This morning we had a four hour staff meeting. It was supposed to be three hours, but went over. Starbucks doesn't make a to-go cup big enough to handle that type of situation. Venti can't sustain past two and a half hours. That's the conclusion drawn from my spontaneous research study. Subject participation was not consensual, it should be noted.


A grain of salt

This afternoon TD and I went out to get salads for lunch. On our way to the càfe we passed a homeless man on the sidewalk. He shouted to TD:

"Your toes look better than your hair!"

TD (to me): "What does that mean?"

Me: "I dunno. Your toes are polished, so maybe he's saying your hair isn't as done-up?"

TD: "My toenails look like crap though - they're all chipped."

Me: "Um.... then maybe he was saying your hair looks really crappy? Even crappier than your toes?"

TD: "Okay, I'm starting to freak out now. Does my hair look that bad?"

Me: "He's living on the street, TD. I think you can probably just let this one go."


In bed

This is BF's really busy time at work. The next three weeks. It's a difficult time in our relationship, because I don't see much of him. But this year it's been harder than ever. Probably because I'm all out of goodbyes, so even a temporary one feels like more than I can handle. Needless to say, things between us have been strained.

This weekend was just what we needed. J was out of town, and we spent the entire weekend nesting. Going for walks, watching dvds, cooking, napping. My favorite part was at the end of the night when BF would fall asleep, and I would cuddle up next to him with my latest novel and my booklight. I love knowing he's there, but I also love the me time which delving into a good book always promises. It's the best of both worlds. When I finally decide to go to sleep I chuck the book and the booklight beside me on the comforter and spoon behind BF, nuzzling into his warm back and draping my arms across his chest. Those perfect nights sustain me during the week to come, when I sleep alone again. Well, with my book. But without my BF. Call me greedy, but I prefer to have both.


More than she bargained for

(I was looking through my blog and found this unpublished post I wrote on June 23rd)

For the most part, in the eyes of my Grandma, I can do no wrong. If I got thrown in jail, she'd comment on how stylish I look in my prison-issue jumper. Mookie laughs about it, because as her son, I'm not sure he gets the same starry-eyed unconditional approval. But grandkids are always different.

She was the one who felt sorry for me when I was growing up. She used to say "Poor L. She gets so worked up about things," when other people saw me as a handful. She saw my temper tantrums as displays of spunk and gumption. She thought my wildness was fun, and my neurotic sensitivity was sweet. When I brought home guy after guy and announced, "This is the one," she thought I was just hopeful and passionate. When soon after I explained to her that I was no longer seeing my future husband, she thought I was independent and free-spirited.

The one thing she gives me a hard time about is that Boyfriend does most of the cooking. I call her a lot. She asks about BF, work, my life, what I'm up to, and if I've seen any good movies. And she always asks me if I've had dinner. I think she worries that if she didn't remind me, I wouldn't eat. When I call her from BF's, she used to ask if I was doing the cooking. After about the fifteenth time that I admitted that BF was in the kitchen while I was on the couch with my feet up, she began to catch on.

So on Tuesday we had this chat:

G: "Who does most of the cooking, you or BF?"

Me: "BF." Why start lying now?

G: "L, that's just terrible."

Me: "Why Grandma? He likes to cook, and I like his cooking. I do the dishes!"

G: "Men like it when a woman can cook."

Me: "I can tell you right now, no man who's looking for a personal chef would come near me."

G: "You could learn to cook!"

Me: "But he does so well without me."

G: "You do the dishes?"

Me: "Most of the time. Besides, I have other things to offer besides cooking."

G: "What other things, honey?" Genuinely curious.

Me: "Huh. Ummmmmm, let me think... hmmmm... well, like... ummmm..." A few uncomfortable moments went by before I fessed up. "Gosh, I really got nothin'."

G: "You need to learn to cook."

Me: "No, I really have nothing. Can that be?"

G: "Don't be silly. He's lucky to have you."

Me: (As it slowly dawns upon me) "Well that's what we've led him to believe, isn't it?! But it's not true!"

G: "Oh, now, of course it's true! You have a lot to offer him!"

Me: "But I don't!"

G: "I'm sure you do."

Me: "That's just it! God, it's practically brilliant! I really don't! But I make it seem like I do! It's so simple but that's why it's so fantastic! I'm so high maintenance that he gets confused, and thinks he's working toward something truly amazing. Like all the work will have a big payoff because I'm such a great catch. But really, I have nothing valuable to contribute to the relationship!"

