September 10, 2014

The Initiates

Normally, I wouldn't blog about something so inane as a dream I had. But I believe this one deserves looking into. It is a dream in three acts, and they all take place at my house, which is a red-brick ranch in a quiet, tree-filled suburb.

ACT I

Boss Lady drove me home from work for some reason, and then, as I was about to go inside, she said, "We should go out to dinner." I got the feeling she was bored and didn't feel like going home.

As one does not say no to one's boss' reasonable request -- even outside of normal work hours -- I told her I'd go inside to change out of my work clothes, and then we could go.

She wanted to come in and get a tour of the house. I mumbled an awkward assent, as I couldn't remember at what level the dog hair was in my house -- it could be anywhere from freshly-vacuumed to auxiliary carpet. But when she came in the front door, dog hair was the least of my worries.

Apparently, Husband was working on some home improvement projects, which included adding an all-stone extra room to the front of our house, which he hadn't caulked or mortared or anything, so it had bugs crawling in and out of it. I was completely skeeved out. "You'd better call an exterminator today!" I whispered to him.

The rest of the house was a jumble of tools, building materials, and sawdust, so I wrapped up the tour quickly.

ACT II

I noticed that Husband had brought in the mail and put it on the kitchen table, which he'd moved to the middle of the living room. It was full of odd-shaped packages with my name on them. So I opened them, as one does.

The packages were full of creepy, handmade gifts. I don't really remember them well enough to describe them fully. One was a marionette that kinda looked like a Sally from "Nightmare Before Christmas" gone horribly awry. One was a jar full of red liquid that had things floating in it. One was a big razorblade carved into... something. One was a jar full of clear liquid with tiny colorful things floating in in, and a magnifying glass in the side of the jar so you could see what they were. I did not look. One was a book. I did not read.

Suddenly, Hermione from work was there. [Not her real name, obvs, but I find it fitting, as she, too, is young, awesome, and nerdy.] She explained to me that these gifts were from a group called The Initiates, ominously enough. I had no idea how she knew, since she wasn't part of the group. I supposed it was just one of those things that Millennials know about before anyone else, like The Cloud or emojis.

Upon receiving creepy, handmade gifts from The Initiates, one was supposed to then do three things: One, register on The Initiates website. Two, nominate someone else for the Initiates, who would then receive their own creepy, handmade gifts. Three, The Initiates website would then tell me to whom I was to send my own version of a creepy, handmade gift, which would not be the person I nominated, and to whom I could never reveal myself as the creepy, homemade gift-giver.

Kind of like the most fucked-up chain letter in the world. I immediately knew I would be nominating Hermione, but I didn't tell her. I was also creeped-out that I would never know who gave me the creepy, handmade gifts, since some of them had no address or postage on them and had clearly been brought to my house in person. There could be Initiates in my neighborhood!

I had no idea what kind of weird-ass gift I would be giving to The Initiate Nominee chosen for me, but I started thinking about whether or not it would count if I could just modify a Barbie in some way that would be awful enough. I have a replica of the first Barbie ever made, and she has eyes with white irises. That's pretty unsettling, right?

ACT III

I had little time to ponder my new role as Initiate -- nor figure out where I was going to go to dinner with Lady Boss -- as I came across a set of stairs in my ranch house where there used to be a closet. Odd.

I climbed the stairs to discover that Husband had -- while I was at work, apparently -- added a second story on our house. A master bedroom suite, to be exact. Complete with built-in bookcases, a vaulted ceiling, and some intricate, antique wood trim Husband said he'd found in the attic. (Apparently, Boss Lady had driven me home because Husband was using our car for trips to Home Depot.)

It was a lovely room, full of light and interesting architectural details. The kind of room I'd look at in a magazine and go, "Oooooooh." However, I resented the shit out of the fact that he had designed and built a master bedroom suite -- where I was to sleep every night -- without consulting me on a single thing, or even letting me know it was going to happen. Because I HAVE OPINIONS! Jeebus, Husband, have you met me?!

Worst of all, in the apex of the vaulted ceiling, he'd hung a dozen different windchimes. I HATE windchimes with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning suns!

Well, that was the clincher. I was all, "You didn't consult me on anything." And he was all, "Well, tough." And I was all, "I guess we're getting divorced, then, because this was a dick move." And he was all, "I guess we are."

I wasn't worried, though. I knew The Initiates would totally have my back.

Posted at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2012

Hapless Prey

Owning a kitchen appliance is like having a spouse -- you ignore the things that you don't like because it's not worth the hassle and expense to get a new one. And when you do get a new one, you're like, I can't believe I put up with so much crap for so long!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Billi's husband Brad has apparently gotten it into his head that they need **ALL*NEW*STAINLESS*STEEL*APPLIANCES** in their kitchen. And I thought that was hilarious for two reasons. One, their appliances are way newer -- and way better-looking -- than mine, so I can't imagine not loving them. Two, is this something that guys do? Get worked-up about kitchen appliances? Because, in an extraordinary act of table-turning, I think Husband may have to take away Brad's Man Card.

Anyhoo, when Billi told me about their impending purchases, I drooled over their current dishwasher because mine has so many things to hate about it, I can't even start. Don't put a nickel in me! My biggest problem is that it is old and filthy and impossible to clean. And you KNOW how badly that kind of shit sticks in my craw!

And Billi, having a heart of gold, offered me their old dishwasher, once their new one comes. *swoon* A quiet dishwasher without imbedded, 25-year old grime?! Sign me up! I texted Husband immediately with the proposal but never heard back from him because he was in day-long meetings or some blah-blah thing.

When I asked him about it that night, he said, "Well, if we need a new dishwasher, I'd rather just go buy a new one. Do we need a new one?"

"YES." Barely-contained joy!

"Then let's go to Abt this weekend and look for one."

Oh my God! That worked AWESOME! I totally unintentionally tricked him into thinking that getting a new dishwasher was his idea! I am unintentionally brilliant!

We arrived at Abt at 9:30 on Saturday morning, and an adorable older salesman named Will started talking with us. (Not in a pushy way -- Abt salespeople don't work on commission.) By 10:30, Husband and I had decided to get a new dishwasher, double-oven, stove top, microwave and fridge, but to space them out over the course of the next twelve to eighteen months.

By 11:00, we'd added a garbage disposal, new counter tops, new sink, and we're aiming to have to done by the end of February. Yeah, Will is good.

But also, the more we looked at the new, shiny appliances, the less we were able to ignore what's wrong with our current ones. Our fridge routinely freezes anything we put in the vegetable drawers. Of our double-oven, only one of them opens, and that one has a broken handle. Our stove top is rusting. And our microwave is probably giving me brain cancer. (I've already opined about the dishwasher.)

And NOW I understand why Brad is so jazzed about new appliances. He probably went into the store looking for a replacement handle for his oven and fell hapless prey to the shininess of it all.

So, yeah, [un-socially-acceptable overshare regarding our finances] after we pay off our credit cards with Husband's bonus, we're going to rack them up again with a new kitchen. I guess now that I've mentioned it, I'm obligated to do a Before 'n' After blog of my kitchen. Which means that I have to clean it in order to do the Before photos. Dammit. Me and my big mouth.

Posted at 09:42 AM | Comments (2)

January 09, 2012

Skimming

I go out for lunch just about every day. And on the rare days that I can't find a dining partner, I go home and eat (thank you, seven-minute commute!). I think I've mentioned it before, my strict rule about not staying at one's desk for lunch. It's bad for you on so many levels!

I have many lunch buddies, including Joan, whose boss is a NAZI HARPIE SHREW and micro-manages the shit out of her whole team. Which means that, when Joan and I go to lunch together, we have to stay very close-by, so as not to exceed the 59 minute lunch hour by one second.

There aren't many great places within a two-mile radius, so we usually end up at the same fast-food chain, the name of which I will not mention, out of respect. (It does not sell burgers.)

About a month ago, something a wee bit strange happened there while the cashier was ringing up my order. When I handed her my money, she was all, "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to ring up your drink." But she did give me the empty cup for my drink and gave me back the amount of change that would be correct if she had rung up my drink.

Now, in a perfect world, the assumption would be that she rang up my drink after I'd taken my food and sat down. I didn't see her do it, but it's not my restaurant, and I didn't feel like standing there and making sure she rang up a drink. I did, however, make note of it and file it away in the back of my brain.

On Friday, Joan and I went to lunch again, to the same place, with the same cashier. I was very careful this time to make sure I said, "AND A FOUNTAIN DRINK," very loudly and clearly before she totaled my order.

But she totaled my order anyway. Without the drink. And she mumbled some lame excuse like, "Oh. Sorry. Heh. It's Friday."

Oh, so you only skim money from your employer on Fridays, bitch?

Yeah, bitch is skimming. There's just no way that accidentally happened twice in succession like that. I eat out four times a week, a dozen different places, and the ONLY time I get charged for a drink that the cashier never rang up is twice in the same place, in the same month, by the same person??? No. Not buyin' it.

I didn't say anything then because I didn't want her to associate my face with The Person Who Narked On Her. (And I fo' sho' narked on Little Miss Sticky Fingers.) If she doesn't get fired, I don't want her spitting in my food. And if she does get fired, I don't want her hunting me down and shanking me in the liver.

But before I called the store's manager, I sat on it for a couple days. For my own peace of mind, I wanted to figure out -- why does this particular crime bother me so much? I mean, I could feel my blood pressure go up twenty points when it happened the second time, and I positively obsessed on it all weekend. Without knowing why.

Am I concerned that someone skimming, say, a hundred bucks a week is going to close down one of my regular lunch places? No. Do I particularly give a shit about random petty thievery? No. Am I some kind of zealous justice-seeker who cares passionately about righting every wrong in the world? Honestly, no.

It finally dawned on me Sunday morning -- I don't like that bitch thinking that she pulled one over on me. I mean, clearly she thinks that I have a gullible face because she chose ME twice. And I just can't let that kind of presumption go unpunished. I may have slim to zero street cred, but I'm not completely unsavvy in the ways of the world. I know a skim when I see it, and I knew it the FIRST time she did it. So her REAL crime is thinking that I am DOUBLY stupider than her.

Fuck that. Bitch is GOING DOWN.

I called the store Sunday afternoon and asked to speak to the manager. I told him my whole story, in detail but without using the words bitch, nark or shank. He asked a couple questions but mostly just listened. When I was done, the thanked me profusely, assured me he'd be looking into it, apologized, thanked me again, and we were done.

And I am satisfied. I didn't expect him to be like, "That bitch is toast!" or anything; that'd be unprofessional. After all, he doesn't know me and has know idea that I am both a paragon of honesty and a food service veteran. I'm sure he'll look into it, and I'm gonna give him some time to do that before I go back there again.

When I do go back there again, if she is there and pulls the same crap, I am going to loudly and pointedly make sure I see her ring up my goddamn beverage.

Just because my face is adorable and the picture of sweetness and light doesn't mean that I am gullible.

Posted at 06:28 AM | Comments (1)

December 24, 2011

Wenchie Unplugged

Happy/Merry/Blessed Christhannuza, my minions!

On this eve of most joyous days, I'm takin' it down a few notches and -- instead of my usual brittle babblings -- bringing you a heartwarming tale of a boy, a betrayal, and two boxes.

The Boy Child worked for over a month on his letter to Santa. I saw a rough draft on Thanksgiving, and I suggested that, instead of just going right into his list of demands, he should open with a sentence or two about how good he's been this year.

I got a blank stare in return. Possibly because the art of letter-writing is dead, despite my modest attempts to keep it alive. Or because he knows damn well and good just how many times he has punched a sibling in the head. But I think to think -- because of what happened soon after -- that my gentle nudge sat percolating in his brain.

A couple nights ago, Boy Child finished his letter to Santa, gave it to my sister Billi to mail, and told her, "Don't read it, Mom! You have to promise that you won't read it!"

Billi's immediate thought was, of course, Oh crap, what the hell does he want from Santa? But she promised, and then waited for him to go to bed before busting out the letter. HUGE betrayal of trust, but seriously, we all know that she had to do it, right? Right.

Moving on. After the list of XBox 360 Kinect games, he then asked Santa for...

[And I'm seriously welling up with tears and I write this.]

"A pretty necklace for Mommy and some comfortable shoes for Daddy."

*dab tear* Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard?! *sniff* He wants his Mommy to have pretty things and his Daddy's feet not to hurt after a long day at work! And he's EIGHT! *swoon* Sweetest little boy ever!

*heart-wrenching sigh*

Well. How could Santa not grant such a wish? So Billi had to go out and buy some Crocs slippers for Brad, plus a nice Brighton necklace for herself (because THAT is how dedicated Billi is to making huge sacrifices in order to be a good parent!). And now they have to practice their surprised! faces for Christmas morning.

^ ^
* *
O

[I can't believe I just engaged in a punctuation illustration. Mostly, I just wanted to see if I could do it. It's my first. A Dear Diary moment, indeed.]

Anyhoo, I heard this little story from Billi when she called to ask if I have a shoe box and/or a small jewelry box she could have, to wrap her gifts from Santa.

Pfft. Do I have a shoe box and a jewelry box?! Does the Pope have a funny hat and shiny, red shoes?

Ooooh, now I wanna go look at shiny, red shoes on Zappos...

Uh, where was I? Oh yeah. So, The Boy Child restored my faith in humanity and blah blah blah. At least until I have to drive the 294 expressway again, where I'm sure some dipshit will try to ruin my entire life by doing 65 in the far, left lane. But for tonight, I'm going to snuggle the boy to death and let him have dessert even if he doesn't eat his broccoli.

P.S. I got him a bike for Christmas. Because that's what sweet, precious, little angels get!

Posted at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2011

A Plan for Implementation

Meanwhile, back at work, we are still "living into the new design," i.e. figuring out what the hell we're doing with forty percent of the workforce gone and the other sixty percent doing jobs slightly or very different than they did before.

In their attempt to placate us into thinking that our -- the little peoples' -- opinions matter, the Uppermost Echelon (UME) has decided to poll us on what we think of their lofty, incomprehensible vision for the organization's future.

Which is fine. I think it's cute that they humor us, and I'm happy to humor them right back by giving them a big ol' thumbs-up and saying, "Awesome ideas! Keep up the good work!"

Only, this time... this time, I actually have an opinion. Nay, not just an opinion, little minions, but an IDEA. I know! Can you believe that my no-college-degree-havin' brain actually came up with an IDEA?! And not just an idea, but a plan for implementation, goals, and measures! Holy crap, somebody stop me before I cure cancer!

So I carefully crafted a brief yet intellegent proposal for my idea. I made sure I used UME language, talked about "measureable goals," and made all of my sentences decisive statements, starting none of them with "I think" or "I believe."

I have no idea what I actually said, but I can assure you, it was brilliant. And it summed up my thought that our organization's support staff is a wealth of information and potential, and we need a group to tap all that awesomeness and turn it into cross-training, information-sharing, best practices, and other such admirable results.

I mean, c'mon, UME has their own secret club. Second level managers have their ocassional meetings. Why has it occurred to no one to let support staff be supported and supportive?! (I kind of think that they are scared to let us assemble, not knowing what we might do with our newly-found, collective power!)

Anyhoo, I sent my inspiring, ambitious email -- as instructed -- to the consultant employed by the organization to help us figure out what the hell we're doing, and to Vy, my boss. In return, I got the perfunctory thank-you-for-your-input emails.

Which was a little disappointing. I mean, I did kind of expect Vy to come running out of her office and laud me for showing such brave and daring initiative. But she is probably saving her speech for a more formal ocassion, like my congratulatory dinner or something.

So that was last week. Since then, I've been making a little fantasy football team in my head of who would be the best people for my (as of yet) imaginary task force. And it ocurred to me -- you know who would be awesome at leading this group? ME! I have the ideas! I have the ability to motive people to contribute and get them to work together as a team! I play well with others and don't eat paste!

In my new bible, a book entitled "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office," I learned that one of the reasons that women don't get as much money/respect/benefits/prestige as men is that we don't ask for it. So, I got the notion into my tiny, peon brain that I should ask for what I want, for what I know I could do.

This afternoon, I resent my original idea-email along with this P.S. at the top:

Should the UME decide to implement my suggested plan, I wish to be considered for convener or co-convener of the group.

Haaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Do you believe the balls on this broad?! I am so proud of myself! This may not seem like much of an event to most of you, but to someone used to being "just a waitress/nanny/secretary" for most of my life, showing initiative and openly asking for the UME's trust is a huge, steaming deal! I'm learning to go after the things I want in a corporate setting! Who am I???

And then I got this response from the consultant: "Very cheeky, Wenchie!"

Well, I about burst out in tears right there at my desk. Admonished for being impudent! During my moment of possible glory!

SHIT! Did I overstep my bounds? I wondered. Am I way out of line? Am I being pushy, disrespectful or insubordinate?

You see what kind of ridiculous tailspin being a peon for twenty years has made me prone to? It's disgusting. Besides, who is she to call me insolant? Who is she to smack me down for daring to reach just one tiny finger out of my mud hole? This is why women still struggle so hard in the workplace -- because we don't mentor each other!!!

I wrote back, "Is cheeky good or bad? Because my only exposure to the word comes from Mary Poppins and Monty Python."

She replied, "It's good! I was being friendly! Nothing like those!"

Huge, weather-changing sigh of relief. And I'm glad I asked. She's from Australia, so we do often find ourselves asking each other to define certain words -- her, her Australian lingo; and me, American lingo. I guess, being from the opposite hemisphere as Mary Poppins, cheeky mean bold and saucy! Like a good BBQ -- or as she'd call it, a barbie!

Posted at 06:10 AM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2011

Insert Ark Joke Here, Part I of II

Jeebus H. Wind-surfing Christ, I'm talking about weather for the second blog in a row here. I might as well just put on some overalls, stick a sprig of hay in my mouth and go sit on the front porch. I'm fighting the urge to whittle something as I talk about...

The Big Rain!

I hate myself so much right now. But that's not going to stop me from trying to produce a blog for you, my beloved readers.

So. I don't know when the thunderstorm started because I had my earplugs in. But when the power went off at 2:00 a.m., Husband and I were both immediately and simultaneously awake, like two migrant workers in a coffee bean field. Years of conditioning have taught us that No Power = BAD BAD BAD THINGS HAPPENING.

By 2:15, Husband had the generator hooked up to the sump pump, which, alas, could not keep up with the amount of rain falling... directly into our basement. We stood there watching the waterfull pour into our laundry room. And I don't mean some rivulets were cascading down the wall. I mean there was PROJECTILE FLOODING coming from our window well and shooting into the middle of the room! Seriously, we just stood there. What else could we do?!

Okay, there was one thing we could do. We triaged the basement, in anticipation of the rain never, ever stopping. We moved couches and carried tables. We rolled rugs and put smaller furniture on top of larger furniture.

Long story short -- we didn't lose one Barbie! All that got soaked was a crappy rug from IKEA that we didn't really need anyway. There was much sopping and mopping to do, but all in all, we were very lucky.

My parents, on the other hand, were not so lucky. After deciding at 3:00 a.m. that I probably shouldn't call them, I waited until 8:30 and called them then.

To my inquiries about their basement, my mom replied, "Oh, I don't know. I haven't even looked in the basement."

They live, by the way, four blocks away from us. On the same flood plain we live on! One summer, when I was in high school, the neighborhood we all now live in was accessible only by canoe. Saint Peter at the Gate, why the hell do we live here?!

Rhetorical dramatics aside, since Husband and I were otherwise occupied re-enacting a scene from Last of the Mohicans,...

The Waterfall Scene
Stay alive, no matter what occurs... I will find you!

I called Billi and asked her to check on Mom and Dad. Dad said that they would just "wait for the water to go down" and didn't need help. Luckily, we have learned from experience to ignore what he says. And Mom was more than a little happy that Billi and Brad showed up with a new generator and tons of cleaning supplies.

Know what will make an antique Oriental rug float? Eight inches of water!

To be continued...

Posted at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2011

My Sleeping Disease

I don't think I'm shocking anyone with the bold statement that Chicago weather can kind of suck. We had a thousand feet of snow this winter (secretly awesome), and our Julys and Augusts often include air that you can drink with a straw. Kinda like now. It's not weather for sissies, but I've lived here all my life, so the weirdness and extremes are something that I hardly take notice of. I'm neither farmer nor meteorologist, so I do not -- and WILL NOT -- engage in discussions about the weather, other than The sky sure is pretty today.

That being said, this spring was particularly dark and dreary, even by Chicago standards. And I'm not saying this as a complaint because I do not discuss weather; I'm merely informing my non-Chicago-dwelling readers. Both of them. And I found myself thinking, I hope that was what spring was like in 1986. You see, in 1986, I slept through spring.

Yeah, I forgot to set my alarm.

No, not really. I had mono.

Wait, back up. My boyfriend at the time had mono the prior winter. But I visited him, thinking that, since mono is known as "the kissing disease," if I didn't kiss him, I'd be fine.

Wrong! Despite his mother wiping down everything he touched with Lysol, I caught it. And let the record show that he did not visit me while I had mono. Douche.

Anyhoo, shortly after my blood test showed positive for mono in March and I took to bed (much like Beth in "Little Women" -- My sewing needle has become so very heavy, Marmee), Mommie Dearest was gone for a few hours to attend a Circle meeting.

[For those of you who don't worship Mommie Dearest's particular flavor of deity, "Circle" is a group of women meeting for snacks, Bible study, and probably lots of kabitzing. It may be solely a Midwestern-Reformist thing, but I'm not sure.]

She was probably a little worried about leaving her deathly ill teenager alone for several hours, so she had our pastor call me to check-in, oh, about midway through her meeting. And she warned me to listen for the phone because, if I didn't answer, the pastor would assume something was amiss and send a S.W.A.T. team over.

So there I was, coccooned in my blue and white bedroom, the beatific faces of Duran Duran watching over me. By the way, mono "the kissing disease" is also known as "the sleeping disease" because that's all you do all day is sleep. Literally, for twenty or so hours a day. It's creepy.

Imagine -- I was feverish, pumped full of drugs, and the blood had pooled in the right side of my body from sleeping in one position for so long. The phone rang, and this was in the days before cordless phones, so I actually had to get up to answer it. Get up and go to another room. Unthinkable, now!

And as you might expect, I fainted on the way to the phone. Dropped right to the hallway floor, like the rabid dog shot dead in the street by Atticus Finch. Well, I don't remember much after that, except I'm pretty sure Mom came home early from her Circle meeting.

Two weeks into my affliction, Mommie Dearest and Dad went to Norway. I'm not making this up. They left the country to go galavanting around Scandihoovia, riding reindeer, buying wool sweaters and cruising through fjords. It's not like I had the sniffles, people!

Their excuse was that "it had already been planned" before I got sick. Besides, they had my older sister and her husband to pawn me off to! And they lived right next door! It was the perfect plan! I often wonder exactly how thrilled Spikette was about having to babysit her sick, undoubtedly crabby sister while our parents were living it up among the herring and akvavit for two weeks. Probably not very.

But for me, staying with them had perks that I undoubtedly would have had to do without, had it turned out that my parents were home.

One, I didn't have to climb any stairs. My brother-in-law carried my sorry ass up and down the stairs. (That was back before my metabolism died, so I was much more carriable.) In the morning, before they went to work, he carried me up to their bedroom so I could sleep the day away in their waterbed. Sweet! And in the evening, he carried me back downstairs to the couch so I could eat my one food item for the day, watch a little t.v., and fall asleep for the night.

Two, my one food item for the day was, for two weeks straight, an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Now, I'm not going to say that it was a completely selfless act for them to run to Dairy Queen every night. After all, they undoubtedly got something for themselves. Still, it was pretty cool of them not to lecture me about nutrition or anything. Indulge the sick person -- Yay!

Eventually, my folks returned from their globetrotting, and I was returned to my own bed, but I hardly noticed. I basically fell asleep in March and woke up in May. Completely missed spring! Snow on the ground; eyes close. Eyes open; tulips blooming. Crazy sauce!

All in all, I missed six weeks of school. Technically, I shouldn't have passed a lot of my classes, since I didn't even do any of the homework. But that's the beauty of being a middle-of-the-road student. No one had such high expectations of me that I disappointed them, and I wasn't in any advanced classes that require a ridiculous amount of work just to pass. Other the other hand, I had at least set precedence that I'm not a total slacker, so all my teachers gave me a pass.

"Meh, she would have done the work," they said. "So we'll just pretend that she did."

I was well-liked enough that no one wanted to fail me. Personality counts, people! You never knew when you're going to need a pass, so try not to piss anyone off! (Wow, how was I not validictorian?)

Posted at 06:09 AM | Comments (3)

July 01, 2011

And THIS Is Why I Don't Go Into the City

So I was having Chinese food with Heather, on one of her rare appearances in the suburbs, and she was telling me about her new apartment and the surrounding neighborhood, some of which is not ghetto.

Heather: On the corner by my house, there is this anticipated tequila bar coming soon. There have been write-ups about it already, and it's not even open, yet.

PW: How does that happen?

H: Well, they have some world famous tequila sommelier coming to work there.

PW: A what?

H: It's like a wine sommelier, but with tequila.

PW: Yeah, I figured that out. I just can't believe it's an actual job.

H: I once knew I guy who was a grappa sommelier.

PW: I didn't realize there was enough grappa in the world to warrent a sommelier.

H: I know, right?

PW: I'd love to be a pudding sommelier. Wouldn't that be an awesome job?

H: YES!

PW: I should get business cards. Wenchala McPirate: Pudding Sommelier. I could totally pull that off. I mean, you can't prove I'm not a pudding sommelier.

H: I wanna be cheese monger. Because I really like cheese.

PW: Cheese monger would be a great profession. You could have goats!

H: Yes, but as I live in an apartment right now, I can't have goats. So I can't mong.

PW: You are mong-less.

H: I long to mong.

At that point, my laughter was so unflatteringly out-of-control that I couldn't even apologize to Heather for her having to wipe my chewed-up Kung Pao Chicken off her face. Of course, she was quite taken by hysteria herself, so she probably didn't even notice the small piece of peanut in her eyebrow.

Eventually, we composed ourselves and drove over to Heather's new crib, which is quite sweet. She and Mr. Heather (have I ever given him a name...?) each have their own bathroom. The ceiling is high and vaulted. There are skylights and many large windows. It's quite architectually awesome. But the pièce de résistance is inarguably the taxidermied kudu head in the foyer, which came with the apartment.

The Kudu, native to Africa.

After the tour, we sat down to catch up on the various aspects of our lives, as the grey-green storm clouds gathered outside.

H: So how are the dogs? Daisy is feeling better?

PW: Yeah, she's fine. But frankly, my dogs have outlived my love of owning dogs. I'm tired of fur and pee. Once they're gone, I think that's it for a while.

H: Will you get more once you have your hobby farm and they can be outside dogs?

PW: No. No more animals. Only foliage. I wanted a couple of pygme goats, but then I found out that, when you go on vacation for a week, you can't just leave the goats in the field and let them fend for themselves. You have to, like, get someone to take care of your goats. Which is ridiculous. I mean, in Peru, the goatherders just take the goats up to the mountains and let them fend for themselves for weeks on end! Do I need to get Peruvian goats? Apparently, Midwestern goats just aren't that savvy.

Heather's Husband: Um, there's a lot more land in the Peruvian mountains than you will probably have on your hobby farm.

You know, I really hate it when someone interjects sense into me and Heather's conversation.

PW: Anyway, I will only get an animal if it can bring some huge benefit to my life. Like a Clydesdale that can move my furniture.

H: Ohmigawd, AWESOME! Can you imagine how skinny I'd look standing next to a Clydesdale?!

PW: It's the perfect accessory pet! And I can braid that hair they have around their ankles and put bows in it!

H: Like those muckluck boots that were so popular last year!

PW: Muckluck is a GREAT name for a Clydesdale! Or Kevin!

H: Or Peanut!

PW: Or Bitsy!

Heather's Husband knew better than to try to interject more sense at this point. It would be futile.

And then the hail came.

You know, high ceilings, sky lights, and lots of big windows are all well and good until it is HAILING JEEBUS' WRATH, and then it's like being in a fucking hamster cage. Modern architecture is just no match for a smoting from the Lord. I refused to look at the skylights because I knew that, once the frogs started falling, the skylights were not going to be pretty.

Being smoted sucks. We waited it out, much like the ancient Egyptians, but being so glad -- on many levels -- that none of us had a firstborn son. Or any offspring, for that matter. I called Husband to tell him that I was essentially trapped at Heather's, and the car probably has hail damage.

And he was all, "Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Hey, I'm watching The Last Samuri here."

Oh, okay, well, don't let me concern you with my petty problem of trying to drive home on the expressway during an act of God.

The streets were very autumn-esque, there were so many leaves covering the pavement. My car had so much foliage on it, it looked like a parade float.

Once I got on the expressway, things were fine. It hadn't rained one drop in Wenchieville. Apparently, the locals sacrificed a couple of pretentious, douchebag sommeliers, which abated Jeebus' wrath right away. That's right -- we suburbanites can be every bit as resourceful as you urbanites!

Posted at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

June 25, 2011

That's the Night That the Lights Went Out in Georgia

I live in a fairly affluent town. I'm not bragging; I'm just setting up the story here, so bear with me and don't go getting all huffy like I'm trying show off. With the way my hair has looked this week, I have no case for being uppity, but I'll get to that in a bit.

So, I live in a fairly affluent town. Granted, I live in the ghetto section with all one-story houses and small yards, but we pay some pretty hefty property taxes. Therefore, I DO NOT expect my property to be plunged into darkness every damn time the wind blows. And yet, it is, although usually briefly -- just long enough to make me have to reset all the damn clocks in the house.

On Tuesday morning, the weather people predicted severe thunderstorms and hail, to begin at 7:00 that evening. Well, it held off until 8:30, and then it KICKED US SQUARE IN THE NUTS. Luckily, I was able to hit Finish Order on Zappos.com before the lights started to flicker and my computer had a stroke. Because I need some grey sandals to go with the grey skirt that the automated, order-filling email-robot at J. Jill has assured me is on its way.

Anyhoo, the lights went off and on a few times... and then stayed off. And once the power outage hit the five minute mark, I knew we were in for the long haul. Immediately, I stopped beating myself up for being too lazy to go shopping after work, so my fridge wasn't full of soon-to-be-rotting groceries.

Husband got out the battery-powered transistor AM radio that he keeps around for just such ocassions, and the little man in the box told us to go in our basement because there was a tornado warning in our area. The up-side of that was that it's nice and cool in our basement, and with our A/C not on -- and with Husband's COMPLETE INABILITY to keep the back door closed -- it was rapidly getting quite warm and sticky in the house.

[Seriously! Why can't the man keep the damn door closed?! I told him TWICE! But no, he had to keep going out on the back porch to watch the storm, leaving the back door open to let the increasing humidity encroach on our disapating air conditioning. It's like he was deliberately trying to make me miserable! Pfft! See if I make him awesome meatloaf dinner again anytime soon!]

I wheedled away the time trying to send texts. From my basement. During a raging storm. With little success. But it kept me amused and from bludgeoning Husband to death with a flashlight.

Well, the storm raged itself out pretty quickly, and the rain was down to a drizzle, but the lights didn't come back on. Husband brought out the camping lantern (Can you believe we even own a fucking camping lantern?! Must've been a wedding gift or something.), and I was at a loss for what I could do by lantern light. It would have to be something I could do within three feet of the lantern and didn't require any technology. Suicide entered my mind as an option, but I changed my mind when I remembered that I had fudge in the house.

Then I remembered that, earlier that day, I had been sitting at my desk with my legs crossed like a man (ankle on knee), and I noticed that my brown leather sandals were looking dry and worn. Heavens to Betsy! That simply won't do!

I got out my shoes and my beeswax, and I slowly rubbed beeswax into the leather, restoring some of it original luster. Do you believe that shit? Waxing my shoes by lantern light! Practically darning my socks by the fire! I'm a pioneer woman! Except not exactly like a pioneer woman because I got bored after finishing only one of the shoes and went to bed.

Bed sucked. No A/C. No fan. Ick, ick, ick. Husband stayed in the basement to keep an eye/ear on the sump pumps, so he was nice and cool. But that's too much like camping for me, and I'd already had enough faux-camping for one night. I set the alarm on my cell phone and proceeded to toss and turn and sweat. And it's a good thing I thought to set my phone, too, because by morning, the power still hadn't come back on.

You see where this is going. You know how I felt about primping and preparing in my dark, hot, electricity-deficient house. But I'm going to bitch about it anyway.

I took a cold shower, not because our water heater is electric, but because I was projectile sweating. Even after the shower. Oh, what joy. Love to sweat through my deodorant before even getting my bra on. Makes me feel so feminine. Needless to say, I put off getting dressed until the last possible moment, lest I needed to find a new outfit before I even got a chance to brush my teeth.

But my biggest worry was, of course, my hair. In world where power tools are necessary to achieve the bangs perfection set forth by Xena and Gabrielle, the thought of appearing in public without the use of either hairdryer or straightening iron chilled my soul.

The greeting I gave my co-workers on Wednesday morning was to sternly inform them NOT to look at my hair. Which is very drama-queen-ish and of course makes them immediately look at my hair to see what I'm trying to hide. But I had to address it, lest they think for a MOMENT that I had looked in the mirror that morning and thought, Awwww, yeah, baby -- THIS is the look I'm going for!

On the other hand, the wingy, wonky bangs at least distracted them from the fact that I wasn't wearing any eye shadow. I know -- can you believe I had the courage to leave the house? I should get a parade or a medal or something. At least a cookie.

I did manage to get some eyeliner and mascara on my eyelids, but mastering the subtlety of eye shadow requires better light than the stripes of orange coming through my blinds. Yes, my darlings, weep with me. I did my make-up by the light of the sunrise. Much like those women on the American frontier, having to get their eyeliner straight while being jostled around in the back of a covered wagon.

I just... I don't think I can talk about it anymore. Going to work with my hair in a wet ponytail, my bangs doing everything but lying perfectly flat. Entertaining my modern brain by lamp light. Showering in the dark.

Bottom line -- it was like camping in my own home. Camping. In my home.

*wimper* Hold me, Heather.

Get a room!

Posted at 06:26 AM | Comments (2)

April 13, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Change

I think Husband's crotch is magnetized. And I say this because the man accumulates pocket change at a rate that defies any other explanation. How many cash purchases can a man possibly make in one day?! Is he playing the saxaphone, badly, in the subway for loose change?

So when I do laundry every week, I empty out his pockets (because, no, I have not been successful in training him to do this himself) and put the change in a pretty pottery jar on our kitchen counter. And once a month, I empty the pretty pottery jar of change into a big, yellow, plastic tumbler. And twice a year, I take the tumbler to the bank and dump it into the coin counting machine and deposit thirty to fifty dollars into our auxilary bank account.

(Essentially, this is how we are paying for Older Step Daughter's wedding.)

