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October 2005

The great pumpkin is rotting on my doorstep

I would like to say that feeling like you have a hangover without having actually imbibed anything on which to hang is REALLY UNFAIR. If I'd known Monday would feel like this without the second and third gin and tonic at the murder mystery dinner party, I wouldn't have worried. At work this morning I may have stared at my computer screen and thought, "Today? The audit can bite me."

(I also got ready to leave at five, until I realized that my phone clock had not been reset and it was only FOUR. Why must the government mess with time? Have they run out of things to screw with?)

I'm pretty excited to put on my witch mask tonight and hand out candy. I live in a weird little section of the city, where developers are knocking down decrepit old apartment buildings and dilapidated houses belonging to ladies moving to nursing homes and putting up rows and rows of three-story lookalike townhouses. As far as I can tell, the owners are mostly people like me: youngish recently married professional types who can't afford "real" houses in the city. Except for the guy who built the much loathed Mini-Townhouse in his backyard, there aren't a lot of people with kids. [Side Note: Seattle, apparently, lost some lawsuit regarding playhouses and treehouses so there is nothing- nothing!- we can do about the HUUUUUUUUGE mini townhouse across from us. Except spit on it when we walk by, which we take great pains to do.]

Anyway, I have four bags worth of candy dumped into my little pumpkin basket ready to be handed out to the darling children of the neighborhood. I really hope I get trick or treaters. It's like... one of those things I get to do now that I'm a grown up and live in a house. It's a THING. Other people have said that for SURE we'll get trick or treaters as the space-to-candy ratio in my neighborhood is potentially mind blowing to the more entrepreneurial trick or treater. This makes sense to me, as my friend Shanna and I zoomed through all of base housing (approximately 97 bajillion houses) within our parent-approved two hours or so of candy gathering time at age ten. This was accomplished while wearing someone's-eye-will-get-poked-out Pippi Longstocking braids (Shanna) and a foil "Cleopatra" headpiece resembling a take-out dinner swan (me) and making sure to run into all the boys from our class. I have NEVER scored that much candy. It was glorious.

I need to go unload my dishwasher (we used every single plate for the murder mystery dinner party) and put on my witch mask.

Tomorrow: Party recap!


I should really start a 'Navel Gazing' category

I never wrote about Dar. So.

I guess what I wanted to write about wasn't really about Dar or the concert or the awesome opening act or how much I love that Dar wears sparkly dresses when she's performing.

Most of the time I was sitting in my seat thinking about what it means to be an Artist. Well, no, most of the time I was singing along and tapping my feet and hollering and being amused by the older man in front of me who was SO EXCITED when Dar busted out with 'As Cool As I Am'. But the less active part of me that likes to stay home in my brain and read Sharon Olds poetry was all, "Dude, people are singing along."

Because, when you think about it, people singing along is pretty wild. One day you are in your hotel room savoring your two free hours before sound check and you're not sure what city you're in and a song comes to mind and you scribble out the lyrics in a notebook and then things get busy and you have sound check and the show and the bus ride to the next city. But maybe a year or two afterwards, the words you thought up all by yourself in a little hotel room, those become the words to your Big Hit Song and suddenly, EVERYONE knows the words. Does that weird Dar out? That at the end of every show (at least the ones in Seattle), she starts the first chord to 'Iowa' and the audience cheers because it's their favorite song? That the audience is singing her words- no doubt very personal meaningful words because she IS a folk singer- that were once known only to her?  I am amazed at the process.

And I was a little jealous. For one thing, she is DAR. (I really can't think of another public-ish figure who can (and did), with one chirpy in-between-songs anecdote, convince me that I need to buy a biodiesel car. Like, tomorrow. And the Interior Decorators, owners of a two-year-old diesel vehicle are all, "HELLO? Have you MET our Jetta?") And for another she is a POET. And I am not. Seeeeeeethe.

(Actually, I am. I have one poem that I pretty much pulled out of my ass in time for my Advanced Poetry Class deadline and my teacher decided she would put in the journal she edits. Also, I am wearing a black turtleneck today.)

