Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Two AM Musings

Lately, I've been waking up at about 2 AM. I find myself just staring at the ceiling, listening to the humming of the air conditioner, and thinking about -- well, you'll see. Here's another insomnia narrative for your reading enjoyment.

"Why is Jack a nickname for John? They have the same amount of letters. It's not easier to say. It's not shorter to write. That makes no sense and annoys me. It also makes me wonder if the reverse is true: Is John then a nickname for Jack? ...Is it weird that I don't know anyone named Jack? You know what? I don't think I know anyone named John either. Or wait, yes I do... I know three people named John. But none of them are Jacks. Two of them are just John, and one is Johnny. Heehee, "just John" made me think of "Will & Grace" ... "Just JACK!" I enjoyed that show. Sean Hayes is FUNNY. (and sadly, not related to me. At least I don't think he is. It would be cool if he WAS.) ... I heard that a local school just voted a gay couple as prom kings ( I think Jack on W&G would have wanted to be called Prom Queen, though...) which I thought was lovely. Of course, people were freaking out. Because there's nothing else relevant to freak out about right now, right? Like, what? The entire state of the freaking world? Whatevs. Clearly the students there are a little more ... what's the word? Progressive? Liberal? In touch with the "let's focus on the right part of the story?" I don't know how to describe that, I guess. I should blog about that. ... The "political" blogs are interesting to write. People love them AND hate them. The emails I get are like being pelted with rocks and then getting a very lovely spa treatment. They're equally divided between "I HATE YOU" and "YOU ARE AWESOME" which is weird, but nice. I'm interested in the "I hate you" bits though. Why read it if you're fairly certain you don't enjoy my viewpoints at all? Maybe some people like having things in their day to make them angry? I already have enough in my day that riles me up, so I can't imagine adding to it on purpose. Perhaps some people just enjoy feeling enraged.  That would actually explain a lot, although to be honest, it makes me pretty sad. Why CAN'T we all just get along? Why do some people think that being right is so much more important than being human? Frustrating, and probably not solvable at 2 AM. I do enjoy writing the blog ... Oh dammit. I forgot to blog TODAY. Or, well, yesterday. Because now it's tomorrow. It's Tuesday, at any rate, and I usually blog on Mondays and I was so caught up in what I was doing that I failed to blog on Monday, which was unfortunate because I had that whole Memorial Day thing I wanted to talk about and now it won't be relevant until next year, I guess. Oh well. The bonus to that is that I have a post planned for next year? I suppose? Ah, positive thinking. You know what else I'm positive about? I'm POSITIVE I should be sleeping right now. Siiiiiiigh."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tales From An Accident Prone Life, Episode 4: Crash Test Dummy (part one)

I am an accident magnet.  To be more precise? My cars tend to be accident magnets. At last count, I have been involved in four major accidents.

None of them were my fault.

For the first two? I wasn't even THERE.

Part One: Congratulations On Your Graduation?

When I graduated from high school in 1994, I was the proud guardian of a 1989 Dodge Colt. I was NOT the owner, as my dad frequently reminded me. When it came to this car, the good dad lendeth, and the good dad could taketh away. However, I was the only one who ever drove the car, so it was, for all intents and purposes, mine.

I loved that car. I loved that it was red. I loved that it was a stick shift. I loved that, despite its teeny little engine, it MOOOOOOOOVED. I loved that it was great on gas. (Looking back, I loved that gas was so cheap then... who knew?) Loved the car -- loved checking the oil, loved washing it, loved taking it in for service. I was besotted with it in all of its hatchback-y goodness.

LOVED the car.

So of course I drove it to the high school for graduation. (Please, like my parents were going to drive me there! I had to be there earlier than they did.) I parked my baby in the student lot like I had pretty much every day since the keys had been dropped into my hands, accompanied by the following speech:

(If it helps, you should imagine a very stern, somewhat terrifying, official Dad voice here.)

"This? Is NOT your car. This is MY car.  You get to drive the car as long as you can prove that you are responsible. If I see or hear of you driving irresponsibly or recklessly? I will report this car STOLEN. I will have your insurance revoked and you will never drive again. You must TAKE CARE of this car for as long as you drive it. I expect to see it in the same condition when you get home as it was when you left the house. You will pay for gas. You will check the oil. Is that clear?"

"I don't know how to check the oil, Dad."

"You're learning that next," he said, grimly.

It had been a pretty smooth experience since then. And now not only did I continue to have my snappy red car, I was also going to graduate from high school. Ah life, I thought, you are so sweet.

What can I say about graduation? It happened. I managed not to trip and fall while accepting my diploma (which was a triumph in and of itself).  I tossed my cap into the air at the right time. I didn't doze off during any speeches.

Afterwards, I threw my cap and gown in my car, and then boarded a bus for Project Graduation -- the all night, Don't Be Out Partying Irresponsibly, Party Instead With Your Classmates And Responsible Adults shindig designed to keep kids safe. It was fun. By the time we returned to the high school for breakfast, I was pretty tired.

I was drinking coffee when the violent thunderstorm started. "Man," I said, "I need to get home."

"Uh, Danielle?" I heard.

I turned around. My friend Matt was standing there. He looked unhappy. I was puzzled.

"I just said goodbye to you!" I said, laughing. "Just can't leave?"

"Nooooo," he said, "I did leave. I went out to my car and ... you drove the Colt over here today, right?"


"You need to come out here and see this," he said. "And maybe bring a teacher or someone with you."

My favorite English teacher was nearby and he heard us talking. "I'll come out," he said.

We walked out in the driving rain and thunder to see ...

... the remains of my car.

Some time between when I had left the high school and when Matt went out to the parking lot, someone had hit it so hard that it had been pushed out of the space it was in and into another space (you could see the burnt rubber that accompanied the skid). The passenger side was so damaged that the door wouldn't open. The moulding was ripped off except for a tiny portion that clung to the side and had a piece of the moulding from the car that hit it jammed underneath it.