Today was the day I was going to go to the bank after work. I put the very-full tumbler in the beverage holder next to me and drove to work quite uneventfully. However, I didn't want to just leave the cup there for the whole day.

It's like, "Hello, petty thieves! Please break into my car and do five hundred dollars worth of damage for thirty dollars of change!"

I don't think so. So I put the cup behind the passenger seat, where no one would see it because our back windows are tinted. You see where this is going, don't you? Uh-huh.

When Padawan and I went to lunch, I pulled out of my parking space, put the car in drive, and... SCHLINGGGGGGGGGGGGG! The pretty, tinkling sound of change spilling all over the floor of the back seat of my car.

Shit.

Well, I wasn't about to stop and waste precious lunch minutes picking up change, so I just drove to the deli and listened to the puddle of change spread ever farther each time I turned a corner, braked or accelerated. A constant reminder of my non-existant short-term memory.

I was too disheartened by my own stupidity to go to the bank after work, so I went home and had some chocolate, in order to steel myself for what had to be done. I found an old dog treat container -- with a lid -- and leaned into the back of the car, treating all my neighbors to the sight of my fat, yoga-pants-clad ass.

"Hello, commuters getting off the train and walking home! Please enjoy the cotton-and-spandex goodness of -- almost literally -- the junk in my trunk!"

I put all the change in an empty dog treat container -- with a lid. Did I mention that?

Good dog!

Moral of the Story
Buy a car so that you don't have to take the train home and get off at the stop by my house and be subjected to the vision of my butt sticking outta my car. You'll thank me later. (What -- you thought I was going to caution you again driving with a huge open container of coins?)

Posted at 06:23 PM | Comments (3)

January 27, 2011

Happily Never After

Hey, you know how the sequel is never as good as the original movie or book or fairy tale or whatever? Well, this is no different. The plot is contrived, the characters are rehashed, and the acting is hollow. However, it may win an award for make-up and costuming because the star looks FABULOUS!

When we last left Princess Wenchie, she had thrown off the accursed shackles of enslavement and sashayed into the sunset in search of her own destiny. But destiny is a son-of-a-bitch, and the PhDragon isn't the only weird-ass thing in the forest.

The first town Wenchie happened upon was a lovely place called Sabbatical. It had plenty of book stores and chocolate stores and free wi-fi, so she took a room at a charming little inn. At some point, she planned to get a job at the local bakery or milliner. But for the foreseeable future, she was quite content singing to wishing wells, entertaining suitors for her hand, and feeding breadcrumbs the mermaids down by the pond.

One day, Wenchie was out for a stroll and came upon a creek in the forest. There was a stone bridge for crossing, but when she stepped foot on it, there came a terrible -- and strangely familiar -- voice from underneath.

"Good afternoon, pretty princess. How odd that we should run into one another so far from the castle."

It was HR Troll #2! Wenchie nearly crapped her bloomers!

"What do you want? Why have you followed me?"

"I missed you, dear one. We've ALL missed you. Why, the Queen herself sent me to find you and bring you back to the castle... for a six month contract."

"You're kidding."

"No! She asked for you special!"

"What happens after the six months?"

"Who can say? Perhaps she will keep you on forever. Perhaps she will cast you aside in favor of another. I'm a troll, not a wizard!"

"No. I won't be a slave anymore! Leave me!"

"Who said anything about slavery? The Queen would pay you, my dear. And pay you well!"

"How well?"

"A treaure chest of gold and silver!"

"How big of a ch-- oh, why am I even listening to you?! Be gone, foul temptress!"

"Fine. But this offer is only good until midnight tomorrow. After that... um..."

"I turn into a pumpkin?"

"Sure, let's go with that."

And Wenchie fled back to her cozy room at the inn. There, she flung herself on her bed, weeping woefully, her dainty teardrops glistening prettily on her long, sooty lashes.

"Oh, pity me, cold universe! Cast your soulless, uncaring eyes down upon this clueless princess! What the fuck am I to do?"

*ribbit*

Wenchie looked up to find a tiny toad sitting on the windowsill by her bed. It seemed to look right at her.

*ribbit*

"Tell me, little toad, are you, by chance, an enchanted amphibian, come to save me from my conundrum, in exchange for turning you back into a handsome prince?"

"Well, yes and no," replied the toad. "I am enchanted, but I'm not a prince."

"Huh. Well, whatever. What is your sage advice, o wisened froggie?"

"A chest of silver and gold is nothing to sneeze at. They must really want you, or they would have just pulled some scullery maid from the kitchen to do the job. That counts for something, even if it isn't the guarantee of ever after that is your heart's desire."

"Go on."

"The bottom line is this. Even if they do screw you over and banish you from the land in six months, at least, when you are job hunting, the most recent thing on your resumé will be a very pretigious position, and you can begin negotiations by telling prospective employees that your previous boss gave you a chest of shiny, precious coins."

"That does make sense. Could it be that they've finally realized my worth, and are truthful about not knowing what the future looks like?"

"I don't know. I'm an enchanted toad, not a wizard. Now pucker up; we have a deal."

Wenchie pursed her glossy lips and leaned forward, wondering what her future husband would be. Blacksmith? Woodsman? Mason? She kissed the tiny toad, and *POOF* From a cloud of smoke and glitter emerged... a young, pretty Korean lady.

"Hi! I'm Padawan."

"Wow. Not what I expected," Wenchie admitted.

"Yeah, well, if this fairy tale has a moral, it's that the world never fails to surprise."

"I hates morals."

"I know. How do you feel about lattés?"

So the two checked out of the inn and shopped every store and market on the road to the castle. After all, a prestigious, new position warrants a fabulous, new wardrobe.

God save the Queen.

Posted at 06:59 AM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2011

Happy Ending

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Wenchie. Like Belle, she loved to read and sing. Like Sleeping Beauty, she loved to nap. Like Rapunzel, she had long, lush hair. Like Tinkerbell, she was jealous and vindictive. In short, she was the very best of all princesses, wrapped into one package... and sprinkled with the fairy dust of Snow White's Evil Stepmother the Queen.

Now, because this is the Cliff Notes version of this fairy tale, I will not recount the many and various trials that Princess Wenchie went through in her search for bliss. Suffice to say that there were two trolls, a dragon named PhD, and a champion. And if you're new and need more back story than that, click here for a great way to waste an entire day of your life that you'll never get back.

When we last left our heroine, she was down to single digits in her Countdown to Freedom, i.e. the day the magic spell would be lifted and Wenchie freed from indentured servitude. As of her return from her extended holiday vacation, she had but nine risings and settings of the sun remaining.

As you may recall, Wenchie had tried many, many times to escape the clutches of the enchanted cubicle that held her prisonor, to no avail. The invisible bonds of the spell were much too strong, and every time she thought she had found the right magic to defeat them, she was only clutched tighter to the bosom of the beast.

Tuesday began like any other day. Wenchie rose to do her chores before sunrise, and then the little forest creatures dressed her, brushed her long, lush hair, and the birdies applied her make-up with their soft, tiny wings. (Except for the finches because they're always too heavy with the eyeliner.)

Upon arriving in the dungeon, an HR Troll slithered into Champion's quarters, upon his request, for a closed-door chat. Upon emerging from said meeting, Champion approached Wenchie's cube -- cape fluttering and eyes twinkling.

"Can you work two more weeks, through the end of January?" he asked quietly.

Her senses dulled by the spell he wove, Wenchie nodded and agreed, thereby sealing her fate, dooming her to yet another extension of her sentence. The prize she so desparately sought -- the prize of freedom -- was again moved out of her reach. Her eyes glazed over as she tried to pretend to be happy to be earning one more paycheck, but deep in her heart, she was miserable.

A dark cloud hung over Wenchie. She couldn't sleep. She turned down chocolate. Slowly, a plan began to form in her charm-addled brain. What if she was just like that blind idiot Dorothy? What if she, all along, had held the power to leave...? How fucking annoying! I hate it when fairy tales (or The Simpsons) have an obvious moral!

Summoning all her strength, Wenchie crept into the dragon's lair and cried, "I'm not staying another two weeks! My future does not lie within these walls! I am leaving to find my destiny!"

To her shock, the dragon did not breath fire at her or rip her to shreds with his talons. He merely nodded his grotesque, scaly head and looked at her with resignation, and even a little begrudging respect. He removed the enchanted shackles from her ankles and let her go.

Next, Wenchie went to the throne room and told her Champion, "Look, thanks for your repeated efforts to save me, but I don't need to be rescued anymore. I'm going to rescue myself. Starting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday the 14th. Farewell, and thanks for all the porridge."

And she lived...

~ HaPPiLY ~
~ eVeR ~
~ aFTeR! ~
Posted at 08:54 AM | Comments (2)

December 24, 2010

On the Day of the Full Moon Winter Solstice Eclipse

Because I am an idiot, I left the acquisition of a Walmart gift card, for younger step daughter (Y.S.D.), to the week of Christmas. Mind you, I do not begrudge the dear child a Walmart gift card. I mean, could she be any more practical and easy to please? If only Husband and Billi were so down-to-earth.

But even as I say that, I know in my heart it's a lie. Because I shopped for Billi and Husband exclusively online (except for some candy, purchased at Target). And I stupidly left Y.S.D.'s for the last minute. I mean, I had all her stocking stuffers -- I'm not an animal, for God's sake. I just forgot that there is no Walmart in the area that doesn't have five miles of road construction between it and me.

So. I was at work, and I got on Google Maps, I did a Search, and I found a Walmart in a neighboring town that I didn't know what there. What luck! Such glee! I printed the directions on company paper using company ink from the company Xerox machine (relishing in the ability to steal for a little while longer), and I was off!

But Google sent me to a trailer park. Which is disappointing because I switched to Google from Mapquest years ago because Mapquest once sent me to a casino intead of Lola's house. I should have known something was fishy when the address of the alleged Walmart location and the street name on the map did not match. Alas, I trusted Google instead of my instincts. Curse you, Google! Your all-knowing attitude caused me to doubt myself! How can I ever trust again? How can I ever love again...

I ended up just going to one of the Walmarts surrounded by road construction, and it wasn't too bad. Nor was finding the gift card display, nor checking out with my purchase (plus a box of Bottle Caps -- a rare find!). No, the real trouble started after I departed the Walmart parking lot.

It was as if God was saying, See? Nay-sayer! Walmart isn't so bad, you bloody snob! You wanna see bad? I'll GIVE you BAD! And then He smote me.

God sent one of his angels down to plant within me the desire to eat without getting out of my car. And he set a McDonald's in my way. And lo, thus did I order of the cheeseburger, and of the fries, and of the egg nog shake. And the Lord spake, and He pronounced it good.

But my body told me otherwise. The verdict is in, and I am officially too old to be eating McDonald's anymore. Ever again. Ever. I mean, do they put roofies in their special sauce? I have been known to eat some ridiculously shitty food in my day, people. But I've had more energy after consuming an entire box of Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese than I did after that one damn cheeseburger and small fry.

By the time I reached the parking garage back at work, everything was a chore. Pressing the button to lower my window, reaching my arm out to wave my key card in front of the box, putting the car in park, picking up my purse. I'll never know how I made the walk all the way back to my desk. I'm sure it was the blaring alarm of the car by the elevators that helped me remain awake.

Once there, I quickly discovered that I had left my regular glasses in the car. Which explains the clatter when I grabbed my purse -- my glasses falling out. For a while, I did my work wearing my prescription sunglasses. But after explaining to the fourth person why I looked like Bono, I set my mind to the unholy quest back to the parking garage to retrieve my glasses.

When I finally summoned my body to return to my car, thirty minutes after decided to do so, I was assulted by the same damn car alarm that was going off when I left for my trip to the trailer park! Double-U-tee-eff? The security people are usually much more on top of those things. Oh, wait -- we don't have security in the parking garage anymore. Please, come break into my car, hooligans! Enjoy the John Denver Christmas CDs! And don't bother stealing my super-cool sunglasses because you won't be able to see out of them!

The moral of this story is: Don't eat McDonald's if you want to function properly. Or is it, don't leave your shopping to the last minute? Or is it, if you hear a clatter in your car, check and see what it was before getting out? No, I'm sticking with the first one.

I wonder if their breakfasts have the same effect on me now, or if I can still indulge in the ocassional sausage biscuit...?

Posted at 07:13 AM | Comments (3)

November 12, 2010

Clueless

You've heard the old axiom -- "While the cat's away, the mice shall play." Well, while PhD Boss was oh-so-conveniently traveling on my birthday, my REAL work-friends showered me with an embarassment of riches. (Which gives way to a mental picture of me naked, and gold coins raining down upon me. My arms are up in the air; I'm smiling and laughing and doing the Snoopy dance. Luckily for the retenas of the world, that's not what happened.)

I walked into the office at 7:30 a.m. on Friday to find a hot pink "Barbie Girl" tiara and a bowl of chocolate candy waiting for me. (As fashion fate would have it, I was wearing dark colors, allowing the tiara to be the focal point of my ensemble.) Now, that's pretty friggin' awesome in its own right. Tiara + Chocolate = Both of Wenchie's primary needs met -- Primary Need #1 being My Need To Be the Center of Attention. Pretty hard to ignore the crazy lady wearing a tiara in the copy room!

But I was to find, as the day went on, that there were even more amazing things awaiting me!

I knew that we were going to be ordering pizza -- me, Alpha, Head Boss, B.A. (the woman in the cube on the side that Alpha's not in, who is technically in another department, but hates her department, so she hangs out with us), and Scott, from the department near us that got downsized to TWO PEOPLE. (Scott is musical and gay and irreverent, so I couldn't be more pleased that he's basically forced to socialize with us or become a hermit.)

(There is way too much going on parenthetically in this post. I apologize.)

Pizza was to arrive at noon, and at about 11:30, I was getting antsy and wanted to walk around. So I got plates, napkins, etc. and put them in our little private library because that's where I assumed we'd be eating lunch. As I was walking back to my desk, Alpha accosted me.

"Where were you???"

"I just put plates and stuff in the library."

"We're not eating in there!"

"Oh, well, I--"

"You're not allowed to do anything! Now go back to your desk and sit down!"

Okaaaaaaaaaay. Weird. But kind of adorable, too, not wanting the birthday girl to lift a finger. I could go for being doted upon.

Suddenly, it was noon, and I was being escorted to the conference room right across from our cubicles. A conference room that was swathed in pink and lavendar and more pink and Barbie's vapid smile! There was Barbie tablecloth, Barbie plates, Barbie napkins, Barbie cups, Barbie centerpiece! It was as if Mattel had vomited on our lunch table!

I couldn't believe it! When the hell did they decorate the conference room, and how I did not notice?! Damn, I really am in my own, little world. And no wonder Alpha didn't want me walking around or setting up in the library!

So we closed the door and ate. We are blessed to have one of Chicago's finest pizza places in our building complex. In fact, it's my favorite deep dish in all of Chicago. Lunch of champions!

Now, I have a thing about lunch. Unless you are a firefighter or brain surgeon, you should never, ever, ever work through lunch. Get your ass up, get away from your computer, grab a friend, leave the building, and eat something yummy. You're not doing yourself any favors by trying to impress people with your Hardcore, Lunch-Skipping Dedication To Your Employer. You're just making it look like you can't handle your shit, so go check out the flavor of the day at Culver's, for God's sake.

I always take my full hour (and then some) for lunch. But half an hour after we started eating, we were done. Only half of my lunch hour was used up! I prayed that they wouldn't all go back to their desks, where the rest of them normally eat lunch. (Freaks!)

Luckily, Alpha started asking stupid questions, like, "What was your favorite party game as a child?" and "Did you ever play any make-out games in high school?"

So I answered them and explained to Head Boss the forced, flop-sweat-inducing awkwardness of Seven Minutes In Heaven. He's a reverend, in case you forgot, and found it fascinating. Pure. Awesome.

Then Scott, who travels all over the world playing liturgical music for various and sundry services, started telling stories about bishops and pastors and cardinals and nuns and deacons. My favorite one was about the right-wing Christian who was horrified to find out that there might be gay people at the church music convention she was attending.

Scott was like, "Are you kidding?! We're a bunch of church organists! Hellooooooooo! You might as well be at a hairdressers' convention!"

I love him. Anyway, halfway through lunch, I had taken off my tiara because it is, of course, made for a child's head and, therefore, was pretty tight on mine. At 1:00 exactly, as if on cue, everyone stood up and made to go back to their desks.

Head Boss said to me, "You should put your tiara back on."

And I was like, "I will later. I'm giving my skull a rest."

But he used his Father Knows Best voice and said, "I'm asking you to put on your tiara."

What the--? Okay. I knew something was up. I looked at the closed conference room door, which they were waiting for me to open, and was filled with terror. Clearly, there was someone on the other side of it, and I was going to have to find out... in my tiara.

I opened the door and was completely blown away by the sight that greeted me. There was more Barbie decorations, half a dozen of my bestest work friends, and a friggin' BARBIE CAKE!!!

A BARBIE CAKE!!!

For ME! I couldn't believe it! Sure, I've made one for The Girl Child, but I never thought someone would get me one of my own!

I must admit -- this sea-faring, embittered, world-weary pirate teared-up a little looking at the wonderful, thoughtful ladies who bought me a Barbie cake. Or maybe it was just a little sea water in my eye. Either way, I hope no one noticed.

So, apparently, the reason why Alpha was asking ridiculous questions after lunch, and everyone else made sure that we stayed in that room for the full one hour, was because the rest of my friends were just outside the room, silently setting up for dessert. I tell ya, dem bitches are sneaky!

I also found out that B.A.'s husband had, sometime that morning, picked up the cake from the bakery and delivered it here. I never saw B.A. and Alpha go get it from him, and I had no idea that it was sitting in a cube ten feet away! I am so flippin' clueless!

First the secretly decorated lunch room, then the surprise Barbie cake dessert gathering -- thank God they've chosen to use their powers for good and not evil. I'm sure, if we all put our heads together, we could take over this organization. But it wouldn't be nearly as rewarding as red velvet cake.

Posted at 09:47 AM | Comments (1)

October 29, 2010

My Brush with the Law

Over the weekend, I attended a HUGE doll and toy show at a state fairground with Husband, Big Gay Joe, Lola, and Mr. Lola (who probably doesn't need a name other than that, as he is super-reserved and will probably never annoy or shock me enough to warrant a post of his own -- sorry, but "really sweet" just doesn't win you a place on Wenchie's blog!).

And to say that we all attended the same event at the same time does not mean that we were actually there together, no, no, no. Husband looked at antique farm toys (I KNOW!), Mr. Lola scoured the vintage Star Wars collectibles for something he may not yet own, Joe fussed over the antique dolls, which Lola and I dug through the bargain bins of Barbies and Barbie outfits.

Well, now that I've brought it up, and although it has nothing to do with the actual point of this blog, I'll tell you what we all bought. Husband bought an adorable, red, toy tractor and haggled the guy down from $45 to $30! I'm so proud! Mr. Lola found a rare Princess Leia action figure (they're not dolls when straight men play with them). Joe bought a creepy bag of vintage Ginny parts and hopes to piece together four or more Ginnys from them. Lola scored a mint, Sonny Bono doll, and people, it is the SHIT, lemme tell ya! And I got a Silkstone Barbie-of-color that I'd been wanting for a while now. Need a soul sistah on my shelf!

Anyhoo, as I was driving Joe home from our little excursion, doing about 20 mph down a very crowded, two-land Chicago street, I noticed a truck with flashing lights behind me. I pulled over so the ambulance could pass,... and the damn thing pulled behind me! I got pulled over! Me! Wenchie! Model citizen! Upstanding contributor to society!

But since it's never a good idea to express one's outrage to the po-po, I turned off my car, got our my driver's license and insurance card, and put my hands on the wheel and ten and two. I didn't want to give Officer Friendly any reason to draw his weapon and pistol-whip me.

Thank you, dear Husband of mine, for losing the license plate renewal sticker application and emmissions test notice on your disturbingly untidy desk. For it brought Officer Gorgeous into my life, if only for a brief time. He was courteous, soft-spoken, and completely professional, and his blue eyes danced and he explained that he'd just give me a warning instead of taking my driver's license and issuing a ticket. Thank you, Pretty Po-Po! I'll go get my sticker tomorrow!

I pulled away, after putting on my turn signal and checking my mirrors and blindspot. Joe had wisely kept silent during the entire exchange and waited until I closed the window before speaking up.

"Too bad he let you off. I was going to offer to blow him to get you out of a ticket."

Isn't that sweet? He is, indeed, a true friend.

Posted at 11:53 AM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2010

He's a Lumberjack and He's Okay

This is the tree that needed to come down. It looks like Dr. Seuss' back yard because Husband already cut all the dead branches off, as high as he could reach. On a ladder with a hand saw. I was in the kitchen with the window open and the phone nearby, listening for The Accident.

Cat in the hat, bee on a tree.

Cousin Ramone came over to help Husband, despite my aunt's certainty that someone was going to lose a limb!!! Isn't it cute how he's wearing plaid? That's Ramone holding the ladder for Husband, who is tying a big rope to the top of the tree.

No, not a slip knot!

We gave Ramone the honor of making the first cut. And uttering the first profanity.

Dammit!

"This blade is dull as shit." So he exchanged his gas-powered saw for Dad's electric saw, which was nice because it wasn't as loud. At 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday.

Took five minutes to make a one-inch cut.

I told Husband to be the one holding the rope that steered the tree to its final resting place. If someone was going to hit the house or take out a telephone wire, I thought it should be the homeowner. Nothing ruins Thanksgiving dinner like a lawsuit!

Who is that masked woman?

This is an action-shot of the tree actually falling.

Timberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Taking a photo of falling trees is not only difficult to time, it's also kinda stupid.

D'oh!

The tree and its trunk, parted for all of eternity.

Parting is such sweet sorrow!

All the crap behind our shed is now entirely too visible. Note to self: add this to Husband's To Do list.

White trash yard.

"The chain is loose, but I don't really know what I'm doing here. Any ideas?"

Hmmm, what does this part do?

Surprisingly, this did not end with a trip to the Emergency Room, although I will admit that I did get the small cooler down from the shelf in the garage, just in case we needed to keep an appendage on ice during the ambulance ride.

Here, try this one.

Now for the fun part -- dragging all the branches to the curb. Luckily, I had made an amazing coffee cake, so I was excused from manual labor.

Our suburb does NOT issue burning permits.  So don't ask.

This is the treasure that was found buried in the debris under the tree. Can't imagine how old it is. Is it just me, or is Spiderman's thigh almost... disconcertingly muscular?

Does whatever a spider can!  Except lay 1,000 eggs...

Posted at 09:37 AM | Comments (3)

July 08, 2010

A Prediction, a Stupid Move, and a Brief Movie Review

In a million years, human beings will evolve/devolve to the point where we don’t have thumbs; just two fingers with which to press the buttons and release food pellets from our iFridge. And it’s all because of our bathrooms.

Once we step out of our homes, bathrooms everywhere become some sort of space pods. All you have to do is wave your hand in front of a sensor to flush the toilet, make the water come out of the sink faucet, dispense paper towels, and turn on the hand dryer. Oh, and then you can push the handicap button to open the bathroom door. And it’s only a matter of time before bathroom stalls will sense they are occupied and lock the door for you.

Sadly for me, my DNA was spliced with reptile DNA while I was still in the womb, and as a result, I cannot regulate my own body temperature. My body becomes the temperature of whatever space I’m in. Therefore, it is nearly impossible for me to activate any kind of bathroom sensor. Sometimes I have to move from sink to sink to sink, desperately flapping my hands around in the basin, trying to get a trickle of water.

So Heather and I went to see “Eclipse” the other day. I’m not proud. By way of a review, I’ll say that I think I’ve just seen the same movie three times, and I’m very tired of the worn-out stereotype that all really old vampires are stoic automatons with zero personality. But the action scenes were pretty good, especially the synchronized hood-removal.

One, two, three -- hoods down!

"One, two, three -- hoods down!"

We bought our Junior Mints and went in for our pre-movie potty stop. I noticed my bangs had been made to be less-than-perfection by the wind, so I got out my hairbrush. After all, I was about to be in a dark theatre with a dozen people I would never see again. I had to look my best!

Brush in hand, I put my purse on the bathroom counter, in between me and the sink basin. I leaned over slightly to groom myself and promptly knocked my purse over. And then, the skin of a long-dead cow that made up my pink Coach purse managed to do something that I myself never have -– it turned on the water, immediately and with full force.

I was so resentful, I just stood there and glared at the water. Heather screamed and fished my purse outta the sink… but not before the water filled up the interior pocket that held my cell phone. Two potential financial losses, and all I could do was laugh bitterly while Heather pulled paper towels outta the dispenser.

Thank God Heather still has opposable thumbs or my cell phone would have been trashed. As it stands, only the brown leather shoulder strap on my purse has some water spots on it. The rest of it -– inside and out -– is pure and uncompromised. Which, I guess, says something for Coach craftsmanship. Coach leather: more supple and lifelike than the humanoid reptilian hand.

Posted at 06:10 AM | Comments (1)

May 31, 2010

txts or sumn

I have a friend, Padawan* -- actually, I'm kind of inheriting her. My other friend, JB, is LEAVING ME FOREVER when her hubby gets a call (i.e. goes to be a pastor at a church) in one of the Dakotas (forget which one, don't care, they're both far away). Padawan sits next to JB, and is awesome and smart-as-hell and young and a savvy dresser and instantly makes me cooler by just standing near me.

Anyway, Padawan and I are friends through JB, so when JB CRUELLY ABANDONS US, Padawan and I will no doubt be latching onto each other in our grief. Meanwhile, JB will be in Bumblefuck, Something Dakota, where there are no employment opportunities except Pastor or Forest Ranger, so she'll get to be all unemployed and slacker and lucky. Bitch.

And then in six months, Padawan and I will be all:

"JB who?"
"Remember? She used to wear the sweaters?"
"Ohhhh, right."

AAAAAAAAAAAANYway. Padawan. Me. Friends. And that's how I became privy to this little treasure trove of crazy. Padawan's cell phone number is, apparently, one number off from someone who... well, we'll just let the texts speak for themselves.

Text #1, received on a weekday afternoon:

Come blaze wit a sista. its liz

I'm not entirely certain, but I think the text can be translated as such:

I am inviting you to smoke marijuana with your fellow African American female. This is Elizabeth.

(Yes, I realize that I am racist for assuming that the text sender is black, but I've never heard any Chinese women refer to themselves as "sista," so I'm going with what I know.)

Mind you, Padawan is a responsible young adult and does not know anyone who spends their Tuesday afternoons getting stoned (because she hasn't met my extended family, yet), so she did not reply.

A little while later, she got another text from the same number:

We can sit outside or sumn. its jus me njoe

Apparently, Elizabeth and I have different cell phone providers because I get to use 140 characters in one text, and she only gets 43. Hence the very clever spelling of what I assume is supposed to be "something," and the lack of space between "n" and "joe." Personally, with such restrictions, I would go with an ampersand (&) instead of "n," but to each his own.

Padawan is really a kind-hearted person and did not want Elizabeth and Joseph to think that their stoner friend was ignoring them, or dead from some kind of overdose or a drug deal gone wrong, so she politely texted back:

You have the wrong number.

Now, you'd think that Padawan's use of correct spelling and grammer would be a tip-off that she's not one of their home girls. But she got this text in reply:

o da hell this is tj jim even told me

Hmmmm. Despite the lack of periods, I believe this is three sentences:

Oh, the hell it is the wrong number. You are T.J. Jim even told me that this is your number.

So Padawan tried again:

You have the wrong number. Please stop txting. I get wrong calls for that person often. Tell your friends, too. Thank you.

Well, that must've convinced them because she didn't hear anything strange for a few days.

And then she got this at 5:45 a.m.:

well thanks for leavin me with danny when i dont got any medicine for him to quit burning up really a good mom bitch

Huh. It would appear that Padawan's alter-phone-ego, TJ, is a mother. And a bad one. I would traslate this as:

Well, thank you for going off to smoke pot with your fellow African American females and leaving me with Danny when I don't have any medicine for his fever. You are a very good mother, bitch.

Clearly, this is sarcasm, and the texter does not really think that TJ is a good mother. But how did the texter get stuck with TJ's kid? Are they roommates? Lovers? Is the texter TJ's teenaged offspring, annoyed at being left with a baby?

Now I want to know more about these people! Does Danny get well? How many children does TJ have? Does Joe live with her? If so, in what capacity? I hope Padawan gets more texts.

And I promised her that I'd let her read this post before it goes live, since this is her first appearance on my blog, buuuuuuuuut... I think she'll be fine with it.

* She picked her own name.

Posted at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2009

Takin' Care of Boobness

What did the gal from work call it? Ah, yes. The ol' Stretch 'n' Smash. Went for my forty-year mamogram today.

What is it with nurses wearing the scrubs with the Tweety Birds and flowers and peace signs and shit on them? I understand that the monotony of blue scrubs would annoy some women. I myself would welcome the disappearance of the daily obligation to pick out an outfit that is professional, flattering and color-coordinated all at once. But whatever.

And I understand why pediatric doctors and nurses wear Dora the Explorer scrubs, to distract the little children that they must stab with needles. But why a grown woman would wear a Looney Tunes-themed, psychodellic-print top to work with other grown women is beyond me. I was embarassed for her.

Perhaps she could sense my disdain because I had to wait fifty minutes before being called into that small, cold room. And I need to give props for the cute pink, beaded curtains. The technician said, "Yeah. We try." Ha! Gotta love someone who has no delusions about their circumstances.

Yes, they do try -- as shown by the adorable flowery design on the nipple stickers! [For the gentlemen: A sticker with a small, metal bead is placed on each nipple, so when the doctor is looking at the xray, they know where the nipple is oriented.] They certainly have become more festive in the five years since my baseline mamogram! I almost felt like a fabulous lap-dancer instead of some piece of meat that the technician had to unceremoniously position on the smashing machine like a butcher handling a slab of corned beef he's about to slice up for sammiches!

Tip to my fellow hogan-owners: Don't take the last appointment time of the morning. Again, I had to wait fifty minutes in my blue robe, listening to some crappy talk show and then some crappy soap opera, while trying to concentrate on my book. Personally, I resent that they just assume we all want to watch talk shows and soap operas. They couldn't put on the Comedy Channel? Everyone likes funny!

I'm also kind of upset that, despite the fact that at least half of the other eight women in the waiting room were born well before the invention of the television, I was the only one with a book. Don't people read anymore? Who doesn't bring a book to a hospital waiting room?

The actual mamograms -- three on each boob -- took about five seconds. The tech kept apologizing for smooshing my boob to the point that I could no longer breathe, and I was like, "Hey, I can stand just about anything, if it will save me from dying of cancer." She was like, "That's a good attitude to have." I'll bet she hears lots of whining about the smooshing. There were quite a few women in the waiting room even more well-endowed than I. I KNOW! And the bigger the boob, the harder the hurt. No fun, granted, but SO much better than one's hair falling out. I'm just sayin'.

Besides, the peeling off of the nipple stickers is WAY worse than the smooshing of the melons. I chose the rip-'em-off-fast-and-get-it-over-with-approach. Wow. That'll wake you up! Thank God the place was so chilly. I was able to put my freezing fingers on my nipples for a moment until the pain subsided enough for me to put my bra back on.

All set for another year! Go get 'em smooshed, ladies! BOO-BEEZ FO-EH-VAH!

Posted at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

October 28, 2009

Bitches Are On Notice

I have a very low tolerance for bullshit and fabricated drama, and I am quite willing to confront the people who engage in such retardedness and, if necessary, banish them from my life.

This being said, I am not taking off my earrings every time a skank looks at me sideways. I do not look for fights, and I put many, many hours of thought into a situation before deciding to get in anyone's face.

In short, I do not seek out confrontation, but when it finds me, I am ready for it. I am, after all, a Scorpio. BRING IT.

I'll start from the beginning. My predecessor, I'll call her Alfa because she came first, did support work for PhD Boss as well as adding things to our website and sending out an e-newsletter. When I was brought on, she was contracted to continue working on the website and e-news. (No one even asked me if I knew how or could learn. Because temps can't learn or do hard stuff, right?)

On her way out to bigger and better things, she threw a few parting shots in PhD Boss' direction (I know they included the word ignorant), which hurt him very much because he thought they were friends.

Needless to say, things between he and Alfa have been chilly since then. He even went so far as to throw the ignorant comment back in her face, which was probably unprofessional on his part, but whatever. I can't say for certain I wouldn't have done the same thing, so I can't wholeheartedly condemn him for it.

Meanwhile, Alfa was still doing work for us, and I played go-between for she and PhD Boss. Not wanting to cause undo drama, I tried to stay neutral and friendly with both of them. Their tiff doesn't have to involve me, right?

Oh, but if it didn't, I wouldn't be writing this, and you figured that out, my clever minions.

Enter the Executive Administrate Assistant in my department. I'll call her Bea. As in busy as a bee. As in BUSYBODY. She is so fucking special that she doesn't consider herself a mere administrative assistant or staff support, so you know what she must think of me. Monkey on a tricycle!

Bear in mind, also, that I work in a four-person department. So the Head Boss, PhD Boss, Bea and Alfa (with whom I communicate only via email) are the only people around. It would be nice if I had a fellow peon with which to share the trials and tribulations of being support staff, but I don't. I can't share shit with Bea because she thinks my job is soooooo easy compared to hers, and anything I say to her will be broadcast all over the damn building.

For the past several weeks, I have been going back and forth between Alfa and PhD Boss, trying to iron out a renewed contrat so Alfa can keep doing our website and e-news. Really, all it would take is a ten minute phone call between the two, but I couldn't get a straight answer from Alfa about when that would be best for her.

There was definitely some passive aggression going on there, but I was still stunned by her actions yesterday. She sent an email to the HR person who was handling her contract saying:

I received the contract renewal paperwork, dated October 16, 2009, last week. I am writing to regrettably inform you that I will not be renewing my contract. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Hope you are doing well, and blessings to you in the future!

Mind you, she did NOT send this to PhD Boss. He had to find out from HR when he was CCed on the reply, "Thank you for the notification."

Holy fucking shit! How rude is that?! I mean, I have given notice to some serious asshats, and I have never handled it that obnoxiously! What a BITCH! And completely unprofessional, to boot, but I'm mainly focused on the bitch aspect of it.

Now, I found out about all this over the phone from PhD Boss yesterday morning because he worked from home. And when he told me, I was floored and reacted quite verbally. I didn't go so far as to call her any names, knowing that Bea is always well within earshot. But to anyone listening to my end of the conversation, there was clearly some outrage and drama going on.

And what could be more interesting to the building's biggest busybody than outrage and drama? Honeynut Cheerios, apparently. Once I got off the phone, instead of coming over and salivatingly pleading for the details of the conversation, as I would expect her to do, she just quietly continued eating her breakfast. Didn't say a word to me. Didn't even look up.

