Thursday, May 28, 2009

stories from Denver #2



I saw this bum, and rolled down the cab window to politely ask if I could take his picture. God knows why I was so respectful of his privacy considering he probably takes craps on the park lawn. Anyway, he walked over, and I took the shot. I didn't have any cash to give him, so I urged my mom, who literally had a wad of cash on her lap, ready to pay the cab driver. She looked surprised, and perhaps even scared and adamantly shook her head "no."

The light turned green, the cab jolted forward, I rolled up my window, and the bum returned to his spot. "You should have given him some money," our cab driver, who hadn't said a word yet, said.

This makes me wonder about how entrepreneurial bums are. I think they use their signs to appeal to different audiences depending on time and location. I've seen signs that say, "God bless you," which I'm sure are created for the people in the Christian community who don't question their motives. I've seen a bum with a crippled dog for all the animal lovers, and this bum was on the street crammed with liquor stores on a Saturday night.

Some people see hobos and think they're a detriment to society. They are people with real stories and pasts just like us. Realistically, we're all just a few missed mortgage payments or an uncontrollable addiction away from it ourselves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blaming a disorder

I don't understand how Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder suddenly became cool. People have started self-diagnosing themselves saying, "I have OCD," for anything from liking their room tidy to playing songs in a certain order. Ever think maybe that's just your preference? I know it is a real disorder, but I Wikipediad it prior to writing this, so I know only 2% of people actually have it. About 80% of the people I know claim to having it. What makes us so quick to want to label ourselves? Must we always throw ourselves into a pile with other people to prove we're not alone?

Right after I graduated High school, ADD was the disorder of the year. People self-diagnosed themselves with that when they didn't pay attention in a boring class or when they changed the subject at the lunch table. If you really wanted to impress someone, you said you had ADHD. If you really did have it and were diagnosed by a bona fide doctor, I would understand broadcasting it: after all, you've got Ritalin to sell now on the black market.

There are real people with real diseases and disorders out there, let's not go around making a mockery of them with our mundane little dislikes and preferences. If you have a quirk, just admit it, and quit trying to blame it on something out of your control. Next thing you know, Aspergers will be the disorder of the year and everyone who avoids their neighbor in the Supermarket or still lives with their parents at age 28 will suddenly claim to have it. What a joke.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

stories from Denver #1

What I love about Denver is that it is a real city, complete with cabs, arenas, and hobos. To me, those three combined turns a town into a true city. That being said, I guess Omaha is merely a town in my eyes (although there is one hobo that lives out here on 144th/Center now, so we're getting somewhere). In a real city, you dodge tourists, people trying to sell you things, and the obligatory freaks.

On 16th Street, we popped into a few stores to buy ourselves some wares. At one of these stores, my sister was making the jewelry counter attendant work for his money by trying on his rings and bracelets locked down in the glass case. While she browsed, a man was growing increasingly impatient waiting at the watches for assistance. He decided that to kill the time, he would converse with us. He told Amber which rings looked too gaudy, and which he liked, as if that would change her mind.

Then, remembering he was impatient, he barked to the salesman, "if I get a pretty girl to stand over here by me, will someone come help me then?" To calm him again, Amber asked if he liked the ring currently displayed on her finger. "I like this one," he said, motioning to my wedding ring. "It's simple and says, 'I'm taken.'" And then to mom he said, "I like both of your daughters."

After paying for our items, we were back out on 16th Street where we thought we were safely away from the creepy, lurking shadow. "What a freak!" I exclaimed to mom and Amber. "Which one," Amber asked, "the salesman or the watch guy?" (the salesman had said one of the rings looked like something Paula Abdul would wear, and thus was very stylish - he was merely a victim of poor taste, not someone who gives you nervous chills). "The watch guy," I said impatiently. "He seems like some sort of criminal how he was preying on much younger women and wouldn't leave us alone."