The side mirror was gone.

One of the rims was missing.

My car was a MESS.

Matt and Mr Marier just looked at me. I was speechless and getting more rainsoaked by the minute. Mr Marier cleared his throat.

"Uh, Matt, I think you can go," he said. "We'll take care of this."

"I'm REALLY sorry, Danielle," Matt said. I nodded. Tears were beginning to mix with the rain on my face.

"Danielle -- " Mr Marier started to say, and finally I found my voice.

"My father is going to KILL ME," I mourned. "I told you about the rule! BRING IT HOME IN THE SAME CONDITION YOU LEFT IN! THIS IS NOT THE SAME CONDITION!"

"We're going to get struck by lightening if we stand out here much longer," Mr Marier said. "We'll go in and call the police."

"Good idea," I said. "And that will give me time to decide if I'm going to run away to Canada or if I'm going to head south. I hear Florida is nice. I could live on a beach there. Because I'm certainly not going home."

The cops were called. The cops came. I spent about 30 minutes trying to explain an accident that I wasn't present for.

Officer Friendly: So, can you tell me what happened?

Me: I left for Project Graduation and when I came back, that's what I found.

Officer Friendly: So, you didn't hit anything?

Me: Nope. I wasn't here.

Officer Friendly: I have this accident form. Can you draw a picture of what happened?

Me: I don't know how to draw "Parked" and "left" and "came back to chaos"? But I'll try?

The car was still driveable, so after the cops left, I thanked Mr Marier and ... limped home in my once snappy but now seriously wounded Colt.  (You've probably surmised by now that my father did not actually kill me. He was really nice about it, actually.)

However, the experience would prove invaluable in 2001, when I had to -- yet again -- fill out an accident report for "parked car, left, came back to disaster".

Because now I would know how to DRAW that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eventually, It Will Sink In

Sometimes I don't catch on so quickly. For a smart girl, I can be pretty dumb.

(This is one of the reasons that my friends cringe every time I announce "I'm seeing someone!" As one of my friends said after the LAST train wreck: "Honey? I don't think we can allow you to choose your own dates anymore.")

One of the ways in which I can be, shall we say, short of brilliant, is in my reaction to things. Which is to say I am a little high strung. Tightly wound. Hair trigger. (As I type this, two things occur to me: 1. That those are gross understatements and 2. There should be a prettier way of describing this state of being, even if it isn't a pretty way of behaving.)

Every time I find myself flying off the handle, a part of me -- the smart part, the part who KNEW that boy was trouble but who was overriden by the "oh but he's DREAMY" part of my brain -- would stand back and say quietly, "Nothing -- NOTHING -- is worth this expense of energy and time."

Because it never is.

And after? When I'm tired and stressed and having an anxiety attack because I'm so worked up that I have forgotten to breathe? (I'm not proud of this, but it's important to be honest.) Has anything at all changed? Was anything made better? Was anyone other than me impacted by my reaction?

The answer is usually: No. No. And, finally, No.

So what's the point?

I know that I'm not the only one who falls into this trap of negativity. I see it all the time. We all get so focused on what OTHER people are doing that we don't take into account how we are causing/creating/contributing to the situation, and then we say things like "If he hadn't done that, I wouldn't have to freak out!"

But the truth -- the simple, hard to learn truth -- is that you don't have to freak out. You can't control what HE did, does, is doing. But you can control how you respond to it. You can control how it impacts you. He did what he did. You can't change that or undo it. But  the only person responsible for you freaking out is you.

So. If I'm a mess, if I'm a fraught wreck, who is to blame? Who shoulders that? I do. And is it fun? Am I getting something positive out of it? No?

Then I need to STOP.

And I need to do it NOW. Before I have another unproductive, unprofessional, unnecessary meltdown about something I cannot control in any way. Then maybe I can use all of that energy, and time, and emotion for something USEFUL.

Something FUN.

Something a little less drama-queen-y.

I just need to keep reminding myself, when I feel like sliding over the edge: "You don't need to do this".

And eventually, it will sink it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taking the Leap of Faith

When I first decided that I wanted to move back to New England, my best friend and I hatched a plan where we'd get a place together. She looked at apartments in New Hampshire and would text me photos. We discussed what we had, what we needed, and how to convince our cats that they were bestest pals. I contacted movers, started packing, and put in for vacation time.

And then that fell through. No roommate, no apartment. However, I was still packed, I was still talking to movers, and I still had the vacation time... and heck, I still wanted to move back.

So I got on the internet and with the help of my pal google, began looking for a place to live.

Searching for an apartment when you can't actually VISIT any of the apartments is a leap of faith. You have to believe that the photos of the apartments are actually realistic and not photoshopped so that the crime scene tape and bloodstains just don't show. You have to try to figure out if "historic neighborhood" means "fabulous restored homes" or "derelict, neglected, really old and sketchy part of town".  If "located near a university" means "be prepared for your neighbors to be doing kegstands in the parking lot at 3 AM and for the cops to be here A LOT". If "riverview" means "during a high water season, you will be standing IN the river, because it will have overflowed into your house".

You know, small details that you can't check out for yourself because you live 850 miles away from where you're hoping to end up.

I did have the benefit of knowing the area a little, which was helpful. I knew right away that there were a few places that I didn't want to live. I also knew that I was running out of time -- if I didn't move quickly, it would soon be "college students in the apartment market" time, and I would have very little to choose from -- or at least, very little that I WANTED to choose from.

I found myself at a website that didn't have photos of the apartments, just floor plans. They allowed pets. The rent was reasonable. The two bedrooms seemed to meet my work from home needs. I called.

The voice at the other end was super friendly, but not confident when she heard what I was looking for. "Let me check," she said, "I don't know if we have something available."

