Friday, October 30, 2009

contentment and carbs (one and the same)

What is it about the Olive Garden that I always run into someone I know? Tonight it was our realtor, apparently she moonlights there.

I remember those days as if it was yesterday: running drinks and refilling endless soup, salad, and bread sticks. Although I don't miss that place with it's force-feeding of wine, I do miss serving a bit.

I miss that large wad of cash in my apron after a few hours of work. I miss working with people my age who all liked to go out and grab a drink afterward. I miss the excitement of the dinner rush and the elation when it ends.

Maybe I could do it again. Just a couple nights a week, after my full-time gig, of course. Just through the fall and winter months when the place is packed. I just want a few regulars again. The rich ones who leave me big tips and don't yak my ear off about their mundane lives. The ones that never complain about the temperature of their meat and don't require sixteen water refills. The ones without kids under the age of 16.

OK, so maybe I didn't love everything about serving. After the Olive Garden, I went to work at a bar so I wouldn't have to clean up after kids anymore. I had it. I didn't want to work anywhere that provided crayons, bibs, or high chairs.

And tonight, over carbs, Steve and I discussed how our desire to reproduce is waning with each continued year of marriage. We have each other, what else do we need? But then again, we always want something else. No matter how content we are, we will always contemplate little fantasies, however mundane: like putting an apron on again and giving your right hand carpal tunnel.

Could contentment ever really exist? Because if it did, what would we have to look forward to?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Provocative Lego woman

If a picture is worth a thousand words, let this picture speak in lieu of me:



I was searching Google images for a picture of something I used to make with Legos for a story, but I ran across this instead. Further proof that no matter what you type into Google images, some sort of porn will appear. This "sexy Lego" is flesh-colored (in Lego world, flesh-colored seems to be yellow - it's all very similiar to the Simpsons), yet still seems to have sleeves. Foxy. I would spell out a catcall, but have no idea how that would look.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Lots boy

Or perhaps a more fitting title would be Big (balls) Lots (of nerve) boy. I was reminded of this incident after stopping into our local Big Lots on Saturday in our excitement after securing Amber's apartment. If you don't frequent Big Lots, that's probably because you think you're above it. And you probably are. I, however, am not. I do draw the line at food - I'm not quite trashy enough to buy anything from them that includes an expiration date, but I will buy trash cans and dish rags to my heart's content.

So anyway, in August 2005, I had just secured my very own apartment. I think the first thing to do in this case is drive to Big Lots and load up on all the crap you never had to buy for yourself before. So I did. And in the parking lot, I was followed from my Saturn to the front door by a slow-moving gray sedan. Followed? Perhaps stalked would be a more fitting term. And yes, stalking can take place in a span of 20 feet. I have just decided it.

Before proceeding, I feel the need to disclaim something. You probably think I'm a beauty queen if I'm getting hit on in parking lots of discount stores. I'm not. I want to remind you of the scene of this story: Omaha, NE. Right next to a staffing agency and Runza. I am by no means the most attractive woman in any room. However, my rating on the men's primitive point scale (1 to 10) did rise two points (from 5 to 7) upon my move to the Midwest. Women in need of self-esteem? Move here. If you don't have an Adam's apple, midtown might even rate you a 9.

Back to the stalking gray sedan: the owner of it rolled down his window and gave me some stupid line of being lost and needing directions. I gave my tight-lipped bitch smile (I was a rookie at it then, but have since mastered) and said, "sorry, I can't help you. I'm not from around here." Well wouldn't you know, neither was plaid-shirt wearing, buzzed-headed K-Fed wannabe. Let it be known there are few things that repel me more than a buzzed head. Maybe Big Lots shoppers. Or people who troll them looking for women. Maybe. But buzzed heads are pretty hideous.

This was back when I was fresh out of college and didn't know how to say no to people, so I remained polite and acted interested while this guy yakked about where he was from and what he was doing in Omaha. I finally sensed him pausing to take a breath at which point I said I had to be going. "Wait a minute," he said. I looked at him. "You're not from around here, I'm not either. You're attractive (sort of); I'm attractive (not at all), we should get together." And that was when I learned to say "no" to people. Because even if we're only 5s to 7s, we have standards.