But. I am not a SINGER. And poets who also write music are in another class altogether. There's something about setting your words to a singable tune that make your thoughts so accessible. So one day Dar went shopping and was pissed off at the salespeople (something that happens to me EVERY DAY) and she went home and wrote about it and out came 'When I Was A Boy'. That NEVER happens to me. I go home and write a shoddy couple of lines that I then must throw away in order for life to continue on the planet. Or I write something stupid on my website. Or, most likely, I write a long tedious email to one of my friends who loves me enough to read it.

I suppose some people are just much better at expressing their Angst.

The other thing about the Dar show was that, as inadequate as I felt, I still really really really wanted to try.*

The other night I stayed late to help the Candidate do some of the mundane organizational stuff at which he is disturbingly horribly bad. Afterwards he wanted to know all about What Was Going On- my husband, my family, my house, my job, etc. etc. And about my job, he told me that when I was ready to "move on", to let him know.

I had a flash of, "Oooh, the Candidate thinks I could [insert Big Girl Big City Job here] and why the hell aren't I shooting for that?"

But I only smiled and said, "I'm okay right now. I'll let you know." Because how do you go about expressing Angst when you are wearing pointy shoes and lipstick and you're on the phone all day? Why carry a briefcase when you can be Dar?

That's just me. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up and "real" jobs grow less and less interesting to me. Actually, I think I do know what I want to be, but the Big Girl Big City Job seems infinitely more attainable than being the girl who stays home in her pajamas pounding out stories about precocious sixth graders or socially awkward junior high girls and getting them published and having other people in the world read the words she wrote.

*I do not mean, "try being a folksinger". I would look awesome in a sparkly dress, it's true, but I am lacking the hippie credentials, righteous anger, and, of course, a serviceable singing voice.


And I can't even go home and drink wine because I'm doing the friggin' South Beach diet. GAH

I do not like messing up.

Yes, I know, no one likes messing up. Everybody wants to do well, no one wants to look foolish, blah blah blah. But you don't understand. I hate messing up. I hate it so much I gave myself an entire diagnosable defined-in-medical-text-books psychotic disorder.

It's not really about having to be right. I don't have to be right. I don't particularly enjoy being wrong, but when it happens (which is, I will say, rare) I can admit it. Most of the time.

But messing up? Making a mistake? Doing something wrong? Oh the horror.

I've messed up a few times this week. It hasn't been fun. And I have I mentioned I'm being audited in 2 weeks? I'm being audited in 2 weeks.

One good thing about being Miss Anal Retentive 2005 is that people tend to think that you don't mess up. And when mess ups occur in your near vicinity, no one thinks it's your fault. Not really. You may have been involved, but they're sure you did your best and someone somewhere dropped the ball. I am perfectly fine attending to this status quo, but sometimes it's my job to pick up the ball and this week? I didn't even realize I was in the game- THAT'S the degree of screw up I am lately.

All right. Enough of the painfully cliche metaphor. Borrrring.

I am just skating by until Friday night when I can go home and wear pajamas for two straight days. I stayed late Monday helping the Candidate with campaign stuff (and good thing the Candidate is not being elected to the position of, say, State Typist or County Contacts Organizer, because OH MY GOD) then I stayed late with Phillip because his servers have been possessed by all the devils in Hell. I forgot what I did Tuesday but I'm sure it was horrible, because I did not sleep at all Monday night, and of course it involved staying late. On Wednesday I had to get up two hours earlier than normal to attend a Political Event where I drank four cups of crappy coffee and paid more attention to the candidates' bizarre behavior than whatever they were saying. And then I stayed late because did I mention the audit?

(Political Candidates? My first piece of advice would be: WHY CAN'T YOU ACT LIKE NORMAL HUMANS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. And my second would be: When you have known about the event for a month, you probably shouldn't stand up half way into the discussion, announce that you have another engagement and leave. Because people will make jokes about you before you've even made it out the door. Yes, they will. Oh, and my third piece of advice is: Microsoft millionaires? No. Just... don't.)

