restaurants.

The band was setting up when we got there, and I was wondering whether our choice to sit on the deck might have been a mistake. It was as far as us talking to each other - but it was a great choice for people watching.

Holy mazoly. The crowd was mostly over 50, and dressed for a night on the town. Everyone who walked by had hip problems (I am now an expert at spying people with the particular limp that i now have). The local chapter of the "Single Boomers" was in the house. And so was KT's 71 year old aunt and uncle, who follow this band, and other local dance bands, all over the region to get their geriatric dance on. Uncle was once a regular on American Bandstand - this once impressed me, until I realized that 1 of every 7 Italian men over 65 around here were once regulars on the show. But, he's still got his moves. And the ladies love him, even those that aren't his wife, as evidenced by the 80 year old Keebler elf who pranced in front of him twice so he could pinch her ass. In front of his wife.

I did say he was Italian, after all.

Standing next to our table for most of the night was a 51 year old lady, on a Match.com date with a 56 year old. I'd say this dude was a catch - he had a mostly full head of hair, he danced with her, and he didn't have a hip limp. She must have overheard me yelling to my friends about boys, because she came over at one point and just volunteered that she was on a first match date (think she might have been a little tipsy?), and tried to set one of us up with her 25 year old single son. She was shocked when we told her how old we were, but persisted anyway. Perhaps her son needs a mother figure?

Anyway, the fascinating thing about this match date, was that there was another guy in the mix. She danced and flirted with him, and with her date. I think he got her number when the date went in to get another beer. We were so confused! They were all sort of a group, but one was on a date and the other wasn't? Was it a threesome date? I don't know man, but it was weird, and desperate.

We left at 10:30, and the old folks were still dancing and living it up with they were in college. It felt a little pathetic, not wanting to (or being able to) stay up late and party like we were 70. But I wanted to go to bed. I guess there will be plenty of time for dancing when I'm retired.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Suckage & Smelling Salts

When did I become such a friggin' baby?

I've been having problems with my left hip all summer. I suspect that somewhere along the line, I did something not nice to it while kayaking. But, it could have been anything. 200,000 miles of pushing a beetle clutch? 35 years of sitting weird with my left leg under my right butt cheek? Premature aging?

Whatever it is, its been interfering in my life. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with it throbbing. It hurt while kayaking. Then I tried to start running again and it was over. Holy crap. Then it really hurt. I felt like something was clicking or pushing or something. Something was wrong. But whatever. I just don't run anymore. No big sacrifice. Really.

But then, I couldn't even sit in my kayak comfortably, and I broke down and went to the doctor. And as we all know, the doctor is a gateway drug to other doctors. If I don't have a cold or the flu, Doc C. sends me to a specialist.

So I got x-rays (normal) and went to the specialist. He twisted my leg in a couple directions and got the hint when I screamed. Yeah. "I don't go that way anymore." Specialist thinks I might have a labral tear in the hip. I guess its fairly common amongst the sporty set (which I still don't really consider myself to be a part of, funny enough). So off for an MRI.

But this wasn't an ordinary MRI. They did one of those MRIs where they put dye in and track where it goes. Whatever, right? No big deal.

Except that it turned out to be a big deal.

I stripped down and put their ugly gown on. Then they laid me on this very hard metal table, with some sort of imaging machine attached to it. I was nervous. As I've gotten older, needles and procedures have affected me more and more. And because of some stuff I had read on the internet about pain during and after the procedure (damn internet) I was already a little bit freaked out.

I laid on the cold metal table for 5-10 minutes staring at the ceiling and trying not to panic while the tech got various needles and shots prepared. Then the doc came in and they spent another 10 minutes mixing and lining up shots. I was getting a local anesthetic, two different cortisone shots and the dye. And lord knows what else. I couldn't look at all that shit sitting on the tray. It was freaking me out.

