I have a cut on my finger

This provides a look into my shallow little soul. No, the cut isn’t that deep (neither is my soul). It is just a paper cut.

My first thoughts when I cut my finger, after I yelled, “SHIT!” was, “Fuck me, now it’s going to suck shampooing my hair.”

Despite the irritation, the way the tiniest flap of skin rubs against my pinkie nail (the cut is on the outside edge of the ring finger on my left hand), the constantly little ache as I type, or the fact that it could get become infected with staph and the result could ultimately result in my skin falling off like a gruesome nightmare like my not-my-aunt-Dottie … it’s the shampooing my hair that really concerned me.

Left uncovered, the cut will snag every piece of fine, long hair on my head and cause me to wince.

If I cover it with a Band-Aid, then I’m in even worse shape as not only will the covering catch even more hair, but it will impede my finger mobility for ultimate head-massaging action to achieve suds.

Motherfucker.

This morning I took a shower and shampooed my hair.

And it was as bad as I thought.

Paper cuts. Major. Suck.

V is for Valzilla

I hate Valentine’s Day.

No, it’s not because I’m single. (Because I’m not…this year. So there.)

No, it’s not because I spend many evenings on the couch with a bottle of wine and a book. (My boyfriend still thinks I’m sexy.*)

It has nothing to do with my level of attractiveness. (I am adorable, I assure you.)

My hatred of Valentine’s day can be traced to the year I turned 11. We had just moved to a new city, and it was time for the V-Day exchange. While the trading of construction paper hearts and sweet tarts was supposed to be mandatory, somehow, the memo hadn’t reached my prepubescent classmates. I received 5 Valentines that year. One of them was from the teacher. And so I sat alone at my desk, sucking on a chalky candy heart  drawing little guillotined stick figures, knowing from weeks of library lunches** that Valentine’s Day was actually one of those saint days dedicated to a guy who had died in some really violent way in defense of his beliefs. Either that or it was invented by the French. Or both. ***

Since then, I’ve viewed Valentine’s day as sort of exclusive parade. Westminster for lovers****. Like the mutts of the world, the single folk are relegated to the sidelines.

Don’t get me wrong, being single isn’t so bad. I was single for a long time. I used to have  kitchen ABBA underwear dance discos for one. It. Was. Awesome.

Like this, except in my underwear. As you can see, I am a fantastic dancer. *nods*

But I hated being single on Valentine’s day more than any other day of the year. Even Christmas.

You see, I’m a big believer in holidays. I like any excuse for a bunch of people to get together and consume copious amounts of food and alcohol. But Valentine’s day isn’t about bunches of people. And it certainly isn’t about food*****. It is about couples. Not families. Not friends. But couples. And gifts, whether they be the expensive, sparkly variety; the aromatic, floral variety; or the nerdy, antithetical variety. It is a holiday meant to segregate and separate; to award the most pedigreed, posh, and polished couple; to encourage excessive verbiage chock-full of alliteration and saccharine.****** On this day, I have to pay twice as much for a bottle of wine, listen to every sappy love song ever written, overhear some lady talk about how many dozens of roses she has on her office desk, and watch made-for-tv films on television because the major networks assume that diamond commercials are right and we are all out eating prix fixe menus instead of worshiping the moving picture box.

And it sucks.

This year,  my friends are busy being couply. I suppose, technically, I should be doing that, too. But it’s more likely that I will cook dinner and Ryan and I will then watch Daily Show reruns on the couch.We are romantic like that.

Next year I’m going to throw a dinner party.  We will all make construction paper valentines and decorate things with lace doilies. We shall rock polka dots and touch glitter. We shall be crafty–in all senses of the word. It will be Valzilla: The Valentine’s Destroyer. And maybe for the first time, I won’t hate Valentine’s day quite so much.

Or maybe I’ll just watch the dog show.

 

____

*Though can you really trust a man who takes off his pants as soon as he steps inside the door? It makes me look back fondly on the early days of our relationship and appreciate that for me he would wear pants while sitting  bolt-straight and uncomfortably on his white slip-covered sofa.  He also always wore shoes. Turns out, he can’t take off his shoes without taking off his pants. Who knew?

**Not because I was a loner, but because when it rained in that school we ALL spent recess in the library. It had been a very rainy season.

***Hence the guillotine.

**** It should be noted that when I wrote this post, I had NO idea that the West Minster dog show actually fell on Valentine’s day this year. I like to think the fates conspired to support my analogy. Either that or I just had a subconscious link to the poodle parade.

