Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Politics of Trash Bins

At my Lakeview place, we had a longstanding battle going on with our neighbors over the trash bins. It was a cold war, of course, given that we never actually met any of those neighbors face to face. But we spent a lot of time moving trash bins to their driveways, which they would then immediately move back. You see, for some reason there were approximately 10,000 trash bins in our driveway, most of which were not ours, and all of which served to make backing the car out impossible and provide homes for horrifying rat colonies that continually proved that Ratatouille lied to us. Once I even spotted a neighbor from across the alley walking over to our driveway to place his trash in the bin clearly marked with his address and then return to his own home. It was infuriating, but also kind of cute.

The new place doesn't seem to have any trash issues, but we do have condo association drama like you wouldn't believe. Within two days of moving in we were regaled with tales of mismanagement and malfeasance that seriously sounded like something out of  Tom Clancy novel. Then a couple of days later, the other building contingent approached us, basically shrieking "why can't we all just get along?" like the emotionally unstable mother in the PTA. I have no idea what's true and what isn't, but I do actually love the thought that our building management is potentially taking bribes for landscaping contracts and doing away with people's garden ornaments in the middle of the night. If they come for my trash can, though, I'm drawing the line.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Home Alone

So Ian was traveling for work last week, which meant that I had the place to myself for the first time in a while. It turns out I have sort of forgotten how to be alone. I lived alone for three years in law school, and I feel like I got pretty good at it. I worked my way through a list of weird and obscure movies I wanted to see and no one else did and ate Arby's pretty much whenever I felt like it. I even learned how to go to a movie theater by myself without freaking out and eating a gallon of popcorn. But now I'm not so great at it. Within twenty-four hours I was talking to the dog, and within forty-eight I was just straight up talking to myself. And I fell asleep on the couch not once but twice. On the plus side, I didn't have to fend off any comical burglars with booby traps made out of paint cans, so I at least have Macaulay Culkin beat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Booze Hound

Yesterday while I was cooking dinner, I realized that Aubrey wasn't watching me, which is weird, because dinner is her favorite thing to watch that isn't Blue Bloods. So I called out for her, and I heard a jingle followed by a thump. I called out again and more thumping, followed by her staggering down the stairs, looking a bit like Liza Minnelli.

As a natural google physician, I quickly looked up her symptoms and found all sorts of terrible options: brain tumors, inner ear disorders, strokes. But there was also a chance that she ingested something bad for her. So I quickly checked around. Bathroom doors, closed. No signs of destruction anywhere else. And then, up on the top floor, a crime scene.

It seems someone got a chocolate liqueur out of our bar, chewed off all the gold foil wrapping, managed to get the top opened, and spilled it all over our rug. And then helped herself to enough to get her good and drunk. So off to the emergency vet we went.

They were very good and nice and only laughed at us a little. She had to spend the night there on IV fluids, which also meant they had to shave her legs in a few places, which should be punishment enough for her. She keeps licking at the shaved spots quizzically. I'm with her, actually.

But now we definitely have to reassess our beagleproofing strategies. If she can get into a sealed liquor bottle on a middle shelf on the top floor of the house, there's very little she can't do.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Code Name: The Cleaner

As usual, there's some drama with our cleaning lady.

We have a new one since the move, and she's great, she really is, but she now comes every other Wednesday, and Wednesdays are my work from home day. So last Wednesday I was literally awakened by her knocking on my bedroom door at 8 in the morning. Don't get me wrong; it was definitely time to get up, but I definitely prefer the alarm clock.

Then, we're somewhat alarmed by the fact that she keeps bringing us gifts. Every week. A jar of preserves, some weird dried fruit that we thought was potpourri at first before we decoded the Polish on the label, a box of chocolates. It's so nice, but at what we're paying her, it's totally not worth it. And she won't take more money, I've tried.

The worst part, though, was when she very emotionally apologized for "breaking" a cheap plastic clock in our bathroom. It was seriously $2 at IKEA and, by the way, it was still working. Apparently it fell off the wall and there was a little crack in the plastic, but I wouldn't even have noticed if she hadn't told me. But she insisted on paying for it. As in, I told her no and refused to take the money, but then found it on the counter after she left. And she left $15.

I think I'm going to buy her a diamond or something to make up for it.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Hard Labor

We spent the long weekend in the twin cities with Ian's parents. They're super nice and even tolerate Aubrey slowly destroying their home, but it's like a six and a half hour drive each way, so we're totally exhausted. Ian insisted on doing all the driving, but even just sitting for that long in a row is kind of a nightmare. Not to mention the long absence from internet access.

I enjoy both Minneapolis and St. Paul, though I'm not totally sure I could tell you with any certainty which is which. We didn't do anything particularly cultural this time, but we did eat and drink to excess, which seems to be popular there. We also stopped at the Mall of America and the IKEA, because we are idiots. The thing is, though, there just isn't a GAP anywhere else in the U.S. of A.