She came back. "I have a two bedroom corner unit that will be available in October ... it's one of the bigger apartments, though, and you said it's just you, so I don't know if that would work for you."

"I will overnight a cashiers check to you TODAY," I said.

I did not know what the apartment looked like.

I wasn't entirely sure where it was.

But now I would have a place to live.

If you've never driven for 850 miles in a Volkswagen Rabbit? With a very cranky cat in the backseat? And no real idea of where you and your possessions are going? Well, it's one of those things that people describe as "character building". As in, it's sort of miserable, but it's an adventure and adventures are good for the soul, right? Especially when you consider that, I am not, by nature, reckless or spontaneous. I am rather excessively organized and ... um, overplanned and cautious.  I used to think that I needed to apologize for that; however, I don't anymore. (Mostly because I don't know what difference it makes to anyone else -- I don't judge your messy, so you don't judge my organized.) I really like having a plan and a sense of place.

So getting in the car and moving my stuff to someplace I'd never even seen was clearly going to be out of character. I think I chanted "please don't let this suck" all the way from Clayton, North Carolina to Dover, New Hampshire. "Please, please, please don't let this suck."

In case you were wondering -- it didn't suck.

In fact, it is glorious.

As I type this? It's a beautiful day. My windows are open. I cannot hear traffic or people, only bird song. I can smell lilacs and cherry blossoms. And this is the view from my office:

This is what I learned. Things will always work themselves out. You just have to allow it to happen and know that, even if it happens outside of your normal comfort levels, on the alternate end of the plans you thought you were making, they will work out. And when they do?

 It will not suck.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

As Blue as a Girl Can Be

We've all had these days. The ones where we're dissatisfied. The ones where we're unhappy. The ones where we decide that perhaps the glass is half empty and there's not much to be done about it.

I've been having one of those days for about a week. There's stuff -- icky, not very fun stuff -- happening behind the scenes and I'm having a hard time puzzling through it. I'm tired of talking about it and I'm tired of thinking about it and ... well, I guess I'm just tired.

So today I decided that I was going to snap out of it. The weather cooperated. The sun came out. The lilacs are blooming. There is a light, lilac scented breeze wafting through my apartment. Glorious.

I put on some lipstick. I put my hair up. I put on some mascara and smiled at the mirror. Pretty. I got some big old earrings and put them on.

I painted my nails so they're sparkly. Age appropriate? Maybe not. Mood lifing? Yes indeed.

But still, something was missing. I needed something extra to put me over the edge and fill my soul with joy.

My ipod found it.

I don't know what fills your heart up -- I think it can be anything, really, as long as it makes you beside yourself, giddy happy. Something that makes me glad to be alive is music. Oh boy do I love to sing.

Specifically, if I'm in a bad mood, I love to sing THIS:

Loudly. Joyfully.

Mood lifted.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Captain Obvious, At Your Service

In today's episode, Captain Obvious is once again forced to point out some things which SHOULD be self evident, but which apparently ... well, you'll see.

1. A Parking Lot Is A Public Place.

As such -- if you are drunk IN A PARKING LOT, and the cops come and talk to you and have an issue with the fact that you are drunk in public, gesturing wildly with your hands at the cars and people around you and yelling "HOW IS THIS PUBLIC?" doesn't really qualify as a defence. In addition, the other people in the area -- because, you know, it's a PARKING LOT -- will look at you in a sneaky fashion and think to themselves "Thank goodness the cop caught THAT guy before he got on the road." Captain Obvious would like to high five the crafty police officer who recognized that a parking lot is a public place, and would like to give random drunk guy a banner that says "NOT WINNING".

2. A Balcony is Not Sound Proof

The people who have moved into the apartment directly above Captain Obvious LOVE their balcony. Oh man, do they love it. They're out there quite a lot. Especially the gentleman half of the besotted couple. He goes out onto the balcony and smokes and makes phone calls. To the lawyer and associates who bailed him out when he was having legal trouble at his work. To the various women he's seeing on the side. He also takes buddies who come over out onto the balcony for private conversations. Most of these conversations -- with the extra girlfriends, with the legal team, with the bros that come before hos -- they all include the phrase: "This is just between us."

Or, you know, not.

Because it's a BALCONY.

Which means that YOU ARE OUTSIDE.

Which means that it's between that guy, and his buddies, and ... the Captain. Who has tried NOT to hear every detail of the legally inept Lothario's life, including but not limited to: avoiding her own balcony, turning on the a/c when she doesn't need to, closing the windows, turning the radio on, and vacuuming. Unfortunately, she still has the dubious honour of a front row seat to Mr Train Wreck's life.

People -- listen to the Captain! Outside spaces are NOT for "private" conversations!

3. Watching a Child = Having an Idea as to What The Child Is Up To

The Captain was at an eatery over the weekend. It was packed. A young mother asked one of her companions to watch two young boys while she waited in line. The companion agreed to do so. The mother got in line and the companion proceeded to re-engage with the other adults in the group while the boys -- who were about four years old -- ran out the back door of the eatery and into the back parking lot, unseen by the invidual who had agreed -- just moments before -- to watch them.

This did not end in tragedy.

But it easily could have.

When the boys were rounded up and brought back inside, the mother said "You said you would watch them!" The would be kid sitter said "I WAS."

No, sir, you were not. Because if you HAD been, you would have seen them LEAVE THE BUILDING. Watching a child means "having an awareness of where the child is" or even occasionally LOOKING at the child. That's what watching IS. Observing.

Just ask Captain Obvious... she is ALWAYS watching.

(... be on the lookout for future Obvious Alerts!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Let It Be Me

You know what? I'm really tired.

I'm tired of the fact that we're all so eager to cut each other down and we do so little to hold each other up.

I'm tired of the fact so many of us see that there are cracks in the system, but no one seems to want to show up with any glue.

