Thursday, July 31, 2003

Did you know . . .
. . . that you can date the reject guys from Cupid on I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. Not that I'd sign up for it anyway. But the chances that the good guys will end up as the rejects are slim to none. And with my luck, I'd end up on the world's most boring date with The Terminator, aka Robert A.

While I'm enjoying Cupid, it is an odd show. I missed the last couple of episodes, but managed to catch the show last night. The ten finalists had to hit the streets to raise enough money for a date with Lisa. They could only spend the amount of money they raised. Poor $9.00 volleyball guy. His date involved free sand and beach, and I'm assuming the frisbee he bought cost $9.00 because I didn't see any other purchases throughout the date. Unfortunately he didn't think to cheat and add some of his own money, like the pedicure/pizza lunch guy did.

I'm not sure the logic behind some of the guys and their 'creative' ideas to raise money while wandering the streets. Although the balding sweaty guy who decided to sell 'hugs and affection' didn't too do badly. But I was really impressed with several of the guys and their ability to raise a decent amount of money ($50-ish) doing pretty much nothing out on the street, then turn that into a fun date. I love the picnic guy, and the zoo guy, and even the Afro guy. Those would be my favorites. Although I'm not sure I'd enjoy being the wife of a career street hussler/afro wig wearing guy. But I do enjoy that these three guys are goofy and fun, yet gentlemanly and sincere. Not to mention, cute.

When I first watched the show, I enjoyed the banter, comments, and criticisms from the two best friends, Laura and Kim. Now they are beginning to annoy me. Laura is trying too hard to be Simon from American Idol. She's mean to everyone. She seems determined to weed out every single guy, so that Lisa ends up alone again at the end of the series. Kim is too inconsistent, and seems to disagree with Laura just for the sake of disagreeing. Poor Lisa is caught in the middle, plus trying to defend these poor guys who are trying to impress her. At this point in the show, unless they are going to bring in Paula Abdul to say weird stuff and to dress even weirder, the two friends should be silent partners. They don't get to vote, anyway.

I do love, however, that we get to see Lisa and these guys on the dates. Her facial expressions at times have been priceless.

I feel certain Robert A, the boring amusement park Terminator clone who seems to be creepily infatuated with Lisa, will be the one voted off next week. How cruel, they bill the show next week as one of the guys getting dumped live on the show. Cruel, but I'm sure funny.

I also caught a bit of Paradise Hotel last night. At first I was embarrassed to admit I've watched this show enough to know what's going on. But having watched it again, I can now with confidence say. . . I have no idea what is going on. And I'm not embarrassed about that. This show makes no sense, and they change the rules every time I've seen it. There is no plot, no point. And apparently no end in sight. Someone is supposed to win, but I don't know what the game is or what they win, or how and when they determine a winner. It just seems to go on and on, and all they do is yell at each other and cry and hate each other, then one of them has to leave 'paradise forever' and they are all devastated to have lost their best friend and they yell and cry more. Such an odd game.

Not to mention the theme song is one of the most annoying things I've ever heard in my life.

But it sure would be cool to hang out at an exotic resort for the summer, even without a point to it.

I'm sure I'll keep watching.


Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I Need a Hook
Following in the footsteps of Chandler from Friends, in the episode when the downstairs neighbor, Mr. Heckles dies, I need a hook. Chandler discovers some odd similarities between himself and the strange, hermit-like Mr. Heckles. So he decides he needs to get a snake because he would one day grow old, forever alone. He would be Crazy Old Man With a Snake, and children would run past his house, pointing and laughing and afraid.

This type of future could be a possibility for me, so I'm beginning to realize I need a hook. It's no fun to be old and alone and not be odd, to at least stir up conversation with an air of intrigue and mystery on the block. Since I don't like snakes, and being poor at the moment, my hook needs to be something already lying around the house. Something odd and unique, so that I will stand out among the other hermit-like people in my neighborhood, if there are any. Perhaps I will be the one and only. That will surely work to my advantange.

After taking careful inventory of my house and surrounding yard, the obvious choice for my hook is . . . figs. I have a giant fig tree in the backyard. Once they are ripe in a week or so, I will be overrun with figs, running amok, out of control. Fig free-for-all.

I'm just Crazy Fig Lady From the Block.


Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I've decided this whole house owning thing is weird. Not bad weird. Good weird.

For a whole week now, I've owned a house. I haven't lived in a house since I lived with my parents. For many, many years I've been in apartment hell. I am SO glad to be out of there. No more sharing walls, loud music, loud neighbors, fighting over parking spaces, and walking long distances to check my mailbox. I hope I never have to go back to apartment life.

Of course, the weird thing is that this house is MY house. I am responsible for all of it. And, I probably won't be leaving it in a year. Or even two. I could be there for a very, very long time. That's a cool thought, because I HATE moving. I've moved almost every year or so for the last ten years. But now the realization that I will be in the same place for a longer time is kinda scary. Just the time I really get sick of an apartment, I have the opportunity to go someplace else. I can pick up and leave at the end of a short lease. Not so anymore.

I hope nothing breaks. Ever. I'm handy in small ways, meaning I can fix simple things. I can even use a few tools without doing any real damage to myself. I drilled with my new drill yesterday for the first time. Successfully, and I almost enjoyed it. But overall, power tools scare me. And I don't currently have the know-how, or the money, to fix anything major. That's what boys are for, anyway. To do power tool stuff and fix things. If anything major breaks, I will definitely have to call a boy of some sort. Maybe I will have my very own boy by the time something breaks. How long do houses last?

That reminds me again that this whole house thing is weird. I didn't want to buy a house this way, being alone and unmarried. I've gotten used to the fact that my life so far has not turned out the way I ever thought it would, in more ways than one. I always pictured my first house would come after getting married. And I always figured I'd be married by now. My husband and I would buy our first house together. We'd fix it up and have many wonderful memories at the beginning of our life together.

In some ways, this house buying thing has been sad for me. I haven't lost all hope that I will someday be married, and in a house with my husband, whether this one or another one. But still, the first house is a major milestone, and it's been very weird to do it on my own. Exciting and fun. But sad that I'm not sharing it with the love of my life. It's like I've gotten things out of order somehow. It's a big, three bedroom reminder that I am still, emphatically, alone and not married.

It's also been bittersweet because my sister is no longer here to share this with me. When I think of having a house, I enjoy the thought of it being a place where I can have my people. My friends and family and loved ones alike. It's such an exciting big venture, yet there's something missing without my sister being here to witness it with me. To help me decorate and make it a reflection of who I am. She would be all in the middle of it, taking the decorating and stuff my mom has done (for which I'm very thankful) and helping me tone it down into what works for me, like sisters do.

The house is missing her touch, even though she is everywhere in it. I have many of her things placed around the house, stuff that has meaning to me because it was hers, or reminds me of her, and it also seems to fit perfectly in the right spots in the house, like it was meant to be. She's there, but she will never be there. Never visit or stay in my guest room. Never cook with me in my kitchen, or help me plant stuff in my yard, or help me paint my currently tulip wallpapered bathroom. These are things I took for granted that would happen someday. I looked forward to it. And now I miss that I will never have it. You assume your family will be around for the big moments in life. This is one more moment in a line of many more to come, one major event, one milestone that hurts without her here to share it with me. I think there will always be that pang of pain when big stuff comes up. It's tough to not let that take the fun and joy out of it.

But I can say that I am having fun and finding joy in my new house. I can't say I haven't been an emotional roller-coaster wreck the last week or so, swinging back and forth between happiness and excitment, and sadness and fear. I've entered adulthood, reluctant to leave pre-adulthood. I've become a responsible member of a neighborhood with new, big responsibilities. Buying a home is officially the mark of an adult, and it's a scary thing to do.

But, armed with my new drill, bug pesticide, channeling my sister's keen sense of decorating, and many episodes of Trading Spaces, I forge ahead for as long as I am in this house.

It will be good.


Monday, July 28, 2003

I Love Neighbors
Ok, so I need to revise this. Not that I've changed my mind about those particular neighbors. But I now have all new neighbors.

I finished moving into my new house over the weekend. Let me start by saying that waiting for the movers to show up is worse than waiting for the Cable Guy, and severely more painful than the anticipation of waiting for Santa. Especially when the movers never show up.

Several weeks ago I embarked on the Find Good Movers project. Normally when moving from apartment to apartment, I gather a few of my closest friends and somehow lure them into carrying my furniture around on a Uhaul. However, after the last move where they had to haul my stuff up three flights of stairs, I think I finally broke them. Maybe that's why I have such a high friend turnover rate. So this time I decided to give everyone a break (most importantly, me) and hire movers.

