Thanks for the recap

Most of our Thanksgiving break was spent with my parents, my sister, Sister’s husband and their two kids, eating (and drinking) too much and watching everyone gang up on Clod (Sister’s husband). Not that the dude doesn’t deserve it, but if every visit with Monk’s family resulted in a group of people making fun of me, or my in-laws lecturing me on my less-than-perfect character and my (many) flaws as a human being… I’d be running unnecessary errands or hiding out with the XBox all day, too. Monk spent a lot of time in the backyard with Clod, listening to his side of things and explaining, tactfully, how to improve his track record at home.*

I, on the other hand, did not have the pleasure of any real conversation with the dude the entire week (see: XBox; Unnecessary Errands). In fact, the only time I remember having a lengthy exchange with him was on Saturday at the emergency vet clinic, while waiting with Sister to find out if her cat would die. FYI, wallpaper stripper might burn the pads of its feet, and does indeed cause respiratory distress after said feet have been licked, but fortunately it will take more than that to actually kill a cat. Just in case you were wondering.

Other bits of fun from Thanksgiving Week: My father took some measurements and will use his architectural skills to draw up a plan for our bathroom renovation. We’ve decided to just bite the bullet and convert our
tiny bathroom into a more standard master bath with a walk-in closet (oops, there I go drooling again), in the hopes of someone actually wanting to buy the house from us at some point in the next few years. Plus, increasing debt is awesome.

My mother, Queen of Not Letting Things Go, got a bug up her ass about our shed issues (it’s monstrous, takes up too much space, but damn y’all, new sheds are expensive), figured out who to call to get the shed moved, called him, and voila! (also: Thanks for doing the legwork for us, mom! I guess my laziness finally paid off!) Our shed is now out of the way on the other side of our driveway, and waiting for some plexi-glass and wood to convert it into a half-storage/half-greenhouse structure. Which I’m sure we’ll complete... eventually. We just need to get through the next few weeks of corporate holiday parties, working at the clinic, weekend trips (visiting family, because we just can’t get enough Family Time), and the credit card bill that is towering over our heads, threatening to collapse and kill us all at any second.

And somehow I need to come up with the tuition for another massage course scheduled to start in January. Because apparently the crazy school + work schedule, tons of reading, pop quiz freakouts, and major stressing over a huge exam was simply too fun to only experience once.

*Silly, optimistic Monk, thinking anything he said sunk in… A phone call from Sister this morning revealed that Clod, in an effort to win their millionth argument of the month, reported to his wife that I told him (following me so far?) our "mother is out of control" and that our father simply "goes along with whatever she tells him to do." Of course I asked her to tell him that the next time he fabricates a quote from me to support his argument, he should make sure he and I have actually had a conversation that week (and one that doesn't involve wallpaper stripper and its possibly-lethal effect on cats).


Epic blah blah blah

Friday evening (no, not last Friday, the Friday before that) I practically ran up the stairs of the parking garage, leapt into the shitty Honda, backed out of my parking space, zoomed around the corner towards the garage exit, catching a whiff of that sweet, sweet freedom, when the car gave a shudder and died. I managed to coast out of the way of the lucky bastards with working vehicles who would actually make it home at a decent hour. So, the car was dead. Monk would pick me up nearly two hours after I’d first walked out of the office. We’d have to leave the car in the garage until Tuesday since we had a flight to catch in the morning. And that’s how we began our Thanksgiving Break.

My brother is now 21. We arrived Saturday evening, bitched about the weather (Indiana’s cold, when you’re coming from 75 degrees in Dallas), ate some kick-ass Thai food, and prepared ourselves for the keg party Brother and his roommates were throwing that night. The party was pretty tame, all things considered. The main lesson learned on this trip was this: I am old. As in, decrepit. As in, where’s my cane? And get off my lawn, you dirty hooligans.

Being a decade (or more!) older than everyone at a college party is a little awkward. We hadn’t realized everyone would assume we were students (but really, if you’re wayyy too old to be attending the university, why WOULD you be at a keg party? Loser). Monk and I were asked about our major so many times that eventually I gave in and became engaged in a discussion about my Political Science program and what Monk planned to do with a bachelor’s in Astrophysics.

Also, I had no idea what Beer Pong was before that Saturday night, even though it is apparently taking this country by storm. I’m still not impressed. Then again, I’m the dumbass that thought “e-mail” would never really catch on.