I'm tired of the fact that there's so much talking and so little doing.

I'm tired of reason being overcome by ideology. Of sense taking a backburner to pandering. Of the loudest, angriest voices being the ones that roll over the crowd until they are the only ones that are heard.

And I'm tired of being tired of it.

So what am I going to do about it?

I don't know. Something.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's The End of The World As We Know It...

... and it's true, I pretty much feel fine.

So here's the thing: I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian. (I know, it surprises me as well, given the fact that I am a ... what was it again? Ignorant Left Wing Slut, I believe.) As such, I'm never really shocked to hear pronouncements that it's the END OF DAYS! And THE RAPTURE IS COMING! And so on and so forth.

However, I do have to say that I have been a smidgen taken aback by the notion that one could actually pinpoint the day. Apparently, I didn't read the Farmer's Almanac closely enough: "May 21st: Rainy and damp. Also, the beginning of the time of Judgement. Take an umbrella."

Here's what I'm wondering about this:

1. Say it's true and the Rapture IS on Saturday. How will Fox News cover that? (Assuming, of course, that there's anyone left in the Studio of Righteousness to even COVER the event ... which, frankly, I'm betting there WILL be.)

2. Will some of the "left behind" be incredibly bitter about some of those who are NOT "left behind"? ("Man, I can't BELIEVE that guy got to go hang out with JC and I'm still HERE! I'm WAY better than him!")

3. I don't think this will be good for the global economy. But maybe it will. Or maybe I won't even have to WORRY about it. Who can tell!?

4. What if it DOESN'T happen as predicted? Will the people who believe in it have a major theological shift and embrace -- atheism? What will happen to their faith? If you believe something so completely, and it doesn't occur ... what happens to you then? Where do you go from there?

I guess we'll all see.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home is Where You Remember To Clean The Fridge

I was ready to write a post about the fact that I am thinking I might be ready to -- gasp -- buy a condo when the realization slapped me in the face like the stench from a bag of stinky, rotting asparagus:

I am so not ready to buy a condo.

(Plus, are these decisions you should make when you are loaded up with prescription drugs? Probably not.)

First? I'm a little ocd. (Okay, I'm a LOT ocd. But it's my blog and I'll underemphasize if I want to). So the idea of owning a home is sweet until I start THINKING about it. Like this: Oh right, a mortgage. Oh and utilities. And property taxes. And maintenance and upkeep and I don't have enough furniture and I would probably want to paint a room or two and I would need to hire a mover AGAIN because I don't really do well with the moving and unloading and are the appliances included? Because I would need to get some of those as well  and now that I'm having a huge anxiety attack, I think I need to stop thinking about it and go lay down.

(I am told that there are people who have brains who don't work like this. I ENVY those people.)

Second? I don't actually think I can get myself through the process of loan qualification without having a complete nervous breakdown. (Also? I might not qualify. And then I would be all "I've been rejected and am WORTHLESS" and that wouldn't be fun for anyone at all.)

Third? Ah, third.

Third would be the part where I opened up my fridge and thought: the time of reckoning has come.

To be fair to me, I HAVE been -- and am still -- pretty sick, so there were things I bought last week -- Fresh things! Healthy things! -- which did not get devoured. Apparently, my grocery shopping self last week knew that I was on the verge of medical disaster and thought I should buy veggies, fruits, and leafy greens. But alas, it was too late, and then, once I was like "oh boy, I'm REALLY sick" I was ALSO deep in the realm of "Please, I need saltines and soup because they require no cooking". Which was FINE except that the veggies and fruits and such were STILL in the fridge. Waiting. And after waiting a while, they also began plotting their revenge.

"You plucked us from the shelves to sit here in your fridge? and left us here to DIEEEEEE? Oh we'll show you, my friend. We'll ... show ... you..."

So today, I suited up with the Hazmat gear and went in.

It wasn't pretty.

I may have tossed some plastic containers that were looking like biological experiments straight out of Resident Evil. (I believe I heard a throaty chuckle from one of them).

I may have bagged the trash, lysol'd the outside of the bag, and then bagged it again. To protect the innocent.

And then, of course, I had to go in with the bleachy type cleaners and wipe down the inside of the now empty fridge -- which is something of a problem because I have no food in there and I'm not allowed to drive for another several days. (Don't worry, I'll sort it out. And I have some frozen meals in the freezer. I won't starve.)

However, all of this has made me realize: I'm not ready to be a homeowner. I am perfectly happy renting my little corner of the world.

But I know when I WILL be ready to be a homeowner.

And it will be as soon as I've mastered the art of keeping food from going bad in the fridge.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm Still Here...

... I've just been really sick, which has been completely annoying. And frustrating. And exhausting.

I did, however, have an unpleasant moment at the doctor's office when I realized that the nurse was, oh I don't know, 12. I knew that eventually this would happen -- it happens to everyone. The day the newsanchors go from being significantly older than you, to kind of the same age as you, to RIDICULOUSLY younger than you (I'm talking to you, weekend meteorologist on WCSH). The day you realize that the person in charge is so much younger than you that it's a bit awkward.

The day you realize that the person in charge of your medical care was a toddler when you were graduating from high school.

Okay, not really, but I had a good 15 years on her, so when she was laughing about her "older patients" who obsess over their blood pressure, I was thinking: are you talking about ME? Because I DON'T obsess over my blood pressure! Except that now I'm obsessing about obsessing! Oh, you little whippersnapper!


I'm starting to feel better. So the posting shall resume.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The One Where I Rant About FTD

In case you didn't know, last week I officially became Auntie Yellie to the most precious little button ever born on this earth. (Yes, I know that if YOU have a baby, you're probably going to disagree with me. And you're totally wrong because, hello, cutest baby ever And you are completely within your rights to do so, but this little guy is like a superhero who has UNBELIEVABLE snuggliness as his superpower. It's crazy.)