Now is it just me, or is that a little suspicious? Methinks that Bea knew precisely what I was talking to PhD Boss about because she knew well beforehand what was going down. Oh, yes, my friends. While I was carefully trying to retain neutrality, Bea and Alfa were feeding off each other like the parasites they are.

This morning,... wait. As a sidenote and backstory, you should know that PhD Boss has been toying with the idea of replacing the department e-newsletter with a blog. I, of course, am wholeheartedly behind the idea, but that's neither here nor there. Now back to our story.

This morning, PhD Boss sauntered in at his usual time -- two hours after I got here -- and we went into one of the small meeting rooms to talk about things that needed to be done, as we are wont to do. But before we got down to business, we got down to business, IF you know what I mean.

No, we didn't have sex. We had a very bitchy and in depth discussion about Bea and Alfa. I was surprised to learn that, on several occassions, things that PhD Boss had mentioned to Bea had gotten back to him through Alfa! Now, it's one thing to be a gossip; it's quite another to out yourself as such! STUPID!

I was also surprised -- and I don't know why -- that Alfa had once brought up ME in a conversation with PhD Boss. As in, "No TEMP can manage an e-newletter, a website or a blog!" Apparently, they were aruging about how awesome/non-awesome she is? I don't know the context, and I don't particularly care. My issue is this: BITCH DON'T KNOW ME!

There's so many things about that statement that anger me, I am going to have to get all anal-retentive and make a numbered list, as such.

NUMBERED LIST FOR ALFA

1. Don't talk about me when you, LITERALLY, have never even met me. That's a given.

2. Don't talk smack about me to someone who likes me better than they like you. That's just going to backfire on you. A bit of advice.

3. Don't assume that because I am a TEMP that I have no skills beyond typing and filing. I've got fifteen years on you, sweetheart, and I've managed to pick up a thing or two in that time.

4. Your skill set is not so magical and special that you can safely assume that I don't have it. Okay, I don't, but that's not the point. The point is, you don't know me, and lots of people can write basic HTML. Statistically speaking, anyone in this position could very well know enough code to update a website or e-newsletter.

5&TheMostImportant. Okay, I can't build a blog from scratch like Alfa and Heather, but I CAN MANAGE A FUCKING BLOG, YOU COW! Jeebus, half my friends have their own blogs and/or websites! I can even add photos and pop-up links and change around my sidebar! IT AIN'T ROCKET SCIENCE!

And while these are all quite valid enough to be carved in stone, and the tablet hung on a thick, hemp rope around Alfa's next, it all boils down to one thing.

If you're going to talk smack about me, make sure you know what you're talking about. I mean, there's plenty of material there. You can say that I'm stuck-up, or I'm fat, or I'm a closet lesbian, or I'm a self-absorbed blogger geek -- whatever. It's not like I don't have any actual factual quirks. YOU DON' GOTTA BE MAKIN' SHIT UP!

I'm onto you now, Alfa and Bea. Consider yourselves on notice. I will let this particular shit slide because PhD Boss knows I'm awesome, and the only real harm you did was to your own characters. But be warned. If any of your covertly-typed emails do MY character any harm,... I don't even know what. But you can bet it's gonna be BAD!

Posted at 02:16 PM | Comments (2)

September 02, 2009

Wenchie's Resume 1987-1994, Part I

Earlier this year, I started telling you about my initial foray into the work-a-day world, circa 1984-87. At the time of that post, I thought I was soon headed to a permanant position in the department of my choice.

Alas, it was not to be. I am now in an endless temporary limbo in a new department, with no end -- or payraise, or permanant job offer -- in sight. Seriously, I could make more money if I went back to waiting tables. And I'd do it, too, if I wasn't so damn lazy. Also, as I've gotten older, my ability to tolerate crap from people has seriously deteriorated.

After quitting Pizza Hut and moving out of my parents' house, I pretty much had a whole new life just waiting for me. I moved in with my boyfriend's best friend's girlfriend (and her toddler), and I started working where said boyfriend, best friend and girl friend had all worked before me. The Main Cafe in Evanston. It's easy to score a job when you have three previous employees vouching for you!

I must admit, I loved the Main Cafe. It was on Main St. and Chicago Ave. in Evanston, right across from the Metra stop. It was one of those diners that had been in the neighborhood forever and really belonged to the people who frequented the place. It was like an extension of everyone's home. "Here's the kitchen, here's the master bedroom. Oh, and here's The Main Cafe."

I swear, if you took off a chunk of that ancient wood paneling, you'd find veins and flesh and bones. Okay, kind of a gruesome analogy, but you get my point -- that place was an entity in and of itself.

I normally worked the counter for breakfast and lunch and saw the same exact people eating the same exact thing every day. There was Tom, the 70 year old manic-depressive who told a great story. There was Tex, the hundred year old cowboy who often tipped me with jewelry he had made.

And there was John, that GORGEOUS, blue-eyed, coffee-slugging artist who loaned me books and tipped me $5 on a cup of coffee every day. *sigh* Totally should've been with him instead of the caveman I was with, but that's a whoooooole other blog.

There was also an old guy -- can't remember his name -- who had numbers tattooed on his forearm. Never having seen that before, I thought it was a really bad decision he'd made while docked in Singapore or something. But one of the other waitresses told me that he'd been in one of the Nazi concentration camps during WWII, and made it out alive. Marked forever with an identification number. I kinda wish I'd asked him about it. I mean, how often does anyone get the opportunity to talk to living history like him? But I never did. I don't think I'd want to talk about it, if it were me, so I never brought it up, and neither did he.

Anyhoo, I had to quit that gig when I just couldn't take my caveman boyfriend's jealousy shit anymore. And since I moved out on the spur-of-the-moment -- at seven in the morning -- I was forced to move back in with the Ps and find a new job.

I didn't have a car, but luckily for me, my parents house was mere blocks from a bustling, suburban business district. So I applied for a job at the local LePeep. It wasn't much of an interview, considering I had a pulse and experience, and the rest of the wait staff consisted one hardened lifer and three cheerleaders from the local high school.

Now, I've already told you how I gave my boss his nickname, Spud, and I don't have time to tell you about all the co-workers I dated there. So I'll just tell you about Kent. He was my favorite, anyway. Probably because I didn't date him.

Our little LeFamily grew to include, in the front of the house, a couple students from the local community college, and a closted queen to serve as host -- Kent. Ah, Kent. Kent of the slicked-back, bleach-blond hair, long before Draco Malfoy made it popular. Kent, who used to tell me stories of how he'd balance his ashtray on his girlfriend's ass while he did her doggie-style. God, he was mean to his girlfriends.

My favorite times were on weekends when Spud would put both Kent and I at the front desk to seat people and take money and whatnot. It was a nice break from having to wear an apron, but my favorite thing was the game Kent and I would play -- Guess What Faces That Person Makes During Sex. A game difficult to describe in mere words, but I'm sure you have the imagination necessary to do it justice.

*sigh* How I miss evil, nasty, embittered, gay Kent. I'm going to have to revive that game. Who wants to come out and play?

Posted at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2009

The Color of Jealously is Yellow

Oh my God, I can't believe I forgot to tell you about my Near Death Experience at the Pride Parade! Okay, really, I probably wasn't near to death, but had I been less sophisticated and merciful than I am, it definitely would have escalated into a fistfight.

I attended the (Gay) Pride Parade -- the Gay is in parentheses because, apparently, it has been dropped from the name of the parade, and I don't know why because if you are proud of being gay then why would you remove gayness from the title, thereby cloaking the whole parade in such vagueness??? -- with Heather, Joe and Larry. I was Joe's hag; Heather was mine.

We stationed ourselves on a less-busy street of the route, outside a bar owned and operated by some good friends of Joe's. We had a good view and weren't at all crowded. It was a lovely day -- not too hot -- and we were on the shady side of the street. All in all, it was quite perfectly splendid, and we couldn't have asked for a nicer time.

Until Miss Terry Cloth came along. First, I will describe the dress. It was a banana-yellow, terrycloth halter-dress. TERRYCLOTH. Uck. Horrible. Friends don't let friends wear terrycloth in public, people! Clearly, she was no one's hag because no self-respecting gay would have let her leave the house like that. Myself, I was decked out in assorted leather accessories from Joe's vast collection. Tres chic!

So Terry came barrelling down the sidewalk towards our peaceful perch just outside the bar. Her arms were flailing, her hair was whipping -- she was in quite a tizzy. She was followed closely by a man I can only describe as a greasy, hairy slimeball, and he was trying in vain to grab her arm and make her stop walking. He was finally successful. Right in front of us. Oh joy.

I can't really transcribe their conversation, since I don't think there were actual sentences, but it boiled down to this: Terry was sure that Hairy was cheating on her with one of their mutual friends. (Now, I'm not sure, but I think that this may have been due, at least in part, to her blood alcohol level being well over .08.) Hairy thought that the accusation was The Most Ridiculous and Hilarious Thing In the History of Ever.

Methinks the slimeball doth protest too much.

He was doing that thing that guilty skirt-chasers do when confronted with their actions -- laugh OUTRAGEOUSLY in an attempt to deflect attention from the fact that they're not actually denying that the cheating happened.

It was pretty obvious to everyone at, and in, the parade that Hairy was boffing Terry's friend. I've seen mimes do a better, more subtle job of physically expressing laughter. Dude actually held his stomach and slapped his knee. It was quite a show.

Less interesting, however, was Terry's repetitive, F-bomb-laden diatribe. Personally, I've never been one to shy from a well-placed F-bomb, but when that's all you can think of to say, it's time to stop talking. Terry and Hairy were, almost literally, raining on our parade.

Finally, I was obliged to say something.

"Excuse me. My friends and I are here to have a nice time, so can you please take your argument somewhere else?"

"FUCK YOU! WE'RE NOT ARGUING!"

Okay then. I weighed my options. I could fire back with some F-bombs, since that's the only language she speaks. However, I figured that was only asking for some hair-pulling and eye-scratching, which would then require Heather, Joe and Larry to back me up, and why ruin everyone's day? The Pride Parade is supposed to be about LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. And I respect that.

Terry and Hairy didn't leave, but they stopped speaking to each other, and Hairy had the good taste to at least look a little embarassed. Meanwhile, I ran through possible scenarios in my head, should the star-crossed lover start up again.

Would Heather have my back? Of course. Heather would cut a bitch for me with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.

Would Joe have my back? Most likely. Whatever reservation he might feel about cold-cocking a chick would be overturned by the knowledge that she'd never remember it anyway.

Would Larry have my back? No, Larry would probably stand there with an amused look on his face, happy to watch the drama from out of fists' reach. And I can't really blame him.

Public drama sucks, people. It is never, never, ever okay. I don't care how just your cause -- losing your shit in public is trashy. It tells everyone in a five-block radius that you are uneducated, immature and self-absorbed. This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Oddly enough, you know who saved the day? The mutual friend that Hairy was schtupping. She showed up completely oblivious like, "Hey, guys, whattup?" And Terry motored outta there. Awesome! Thank you, Slutty Mutual Friend! Many blessings upon your future adulterous escapades!

Posted at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2008

Wenchie, Patron Saint of the Hot Dish

Yesterday morning, Husband and I made the move from Wenchietown to Floodsville. And so did everyone else in our neighborhood, town, county, state. So actually, Floodsville doesn’t look much different from Wenchietown, except for the overabundance of water.

Our neighbors across the street had to carry all the furniture out of their basement, but I think they beat the water and nothing got ruined. Our neighbors to the south had water gushing up through their basement toilet, just like last year. Our neighbors on the other side of them have six feet of water in their basement, just like last year.

The S.S. Wenchie, however, remains watertight, for three reasons. One, overhead plumbing. Whoever built this house was thinking. Two, my incredibly handy Husband installed TWO sump pumps. And three, the electricity is still on.

If the electricity goes, reasons one and two aren’t going to make much difference, and we will end up like our neighbors, just like last year – FUCKED.

As I stood in my kitchen yesterday, watching my neighbors carry buckets of water outside, watching Marion’s face as she simultaneously lived the current horror and re-lived last year’s horror, I racked my brain for something I could do.

They already had five people there cleaning up water. And really, once the toilet starts gushing, there’s only so much you can do before RUN!!! is the only viable option. Then the Lutheran inside of me spoke up and said:

Wenchie’s Inner Lutheran: They need a casserole.

PW: What.

WIL: A casserole! They need a casserole! STAT!

PW: A casserole isn’t going to plug up their toilet.

WIL: Lookit Marion. Does she look like she has the time and/or energy to fix her family the warm, balanced meal that they so desperately need after spending hours in cold, filthy water, trying to save their belongings?

PW: No.

WIL: Then get out the 9x13 pans, hon. It’s casserole time.

PW: I can’t do that. I’ll look retarded.

WIL: Why?

PW: Because they need soooooooo much more than a casserole right now!

WIL: But you don’t have super powers! You can’t make the water go away!

PW: I know.

WIL: But you can make a casserole.

PW: It just seems lame.

WIL: Don’t underestimate the power of comfort food! Where would you be without comfort food?!

PW: In size six jeans.

WIL: Don’t mock comfort food. The whole foundation of Lutheranism rests squarely on a good hot dish. You just can’t argue with chicken, rice and Miracle Whip.

Husband: You know, we should really bring some food to our neighbors.

PW: Really? That wouldn’t be weird?

H: No! It’s what neighbors do! Especially if they’re Lutheran.

PW: Okay!

H: Find a good casserole recipe and make me a shopping list – I’ll run to Jewel.

PW: I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies while you’re gone!

WIL: Oh, sure, you listen to him.

PW: Zip it, ya Garrison Keeler wannabe.

So I made four Kentucky Chicken & Wild Rice Casseroles.

And yes, they really did have Miracle Whip in them.

Posted at 01:08 PM | Comments (2)

March 31, 2008

All That Is Splendid In America: Part 2

Okay, okay, so it's not "tomorrow," as promised in the prequel, but hey, at least I got to the second part. Unlike most of my other mini-series. I suck.

When we last left our heroes, they were just quaffing down the last of their beer and saying adieu to the hole-in-the-wall that is classic Chicago dining.

Inga had bought so much stuff on her trip to Chicago that she needed another big tote bag to take on the plane back to New Jersey. Heather can smell one drop of couture in 500,000 gallons of air, so we soon found ourselves in retail heaven. Unfortunately, where simple chocolate is 12 pieces for $14, you ain't exactly going to find a tote that fits a college student's budget. So we indulged in $5 worth of dessert and were back out on the street.

And can I just say? When the hell did Puma become foot couture? When I was in school, Puma was what the poor kids wore because they couldn't afford Nike. And now it's on the same freakin' display table as the Coach footwear! A hundred bucks for freakin' Puma? What did that happen?!

With empty hands up full stomachs, we began the long march back to my car, via The Bean. Heather abandoned us to go back to work (whatev), so thank God that Sue was there to once again to lead us through the maze that is downtown Chicago.

(Yes, I know, Chicago is laid out in a perfect grid pattern. Shut up. It's not like you can see through the buildings!)

Okay, seriously, what the hell is up with The Bean. People spent $23 million dollars on a giant, silver jelly bean. It's totally whacked. I just don't get it. Was Chicago really that hard up for more landmark tourist attractions?

You decide.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit.

By this point, I was tired and crabby and in serious need of a nap. I tried to get everyone out of my way so that I could get a photo of just The Bean, but the damn out-of-towners weren't cooperating. This isn't New York, people! We're accomodating here! Jerks.

We all took some photos and trekked across Millenium Park back to the car. I think it took a Millenium. Captain Von Trapp was like, "You kids, pipe down! These Alps aren't so bad. At least we're not having to walk across Chicago!"

There's only one thing to do when you're tired and crabby and tired and did I mention tired? Cocktails.

The funny thing about the John Hancock building is that you can see it from anywhere in Chicago... except when you're near it. And then you can't get to it. Unless you are motivated by the prospect of alcohol to persevere. Which we were. And did.

Since we aren't high-priced hookers, we couldn't afford dinner in the Signature Room, so instead, we hit the Signature Lounge, which still cost us $35 for three drinks! And I'm not even going to tell you what I paid for parking. It'll ruin your day.

In the lobby...

PW: Inga, I forgot to ask you if you're afraid of heights.

Inga: I am.

Sue: So am I.

PW: Well, crap! I am, too! Why are we doing this?!

Sue: Because as long as I can have a martini when I get to the top, I'll be fine.

PW: Inga, we don't have to go, if you don't want to. Sue can have a martini at home.

Inga: No, I want to go!

Sue: I didn't know you were afraid of heights.

PW: Well, it's not so much heights as it is really tall buildings. Mountains I'm okay with. If someone flies a plane into a mountain I'm on, I stand a much better chance of surviving.

Sue: Great. Now I need two martinis.

We didn't sit at one of the tables that was pressed up against the pane of glass separating the patrons from a very long plummet to their deaths, so we were all okay. And it was a beautiful day, so we had a great view.

So that's the end of our adventure in The City of Big Shoulders. I didn't see any exceptionally big shoulders, so that was disappointing. But maybe they were all working, and at 5:00, when everyone is walking to the train, it's almost impossible to move because of all the men with their big, burly shoulders taking up all the room on the sidewalks.

Ah, well, a girl can dream.

Posted at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)

March 25, 2008

All That Is Splendid in America: Part 1

Recently, I found out that I have another cousin in Norway. Turns out, my grandmother and her great grandmother were sisters, which makes us... second cousins once removed, I believe. So we can totally get married.

Except that she’s a she. Which would be awkward. Is that legal in Norway? I’m going to assume that it is, since those wacky Norwegians -– and their neighbors -– are waaaaaaaaay ahead of us Puritan Americans on so many other levels of coolness.

Inga is studying to be an English translator. She wants to translate books and movies -– stuff like that. I tell ya, her written English is far better than any you’ll find on THIS blog, dat’s fer damn shure!

She’s from the small town of Spydeberg, Norway (45 min. south of Oslo). Which is not, much to my chagrin, pronounced “Spidey-berg.” Because how cool would that be?! No, it’s pronounced spee’-dih-behrg. Or something.

This semester, she’s going to school in New Jersey, for some exposure to the English language.

Now, people. Can you imagine? She has friends who went to England, Canada and Australia to learn English, and she’s gonna go home with a New Jersey accent. God help us. And until this week, New Jersey was the only part of America she had seen! Well, that and New York, which is basically Chicago-Wanna-Be, so that doesn’t really count.

But finally, on Wednesday, all of Inga’s dreams of the land of opportunity came true when Sue and I took her downtown Chicago to witness all that is pure and shining and splendid in America. That’s right, we went to Billy Goat for lunch.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sue came with us because she was available (being a teacher and on spring break this week), and because she is more familiar with Chicago than I am. Which, admittedly, isn’t saying much, but thank God she was there to navigate. I drove, while she discussed our options from the map, we’d vote on it, and then I’d turn the wheel. Driving by committee. Recommended for all suburbanites who dare to leave the sanctity of their gated communities.

The three of us went to the Art Institute first. My two must-sees: the Thorne Rooms (little tiny opulent dollhouse rooms!!!!! squeeeeeee!) and the European wing, 1500s-1800s. There’s something about old religious art that fascinates me. (As a Scorpio, I am interested in both the holy and the profane.)

I’m all, “Look at the light on the folds of her sleeve!” and “I wonder what’s the significance of the caribou in this picture?” And I’m sure Inga was like, “You know, we do have art in Oslo. Can we go now?” Mind you, regardless of how I sound, I’m too ignorant to be pretentious. I’m merely retarded and easily distracted by pretty things.

(By the way, I have a six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon kind of link with one of the guys who helped build the Thorne rooms, but I’m not telling you which one or how because I don’t want you weirdos stalking me. Unless you’re hott. Or bitterly sarcastic. Then please email me at piratewenchdotorg@yahoo.com, and I’ll email you directions to my house.)

(Oh, also? I’m pretty sure my grandfather has a piece or two displayed in the museum, too, but I’m not telling you what. See above parenthetical paragraph.)

Speaking of pretty things, we made Heather meet us at the Billy Goat

The original Billy Goat Tavern is a seedy dive underneath Michigan Ave. that’s famous because of... some curse? And a goat? And the Cubs? I don’t know. Someone told me once, but the explanation is almost as boring as the game of baseball itself, so I forgot. Still, Wrigley Field is pretty, and we’d all rather be there with a beer in hand than at work on a weekday, so we go, and we make supernatural excuses for what we all know to be true deep in our hearts -– the Cubbies suck.

Oh, it’s also famous because John Belushi immortalized the Billy Goat’s colorful atmosphere in an SNL skit some decades back. “Cheeseborger, cheeseborger, cheeseborger! No fries – chips! No Coke – Pepsi!” Classic, and yet not on YouTube. (I'm writing my congressman.)

Heather arrived first and tipped the toothless busboy five bucks to save a table for us while she got a burger. So when he arrived, he was all, "What can I get you to drink?" and pulling our chairs out for us. Five bucks can still buy you some serious bowing and scraping!

When we finally got there, that is. The Billy Goat is on Lower Michican, and when you're standing on normal Michigan, it can be kind of a challenge. It's like, "Okay, we want to be... directly below where we are right now. Anyone see any stairs?"

I had Sue and Inga sit down while I got burgers for everyone. Including Heather, who was still hungry after her first. And when I got back, there was beer waiting for me. Sometimes the world just works like that -- in perfect synchronicity.

I'm sure Inga now thinks that Chicago is populated entirely by white trash. Geez, even taking her to Ed Debevic's would have been classier! The Billy Goat never sees the light of day, which is fine because the windows are all boarded up anyway. The menu consists of about five things, and if you don't order the way the guy behind the counter wants you to order, he hassles you.

It was fun watching the tourists in front of me wrap their brains around the fact that the Billy Goat doesn't serve fries. Well, funny for a while. And then I wanted to punch them. "Man, I was really looking forward to some fries." "No fries -- chips! Don't make me call 911!"

Does Mr. Billy Goat call 911 on the stupid tourists? Find out tomorrow, when the adventures continue!

Posted at 07:02 AM | Comments (2)

December 04, 2007

Twins

This is a guest blog by Kelly Garrett because I'm sick again.

When I heard this story from A, I made an ass of myself shrieking with laughter in the middle of Chorale rehearsal. But I knew I couldn't do the story as much justice as one who had actually been there, so I solicited this firsthand account from Kelly.

Enjoy.

* * * * *

There are two reasons that "A" and I always get asked if we are twins. The obvious is that we look alike. But once someone gets to know us, it becomes clear that our biggest similarities are in our behavior.

[Let me point out here that I don't think A and Kelly look anything alike, but perhaps that's because I've known them for so long. Maybe they look alike to total strangers. With glaucoma.]

If you remember my first guest blog, then you know that I barfed in bed and went back to sleep without cleaning it up at my cousin's wedding last year. I went to another wedding the other week, and there was more sleeping with barf, only this time, it wasn't me.

The wedding took place in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at a beautiful resort. I got to the hotel at about 7:00 p.m. "A" arrived first thing that morning because, if you've seen him lately, he wants death via melanoma.

[Recently, our pastor was heard to say to A, "If you get any darker, you're going to change race!"]

He was supposed to leave a note at the front desk for me so that I knew where he was. Was there a note? No! Did I have sand in my vagina? Yes!

After creating much consternation for the desk clerk, who asked about ten other employees if someone had left me a note, I said to forget it and I would just walk the grounds and see if they were around the hotel. Luckily, I immediately found the bride and her friends drinking beer on the terrace, but there was no "A." Maybe his flight was delayed or cancelled, I thought to myself. I can be so naive sometimes.

Arrive (the bride) and Arrival (her sister) jumped up and told me that they had to bring me to our room right away to see "A." On the five minute walk to the room, they explained to me a few things that I missed that day:

1. They went to the pool bar for happy hour between 4 and 5 p.m.

2. Happy hour meant 2-for-1 margaritas.

3. This is Mexico, and they don't fuck around with their margaritas.

4. "A" drank ten margaritas.

5. They took "A" to the room at 5:30, and he instantly got naked, lied down in the bathtub, and peed on himself. That was when he passed out in the tub and they left.

As Arrival (who "A" and I were sharing the room with) opened the bathroom door, a disgusting stench bombarded us and nearly induced us to vomit. We held our breath and peeked our heads around the door. "A" got up and was awfully cheery and happy to see me. Then he fell back into tub, but rather than a thud, we heard a swish.

When we moved in closer and could see inside the tub, we discovered the entire left side of "A's" body was covered in barf. Not just a little barf. I'm talking Gary barfing in Team America: World Police or the pie barf-o-rama in Stand By Me.

[That scene in Team America: World Police literally triggered my gag reflex. I had to close my eyes and plug my ears until it was over.]

Arrive took charge of the situation:

Arrive: A, you have to get out of the tub and come to the shower. (The shower was separate from the tub in our room.)

A: No, no, no, no, it's so cold. It's cold. It's cold. Nooooooooo.

Arrive: A, you are laying in your own barf. Get out right now and come to the shower.

A: No, my barf is warm.

Arrive: A, I am so serious. It smells and it's gross. I am taking you to the shower right now.

As she reached in to grab his right arm, "A" finally revealed why he was so hesitant about getting out of the bathtub:

A: Ok, you guys, I'm getting out, but I might have pooed a little bit.

Arrive pulled "A" up and, sure enough, there was a little terd sitting there in the tub. Arrival and I were in the other room laughing hysterically. When we composed ourselves enough to re-enter the bathroom, Arrive was actually in the shower with "A" helping him clean himself -- I'm sure this was just the wedding she always dreamed of as a child!

[Am I the only person who hasn't seen A naked?]

After getting all the barf off of himself, "A" went to lie down -- this time in the bed. You know "A" is wasted when he sleeps in the nude rather than his signature briefs.

I am happy to report that only one of us "twins" barfed that weekend.

Speaking of twins, I was sitting in first class on the way home, and the seats in front of me were empty, which was hard to believe since I didn't get upgraded until after taking my seat in coach. Just as the flight attendant was about to close the door, two familiar faces rushed aboard: The Olsen Twins! Ashley spent the flight sleeping and doing sudoko while Mary-Kate read a book. How could I tell them apart you wonder? Well, as soon as they came on board, Melanie Griffith, who was sitting behind me, rose from her seat, screamed "Mary-Kate!" And then embraced her in the aisle.

* * * * *

Nice name-dropping, Kelly. What the hell is this now -- Pink is the New Blog? Crimeny.

Posted at 07:30 AM | Comments (6)

November 28, 2007

The Psychic

Reading a friend's blog post, I remembered something kinda odd. So I dug the tape out of the depths of a box of crap and listened to it again, just to make sure I was remembering it correctly. (You know, now that I'm 38.)

For my practice bachelorette party (before I got practice-married to my practice husband), Billi got me a psychic instead of a stripper. (Which is fine by me because I already know enough hotties I'm not allowed to touch.) The psychic gave readings to all the women present and encouraged us to record them to refer to later.

At the time, I was 26, marrying a 26 year old Mexican electrician who belonged to the stagehand union and worked on movies for a living. We knew we'd probably be living in our little apartment for some time, but that was fine because we also knew we didn't want children.

What I didn't know is that King Daley's tax hikes and fees would drive the movie business out of Chicago and into Canada (of all places!), and would also drive my husband to drink. Oh, who am I kidding. That started, I found out later, when he was thirteen. But at the time, I didn't know all that, so we were happy.

Well, I knew that psychic was off her rocker when she told me I would have two children, and my husband would make lots of money. I would be veeeerrrry comfortable.

The only way I would ever have two kids is if Jerry's parents died (I'm his legal guardian) AND if my entire family died, as did everyone else Spikette ever knew. Because I'm a last resort for Nephew's legal guardian, I'm sure. And at that time, Billi's children were still several years away.

As for money, I always figured we'd have enough to live on (HA!), but I knew the Lottery was our only hope for big money. So, yeah. The psychic? Utter nonsense.

Except that it wasn't utter nonsense. She merely failed to mention -- or politely left out because I was still on my first -- which husband was going to bring me two kids and good money.

True, Younger and Older Step Daugther are not my own kids. But I've cleaned their rooms and celebrated their victories and bought their favorite foods. In short, I've done everything I've been allowed to do. And I'm sure if Husband and Ex died, as did everyone they ever knew, the girls might... come to me when they need money.

And true, we're not filthy rich. My car is six years old, and our house is smaller than either of my sisters'. But you know what? I'm richer than I ever thought I'd be. I'm so rich, I know I'll never again have to decide between getting the phone turned back on or buying groceries.

I'm so rich, I can drive my gas-guzzling, Al-Gore-enraging SUV way-the-hell up to Gurnee twice a month to see Billi & Co. I'm so rich, I can buy $23 mascara and not hide it from Husband. I'm so rich, I'll never have to decide between paying my LivingDot fees for my blog or my eBay fees.

So I guess this isn't really an oooh-ahhhh, shivers-down-your-spine kind of story. Just a curious one. Was she a lucky guesser? Probably. It's just interesting how one's prospects can change. And thank God for that because Diorshow Mascara is like butter.

Posted at 08:38 AM | Comments (3)

November 06, 2007

The Pretzel Incident

Egrau is a flight attendant. Or "sky goddess," as she prefers. I won't mention what airline she works for, lest you stalk the friendly skies looking for her; suffice to say that, at this point, she's almost used to bending over and grabbing her ankles.

This high threshhold for pain comes in very handy when handling difficult customers, as she does on a regular basis. These men -- they're almost always men -- range from those who can't keep their hands off her butt, to those who can't handle their little, tiny bottles of booze and must be physically restrained.

Egrau has the best stories.

Recently, she encountered a passenger made quite surly by the hour delay, during which they sat on the tarmac while the flight attendants went into damange control mode, doing everything they could to keep the impatient flyers happy. In all honesty, most people handle delays with adequate decorum.

But there's always one.

This gentleman was particularly upset by the delay and seemed to hold Egrau personally responsible. Or perhaps she bore a striking resemblence to his ex-wife. Whatever the reason -- and it was certainly no fault of Egrau's -- this man was bound and determined to make trouble for her.

First, he wanted a seltzer water. "The WHOLE bottle," he demanded.

Sensing trouble, Egrau said with sugary-sweetness, "Of course, sir! On This Airline, we always give you the whole bottle!"

Then he wanted a tomato juice. "The WHOLE bottle," he repeated.

"Of course, sir!"

Unable to crack Egrau's determined kindness, he switched tactics.

"I want more than one bag of pretzels."

"Well, sir, I have to make sure there's enough for everyone, first," she sing-songed in her best Disneyland voice. "Then, if there are any left, I will bring you some."

"You better."

And the really scary thing here? He was sober! Tonic water and tomato juice! Dude wasn't even drinking, and he was still a total dick! Not that alcoholism is an excuse, but at least you can be comforted by the fact that you're not the reason he's an asshat.

When Egrau was done distributing beverages and pretzels, she had plenty of bags left, so she decided to kill the jerk with kindness. She went back to his seat and placed not one, not two, but FOUR bags of pretzels on his tray.

Ha! Try to be a douche with four bags of pretzels!

As she walked away, she heard him bellow, "Don't ever do that again! Don't ever do that again!"

And four bags of pretzels pelted her body.

Now granted, little snack bags aren't really going to hurt, unless a corner gets you in the eye or something. But... DUDE THREW PRETZELS AT HER! What the fuck?! The Boy Child knows better than to throw things, and he's FOUR!

One of the bags bounced off Egrau and hit another passenger. The thrower apologized, and the other passenger said, "Don't apologize to me! Apologize to HER!"

But he didn't. And to this day, Egrau still has no idea what it is that she's never supposed to do again.

The senior flight attendant on the flight told the captain about the incident, and he wanted to have the guy arrested and handcuffed as soon as the plane landed. But Egrau really didn't want that. Mainly because it was her last leg of her trip, and she preferred going home to filling out paperwork and being interviewed.

So the senior flight attendant told the pretzel-thrower, "I told the captain about your behavior, and he is in favor of having you arrested as soon as we land. However, the final decision is Egrau's. So you may want to spend the last hour of our trip thinking of what you might like to say to her."

Fifty-five minutes later, Pretzel Boy finally managed a brief, mumbled apology to Egrau, who smiled and thanked him ever so kindly. Think Scarlett O'Hara.

But don't worry, folks. Mr. Whole Bottle's story isn't over. See, he's going to find himself having a bit of difficulty. He'll be the first one bumped from overbooked flights. He'll be pulled aside for luggage checks.

For the rest of his flying career.

And he never even ate the pretzels.

Posted at 03:00 PM | Comments (2)

October 15, 2007

The Unanticipated Poop

One of Billi's neighbors conveyed this story to her, which she promptly relayed to me. And to the rest of the neighborhood.

I have, or course, paraphrased it, since I heard it secondhand, but I remain true to the facts.

Bear in mind that the original telling of the story is a woman. This factors in greatly.

"I was watering my lawn last night, and the sound of the water made me have to pee. I didn't want to go inside because then the kids would start bugging me. So I thought, Well, my husband and my son do it -- why not me?

"It was dark out, so I just went to the side of the house and squatted down. Suddenly I realize that I had to poop, too!

"So I did!"

*cricket*
*cricket*

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU SAY TO THAT?!

I mean, I had many things rushing through my mind, but I didn't bring them up because I know, from the story, that there were no intelligent answers.

No answers, and yet, so many, many issues.

First of all, if you don't want to enter your own home for fear of your own children -- to the extent that you will deficate in full view of the neighbors -- it's time to re-evaluate your parenting skills.

Secondly, what the hell are her husband and son doing peeing in their yard all the time? Does she lock them out of the house? Do they each only have one kidney, forcing them to empty their bladders the second they are full? I mean, when you're camping -- fine. But when there's a perfectly good bathroom 20 steps away, there's no reason to engage in such freedom. They live in a subdivision, not on a farm.

Thirdly -- and perhaps most importantly -- who gets a mere second's notice to a bowel movement? I always assumed I was normal in having at least 2 min. to find a comfortable place to drop the Browns off at the Superbowl. Am I just one of the lucky few? Do most folks find themselves running to the bushes with a turtlehead poking out?

I think that a normal adult human with a normal, functioning gastro-intestinal system, when presented with the issue of an unanticipated poop, should be able to slam the sphincter shut for the time it takes to get to a nearby toilet.

The bottom line is, if this chick routinely gets no notice as to when a poop is coming on, she must be shitting herself daily. Perhaps that's why her children run her out of the house?

And finally, if she's going to take the time to actually TELL people the story of pooping in her yard, wouldn't it save time to simply grab and Sharpie and write, I was raised by wild dogs, on her head instead?

Posted at 04:35 PM | Comments (2)

September 26, 2007

Big, Black Pants

We did two bottle band gigs over the weekend, which makes for a very long weekend. The first gig was for someone's 50th wedding anniversary, so there were lots of people there over the age of 70. The Saturday gig was for the residents of a large local retirement community, so there were lots of people there over the age of 80.

Surprisingly, the octogenarians were a much better audience. I guess, when you're that close to death, you appreciate anything that'll distract The Reaper for just a little while longer.