I called several moving companies for quotes. I'm all about saving money, but this is my stuff. My belongings. My cherished posessions. So I weighed the costs of going super cheap (ie: two dudes and a truck) and worrying if my stuff will survive, versus all the bells and whistles (ie: two gentlemen, a truck, and a padded forklift to eliminate the three floors problem) knowing my stuff will safely and cushily reach it's destination. I chose something in the middle. Affordable, yet a national company, bonded, insured, and whatnot. They even have a 1-800 number. I felt good. . .

. . . Until the day of the move when it took all afternoon to figure out that the movers were never going to come. They had given me a scheduled time of between 1-5pm. This is ridiculous, I thought. But that's how it works so I prepared for it. In my opinion, four hours is plenty of time for two guys and a truck to arrive at my apartment. I was hoping it would be earlier rather than later, because the job estimate was also another four hours to load and unload the truck. But I figured it would be later rather than earlier because that's how things go with me.

At 2:00, no movers. I called the local office for an ETA. They assured me it would be within an hour.

3:00, no movers. I called the local office. They assured me they were right around the corner, and should arrive any minute.

3:30, no movers. Maybe they meant they were right around one of the far corners of the earth. I called the local office. They told me the movers were stuck in traffic. Somehow during the ten minute drive from their last job and my apartment, they'd managed to find a huge accident tying them up for a couple of hours. Hmmmm. Doubtful.

4:00, no movers. I called the local office. And called. And called. And only got the answering machine. I began to wonder if this place actually existed. Maybe it was in one of the corners of the Bermuda Triangle.

I called the valued 1-800 number, and they patched me through to the local office, I guess using the secret Bat Phone for emergencies when the normal phone goes unanswered. Someone finally answered. I was now given a story about how the guys in the truck were apparently MIA. Radio dead, no cell phone, and in essence no one had a clue where they were or how to find out where they were. But I was promised they would try and get back to me right away.

5:00, no movers, and no word from the guy who promised to get right back to me. I called the local office. Still no word from the movers, or any developments in how to get ahold of them. I was even told they had gone out looking for the MIA drivers. Yeah right.

I was talking to the manager by this point. He begged me for fifteen more minutes. I told him I'd already given them four hours, and now it was after 5:00, the crying end of the four hour window of time I was promised to have movers. They were now officially late. I told him he had five minutes to assure me that movers would be here ASAP. I really wasn't excited about movers moving my furniture into the wee hours of the night.

I called back after ten minutes and still there was no sign of the MIA movers. I told the guy to cancel my order because we couldn't wait any longer to get my stuff moved. The option now was for my dad and I to try to locate a Uhaul truck at 6:00 on a Saturday night, as well as any friends of mine who would likely not have plans on a Saturday night and who would jump at the chance to haul my furniture around one last time, on short notice. Not likely.

As it turned out, my dad and I found the world's largest and only available Uhaul, then proceeded to carry every stick of my furniture down three flights of stairs ourselves. Washer, dryer, and all. Fortunately, nothing like this happened. But we saved that table til the end. I was a bit afraid of it after the last incident.

My mom covered the soft, small items, and going to get cold drinks duty. She helps in her own way.

At about 10:30 pm we pulled up to my new house. I was so tired and beat up, and really beat down about the thought of another few hours of unloading the truck. I was about to the point of having a freak out session in my driveway, for my new neighbors to see.

As it turned out, my next door neighbor was watering her yard. She noticed the Jumbo-Sized Uhaul arriving in the late night hours, and I told her what happened, apologizing for the late night loud noise of the truck and moving. This hadn't gone at all how I'd planned. We should have been finished long before now. She asked if we needed any help, and I said we could maybe use a hand if she felt up to it. I went to open up the house to prepare for my furniture arrival.

When I came back out of the house, I saw a lot more people than were there when I went inside a minute earlier. I didn't recognize any of them. These were my neighbors. From several houses on the street. My next door neighbor had gone and recruited helpers from the other neighboring houses, and I now had a throng of people eager to fill my house with my furniture at 10:30 at night. I was speechless.

I didn't know any of these people, but they jumped right in with a smile on their face, carrying my junk off the truck and into the house like it was a fun neighborhood parade of some sort. They put things in the right rooms and took great care not to break or damage anything. There were even kids carrying small stuff and neatly arranging my patio chairs. Within fifteen minutes the truck that had taken my dad and I over two hours to load was completely empty. I was speechless.

So now I have to say that I love my neighbors. They gave me the best neighborhood welcome I could imagine, and made the worst moving experience I have ever had into a really nice blessing.

I'm battered and bruised from lifting furniture. Of course, that doesn't count the beating I took from my ceiling fan while painting near the ceiling a few days ago. My head had a run in with the revolving fan blades, pretty much knocking me off the ladder. I can't tell if I have a bump, or if it's a dent from the impression of the blade to skull. Either way, it still hurts. But even with the battered body I now have, I'm in my house and feeling good about it.

And I'm very thankful for my new neighbors. And Uhaul.


Friday, July 25, 2003

A Few of my Favorite Things . . .
Kinda like Oprah's favorite things, but instead, it's just me and links to a few of my favorite things.

I stumbled onto this site while surfing Ebay one fine day many moons ago. Now, before you go and ask why a vintage t-shirt auction site is one of my favorite things, let me tell you why this site is one of my favorite things. I have yet to actually buy a t-shirt, although I fully intend to buy one eventually when I have some money to spend on such frivolous things. But I go there often because it is a highly entertaining grassroots t-shirt biz. Take a look at some of the pics of the 'models' modeling the t-shirts, read the marketing captions that go with the shirts, and you will not be able to help but laugh. It's pure genius. Not to mention, the shirts they find to sell are some of the best I've seen in my quest for cool, affordable vintage fashion. These guys have a good thing going here. Hopefully they run a good business. I can't speak to that, yet. But check out Vintage Vantage online, buy lots of shirts from them, tell me of your experience, and maybe they'll give me a free shirt for sending them tons of business from my high traffic site.

This is a site that I am using as part of my research to get paid for a contract job I did for a woman who has never paid me for completing the job. She owes me $1500.00, which would come in handy right about now, what with my recent house purchase and needing to buy a vintage t-shirt and all. I don't necessarily endorse this site for any particular reason, or as the end all source of info on small claims court. And it's not necessarily one of my favorite things, in that it would actually be more favored for me to get paid. I just get really angry from time to time that she still refuses to pay me, so now I am letting the world wide web know about it. In fact, I think I will email her again about it right now. Can you imagine? She doesn't answer my phone calls anymore.

Well, now I'm all re-focused on this lady not paying me and what to do about it, so I can't think of any more favorite things at the moment. So til next time, check out the t-shirt link, and be careful when doing contract work for people. Apparently the employer signing a contract saying she will pay you upon completion of the contract doesn't actually mean you will get paid. Ever.

More favorite things another time.


Unintentional Reality TV Hiatus
I'm sure it's been noticed that I have not blogged much in the past week or so about my summer reality TV favorites. To reassure you that I have not abandoned all reality TV watching for frivolous reasons, I will explain the lack of reality TV blogging.

I am in the process of moving, from apartment to house. This has unfortunately left me unable to keep up with my shows for the past week or so, due to a lack of time, and a lack of having a TV hooked up. It's been a week long process of cleaning and moving a few things at a time, with the grand finale taking place this weekend. Therefore, I should be able to resume my usual intense reality TV viewing and appreciation schedule next week.

In the meantime, please keep up with these shows on your own: Cupid, The Amazing Race, and if you are really bored, Paradise Hotel, for the sole purpose of watching Toni's eyes bug out of her head when she gets mad (and that is quite often), much like they did during her impressive stint on the cancelled FOX reality show of last year, Love Cruise. Then write an essay on why FOX would choose the same person to be on two of their lame reality TV shows. Is it a ploy to fool the public? Were there not enough other gullible losers game for Paradise Hotel? Does Toni the female body-building bartender own FOX? You decide.


Thursday, July 24, 2003

Homeowner's First Year
You know how you make a scrapbook of your baby's first year? It should also be tradition to make a scrapbook of your first year as a homeowner. There are so many 'firsts' that are different from just renting an apartment, and 'firsts' that won't be true 'firsts' in a future home. The whole extravaganza should really be captured for the memories. I feel like going around to each 'first' and taking a picture, to preserve the moment.

For instance, I watered my lawn last night for the first time ever. It's the first lawn I've ever owned. So it was my very first watering experience. It was quite an adventure hooking up the sprinkler to the hose and figuring out how to water more grass than house, street, or sidewalk. I got thoroughly soaked. But eventually mastered the sprinkler. It needed to be captured on film.

