Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stop Wining

Well that went well.

Pharon Square was going to have a fun little "me night" tonight. Geo left me here in the tundra so that he could head out on a Guys Golf Weekend in sunny Palm Springs, so I had to entertain myself. I decided to curl up with some Chopped on TV and some exotic fare from a local dining secret gem (Subway). I had just set out my pedicure and facial supplies on the coffee table when I decided "Hey, you know what goes great with TV and a veggie delight sandwich? Vino."

I put my pants back on and headed out to the closest liquor store. I hadn't been there before, because it's in this tiny little strip mall next to some very sketchy-looking businesses, but I decided to be adventurous. And that's where things went off the rail.

Not surprisingly, I got lost. This place is literally 0.8 miles away from me and I got lost. Yikes. [Tears up college degree.] Finally, I got un-lost and went into this super teeny liquor store that smelled like smoke and armpits. The oldest man in the world popped out from the back room when I walked in and yelled "You made it through the blizzard!" (I'm not sure, but I think he thought it was 1991. I loved him immediately.)

I picked out a cheap bottle of wine that I remember we served at our wedding. It seemed fitting to drink it alone on the night my husband had ditched me for a weekend of golf and other men. When I brought it to the counter, Old Man River puffed "Ahh! A lovely choice! What's the occasion?" I started sweating. I couldn't be like "Well, I'm painting my nails with mud on my face while I watch people cook things on TV." So instead (and inexplicably) I lied.

"Oh, you know, just having some friends over for Girls Night In!" It sounded more pathetic saying it out loud than I could have even imagined.

Anyway, Father Christmas wished me well and sent me on my way.

When I got home, I set up my "dinner," turned on the ol' boob tube, put those disgusting toe-divider things that serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever in the pedicure process between my toes and heel-walked my way into the kitchen to open the bottle of wine.

We have this super fancy Rabbit wine opener that you just put over a bottle, push a button, and the cork comes out. The only thing I like more than drinking wine is drinking wine that is opened with magic. But this stupid rabbit did not come out of the hat. Instead, the thing screeched at me before the corkscrew snapped off. I was stuck holding a cheap bottle of wine with a broken-off screw stuck in it.

I managed to pull the screw out using pliers, a towel and brute force. Still the cork had not budged. I thought about pushing the cork INSIDE the bottle, but even that was too hard. It was not going well and Chopped was already starting.

As I wondering if this was rock bottom or not (considering that tonight I had lied to an old man, complained that my 6-inch sub was, in fact, NOT 6 inches and proclaimed out loud and to no one that Canada is just the worst) I remembered something. Now, I don't mean to brag, but I've been training my brain on the Lumosity app every day for like a week now, so my brain is functioning at the highest level possible (it doesn't teach you not to get lost though, BTW).

My friend Allyson got us a picnic basket for our wedding. Inside was silverware, some plates and a couple plastic wine glasses. I pulled the basket out of the closet and found the wine opener that I had suspected would also be included in the basket. Success!

After such a rough night of absolute lameness, I had gotten a major win. I pulled out the wine cork, poured the wine directly into my mouth into a glass like a grown up and sat down to tell all my invisible Internet friends about it. Huzzah!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hairy Situation

You know what I love? HELPING. Yes. Despite all my bitterness and hate-y attitudes about everything, I really do love helping people. So when Geo beckons me up to our upstairs bathroom every week or so, I hop up the stairs, anxious to change lives. Every 7-10 days, I get to help him help himself. I get to shave the back of his head.

I've always thought of myself as quite a little hair savant. Granted, I don't wash/style my own hair, but I certainly know that hair above the neck is like crazy important to a person's image and it's often the difference between homelessness and a business loan. So I know it's a big deal that four years ago, Geo asked for my help cleaning up his neck.

He had to remind me that "Better is the enemy of good." I was not to go too high and I was DEFINITELY not allowed to move around sections of his head without putting this guard-thing on the razor first. He was petrified.

