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May 2005

Weekend paint-by-numbers

So! How was your weekend? Mine went like this:

Trips to Target: 47

Sunburns acquired: 1

Girly cocktails consumed: 3

Hours locked out of brand new house: 2.5

Fabulously cool and understanding neighbors met during hours locked out: 1

Square footage of metal shavings strewn about after having the front door lock drilled open: entire front yard

Bottles of champagne left on my front porch: 1

Price of bag of coke which was the topic of much screaming outside my bedroom window Sunday morning: $10

Days added to the three-day weekend on account of best boss ever: 1

Flowers planted on extra day of the three-day-weekend: 4 zinnias, 4 snapdragons, 8 marigolds, 1 peony, 3 camellias, 1 azalea, 1 unidentified but very rad flowering plant

Bridesmaid skirts altered by very own self: 1

Cost of having bridesmaid skirt altered by professional: $125

Combined degrees Farenheit on Friday and Saturday: 180

Topless girls seen at the Folklife Festival: 1

Number of bulldozer-type thingies used to break apart the sidewalk on Saturday morning at 7 am: 3

Times "I hate them" was muttered at 7:07 am: 19

Episodes of Laguna Beach recorded on TiVo while TiVo was not currently hooked up to the internet: 8

Fights about whether or not we have the energy to go buy blinds at Home Depot: 1 per day

Naps taken in a Mercer Island park with a city view next to a lumpy husband-shaped pillow: 1

Not for those who have a limited intake of Sappy

I'm very fond of country and bluegrass music which is not terribly popular in my household or among my group of friends. Well, I do have one friend who had a long ago sordid love affair with George Strait, but since he also knows all the lyrics to Justin Timberlake's 'Senorita', any musical disdain he may have for my taste in music is not particularly harmful to my psyche. I think one of the reasons I listen to country- mainly in my car, where I can turn it up and sing as loud as I like without anyone complaining about the twang- is that a lot of it is about memories and histories and Important Life Events and I love that stuff. Country gets made fun of for songs that make you cry into your beer, but that just means you relate to the song and are filling in your own memories and histories. (Well, okay, there's not a whole lot you can do with 'She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy', but not ALL music is powerful ALL the time.)

My current favorite song is a bluegrassy one they've been playing on the country station- 'I've Forgotten You' by Rhonda Vincent. The other night when Neighbor and I were enduring the interminable wait to see if our husbands would emerge safely from their recording studio, we stopped at Barnes and Noble and I dropped $18 on a live bluegrass CD on which I knew exactly two songs- the one on the radio and a Dolly Parton cover (although in my opinion, no one needs to cover 'Jolene' anymore now that Mindy Smith has done it.) Anyway, I listened to this song roughly 45 times on my way to visit my grandmother yesterday. It's awesome. If you like mandolin, if you happened to hear some Nickel Creek once and were slightly disturbed to find out you digged the bluegrass, you will love this song. Sigh.

But this song! Totally makes me think about the High School Boyfriend because it's pretty much how I felt during the year or two after I moved away from High School Boyfriend, years in which the final accepted definition of the verb "to pine" was determined. Bah. That experience was how I knew I was absolutely not interested in dating anyone unless we were going to get married, because NO WAY was I EVER going to Pine again. (It's also why I was fairly certain I wouldn't date anyone again till I was 30 because one, that seemed like the right age to get married and two, maybe by that time it'd be possible to find someone mature enough to overlook my physical shortcomings and appreciate my Wit and Good Humor and my rad mad spelling skillz. But then I ended up getting married at 23 because, well, it worked out that way and also because God was all, "Dude, this will TOTALLY mess with her head and that will be SO FUN!"

Should I have spent an hour in the car thinking about the High School Boyfriend? I don't know. It really has no bearing on my present, but I do like to dwell in the past sometimes. (As much of a past as a fairly boring 25-year-old has, at least.) And a lot of times it makes me really appreciative of where I am now and where I'm going. I'd be a different person today had there been High School Boyfriend or not, but I don't brush those things off. It might have been silly and dumb and totally deserving of my parents' disapproval (and it SO WAS), but it was also real and I was old enough to know it.

A few years ago I found out that High School Boyfriend had actually moved to my city and was involved in some music scene and had been attending a school right next door to my old office. I'd found this out pretty early on, before Phillip and I were engaged, and thankfully it was more trivia than a potentially Life Changing piece of information. I mean, when you spend a large chunk of your high school career mooning over somebody, you can't help but wonder what happened to them, right? But right before Phillip and I got married, I think I ran into him. I was running a work errand at a hotel and there was a guy waiting there who looked Eerily Familiar. I thanked the clerk, turned around, faced him, and there was the whole exchange of Are You Who I Think You Are Squint Face looks and then a frantic skedaddling out of the lobby. I saved my freak out for my walk back to the office because OH MY GOD and also WAS THAT HIM? I DON'T KNOW, MAYBE NOT, BUT MAYBE AND HELLO YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED.