Monday, October 26, 2009

miami heat

I knew I made the right choice after we were married. On our honeymoon, we went to Miami (no, it's not coincidence that that's where Steve's favorite NFL team plays and there just happened to be a game [albeit pre-season] during our trip). I'm not a fan of heat and scorching sun, but Steve did want to spend some time in the ocean, so I came along, with my beach towel and my book. Just one hour. That's all I could handle without shriveling up like a grape does into a raisin.

So after one hour, we emerged from the sun back into the shady, air-conditioned hotel where I belonged. It wasn't long until I felt the burn. It started at my knee-pit, were all burns seem to begin. Then it crept up and down, until soon my entire body was inflamed. I looked like a tomato, and felt like a fried one. And not just for that day. For. the. rest. of. the. god-forsaken. trip.

Steve ran down to the CVS and bought me some "burn relief" aloe vera. It hurt so bad to be touched, even the cooling sensation offered no relief. Yet regardless, he faithfully triple-coated my arms, legs, my back, my stomach. And I laid there. Laid there watching $10 movies, keeping up on the latest of the Warren Jeffs scandal. He brought me breakfast, lunch, and dinner. His honeymoon was spent as an errand boy and mine as a vegetable.

Weeks later, my burn subsided. Or should I say, it flaked off to my incessant scratching in the O'Fallon, IL Cracker Barrel. Sorry about that server and busser. Just imagine it was shaved Parmesan, not mounds of skin. And Steve still isn't scarred enough to consider going on a vacation with me somewhere tropical. Tropical? He's crazy. I have been suggesting NYC, but he's a sucker for the ocean and the idea of drinking cocktails with umbrellas in them (although I'm sure he would end up with a beer, and maybe a rum and coke if he was feeling exotic).

Just when I thought, three years later, my burn victim memories were behind me, that bottle of blue burn relief fell out of my bathroom cupboard today. I smiled, only because it's over. And because, three years later, he is still taking care of me. And I'm still the biggest pain in the ass anyone could end up with.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

living alone, on your own



Today, my sister rented her first apartment all by herself, no roommates. And I'm very proud of her. I remember that day for me: when I finally got my own place. It was bare - no furniture at all for a few weeks before I went and opened a line of credit at Furniture Row. I remember every day being so proud to come home to my apartment, even if it was empty, because it was all mine. No one to share the dryer or the cost of rent with, everything was my own responsibility. I loved that.

And I think today I might have been even more excited than she was: immediately suggesting we go look at Furniture Row and talking about how she can get a bike now. I am glad she asked me to go look at apartments with her, and I was happy with the one she picked (the same taste as me). I am a bit envious of her gym and the fact that her apartment has racquetball courts and an indoor basketball court. I had a twinge of nostalgia - just for a second - and even a twinge of envy, despite the fact I own a home.

So here we are: talking about paint colors and how to hang heavy mirrors. Bonding over a new shared love of furniture. Stuck with the same problem of buying something bulky and not being able to transport it in a two-door car. Both wondering why there isn't a registry for single people who get their own place. This, to me, is the true test of adulthood. If you can live on your own, no roommates, single income, and survive, there isn't much you can't do. Well, I guess there are some larger tests in life, but this is one many people never hurdle, or even attempt to.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

chore time

Time to go through my old clothes again. I try to throw them out every time I run out of hangers. Too bad I've been skimping and using the dry cleaning hangers or buying a pack here and there just to get by (I sound like an addict).

Time to file all of this mail that probably really is important. It sits in a large pile on top of my filing crate.

Time to throw out these mounds of old receipts. I only keep the clothes receipts and for 90 days, but it is still a small mound (see initial sentence).

Time to rake the leaves. Steve has been running over them with the lawn mower and emptying many additional bags into our trash cans marked "YM."

Time to put away all the paint gear from last weekend's project.

Time to clean out the fridge and wash down the showers, wash the sheets and towels, and get both my boys haircuts over with.

Time to realize that short cuts make the chore list longer later on.

Time to think about later on instead of just right now.