But, like I do with everything I don't totally understand, I effing nailed it on the first time. I cleaned his neck up, made him look presentable and did so without drawing any blood. Where do I get my trophy? Four years ago, I proved myself to be an irreplaceable partner to Geo's hygienic routine and he hasn't been able to shake me since.

I asked Geo tonight what kind of memorable experiences he had about shaving. I have, like, traumas rooted in my first leg-shaving experience and an indescribable fear of having hair in my armpits, so I totally expected an awesome man-shaving story.

Alas, I was disappointed. Geo said "I don't know, my dad brought me home an electric razor because that's what he used. So I used it." I pressed him. "Were you nervous? Did you get lessons? Were there any hilarious mishaps?" And he was like "No. My dad got me a razor so I started using it." Ugh. Men.

Well, despite the fact that hair removal is an absolutely devastating experience for women, it is apparently a super great step in life for men. Good thing I'm absolutely amazing at it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jury Doodie

I have been spinning all weekend. I got a super dumb letter on Friday which kind of tore up the rest of my weekend, even though I got to spend it with my super great friends Claire and Liz in Minneapolis. But the whole time, I felt haunted by this letter. It just kept picking at me, bugging me and being all "Don't forget about meeeeeee! You have fun, but don't forget about meeeeeeeeee!" And I didn't. All weekend, I was like super annoyed and hating on everything.

I have been summonsed (Summoned? Simmoned? Slumming?) to jury duty.

My initial reaction was probably a lot like everyone else's. I tried to shove the letter back in the envelope and throw it off our balcony, pretending that a dog ate my jury summons. I thought about chopping it up in a Cuisinart, but I don't know what a Cuisinart is or how to use one. I briefly considered Gorilla-gluing the envelope shut and putting it back in the mailbox with "Return to sender" written on it, but decided that none of these things would unsend the letter. I had been summonsed (Summoned? Sumo'd? Sermoned?) and there was nothing I could do about.

I guess I'm not super sure why everyone hates jury duty, but I know that everyone does. And I love me some trend-following, so I guess I should hate it too. Sitting? Listening? UGH! The worst!

I mentioned my jury doodie to Madeline today. I was all "UGH. Isn't that just the worst? First I have to move to Rochester and then I have to serve on a JURY in Rochester?! WTF?!" And she was like "OMG, I would love to be chosen for a jury. I love telling people what to do!" And I was all "I'm worried that you don't know what jury duty is. I'm pretty sure you just sit there and someone ELSE tells YOU what to do." She scoffed and told me to try and enjoy the chance to participate in a democracy.

So, I'm trying to really understand my feelings about this jury doodie nonsense. On the one hand, it's probably pretty important. On the other hand, people have compared it to root canals and Nicholas Cage movies, so it could really be terrible. One thing I DO know, however, is that it's all just a litttttle too convenient that I was chosen. I lived in Minneapolis for like 10 years without getting called and without even KNOWING anyone who got the ol' summons (Summon? Simpson? Nomnoms?) but I move to Rochester and within a few MONTHS, I'm called up to the majors? That seems suspisch, yo.

Maybe they've run out people who can serve on a jury here. In Minneapolis, there are like 6 billion residents and they keep recruiting friends to come and live with them in such an awesome city, providing an endless supply of jury candidates. But maybe Rochester doesn't have that same kind of...attraction. No new meat. Until me. UGH. They're just WAITING for dummies like me to come and change our addresses at the DMV and become eligible to jure.

But after blabbing about my jury doodie to everyone I've ever met, it sounds like it's nothing like a Nicholas Cage movie...or a Taylor Swift concert....or even a Real Housewives of WhoGivesAShit TV show. It sounds pretty painless, actually. An important job and also maybe a chance to get some reading done. Not too shabby.

