Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why Being Married is So Awesome

There are plenty of reasons why being married is a Really Good Thing but I listen to stories from my single friends and coworkers and I'm reminded that perhaps a petty but valid reason is Not Dating. Seriously, there are some strange people out there. And I've dated my fair share...

There was the Man Who Juggled. He really was a nice guy but everywhere. we. went. he juggled. He carried juggling balls with him so that if we were in a crowded place, say the Metro? He'd start juggling so everyone would look at him.

There was the nimrod on a first date who suddenly stopped his car on a suburban street, turned it off and said ''I thougt we could just skip dinner and have sex here.'' And tried to put the moves on. And when I growled at him to get his car back in drive and take me back, he pouted. Seriously pouted. Next day he called and whined that I'd ruined the evening and why did I say I didn't want a second date?? And when I said 'don't you think you were awfully pushy?' he replied ''Pushy would have been NOT STOPPING'. 'No,' sez I, 'That would have been a FELONY. Don't call me again.'

And there was the guy I'd dated for six months who did a drive-by breakup. No, really. He drove past my house, slowed his work van, leaned out the window and put the cooler he'd borrowed from me on top of my car with a 'I'm breaking up with you' note taped to it and the drove away. HE NEVER STOPPED. Seriously, I have to be the only woman in America ever dumped by drive-by.

But the winner, the hallmark of Bad Date experiences definitely had to be Elvis (not his real name but he had this Elvis thing going). Who picked me up wth this ginormous biker friend of his, nicknamed Tiny, naturally. He said Tiny's car was in the shop, was it okay if we gave him a ride? Tiny really was a good-natured guy, even if he looked scarier than hell without its makeup, so all right, whatever.

And then he mentions he needs to drop a check off to his brother at at Arlington Bar and Grill. (DC area bloggers are probably laughing at me already) Tiny looked uncomfortable, but I chalked that up to the car being the size of a Geo Metro and Dude was huuuge.

We get to the little strip mall and Elvis says he'll just be a minute and runs in. Tiny gets out, looks around, and starts shifting his weight from foot to foot. Finally he leans into the window. 'Um, I'm so sorry but... you don't want to wait out here.'
'Oh, that's ok, I'm fine.'

He looks queasy. 'No, really. You need to go in, its not a safe area. Really not safe.'

I began to have some bad feelings about this but got out of the car. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness inside, Tiny says in a strangled voice 'I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.' And I see why he looked so miserable for me.

Despite the name, it is NOT a bar and grill.


Is a very seedy pasties-optional STRIP JOINT.

Mother of God.

Elvis is freaking nowhere to be seen. I go find a seat at the far end of the bar and chain-smoked like Beelzebub on a bender, watching second-string NASCAR while trying to avoid glimpses of writhing entertainers. And suddenly this tiny, smarmy little weasel appears at my elbow, asking to bum a cigarette. I hand one over without taking my eyes from the tv screen. And then... oh dear lord and THEN the weasel spoke.

'Soooooo... come here often?'

Kid you not, he said that. I stared at him in utter disbelief. And then Tiny, bless him, stood over me and did that puff-up thing that large men can do. 'She's with ME,' he snarled and weasel? He not only left me alone so fast, he left the place altogether. Tiny began apologizing all over himself once more. Eventually we got out of there. And you can guess the evening ended pretty quickly. and there was not a second date...

Know what's worse? All these guys appeared to be perfectly normal. i'm so grateful my husband actually proved to BE normal. And if, heaven forbid, I ever find myself single again, I'm just going to get 50 cats and be done with it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I need a Zim Zam

Back when I was a kid (Hah. Hah. No there weren't dinosaurs but I'm pretty confident that Australopithecus was still keeping it real...) I had a game called Zim Zam. It was kind of like tetherball only with a tennis ball on the cord, and the pole was about 5 feet tall with a metal coil at the top. You won by getting it to either the top or bottom of the coil, depending on whether you were hitting it forehand or backhand. Let me tell you what, I could smack hell out of that tennis ball with a backhand... before long, no one wanted to play with either me or my stepdad, as we were known to hit it hard enough that we usually split at least two tennis balls every summer.