As soon as the first needle hit my hip, I got really unhappy. I could feel it in there. And I kept just thinking about all that crap they were blowing into my joints and I started feeling sick to my stomach. I didn't feel any pain, just pressure. But it was sickening.

Then, I started to feel hot. Then clammy. I know this feeling. Its the feeling I get right before I pass out or puke. And they had told me not to eat, so there was nothing to puke. I had no choice. I was going to have to pass out. I told the technician that I was feeling woozy and clammy. Doc said "you look pale." Wow, really? Four years of medical school, for that?

I really was not doing good, going back and forth between wanting to forcibly push my way out of the room, and wanting to pass out. A tech came over with a cold compress, then I heard "get the smelling salts." Really? Smelling salts? What am I, a corseted 19th century housewife? Then there she was, shoving foul smelling salts up my nose. Ever stuck your nose into a bottle of ammonia? Well, its not pleasant. And it stopped me from fainting, since I switched from worrying about the needle in my hip to worrying about the permanent damage that had just occurred to my nostrils.

Then they were done and I could sit up and recover. As soon as I heard them say, "ok, we're done" I felt a little bit better. They gave me some water and I limped over to the MRI machine. I had never been so glad to be in an MRI machine - no needles in there! Just a terrible radio station and some thumps. Last time I had an MRI, I started getting a little freaky about the space by the end, but this time I had no problem. I could have stayed there all day. Nobody was poking me.

It took me hours to recover, really. I went to a nearby cafe afterwards to get some caffeine and food in my system, and slowly made my way home. I was so tired when I got home - I guess the emotional energy I had expended sucked it out of me. I ended up in bed most of the afternoon - totally wiped out. And when I woke up, the hip still hurts and feels all weird (cuz its filled with weird dye fluid crap) and I'm all dehydrated and stupid. Its like the painkiller they injected went all over my body and affected my brain. I am definitely affected.

But you all knew that already.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prof in the House

So much has been going on in my life, I'm having a hard time keeping up, and I know I'm having a hard time keeping up with the blog. But, I'm apparently doing a pretty piss poor job of keeping my real live friends posted too.

At dinner with the girls on Friday, I casually mentioned clearing out space in my townhouse so Prof could fit his stuff in. The blank stares and confused faces let me know that I had neglected letting anyone know this sort of important piece of info.

So, yup. Prof is moving in with me. To my tiny town house. After our failed house purchase attempt, we were both exhausted and tired of it. The purchase had felt rushed in the first place and when it fell through I think it gave both of us a chance to reassess the situation and do what made the most financial sense: split expenses in my ridiculously cheap house and wait to pounce on a house when we have a little more cash.

Its going to take some serious getting used to. I already feel ill when I think about him being here every. single. day. Every. Single. Night. But then I try to counter that with being happy that he will be here every. single. day. And I am happy that he will be here. And I'm ill at the same time. You all understand, right?

Its not happening until November, but its creeping up on us fast. I have a lot of crap to organize and throw away before he moves in. And he's got a lot of crap to organize and throw away too. And then we have to combine our crap in some way that is going to make him feel at home, and me not feel like he's squatting on my property.

And then I have to try to not go insane.

Monday, September 6, 2010

35

I hit 35 today. And I don't feel traumatized, or old, or unsuccessful or sad like a people do when they hit 35. But I do feel bloated from the massive lunch/dinner we had at this very tiny, extremely delicious, nothing out of a giant can, Mexican restaurant at the beach.

Prof and I headed to the beach on Saturday morning, car packed full of instruments, paddles, kayaks and all sorts of other stuff we didn't end up needing or using. I had invited another couple to join us for Saturday night. Not really uncharacteristic of me, except that I also invited their toddler.

I've finally come to grips with the fact that if I want to see my friends, I'm going to have to readjust my schedule and expectations. And the expectation that diapers and drool shouldn't be part of my birthday celebrations had to get tossed this weekend. Also, the expectation that I can leave a beer bottle on the table and walk away... yeah, that one got tossed too.

