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August 2005
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September 2005

Why can't people just act right?

So. Five months into this new Owning a House experiment, we have vaulted past the small potatoes painting disasters and drilling holes into fresh walls and into a brand new realm of confrontation: Neighbors. Not the original neighbors. The neighbors in the brown and red townhouses are awesome with their mowing of everybody's lawn and the serving of fruit fondue and that one neighbor next door who totally rescued us the night we locked ourselves out. I'm talking about the new neighbors, the ones who moved into the set of blah townhouses across from our front window. And while the ones directly across from us are only mildly annoying with their perfect yard and the parties they throw without inviting me (what is up with THAT?) the people next door to them are true culprits. The ones who live across from K. The ones who are building a TWO STORY PLAYHOUSE IN THEIR BACKYARD.

Okay people. I live in the city. I love the city. I am not terribly fond of noise (oh, the Knarr! (You pronounce 'Knarr' like a pirate, by the way.) How I miss the nightly motorcycle revving!) or random weirdos roaming around at night or anything like that, but I feel relatively comfortable with my small amount of space. I have a postage stamp-sized yard surrounded by a fence. On the other side of that fence is another postage stamp-sized yard and then another townhouse whose front window looks directly into mine. What I could not deal with is a window that looks directly into a TWO STORY PLAYHOUSE. (I have to crane my neck to see the playhouse out my front window, but I'm betting that K is not going to be thrilled when she gets home from her business trip.)

So I'm walking past K's door and down my front walk when I notice Neighbor Guy building the roof on the playhouse. (Actually, I noticed him way before that, but I was trying really hard to ignore him. But, seriously, it's impossible to ignore. It's a TWO STORY PLAYHOUSE.) So he says "Howzit goin!" all cheery good-neighbor like and I say "Fine, thanks" and eye him suspiciously. I had just finished a hasty instant messenger conversation with Phillip at work about the merits of passive aggressively displaying our disapproval of the building project. (While I have no problem being nasty to, say, little sisters, I'm terrified of being nasty to strangers. Because then they won't like me! And everyone has to like me! Especially people who can see into my bedroom!) I wasn't planning to passively aggressively suggest anything (as I was lambasting the entire Passive Aggressive state of being in my IM conversation), but it just came out!

"So!" says I. "You tell K you were building that?" (See how I didn't even mention myself? See how coy and unassuming I'm trying to be?)

The Neighbor Guy said, "Who?"

"K," I pointed. "The woman who lives across from you."

"Oh!" he grunted and swung his head to see K's living room, a mere 10 feet away. "I'm pretty sure she knows!"

"Hrmm!" I frowned with no small amount of FORESHADOWING as I unlocked my front door and disappeared upstairs where I could tremble with the after effects of BEING SLIGHTLY OBNOXIOUS. And I swear he giggled as I let myself in. "Oh those pesky neighbors," he's thinking to himself. "So what if they don't like my playhouse? What're they gonna DO 'BOUT IT! KNOCK IT DOWN? I DON'T THINK SO!"

(And we won't becase we are big fat weenies.)

C, who lives on the other side of us (we can see into his kitchen. It's pretty) is a big important architect and knows things about building codes and who owns what. C says a TWO STORY PLAYHOUSE is probably illegal in a plot of land like ours. He says the actual townhouse probably takes up all the legal building space. He says it's most definitely illegal to build it so close to the fence. The fence we OWN. Unfortunately, C only raises hell when the neighbors are actually his (see: brothel next door). K and Phillip and I... the most I see us raising is our tiny little weakling fists.

There's probably no cheese on that island


Last night there was a little slice of heaven in my living room. Me, Phillip, our friend S, a table full of bread, cheese, wine and chocolate (the four major food groups), AND THE LOST SEASON PREMIERE. It was crazy good. It was so good. It was so good that I had to watch an entire episode of Entourage upstairs just to get my mind off crazy people who live in underground 1970s time capsules. It was so good that I made my sister (who didn't watch the premiere because she'd just returned from Italy and went to bed at 6 pm (an acceptable excuse for missing it)) watch the recording before I left for work, just so I could watch the first five minutes again. I must say, J.J. and Damon, I'm most definitely not disappointed.

S, who bought the season 1 DVD this summer, was thoroughly annoyed by the fact that we have to wait an entire week to find out what happens next. And, according to the internet, first we find out what happens to the guys on the raft before we go back to the hatch. And while Daniel Dae Kim is welcome on my television any time, I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HATCH.