And since my sister and SuperBaby live in Florida, I thought I would like to send her some fabulous "OMG You're a MOMMY! How is it possible that you're even OLD enough to be a mommy? In my head you're still a little nugget!" flowers. I like to send flowers. (I also like to RECEIVE flowers... just throwing that out there...)

I mentioned to Mum:  I would like to send flowers to Pooks.

She concurred.

We began checking out the various websites and both found things we liked on FTD. She was going to order hers to be delivered on Thursday, so I ordered mine to be delivered on Friday. Thinking -- how fun! That's like two days of fun floral deliveries in a row to celebrate the arrival of Cutest Baby Throughout the Land!

So we ordered our flowers. And because I am a little over the top (what? You hadn't noticed?) I ended up spending $103.81 on these flowers. (Normally, I wouldn't mention the amount being a modest sort. But this will become important later.) Received a confirmation: Yep, we have your order and it will totally be delivered on Friday.

I was pleased with myself.

Life was lovely.

Thursday came. Mum got a confirmation that her flowers had succesfully been delivered to Pooks. "Then I shall get a confirmation tomorrow," I thought, completely excited about a) being Auntie to -- I may not have mentioned this -- His Supreme Majesty of all Things Squee and b) sending my sister flowers. I LOVE giving gifts. It makes me happy.

Friday came. FTD charged my credit card for 103.81. "There go the flowers!" I thought to myself. And waited for delivery confirmation.

And waited.

And waited.

And went to sleep Friday night with no confirmation.

And woke up Saturday morning with no confirmation... and thought, I'm giving them a call.

Let me just say this: I'm not at my most pleasant first thing in the moring before there's been food or caffiene. However, I DO know that the customer service reps for FTD are NOT florists. They don't make the arrangements and they don't deliver them. (That would be super hard, considering that,  based upon the calls I made, I'm pretty sure the customer service center is NOT in the US). Because I am aware of that -- and because Pooks used to work in customer service -- I made it a point to set aside the verbal weapons of mass destruction and just find out where the heck my flowers were.

"Oliver" answered the phone. (You've seen the commercials where a guy answers a customer service line and accounces that he is named "Peggy"? It was sort of like that.)

"Oliver" said that he would call the florist and put me on hold.

"Oliver" said that my flowers would be delivered on Saturday.

"Listen, Oliver," I said, "Let me tell you why this is not acceptable. I placed this order on WEDNESDAY. To be delivered YESTERDAY. And you charged me for delivery yesterday. So this. Is. Not. Okay. With. Me."

"I can discount it by 20% and will make sure they are delivered today," Oliver said, perhaps sensing that the proud Auntie of BabyAdorbz was close to detonation.

"Okay," I said.

In the meantime, my sister had seen my "OMG FTD FML!" post on Facebook and had asked Mum if I was trying to send her something. Mum said yes. Pooks said she would call me when the delivery came.

I know this is going to SHOCK you: She didn't call.

Because the flowers were not delivered.

I began to stew about this at about 6 PM. By 7:30, I was bubbling over with a rage that was significantly unbecoming to a relative of the most gloriously cute baby across the land. I called Customer Service again.

Sadly for them, they placed me on hold for 25 minutes. During that time, I had the opportunity to really consider the jar of whup-ass that I was prepared to dump all over their heads. When "Elaine" answered, I was ready.

We went through the "I will call the florist" nonsense. She put me back on hold and THEN dropped this one on me.

"Okay, so I spoke with the florist and these will be delivered on Monday --"

"No, they won't be."

"Um ... what?"

And then I uttered the phrase that I'm pretty sure all customer service reps hate. "Elaine, I'm going to need your supervisor."

pause. "But--"

"NOW, Elaine."

Back on hold. TOTALLY enraged. Because I don't know about you, but in my world, MONDAY is three days AFTER FRIDAY. As in, totally not Friday in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I submit that Monday is actually Friday's nemesis, and exists merely to throw the gloriousness of Friday into sharp relief.

As in, I did not spent 103.81 to have my flowers delivered three days LATE.

So when "Sylvia" came on the phone and said "Due to the holiday, the florist seems to be backed up and can't deliver them tomorrow."

"Sylvia," I said. "Do you know why that statement is totally the wrong thing to say to me? Because I ordered them on WEDNESDAY to be delivered on FRIDAY. TOMORROW IS SUNDAY. Delivery for MOTHER'S DAY is not my issue. The fact that my sister just had a baby and I tried to send her flowers to be delivered in the same week and you have not managed that and are now telling me that you can't deliver them tomorrow when they should have been delivered YESTERDAY ... and then I was PROMISED that they'd be delivered TODAY -- THAT is my problem."

That was when I had to stop to breathe.

"So you see, Sylvia, now YOU have a problem. Because I am very very angry. I was ALSO told that, due to the late delivery, I would receive a 20% credit. And I have to tell you, Syliva, I'm looking at my credit card statement -- the one, by the way, that shows that you CHARGED me for a Friday delivery ON Friday -- and I'm not seeing a credit."

"If you could just be patient, we can get these out on Monday," Sylvia said.

I don't know if any of y'all have ever watched "The Incredible Hulk," but, if I was prone to transforming into an angry, lurking, giant green being filled with anger and the ability only to utter monosyllabic thoughts, that would have been it.

"You. Want. Me. To. Be. Patient," I said, very slowly.

"Yes, ma'am, I can get these out to you for Monday."

"Sylvia." (If that is INDEED your name, I thought.) "I am so past the point of patience."

To make a very long story short -- FTD couldn't understand why I was upset. I mean, Mother's Day is a big holiday for them, so the fact that I expected the flowers that I had been CHARGED for to be delivered on the Friday BEFORE Mother's Day -- when a Mother's Day delivery would NOT have been an issue -- was somewhat ludicrous to them, as clearly I should have been more flexible, it being a holiday and all. I mean, the fact that the holiday had NOTHING to do with my order was just one of those trivial little matters.