I didn't tell Phillip about this until just recently actually. I wasn't sure what he'd think, but I am married to Mr. Terribly Secure and Devastatingly Handsome and that is that.(Although he is not allowed to bring up Previous Love Interests because I am decidedly less mature than he is and all discussion of girls who came before incites in me a singular desire to own an icepick.)  I was talking with a friend last night who ran into a similar situation right before she got married and we both agreed that it wasn't the actual person we still found interesting, but the Imaginary Boyfriend we'd created in our heads to fill the space after the real one had gone. It's nostalgia for the completely revisionist and romanticized version of events in our frilly girly brains.

Mucking around in your life history, kindly brought to you by your local country radio station.

My grandmother is in her eighties. She cannot remember where she put a phone number she wrote down or what she needs from the store or who came to visit her yesterday. But if I ask her about my grandpa and how they met and got married, we might sit there for hours while she fidgets with her wedding ring and giggles about the "boys at the army base" and how she waited four years (FOUR YEARS!) for my grandpa to come home from the South Pacific, without even knowing for sure if they'd get married. That's the good stuff, as Kenny Chesney would say. I met my husband when I was 19- I think I'll have a lot of good stuff stored up by the time I'm my grandmother's age. And what I have already trumps everything that came before.

Road rage

Yesterday was not so good.

Knowing that when you get off work you'll have to go to your old crummy apartment and clean the bathroom and the kitchen and the grime in the window tracks doesn't make a hard day any easier. I was in one of my darker misanthropic moods and everyone from my favorite coworker to the toothless fishermen on the phone (hints! hints about where I work!) was making me INSANE. My office is a friendly bubbly place and most of the time I appreciate that as I have none of the friendly bubbliness inside my own crabby soul and have to learn sunny dispositions from others, but yesterday I wanted to Do My Work, Not Be Bothered and then I wanted to Go Home. Phillip says I should use my down time at work to "explore other projects" and other professional-sounding and career-oriented things like that. But when I have down time, that means I finished what I had to do that day and when I'm finished I just want to GO HOME. I HATE having to make my work stretch till 5 o'clock. No wonder I am a veritable font of pop culture trivia with all my time to surf the internet.

(Disclaimer: I am not always bored and watching the clock. Some days I am very very busy. Some days I do not have time to breathe let alone read the Gilmore Girls recap. And I definitely reserve the right to complain about the slow days AND the days when I can't read my recaps. Capisce?)

So anyway. Work=hate. When faced with the following choices for my lunch break: going to the alterations shop to drop off the Ginormous Bridesmaid Dress (which would involve standing around in front of strangers in my underwear, FUN) or going to the licensing agency to transfer ownership of the car we bought on behalf of my dad a MONTH ago (which would involve lying about how much he paid for it AND when he bought it, FUN), I decided to go the high road and go to the fancy grocery store and browse through the flowering baskets and vegetable starts. So irresponsible!

But THEN, about 4:45, right before we were about to pack up and leave, the eternally-tuned-to-AM-talk-kill-me-now-please radio screeched, "There's been a rollover accident on the Ballard Bridge."

Employees who live on the other side of the Ballard Bridge: "DAMMIT!"

Employees who live 2 minutes away in Queen Anne: "Hee!"

In order to help those of you who are not familiar with Seattle geography, I have prepared for you a primitive yet still helpful visual aid:


Seattle commuters are basically screwed by a little body of water called Lake Union and what you see here is the channel of water between Lake Union and the Puget Sound. This is the pretty water I can see from my building and today, with the 80 degree sunshine, is particularly beautiful. As you can see from the map, though, I HAVE TO CROSS A FRICKIN BRIDGE TO GET HOME. With a rollover accident on the Ballard Bridge (where they had ONE lane open for north AND south traffic), there was huge spillover for the Fremont Bridge and the Aurora Bridge (which I couldn't fit on my map and also, I always get lost trying to get on that stupid bridge so no point in including it).

It seemed the accident had just happened and we could still see traffic moving on the bridge, so we left the office Right That Second- but in the time it took me to jump into my beloved automobile and head for the exit, all traffic in the Seattle metro area came to a standstill. So what do I do? I hang a quick right turn into the greater depths of Magnolia thinking I'm going to outsmart everyone using my store of Back Roads knowledge.