G: "Now, this is just crazy. You're perfect. We all know that. BF thinks you're perfect. Why don't you tell me about the weather up there."

Me: "Wow, I'm a genius. When you think about it, I've got everyone fooled. I've even fooled us..."

G: "Now I'm sorry I brought it up - you have plenty of great things to offer any man. This is just silly, what we're talking about. You're perfect the way you are."

Me: "I'm so good I even tricked myself, I think!"

G: "If you just let mom teach you how to cook we wouldn't have to think about any of this."

Me: "I've probably even fooled mom..."

G: "I think we've exhausted this topic honey. It sure is getting hot here in NJ. What's it like up there?"

Me: "Grandma, you're so smart! This conversation has given me a lot to think about."

G: "Does any of that revolve around cooking?"

Me: "What? Cooking? No. I'm sorry - why, were you talking about cooking?"


The important thing is that we're all here now...

This morning a coworker of mine, C, popped her head into my office. "Hey, C, it's good to see you - god, what a pleasant surprise! I was just thinking about you!" I got up and gave her a quick hug. She looked at me funny. I sat back down.

C: "I thought we had a meeting. Aren't I on your calendar for 10am...?"

Me: "Oh." Pause. No wonder I'd just been thinking about her. "Well, it's still really great to see you."

C smiles.

No one can resist being wanted.


I know where to find you. Wait, do I? I'm not sure I do. This tracking number isn't working. You could be anywhere. Am I stupid?

Why am I unable to track a UPS package? I have never successfully done this. When people give me a tracking number I just think, yeah, right. Like that ever works. It always says my tracking number should be in a form it's not been given to me in. Like, it should be XXX-XX-XXXX and it's XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Wtf???!!!

Ah, Monday mornings.


What am I, chopped liver?

Two things make me ask this:

1. When BF left NJ after being there with me and my family for almost a week, my mom got all teary-eyed, and almost cried. When I left several days later, nothing. Dry eyes. Smiles.
2. My mom called me tonight, because my cousin and his friend are visiting from Germany, and after a long day at the beach they wanted to watch a dvd. But they couldn't get the dvd player to work. So I started to ask my mom whether or not the tv had a menu button when she interrupted me. "We really just wanted BF to call us. Could you ask him to do that?" Oh. Okay. So I guess you don't wannna take a gamble on my own technological prowess...?

I always thought my mom wanted sons. But I also always thought I was adopted or an alien, so I figured it was all in my head. Confirmation sucks.


Only you can prevent it

Last night our latest Netflix movie, Failure to Launch, caught on fire!!!!!! Well, okay, the dvd didn't catch on fire, but the envelope went up in flames! BF has cat-like reflexes, he really does. He was out of bed like a shot. I've noticed his reflexes at other times when potential danger is involved. That guy can hustle.

Luckily (although BF might not agree with my feelings about how fortunate we are) the movie is still okay and watchable! Yay, SJP! Yay, chick flick!

Women are so durable.



For two days last week we had ants. In our pantry. The tiniest brown ants you can imagine - they didn't even look like ants. Squishing them gave me no satisfaction because they just looked like miniscule crumbs with legs. They were everywhere on one shelf. In every box and every container. Crackers. Cookies. Peanut butter. Cereal. The only thing they steered away from was a bottle of minced onions. I don't blame them. I wouldn't want to hang out with an onion bit that's bigger than me either. They didn't travel to the shelf above them. I'm not sure if they just didn't know that they could go up there, or maybe it was too long a journey for them. Either way, the problem was localized.

So we set about the task of killing them. We bought poison ant houses and ant annihilation spray. Those things together seemed to do the trick.

Before we upped the anti J tried to kill them with Windex. She's a close second to me, another one of the stupidest smart people I know. That being said, I was right behind her when she sprayed the stuff all over the place, helpfully pointing out where she missed a spot. At midnight, anything starts to seem like a viable tactic. Wars are probably lost by strategies plotted at midnight.



I just got done flipping through the newest People mag. Leather and/or suede ankle boots and shorts? Famous ladies, please stop. I backed you with the Uggs thing. But somewhere there's a line.


Fate? Sealed

So on morning radio I heard about the theft of a local resident's wheelchair. That's right, wheelchair. What kind of person would steal a wheelchair? Why would someone do that? Talk about hammering the last nail in your coffin. Redemption wouldn't touch that perp with a ten foot pole.


Who made you king of the buttons?

