Monday, January 31, 2005

My planner is full

It was very difficult to psych myself up for Monday. And it’s proving very difficult to psych myself up for Tuesday.

So lets just put this theme on repeat for the next eight weeks, because I’m fully expecting to continue loathing Mondays and abhor Tuesdays and hate Wednesdays and detest Thursdays and...yeah. Ya’ll get the gist.

In addition to the Peewee’s Playhouse that is my internship, I work a second job. Converse to my internship, I enjoy my second job. And I get paid for it. Crazy shit, eh?

But.

My boss at my second job just cranked up my hours. My internship is winding up for what is widely known as Undoubtedly The Worst Months of the Year. And I am anxiously gnawing off my hand while writing it all on the calendar.

I just don’t anticipate well.

All I can think about is how hard the next eight weeks are going to blow and how often I:
a. won’t be able to go to the gym
b. will want to maim my boss
c. will miss skating
d. won’t have time to read anything but poorly-written press releases that must be doctored up into something that resembles the English language in 35 seconds
e. will run on little to no sleep and a shitload of coffee
f. will be pissed off beyond what is reasonable/healthy
g. won’t know which end is up

Today is the official start date of what will now be known by the (catchy) title of Two Dick Douchebag Asshole Prick Bitch Whore Cocksucker Collective Months of Really Uncool Stuff.

Expect many disgruntled posts and many more that are absolutely incoherent in form, style, flow and purpose.

The midday tally

The good: my new cashmere sweater.

The annoying: boss suggesting I sing karaoke on our Tour of Torture marketing road trip next weekend.

The bad: bitchy boss snapping "oh, so now you're setting limits!" when I tell her that I will gladly be her marketing slave all weekend but she has her head up her ass if she thinks that I would even consider singing karaoke for her entertainment and/or benefit.

The so fucking awesome I might urinate in my pants and not even recognize the dampness: I love football. I love my gym. And, now, professional football players are training at my gym. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Pat’s hot ass.

On Mondays, little things count as big things.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Name a card game after me

My mom, an immensely successful, impressively educated professional, spent her summers tutoring Meg and I in what she considered diminishing, crucial domestic skills. To my mother, who has more letters after her name that I’ll ever be able to correctly recite, a thorough household training was essential to a proper upbringing.

Which, when you fold stereotypes into the recipe, doesn’t really make all that much sense.

Meg and I tried to tell her that a true suit-wearing professional should only care about her office location and her job title. A highly unsuccessful argument. As spoiled suburban brats, it was one of our biggest failures (second only to our failure to convince Mom and Dad to buy us a trampoline).

It was – it is – important to Mom that Meg and I not be The Girl Who Has to Bring Her Blouse to the Cleaners to Have a Button Sewn On.

Buttons were Mom’s gateway drug.

Buttons to chocolate chip cookies to thank you notes to setting a proper table to pancakes to arranging a cookie tray to German chocolate cake to sewing (“My grandchildren will not wear store-bought Halloween costumes, thankyouverymuch.”) to the Norwegian table prayer to appetizers to salads to meals consisting of a minimum of four courses and a handful of ingredients with names we couldn’t even pronounce.

At the time, I learned grudgingly.

These days, I boast.

The majority of my friends and peers can’t bake a peanut butter cheesecake; they can’t sew their own pajama pants. I can do both.

On the same day.

I’ll admit: it’s fun being June Cleaver. It’s amusing to watch the face of an unsuspecting victim when I tell her of our extremely affectionate family’s food-is-love policy.

What isn’t fun is thinking of why Mom taught us her domestic secrets. She’s never vocalized, but deducing her intentions isn’t difficult.

She didn’t want us just to be The Girl Johnny Brought Home. Or just The Smart Girl Johnny Brought Home. Or The Smart, Athletic Girl Johnny Brought Home. Or The Smart, Athletic, Funny Girl Johnny Brought Home.

Her girls would be smart and athletic and funny and polite and worldly and mix up a mean motherfucking batch of fudge.

But what I think Mom wanted most was for us to be brought home. To be wanted and loved by another family.

It’s where I’m sprinting to catch up. Running through waist-deep water. Wearing cement blocks on my ugly feet.

Today is Mom and Dad’s 29th wedding anniversary. Mom was 19 when they married, Dad was 20.

I know that Mom and Dad's relationship is atypical. But it still makes a kid feel like an old maid.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Controversy of the Day

I just made the mistake of showing my sister the Judie Bomberger prints my mom bought for our bathroom.

Meg wasn't a fan of the artful nudity.

Mom was in the shower, so Meggie cracked open the door and screamed "MOTHER! THE ONLY BUSH I WANT IN MY BATHROOM IS MY OWN!"

Looking for support in her outrage, Meg informed Dad of the eyesores purchased by our mother. Dad just wanted to know details. "What kind of bush is it?"

Meg doesn't like when Dad fails to immediately join her side in petty family bickering. "I am not a connoisseur of cooters, DAD."

Pappy checked out the situation and let us in on his analysis.

"That's a retro bush, girls. It's not trimmed."

Family time is fun time.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Here's a fascinating tidbit

This is stepping over that line that is Sharing Too Much. However.

When I'm about to start my period, I am completely distracted by the smell of my perfume. I don't find the smell particularly foul or particularly delightful. Just noticable.

I walk around sniffing the air and contemplating the scent that follows me.

I wear Ralph Lauren Romance, if any of you are looking to recreate this experience in your own life.

I won't have to miss Starbucks, at least

Why I don’t want to even consider getting a job out of my humble home state:
1. Significantly decreased ability to attend games of hometown teams
2. Distance between Relocation City and Best College Town Ever
3. Inability to watch CBC
4. The irrationally strong emotional connection I hold to this beautiful, hideous, misunderstood city
5. I will miss my gym
6. I will miss the multitude of lakes
7. I will miss my best friend, Lucy
8. I will have to replace my skating coach
9. I am too square for a hip, urban metropolis
10. Distance to parents, especially when I need my mom to mend clothing/my dad to dig my car out of snowy messes
11. I will miss my baby sister
12. I will miss the many athletic competitions that my baby sister participates in
13. I will miss my sister’s expert knitting tutelage
14. I will miss shopping trips with my sister
15. I will miss going to the gym with my sister
16. I will miss baking with my sister
17. I will miss making fun of my dad with my sister
18. I will miss spending lots of time with the five cousins who live within a half-hour of me
19. I sort of like driving everywhere
20. Plethora of skating rinks in my area
21. Super Bowl XL
22. My second job
23. My grandma
24. My grandpa
25. My grandpa who isn’t actually my grandpa, but my dead grandma’s live-in boyfriend of 30 years
26. The sweet-ass complex that I play soccer at
27. The cute-ass boy who runs the sweet-ass soccer that I play soccer at
28. Certainty that I will never know an area as intimately as I know this one
29. Kitschy regional food
30. I am a big damn baby

Why I need to suck it up and seriously consider getting a job out of my humble home state:
1. I need to grow the fuck up.