My spring cleaning that I'm just now getting around to...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

work hard, spend harder

I give up on this day.

I worked much too hard.

I did not play at all.

My broken windshield wipers problem which I anticipated being a $15 fix cost $364. Who knew there was a such thing as a windshield wiper motor and that it could break?

I ran, lifted weights, and did 500 crunches while watching "the Biggest Loser."

Now I am completely exhausted.

So my blog is half-hearted.

I apologize.

In better news, I did get these three canvas paintings on eBay yesterday for a total of $56 to put in our newly painted guest room:







Artist is Billy Jacobs and I can not get enough of him. Nor can I get enough of eBay. It's becoming hazardous to our bank account. The other day I had my first negative eBay experience out of some 60 odd transactions lately. Some guy in China w/a frozen Paypal account. Oh well, I will search for the item elsewhere, this time I will read carefully about the seller before bidding. Look before you leap, I'm told. I never seem to heed good advice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

movies and their ratings

Amber and I went to a movie at the theater in Blair, NE last night. We parked three steps away from the door. It was two steps through the lobby, and one step to the ticket seller/tearer. Four steps later, we were in our seats. Of course, we had to detour to the ATM as the place still doesn't accept credit/debit cards. The other employee had to ask what movie we were watching so he could go start the reel.

After the movie, we were dancing to our shadows against the big screen until the annoyed employee opened the door and stared at us until we slunk out. The highlight of the experience was not the movie (it was awful), but rather this sign in the lobby:



I like how the girl can't watch PG movies, but the rabbit can. I was that girl, growing up. Once, at a friend's sleepover party we watched Sister Act and I had to lie to my mom that even though it was PG, they bleeped out all the curse words. I remember being 13 and being the only one not seeing PG-13 movies.

Our only chance of entertainment (because Milo & Otis wasn't cutting it) was if we happened upon a movie at the library (yes, I said the library) that was classified, "not rated." Somehow we convinced mom that these were even cleaner than G. That is, of course, until we brought home Revenge of the Nerds, and when the first scene included condoms, she wised up.

Now, I never watch G films. Ever. If it's not animated and it's G, something is wrong with it. At least throw an innuendo in there or something - anything - for the non-homeschoolers to laugh at. After all, that is your movie-watching public.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

bring on the guests!

Before:



After:



Rome wasn't built in a day, but this room was painted in one. You might not think that's a fair comparison, but perhaps I neglected to mention that I painted it myself. Two coats. Including edging and touch-ups. Oh, and a second run to Home Depot for another gallon of paint. And I now think this is the largest room in our house. So now what do you say, is that a fair comparison?

Friday, October 16, 2009

wedding ring

There is something I like about seeing Steve's wedding ring: his old, scratched up, crummy wedding ring - the one we bought for $60 even though I offered to spend more and get him something more stylish. He didn't want anything stylish. This is Steve's style. He is low-maintenance and doesn't want to draw attention to himself. He is practical and traditional, and acts like he is more dull than he really is. His wedding ring is a gold band. That's it. It looks just like both of our dads' rings do.

Steve sings to me these hilarious homemade songs. He belts out notes at the top of his lungs while scrunching up his eyes in concentration, all while trying not to burst into uncontrollable laughter. I laugh until big, fat, tear drops roll down my face and I think I will literally die of laughter. Then, he finishes his song as if nothing had ever happened and returns to his normal life of watching tv. Sometimes I get an encore. Sometimes I get a re-run. An oldie but a goodie.

Steve talks to me about all the work he does at his seemingly boring job. I am proud of him for how hard-working he is and how much he knows for a person his age. I am proud of him because I know he will be promoted because he deserves it. He worked hard to buy a first home that doesn't look like a couple boards nailed together. He is ambitious, but not in that in-your-face/kiss ass sort of way. He is ambitious with his quiet confidence.

He chooses not to correct my grammar because he isn't petty. He doesn't stir the pot, even when I egg him on. But if I want to get him riled up, I just have to talk about something he loves. He plays peacemaker, which annoys the hell out of me, but I also know I couldn't stay married to someone who was any other way. Someone has to clean up after my battles.