Then, as is always the case when I open my mouth, the person I was talking about appeared from right behind me. "Too bad girls," he says, "that I couldn't find a watch that matched this." He pointed down at his ankle where he wore an electronic monitoring bracelet saved for criminals who aren't in jail. I always knew I had great intuition.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

catcall me, duty-free travel experiment

I was feeling like pretty hot stuff driving home tonight, as one of my Hispanic friends (I am beloved by the male Hispanic community, for the most part) hanged his head out the vehicle window while gaping at me for two straight miles on I-480 tonight. Right when I merged onto I-80 and he forked south, I noticed the passenger in the semi to the left of me adjusting his side mirror. Blue is my color, I thought to myself, before I realized that the passenger was only adjusting his mirror so he could change lanes and abruptly cut me off. Cut me off from both my speed and my over-exuded self-confidence. (No one, however, can cut me off from using dual hyphens).

I am going to Denver tomorrow to spend a long weekend with my mom and my sister. I am experimenting with my traveling in an effort to become low-maintenance. I will be wearing shoes that nearly slip on (I said nearly: I haven't let myself go to that extreme...yet). No belt, no jewelry. So if you happen to be either at Eppley or DIA tomorrow and you see a girl about 5'7" with her jeans around her ankles and wearing some old-school Nikes from 1997, don't be alarmed, it's just me. Go about your business as if nothing is out of the ordinary (because if you saw me in my natural habitat, nothing would be).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

best and worst celebrities

I'll admit, I do read the weekly celebrity rags each Friday evening. I know it doesn't really do me any good except help me answer the $2,000 question on "Who wants to be a millionaire" but we all have our guilty pleasures. As a result of years of research, I have compiled a list of my most loved and most loathed celebrities.

Most loathed:

1. Jessica Simpson. The dumb blond: she is the epitome of what us independent girls don't want to portray to men: co-dependent, emotional eater, third-grade reading level, and envious of her little sister. It also doesn't help that her father likes talking about her tits. All in all, she is somewhat pathetic, celebrity or not.

2. Drew Barrymore. I know she's friends with one of my most loved celebrities, but seriously - she looks like she crawled out of a gutter, and honestly, I hated E.T. and I don't think I ever got over it. I also saw "Music & Lyrics."

3. Tom Cruise. Not only does he seem crazy and is he a bit nuts, but he's also way too short for so many women to find him attractive. I'm surprised he's been cast in anything other than "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

4. Tori Spelling. Something about her face really freaks me out. Also, how many books and reality shows can you really produce? Does anyone other than Candy watch or read those anyway? And if you hate your mother so much, quit telling the tabloids, just get drunk and lash out like all of us non-celebs do.

5. Jack Black. Everything he touches turns to shit. Also, I hold him responsible for the fat-man-getting-naked shtick that can end at anytime now. I am also not completely convinced that that is his birth name. He is rich enough to buy some shampoo at this point.

Most loved:

1. Adam Brody. I love the understatedly sexy nerd. You other girls can fight over the popular jocks and the six packs. Give me a crooked smile, some curly hair and witty banter and I am set.

2. Cameron Diaz. She's got great legs and she also sort of acts. That's really something for a model. I would call it talent after years of bulimia and ecstasy that she has anything left to offer.

3. Vince Vaughn. He is a freakishly tall ogre of a man, but somehow still keeps his sense of humor.

4. Heidi Klum. Hot, successful, smart, bilingual and compassionate (married to a burn victim). What else could you ask for in a woman? It also doesn't hurt that she's a Victoria's Secret model.

5. Regis Philbin. I love it when he makes fun of contestants on his game shows (yes, plural: did anyone else watch the two episodes of "Password?") All in all, he is one of the few older people that is unable to be ousted from television by a younger replacement.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

follicles, rubberneckers, my soap box

Now that summer is here (because there is no difference between spring and summer here in Omaha), I decided it was about time to shave my legs again. The hairs were beginning to look like apostrophes (the curly ones in Times New Roman, not the straight ones in Courier New). Completely unsexy, I know. But then again, I've only let myself go to a certain extent, all of which involves follicles (my eyebrows were also so out-of-control today until I finally got them waxed). Once I start letting my weight go, we're in for some real trouble, because left to my natural state, my body would love to be a bit chubby and my face seems to feel entitled to two chins.

Now that I work downtown, I am one of the thousands of Omahans that take I-80 East each morning between 7:43 and 7:58. Unfortunately, only about 10% of us understand always going as fast as the person in front of you and not stopping for anything (maybe a kid crossing the street, but that's about it). So those "rubberneckers" annoy the absolute hell out of me. The other day, there was a major slowdown so drivers could read those damn LED traffic signs over the interstate lanes (which out here are still a novelty, rather than the necessity they were in WA). The sign read, "car fire on Pacific" - pretty self-explanatory, yet it slowed speeds to a crawl. I can just imagine the other drivers now. "Does that say cab fire? Car fare? I hope they don't need quarters, I don't have any change."