The retirement community had a really nice performance space. When we were done setting up and went to get dressed, it hit me that I had forgotten my dress.

My long, clingy, black dress.

How could I forget my dress?! It's the centerpiece around which my entire outfit is created! It's the canvas for the work of art that is moi!

I could forget my shoes, or my opera gloves, or even my earrings. But my dress?! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

With my veiled pillbox hat on my head, and my huge-ass rhinestone earrings on my lobes, I approached the director still wearing my jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt.

"Dude. I'm so sorry. I forgot my dress."

"Wenchie. Have you seen our audience? It's not going to register. Don't worry about it."

Phew! At least he wasn't mad at me. And if Nicki has taught me anything, it's that any t-shirt can be dressed up with a necklace. And I had four strands of pearls! I was halfway to performance-ready!

A few women from the band started to offer me... something. But then they realized that they're all SIZE FOURS, and the laws of the universe wouldn't allow me to wear their stuff.

So, in a poetic, circle-of-life moment, it was WG who came to the rescue. With his black pants.

Now, who among us hasn't gained a few pounds as high school has retreated into the distance and our metabolisms slowed? WG is no exception. And -- how shall I say this -- he is much less of an exception than I.

Those pants were big.

Luckily, A is about my size (yes, he's in the Bottle Band, too) and offered me his belt.

Do you remember that skit on "Saturday Night Live," where Adam Sandler and the late and great Chris Farley were chicks working at The Gap? And when people tried on pants that were too big, they were all, "Well, you're supposed to cinch it!" (You can see the characters here, but I was unable to find the actual skit I'm referring to.)

I felt like that. Like I was wearing baggy, cinched Gap pants. I haven't worn my pants that high in 20 years. And I won't be wearing them that high again for another 40!

Once I pulled the whole look together with the hat and gloves and everything, I turned my back to everyone near me and said the only thing that I could, "Do these pants make my butt look big?"

Posted at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2007

Gimme a B!

Wait, wait, wait! I have a favorite story from high school that doesn't involve me getting violent or blacklisted! I remembered it Friday night when WG and I were talking about our high school reunion, and the name Amy M. came up.

Yes, WG and I are on speaking terms, despite the spelunking and the Coke. I have to respect any teen who can use spelunking in a sentence at a moment's notice, thus my energies are best directed towards other revenges. Besides, he has switched to Diet Coke, and that's not nearly as sticky as Classic Coke, so why bother throwing it?

Okay, the high school I went to had not only a cheerleading team, but also a pom-pom squad. Thee Pom-Pom Squad. Our pom-poms were state champions every damn year since Mary Magdalene first hiked up her skirt and yelled, "Go, Jesus!"

And just like every high school themed movie you've ever scene, the pom-poms were the prettiest girls in school. And the most popular. And the richest. And the sluttiest. And the bitchiest.

With a few rare exceptions. (I'm legally obligated to add that last sentence because Husband's Ex was a pom-pom, back in the day, and so was WG's wife. D'oh!)

Amy M. was the prettiest, richest, bitchiest of them all. Shiney blond hair, blue eyes, and big, big boobies. Your basic nightmare.

The pom-poms performed in the V-show every year. They used their coach's office as their dressing room, which was located in the Performing Arts wing by the stage, and not in the Athletic wing. Weird.

Anyhoo,... oh crap. I had not anticipated this next part of the story. I mean, I know the story because I'm telling it, but I forgot that relaying this information would just put another notch in my nerdy belt.

Okay. We played handbells. At my church, to be considered cool, the high schoolers had to play in the junior handbell choir. I shit you not. It was a whooooooooooooole different set of rules back then, folks.

And frankly, we were damn good. We played a Scott Joplin piece in the V-show -- I think it was "The Entertainer." I was in the choir, as was Billi and WG, and many other people not worth mentioning here because I will never blog about them again.

But EH is worth mentioning. Picture... Ron Weasley, only taller, skinnier, and even more socially awkward. Sweet guy, but quite the late-bloomer, to put it kindly.

Because the handbells are worth thousands and thousands of dollars, the drama teacher insisted that we store them in a locked office. But not his. EH was in there one evening, making sure they were all put away properly after our number, and ensuring that the cases were in the way as little as possible.

Convinced the pom-pom coach would not trip over them, he stood up to leave. Just then the door opened and in came the pom-pom squad. Amy M. was busy critiqueing their performance as she took her top off, so she didn't notice EH standing there. Staring. At her boobies.

Deer in the headlights doesn't even begin to describe it.

I don't know who screamed louder -- Amy M. or EH. He bolted out of the room, chased by the shrieks and laughter of twenty pom-poms.

For anyone other male in the school, the incident would have been a badge or honor, carried proudly to graduation and beyond. But EH was horrified and left the room whenever anyone mentioned it. Which was often. Indeed, I believe it was daily for the following six months.

And he didn't even get blacklisted from the pom-pom coach's office. No fair.

Posted at 03:14 PM | Comments (1)

August 31, 2007

No Smoking

I have about two dozen blogs floating around my Draft pile that I started and lost interest because I'm just a -- hey, look! Something shiney!

Oh, nevermind. Just saw myself in the mirror out of the corner of my eye. Where was I? Oh, yes -- unfinished blogs. I wrote this one about March of '05, I believe, after a record number of days of complete cloud cover, when Nicholle and I were still working together at our previous place of employment...


Here comes the sun!
Doot 'n' doo-dooooooooo
Here comes the sun!
An' I say...
It's all right!

Little darlin', it's been a long, cold, lonely two weeks without the sun! But it's back! I had to wear sunglasses at lunch, lest I be hunched over and hissing like a sleestack! Pure! Awesome!

And thanks to global warming -- and my S.U.V. -- it's also over 50 degrees out! So Nicholle and I went on our first round-the-building walk in months.

As we got off the elevator and walked to our exit, I saw, through the huge windows, that there were three young men smoking just outside the door. Not a big deal, except for the many NO SMOKING signs posted within four feet of them.

I don't smoke. However, I don't lecture people on smoking. And I think Mayor Daley's new smoking ban IN BARS is kinda retarded. However. I don't like the smell, and the smoke irritates my eyes, especially now that I have contacts. Therefore, I don't go to bars, and if I see someone smoking, I keep my distance for the duration of their cigarette. I don't like cigarette smoke, so I make it my responsibility to stay away from it. Just like I don't like seafood, so I don't eat at Red Lobster. See how that works?

But what happens when you open the menu at Outback Steakhouse and see only salmon, squid and clams?

There are four entrances to our office building, one on each side. Two of these entrances -- exactly half -- are designated SMOKING areas, complete with shade trees, lovely landscaping, garbage cans, ashtrays and benches. They are much more inviting and picturesque than the NO SMOKING entrances, lemme tell ya.

But that's okay! I get what's going on! They want to lure the smokers away from the NO SMOKING areas, and I thank them. I don't enjoy having to walk through a cloud of smoke to start my day, so I always park by one of the NO SMOKING entrances.

So it really irked me to see three assholes puffing away less than four feet from where Nicholle and I were going to exit the building. There's plenty of room in the SMOKING areas! Why force me to walk through your stinky cloud? I just washed my hair with Pumpkin Pie shampoo, for God's sake!

As we neared the door, I expressed my irritation to Nicholle through eye-rolling, snorting and swearing.

"Are you gonna say something?" she asked apprehensively.

Well, sure, I always fantasize about saying something when I see people flicking their butts into the bushes when they should be putting them in the garbage recepticles provided solely for that purpose at the NO SMOKING entrances! But it never occurred to me that I could actually do it.

But I could actually do it. Any why not? Why shouldn't I? It's certainly not rude to point out other peoples' rudeness. Husband gets mortified when I tell people in movie theatres that their crying baby is disturbing everyone around them. But how is that rude? IT'S TOTALLY NOT! If you spit on my shoe, and I go "Ew!" I'M NOT BEING RUDE!

The other obvious fact is that they're going to call me a stupid bitch the minute I'm outta earshot, but do I care? Why would I? If stupid assholes think I'm a stupid bitch, I think that pretty much cancels out the whole insult.

The final possibility is that they might get mad and, since their cigarettes are laced with PCP, go totally insane on our asses, biting off our ears and whatnot. But how likely is that? God, do they even make PCP anymore? I'm so not up with the cool drugs.

So we go through the door, and I'm totally geared up to say something. Something silly, though, not bitchy. There's no need to be obnoxious right outta the gate, blah blah blah, flies and honey.

I said, "Hey, is that a NO SMOKING sign right there? Well, I'll be!"

Deer. In. The. Headlights.

For about two seconds, which seemed like two minutes, they just stared at me.

Finally, one of them broke the curse and said, "Oh, is that what that says?"

Meanwhile, I notice that Nicholle is walking about six feet behind me. And as she was not wearing a burka at the time, I have to assume that she thought they were going to kick my ass and did NOT have my back. Or she just didn't want to be associated with the crazy lady.

And at first I was hurt, cuz, I mean, I'd totally have her back. But then I realized that she had to have some distance between her and her victims if she was going to get a good spin on her ninja throwing stars.


So, um, yeah. Never finished it. And I don't remember exactly how it ended, but there was no fight, so I'm assuming it ended with Nicholle being mortified and me being called a stupid bitch behind my back. So pretty much like every other day.

And then I found five dollars.

Posted at 03:04 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2007

The Rainbow After the Flood

Ah, I love the sound of woodchippers and gas generators in the morning!

Actually, post-flood life around here is settling down. Most people have their power back, and the debris is mostly cleaned up. Here's our story.

Squish.

This is the day the rains came. You can see the dark patches of water on the carpet. For once, it's actually water and not dog poop or puke. How novel! Oh, and the rolled up rug on the left? Also wet.

All the boxes piled on tables and such are full of things I've promised to eBay for various people. Methinks I've over-extended myself. For example, here is just part of the second largest Charlie's Angels collection in the U.S.

Morning, Charlie!

Unfortunately, dozens of video tapes got wet with muddy water. But Kelly is cool and assured me it's no big deal. Thank God! I was afraid I was going to get karate-chopped.

When the weathermen started predicting another bout of rain that would make our neighborhood, in a nutshell, uninhabitable, I started hauling stuff upstairs.

Table for none.

It all ended up in the dining room, since we're cavemen and often eat standing up at the kitchen counter anyway. Yes, that's Stella's little silhouette in the corner. I'm so tired of looking at that damn cage. But I think she likes being tucked away in her own little cave. I know I'd like to crawl into some unnoticable corner of the house and curl up!

While I was hauling heavy shit upstairs, Husband was working on a project of his own. He bought a couple new sump pumps, batteries and pipe, and he rebuilt the entire system.

caption

These are the times I am sooooooooooooooooo glad to be married to him. He doesn't loose his temper under duress, and that man can fix and/or build ANYTHING.

Growing up on a farm, his parents didn't call a professional to come out and deal with any plumbing or electrical problems they had. When something needed doing, Husband's dad got a book from the library, and the whole family learned what had to be done.

Pretty damn smart, if you ask me. I'm such a sissified city girl, my only solution is to make a phone call, open my checkbook and grit my teeth.

Husband and I actually work pretty well together, when it comes to projects like this. I'm the brawn and he's the brains. I.e. I haul heavy stuff while he figures out plumbing.

Afterwards, I moved allllllllllllllllll the t.v. room furniture over to the dry side of the room.

My heart will go on.

(The "Titanic" poster is his, okay? It was here when I moved in, and he won't part with it. Unfortunately, it survived the flood.)

Then Husband ripped up all the wet carpeting, and I moved allllllllllllll the t.v. room furniture over to the non-carpeting side of the room.

The couches were easy. It was moving all the damn books that killed me. I may have to rethink this facade of intellectualism I try to keep up...

You'll notice that there's a few feet of space between the leather sofa and the t.v., so we can still watch. I don't mind that my entire house is topsy-turvy, as long as I can sit on my ass and watch the boob-tube.

We dragged all the dead carpeting and mushy video tapes and such to the curb. Wenchie Ave., Where Floor Covering Goes To Die.

The Garbage-Pickers' Delight

Our neighbors two doors down had it worst. They had three feet of sewer water in their basement. They literally had to throw out every single thing. A third of their worldly posessions were curb sculptures.

As if invitations had been sent out, all the lawn care guys in the county started trawling our streets for treasures. They were picking some chairs off our neighbor's pile of sewage-sodden stuff, and the guy who lived there was trying to explain to them that it was wet with sewer water, but the garbage pickers didn't speak English. It was pretty funny to watch. They couldn't understand why this guy didn't want them to take his garbage!

Since then, I've been on carpet shampooing duty. Every other day, I lay one carpet out in the driveway and go to town with the Bissel. Then I just let it lay there to bake in the sun.

Last night, we brought home 20 boxes of faux-wood laminate flooring for the basement floor. Next week, I'll show you why, along with HGTV-worthy before and after pictures!

Posted at 03:35 PM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2007

Holy Barfimony

Since I was M.I.A. all weekend and my week has suddenly gone mental, I'm being a lazy-ass and relying on a Guest Blogger to entertain you today.

Donning the blogging hat today is Kelly Garrett, who is currently "kvelling with excitement about my 1500th post!"

[You know I won't be able to resist an occasional bracketed comment or two. It's my nature.]

* * * * *

A, did I barf before or after the relatives left?” Not something a 31 year old plans on asking his brother at a family wedding.

“Wait... you barfed?”

Even better, I thought. No one knew, not even my brother, who was sharing my room.

After A’s face remained in an inquisitive and confused stupor, I lifted up the pillow next to me and revealed the chunks I blew last night. Yes, I slept with my own barf. Why?

Well, picture it. Sicily, 1922. Just kidding.

Seriously, picture it. Los Angeles, 2006. I arrive at the airport an hour early for a 4:35 p.m. flight into San Francisco. My cousin Erik’s rehearsal dinner started at 7:00 p.m. (BTW, is it really a rehearsal dinner if you invite 60 people? Do all of the guests really need to rehearse sitting down and pretending not to be bored? WTF?) The 4:35 flight was to get me in just in time.

After a series of mishaps that included pilots and flight attendants not showing up for work (this was not even Northwest Airlines), a computer crash (no, I do not fly JetBlue), and an onboard lavatory back-up (I wouldn’t dream of boarding Continental), the plane did not take off until 8:15 p.m. This left me with almost five hours of free time to spend drinking white wine.

Needless to say, I arrove (I know this is not a word. For those who know my brother, this should not need an explanation) at the dinner quite drunk and naturally, drank more white wine while watching videos of my cousins impersonating Def Leppard in 1986. Will someone tell me what went wrong in the 80’s?

After dinner, A and I invited the cousins and uncles up to our room to have more drinks. I should have had one more glass of white wine, but what is it about white wine that whets ones appetite for champagne? So, I had 2 champagnes. Not glasses -- bottles.

[What is it with the Gays and their champagne?]

I was quite garrulous for the next 45 minutes (the time in which I drank both bottles) and then all of sudden passed out. I woke up five minutes later, rolled over to the unoccupied side of my queen bed, barfed what looked like a raw chicken tender and tomato stew, rolled back over, and went to sleep until the next morning. I was so drunk that I did not even care. (At least I didn’t cuddle with it.)

[The most shocking part of this is that the other side of Kelly's bed was unoccupied.]

Well, A sure got a kick out of this (you know, laughing hysterically with great exaggeration in his own annoying little way) - especially when K came into the room and started cleaning it up. Pirate, if you think K is really scary in normal day-to-day relations, you should see her cleaning up barf!

[I can't believe she cleaned it up for him! I would have rubbed his nose in it and swatted him on the ass with a newspaper.]

But, as the great Ignatius J. Reilly would say, fortuna smiled upon me when, not one hour later, it was A who was hurling is guts out(albeit in the toilet), and it was I who was laughing my ass off.

And for you regular wenchies out there -- no, he did not pee on the carpet.

Posted at 01:18 PM | Comments (9)

August 06, 2007

Too Much To Deal With

Oh. My. God. Isn't it lovely when some succulent piece of gossip simply falls into your lap?

At work this week, some guy meant to forward an email -- a very, very personal email -- to his wife, but he ended up sending it to the entire office by mistake. I don't know how the hell something like that happens, but I'm glad it did.

Now, the email needs some backstory, which I got from my boss and will now share with you.

Keith is the son of the woman who wrote the original email. He and his family live in the Chicago area but have a place in Wisconsin (in a town I will not name). He has three teenaged children, who are all staying with his mom for a bit at their place in WI. There are two boys and a girl, 16, 17 and 19.

Now, these kids are, by reputation, all drunks. One has dropped out of school, and one is failing out of school. They all have criminal records in their home town.

Keith's wife is currently also in the same Wisconsin town but staying at a different house and never around.

Reading this, I feel really bad for Keith's mom... but not so bad that I'm not going to print the email. What? I'm eliminating the names! There's also some people mentioned whom I don't know, but they're not really pivitol to the story.

Keith,

I have hesitated to bother you when you have serious issues to deal with in Chicago, but something has to be done about all these kids up from Chicago and their lying and drinking.

Their are putting your reputation in jeopardy. It is just one thing after another and they don't seem to learn. Why are [2 teenaged friends of the kids] up here without a parent?

Marie came to me yesterday and said [17 yr. old Son] lied about his age and she rented him a moped. As long as he had a driver's license, but not 18, he could have gotten parental permission and it would have been ok, but he didn't. Marie would have been liable if [17 yr. old Son] had been in an accident and lost her business.

[16 yr. old Son] and [2 teenaged friends of the kids] tried renting mopeds too, but Marie was on to them. Later, [2 teenaged friends] tried to get one of Marie's underage employees to get beer and join them at a bonfire at Cathy's house. [Keith's bro-in-law] went out to the Lake House to have [Keith's wife] take of this.

[19 yr. old Daughter] has been at the Local Bar twice and not noticed right away. She is putting Local Bar Owner's business in jeopardy. Owner is still waiting for an apology from [19 yr. old Daughter].

[19 yr. old Daughter] has brought beer up in her car and with [16 yr. old Son]'s help took it to the bunkhouse, where 3 more underage kids were, including a 15 yr. old girl. Some of these kids had to drive home. If I knowing allowed them to drink at my house I could go to jail. After I told the kids they couldn't drink at my house, I called [Keith's wife] to handle it.

[Keith's wife]'s solution is to lecture me on being too hard on the kids and not talking to them. I will talk to them, but they do not want to hear what I have to say. [Keith's wife] is the parent up here. Her punishment is not allowing them to stay by me or work at the ice cream shop. I am fine with that right now. All this is getting too much to deal with.

The MySpace web page that [some whorey friend] created including members [16 yr. old Son], [etc.] created is call:

Drunk in [Town Name] (Chicago Chapter)

Common Interest
For anyone who have ventured up to
[Town Name], WI in search of wild drunken debauchery, and those who have made [Town Name] police report history.

Recent News: At 63 years old, Robert is the oldest (and drunkest) honary member

Officers: [some whorey friend] (Official dancer with Keith)

I am asking for help before something else happens.

Mom

See, this is why Wisconsin-ites call us F.I.B.s (Fucking Illinois Bastards). Can you blame them?

What kind of hippie shit is this don't-be-too-hard-on-them crap? Talking is fine for when Sally repeatedly forgets her homework, or Tommy goes out without cutting the grass first. But police reports call for something more serious than a tsk-tsk.

When I'm Queen, if some parent(s) let all of their kids become criminals, it will be my sentence that they join their kids in prison. Because really -- what has Keith contributed to the world except three reasons to stay off the streets after dark?

Oh, and to add to the hilarity, Keith has some business ventures up in that very town in WI. He has even gotten the mayor to invest in his business plan. I wonder how the mayor will feel when news of Keith's kids reaches his ears?

I'm assuming the whole shit-for-brains family will eventually be run outta town by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. I just hope they don't come back to Illinois.

Posted at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2007

The Cabin, Part I

Husband and I will be going to my family's cabin briefly this weekend. Mid-July is awfully late for my first visit of the year. Most summers, I'm at least up there by the first week of July, with the rest of the family, serving as buffer for my Mom so she doesn't go stir-crazy while my Father spends his days in stoic, Scandinavian silence.

My Mother has certainly put up with a lot from my Dad over the years. For example, 'though they have been married for over 50 years now, he continues to introduce her as "my first wife." Nice, huh?

Frankly, the man is lucky she hasn't poisoned him by now. I wouldn't turn her in. His eternal trying of her good will began not long after they were married.

At the time, they were living in a "garden efficiency" apartment. I.e., a tiny, basement apartment. And as any savvy financial advisor will tell you, they were in the perfect position to buy a summer home!

Not.

But Dad did it anyway. He went in on a place with his father and brother. Grandpa had his eye on this sweet, little, white cottage and, apparently, couldn't afford it himself, so he had his sons each pay him back for part of it. Not a bad deal for my uncle, who is quite a bit older than my Dad and probably in a better position at the time to afford $20 a month. But for my parents, that was a lot of freakin' scratch!

Can you imagine, as a new bride, being told, "I know you're the only one working to support us while I finish college, but can you squeeze twenty bucks out of the budget each month?"

I've got one word for you. Anullment.

Oh, and that sweet, little, white cottage? Well, the owner backed out of the deal at the last moment. Some of you might think that that ought to have been the end of the fiasco, at least for the time being. But no one has ever gone to the animal shelter "just to look" and NOT gone home with a puppy.

They came to buy a summer home, and by God, they were going to buy a summer home!

And thus, the shanty came into our lives. An old, three-season fishing cabin that had been unused for a couple decades. The walls are split logs with tar paper in between. The roof requires buckets when it rains. The floor is such that, when you sweep, you don't need a dustpan because you can just sweep the mouse droppings right through the floor! Handy!

It had no electricity and no running water. There was a water pump a ways down the road. There were (are) bats and spiders and mice and raccoons and God knows what else. My Mother cried the first time she saw it.

I don't blame her. We have 8mm film of her washing out Spikette's diapers on the rocks down on the beach. Yes, the poor woman who dreams of satin sand beaches and tropical climes got a rock beach 300 miles north of her Chicago home.

See what I mean? And miraculously, she didn't forever withhold sex from my Dad because here I am! She's a saint.

Also in my parents' collection of 8mm films is footage of my Dad skiing. It's very old footage. Very. I know this because I have inherited my Dad's under-performing knees, and at 37, there's no way in hell my knees would allow me to barrel down a mountain on two planks of wood. So Dad had to be under 37 in the movie.

(Yes, they had moving pictures when my Dad was younger. But no sound. Or color.)

When I was growing up, there were three girls my age on my block. Over the years, I hated them all on-and-off. I distinctly remember their brightly-colored down jackets. A sharp contrast to the faux-fur hand-me-downs Billi and I got from one of my Mom's friends.

Growing up un-affluent in an affluent neighborhood sucked. My clothes were never the right clothes, and I was shunned mercilessly for it. My friends tended to be the class clown, the class bully and the new girl -- all outcasts in their own right.

How I wanted a ski jacket. Of course, I never skiied. My zipper pull would never have the collection of lift tickets that fluttered on the front of the other girls' jackets year-round. I envied them those tickets. And they knew it and flaunted them. Bitches.

But my family never skiied. In fact, we rarely went on any vacation, except to that shack in the woods. Which is probably for the best, if I'm going to be honest. Skiing involves three things that don't sit well with me: cold, speed and coordination. I can't imagine not ending up in the E.R.

So my father perfers snowy, northern climates. My mother yearns for the hot, sunny tropics. I supposed a cabin on an island in Wisconsin was my father's idea of a compromise. Hey, it's an island, right? Just not a tropical one.

Irene, Patron Saint of Non-Murderous Wives. Patron Saint of the Long, Slow Burn.

While the girls on my block were going skiing and taking horseback riding lessons and visiting grandparents in sunshiney Florida, I was spending my summers far away from any modern comforts.

I remember one time, I accidentally left a sweatshirt at one of these girls' houses. It was my favorite -- pure white with the name of the island proclaimed in blue script, a drawing of a viking ship sailing proudly beneath.

I found out later that her mom had asked her and one of the other girls to walk it down to our house to return it. But instead, they had thrown it up on the roof of another neighbor's house and secretly rejoiced when it thunderstormed that night.

I never saw that sweatshirt again. And I take some smug glee in the fact that it bothered her conscience so much that she had to confess it to me a decade later. Hee!

Could it be those over-priviledged girls were jealous of my ramshackle, bat-infested, barefoot, oak- and cedar-surrounded, hot-dogs-over-the-bonfire, red-truck-ridin', wood-stove-warmed, split-log cabin?

You bet your sweet ass they were.


P.S. Back on Tuesday!

Posted at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2007

Barf Story with a Bonus

Since telling my own story about barfing on the Indiana Skyway, and A's story about barfing out the window of his car, it seems that everyone wants to get in on the act. I've had so many people come up to me and tell me their barf stories, I haven't had much inclination to eat lately.

Which isn't a bad thing, so I'm going to relate the story that A's friend, Scott, told me. Now those weirdos searching for "barf stories" on Google will have something new to read.

Scott is in his mid-twenties, gay and very active in his church. He is especially popular with the thirty- and forty-something moms of the church. They're his hags, and he's their little pet. He calls them his "desperate housewives" because they're all rich, pretty and fancy-free.

Scott and his hags often go out drinking. They especially like karaoke. After one such evening, they were driving home, and Scott started to feel sick. Not wanting to barf out of the car window, like A, he told the housewives he would walk home from there and got out of the car.

But as soon as he got out, he felt even more sick and less like walking. So he laid down on some random lawn and very calmly and rationally decided he would spend the night there.

But Terry, one of the hags, was having none of that. She put Scott back in the car and assured him that he could spend the night at her house, on her couch. Now, Terry has three boys, ages four to ten, so there's a good example to set.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the boys did learn a couple lessons from seeing Scott in such a state. Lessons like: Friends don't let friends drive drunk. And: Drinking too much turns you into a pathetic, helpless retard.

Come morning, Scott discovered that he had, indeed, gotten up in the middle of the night to barf and it wasn't just a bad dream. He followed the smell to the kitchen garbage can, where he saw his dinner from the previous night all over the paper towels, coffee grounds and other things that normally reside in a kitchen garbage can.

And then he saw it. A large, dark yellow spot on the beige carpeting near the couch where he had spent the night. It could only be one thing.

Scott looked down at his pants. They were still dry. Some time in the night, he must have carefully and very purposefully undone his pants and peed on the carpet.

"Um, Terry?" Scott was forced to confess, "I think I may have... peed on your carpet. I'm so sorry!"

"Oh, that's okay!"

Terry was as non-chalant about the pee on her carpet and she was about the puke in her garbage can. Leading me to think that, in her younger days, Terry probably peed on a carpet or two herself.

There but for the grace of God go I. I find myself feeling quite smug that I have lived my life in such a way that I've never had to utter the words, "I peed on your carpet."

Real pirates can hold their rum.

Posted at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)

June 08, 2007

Two Fires, One Very Special Family

When I was growing up in my charming, affluent town, there were two families that everyone knew – the Jacksons and the McDonalds. They were the names most frequently seen in the police blotter. They were the kids our parents wouldn’t let us play with. They were the kind of people who would die and either be eaten by their own cats or have to be removed from the house through at window with a crane. Or both.

Mrs. Jackson was one of those women you hear about but can’t believe, who was pregnant for the sixth time and didn’t know it until her water broke. True story.

I think they were vying for the coveted title of “Trashiest Family in Town.” Literally vying. They lived on the same block and were actually feuding, for God knows what reason. I think the oldest Jackson boy impregnated the McDonalds’ dog or something. They would throw beer bottles and firecrackers at each others’ houses. I think 50% of the calls to the fire department in the 70s and 80s were from the Jacksons. That place was always on fire.

One time, it was on fire twice in one day.

Gary Jackson had a motorcycle. He liked to ride it through residential streets at breakneck speeds. He also liked to ride it through picnics, parades and Easter egg hunts.

One day, he came screaming around the corner, and his hubcap went flying off, into K and Garrance’s yard. K picked it up and beat him on the head with it! No, she didn’t really, but that would’ve been awesome.

She handed it back to him and said, “I have a two-year old that you are going to kill if you don’t slow down!” Because when I say around the corner, I really mean across their lawn. I think Gary inherited his driving skills from his mother, who once drove her car through her back porch. For reasons unknown.

One day, K saw Gary tear around the corner, over the Jacksons lawn, into their back yard and disappear. Followed shortly by a police car.

K was happy to direct the officers to the Jackson home, although they probably didn’t need much direction.

Mrs. Jackson, 6 feet tall and 600 lbs., came to the door and, of course, started telling the policemen that Gary wasn’t there and she hadn’t seen him all day and blah blah blah. But apparently she hadn’t told Gary of her brilliant plan to cover for him because he came down the stairs in a towel and told the police he had just gotten out of the shower.

By this time, half the neighborhood was on their front lawns, and they weren’t even pretending to water the tulips. They were just flat-out gawking.

But before the officers could decide whether they should haul Gary off in his towel or let him change clothes first, smoke started coming out of one of the basement windows. So one of them walked around and took a look. Yup. Something was on fire in the basement.

Apparently, Gary had driven his motorcycle down the basement stairs, laid it down and put a blanket over it. Because, ya know, that’s sure to fool anyone!

The two Jackson girls started screaming and carrying furniture and pets out of the house. And they had some really beautiful antiques, which was ironic. And unfair. They should be living with milk crates and card tables, like normal white trash!

I guess the jig was pretty much up at that point. Hard to plead innocent when your motorcycle is on fire in the basement and your sisters are emptying the house of valuables.

The fire department came and put out the fire. When K asked if they were going to arrest Gary, they said, “I think having their house go up in flames is punishment enough.” And it wasn’t, in my opinion, but I think the police were probably just fed up at that point.

But just as the firemen were putting their hoses away and getting ready to leave, smoke started coming out of one of their second story windows. Apparently, the fire had gotten into the walls and traveled upstairs. Bwaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! So the firemen had to get all their gear back out and put out the second fire.

Meanwhile, Garrance went around to the rest of the neighbors to take up a collection. They were hoping, at that point, to bribe the firemen to just let the place burn down. But apparently that's a crime or something, even when half the people living there are on the lam.

And I don't know why I felt compelled to share that story except that we were talking about the Jacksons last week. They come up in conversation fairly often, even after moving away twenty years ago. But the motorcycle story is my favorite.

Hokaaaaaaaaaaay, good story. And then I found five dollars.

Posted at 04:29 PM | Comments (5)

November 27, 2006

The Third Time

In thirty-seven years, I have only barfed while away from home twice. And I remember both quite vividly because, when you're engaging in that graceless ballet that is blowing chunks, all you want is to be in your own home, vomiting into your toilet, and then crawling into your bed.

The first time was when I was in grade school, and, apparently, I accomplished the task while still asleep. We were on vacation at our Wisconsin cabin. I didn't even know I had ralphed until Mom was waking me up. I had puke in my hair and my ear.

That was the incident that ruined root beer floats for me. The float wasn't what had made me sick -- no, I definately had a stomach bug. But it was the last thing I had eaten before bed, and I haven't had another one in thirty years.

Our cabin is set-up in kind of an unusual way. There's main cabin, built in the 20s. And then there's the new cabin, which we still call the new cabin, despite the fact that it's older than I am. It has an extra bedroom and a bathroom (something with which the original cabin did not come equipped). The two cabins are connected by a screened-in porch we call the breezeway.

I was sleeping in the new cabin when I got sick on vacation. And I remember Dad, in the middle of the night, rigged up this clever alarm system for me with a fishing pole. All I had to do was pull it, and it would ring the dinner bell on the breezeway, and Mom would come running.

The second time I barfed away from home, I was in the E.R. with severe abdominal pain (a blog I have been promising for eons, I know). They gave me something to drink so they could x-ray my stomach or something, and it just came right back up. Fortunately, at the time, I was so stoned on a painkilling cocktail that I didn't even mind.

This weekend, Husband, Younger Step Daughter and I had a slightly belated Thanksgiving at his parents' house. Now, I really lucked out when it comes to in-laws. They are fun and kind and laid-back, and I always have a good time there. This time, the kids made and decorated gingerbread houses -- kewl!

So it was extra-disappointing when I got a huge headache Saturday evening, and it was still with me when I woke up on Sunday. However, I consoled myself that, hey, at least I wasn't spewing lava like Husband's brother! Apparently, one of the forty-seven dishes in which we had indulged in the past 24 hours hadn't agreed with him.

Ah, but Fate is a bitch, ladies and gentleman, and it had plans for me. Plans that involved prompting me to snarf down a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard at Dairy Queen on the way back from Lafayette to Chicago.

When I started feeling nauseated, I didn't think much of it. Yeah, okay, ice cream is perhaps not the perfect lunch, but my body could handle it. After all, I've been training it with Oreos for breakfast for half my life!

But then the chills set in. Followed by the sweating. And that unmistakable feeling in your esophogus.

"Honey? I'm gonna throw up. Can you pull over?"

We were on the Indiana Skyway at the time. And if you're not familiar with the Indiana Skyway, it's about a mile in the air, and it's alwaysalwaysalways under construction. Luckily, we were on a stretch where there was actually a shoulder, so Husband pulled over.

The first gush splattered on my shoes and jeans. My awesome new Sketchers. And I remember simultaneously praying for a chance to breath, and cursing my stupidity.

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go. So the other people on the road with us got a nice view of my partially-digested Pumpkin Pie Blizzard.

I don't think I'm be eating anything pumpkin-y for a while.

Husband is insane. He can feel like crap, then throw-up and be like, "Ahhhhhhh, much better! Can we have lasagna for dinner?"

But I hurl, and I have to don my bed jacket and take to the couch, sipping water and nibbling crackers for three days. My body has never been very happy about having to relinquish food. I get weak, spacey and shakey. And I have to walk around doubled-over because all my stomach muscles feel like hot, liquid magma.

It's not fair. I know Husband thinks I'm faking it.

Posted at 06:53 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2006

Crackers

Up north with PJ, there is a certain restaurant that we frequent, particularly for breakfast. Which they serve all day long because breakfast is the yummiest meal of the day and comes with a side of bacon.

We went there so often, the staff started to recognize us... and then probably got sick of us. One evening, we went to a different restaurant for dinner because they have beer cheese soup, and then drove across the street for pumpkin pie at our Usual Restaurant.

Yes, we drove across the street. What? You can't just leave your car in the parking lot and go to another restaurant! That's totally rude!

Our waiter was probably our age but had a California surfer thing going on, which isn't really my type and is definately out-of-place in Wisconsin. But PJ thought he was cute, so we chatted him up. It was late, and we were almost the only people in there, so he had time.

I asked where he was from, but I didn't get the answer I expected:

"I'm from St. Paul, and so is my girlfriend. Her friend is from around here and used to have a restaurant around St. Paul. But then she closed it and moved back here and opened this place.

"She kept asking us to come down and work for just the fall because that's the time when the kids go back to school, but the businesses have one more busy month to get through before things drop off for the winter.