I've never had to adjust my schedule to a toddler's. Dinner is at 8 on a Saturday night, right? Nope. Baby cranky meltdown is at 8, so dinner better damn well be wrapping up by then. The first place we went had a 2 hour wait. Two hours! The second place we went was totally empty, but the host told me they were completed booked with reservations in 30 minutes. I wondered if that was true, or if he saw the toddler and lied his ass off to avoid us being in his restaurant. Then I wondered if the first girl had lied to us about the wait. Then I started to feel totally discriminated against. And I don't even have a kid!

We finally made our way to a place with a deck on the water. And high chairs on the deck. Thank god, because we were counting down to meltdown. Baby's, not mine. But mine wasn't far behind. Trust me.

We had a lovely dinner, with an occasional ear piercing shriek from baby. She would be totally happy one second, then lose it, then get attention and be fine. She moved through emotions so quickly I could hardly keep up. I couldn't believe how much it took to keep her happy and quiet enough to be in a public place. How completely exhausting for the parents.

I could see some of the surrounding tables shooting glances our way every once in a while. Particularly after the little shrieking events. And prior to this experience, that would have been me. Looking over at the parents, tsking them in my mind for bringing their kid to an adult restaurant. Tsking them for having a badly behaved child. Saying mean things in my head about breeders.

But not anymore man. One night with that kid (and she's a good one, I can't imagine doing that with a cranky one), and I have become sympathetic. No longer are those parents just selfishly ruining my dinner. They are exhausted and overwhelmed, struggling to retain some tiny sense of pre-infant normalcy while catering to this little human that threatens to ruin it with one poopy diaper.

And, if that's not enough... I did it the very next day with a different toddler. Different parents, different restaurant, same meltdown time.

Thirty-five years old, and I can finally deal with babies at the dinner table. But definitely don't ask me to babysit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Baggage

Ok, enough whining about not buying a house and how much real estate agents suck. Its time for me to share some serious stuff with you:

My new favorite television guilty pleasure.

Its called Baggage. Its on the game show network. It stars Jerry Springer and 4 rotating douchebags (or bagettes). Its so embarrassing to admit how much I like this show, but so necessary because you really need to start watching it. Today, if at all possible.

Each episode, one guy or girl has a chance to pick a date (cheap nasty hook up?) from three potential candidates. Each of the candidates brings with them three pieces of luggage; a small one, a medium one, and a big whopper mamma one. Each piece of luggage has some piece of embarrassing information about the person engraved on foam on the inside. The "baggage" is slowly and painfully revealed over the course of the show. The Chooser gets to choose which baggage they can't live with, and they slowly eliminate all but one on the potential dates.

The baggage is hilarious, and most likely completely falsified, but whatever. Its escapism, people. My favorite girl baggage so far includes "I pleasure myself on the highway," "I bring my dad, who's also my preacher, on dates with me" "I dated an 80-year old man" and "I like my men to dress up like poo bear." The guys are pretty awesome too, from dude is a bankrupt circus clown, to dude used to be gay (used to be? Really?), to several who admit to breaking up with girls for getting fat, to my very very personal favorite "I always keep chicken in my pocket."

I am not making that up. I seriously almost lost control of my bladder when this guy pulled a ziploc bag with a cooked chicken breast out of his pocket. He had one for his date too. Strangely though, he didn't make it to the last round. It was so considerate of him!

Besides the sheer mindlessness of this silly show, and the ridiculous amount of douchebaggery, and the fact that Prof enjoys it just as much (if not more than) I do, there is something else that makes this show resonate with me:

it was my life while I was still dating.