God, I’m old. Monk and I both caught ourselves telling stories that began with phrases suspiciously similar to “in MY day…” There was just a tiny stack of Things We Can Talk About, and this gigantic pile of Things No One is Interested In. To be fair, when I was in school (“In MY day…” Dammit!), my eyes would have glazed over from talk of car trouble, mortgages, the ol’ 9 to 5 too… Anything that had to do with the Real World- a concept that was non-existent at the time.

(And yes, I realize how judge-y and oh, I'm so beyooond all that, darling that sounded, but when you get old you don't have to watch what you say anymore.)

One party guest had decided she was my new best friend early in the evening. As my 18-year-old buddy gulped her keg beer and a rather strong rum and coke, she began telling me about her ex-boyfriend troubles and current issues with being single. There was also a boast of being pom squad captain in high school and a demonstration of how she could, in fact, shake her ass to some hip hop tunes (although the hip hop tunes were absent). Despite her alcohol-induced fog, she must have picked up on my, ahem, maturity at some point. She looked up at me with large, glassy eyes and asked my age. My answer so blew her mind that she literally took a shocked step back, presumably to avoid catching my Old Age cooties. To her credit, she did try to rescue the awkward moment with an uncertain mumble: “Oh, that’s... young...”

We outlasted many of the partiers, surprisingly. But at 4 a.m., Monk and I needed some rest, so we crammed ourselves into my brother's twin bed and waited another hour for the music to stop blasting through the house. My new best friend stumbled in and out of the room a couple of times, then my brother crashed around trying to get comfortable on his floor at 5:30 in the morning, and at 8 a.m. someone barged in looking for “Lisa.” Monk and I emerged the next day rumpled, smoky, and very excited to spend the next two nights in the Student Center's hotel.

The rest of the visit was terrific. Great food, lots of walking, good conversation... I’d go into more detail about how much it meant to me to be able to celebrate my brother’s 21st birthday with him, and how happy we were to spend quality time with him on his turf, instead of squeezing it in amongst family visits and parental snubs, but I’m afraid I’ll get misty-eyed and sentimental.

And really, it’s bad enough that I’m OLD without adding SAPPY to the picture. I’ll give a Thanksgiving recap later in the week; right now I have to figure out where I parked my dinosaur.


Kegger, dudes

Well hello again! Three days in a row of posting, aren’t I clingy and desperate? Actually, this is the equivalent of roses and wine,* to make up for the fact that I probably won’t be posting at all next week, what with the out-of-town-‘til-Tuesday thing, and the week-of-parents-visiting thing and that silly Thanksgiving thing.

What’s that, you ask, what’s this about going out of town? With all the non-excitement of the kitchen makeover and the new baby I forgot to mention that Monk and I are flying out to Indiana tomorrow to spend 3 days with my brother. We will be fighting over the couch in his apartment (loser gets to sleep in a chair) (and by "loser," I mean "Monk"), sharing a bathroom with 3 other people of the male persuasion, and celebrating Brother’s 21st birthday Monday night. I’ve been told there may be a house party at the apartment and have since been trying to find a map that’ll lead me back to the days I was hip enough (and could hold my liquor) to hang properly. No such map exists. The hipness, it never was (the liquor lovin', I assure you, never left).

This is going to be great. And exhausting. And interesting. And knowing me, probably a little awkward.

*except not as pretty and you won’t catch a buzz. So really, it’s not the “equivalent.” Not at all. God I suck.


Something's different...

No time for a proper post today (okay that's a lie, I'm just feeling lazy) but I thought I'd offer some eye candy to distract you while I try to come up with something to say tomorrow. Two weeks ago we finished the kitchen's facelift, and I now have the evidence to back it up. Sure, the appliances are still old, and the tv cabinet has yet to be painted, and the light fixtures need to be replaced... but I'd say we're definitely through with the room making-over for 2006.

Did you know that we actually chose this shade of yellow after we moved in? We thought it would brighten up the place. For two years instead, it assaulted our retinas and created a strong urge to break out the Play-Doh. Towards the end of its reign of terror it sneakily planted the seeds of xanthophobia deep in my soul.

So we finally got off our lazy asses and did something about it. We also decided to be grown-ups and get the laundry out of the kitchen for a change, dammit.

AFTER, again, in a different light:

Did you know how difficult it is to re-hang cabinet doors? I know, I know, it seems so simple. But it's not! It's not simple at all! And there is much swearing and teeth grinding and general irritation involved! Then again, maybe we are simple. Maybe the problem lies with us, not the cabinet doors. Actually, that sounds about right.