Then there are things that aren't necessarily 'moments', but more like 'objects'. Homeowner's first garage, first driveway, first gutters, first lawnmower, first fence, first tree, first storage shed, first electric screwdriver, first weeds, first giant cockroach, first walls to paint, first heart attack-inducing electric bill. . .

Aaaah. So many 'first' memories that make the change from renting to owning the amazing adventure that it is.

Holy cow, what have I gotten myself into . . .


Wednesday, July 23, 2003

House of Dirt
I had no idea dirt could be in so many places in a house. Dirt, dust, and remnants in nooks and crannies that have been collecting dirt, dust, and remnants for forty years. At least, that appears to be the last time this house was thoroughly cleaned. Forty years ago.

When I first started looking at the house to buy, the house appeared spotless. It was owned by an old lady, who had actually only lived there a year. Walking in the door was like stepping into Grandma's house. Clean, smelling good, and everything in order. It seemed filth was not a factor in this house.

I always clean any time I move. I like to get in and make sure everything has been cleaned properly, before I use anything or get comfortable. You just never know what someone else's interpretation of clean is, and I can almost guarantee it's not nearly as clean as my definition of clean. I'm not a freak about things being sterilized or freakishly clean. Well, at least not anymore. But I do like to know that the only funk that I am living with is my own funk. No foreign funk.

Apparently when the old lady moved out, she unleashed the dirt and filth of the house. It had been cleverly hidden under furniture, tucked away in crevaces, and disguised as anything other than dirt and filth. The empty rooms of floors and countertops were now covered in layers of funk. It not only looked like the dirt had been freed from hiding indoors, but it also appeared she had gone outside and carted extra dirt in from the outside, by the wheelbarrow load.

Fortunately, it's been fairly easy to clean. Although cleaning has taken place in places where I had no idea it was necessary to clean. But after seeing the clean aftermath, it was obvious that several layers of dirt and funk had been removed to reveal a clean, pleasant surface. Where does all that funk come from??

Oh well. I figure one good cleaning every forty years should have this place ready for another cleaning by the time I'm an old lady, ready to move out.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I Now Own a Lawnmower
And a house with a garage to store the mower.

I also now have a ladder, water hoses, a weedwacker, and other superflous lawn and house equipment. The local Home Depot had a very good day yesterday.

I am now interested in fences, rain gutters, hot water heaters, and relocating the dryer vent in my laundry room.

I have trees to trim, hedges to hedge, and bushes to bush.

I think about the roof, foundation, proper drainage, and pest control.

Paint colors are stressing me out. It's a major decision of commitment.

Last week I rented a one bedroom apartment. This week I own a home.

It's the strangest, yet greatest thing ever.


Friday, July 18, 2003

My Great American Novel
I've realized just recently that if I take everything I've written on this blog since I started in February, put it together in some sort of order, I'd have enough for a novel. Not that it would necessarily flow or make sense or go together in any way. In fact, it would be a really bad novel of the highest level of badness. But the volume of my collected works would likely equal a decent sized novel. The writing I do everyday has gotten me in a good habit to get serious about writing. I've proven to myself that I could actually write enough to come up with a book someday.

When I first started this blog it was mainly an exercise for myself in writing, to get myself in the habit of writing daily, or at least most days of the week. In lieu of going back to school to study writing, I decided on a Poor Woman's Non-Masters Program for the Enhancement of Writing. It is something I've created completely on my own, and I make it up as I go along. I could either pay money to go to school and have professors give me assignments to develop my skills, or I could give assignments to myself, for free, and write about things I actually enjoy. Even if I have nothing much to say, my goal is to get something down on 'paper' everyday. The topic can be whatever pops into my head that is of interest to me, or at least gives me some sort of springboard to get a few sentences down.

I figured if I want to pursue writing as a real, hopefully money-making gig in the future, I'd better get used to doing it on a regular basis. After sticking with it consistently for awhile, I would know if I actually like this writing thing or not. I'd know if I'm any good at it. And it wouldn't cost me anything except the time I spend thinking and creating and writing.

Well, I've found that I do like it. A lot. And I'm not too bad at it. People don't run screaming from my blog, so I take that as a good sign. Sure, I'm by no means a 'professional'. But I like to think I've at least found my voice and a place to start, with more to learn as I go. I look forward to blogging everyday. It's not something I have to make myself do everyday. I enjoy the habit. I really think if my only job was to sit and write everyday, I'd be happy. At this point, I can't think of a job I'd like more than a writing gig.

So, while I clearly haven't blogged the Great American Novel, and I may never do that, per say, I will begin focusing more attention on how I can make this writing thing pay off. Surely there is a writing career out there for me somewhere. You people get to read my great literary works here online everyday, for free. But alas, it does not pay my bills.

Hopefully I will not get lost in the sea of faceless aspiring writers, and one day you can pay $11.95 at Barnes and Noble for a paperback version of my Semi-Great American Collected Works.


Thursday, July 17, 2003

Reality TV Update
Still living in the void left by the ending of American Idol 2, and now dealing with the hole left by the ending of America's Next Top Model, I've discovered another fun reality TV alternative. However, it does not have any form of the word 'America' in the title, so I fear it will not last long. It seems the key to a good reality show is to stick 'America' in there somewhere.

I was very skeptical of this show at first, more so than when first attempting to watch Model. In fact, the ads for the show the past few months seriously turned me off, they were so lame. I mean, enough with the reality TV dating shows. They just get cheesier and cheesier, and it's never anything new. Plus, nothing can really match the fabulousness of The Bachelor. Not even The Bachelorette. But now having watched two episodes, I can confidently promote Cupid as another dating reality show everyone needs to watch.

This dating reality show is not like any other dating reality show. How is that possible? Because Simon Cowell is brilliant. I was concerned that his ruthless American Idol personality and influence would ruin the show from the beginning. I thought, "Simon, you've gone too far. You've tried to capitalize on your persona in a genre that you shouldn't touch. I am thoroughly disappointed and fear the worst." But since he is only the brains behind it, and the narrator during the episode, the show is turning out to be quite humorous to watch. His commentary is quite appropriate. It's good fun.

If you are unaware of Cupid, the goal of the show is to find a husband for this girl, Lisa. Once a selection of eligible bachelors are chosen, the audience then gets to decide who gets kicked out each week as Lisa dates them every episode. The catch is that she brings her two best friends to the auditions, to screen every guy who tries to win Lisa over. In fact, out of the three girls, Lisa is not the star, in my opinion. Sure, she's nice and pretty and personable and likeable enough. But it's the two friends that really make the show interesting. Well, that, and the complete freakos trying to woo Lisa at the auditions.

So, if you're finding yourself in withdrawals from the summer time lack of quality reality programming, I give two thumbs up to Cupid, and I highly recommend you give it a go. These girls are, simply put, a female version of Simon. They hold nothing back in telling off the jerks and idiots who show up for the auditions, pointing out their flaws and ridiculing them in the ways you've wished you could to your ex-idiots. They seemingly have no conscience, and it's hilarious. Plus, it's worth a watch just to see what kind of weirdos are out there, and what they think will woo a woman, and then to be thankful that none of those guys are the guys currently stalking me at this juncture.

In other reality TV news, I'm so far not at all impressed with Big Brother 4. They've managed to pick an entire house full of losers, and the 'Ex Factor' is just the lamest idea ever. So far, I've preferred packing my apartment over sitting and watching any length of consecutive minutes of this show.

Also, Paradise Hotel is mildly intriguing in that Girls-Gone-Wild-Real-Cancun-Not-Good-Enough-For-MTV-Love-Cruise-Sunk sort of way. But the drama and annoying non-game like quality of it reduces it to nothing but a bunch of whiney mid-20's semi-adults getting overly-tanned at a Hawaiian resort, with no real plot, or point, or interest in any of the characters. But, it is mildly amusing from time to time. Good for background noise as I wander through the stacks of boxes in my apartment.

Carry on.


Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Dude, where's my quarter?
It was time once again to get the oil changed in the Jeep. I hate doing this. Not because I actually do anything but sit at the oil change place and wait. But just because it's a maintenance thing, I'd rather be elsewhere, and it costs money. I really feel that considering the major expense of the car itself, once you buy a car, everything pertaining to the car thereafter should be free.

The very first time I went to this particular oil change place by my apartment, we'll call it Kwikie Lube, I lost a quarter. I sometimes have a quarter or two sitting in the cup holder. That day I had two quarters in the holder, but when I picked up the car at the end of the oil change and 'free' car wash, I only had one quarter. One of the Kwikie Lube employees had helped himself to one of the quarters.

I was annoyed, but of course knew there was nothing to do about it. Had he taken both quarters, I would have been less annoyed. Why just one of them?? You can't even buy a Coke with one quarter. If he asked me for a quarter, or for both quarters, I could care less if he has them. Or if he asked me to buy him a Coke, I'd gladly do that. But just the fact that he took only one of the two quarters, without asking, that annoys me.