I mean, no, I never knowingly dated a dude who kept chicken in his pocket, but I dated some guys who had some massive sets of luggage. And the bags would slowly get revealed in sort of the same way until I just couldn't take it any more. Like the guy who lived with his parents, only had a part time job, and then hey, just so you know, a drug habit. Or the guy who had a kid, then I found out he cheated on his wife, and oh yeah, also, was an alcoholic. Or the guy who lived with his grandparents, was unemployed and oh yeah, had never had a girlfriend. At 40.

I could go on and on and on and on and on. And on. But I won't. I'm saving that for another day.

Anyway, in a weird way, the show reminds me how lucky I got. I'm not out there uncovering boy baggage and trying to figure out if its worth dealing with. I'm on the couch with Prof, laughing my ass off. Its a pretty good place to be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Relo Nightmare Part 2

We withdrew our offer on the house.

You probably already guessed that was the outcome. We are so disappointed, and still wondering if we did the right thing. But how could it have not been the right thing? Everything was working against us. Time, permits, our realtor, their realtor, the relo company, common sense...

We stewed about the permit issue all day on Saturday. We had the same conversation over and over again, just worded differently. Or maybe not even. We just couldn't understand how something as seemingly simple as putting in an offer on a house in a market like this could have gotten so difficult, and screwed up. We also couldn't understand why the relo company wouldn't agree to our terms. And why both of the realtors involved thought that a verbal agreement trumped a written contract.

I will say again, I'm not stupid. Particularly when I'm investing a crapton of money.

So we stewed and stewed and on Saturday, then called our realtor and asked her to withdraw the offer. Technically, we didn't have to withdraw - since the seller hadn't signed out contract we didn't have an agreement that we were legally required to back out of. But, she wanted to make totally sure, so there was more paperwork to be filled out. So depressing. I mean, how many pieces of paper do I really have to sign to not buy a house?

We've spent most of the week wondering if we should have pulled out so soon (giggle) but the more and more we find out, the better I feel about it. Prof did a lot of reading about relo company sales and found out that a lot of people have gotten royally burned; but then again you can find stories like that on the internets for everything from cell phones to tastycakes. We also found out that its illegal to require the use of a certain company for deed and title searches - one of the conditions of the relo rider. We also found out that our realtor could have had their lawyer go to town on these guys, but we were never made aware of that option.

We found out later that there was more miscommunication between our realtor and the seller's realtor than we had previously thought. And again I wonder whether the outcome might have been different with a different realtor.

But, we've made our choice and are backing off for a little while.

No biggie though. The housing report that came out today said that housing sales were down over 25% in July. I think we might be able to find another house. One with a permitted deck, a basement that doesn't flood and a seller that is a human, and not a corporation.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Relo Nightmare Part 1

I hit my break point on Friday night.

I was off from work, so you'd think I would have had a nice relaxing day. Instead I spent most of the day on the phone with various people, including my insurance company who had promised to send out a guy to fix a broken window. I don't need to go into to many details here, because we all know what happens when a contractor is supposed to come to the house. No-Show-City. He didn't show in the morning, I called, they said a different guy could come out at 6:30 pm. 6:30 p.m. On a Friday. But, you know what, I really wanted to check it off the list, so I said ok. So I waited and waited and waited around my house all day, and at 7pm the insurance guy called to verify with me that they contractor had showed up. Yeah, not so much. No contractor. No window fix. No progress. But lots of frigging aggravation. (insert beginnings of migraine here).

So, I ruined my Friday night with Prof for no reason. But we tried to salvage it. He had picked up some good bread for dinner, I had garden tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese... So I packed up a bag and headed to his house for the night.

When I got there, the house smelled delicious. He had roasted some garlic to put on our tomato, mozzarella basil yummy bread sandwiches and oh. my. god. was I ready to devour them.
We got our plates together and got ready to sink our teeth into that summer deliciousness.

Then the phone rang.

And it was our realtor.

At this point, it was 9pm. There was nothing good coming from that phone call. And our sandwiches were just sitting there, teasing us as we digested the blow.