I can't play tennis thanks to Zim Zam because when I tried? Yeah. I hit it as hard as I did my zim zam game and sent the ball through the chain link fence. Um, whoops.

But it was GREAT stress relief. Fabulous stress relief without having to chase a ball all over the place and crash dramatically into walls in front of amused gym-goers like you would in racquetball. (I am nothing if not about as graceful as your average three-legged arthritic cow)

I'm kind of sort of maybe feeling a tad stressed out these days. Its a combination of sleep deprivation (two jobs and perimenopause do not A Cheerful Gerbil Make), some worries about family and a bunch of other stuff, and I usually lock everything down in order to fix whatever issue crops up, but the more you shove things into that emotional closet? Well, eventually you can't get the door shut and you gotta do some housecleaning. Or work off some of the stress and beating a two by four against a tree really sort of makes people look at you funny. And I really think beating a two by four against hateful people I encounter would not do much to make friends and influence people.

Well, it might influence them. Just not in a good way.

At any rate, this too shall pass. Hopefully before I get TMJ.

Is life telling me something??? For the last three weeks, my inbox has been flooded with advertisements for bras. Not the cute kind, either. The armored, "supportive" This-Bra-Strikesa-Fear-Into-the-Hearts-of-Men kind. The kind that not only lifts, separates and contains but could probably stop bullets, or at least angry squirrels. The kind that makes you think of Frau Bl├╝cher. Ok, Universe, I get it. I don't LIKE it... but I get it.

Also, back to Short Stuff recognizing his parents unseen? Tonight, he heard a toilet flush downstairs and perked right up. "DADDY!" he announced excitedly. "Daddy POOP."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taxing my Patience

Yeah Mid April around here gets annoying because no matter how good the intentions, how early the program gets purchased, the taxes invariably get done at the last minute.

And someone's failed to keep track of necessary items. Also had been adamant about me not going through the massive amounts of papers and setting up a filing system. Not that anything's being hidden... quite the opposite in fact, since a year after moving, the office remains cluttered with bags and bags and bags of papers and old bills and receipts and a gazilion expired coupons...

Did I mention that I'm a secretary? And a damn good one?? This is making me NUTS. Especially last night when the past four years of returns were needed in pdf format.... and paperwork from the purchase of the SUV.... and a meeeeeeelion other things. And frustrated foot-stomping was heard multiple times, and none of these incidents happened back to back. Oh no. It made more sense to wait until I was almost asleep each time.

The end result? We finally both went to bed at 2am. But I didn't fall asleep until closer to 4am. The taxes are finished and someone has a deadline to bring me a file cabinet because I am NOT doing that again.

But he is kinda cute. And he puts up with me. AND he keeps me stocked with cheese. (man I love cheese) So I guess it all evens out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

We interrupt this program...

A friend and coworker was killed in a terrible car accident yesterday. I'm just a little preoccupied and horribly sad.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Testing... testing....

A few days ago, when I arrived at my sitter's to pick up Short Stuff, they were all in the backyard playing. My sitter's trainee remained out back with the two boys while Fabulous Sitter greeted me and we walked around to the back gate together. The other little boy came rushing to us, because if I was there, that meant his mommy was sure to arrive any moment. But Short Stuff? Fugeddaboudit. He was not about to end HIS outside time. Finally, oh soooo slowly he shuffled towards us, scowling and clutching a big stick. My sitter laughed and said "He's such a boy. If we go outside, the first thing he does is find a stick. He doesn't do anything with it, he just wants a stick."

All boy indeed.