Then again, it also sounds pretty boring, and I'm far too accustomed to spending my days working in absolute silence and eating handfuls of cream cheese whenever the urge presents itself. So unless this so-called "government" is okay with me showing up in sweatpants and wolf sweatshirts with a bagel feedbag on, I may have to decline this once-in-a-year opportunity. I guess we'll have to wait and see...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

To Whom it May Concern

Listen, I get it. People like to express themselves in words. It's why I started a blog. Why I totally love my job. Why I'm crushed that our English language is being subjected to abbrevs and Snapchats and other absolute pieces of literary garbage. (Side note: Hate Snapchat, LOVE Instagram. Go figure.) And I will fight harder to protect the art of the written language than I will to protect my right to not have Google snoop in every nook and cranny of my life. Words are the greatest.

But writing is also the beloved and relentless medium of the insane. Crazy people love them some writing. We've all seen movies where the freaky nutjob has shelves upon shelves of hand-written nonsense. They can't help but write down every mixed-up thought that tiptoes through their boggled heads. And we see this and are like "Omg, that person is cuckoo!"

Only insane people write letters to someone they don't know. To their imaginary voices in their heads. To pen pals. To inmates. To newspapers. None of it is okay as adults unless you have an incredibly poignant stance. And no one does. So if you are starting a letter with "To Whom it May Concern," chances are, you are insane.

But I know now why crazy people write. Because now I am officially a crazy-person-letter-writer. And here's why.

I did it. I started a letter on my computer, fueled by the kind of injustice and frustration that drives so many noteworthy head cases. I had had it. I had been the victim of too many instances of humanitarian fails that I could no longer sit idle and keep my mouth shut. I had to write it all down in the hopes that someone would listen.

My letter began as follows:

"To Whom it May Concern at whatever office is responsible for city or traffic planning in Rochester, MN:

With all the brilliant and talented minds at the Mayo Clinic and IBM that are attracted to this fine city, you would think that at least one of them would recognize the gross failures of the traffic light system that hangs like a plague across this community. They have not. The traffic lights in Rochester remain the bane of my existence and the #8 reason why I refer to this city as 'backwards.' There are simply not enough cars in this place to warrant an absence of weight-sensitive traffic lights. Every single day, I am delayed by approximately 15 minutes to get to my chain restaurant of choice because the traffic lights in this city are based on nothing more than the arbitrary timing of yesteryear. For a community built on medical innovation and  meeting the immediate needs of those in danger, I feel this is an unforgivable oversight and must be remedied immediately."

I was proud of how the letter started. I was like "YEAH! Those unknown dummies in some unknown office will TOTALLY love my eloquent explanation of why they need to effing step into modern traffic days. And then...

And then...

I realized I was crazy.

What exactly was I trying to accomplish with this letter? Did I just want to complain to someone? Maybe to tell someone that I absolutely find it unforgivable that traffic lights seem to go off in random patterns that disrupt my day for no reason? But seriously, what would that get me? It would get me some arbitrary platform that, at the end of my day, I literally could not care two poops about. It is just a reason to be mad. A reason to feel like I'm in control of something. And it gives me permission, I guess, to be insane.

I was writing a letter to some nobody who would likely laugh about it to their nobody co-worker, and they would both agree that some crazy nobody needs to get a hobby besides traffic patterns. It would go nowhere fast.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't express themselves. People should always talk about what they love and hate about something. (I'm like a certified Pro Reviewer on Zappos...which, by the way, is almost the same as being a published writer). But I am saying that the second you take to your computer to blaze off an angry letter to an anonymous blurb-face in the hopes of prompting dramatic change, you have already lost and you are already insane. Sorry.

Feel free to write your complaints and criticisms to I promise I won't call you a crazy nutjob behind your back. Also, I will call you a crazy nutjob behind your back. :P

Monday, January 6, 2014

Check Engine

I will not bore you with details on how effing cold I am. I will not tell you about how one of my baby toes was so cold that it was numb all day, even though I've been inside for all but about 20 minutes. I will not explain just how many yards of fleece I am wearing or how I have only moved far enough to go from a scalding hot shower to french-kissing our fireplace. I won't talk about that, because we all know it's stupid cold.

But I will tell you about the 20 minutes I was outside of my house, because it was a disaster. That's what I get for leaving the house. See, I got in my car to be a good wife. I was going to pop over to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients to make a hot, delicious meal for din din. I started the car and was on my way.