I've been remiss in updating our progress in the house buying process so here it is: We agreed to an acceptable price last week and Prof and I spent another 2 hours on Wednesday filling out another contract, with a very well thought out "buyer's addendum" so that we could make sure the seller's agent understood our conditions.

I don't know whether they understood them or not, but clearly, they didn't accept them.

Our realtor emailed us a bunch of things they wanted us to initial. "Oh, its no big deal, just a couple things we forgot to include..."

No big deal, my ass.

They ignored all of our very reasonable conditions, and had removed all of our edits to their contract. Which pissed me the hell off. But worse yet, they sent us a new disclosure statement. A disclosure statement that we had never before seen.

First of all, what the fuck?! This was the second contract we had put in for the house, and they were just getting around to showing us this newer, updated disclosure form? That in and of itself was reason enough to walk away. They were trying to pull something over on us, but they don't know who they are dealing with.

Second of all, what the fuck?! The disclosure pointed out that the deck (the deck that was a large reason Prof and I liked the house so much) was built without a permit. To most people, this isn't a big deal. To me, its huge. Decks not built to code are a huge liability. It also appears that some structural work in the basement was also done without permits.

You tell us this now? Two contracts in? After I've sacrificed days of vacation time to fill out contracts, sweat bullets over verbal offers, taken three migraine pills, driven friends past the house to show them where I'll be living at Thanksgiving and decided where all my furniture would go?

Prof and I were both stunned. First, we were stunned that they had withheld this information from us. Second, we were stunned that our agent hadn't communicated their changes to us. Third, we were stunned that someone would be making it so difficult for us to buy their property. You do want to sell it, right? I mean, did you not read the Huffington Post today? The headline at 7am was "Americans Rethink Homeownership." And here you have two people, who really love the house you are trying to sell and would really like to buy it from you, and you... Well, you are just not being very helpful. Actually, you are being a pretty big fing hindrance.

Maybe the permit thing can be taken care of, maybe not, but fact is, these people have been withholding important information from us for weeks, and waited until after we had negotiated a price and put in another contract to reveal that information.

So, here's where we are:

There's a house that we really like. It has a deck that isn't up to code and doesn't have a permit. It has a drainage problem in the basement that may or may not have been fixed by some work that was also done without a building permit.

The house is being sold to us by a relocation company, which means we are buying it "as-is" and have no recourse if there is a serious issue with the house. They adamantly insist that their chosen lawyer does the necessary legal work (sound fishy anyone?). They also adamantly insist that the inspection be done within days of a contract being signed (which of course, further weakens our ability to find any major structural flaws or other issues with the house).

We don't agree with their conditions, because its advantage big bad corporation. Prof and Susan get screwed if we agree to any of that. And we just simply can't take a risk like that.

By the time we got off the phone with the realtor, read the changes from the relocation company and calmed down, dinner was ruined. I mean, the sandwich was delicious and the roasted garlic made it one of the best things I have eaten this summer. But we couldn't enjoy it. Not really. Because there was a bitter taste in my mouth.

The gentle, bitter taste of getting slowly screwed by a big-ass corporation.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The offering

Its been an emotionally exhausting weekend. If there are three things I hate most in this world, its change, uncertainty and aggressiveness. And we had the trifecta this weekend.

Ok, fine. If those probably aren't really the three things I hate most in this world. I guess the three things I really hate most would be war, poverty and ignorance. But right behind that is change, uncertainty and aggressiveness.

We spent three and a half hours on Thursday at the realtor's office reading contracts, filling out paperwork and being totally exasperated. My realtor is a friend of the family - a sweet old lady who drives a Cadillac and recently had a pacemaker installed so is forced to hold her blackberry a foot away from herself to talk on it (lest it interfere with the pace-making). She is thorough, but very slow. And not very aggressive or pushy. Aggressive and pushy are traits I avoid in friends and acquaintances, but in a realtor, I should have sought them out just a tiny bit more.