Unfortunately, I HAVE no store of back roads knowledge- not in this part of town, anyway. It took me a half hour to even cross into Queen Anne where I proceeded to drive down any road that was open, meaning that I kept driving in the opposite direction of my house. Eventually I hunkered down and joined the long snail crawl of cars heading for the Aurora Bridge, but, again, I thought I could outsmart the rest of Seattle commuters and instead plunged down the north side of Queen Anne to hook up with the Fremont Bridge.

It was 5:51 when I finally made it to the other side of the water. I am usually home at 5:25. At the LATEST. And then it took another 20 minutes to get to my house WHEREUPON...

I had to change into grungy clothes, get BACK in the car, and head to the apartment to CLEAN THE TOILET.

At the time I was thinking that we were going to have our apartment walk-through Friday night, but that was until Phillip remembered that he had two days worth of band practice plus a dinner with long lost relatives to attend. So my rushing over there last night to get stuff done? Not entirely necessary.

Today looks like somewhat of a replay of yesterday, minus (hopefully) a rollover accident. And if THAT happens again, it doesn't matter because I'm going to dinner in Chinatown to meet the long lost relatives and churn out smiley phrases like "Yes, I love Chinese food!" and "It's okay, I can eat with chopsticks!"

Last night's conversation

"You made it through your first day of work! Let's go celebrate!"

"I'm beat."

"Awww, was it exhausting? Long day? Lots of names to remember?"

"Yeah... it was good, I like it, but there's a lot I have to learn."

"But that's what you want!"

"Yep. It's good. I think I'm going to like it."

"So let's celebrate! What do you want for dinner?"

"I don't know. Maybe teriyaki?"


"Yeah. Maybe after we go to the apartment and bring some more stuff to the house."

"The apartment?"


"That's not celebrating."

"But we still have all that junk lying around. We have to go get it sometime."

"But it's your first day of work! We should celebrate!"

"It's okay. There's stuff we need to get done."

"But teriyaki?"

"What's wrong with teriyaki?"

"No one SERVES you when you get teriyaki."

"Okay, let's just go to the apartment and get a little done and then we can get, I don't know. Wendy's?"



"Just so you know, the next time I start a new job and I make it through my first day of work, I would like to be taken out to dinner."

"We don't have-"

"Where they SERVE you and maybe bring you a little basket of bread to munch on before the entrees arrive."

"Look, I just really want to get all those cords I left-"

"And also, it would be nice to have a bouquet of flowers waiting for me at home and perhaps a tiara."

"A tiara?"



"Got it?"

"Duly noted."

Salesladies are the Bane of my Existence, Part 234908

I don't have anything fabulously interesting to say today. That's one of the little walls I run into with "blogging" (although the format here is more "web journal" than anything else.) When life is happening, ie: traveling in China or doting on my nephew, there's lots to write and/or rant about. But on plain ol' average days there's just not a whole lot to say. And now you are thinking to yourselves Whatever Maggie, like you're extra super witty and insightful when things are busy, but ha ha ha, I am ignoring you.

Things are happening, actually, but they involve carting many many boxes up two flights of stairs, reorganizing drawers and cupboards and begging TiVo to work properly in the new house- none of which is particularly earthshaking and worthy of instant publication in cyberspace. But lest this turn into one of those introspective wussy posts about writer's block, let me tell you the story of the Dimwit Saleslady At J. C. Penney's.

There are a lot of windows in our new house. There are three long narrow windows in the living room, two oddly shaped windows above the fireplace, two more long narrow windows in the "dining area", another long window above the kitchen sink and two small square windows in the kitchen. We decided to get shades for the three in the living room and the two in the dining room at the very least. Interested in pretty much everything except the cheapo aluminum/vinyl blinds, the kind in every apartment I've lived in since college, I set out to Make My Purchase.

But Internet, have you any IDEA how expensive blinds and shades are? GOOD LORD. I did my research, really, and my research basically resulted in: "You will soon be the hot gossip topic in your community because you will never be able to prevent your neighbors from spying into your living room each night, seeing you on the sofa with your glass of wine and your fuzzy slippers and listening to your nightly serenade to TiVo because girlfriend, you seriously cannot afford to spend the many hundreds of dollars it will require to prevent this very thing from occurring. Tack up some blankets or something."

But then Neighbor told me about a friend of hers who bought shades at Penney's, so off we went and oh, if there wasn't a big Home Sale with 60% off shades with another 15% off depending on the brand. Who can resist that kind of savings! So I immediately placed my order and then immediately backed out when the nice lady at J. C. Penney's wanted to charge me A BAZILLION DOLLARS per shade. And that  was the SALE price. (Yes, hello all you people who told me that A BAZILLION DOLLARS per shade was "cheap" and "less than your sister-in-law paid" and "not a bad deal". My response to you is: whatever. I so do not need to spend a bazillion dollars on SHADES. The community can feast their eyes on my days-of-the-week underwear all they want if it's going to cost A BAZILLION DOLLARS to keep them out. Yeesh.)