"So we came down in September. But we had, like, a million things to do on the day we were supposed to leave, so we didn't get on the road until 11:00 at night. By the time we got here, it was 5:00 in the morning, and my girlfriend was supposed to be at work at 6:00. I didn't have to be in until 7:00, so at least I got an hour of sleep.

"But I got here, and I'm totally exhausted, and I haven't eaten, and I can't focus. And we work a fifteen-hour day! So I go to our friend, Dude, I haven't eaten or slept or anything. Can I just grab something to eat real quick?

"And she's like, We eat after the lunch rush. Grab some crackers. You know, I really like her as a friend, but I don't think I like working for her."

When I finally stopped laughing and could speak, I said, "So how long have you been here?"

"Four years and one month."

When I looked around to see who we were bothering with our cackling, I noticed we had long cleared out the place. D'oh!

Posted at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2006

The Princess and the Pea

It's fairly common knowledge that, in order to get Husband to marry me, I brewed a special potion in my pewter cauldron and slipped it into his guinness. Soon after the wedding, reality set in, and he started waking up to a cranky zombie each morning.

Not wishing to have his brains devoured for breakfast, we bought a Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed. Yes, he's a bit jealous that my love for my side of the bed is deeper than my love for him, but it's a small price to pay for keeping one's cranium intact, and he understands that.

My sleep number is 70. I like a fairly firm mattress. I have become so in tune with my mattress that I can tell when it has slipped down to 65. And it just won't do.

Over the weekend, PJ and I went up to the Pumpkin Patch Fest in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, so did half of the population of Chicago, and I didn't call for reservations until two weeks before. My regular hotel (I walk in, and they go, "Norm!") was booked solid. As was every other hotel in the area. Stupid tourists!

(See, I can say that because I'm not a stupid tourist. I own property in Wisconsin. I pay taxes. Yeah, I'm the worst kind of F.I.B. -- I'm a F.I.B.W.A.C.*)

In a panic, I started calling every hotel in the county, in alphabetical order. I finally got us in a room, in the R's.

I'll give you a full description of the room tomorrow. For now, let's concentrate on the slab of concrete upon which they had thrown a (filthy) comforter. It was like sleeping on the floor, and I am not in any way exaggerating for comedic effect. (Obviously, because that sentence wasn't funny.)

On our list of Things To Do the next day was Local Farmers Market, Apple Orchard, Pottery Store and Fudge. But first, we drove half an hour to the nearest Target and bought an air mattress and an electric air pump. I shit you not. There was no way I was going to risk permanant spinal damage -- not even for fresh Cherry Rum Fudge.

We finally got back to our room, after twelve hours of shopping and gorging ourselves, at 9:30 p.m. You know how loud an electric air pump is at 9:30 at night? I thought we were going to get kicked out. But sleeping in the car would have been preferrable to sleeping on that damn bed, so we forged bravely ahead. Neighbors be damned!

It took some time to tweak it until it was finally the right firmness. It would be fine for me, but then too hard once PJ got on it, too.

There was no way we were going to put it on the floor because we were afraid something would scurry over us during the night, so we put it on top of the bed. So we were, like, five feet off the ground. There was no graceful way to get in and out of it. The act took much rolling and leg-flailing for momentum. There's a mental picture for ya.

So, hey, if anyone wants to come visit me, you now have three choices of where to sleep -- Step Daughter's bed, the futon in the basement, or the air mattress in the Barbie room!

* A F.I.B. is a Fucking Illinois Bastard -- a cute, little nickname the Cheeseheads made up for us, in retaliation for the name Cheesehead. Which is kind of like stabbing someone in the kidney after they kick you in the shin, but whatever. A F.I.B.W.A.C. is a F.I.B. with a cabin.

Posted at 02:52 PM | Comments (3)

September 11, 2006

Reflections On This, the Fifth Anniversary of Nine-Eleven

Since I am a public figure, I am obligated today to do a piece entitled "Reflections on 9/11." And if I don't, all the 9/11 babies are going to stage a sit-in on my front lawn. So here goes.

(And me and Heather just had a big discussion because she thinks that 9/11 babies are the ones concieved right after the attack, and I think they're the ones whose fathers were killed in the attack while they were still in utero. We have no idea. Either way, the thought of a bunch of toddlers on my lawn fills me with Hitchcock-esque horror. But I digest.)

I work in the 'burbs, as you know. The Chicago 'burbs. My job requires no traveling, no training, no continuing education. Hell, it barely even requires a pulse.

But once upon a time, one of my bosses whom I never write about because I make it a point to have as little to do with her as possible, decided I should take an insurance basics class. Yeah, and people think the only atrocities committed that day were by terrorists. Insurance Basics Class!

The class was in some building downtown, and really, I'm, like, Amish when it comes to going into the city. "Trains? Transfers? It's east of what Tower? Jebediah, help!"

Thank God that Husband, then Fiance, took pity on me. Of course, I was still cooking dinners then and had just started doing his laundry, so that might have had something to do with it. He drove me right to the front door of the building and dropped me off, before going to his own building just outside of the Loop.

My building was some dark, ancient, low-ceilinged, windowless nightmare, smooshed between two newer, glossier, taller buildings. The plan was that I would call Fiance whenever I was done, and he'd come get me. If he wasn't done at work, yet, I'd just go hang out at his office until he was. Anything was preferrable to getting home on my own.

Driving into the city, we listened to our usual radio station. (Yes, we are old.) And that's when we first heard of the plane crashing into the tower.

My first thought was, "What idiot can't see a goddamn TOWER?!"

My second thought, and I'm sure Fiance's, too, was left unsaid -- If that wasn't an accident, this is some serious shit...

By the time he and I each got to our respective destinations, the second plane hadn't crashed, and the buildings had yet to collapse.

I found it hard to concentrate on insurance basics. I know, hard to believe the question of that plane crash could distract me from the differences between property and casualty, right?

The instructor called morning break, and immediately, we were all on our cell phones. A woman who had a voice message waiting for her was the first one to announce, "A second plane crashed into the other tower."

And there I was, in the shadow of the tallest building in the country. Yes, my first thought was of my own safety. My second was of Fiance. But the Verizon satellites were melting in orbit with all the calls being made, and I couldn't get through.

That's when the instructor made the announcement that Chicago was a suspected target, and they were evacuating the entire downtown area. Can you say P*A*N*I*C, boys and girls? I knew that you could.

I couldn't get a hold of Fiance, and I didn't know where the hell his office was, and I was being swept along in a stampede of people all headed in the same direction.

I had no fucking clue what to do. So I did the only thing that came to mind.

I swallowed my pride and announced to the surrounding crowd, "I need to get to Suburbville, and I don't even know where the train station is, let alone which train to get on!"

A woman immediately grabbed my hand and said, "I live two stops past Suburbville -- follow me!"

She might as well have said, "Come with me if you want to live." That's what it felt like. And I never even asked her name.

As far as we knew, another plane was already headed for the Sears Tower or the John Hancock. Or O'Hare. Jesus, most of my family lives within blast-range of O'Hare. And as we stood in the train station, on the constant brink of terrified stampede, it occurred to me -- wouldn't this be a good plan? Flood everyone to the train station, and then blow it up.

Frankly, I'm amazed at how quickly my new friend and I got on a train. I think the CTA did a great job, under the circumstances.

I still hadn't reached Fiance, but I left him several messages telling him what was going on and where I was and to get the hell outta the area already!

When I reached my stop, I happened to be equidistant from my apartment and my office. Easy walking distance to both. I kinda just wanted to go home and curl up on my couch with a blanket and hit redial until I got Fiance on the phone. I knew my boss would totally understand.

But even more, I just wanted to be around people.

When I finally spoke to Fiance that evening, I threw a raging hissy-fit at him for not leaving downtown (his office was just outside of the evacuation zone).

He's like, "But if they scare me away, then the terrorists have already won!"

And I'm like, "Yeah, well, I don't want to have to tell that to your daughters at your funeral."

That got him. Next national emergency, he's running like a sissy-mary.

One tiny little miracle did happen that day, though. See, normally, when there's any deviation from my usual life, I call my Mom and let her know. Yes, the umbilical cord has been cut -- I'm not one of those people. I just don't like Mom to worry if she's trying to reach me.

But, for whatever reason, that time, I didn't tell her I was going to be downtown. I don't know why. Normally, I would make a point of letting her know I'd be icognito for the day. But I forgot. And thank God I forgot because, if she had known I was being evacuated from a potential danger zone, she would have completely lost it, as any mother would.

As it was, she shed a couple tears of relief and that's it. People left work to go get their kids from school, and the office closed early.

Just figures, huh? The one time I have to go downtown for something, the world goes crazy, and they evacuate the entire Loop area. Just my luck.

And yes, I had to retake that stupid class.

And now I'm going to The Red Cross to make a donation to atone for this blog.

Posted at 03:12 PM | Comments (2)

September 08, 2006

Tempting Fate

Yesterday, I fell back on a Barbie "comic" I had done weeks ago because I didn't really have anything to write about. Well, I do have a couple things meandering around my brainpan, but I lack the motivation to devote any time to developing them.

(I put the word comic in quotes because the jury's still out on the comedic quality of it.)

It's what's known in the business as writer's block. (Heh -- like I'm "in the business.") It's not fatal. Like everything else it life, my muses tickle me in fits and spurts. (Ewwwww, spurts.)

Lately, I've been cursing my boring life. Why haven't The Kids done anything hilarious lately? Why does nothing cool ever happen to me? Why do people even read this? Why haven't I quit my job to go live in the wild with a pack of meerkats?

And I should know better. I mean, really, have I already forgotten what happens when I tempt fate like that? Have I forgotten that the universe is run by a sick, spiteful bastard?

Apparently.

Before leaving work on the looooooooong twenty-five minute commute to get home, I always stop to pee. It's Pavlovian. Leaving anywhere? Pee. I was all ready -- had my keys out and my sunglasses hanging on my shirt and my briefcase packed.

So I peed and pinched off a loaf. I leaned over to get some toilet paper (because God forbid they actually put the t.p. near the toilet), and my sunglasses fell off my shirt, between my legs, and through the narrow gap into the toilet.

What are the odds.

They were my favorite pair, off the four I have. I call them my pink Charlie's Angels shades. I'm not sure exactly why. But there they were. My favorite sunglasses. Lovingly spooning a fecal log. Traitors.

I went over my options:

1. Retrieve them. Yeah, that wasn't happening.

2. Flush. Hmm. I could just see the toilet overflowing and little poops swimming across the floor, and I wasn't sure I could outrun them.

3. Leave it. You know, that's not really nice. The women who keep this bathroom sparkling clean are so nice. I'd be a real asshole to do that.

4. Fish them out. I'm no McGuyver, and there was nothing in that stark bathroom, or my purse, for such an occassion. And even if there WAS an appropriate instrument in my purse, hell if I was sacrificing TWO of my belongings to the poopie water.

Which brought me back around to option #1.

I sighed resignedly at the realization that I had to suck it up and take care of my own problem. Then I did what any decent human being would do -- I stuck my hand in the exrement-tainted toilet and fished out my sunglasses.

You heard me -- I stuck my hand in the toilet.

I dropped them in the little trash recepticle because they certainly weren't going on my face again.

My hand, however, wasn't so simple to dispose of. I pulled up my pants as best I could with one hand and quickly ran to the sink for MUCH SOAP AND SCALDING WATER, leaving my belongings still hanging on the stall door. But I doubted the only other woman in there was going to steal them, especially after hearing what she just heard.

That'll teach me to long for something interesting to blog about.

And no, I'm not telling you which hand I used.

Posted at 02:42 PM | Comments (5)

August 29, 2006

Worst New Neighbors Ever: Part II

When we last left Wenchie and Heather's Mom, Heather had left them behind to "wait for the cable guy," when, really, it was purely an act of mercy. Heather's Mom is way too fabulous to be lugging boxes, and I, well,... I'm just way too out-of-shape.

We were standing in the topsy-turvy apartment, fighting the urge to collapse [in a fit of passion] on the newly-made bed and contemplating what our next move would be.

A-HA! Decorative flair! Mais oui!

In a corner of the hallway, where there was once a teeny-tiny, three-sided closet, there is now a little display area with three well-lighted, glass shelves. And what goes better on well-lighted, glass shelves than SHOES!

Heather's extensive shoe collection was easily found among the much smaller boxes, so we picked three and, channelling our inner gay men, arranged them artfully on the shelves. Voila!

After that, I barely had time for two lengthy phone conversations before the crew was back with Heather's Fiance's stuff and it was time to start working again, this time with much less enthusiasm.

Within seconds, I was so sweaty, there wasn't even a dry spot on my shirt with which to wipe my face. So I gave up and just shook my head to send the droplets flying off like a dog (you're so turned on right now, I can tell). It was like Flashdance, but without the pole.

Of course, Heather's sinewy arms and dainty shoulders only looked MORE sexy when covered in a glistening sheen. And don't even get me started on Heather's Brother. God-DAY-UM. Red-faced and spikey-haired, he only looked hotter. Thank God Heather's Mom spilled a drop of salsa on her shirt, or you wouldn't have even known she had lifted her fabulous form off the chaise lounge that day.

God, I hate Heather's family.

Now, what happened next has never been fully explained, even by Heather. Which is doubly odd because there was no alcohol involved. (The alcohol came immediately after this incident.)

Heather shattered the top of a glass table. With her chin. While she was holding it.

Seriously, how the hell does that happen?! And the offending chin went unscathed, while her thumb suffered a deep cut that bled for the remainder of the aftenoon.

I still can't imagine how that all went down. By the time I got to the scene, Heather was picking shards of glass out of the neighbor's lawn.

She quietly muttered, "Worst. New neighbors. Ever."

I cried, "And there's the title for my blog about this!"

Posted at 02:27 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2006

Worst New Neighbors Ever: Part I

Well, my darling pets, I may be uttering my last words sooner than I thought. I helped Heather and her fiance move on Saturday, and as a result, I myself cannot move.

We started out the move amiably enough with donuts and Coke. Breakfast of champions. But the morning quickly digressed with a car accident. Namely, Heather's Brother tearing the front bumper off a parked car when he tried to park the rental truck at the new apartment. Eep. Not good.

But the car's owner was very cool about it. And quite adorable. And braless. Bonus!

I, on the other hand, was one sweaty mess. My teeth were sweating. My fingernails were sweating. Heather and I had used some bags of her various female sanitary products to prop-up some plants in the back seat of my SUV. Upon unpacking my car, I briefly entertained the idea of shoving a few down my pants to soak up some of the asscrack sweat. But I'm pretty sure I would have needed a spatula to unstick my jeans from my sweaty body, and I didn't know which box the spatulas were packed in.

When the truck was emptied of all Heather's crap, er... I mean, belongings, the rest of the crew went to pick up Heather's Fiance's stuff, while Heather's Mom and I were assigned the grueling task of sitting around to wait for the cable guy and mattress delivery guys.

So, while the apartment's residents were out sweating off various body parts, Heather's Mom and I started making Executive Decisions.

Liiiiiiiike, we didn't put the bed against the wall opposite the bedroom door, as Heather had directed. We centered it between the two windows. And we created a couple nightstands out of bamboo boxes or something. And we made the bed, as we saw fit.

And then, being the obsessive-compulsive control-freaks that we are, we started jonesing for things to organize. Unpack the books onto the shelves? No, we didn't know where they wanted the shelves. Set up Heather's desk? We didn't know where the screwdriver was.

Okay, this is getting too long and the afternoon, too short. To be continued...

Posted at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2006

Off to Boast and Brag with the Boys

Once upon a time, little eight-year old Wenchie's parents joined a community theatre group that performed solely the works of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. (The name of that group is withheld to protect the asswipes, as well as the innocent.)

The little church at which these plays were performed, annually, was one block from her house. Naturally, during rehearsal season, Li'l Wenchie spent all her freetime there, sweeping up, watching, singing, painting, running around...

Okay, not naturally. Any normal kid would have been with other normal kids riding bikes or playing kick the can or whatever normal kids did back then before video games were prevalent. But my father had the tenor lead in "H.M.S. Pinafore," and by God, I memorized the entire opera at the tender age of nine. Hey, there was only one stereo in the house, and daddy needed to practice.

The years went by, and I watched from the lighting balcony as my parents and their friends became other people, donned ridiculous costumes, sang at the top of their lungs... and soaked up the applause. I worshipped them.

I thought to myself, "I can do that. That's gonna be me someday."

Of course, that someday wouldn't come until I was sixteen, as mandated by my parents. And if you know anything about theatre people, you know they were probably nuts not to make me wait until eighteen. But, hey, I sang alto then, and what chorus doesn't need a good alto who can sightread and hold her own part no matter who is shrieking in her ear?

More years passed, accompanied by voice lessons, and I went to each audition with high hopes. Not that I was in danger of being left out of the chorus, mind you -- no, I had loftier aspirations: a chorus lead!

Not a real lead. I'm not greedy. Just a small, supporting role that sings with the chorus and occasionally has a break-out verse of her own, or maybe a brief duet with a real lead. After all, it was my birthright, no? Weren't my parents founders of the group? Didn't I spend two decades doing ANYTHING that needed to be done behind the scenes? Don't I have a pretty voice and look like I'm eighteen on stage?

Yes, yes and yes.

But there were asses to be kissed, ladies and gentlemen. And Wenchie don't play that.

One year, not long ago, the role I wanted went to a sixteen year old diva with a vibrato you could fly a blimp through. And? I was asked to be in the mens' chorus because they were short on men and, hey, I know all the music to "Ruddigore" anyway, right?

I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed hysterically for hours. Not only was I not good enough to beat some fat, warbling bitch; I wasn't even good enough to be a woman.

That was my last year with that group. I never got to fulfill my dream. I never got to sing in their spotlight. I never got to have my parents watch from the audience and say, "That's our daughter!" I stood behind friends and enemies alike and was the pillar of the womens' chorus. And no one even bothered to throw me a fucking bone for my efforts.

The orgranization is defunct now, due to politics and egos and a dozen other factors. All the costumes and props are in storage indefinately, until the founding members decide exactly what to do. Oh, I could rally the troops and probably re-start the company... but why?

Wenchie has a new home now.

My voice teacher and fellow Thursday Dinner diner, K, finally succeeded in her nagging. And a year and a half ago, I joined a local choir organization. No costumes, no "roles," no spotlights. But it sure felt good to be singing again. And honestly? Felt good to be out of those damn period costumes!

And what do you know? This director likes me! Enough, in fact, to have given me solos in three out of the past four concerts!

Now, there are some serious voices in this choir. This is no rag-tag group of neighbors who got together and said, "Hey, let's put on a show!" These people are good, and for me to be counted among the best of them is incredibly humbling.

Of course, having been humbled doesn't mean I won't gloat... just a little.

On Saturday, we had our spring concert, the theme being "Sequels & Prequels." Gay, I know. What do you want? We're a choir. We sang selections from "The Wizard of Oz" and "Wicked," and "Camelot" and "Spamalot."

A (also from Thursday Dinners) and I sang the "romantic" duet from "Spamalot." And there are quotes around "romantic" because it's not very romantic, and because A is gay.

The song is called, "The Song That Goes Like This." Here are the lyrics, although, unfortunately, they don't specify who sings what. You can also go to Amazon and hear a snippet of it (it's no. 8), if you'd like.

But the snippet doesn't really give you a good idea of the vocal oomph the song requires. There are three key changes (a la Barry Manilow), and it ends on a high B-flat. You non-musicians won't be impressed, so I'll translate -- really, really high.

And in addition to requiring a set of lungs and a pretty voice, it also requires funny. Now, lots of singers -- especially amateurs -- take themselves waaaay too seriously to be funny. But that's where the Wench has a leg up because, let's face it -- I know from funny.

And if I may indulge in one of the Seven Deadlies for a moment... I sang the shit outta that song!

There were strangers coming up to me and gushing about how great our song was! Other soloists from the choir told me, "You guys were the hit of the whole show!" Imagine that!

Ex-tree! Ex-tree! Read all about it!

* * * CHORUS GIRL BECOMES STAR * * *

So, um, all you ex-G&S people? While you're cleaning out your storage locker? Be sure to eat your heart out.

Posted at 03:08 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2006

Hardships Endured

I've heard tell that, the bigger your boobs are, the more painful a mammogram is. Chilling words, indeed, for one sporting a D cup and facing her first mammogram. Welcome to my Friday Morning.

No, welcome to my Last Tuesday Morning, because that's when I started freaking out about it.

We ladies who are fortunate enough not to have breast cancer in our family history, are supposed to get a baseline mammogram at age 35, then one a year starting at age 40.

A baseline mammogram. The mammogram against which all other mammograms are judged. Talk about pressure! I wanted to make sure The Girls were at their best, but how to do that when you're not allowed to wear lotion or perfume? Not even baby powder or deodorant! My breasts were naked and without adornment!

And cold.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As you well know, I'm 36. And a half. I've been putting this off for some time now. And it's because of my mother that I haven't put it off another year and a half. My apples didn't fall far from her tree (thanks, Mom!), and she was always reassuring whenever I spoke of my impending mammo.

She's a very level-headed woman. Her Life Motto is, "Don't panic until it's time to panic." I love that. Don't freak out. Don't create drama. And if something could potentially save your life, suck it up and take the pain for a few seconds, ya bozo.

So I gave myself a pep talk: "Wenchie," I says, says I. "You are quite well endowed, it's true. But think of those women with boobs bigger than yours! You're hardly in the top percentile. What about those women who have to have their bras specially made? They must get mammograms, too. And if they can do it, you can do it. Ya big pansy."

So I did it. On Friday. Had to show up at 9:00 for a 9:30 appt., for the filing out of forms, and the changing into flattering hospital attire, and the superfluous waiting around that is mandatory when you're shelling out buttloads of money to be physically tortured.

The "gown" I had to wear (I love how these things bear the same title as the fabulous, designer-made garb that clings adoringly to Halle Berry's perfect form on the red carpet) had three sleeves. Three. I, like most folks I know, have only two arms.

I stood there in the dressing room, looking at the three holes, waiting for the design to suddenly make sense to me. I had visions of walking out into the waiting room and all the other women laughing at me. Junior high all over again. (Only this time, I could actually fill a bra.)

I put it on and sat down quickly. No one else looked especially stylish, so I calmed down and opened my book. Oprah was on the television set, and all the other women were watching. Which led me to wonder what's on the t.v. in the room where the men wait for their colonoscopy, and envy them. I hate Oprah.

Finally, my name was called, and I followed a petite, fairly attractive woman into a room. The three-armed gown, I figured out, was supposed to allow one breast to remain covered whilst the other one was being photographed. Like, at that point, modesty is of the utmost importance. Gimme a break. Just lemme wear a poncho or walk around topless because the three-arm gown is an awful lot of fuss for the illusion of decorum.

I say illusion because, once the breast is unveiled, it is Play-Doh in the mammographer's hands. Hoist it up, pull it onto the glass, smoosh it flat. Oh, shuh, thank God my other breast isn't visible. It's not about propriety -- it's about not letting the left breast see what lies ahead for it.

There were the hogans, exposed for all to see, and I'm like, "Sure is cold in here!" But we could both see that for ourselves, if you catch my drift. So when she put the stickers on my nips, it was just not possible not to laugh. The stickers have a tiny metal ball on each, so she can tell where the nipples are in the pictures.

And of course, I was looking at them thinking, "I wonder if she'd give me a pair for Barbie...?" But I chickened out and didn't ask.

She took two photos of each: one vertical, one horizontal. And it hurt, yeah, but not horribly bad, and only for a few seconds. Actually, I was giggling much of the time.

In trying to pose the girls for the best possible photo, she was like, "Okay, put your left hand over your head. Now hold your other breast out of the way with your other hand. Chin up. Suck in your stomach." Oh, pleasejusttakethepicturealreadyyyyyyyyyy!!!

Afterwards, I had to go back to the waiting room while the mammographer looked over my glamour shots to make sure she got what she needed. By then, "The View" was on the television. I hate "The View" more than I hate Oprah. They are screeching harpies. They are everything that's obnoxious about the female gender. Let's face it -- they are everything that's only funny when I do it.

Their "interviews" are anything but because a guest can't get the first part of a sentence out before being interrupted by Starr Jones and that red-headed chick being just bitchy and risqué enough to make the token twenty-something widen her eyes in faux-shock, but not enough to anger Barbara. And I totally stopped typing to make quote signs in the air because that's how truly horrifying they are. I tried to read my book, but the cackling gnawed at my brain. For thirty-five minutes.

Mammo-chick said it'd be "ten or fifteen minutes," and then left me to endure half an episode of "The View." I could get over the smooshing, but THIS. THIS! Was unforgivable!

I hate being pushy at hospitals because I know they're busy and understaffed and there's always some weird, unforeseen incident they have to deal with. But I had to do it. I asked one of the other mammographers if I could go. She checked with The Great and Powerful Oz, and five seconds later, I was released back into the wild.

Since I didn't want them tracking me, I went into the dressing room and set about removing the tiny metal balls from my nipples. And I can honestly say -- Worst Pain of the Entire Mammogram! Peeling that super-sticky sticker off my poor nip. I have no children! My nipples have not been nursed into tough, no-nonsense patches of hardships endured. They are pristine and sensitive!

For the second one, I decided to take the Band-Aid approach and rip it off quickly.

I don't recommend it.

Driving home, my nipples were still screaming obscenities at me.

(By the way, is mammographer a word?)

Posted at 12:45 PM | Comments (6)

May 04, 2006

This Is the BEST!

Okay, here are the top 10 searches that recently brought people to my site. My favorites have been bolded:

1. pirate wench
2. wench
3. pirate wench outfit
4. mint tulip party pleaser shoes
5. danielle jade mermaid
6. world s biggest vagina
7. draw the pirate
8. fuck me shoes
9. hold urine while puking
10. when she was bad she was horrid

I'm so glad that some Strawberry Shortcake fan was trying to find the shoes to complete her Mint Tulip Party Pleaser's outfit, and she came here. I wonder if she stayed to look around, or recoiled in horror and took a long, hot shower.

I just couldn't be more pleased that searches for "America's Next Top Model" are bringing people here! Bring me your poor, your tired, your bitchy, your accessorizingly-challenged!

How... why would anyone search for "hold urine while puking?" Is this a problem experienced by millions of Americans, peeing while puking? Did I miss the special "Dateline" broadcast?

I love that someone was searching for the line in some old poem my Grandma used to say to me, and it brought them here. I hope it wasn't someone's Grandma. I don't want to be responsible for a stroke.

And now, I have to tell you a story about The World's Biggest Vagina! But I'm going to clean it up a tad because even I have my limits. Seriously, it's that bad. Yes, even your favorite cunttard has standards of decency, paper-thin as they may be.

I was a big nerdy loser in school. All through school. My "ugly phase" lasted for over a decade. I had many nemeses, but one stands out in particular.

He was in my grade, and we were in the same Sunday school class K-12. We were friends for many years, but somewhere along the way, it occurred to him that he probably shouldn't be associating with someone as homely and weird as I.

But being a teenaged boy, he couldn't leave it at that. He had to break me down and crap on me. I imagine it was pretty awkward for our mutual friends, with whom we both ate lunch.

One day, he made a joke -- and here's where I'm cleaning it up -- that my vagina was so stretched-out from much usage that my next boyfriend would have to go spelunking to find my previous boyfriend.

It was the crudest thing anyone has ever said to me, before or since, and he said it in front of all our friends. It earned him the priviledge of wearing his Coke in his hair and on his shirt for the rest of the afternoon.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am the owner of the World's Biggest Vagina. And I'm trying to get Vaginal Spelunking acknowledged by the Olympic Board as a legitimate sport. Look for it in Beijing in 2008!

God, I so want to make World's Biggest Vagina my new masthead. I just fear the weirdos it would bring.

And as a side note, I think it says a lot about how far I've come in my relationship with my mother, that I now fear the creepy perverts of the world more than I fear reprimand from her. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Posted at 01:16 PM | Comments (3)

April 20, 2006

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served

Once upon a time, before Disney World and sleep studies, a dear little scamp named Michele was my 800th commenter. She sent me an awesome question, but I've been hesitant to answer it because it's quite possible that the person whom I would have to include in my answer, lurks this blog.

I'm speaking, of course, of that creepy coward, Stalky McClownerson.

This could possibly ruffle his backhairs and provoke him to renew his asshattery....

Enh, fuck it. Here's Michele's question:


I'm a vengeful person when pushed. When an ex-boyfriend (of 8 years) was cheating on me with a multitude of tarts that he met when he worked out of town, I didn't get mad, I got even. I saw in his suitcase one weekend home a large bottle of lotion, and it wasn't the brand we used at home. I knew two things about that lotion: It was going to be used to rub down his tarts, and that he'd used it on himself; or as the DeVinyl's said, "when I think about you I touch myself." So I put in massive amount of cayenne pepper, mixed well... and the next day I got a phone call from a screaming man whose penis was on fire!

My questions to you —- what's the most revengeful thing you've ever done, and did you get caught or confess?

First of all, let me commend you on your penis arson. Well done!

Yes, I have taken revenge. On Stalky. See, the guy I dumped him for ended up being my first husband. But whatever -- Stalky acted like he was the first person in the history of the planet to get dumped for someone else, and that's just gay.

He called me all the predictable names -- slut, whore. Again -- whatever. If finding a muscular Latino guy more attractive than his fat ass makes me a slut, then so be it. I'm a Slut in the First Degree. Let's move on.

Oh, it just occurred to me -- I never told you the WORST stuff he did. I blanked on it until Heather and I were talking about clown-fear one day and how pervasive it is in our society.

So after I dumped Stalky, I started losing my mind. I'd come home from work and be like, "Huh. I thought I had put the blankets away." Or, "I don't remember leaving that bowl out. What was I even using it for?"

For Christmas that year, my cousin had hand-painted a gnome for me. (What? She's an artist; we're Norwegian -- get over it.) I arrived home from work to find the gnome, which normally resided on my bookshelf, standing on top of my television.

I was like, "Now I know I didn't put that there..."

And in a split-second, the whole thing dawned on me. Stalky was coming into my apartment and rearranging stuff, just to fuck with me. Not stealing, no, because that would have required actual balls. Just moving stuff.

But, Wenchie, how could he have gotten into your apartment when the only other people with keys were your parents and your saintly landlord?

One day, months prior, I had lent him my apartment key for some reason or another that made logistical sense at the time. It made sense because it was only for a few hours, and he was my BOYFRIEND. So why would I suspect him of anything?

Yeah. While the shithead was dating me, while our relationship was good, he made a copy of the key to my apartment, and I had no idea.

Now how completely sociopathic is that? Anticipating revenge while still in The Honeymoon Period. The thought still makes my skin crawl.

When I told F.H. (First Husband) about the shit Stalky was pulling, he was all, "Well, obviously, dude needs his tires slashed."

And we did. Under cover of night. And it was AWESOME!

Well, I just watched and drove the get-away car while F.H. did the actual slashing, but it was still fun!

And I have to tell you about his van. It had no other seats than the driver's seat, so when we went out, I had to sit in a folding chair. Plus? It was all full of toys, because he managed a toy store, and juggling crap from when he had gigs. Seriously, it was a dump. I mean, sure, it was still better than having to take public transportation to work, but just barely.

So that's my revenge story. As for getting caught and/or confessing, well, I guess this takes care of it, eh?

And if, indeed, the best revenge is living well and NOT tire slashing? Than I'm getting AMAZING revenge on F.H. for turning six years of my life into a frenzy of lies, co-dependency and money-scrounging. Husband treats me like a queen, I have more security, contentment and freedom than I ever thought I'd have. And F.H. is left to wallow is his own crapulence.

Pure. Awesome.

And the key? I didn't bother to ask for it back. I just phoned the landlord immediately, explained the situation and apologized profusely. He came out pronto, changed the lock himself and didn't even charge me for it, even tho' I offered. He was like, "Oh, it was an old lock anyway and needed changing." See? Saintly.

P.S. Fresh, you bastard, you never asked me a question from when you were 700th commenter. Or was it 600th? I forget. But you're still a bastard.

Posted at 12:55 PM | Comments (3)

April 11, 2006

The Show at Dame Edna's Show

The Friday before we left for Florida, Husband and I went to see "Dame Edna" with Garrance and K, their son A, and their friend Steve.

Now, we've seen Dame Edna before, when she was in town three years ago. The audience was a peculiar mix of raging queens and symphony season ticket holders. Needless to say, the two groups didn't mix much, and we had fun people-watching.

However, people-watching can have its drawbacks, as we were forced to watch the couple in front of us give each other tongue baths during the entire first act three years prior. At one point, I'm pretty sure he had his hand down her expensive, exquisitely tailored, lavender, silk pants.

In fact, they were both impeccably dressed, proving yet again that money can buy season tickets to the symphony, but it can't buy you a shred of decency. Money can also buy a nice hotel room near the theatre, which made us wonder -- loudly -- why they hadn't chose that option.

But our subtle hints weren't working, so K, who was directly behind them, leaned forward and said, "Excuse me. Could you stop making-out? It's hard for me to see the stage when you're two heads are together like that."

Well. The man blustered and huffed and postured and "I've never been so insulted in all my life!"

Yeah. Whatever. Like he lives a life of modest decorum. Thank God they didn't return for the second act.

Fast forward three years to several Fridays ago. The curse continued, striking K and all of us again at Dame Edna's show. And this time, in full view of the Dame herself.

See, Dame Edna interacts with her audience a LOT. In fact, she brings them up on stage, she interviews them, she calls their families. At one point, she even asked K if she'd had some "work" done. HA!

To facilitate this interaction, the house lights are up for much of the show, which means that Dame Edna -- and every one else -- can see exactly what's going on in the audience.

We were lucky to get second row seats. Or unlucky, if you count the number of times we saw up his/her dress. There was a couple on the aisle, and then the six of us, so we were practically center. Right to left, it was Couple Woman, Couple Man, Steve, K, Husband, Me, Garrance & A (yes, the same guy who let me use his Old Spice).

Now, about the couple on the end of our row.

She was... Ruebenesque. Okay, she was fat. Which, in itself, is no crime. But, Jeebus, that dress was. It was like someone put a whole watermelon harvest into a sack designed only to hold a dozen peaches. Or something. And the guy was about 20 years older than her.

Not far into the first act, K leans in, does the Pssst! thing and points towards the couple. The guy has a program unfolded in his lap. And not one of the big, glossy ones you buy for twenty bucks -- it was just a Playbill. The girl's hand was under the program, and program was bobbing rhytmically up and down.

For those who lack the power of mental visualization -- dude was getting a handjob in an elegant, downtown theatre, not twelve feet from the person performing on stage.

Perhaps his Viagra had kicked in too soon? Or perhaps it had lingered beyond that afternoon's romp? I don't know.

But I do know this. Handjobs are for high schoolers. Real women give blowjobs, and they don't give them in upscale theatres. They give them in normal places, like elevators, movie theatres and cop cars.

