Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Deflated Cynic

Valentine's Day has come and gone, and I've had nothing to say. Valentine's Day. The Hallmark holiday I despise more than Flag Day, International Kumquat Day and Bosses' Day combined. Find it a bit weird that the love cynic had no smack to talk on Valentines Day?

Me too.

This year, I'm on the outside looking in. Except this year, I was on the outside with my caring, considerate, sickeningly sweet boyfriend, looking in at all the women whose husbands/boyfriends/friend with benefits grudgingly brought home some grocery store carnations with a side of KY warming lube. "Hey baby. I brought you flowers. Let's get it on."*

(*Disclaimer: above story did not actually happen to anyone I know. But I'm sure it happened somewhere. Multiple times.)

Valentine's Day was almost uncomfortably perfect. Prof sent a bouquet of tulips to the office on Friday. We went to brunch Sunday at a cozy little tavern, and sat next to the fire. We went to a local vineyard and did a wine and chocolate tasting. Then went to the antique store next door just for kicks. Too bad we vaguely smelled like grandma's attic for the rest of the night. He even watched pairs figure skating with me when we got back to my house, without protesting.

I mean really, don't you want to barf?

But it gets better (worse?). Monday was also our 9-monthiversay. He sent a package of chocolate covered strawberries to the office. A refrigerated Fex Ex package of berries. Hello?!

I wish I could say that it was all him, and I remained stoic and cynical and sarcastic all weekend, but I can't. I bought him a card that actually made me slightly uncomfortable with its sentiment. And gave him a basket of individually wrapped specialty food items, with tags. A jar of bittersweet chocolate: "cuz sometimes I'm sweet, and other times, not so much..." A jar of spicy jelly: "cuz you are hot and sweet." Dave's Insanity Sauce: "cuz I'm crazy hot for you..." It included a heart shaped lollipop. Barf. Retch. Ralph.

Wonder what I'm going to get for St. Patrick's Day?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vibrator Graveyard

If you've turned on your tv, radio or computer recently, you may have heard that the East Coast is getting screwed by Snowzilla 2010. I've been snowed in my house for four of the past five days. I'm finally starting to go a bit stir crazy and am running out of things to organize.

So today, I started in on the bedside table. The table has two drawers; the first one is filled with random junk like old glasses, a heating pad, my wrist braces, old candles, buttons, condoms and my unused diaphragm. Prof has some stuff at my house, so I decided to dump it all and make room for his allergy pills and assorted boy crap. The glasses got put in the "give to blind people in Africa" pile, the medical supplies got tossed in another room to someday, hopefully, find a home to call their own and the condoms and diaphragm got tossed.

But the bottom drawer wasn't quite so easy. None of it could be put in the poor people from Africa pile.

It too contained condoms; a ridiculous number of condoms of various shapes and sizes. Those that were close to expiring got tossed; and the rest went into a ziploc bag (to keep them all together and neat. I'm insane). But, that's not all the drawer contained. In addition to some other random items obtained at a "Slumber Party" I had several years ago, I found five vibrators. FIVE.

Before you go thinking I'm some sex starved lunatic, let me explain...

They are all broken.

I'm sure they would last longer if they weren't being made in some Chinese factory that also churns out small toys that go into Big Grab machine at the grocery store, but fact is, I have five vibrators that don't work. In a drawer next to my bed. And I had to find a discreet way of getting rid of them.

(Ok, not all of them. Two of them have advanced features which long ago stopped working, but the basic buzz is still functional. Hey! I'm snowed in without my boyfriend -- I'm in survival mode here people!)

I just sat there on the floor, pondering this question: "What is the best way to throw away vibrators?" Then I sat there on the floor pondering another question: "What has my life come to?"

But really, how do you throw away a vibrator, without getting caught? Without risk? What if someone goes through my trash? What if a raccoon drags one down the street? What if the degrading latex causes groundwater contamination at the landfill? I wonder how many other women have pondered this exact question?

I ended up taking a sock from the lonely lost sock pile and shoving three broken vibrators into it, then shoving it in the bottom of a trash bag. Then I filled up the bag with lots of innocuous innocent trash so noone would suspect what could possibly be at the bottom of the bag.

Unfortunately though, the trash bag is still sitting in my hallway, owing to the fact that I can't really get out of my front door right now, let alone get to my trash can, which lives under my front porch. I wonder if I should take the bag somewhere else? Put on dark clothing and creep around the food lion at midnight, stalking their huge, anonymous dumpster? Or better yet, the trash can at the local park? Maybe I could throw it in my neighbor's can?