Reasons my work day is completely shot: 1. Lost internet forums 2. People emailing me about Lost. (I already had TWO this morning.) 3. It's the last day of summer and it's NICE OUTSIDE. (See? My world doesn't COMPLETELY revolve around television.)

And now I'm going to tell you a funny story about S. Just because.

So one day last winter, S came over to my apartment. And we were just hanging out, but I could tell something was Up. She was unhappy about something and so I did what any good girlfriend would do for a friend in need, took her out for some retail therapy. We decided to go downtown and S said she would drive. Excellent!

However. You guys, her car smelled something awful. Like an entire football team worth of feet. Like something had died on the backseat three months ago. The kind of smell that makes your whole body wretch and convulse. Horrible. But! S didn't seem to notice. And the whole point was to cheer S up. Even if S had been in the most fabulous of moods, you don't really go around telling people that their vehicles stink to high heaven. So! I cracked a window and we took off.

After an entire afternoon of odor-free shopping, we descended into the parking garage and got back in the car. The stink, you can imagine, had not improved after sitting in a dank musty underground garage for hours. But that was ok. It was only a 10 minute ride home and then I'd be back to sweet clean fresh air. I could do it!

But S sat a moment before turning the car on and then looked at me with a peculiar expression. "Maggie," she said slowly, "does it reek in here?"

"Ummm," I stalled. "Kind of! Sort of! A little bit!"

S scrunched up her nose. "It DOES! It smells AWFUL in here!"

I shrugged. Mostly I just wanted her to turn on the car, roll down the windows and get going. You can only hold your breath for so long.

But S was still thinking. "Why does it smell so bad? Did I leave food in here or something?" She started rummaging around my feet and in the back seat. "No... there's nothing in here. WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"

"DUDE. It's YOUR CAR. I don't know. Let's GO!"

"But! Did it smell like this when we left your house?"

I decided there was no sugarcoating anything anymore. Besides, we'd contributed generously to the Seattle economy, something that lifted both of our moods. "Yes," I said flatly. "It did."


"Because!" I protested. "I didn't want to hurt your feelings!"

"But we could have DIED! From noxious gases!" S was frantic. "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"

"How come you didn't smell anything when we left the house?" I asked suspiciously.

"Well," S said as she turned to search through the back seat again, "I smelled something, but it wasn't that bad. And I figured my car just needed to be cleaned out."

And then? She sat still in her seat and closed her eyes.


"I know what it is."

"You know what it is?"

"Yes." She started up the car and started to pull out of the parking space.

"So what is it! Get it out of here!"

"I'll do it when I drop you off."

"What are you talking about? WHAT IS IT?"

S sighed. "Okay. So over Christmas break, when I went to visit my parents, I bought a big wheel of Brie. And I put in the trunk. And I don't think I ever took it out." She didn't look at me and calmly pulled out of the garage and onto the highway, rolling down her window as she went.

"You have a wheel of CHEESE in your TRUNK?"

S nodded.

"You've had a wheel of CHEESE in your TRUNK for a MONTH?"

"Well, in Europe they let it sit out."


When we got back to my apartment, we opened the trunk and there it was- an entire rotting wheel of Brie. S, it must be said, will never be allowed to forget this incident. (Which is unlikely anyway, as she herself is the person who most enjoys telling this story.) But now the internet knows and my revenge, while it was slow coming, will be sweet.

But people! THE HATCH! Who do you think that guy IS?!

More navel gazing, courtesy of the New York Times

I took two women's studies classes in college: Women's Studies 101 and another one that was upper level- basically the same thing with better books. The 101 class taught me about being a victim, how to get hysterically offended about said status and how to make the two or three men in the class feel two inches tall. What were they doing in our class anyway? The other class I found extra interesting, mostly because the books fascinated me. Women and the medical industry, women and nannies, women and staying home, women and their mothers, women and body image. The Gendered Society. I don't exactly know what I really learned in that class, but I did read some interesting stuff. I remember emailing my mom about one of the "working moms" books to ask her how in the world she pulled it off and I got some vague and unsatisfying "your grandmother helped" reply, along the lines of "You do what you have to do, dummy." (Hi Mom!)

Anyway, I absorbed enough to call myself a Raving Feminist or something like that. I was, I felt, extremely informed. I thought The Feminine Mystique was breathtaking. I read some guy the riot act in college for some obnoxious comment he made about violence against women that now... now makes me cringe. A few years later I'm still fascinated by the same stuff and think most of the same things, but the difference is I've stopped being upset about it.