***** Have you ever tried to go out to eat on Valentine’s day? It is actually easier to fly to a deserted island, inspect a shipwrecked boat, locate a golden bridal, summon a dolphin to ride across the ocean, walk across the beach to a field to locate a unicorn, slip the bridal on the unicorn, and ride the unicorn to a castle in an effort to convince the woman who lives there that you aren’t a spy than it is to get a reservation for a reasonably priced meal on Valentine’s day. It easier still to just play through King’s Quest IV: The Peril’s of Rosella. But that is neither here nor there.

****** While this post, on the other hand,was accidentally designed to propagate  semicolon appreciation. The semicolon is one of the great under- (and mis-) used punctuation marks. To quote The Oatmeal, “Using a semicolon isn’t hard; I once saw a party gorilla do it.”

Prayers for all!

One of the things I’ve found astounding, working with clients, is their total lack of appreciation that there is a line of demarcation between Friendly Customer Service Representative and Person Who Gives a Shit.

Frequently I receive emails from clients that inform me of some kind of trial or tribulation they are experiencing, some political stance they are sharing with the world, or, you know, stuff that has nothing to do with my job for them.

Today I received a missive calling for love and prayers (and cash donations) because the client’s adult daughter has been hospitalized due to a “critical medical emergency.”

I’ve never met this daughter. I’ve spent time with her parents because they were my clients. I don’t know where they live, if they prefer contemporary oak dining sets to repurposed barn boards and I’m not sure whether they have a dog. But for some reason, I’ve been included in this mass email cause to give a damn about humanity.

This all irritates me considerably as it intrudes upon my consciousness*.

However, my time in reading the whole thing was rewarded as there is a fantastic typo in this heartfelt, massively inappropriate email.

“May Bod bless us all.”

That’s right, the Bod that watches over us and keeps us safe. Thank you, Bod, for all of your blessings.

*that’s right, I got it in!

The Intrusion

I work in a relaxed office. We have the option of working from home and working on a variety of tasks as we see fit. Our editor-in-chief, in fact, does not even have a physical space in our office: she works exclusively from home. I send manuscripts and such to her home, and she then returns them when she is done. We do any urgent communicating via e-mail or phone. The problem is, our editor periodically declares that she is simply too busy and we cannot speak to/at her until after a specific date. Fine. I keep my e-mails to a minimum and send the manuscripts to her for her to attend to when she again has time. But not this time.

“I am going to catch up on what’s here and then I am off the clock until Feb 6. Please do not send home anything for me as it sits around and intrudes into my consciousness.”

I’m going to start using this as an excuse for everything. I’m sorry I can’t answer the phone. It intrudes into my consciousness. I really can’t look at your e-mail; it intrudes into my consciousness. You wanted me to cook? But, alas, it intrudes into my consciousness.

I’m sorry, I must stop writing this blog: it intrudes into my consciousness.

 

It’s not that I don’t care … oh wait, yeah I don’t really care

I work with clients. This, is, by its very nature a stressful prospect for any job doer and can lead to all sorts of symptoms like: screaming at your computer, calling coworkers to commiserate, more screaming at your computer, delayed return emails to said client while you sort out your thoughts for a few days, and just general malaise.

My job is really to inform, manage, and shepherd projects through a system. I deal with clients, contractors, databases, vendors, and all sorts of hoops that must be jumped through in order to complete the process. It isn’t a particularly difficult job, but it does require a thicker skin than I may possess. I’m getting better at it, but what “getting better at it” entails is really just caring less, removing emotion from my processes — i.e. communicating with people, and taking a lot of guff on the chin that is just unnecessary venting by clients to me.

Is this funny? No. Does it inspire a poorly created flow chart? Yes.

 

I’m Not so Smart and Other News

I woke up this morning and realized that a.) I hadn’t posted in a while and b.) that Ryan and I had been dating more than a  year*.

Old News: In case you missed the story of how I tried in vain to dump Ryan, you can read it here. If you want just the summary it goes like this:

1.) We go on a date.  And then another.

2.) I tell him I don’t feel the spark.

3.) He requests a do over.

4.)I look like an idiot because I’ve moved into his house and we’ve now been dating somewhere in the neighborhood of a year.