Or, I could participate in the sex toy recycling program. Why don't you try it first, then let me know how it went?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Herman, my first love

When I turned 16, my father brought home a car for me. I hated it. First, it was a Hyundai. Second, it was white. Third, it was a hatchback. Fourth, it had this horrible blue and red pinstripe. Fifth, it wasn't a sea-foam green Chevy Storm, or a Honda CRX, or a convertible. I should have embraced it more from the get-go though, because my mother immediately claimed it and I was stuck driving the mini-van; a super hot red 1987 Voyager. Complete with ugly pinstripe. And seating for 7.

On Wednesdays though, I got to drive the Hyundai because I had flute lessons far away, and the Hyundai got better gas mileage (we were a scrimper family - this was when gas was like 80 cents a gallon and mom was worried about gas mileage?). After flute lessons, I would take the longest way home, on windy, wooded back roads. The Hyundai was a 5-speed, and while its 1.8 liter engine was hardly powerful by my standards today, it made me feel so independent, and cool to drop it into 3rd gear to power up a steep hill.

Then slowly, I claimed the Hyundai. And he got a name: Herman Humphrey. And then he got his first bumper sticker. "Ozone = Life, Dupont = Death" in stark black and white letters (remember when the hole in the ozone was our biggest problem? Ha! If we only knew what was coming..). Then he got his second bumper sticker, and his third, and then a flower or two, and suddenly, Herman the Hyundai became more than just a car. He got a personality, and became a friend.

Herman was there during those times in my life when I felt like nobody else was. I went to college just as my parent's marriage was ending, and it was ending in a particularly nasty and scary way. Mom moved into an apartment, Dad kept the house, but it wasn't a safe secure place. My dorm room was temporary, and not so safe and secure either, so Herman was my constant. The place that I could go and feel safe. The friend who let me cry and scream and work it out. The friend who helped me move my stuff out of my dad's house when it got to scary to be there there.

In college, people thought I had a boyfriend named Herman. "Herman and I went to the store." "Herman and I went to the mountains." Herman took all my friends where he needed to go (but rarely got any gas money). Everyone knew him. When he was close to 100,000 miles, we piled in and drove around late into the night until he turned over and then we celebrated (likely with my favorite beverage at the time, Zima).

Herman saw me through all of college, and endured a not-so-rigorous maintenance schedule (I was in college, I didn't have money for oil changes and tune-ups!). He got a new transmission and went from a 5-speed to a 4-speed. I figured out how to make him start on cold winter days by opening the hood and propping open the choke with a pencil. I learned that if you car seems like its on its last legs, and you have to have everyone in the car lean forward to make it up a hill, maybe you should check the spark plugs. Poor guy. He got me to graduation, then refused to start the next day. He was tired. No 1987 Hyundai had ever seen 120,000 miles, and he saw many more than that, but that's when the odometer quit. We got him running again, but when I found a job, he couldn't make my 100 mile round trip commute and I had to get another car (1989 Dodge Omni, which I hated because it wasn't Herman). But, Herman stuck around. Mom tooled around in him for short trips, but broke my heart when she pulled my bumper stickers off.

Not long after, we took Herman to Dad's house and stuck him in the garage. I kept the insurance on him, and dad would drive him occasionally, just to keep the motor running. Then the tires got kinda bad, and Dad would just let him run in the garage or the driveway. I drove him once in a while, but that stopped one day when I went to the gas station and noticed rust in a place that seems liked a critical part of the frame, and I drove him right back to the garage in a cold sweat. Then came a time where we couldn't really get him started anymore, even with a trickle charger, and I eventually took the tags off and saved myself 50 bucks a month by not buying insurance for him.

But I never got rid of him. Herman still sits in my dad's garage, and I say hi to him every time I walk through the garage. But Herman is sad - the tires are rotted and flat, he's become a storage shelf, there's mildew and must inside and I'm sure he's leaking some kind of noxious chemicals. But he's still there, as he has been for the past 18 years.

I always had dreams of fixing him up and hanging on to him, but that's unrealistic. And I'm too cheap and practical to throw money at fixing up a 23 year old Korean car. And now, we have to clear out Dad's house. Herman too.

I've known this day was coming, but was unprepared for how it would affect me. I went to the Kidney Foundation to see about car donation and I fought back tears as I was reading the information about how, in sometimes just a day (!), they can come pick up your unwanted vehicle. He's not unwanted, but what am I going to do? Cling to an unworking and slightly smelly Hyundai for the rest of my life? Coat him in rustoleum and douse him in febreeze, daily? Buy a bigger house so I can put him in cold storage for the rest of eternity? I wish that I could.