So, with much frustration and eye-rolling across the table between Prof and I, we got the papers signed, photocopied and faxed. Because we have to negotiate with both the owners and a relocation company (why us!), our realtor wanted to give them at least a week to respond. Jeezus lady. We can't wait around for a week wondering whether we are going to own a house or not. We pushed back and agreed to Wednesday.

Then we left and did our part for charity by drinking all you can drink wine at a fundraiser for the local food bank. Lord, did I need a stiff drink after that.

I've been walking around in a sort of haze. We just did this thing that requires a major life commitment to each other. That, and a ton of cash, of course. All without all those legal protections you get from spending thousands of bucks on a big party with a bad dj and an open bar.

I have been doing my best to keep under control. To limit the anxious butterfly feeling in my stomach. To adapt the "whatever happens happens" ideology. To stay positive and upbeat. But I am too smart to be too positive. Buying a house together comes with significant risk, and living together will have lots of benefits, but its also going to be difficult at times.

On the rider we had to sign for the offer, it asked a question that read "why are you moving?" We wanted to put "not enough conflict in our lives" but decided to just leave it blank.

At least we can laugh about it before it happens. Wonder if we will still be laughing later, when the conflicts start happening?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Offer

We made an offer on the house today.

I'm off to have a mini-stroke.

More details soon.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A theme

You've probably noticed by now that when things are going great, my blog posts are short, boring and infrequent. But when I'm tortured, you'd better have a lot of free time, because all I want to do is write about it.

I'm totally tortured right now.

I had trouble falling asleep last night, with thoughts of mortgages and houses and bamboo floors and buyers and renters all jumbling up in my mind, making me anxious and restless. And when I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was pull my laptop off the floor to see if our realtor had emailed back, or if the house was still on the market.

Not the most healthy way to kick off a gorgeous, sunny, low humidity Saturday that I should be spending on the water somewhere, instead of cleaning out the basement (which, who are we kidding, is SO not going to happen today).

Its so overwhelming. The steps themselves, no big deal: Do mortgage paperwork; then, put offer on house; then negotiate offer; then (this is where it starts getting me), purge possessions; then, clean existing houses; then, put house on market; then, take Prozac; then, live life on the edge keeping house museum perfect on the off chance someone wants to see it; then, have breakdown.

As I was making my tea, I started pulling crap out of drawers and throwing away. It made me feel like I was making progress towards the purge possessions item, and let's face it, that's a no regrets activity. Do I really need a drawer-full of doilies that my grandma gave me and I never used? Nope. Or the remote control cat-toy that's needed new batteries for five years? Nope. Or the refrigerator egg container that I never used because I couldn't figure out where the hell it was supposed to fit in the fridge? Nope, nope and nope.

So, I felt good and productive and useful. For like five minutes. Then I came out on my 3-year old beautiful deck into and sat on the steps and looked out over my backyard. And I got sad. Sad, sad, sad.

Unlike lots of people in this neighborhood, I never treated my house as a starter, short term house. I've got blood, sweat and tears in this place. My veggie garden that I've struggled with for years and years is finally fertile and productive. My trees are growing up; the trees that I transported in my Beetle and planted all by myself with no help from anyone. Its so peaceful here right now - birds singing, cicadas singing (do they sing?), sunshine... Yeah, I know the neighbors are douchebags, but they have been really extremely quiet recently, and its hard to want to move out when things are finally as they should be here.

And the thing is, I guess it doesn't matter. Everyone is sad when they leave a place, but everyone eventually leaves every place they are. I was sad when I left Washington State, and I hated it there! But I loved the little house I rented, and I loved the neighbors, and I loved the hills. And I love this place way more. Its 100% me. It oozes Susan from every crevice (sometimes literally). I've grown up in this house; learned to be an adult (kinda); learned to cook; learned to garden; learned to play guitar; learned to play banjo; learned to fix a water heater; and learned what's important, and what's not important.