 

Sort of New News :

I am a know-it-all. Well, that’s not really new, but it’s at least not me just recapping a previous post. See, not only do I know everything, but I know everything about the future**.  I didn’t actually think I was psychic.*** I did think that if I planned carefully and weighed the options with the utmost care, I could effectively predict the path I should follow. This meant that I went into my dates with an idea about what it was I wanted and a very clear idea of exactly wouldn’t work.  I would never admit to this while I was still practicing rapid-fire dating™ In fact, I had even convinced myself that I was no longer applying these standards. I lied. Because that’s the first thing you do when you go on a date, you lie–both to yourself and the person you are with. In both cases, you are saying you are giving them a fair chance, when you aren’t. Oh, I know you think you are, but in the back of your mind you have a secret list…a list of requirements, which is much less cool or useful than the room of requirement.

All too often these requirements are…well…dumb. Even more often they are self-destructive.  To demonstrate, I give you my list.

  • must not be blonde
  • must have a college degree
  • must not think that a college degree is a waste of time
  • must be liberal
  • does not own firearms
  • needs to be taken care of in some weird way
  • must like the Muppets
  • must like The Princess Bride
  • must think that books are pretty much the awesomest form of entertainment in existence, or at least must put books in the top 5 ways to spend an evening
  • must not argue that awesomest is not a word
  • must not be boring
  • must be taller than me
  • must not be too tall
  • must not be afraid of food
  • must not dominate the conversation
  • must not just stare at me while I talk
  • must like eating out
  • must not be opposed to eating in
  • must not be into outdoor things or if is into outdoor things must not require that I participate if it involves running, heat, or pain
  • must like movies, particularly “good” movies
  • must not have tiny hands
  • must not have a tiny mouth
  • must not be afflicted with halitosis
  • must not be a player
  • must not sound like a player
  • must be nerdy
  • must not be too nerdy that he can’t socialize

If you ask Rosewater Jump, this list was probably much longer when I was in the throes**** of dating. But these rules were meant to protect me from dating my father, dating my douchey high school boyfriend, dating my friend’s no-good-lying-sack-of-shit boyfriend, and dating…well…let’s face it, just about anyone. So, I would go on date after date upset that these men didn’t meet my standards. I would not see this one again because he didn’t have a degree. This one was just too boring, and that one…he sounded like a player. There were 9,000 excuses on why I couldn’t date someone. But the truth? The truth is that sometimes you can’t actually put your finger on it.  Or you just aren’t ready to date. Or you just don’t feel special. Of the 4 of you who read this blog, two of you may be up in arms about this. Screaming, “I knew what I wanted!!” Did you? I mean, could you  have made a list? Or did you just know when it happened? Like, seeing this dress when you claimed you were looking for something fancy to wear to your hairdresser’s wedding this weekend and knowing in that moment that you must have this delightful polka-dotted frock

because it was the perfect compliment to the items in your wardrobe and you could even wear it to work. And you would share a beautiful life together. It was worth your investment. This was not the dress that you were looking for. But somehow it would work. Likewise, it is rarely the relationship that you are looking for. Instead, it is the relationship that sneaks up on you and ignores items on your precious list of requirements. Let’s review my list in light of my current relationship, shall we?

  • must not be blonde  Is strawberry technically blonde? Does is count that he was a red-head as a kid? Yeah. I didn’t think so.
  • must have a college degree  He’s still smarter than me.
  • must not think that a college degree is a waste of time
  • must be liberal He told me a couple of weeks ago he was considering voting for Newt Gingrich. My soul died a little.
  • does not own firearms he owns 6. Yep. 6.
  • needs to be taken care of in some weird way he’s happy to let me cook or be domestic, but he is a self-sufficient, nonwhiner. He apologized that his vomiting awoke me.
  • must like the Muppets
  • must like The Princess Bride
  • must think that books are pretty much the awesomest form of entertainment in existence, or at least must put books in the top 5 ways to spend an evening
  • must not argue that awesomest is not a word
  • must not be boring dumb requirement. Turns out, I’m really boring and together we are the apex of boring.
  • must be taller than me
  • must not be too tall
  • must not be afraid of food
  • must not dominate the conversation
  • must not just stare at me while I talk he does that, but mostly in a “the fact that you are so worked up about this is really funny to me” kind of way
  • must like eating out
  • must not be opposed to eating in
  • must not be into outdoor things or if is into outdoor things must not require that I participate if it involves running, heat, or pain
  • must like movies, particularly “good” movies We see a lot of movies. But we disagree on some qualities. I don’t think that revenge makes a movie an instant watch. He doesn’t think that Meryl Streep is a all that watchable. We both agree that mock horror films are hilarious.
  • must not have tiny hands
  • must not have a tiny mouth
  • must not be afflicted with halitosis
  • must not be a player
  • must not sound like a player
  • must be nerdy
  • must not be too nerdy that he can’t socialize

Conclusive News:

I still met the majority of the items on my list, sure. But in past dating experiences, I would have discounted him immediately for violating the first several rules…not to mention owning guns. Turns out, I’m not so smart about these things.

