Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Love Thy Booty

I'm in that blissful stage between exercising for the first time in like, months, and the realization that I have possibly pulled every muscle in my body. I blame this on the Girl Scouts.

Allow me to back up, if I may, because truly, the Girl Scouts are not entirely to blame. You see, last week, two children, on two separate occasions, ran into my ass. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has been observed before. I am not sure why, exactly, this happens. I believe it is a combination of my over sized bum, which apparently projects beyond a typical backside, and the generally unobservant nature of children.

I know you must be thinking, "Surely more children have managed to avoid your ass over the years than those who plow into it."

To which I reply, "Yes, but I still think two times in one week is too many (and don't call me Shirley)." And also? One of those times was on the beach, and I was self conscious to begin with. I am certain the face plant in my posterior wasn't so pleasant either, though the little girl merely said she was sorry as she bounced off and began galloping in a slightly different direction.

I resolved to do something about soon as the Creme Brulee Cheese Cake was eaten.

What? You wouldn't want to see it go to waste!


Fast forward a few days to yesterday, when I returned to the gym after a long absence. I huffed and puffed through a workout that used to be easy, and afterward I walked to my door covered in sweat, with a high probability that I had cheesecake oozing from my pores. I got the mail and finally found the magazine I had ordered (like six months ago!) from Adam's niece to support her local Girl Scout Troop. Those dang Girl Scouts. They did not have music magazines, like "Spin" or "Rolling Stone", nor was I able to renew my current cooking magazines. So I decided on something new - a magazine called "Fitness". I am glad it finally came, because I was wondering where my "Girl Scout magazine" was, but I could not actually remember which magazine I had ordered. This makes the complaint a bit difficult. I imagined I would be on the phone making angry accusations to the Girl Scouts, and when they tried to correct the problem by re-ordering, I would admit I had no idea what I was supposed to get.

The headline at the top of the September 2009 Issue of Fitness: "Love your Booty". It includes a "You Can Do It" section which provides a workout intended to make me look skinny in jeans. We shall see, Fitness. We shall see.

Today, me and my ass traversed to the basement gym at the office (incident free due to lack of children at work). I counted the gym as a bonus during my interview, but I have never used it in the five months I have been with the company. So I was a little nervous about carrying a magazine in there and doing my little routine. But it was either this or purchase one of those rubber ball thingies. My apartment is crowded enough with sporting equipment. So, to the gym I went, hoping that there would not be many people there.

The workout itself did not appear too difficult - a series of ten exercises which I was to repeat. I managed to complete all the moves, but as I type, I can feel the pain beginning to set in. It has started in the biceps, moved to the shoulders and upper back. I got up to pee, and felt a slight twang in the hips. This is not good. I may have trouble moving in the morning.

Dang Girl Scouts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If Cats Could Type

This post is brought to you by special guest blogger, Daisy The Cat.

Oh boy oh boy ohboy ohboy, my PEEPS are back! Yay!! I missed them so so so so much while they were away. I sure do hate it when they leave me all alone, even though I did like that neighbor lady that stopped by, she just didn't stay long enough! I don' much like goin' along either - I tried to tell Nicki, but she just wouldn't listen. I cried and cried in my cat carrier and made her feel all guilty in the car so she would open my lock and give me free reign of the seats. But hahahahah, I got her because I stayed in there almost the WHOLE TIME and gave her an especially evil eye until she was almost there and then, you'll never guess what I did, you silly Humans. So I'll tell you: I came outof my carrier and oh this is so funny, I PUKED all over her arm!! That will show her! I just want to stay home!

And then there was that last time when we went to the vet, which I still haven't totally forgiven her for, and she started checking out the Boarding Prices! I was like "Aaaa!! No Way!" so just to be doubly sure she understood how much I hated bein' in there with all the dogs barking their stupid heads off, I POOPed right there in my cat carrier! I showed her again! I just wanna stay home!

But I don't like so much the stayin' home alone thing. So when my Nicki and my Adam came home I made sure I rubbed myself all over their legs so they couldn't walk without tripping over me because I love them ever so much and I just want them to know. And for the past two days, I have been extra sure to show them I care - like I am making sure I rub my face aggressively on their elbows whenever they are in reach so they will pet me pet me pet me...I like being petted. And I sure don't like it when they watch those papers with words on them. I wonder why they always try to watch stuff?? I am really super nice and make sure they do what they meant to do - watch ME! I love laying on papers with words on them! And I am sure my humans would much rather watch me anyway.