But unless I want to be single for the rest of my life (which I don't - I think I sometimes get being single and being independent confused), I have to leave. And it could be next month, or it could be next year, but its going to be.

Change is hard for me. Even good change.

So, get ready. Lots more blog posts on their way...

Friday, August 6, 2010

iPod & Magic 8

Have you ever tried to let your iPod make a decision for you? No, cheater, not with the Magic 8-Ball app for your iPod Touch. Like, if you put the song mix on random and the next song that comes on as you are cruising down the highway is about a breakup, then its a sign that you should break up? Or if the next song is about being in love forever and ever and ever and ever, its a sign that you should stay together? Its not a very good method, actually. And its pretty limited to breaking up or being in love, since 99.998% of all songs are about one or the other. Notable exceptions to that rule are anything by The Presidents of the United States of America (featuring songs about amphibians, music equipment and tikis) and Geggy Tah ("you let me change lanes, while I was driving in my car").

I normally don't have an amphibian emergency, and am pretty good about changing lanes, so I'm pretty limited on the iPod decision making these days.

Until tonight. When I stalked the house Prof and I are thinking about buying, at 10 pm.

Well, stalking might be the wrong word. Since I drove down the street twice and sat in front of it in my bright green car, with two bright yellow kayaks on top. I was not, I would imagine, the least conspicuous thing around.

The late night visit was inspired by a slightly dismaying email from our realtor, who had talked to their realtor. Their realtor said "there has been a lot of activity on the house." And our realtor send us a different house we might want to look at, in a neighborhood we pretty much vetoed on our last time out.

I immediately felt sick. What the hell is a "significant" amount of activity? I mean, we looked at it twice in first week it was on the market. That alone is significant activity - people have gorgeous houses just sitting and sitting and sitting for months and months and months, and the house we like has "significant activity"? W. T. F.

Its a really great house for us, and it has 90% of what we want, and we could move in and hardly do anything to it, except paint. And even that could wait. But the problem is that we are simply not ready, and don't want to be rushed into a decision. But, we also don't want to let an awesome house slip through our fingers. But we also aren't ready. But we also may never find a house this good ever again.

I am in a serious quandary people. And its a mix of financial worries, relationship worries and individuality worries. How can you ever rectify those in time to get a damn house?

So, I drove by the house on the way home from Prof's tonight. Drove. Stalked. Whatever. And as I sat in front of the house, this really sweet Billie Holiday song was on the iPod - Getting Some Fun Out of Life:

"When we want to love, we love. When we want to kiss we kiss..."
"In a happy setting we get some fun out of life"
"Maybe we do the right thing, maybe we do the wrong thing..."

I listened to it for a minute and tried to take its advice, which I think is no regrets, do what feels right and figure it out. But it wasn't enough. On the way home, I got a couple of other songs that were along the same vein, but no definitive. No Crosby Stills and Nash "Our House." That, my friends, would have been a pretty strong sign.

Instead, I'm still confused.

Prof is trying to figure it out too. When I got home, I found that he had emailed me the online Magic-8 Ball. I asked it whether we should buy this house, and twice the 8-ball said "it doesn't look good." But when I asked it "Do you suck?" it replied "Yes!". So much for that method.

Maybe my cereal tomorrow will spell me out an answer. Though, I don't think my Kashi Super Fiber Twigs and soy milk really lends itself to alphabet messages.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Family Reunion x 2

Today, someone asked me how my weekend was. My response? "Like an episode of Curb your Enthusiasm, but not nearly as funny."

There are two ways to do things you really don't want to do: you can spread the pain out over a long period of time and bitch and whine and moan about shit for weeks on end, or you can jump in to the shit pile and get it all over with at once.

Prof and I chose to jump into the shit pile.