Anyway, I summoned my Consumer Courage and went back the next day to somehow lower the price and purchase my shades because no matter what I say about my days-of-the-week underwear, two nights without privacy is quite enough, thank you. I held off the salesladies while I inspected the ready-made shades (all an inch too wide for my windows) and made 15 calls to Phillip. Finally I beckoned to The Saleslady- let's call her Bertha because that's the kind of name she should have- and told her I was ready to place an order.

Oh, you should also know that while I was doing my in-store research and calling Phillip, Bertha was bitching to the other saleslady- let's call her Bev- about some OTHER saleslady who was obviously not present. I was only half-listening, but the venom and bile floated freely for anyone within hearing distance.

So anyway, Bertha, who was three feet tall and bejeweled in many many gold heart-shaped lockets, emeralds, sapphires and thick, braided, gold ropes around each wrist, waddled over to me and fired up the computer. She wore dorky glasses and her lips were pursed like she was trying extra super hard to look Smart. I asked her about the Cheapo Shades, the fabric ones that look marginally nicer than vinyl shades, but are much more sympatico with my checking account. Bertha said, "Oh, those aren't very good" and walked me over to the Painfully Expensive Shades Display told me that what I really needed were the light-filtering double-celled Bali shades in Rose Quartz. They were nice, except for the whole Rose Quartz thing, and they were better quality, so I talked her down to only a jillion dollars per shade and that was that. Five windows, five jillion dollars. I made my last phone call to Phillip and then we sat down to order. It was a decent start for Bertha and her saleslady skills, but things took a definite downwards turn.

Bertha: So I just need your name and address.

Maggie: Oh, I'm already in the system.

Bertha: OH?

Maggie: Yeah, I came in here yesterday and got a quote from someone else.

Bertha: Someone ELSE? WHO?

Maggie: I don't remember. But now I think I want this other kind-

Bertha: Was her name JAN?

Maggie: Jan? I don't remember. Anyway, those were so much more money-

Bertha: You mean Jan didn't even show you the Bali shades first? She showed you the Graber ones? Those are much more expensive!

Maggie: Yeah, I didn't do my homework first.

Bertha: Hey Bev! JAN wanted to sell this customer the GRABER shades! Can you BELIEVE HER?

Maggie: catching on that Jan was the focus of the aforementioned venom and bile Well, those are the ones I was looking at-

Bertha: prim little lips tightly pursed I'm Not! Surprised!

Maggie: I didn't tell Jan how much I wanted to spend. I'm not sure I was even working with Jan! Anyway, I'd really like to get the ones you said were a jillion dollars each. I have my measurements right here.

Bertha: Now. Did you measure the windows?

Maggie: Yes. I just said I have the measurements.

Bertha: Did you measure ALL the windows? Did you measure EACH WINDOW? We need exact measurements.

Maggie: I measured EACH WINDOW. And I have the measurements right here.

Bertha: Okay, they need to be exact.

Maggie: They are exact. The first one is 21 and 15/16ths of an inch.

Bertha: ...

Maggie: The second one is 22 exactly. The third one is 21 and 15/16ths again.

Bertha: We need measurements to the closest eighth of an inch.

Maggie: ...

Maggie: So not THAT exact, huh?

Bertha: shooting tongues of fire with her beady eyeballs

Maggie: oh no you don't, lady, because I have the meanest stinkeye in the Pacific Northwest

Bertha: Well, if you could give me the measurements to the closest eighth of an inch.

Maggie: Well, since I measured EXACTLY, and my measurements are right in the middle, is it better to round up or round down to the closest eighth?

Bertha: The manufacturer takes off an eighth of an inch from your measurement.

Maggie: Okay. So do I round up or round down?

Bertha: flips through manufacturer's catalog

Maggie: Because if you tell people to measure exactly, they must come in here with measurements to the sixteenth of an inch. Surely you must know.

Bertha: flip flip flip

Maggie: Because, need I point out, eighths of an inch aren't as exact as sixteenths of an inch. Possibly you've had other customers make the same mistake.

Bertha: I would think you round down.

Maggie: But I would think you round up, as the manufacturer is taking off an eighth of an inch already and you don't want the shades to be too narrow. And if we overestimate, we're only adding a sixteenth of an inch, so when the manufacturer takes off an eighth for the casing, there's still a bit of wiggle room.