This is all normal stuff I like to do so I can remind them to never ever ever leave me at home alone again! (Silly humans, they keep forgetting this!) But last night, I thought of an EVEN BETTER way to show them how much I care! Last night, I thought it would be fun if we stayed up ALL night to play!! So every time Nicki started to drift off to sleep, I made sure she would wake up because I am certain she would like to play all night. I sleep in the day, it is such a much much better time to sleep. But Nicki doesn't seem to agree because she sleeps at night, that Silly Human! So I jumped on her bed and purred in her face, and when that stopped working, why I just walked all over her. I walked from one side to the other side and back and back and back and back, and then I somehow got accidentally pushed off the bed and so I jumped up again and again and again. We had such fun!!

And maybe this time, my Humans will remember, once and for all: I wanna stay home! And they do too!!

Stay tuned for my next post: Plumbing: What's Up With That??

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Roughing It

Baltimore, you balmy beast, I have returned. Our beach house in Dewey, Delaware was beautiful. The kitchen was well-equipped, the living room had a comfy sofa, and the game room did too. It also had a pool table, a little "reading nook", board games, and a play station that played blue-ray disks. The Master Bedroom had a bathroom the size of my second bedroom, a little sofa and tv area, and a walk-in closet the size of my kitchen. My sister and brother-in-law got that room (early bird gets the big bed!). However, master bedroom #2 was only slightly less super-rific. Unfortunately it shares a bathroom with the hallway, which I managed to lock myself out of once.

The place was equipped with cable and wi-fi the first and second day.

And then...

...Horror of all Horrors...

...we lost the cable. All our tv would transmit was a fuzzy picture of the Fox News channel. We got no other channels. This was bad, but we still had the many DVD's we brought as well as the DVD's that were in the house when we got there. But worse?

We lost the wi-fi. It was amazing how aimless I felt. Like, I had planned to go to a local winery but I was not sure where it was, and if they had scheduled tours/tastings. I had planned to just look that up when I got into town. I thought I would blog and keep up with my gmail account - which is still inundated with house updates since we still haven't heard back on our offer. I thought I might check out some restaraunt reviews, or go see a movie. How did people do things before the Internet? I sure as heck don't know.

Thank goodness for the GPS - it found the winery AND the hospital, for what family trip is complete without a hospital visit?

All in all, I managed to accomplish my primary goals for vacation. I got away for a while and relaxed with a book. I didn't think about work once. And I got sand in my ears.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I finally managed to pack the car, and we got on the road. The trip was unremarkable. Everyone's trip - we had folks coming from central and eastern and northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Baltimore - was unremarkable. But this? Was not always the case. Let me take you now, to Family Trip circa 1991 from Reading, PA to Ocean City, MD. According to Google maps, a trip that should take 4 hours, 4 minutes.

At this time, I was 13 years old, that magical age when nothing is fun because I was either too young or too old for most activities. Sister #1 was 11, Sister #2 was 6, and Brother was 7. My parents, who had apparently chosen to ride in a minivan for 4 hours, 4 minutes, with 4 kids, were insane.

It was a HOT day in mid-August, and since minivans at the time did not come equipped with "stow and go" storage, we had to put the obligatory "turtle shell" on top of the car in order to pack all our many many many belongings. Packing at the last minute, as I did yesterday, is a long ingrained family tradition, and so even in 1991, we were packing at the last minute. After a few hours of manuevering the turtle from its normal position (hoisted in the garage) to its final position (bungeed, tied, and double bungeed to the roof of the minvan), we loaded the luggage, and we were off. As usual, we doubled back so someone could run inside to grab that quintessential item which they couldn't live without for an entire week. Then, we were off. Again. About 11 minutes after we started, the air conditioner stopped working. We cracked the rear windows of the minivan as far as they would go - which did nearly nothing to cool us. About sixteen minutes after we began our trip, someone surely had to pee...and we finally stopped an hour later at a Wawa.

Mind you - under no circumstances would my father allow purchases at said Wawa. We were there for the potties, a brief basking/drying out in the fabulous fabulous convenience store A/C, and that was it. However, when we were all back in the car and buckled into place, my father tried to start the car. The little engine turned over and over, but to no avail. A few construction workers who had been on their lunch break suggested that the car should be pushed backwards while Dad tried to start it. Three men pushed us as the engine sputtered. But start, it did not.

My father called Triple-A, who said they would send someone over as quickly as possible. Belted into the car as the temperature rose to 92 degrees, we sat. This time, we did not have even the minuscule window crack to supply air circulation. Forty-five minutes later, we called Triple again. Where were they? What was the plan? My father was assured that his call was important, that they would arrive shortly. That if the car refused to start again, they would tow it to a nearby Ford dealer. Unable to stand the heat, we piled out of the car and sat on the sidewalk, begging for some treat from the store. We were hungry. We were thirsty. We were hot. My father relented, and allowed us to purchase two large tootsie rolls and a fountain drink. To share.