She then said "I will try to have them delivered tonight." It was 8:30 PM eastern. I said, "Sylvia, I'm pretty sure that my sister -- who had a baby on Tuesday? -- does NOT want a florist pulling up to her house after 8:30 at night."

I told "Sylvia" to cancel my order.

I told her I wanted to be credited the full amount.

I also told her that, even though she said she WOULD credit me the full amount, I would be disputing the charge on my credit card because at this point, I didn't have a lot of confidence in FTD. She said she would handle it PERSONALLY and would call me.

It probably comes as a huge shock to you that I have not heard back from "Sylvia" or anyone else at FTD. It's been 5 days. I am not holding my breath.

However, I did see that there is a credit on my account. So at least that's something.

And also? I still get to be Auntie Yellie to the Prince of Cute-osity. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Misery Loves ... Wait, Misery Doesn't Love ANYTHING

I don't mean to turn this into a blog about the indignities of springtime allergies, which are LEGION, but which don't necessarily make for good readin'. ("Hey, dude! Get this! That blogger chick's gone through THREE boxes of kleenex in the last three days! She's HAWT!")

However. I do need to say this.

I have recovered from my jumping, dancing, screaming, sweaty evening of 30 Seconds to Mars joy only to be overtaken once again by the allergy demons. Oh allergy demons, how I hate you. I hate the way you make my eyes swell shut. I hate the way you make me hack and cough. I hate the sandpaper throat and inability to speak that you curse me with. You're like a little tiny army of bleaaaah and I loathe you and the fact that you're like Spring's entourage.

(I now picture the season of Spring as some J-Lo-esque diva. "No! I'm not going unless POLLEN'S allowed to go! Isn't that right, Pollen?" Pout. Hairtoss. Pollen stands nearby, hulking furiously, waiting to maul the immune system of any innocent person who dares to get near Spring. Earth sighs "Fine, but I'm telling you, everyone hates that guy.")

So allergy sufferers ... suffer.

And the allergy demons laugh.

And apprently, they think we (I) haven't been suffering enough because I just looked out the window to see the landscaper outside MOWING. Behind him, billowing up into the air in what can only be described as a mushroom cloud of allergy horror, is a yellow cloud of pollen and grass and other schmoo that makes me want to sneeze in self defence.

So, the pollen won't play nicely? FINE. I'm going to break out the big guns. I'm going to call in the professionals.

You know, as soon as my voice starts working again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Under the Weather

Eh, I'm not feeling my most chipper, what with the allergies and the overtiredness and the fact that I felt compelled to bleach my teeth and now they're so sensitive that I can't eat or drink anything that isn't exactly room temperature. (Oh, but they're WHITE. So yay.)

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy a preview of upcoming posts ... like little written movie trailers! Fun, right?

So here you go. (It will help if you read these with the voice of the movie trailer announcer guy in your head. That's what I'm hearing when I write them):

1. Failure To Deliver
Announcer Guy: One Woman...One flower order...One refusal to take no for an answer.
(cut to image of computer screen with order confirmation on it. Musical cue -- the keyboard intro to Thirty Seconds to Mars "Hurricane")
Female Voice over: What do you MEAN my flowers have now been delayed for two more days?"
(music cuts back in -- same song, vocal "Tell me would you kill to prove you're right")
Announcer Guy: If roses symbolize love, and cherry blossoms symbolize life then THIS customer needs the flower that speaks of RAGE.

Coming soon to a blog post near you.

2. Sneeze
Black screen. Some sort of ominous, chilling music. Fade in to fog and mist, swirling around. Image resolves into a sepia field of wildflowers.
Announcer Guy: Just when you thought it was safe to go outside ...
(music comes to frantic, crazed crescendo. zoom into what looks like an innocent weed -- keep zooming to microscopic view of nefarious looking pollen spores being released into the air. Sounds of dramatic sneezing, coughing, and wheezing.)
(Screen fills with a single word: )
Underneath that appears in smaller text: The Rise of the Pollen

3. There is no three. I like lists to have three or five things, but ... did I mention? Tired. Sick-ish. So you get a two item pseudo-list (because if it only has two items, does it even COUNT as a list? Bet it doesn't. Ah well.)

Later gators.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wisdom of the Ages

Concert was last night. It was -- revelatory.

Here's what I have learned...

Things I am Too Old For:

1. Being involved with crowd surfing in any way, shape, or form.

2. Getting into a brawl with a drunken concert goer.

3. Dancing and jumping and screaming nonstop for two hours straight.

4. Staying up until past 1 AM on a worknight.

Things I am Just The Right Age For

1. Realizing that the line to get in isn't going anywhere, so I might as well go have a nice dinner and a glass of wine near the venue.

2. Making friends with all of the people with whom I will be squished into the crowd with, as though we are a many headed dancing being.

3. The realization that I can outsmart a drunken concert goer with simple logic.

4. Being able to see a member of my favorite band on the street (oh Shannon Leto. I heart you) and not making a TOTAL ass of myself. (Maybe a little ass of myself, but only one person saw.)

5. Appreciating what a good sport my best friend is for accompanying me on my concert-y adventure.

Best. Time. Ever. Even if I AM exhausted and more than a little bruised.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Embracing My Inner 12 Year Old

Sometimes, the reality of how cool I am NOT just kind of smacks me in the back of the head.

Like, right now.

I am going to a concert this weekend.

Except, in my head, this is what the above, simple statement looks like: OMG I am like, sooooo excited that I am going to this concert I can't believe I got tickets this is so crazy SQUEEEEEAAAALLLLL.

Also, I might be doing a little dance of excitement and joy. Not a BIG dance, mind you, just a little bitty one. In my chair. As I listen to the band that I am going to see this weekend. Who I love. In case you couldn't tell.