I do sort of understand turning to see the scene of a terrible accident, because we're all drawn to disaster. But really, what is it we ever see but a smashed door and maybe a busted tail light? It's not like we're actually going to see a bloody corpse or a decapitated head. Look straight ahead and keep driving, soccer mom. If you want to see a disaster, take a long look at your husband's beer belly when you get home. The rest of us have places to be.

My husband and I go on walks at one of Southwest Omaha's lakes on the weekends. I enjoy seeing the other people out and about, and grading the dogs that pass as if we're shopping for another already. The other people provide us with a steady stream of conversation all the way around the lake - today two good-looking men running side by side while chatting quietly to themselves. "Do you think they're gay?" Steve asked. "Of course," I answered without hesitation. "They're young, good looking, and in shape, and have something to say to each other besides a sports score. Now if they had beer bellies and Nascar shirts on, they would be completely straight."
"True," he replied.

Some people still find it bizarre to see gay people in Omaha, thinking they all migrate to the coasts or something. I've heard a couple people tell me, "I've never seen a gay person in real life before," like a little kid would maybe say, "I've never seen a hippopotamus before."

I don't like when people treat gays like another species. And what is it to you what gender they prefer? I saw a Facebook comment about American Idol's Adam Lambert: a person posted, "he's good, but I would never vote for him because I disagree with his lifestyle." Give it a rest. I don't think any person should ever condemn another. That's playing God, and do you really want that job? In the meantime, I exchange witty banter with my gay neighbor while we wait for our dogs to do their business each morning. People are fascinating and interesting if you give them a chance.

Friday, May 15, 2009

top ten reasons I wanted a house

10. No more of these meth-head neighbors pestering me every time I come and go. Just because you hate the maintenance man doesn't mean I do, too. And I certainly hope your looks aren't contagious.

9. My yard will not be littered with feces, pet hair, and Milwaukee's Best cans. Just feces (from Tucker, just to clarify)

8. We can get our grill back that this place stole. If we set our place on fire, that's our own stupidity, don't try to prevent us from making those mistakes. Next thing you know, they'll be taking matches away from kids.

7. A pantry. I can finally be one of those people who buys eight jars of peanut butter and twelve boxes of cereal, not out of necessity, but just because they're 20¢ cheaper this week.

6. My own library. Finally, my books can breathe! Now if only I could get around to reading them all.

5. No more scraping my car for twenty minutes in 17º weather. I never cared about a garage until I moved to NE. I will, however, still be sweating all the way home in it in the summer. Baby steps.

4. A hose. Stop right there. I did. My car hasn't been actually washed since my dad cleaned it for me in 2005. Only about half the paint has chipped off since then, so there is still time to correct my errors.

3. An excuse to buy new furniture. Because I don't spend enough money on frivolous things already.

2. I will be closer to Chalco Hills and Zorinsky Lake, and thus can feel even worse about myself when I neglect exercise.

1. Otherwise, all of this saving would have been a huge waste of time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

gypsy lady

I woke up this morning to the sound of booming thunder. Lightening bolts flashed the sky to white, and I felt as if they were close enough to strike and burn our building to the ground. This was the first time I actually understood what rolling thunder meant, because as swiftly as it jolted me awake, I heard it roll northeast, as if it can only stay in one spot for so long.

Perhaps a bit like me, as I can also only stay in one spot for so long. My resume is not impressive, as I've been here and there to learn a little from everywhere I've landed, but never withstood the longevity it requires to master any trait. I've worked for more companies and lived at more apartment complexes in my last eight years than most people will in their entire lives.

It's time for some stability. Marriage and a mortgage are two reasons more than I need to find a place I fit. Ringing in the new year with the same job doesn't mean I've lost my curiosity or my eagerness to learn new skills. It doesn't mean I can't go back to school and change my mind a hundred more times about what profession I desire.