"I've never owned a really good-smelling pair of pants before."

A cookie for the first person to tell me who I'm quoting in the title up there.

So, I have a pair of black leather pants sitting here in my office. I ordered them on a semi-whim the other day while shopping for pants online (you know you need new trousers when every pair you own has a dropped or ripped hem). I feel a little funny about the whole issue- I am now someone who (apparently) will not eat the cow, but will eagerly shell out money to wear it.

I'm conflicted, folks. I've briefly entertained the idea of leather pants in the past, but always dismissed it as ridiculous, over-the-top, Just Not Me. And also, think of the poor cows. Oh god, the poor cows. But this pile of leather is sitting very calmly on a file cabinet near my desk, gently teasing me with how agreeable it feels on my skin, how the light reflects so softly off its surface that I'm reminded of lush summer evenings and fireflies delicately blinking hello against the backdrop of a child's fingers.

But the cows! People putting on their skin and dancing around! How barbaric! Is it not enough that I won't wear fur? How is leather the exception to this issue? Will I wear these over-the-top pants out in Dallas some night and come home with red paint all over me? Wait, who am I kidding? This is Texas. I'll probably have large men in baseball caps with wads of tobacco tucked in their cheeks approaching me all night, asking if I have any of the cow left back home, and could they come over if they bring their own A-1.

(I think that last bit took a turn for the slightly perverted, somehow. Not overtly, mind you, just that it gave off a strange vibe towards the end there and I'm not sure how to turn it around.)

I don't know if I'm charging a huge amount against my karmic credit line by keeping these pants, and I have absolutely no idea which venues call for being clad in leather (please hold your comments 'til the end). All I know is that when I tried the leather pants on in the office today I felt rebellious, risque, and a little like a rock star.

Of course, that could have been because I forgot to close the blinds before I tried them on.


And now I have a nephew

Little Nephew came into the world via scheduled c-section last Friday. I hadn’t expected to feel so moved by the whole experience. When Sister was wheeled back in after the surgery and this swaddled-up baby was placed in my arms, I honestly felt a little light-headed. I looked down at him and thought “you were just. inside. of my sister. 20 minutes ago. TWENTY MINUTES AGO. That is fah-reaky, little dude. Damn.”

I kept thinking of that scene from a Friends epsiode (I know, but bear with me here): Joey’s looking at Rachel’s newborn baby and he says in wonder “she looks so real!” So yeah, life’s amazing and crazy and I had the hardest time wrapping my head around it all on Friday. My sister created life. Twice. Also, two kids? Good luck, sis. Better you than me, y’knowwhatI’msayin’?

After having our 2 1/2 year-old niece all weekend, I have a newfound respect for you parents out there. At the same time that I kind of question your sanity for choosing to do this on a daily basis. I suppose I could be convinced (with enough alcohol and maybe an illegal substance or two) should Monk ever decide he’d like to become a father, but only because that way? Every time we were immersed in chaos and fatigue and playing the Who’s a Bigger Bitch game, I could just point to the gigantic sign I’d have commissioned for the kitchen wall that would read “Don’t look at me like that, this wasn’t MY idea. Fuckwit.”

I’m exhausted, y’all. Zonked. Knackered. Comatose. Mostly from all the little things involved in simply being around for a little one (who enjoys swinging from just about anything, the higher the better, and launching herself headfirst at her uncle), but also because the child woke us up at 3:30 in the morning today. We let her curl up with us (and two thirds of the canine club) for the rest of the “night” until the alarm went off two hours later; Monk and I were the only ones in the room unable to return to sleep. I may have to pull a Costanza in a little bit, before I slide out of my chair in a puddle of exhaustion.

Additionally, fatigue proves once again to be my kryptonite, as I seem to have left my wallet Somewhere That is Not Here. I had planned to run out for veggie dip to go with my heaping plate of carrots and broccoli. But alas, no wallet = no dip. And no dip = no carrots and broccoli, because we all know the vegetables are just stand-ins for a spoon with which to inhale gallons-o’-dip. Plain raw vegetables? Brotha, please. I tried to snack on some unadorned carrots earlier as I have no other food in the office today, but there’s something wrong with them. I suspect they are Big Carrots masquerading as Baby Carrots, because they are kind of bitter (with good reason, not being as popular as their cousin, Baby Carrot. God, I need some sleep). Dip would help obliterate the wrongness, but I think we’re all familiar with the No Dip Debacle so let’s move on.