I've been to Kwikie Lube several times since then, and not noticed any disappearing quarters. This time, I noticed I again had two quarters in the cup holder, and remembering what happened last time, I decided to leave them there, just to see if it happened again.

I left the Jeep with the oil people, and went inside to wait. I hate sitting in the chairs with the other 'waiters', pretending to look at Popular Mechanics magazines, so I stood by the window across from where I could watch them work on the Jeep, and where I could also watch the cars go through the car wash. Yes, I am an adult, but there is still something cool about watching the cars go down the line on that track, with the soap and the brushes and the water. It was fun to watch as a kid, and it's still fun now.

Naturally I don't act like it's fun. But trust me, I'm fascinated.

Of course, it may have been particularly more fun on this day because the alternative was watching professional poker on the waiting room TV. First, I had no idea professional poker existed. And two, I have no idea how it is justified to be televised as a sport on ESPN. Literally, this is the most boring thing on television. EVER. And it's just begging to be made fun of. So I will.

They showed a room full of poker tables, filled with a wide variety of poker players, staring at cards. I think ESPN knew there was a high boredom factor, because they showed pre-taped profiles of some of the 'big name' poker players, to break up the monotony of the card staring. They showed one story about a woman player, and apparently this is a big deal that she is a woman playing as a professional. She told the story of how she began playing when she was three years old, just barely able to see the top of the table. I don't know about you, but when I was three I was doing normal kid things, like playing in the dirt, poking at my little sister, petting puppies, and watching cartoons. Card games consisted of 'Go Fish', and that was only successful when I wasn't playing with the fish-shaped cards as though they were actual fish.

The next Player Profile was this scary old dude with long greasy hair, sunglasses, and a cowboy hat. His big claim to fame was that he could flick a card across the room at a banana, and chop it in half. Whoa. Definitely a great way to pick up chicks. Maybe his story was that he didn't have a knife at the age of three, so he turned to cards to cut up his fruit. Inspiring.

I quit watching poker at that point, and turned my attention back to the cars going through the car wash. Cool.

Eventually the Jeep was finished with the oil change and the car wash. They promise a '10 Minute Oil Change', but that was the longest ten minutes ever. They must have a different kind of clock.

I got back in the Jeep, glanced at the cup holder, and noticed that I was indeed down to one quarter. The other quarter was, in fact, gone. A-ha!! Gotcha.

I smiled about it. Again, there's nothing I can do. I checked to make sure nothing else was missing. Everything else seemed to be accounted for. But as I drove away, I again had to wonder why the Quarter Culprit only takes one quarter. Of course, if he takes one quarter from every car that goes through, in a day that's quite a nice haul.

But still, next time I think I will leave a brand new, ice cold Coke in the cup holder, instead of quarters. That way I get to keep all of my quarters, and the Quarter Culprit can have a Coke.


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Tour de Tide with Bleach?
I'm obsessed with the Tour de France coverage, being an avid cyclist myself. I'm amazed that these people can ride 100+ miles everyday. What a great feeling to win those daily stages of the race, earning the privilege to don the coveted Yellow Jersey.

My question is, is that the same Yellow Jersey everyday? Because, gross if it is. After riding 100+ miles, does the leader just peel it off and hand it over to the next guy who won the stage for the day? Do they ever wash it? Sucks to be the rest of the pack behind the leader, riding downwind from the aroma of well-worn Yellow Jersey.

I think I'd go for the stage win on the first day, receiving a nice, clean, not-worn-yet Yellow Jersey. Then I'd stick with coming in second everday after that. That way I maintain a good position to win the entire event, but I don't have to endure the daily Tour de Sweat jersey.


Monday, July 14, 2003

Don't Call Me Grace, Part 2
I have a serious illness. It's very, very serious. I inherited it from my dad. We have the unfortunate ailment of being extremely accident prone, due to attempting things we are not necessarily qualified or prepared to do. We both like to try things ourselves first. We think we can figure it out, or learn how to do it, or do it on our own. I think we are often unaware that we shouldn't be able to do whatever it is without help. Sometimes the motivation is to save money, but sometimes it's just because that's the way we think. "Oh, it can't be that hard." Often, we are successful. I've performed quite a few tasks that I didn't necessarily know how to do, or was maybe not exactly physically capable of doing, just by buckling down and figuring it out. But almost as often as the success, it becomes painfully clear that we should have gone the route of allowing someone else to do the task, or at least help us. And by 'painfully', I mean somehow injuring ourselves, resulting in intense, real, physical pain.

I'll never forget one time that my dad was puttering around outside, as he often does. He is actually quite a handy man, very smart, very good at many things. He just sometimes takes on too much of a big job before he realizes it's too big of a job. Anyway, I was quite young, and we were in the house while my dad was outside. He was apparently trying to get onto the roof or reach a particularly high part of the wall of the house, but he did not have a ladder quite tall enough. So, he built himself a contraption of sorts, consisting of the ladder he did have, on top of a table, with some other components to create the height he needed. Well, we heard a crash and soon there was my dad at the door, bleeding, in need of stitches. His homemade ladder had fallen, while he was on it. It could have been a serious accident, but it turned out to be just a family trip to the emergency room, so Dad could get stitched up. We definitely used a lot of Band-aids in our house, between my dad and me. I always keep a good supply at home. Especially when Dad comes to visit.

This weekend I bought a table. Seems simple enough, right? My new house has a breakfast nook, so I'd found this perfect little table to go there. It was on sale, and they only had two left. This meant I had to buy it. Right then.

The two tables left were both already put together and on the floor for display. I asked the handy furniture helper guy if this meant I would have to take it as-is. It would be easier for me to carry if it were back in a box. He said yes, I'd have to take it already put together. I decided that was fine. For some reason, in my head I figured if the table was too much for me to carry or manuever or an obvious thing I shouldn't be purchasing at this exact moment, there would be some sort of sign for me not to buy the table at that time. But since it was the last table, and on sale, I concluded this should not be a problem for me to take the table already assembled. Plus, it would save me trying to figure out how to put it together later. It was meant to be.

Of course, I was either ignoring the fact that I still live on the third floor of my apartment building for another week, and I was alone at the moment, meaning no help to carry the table up the stairs. Or else I just completely blocked out the important part of thinking ahead to how I would get the table up the stairs to my apartment. At any rate, I was very excited about my new table.

I chose the better of the two tables, noticing some scratches on one but not the other, purchased the table at the great sale price, and watched as another furniture helper guy loaded the table into my Jeep. No problem. If he can do that, surely I can get it back out of the Jeep and up to my apartment. After all, the table wasn't that heavy. Maybe a little awkward to carry. But not heavy. Nope.

I drove back to my apartment and found that the coveted parking space closest to the stairs was wide open, waiting for me to pull in. Again, this must have been a sign that the table was meant to be! This space was never open. It was waiting for me and my table.

I opened the back of the Jeep and began to try to attempt to maneuver the table out of the Jeep and onto the ground. The table was heavier than I thought. It gave me a little trouble, but eventually I was able to turn it upright and set it down. I closed the Jeep, picked up the table, and headed for the stairs.

At that moment, the moment I arrived at the bottom of three flights of stairs, I realized that this table may have to live right here on the lawn for the next week, until I move. It first occured to me at this moment that I may possibly have potentially made a bad decision. This was a lot of stairs. I paused to assess the situation.

As I paused, I noticed it was at least 108 degrees outside. My hands were sweating. Not good for grabbing firmly to the table.

I decided to lift up the two fold-down sides of the table, making it flat and round all the way across. My plan was to get under the table and stand up, thereby lifting the table onto my back, sort of, and then proceed to walk up the stairs. No problem.

My hands weren't the only things sweating. My back and shoulders and arms were also quite sweaty. As I got under the table and began to stand, the table decided to slip off of me and not cooperate with my brilliant plan. Lifting the fold-down sides made the table more top heavy and awkward than before. I concluded this was clearly not the way to get the table up the stairs.

I returned the sides of the table to their fold-down position, and decided to grab it again the long way, and inch my way up the stairs, one step at a time. It would take awhile, and I wouldn't look good doing it, but it was the only way I would get the table up and inside my apartment, without having to call someone, or knock on a neighbor's door for help. I don't know any of my neighbors. I don't like them anyway. And right at this moment I was cursing not having a boyfriend to valiantly carry the table to my apartment, then come back to carry me up as well.

I took my table lifting stance, grabbed the sides, and began up the first step. I finally had to admit that the table was heavy. And awkward. And hard to maneuver on the narrow staircase. There was barely enough room for the table with me beside it, between the two rails. Funny how this little table for my nook now appeared to be quite large and not so much fun anymore.

