Archive for April, 2006

It’s cheaper than Weight Watchers

April 28, 2006

Some times, I think I am a food-related masochist who needs a twelve step program. I think I found step one.

Blatant Birthday Gift Solicitation, or how to become my new best friend

April 28, 2006

It’s easy really. Only $188 (plus shipping) worth of suck up.

The Struggle for Dominance

April 28, 2006

Last night, after much discussion and coordination of schedules, my brother and I agreed that he would shower first this morning. While we don’t have to share a bathroom (thank God), our mutual appreciation of scalding hot shower for extended periods of time demands that only one person shower at a time. Otherwise, the hot water heater just can’t keep up.

I woke up this morning, and sure enough, I could hear the pipes. Little Brother was in the shower, soon to be out, and all was right in my world. I snuggled into bed, waiting for my turn to stand under boiling water. Twenty minutes later, I was still burrowed under the blankets. Little Brother was taking his sweet time, and I was going to be late if I didn’t take action.

After a decade of shouting at that bathroom door demanding that the bathroom occupant light a fire under their fanny and get out, I knew what a futile effort it was. The bathroom at our house is like a black hole. I can throw things at the door, shout, pound, threaten, try to pick locks, but nothing comes out. Nothing. In my opinion it’s best to skip the “get out all ready, or I’ll rearrange your face even more” tactic, and just proceed to step two.

Step two involves driving the bathroom occupant out by devious means. If the bathroom occupant is Little Sister, calling her cell phone always works. She’ll make a mad dash out of the bathroom, even half naked with shampoo in her hair, and run for her phone. I can slip in before she realizes she’s been duped by a more intelligent life form. With Little Brother, trial and error has taught me that it’s best to drive him out by messing with his water supply.

In this case, I dragged myself out of bed, and went to the basement. I’ve been meaning to attack my laundry pile for awhile and this morning was as good a time as any to start. In went a load of whites. Next, I decided to help clean the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher. I know that I should have waited until there were more than three mugs and some silverware before I ran it, but we only had three clean serving spoons, and I wanted to be prepared in case we needed all four for dinner later on. Then of course, there’s the early morning potty break. Usually, that’s the first thing I do each morning, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Needless to say, my bladder was about to burst and I had to go. In fact, I had to go so bad that I went downstairs; then, I walked upstairs and realized that I had to go again. Darn, that meant two toilet flushes.

Of course, I felt awful that all this impacted Little Brother’s hot water. But not awful enough not to do it again in the morning should I have to…

One Little Activist, or what I did tonight

April 26, 2006

The women of these glorious United States of America apparently still don’t make the same amount of money as their male counterparts for the exact same type of employment. Thus, in order to draw attention to this travesty of justice, my fellow underpaid counterparts and I participated in the making of a Social Statement today after work. In solidarity, we went to a local bar where we held a Rally For Power. We brought consciousness of this inequalty to the minds of all humankind (well, maybe just the other partrons) by enthusiastically shaking our groove things, loudly advocating for massive societal reform after downing martinis, and finally, by burning our paystubs. Just kidding about that last part. We really just hit on men. And I got a number. All in all, the Great Movement for Change was a rip-roaring success.

How to Irk Me

April 25, 2006

Tell me my little brother’s moving back home (please note: this is where I’m also temporarily staying). And then casually slip in there that he’s moving back in TOMORROW. For good measure, tell me that I have to get all my stored stuff, which amounts to 49 boxes, miscellaneous rubber maid containers, a microwave, golf bag and notable shoe collection, out of its current location (which happens to be the sole bedroom that is not otherwise being slept in or used as an office and/or woodworking space by my dad) and into the dinning room, again, by tomorrow. Point out that my curb side parking spot will now be on a first come, first serve basis. And then, tell me that my little sister is planning on coming home for a few days this summer and in light of this recent development, it would be preferred if I vacate the premises before then.

Isn’t there some sort of step-by-step parental notification system that must be activated before he can move back in? What the heck happened here? Was he issued get some “skip steps one through seventeen” card that I never knew about? And who’s going to help me lug boxes?

