Monday, April 30, 2007

BIG hair day

Y'all, I have seriously big hair today. Texas-sized. My curls have de-curled themselves and reformed into a big ol' cotton ball hairdo. Seriously big hair. I walked into the bathroom and scared myself. I wish I was exaggerating.

Also too big right now: my stomach. I ate too much at lunch, and then I had a brownie and a frappuccino. L'estomac, she says to me, "why do you hate me so? I lodge the protest most vehement." And in fact, the protest is loud enough to be heard by others. A loud, gurgling, acid-refluxy protest. Already I have been on the receiving end of an arched eyebrow directed at me by a coworker. And my pants are now too tight. Too much information? L'estomac, she does not care.

Just the Spoon Handles. That's All I Need.

So here’s something. I have this box of plastic cutlery. Notice I did not say “plastic silverware.” That’s like saying I have a cotton leather skirt. You can say “cutlery” or you can say “flatware,” but it’s not “silverware” unless it’s, you know, made of silver. Anyway, plastic flatware, box of.

Recently, I noticed that the box says “72 Total Spoons.” This statement bothers me. I mean, would there ever be a case where they’d say, for example, “60 total spoons and 12 partial spoons?” Would you ever be in the situation where you are on the plasticware aisle of the grocery store, hunting for a box that contains just spoon handles, or just the end part? “Oh, but see, I don’t need 72 total spoons, I just need spoon parts. This box of total spoons does not work for me.” I know they mean that the box has a total of 72 spoons, but adding the word “total” in there just makes it weird. Simply saying “72 spoons” would get the message across. Nobody reading “72 spoons” on the box would say, “ok, but how many spoons, in all, are in the box?” They’d read “72 spoons,” and say to themselves, “this box contains 72 spoons.” Or maybe they’d say, “I need 75 spoons. I have to buy a whole other box for three extra spoons?” But they would not be unsure of how many spoons they would have after buying that box.

I don’t know if all plasticware has this type of description. This box is sold under the Kroger private brand “Nice’n Strong.” It also bothers me that it isn’t “Nice ‘n Strong.” Here, the word “nice” and the word “and” have been contracted to form “nice’n.” That’s not a word, y’all. There should be a space there. I know I’m being overly picky, but when I’m bored at work, my mind wanders, and things start to bother me. I’m feeling all “Yellow Wallpaper” over here.

Do you hear that, Kroger brand “Nice’n Strong” packaging department? You are driving some of us crazy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Overheard

From a woman crossing the street with coworkers:
“I’m like a mama duck and you’re the little chicklings.”

Um . . . don’t you mean “ducklings”?

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Cake Has to Go in the Elevator

I have this thing about elevators. To me, they are hotbeds of germ activity. I do not think I am alone in this, but I can speak only of my personal views.

Anyone who knows me or has regularly read my blog knows that I avoid places where I am likely to come in direct contact with other people’s germiness. Elevators, alas, are difficult to avoid. But not only are they germy, sometimes they smell.

I work in a public building, which is unfortunate not just because of the crazy people one inevitably encounters (just yesterday a coworker stopped me on my way back from getting coffee to tell me to go around to the side entrance because “there’s a guy with a black eye out front, talking to people,” and from her tone I interpreted her statement (correctly) to mean “crazy guy out front talking crazy to everyone and he will stop you and speak crazy directly to you”). And this building is not only a public building, it’s a courthouse, so you have people from every conceivable background and walk of life, from the seemingly well-to-do, well-educated people who inexplicably do not wash their hands after using the bathroom to the just-over-from-the-jail-for-trial criminal defendants. And they all get on the elevators.

Needless to say, the first thing I do when I get to work in the mornings is wash my hands. I try to avoid touching any of the elevator buttons but sometimes you can’t get around it. I also try not to touch anyone or anything else in the elevators. Again, unfortunately, sometimes you can’t get around it.

The worst trips are the ones where the elevator is completely full and you stop on just about every floor. I hate those crowded trips because the more people there are, the higher the odds that one of them is contagious, and with a bigger crowd, there’s less room to stand apart from the other passengers. Also, if we stop on every floor, it makes it difficult for me to hold my breath the whole ride. And sometimes there’ll be someone on the elevator who is sneezing or coughing or making some gross phlegm-related noise. That always causes me to try to shrink to the smallest possible size to maximize the space between me and the offender. Of course, if that worked, I could eat all the candy I wanted and I wouldn't have to keep buying new clothes.

I would just take the stairs, but climbing up nine floors in heels doesn’t appeal to me or my problem-plagued feet, and plus the stairs are the mini-flights, you know, maybe only 5 steps to a section, then a landing, then more stairs, and they curve, so it’s basically taking a circular staircase up nine floors. Going even one floor makes me a little sick. Then there’s the fact that the floor with the employee entrance doesn’t have access to the stairs, so to take the stairs I’d have to go in the main entrance, which would mean (a) standing in line and (b) risking having my pepper spray taken away from me by the security guards.