It'd be nice to look forward to a long lovely weekend, but someone decided to throw a murder mystery dinner party Sunday night. So tomorrow I've got to go shopping and test out the dinner, Saturday I have to go shopping for the real dinner AND figure out my costume and Sunday I have to, like, DO it. And you know, everyone tells me that these murder mystery dinner parties are so easy and you just put in the CD and sit around la la la, but were any of these people THROWING the party? Because DUDE. This is work! It's my favorite KIND of work, however, and I am determined not to half ass it. It's a 1920's Italian mobster themed DINNER PARTY and it must be AWESOME.

Besides. I don't half ass things. I am Miss Anal Retentive 2005. Nice to meetcha.


It was like being back in college

The entire purpose for buying a new house was accomplished over the weekend- my new! red! couches were delivered Saturday morning.

But first. We had to move the old couch. BLAST.

Getting that couch IN my house in the first place was nothing less than a triumph of superhuman prowess. I admit that as Phillip, Sean and Neighbor's Husband stood in the entry way arguing over how to slide the couch up the stairs, I was secretly hoping it was impossible, thereby speeding up the arrival of the long awaited red couches. But because they are brilliant, with bulging biceps and great skill in yelling "PIVOT!", the old couch finally heaved its way onto the second floor. CURSES.

Getting the couch out of my house was fairly easy, considering the brawn and skill it took to move it in. I shed no tears. So long Phillip's Old Parental-Hand-Me-Down Bachelor Apartment Couch!

Getting the couch into my Explorer for transfer was fairly simple as well. Lift couch, slide in. However we were then confronted with the issue of how to secure the couch to the car as it stuck out about a foot. The door wasn't going to close and I wasn't going to let Phillip DRIVE like that, was he serious? So commenced the search for the little piece of rope to tie the door to the bumper for couch transportation. It wasn't anywhere in the Explorer. "What'd you do with it?" Phillip asked accusingly. "I have nothing to do with anything involving rope," I snotted. As IF.

"Well," said Sean, "I have some Velcro in my car."

"Velcro?" scoffed I.

"Maybe we can try that." Phillip scratched his chin thoughtfully.

"VELCRO?" I repeated. Sean shuffled off to his car to retrieve the velcro. "VELCRO?" I said again, as Sean and Phillip slid the two strips of velcro between the door handle and the bumper and PRESSED THEM TOGETHER.

"That'll work!" Phillip said brightly. And got in the Explorer and took off before I, his wife, who is SANE and NORMAL and does not believe that velcro is the new DUCT TAPE, could say anything.

I rode in Sean's car and kept my eye on the velcro the entire way.

And Internet? It never budged. We secured a giant couch to a giant car that drove up a HILL with a piece of VELCRO and it WORKED. VELCRO. WHICH IS ONLY STICKY LIKE RUBBER CEMENT NOT KRAZY GLUE AND IS USED FOR BARBIE DOLL CLOTHES.

Whatever.

Then we had to get the couch into Sean's apartment. Which is on the third floor. Heh.

It was quickly determined that the couch? Was too tall for the elevator. Neighbor's Husband was not particularly thrilled about this turn of events. (Let us also note that Neighbor's Husband was the only Couch Mover not getting something out of this- Phillip was making space for new couches and Sean was finally getting some furniture. Neighbor's Husband was... just being a Nice Guy. Someone should make him some cookies.) This meant angling the couch around a couple of right angles and somehow making it into the stairwell- all that before they could even think about carrying it up three flights. Several attempts were made, all of which involved potential smashed fingers, broken ankles and concussions. (I was holding the door, by the way. I am an EXCELLENT door holder. Also an excellent exclaimer of things like, "Oh THAT'S not going to work!" and "I wouldn't do it that way" and "Why don't you do it like THIS?")