Bertha: ...

Bertha: flip flip flip

Maggie: So I think I'll round up, if that's okay with you. I'm not too good with math, but I would think you've run into this difficulty before?

Bertha: And what color would you like those in?

At the end of the process, when I realized Bertha had the wrong shipping address and she needed to change it and she snottily said, "Well I'll have to do it ALL OVER" and looked at me expectantly, I did not apologize. And I only felt the teeniest tiniest bit of guilt at not having told her earlier. Because Bertha needed to do some penance for her overarching stupidity and I also think the Management at J. C. Penney's needs to do some as well for sticking a complete moron who doesn't know the meaning of the word "exact" in the window treatments department. Attention Management: Letter to follow.

In two weeks I should have pretty cellular shades for five living room windows. All other window treatments shall be purchased at Target or fashioned together out of duct tape and tin foil.

Update from the kitchen counter

We're in. So are most of our dishes, the speakers and receiver tuned to 103.7 fm, towels, sheets, 99% of my books, and every single piece of sparkly stemware in my possession. What we don't yet have: anywhere to sit, blinds and a refrigerator. I think we're doing pretty well.

I took today off to "play house" as my coworkers put it. I woke up this morning with a very irate knee as I spent all last night painting two bedrooms and not particularly worrying about squatting and bending and standing on my tippy toes to reach the high corners. At this point I think I sprained it (can you sprain a knee?) much like I sprained my ankle last fall wearing heels (again with the heels!) and my jaw (my jaw!) on a crusty ham sandwich a few weeks ago. Sad, huh?  I need to be sucking down some of that gelatin stuff we used to feed the old ladies when I worked at the nursing home. Anyway, I know I need to be lounging around in bed with my leg propped on a pillow and a bag of frozen ravioli perched on top of my knee and maybe reading the new InStyle (Katie Holmes is "single in the city"? I think not!)

Okay, so maybe I lounged around for a bit. Then I watched the season finales of Everwood and Gilmore Girls while I packed the dishes. Everwood! How I adore thee Dr. Abbott. All the tears! And more tears when TiVo decided to cut off Gilmore Girls about 30 seconds too soon. Apparently TiVo was unaware that someone was going to ask someone to marry them! I immediately called my sister for the lowdown on the last 30 seconds and dude, it was Lorelai asking Luke! I know! Awesome! So not a bad way to spend the morning, right?

(Dear 103.7 The Mountain: What is with the moany weepy Dead Can Dance? I don't care of it's "The Chill Side Of The Mountain". This stuff is creepy.)

So then I called up Neighbor and was all "Hey come help me take the tape off my painted walls" and she was all "That would be the Most Fun Thing in the world!" or maybe she was just thinking it would be more fun than studying for her pharmacist boards. Who knows. But if you need someone to expertly strip the painter's tape off your just-painted walls, Neighbor is a rockstar. We only took the tape off in one room because the other room- the room that the BOYS painted- is streaky and uneven and someone needs to redo that high corner because he's the only one who can reach. We painted the guest bedroom a pale sunny yellow and one wall in the master bedroom a pale green, aka "Yellow Bliss" and "Aloe Vera". (Paint names are almost as much fun as lipstick names.)

Neighbor also helped me put away the sparkly stemware and offered some sage advice on storing appliances and large kitcheny things like woks and giant spaghetti bowls. Everyone needs a Neighbor when they move, especially because you can totally talk her into a greasy fast food lunch and then some shopping afterwards. I was supposed to be shopping for blinds (which I did- 75% off at J.C. Penney!) but Ann Taylor was just down the way and oh, maybe we'll look at shoes at Macy's and what about that bridal shower gift and does the Gap have pants on sale? We were just looking. And then I went to Target to buy the practical items: cleaning supplies, dust mop, Target brand hand soap.

Isn't this the most exciting post ever? I'm leaving out the parts about almost getting into a car accident and never being able to turn left and the bizarro weather and the parts where I had to put both feet on each step. So boring.

But the point: I am in my house. Which is mine. The plants outside? Mine. The crap all over the kitchen counters? Mine. The bare empty living room floor? Mine.

Phillip is rewiring the house. Honest. Okay, I don't know exactly what he's doing, but he's marching purposefully around with fistfuls of wires and little plastic thingies to put on the ends. He says it's for "data". I think that means internet. Right? After he set up the wireless thing in the kitchen, I stopped caring. I have gone an entire day without email. Without a panic attack. In fact, this whole moving process has been devoid of panic attacks whatsoever. AMAZING!

The Chill Side of the Mountain just got all drum solo and ethnic on me. It's time to move the vases from the shelf in the kitchen to the shelf in the living room, because there's nothing more fun than rearranging all your pretty things. In your OWN HOUSE.