I made it a little more than halfway up the first flight of stairs, when the non-graceful near death experience happened. By this time, my hands were extremely slippery from sweating. The slipperiness proved to be near fatal. As I rested on a step, I began to lose my grip. For some reason, I decided this would be a good time to take the last two steps at one time, so I could rest completely on the landing and then dry my hands. I lifted, and then it happened.

The table slipped. It hit the rail opposite from me, and began to roll and slide back down the steps. I grabbed for it, throwing all of my weight into stopping it from falling, hoping to steady it before I sent my new purchase crashing down to the sidewalk. I managed to stop the table from falling, for a moment. Then I began falling with it.

Somehow I managed to keep my hold on the table, as well as onto the stairway. I think I sprouted a few extra arms to keep ahold of everything. The table came to rest on my foot. And by 'came to rest', I mean the wooden leg scraped down my leg, onto my foot, and eventully ran out of foot to rest nicely on a step. Yes, I was now bleeding. But so far, still otherwise intact, with my table, hanging on for dear life to the railing.

I regrouped, and inched below the table, to lift it back up and onto a step. I made it to the first landing, and kept going. If I stopped, my neighbors would have a nice table to greet them when they got home. And yes, I was hoping they weren't home, watching me and laughing hysterically from inside their nice cool apartment. Although if any of them captured me on video, it may be worth some money. Let me know if you see any clips of a skinny girl fighting with a table on a stairway, on any of those America's Biggest Losers on Video shows. It could be me.

Anyway, I continued up, one step at a time. Still bleeding, but learning from my injury. Attack from table = pain. Pain = bad. I inched my way up to the next landing, and paused. That scene from the Friends episode where Ross, Chandler, and Rachel move Ross' couch up the stairs played in my head. Maybe I was delirious from the heat and the fright of nearly falling down concrete stairs, but I paused to hear Ross yell "Pivot! Pivot! Pi-vot!!!" in my head for a moment. That cheered me up a wee bit.

By this time I was shaking. I had pulled every muscle in my back and had likely stretched my arms by at least an inch or so in my mad grab for the falling table. I realized now that I maybe should have gotten some help. But now I had to finish the job. Or live on the stairs. Under my table.

I heaved myself and the table up the last flight of stairs. I manuevered it through my door and into the middle of my living room. Then I assessed the damage. First the table. Then me.

The table had a few scars. This upset me greatly. It was a brand new table. It had just been in the store, not thirty minutes ago. I worked on the scars and noticed it was mostly paint from the railing. It came off fairly easily. But as I moved around the table, I noticed more scratches. Luckily, to anyone who didn't know this table nearly took a nose dive down some steps, the marks are almost unnoticeable. All in all, the table is fine, and in better shape than the other table that I'd not chosen, still back at the store. But having just endured the trauma of wrestling the table up the stairs and witnessing it's near demise, I was sad that my nice new table for my nice new house had a boo-boo.

I finished obsessing about the table, and went in search of the Band-aids for my bleeding leg. I was still pretty shaken up. I had actually really come very close to going headfirst down my stairs. This really scared me, especially since it would have been a result of me doing something really stupid, taking on more than I could handle.

But, the table was upstairs and safe in my apartment.

And thank goodness I had plenty of Band-aids.


Friday, July 11, 2003

Forbidden Jeans
I wore jeans to work today. This is highly illegal. At every place I've worked since college, the policy has been to wear jeans on Fridays. Fridays were made for jeans at the office. In fact, if you weren't wearing jeans on Friday, people thought it was odd. But, my current place of employment forbids the donning of jeans on Friday. This is reason #1 why I do not love my job. How on earth is it possible to not allow jeans on Friday?? It's insane.

I live for jeans on Friday. Four days out of the work week I am forced to be 'business casual', whatever that really means. To most office-type people, it is probably fairly decently dressed. To me, it is wearing pants that are non-jean, and a shirt other than a t-shirt. I am all about casual. So after four straight days of being non-casual, I have always enjoyed the opportunity to be casual at work on Fridays. You can understand my disappointment at having worked here for a year and a half not being able to wear jeans at work, EVER. It's pure torture.

The last few weeks, however, I've noticed some jeans-wearing at the office on Fridays. It's subtle, but I've picked up on it. A few co-workers came to work and went about their office business, in jeans, as though nothing was different. They didn't act like they were being sneaky about it, being out in public where other co-workers and my boss could see them with the jeans. I didn't say anything to them. They didn't say anything to me. I didn't noticed anyone being reprimanded, or beaten, or grounded, or arrested, or even fired. It seemed the jeans were either un-noticed, or even more surprising, okay to wear at work.

I wondered if I'd missed a memo or a jeans meeting or an announcement ending the Jeans Embargo. It would seem to me that if jeans were now legal on Fridays, management would have the courtesy to let EVERYONE know, especially those of us who have been waiting to wear jeans for a very, very long time. In fact, I am management. So I should be one of the first to know. What the heck is going on around here??

I was finding myself in a predicament. I did not want to miss out on the jeans wearing, but I still did not have an official word as to the status of jeans-wear at work. Several weeks have passed and I continue to be tortured by seeing a few jeans here and there, but still no announcement, or comments about why I'm still not wearing jeans.

If I ask someone, I might ruin the delicate situation. Asking a jeans-wearer could get them in trouble. Or worse, they might try to 'off' me for spoiling their secret. I don't want to rat them out. I just want to wear jeans, too!

I could ask my boss, but he might say no, since he shows up everyday in a suit and tie, which if you ask me is ridiculously beyond 'business casual'. If he says no, he will wonder why I asked and notice that others are wearing jeans, their jig will be up, and they will hate me even more than they already do because I ruined the illegal jeans wearing that had been going nicely unnoticed.

I could just wear jeans without asking, and take my chances. But I'm not too interested in drawing attention to myself. Any time I do something out of my ordinary routine or wardrobe or way of life, I get a lot of attention. From everyone. Like the whole skirt-wearing fiasco that I tried when I first worked here. I quickly found that wearing even long skirts attracted too much attention from the homeless men who stay here everyday, and I vowed to never wear a skirt in this building again. Too much attention. Pants only.

Not to mention, I'm generally late to work everyday and my boss long since gave up trying to get me to fix that little problem. If I push it with illegal jeans, who knows what may happen? The end of the world.

I went to bed last night not knowing what I should do. I was debating between jeans, or casual khakis, as close to wearing jeans as possible, but still not technically jeans. I really wanted to wear jeans. But if I show up to work in jeans without asking, and get asked about it while the jeans are still illegal, it will be the last day I get to wear jeans to work. My boss will send out a reminder memo, reminding everyone that jeans are forbidden in our homeless shelter. Yes, it makes no sense to me, either. If I wait, wear the khakis, and go in and ask about it, I've missed a day of wearing jeans. A day that I can never get back . . .

I decided to take a chance and wear jeans today. I figured the other co-workers who were attempting the jeans would also be in jeans, as they have the past several Fridays, and we could band together, lobbying for a jeans revolution. I chose a nice pair of black jeans, my least jeans-esque pair of jeans. That way, in a pinch I could try to play them off as just a really casual pair of black pants, which I was forced to wear because I need to do laundry, and all of my 'business casual' pants are in the dirty laundry. A totally believable story.

I arrived to work timidly wearing my jeans. I bravely walked into the building, and quickly made it to my office, still unsure of the whole jeans decision, but definitely stuck with it for the day. I soon discovered that NO ONE else is wearing jeans today. Plus one jeans-wearing co-worker isn't even here today. Did they get in trouble? Did I wait too long to make my bold jeans stand? Is my protest now in vain? What the heck is going on around here??

I'll be sitting at my desk with my legs conveniently hidden beneath the desk if you need me. I may be a rebel, but I'm not interested in encouraging anyone to notice and speak out against my jeans.

Just the fact that I'm wearing them at work is cool enough for me. I'll celebrate my victory by going back to the khakis next week.


Thursday, July 10, 2003

Reason #8243 Why I Do Not Love My Job
I got another love letter yesterday. And not the good kind. This time it came in the mail, from one of the homeless guys who stayed here at the shelter where I work for several months and recently left to be out roaming free in the world again. This one seriously creeped me out. Highly upsetting.

Now, I cannot blame these men for falling in love with me. After all, I am dead sexy. But the irony of the fact that I have these homeless men thinking of me in ways that I never want to be thought of by anyone, on a daily basis, even after they leave here, yet I cannot attract a nice, normal, non-homeless, non-crazy boyfriend is frustrating beyond measure. I come to work everyday trying not to be noticed or sexy or inviting or potential girlfriend material. I try my best to hide in my office, do my stuff, and get the heck out of there as quickly as possible everyday. Yet (and I don't say this to brag at all) the homeless men here inevitably fall for me. I just can't help it. And I hate it.