I’m exhausted and starving. If I pass out from hunger, I suppose it could be looked at as a two birds, one stone sort of thing.


Two Years. I think.

I started to write an anniversary-ish post for this site but then I realized I’d just be setting myself up for a never-ending, annual retrospective posting obligation, and frankly? Way too much pressure. This is why, should I ever become a parent, you won’t find me doing the monthly letter thing to my kid. At what point are you allowed to stop? I mean, haven't you exhausted the idea by the 34th month? Does the monthly letter thing just continue on until someone dies? Dear Baby, you are turning the corner to the 288th month of your life... So yeah, the blogiversary post is kind of like that.

Or it’s nothing like that.

I will say, however, that I’m awfully glad I’ve kept this up. And I can only imagine how much of an impact this site is making on the world these days. Why, in a mere two years my readership has exploded from one person clicking through to FIVE. With the stats quintupling like that, I decided it was a good time for a change of scenery (mentioned earlier this week). Hey, I never said fame wouldn’t change me. I’ve already added a banner (thanks for noticing, geez.) (Wait, is this like when you get a haircut and someone says “oh, you got a haircut” and then doesn’t say anything after that because it actually looks kind of terrible?). And the links I receive this week and next will be added in slowly, since messing with the template around here gives me the same panicky chills as that I’ll Love You Forever book.*

Can't do much right now, however. I have two days’ worth of work to finish in the next two hours, since I’ll be out of the office tomorrow and Friday and I have no intention of staying late today. Sister’s checking in for a c-section Friday morning, so I get to clean her house tomorrow and care for her first child until Monday morning. And yes, her husband is in town. And no, I don’t know what he’ll be doing while I’m busy ensuring the safety and happiness and bedtime-at-a-decent-hour of his daughter. If Monk and I have anything to say about it, he’ll be putting the finishing touches on our new fence by Saturday afternoon.

*I was just going to link to the I'll Love You Forever book cover and leave it at that, but then I figured I'd share the Big Creep. I mean sure, a mother loves her son, great, nothing odd about that la-di-da, and then BAM! We hit the brick wall of creepy: “That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town. But sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town. If all the lights in her son's house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang…” What. the. fuck. If my mother ever comes crawling into my bedroom window she’ll probably get a reading lamp to the jaw before I realize who it is. And then I’ll have her arrested for B & E. Because damn, mom, call first.


Wow, what an incredible violation

Welcome to Melodramatic Monday! Today's topic is Adding Insult to Injury. At my recent performance review I scored even better and more "outstanding" than I had at last year's review. Too bad the company's no-raise-for-you policy is still holding steady. I knew this would be the case, but I'd still hoped for something, the traditional end of the year, throw-me-a-bone bonus at least. Nada.

But that's not what I'm here to complain about. I found out this morning that the boss apparently had my inbox and sent mail folder installed on her desktop. A while ago. And while it doesn't bother me that she can view it (lie), it does bother me that I was never given a heads-up. Now, I'd assumed the IT people could check in whenever they wanted - it is company email, after all - but, had I known the boss might be peeking, I probably would have kept the massage references out of my personal correspondance completely.

This post is clearly in violation of the No Work Talk policy on this site. I won't lie to you: I can't guarantee that it won't happen again. But I can guarantee it'll be just as boring.


Hey, speaking of boring, I'm going to be changing some of my blogroll throughout the week. I've become disenchanted lately. I'll keep a few, but I'm looking to let in a little fresh air around here. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment or throw an email at me. I'm hoping for some entertaining, but still lesser-known folks to put up there. So, preferably no one that gets paid generously to blog, or is under contract to put their collective posts into a book or movie anytime soon. In short, no one who will inspire my (misdirected, and sadly impotent) rage when I see they haven't posted anything in four or five days. I'm getting a little tired of the bitter voice in my head yelling "what the fuck! You get paid to do this! You think it'd be okay if I just didn't show up at my job for four days?!" when I check for new posts and come up dry.

Go. Seek. Report back to me.



Seems they'll give a license to anyone, these days

That's right folks, I passed the practical exam. I can now call myself a Massage Therapist, for reals. And there was much rejoicing. Well, there will be once we finish the kitchen update, fence construction and just get through this hellish workweekmychrist, which seems to have decided that At a Snail's Pace is the way to go.