How I'm spending my evenings

Do you know how to code a command button and a list box so that it spits out exactly the record I want? If you do, can you please email me? Like, right now?

I even have another database built by The Computer Guy many eons ago that includes just this code. I copied it into my database, edited all the right parts, and it still doesn't work. What I have accomplished, however, is fixing it up enough to not even give me an error message when it doesn't work out. It's like the code is really fed up with me and is all, "If we give you an error message, it means you invade our privacy and mess around with our syntax and we are so tired of being jumbled around like that."

So anyway. Phillip, on the phone with Puget Sound Energy, instant messaged me to say: Do we have a conversion burner next to our furnace? To which I replied: I barely have a grasp on what "furnace" means, let alone "conversion burner". Apparently Puget Sound Energy is quite adamant that we have a conversion burner as the previous owner at our address had one. And when Phillip asked who the previous owner was, they told him. We just nearly turned off Ethel's gas. I'll let you know if Puget Sound Energy decides to believe us about our house being brand new and having no previous owner, especially not Ethel. I have my doubts.

Last night after work I went directly to Lowe's and purchased a gallon of paint to replace the paint I bought on Saturday. My original can of yellow paint was, upon review by the Elected Board of Paint Choice Affirmation, rejected as being "blisteringly eye-poppingly bright" so I headed back to Lowe's to buy a color called "Yellow Bliss", even though it looks decidedly like old butter to me and not blissful in any way. I've been assured that it will "look yellow" once it's up on the walls, but this remains to be seen.

Further proving the fact that my parents weren't all wrong when they decided to go ahead and have additional children, even after achieving perfection with myself, my two sisters helped me prep last night for this evening's Painting Extravaganza. When faced with umpteen yards of plastic sheeting, one giant roll of blue painter's tape and big empty walls, the Pincus Girls did what any other self-respecting "that's what boys are for" girls would do and stared very very blankly at the floor.

MAGGIE: You've done this before, you show Katie and me what to do.

BECCA: WhatEVER. It's not HARD. GAWD. Give me the TAPE. Quit being such a BABY.

KATIE: ...

MAGGIE: Ok, well do it RIGHT. Inspects Becca's workmanship. There's a big space right there. Fix the big space.

BECCA: Do you WANT my help or NOT.

KATIE: ...

MAGGIE: Katie, cut some plastic for the floor. No, not that way. This way. Wait, that's too much. Except, no. Yeah. That wasn't enough. Do it again.

KATIE: wah.

BECCA: I can't REACH up there. I am a Cute and Petite Little Girl. YOU have to do that part, YOU can REACH. GAWD.

KATIE: like this?

MAGGIE: Shut up. And also, you left a big space. Again.

KATIE: whimper whimper sigh

BECCA: Is there any food?

MAGGIE: We have to do the doors and window too.

KATIE: this is haaaaaaaaaaard!


Yeah. So it was an awesome time. Becca punctured the plastic with the scissors no less than fourteen times. It took Katie an entire hour to tape the trim on a 10 foot long wall. I had to roll across the floor to get the tape because I didn't want to put weight on my gimpy knee. It also took me an entire hour to tape the trim on a 10 foot long wall because I am ANAL. Exceedingly so. (Hi Becca & Katie! I love you! Kisses!)

However! The sheer exhausting-ness of the Paint Prep has squeezed all potential freakouts out of my system in time for the actual Painting Extravaganza. At this point I no longer really care. Those scuffs on the kitchen cabinets? They're permanent. So begins the slow and reluctant exhalation.

Pure unadulterated whining. You've been warned.

Do you know what today is? Today is the day my townhouse CLOSES. I am sitting here waiting for the instant message from Phillip that we are In The Clear, but he is Currently Away and my telepathic attempts to will him back to Online status are unsuccessful. What if the escrow company calls, but all they have to say is, "Hello Phillip and Maggie Homebuyer! We regret to inform you that your gigando down payment check bounced this morning! Bummer! No house for you!" And then the $3.99 champagne I have sitting in my car will have to be consumed in the OLD living room instead of the NEW living room. Where it will be used for drowning our collective sorrow instead of christening the new hardwoods. That will SUCK. So can the escrow company please just call already?