This morning he showed his boy-ness again. My husband had to go do some more work on his house and my dad was meeting him up there at 8:30 to help. Since I have to work today, Short Stuff is spending the day with his paternal grandparents, but he and Husband had to leave the house by 7am to get there in time. While Husband was packing up the car, I went in to wake my little boy up. He was sleeping soundly... so soundly that he never even opened his eyes when he stood up in the crib and started to reach for me.

But then his arms froze... he reached out, started to pat my chest and gave the right boob a firm, full-handed honk. Eyes still closed, he smiled and said "ohhhh, my MOMMY!"

I guess he wanted to make sure.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Talk about your bear of very little brain...

I spent twenty minutes writing out this long, reflective, self-scolding post and then accidently hit Alt-dumbass, Shift-something or other and POOF. Like the fairy of Little Bunny Foo-Foo fame... it was GONE.

Well then.


The only thing I have now is an observation made this evening as I was on my way to pick up my older son and give him a ride to his friend's house...

I'm sitting in traffic on Route 1 (ironically, nearly the exact place where Journey Man was spotted) and there's a group of about 7 or 8 you adults making their way up the pathetic excuse for a "sidewalk" on the side of the road. (Really, the only part paved is where there's a small creek that goes under the road). They all looked to be in there very early twenties, with the saggy pants and boxers showing and huuuuuuuuuge tshirts on. One of them's horsing around, smacking his friends in the back of their heads, trying to pull their jeans down, that sort of thing. You could see that the others were tolerating it but they looked irritated.

As they reached the little "bridge" that went over the road, Klass Klown smacked at one of them again and he whirled on him and cocked his fist back. Was he going to hit him? I don't know. What I DO know is that as Klown jumped back to dodge a blow, laughing... he fell off the pavement and flat out disappeared.

Yes indeed, he fell into the creek, ass-first.

Sometimes, that karmic payback is swift. And really cold. And kinda wet.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It was the best of nights, it was the worst of nights... OK. There was no best. Nope.

Ok, this second job thing has proven to be um... educational.

I know it wasn't a full moon tonight but DAYUM. And pickles.

When I arrived for my shift, three cars of people were engaged in an arm-flailing screaming match in the parking lot. Some white woman (customer) went OFF on the poor black man in line behind her for apparently being black. What ... the... hell. He started yelling back at her for being a crazy white beyotch (which oh she most definitely definitely was) and we thought they were going to start throwing punches. Just as the manager was getting ready to call the police, she decided to leave. Good lord.

Some guy flapped his hands in my face - I have no idea why.

That was the tip of the Krazy iceberg tonight.

I am reminded why I am naturally an introvert. People are scaaaaaary. If you need me, I'll be hiding under thebed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


This primal scream has been brought to you by 4 hours of sleep, stress and The National Partnership of Numbskulls.

How was YOUR day?

Monday, April 7, 2008

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out

I was walking down the hall yesterday and as I approached the elevator, there was a man standing with his back to me. He was impeccably dressed in what looked like a very costly suit, very polished, Very Important Looking.

And then he squatted once, twice, and on the second downward lunge, he grabbed his crotch and gave things a good shake. Then he stood and shook his tush a few time to settle things out. Since it was obvious he didn't know I was there, I dodged down the side hall and re-emerged like I was just arriving to the scene and hadn't witnessed the readjustment dance.

Ah yes. You can put us in expensive clothes but we're all still monkeys underneath.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April Showers...

... bring really biiiig puddles. Late last summer, our neighbors put in a wooden privacy fence. All well and good, especially as he likes to go out into the generously-sized yard and hit a few golf balls. Although he has a net for them, a few would go astray. Not so with the fence.

Unfortunately, the presence of said fence has had one notable drawback... its at the bottom of the slight decline of our yard, which means no drainage. If it rains, we have a small lake under the trees. The robins are enjoying this greatly, as they're out there splashing around in it. The squirrel? Well, he's not so pleased, since his favorite napping place is the small sapling that's right in the middle of of the water and to get to it now he either has to eat his squirrel wheaties and make one hella leap off the top of the fence, or climb one of the larger trees and try and drop down, flying squirrel-like. I have seen him miss just once and that was one pissed-off rodent. Apparently he doesn't have a problem digging up nuts and grubs and such in the rain, but he draws the line at getting a bath.