We waited another hour. At some point, the lady who worked at the Wawa took pity on us, and brought more drinks outside to the sidewalk. My father called Triple-A again. The temperature soared to 95 degrees.

About two and a half hours after the call was made, Triple-A arrived. Perhaps we should have yelled at the man, scolded him for making us wait so long. But we were so happy to see him, we crowded around him as if he were royalty. Alas, he did not start the car. This was expected, and all we wanted was to get to the "nearest Ford dealer" as soon as possible so we could be on our way after a quick pop of the hood and tightening of some bolts.

At this point, it becomes appropriate to describe the neighborhood. First, we have the Wawa. Next door, one of those lonely residential holdouts, obviously grandfathered in, living in an area zoned commercial long after the house was built. The house was run down, and a lone tree stood in the front yard. This was no landscaped dogwood or pretty little maple tree. It was a 60-foot tall pine tree which towered over the house...and completely blocked the large sign advertising the presence of the next business over. Had the tree been just a tad shorter, or placed just a hair to the side, we would have read "F-O-R-D" on that sign. Oh yes. We had waited two and a half hours for a tow truck to tow us one hundred and fifty feet. In fact, the tow truck guy decided it would be more of a hassle to hook up the car to his rig than to simply push the mini van to the adjoining property.

Bristling with the injustice of it all, we march over to the dealer, following the tow truck. It is now about 3pm on a Saturday, and the mechanic is just getting ready to leave for the day. I suppose we looked pathetic and desperate enough, because they did agree to do something for us. I am not sure what. All I know is that was again set about the business of waiting. Only this time, we were in a dealership waiting room with air conditioning. And a candy machine where we were not allowed to purchase anything. It was bliss compared to the Wawa sidewalk. We waited 45 minutes, until we were told we would have to rent a second minivan for the week.

In the parking lot, we had to transfer the contents of one car to another. Only now, the bodies of both cars were literally scalding to the touch. One could not very easily reach up to the turtle for the baggage without touching the vehicle. Sister #2, age 6, was hoisted up inside the turtle, and lifted each bag down to us. She was not very happy with this decision. Then, we had to un-bungee and un-tie and un-double bungee the turtle from the car, and hoist it onto the rental. Sis was again hoisted into the turtle, and we lifted the bags high overhead, trying hard not to touch the car.

At 4:30pm, approximately 4 hours and 4 minutes after we started, we got back on the road. WE had maybe 3 hours, 3 minutes to go. The rental had air conditioning!! And perhaps in a fit of heat stroke, my father agreed to allow us to purchase an item from the vending machine to share. Life was good.

And then we hit the traffic. For some reason, the radio reception in the rental was poor. And for some reason, the only station which did come in clearly was stuck in a loop. It played two songs: "Blue Moon" and "Rockin' Robin". For the entire time we sat, unmoving, on a bridge to Ocean City. It took another hour to cross that bridge.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family - my cousins and aunts and uncles - had been pulling into the house all day. They had no idea where we were, and were beginning to worry. This was before cell phones, mind you. Around 8pm, nearly 11 hours after we started, we pulled into the driveway in our fabulous rental car.

How would this trip happen today? We'd stop at the Wawa, call Triple-A. In the meantime, we'd play on our I-phones, maybe check out the local Ford dealer locations. We'd find out it was next door. The mechanic would take a look, having several hours before closing time. He'd fix the car and the air conditioning too. We'd play Tetris on the phone in the waiting room. We'd watch "Secondhand Lions" as we drove to OC. We'd be there by mid afternoon. The family would have full updates throughout as we texted our predicament. Kids today. They just don't know what they are missin'.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ready, Set....

We are getting ready to go on vacation wit' da Fam. We're going to the beach, which is really not my all time most exciting a-one top on the list choice of places to go. But I looked into a few of those: a cruise to Alaska, a week in solitude at Glacier National Park, Europe, Australia, a four day Phish festival in California...they have one thing in common: We can't afford them. So, beach it is. One advantage (besides rental/travel costs) is that you can still manage to eat well with proper planning. So, last night was a frenzy of prep - I made my little breakfasts and lunches. I packed my little snacks. And I made one dinner, to be shared with everyone one night of the week. Today, I will pack all (hopefully all) these lovingly planned meals, and probably end up gorging on cake for the next seven days, with the occassional beer in between. Sigh.

In addition to the food, I have to pack linens and towels, games, beer, water...and I should probably bring some clothes...

