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.