It wasn't long before we six had become as un-subtle as the couple themselves and were flagrantly gawking and pointing at them.

There were other people we knew in the theatre, too, but they were sitting in the pauper seats, i.e. the balcony. During intermission, K got up and waved frantically to get their attention. Once she suceeded, she pointed to the now-vacant seats of the handjob couple, made her hand into a loose fist, and pumped it wildly up and down.

PW: K! Jesus! The entire theatre is looking at you!

K: What! They don't know what I'm doing.

PW: That's, like, the international symbol for handjob! You think your five friends are the only ones in this theatre who know that?!

She's a classy broad, that K.

So, we reported the couple to the head usher... and to everyone seated around us. We had a good laugh, and the couple didn't come back for the second act.

I gotta say, there's only one man in the world I would give up $85 theatre tickets to have sex with. And that man is Bruce Campbell. And even then, I'd at least have the decency to take him to a men's room stall. Sheesh.

But weighing more heavily on my mind -- who gets aroused watching Dame Edna?

Posted at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)

March 28, 2006

I Am Jasmine's Hero

You may be wondering, "So why did a people-hating, crowd-phobic curmudgeon like Wenchie go to Disney World during spring break?"

And I have no good answer for you, except that that's when Boy Child and Girl Child were there, and I am their slave.

I touched on it a bit yesterday -- the screaming, garment-rending rage I felt being surrounded by a mass of humanity's barrel-scrapings. But... try as I may, I just can't find words strong enough to describe the murders I committed in my heart as I had to walk around the bajillionth cluster of people who decided to stop and read their map IN THE MIDDLE OF A DOORWAY OR BUSY WALKWAY!!!

*pant* *pant* *pant*

Okay. Regroup.

Rude people just make me want to smother them to death with their own spleen, and then smother them in BBQ sauce and eath them. And then digest them, and poop them out on the sidewalk in from of the Spears-Federline homestead, so Kevin could walk in it.

I can't think of a better punishment for rude assholes than being poop on the bottom of K-Fed's shoe. Assuming the damn hillbilly is even wearing shoes that day. Poop twixt K-Fed's toes. Very fitting.

[Mom, Kevin Federline is married to Britney Spears, and he's Uber-White Trash. He's so trashy, he makes Britney look like Jackie O., for God's sake.]

[I feel it's very important to continue my mother's education.]

Anyhoo, I saw a pack of frat boys harassing Jasmine.

There were Jasmine and Aladdin in Epcot's Morocco, looking exotic and fabulous. And I must commend Disney for promoting a healthy body image for young women. Not only could you not see Jasmine's ribs, but she even had a tiny bit of belly -- just enough to be softly feminine.

She and Aladdin were signing autographs and taking pictures with little kids. There were probably a dozen lined up with their families. Off to the side were four frat boys. Clearly, they had been drinking their way through Epcot. Saki in Japan, tequila in Mexico, beer in Germany, sexual harassment in Morocco.

And it was such clever, clever harassment, too.

"Hey, Jasmine! Where's your little monkey? Can I touch your monkey? Wanna touch mine?"

Oh, bra-VO, Chett. Sure to make the ladies swoon. Belle will be green with envy.

So as Husband and I strolled by them, I said, casually yet loudly, "Wow -- harassing a woman who is contractually forbidden to defend herself. Real nice, guys."

And as soon as I started talking, Husband started walking very, very quickly. My hero.

Posted at 12:38 PM | Comments (3)

March 17, 2006

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Goodbye!

Hokaaaaaaaaay, I just had a massive grabber.

Tomorrow, we're leaving for Disney World in Florida, with Billi, Brad, Boy Child, Girl Child, Mom and Dad. Lord help us.

And you know how you're supposed to check your flight with the airline to verify that it's still at the time you booked it at? (Ugh, I just ended a sentence with "at" -- how Chicagoan of me.)

Well, I checked our flight number online, and United said that my plane? The plane that's supposed to be taking me and my darling husband to The Sunshine State tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.? Had already left today at 11:00 a.m.

Heaping helping of PANIC with a side helping of RAGE, anyone?

Holy merciless fuckity fuck, calling the airline is ridiculous. I'd never experienced one of those talking menus before. And clearly, they had never experienced me because they couldn't understand a damn thing I was saying. WHAT DO I SAY TO JUST GET A DAMN TOUCHTONE MENU?!?!

The disembodied voice is like, "I'm sorry. Did you say your flight number was Z-5-3-Q-Orange?"

But they were just messing with me and intentionally ruining my afternoon because, when I finally got a live person on the phone (in India), the reservation was exactly as I had made it. "Well, FIX your WEBSITE then, BEE-YATCH!"

Now, all I have left to do is pack for Husband. And by pack, I mean buy the suitcase and buy some clothes to go in it. Great.

I'm getting a pedi at 3:00 because my toes will be revealed for the first time since September. And I have to be DONE with all our packing because we're leaving to see "Dame Edna" at 6:00, and our ride to the airport is coming at 8:30 in the morning.

NO!!! TIME!!!

But I'm not freaking out, nooooooooo.

Anyhoo, my darlings, I will not return to The City of Big Shoulders until Saturday the 25th, and I will not return to blogging until Monday the 27th.

Tah-tah! Kissies!

Posted at 02:40 PM | Comments (2)

March 09, 2006

Sleep Study: Part Two

So, I laid there for a while, having to pee, trying to ignore it. Which was about as effective as trying to ignore all the wires banded to my skull.

I thought, "Well, maybe it's just nervousness? And I don't really have to pee? I'll just try to fall asleep."

Then I realized I was freezing cold. But I felt like SUCH an IDIOT calling him when he had just turned out the lights five minutes ago. The crappy hotel-esque bedspread was just on a chair at the foot of my bed. So close, and yet so far.

I contemplated doing some elaborate thing where I'd scooch down to the bottom of the bed and try to hook the bedspread with my foot and manuver it up to my hand. But aaaallllllllll that would be on camera, and I don't feel like ending up on the internet or something.

I probably laid there, shivering and crossing my legs, for about an hour. I'm such a retard. Some "sleep" study patient I am.

"Um, Wenchie? This isn't an awake study. Could you at least close your eyes or something?"

Now, Sayid's real name was... well, phonetically, it was something like "Howl-leder." But he said I could just call him by his last name, Hussein, because I was butchering his first name.

So I was lying in the dark room, all hooked up to wires, and I called out feebly, "Hussein? Um, could you come here for a minute?"

Of course, he was real nice about it, but I still felt like a dork. "Could you unhook me so I can pee?" In the history of the whole world, NO ONE has ever met their true love at a sleep study. The whole situation is just too awkwardly intimate and humiliating.

Hussein also turned the heat up (no, unfortunately, that's not a euphemism for anything), so I think I might have slept for a few hours. He said I did. But I was sooooooooooo tired when I woke up.

I stupidly went to work that morning instead of taking a nap. The night after the sleep study, I fell into a coma and got the best night's sleep I've had in months and months. Hmmm, didn't Alanis once sing a song about just that sort of thing?

In the morning, it took Hussein another fifteen minutes to detach all my wires and peel off all my electrodes. Ow. After they were all off, I looked in the mirror at the remaining glue, and it looked like I had just gotten the pearl necklace of a lifetime. (Mom, I'll explain that one to you tonight at dinner.)

I washed my hair three times and still had globules of spoo in it. But my sleepless arms were so tired by the third lathering, I gave up and convinced myself that ponytails hide a multitude of sins.

At work, I wore a sweater with a plunging neckline -- like always, 'cuz I'm a ho -- and after being there a couple hours, I realized I still had two very red squares on my chest for all to see. Lovely.

And I'm sure you're now all on the edge of your seats, wondering what malady has beset your beloved Wench. Well, I'm a lazy, procrastinating Wench, and I only just now made an appointment for a follow-up consultation with the doctor, so it'll be another couple of weeks before any of us know why I find it so difficult to do something that most people do instinctively.

Walking without tripping, eating without spilling, sleeping without waking up every half an hour -- there are kindergardners who have a better grasp on these things than I do.

In the meantime, I've quit caffiene entirely. Oh, lawdy, how it do suck. But I do feel better. I still can't sleep at night, but I'm less groggy during the day. I even managed to blog twice today! Get me -- I'm oddly coherent! Coloring within the lines even!

Well. Upon re-reading, I'll have to print off today's post and read it tonight when I'm having trouble sleeping.

Posted at 01:27 PM | Comments (5)

March 08, 2006

Sleep Study: Part One

I arrived at my sleep study at 8:45 on a Monday night, already wearing my pajamas. Yes, I know it was too cold for babydolls, which is why I was wearing a sweatshirt and yoga pants. Perverts. Okay, I'll throw you a bone -- I wasn't wearing a bra.

I was dismayed to discover that my sleep... uh, technician? -- was hhhhhhhhhhhhott. Already I was doubtful I'd get any sleep -- knowing Sayid was watching me via voyeur-cam wasn't going to help.

Okay, wait, must ammend -- he was hott except for the hat. He was wearing one of those wool knit caps. I don't know why. Fashion statement? I've never really understood the whole hat-indoors thing. Except for Easter, of course. I mean, was he a skater punk? Was he able to work all the machinery while stoned? Did I want a skater punk in charge of my sleep study? Did I have a choice? No, but I obsess. It's what I do. Obsess.

No, I don't see any connection between that and my insomnia, why? Are you a doctor??? Quit distracting me. It's already too nice of a day out to be here at work, trying to make one stack of filing last the entire afternoon.

So.

Sayid goes, "I'll take about thirty or forty minutes to get you all hooked up."

Oh great. First, he scrubbed the contact points on my body with some sort of varnish-remover/exfoliant. Two on each calf, two on my chest, two on my neck, and twelve on my head.

TWELVE.

On my HEAD.

Know how? First, he put down a glob of glue. Literally, it was the consistency of a glue stick. In my hair and on my face. My HAIR.

Then he pressed the electrode into my skin practically. This guy did not have a gentle touch. Then he secured all the electrodes with tape. In my HAIR.

Dudes, my hair is, like, sacred. It's honey-blonde, it's long, it's silky, it's soft, it's thick, it's void of split ends. I wash and condition it every day. I spend more money on my hair than you do on your car. I had a friend whose roommate called me "She of the Immaculate Hair."

And Sayid put sticky crap in it. To say I was horrified is an understatement.

And THEN, there were tubes running into my nose and two straps on my head holding everything in place.

The two electrodes on my chest were stuck there with duct tape. Don't worry -- the girls were in no way harmed during this sleep study. The ones on my calves had wires going all the way up the inside of my pajamas, so they could all be hooked up to the shit on my head.

Ahhhhhhhhh, yes, now I'm ready for Mr. Sandman! Sooooo comfy!

I've never had any problem going to sleep. Falling to sleep isn't the issue for me. It's staying asleep once I pass the four or five hour mark. However, that night, falling asleep was an issue. A big, BIG issue in a hazard-orange jumpsuit.

And five minutes after Sayid left my room, I had to pee.

Posted at 02:44 PM | Comments (3)

February 02, 2006

Helen

Gather 'round, boys and girls. Today, I'm going to tell you the story of Helen.

In March of 1996, I married my Future Ex-Husband (FEH for short). As yet unaware of the crippling poverty his drinking would soon bring us, I happily agreed to and planned a 10-day trip to the Smokey Mountains for our honeymoon.

We rented a secluded log cabin in the hills, with a fireplace and outdoor jacuzzi -- very romantic. March isn't exactly tourist season in that area, so lots of places were closed until April. Also, the county we were in was dry. As in NO BOOZE. So we had to get creative with what we did to fill our time. Me -- I slept twelve hours a day.

Not very creative, but much needed, after the anxiety of planning a wedding. Other creative activities included petting cows on the side of the road, visiting a quilt shop on the top of a mountain, and counting how many refridgerators and/or recliners we saw on front porches.

Much of the time, we just drove around. Mountains are a big, fuckin' deal when you live on the flatest surface of the planet. It's like, when God was making Earth, he dropped it, and it landed Illinois-side-down.

Anyhoo, one day while I was sleeping in, FEH got really freakin' bored and went off exploring on his own. Which is fine, since it made the cabin quieter, and he wasn't poking me in the back with FEH Jr.

He was back by the time I woke up, and he had a present for me. Gleeeee! Love prezzies! It was a beautiful antique doll in her original dress and shoes! Not mint condition -- she had a few cracks around one eye -- but that's how he was able to afford her.

Now, at that point, I was still years away from the massive Barbie army I have now. However, I had (and still have) several dolls that were my mother's, which I've always displayed lovingly, including two Storybook dolls and a very old Raggedy Ann. So an antique doll was a very sweet and thoughtful gift.

I hated that thing from the moment I saw it.

I looked at her face and thought, "I really don't want this doll."

I told myself that I was being an idiot; it was just the cracks around her eye that made her look a little off. I was just being stupid and superficial, and I should be able to look past that to the beautiful and heartwarming gift that she was. I hugged FEH and thanked him profusely.

He asked me what I was going to name her, and I decided on Helen, which was the name of the 106-year old lady on top of the mountain, from whom we had bought a GORGEOUS quilt, sewed entirely by her 106-year old hands.

So we went about our day. And, as so often happens, day was followed by night, which induced a feeling of sleepiness (even though I'd only been up for 12 hours). We went up to our bedroom, and there was Helen, standing on the dresser.

Now, granted, I'm a weird bird. We currently have three Gene dolls, a plush moose, and half a dozen carved folk-art Santas in our bedroom. When I was a teen-ager, I had countless Tiger Beat posters on my walls and a stuffed animal collection. And you all know about the 100+ Barbies that presently fill three IKEA shelves floor to ceiling.

Point is, I've never had any trouble sleeping with beady, soulless eyes staring at me.

Until Helen.

I couldn't sleep with her watching me, anymore than I could tolerate Chuckie, the clown from "Poltergeist," or *shudder* one of those damned sock monkeys.

Helen had those weighted eyes that close when you lay the doll down, so that's exactly what I did. And I babbled something like, "Helen has to go to bed, too." Hoping that FEH would find it adorably charming and not delusionally paranoid.

We laid in bed, and FEH goes, "You laid her down because you don't want her looking at you."

Pause. "Yeah."

"You don't like her, do you?"

Pause. "No."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm going to wake-up in the middle of the night to find her cold, dead eyes glittering in the dark, and every time I look at her, she's going to be a little closer to me, until finally she's on the bed with a knife at my throat."

"Wenchie, you have dolls and stuffed animals all over our room at home."

"I know. But this one's evil."

FEH thought about that for a moment. He knew I believe in ghosts and aliens and paranormal shit, but he also knew that I'd never claimed to have witnessed any of these things, nor did I ever hope to.

"You wanna take her back in the morning?" he asked.

"Can we?"

"Sure."

"I'm really sorry. She's a gorgeous doll! She's just... possessed or something. I don't know. I just don't want her near me."

"You want me to put her in the car?"

"In the trunk. It's harder for her to escape."

Uh-huh, we actually had that conversation. About an inanimate object.

The next morning, as promised, we drove to the antique store where FEH had bought the doll. The old guy at the counter explained that he sold on consignment, and while he couldn't give us our money back for the doll, we could buy something from the same seller.

I ended up with a beautiful antique doll bed, which I still have to this day because it isn't possessed by the souls of the children it killed. We got the bed packed up and were all set to leave when the old guy told us that that was the third time that doll had been returned.

"One time, from outta state, and they didn't even ask for their money back."

Well, I about crapped my pants. He and I just looked at each other for a moment. He knew that damn thing was haunted! And he sold it anyway! Well, I couldn't exactly blame him for wanting to get rid of it.

Was he messing with us? It's possible. If he was, he had the best damn poker face in the world. But it's certainly possible. Still, I felt vindicated -- I wasn't the only person to hate that doll! I'm not crazy!

When I attend doll shows now, it's not without some apprehension. I'm not afraid of all dolls. I'm just afraid that Helen will turn up on one of those shelves, seeking revenge for the night she spent in a cold, dark car trunk in the middle of March. Like the cold, dark grave she belongs in!

I can't include a photo of Helen because I didn't take any. If I had, I'm sure they either wouldn't have developed, or there'd be other shit in the photos, like floating, shadowy figures standing right next to her even though there was no one else in the room.

I am not going to be able to sleep tonight.

Posted at 01:22 PM | Comments (3)

January 11, 2006

S.A.D. & Catfight

It's been two freakin' weeks since we Chicagoans have seen the sun, and it's very existance is fading from memory. Truth becomes legend, legend becomes myth, and those things which should never be forgotten... are lost.

I think I'm developing S.A.D., Seasonal Affective Disorder. No, really! Check out this list of symptoms!

Sleep problems: Usually desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake but, in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning wakening. (Check. I do all this. My sleep is disturbed, I wake up way before my alarm clock and can't go back to sleep, even tho' I desire to oversleep, and I'm pretty much nodding off as I type this. Which should explain the total lameness of today's post.)

Lethargy: Feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine. (Check. I didn't even start this post until 1:30 today.)

Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain. (Checkity-check-check-CHECK! Last night, the chicken and rice I made for dinner didn't turn out right, so I decided that Coldstone Creamery was a perfectly legitimate dinner alternative.)

Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem, sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes apathy and loss of feelings. (Check. Well, except for the loss of self-esteem. That'd never happen. I'm too fabulous.)

Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact. (Check. If by "social contact" you mean "being at work.")

Anxiety: Tension and inability to tolerate stress. (Check. If by "stress" you mean "bullshit.")

Loss of libido: Decreased interest in sex and physical contact. (This is where the test becomes suddenly inaccurate.)

Mood changes: In some sufferers, extremes of mood and short periods of hypomania (overactivity) in spring and autumn.

Hmm. I seem to have S.A.D. all year long. Must be an extreme case. I wonder if I can get disability leave for this?

Well, bearing all that in mind, we have a guest blogger for today. Matt will be describing for us the catfight that I missed.

How do you make a catfight? Sugar and spice and everything nice... NOT! More like a little attitude and a little alcohol.

Some girl from the birthday party was bothering some girls with the band, waving her video camera around.

Cousin Katie comes up to sing and same girl starts hitting the mic stand (intentionally or unintentionally), messing up Katie, bouncing the mic off her teeth -- nearly spilling the bands' drinks (criminal).

Katie leaves the stage pissed and shares her feelings with her comrades. Comrades get upset... as comrades will.

Video girl continues to make the rounds, apparently further annoying the comrades.

Cousin Katie comes up for her encore in the 3rd set, and video girl is now intentionally messing with the mic stand. Katie pulls the mic from the stand and tries to continue, but is much too frustrated to do her best. Song finishes and Katie walks away from the band.

Band busts into a fine version of Sugar Ray's "Answer the Phone". Video girl is up by the band and the party. Comrade comes up to video girl to confront. I can see the tension, but still I hope for the best.

BBBBLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!

Instant mayhem. Hair pulling. High arcing punches. Flailing. Pushing and shoving. Several full beer bottles blown toward the band. Speakers stomped. Cables yanked and bent. More people running up from the audience to join in.

We tried to keep going, but it was no use. We had to save the equipment and give things a chance to settle. Brian jumped up to the mic and sang over and over, "Why can't we be friends? Why can't we be friends? Why can't we be friends? Why can't we be friends?" I can't remember who the song is by.

One of the combatants was thrown into the handicapped (lesbian) bathroom while the shitfaced manager (drinking tequilla with the birthday party) sorted out the disturbance.

It was HORRIBLE (that none of the girls got their top ripped off).

We went on to finish the set and we were invited back. I guess they weren't blaming us for the fight.

So there you have it. Tune in tomorrow for more of my whining and feeble attempts at blogging.

Posted at 02:06 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005

Workin' Topless

So, Adam Jury works topless (at home), and sent me a photo from his webcam. After recovering from the shock of seeing skin even whiter than mine, I was reminded of the last time I worked topless.

No, it did not involve a pole.

Back in my twenties, I was Nanny to Jerry from the time he was five months, 'til he was three and a half. And I only quit because the Practice Husband and I had bought a house, and I needed more income. To support his José Cuervo habit.

Anyhoo, on one of Jerry's rough days, I had more spit-up and snot on me than I was entirely comfortable with. With a kid, you gotta have some tolerance for puke/snot/poop, but I have my limits. So I took off my shirt, threw it in the wash, and walked around for the next couple hours in my bra. (Probably a Victoria's Secret Miracle Bra -- I was way into them at the time.)

Now, I could have borrowed a t-shirt, and I'm sure Jerry's folks wouldn't have cared. But I just felt weird about rooting around in their dresser drawers. God forbid I find something I didn't want to think about! They're pastors!!!

Anyhoo, some months later, Jerry started putting words together to form sentences. You know, like "Daddy bye-bye," and "More cookie!" And one of his first sentences was "Nanny hot!"

Swear. To. God.

Oh, how I love that kid.

I'm sure he's gonna be all kinds of messed up when puberty comes along.

Posted at 01:33 PM | Comments (4)

September 30, 2005

The F Word

So I've explained about our Mission Suppers on Thursdays, and how we're obsessed with food, and it never takes more than five minutes for the conversation to deteriorate into Tales of Bodily Functions.

Yeah, we're a classy group. And like a bunch of A.D.D.-addled chimps, there is very often more than one conversation going on at any given moment. In fact, I'd have to say the minimum is four -- Mom talking to herself, one conversation about poop, one hot gossip session, and someone re-telling the previous conversation to Dad VERY LOUDLY. Meanwhile, Deb is laughing uproariously at... something, and Jim is shaking his head in silent dismay. You don't have to be related to be dysfunctional!

Last Thursday, two of the conversations going on were: One about The F Word, and one about plate-passing.

The F Word conversation was about how best to use it effectively.

Least effective is the I-don't-have-a-real-vocabulary way, i.e. "I can't believe that fucking cop gave me a fucking ticket. What the fuck, man?"

Most effective is when Grandma says it, "You fuckers get off my lawn!"

Yeah, it was a little odd, sitting at a dinner table with my parents, and every other word was Fuck. Now I know why Kelly Osbourne is so f*ed-up.

Suddenly and without warning, Mom committed the cardinal sin of passing her dirty plate to the end of the table while there were still people eating, earning herself much squawking from K.

"Irene! There are people still eating down here! No one wants your dirty plate!"

"Hey! G just passed his glass down! Why didn't you yell at him?"

"Cuz he wanted more wine!"

"Oh, so it's okay to pass an empty dish if you're looking for refills while people are still eating?"

"Yes!"

"Well... tough! I was finished eating!"

"Oh, sure, it's all about fucking Irene!"

I instantly had a series of small strokes. She used my mother's name in conjunction with The F Word! I didn't know whether to laugh my ass off or kick her ass!

Ah, so many ass-related options, so little fucking time.

Posted at 02:46 PM | Comments (4)

September 22, 2005

Squirrel Stalker

Remember PJ, of fly and bee fame? Well, she continues to be persecuted by the animal kingdom, and now the insects have been joined by the mammals.

The following is the whole story, recreated as best as I could, having heard it only via cell phone, while PJ was laughing hysterically. I think she has finally snapped.

PJ, Ramone, PJ's sister and PJ's sister's husband were walking their dogs at the dog park one evening. Said dogs include one Golden Retriever, one Rottweiler, and two Bernese Mountain Dogs. These ain't yer mama's lap-dogs.

PJ was bringing up the rear and heard some rustling behind her. She figured it was some harmless, cuddley forest creature and paid it no heed.

But the sound kept coming, which was odd. So PJ turned around to see that it, indeed, was a harmless, cuddley forest creature. A baby squirrel, to be exact. One helluva brave baby squirrel.

A moment later, PJ turned around again to see that the baby squirrel was still following them. A baby squirrel. Following four massive dogs. Perhaps I have overestimated its bravery and underestimated its stupidity?

PJ turned and saw the squirrel a third time, and it was at that point in the story that I became convinced it was some sort of evil, bionic squirrel, sent to destroy them as the first step in its plan to conquer the world. What else could account for such fearlessness in the face of such big teeth?

Then it hit me.

"PJ! Was it rabid?!"

"Well, Ramone said it wasn't."

Oh. Of course. Because Ramone is a pet psychic.

But they picked up their speed anyway. Because, well -- BABY SQUIRREL RUNNING AFTER THEM! Don't laugh! This level of tenacity in a creature the size of a Marshmallow Peep is quite disturbing!

Pretty soon, they're running. Eight fully-functional beings -- none of them weighing less than 100 lbs. -- running from The Baby Squirrel of Doom. I wish I could have seen it.

They hit the parking lot, and the squirrel was no longer behind them. IT WAS ON THE HOOD OF THEIR CAR!!!

Kidding. It wasn't really. But wouldn't that be awesome?

They opened the car doors (each couple drove their own car), and PJ noticed that the harmless, cuddley baby squirrel, who has obviously developed a taste for human blood, was sitting on the edge of the path, where it meets the parking lot, staring at them with its soulless, beady, black eyes. PJ screamed, and everyone started the mad horrow-movie-esque scramble to get in the cars and close the doors.

Ramone, in a very brave and manly move, threw a dog dish full of water at the squirrel, who approached them undetered. Then he threw a handful of Milkbones, hoping to either distract the baby squirrel or knock it unconscious. But where there is a thirst for blood, Milkbones are no substitute.

By the time they were all safely in their cars -- doors locked, windows up -- the baby squirrel had made its way underneath the McGees' car and was just sitting there, probably trying to figure out how to disconnect the engine. This seemed to be their chance. They had the baby squirrel right where they wanted him!

But they were unwilling to pull the trigger and get squirrel innards all over their tires, so they waited until the baby squirrel went back into the woods, to await its next potential victims.

So when you're walking through the forest preserves, and some squirrel swoops down and rips your heart out with its little claws and buries it in the forest floor, YOU'LL KNOW WHO TO BLAME!

Posted at 01:40 PM | Comments (4)

September 14, 2005

Chippewa Falls, Part II: Dinner In the Storm

We are loud people, we bottle blowers. We're the people you don't want to sit near in a theatre. We're the people to whom you say, "Oh, that's okay, I'll catch the next elevator." We're the people you dread seeing walk into your fine dining establishment.

As was the case at the Chippewa Falls supper club... whose name escapes me, so no free plug for them!

They totally saw us coming. K probably told him over the phone, loudly, (in March, when she made the reservation), "We'll be in town playing at the Leinenkugel brewery!" And they were like, "Crap, put those lushes on the porch. Alone."

Which they did. And it was actually quite lovely. The weather forecast called for a pleasant night, we had a delightful view of... some river. Chippewa River, perhaps? I don't know -- damn public school edumacation. There was no one around to purse their lips and flare their nostrils at us, and we were assigned two very loud and capable waitresses, probably flown in from Camp David just for us.

We all ordered drinks, asking about the wine selection as if we don't normally drink our's out of a box. The waitress asked if we'd care to smell the spigot, but we declined, as we were too busy deciding which deep-fried appetizers to order. We were in Wisconsin, after all.

The sun started going down as we drank and waited for our Beer-Battered Sampler Platter, and it started to drizzle a bit. But we are hearty folk with much natural insulation, so when the waitresses started apologizing and fretting about our comfort, we poo-pooed their concerns.

"Oh, we're fine! It's going to take a lot more than a few drops to make us go inside with those fair-weather sissies! We thrive on the fresh air! We are too full of life to be caged by your dining room! We laugh at your concern -- Ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaa!"

But as we were dipping our friend cheese curds into our ranch dressing, the wind picked up, and it began to get a bit damp for the people on one side of the table -- my side. Still, we are Midwestern Lutherans, not accustomed to making a fuss, especially over the weather. So we put our sweaters and jackets over our shoulders and ordered our entrees.

Looking back, that's where we went wrong. We thought: The surf-n-turf was ordered. We're committed. We can't move now. So we bundled up as best we could. Deb and Jules looked quite fetching cloaked in the tablecloths from a couple of unused tables nearby. I had rain blowing sideways into my left ear, but I refused to put up my hood. What am I, an elf?

"Red sky at dawn. Blood has been shed this night."

Even Orlando Bloom looks like a dweeb in a hood. There's no way I was wearing one! So I kept getting colder, along with everyone else. And our drinks got more and more diluted by the rain.

And then something very strange happened. My Dad asked me for the key to my car to go get his jacket. Now, my Dad's people are from the land of the Fjords, and he's been slowing embalming himself since 1956. For that man to get cold enough for a jacket?! Well, let's just say I knew we were not just being babies about the weather.

Reluctantly, we cursed Mother Nature, admitted defeat and requested a table indoors. But Mother Nature, as we know, must have her way, and she was determined that at least some of us were going to fall prey to pneumonia that night!

Dad came back from the car, empty-handed, and said, "The key's stuck in the lock. I couldn't get it out."

Now, here's the part where I would love to mock my Dad's incompetence and berate him for breaking my car, but it has happened once before that I couldn't get my key outta my car. So I'll have to cut Dad some slack. This time.

For the next half hour, we tugged and twisted and fiddled that damn key. In the rain. Dad with no jacket; I with no hood. Pausing only for a quick trip to the salad bar, and then back outside for more futzing.

Meanwhile, the hostesses set up a couple tables for us in the "Lounge" (read "Right Next To the Bar," which was perfect). Making sure to grab our silverware and our drinks, we migrated past a few dozen puzzled diners toward the warm, welcoming glow of the television.

I think Dad felt kinda responsible about the stuck key, cuz he totally took it upon himself to locate a locksmith who would come out on a Sunday night in the rain in Bumblefuck, Wisconsin. And then the locksmith tugged and twisted and fiddled, to no avail. Soon, I was halfway through my filet mignon.

Then Dad came inside and said, "Craig got it."

Wait. WHAT?!?! Me, my mechanical engineer father and the locksmith have been screwing with that stupid key for over an hour, and the lawyer gets it out?! What'd he do -- talk it into giving up?! And where was he two hours ago?! BEFORE I made a locksmith come out on a Sunday night?!

But the locksmith turned out to be my kind of guy. He goes, "Well, normally, it would cost you $103.27 to have me drive 27 miles on a Sunday. But if you never saw me, I'll take fifty bucks cash."

Done and done!

Which reminds me, I still owe my Dad fifty bucks.

Posted at 12:49 PM | Comments (4)

September 07, 2005

Chippewa Falls, Part I: U.S.S. Disfunctional

Six a.m. is disorientingly early to be getting in the car to drive 320 miles to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. And it's even worse embarking on said trip with Mom and Dad in the car.

Remember Sigourney Weaver's character -- Gwen DeMarco as "Lt. Tawny Madison" -- in "Galaxy Quest"? Her job on the Star Trek-esque spaceship was to talk to the computer because she was the only one it would respond to or something.

"I have one job on this ship! It's stupid, but I'm going to do it!"

I was Lt. Madison on the U.S.S. Disfunctional. It was my job to talk to Dad.

Now, Mom knows that Dad is half-deaf. I know she knows because she complains about it all the time. But does she compensate for that when she talks? Does the woman, who makes it necessary to hold the phone two feet away from my head while having a phone conversation with her, raise her voice to talk to her husband? No.

She mumbles something from the back seat, and then it's my job to repeat it loudly to Dad, who then answers it loudly, as if Mom were the one whose hearing has been compromised by the ravages of time and way too many homemade explosive/firearm experiments.

So you can see why it was a loooooooooooooong drive, eh?

Luckily, we're mostly not a chatty family, so it wasn't a constant thing. Well, Mom's chatty, but only with herself.

There was a fourth person in my car. Emily. She looks like a pixie, plays bagpipes and is quite adept with a seatbelt, as she demonstrated over and over in helping Mom buckle-up for safety.

Soon after we stopped for breakfast at McDonald's, Dad licked his napkin and started rubbing furiously at the middle console/armrest in my car. I figured he had sloshed some coffee, but then I remember the gaping wounds that he sustained on his left arm when the fireplace at the cabin jumped right out in front of him in the middle of the night.

"DAD! Did you get blood on my car?!"

"Yeah. The scabs are starting to come off."

"Oh, for the love of -- do you have some Band-Aids handy?"

"Yeah."

"Well? PUT THEM ON!"

Technically, he probably should have gotten stitches, but when he went to the local Door County tavern for medical help, they just gave him some Band-Aids and a Manhattan. But chicks dig scars, so he's all set.

Still, as much as the folks can make me wish they had sold me to the gypsies as a child, I think I got the drop on them. I had Emily bring some of the CDs, and I inflicted bagpipe music upon them for several hours straight. MWAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAAA!

I love 'pipe and drums.

When I was little, and the whole family would pile in the car and drive to Door County, I would take two Dramamine and pass out in the far-back of the station wagon with the dog and the luggage. And now you know why.

Tomorrow: Chippewa Falls, Part II: Dinner in the Storm
Posted at 02:37 PM | Comments (1)

September 02, 2005

The Fly Whisperer

I should have known this trip would be, um... eventful. PJ, Egrau and I all have a tendency to be, um... flighty.

It began at the Oasis, where Egrau and I picked up PJ. Ramone was gonna just drop her off there -- with the truckers and the seriel killers in the wee hours of the morning -- but luckily he stayed. Because I locked my keys in the car.

During the first hour of our trip.

Forcing Ramone to morph into MacGyver and open the door with an umbrella.

Ah, but the best was yet to come.

Now, we all know that I haven't been able to eat lately, and we all know why. But even more unappetizing was Egrau's trouble, which almost kept her from going on the trip. She contracted the Ebola virus. At least, I'm assuming it was Ebola. That's what I surmized from her description.

"You know, at my age," she said, "I thought there was nothing my body could do that would surprize me. But I was wrong."

And then she said something about corn, and I was done listening.

The point is, neither Egrau nor I had had much of an appetite lately, and we were both looking quite peeked and wan. (I've lost 6 lbs! Whoo!) But by the time dinnertime rolled around on Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves quite famished.

It was just sunset, and it felt good to be in a place where the night air is actually chilly -- good sleeping weather. We went to a restaurant with a beautiful, rustic, all-wood interior, a menu full of fish caught that morning by the owners, and a staff of three. We were the only diners, the other tourists having already vacated the town.

PJ and I both ordered the spaghetti with meatballs (I don't know how those Swedes do spaghetti so well!), and Egrau had the whitefish. We had each taken maybe half a dozen bites, when PJ started coughing and gagging.

Egrau goes, "Oh my God, she swallowed a fly! I watched it happen!"

PJ excused herself to the bathroom, and let's just say that the soundproofing in that place left something to be desired. Egrau and I just sat there, forks hovering mid-air, staring at each other in horror.

Barf.

Barf.

Pause.

Barf.

PJ emerged, quite shaken, but remarkably composed, in my opinion, considering the fly had exited her body THROUGH HER NOSE.

Yeah, that's right -- in through the mouth, out through the nose. Are you gagging right now? Cuz I am.

At that point, Egrau and I were done eating, and there was only one thing for PJ to do: ditch the dinner, grab a beer. There are some horrors that only alcohol can help.