When we're across the room from each other, I smile in spite of myself just looking at him. And then I see his wedding ring. His simple ring stating that he belongs to me. Nothing flashy, just a symbol that says we don't need all of this around us, we just need each other. And we do. I do. I need him. Without him, I am everything he's not. Those qualities are a bit less desirable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Husk this

So apparently this state doesn't have a whole lot going on, because the obsession with Cornhuskers football gets more and more insane each year. Today, the local news channel had a giant



on Saturday's weather forecast. I am the only person who doesn't wear red on game days (even Amber is doing it now, so I know I am indeed the last person left to conform). On the plus side, those three hours of game time are the only peace and quiet Wal-mart ever sees, so it does give me a chance to get some errands ran.



I'm the only person who asks, "who played last night?" when everyone is talking about college ball at work. I'm the only person who thinks this is the stupidest name ever for a sports team. Well, let me rephrase that: I used to think that until Steve's grandpa told me they used to be called the Bugeaters. Alas, this is where I live. We all make mistakes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's a love/hate relationship

There are things I love about marriage, but also things I hate.

Loving: coming back upstairs after working out and seeing Steve has cleaned up the kitchen after the mess that is taco night.
Hating: never getting to watch the main tv w/the DVR box because Steve is always using it. Always.

Loving: dual income
Hating: explaining where our money went

Loving: King-size bed
Hating: hearing his iPod blare that terrible new Mae EP all night long.

Loving: our home
Hating: cleaning it

Loving: an egg and coffee every morning
Hating: serving as his sixth and final wake-up call

Monday, October 12, 2009

toilet seat protectors



Used the public bathroom and it reminded me of a story. When I was 16, I played on the HS tennis team. OK, it only last six weeks, but for those six weeks, I ran the coach's kids around while the other girls were practicing their serves. I guess the coach could already tell I was a lost cause.

"Take Mia to the bathroom, would you Holly?" Coach asked. I took this two year-old to the bathroom and she called me into the stall because she couldn't reach the toilet paper protector sleeve things. "Mom says I always have to use one of those," she instructed. I had no idea what they were. I certainly had never used one, and never really understood what they were. I assumed they were something to do with periods, which since I didn't have yet, I didn't have to worry about.

I reached in there like I do with napkin holders and pulled out all of them. Mia instructed me to only use one. I handed it to her and she carefully placed it on the seat. After she finished, she called me. I had no idea what to do with the toilet protector, so I grabbed it off the seat and took it to the garbage can, sopping wet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday night at Target

Pretty pumped that there is a new batch of 1000-piece Charles Wysocki puzzles out in local Target stores. I felt bad buying two, until my husband reminded me he would be spending $40 on booze. So while you are all out at your wild and crazy Friday night parties, I'll be doing this:

Riverside Family Reunion

or maybe even this:


Prairie Wind Flowers

or who knows, maybe I'll get crazy myself and do both of them.

That's what we enjoy doing now on our evenings off together - going to Target where Steve can get his booze, I can get a puzzle, and we get Tucker a bone. On nights when we're really feeling out-of-control, we might also throw a $5 DVD into the cart.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

one size fits all but me

Hate to beat a dead horse, but today at work they gave us company shirts for our upcoming career fair and mine didn't fit. It was too short - looked like a belly shirt. If you had to limit the world down to one person you would least like to see in a midriff-baring shirt, I'm betting I would be the last one standing. It reminded me of my days at Fox and the Hound where the shirts were too short and I had to wear a maternity tank top underneath it. Well, guess who the shirt did fit? The 8-months-pregnant girl I work with.

The girls I work with tried to tell me it's because I'm tall, but I'm really not that tall. I'm 5'7" and only look to be 5'10" because I'm always in heels. That has absolutely nothing to do with a shirt not fitting me. I'm vulnerable, but not stupid. I'm chubby but not tall. I'm wearing my own shirt on Saturday without any company logos.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

muffin top

Ran eight miles on the treadmill last night while watching "the Biggest Loser."



Woke up this morning and saw my poundage had dropped.



Ate a chocolate chocolate chip muffin as a reward.



Is it possible to both love and hate yourself?