And still? The couch would not go. The couch was all, "I LIKED the potato chip crumbs and the spilled cereal milk and the dirty socks all over me at the last house. I WANNA GO HOME." I felt compelled to remind everyone that the couch could not go home. It had a new home. The couch MUST fit into the new home. THERE WAS NO OTHER OPTION.

"We can leave it in the garage," Phillip sneered.

"No!" cried Sean, he of nothing to sit on while he watches Season 1 of Lost back to back. "It has to fit!"

With Sean and I keeping up the rallying cry, the Couch Movers rethought their previous stance on the elevator. They hesitantly carried the couch back to the entrance hall and stared at the elevator door, as if it would magically open offering a couch-sized dumbwaiter.

"It'll fit," said Neighbor's Husband with the stubborness of someone who just really wanted to go home already.

"I don't know..." said Phillip chewing thoughtfully on his lip.

"IT HAS TO FIT," said Sean, who immediately entered the elevator and TOOK OFF THE CEILING. Granted, the ceiling was a plastic tray type thing that prevented elevator riders from the slow radiation death of the flourescent light tube, but still. He dismantled the elevator! Then Neighbor's Husband unscrewed the light tube thing which, apparently, does not get hot and, apparently, only stupid people like me don't know things like that and screech in horror, "WAIT! YOU'LL BURN YOURSELF!" as someone reaches up to remove it.)

"Better not tell the manager!" I joked because HAR HAR, Sean IS the manager. I crack myself up. That gash in the corner and the Exit sign hanging by one cord? Oh yeah, the manager'll fix that for ya. He's pretty good at vacuuming too.

So anyway, they stood the couch up on one end and slid it into the newly lengthened elevator (nearly crushing Sean's knees, by the way. Way to freak me out there, Sean.) Extricating the couch from the elevator and depositing it in Sean's living room was an easy task and quickly accomplished. There was much rejoicing as Neighbor's Husband got to go home, Phillip and I were free of the Great White Leather Scratching Post and Sean finally FINALLY had somewhere to sit.

We did that Thursday night. Friday night? I had nowhere to sit. It was horrible. It is impossibly to enjoy your television shows when there is nowhere to sit. We had to actually eat dinner at the TABLE. I do not wish this on anyone.

Saturday morning I ate my breakfast sitting on the counter and held my breath until the delivery guys came. The loveseat was no sweat. They had a little blanket thing that they dragged the couch on until they got to the stairs. Then they just picked it up and twisted it and because they didn't speak English I spoke slowly and loudly and did a lot of hand clapping. You want to be nice to the men in charge of carrying large heavy things through your delicate freshly painted stairway. The three seater, however, was too tall to slide so easily.

"It won't fit," said the one who knew the most English.

"No no no," I said.

"No no no," Phillip said. "We got a BIGGER couch up and down these stairs already."

The guy who didn't know any English shrugged. The first guy shrugged in reply. And with Phillip's expert Couch Mover direction, they found a way to tip the couch just so and haul it up the stairs. (With one yellow gash and one red gash in the walls, so I'm kind of regretting that congratulatory hand clapping I treated them to once they'd set it down AND the big glasses of water I distributed afterwards. Honestly. Now I might have to wield a paint brush again and the Internet does NOT want any more painting stories, I know it.)

So now I have them. Two gloriously red couches. That are, um, puffy.

VERY VERY POOFY PUFFY DANGEROUS FOR SMALL CHILDREN TO JUMP ON BECAUSE OF THE TRAMPOLINE-LIKE BOUNCINESS COUCHES.

My sister was over Saturday afternoon and we spent most of the day leaping on and throwing our full weight into the cushions in an effort to depoofify. (You catch that? De-poof-ify? I'm copyrighting that word.)

But maybe my old couches were so low and flat and BLEAH that a normal couch experience is completely foreign. They are not the deep sink-into-the-fold couches I've always wanted (like the one at my in-laws'- I LOVE that couch) or a big comfy sectional like the ones my folks have, but they are RED and they are BEAUTIFUL and my head and feet prop up perfectly on the love seat. And amazingly enough, we have not messed them up yet. (But I'm kinda looking forward to that because, apparently, you can DRAW on these things and just wipe it off with soap and water, such is the wonder of Microfiber! Crazy!)