Last night after I finished up at the gym, I bought a smoothie and then headed for the elevators. I got in with about four other people. A guy was in the corner blocking the buttons, leaning against the wall and eyeing everyone who stepped inside. After a minute, as we started to descend, he said "Are we all going to the basement level? That's a first." I came out of my smoothie-induced brain freeze fog. "Shit, no, I'm going to the lobby - sorry." He looked over at me. "You should pay more attention little lady. Normally I don't even ask - I was being nice. It must be your lucky day." Now, I don't know why people keep saying that to me when circumstances clearly dictate that it is, in fact, not my lucky day. Stuck in the elevator with passive-aggressive button guy? Not. Lucky.



Our matriarch's moxie

After World War II my Grandfather, an airforce gunman, was stationed in Germany. My Grandma and Mookie went with him. (That's how my parents met.) After a few months of living overseas, Grandma decided she wanted a driver's license. But she couldn't get one. Because she couldn't pass the test. The written test. The practical test. Any test. So she went to the Kraftfahrzeugamt and demanded they issue her a driver's license despite all the extenuating circumstances (like the hazard she might have posed to the general safety of the roadways). Her rationale for making such a demand?

We won the war.

I knew I inherited my sense of entitlement from someone. My Grandma had some serious spunk. And that was the 50s. So really, what constitutes serious spunk now translates to überspunk back then, when women weren't supposed to question anything, much less a foreign government.



This weekend we watched Sin City. I have a thing about amputation. It's right up there with my shark thing and my scary basement thing. I was not a happy camper. I couldn't squish my eyes shut fast enough to keep up with all the ears, arms, legs, hands, fingers and feet that got tossed around/shot off/eaten off/cut off. Last night I had a dream that a guy got his stomach ripped open by a shark and then he was just standing there, screaming, with his guts hanging out. Don't you love it when the horror you see on the screen mixes with the horror already in your head and it becomes the horror that plays out in your dreams?


Best not to feed it

Lately I've been getting a lot of praise. It's like I walk on water. My performance eval at work was glowing. The phrase "every supervisor's dream employee!" actually came up. In writing. I evaluated myself harshly, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I hadn't committed 100% to my job this past year. But hey, who am I to argue with my supervisor?

At the door the other morning, BF said "I'm so lucky to have you in my life - you're wonderful." I asked him why, and he said because I'm so supportive and loving. I was a little surprised, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I hadn't been very supportive or loving the night before when I came home all pissy and threw a fit because... well, because I could. But hey, who am I to argue with my boyfriend?

Rifling through my desk yesterday I came across a card from a graduated student. In the card, she thanked me for being such a great advisor to her student group. I felt guilty, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I hadn't given that student group the same kind of devotion and nurturance I gave my other, most favorite student group. But hey, who am I to argue with a greeting card?

And then last night, after she finished my highlights, my hairdresser told me that my hair looked fabulous, and that I'm a total babe. I finally gave in. I agreed, because in the back of my mind was the certainty that I'm nothing short of stunning. Hey, who am I to argue with a mirror?

See? That's what superfluous praise does. It goes to my head. My newly highlighted head. And then we're all in trouble. The last thing I need in my demanding, self-absorbed personality is a huge ego where the self-confidence problem used to be. The self-confidence problem is the only thing that makes me bearable.


He can't make animal balloons, but...

It's no secret that I've been sad lately.

So last night I was at BF's, and we decided to shave his head. Why? I don't know why. But it was the first time I've genuinely laughed in ages. He's bald now. BALD. I think he looks adorable, but I'm not sure if that's just a-face-only-a-mother-could-love type bias or if he actually does make the cutest excuse for white trash ever. Either way, it put a huge smile on my face. BF sure knows how to coax a lil' sunshine out of me.


I'm not even awake yet!

This morning I stopped in the hall to chat briefly with my boss, and the issue of relationships came up.

It's so nice to have a partner who really knows you."

"Of course, with the comfort of his knowing you comes the unfortunate fact that he knows you."

"Ummm... I'm not sure what you're trying to say...?"

"Nothing. Just think about it."

Consider me unsettled. Thanks, JPow.


Eerie go again

On Saturday my ex-stepmom B and I drove up the New Hampshire and Maine coasts, stopping to spend the night in an adorable motel in Yarmouth. It was a winding single-story motel with about 12 or so total rooms. After dinner, B decided to drive into Falmouth for a Contra Dance. Which is basically a square-dance spin-off that's got a small cult following nationwide. I decided to stay behind with, as everyone has probably already guessed, a book. And I'm okay with that.