The lowlight was probably when I had to take Aubrey out for her pre-bed toilette in the rain and she just completely refused to do anything for like twenty minutes. Obviously I never actually want to shovel up her poop, but good lord was I praying for some action in this case.  She just kept looking at me like I was crazy, which I guess I was.

Anyway, we're back. I'm sure I'm going to be just a little dynamo at work tomorrow.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Get Real

We should probably discuss the Real Housewives of New York. That's a sentence that, for many people, can induce vomiting, and those people should probably get out of here now, before it's too late. Go polish off your Utne Reader or something.

Okay, now for the rest of us. This season has been insane. We had John the Sweaty Dry Cleaner's sudden and utterly unprovoked attack at the bra party. We had the Berkshires Christmas Throwdown, which was so intense Bravo felt we constantly needed reminders as to how long it had been going on. We had Mohegan Sun, a girls trip so pathetic that we didn't even get actual confirmation that they truly stayed overnight there. And then we had Lu's engagement party and its aftermath, because any event worth its salt on Housewives will naturally have aftermath. God, I'm exhausted just writing about it.

And of course the vaginal bleeding. We can't forget all of the vaginal bleeding.

It seemed to me like this was the season where they finally admitted that our ladies have aged a bit now, even though their many procedures have ensured that the opposite appears true on their faces. There were lots of trips to medical appointments and home decorating stores. There were lots of ample noshes. And there was settling. Lots of lots of people settling for what was, I guess, good enough for now.

It was fairly thrilling, as television goes. I wish there'd been a new song, but we can't have everything. And I'm still coming down from the high of the Southern Charm theme song, anyway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Family Feud

Embarrassingly, I have recently become somewhat enamored of the Hallmark Channel morning show, meaningfully titled Home & Family. It's kind of like the Today Show, but if Matt Lauer weren't so punchable. Also without any news of any kind. And the addition of games. So yeah, it's not really that much like the Today Show. But it is amazing.

They usually have two or three celebrities on, except their celebrities are usually people who appear in Hallmark movies or in YouTube videos or something. (Sarah Michelle Gellar was supposed to be on once to plug a line of organic muffins or something, but she ended up sending her non-celebrity business partner instead.) And then they force the celebrities to stay around for the whole show, awkwardly participating in games and cooking demonstrations and stuff. Today some broad from Dancing With the Stars was required to participate in a superhero-themed game of Heads Up, which she was genuinely terrible at. Also there are crafts, many of which look like your aunt's Pinterest page threw up on itself.

Anyway, recently there has been some drama in that the wonderfully daffy (drunk?) menopausal lady who co-hosted the show was unceremoniously fired and replaced with Debbie Matenopoulos. She was absent for several weeks right after their week broadcasting from Dollywood and they just kept saying she was "taking some time." And then she announced on Twitter that she had been fired, and there Debbie was. As far as I know, no one who is still on the show has ever actually spoken of it. But man do I miss her often incoherent interjections.

At least we still have the correspondent who was suffering from separation anxiety after sending her son to college and decided to make pants for herself with pictures of him on them. Clearly this is a lady with a  future in the business.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hoarders, Jr.

I'm having a bit of a problem with compulsively buying things for our new place.

At first, it was all stuff we legitimately needed. A living room set for our new family room. Office organizers for our new built-in desk. A hamper, since our new closet doesn't have built-in hamper like our old closet did. I spent more money on these things than any human reasonably should, but at least they were necessary.

Then we got into kind of a gray area, where there were needs, but they were needs we just kind of made up. A bigger TV, because we wanted a bigger TV. A closet organizer for the closet we decided to devote entirely to shoes. Custom frames because we decided we didn't like the old ones. We convinced ourselves, but even we knew we were kind of faking it, like when Madonna convinced herself she was an actress. (But without any help from the Golden Globes.)

Now it's progressed to the point where I am straight up just buying shit for no reason. A new serving tray for the formal living room we never, ever sit in. A paper towel holder, because apparently all those years that our paper towels just sat on the counter were an evil lie. Another ottoman, to sit next to the ottoman we already have. Things have gotten out of control.

On the plus side, I am going to get an AMAZING amount of credit card rewards this month.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lochte for the Gold

Like most people, I am truly loving the Ryan Lochte scandal (or is it just a kerfuffle?), and not just because he is a well known Sex Idiot. To me, the best part is that he is a swimmer who apparently had no idea that chlorine would cause his bad platinum dye job to turn blueish green. OK, no, the best part may be that he decided not just to lie about his frankly moronic acts of vandalism, but to lie quite elaborately and in a way that could pretty easily be verified to be false. Pretending that you reacted coolly like in a Liam Neeson movie when a gun was pointed at your head by someone whose language you don't understand is not believable. Pretending that you shit your pants and had to be carried back to the Olympic village would be believable.