Usually my elevator-phobia doesn’t cause me any difficulties, but sometimes it does. The other day my boss gave me a cake for my birthday. I didn’t want to say anything to her, but I thought to myself, how am I supposed to eat that? It has the go in the elevator! The cake has to go in the elevator! Actually, two elevators, one to leave this building and one in the parking garage. And the cake was just in one of those cake boxes, which are not hermetically sealed. When I got home, I really had to talk myself out of throwing the whole thing away. I knew she’d ask me about it, and I couldn’t lie to her, so I’d have to try it. And it was good cake, once I got past the gag reflex that kicked in after the first bite. I am very suggestive when it comes to being grossed out by food (I had a really hard time eating the cherry vanilla yogurt that I love after my cruel, sadistic brain came up with the thought that how would I know if those are cherry pieces and not chopped-up bugs?).

I’m trying to think of some way to get past my feelings about elevators, but I just don’t see that happening. So obviously I'm going to have to buy some Glad Press'n Seal to keep at my desk.

This does not make me paranoid.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So not a challenging place to ride a bike, then

This morning while surfing the ‘net, I happened to read Just Some English Guy’s blog and saw his description of how flat the part of Idaho he’s in on a business trip: “it's probably the only place on earth where you could sit on your porch and watch your dog run away for three days.”

I don’t know why, but that struck me as incredibly funny. I’m still laughing about it. I guess that’s a good thing, because it’s distracting me from worrying about the powdered sugar all over my skirt. I can only assume that means I’ll get more work done.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stormy Weather

Once, when we were in high school, our next-door neighbors’ dog had puppies. The puppies managed to dig a hole in the fence and would occasionally take advantage of the escape route to come visit us. We would try to do the neighborly thing and return them from whence they came (after playing with them, of course). The goal was to scoot them back through the hole and then block the hole with a large rock or some other obstruction. But as soon as we managed to get one wriggling, licking puppy back under the fence, another one would run out before we could put a block in place. If you were by yourself, it was a difficult, if not impossible, task. You’d get stuck in this seemingly never-ending loop of putting a puppy through a hole in the fence.

The other night, I had a shortened version of that game when I tried to put my cats in the closet under the stairs. I guess it was fortunate that the cat-in-the-closet game kept my mind occupied so that I didn’t have to think about the reason why I was putting the cats in the closet, which was the fact that the tornado sirens were going off.

I should say that tornados really freak me out. If you don’t live in a place where they occur with any frequency, let me just assure you that it’s not a fun time when you hear those sirens go off. The problem is that it isn’t like a hurricane or some other situation where you have some sort of days-in-advance warning. You get a few minutes, if you’re lucky. That just freaks me out. Also, almost no homes in the area have actual basements, so the best you can do for safety is an interior closet or bathroom.

So anyway, I grab Gabby, because she’s the closest, and put her in the closet, managing to shut the door before she has a chance to recover and dash out. I’m a little stressed, because I’ve lost some time trying to decide if those were in fact tornado sirens I was hearing, but at that point, I’m not too freaked because, as I said, I’m concentrating on the task at hand. Then Wally was easy to grab, for reasons I cannot understand. Maybe he thought it would just be Gabby going into the closet? I don’t know. Anyway, I grabbed him, opened the closet door, and sure enough, Gabby goes running out. I tried to use Wally and myself to block her path (something Wally did not appreciate), but we were unsuccessful in our efforts. Out she ran.

So I placed Wally in the closet, shut the door, and ran after Gabby. The loss of one of her legs has made no noticeable difference in her speed. She dashed into my room and into my closet. She didn’t seem to find any irony in her choosing to hide in a closet so that she could avoid being put into a closet. I dashed into my room after her, and just then the phone rang. I don’t know why I felt compelled to answer the phone, but I did, without checking the caller I.D. This I never do, but for some reason, at that moment, I did, maybe because I just assumed that during a tornado warning, only family members call. Naturally, naturally, it was a telemarketer or some bill collector.

Me (eyeing the closet into which Gabby has run): Hello?
Caller: . . .
Me (a little impatiently): HELLO?
Caller: Is Mr. . . . Nolan there?
Me: I’m sorry youhavethewrongnumberI’msorrybutIhavetogobye. [slams the phone]

Such a waste of time. Anyway, thankfully, I was able to toss my mountain of shoes out of the way in the closet and pry her loose from the carpet. I got her downstairs without too much protest (which is itself a miracle because cats have the inherent ability to protest very successfully with the use of their back claws) and into the closet. Wally tried to run out –as did Gabby–but I was expecting it, and I body-checked them. They retreated into the back of the closet and I sat down.