I need to learn that while I'm changing my mind, I don't need to also be drastically changing my life. I'm getting older, and thus, running out of plausible excuses. Living off a friend's couch or having three different jobs in a year just isn't as accepted once you near thirty. Perhaps instead of seeking out change, I will seek routine, and let change find me if it wills.

Monday, May 11, 2009

beat down, furniture, argumentativeness

After finishing "the Curious case of Benjamin Button," I went outside to let Tucker relieve himself. We live on the third floor, and on the first floor, always out on her bench so we can never sneak by is our slightly neurotic neighbor. As she cooed over my dog, I felt compelled to share pleasant nonsense. She had a friend with her, and they both stared at my face, I'm sure they assumed subtly. I cried for eight solid minutes when Benjamin was deteriorating from boyhood to death, so my face was streaked with mascara and red splotchiness. Tomorrow there will probably be a rumor that my husband beats me and I just can't hide it anymore.

This weekend and even my lunch break today was consumed with furniture and appliance shopping. It's overwhelming moving into a space triple the size of what we've been used to: there will be so much empty space. Not for long, I'm like a kid in a candy store once you get me inside Furniture Row. I run around pointing out this and that, smiling all the way as if I'm high and trying to hide it. I found out my current bookshelves are now discontinued, but there are a few left, so I am in a dilemma over how many to order while I still have the chance.

There is a certain someone in my life who causes me a lot of grief. She is one of those types who thinks she knows everything, but in actuality, doesn't know a thing. She will argue on any topic until she's blue in the face, and then, with her last gasp, refute louder. Today she told me I was wrong, that "The Joker" was not by the Steve Miller band. Not even a week ago, she spent ten minutes telling me that no, Pacific time isn't two hours earlier, it's two hours later. Apparently now the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. It's like my life is a bad episode of Seinfeld in which I'm trying to claw my way out of.

If only we could choose the people who somehow end up in our lives, one way or another. I can tell you one thing, my guest list would be extremely limited.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Drive-thru at Dairy Queen

Dessert last night was a Dairy Queen blizzard, so I decided I was fine to go in my sluttily short pajama shorts and white tank top - both opposite patterns. This is not something I would ever wear outside the confines of my own home, but since Dairy Queen is only a quarter of a mile from my apartment and I planned on hitting up the drive-thru, no hasty wardrobe changes were necessary.

I pulled up to DQ and saw the line for the drive-thru was now out of the parking lot and onto the street. I had to wait in this line, there is no way I could go inside and let the 15-year old employees see my awful get-up, let alone make the customers look at my general pastiness that becomes glaringly obvious when too much of my skin is revealed. So while I stayed in line, I had plenty of time to reflect on questions such as, "has anyone ever ran out of gas in a drive-thru line?"

I was able to laugh twice, once at the deejay's crude comment at the expense of Paris Hilton, and once at the woman behind me wearing bifocals. She was squinting, trying to make out the choices on the menu from thirty feet away. Do people really ponder their decisions at Dairy Queen? I thought this one was pretty straightforward. You get a blizzard, unless you're broke, and then you get a dilly bar.

Once my Saturn finally paralleled the window, the high school sophmore who took my order popped out to take my money in trade for his vanilla ice cream mixed with Reese's that somehow costs close to $5 now. When he saw me, his eye widened and he stuck not only his head, but his entire torso out that tiny window until he was within inches of my face.

To refined tastes, I leave much to be desired. However, to primitive tastes, I meet the basic requirements: that is to say, I have the necessary womanly assets with no obvious defects instantly noticeable to the "elevator eyes" (this is a term I picked up which refers to the up-and-down guys give women when quickly scanning their bodies).

"Well that was quick," I said to the pimple who somehow ran my credit card and also handed me my ice cream all within five seconds. He misinterpreted my polite comment to be either a compliment or flirting (or is there any difference to a male?) and responded with, "that's how we get it done around here," while grinning goofily. If anyone knows the Dairy Queen drive-thru line is not fast, it is me. I am not sold by campaign promises. So off I drove, never to return to the line until I had more conservative attire (including a minimizer bra).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pert Plus, squealing tires, ATM

Last night, I was taking one of those baths that end up being converted to a shower in order to shampoo and condition the hair. I know most people hate the feeling of standing in the shower while there is still bath water in it, but I found myself rather enjoying it. I realized, while standing in a pool of my own filth, that this is one of the things that will change living in our house. Our house has a bath tub, and in the same bathroom, a shower, yet not together.