Why I’m thinking about this:
I sent my good friend Aviva, who is living and working a sweet-ass job in NYC, my resume. She is peddling it off on the Very Important and Very Powerful and Very Glamorous in hopes that she can get me here so that she can:
1. Have a roommate
2. Have a gym buddy
3. Have a knitting tutor
4. Have a partner in crime who sports a matching Midwestern accent

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Goosebumps in mass quantities

Wearing a skirt to work when it’s 0° (-18° Celsius) outside and my office is in the basement?

Not the best decision I’ve made today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

On the cusp

Yesterday was spent shaky and sick.

I’ve never had such a physical reaction to being upset. It makes a fair bit of sense that this would trigger the queasiness; I’ve never fucked up this big before, either.

And that’s probably why I’m taking this so damn poorly. I’ve never done anything seriously wrong in my life. No suspensions from school. No detentions at school. Okay, okay, this is how prissy I was: I wasn’t ever even sent in the hall. I’ve never stolen anything. There was never a minor in possession charge. I’ve never snuck into a movie theater. I’ve never been in a fight. I’ve never dealt drugs. I have no history of arson or armed robberies.

Going from nothing to a very significant something was a shock to my system.

I took one of the hardest classes at my gym last night and, while I worked my ass off, I never broke a sweat. Sleep was near impossible on Monday night; eating has been a chore.

I’m calmer today. I slept. I’m eating. I skated. I went to the gym and I broke a sweat. I’m still wildly, passionately, stubbornly, insanely, fucking pissed off at myself and the very poor decisions that I made and I still can’t look my parents in the eye. But I’m getting by.

And I’m certainly learning. I’m learning to look at my idiocy with an eye from something other than change. I’m considering the theory that I have the ability to spin change from my atrocity.

I’m going to turn four years of deceit into growth.

Because if I can pinpoint this humiliating situation as a catalyst for positive change in my life, then maybe I can learn to look back on what I did to Jess and what I did to myself with a little more understanding and a lot less hate.

Maybe this is one of those turning points that screenwriters of coming-of-age films employ predictably yet efficiently.

It feels like one.

I’m more ready to grow up than I was on Monday.

I’m more ready to grow up than I have ever been.

Some black, some white

So this is what if feels like to be the scum of the earth.

Entirely unpleasant. I miss sleeping and eating.

Guilt is a very powerful thing. It teaches hard lessons. It accelerates growth.

I feel horrible and unworthy and devastatingly sad.

And clean.
And relieved.
And ready to start fresh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Truth

Last night my mom and dad found out about the one thing that I never hoped that they would.

I’m happy they did.

A former friend, Jess, emailed my mom. She exposed what I am least proud of. I am humiliated and I am relieved.

I met Jess online when I was sixteen. She was a couple of years younger than me; she lived in the Northwest. We both liked writing and skating. And I told her lies. Lies layered on lies. I did it without knowing that she would become one of my best friends.

But she did.

It felt very creepy, having a best friend that I found on the internet. But we clicked. I chatted online with her every night for an hour. Sometimes two.

I didn’t like that our friendship was built on a frame of lies. I wanted to throw away the beginning. I wanted to be real. But I wanted to preserve what we had. I just kept lying. I continued to expand the house of cards. I saw no other choice. I wanted to be Jess’s friend.

I was the architect of a life of mistruths from my senior year of high school until last spring. I never ceased feeling guilty, no matter how easy the lies became.

What I am most embarrassed about is that I physically lived my fallacy. Jess and I met, for days at a time, on four occasions; my hands would quiver, but I kept on the mask. I played along. I lied to her face.

Who does that?

Who misleads another person for four years?

Criminals.

Sociopath.

Not people like me. Not quiet girls raised in suburban, two-parent families. Not honor students. No one like me.

Except for me.

What I did was so sick. And so wrong. And so criminal.

And, as of last night, my parents know.

I honestly don’t know how they can look me in the eye. Or how they can promise me that they still love me.

But they are.

Last night, the event that I most feared occurred. My house of cards crumbled.

It was time.

I am embarrassed.

I am relieved.

I am not the person I was with Jess. In the rubble of my collapsed house of cards, I hope that I can find me.

I hope that I can recognize myself.

It’s been four years.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Professional, yet unpaid, lackey

I was always open to the idea of interning away my first year after college. Because my parents started me in school a year early and I graduated from college in four years, I felt that they owned me the option of an extra year of food, shelter and monetary support if I so desired.

And while I’m not sure that I so desired, I took advantage of Mom and Dad’s generosity and shackled myself to my internship without making a concerted effort at finding an employer willing to fork over a salary to abuse me.

Instead of being abused for pennies on the hour. Which, by the way, my boss tells me is what an internship is all about.

A mistake of colossal proportions.

I took my internship to avoid a soul crushing, rejection rich job search. And now I spend every soul crushing, rejection rich workday feeling like I’m stuck in a pair of leather pants that are five sizes too small.

Yes. My internship is crushing my internal organs.

Along with my self-esteem, my IQ, my good judgment and my personality.

I’ve started looking for jobs.

And I’ve started to remember why I took an internship that would delay the search for a real job.

I am simply uninterested in baring my soul for The Man, all The Man’s horses and all The Man’s Men only to be spit on, rejected and thrown into the rejection pile. And it’s not that I don’t want to work – it’s that I don’t know where I want to work or what I want to do for work.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the major fucking problem with life after college.

I would be so much better off if this Life as Grownup shit came with required coursework and a few syllabi.

It's true. Yet painfully cliché.

Be glad that I’m not your kid

Due to my father’s ever expanding, pregnant-woman-two-months-past-her-due-date gut, Mom and Dad a started on the South Beach Diet today.

And I’m sitting at my desk formulating a foolproof plan of action to bake chocolate chip cookies the minute I get home from work.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

USDA Grade A

Among my favorite gym mates is Steak Lady.

Let me clarify right here and explain to you all that by favorite I mean most amusing. Not Best Friends Forever.

When I joined, I knew of the gym’s philosophy and its popularity; I was familiar with Pat’s reputation as the hottest, most effective and innovative workout engineer in the area. I knew the area the gym was located in and I fully expected the rich bitch members. But it wasn’t until my first kickboxing class, the first time I saw Steak Lady, that I realized that excursions to the gym could never be ordinary. Not at Pat’s House of Cardio Techno Sexy Sexy Workouts.