And have we discussed the woman suing Victoria's Secret over a bra injury yet? Seriously. She's suing for a "bra malfunction" that resulted in a slice to her boob. She claims that said boob injury will negatively impact her desire for a modeling career, which makes me scoff ever so slightly. What, breast augmentation leaves no scars? Come on now. Unless you plan on topless modeling, I suspect your hooter scratch isn't going to be an issue. And probably every woman who's ever owned an even slightly off-the-wall cat (which does seem to be a prerequisite for BEING a cat) is likely to have some mark left from a time when the cat decided to climb straight up and over the front of her. Can I get a show of hands? Uh-huh, there you go.

VS, naturally, insists that the woman's misuse of their product is probably responsible for her injury. Now think about that. How in heck does one MISUSE A BRA? I mean, I can give you a few suggestions, being somewhat left of center in the whole brain department, but that's beside the point. Now, I myself narrowly escaped a bra injury when I worked in DC but someone else was wearing it. She and I had decided to get some lunch and as we were walking up 19th street, her underwire failed spectacularly. (She was quite generously endowed) This underwire actually shot straight out the side of her sweater, rocketing past me to clatter against the side of the building. Naturally, we laughed ourselves sick but we never once considered that we could SUE for something like this. I mean really!

Sometimes the General Public astounds me.

Also, while I'm thinking about boobs and bras and such, I have a funny-NOW-but-no-so-much-THEN tale to share because clearly I don't get enough people laughing at me in the couse of a normal day.

When I was pregnant with Short Stuff, I didn't have a very easy time of it and was confined to bed rest more than once. I also swelled right on up to uncomfortable proportions, including the chest. My cups? They runneth over and flooded the place. I went from a 34b to "oh mah gawd its GODZILLA" (you know, if Godzilla were a chick and had boobs. And I refer to classic 'zilla and not that STUPID movie in the 90s) Anyway. After I'd hit the 40E mark and left it behind, there were days when bras seemed more torture than support. And so it was that once day after my shower, I was still feeling overheated and desperate and I decided that I was just going to lay there in my undies. It's not like my husband was gonna care, right?

I heard slow, measured footsteps on the stairs and knew my husband was coming up to check on me. Yeah. I couldn't have been more wrong. The door burst open and my poor teenaged son's eyes bugged out of his head and he threw himself backwards, nearly falling down the stairs in the effort to escape the horror he'd just witnessed. That had to be the ONLY time in his entire life he'd actually walked up the stairs like a normal person, so it didn't even occur to me that what I heard was anyone other than my husband.

It seems that he'd come by the house for a visit and I hadn't heard him come in. My husband said "Oh, go on up and see your mom!"

He certainly did. To his chagrin, he REALLY saw his mom.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Newton's Second Law of Gravity

Eventually, what goes up must come down on ME. I appear to be some sort of walking, talking skeet shoot. I have had not just the bird-crap-at-unfortunate-moments (meeting my grandparents' very proper, elderly aunt and it not only hit me in the head but ran down my cheek. Talk about your first impressions), dead pigeons, irons, etcetera, but today was golf balls. I was headed to the grocery to pick up something for dinner and was struck by a random golf ball falling from the sky. Had I been near the golf course, I'd have understood this. But no. I have NO idea where that thing came from and I'm very glad I was in the car because that left one helluva dent.

I discovered something this week. GROUNDHOGS HAVE LONGISH TAILS. Seriously! I did not know this! I thought they had little stubby tails, I guess and trust me, in my family? There's a long groundhog history.