Living At Home Survival Kit

April 20, 2006

Moving back home has been great. Besides the obvious financial help post-layoff, there’s an endless supply of toilet paper, the laundry facilities are stellar, and I even have access to a paper shredder on the off chance I need to shred anything. But eventually cheap rent loses its luster (this became especially true once the steady income was re-established). Now, I’m quickly approaching the point where I need to move out if I want maintain my sanity and not cause somebody bodily harm. Explaining the urge to move out is the one time in life when I can say “it’s not you (or them), it’s me” and really mean it. While I look for the ideal Place of My Own and build up a little cash stash, I’ve devised a survival kit of sorts. Everything I need to maintain state-of-the-art coping skills:

1. A Compound: For some, this consists of just a room, but in my case, it’s a former master bedroom (pre-addition) and a bathroom with a detached (re: in another part of the house) storage facility for the contents of my old apartment and on-street parking. As a bonus, there’s not Pet Rent, and I get front row seats for the Bionic Kitty vs. Dad Harassment Spectacle.

2. Tylenol: Since I couldn’t get a Valium prescription, extra-strength Tylenol will have to do. Trial and error has taught me to take 16 to help speed recovery after venturing out of the Compound for a glass of water, only to encounter Mom and be ambushed into having a conversation about my job search/love life/cat/exercise habits/shoes/laundry pile/or any other topic.

3. A TV, preferably hooked up in the Compound: Since I have one, I rarely have to leave my safety zone. The TV doesn’t have cable, but I can still keep myself entertained with a good pair of bunny ears (yes, they still make those) and a willingness to ignore the sickly yellow overtones.

4. Periodic Absence of Parents: Occasionally, both of my parents are gone at the same time. Moments like these must be cherished, and used for catching up on the Road Rules/Real World Marathon. This is also the ideal time to do laundry as there is nobody to note my excessive love of dryer sheets.

5. Restaurants and Bag Salad: When was the last time I cooked in front of my mother? Day 46, and counting…

6. A Library: It’s free to sit, it’s free to read, it’s free to people watch, it’s free to use the bathroom, it’s free to park, it’s so free that the homeless even hang out there. I am sure that in Swahili the word library is a synonym for freedom.

7. A Mantra: Repeat after me (at various volumes, with a varying sense of urgency, depending on the situation), “I will move out, I Will Move Out, I WILL Move Out, I FREAKING WILL MOVE OUT, HOLY FLIPPING POPEMAN, LET ME NOT KILL (Insert Appropriate Parent Here) BEFORE I MOVE OUT.”

8. Earplugs: Because Dad’s wood working jig band cutting contraption is loud. Really, really, really loud. And he uses it at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. And he doesn’t go out drinking on Fridays.

9. A Friend’s House: Since I don’t look good in orange, stripes, or jumpsuits, I retreat when all else fails.

10. Craigslist: So I can manically scope out the new rentals everyday, and eventually, make a break for it.

Sometimes I just need to puke…

April 20, 2006

It’s a natural instinct. It happens when I am so totally overcome by the cuteness of kittens that my “no, no, you can’t have one now” reflex automatically kicks, thus making me realize I can’t get one, no matter how snuggly and purrish they are. I think I developed the reflex to spare Bionic Kitty from the trauma of competition and spare myslef from my grandmother’s belief that I will end up as a Crazy Cat Lady in my 20s if I have more than one cat. But, I’m starting to tell myself that Bionic Kitty needs a side kick, that she needs it to stay on her “A” game, that it would be a humanitarian thing to give a kitten a home, that it would just toooooooo cuuuuute. And those arguments are winning out over my puke urge. Soon, it will overcome all natural resistance to kitten buying, despite all better judgment…Kittens, kittens galore! I’m doomed.

On-Line Dating: the real final frontier

April 18, 2006

Recently, I decided to join e-harmony. It was a rather desperate attempt to get my love life in order. I’ve been making enough of a hash of it, I figured that Dr. Neil Clark Warren might as well have a shot.

What the e-harmony commercials fail to mention amongst all the “I found my soul mate and I lllllooooooovvvveeeee him so much that I’ve become physically bonded to him” mushiness is how frustrating the entire e-harmony process is. First, I had to fill out the special, patented, relationship profile that was guaranteed to match me up with my ideal soul mate. It asks searching, probing, heart felt questions, but in a multiple choice format or those crazy “on a scale of 1-7” type things. Really, there is no good answer for these. And 1-7? What happened to 1-10? Yet, I had to pick something without the benefit of a “please explain” section. To a lawyer, this is horrible. Everything must be explained, argued, or examined in greater detail. Anything but an essay option is evil (especially when we’re talking life partner here)! And I had to do it for two hours!