The 'infatuation factor' is not something I bargained for when I took this job. I'm not here to be drooled over. If I wanted that, I could go work down the street at the Bikini Sports Bar. And make more money, at that.

By now I can recognize the signs to know which guys have taken a fancy to me. It's happened too many times. Picture the homeless guy you see on the street corner everyday. Then picture him being around you all day everyday for months, where you work. Then picture him waiting by the window to greet you every morning as you get to work. And waiting by the door to see you off as you head home every evening. Picture him always trying to sit by you, and talk to you, and ask you personal questions. Picture him constantly staring at you from across the room, always managing to be in your line of sight.

Then one summer afternoon you get a letter from this man. He is writing to tell you he left the shelter so that he could get a job, and to be able to pursue you without breaking any of the rules of the shelter. He thoughtfully mentions that he already knows many details about you, and would like to know more. And by the way, he still thinks about you everyday. And he wants you to send him a picture of you.

Holy cow. Freak out.

Needless to say, I took the letter immediately to one of our Directors and told him this cannot happen anymore. He was understanding. He recognized that this was a problem. He said he would do a few things to take care of the matter. I almost felt better, until he mentioned this guy's serious 'mental problems'. Then I needed to leave immediately. . . and have a good cry as I hurried home. Hoping no crazed-in-love homeless men were there to greet me outside my door.


Anyway, other than feeling like I need to travel with bodyguards, mace, a ten foot pole, and an attack dog, I'm good.

Considering entering the Witness Protection Program. But good.


Wednesday, July 09, 2003

There's a hole from my bucket
A bucket is just a bucket. Unless it has sentimental value. The only reason the bucket I own has sentimental value is because it belonged to my sister. It's just a plain, green, plastic bucket. But it was hers.

I have a lot of my sister's things now. In fact, in the four years since her death, I've cleaned out a lot of my own things in the process of moving a few times. But I always keep the things I have that are hers. I'm still just not ready to part with any of it, yet. Even just the bucket.

My parents and I had a difficult time going through my sister's stuff after her death. We packed up her apartment and brought it all home, where it sat in a room for several weeks before we could find the strength to sort through it all. The room began to smell like whatever fragrance had been in her apartment, and I would have been happy to leave it that way. It was like we'd packed up the essence and fragrance of her apartment, and now we had a room full of her stuff at home, still smelling as if she'd just been there.

I'd walk into the room from time to time, just to stand and look and smell. I almost felt like I shouldn't touch anything, because it wasn't mine. It was her stuff. Her private stuff. I wanted her stuff to keep her touch and scent as long as possible. It's a weird feeling to go through someone's belongings, knowing she'd left that last day having no idea someone would soon be looking through everything she owned. There really is no such thing as privacy. Once you're gone, it's a free-for-all with everything that was who you were. Bank accounts, old letters, dirty laundry, moldy food in the fridge, underwear drawer, and even diaries and journals. Everything was just as she'd left it when we had to pack it up, and it almost felt wrong to open drawers and cabinets and closets to move and touch things she didn't intend for anyone else to ever touch, move, or read. It was so strange to have to go through each and every thing to decide what to do with it, especially since she had just been there with all of it, days before. It wasn't ours to decide. But suddenly, it was. And it was precious. I learned more about her in the days and weeks following her death when we had the opportunity to be among her things, than I had in the 21 years I knew her. I wish that hadn't been the case, but I treasure it.

Eventually we began the process of going through everything in the room where we'd placed her stuff. My parents kept some things. I kept some things. We gave away a lot of things that we knew we just didn't need to keep or would never use. That was hard. But we decided together on everything, so that we felt like we were doing the right thing with each item, and there would be no regrets later after things were gone. But even today, my parents and I are both holding on to things we will eventually give away. We have no use for them and didn't from the beginning, but it just hasn't been the right time to let it go, yet.

I ended up with some of her furniture, lots of little things, and most of her clothes. We were about the same size, and I felt very lucky to be able to have her clothes. They described a lot about her personality. I still wear most of the clothes of hers that I have, even having them for the past four years. I mixed them into my wardrobe. Many of my own clothes have come and gone as I wear them out or get sick of them. But hers I never get sick of, and they never seem to wear out. My favorite pair of jeans were hers. I wear them all the time. I hope I can fit in them forever.

Some of her things I use so often that I almost forget they were hers. Some things I never use, but they are just in my apartment, some out where I can see them, some packed away for safe keeping. Now that I'm packing again to move one more time, I have to touch and handle all of these things again. It makes for a very slow packing process. It's emotional to go through everything again, remembering why I have it. While I'm glad to have it and to remember the significance of each thing and the memories surrounding it, I'm also sad to have it because I'd rather she still have it.

The funny thing is that my sister would probably get a big kick out of the things I've kept. She was always giving her stuff away to people who needed it more. I can remember packing up her apartment, looking for things that I knew she had because I'd seen her with it recently, but not finding it because she'd likely given it to someone else who asked for it or needed it. She would probably find it pretty funny that I still have her bath towels, or her beat up old sneakers that were falling apart. Or her green bucket. She'd likely not have that stuff anymore. It would have long since been given away or thrown away if she were still here.

I'm really careful and very protective of her things. I don't want to lose her stuff, or for anything to get broken. But lately I've tried to let go just a bit more, because I know she would want that for me. And because in an odd way, it helps me feel closer to her to be more free with the things that were hers. I got brave and donated the use of her bucket to the carwash my church had a few months ago. Actually, I didn't think a whole lot of it. We needed a bucket, and I happened to have one. It just so happened to belong to my sister. But she would enjoy that her bucket was being used for a good cause. And the thought never entered my mind that the bucket would leave my possession. Take the bucket, use the bucket, return with the bucket.

The bucket has been missing ever since the carwash. It's taken awhile to track it down. I am fully confident that it is in the church building somewhere, because that's where I've been told it was placed. I just haven't been able to locate it, yet. I know it's just a matter of following the trail until I soon find the bucket again. It's there somewhere. But in the process of packing to move and refreshing the feelings I have of missing my sister as I again pack away things that once belonged to her, I've felt an urgency to find the bucket and get it home again. I'm sure the people involved in the trail of the missing bucket think I'm nuts because I keep asking about the bucket, looking everywhere for it. But it's a sentimental bucket.

I know it's just a bucket. She probably bought it at Wal-Mart for about a dollar and used it to clean. I'm sure it had no emotional or otherwise significant value to her at all. But to me, it was her bucket. It's a small piece of who she was, and something I can still hold onto since I can't hold onto her anymore.

And I'm just not ready to deal with the hole from the bucket quite yet.


Farewell to Model Drama
So, Adrianne won the Next Top Model thingy. There's not a whole to say about it, but I've gotten many a hit on my blog since last night from people searching for "Adrianne" and "Top Model" and whatnot, so I will say a few words to appease the masses.

I'm glad for Adrianne. She was my favorite. Yippee. It was kind of anti-climatic, even with the dramatic dropping of the curtain to reveal Adrianne's picture as the winner. I mean, the only people there with her were the judges and the loser, Shannon. Who, by the way, actually turned out to be pretty cool, and not a judgemental religious super-freak like Robin. Adrianne's big win was a total 'beauty queen' moment, as she shook and cried and whatnot. And then, roll the credits. A season of drama ending just like that. They should have at least had her mom there hiding behind Adrianne's giant picture, to jump out and scream and cry with her. Or maybe have Robin there to jump out and pray over the evilness that just won the competition.

I am sad that my new favorite reality show is now over. The hour recap show before the finale was great fun. Aaah, how I reminisced through the drama and laughter. The show is hysterical because it's real and these girls are serious. You can't write situations and drama and weirdness like what came up among ten girls trying to be models. Well, I can't. Maybe you can. Oh how it made me laugh to see these girls struggle through make-up, hair, how to walk, weird clothes, eating disorder drama, religious differences, and so on and so forth. Just too good to be made up.

I did learn one valuable piece of information from this show. Models are freakishly tall. In the recap episode, they showed again the height measurements for some of the girls. Let's just say, at 5'8", I'd be considered short. These girls are 5'10" or taller! Holy cow! That's tall. It's the one thing keeping me from being a world famous super model. I'm just too dang short.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Odd Woman Out
Through some very careful and thorough calculations, plus some abstract guessing, I've come to the conclusion that ultimately there will likely be, and always has been, an odd number of people on the planet. At my last count I came up with the number 94,573,942,329,384,701. See that last '01'? That's me.