(Perhaps I will have Sean write a guest post in which he defends the Old Couches, the Comfiness Of. Wouldn't that be fun?)


I need a nap

The blog is still working, but my brain? Not so much. Management is very very tired today so play nice.

I think I will write about the concert later. It needs to stew. In the meantime, picture a theater full of dorky Seattleites waving their lit up cell phones like lighters during the encore. It was THAT awesome.

Anyway, I stayed out too late on a school night and am suffering the consequences. It didn't help that I woke up at 4:30 thinking it was time to start the day and another time around 6 when four hundred helicopters were suddenly buzzing above my house. I did not get out of bed to prove that there were four hundred helicopters buzzing above my house, but THAT IS WHAT IT SOUNDED LIKE and WHY WERE THEY DOING THAT TO ME?

It's a good thing I am a delicate fragile girl whose only role in the Furniture Moving planned for tonight is yelling, "HEY, WATCH IT!"

How am I going to watch television tomorrow night? With no couch?

I'm not feeling terribly imaginative at the moment, dear readers. I am being audited in two weeks- that plus the helicopters are kind of getting to me right now. My auditor sounds really cool on the phone. And she has a cool name. She probably has an adorable haircut and doesn't bite her fingernails and will not be very friendly because you don't need to be friendly with people who are demonstrably less cool than you. Then again, she's an auditor. So who knows.

Anyway. I'm now going to publish a prime candidate for Sorriest Post Ever. I really want to write about the concert, but I am bordering on deep and brooding. And whenever I got deep and brooding in poetry class, my prof would always say, "Let it sit, let it sit."

I'll be sitting.


Testing pattern

So. For a while there I broke my blog. There was great sadness in the Cheung household and a certain person woke up at four this morning to review and reconsider her entry into the world of CSS Nerddom. I ended up rebuilding the site (or, cough, "re-editing the template") because I could not figure out what was wrong (a tag was missing? maybe? How am I supposed to find a single tag?) And the site is still ugly.

Until now, I've been unable to update you on Everything Going On. Which is huge. Really, people. How have you managed life with this lack of information?

Thing 1: I am going to a concert tonight. Because I am old and boring and married, I have not been to a concert in FOREVER. Possibly since last year at this time which is a moral travesty of great proportion. But tonight will make up for all of it as tonight I shall be singing along with DAR who is small and wonderful and hysterically funny in a dorky stream-of-conciousness way. [Her new album, however, is her Political Album and I must say, Internet, that I am really not looking forward to that, which isn't to say that I don't respect Dar's, um, outlook on things (would we have 'I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono' if she didn't think Yoko Ono rocked John's AND the rest of our worlds? No, and we're the better for it.), but I kind of just want to hear 'Iowa' and 'The One Who Knows' and then go home. Does that mean I don't care about the global community?

Thing 2: My [new! red!] couches are being delivered Saturday. We're getting rid of our old couches Friday night. Mad props to Sean Who Still Hasn't Made Me A Banner and Neighbor's Husband who helped get the couches into our house in the first place. And THAT bordered on fiasco. We still have marks on the ceiling. I'm not sure how they're going to get the couches out, but they must (they MUST) and then we will have snazzy new red ones and Sean Who Still Hasn't Made Me A Banner will have furniture. And we will be super happy, except for Neighbor's Husband who doesn't seem to be getting much out of this arrangement. Will have to think of a way to rectify that...

Thing 3: My friend A is going to drive herself all the way up to Seattle this weekend just so we can share a glass of wine. What am I saying, share a glass. Whatever. The Washington State wineries are looking forward to this momentous event. So am I, as I am sincerely lacking any proper lushes in my small circle of friends. (Well, there's S, she of the stinky cheese story, but she is now pursuing her PhD and no longer has time to drink copious amounts of wine with me. And yes, I know what you are thinking. The stinky cheese girl is getting her PhD? The girl who forgot a wheel of Brie in her car? I know. It's true. But, you know, some people are book smart, some people are smart about what items are left in their vehicles. Not everyone can be both.)