Oh wait, another best part. It appears that this whole thing erupted because he decided to tell his mother this elaborate cover story, and she spilled the beans to the media. If a 32-year old hadn't been scared of his mommy, and his mother hadn't had CNN on speed dial, maybe none of this would have come to light. So give that woman a medal, basically.

OK, so maybe it's all the best part. God love this country for producing such a beautiful, stupid man.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sport Report

I think I have Olympic Fever. Although it's hard to tell; it may just be Zika. I love to see the obscure sports that you never see otherwise. The road races over the weekend were amazing, primarily because so many people crashed, and this morning I took in some women's field hockey before work without understanding a single moment of it. And I'm a sucker for the jingoism, perhaps because I grew up in the days when the Soviet Union was still a big scary entity that merited a subplot on The Golden Girls. I certainly thrilled to the women's gymnastics team's victory, and not just because our ladies were the only ones who seemed to have been allowed to go through puberty in some form. Although their chosen team nickname could not be lamer. They should have brought in Michael Phelps's publicist; anyone who can have that many DUIs and remain America's hero has some really good mojo.

I do have my share of complaints about the broadcasts, of course. I'm not one of these people who needs to see everything live (suspense is not my favorite), but I do hate that they split up the gymnastics events and make me stay up late to see the end. I'm also a little tired of all the swimming; do we really need to see all the preliminary rounds live? And the way they edit down the other sports so you really only see the US go is kind of irritating. I need to be able to see more of our competitors so I can properly villainize them in my mind!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Paint By Numbers

I saw War Paint last night. There was deception involved. Ian, knowing my feelings about Patti LuPone, told me that his mother had bought a ticket for me to join them without asking him. Funny thing, though: when I actually saw the ticket, it was in Ian's name. And his mother said "Oh, Jay's coming with us?" So yeah, my social politeness was used against me yet again.

Anyway, it was okay. Patti pretty much did her Patti thing. There was very little plot to speak of, and what plot there was constantly got interrupted by songs that stopped the action cold. Almost everything was a dramatic solo or duet for a diva or divas, so there wasn't a ton of variety. The score seemed pretty good, but I don't really remember any of it today. Mainly I remember the elderly gay men hooting and hollering for Patti. They like her. They really like her.

We had dinner beforehand, which was nice. Except they replaced the nice romaine lettuce that used to come with my salad with some purplish, tree-like kind of lettuce that I find unacceptable. Obviously, someone somewhere is out to get me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Throwback Tuesday

Scream 3 is on right now. Although it's a terrible movie, it's fun to think back to a time when people knew who Neve Campbell was and Courtney Cox had horrible bangs. I remember that I was really excited to see it when it came out and tried very hard to convince myself that it was good, but ultimately failed. There's a whole lot of random backstory they tried to just throw in there, and about a dozen new characters that it is impossible to care about. Also, Sidney keeps having visions of her dead mother for some reason and it turns out she's always been a bit of an ugly cry. I do kind of dig Parker Posey, but that could be residual goodwill for "Waiting for Guffman." Anyway, I'm turning it off right now, I swear. No really, I swear.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Whole New World

There's a lot to get used to living in a new place. And I don't just mean trying to remember where I put the scissors. There's a whole new set of neighbors to figure out, for one thing. One of my neighbors actually rang my doorbell within five minutes of my first visit to the place after buying it, and she's barely left ever since. She keeps filling me in on all of our other neighbors, and the various reasons she hates them. Other neighbors are perhaps not as chatty, but still full of unsolicited advice, covering all manner of topics from where I really ought to be grocery shopping to that I really should buy a baby bjorn to put the dog in. And still other neighbors just watch. And watch and watch. On the plus side, I think that level of supervision makes it unlikely that anyone will successfully break in here.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Movers & Shakers

I recognize that it's been like a month since I last posted. I have such good reasons for that, let me tell you. First, I had my twentieth high school reunion, which I've already described. Nostalgia can be exhausting, let me tell you. And then that very same weekend a friend got married in Naperville, which meant that I went to Naperville. It was a lovely wedding and the food was beyond amazing. We're talking like eight courses here. They were sharing plates, but that never seems to work out very well for everyone else when I'm involved.

America's birthday also happened, so that's good. That old gal's got some life in her yet. I wish she'd stop making my dog insane with her sudden explosions and loud noises, but then she does what she wants, doesn't she?

And we moved. For weeks. In ninety degree temperatures. And the moving guys showed up an hour early with the wrong size truck. We were literally just chucking stuff randomly into boxes. I couldn't find my shampoo for two weeks afterwards. One of the moving guys was nearly killed trying to force a giant armoire up the stairs to our bedroom; we have decided we can never move again because we will never get it out of here. And they had to pull the boxspring up over the roof and bring it down the stairs because it wouldn't fit any other way. But we offered them some water afterwards, so it's all good.

Anyway, I'm settled. So I won't be utterly disappeared, probably. Just the normal amount. 

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