 

—-

*I said this to a friend, and she spent 15 minutes arguing with me. Her point? I refused to call him my boyfriend for several months after we were dating. Well, just until he took me to meet his parents. At that point, I figured it couldn’t be undone. It really can’t be undone now. I vomited in his parents’ car. On his mom. On her birthday. No I was not drunk. If anything, I feel this has brought us all closer: they now have a really embarrassing story to tell about me at holiday parties. That’s how you know they consider you part of the family: they are excited to embarrass you.

**If and when I  ever have kids, I’m sure they will LOVE this about me.

***Well most of the time. Since I was fairly young, I have had vivid dreams that would play out every-day scenarios: scenes from school, conversations at work, unusual events while I was driving, etc. Most of the time I don’t remember these dreams until something in my regular life happens that mirrors one of these episodes.  This gives me the creepy-crawly sense of deja-vu.  Do I think I’m psychic?  Not really.  I think my anxiety-ridden brain has hundreds of these dreams every night–like a computer running possible reaction scenarios. I only remember their existence as they play out and then feel uneasy and as if I have done this before.  Yes, I know.  I should probably up my dosage. It really is a marvel that I function in the normal world.

**** I chose this word carefully. I think online dating is sort of like convulsions. And anyone who has had first date sex will vouch for this. Personally,  I wouldn’t know. Because in addition to being a know-it-all, I’m kind of a prude. Well, cautious; I call myself cautious. Ryan and I had been “dating” (as in going out on dates) since mid December and we didn’t even kiss until mid February. See, when I was in high school, my boyfriend told me and everyone I knew that I was a bad kisser. And despite the fact that I know that guy is a driveless douche, I couldn’t help but worry that if I kissed a boy he would run screaming in the opposite direction. This is why all future initial  kissing has happened when I was inebriated or dehydrated. In both cases, you aren’t thinking straight and you have the artificial confidence of a person lacking a few brain cells. Yeah, I know I’m a dork.

™ Ok.  So, I have NOT filed for a trademark on that. But I should. It will all be part of my dating success book, co-written with Rosewater Jump and titled You Have No Soulmate and Other Dating Truths. The fact that “rapid-fire dating” sounds as if you are subjecting yourself to an early twentieth century Texan firing squad is no mistake.  Because dating is a lot like early firing squads: shitty on the aim and yet seemingly boundless on the ammo. In both scenarios, you leave the field damaged, limping, and yet running for your life because anywhere has got to be better than there.

 UPDATE: I just found this article which discusses how online dating makes us pickier. While some might argue that is from the scope of selection, I worry (as seen in the above list) that we set ourselves up for failure. Also, we set ourselves up for listmaking, which is really a fruitless and frustrating task.

 

My Basic Manicure is Glitter

I was reading a blog post yesterday over at Motherhood, WTF? And she was talking about how before becoming a parent, she was more fabulous and now she is sitting there wearing ill-fitting jeans and a grey fleece. While I was reading this, I too, was wearing a grey fleece.

Shit.

I’ve always thought myself to be a bit more sparkly than that. Now, granted, that grey fleece is super nice and was a gift from my parents and I had just gone and walked the dogs … so to be fair, I wasn’t tragic. My jeans fit, are a modern cut, and my grey fleece is the same.

But I did feel, reviewing my evening outfit, that I was two clicks away from a highlighted bob, comfortable walking shoes, and about ready to spout off about sex-ed in schools or some intolerant shit that Those Women tend to say.

Feeling a little sad about myself and my life state, I took a look at what was REALLY going on here. Wait a minute! I’m not even close to that! I was just in my dog walking clothes and to have bedazzled dog walking clothes is just tacky. My manicure basket next to my computer contains the basics: nipper, file, sparkly polish.

I’m not too far gone. I think really it is my desk that gets me down. It’s a work table with a plastic top and fold out legs. One of those mass manufactured things that you are supposed to put out in the yard for your kids to sell lemonade from (however with a cute table cloth nearly to the ground and a lovely glass pitcher for them to pour from…). Thank goodness I’ve ordered a new desk. Green. With drawers to hid my crap and the option to embellish with new knobs.