In my first class at the gym, I was on the punching bag behind Steak Lady. I watched her to figure out the rhythm of class, to learn that I should keep my jumping jacks in synch with everyone else’s, the way to turn my hips on punches and, generally, how not to embarrass myself.

That initial kickboxing class involved sucking a lot of air and feeling incredibly uncoordinated. I kept my limbs moving and my eyes on Steak Lady, but as a means of survival, I let my mind wander. It was a choice between indulging in a little bit of daydreaming to mitigate the burn or collapsing onto the floor and feigning a sprained ankle.

I tried to figure Steak Lady out. She had a killer tan. Built, not bulky. No visible fat. She boxed hard and well. Her breasts were huge - probably fake. Her workout pants looked vacuum sealed on and she had stripped down to a sports bra 30 seconds into class. First, I decided that she had the body I wanted. Second, I decided that she was around my age.

At the end of class, Steak Lady whips herself around – and I swear, it was in hair-tossing slow motion just like in any reputable beer commercial – and it becomes very clear that those enormous breasts were implants. And that she’s left the facelift for last.

Steak Lady was about my age. ...the year I was born.

I overheard another gym patron fawning over Steak Lady’s body in the locker room a few weeks later.

Steak Lady pretended (poorly, I might add) to be shocked by the attention.

I pretended (excellently, I might add) to be very interested in untying my shoes.

I felt that it was my duty to women everywhere to eavesdrop. When a 40some looks, from the neck down, like a 20some, her secret is begging to be turned into a New York Times Bestseller of a fad diet. I could be her ghostwriter! I silently wished that I had a notepad to inconspicuously take notes on.

Then, after milking out a few more compliments, that dumb bitch said that she’d been on the Atkins Diet for over 10 years.

The Atkins Diet!

I was so disappointed. The protein diet marketplace is incredibly over saturated. Which meant that there would be no book. Which meant that I couldn’t be her ghostwriter. Which meant that I would have to get a real job. Bloody hell.

Steak Lady told her admirer that she ate meat and eggs exclusively but for the rare slice of cheese or floret of broccoli.

I wanted to smother her in Wonder Bread.

Oh, hell, I still want to smother her in Wonder Bread.

I’m pretty that Steak Lady’s name is Tiffany. Or Tiffani. Or Tiffanie. Possibly Tyffany. It doesn’t matter because she doesn’t talk to me.

The reason that she doesn’t talk to me is probably because I look like I’m 11 and don’t have highlights in my hair. It might be due to the absence of Bebe Sport workout gear in my wardrobe.

But I’m willing to bet it’s the offensive odor of cinnamon-raisin bagels and oatbran muffins emanating from my person.

Football breeds deep thought

I’m spending my Sunday afternoon knitting a scarf for my grandpa and screaming obscenities inspired by the NFC Championship match – a game, to tell the truth, in which I really actually care (or have any money on) what team wins.

My chosen activities have brought me to this: I may hate myself 70% of the time, but at least I’m not like all the other girls.

At least there’s something else to me. Even if it's strange.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

When it comes to skating, I’m dedicated like a postman

I started my Saturday morning at 10 minutes after six. Seeing 6:10 a.m. on a Saturday is just really, utterly, painfully, insanely, stab-me-in-the-eye-with-a-sharp-poking-device wrong.

But I do it every Saturday.

Today’s 6:10 wakeup call was punctuated with a snowfall. Well, actually, the snow did a hell of a lot more than just fall. This white, fluffy bullshit collapsed, dramatically heaved its final breath and died. In massive quantities.

Blizzard-like conditions aren’t exactly a new and novel phenomenon for me. I left ten minutes early so that I could assure ample time for stopping at Tim Horton’s and driving on the back roads at speeds that I could cartwheel faster than, a condition that results from being trapped behind elderly women driving powder blue Chevy Malibus to the bagel shop.

I suffered through the drive on the surface streets but acted the part of an understanding, cautious citizen and I didn’t swear aloud at even ONE person. And that’s, like, way amazing for me. Once I hit the highway, I flew.

The surface of the highway was cleaner and traffic was sparse enough for me to assume the role of Asshole in the SUV Flying Down the Left Lane in Snow Emergency. My Mountaineer fucking kills snow; I felt like such a shooter.

Up until the annoying-ass phenomenon that is ice accumulating on windshield wipers.

For those of you who have not been privileged enough to experience the carnival of fun that is winter driving, ice on wiper blades equals a blurry smear of a view of the road. To remedy the situation, a driver either removes the ice or cocks her head, squints her eyes and perches at the edge of her seat while praying to her higher power of choice.

And here is where I went wrong.

I wanted to get the ice off of my wiper blades. But I wasn’t sure how to do it. “I’ll just do what Dad does,” I thought to myself.

As I am 22 years old, a graduate of an institution often labeled as a Public Ivy and a woman with enough street smarts to work ATM machines and gas pumps, I really should’ve known better: thinking like my dad never fails to land me knee-deep in a steaming pile of giraffe dung. ...figuratively speaking, of course.

When Dad has ice on his windshield wipers, he reaches out the window when the wipers are vertical, picks up the drivers-side wiper and lets it fall back to the windshield. Knocks off the ice.

And imitating Dad’s deicing technique seems like a great idea at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, cranked up on Tim Horton’s coffee and driving 60 MPH.

I watched the wipers until I found the rhythm. I rolled down my window, conveniently ignoring the fact that that the snowfall had diminished to a pathetic flurry and windshield wipers, with or without caked-on ice, were no longer necessary for a safe and effective drive.

I kept my eyes on the road and reached out the window with my very grown-up striped mitten.

And ripped the motherfucking windshield wiper blade off. Then dropped it. In the middle of a four-lane highway. During a blizzard.

I nearly wet my black yoga pants.

I instantly called my dad to bitch at him for being a poor role model. I ended up laughing too hard to unleash my full potential for nastiness. But I did wake him up, which was enough payback, since he’s in Florida (translation: not performing essential snow removal at my dwelling) on a drunken golf trip with his friends. And because Dad works in the automotive industry, he used connections to arrange a quick fix of my wiper blade. So I won’t hold a grudge against him for poisoning my mind with his inferior, dangerous deicing techniques.

When I finally reached my humble destination – the rink – one small coffee, a cinnamon-raisin bagel and a windshield wiper mishap later, I had labeled myself mighty foolish for even attempting the 40-minute-turned-one-hour drive.

And then I had a lesson with my skating coach. And skated the best I have in months. And performed so flawlessly that I left her weak in the knees, screaming “YOU DESERVE SARAH HUGHES’S OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL! MICHELLE KWAN SHOULD CEDE HER 9 NATIONAL TITLES TO YOU! YOU ARE MY HERO, MY SUNSHINE, MY ONLY SUNSHINE AND MY INSPIRATION.”