My Dad's side of the family's family reunion was Sunday. I didn't actually get invited to it; my mom (who had been divorced from my dad something like 18 years before he died) did. She's real slow at providing info, so I found out about it about three weeks ago. She wanted to go. Don't ask me why someone would want to go to the family reunion of her dead ex-husband, but there you have it. And I couldn't let her go alone, because that would have just been way too strange, so I signed myself up too. And I signed up prof, because I think we are far enough along in our relationship that he gets to suffer when I have to suffer.

But the suffering was not one sided, trust me. Prof's dad and stepmom have been on us to come for a visit for months. I've met them both at various Prof family get togethers, but apparently they wanted more one on one time with me. I can hardly blame them, since I am incredibly funny and interesting. But still, what a pain in the ass. They live 90 minutes away, and aren't the most normal or easygoing of people. I've been dodging it for a while "Can't. Kayaking." "Can't. Bad hair day." "Can't. Pulling fingernails out that day." But with summer winding down, it was time to just get it over with.

So we filled the weekend with a big pile of family shit.

We drove to Prof's hometown on Saturday and visited his Grandma, cousin, nephew, dad, stepmom and uncle. But it wasn't that easy. Dad and Grandma don't get along so well, and neither do Dad and his sister, and hence he doesn't get along so well with Prof's cousin, uncle or anybody on that side of the family. Can you say awkward? So, we visited with Grandma, who is 93 years old and probably was wondering where Prof's wife was and who the hell was I? There's not much to say about that. Talking to someone who is 93 and in a nursing home goes about the same for everyone all over the world. Then we went to lunch with his dad and stepmom.

I'm not normally exposed to truly neurotic people, so I was on my best behavior. Being on my best behavior is exhausting. Prof's dad and stepmom are special people, with very special ideas and habits. And by "special," I mean insane. Yes, there was the obligatory Stepmom rifling through her purse to make sure we all had hand wipes; cuz apparently soap and water isn't good enough. I'm not even sure these were your regulation handi-wipes: I think they were bleach wipes. But that was nothing really, in comparison to the key story. Dad carefully explained, as he gave Prof his copy, why he had made 20 spare keys for his house, and how he had decoy hide-a-keys in the yard. Decoy spare keys people. I couldn't make this up if I tried.

As I've gotten older, I've realized that even though my family had some serious issues, we were still generally normal people, with normal ideas and normal goals. And only real hide-a-keys in the yard. Its something that I've really begun to appreciate.

Until I heard about my great-great aunt's collection of "hair receptacles" at my family reunion. That's right. Hair Receptacles. What, you don't know what that is? Well, let me fill you in. A hair receptacle is a small jar with a hole in the top that women of the Victorian era used to put their hair in after they brushed it or pulled it out or whatnot. While arguably, this is better than what I do today (smearing it on the shower wall), its still gross. More gross because of what they did with it. Apparently, "hair art" was all the rage, and women would weave things out of their own hair, or put their hair in jewelry or give it as gifts or whatever. But really, who would collect that stuff?

My 2nd-removed family, that's who. The daughters of the woman (now deceased) who had started collecting this stuff were totally into it. Like, really into it. I think I had a look of horror on my face the whole time they were telling us about it, that I just couldn't hide from them. Guess I shouldn't be so judgemental. Maybe someone will one day think my lunch box collection is gross (only if you open the thermos' and take a big whiff). Hair receptacles. Who knew?

Surprising as it was, the family reunion (minus hair receptacle) wasn't as bad as it could have been. I avoided the 97 people I had never met, and caught up with the 3 really old people that I knew. Mostly, I talked with my mom and Prof. And ate lots of red-neck salads, and cake. Also got my copy of the family cookbook, and a family reunion t-shirt. The cookbook isn't veggie friendly (duh) and the t-shirt, which features a black and white photo of my great grandparents, is clearly destined for the rag pile.

Its exhausting work, being nice and pleasant and charming, for people you barely know. I much prefer belching and farting and telling rude jokes for people I know well. Hopefully, we can do that this weekend.