It made me realize that separation seems to be the trend. More possessions, even when they serve similar functions = more. For example, it is no longer practical and accepted to use Pert Plus shampoo + conditioner the way we all did in the early 90s. And I don't know a single person who has ever purchased one of those DVDs that has two separate movies on it but comes on the same disc and in the same case with a split down the middle and two skinny movie covers on it, even though they are half the price of two movies.

When I was driving home tonight, I realized what the worst sound to me is. It is not the tornado siren for me like it is for my co-worker. She came in at lunch saying, "why are the tornado sirens going off? It is rather muggy outside..." It took four of us confirming the first Wednesday of the month is the new test day before she exhaled. The worst sound to me is the squealing of tires. When I heard it, I slammed my brakes on on I-80 and almost caused an accident myself. My heart lept into my throat -- I know it sounds corny and overused, but it is a truly accurate description of my body's reaction. I have been driving for ten years now, so I don't think it's too early to retire from the world of convenient mobility altogether.

I stopped at the bank to make a deposit, and even though the teller line was open, I opted for the ATM. I would rather depend on a machine to handle my money than a human. I once gave a teller my deposit and she inverted my account number, thus causing hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees and weeks of confusion. Probably the only time I don't opt for the less-personal automated choice is on the phone with one of those machines that says, "sorry, I didn't catch that, did you say elephant poopstick?" and I say, "no, I said 'check balance,'" and she says, "was that 'I want to be in a heroin trance'?" There is nothing more frustrating to someone who has the high level of impatience that I have acquired.

Monday, May 4, 2009

biggest day of our lives

Steve and I are homeowners! After a lot of judging homes online, we narrowed down to our favorite houses and spent a few hours yesterday making fun of horrible decorations and judging yard sizes. Just when we thought we would never find a house that would fit all of our specifications, we found "the house." When we walked in, I looked at Steve and he had this goofy smile on his face that mirrored mine and I knew we were going to live there.

We knew the house was a gem, and as soon as anyone else saw it, they would snatch it up. So 24 hours later, we made an offer. Unfortunately, so did another "team" (as I call them). Let the silent auction begin. The sellers are given 24 hours to respond to your offer, and luckily, they only needed one. When we got the call that the house is to be ours, we were jumping up and down, high fiving like we just beat the Celtics. I was more excited to tell people about this than I was about being engaged.

All of a sudden, I want to talk about dollars per square foot and Radon inspections (although I'm still not 100% sure what that is). So here we go: we're about to be very poor and very in debt, but I'm excited about it. We've wanted our own home for a very long time and it's insane that it's finally here and it all happened in two days. That's the kind of team Steve and I are. When we see what we want, we don't waste any time. Next up: one hell of a housewarming party!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

greaseball, beautiful people, shopping alone

I have the flattest hair in the world. I look like a perpetual greaseball, even though I shower after every workout (which admittedly have gotten a bit more sporadic lately). Once when I was getting my hair dyed, I asked the hairstylist about how to get some more volume into it and she sold me something that I used once, decided it was just foam, and ended up right back where I began. I am not usually a very jealous person, but I do envy those women with lustrous, full hair; when I see one of them, I look on in awe, subconsciously touching my Kid Rock-esque hair in disappointment.

I'm sure we all have a few things we would change about our appearance, but can you imagine the world where everyone looked like celebrities? It just wouldn't work. Everyone would feel entitled to something, as beautiful people usually do, and no one would work any of the shitty jobs. The Midwest would clear out, and the entirety of America would exist on the two coasts. Since everyone looked so pretty, ugly would become fashionable. We always want what we don't have. Once we get it, we want something else.

Although in my case, sometimes I want what I already have. I went shopping last week, and had money to burn, so I felt like I had to buy something. Unfortunately, everything I picked up that I liked was some variation of apparel I already owned. The fashion industry needs to come out with some new ideas, because at this point I'm just buying what I already have in different colors. I saw these pants that I was about to try on before I reminded myself I already owned them, just from a different store. I need to find someone sensible to shop with; someone who makes sure I buy only $10 worth of antibacterial soap from Bath & Body works.