Or she might’ve said, “nice lesson, kid.”

I can’t quite remember.

Either way, it made my commute quite worth it.

Deep, eh?



Yikes.

My favorite method of shoveling need not apply.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Typical

I spent my entire day brainstorming an interesting/unique/amusing subject to blog about.

Then Kevin makes a very random, extremely unexpected drunk dial to my cell phone. Our conversation is so strange that I can't find the end to unravel the situation, thus executing any and all hopes of writing about it.

But did any of you want to hear me bitching (again) about how pathetic I am, anyway?

No, I didn't expect that you did.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hugs and kisses

My grandma signed all of her cards with Xs and Os.

Sometime after I learned how to read, or perhaps sometime after I started reading the cards she sent me instead of pocketing the money and ditching the card, I realized this.

After her name, Grandma would write a neat, even row of Xs and Os. In the thank you note that I sent back, I put two rows of Xs and Os. At her next opportunity, Grandma would up me to three.

The birth of an inside joke.

We went back and forth. Eventually, Meg joined forces with me and, together, we would spank Grandma with Xs and Os. On the inside of cards. On the envelope. With additional pages inserted.

Dear Grandma,
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
Hugs and Kisses,
Your darling granddaughters

Grandma loved it. She thought, as any grandparent should, that we were the most adorable, clever little beings who had ever inhabited Earth. And so our cousins joined in, assaulting Grandma with Xs and Os so she couldn’t possibly think that Meg and I were more adorable or more clever than they were.

Our mothers got involved. They bought anything they found that was emblazoned with Xs and Os – picture frames, cards, stickers, socks, candy, stupid little figurines, pencils and plush toys – and put them away for Grandma’s birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s Day. We’d wrap up the XO-themed gift and giggle amongst ourselves when Grandma squealed with delight.

On Valentine’s Day, 2003, 17 days before my grandma died, my mom told Meg to pick something out of her Xs and Os stockpile and deliver it, along with a Valentine’s Day card, to Grandma’s house.

Meg misunderstood and emptied Mom’s XO gift warehouse. She brought Grandma everything my mom had.

I remember thinking that she was such an ass.

I swallowed the irony 17 days later.

My sister, my mom, my cousins and I all wear the same ring. Sterling silver, from Tiffany’s, my mom bought them for all of us. It’s a beautiful ring. And there’s something incredibly comforting about having a finger encircled by Xs and Os.



I wear mine every day.

Taking a little bit of Grandma with me, everywhere I go.

It's nice.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I kneed to share this

I play indoor soccer on Wednesday nights in a coed league. My team is mostly horrible.

Tonight, we played against a team with a chubby, but reasonably skilled, goalie. The goalie was relatively short, so I took the initiative to stand in front of him when teammates had the ball on offense – blocking his view of any incoming shots. It worked a couple of times.

And then the opposing team’s defense figured out what I was doing and started roughing me up in front of the net. No problem. I dish it out; I can take it.

But here’s where we ran into trouble.

Their goalie was on the ground, diving for a ball. I was right next to him and the ball was still loose. The defenseman marking me would prefer that I not to get the ball, so he pushes me in the back. I fall forward. My knee lands first.

Right in the goalie’s groin.

And the son of a bitch doesn’t curl up into the fetal position and lose consciousness!

He just got up and played the ball.

I wanted to apologize but THE GUY DIDN’T MAKE A SOUND. What was I supposed to say? “I don’t know if you noticed this or not, man, but I just kneed you in the nuts. Sorry about that.”

Hell no. It is my personal policy not to spark conversation about the testicles of chubby men.

Unless it’s on my blog.

And unless the testicles in question were so sweaty that I had to wipe the perspiration off of my leg.

Which, unfortunately, they were.

My next trick: losing my mind

I have been on edge all. fucking. day.

I could chew a hole through my cheek.

I feel like a bird in a glass box. I can see the open sky and every time I try to fly into it, I hit the invisible barrier so hard that I knock myself out, falling onto my fat ass in a mushroom cloud of my own feathers.

I’m frustrated.

Possible causes of my irritation:

1. Internship discrepancies
Kevin gets weekends off. I have to show up at the office at 7:30 every Sunday morning. Where. Is. The. Justice?

2. Hyperactivity
On Wednesday mornings, I skate for two hours and take a kickboxing class. Due to the phenomenon that is People Forgetting How to Drive in the Snow Even Though it Snows Weekly, I couldn’t get to the gym in time for the start of class. ...or for the end of class. Is the extra energy what made it impossible for me to sit down and watch Oprah?

3. My father’s incessant chatter about the size of the baked potato he had at Morton’s last night, rhetoric he predictably breaks out in every time he goes to Morton’s (which is way more frequent than his amazement would lead one to believe)
“How big was that potato, Dad? I seem to have forgotten since you last told me, 37 seconds ago.”

4. Beginning post-internship job search
Don’t know what I’m going to do. Don’t know where I’m to find it. Don’t know where I’m going to do it. Don’t know how I’m going to survive the suffocation of uncertainty for three months.

5. Food frustration
Skip meals. Cannot let myself enjoy food. Somehow end up ingesting handfuls of peanut M&Ms anyway.

6. The Da Vinci Code
Okay. Someone please explain the hype. With the title of Last Person in America to Read The Da Vinci Code, I think that I deserve to know. Because I’m disappointed.

7. Aforementioned People Forgetting How to Drive in the Snow Even Though it Snows Weekly
You assholes. Under no circumstance should I have to drive so slow that I can simultaneously paint my nails a lovely shade of Beat (commonly known, by those who aren’t L’Oreal colorists, as burgundy).

8. Max
I know that you have cancer and everything, bro, but I don’t particularly enjoy running into the yard, screaming and wielding a tennis racquet, to stop you from eating your own shit only to have you drop a very juicy niblet with has the consistency of baby shit onto the carpet once you get inside.

9. My shoulders
I had a massage on Monday. There is no reason for my shoulders to be so tight that they're rubbing against my earlobes all damn day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Delicious but not exactly nutritious

This evening, I discovered that excessively sweaty sporting goods that cannot be washed (such as skates, boxing gloves and shin guards) smell an awful lot like cheese popcorn.

Which makes me hungry for a snack.

If you were wondering, I'm not Asian

Prompted by the music video being run on VH1 Classic last night, my dad informed me that, as a toddler, I loved to dance to “Little China Girl” by David Bowie.

Inspired solely by the song's relationship to my childhood, I watched the video.

And I am disturbed.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Pat the Magic Stripper

The owner of my gym is, as Fiddy would say, a motherfuckin’ P-I-M-P.