I must say, she was quite jovial about the whole thing by morning, joking and laughing. And it wasn't long before I didn't feel bad at all about mocking her!

I give her props for handling it so well. I would have had to spend the rest of my life in a plastic bubble if some insect went spelunking in my sinuses. She's a good sport, that PJ.

And then she got stung by a bee on the ride home.

Posted at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2005

May the Glass Be With You

June 11

Anne and I went on vacation. We talked about lots of dumb stuff, including Glasses of our Childhood. Namely, Burger King Star Wars glasses, McDonald's Peanuts glasses, and the mini A&W mugs you could get at the drive-up, back in the day when eating in your car was a novelty and not a filthy, regretable way of life.

June 19, Father's Day

Dad and I went to the flea market. I found THE PERFECT GIFT for Anne! It's so AWESOME! And that's too much build-up, thereby ensuring that she'll hate it, but even that can't stop me from being so pleased with myself and the perfect alignment of the planets!

June 20

I stupidly emailed Anne, "I bought your birthday present at the flea market yesterday!"

And she replied back, "Is it a Burger King Star Wars glass?"

I shuddered, staring at my computer screen, my heart pounding, my mind racing. Can she see me right now? Does she know what I'm thinking? Can she watch me when I shower? Does she know I got up in the middle of the night last night and ate cold mac 'n' cheese right outta the Tupperware?

Okay, yes, we had talked about the Burger King Star Wars glasses on vacation, but we talked about lots of stuff! And what were the odds of me actually finding one! HOW?! COULD?! SHE?! KNOW?!

Clearly, she's the devil, and I'm the only one who knows, so it's up to me to destroy her. I'm gonna have to call Keanu Reeves or something. He'll know what to do.

I lamely emailed back, "I don't know how to respond to that."

August 8, The Day after Anne's birthday

I totally made her wait until her birthday to open it, even tho' she already knew what it was. I just hate her that much for guessing.

But did she know it was the Darth Vader glass? Huh? Did she? Huh, MISS SMARTY PANTS?!

Posted at 03:26 PM | Comments (3)

July 12, 2005

I've Got a Lov-er-ly Bunch of Coconuts!

So, way back in time, Heather and her sibs threw Heather's Mom a surprise birthday party. And I think I said I'd blog about it, and I certainly meant to, because what's not fun about this?

Clearly, it's time to par-tay!

But I saw something shiny in my peripheral vision, became distracted and never wrote about it. And, of course, now I don't remember a damn thing I was gonna write about. You'll just have to trust me that, in my head, it was the FUNNIEST BLOG EVER. But I suck, and now you have to settle for this photo:

Still Life with Ugly Shoes

And two stories.

Heather's Mom was opening her presents, and someone got her some fancy-schmancy birdfeeder shaped like the Taj Mahal or something. I was standing next to Heather's Boyfriend, who filmed the whole thing.

But I forgot the sound was on, and I said, "Oh, isn't that just darling!"

And the lady next to me goes, with all sincerity, "I know! It's just precious!"

And I started cracking up, and Heather's Boyfriend had given me so many yummy, slushy drinks that I fell over on him. Serves him right. But my hand totally slipped, and I didn't mean to grope him! It was an accident, as far as you know, Heatherrrrrrrrrrrr!

The second story is really a lovely tale of redemption. See, back in high school, anyone who smoked scared the shit outta me because smoking = hardass, right? I would walk way outta my way going home because I didn't want to go anywhere near the corner where the burn-outs were hanging out by the forest preserve in their denim jackets smoking and clearly conspiring to beat-up the next short, bespectacled nerd that walked by.

At Heather's Mom's party, Heather's Brother (who is totally hott and hates my guts) was on the back patio smoking with all his friends, and clearly planning to beat me up. But Heather's Boyfriend was out there, too, and Heather was playing hostess and needed me to relay some message or another, so I had to go...

INTO THE SMOKING FRAY!

I went out there, and one of the guys was throwing a football with Heather's precocious, obnoxious, small, male cousin, who was on the other side of the yard, which backs up to a forest preserve.

(Remember: Smokers + Forest Preserve = SCARY!)

One of the other smokers said, "Isn't there poison ivy back there?"

So I cupped my hands to my mouth and yelled to the little boy, "Go deep!"

Man, I cracked the smokers up! They laughed until they were coughing up their lungs! Seriously! Mottled pieces of brown tissue were splatting onto the brick! It was amazing! I had been accepted into their ranks!

The silverback came over and started grooming me, but that's where I drew the line and went back inside.

And now -- why isn't Heather looking at the camera?

Yes, that's a giant pineapple behind their heads.

'Cuz she's staring at her sister's coconuts, that's why.

Jen's Bosoms

Posted at 03:26 PM | Comments (4)

June 20, 2005

Anne Makes My Dreams Come True

You know, Anne doesn't need to get any scarier, but now, she's developing super powers. Now, I don't know if she's been working on it in her secret volcano lab, or if the Fates have just chosen to bestow them upon her. Either way, this does not bode well for us mere mortals.

It was our first night after browsing the Mall of America, and I was tucked in my hotel bed, while visions of fanny packs danced in my head.

Seriously, I need a fanny pack. A belt bag. A fag bag. Whatever you want to call it -- one of those figure-demolishing, around-the-waist purses from the 80s. Why, you ask? Why subject my waist to the thickening disfigurement of the fanny pack? Why, indeed.

Why, indeed. I don't even know what that means.

I'm going to Disney World in August (FREE, but I'll tell you more about that as the time approaches... or, let's face it, when I'm desparate for something to blog about), and in order to keep my hands free for shopping, groping Minnie Mouse and drinking my way through the Epcot countries. I need... a dreaded fanny pack. Don't try to talk me out of it! I've already made up my mind. Go on without me! SAVE YOURSELF!

Whew. Stay focused, Wench. So, I was dreaming about fanny packs. Specifically, pink ones, so I don't look like a dyke-trucker. (Please direct hate mail to dyketruckersarepeopletoo@stupidbitch.com) And I dreamed that we were at a purse store, and Anne found me a pink belt bag.

Obviously, I was obsessing. But that's one of the things that makes me charming, right? Right?

So the next day,... okay, I've babbled too long and totally killed the suspense. Anne found me a pink belt bag at Wilson's. And she found it in, like, five seconds!

I was like, "Oh my God! Anne! Last night, I dreamed you found me a pink belt bag! And now, you just did!"

And she was all, "Dude. You would have found it yourself eventually. I just didn't want to be here looking for pink purses one second longer than was absolutely necessary."

"Still. You totally made my dream come true."

To which she made her patented Disgusted Face.

Of course, there's always the possibility that I'm the one with the super powers -- able to predict events before they occur...

Yeah, I'm gonna go with that. Way less creepy.

Hey, guess what! I can tell the future! Wheeeeee!

Posted at 01:54 PM | Comments (5)

May 20, 2005

Food Critics

Jerry's parents both work for the same organization and therefore, sometimes have to go on the same business trips together. When that happens, Jerry stays at our place. He likes to stay in Case's room because she has a lava lamp and glow-in-the-dark stars on her ceiling. Grooooooooovy!

A while back, when switching Daisy from puppy chow to dog chow, I did much deliberating and product research. Not because I'm one of those freaks who thinks of her dog as her very own offspring (*cough* PJ *cough*), but because she was pooping FOUR TIMES A DAY. And dude? That's just too much poop.

I finally found a fancy-schmancy, nouveau-cuisine, oven-baked dog food that's made with less fillers, so she eats less and, consequently, poops less, while still getting the nutrition she needs. Yes, we have our dog's food shipped from Texas. Bite me.

Jerry was staying at our place when we got our first shipment of dog food. So Husband poured a bag into the big Container Store vat in the pantry, and Daisy was totally spazzing out, whining and tap-dancing around the vat. Which, naturally, made us wonder if this dog food tasted way better than, say, your average dog food.

Well, there's only one way to find out, right?

We each picked up a kibble and nibbled on it. And really? I think it tastes like drywall, which is also what Milkbones tastes like to me. Yes, I've tried a Milkbone. I'm CURIOUS, okay? God! You'd think you people have never stuck anything questionable in your mouths! Dog food is good enough for homeless people! What -- are you better than homeless people?!

Wait a minute. Of course, we are.

Anyhoo, there we stood, nibbin' on the kibble, and Case came by.

"What are you guys eating?"

"Kibble."

"Ew! ... Lemme try."

Then Jerry came by and saw Case eating something, so of course, he wanted some.

"It's dog food."

"Ew! ... Can I try some?"

So we generously shared our kibble with him, and we all four pretty much agreed that we couldn't see what Daisy was so excited about.

Fast forward a couple months. Jerry was eating dinner with his folks and apparently didn't care for what his mother was serving.

And in that charming way that little boys have, he said, "Gross! This tastes like dog food!"

Thinking that she'd shut him up, his mom said, "Really? How do you know what dog food tastes like?"

"I had some over at Pirate Wench's!"

Jaws dropped, forks clanked to the floor, and Jerry won that argument.

Great.

Posted at 03:13 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2005

Turban-Head

Yeah, so, no post on Wednesday cuz I was sick.

At least, I think I was sick. I wasn't praying for death's sweet release. It was just kind of a 24-hour malaria or something.

I got outta bed in the morning and was so dizzy, I almost did a header into the dresser, saved only by my cat-like reflexes (read: flailing arms). And I thought, "Huh. That's not good."

But assuming it was just a getting-outta-bed-too-fast thing, I went on to take a shower. And, like most showers, this one included closing one's eyes so as not to get shampoo in them. Bad idea, people. Thank God there's a window with a ledge in there, or I'd be writing this post while dead.

And that was the point at which I decided that I should not drive to work. Or do anything else but crawl back into bed, wet, naked and pathetic, with a towel still wrapped turban-style around my head.

I slept like that for three hours, wet hair still in a turban. But when I woke up, the turban had come off, so I was just sleeping on wet hair. Which would normally plunge me into hypothermia, but I wasn't cold at all. In fact, even with the window open and the fan going, I was sweating.

Now, let me explain something about my lizard-like body temperature. If I'm doing any physical activity whatsoever, I'm sweating my ass off. (Oh how sad -- I can see your lurid fantasies of me whithering and dying.) But when I'm not moving, then I'm cold. Even in August. My fingers are white with cold right now. I need to go climb onto a warm rock and sun myself.

So to be sedentary with wet hair and sweating was pretty alarming. And I thought, "Huh. That's not good, either."

And when I went to the kitchen, opened the fridge and realized I didn't want to eat anything, I knew I was dying because me losing my appetite is totally one of the signs of the Apocolypse. Right after the rivers turning to blood, I'm pretty sure.

So I had a slice of bread and a big glass of water and read 100 pages of my book, while sitting in the living room in a t-shirt with the front door open. It was bliss, as the temperature outside fell from 80 to 50. Fifty degrees -- FINALLY, a temperature at which I could stop sweating!

But eventually, the turning of pages and holding my head upright made me weary, and I crawled back into bed -- sans turban -- for the majority of the afternoon.

But the real bummer of the day was that I had to miss Heather's Mom's birthday party. I missed shredded beef and Morningfield's birthday cake!!! And you, dear readers, had to miss my recap of Heather's deranged family gathering. I'm so sorry I let you down!

It was between 7:00 and 8:00 (sometime during America's Next Top Model) that I realized I was no longer sweating, and also? HORRIBLY FAMISHED, since I'd had naught but the prison diet all day. Thus my fever had broken, the dizziness was gone, and all was right with the world.

Weird.

And the first thing I thought was, "I wonder if it's too late to go over to Heather's for cake...?"

Because, seriously -- FIVE LAYERS OF FROSTING!

But then I remembered that, since removing the turban from my head, I hadn't even waved a comb near my hair, and did I really want to open myself up to that level of mockery from Heather's Brother?

No. No, I did not. Not even for cake.

Posted at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

I've Always Wanted To Direct

So Heather posts this on her blog about the Fast Forward Film Festival, and like an idiot, I agree to do anything she needs -- costumes, driving, fluff girl -- except acting. Because I can't act my way out of a paper bag.

And what does Heather call me up and ask me to do? Act. Of course. Because I said I can't. And because I also told her I hate being on camera. Which are two perfectly good reasons for Heather to test how much I love her. Bitch. (Bitch pictured below.)

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

And then, as if I wasn't already planning to fake my own death rather than be in her movie, she tells me they're filming on location in downtown Chicago.

What?! I have to leave the safety of the suburbs, too?! I'd better have my own trailer! And plenty of bottled water for my dog!

"We'll have coffee and donuts," she said.

That'll do.

So after much angst and calling of everyone I know to come with me, I not only took the L downtown, I did it by myself! Yes, my Mom dropped me off at the L stop, and yes, Heather picked me up in a cab. But I was all alone on that train, people! And there were minorities!

Anyhoo, the tremendously understanding Heather picked up my sheltered ass at Randolph and Dearborn and escorted me to the location, which was actually Her Boyfriend's/The Director's place of employment -- an old hotel turned dorm. GORGEOUS!

Who changes the lightbulbs?

This is where I'm having my cotillion.

[You people have figured out by now to do the rollover thing on my photos, haven't you?]

Going in, I was pretty intimidated. Mord, the director, was obviously under a TON of pressure, having to do a whole short film in less than 24 hours. And Joe, the guy I was to do the scene with, and Heather both have improv experience. The only "improv experience" I have is making up lies on the spot to save my ass. Not quite the same thing.

But it was soon apparent to me that they were all flying high on donut-sugar and quite out of their minds. So I blended right in. This is Joe and Andrew, two of my fellows actors. Mighty Joe looks kinda weird because he has an entire donut in his mouth.

We were promised a nude scene!

The part they had me play was that of a snotty co-ed (in a bathrobe) who had locked her keys in her dorm room on her way to the shower and was quite pissed that the help desk guy wouldn't give her a key without her I.D.

Snotty and pissy? I can totally do snotty and pissy! That's not acting! That's just me without chocolate!

It was actually really fun and not heinously difficult. It would have gone faster, had Joe not kept cracking up, but can I help it if I'm hilarious? No. I cannot.

At one point, I did flash Joe the hogans, but it was for my craft, people! I am a slave to my art!

Get me my package, BITCH!

Afterwards, I was treated to a yummy stir-fry lunch and a threesome with Heather and Joe. Again, people -- it was for my craft! Don't judge me!

As of today, I'm the only person in the entire midwest who hasn't seen the finished product, "Can I Help You?" Everyone who has seen it says I'm "hilarious", by which they mean, "We're totally laughing at you, not with you!"

Posted at 02:09 PM | Comments (4)

April 15, 2005

JELLO!

This is where I attempt to explain an inside joke because it has crept into my everyday vocabulary. I apologize in advance.

A bajillion Thursday nights ago, when I was still drinking my rum out of a sippy cup, a little ol' lady named Doris wanted to boost the ranks of her church choir, so she started making dinner for the entire choir on Thursday nights before practice. I mean, she cooked for twenty people every week, and they started to call it the Mission Supper.

(In jest, of course. These were affluent suburbanites, none of whom lived in a van down by the river.)

Well, Doris has since gone to that Big Kitchen In the Sky, and choir numbers have dwindled, but the tradition of Mission Supper continues. There are about a dozen of us who meet at the same house every Thursday at 6:30, and we take turns cooking. I like it cuz we can catch up on gossip, and it means that Husband is guaranteed a home-cooked meal once a week.

(I also love saying, "Oh, I can't do dinner tonight; I have Mission Supper." Because then people think I volunteer at a soup kitchen.)

Every Thursday, we discuss who's cooking what the following week. This is a reoccurring theme with us. During dinner, we ask what's for dessert. During dessert, we ask what's for dinner next week. Always looking forward to the next influx of calories!

Once, when it was the host and hostess' turn to cook next, we were all like, "You should do dogs and burgers on the grill! We can picnic! It'll be fun!" So they caved in to peer pressure and agreed.

And then, because we're all obsessed, we started planning next week's menu while we were still eating dinner. I'm telling you, it's a sickness.

"Well, we have to have potato salad."
"German or American?"
"American. We'd never agree on whether to eat the German hot or cold."
"And Jello, of course."
"Oooh! The orange with the carrot shavings?"
"No, the lime with pears and bananas."
"I have this great recipe that uses lime Jello, green peppers, broc--"
"EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"
"Dude, that's just nasty."
"What's wrong with just plain, red Jello?"
"Oh, fine!"
"Should we have bratwurst, too?"
"What should we have for dessert?"
"Brownies."
"With ice cream!"
"Naturally."

Meanwhile, the host wasn't saying much. Which isn't unusual for him. He's just a quiet guy, probably because his wife never stops talking. I think she can do that horn-player thing where you breath in through your nose while you're still playing a note. Cuz seriously, she never comes up for air. It's a good thing she's hilarious, or we'd have killed and eaten her long ago.

Anyway, we continued to verbally fantasize about picnic food, when the host looked up and said, "We have to have Jello!"

Pause.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

There was much screeching laughter and doubling over and finger pointing, as you can imagine.

"We talked about Jello five minutes ago! Where have you been?!"

And his defense?

"I lose time!"

What the--? What does that mean?! Was he abducted by aliens without us noticing? Did he fall victim to a rift in the time-space continuum? Should I move my car? SO! RANDOM!

Now whenever someone brings up a topic that we've already discussed during the same dinner, we all yell, "JELLO!" (And with a median age of 50+, it happens more often than we'd care to admit.)

I also like to use "I lose time" as an excuse for... well, just about everything, really.

[You know, having your cocktail in a sippy cup is actually a really good idea, don't you think? I mean, for one, you'd never accidentally drink from someone else's glass, because you'd know that yours is the one with the dinosaurs on it. Also, no matter how drunk you get, you'd never spill your drink. Brilliant.]

Posted at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2005

Heather's Birthday: The Journey Ends

With everyone satiated on shredded beef, and Heather's Brother quite excited about his new paper plates, we piled back into the Birthday Mobile and headed to Heather's Family's residence for birthday cake.

And can I just say? Thank God. Russell's would have probably stuck a Big lighter in a Twinkie and had the deep fry cook sing "Feliz Cumpleanos."

But in all fairness, NO restaurant could measure up to Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting from Morningfield's!!! (Did you hear heavenly hosts singing when you read that? Cuz I did.) Morningfield's is a local upscale bakery/deli/wine & cheese/soda fountain place. It's pure awesome, as you can clearly tell by this amazing cake.

I want a piece with a flower on it!

Because it's not just your everyday two-layer cake. Noooo, this baby has FIVE layers! Do you know how much buttercream frosting you can cram into FIVE layers?! God, it was beautiful. And covered with daffodils, which are Heather's favorite. Say it with me now -- Awwwwwwww, how precious!

(BTW*, those are my delicately-wrapped gifts to Heather, featured next to the cake, but more on those in a moment.)

[*I apologize for using AOL-speak in my blog.]

Here is Heather and Heather's Mom as we are singing "Happy Birthday." Heather's the one sitting down. Isn't her Mom adorable?! Yeah, The Pretty runs rampant in that family. I hate them.

The Gilmore Girls WISH they were this hott.

Heather's Brother also nabbed my camera and took some shots of the birthday girl, but it'll come as a shock to no one that they turned out retarded, and therefore, I'm not using them. Retard. Go decorate your paper plates with glitter glue and colored tissue paper, for God's sake, and leave the grown-ups alone!

Where was I? Oh yes, the gifties. I didn't pay much attention to what everyone else got her because I was too busy staging an archeological dig on my (real) plate with my fork, desperate to extract every last bit of frosting.

Besides, all that really matters are my fabulous gifties! I got her two new nail polishes, in Scary Blue and Barf Green. And to make up for it, the first season of "Bullshit!" on DVD, so she can make sweet, sweet love to Penn Jillette any time she wants. As long as she cleans off the screen afterwards.

In short, I hate meeting new people, especially new crowds of people, but I felt completely at home with Heather's Family. It was probably all the yelling.

Posted at 03:23 PM | Comments (3)

April 07, 2005

Heather's Birthday: The Journey Continues

So we're at Russell's BBQ joint, and this is where it really starts to get chock full o' White Trashy Goodness.

Wait, flashback -- before we even get in the car, Heather's Dad has his little paper and pen and is asking everyone, "Beef or chicken?"

So I say, "Slugs." What is he talking about? Do we have to call ahead or something? Or is he a control freak who has to order for everyone?

Well, that was my bad. I was thinking Carson's Ribs, when I should have been thinking Whistle Stop Cafe. No, not the inside; out back where Big George was serving "his kind."

"Dad! Let her get there and look at the menu!" Heather said.

"Okay. Cole slaw or applesauce?" he asked me.

"Applesauce."

In unison, the entire family gasped and recoiled in horror. Tsk. Major faux pas, apparently, but I stuck to my applesauce guns.

(Now I totally want a gun that shoots applesauce. Maybe Heather's Dad can put his mustard bottles aside for a bit and make me one?)

Where was I? Oh yeah. At Russell's, you order at the counter, wait for the food, then bring it to your table. So it's like Burger King, only much slower and with wood paneling. The men gallantly stood in line, while we women sat down and chatted about NPR and the national debt and the likely candidates for Pope.

Yeah, right. We picked two tables closest to the t.v. and watched "America's Funniest Home Videos." I'm not proud. But, dude, when cats and children start getting hurt, I'm mezmerized!

"All this show is are guys getting hit in the crotch," said Heather's Mom. Like that's a bad thing.

Oh, and don't forget the snot. There was footage of some teeny-bopper gathering, and one of the girls laughed through her nose, producing an unbelievable amount of snot that seemed to defy the laws of physics and go everywhere.

And then our food arrived.

Shredded meat on a bun with all the sauce you can suck down. It was totally kickass. Luckily, Heather sat between Heather's Brother and I, or there would have been a sauce fight. He's either madly in love with me, or he's a retarded jackhole. Quite possibly both.

Heather's Mom had coffee with her dinner. What is that? Coffee is for breakfast and dessert. There's nothing refreshing about coffee. She's not old enough to be drinking coffee with her dinner! We were all greatly vexed.

After dinner, Heather's Brother started collecting up the unused paper plates. Dinner comes on those cheap paper plates that you need to stack three-high to get a real paper plate, and Heather's Brother was collecting the ones that didn't actually touch food. See? It's things like this that... *sigh*. He's just so bizarre.

Then he started talking about Tolkien. "We have to get a Tolkien!"

The author? He wants to read? Here? Wouldn't he rather have a book with lots of pictures?

But Heather explained that he meant a token. For the chef's crotch. Of course. I don't know why that wasn't clear to me.

Apparently, if you're a little kid (or a retard, or a hottie), you can get tokens for the prize machine from the guy at the counter taking orders.

Here's Heather getting her prize.

Yeah, baby, right there.

In keep with that evening's theme, she got snot. Heather's Sister got a little Scooby Doo Mystery Machine magnet! AWESOME! I got a Sponge Bob Square Pants bobblehead. EQUALLY AWESOME! I don't know what Heather's Brother got. I think he swallowed it.

In the van, Heather's Sister was all, "Here, Heather, you can have the Mystery Machine, since you're the Birthday Girl!"

Awwwwwwww! Adorable!

I was like, "Don't even be lookin' at my Sponge Bobblehead, I don't care who you are!"

Awwwwwwww! Asshatty!

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of Heather's Birthday, when we'll hear Heather's Brother say, "Ummm...."

Posted at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)

April 06, 2005

Heather's Birthday: The Journey Begins

Well, Heather turned 21 again on Sunday, and I was honored to be the only non-family member present at her family celebration.

Honored... and a little scared, as her party seemed to have sort of a White Trash theme to it.

First, all seven of us piled into the family van. Heather's Mom (hott), Heather's Dad (nearly coherent), Heather's Brother (short bus rider), Heather's Sister (bunny-licious), Heather's Bro-In-Law (hi-fekkin-larious), Heather and me.

And altho' I call Heather's Sister and Bro-In-Law by their real names, the rest of their family is actually Heather's Dad, etc., much like The Boy Child and The Girl Child.

Why? Because Heather's Brother can't be bothered to remember my name, so he calls me Heather's Friend. So I call him Heather's Brother, and from there, it just grew into a thing. (Oooh, lame inside jokes -- so funny to other people. Not.)

Heather's Brother is totally retarded, and I probably shouldn't even say that because he may actually be "learning disabled," which just puts me one ring closer to Dante's Inner Circle of Hell. Dude leaves notes and snack foods in really odd places in Heather's room, and he has the handwriting of a serial killer. This is some "outsider art" he created with my digital camera.

S-M-R-T

Heather's Mom is a total M.I.L.F. I know it makes Heather jealous, but it's so hard not to flirt with her! Plus, she's way cooler than you'd think a professional quilter would be. And she looooooves the Pirate Wench! Which is new for me. Friends'/boyfriends' fathers always loved me, but I always got the stink-eye from the mothers. But not Heather's Mom! She's kewl!

Heather's Dad is... wow. Really, really sweet, if not altogether present. He showed me this gag joke he made, with an empty mustard bottle and some string, where it looks like you're squirting mustard all over someone. It was pretty cute, and I'm actually thinking of making one for Nephew. But still, I could feel my eyes... glazing... over...

Heather's Sister is totally gorgeous, like Heather. But whereas Heather is gorgeous in a sex kitten kind of way, H's Sister is gorgeous in a cuddly bunny kind of way, right down to the button nose. But don't let the cuteness fool you. She's as snarky as the rest of the lot.

Funny thing is, none of the Heather siblings look anything alike. There's a family joke about Bob the Hot Mailman that I'm starting to suspect is more of a painful family secret than a joke. There's a skeleton in the closet, and he's wearing navy blue shorts and knee socks!

I spent much of the evening -- and every waking moment since -- wondering who the hell Heather's Bro-In-Law reminds me of. There's a specific Oh, That Guy! that I'm thinking of, but since I can't remember anything he's ever done, I'll describe him like this. He's the 20-something brother or brother-in-law on any sitcom, the one who gets all the good lines, and the one who gets ignored despite the fact he's the only one with any brains. Yeah, he's That Guy.

So we were on our way to Russell's, which is some famous Chicago BBQ place that Heather ALWAYS has her birthday dinner at.

Crap, I just ended a sentence with at. I hate that. It's like saying "ax" instead of "ask," which Heather's Mom was doing all night long, just to annoy the rest of us.

And I'm getting rambly and bad-grammar-y. Time to give it a rest. Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story, and more photos, as Heather puts a token in the chef's crotch!

Posted at 02:07 PM | Comments (3)

March 28, 2005

My Easter Story

Okay, I’m gonna do that thing again where I get all sappy on you for one post. I apologize in advance.

I used to teach Sunday School. (I know, surreal, huh?) I did third grade for a year and then decided I relate better to kids who don’t eat glitter glue on a dare. So I “taught” the high school. It wasn’t so much teaching as it was sitting around talking about stuff, but I think, for the age group, it’s a much better approach.

And I got to know some really great kids as a result. I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but c’mon, everybody does, and Aaron and Janet (siblings) were totally mine. I even had them and their friends over to my home, which says a lot because I’m totally anal about my home and everything that goes on inside it.

At this point in history, I was also singing in the church choir. (It just gets weirder and weirder, I know.) Aaron, Janet and their mom always sat in the front pew by the choir. Janet always looked adorable and managed to hide her boredom. Aaron, however, was another story.

His hair was so long it hung in his face. He’s 6’4” or something and, at that age, totally didn’t know how to dress, so his clothes never fit him. Like many teenaged boys, he just looked… goofy. And over the course of the service, it was funny to watch him slump over further and further, until he was practically on the floor, crippled under the weight of his own disinterest.

But in other ways, Aaron’s not at all typical. He’s an artist. And I don’t mean he can draw a kickass Black Sabbath logo on his math folder. I mean he’s fucking gifted. Drawing, painting, sculpting –- dude can do it all, and with a sensitivity to his subjects that is unbelievable for one his age. He blows my mind, and I’m not easily impressed.

I’m gonna assume it was financial need that made him join the Army to be able to go to college because he’s so not cut out to be a soldier. Not that he lacks the intelligence or they loyalty or the ability. I just don’t equate the Army with art, ya know?

Anyhoo, you can see where this is going. He was sent to Iraq. For twenty months. I was devastated. It hit me way harder than I expected. I wrote him twice a week and cried at least that often. I don’t know why. It’s not like we were dating, or related. I’d only seen him once or twice a year since he got outta high school. Perhaps it was because my parents lost a son years ago, and I just didn’t want Aaron’s family to have to go thru what my family did? I don’t know.

Church was especially hard. I’d see Janet there with her mom, but no Aaron. And I’d sit in the choir loft and obsess about how much they must miss him, and how the next time we were in church, it could be for his funeral. I drove myself nuts. I’d sit there and cry in church, and I’m sure people thought (or hoped) I was moved by the Holy Spirit or something.

Aaron got home in August last year. And although I got a letter from him, I hadn’t seen him since he was home on leave in January 2004. Dude’s got shit to do after a twenty month absence. I understand.

And so it’s Easter. And what did I get for Easter? I got to see Aaron’s whole family sitting together in church, two rows in front of me. And I got a hug.

PURE AWESOME.

Posted at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

The Origins of Jerry

As I write this, I’m in an elementary school gym, inhaling the b.o. of many third grade boys. (And as I type this, I’m having trouble reading my handwriting.) Yes, I, the margarita-swilling, Barbie-collecting, sports-loathing Pirate Wench,… am at a pee-wee basketball game. I’m not exactly blending in here, and it’s only partially due to my complete lack of enthusiasm.

All the coaches and other parents are eyeing me. Who is that? We haven’t seen her here before. The other moms are mostly emaciated clothes-horses with shag haircuts and whorey make-up, while the rest are the short-hair-no-make-up-embroidered-turtleneck type. I’m clearly Not One Of Them. I’m the Ethan of Mystery Island. Fear me!

I’m here with -– I think I called him Billy before, but so as not to confuse him with Little Sister Billi the Billy Boyd Stalker, I’ll call him -– Jerry.

From age 5 months to 3½ years, I was Jerry’s nanny. No, I swear to God! I was a NANNY! I had just been “let go” from a shitty office job, and the new Pastor at our church, Pastor K, had an infant. I was working part-time in the church office (I know, it just keeps getting more and more surreal, doesn’t it?), so she asked me to spend the rest of my week watching her son, Jerry.

(Yes, Pastor K is a she. We’re Lutheran so we can do that.)

How could I say No to a Pastor? Every fiber of my being was going, “Dude. Seriously? You don’t even know how to hold an infant! What if it cries? What if it wants something?”

But she had asked around about me, and everyone at church had vouched for my kindness and capability. How could I negate that kind of excellent P.R.?

I was, appropriately enough, a Baptism by Fire. I changed diapers. I mixed formula. I entertained him… to the best of my abilities. But Jerry? Not as big of a G&S fan as Bart. It was HARD. I had to learn so much so fast, and that kid tested my every last ounce of patience. Well, that’s not exactly fair, since I’ve only ever had one ounce of patience at a time, but still, he was all over it!

(Christ, these folder chairs are hard. They’re, like, flattening my ass.)

He was colicky. He could scream for five hours straight. And his scream, well… it just wasn’t natural. It made my ears buzz. Sometimes, I’d be crying almost as hard as he was. God, why does anyone EVER have a second child?! I’m number three of four kids, and sometimes I just look at my crazy mother and think, “God, no wonder…”

A few things could be counted upon to stop the screaming, at least momentarily. And I’d like to say it was my singing, but that’d be a big, fat, beautiful lie. No, it was the huge stained glass windows in the church sanctuary. One time, as I was standing there crying, bouncing this eternally-screaming kid, I was like, “God, why doesn’t he just stop?! Why am I doing this?!”

And I’m not going to say that God spoke to me cuz, seriously, we all know he’s got much better people to talk to. But a voice in my head said, “Nothing this hard is without its rewards. Wait.”

And I did. And Pastor K turned out to be my rock, the fellow stepmom who tells me, “YOU’RE NOT CRAZY!” It’s a desperately needed reminder that is most believable when coming from another stepparent. Yeah, one of my bestest buds is a Pastor who’s even older than Husband. It's kinda weird.

Hey, the guy next to me just said, “That number 23 is good. They should pass to him more.”

And I’m like, “Twenty-three? That’s Jerry! He thinks Jerry’s good! Wait’ll I tell him!”

And my heart was all bursting with joy and stuff. I guess I love the little freak after all.

Posted at 07:33 AM | Comments (2)

March 03, 2005

And It Is, It Is a Glorious Thing To Be a Pirate Wench!

So I was getting my neck adjusted and chit-chatting with my chiropractor, Dr. Angel. We chit-chat a lot, Dr. Angel and I. I’m totally his favorite patient, and he’s totally my favorite chiropractor. Know why? Cuz he’s fecking HOTT! OH yeah – he’s double-T hott! He looks just like Angel, only a bit shorter, and way less sullen.

Anyhoo, we like to catch up – cuz I only see him once a month now, and he misses me desperately – so he told me about his investment capitalism meeting, and I told him about MY NEW WEBSITE.

He wrote it down, “Pirate. Wench. Dot. Org. Well, I understand the wench part, but why pirate?”

Nice, huh? Yeah, he’s probably as sarcastic as Angel, but that’s okay cuz he’s HOTT.

But it made me realize that he’s probably not the only one with the letters WTF in a thought balloon over his head about the whole Pirate Wench thing. So I should provide some sort of explanation here.

I’m a Gilbert & Sullivan nerd. I literally grew up in a local community theatre group that did G&S exclusively. Remember when Bart’s last request was that Sideshow Bob sing him all of “H.M.S. Pinafore”? Yeah, I can totally do that. Hell, I could do that at age nine. Nerd!

But there’s something about G&S that has always bugged me. The men get to be lords, pirates and ghosts. While the women are always gibbering idiots. Oh, they call us townsfolk, maidens or bridesmaids, but it boils down to the same thing – tittering, easily-startled, man-starved morons. Only the outfits vary.

Needless to say, this is a bit of a stretch for me. I don’t bat my eyelashes well. Still, the music is fun, and our cast parties kicked ass, so I dutifully simpered around the stage and sang the mens’ parts in my car.

Back in 2001, while doing “The Pirates of Penzance” for the umpteenth time, there were an unusual number of women my age in the cast. (Usually, they’re over forty or under twenty. I don’t know why.) There were five of us ages 25-35 in the chorus, and two other hot young women with leads, and the seven of us totally bonded. Can you imagine – the soprano lead deigning to hang with the chorus? Well, deign she did – probably because the tenor lead was such a parasite.

Our little clique was quite the terror, as you can imagine. Always the first to break character, always the last to leave the parties.

To amuse ourselves during rehearsals, we sang along with the men and dreamed about a role-reversal “Pirates,” where we would wear the boots and billowing shirt and brandish the swords, and the men would wear short pants and caps, a la British school boys. God, it would be beautiful!