My mom is an avid gardener. She puts in 6 or 7 gardens around the house each year and could practically start her own nursery with the number of plants she puts in. Unfortunately, one year she attracted the attention of a very fat groundhog who had a taste for the good life - as in, $1500 worth of plants eaten within two weeks.

My stepdad bought one of those humane traps and caught the cat, a squirrel, the cat, a turtle, the cat, the cat, a rabbit, the cat, the cat, the cat, the cat, the cat, the turtle again, the cat, the cat, the cat.... so he gave up on that idea. Next, he filled in one of the burrow entrances (they usually have two) , tossed in a couple of poison gas sticks, and filled in the other entrance. The next morning, there was another burrow entrance and the depleted "gopher killers" were now laying below the burrow in the woods.

Next, he got an air-powered BB gun and much entertainment ensued... not because he was shooting an animal but because he was completely UNABLE to. Someone would spot the groundhog and raise the alarm and he'd grab the BB rifle and try and run around the house before it took off. This didn't work so well. One afternoon he actually spent hours hiding in the gigantic forsythia bush, waiting for his furry nemesis to appear. Finally, as dusk approached, he got his chance. The groundhog waddled into view, pausing to nibble at some hosta. My stepdad raised the rifle to his shoulder, stepped out, took aim and fired.

And since he had completely forgotten to pump up the gun, the pellet rolled leisurely out of the barrel and dropped into the grass.

Lather, rinse, repeat. This little sitcom went on for months and one day the starts aligned and he got a bead on it and shot it, hitting it in the face.

And damn if that groundhog didn't sit up on its haunches, scratch its cheek and look around, pissed off to no end. Spying my dad, it came barrelling right at him as my sisters and I watched from the deck. My dad yelped once, lifted the BB gun over his head and brought it crashing down onto the Groundhog from Hell. THE GUN BROKE IN TWO PIECES. No joke. My stepdad was now running back toward the house while the groundhog tottered unsteadily towards the woods, shaking its head and wondering what the hell just happened.

Eventually the situation was resolved but my poor dad will never hear the end of it. We're pretty rotten that way.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lavendar's green, dilly dilly, lavendar's blue

If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.
Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play;
We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, Out of harm's way.

A certain young man told me that he "luff" me this evening, for the first time, while I was giving him his bath. Oh, I get hugs and "MY momma", but that "luff"? Pure bliss.

Of course, he then poured water on my head and giggled like an imp, but what the hey. I'll take it.


Another big freaking delay on the Beltway! But this time, no Naked Guy! Instead? PRODUCE. yes indeed. DC-area traffic delayed by vegetables. You always knew they were bad news.


I'm starting to identify with the concept of cranky old woman in a housecoat yelling "You kid! Get the hell outa my yard!" As the weather's started to turn slightly warmer, we're getting groups of teenagers sitting on the corner outside my house. I'm not too pleased with this, since I've found three very small ziploc baggies in my yard. VERY small. With graphics on them. Do the math.

This is a mostly dark corner, and there are only two houses that face this street - mine and my neighbors. So its a prime spot for Not Attracting Attention, get what I'm saying?

Husband and Short Stuff are out of town tonight, leaving me alone with two rodents who are very cute, but no so much use in the Home Defense arena. I was reluctant to go out and confront the 6 or so teens that were loitering out there, making a lot of noise. A few years ago? Yeah, I'd have been raising hell but now, you just never know. Hells bells, a kid who'd been my former neighbor, a young man who'd always been polite and respectful, who took care of his younger brother and sister, a BOY WHO'D BEEN IN MY HOUSE moved to a new area. And got mixed up in a gang. And he got in a stupid, STUPID argument with another kid. And he, along with a third idiot, escalated this argument to the point where they stole some guns and drove to this other kids neighborhood and shot him to death in the street. WTF?