Thing 4: Day Three of the South Beach Diet Experiment is going swimmingly. I even had to go to the store and buy my coworkers Hostess doughnuts and peanut M&Ms without buying anything for myself. And while I did gaze longingly at the Hershey bars, I left the store without any extraneous chocolate. Yay me! (But I hear I have eleven more days of this nonsense. Totally not sure how that's gong to turn out. Especially with Thing 3 happening right in the middle. Who planned that?)

Thing 5: The other night Phillip agreed that we? Need a vacation. Even if it's one night away from The House and The Computers and (as much as it breaks my heart) TiVo. (Although, to be honest, my perfect vacation would probably be watching my TiVo in a disgustingly plush hotel room. With a glass of wine.) So now I'm looking for Affordable Weekends Away. Any ideas?

Thing 6: I am wearing red shoes. This makes me inexplicably happy.

Thing 7: Yesterday at work I answered the phone and received a pre-recorded message from a man- and I swear I am not making this up- informing me that today was an excellent day to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. And I wasn't sure what to do with that, having already formed my religious faith around something other than a prerecorded telephone message, so I decided to write about it on the internet. (Although I enjoyed imagining how my coworkers might have reacted had I leaped onto my desk and announced that I was Born Again.)

So hopefully, Internet, I will be back tomorrow with a full review of the Dar Show (which, of course, will definitely include a review of The Audience, a neverending source of amusement.) Hopefully my blog will still be working. Ugly, but working.


As cool as I am

Here's a part of my weekend I somehow neglected to mention: Saturday night, after ungluing my sister from TiVo and driving her home, we stopped by Pochi's for bubble tea. And we didn't leave until 12:30 a.m. because we were playing Scrabble. The boring married folk. Out past their bedtime. In a bubble tea shop. On the Ave. With all the hip cool Asian university students. My husband and I, we are the Epitome Of Cool.

And last night we found ourselves on the futon in the yellow bedroom singing (in falsetto) the ridiculous Gospel-ish song our ultra-white suburban choir likes to sing a lot at our ultra-white urban-but-in-the-rich-folk-neighborhood church. I don't know how we got started on the subject, but suddenly I was raucously screeching a church song (and snorting, because you can't laugh and sing at the same time) while Phillip did the beatboxing. (And you guys, this song? IS HILARIOUS. Because it is so not supposed to BE hilarious. Someone needs to tell the poor church ladies that 1. that octave is not a good octave for anyone and 2. the altos are horribly out of whack with the sopranos and 3. did I mention that this song has rhythm? And is therefore most unsuitable for our stuffy liturgy? I'm all for jazzing up the service, but baby steps people, baby steps.)

The coolness, it's nearly unbearable. (And you should hear us singing in the car. Paging P Diddy: we need a record deal.)

And it's not just the singing. Oh no. The coolness is manifest everywhere and, dare I say, is rubbing off. We have single handedly created serious addictions to a certain cultish TV show about survivors on a mysterious island (DEFINITELY cool) in no less than three close friends. Our neighbor is choosing a date for a party based on whether we'll be able to attend. We've been asked to share at the pre-marriage classes at church, because we are 1. undoubtedly cool and 2. experts at being married, apparently. The Italian restaurant downtown seated us right next to the entrance, not because we were scruffy looking with thin wallets, but because they wanted the other patrons to feel cool as they walked into the dining room. AND JC Penney recently informed me that sales for red couches exploded exponentially when the rest of town heard that my new red couches will arrive this Saturday. (THIS SATURDAY!)

Also, cool people like me know that today is National Pasta Day. Which is only fitting as today marks the start of Maggie's Slow Decline Into Crazy, aka the South Beach Diet. CURSES.


Snazzalicious

Hi. I like pink.