In the meantime, I am nursing a bum knee. This happens to me every so often, but this time I woke up with a still-sore knee and it's a little worrying. It's as if my body knows it will soon be required to heft large boxes up and down two flights of stairs and is only playing good defense. Maybe my body thinks that pulling an old lady stunt is going to guilt Phillip into performing all the heavy lifting, but I know better. So stop it, bum knee. Shape up! What's wrong with your knee when you feel fine just walking back and forth, but going up and down stairs is close to excruciating? I will tell you what. I conducted an Office Poll and the general consensus around here is that I? Am getting old. As the youngest person in my office by FAR, the old fogies have taken it upon themselves to heap large doses of Old Age wisdom on my sorry 25-year-old ass. "I know I'm not supposed to ask you this," begins The Boss, "but how old are you?"

And I reply, "You've asked me plenty of times before and I always tell you that I am 25."

"Ah!" says The Boss. "Then you are just Getting Old." And then proceeds to share with me the story of when he woke up, at the tender age of 23, to discover that his body just didn't work the way it used to.

"Ah yes," agree the Old Coworkers. "Welcome to our pain." Which they then describe to me, individually and in colorful detail.

WhatEVER. My knees have always been kinda wimpy and I blame this, like every other bodily failure, on four years of high school basketball misery. Okay, so maybe they started popping and cracking a lot more after high school and my occasional bouts of bum knee have prevented me from, oh, hiking up the Great Wall of China and also wearing high heels-

HEY! I wore heels yesterday. To church. Because I thought: Church! Must look respectable. Must wear shoes that convey fashionable yet appropriate grown upness. This is TOTALLY why I'm not going to be able to move myself in this week. Stupid shoes.

On the other hand, yay for not being quite old enough to use the Getting Old excuse!

Stupid escrow company still hasn't called.

Did I even tell you about going to sign the papers Friday night? So we drive ourselves all the way up to Everett which is, like, practically Anchorage when you factor in Friday night traffic. And then the five-inch-high stack of papers on which I was forced to write out Margaret A. Cheung in perfect script on every corner? After the fortieth page I totally had the signature for writing prescriptions. A big M, scribble scribble, flamboyant g, crossed t. A big star-shaped A, then a big C, scribble scribble, and one more extra-flamboyant g. (Except for the places where I accidentally started to write Maggie and then moved into the Margaret and where it looks like I misspelled my own name. And they let me buy a house. I know!) About five or six of these papers were about declaring my identity. Also Known As: every single combination of my nickname, married name, maiden name and with or without initials. "The lender is just being safe," explained the Oompa Loompa-sized lady with the big bug eyeglasses and the blazer with the 80's shoulder pads and the unfortunate choice in lipstick. But who, we were thankful to note, used about 500 bazillion less words than our real estate agent. "Can you imagine how long we'd have to be there if we were signing papers with TOM?" we asked ourselves. "Oh THANK YOU God of Real Estate!"

In short: I probably signed away my entire bank account, my firstborn, my red couches, my upcoming trip to Italy, my rights to party and pursuit of happiness. But at least I have a house!




When it rains it pours

Welcome to Tuesday, where we are hanging out at where you can pick out paint samples and at which isn't the greatest idea for someone whose house payments are going to ensure she gets her daily quota of ramen for the next year and also here and here and especially here because it's easier for those on ramen diets. We did the final walk through this morning with Brian the Builder (who passed himself off as a lowly painter guy when we first walked into the house and were summarily aghast at the Minty Olive Green cabinets. Quoth Brian: "If you're a serious buyer, we can probably paint them white. But I'd have to know, like, TODAY." Wise move, Brian, wise move.) Brian? Super duper extra duper proud of his townhomes and we are, of course, pleased to hear it. The house is all finished except for itsy bitsy minor stuff, but we still don't get the keys until Monday. I think we have to give the builders a semi full of dollars first. Is that how it works?

In the meantime I have amassed a gardenful of flowers and bushes and vegetable starts to be planted in my new yard. YARD! I have four garbage bags full of clothes to give away. I have three gigantic plastic storage boxes full of winter stuff to stow under the bed. We have a small mountain of boxes in the living room waiting to be filled with books and DVDs and the entire discography of Sting. I've left furniture catalogs scattered about the apartment with comfy red couches circled with bright yellow highlighter in much the same way some girls send their boyfriends links to their Tiffany's wishlist or leave the newspaper jewelry ads pointedly lying around.

In case it is not blindingly obvious, I am definitely ready to move.