The way, when I sit here drinking my Italian roast coffee out of my good china, clutched between sparkly fingertips, while an adorably dressed infant plays fairly nicely next to me on the floor I am pretty sure I’ll look as good on the outside as I feel on the inside.

So what is my point? My point is that it is very important to continue to strive to be the person that lives in your head regardless of your housebound job, your baby, your income, and how much dog vomit is on the floor that you are hoping will just be secretly eaten by the OTHER dog so you don’t have to clean up the chunks. The fantasy you is important.

Even if the only evidence of your fantasy self is your sparkly fingertips.

Things Overheard

Overheard isn’t quite right.  More like, “Things said directly to me that out of context, or even in context, make someone sound like an ass.”

We’ve all done it. My best blunder occurred when I was 16. My boyfriend, a notorious pain-in-the-ass-weirdo,* dumped me. Months I had put up with him and the questions and the constant ups and downs.  I defended him.  I swore I loved him.  And he dumped me. I was indignant. Which led me to leave the following message on a friend’s answering machine:

“Well, Kevin and I broke up.  But not in the way you think.  That asshole dumped me. HE dumped ME! I hate men.  Yes, I even hate you.”

Classy, I know. But I digress.

A close friend of mine recently began again communicating with a high school classmate, Garrett. They had lost touch roughly a year after graduation for a variety of reasons, the largest of which she explained to me with the utmost tact:

“I mean, I couldn’t say, I’m sorry I took your virginity and then stopped talking to you, could I?”

No, no you couldn’t. But I’m glad I got to hear it.

To class acts.

 

 

__________

*People used to stop me in the hallway to ask me why I was dating him.  On one particularly memorable occasion, a jock noted that Kevin was wearing a cape, sporting a nametag that read “El Chupacabra,” and leaping through the hallways declaring “I’m a little fairy.”

Jock: “You are dating that fag?”
Me: “Are you planning on using him to start a fire later?”
Jock: “What?”
Me: “Fag…it’s a term for fire kindling…you know what? Nevermind. Yes, yes I am.”
Jock: “He calls himself a fairy.”
Me: “Maybe he means in the Celtic tradition.  You know, scary little things that steal teeth and switch babies.”
Jock: “I’m gonna kick that guy’s ass.”
Me: “Um…ok.”

Tiny Victories

Rosewater Jump and her boyfriend have been dating for 18 months.* Edgar likes to go hiking.  He likes to hike even when it is 115 degrees outside.** Rosewater indulges this, though inevitably ends up with a migraine because Arizona sun is actually fine-tuned to torture and kill the neurons in your brain. Rosewater likes to go to movies.  She likes to see films ranging from arty to blockbuster, no matter the time of year because air-conditioning is a wonderful thing. Edgar is often uncomfortable in movie theaters and finds the time investment frustrating.  But they both like to try new food.

The problem is that to Edgar very little is new.  He has lived in the Phoenix area most of his 30-odd years.  And he used to work in the restaurant industry.  This can be understandably frustrating for Rosewater.

Rosewater: La Fontella. Have you ever been there? It’s on Indian School and 44th, I went there last night. It has “real” Italians (like they are from Italy and speak Italian and one was taking a phone call from Italy and talking to his daughter or something) and the food is pretty good. So it’s like American Italian food, but made by people who are obviously Italian. I know you like Italian food, we should go sometime when we are back to going to Italian.

Edgar: Yeah, I’ve been there before.  It was nice.

Rosewater: Sigh. I try to make you happy with new things you might like but you are too familiar with this state.

Edgar: But you dress me

At least when Rosewater does take him somewhere, he no longer looks like a missionary. It’s the small victories.

 

*The relationship sounds nascent when I describe it as being only “18 months” old. Relationships, unlike newborns, are not constantly changing size, spitting up, or screaming what sound like obscenities in some foreign and as yet undeciphered language.  Well, they aren’t assuming you don’t live in a frat house.  Or a cat house. Or in Scottsdale.

**Dry heat, my ass.  You know what else is dry? Your oven.  I don’t see anyone clambering to live inside an oven set to 115 degrees, which is just hot enough to ignite your newspaper when you forgot that you left it there after last night’s rainstorm. That’s right.  At 115 degrees, things can catch on fire. It’s science.