Because I loved every bite of that muffin this morning, but hate that my legs have felt like jelly since 9pm last night.

Weight maintenance is a god damn joke.

I'm both too strong and too weak to use the word, "maintain."

I always go too extreme in everything I do.

Bipolar disorder for calories, that's me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

pigs

Today I interviewed a girl who worked at Spencer Gifts. This reminded me of a forgotten (or is it repressed?) memory that I haven't thought about for ten years. It's one of those memories that I'm quite sure happened, but then did it really? Memories from over a month ago are so hazy it's hard to remember whether it happened to me, to someone else, or maybe in a movie or a book. I seem to have a lot of those these days. My sister will say "remember when we ______?" and I will say, "no." What can I say, I'm a 26-year-old body trapped in an 81-year-old mind.

I've always liked to buy presents (ok, trinkets) for people. If I see something that reminds me of someone, I like to buy it, no matter how small or insignificant it is. Back in the 90s, this was quite easy, because collections were all the rage. Everyone collected something (me: Sylvester and dog figurines). My AWANA leader at church collected pigs. So one day, at Spencer Gifts, I saw a pig figurine and knew I must buy it for her. So I did.

Both a blessing and a curse of spending ten years of your childhood/adolescence in home school is being sheltered. I never took sex ed or learned about evolution or knew exactly who Joey McIntyre was. It was because of this that I unknowingly bought a figurine of two pigs humping (ok, one humping, one just standing there). I had seen the dogs hump before in the backyard, but mom had just explained it away that they were playing. So I thought I had bought w/my own babysitting money a figurine of two cute playing pigs.

My AWANA leader unwrapped the gift on Wednesday evening and what I then interpreted as a look of pure surprise and gratitude contorted her face. I smiled. How I enjoy giving people gifts! and ran along to the game circle. The girl interviewed today said she was terminated from Spencer Gifts for not selling an item to a very young customer because she didn't think the item was age-appropriate. How I wish this incident would have been me, and this girl would have saved me from my pig sex mishap. But alas, the more I relive it, I'm quite afraid this memory did, indeed happen.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Celebrites have nothing on Us!



Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley are getting divorced (married 7/15/06). I am never surprised by these celebrity hook ups or break ups, but this one was different for me. They got married right before Steve and I did (as you can tell, I'm an "Us [not U.S., boys!] Weekly" Junkie). That's too bad, because I was going to use that for years to come to remember when I got married ("the same time as Avril and Deryk!" I'd say, as if everyone knew who they were and when that was).

I remember wanting my wedding hair to look just like Avril's.



Sorry, guy at "Bangs," but I've seen better. You will not be on "Shear Genius" any time soon.

So alas, another Hollywood pair doesn't work out. At least I can say Steve and I outlasted our Hollywood counterparts. Or, we could change or Hollywood counterparts continuously to other pairs who got married around the same time as us and see if we can outlast them, too. I like games. How about Pam Anderson and Kid Rock (married 7/30/06)?



Oh wait...

Game over. We win.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Birthday cards and 800-Ask-Xerox

Are birthday cards over yet? Shouldn't there be a rule that these are only for ages 18 and under? I never know if I can stop giving them yet or if someone is going to be offended if they don't get one (of course it's happened! I've offended everyone I know at one point or another). Also, if there's not money in it, really, what's the point?

Now, as if the birthday cards weren't enough, I'm getting wedding and graduation invitations. Of course not to attend (out of state), but to send money. I'm barely older than you! We played with my Puff the Magic Dragon together, and you want me to send you money? You're supposed to send these to your parents' friends: the rich people. I stubbornly don't send money. I believe people under thirty should be exempt from such skulduggery. Take note, cousins!

I was driving home and saw a minivan for Xerox. It said their phone number was 1-800-Ask-Xerox. I think we all know how long a phone number needs to be. Without area code, we only need seven numbers, how stupid do you think we are? So of course 800-Ask-Xerox is really just 800-Ask-Xero. I was annoyed that they tried adding a number to phone numbers, as if they are the ones who dictate just how long the number will be. Why don't you just change your number to 800-Ax-Xerox? And don't even get me started on license plates with extra characters.