So, I wound up calling the community security patrol and the guy came dangerously close to whining at me. "What do you want me to DO????"
"I want you to drive past this corner. When they see the patrols, they decide its a bad idea to be hanging out."
"But what if they aren't doing anything I can see?"
"I'm not asking you to get out and confront them, I just want you to DRIVE PAST."

Dear lord, it was like pulling teeth. Finally, he understood that all I wanted was exactly what he's supposed to be doing every night - driving through the neighborhood. And sure enough, the teens decided they needed to be somewhere else.

I really don't feeling like I'm too much the wuss to yell at a bunch of kids acting like nimrods. But at the same time... I REALLY don't like that anymore you can't trust that nimrods won't seriously hurt you.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

And the ever-lovin' cheese stands alone

So! I mentioned this part time gig, right? As a checker! In a grocery! And they threw me on a register this week! Before I finished training! Because a live body is better than no body! Even if that body hasn't even been shown how to work the freakin' phone!

Good lord.

And last night, I got left on the registers alone, with a long line of annoyed customers because... who knows. Seriously. My second day on the job, I've got 14 people in line and no one to be seen. That went over well. Especially because they were all trying to hit the mega sale before it ended and the carts? They were overflowing. Thank heavens I am a quick learner because that was sort of like rolling your car onto the freeway in order to learn to drive a manual transmission...

No one appears to get along with each other, either, and they complain about their jobs in front of the customers. Hoo boy. This is going to be a treat, I can tell.

I can do this. Hell, I have teenagers, this ought to be a doodle.

(Does that make me a can-do optimist or one really dumb bunny?)

And last night, adding insult to ... well, insult since injury actually took the night off, I stepped onto my scale and my jaw dropped. I mean, I'd noticed my pants seemed a tad loose but.. had I REALLY dropped ten pounds? Oh frabjuous day, calloo callay I was SERIOUSLY chortling in my joy and I called the husband to witness. Uh right. The scale? It was sitting on one of those godforsaken SOCKS and not weighing accurately. I hadn't lost any weight at all. The socks get me again.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What we have heah... is a FAILyuh to communicate

I don't normally fuss about work. But some days I really just want to kick the wall. There's another woman with whom I am having ongoing communication problems. I am trying NOT to have problems but dayum. It takes both persons to identify the issue and solve it and one of us? Ain't interested. She hears what she WANTS to hear and makes snap assumptions about nearly everything. And do not think she wants to share her sandbox, either...

dude. If she were a dog on Animal Planet? She'd be the really food-aggressive Chow mix that just ripped your fake arm apart for being near her food bowl.

She never says anything nasty, her words are carefully chosen. But her delivery and tone leave you thinking 'am I imagining things??'

I approached her today with a 7 Habits in mind - Seek first to understand, then to be understood - and carefully stated that it appeared we had very different communication styles that seemed to be causing some misunderstanding... could she please help me to see where something I might be doing could be bothering her?

Well. That? Was not well recieved. I tried. I really did. Not sure where to go next with it, and its beginning to drive me bats. Everything appears to be recieved as some sort of accusation. She used to be in management, or so I understand. So did I but I don't LIKE being a manager, I'd rather just fix problems. And so I chose to go into admin work and frankly? I'm very good at it.

But the perception I'm getting is that not only does she resent not being a manager, but she really hasn't got much respect for this job, nor anyone else who performs it.

I've run into that a lot... I'm not a scientist, not a broker, not a lawyer, not anyone who makes decisions that might be written about or discussed with awe. That's ok. I USED to have a Very Important Job with people reporting to me and a lot of stress and crises and budgets and all that.

But life is short. And I'm happy doing what I do so that Other Very Important People can accomplish their jobs. So we all win.

Except that its getting very frustrating to work alongside someone who speaks to you as though you're the poor cashier on her first day at McDs during the lunch rush... AND THAT PERSON HAS THE EXACT SAME JOB.

Point? I haven't got one. Just a rant to get it off my chest so I can get it out of my system and go in tomorrow and again try and make things work better.