What is the significance of this number, whether I'm even remotely close to a correct number or not? It is an odd number. Meaning, everyone in the world will likely hook up without me, and I will be the last lone woman standing. Alone. Watching everyone else be 'even' together. All ninety-four gagoogatrillion of them with an even counterpart. Except me.

Now, I can't be sure we have an odd number of people on the planet. But I'm fairly sure. How can I be sure? Because I'm consistently the odd woman out in groups and gatherings and life and whatnot. I perpetually do not have anyone with me to counteract my oddness. How would that continue to happen if there was at least one other odd person somewhere on the planet? It simply wouldn't make sense. Two odds make an even, and since I am consistently odd, I can only conclude there is not another odd out there to make me even. There is no other logical explanation for how my fabulousness could continually be left all alone.

Sure, I've connected to other lone ones from time to time. But they were merely even ones in disguise, in passing on the way to their true even counterpart. They fooled me for a bit. But obviously since I am not still with any of them, they are no longer fooling anyone. Further proof that I am THE one and only odd one out there.

I guess I can only hope that I've miscounted, and that there is someone I missed hiding under a rock somewhere. Hopefully he is a tall, handsome, funny, caring, athletic, handy, smart, charming, employed, fun, loveable guy who was looking under the rock . . . for me.


Monday, July 07, 2003

Don't Call Me Grace
I've had to admit to myself that I'm just not a graceful person. In fact, I'm a world-class klutz. Accident prone. Frequently bumping my way around a room, running into walls and furniture for no good reason at all. Freak run-ins with potentially harmless objects, usually leaving a mark somewhere on myself as a reminder later. Something I can laugh about later, when the pain subsides.

So it was not unusual to me today to have a bit of a scuffle with a seemingly non-dangerous envelope, ending with a bloody cut on my lip. One would think I was in a fight of some sort, and on the losing end at that. But no. I simply tried to innocently lick an envelope, and was rewarded with a lovely paper cut on the edge of my lip to wear for the rest of the day. It smarts, but only when I open my mouth. Or close it. Or try to drink or eat something. Or do nothing.

You see, I've always been talented like that. It's a gift, I guess.

I'd laugh about it, but my smile is injured. By the papercut.


I Hate Moving
Yes, I absolutely abhor the act of moving. Everything about it. It is not fun. I've moved from one rental place to another almost every year for the past ten-ish years. Now that I'm buying a house, my main goal is to park myself in one place for awhile. No more moving for a long, long time. I just have to get through one more move so that I no longer have to move.

Packing is the worst part. Somehow only being in my current apartment for about a year, I've managed to accumulate an excessive amount of crap that I do not need and is not worthy of being moved to my next place of living. I just cleaned everything out when I moved last year. I had eveything trimmed down to just the things I need or use or enjoy regularly. I'd taken LOADS of stuff to Goodwill. So, where did all of this stuff come from? I'm pretty sure it spontaneously regenerates of its own free will, because I do not remember collecting any of it, yet here it is. Oozing out of closets, cabinets, and drawers.

One of the great aspects of my current apartment is the huge walk-in closet. This is also a huge hazard because it invites me to keep throwing junk in the back of it, to get it out of sight and out of mind. This is dangerous. Once it starts collecting crap, it just keeps attracting more and more crap, until I can barely get in there and move around. I do have clothes in there. Somewhere. But it's no wonder I wear the same five outfits over and over. I can't find the rest of my clothes in my cavernous closet.

I began packing over the weekend and decided to start with this monstrous closet. I literally went in there and did not come back out for about four hours. I'm pretty sure I was lost, wandering around with a hard hat and a flashlight. I saw signs warning me of falling objects. I may have disturbed a small nest of bats. I definitely stumbled over a hibernating bear, which I thought was strange since it's summer time. And once I finally reached the end of the closet, I discovered that what I thought was the back wall was actually a large wall of crap preventing me from reaching the actual back wall. There was a whole extra four feet of crap behind the wall of crap. Plus a small family of immigrants living in there. Or maybe I had actually tunneled to Mexico. I just can't be sure.

I led the immigrants, the bear, and the bats out into the daylight, and set them free. Then I went back in to begin the packing. It wasn't pretty.

I discovered that even though everything appears to be 'thrown' into the closet, it has actually formed into a very delicately balanced construction of sorts. Highly unstable. Pulling on one thing tended to cause several other things to fall on my head. Good thing I was wearing the hard hat. I would otherwise have been knocked unconscious, lying for days undiscovered in the depths of my closet.

Once I'd managed to knock pretty much everything off of the shelves and onto the floor, I began sifting through the rubble to determine what gets to be packed, and what gets to be put in the 'giveaway' pile. I soon found that almost everything was deemed 'giveaway'. I was apparently feeling a bit too lazy to actually pack anything. So, I took a deep breath and started over with my sorting. I do need to keep some clothes, after all.

After several hours, I noticed the canary I'd brought in with me to warn me of any lethal gases lurking about in the depths of the cavernous closet was still alive. And pecking my head. I guess I should have put him in a cage. While I took his still being alive as a good sign that I would survive the closet, I found the pecking to be a bit annoying. I cleared a path to the door, and he escaped, leaving me to fend for myself on my pile of rubble. Albeit, a smaller pile. I was making some progress.

Once I had my piles separated, I decided it was time to put the things I will keep into boxes for moving. I rummaged around in another closet (outside, and almost as hazardous as the inside closet) and found a big, beautiful box. It was perfect! Large enough to contain most of the closet junk I will keep, and convenient to keep it all in one box for easy location after moving. I prepared the box to receive the items, and began putting things into the box.

It was great. The piles in the closet decreased as the box began to fill. There was now room to run freely inside the closet! I could even go so far as to run amok! Soon, the box was full and the closet was mostly empty of extraneous crap. Time to tape up the box and move it out of the way, as it was taking up most of the walking space in my bedroom. I would soon be finished packing the closet. Hooray!

I taped the box and decided to move it against the wall on the other side of the room. I got down in my 'box pushing stance' to push the box . . . and hurt myself. It didn't budge. Not an inch. Not a speck. Not at all. Hmmmm. Large box full of closet crap = very, very heavy. Oops.

Okay, so I didn't think the large box through all the way. But really, it wasn't my problem. If I could sort of scootch it out of the way enough for me to get around it without impailing myself on it every time I walk through the room, then I would be in good shape. After all, I am not the one moving it to my new house. The movers will move it, and I could care less how they go about hoisting it out of the room and onto their truck. They are hugely handsome body builders who come equipped with a large mechanical crane, right? I pictured Fabio in a hard hat sitting in a crane outside of my window, maneuvering the crane appendage to heave the hefty box up and out while saying, "I can't believe it's not lighter," in that weird thick accent of his. I smiled. That was funny.

With the silly Fabio picture in mind, I began methodically, and very slowly scootching the box over to the wall. Several hours, and several Power Bars later, it was done. No problem.

I continued with my packing, now moving throughout the apartment. I now have about ten-ish boxes packed, all of them much smaller and lighter than the Giant Closet Box, yet I have much more crap to go.

One day I will be done. Oh yes, one day I will be done.


Thursday, July 03, 2003

A Question
For some reason, I attract a lot of people searching for Tia and Tamara Mowry to my blog. I had no idea they were so popular. Those of you reaching my blog by searching for variations of Tia and Tamara Mowry, I have some questions for you: One, what is the fascination?? And two, for those of you searching for either Tia or Tamara naked, why are you searching for just one? Wouldn't they essentially be one and the same, being twins that look exactly alike? Is Tia more desireable naked than Tamara, or vice versa? It just makes no sense to me at all.

Neither do the following searches leading people to my wonderful blog:

"slimed" fundraiser
fbi "is stalking me"
charles grigsby recording contract deal
link sausages versus patty sausages eaten
buddy hackett pants

I mean, they do make me laugh. But they just make no sense. You people are very weird.


Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Models: Good vs. Evil
Ok, picture me last night, absolutely rolling on the floor laughing at the promos hyping the impending America's Next Top Model episode to begin in a few minutes. Why the laughter? Tyra's voiceover billing the episode as the "Christians versus the Pagans." Holy cow, that's funny.

If you've kept up with the show, you've seen the division between the Christian girls, and the non-Christian girls. With only four girls left at the start of last night's episode, it has turned into Robin and Shannon (Christian/saintly) vs. Adrienne and Elyse (non-Christian/Satan). Some serious issues going on here. Well, as serious as model issues can get.

I have to admire and applaud Robin's and Shannon's firm faith and determination to stick to 'clean' modelling and a 'wholesome' lifestyle. Kudos to them for living what they believe. However, they seriously crack me up because they are so extreme and so adamant about what they believe and making sure they make a big deal about it. Especially Robin. What a drama queen. She irks me intensely. She takes 'being a Christian' and hides behind it to be as bossy, self-righteous, opinionated, condescending, and uncompromising as she can possibly be.