In my estimation, Pat has done himself pretty well. He successfully launched a risky fitness business that tailors itself to the beautiful people inhabiting one of the richest areas of the country, while spinning himself into a local legend in the process.

And he has the hottest ass I have ever seen. Let me tell you, I might be a virgin for life, but my blues have appraised a lot of hot asses in the last 22 years.

Pat’s puts them all to shame. His ass is a technical knockout of every ass that has ever been.

Pat was born in Australia. Moved to New York. Somehow ended up in our little corner of the Midwest as a tweener. Ditched his crack-addict mother. Was homeless. Joined a gang. Witnessed the death of a friend in a drug-related shooting. Quit aforementioned gang. Straightened punk ass out. Enrolled in prestigious art school to study dance. Dropped out of aforementioned prestigious art school. Learned how to box. Became sweet at boxing. Became a professional boxer. Had undefeated record as professional boxer. Retired to nurture his aforementioned humble little gym into the best place in town for rich bitches to mold their Buddha bellies into six-pack abs so firm that Anna Kournikova would weep with jealousy.

This is what the articles plastering the walls of the gym claim, anyway. If I found out that Pat was a near-sighted pastor’s son who grew up playing competitive kickball in suburban Cleveland, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

Well, maybe I’d be a little shocked. Only because, in getting the gym's other instructors to divulge the goss' as only Meg knows how, we have learned that Pat dabbled in exotic dancing.

If what one does when he becomes notorious around the stripping circuit can be labeled as dabbling, that is.

Pat is a two-time champion stripper.

At one point in time, Pat was the reigning Mr. Goldcoast or Mr. Goldcock or Mr. GoldAssToDieFor. Whatever. Mister and Gold were definitely embroidered on his sash.

Yes, boys and girls, there are stripping competitions. And if I ever get up the nerve, I’m going to ask Pat if stripping competition has judging controversies like in figure skating and gymnastics and poetry slams.

Until then, I’ll let Pat concentrate on what he’s good at – sculpting the bodies of the beautiful people while masking the pain with techno music and disco lights.

And I’ll focus my energy on staring at his championship ass.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

To reduce the risk of death by electric shock

I’ve been moving since my feet hit the floor at 7:00 this morning and, still, I’ve reached the point where I’ve had to triage my weekend to-do list.

I have an hour until I need to leave for my hockey game. Five minutes ago, I stood in my bedroom and tried to decide between taking a bath, with the hopes that the hot water will loosen up my back to the point that I can bend over to tie my own skates, or Sno Sealing the heels of my figure skates.

Bath. Definitely the bath.

And I could always bring my figure skates and the Sno Seal into the bathroom with me. I’m just going to be sitting in the bath. Instead of wasting valuable time doing something ridiculous like relaxing for 10 bloody minutes, I could scratch two items off of The List. All I’d need is a rag to smooth in the sealant and the hairdryer to heat the leather!

And then I realized.

Holy fucking shit. I am the asshole for whom DANGER – KEEP AWAY FROM WATER! DO NOT USE WHILE BATHING warnings were created for.

Humbling. Truly humbling.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Rendering our history insignificant

I’m generally pretty resilient to injustice and mistreatment.

I can take a lot. I’ll gladly look past a no-show or an unnecessarily bitchy comment or a missed birthday acknowledgement. Friendships are not deemed null and void as the result of a single incident. I’m forgiving. And a bit of a pushover.

My 7th-grade-through-high-school best friend, Heather, did plenty to hurt me. She ridiculed my junior high chic. She quit a soccer team we joined together. She liked the same boys I did. She was critical of my house. She latched onto the new girl at school and, for a period, forgot I existed. Petty things. Kid stuff. I kept my chin up, pretended that I wasn’t angry, overlooked it all.

After high school, Heather and I attended universities six miles apart. During our freshman year, we would see each other. As sophomores, our primary interaction came over the phone and via email. By March of our junior year, our contact was infrequent but genuine. We hardly saw one another and we spoke at infrequent intervals, but we still cared.

I still cared, anyway.

My grandmother died, unexpectedly, at the beginning of the March of my junior year. Her death broke me, yet I made a great effort to mask that fact. I blinked away a lot of tears and I forced energy into normally effortless tasks that, in grief, seemed insurmountable. I feigned strong because my family needed strength.

A week after my grandmother died, I called my friend Heather to tell her. I told myself that I was calling Heather because I thought she would like to know – Grandma took us shopping for homecoming dresses and drove Heather and me to more than a few soccer games and practices – but, really, I was calling because the intensity of my mourning was suffocating me. I needed to talk. Heather was the only one of my friends who had known Grandma.

Heather answered the phone. I asked her how she was. Partially out of habit, partially because the cottony words collecting in my mouth seemed too heavy to heave into a fresh conversation.

Heather told me how she was and asked me the same. Typical conversation etiquette.

I bit my lip. I dropped my head. And I told her that my grandma had died.

“Oh.”

I waited for more. Gave her time to formulate an expression of sympathy. I was patient.

Heather launched into a story about her boyfriend.

And I can’t forgive her for it.

I didn’t want her to cry. I didn’t want her to offer to hold my hand. I didn’t want a card and flowers. I didn’t want anything from Heather except for her to acknowledge the life of my grandma by saying that she was sorry.

But she didn’t.

And I can’t shake it. Two years later, the scab still hasn’t formed. I mostly doubt that it will.

When we talk – ridiculously superficial conversations born out of the habit of corresponding on our birthdays – it’s all I can think about.

Memories of our friendship have been reduced to one phone call.

This may be valuable insight

My dad spends the majority of his existence looking at Pumas on ebay.

Friday, January 14, 2005

With me v. at me

I was just talking with Kevin on AOL Instant Messenger. We were bitching about our boss because, as interns, it’s the only thing we’re proficient at doing.

One of the few redeeming qualities about Carrie is that she thinks that Kevin and I are dating. She brings it up all of the time and has told just about everyone in our office building. I get embarrassed despite secretly enjoying the simple fact that Carrie, who is only a few years older than us, could actually see Kevin and I being together.