Except that once B left the motel and I tucked myself into the antique maplewood twin bed, I started having flashbacks to that movie Identity. Where all the people get picked off one by one at the roadside motel during the rainstorm by a stalker/killer/demon? To distract myself I watched a Lifetime Movie Network special about babies switched at birth. But my mind kept whirling. John Cusack. Dead bodies. John Cusack. More dead bodies. Mutilated bodies. More John Cusack.

I was up until B came back. And when she came back she scared the shit out of me, because she didn't have a key and so she knocked on the door and when I put my ear up to it, heart pounding, and asked who it was, she didn't answer. "Who else would it be?" she wondered when I finally let her in after I'd climbed up on a chair and peeked through the window blinds until I could make a positive ID. Oh, just ask the corpses from Identity. They'll tell you who else it could be.

Survival of the most vigilant, my friends. That's all I have to say.


Embargo lifted?

I think I might like pizza again. I decided I hated pizza a few years ago, as I'm wont every once in a while to randomly decide I hate some kind of food. But lately every time I'm hungry, I think about pizza.

My ex-stepmom is here for the weekend and we're headed up north to NH and Maine. I'd write more but the only thing I could come up with to share is the pizza thing. It's been a slow week.


A bone? I'll chew on it

Today at the pool at my gym the guy in the lap lane next to me said, "Wow, you're way faster than I am and you're a woman!"

That's right, boys.

Now granted in the weight room he could probably bench press me and I couldn't even bench press his twenty-five pound dachshund... but I take it where I can get it, so I smiled all the way to the locker room.


Victim blaming

This afternoon I called Speedo about a bathing suit purchase that had just been delivered to my office:

"Hi, I need to return a swimsuit. It's not worn and the tags haven't been removed. Can I just send it back in?"

"Why do you need to return it?"

"It's see-through."

"So you don't like the color?"

"No, it's see-through. The color's fine. It's the transparency that's a problem."

"What color is it?"


"You probably shouldn't buy a white swimsuit if you don't want it to be see-through."

"I figured you guys had that see-through issue covered at your end. You know, the end where you design the functional racing swimsuits."

Clearly this is my fault.


NStar: They mean BUSINESS

Yesterday they shut off our gas. I always wondered what it takes to have your utilities cut off, and now I know. It takes noncompliance, in any form.

We pay our bills in full every month. We anted up all winter long when heating prices were through the roof. Every account that we have with NStar is in perfect standing.

But our meter needed to be exchanged. Now, given the fact that J and I have a cleaning lady because we are seriously two single women who are so busy we are quite literally never at home, trying to find a 4-hour block during the workday when one of us could sit around and wait for the NStar meter person was not going to happen. I told them as much a few times, and requested an alternate time for an appointment. They in turn requested that one of us rearrange our work schedule. Which this summer just isn't possible given all of the unexpected business that has kept one or both of out of town. We'd already stretched our respective job flexibilities so much they were about to snap. So we went back and forth and back and forth with the customer service reps.

And yesterday, they came by while we were gone and replaced our old meter with a new one. Which sounded great to me. Except that they couldn't, by law, turn the new meter on without one of us present. Which they failed to mention in the little note they pinned to our doorknob.

So it took me a while to put two and two together and figure out why we had no hot water, and then eventually no functioning burners on the stove. I was in denial that someone like me could be cut off by the utility company. Not only am I firmly rooted in the sort of stable middle-class cohort that doesn't really have issues with 'the system', I also am so fastidious when it comes to bill-paying that other people make fun of me. A lot. I pay bills before the electronic notification makes its way to my inbox. I never miss a payment on anything. I'm a model customer and tenant.

But NStar had gotten fed up, and they took action. Which I can respect, except that I was on the other end of the action so instead it pisses me off. They came at around 10pm last night and activated our new meter. The guy who knocked on the door smirked as we shared our shocked indignation with him. He shrugged as he headed to the basement. "You can't ignore notices from the utility company."

Ahhhh. The lesson.



As I was heading into work this morning, caught in traffic on Storrow, the driver's side door of the car in front of me opened and a guy stuck his head out and puked. Then shut the door again. And inched forward.

Home again, home again. I honestly couldn't care less about what's going on in the world around me. It's numbness, but without any hostility. I just don't have the energy left to bother getting involved.

Or it's jetlag. In which case I blame Northwest for travel-induced apathy.