About then I notice that I needed to go to the bathroom. Why is it that you always have to go when you just don’t have the option? Anyway, I’m sitting there, trying not to think about waterfalls or tornados, when I think to myself, ‘this is where we keep all our tools.’ Then I have the more specific thought, ‘this is where we keep our saw,” and I look up and see the saw directly in front of me at eye-level, tooth-to-eye, as rr described it (she was in class at the time so was of no help to me). I’m trying not to think about it when I notice the cats are at the door and are making efforts to pry the door open. They have been successful at this in the past, so I get up and try to put myself between them and the door. They are not interest in moving. I try poking them with a stick. They don’t move. Gabby hissed at me. I yelled and hissed–yes, hissed–-back at her. She moved, but I think more out of annoyance than fear. Wally just looked at me with his big eyes, all hurtful, as though to indicate that he doesn’t understand why I’m hissing at him and he’s very sad about it. He does finally move but settles down next to me and continues to stare at me, big-eyed, waiting for me to do something mean that he doesn’t deserve, because clearly that’s how this evening is going. You and me both, pumpkin.

I called my mom at this point so that she can look at the weather map for me and tell me if in fact, yes, a tornado has been spotted in the area and the people who control the sirens aren’t just messing with me. She helps a little bit by saying yes, tornado, but probably not right in my neighborhood. More like where rr was at that moment.

I’m sitting there, not thinking about having to pee, and trying not to think about rr being stuck somewhere scared to death, when I notice that Wally is doing that staring-at-the-door-trying-to-figure-out-what-that-noise-he’s-hearing-is thing, and I start trying to remember, is it tornados or earthquakes that cats know are coming before people do?

I sat there staring at him staring at The Unseen, about to officially commence the feeling of dread that I’m convinced you feel just before you die a horrible death (not the dread of death, more like a feeling of “really? This is how I’m going to go?”), when my mom calls me back to tell me it’s all clear in my area. I stayed in the closet there a little longer while I made my mom check and then double check that the tornados and indeed the entire tornado-producing part of the storm had moved out of my area, which she took for a mild panic attack but which was actually me knowing that if I let the cats out the door I’d never manage to get them back in that night. The whole process probably took about 20 minutes, but it felt like forever.

Then rr called and told me all was well in her neck of the woods as well. So we’re all still here and accounted for.

Oh, yeah, and day before yesterday? It frickin’ snowed. What the heck is going on around here?

Seems Like a Good Strategy to Me

[Printed Without Permission]
Letter from BF/R, describing her new job and how awkward it is to be once again working with someone she fired at her old job:
"And I think she's holding a grudge, too. I'm a tiny bit concerned that she might key my car in the parking lot, if she could figure out which one it is. So when I see her coming I head to some poor innocent person's car and pretend to be looking for my keys. That seems to be working so far."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What Will Blake Do Tonight to Not Let Me Hate Him?

I have to talk about American Idol, just briefly. First, I don’t know why everyone I see on the ‘net seems so down on Phil. His cover of “Every Breath You Take” was pure fabulousity to me. And as for his appearances . . . before you start making comments about his looks, consider how you would feel if people started to dissect your looks on a national level. I say that people are going overboard on this one. So he doesn’t send you. Let’s leave it at that, shall we? Let’s focus on his singing ability.

Second, darn that Blake! I just don’t want to like him. I am not in his fan club. Everything he says rubs me the wrong way for reasons I can’t pin down. So he needs to stop singing (and doing a good job on) my favorite songs. Hands off The Cure, man! I don’t want to have to like you! But I think I’m going to be forced to.

On a completely unrelated note, why does the roof of my mouth hurt? I haven’t eaten Cap’n Crunch lately.

Bugs on the Brain

I am very disturbed by these articles about parasites in the brain. I cannot stop wondering if I might have them. Then I think, I’m just being paranoid. And then I think, isn’t being neurotic one of the symptoms? And “guilt proneness”? What’s that? If it’s what it sounds like–being prone to guilt–that’s me! So then I really think I have them. Great. This is what I’ll be thinking about all day. Yet another unproductive work day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Music Plug--Dire Straits

Apparently, it's cool again to like Dire Straits. Hey, man, when was it not cool to like Dire Straits? I don't want to hear it. Anyway, if you want to be that way about it, it's now cool to like 'em. Just follow the link--see? Even The Killers like the band.

Square Peg, Round Hole

Last Sunday, I ordered a new pair of glasses. I was told that they would be ready in 7 to 10 days. Now I’m trying hard not to call them up and say, “was that 7 to 10 calendar days, or 7 to 10 business days?” Because I’m seriously wanting those glasses. My current pair are ghett-oooo. I have had them for, oh, maybe 5 years, and they are showing their age.

I am a little concerned, though, that maybe I went for frames that were cute as opposed to functional. The frames are those little rectangle shapes that are everywhere now, but the problem is that my eyes are on the large side. I have Bette Davis eyes. That’s what I call them. It’s my preferred term over “kind of don’t fit your face, very round, constantly look surprised” eyes. So I’m wondering if my eyes are too big for the glasses, like it might be distracting for people to see parts of my eyes above the glasses and parts of them through the glasses. And maybe it will be distracting for me in that everywhere I look, I won’t be looking through the glasses so much as at them, so that I am always seeing the top of the frames. You know what I mean? Everyone knows you can’t fit round eyes in square frames! I’m a little worried about it. Because I’ll probably keep these frames for years, and that’s enough time for something like that to render me certifiable. Am I being paranoid?