Me: She just would spread more rumors that we're sleeping together
Kevin: were sleeping together now!
Me: Oh, hell yes!
Kevin: wow, you are too fast for me, slow down!
Me: Everybody knows, Kevin!
Kevin: hahaha!
Kevin: is that all i am to you!?
Kevin: a good time!
Me: No, Kev. You are way more than a good time.
Me: You're a good time and a pillar of perfection to measure myself up against.
Kevin: have you ever denied it?
Me: Yes, I've denied it. She doesn't care. It's like she can't hear me!
Kevin: funny that she thinks youre in my league!
Kevin: 8-)
Kevin: hahahaha!
Me: Oh, my self-esteem!
Me: My fragile self-esteem!
Kevin: im going to say that to her if she ever asks me about us
Kevin: “pfffff, like shes in my league”
Kevin: hahaha! that will be fun times!
Me: She won't say anything to you.
Kevin: hahaha
Me: But, if she does. Go for it.
Me: And I'll just cry in the bathroom for a few hours.
Kevin: right, why would she talk to me if she had nothing to criticize
Me: Oh, true.
Kevin: haha, poor baby
Kevin: its just a joke

I know that Kevin didn’t mean any harm. And it’s very juvenile to make anything out of a conversation that occurred via instant messenger.

But it’s still really, really hard for me to take that as a joke.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

An entry in which I reveal how strange I truly am

After Meg’s hockey game on Sunday, the family and I went to lunch. The restaurant we chose is Meg’s favorite; we ate there many a time while I was in school and the tradition carried over with Meg’s enrollment at the U.

The meal was uneventful. I ordered the Chicken Artichoke Pizza So Delicious it Makes Me Want to Dance on a Table. It was delicious and it made me want to dance on a table.

Everyone was behaving; everything was great. Until we were leaving.

I unknowingly set myself up for disaster by stopping at the bar and staring at the Indianapolis Colts-Denver Broncos wild card game like I had never seen a television before. My Peyton Manning-induced trance was rudely interrupted by the bartender.

Who went to my high school.

Who squealed my name.

Okay. I’m going to admit something: there is nothing I hate more than polite, what-have-you-done-with-your-life chatter. Especially with kids I went to high school with. Especially people who I used to be friends with. And Rachel, the bartender, and I used to be pretty good friends. In high school.

I acted like a big girl and exchanged pleasantries with Rachel for as long as I could stand it. Never before have 45 seconds seemed so excruciatingly long.

I am proud to admit that I resisted calling Lucy, one of only two friends from high school who I keep in contact with, to narrate the excitement of my encounter. ...until I was out of the restaurant, anyway.

Luuuuuuuuucy! I had a sighting! Neener neener neener.

A sighting?

I’ll explain.

Lucy is my primary partner in crime. Other than my sister, she’s my closest friend. When we’re together, we’re usually doing one of two things:
1. Eating
2. Acting like jackasses

In one of the many moments that we’ve acted like jackasses together, Lucy and I invented the best game ever: Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate!

I can tell you’re confused.

Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate goes something like this: Person A and Person B are doing something completely unrelated to their high school years. At a completely random moment, Person A blurts out the name of a person that they went to high school with. Person B shoots back with another classmate. Person A and Person B exchange the names of classmates into the dark of night. Breaks may be taken to gossip about a Random Class of 2000 Graduate at the discretion of Person A and Person B. Unruly laugher is encouraged.

Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate has spin-off versions, as well.

From our original (and brilliant) concept evolved Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate – Live! In which Person A calls Person B upon spotting a Random Class of 2000 graduate. It is considered appropriate for Person A to be panting with glee while placing the phone call. Description of weight, companion and hair color are highly recommended.

Boring summer jobs have afforded us the luxury of launching Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate – Online! Person A googles an unsuspecting Random Class of 2000 Graduate, laughs at what is found and forwards the links to Person B. Bonus points are awarded for pictures, resumes and court dates.

The pinnacle of Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate is yet to come. In 5 and a half short years, Lucy and I will debut what is bound to be our greatest version of Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate.

Name That Random Class of 2000 Graduate – the 10 Year Class Reunion edition.

Biblical

In the midst of creation, God proclaimed, “let there be a region in the United States of America called the Midwest! Let the Midwest be a region where inhabitants intermittently blessed with experiencing the splendor of all four seasons in the span of one week’s time.”

And Satan ruined the Midwest’s novelty when he countered with, “let there be sinuses! Let them ache with the change of season.”

Stupid-ass motherfucker.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

This spring chicken

At skating this morning, I bumbled off of the ice and into the lobby midway through my two hours of ice time to warm up my toes. The rink that I skate at can be painfully frigid and, while I layer my clothes like a fine dish of lasagna to keep my body warm, there isn’t anything that can be done about my toes. High-level figure skates are to be worn with nothing but tights.

And so my toes turn into what may be confused as frozen Vienna sausages. Delicious!

The rink lobby, thank the good Lord Jesus Christ, is kept at a toasty 375°. Perfect not only for a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, but also for defrosting men, women and children.

On entering the delightful warmth, I fell onto a bench and began furiously wiggling my feet and my toes. Stimulating circulation, you know? It helps.

I looked up from my circulation stimulation (which might have been confused for ants in the pants, a seizure or Tae Bo) and right into the face of a hockey mom.

I was quite curious as to what the fuck she was staring at. I smiled at her.

“Is your district closed today?”

District?

District.

As in school district.

As in “Hello, stranger. You look so much like you belong in high school that, without the slightest bit of hesitation, I will ask you about it. And while we’re chatting, why don’t you tell me about your prom dress, too?”

“I’m, ah, actually, um...I’m done with school.”

I’m not 15, children. I only look it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Gallup

If you have a favorite dictionary, what kind of person does that make you?

Does it make a difference if the favorite is an American Heritage College Dictionary, third edition?

Tinkle, tinkle, little intern

My poor boss probably thinks that she hired an invalid for an intern. Without a memo marking the occasion, I suspect that we have reached the point in our working relationship where she thinks nothing of me or of my work and keeps me around as an act of goodwill to make her feel less guilty about neglecting to donate money to any charity other than The Carrie Foundation.

With as often as I dash out of our office to pee, I cannot imagine her not thinking there was something wrong seriously with me.

For the record, however, there isn’t anything wrong with me. My momma said so. And she is a Professional Smart Medical Lady With Many Letters After Her Name. She knows this shit. And this urine.

From the moment that I walk into my basement dungeon until the second I am freed, I drink green tea as consistently as an IV would drip. As a result of the green tea gushing through my system, I go to the bathroom approximately 17 times every workday. My bathroom sprints would probably be irritating if they weren’t a result of my beloved green tea and an excuse to get away from my desk and the microwave caked with four years worth of Lean Cuisine that encroaches on both my little bubble of personal space and my sense of smell.

In February, I’m accompanying the president, founder and beneficiary of The Carrie Foundation on a 12-hour road trip for a marketing promotion that, on the Excite O’ Meter, pales in comparison to my bustling kidneys. On the off chance that she doesn’t already despise us, I guarantee that she’s going to hate me and my urinary tract by the fourteenth bathroom break.

Which should come about three hours into our trip.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sweatin’ with the beautiful people

I am a member of the sweetest gym that has ever existed in the history of mankind. Seriously. Never before has a gym been so entertaining, in workout and in membership, yet so effective.