I have to admit I agree with Adrienne about alot of what she says and does on this show and in this over-the-top Christian situation. In the confessional room, Adrienne has made comments speculating about how 'Christian' these girls are, and how they don't really understand what it means to be a Christian because of the way they treat everyone else in the name of Christianity. She's indicated that in watching their behavior of 'holier-than-thou' and condescending looks and comments about things they deem 'un-Christian', she would never be attracted to the Christian life, based on the witness of Robin and Shannon. Not in so many words, but she's definitely made that claim in roundabout ways. I totally agree with her. It's sad, but she's got a great point.

But, without getting into the right and wrongs of how Christians should behave in the world of modeling and fashion and sex-appeal, and even nudity, as we saw in last night's episode, I must say this Christian vs. Pagan thing they've hyped is highly entertaining. And something I never expected to see in this silly show. Who knew there could be an underlying sub-plot of substance in a reality show about models??

To me, Robin and Shannon represent everything I hate about Christians trying to make a mark in the secular world. They give us a bad name in the way they've handled the situations they've been involved in, and even created themselves. They tend to stir up this huge chasm between how good they are trying to be, and how bad everyone else is because they aren't reading the Bible 108 times a day, or because the 'pagan' girls are actually doing what the contest judges and coaches ask them to do without making a speech on how it offends their religion. They've been on the offensive the entire time, determined to make a stand that Christians can be models, in a world where that is obviously a difficult thing to do. Not impossible, but not the norm, by any means. Robin and Shannon think they are being good Christians by condemning the others' behavior, or by making themselves out to be holier or better than everyone else. They seem to think they have it all figured out, and that every situation is black or white, right or wrong, and they are always right since they walk around with a Bible in hand all the time. How do they intend to ever connect with anyone and actually share the truth of their faith, if the ones they point out as 'non-Christian' are so turned off by how they act and talk?

I give props to Adrienne and Elyse for not taking Robin and Shannon too seriously, for being able to laugh at the extreme drama created by the Christians making their loud, annoying stand. I love their cynicism, and I can't blame them for thinking all Christians are big religious freaks. While it's sad that their impression of Christians and Christianity is some ultra-religious, annoying freak show, based on Robin and Shannon, I can't blame them for being completely amused and turned off to the whole Christian thing. And I have to admit it's been great fun for me to see Adrienne and Elyse just be themselves and cause such intense and funny reactions from Robin the Religious. But it's also sad for me to think that this is their impression of all Christians. I think Shannon is more young and naive than anything else, and Robin is definitely the instigator of the religion clashes more than anyone else. Shannon seems to be experiencing what her faith really means to her out in the world for the first time, and I think she's handled it much better than Robin. But they both have taken their stand on their principles to a weird extreme that honestly leaves me embarrassed for them as representatives of Christianity, more than anything else.

Adrienne and Elyse have done well in not taking this competition too seriously, and instead, enjoying themselves and the opportunity to learn and experience something really cool. They've also been much more accepting, loving, and encouraing to each other, and to the other Model-ees than either Robin or Shannon have been throughout the competition. Robin and Shannon, while doing well to stick to what they believe, have alienated themselves from the other girls, and from the point of the whole show, which is to choose a model. Not a religious platform. If they intended to come to the show as witnesses of Christ, their actions and words have actually done more to harm any potential interest the other girls would have in knowing Christ. There is such a thing as relaxing and enjoying the opportunities God provides, without being a total freak about things that may conflict with what one believes. There is also such a thing as building relationships to communicate Christ, instead of pointing fingers and preaching and holding up the Bible as a shield. It's okay to loosen up and have some fun in new situations, and with people who may not be 'Christian'. Sure, I would have had some issues with the nude photo shoot. But there is a graceful way to handle those things. Pitching a diva fit on national TV is not it.

Streaking through the streets of Paris . . . . maybe.

Oh well. With Robin out of the way, the remaining three model-ees should provide some interesting fun. Elyse is the best model of the bunch, and probably the most qualified to receive the prestigious honor as America's Next Top Model. But I kinda hope Adrienne wins. That girl cracks me up, and I think she'd really appreciate the opportunities provided by winning. Oh, I can't believe my new favorite show is almost over! What will I do???

I would make a horrible model, what with all the grooming, and behaving, and strange photo shoots and whatnot. But I would so love to be on this show, just to see if the awkward, clumsy, cynical, shy, self-conscious girl could be made into a model. Or at least stir up some fun trouble with the other actual models.

And to go to New York and Paris for free.


Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Flirt Issues
You know that episode of Friends when Ross flirts, and everyone realizes how bad he is at flirting? He tries to prove he can flirt well by flirting with the pizza girl, only to end up talking about gas and looking like an idiot because he actually doesn't know how to flirt? Ok, picture that, but the female version of it, and you get me. World's Worst Flirt. I'm Ross-ette.

I could have a crush on every single guy on the planet, but none of them will ever ask me out because I'm both really bad at letting guys know I'm interested, and then really, really bad at that whole flirt thing. I take 'playing hard to get' and 'aloof' to a whole new level, although it's completely unintentional. I don't want to be hard to get. I want to be fairly easy to catch and hang on to.

It's a wonder I've ever even had a date at all. Yes, I've had boyfriends. Quite a few, actually. But they must quite literally have x-ray vision to see past my complete lack of flirting grace, being able to fall in love with me in spite of it. Because it for sure wasn't anything I did that was interesting, intriguing, cute, sexy, or inviting that attracted anyone I've ever dated. I'm a complete idiot when it comes to attracting, and keeping a guy. Which is too bad, since I'm definitely a great catch. Once you get past the flirtlessness, that is.

I tend to lose the ability to have conversations with guys I like. Therefore, I come across as being duller than a piece of plywood. Sure, I'm funny enough from a distance, and in groups of people when I can 'entertain' with my vast humor and charm. But up close and one on one, in the Flirt Zone, I literally lose all words with which to form sentences, falling short of portraying my witty and loveable charm. It basically becomes a staring contest, til someone more interesting walks by and lures him away by being able to look good and speak intelligibly at a lever higher than third grade.

I get ultra-self conscious. I immediately have no idea what to do with my hands, or even how to stand. Hands by my side? No, I look like Lurch. Hands on my head? No, I'm not performing a weird dance of any sort. Hands on my hips? No, I am not my mom. Arms crossed? No, I'm not angry. Hands near my face? No, that points out the enormous zit on my chin, forehead, and general face-area. Do I touch his arm? Maybe a playful punch? No, I just bruised him. Call 911. Sorry!

Do I stand up straight and tall? No, now I tower above him. He doesn't want to date a giant. Slouch down? No, he doesn't want to date the Hunchback, either. Why can't I stand still? The swaying back and forth is making him dizzy! Oh, he just passed out! Call 911. Sorry!

I try just 'being seen', getting involved in lots of activities and being around a lot. My plan here is to be seen so much by a guy I like, that he will eventually discover he likes seeing me around a lot, being infatuated with my charm and beauty, so that he would like to see me much more. By that time we have somewhat fallen into dating, skipping over the flirting stage, and then we happen upon marriage, eventually retirement and world travel in an RV. But, my athletic prowess may actually be a hindrance, even though I love to play sports, and 'sports' are where guys generally are. I'm actually too good at too many sports, so that whole 'damsel in distress' thing never works for me. I may unintentionally intimidate guys by being better at sports sometimes than they are. Plus, I'm competitive, which isn't generally attractive in any situation. Although I no longer point and laugh at the losers. Well, not when I'm around a guy I like.

I'm also no good in scary movies or haunted houses. That stuff makes me laugh. Hence, being of no use at all in the 'please, boyfriend, protect me from the scaries' sort of way. I've tried to pretend to be 'freaked out', but it was not a convincing performance.

So now I'm in this fun rut of liking guys, but not knowing what to do about it, and consequently being rewarded with them falling in love with other girls, resulting in maintaining my mega-single status. You know, it's a beautiful thing to watch friends fall in love and hook up and even get married. That's something special, and I say more power to them in their coupleness endeavors. But the single-er I seem to get, and the less single friends I have as I watch them all go off and be couples together, the less fun it is to be single. And I blame much of it on my severe flirt handicap. The more former-single-people-who-are-now-couples there are hanging out together, the less people I have to hang out with, not being of the couple world at this juncture. Plus, I fear I may one day run out of guys to like and entice. At least guys of legal dating age, that is.

I'm all for my independence. That's great and all. But I'd at least like to get past my flirt inadequacies, so that I have confidence that I will not be stuck like this forever. And so that I can be a couple and see my couple-ish friends on occassion.

Who invented flirting anyway? I hate you, whoever you are.