So I, um, did a redesign. This particular redesign is notable in that I actually did part of the designing. Meaning I went here and learned about horizontal navigation bars and archive templates and other things that gave me numerous headaches. (I am telling you this so that you'll tell me how brilliant I am. Go ahead. I'll wait.) It's also notable in that I am publishing it even though I'm not finished. Because... it's just lame to keep going back to the old design that some internet snob scolded for being "mad aliased." And we can't have that.

Anyway. It's Sunday and I have nothing to say. Nothing. So I will tell you about my weekend.

Saturday Morning: I call my parents. I call my parents, like, EVERY Saturday morning. And every Saturday morning my mom is totally surprised to hear that I am on the phone, her daughter who did not believe in Saturday mornings, let alone spending her Saturday morning cleaning, like my mother, who spent every Saturday morning of her youth cleaning the bathroom, RIGHT MOM?  But without fail, I wake up at 7:30 every Saturday morning. LAME. How OLD does that make me?

Saturday Afternoon: Decide to go on South Beach Diet. Deciding to go on a diet means (of course) buying a ton of food. Go grocery shopping while Phillip studies at Barnes and Noble because we are too poor to buy the 400 pound SQL Server manual.

Saturday Night: Take little sister shopping at Target for various household items, tell Phillip to Make Plans. But the plans fall through and I spend the evening on my couch watching six hours of television with my sister, televisions I have already seen.

Sunday Morning: Seven baptisms this morning people, SEVEN.

Sunday Afternoon: It's me, Typepad and my pajamas. And now I'm going to go frost the cake I made last night because if there's one thing you do before you start a diet, it's load up on as much crap as possible the night before.

See you Monday. Cheers!


Maggie vs. The Universe

Reasons Why The Universe Hates Me

1. Phillip is supposed to be at work at 6 am. I am supposed to be at a meeting at 7:30 am. Phillip suddenly wakes up at 7. I stay in bed a few more minutes until I realize that I, too, am late.

2. I get shampoo in my eye.

3. We forgot to put our garbage out.

4. All the cars on Highway 99 zoom past me, the uncertain rarely-drives-99 motorist who absolutely loathes driving across the Aurora bridge. That bridge is HIGH, people.

5. I am ten minutes early to my 7:30 meeting, but I look like a wet rat. Curses.

6. I leave my meeting a half hour after it's over because the President of the BaneOfMyExistence Organization likes to chat. A lot.

7. I take the viaduct to my office while listening to 'Forgiven' by Deb Talan. Which makes me want to pull over and sob.

(One Reason Why The Universe Doesn't Hate Me: While driving over the viaduct, the Big One didn't happen.)

8. I feel so rotten that I don't ignore the homeless woman on the side of the road. I roll down my window to give her my five dollar bill. She says, "It'll turn out fine, honey." And I think, "Maybe." [This is important later on!]

9. I pull into the grocery store near my office because I'm starving. I am listening to 'Forgiven' for the nineteenth time. I turn off the engine, leave the power on to hear the rest of the song, and call my Hawaii friend to leave a mopey message on her voicemail. Wah.

10. In the grocery store I decide to buy myself a doughnut. Because that's the kind of day it is.

11. As I fish for my keys in my purse, I walk over to my beloved automobile. And see my keys in the ignition.

12. Suppress Cry of Woe as I realize that I have Done It Again.

[I believe that somewhere on this website is the sordid tale of the first time I locked my keys in my car, at the same grocery store, because I was listening to music and talking on the phone and did not take my keys with me when I got out of the car. And how my saintly coworker drove over and called Triple A and told them that she had been with me and they unlocked my car and OH HOW WE ADORE THE SAINTLY COWORKER. But I am too lazy to find it. Bite me.]

13. Call Phillip.

"Help me!"

"What's wrong?!"

"I locked myself out! Again! WOE!"

"Well... do you have a coat hanger?"

"Hmm. Let me pull my COAT HANGER out of my POCKET REAL QUICK."