Oh, but a NEW HOUSE isn't the only fab development happening in the Maggie Space-Time Continuum. Oh no. Someone, and by that I mean the devastatingly handsome and debonair man who lives with me, scored himself a Fancy Shmantzy Brand Spankin' New Place of Employment this past week. All together now: WHEE!!! (Congratulatory gifts of expensive champagne, flowers and complimentary automobiles may be sent to The New House, Seattle, WA.)  After eighty bazillion consecutive weekends of perusing the Sunday ads, revamping resumes, "networking" with "IT professionals", hating the Dot Com Boom with the fire of ten thousand suns and praying for a time machine to go back and graduate when the Dot Com Boom was actually for real, the best looking, smartest and most deserving guy in Computer Geekdom finally got a little attention. In fact, if I may get all proud and puffy, My Husband managed to get his current company and the new company to Jello wrestle over him leading up to the Great Computer Guy Bidding War of 2005 which you may have read about in the papers. In the end, the new position with infinitely more possibilities won out over the same old position with a fancier title and more money. Now I have to admit, it was hard to look that big pile of money in the face and say "No! You're not worth the slow and arduous soul sucking I must endure to have you!", but we DID and we are BETTER for it. Yay!

Suddenly, it seems, everything is happening at once. And there is a certain someone, and by that I mean the potato-chip-lovin' Simpsons-watchin' person I live with, who isn't real big on Everything Happening At Once. But, like I said last night, these are all good things and things we've been wanting to happen for a long time. So what if they all decided that mid-May 2005 was a good time to finally show up.

But let's get back to the really important matters. What color to paint my bedroom? Oh holy cats, there goes Tuesday...

Of refrigerators and boxes and that stupid dress again

So... I miss the baby. Yeah. I brought my grandma pictures yesterday and we babytalked and doted over all of them, even the one where his head is drooping over his shoulder Pope-style and there's spitup on the bedspread. Sigh.

Anyway, there has been a host of Wild Goings On happening in these parts, first and foremost being that we picked out a refrigerator. I know. We picked! A refrigerator! Several appliance salesmen/relationship counselors helped us navigate our way through the fridge jungle (top or bottom freezer? Bin drawer or open on the side? Filtered icemaker or water dispenser? Temperature and humidity controls!) and deciding to buy it through Phillip's builder client drastically narrowed the choices to one hideously expensive machine. (Buying through the builder knocked over $500 off the price, that's how hideous.) We'll have it delivered at the end of next week because early next week? Like, Monday? WE GET THE KEYS. KEYS!

Then yesterday (after dropping off Phillip's mom from our Mother's Day Movie Outing- saw The Interpreter, did not follow it at all, could not believe Nicole Kidman to be *SPOILER ALERT!* a rifle-wielding African badass even in an alternate universe, horrified at absolute waste of fantastically snarky Catherine Keener, totally loved it anyway) we loaded up the car with boxes Phillip has lovingly taken care of since his college days. He has a still-sturdy box for every piece of shiny black electronic equipment in our apartment, complete with styrofoam inserts and cardboard dividers. We stacked them in the living room- an impending sign of the moving madness that has not quite arrived. But it will. Oh yes. The crazy will soon infiltrate...

And then today I received my bridesmaid dress- the right bridesmaid dress- and stealthily tried on the top in the ladies' room downstairs.  I zipped it up and it promptly fell off my shoulders. Now, I wish I could say this was due to the cruel and sadistic exercise regimen I've stuck to since January, but it is not so. For one thing, the exercise regimen has been a bit more soft and cuddly of late and for another, when you are ordering a dress based on one measurement in particular, it is almost guaranteed that the rest of the dress is going to have some issues. So, yeah. Does anyone know anyone who can work me some alteration magic? Or should I just take it to the nice drycleaner lady down the street? (The drycleaner lady totally loves me and might give me a good deal, not just because I bring her big bags of shirts a particular someone is too tired to iron every week, but because we have the same last name. And she is Korean and I am definitely not and this fact amuses her to no end.) But seriously, the straps are wider than my actual shoulders. Either someone needs to pretty much whip me out a brand new dress or I flash the congregation as we're walking solemnly down the aisle. Wouldn't that be something.

So, okay, these things aren't particularly wild, I admit it. But I was told to not even think about putting what might be wild on my personal website, so you'll just have to sit tight, friends in the computer. Oooh, aren't you sitting on heaps of pins and needles NOW!

And oh, special shoutout to all of you finding my website in your quest to find out who the hell launched the ridiculous yet catchy chipmunk song into American consciousness. Hi! It's some dude named Akon! don't get it either! (Also, have you noticed that the chipmunk sings "Loooonely, I'm STILL lonely" and not "I'm SO lonely"? Does that indicate to you (as it does to me) that this is an actual real honest-to-goodness song itself and Akon just settled because there was a definite dearth of content-appropriate samples sung by chipmunks? Because, if you listen to the words (as I have, many times) the word "still" is a sorry substitution for "so" as it implies that Akon has sung this song before? Hmm. Yeah, I honestly don't have this much time on my hands, really, but there are only so many productive things you can do during your afternoon commute...)