The concept behind my gym is high energy, high intensity, boredom busting, forget-you-want-to-die workouts.

All of the classes are rooted in boxing and kickboxing; you do a lot of punching and kicking in bag workouts (where there’s a punching bag for everyone in the class) as well as in the classes geared more towards strictly cardiovascular work (where you end up punching at the open space in front of you while sweating your metaphorical balls off).

The entire concept of the gym is also deeply, deeply rooted in club culture. Classes are put to the techno that is played at volumes that necessitate earplugs for those who are actually intelligent enough to care about preserving their hearing (myself not included). There are black lights. The cardio room has a deejay booth so the gym’s owner (the only instructor who uses it) can pretend that he’s an emerging hip-hop artist in addition to the brains behind the self-proclaimed “hottest workout in the metro area.”

My gym is a modified rave for suburban housewives, if you will.

And it’s only made better by the fact that it’s in one of the richest cities in one of the top-five wealthiest counties in America. I don’t just work out with suburban housewives; I work out with ungodly wealthy suburban housewives. Who drive up in their Escalades, dressed in their DKNY tracksuits, babbling on their cell phones about the trying experience that was canceling a manicure to take Sierra and MacKenzie to ballet because the nanny was ill.

I won’t paint them all with the same brush. But, largely, they’re variations on the same theme. Some work. Some don’t have kids. Some work out in ratty spandex shorts that should’ve been left back in 1982. Some drive Navigators instead of Escalades. I distinguish them by their ever-rotating hair color, their accent, the grunts they make in the locker room, they shoes they wear and how friendly they are (or aren’t) in the locker room.

Some stand out more than others. You’ll see.

Why I couldn't sleep last night



Stevie the Prostitute isn't just easy; he's a bed hog, too.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Meg 'n' me

It’s a pretty common theme, I think. And I understand it, to an extent. I read it in fiction and nonfiction alike, I see it in heartbreaking segments on TV newsmagazines and Johnson and Johnson commercials, I hear in my mom’s voice. I’ve yet to feel it, obviously, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what it’s all about. I believe in it. The fierceness with which a parent loves a child. The strength of that love.

It makes me think that there’s something right with the world.

If I have ever loved someone to the extent that a mother would love her child, it's Meg. Darling little Meg, my big little sister.

I don’t know how it happened that Meg and I became so close. We played with plenty of other kids growing up; we did separate activities – Meg dropped out of skating and never took dance class and I couldn’t imagine participating in choir or softball. We always had more than just each other. There wasn’t the underlying current of pain or tragedy to draw us together. We just were. Two sisters and two best friends.

I went with my parents to see that little girl play hockey this afternoon. She scored two goals. Oh, how I shimmered with sisterly pride! Did you see that, ladies and gentlemen? I paved the way for that! I forged a trail down the birth canal for Meg, spectacular and outstanding Meg. Meg of 4.0s and shutouts and awards and hat tricks and scholarships and leadership and TKOs. Meg with the Midas touch. My little sister.

When we were kids, Meg grabbed onto an old refrigerator in the garage and it electrocuted her. I screamed for my mom – I had never made such a terrifying wail and haven’t since – and I tried to pull her away from the refrigerator. Electrocuting myself.

It was the summer and we had been playing outside, but once Mom unplugged the refrigerator, we went inside. I brought Meg up to her room. I wanted to put her into bed. I wanted to crawl under the sheets with her and pull the blankets tight over our heads and stay like that forever. I wanted to protect her, to protect us.

I still do.

I nearly lost my mind when my parents decided that it would be okay for Meg to go to Daytona Beach, without chaperones, for her senior-year spring break. My weekends are ruined if her plans include social events with her way-too-old-for-an-18-year-old boxing coach, friends I don’t approve of or activities that simply cannot be as innocuous as they seem. She’s old enough to make her own decisions and her own mistakes, I know, but it’s impossibly hard to let her. To me, she’s only a little girl. And my baby sister.

And I need to keep her safe.

In doing that, perhaps I’m protecting myself more than I’m protecting Meg.

I’m not sure my world could revolve, that I could be, without her.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Monochrome

Simple pleasure of the day: the instantly elegant, refined look a skater takes on when she dresses in all black.

Black gloves are a must. Boot covers need not apply.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Process of elimination

I don’t know why I am so relationship...uh...challenged. Yes. Relationship challenged. That’s probably the best way to put it.

I’m moderately certain that I’m not horribly, horribly painful to look at. And I’m not mean. I’m not stupid. I’m not intimidating. I’m just me. And apparently that some combination of the elements that are me – slightly silly, figure skater, good-humored, English major, athletic, curly-headed, independent, short, pushover and naïve, among many other things – makes me undesirable in some way. A faulty recipe, if you will.

That’s all I can figure, anyway.

But that isn’t to say that I don’t try to dumb down my situation. That I don’t try to assign the blame to one trait. Because I definitely do. Frequently, in fact.

Today, I wondered if my problem was my willingness. As a friend, and even more so as a googly-eyed, I-have-such-a-huge-crush-on-you girl, I’m pretty much willing to do anything for anyone who I care about.

I’m that person who will run an errand, send a congratulations card, bake cookies, spend too much on a birthday present, clip magazine articles on things/people of interest and drive too far for a friend. I never made a conscious decision to be The Girl Who Will Bend Over Backwards. It just happened.

Likewise, I never made a conscious decision to be The Girl Who Has A Crush On You Who Will Bend Over Backwards. I just got this way.

A few of the many things I’ve done for boys have been weak in the knees for:

Scored tickets for the most important hockey game of the year
Homework
Given away Vicodin
Baked cookies/brownies/lemon bars/German Chocolate cake
Shuttled to/from airport
Forked over money for college football pool
Contributed cash for boss’s gift
Ignored a wandering eye while taking exams

What I’ve gotten out of the things I’ve done for the boys I’m weak in the knees for:
Well. Nothing, really. Time together, occasionally. And a topic to blog about.

I’m not sure what to make of it.

Does being The Girl Who Has A Crush On You Who Will Bend Over Backwards make me The Girl Never To Date?

Or is it that being The Girl Who Plays Soccer makes me The Girl Never To Date?

Or The Girl With Strawberry Blonde Hair?

Or The Girl Who Loves To Eat?

Logically, it has to be the sum of my parts.

The problem must be The Girl Who Is Me.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Whiteout

In my role as Useless College Graduate, as well as in my prior role as Useless College Student, my mother conditioned my behavior just like Pavlov did his dogs. Child hear dryer buzz, child fold clothes. Nagging is Mom’s negative reinforcement of choice.