14. Wonder whether I will save any face by walking to work and pretending that Phillip just dropped me off. Realize that I am expected back at a certain time after my meeting. Realize that I will have to call in no matter what to say I will be late. Dreeeeeeeeeeead.

15. Call Saintly Coworker.

"Hello?"

"Hi. It's Maggie. I need some help."

"What's up?"

"Can you come pick me up?"

"Oh, did your car break down?"

"Ummm..."

"You didn't."

"Ummm..."

"Where are you?"

"Same place as before."

peals of laughter erupt throughout office

16. Feel like idiot in Saintly Coworker's car.

"So what song were you listening to?"

"Oh, this awesome song called 'Forgiven' by Deb Talan."

"I think I've heard of her. What's the album called?"

"Actually I burned it onto a CD last night so I'm not sure."

"Oh. So it wasn't like you had to listen to the end of the song because it was on the radio and you weren't sure if you were going to hear it again."

"..."

17. The Saintly Coworker's Saintly Vehicle does not have power locks. I always forget to lock my door when I get out. She always has to remind me. "It's funny, Maggie, you always forget to lock my door, but you don't forget to lock yours." Begin to rethink Saintly Coworker's saintliness.

18. Phillip instant messages me to say that he has a lot more work than he realized. He might not be able to go home early and bring me the extra key. I'll have to take the bus home.

19. I look up the bus route home. Walk a third of a mile, take one bus, then another bus. Realize I gave all my cash to the homeless lady. Who said everything would be okay. SHE LIED.

20. Realize that if I took the bus home, I would not have keys to ENTER MY HOUSE.

21. It is only noon. Haaaaaaaaaaaate today. HATE.


A lifetime's not too long

It was either the end of eighth grade or sometime during that summer when I was accosted by a Teacher or some other Important School Official. "We'd really appreciate it," they said, "if you would show a new student around. You know, make her feel welcome." And I agreed because at the end of eighth grade I was: cocky. a snob. incredibly pleased with myself. This wasn't any regular new student either, this was the daughter of Colonel Hot Shot. Of course they wanted me to show her around.   

I met her for the first time at the base clinic while we were waiting for our sports physicals. She was going to be a cheerleader, I was going to play basketball. I pronounced her name wrong. And I don't remember much else except that we were insta-friends. We just... fit, I guess.

This was a problem at first because I already had a best friend. My old best friend wasn't terribly fond of my new best friend. Things seemed to sort themselves out when the old friend started going out the clingy skinny boy I'd dumped in front of everyone at the pool that summer. My old friend and I didn't hang out much after that, something I've always felt bad about. I didn't mean for things to be that way. But when you are in ninth grade you are very very busy and there is no time to feel bad about friends left behind. And my new friend was awesome. She was just like me, except prettier and smarter and much better everything.

I think that if I were ever to write (and finish) a novel, it would be about girls this age and how Every. Single. Thing. is so incredibly transforming and important. I would have to write about a friendship that only physically existed for one year, but drifted along through two different high schools and showed up at places in college and appeared out of the blue years later when the two girls were older and married and far away and one of them had a baby.

My new friend sent me pictures of her month-old daughter yesterday. I looked at them the way I look at anyone's new baby pictures. Yes. Here is my friend, here is her husband, here is her brand new baby. And then, because I'm the way I am, I looked at them like I would have at fourteen. This is how we ended up.

Twelve years ago I was in my friend's bedroom talking about my boyfriend while she wrapped embroidery thread around strands of my hair and made me listen to Michael W. Smith. We were we those nice smart girls who knew how to use our get-out-of-anything-free cards, we had boyfriends with cars, we were going to Spain for a high school music festival. Things were far from perfect (as my parents will certainly attest!) but it's hard not to think about that time without my heart cramping up because it was. so. perfect.

Twelve years and four or five conversations later, it's a fun and weird discovery to find out we majored in the same things, wanted the same job, married fairly young and, you guys, she looks exactly the same. I'd never go back, but still. Today I really really miss being fourteen.