About 5 blocks away, my bar went ballistic. Suddenly, all these lights were flashing and turning on like I had hit the jackpot at the casino. I waited for coins to spill out of the dash, but no such luck. I illegally U-turned and raced back home to Google the freaky symptoms. Turns out, my car is not the only one who has lost her mind.

I'm pretty sure Leslie (that's my car) is just another victim of the adjustment to a move and to the cold. Like me, Leslie has had to do some work in recent months. At least once a week, Leslie and I have trekked up to the Cities through ice, snow, rain and frigid temps. Back and forth we go, packing up bags in trunk and returning home with empty fuel tanks. We're both tired, I think.

So tonight she went nuts. Probably because I let it slip that I'm going to be driving back to the Cities like 6 times in the next two weeks and she panicked.

The Check Engine light turned on, cruise control light flashed and some picture of a slippery road buzzed in my dash. Apparently, that meant it was in Limp Mode and had to conserve power by cutting other systems. I looked up what I had to do and the answer was simple: unhook the battery for a few minutes, let it rest and  then restart the whole thing.

It seemed like a good solution to other energy problems, too. I've been sluggish, tired, run ragged from packing bags and moving around and not getting things done around the house. It's been exhausting and all I want to do when I AM home is lay around, watching Dexter and well, setting the cruise control. But it's caught up to me and now it is I who needs to check my engine. So I tackled a bunch of tasks at home, undesirable as they may have been, and took that shower I've been needing since Saturday. And while I didn't get to the gym, I made plans to hit up a kickboxing class tomorrow with my pal Angie. Plus, I managed to eat zero pieces of bread or bagels today.

After I reconnected the battery and restarted my car, all the warning lights were off. Leslie and I drove around for awhile, each trying to warm back up before we stopped for gas and some Heet and K-cups (both of which make it easier for us to get going in the morning). It was uneventful, but nice. Freezing, but fine.

It was a good reminder, however, that we all occasionally get freaked out and spazzy and go into limp mode in the winter. So hopefully by the time this polar vortex gets over itself and gets out of our lives, we'll have some recharged batteries and some fuel back in our tanks.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tea Party

I've been drinking tea lately. I don't know why. I used to only drink tea when I was sick as a kid, and back then I could barely tell it contained any sort of herbal nonsense whatsoever. I drowned it in honey and milk until it was cold and sugary sweet. But this winter, I've been drinking it because my bones are cold, coffee keeps me awake and I guess I'm getting old. Stupid tea.

I guess you could say that I also drank tea in college, but back then it was served with ice and booze and it came from Long Island. It made me less relaxed and more "dance on the bar." It was fun.

Anyway, now it's hot tea on a cold night while watching Dexter (my newest binge obsession on Netflix). Tonight, as I stood waiting for my tea to brew or steam or whatever it is that tea does, I made the very logical decision that I hate tea because it's a huge snob. Tea is to the beverage world as Gwyneth Paltrow is to the entertainment world. Stuck up without any good reason to be. If tea could have a baby, it would totally name it Apple. Ugh...TEA.

I kind of laughed to myself as I sipped on my liquid snobbery juice because despite my best efforts, I still love tea. It leaves ugly brown stains in all my best Kate Spade mugs, comes in too many flavors, is British (which, as we all know, is the snobbiest place ever) and is not wine. And yet...hear we are. Drinking tea and trying out a British accent when no one is listening. (Oy. Me accent is a li'l bit Bri'ish and a wee bit leprechan. Either way, I sound bloody mental. Off to the loo, matey! Oh bollocks, methinks that's a bit pirate as well, no?)

Is drinking tea like a snobby right of passage that happens when you're finally  at a stage in life when you don't have to steal toilet paper from the work bathroom anymore? Wait, am I going to have to start brushing my hair now?! What am I, the bloody Queen of England!?

Just because I am an immature non-snob, I just dumped some whiskey in my tea to show it who's boss. And now it's pretty disgusting. But whatever. The snobby aftertaste is gone and I feel like a the whiskey is the Boston Harbor and now it's time to party.