I feel like a traitor, even thinking about it. I've never sold a car - I still actually hold title to the Omni, and gave it to a friend of my uncle's. My current car (Gertrude) is 9 years old and getting ready to pass the 200,000 mile mark. She's going to the dealership tomorrow and I'm prepared to throw ridiculous amounts of cash out to keep her running to 300,000. But I don't have enough cash to do Gertrude and Herman. Or a garage. One thunderstorm and Herman would disinegrate.

I lost a lot this fall, and when Herman goes, I fear its going to hit me, and I'm afraid of the feelings that are going to happen. That are already happening. I'm going to have a lot of trouble with this one.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Downhill and mostly upright

I don't get skiing. Maybe its because the slopes are hours away from my house. Maybe its because my tootsies stay frozen and numb when its under 40 degrees. Maybe because its impossible to wipe the snot off your face when you have thick gloves on. Or maybe because after six or seven runs, my knees and thighs scream and feel like they will never work right ever again.

You'd think after taking a week and half off the week before last I'd be done taking time off work to play. Well, you'd be wrong.

Before I went to Mexico, my mom cornered me about going skiing. She hasn't gone in at least a decade (I haven't gone since 2002) and because my dad and grandma no longer require our care, she's got lots of time to fill. Lots. Of. Time. She was so excited about the thought of going skiing; I was lukewarm at best. Skiing? In the winter? Its cold. It requires lots of falling on my ass. And the boots and the walking in the boots and, did I mention that its cold? But how I could I say no to a woman who has spent every moment of the last 3-4 years caring for everyone but herself? The answer is, you don't say no. You paste a smile on and say "wow mom! What fun! I've got lots of vacation time! Let's go!"

So, I took yet another day off work today and we headed to the mountains. Thank god she let me drive - I don't know which one would have been scarier; careening down a mountain skidding on ice created by the constant scraping of snowboarders, or being in the passenger seat while mom drives 50 mph in the left hand lane on a 65 mph highway.

When we finally got there (forgot to print out directions and there was a notable lack of highway signage), it took us at least an hour to rent our gear and figure out how to get it all on. I swear to you. At one point, mom was latching up my shoes and pulling at my snow pants zippers like I was three. But, seriously, I couldn't do it myself. I needed my mommy to get me dressed. Path-et-ic.

I tried to convince mom that we should start on the bunny slope/training hill. She took a look at it and said "Nah. Let's just go." I pictured her swooshing down the mountain without a care in the world, while I walked my ass down, defeated and broken. So, onto the lift we went; and started down the longest, scariest "easy" hill I've ever seen. I landed on my bottom once, and had a hell of a time figuring out how to get up, but got it eventually. Halfway down, I had to stop (I should have just fallen again, it would have been easier) because my thighs were burning. Burning worse than they do in Pump class after the 18-millionth squat. Burning, burning burning. And the lodge was sooooo far away. I don't know how I made it to the bottom, and I sure as hell wasn't sure that I could do it again. But how could I not? Am I going to let my 60 year old mom kick my ass on the ski slope? Well, my thighs said yes, but my ego said no.

And then, we hooked up with S and J. S went to Mexico with us and lives near the mountains. I mentioned the mom ski trip and she was instantly enthusiastic about meeting up and trying to ski together. J is her business partner, and just so happens to be a ski instructor. Oh. My. God. They are my new favorite people. He immediately offered to give us some tips on the next run and we took him up on it. We spent the entire afternoon with them, with J following us down the mountain, helping us figure it out, helping the thighs not burn quite so bad, giving us little exercises to do the whole way down the mountain. "Do this one with your arms out, chest facing downhill!" "Step the traverse" "Gain some speed!" "Lift your uphill foot." "Step through the turn." "Keep your eyes forward - don't look down." "Keep a smile on your face!" Thank god he kept saying that smile thing, because I was Frowny McDowner there for a little bit. I was concentrating - I can't smile and concentrate at the same time. Hey! We all have our limits.

We skiied until 4:30, then I threw in the towel. I was tired. If I had gone down one more time, it would have been ugly. Amusing for those around me, but ugly.

Skiing is never going to be my thing, but I was really glad that I was able to spent time with my mom and help her do something she's been wanting to do for a while. And now, I'm going to finish my wine, and put some ice on my knees and pray that I'll be able to walk tomorrow...