The Responsible Adult portion of my brain -- the part that likes to save money, get enough sleep, and remembers to go grocery shopping -- is usually much better at overriding the part of my brain that is perpetually a 12 year old fangirl. This tends to come in handy.

The Responsible Adult portion of my brain saw that the band is coming to a theatre near me. It registered that information and said sternly, NO. But it was too late. Fangirl was already awake and saw it too.

"WE ARE GOING TO THAT! WE'RE SO GOING!" she said, bouncing up and down and clutching her hair like an Ed Sullivan-era Beatles fan.

"NO!!!" said Responsible Adult. "It's on a SUNDAY. A SUNDAY NIGHT. And you have to work on Monday and you have trivia and you need to have your oil changed. Absolutely not."

Fangirl was abashed. For about thirty seconds. Then she said, as calmly as she ever says anything, "Screw you, Responsible Adult," whipped out a credit card, and logged into Ticketmaster. She was very quiet.
Until the confirmation came. Then it was all:  I CANNOT BELIEVE I'M GOING I CAN'T EVEN STAND IT!

Here's the thing. I have been to a handful of shows in the past several years, but none that I was beside myself with joy about. The last time I felt giddy-stupid excited, I WAS about 12. And going to see ...

well, it's embarassing. But I'll say it. Because I was 12 so I get a pass on this, right?

I went to see the New Kids on The Block. TWICE. And both times, I was completely, ridiculously, out of my mind with joy at the idea that I was there ... and THEY were there ... and it was filled with so much awesome that I thought my 12 year old brain might just explode.

So yeah. This weekend will be like that. I will dress inappropriately. I will scream my head off. I might crowd surf (okay, probably NOT). I may, if I find myself face to face with the lead singer (it could happen), completely lose my ability to articulate actual thoughts and find myself with a brain full of "...."

And I cannot wait.

I can go back to being a responsible adult on Monday, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Forget You

I may have mentioned ... one or two ... hundred times ... that I'm not a slight, waiflike creature.

I may NOT have mentioned (at least, I don't think I did) that I once was such a thing. Despite my sturdy peasant DNA, I once weighed about 109 pounds. This weight was achieved through a lovely combination of anorexia and exercise bulemia, and let me tell you something, people: I looked BAD.

How bad, you ask?

More than once, a well meaning person (and one not so well meaning person) asked me if I had cancer. Fun.

My own mother didn't recognize me a couple of times. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding. I walked down the aisle. My mom was like, Where on earth is Danielle? And who is that atrociously thin girl? Good times.

I had to shop at GapKids because adult clothing no longer fit. Yippee.

I would would wake up with bruises because I had no body fat. That's right. I would sustain injuries while SLEEPING because my bones -- especially my hip bones -- had no padding and the act of rolling over would cause me to bruise. Painfully.

Is that enough fun for you? No? How about this, then. My hair was falling out. I was experiencing some system failure -- as in, my metabolism was jacked up. As in, the -- how to say delicately -- the female reproductive cycle? Not working. As in, constantly exhausted and no longer possessing an immune system.

Doesn't that sound pretty? It's SO pretty, right?

I can never undo some of the damage that I did to my body. NEVER. Which is why it is now very difficult for me to lose weight, and which is ALSO why I have to be kind of careful of how I go about doing it.

So the next person who tells me that I'd be so beautiful, if I was just a little thinner?

I may not be able to control my wrath. Because you know what, you arrogant jerk? I'm beautiful NOW. So take a hike. Before I use my stupendous ass to kick yours.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The View From Over Here

I've been couple watching. There is a young-ish couple that lives in my apartment complex -- probably in college or only a year out. They're seriously adorable. He's very tall, plays the guitar (I see him with it from time to time), wears vintage t-shirts authentically. She's petite, wears glasses, smiles a lot. They seem really happy. They hold hands when they go to the mailbox.

There is an older couple -- I think of them as my adopted grandparents -- who also live in my building. They're also adorable in a less obvious way. They're clearly very comfortable with where they're at.

My hope for the young couple? Is that they get to someday BE the old couple. Because when I see them, half of my heart melts with a little "awwwwww" the way it does when I see a puppy. "Awwwwww, they're so CUTE!" Maybe it's more than half. Maybe it's more like three quarters of my heart.

The remaining fourth gives a brittle smirk. "Who holds hands on their way to the MAILBOX?" it says. "What do they know? They're, like, 12. Seriously. Good luck with THAT." And then it wanders off to console itself with a jealousy sundae, made from angst ice cream and topped with warmed over envy.

Ah, relationships. So great when you're first involved, and it's new and exciting. When you're hyperaware of the other person and you get a thrill every time he walks in the room, when you seem to speak on the same frequency, when the tiniest gesture -- when he reaches over and tucks your hair behind your ear -- is very possibly the sexiest moment you've ever experienced. When you do things just because. "I brought you a coffee," she says, wandering into your work, apropos of nothing, or she tucks a note into your jacket pocket or leaves on on the fridge for you to see. Those beginning stages are why anyone gets involved, I think.

And sometimes they're why relationships fail. New wears off. Everyday stuff -- bills and groceries and dirty laundry on the floor and that annoying thing he does when he's eating soup and the way she calls her mother ALL the time and oh my gosh, the way he taps his fingers on the steering wheel when he's driving is making me CRAZY -- those waltz into stage center and instead of remembering the core of who this person is -- the base, the elemental person that you fell for who DOES make a little slurpy noise when eating soup but who also, sometimes, gently tucks your hair behind your ear -- you focus on the slurpy noise and the eleven hundred other things that annoy you and you wonder what the hell you're doing there.

Never mind that he ALWAYS did that. Never mind that you didn't care before, when you were so busy living in fairy tale beginner's love that you completely failed to take in the reality of what every day, mundane love would be like. So maybe you bail and begin again with a new person so that you can, once again, live inside the shiny and bright capital LOVE.