[Of course, ever since then, a reverse-gender “Pirates” has been writing itself in the back of my mind. Someday, before I’m too old to pull-off the leather look…]

But there was more to it than that. For whatever reason, that year’s cast was very heavy on the lecherous men with wandering hands who used the couples-oriented blocking to their advantage. Pair that with the group’s leaders being reluctant to disrupt their little boys’ club, and it made for some often uncomfortable working conditions.

And that’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of kind and gentlemanly men in the cast, but… well, everyone shared one dressing room. Get the picture? Yeah. {singsong voice} AWK-waaard! {/singsong voice} We made sure to run interference for each other.

And so the Pirate Wenches were born, not only out of fun and hotness and fabulous talent, but out of solidarity against asshats everywhere.

Since that “Pirates,” two wenches have gotten married (including me), one had a baby, and one moved out of state. But whether we are all together at a sleepover, drunk on margaritas, putting a pink toilet and mini jolly roger flags on someone’s lawn, or it’s just me blogging away on my little site; we remain in our hearts, forever and always, the Pirate Wenches.

No, I’m not posting pictures of us. Perverts.

Posted at 10:58 AM | Comments (5)

February 25, 2005

Husband Is NEVER Going to Let This One Go

There exists an agreement between God, the Devil and myself. The agreement is that I never drive over 80 mph, and they leave me alone. So far, it’s worked. Eighty is the maximum speed at which I feel safe -– physically, mentally, spiritually, ethically, financially, whatever.

So Husband and I were driving up north -– well, I was driving because he can’t drive and live at the same time -– and we were talking about the possibility of getting me my very own computer.

Needless to say, this prospect has me DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY! This means I can blog away to my heart’s content, a) in the privacy of my own home office, which has a door on it; b) without fear that the stepdaughters will be able to find some shred of blog material on the family computer and trace it to this website, which I have given the rating “SDI” or “Step Daughter Inappropriate.”

All of a sudden, Husband goes, “POLICE CAR!”

I immediately crawl into the back seat and tell him to take the wheel. No, I don’t really. I glance down to the speedometer to realize that “keeping up with traffic,” to my brain, apparently means “going 90 mph.” I hit the break and FREAK. I’m sweating, I’m whimpering, I’m pretty sure I’m speaking in tongues.

Sure enough, Mr. Copper glides up behind me and turns on his lights. A million things are running through my brain. I’m scared to death. I’ve only been pulled over once before, and that was because they ran my plates and were hoping to stop my ex-husband, who’d had his license taken away for drunk driving.

But my record is SPOTLESS. I’m the cheapest person in the family to insure (wait, perhaps I should rephrase the cheap part…), and Governor Blago himself sent me a handwritten note on “From the Desk of Rod” memo paper, to congratulate me on my fabulous driving record. It can’t be marred! How will I define myself without my snowy white driving record?! I’ll just be “that tall blonde with the nice rack.” How pathetic! I can’t bear to think of it!

Even more terrifying, I’m in Wisconsin, and I’m from Illinois. You know what people from Wisconsin call people from Illinois? FIBs. Fucking Illinois Bastards. Kind of a harsh rebuttal to Cheeseheads, but whatever. I’m screwed. I’ve heard about how Wisconsin cops treat Illinois ne’er-do-wells, and I know I’m never going to see my loved ones again. I roll down my window, take off my sunglasses and put my hands where he can see them.

The first thing Officer Weber says is, “I have you clocked at 86. Why were you going so fast?”

“Um, we were talking, and I guess I just wasn’t paying attention.” Oh God. Did I just tell a traffic cop that I wasn’t paying attention to my driving?!

He chuckled, “Well, that’s an honest answer!”

He then explained that I was doing more than 20 over the speed limit, so he was going to have to write me a ticket.

I said, “I know. I was stupid. I accept my fate.”

Which made him laugh again. Then he explained, rather apologetically, that I wasn’t really driving dangerously because lots of people were going that fast. I just happened to be the one he clocked, and it wasn’t personal.

He was SO NICE! I couldn’t believe it! I was so relieved, I was practically smiling when he handed me the ticket! “Thank you, Officer!”

“Don’t thank me!”

He didn’t realize that I wasn’t thanking him for making me pay $255.40; I was thanking him for not crushing my skull with his bare hands. Also, for not questioning my alleged weight on my driver’s license.

Posted at 11:44 AM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2005

My Heart Wasn't Broken, But It Sure Did Burn

It has become obvious to me that, when Husband chose me, 12 years his junior, to be his Trophy Wife, the desperate, child-laden soccer moms who came crawling outta the woodwork when he went back on the market 5 years ago got together and hired a voodoo priestess to curse our Valentine's Days.

Not that I expect more than a card and a kiss on this bogus holiday anyway, but since we've been married...

V-Day 2003, I spent packing my things to move out.
V-Day 2004, we spent under a tentative truce.
V-Day 2005, he drove me to the E.R. at 2:30 a.m.

Yeah, I was so excited that Husband and I weren't fighting this February. I thought we had broken the curse, but there's more than one way to skin a cat, and if there's one thing those voodoo priestesses know, it's animal mutilation.

About 3:00 on Sunday, my stomach started feeling a bit ooky. Not a huge surprise, considering the amount of cookie dough I had just consumed, but cookie dough over-indulgence is nothing new to my system, so I took a couple of Tums, confident that would take care of it.

At 4:00, I tried some Rolaids to tackle my misery. Nada.

At 6:00, we had PJ, R and Egrau over for dinner (J was home sick). But I thought nothing of having pepperoni-sausage 'za, Pepsi and ice cream cake roll because I know my body and knew the heartburn would be gone any minute.

Oh, what a fool I was. By the time we went to bed, I was sure I had stomach cancer and was almost looking forward to languishing away bravely in a first floor bedroom of an old, woodframe house and being deified in death, the fate of all stomach cancer victims as scientifically documented in "Fried Green Tomatoes."

And if it wasn't cancer, well, surely it was something else horrible. Everyone in the world I know has some illness or another. Younger Step Daughter has Kennel Cough. Older Step Daughter has Consumption. R and PJ has just gotten over Synchronized Projectile Vomiting. J was home with Mad Cow Disease. And Husband is still bravely battling Malaria, Ennui and Cervical Cancer.

All these diseases had probably converged in my stomach and mutated into a whole new disease, and I was looking forward to much media coverage and probably a book deal, should I survive.

Went to bed at 10:00 but woke up at 1:00, praying for death. I was like, "Well, it's just hearburn. I can't go to the E.R. for heartburn. They'll laugh and me and send me home!"

But by 2:30, I was like, "Fuck this. I'm in pain. I'm going to the E.R. They've probably been missing Mr. Drillbit anyway."

And my sweet, sweet husband gave me a great V-Day gift. He insisted that his belchy spouse not go to the E.R. alone, even tho' it meant him giving up several hours of sleep. So I'm there checking in, and the nurse is asking all the embarrassing questions.

"Belching?"
"Oh yeah."
"Diarrhea?"
"Nope."
"Last bowel movement?"
"Well, since you asked, I've had three in the past twelve hours, and that's really weird for me."

And the paper-pushing broad checking me in goes, "Oh, that's totally normal for me!"

Oh my God. You know, just because it's a hospital doesn't mean that anything goes as far as personal information is involved. Ugh. And then I did the math and realized that she poops SIX TIMES A DAY! What the hell is she eating?!

Okay, long story short -- which it's totally too late for, but anyway -- my gall bladder is fine, says Mr. Ultrasound, and they gave me some hospital-strength antacid.

Buffy the Nurse was like, "I recommend that you down it like a shot, and then wash it down with some water." And she wasn't kidding. I can only describe it as chalky snot.

So I stayed home yesterday because, seriously, I'll take any excuse, and that's why I wasn't around here. I'm on Pepcid for a couple weeks, but I'm fine. No romantic death or book deal for me.

Posted at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2005

And Now, A Very Special Uncurmudgeony Blog

Spellcheck says that uncurmudgeony isn't a word. I disagree.

And did you ever notice that, like, EVERY "Blossom" was a very special "Blossom"? Like "Blossom Gets Her Period" or "Blossom Says No to Drugs" or "Blossom Has Inappropriate Feelings for Her Totally Hot Brother, Joey."

Anyhoo, yesterday, we got a few inches of snow (YAY!). Not enough to warrant hording food, but enough to get my shoes really messy and wet. Husband had a meeting right after work and wasn't going to be home until 11:00, so I watched the "Simpsons" and wondered if he should snowblow when he got home, or before I left for work in the morning.

(No, it did not occur to me that I should do it. Get real.)

A little later, I left for Thursday Night Supper and THE DRIVEWAY WAS TOTALLY CLEAN!

I was like, "Did Husband stop home to snowblow? Cuz he is SO getting laid if he did!"

Then I figured, "Oh, it was probably Mr. Neighbor, trying out his new snowblower! I probably shouldn't lay him."

When I got back, I ran into Mrs. Neighbor and told her to thank her husband for doing my driveway, and she was like, "It was Neighbor Son! I told him to shovel ours, and he came in and said he did yours, too!"

AjerkamongaHUH?!

Well, thank God I was leaning on our fence a la Wilson, or I would have fallen over. A thirteen-year-old boy WILLINGLY AND WITHOUT PROMPTING manually shoveled a driveway that wasn't his!!! HOW SWEET IS HE?!

Oh, he is SO getting homemade (or ho-made) chocolate chip cookies this weekend! Talk about renewing my faith in humanity! I'm all Stella-Got-Her-Groove-Back now and loving the world!

And now I'm wondering what he'll look like in a few years, mowing my lawn with his shirt off... Cuz lemme tell ya, the kid is beautiful. (Those of you who didn't see that coming, I'm very disappointed in you.)

P.S. I'm wearing my new eBay bra today and lovin' the hogans! They're so perky!

Posted at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

God Has a Sick Sense of Humor and I Have O.C.D.

So I was bemoaning the fact that I have nothing to write about because nothing funny ever happens to me and my life is a huge void. Why can't I have vertigo like Heather or a caved-in driveway like Nicholle? Waah waah waah.

And when I'm bored, I eat. Or in this case, drink. I cracked open a Clearly Canadian, only to have it GO INSANE AND SHOOT FIZZ ALL OVER EVERYTHING.

You know how there's that one second where you have no idea what's going on or how to react? It's amazing how it only took that one second for my bubbly, peachy goodness to betray me and go everywhere.

In my hair, all over my face and glasses and hoodie and pants, down my shirt, on my shoes, all over the carpet and desk, my phone, mouse, mouse pad, Barbie calendar, mail, Chandler's, computer, monitor and -- God help me -- my keyboard.

But nooOOOooo, God's not gonna help me, cuz God's too busy LAUGHING! "You want something to blog about? I'll give you something to blog about!"

So there I was, dripping wet with no napkins, and silently thanking my cruel, cruel God that at least no one was around to witness His Job-like smoting of me.

I didn't really know where to start, so I was just dabbing wildly with Kleenex, until I saw my keyboard. Oh fuck. I.T. is going to kill me. And then I remembered that Older Sister once mentioned taking apart her keyboard to clean it.

So I IMed her, "Come over here now. It's an emergency."

Did you know that they individual keys of the keyboard just pop right off? Who knew! It's amazing! And even MORE amazing was the 6 years worth of crumbs underneath the keys!

So I call to my boss, "Hey, T, you wanna see something gross?"

And that's what I love about men. They always want to see something gross. You ask a woman that, and she'll just look at you like you're retarded and go back to shopping online. But a man will stop in the middle of whatever he's doing to see something gross. Okay, he may not stop in the middle of getting a blowjob, but you know he'd consider it for a second.

(Oh. My. God. Microsoft Spellcheck just checked my spelling on blowjob and politely reminded me that it's one word, not two.)

I called I.T. and asked Doogie to bring me some computer cleaning supplies, with the specific command not to ask questions. When he arrived to see my keyboard in pieces, Doogie offered to bring me a new one, but I declined. Why should I get a new one when I have one in perfectly good working order right here? Because isn't that what's wrong with America? And if I do that, then the terrorists have already won! Or something.

And besides, cleaning it was infinitely more satisfying. I got to use that cool Air-In-A-Can stuff, and then there was shit all over my carpet, but I didn't care. The cleaning crew will get it... eventually (once had a Good 'N' Plenty under my desk for weeks, and don't ask me why I didn't just pick it up myself -- it's the principle, man!).

And once I had done the main part of the keyboard with the letters and Enter and stuff, it looked so nice, I did all the rest of the keys, too. I had a great time, wrapping a Lysol wipe around my car key to get the gunk out of the corners, and wiping down each key individually before snapping them back into place! Mind you, my bangs were crusty from dried soda, and my pants were sticking to my legs, but who cares! The keyboard was getting soooooooo clean!

But you know what happens when you clean one thing. Then everything else looks like shit compared to it, and you have to clean everything. So next was the phone. Then I took everything off my desk and wiped it down, and then wiped stuff down as I put it back in a very organized fashion. But it felt weird to have the desk surface look so brand spankin' new, when I knew that my desk drawers were a mess. So yeah, I cleaned out my desk drawers and reorganized them.

It's clear that my O.C.D. kicked in at some point there, but I'm not sure exactly when. Probably the Lysol wipe around the car key thing. But who cares! I'm, like, orgasmically delighted now with my sparkling clean desk! And it only took me four hours!

And I cut my pinky somehow in the process, so I'll probably get mad cow disease because God only knows how many times I've sneezed into the keyboard. (And God's not telling because -- did I mention? -- He's still laughing His ass off. "Did you see that?! It went in her hair!") And surely all the germs have been thriving on the Pop Tarts and Oreos in there, so my next blog will be from the I.C. Unit of Mr. Drillbit Hospital. Thank goodness we have our own wing there now.

Posted at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2004

An "Anne's Dog Is Dumb" Story

So Anne came home from work one evening to find that the tray in the bottom of her parrot's cage had been removed, stripped of its contents (i.e. newspaper, bird poop and birdseed), and left on the floor of her room.

Common sense quickly ruled out her mother as the culprit, leaving the only obvious offenders -- their two dogs. (No, Anne does not live with her mother; her mother lives with her. And they each have a dog. End of any relevant back-story.)

The ensuing argument started with, "Well, it wasn't my dog!"

Continued with, "Dallas would only do it if coerced by Shadow!"

And ended with, "Oh yeah? Well, we'll just see whose dog throws up!"

The lucky winner of the birdseed-barf? Anne. I mean, duh. There's no way her Mom's dog could have reached the tray; and yet, such is her faith in her dog that it took vomit to convince her otherwise.

Now that's devotion.

Posted at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

Stalky McClownerson and the Answer to No. Five

Several months ago, I became reacquainted with a friend from high school. And when we're not awkwardly trying to hide our desire to jump each others' bones, we're eating Chinese food and talking like... well,... like two friends playing catch-up over Chinese food. There's no humorous simile available because that's about as much talking as two people can do, as the dour couple in the next booth who kept giving us dirty looks will tell you.

Those were really long sentences for a Monday morning.

Aside from retaining our youthful hotness and having an affinity for the same t.v. shows, we have one other very special thing in common: we've both been stalked by the same guy.

(Protocol demands that I link to his website, so you can feel our pain, but I refuse to give him the exposure.)

Now granted, the stalkings differ in their motives. He wanted to punish me for dumping him (like the stigma of "Chick Who Once Dated Stalky McClownerson" isn't bad enough), whereas she was being pursued, as she had the good sense not to date him. However, we are still Sisters in Creepiness.

Creepiness Fun Fact #1: He's a Professional Clown. Graduated from Ringling Bros. Clown College. Once showed up where I worked in full clowning regalia, rubber nose and all. 'Nuff said.

Creepiness Fun Fact #2: The Compilation Tapes. Heather received no fewer than seventy-five music compilation tapes from him -- eek. Luckily, I only got one. When I dumped him, I still owed him $20 or $30. So he made me a 60-minute tape entirely full of songs about money. I fast-forwarded through it just to confirm that he had really done what he did. And he did. He spent what must've been hours of his time to make this tape, which he had to have known I would never listen to more than 15 seconds of, when he could have just called me and said, "I'd like my money back." Staggering! Waste! Of time!

Creepiness Fun Fact #3: Lame Phone Messages. Although he wouldn't call about the money, he would call and leave little messages on my answering machine, like, "I hate you." Whispered, of course, so that I wouldn't recognize his voice. Like he was fooling me. And then when I told him to quit it, he said, "Oh, it's probably my friends. I'll make them stop." Shuh.

Can I just tell you? When we'd be out with his friends, and he'd go to the bathroom, they'd totally rag on him and tell me stories about what a pussy he is. So I'm thinking they probably don't care about him enough to make phone calls on his behalf, nor fear me enough to make them anonymously.

And it gets better. Upon seeing him a few months ago at the same event where I re-met Heather, he still stuck to the same story about while making some lame apology. "Yeah, I'm sorry about those phone calls that I, er, my friends made after we broke up." I guess he thinks that, like him, I haven't gotten any smarter in twelve years.

Creepiness Fun Fact #4: The Cakes. Despite Heather's repeated assertions that she would never date him, he called her Mom to find out her favorite cake, bought it from the local bakery, and drove two hours to her dorm to deliver it on her birthday. Only to have her thank him for the cake and send him on his two-hour drive back home. And this happened several times without any light bulbs going on! Dude! Save your cake money and buy a clue! And for one of the episodes, he dragged his then-girlfriend with him. I sure she must've felt really special.

Creepiness Fun Fact #5: We've looked at the timeline, and we're pretty sure that the cowardly whispering of his "friends" and his delivery of unrequited baked goods overlapped at some point.

So there's my answer to #5 from the previous post, minus the requisite drive-bys and 3 a.m. doorbell ringing stuff that always accompanies such lapses in good sense.

And no, I've never stalked anyone. I've got better things to do. Okay, fine, maybe I'm stalking Heather a little bit. But she totally asked for it! I'll make her love me!

Posted at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2004

A Thanksgiving Story, as Told By Nicholle

I keep telling her to start a blog, cuz really, her family and in-laws provide endless material. But until she does, I'm going to quote her here:

"We don't do Thanksgiving over at Aunt Jo's anymore, thank God. Because my Dad hates her and is just waiting for their mom to die to he can write his sister out of his life forever. She's completely psycho.

"Thanksgiving at her house was always a crap shoot. Sometimes she'd do turkey, but sometimes she'd try to get all international and do flaming ice cream and spaghetti and ruin our lives. The last year we were there, she made turkey, so we were all grateful for that.

"But then there's Mitsy the poodle. Yes, they have a poodle named Mitsy. That right there is reason enough to hate them. And they put bows in it's hair and everything.

"So at dinner, Dad was like, 'Awwwwwwww, how cute. Mitsy fell asleep on my shoe.'

"Except that Mitsy wasn't asleep. Mitsy was dead. And my Dad was the one who had to put her in a plastic Jewel bag because everyone in Aunt Jo's family was crying too hard. So Mitsy spent the rest of Thanksgiving dinner out in the garage next to the cases of pop.

"The rest of the dinner didn't go very well. We left early. And as soon as we got in the car and pulled out of the driveway, we all started laughing hysterically.

"Best. Thanksgiving. Ever."

Warms the cockles of you heart, doesn't it?

As for me, I'll be driving through wind, rain, snow and weather alerts to get to Indiana, where we will stay with my in-laws for two days. All twelve of them. In one house. Where they will talk about tractors and sheep manure.

Don't get me wrong. My in-laws are super-nice, and I'm going to hell for saying this,... but sheep manure? How is that a two-hour conversation?! Thank God for Gameboy. On the up-side, they'll probably give me something to write about.

And I learned something today in South Park. Our lives are all just fodder for someone else's blog.

Obligatory List of Things I'm Grateful For

1. Dropsey McDrillbit, my thoughtful husband
2. Heather's TiVo
3. My Family, because I've seen worse
4. My Job, because I'm leaving super early today
5. Pumpkin Pie & Stuffing

Posted at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2004

A Break from the Norm

I'm gonna go serious on you for today, folks. Bear with me.

A friend of mine recently returned from active duty in Iraq. I gladly wrote him twice a week for a year and a half. It was the least I could do. Although he has been quite elusive since his return, he did send a letter to all his friends, family and church congregation. It was an open letter, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind me sharing it here. In fact, I'm doing it because I think he'd want me to.

I don't know quite what to make of it all -- it is a lot to digest, especially in the context of the person I've known for a decade or so, and in the context of what I believe -- so I will refrain from comment. However, I would love to hear what you think.

I do not do this with political intent, although it may seem that way, just days before the election. Really I don't. I'm assuming that, like me, 99% of the population already know who they are voting for and can't be swayed. I'm not trying to sway. And those who know me know that I abhor arguing politics.

Just because I am opinionated to the Nth degree doesn't mean that I don't respect the opinions of others. I guess I'm just trying to deal, and putting it out there for different takes on it is part of that.
___________________

I just wanted to write you a letter to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I was truly blessed to be able to come home on July 30th. I'm not sure why I was as blessed as I was, but I believe some of it had to do with your thoughts and prayers.

Every letter and package was a light in an otherwise bleak and dismal setting. So I believe I owe you a debt of gratitude for my blessings, and strength. Thank you.

I'm sure that you have lots of questions for me. Yet I feel I'm not ready, or very good at answering peoples' random questions about my experiences. I would, however, still like to share some thoughts with you in the hope you could understand me a little better.

I see the world in a new light after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom for a year and a half. I've changed, and grown as a person. I'm also not quite as naïve or innocent as I was. It is a powerful experience to see such pain and suffering up close, such negligence for the value of life, and such strong desperation for the needs so many of us take for granted (food, water, shelter, love and peace)!

It was saddening to me to see how little human life is valued by combatants on both sides of the barbed wire. To see dehumanization, through ignorance and the failure to understand the humanity of the so-called enemy. These experiences made me realize how naïve my thoughts and ideals about my social upbringing, society, nation and my nation's interest were. What interests? Whose interests? What ideals? Whose ideas was I fighting fore, and whose ideals are kids dying for?

I saw that all the answers to my questions varied from differing social settings. This left me questioning the origins of the truths presented by my society, religion and social upbringing. Has all the world that does not think, believe, live, fight and dream like I do been misled? Have I been misled? It all became a matter of perspective varying on where you were born, when you were born, how you were educated, and you social upbringing. And who was I to judge whose views are right or wrong? With no right answers, I was left feeling truth was unattainable, and cynical. I was left with no food to feed the kids, no orders to help these people, and no orders to understand these people with different thoughts. No! Instead I was left with only greed and ignorant opinions as the truths portrayed by my society.

I was not satisfied with this cynical view of the world. I had to find something more... something that was deeper, more profound, something throughout the world that every culture, society or human could have at their core. I needed some reason to believe in more than greed, and not just give up the world to walls of ignorant oppression and hate. I needed a reason to believe... believe in the future, in humanity, in God, and in me and my life.

Not all of me, not my entire soul could have been misled into pride, dehumanization, and into hate of another human being that has loved, hated, sinned and suffered just as I have.

So I prayed, contemplated, meditated and searched for something... something profound. And finally, I found it in the smile and the eyes of the poor laborer speaking of Christ, in the soft voices and small faces of he begging children, in the words of Steinbeck's literature, and in the touch of the greeting Iraqi men at the port. I found that there is something more profound. There is a choice! There is the universal freedom to be able to choose faith in humanity, in love, and in the future.

This freed me from my cynicism and gave me the realization that there is always a choice. I can choose selfish greed, ignorance and hate, or I can choose understanding, selflessness and love for all mankind.

I can choose to throw away all of the walls society has created to separate, categorize, and oppress people; walls that create the idea that I am different or better than another human.

I can choose to break down social barriers and seek to understand why people have fallen into hate.

I can choose to try my best not to contribute to the causes that divide people against each other, and instead try to love my sinful brother as I love my sinful self.

These are the choices I've made through my experiences.

I know I am a sinner and a hypocrite. Yet I must strive for the values in which I believe, Gandhi believed in, and Christ believed in. The values of a human spirit that chooses others before thyself.

I have chosen to try my best to dedicate my life to use my blessings and talents to breaking these social barriers that separate humanity from itself. I was blessed artistically, and I'm going to try my best to use the meditation of my brush stroke to help people understand the importance of a love that unifies rather than divides humanity.

Thanks for letting me throw some of my thoughts at you.

I apologize for not writing you sooner or more often while I was gone. Writing was a struggle for me. It is hard to find the right words to express such an experience. It is even harder to avoid it and discuss mundane topics.

I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness for me, as well as the packages, letters and prayers. All were of great value to me.

I know that all our lives seem taxing, but we are all truly blessed in this country, and there are others that are not so fortunate and need our help.
______________________

The rest is informal, drop-me-a-line stuff. Thoughts? Questions? Gut reactions?

Posted at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

Smug Satisfaction

Flash back to ten years ago. I'm young, I'm single, and I'm with Dad, his friends, and some elderly relatives. It's interesting for about a nano-second, and then I'm checking my watch so often that my aunt asks if I have a tic.

The only other person in the room under retirement age is KJ, whom I haven't seen in, say, 15 years, when he was carrying me on his shoulders. He's not that much older than I; he's just really damn big. Football big.

In fact, he played college football for a Big Ten school, before he became Manager of several hoity-toity restaurants in Chicago. Not only is he enormous, but he's fairly handsome, and a wearer of jewelry -- gold chain, Rolex, college ring. SOOOOO far from my type, he may as well not even be human.

But, in the spirit of Old Times, and, more accurately, in the spirit of He's Not Going To Tell Me About His Latest Surgery, I approach and begin with the "haven't-seen-ya-in-a-while" chit-chat.

So you know that thing people do when they want to make it perfectly clear that they're not interested in your blatant desire for them, and they mention their significant other fourteen times in one sentence? Yeah. He started in on that.

"Oh, my fiancé and I were just going shopping for my fiancé in my fiancé's car, which I just bought for my fiancé, when my fiancé said the funniest thing..."

Oh for fuck's sake, I get it already! You're taken! You're off the market! Whatever, just shut the fuck up! Sheesh, I didn't realize that, while asking you where you're working now, I had unbuttoned my blouse and crawled into your lap! I'm so sorry!

Able to take a hint when applied with an anvil to the noggin, I backed slowly away from the crazy man.

Flash forward to last weekend. It was just Dad, KJ Sr., KJ and myself for dinner one evening. But -- surprise, surprise -- Mr. Gold Chain is in the midst of divorcing the fiancé I'd had the pleasure of hearing so much about. Aw, shucks. And me all happily married to a non-jewelry-wearing, handsome entrepreneur. Dang. Of all the luck.

So you know that thing people do when they want to make it perfectly clear that they're totally interested in showing their blatant desire for you, and they say your name fourteen times in one sentence? And they agree fervently with everything you say and laugh uproariously at all your jokes? Yeah. He started in on that.

Not even on my most desperately single day, KJ.

Posted at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

And Speaking of My Age...

...as we were, recently. If you'll remember.

Last week, I had to go to some lame school assembly for extra-curricular sports with Younger Step-Daughter, Case. Case recently entered the world of high school and will be playing soccer and badmitten. All other parents of said child were busy that night, so I had to go listen to "Blah blah blah good sportsmanship blah blah kids who play sports do better in school blah blah we have a great sports program blah blah blah."

Of course, being an ex-drama freak, all I could think of was, "Gee, if only the Concert Choir got as much funding, support and publicity as the football team." Bitter woman that I am. But that's not the point.

The point is, when we walked in, all the parents were handed a packet of materials, i.e. permission slip, rules of good conduct, whatever, I didn't read it. An attractive, younger woman, probably my age, was handing them out as we all filed past her into the gym. So I held out my hand, and she just gave me a look and handed one to the woman next to me.

Naturally, I'm thinking, "Oh, crap, did I steal her boyfriend in this very school 16 years ago?"

I just stood there with my hand out, and she goes, "Oh! You look good!"

Now I'm sure I stole her boyfriend, and she's trying to distract me while her sister is slashing my tires in the parking lot.

She finally handed me a packet and said, "I thought you were one of the students!"

YES!

I am a GODDESS! She thought I was ONE OF THE STUDENTS! I ROCK!

She had no grudge against me! I'd never even met her, which is why it was soooooooo easy for her to mistake me for a TEENAGER!

Of course, she could've just meant that I dress like crap, but since she was looking at my face and not my jeans and/or hoodie, I'm going with the whole I Look Half My Age thing.

I remained calm and gracious on the outside, while secretly doing my Happy Dance on the inside. It's somewhere between Snoopy's Suppertime Dance and a White Girl Club Dance, so you see why I kept it internal.

By the way, I'm wearing inappropriately-tight pants to work today. Eat your heart out.

Posted at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

Omaha Is Fun! Who'd've Thunk It? Part Two: The Wedding

Since no one you know got married, I'll won't bore you with too many details.

Venue: Outdoors, perfect weather.
Guests: Approx. 50-60
Service: Generic Christian, 15 min.
Music: Harpist
Bride: Fairy-tale Gorgeous
Groom: Adorable
Bridesmaids: Pretty, some of the nicest bridesmaids dresses I've seen
Groomsmen: Who cares?
Crying: The groom and his mother

Okay, interesting tidbits from the reception.

There were 10 single, 20-something guys there, as opposed to just 3 single, 20-something girls. Despite those odds, I would not have been one of the girls for all the Prozac in Hollywood. Instead of dancing, celebrating and socializing, as one tends to do at a friend's wedding, these yabbos were leaving the hall every 20 min. to get stoned in the parking lot. Nice, eh?

Not that I'm all high and mighty about pot. I don't partake myself, but I don't give a crap if you do. What I thought was tacky was leaving a friend's wedding reception over and over and over again. Did they really need all that weed to feel happy for their friend? Losers.

They just sat on their asses, despite the bride and groom's many attempts to get them on the dance floor. To make up for their lame-o buddies, I made my three teenaged cousins dance with me… for as many songs as wouldn't kill me. And we had fun, dammit! Too cool for school, I am not! And I learned something about Jeremy (15). He's a black woman trapped in a white boy's body.

And speaking of black people and dancing, I have a theory about DJs. They become DJs because they can't dance. The DJ was trying to lead us in the Electric Slide, and it just wasn't working. Now, I can do the Electric Slide. I've done it before, and quite well, for a white girl. But no one was able to follow this guy. He just had NO RHYTHM. My husband was like, "Is this in three or four?" I'm like, "Depends what measure we're in, apparently!"

So you know how the thing for receptions is to have disposable cameras on the tables for the guests to use? Yeah. There was no way I was fighting the urge to abuse that privilege. So with the help of Amy (17) and Dan the Marine, we got some very lovely candid bathroom shots. Nothing they're gonna get arrested at Walgreens for trying to develop, but just enough to be tasteless.

And speaking of tasteless, for the topper, Dan dropped trow and mooned the camera. Right next to the buffet table. “Would you like beef, chicken or sphincter?” Ewww. Thank God dinner was already over.

Nothing like a wedding reception to remind me of just how immature I can be!

(Don't worry, there is no Part Three!)

Posted at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Omaha Is Fun! Who'd've Thunk It? Part One: The Area

Okay, when invited to a wedding in Omaha, I was like, “What? Omaha! Jesus H. mullet-headed Christ in a pick-up truck, why Omaha?!”

The answer being, “Cuz that's where the bride's ancient grandmother lives,” but that's neither here nor there.

The point is, Omaha is FUN! Not extreme-snowboarding-hookers fun, but I was taken aback by all there is to do!

First of all, our hotel ROCKED! And I thought so even after the Xanax for the flight wore off!

The suite was roomy and not hotel-ugly, and the service - holy crap! Free postage (I'm a postcard-sendin'-fool), free made-to-order breakfast, free cocktails every evening, and if you wanna go somewhere, you just tell the valet, and two seconds later, you're on your way! I want to live there.

Anyhoo, the hotel was right across the street from the Heartland of America Park, which is beautiful, and we took at gondola ride after dark. There's a huge fountain in the middle of the pond, and it lights up at night with all different colors. I'll repeat that for those of you who are on Xanax. We took a gondola ride in Omaha. I shit you not.

Also across the street was the Old Market. I would compare this to, say, the French Quarter in New Orleans. Lots of shops and places to eat, antique stores, cobblestone streets, flowers on the balconies, beautiful old buildings. Great place to just hang and gawk. I picked up some naughty pop-art from the 40's/50's, and some inappropriate, religious car-accessories for my parents' stocking stuffers.

I guess I also have to mention Omaha's Union Station, where Dad dragged us to. Surprisingly, I wasn't bored! The station itself is art-deco gorgeous. And in the museum, despite numerous signs warning us to stay off the exhibits, my Mom made me lie down on the tracks in front of an old locomotive and make like I was tied to the tracks for a photo op. The things I do for that woman.

Apparently, Omaha is home to one of the top five zoos in the country . Betcha didn't know that! I sure as hell didn't! They've obviously put a ton of money into it because some of the exhibits are just phenomenal. And they have long-term plans for the rest of them. I can't wait to check them out in a few years!

Yes, I think I will actually be going back to Omaha, Nebraska. On purpose. I'm a fan. An Omaha fan. Well, I guess there are worse things to be. Like a White Sox fan.

(Tune in tomorrow for: “Part Two: The Wedding”)

Posted at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

Poor John

As John mentioned, I met him at O'Hare last week. I'm now a professional at getting to the bar at the international terminal (although I'm not sure what that says about me…).

But it wasn't always that way.

I have many fears - canoes, flying, talking to strangers on the phone. But in providing John with company during his 4-hour wait, I had to face, not one, not two, but FOUR phobias!!!

[Granted, some are more likely than others to make me rock back and forth in a fetal position in a corner, hence the rating system. One is Makes Me Uncomfortable. Ten is I Need Drugs To Cope. Flying is a 10.]

Driving on the expressway - Level 1 Fear
Driving by myself to somewhere I hadn't driven to before - Level 7 Fear
Entering the airport (that's where the airplanes live!) - Level 2 Fear
Dealing with crowds - Level 5 Fear

And not only did I expertly accomplish my mission, but I got there without getting lost and, by the last leg, with a jaunty step! Yeah, yeah, no big whup for a normal person, but I'm a big weirdo. Learn that now, and we'll all have much more realistic expectations of me.

So there we were, gaming in full view of representatives from every flavor of the human race. Happily, there were only a few pitchfork- and torch-bearing villagers trying to dispel us satanists, and they were easily extinguished with my Sprite.

Okay, here's John and I playing Pirates of the Spanish Main:

“Now, this here is how far you can move each turn - two short. Three because you have the Helmsman.”

“Oooh, my Helmsman is a Pirate! Neato!”

“Uh-huh. And this number here is how much cargo you can hold, including crew.”

“I have the biggest ship! It took three cards to make!”

“Yes, that's nice. And these dice on your masts tell you how powerful your guns are.”

“They're so cute! Lookit the little flags!”

“Okay, I'm gonna go get another beer.”

Poor guy. I kicked his ass.


(Tune in tomorrow for: Omaha is fun! Who'd've thunk it?)

Posted at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)