...but instead I have just spent an hour an a half reading blogs and generally farting around on the internet. Hey, I'm on vacation!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ooo, That Smurfs!

My brother visited this weekend, so young buck that he is, I figured we best get our drink on down in the city. We pretty much do this every time he visits, but Baltimore has a few distinct drinkin' hoods (peppered with the occasional slum in between). So people can visit us more than once and we do not necessarily have to visit the same old haunts. This Saturday, I decided on Federal Hill.

In my old age (we'll get to more on this later), I have finally managed to learn some new tricks. I have successfully found consistently free parking just a tad off the beaten path. Of course, typing this makes it seem as though it was an easy task. Au Contrair: In past efforts I have: paid mucho dinero to park in a garage that closed before the band we went to see stopped playing; paid mucho dinero for a parking ticket AFTER a friend and I both agreed the parking space was legal - this due to novella posted on street signs indicating when you can and cannot park in the area; circled the blocks on an ever increasing radius from my ultimate destination in a car full of dimes finding naught but 30 minute meters which accepted nothing but quarters, exchanged dimes for quarters with random (possibly homeless) guy, then raced to destination to tell friends that I must leave in said amount of time; circled blocks in similar radius because parking garage with questionable hours was full, giving up and going home after about an hour; taken public transportation to nearest stop which requires walking through ghetto. So if you think I am going to post my newfound nugget of free parking bliss - you are sadly mistaken. Find it yourself.

But back to the drinkin'. We went first to the Pub Dog where I refrained from my diet as usual in favor of peach flavored beer and my ultimate vice - pizza. We had a round at the Dog, but decided to check out more of the local scene, so we asked for the check. And as I reached in my bag for my wallet, I realized I left it by the computer after ordering online herbal nose drops for my sickly cat. (I hope the reviews are accurate!) So, I know you must be thinkin', "Oh, poor you. It is so convenient not to be able to pay." And believe me, I hear your sarcasm, you Smarty Pantses. But honestly, it was not convenient for the following reasons: One, I truly felt bad that my younger brother had to pay for me, even though I knew I would pay him back when we got home. Two, you may have deduced that the 'Hill is more of a younger crowd. On a Saturday night, the place is packed with college co-eds and the occassional Bush twin. This means they post ID checkers outside most bars.

I sat totally composed when I was unaware that I didn't have ID, but once I knew, my brain began working in hyperdrive, trying to remember late seventies/early eighties trivia which might prove I had been alive at the time. Like many toddlers, however, I was not well versed in current events and the extent of my knowledge is obtained from those "when you were born" birthday cards. However, confidently remembering that I had pajamas and coloring books with Holly Hobby and Strawberry Shortcake themes, I went to the bouncer. I was fully prepared to spout out names of Smurfs like it was nobody's bu'ness.*

Me: "Sir, I unfortunately forgot my ID today, but this here is my little bro-"
He: (Interrupting me.) I just need to see his.

My brother flashed ID, and we were in. That was easy.

Actually, that was a little too easy. Like what the hell? Am I a Golden Girl or something? I mean, I'm a bit conflicted. I do not go to great lengths to cover up my age, and I'm not self-conscious about it - I am 31 by the way - but...I don't feel like I look that different from my 21 year old self. I went to the bathroom, searching the mirror for whatever it is that gives me away without a single "Where's the Beef?" or Cabbage Patch doll reference. Then I realize that I needn't go so far back. Twenty one years ago was freakin' 1988. We were into Coca-Cola wear and Swatch Watches by then. Bon Jovi was like, so two years ago.

Maybe I am getting a bit old. Ya know? It Smurfs.

*Jokey, Handy, Hefty, Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy, Scaredy, Vanity, and...shoot. What was the name of the one with the Chef's hat?? Bakey? Cook-y? Dessert-y? Whatever, man. The point is, this is firsthand knowledge. Not some Generation X wannabe s**t picked up off a Cartoon Network. Don't even make me sing the "Picture Pages" song, cause it's on!

**Update: I woke up in a panic last night: Greedy. The chef smurf is Greedy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Easy Come Easy Go

Phew, that was a close one. Have you ever looked at your bank account and found that you have too much money? That happened to me today. Of course my first instinct was to rejoice, thinking that perhaps I had won the lottery or there was a new "stimulus plan" I was unaware of. But then, I looked more closely and realized that I have more money because I have forgotten to pay for things. You know, things like electricity and water and credit card purchases of Wii video games. Important things.

So I look at my balance, and see one more zero than I am accustomed to seeing in my checking account. I checked with all creditors and assigned payments as required.

Dang. No lottery for me.

That split second of excitement was nice though...