Or maybe you look at your old love with new eyes, ones that focus on all of those things that got you there in the first place. Maybe you also remember this: you're not the pick of the litter yourself. You have issues. You have some traits that are less than endearing. Maybe you can never admit that you're wrong. Maybe you have an ego that won't quit. Maybe you always leave the toilet seat up. Whatever it is, you know for a fact that for every thing that your partner does to completely irritate you? You can match it with a behaviour of your own.

It takes courage to examine your own flaws, to accept them, and then find space in your heart for someone else's flaws. I think that's where love really lives -- it is in the moments when things are going wrong and you're both frazzled and life seems ridiculous and yet you look at the face of the other person and know that you're just going to struggle through because that's what love is -- it's the whole mess, good and bad, sublime and horrific, clean and messy. That's how it works. And if you only want good, sublime, and clean? You're not ready to be in it.

 It's like this: a brand new relationship? Is like the wrapping on a present. Pretty. Glittery. But the good stuff is always inside, after you get past the carefully smoothed out paper and the bows. You throw the paper away -- it doesn't last. It's only good for a little bit. You live with what's inside the box for some time -- that's the real gift. That's what you keep.

But what do I know? I'm just an observer. Just a girl who watches a happy young couple as they walk down the sidewalk, holding hands. Just someone who wishes them well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm High on LIFE!

Not really.

I mean, yes really. I'm about to become an auntie (like, today) and the sun is shining and the grass is green and there was a hummingbird outside my bedroom window, all pretty and a-fluttering and did I mention I'm about to become an AUNTIE? and I've broken through the weight loss plateau and life is grand lalalalalaaaaaa.

But I'm also high on ... cold medicine.

I woke up a few days ago feeling junky. This happens sometimes. I thought "Oh, allergies, whatevs" and went about my business with verve and enthusiasm because, again, high on life. How high, you ask? Bought a BATHING SUIT. Did not go into the tailspin of depression and angst but instead thought, "Damn, I'm fabulous" (It helped that I had to buy one two sizes smaller than the one I have in my closet. Score) and then went out to dinner and ate creme brulee with impunity and guiltless pleasure.

High on life. But sniffly snuffly sneezy.

It kept getting worse and finally yesterday I thought, "If this is allergies? Maybe someone could just SHOOT ME."

Not allergies. It's a cold. A kick me in the ass, knock me to the ground, point at me and laugh freaking COLD.

So this morning, when I cracked open one bleary eye, I thought, maybe ... drugs. Drugs would be good here.

I don't usually take the cold medicine because it makes me a little ... what's the word. Stupid. Yeah, there it is. Stupid and high.

How high, do you ask?

Let's take the coffee as an example. I just thought, "I should make myself a coffee." Went into the kitchen to discover -- I already DID make coffee. And then forgot about it. Because -- hello, I'm high.

I have started the same email three times. Three. Times. (It just took me four tries to type "three". It wanted to be "threeees". "Threeees times!" Seriously?)

I can breathe, though. My sinuses have stopped draining in a most unpleasant manner. My throat, though scratchy like sandpaper, doesn't hurt. And though I still sound weird, it's more Demi Moore and less Joan Rivers which, honestly, is a happy trade off. Even if I have gone to replace the toilet paper roll (that I already replaced) twice because I forgot that I already did it. Even if my to do list looks like it was scrawled by a seven year old with aspirations of becoming Jackson Pollack. (Again with the typing. My fingers want him to be Jackson Plllck. Which is funny to me because it seems Welsh what with the vowels missing. Maybe he's Pollack's lesser known cousin, the Welsh artist Jackson Plllck... it's tangents like these that cause the whole I should make coffee oh hahaha I already did, there it is! Like magic! Like 15 minutes ago me was planning a surprise for right now me! Oh, 15 minutes ago me -- you're the nicest!)

I could put my head on my desk and go to sleep right now.

High on life? You betcha.

High on OTC Cold Medicine? Oh honey, you have NO idea.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I can't celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden.

Here's why. After 9/11, bin Laden and his followers reveled in the collective pain and anguish that Americans experienced. Our mourning was like wine to them. They drank of it freely, happily. The suffering of Americans and their families made them happy.

I refuse to sink to that level. I will not allow myself to become what I loathe -- a person who rejoices in death, who sees someone's passing as a cause for revelry.

Which is not to say that I do not understand why people are celebrating. I do understand. To be completely honest, that reaction makes more sense to me than mine does. It would be easier to be happy that he is dead.

But I worry about martyrdom. I am concerned that nothing has been resolved, and that in fact, now the acts of violence and retribution will be escalated. That we're going to miss the bigger pictures regarding the conflicts and rage that is rampant in the Middle East and breathe a sigh of relief for what we consider to be our safety when, in fact, there is still no safety.

And I also worry that when we rejoice at this event, in some way so do his followers. Because even while they mourn their most prominent leader, they also use it as a recruiting method, and they smile when they do it for we have shown them that we are what they believe us to be.

I think of the American soldiers who were killed and taken through the villages, where the townspeople celebrated, and how we expressed our disgust. And I think: if they brought bin Laden through New York City, we would do the same thing... and I would understand it.

I should add here that I don't mean to take away from the efforts and heroism that American soldiers exhibit on a daily basis, and I am so thankful for what they have done to try to find and capture bin Laden. I am in awe of them and the sacrifices that they make. I have lost friends in the Middle East. If you think I am showing disrespect to them -- or to the people who were lost on 9/11, and their families -- that is not my intent in any way.

But I should also add that I firmly believe that we're no closer now than we were 10 years ago to finding a real solution to any of this. We may, in fact, be further apart.

I don't know how to feel. But I do not celebrate. I look for resolution and instead I find conflict at every turn.