Child hear dryer buzz. Child open dryer. Child learns that there is nothing quite as defeating as opening the dryer to a load of white laundry.

All of those socks to pair. All that underwear that isn't even mine to fold. It’s torturous. I can handle the white loads with much more dignity if I have time to mentally prepare for it - to psych myself up, if you will. It takes a certain mood to put in a load of whites.

Laundry-related mental health: another reason I should get a real job and move out.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Globetrotters

My grandma and grandpa live five minutes from our house. They’re prone to dropping in at random hours of random days to borrow tools, bring us a cake, talk smack about other members of the family, return borrowed tools, bring Max and Stevie treats, request birthday lists and generally harass and annoy my parents.

Grandma and Grandpa dropped by this afternoon. My grandpa forewent a traditional greeting such as “hello!” or “hi!” or “we were on our way home from Sears and thought that we would check up on you” for “Do you know where Tonga is? The Kingdom of Tonga?”

No, Grandpa. Though I’ve heard of Tonga, I cannot recall where it is. I never did very well in the geography bee. Where is it?

“I don’t know.”

Oh. Here I was thinking that you were trying to prove that you were smarter than me again and you were actually asking me a legitimate question. Why do you ask?

“We want to go on a sailing vacation there.”

Oh. Of course. I should have known that the two of you, at 70 years of age, were planning on renting a sailboat and navigating the waters of an unknown location. Sounds safe! Will they be providing lifejackets?

Later in the unexpected visit, Grandma and I found Tonga in the atlas.

I wish that I could type out the laugh that emanated from Grandma when she saw the proximity of Tonga to Australia. This isn’t entirely accurate, but it sounded something like: Heeeeeee! Ahah – hahahaha! Eeee!

I think that she had been wishing for something more Great Lakes than South Pacific.

It was almost as amusing as the time that my grandpa told me that he doesn’t drink Gatorade because it has cocaine in it.

Speaking of hype

Excuse me, but where the fuck is the 32 inches of snow that was forcasted?

How disappointing. I was so looking forward to tales of the frustrating hours it took my dad to get his Mustang out of the driveway and the various stationary objects he nearly slid into on his commute to work.

Rear wheel drive, what?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

An alternative to solitaire

If anyone out there is especially bored, I highly suggest that you come down to my workplace and watch me attempt to be productive while unsuccessfully ignoring the massive chunk of orange chicken (my favorite Chinese dish, in case anyone was curious) that lodged itself in my molars and refuses to be removed by constant prodding by the tongue, by force or by prayer. Stubborn little fuck.

Though I can barely function with this oral annoyance, I have maintained the ability to recognize that my situation is pretty bloody amusing. And it’s only going to get better. But, please, potential audience, hurry down! I’m only 17 minutes away from pulling out the pliers.

Sigh. It’s a shame. Dr. Starling did such a nice job with my orthodontics.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Fear the hype

I’m a timid person. If you’ve read my blog at all, that’s probably fairly apparent. And bordering on painfully obvious, I’d wager.

As is typical for the timid, I find that it is fairly easy to work me into a frenzy about...oh, just about anything. Tell me enough times, narrate enough intimidating stories and it’s likely that I’ll harbor a great deal of fear about it. Whatever, whoever, wherever it may be.

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Berenson, would tell our class that it was his job “to prepare you kids for middle school.”

Middle school isn’t like elementary school. You have hours and hours more homework. The tests are harder. The criteria are less reasonable. More fail. And you have to switch classes every hour, making getting very likely that an ignorant, unprepared seventh grader will be lost somewhere in the bowls of the enormity that is the middle school and never be found again.

I was scared.

And when I got to middle school, I was fine.

My eighth grade orchestra teacher, Mrs. Kroll, was fond of illustrating how easy eighth graders had it. She did it via high school horror stories.

Six hours of homework a night. Playing tests on a daily basis. Research papers. Pop quizzes on every chapter. Final exams that cover every single thing you’ve learned and count for half of your grade!

I was horrified of high school; when I got to the senior high, I was fine. So absolutely fine.

I fell for it again when I was a senior. Of all of the teachers I’d ever had, Ms. Vicari was the most effective at scaring the living shit out of me.

College would be dark and intimidating and full of rapists looking to drug drunk freshmen girls, skanky roommates who would sell your laptop for money for a plane ticket to Belize and professors who wouldn’t give a flying fuck if you went to class, took their exams or were learning, living and/or breathing.

And then I went to college. And had a skanky roommate. But she didn’t sell my laptop.

It worked out for me, too.

Kind of makes a girl wonder why she bothers with her constant worry about all of this growing up, getting a legitimate job bullshit.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Stuck in the middle

Meg and I have the same middle name.

My mom has always been a proud woman and a strong woman and, commemorating her feminist outlook and her family history and the fact that we are as much her children as we are Dad's children, both of us were given her maiden name as a middle name.

For the majority of the last 22 years, I’ve hated it. Passionately. It isn’t a common name, even as a last name. It doesn’t flow off of the tongue. There’s nothing remotely feminine or quaint about it. Until I was in my late teens, I thought of my middle name as just a weird and ugly waste of ink on my birth certificate.

I remember a lunchroom conversation about middle names that I had with my friends when I was in second or third grade. The kids I was sitting with were sharing their middle names over Barbie lunchboxes. Lynn. Elizabeth. Katherine. Anna. And then it was my turn.

Uh oh. Think fast. Pretend like you didn’t hear them, keep chewing your Cheetos and...okay. It starts with an H. What’s a girl’s name that starts with an H? He...Hu...

Heather.

It was probably the first time that I lied about my middle name; I’m certain that it wasn’t the last time.

I don’t know when it happened, but I eventually realized that girls with the Blah Lynn BlahBlah and the Blah Elizabeth BlahBlah names were rather strong in number. To the point of being overdone, perhaps. The rarity of my middle name made me appreciate it a little, but I still wouldn’t tell people what it was.

I grew up a bit more and figured out that being proud of your family and your heritage is noble. Still, I largely kept my middle name to myself.

With increasing maturity, I understood that naming your daughter with equal parts of her mother and her father is a gift, albeit one that grows on its recipient.

These days, I like my middle name. I like that it stands for something; I like that it was chosen for a reason other than it sounding regal nestled between my first and my last.

My middle name means a lot. Literally, though, it means mitten maker. Quite ironic, considering my inability to learn how to knit them.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year, Plantation!

They're not black yoga pants, but they'll have to do.



My ass is the one in the center; the pants are an inside joke.

Oh, Oh, OH the AGONY.

My heart was just broken by a football game.

STUPID FUCKING FOOTBALL TEAM. BREAK MY COLD FUCKING HEART FOR THE SECOND FUCKING YEAR.

I will never be the same again.
 
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