Then, the complicated computer matrix took my profile and those of all male e-harmony users between ages 25 and 35 who also conveniently live within 50 miles of my home, and ran some fancy computer matching thing to see if we were compatible. If we were, I got to view their profile. And boy, was that a treat. One of every three talked about how God lead them to e-harmony so they could find a Godly woman to produce Godly children with. After she produced the Godly children and raised them to become disillusioned sinners, the guys all seemed to want to move to Ghana to be missionaries to the Godless. I’m all for a higher power, but somehow I don’t think He comes in the form of Dr. Neil Clark Warren. So, I did what any person who likes to sleep in on Sunday would do: delete, delete, delete. Then, I had to deal with the guys who obviously lacked social skill. They were on e-harmony for a reason, or at least a reason more serious than mine. E-harmony asks what fives things you can’t live without. When a guy picks the videogame Halo or farting or his calculator, there’s generally a problem. I agree that farting is a vital bodily function, and is even one that I regularly participate in, but it is not the type of thing I mention when I first meet people (well, usually), even if I’m letting it all hang out, so to speak. And, I think even my mother would agree that listing Halo and a calculator as vital life components does not indicate strong reproductive potential. So, once again, I made use of the delete button. That left a rather slim potential pool of men, but one I felt sure held my life partner (after all, Dr. Neil Clark Warren said it was so). And better yet, one who I could be on the e-harmony commercials with, spouting on about our love and how we couldn’t have found each other without the genius and personal involvement of Dr. Neil Clark Warren (and the $69.95 for a three month membership).

After I got profiles, I then went through a process of answering yet more multiple choice questions which were selected by the guy in order to learn more about me, but at least this time I got 150 characters in which to make up my own answer. Again, this was a challenge for a legal (re: long winded) mind, but I managed. I also got to pick some multiple choice to inflict. Multiple choice was followed by “Must Haves and Can’t Stands.” Basically, if he’s a lying, cheating, immoral sack of scum, I don’t want him. If I’m too fat, wear bad clothes, and have bad teeth, he doesn’t want me. I generally ignore this part, since most of these guys aren’t in a position to be too picky if they want to reproduce in the next 15 years. I figure, I have the boobs and womb, so I’m holding all the trump cards, right?

Then, the fun starts: short answer questions. There’s a list of questions I got to choose from or I could make up my own. Of course, being of a legal bent, I had to develop my own. I figure this helps to get original answers (‘cause, people are slackers and if they are smart, like I am, they keep a bank of witty, semi-flirty, and spell-checked answers they can copy and paste for popularly asked questions) and to see how invested the guy is in the process. It he tells me that with a bajillion and a half dollars he’s won in a random lottery, all he’s going to do is make sure his family is taken care of, I hit delete. I mean seriously, can he at least mention helping starving children in Zimbabwe or maybe buying a surround sound system for his Halo game? I know he’s thinking about it and maybe even drooling at the prospect.

I still haven’t gotten to the “open communication” part of this process, where Dr. Neil Clark Warren trusts my life mate and I to openly communicate in the safe, protected, character limited e-harmony world. But, when I do, watch out!!

Somebody from here…

April 18, 2006

Olsztyn, Warminsko-Mazurskie

Visited my blog yesterday. Or so says the site meter report. Is it bad that I have no idea where that is?

The Easter Bunny Closed All the Restaurants

April 17, 2006

Usually for Easter my family and I go to visit my dad’s relatives. But this year, I was abandoned. My parents went to go visit my sister in Washington, D.C. (I always maintained she was the favorite, and this just helps support that theory) and my aunt was having surgery, so I couldn’t go Youngstown to hunt for eggs labeled with my name. Being the only semi-Christian-ish people the Easter Bunny did not visit (I had to buy my own darn jelly beans and I LIVE AT HOME FOR J.C.’S SAKE), my brother and I decided to go out for dinner to celebrate the holiday. Apparently, Easter is more important than Thanksgiving (re:a nationally sponsored holiday, where stuff is still open despite the federal mandate that everything close while people bond with relatives, eat turkey and be thankful for something). Nothing, and I mean nothing, was open. We went to four restaurants before we finally got smart and realized the Chinese don’t generally celebrate the resurrection. Today, I did not feel like a questionable Christian. Instead, I think I qualified as an honoary Jew. Which on a side note, is probably kind of quasi-ironic or something considering what day it was…