So I read this article yesterday with more than the usual passing interest. Many young women set a career path to motherhood? Even women at "elite colleges"? They're supposed to be the smartest and the prettiest and turn into company CEOs and hot shot judges and little mini-Christiane Amanpours. What are we educating them for?

My first reaction to this article was a big fat resounding "DUH." Since when is it news that girls might want to have babies when they grow up and get married? And why are these dinosaur academics so surprised and indignant that some of them will choose raising kids over board meetings? Probably because they are dinosaur academics. I think it's become fairly obvious that the whole "you can have it all!" idea is, if I may steal a word from women's studies 101, somewhat of a myth. I was especially amused by the one who said she thought the work/home conundrum would be solved by now.

For many feminists, it may come as a shock to hear how unbothered many young women at the nation's top schools are by the strictures of traditional roles.

"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.

"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now."

What social changes does she want? Universal daycare? Men who pick up their own socks?  (Ooh, cheap shot!)

I don't want to be all old-fashioned or anything, but for me and many of my friends, we are not terribly interested in full-time working careers. Well, we're interested until we have kids. And most of us plan to fit the job around the kids, not the other way around. We're pretty okay with that.

I wasn't like the girls in this article, though. It never occurred to me that I would get married as young as I did and having kids was the furthest thought from my mind. I wanted those things, some day, but first I wanted to travel a lot and maybe spend some time teaching English overseas. I wanted to get some awesome big city big girl job because I knew I could do it. I had read enough feminist literature to know that having a husband, let alone children, was a huge obstacle to Achieving My Goals.

Around the same time I took my second women's studies class I started dating an actual man. Like, for real. None of this high school stuff. He was exceptionally fabulous in every way, but I had a fairly hard shell. When he said "some day we'll have Christmas lights on our house" after dating six months, I freaked out because 1) it's too soon to talk about this stuff! and 2) he thinks we're going to get married? At that point I was still kind of "whatever, dude, I've got stuff to DO."

I don't know when I realized that I didn't want to travel around the world and maybe teach English overseas if Phillip wasn't with me. And, being the old-fashioned people we are, that meant getting married first. It took a long time for me to figure out that Phillip wasn't out to give his dreams priority over mine. Not that he ever gave me that impression. Not that he is even remotely that kind of guy. I just assumed that that's what marriage might be like. And I honestly don't know where I got this impression. (Well, actually, I think I do and that is a whole other post entirely, one entitled: Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you. BAH.)

ANYWAY. I'm different now. I REALLY want kids and when we have them I hope to work part-time at the most. I don't have a lot of interest in a "career", mostly because I can't think of a job I want more than raising a family. Sometimes I'm ashamed to think that. I'm smart and capable, I tell myself. Shouldn't I want to accomplish more than having babies? Am I only thinking this because I can't think of a job I want?  Then I get mad. Why does "having babies" mean so little?

The other day at my annual review, when my boss asked me, "Is there anything else you want to talk about?", I awkwardly muttered that I might want to start a family in a  year or two and I'd like the option of working part-time or from home. He was thrilled that I brought it up because "it's illegal for me to ask you!" and told me that he could see me working part-time for ten years and coming back full-time after that. That they'd work around whatever I wanted to do. I felt so much better. (Well, after the shock of "ten years" wore off. TEN YEARS?)

Obviously the issue's not "solved". Another tenet of the feminism I learned in college is that there are no differences between men and women and I don't believe that anymore. Women who work and have kids are always going to struggle to find balance, right?  I think women should be able to pursue whatever they want, but I think a lot of us are beginning to think that trying to "have it all" might not be worth it.

After re-reading this I've decided I need to stick to whining about my house and saying mean things about sales people. But I'll post it anyway because what's the point of having your own personal website if you can't bore people to death with the vast scope of your own highly-held well-informed opinions and spectacular profundities? (And on that note, someone chose to watch her TiVo'd Emmys (AND, YES I ADMIT IT, the E! Red Carpet) instead of attending the election night party. But it's all good because our candidate survived the primary and I'll attend the real election party in November.)

The nerdery continues

After last week's no sleep stretch, I've reverted back to my Prevention Comes First self and have stocked up on the following items:

1. Wine

2. Benadryl

3. Computer games

Although I have waxed rhapsodic about computer games in the past, I am very particular about what games I'll try. None of this Star Wars stuff that makes it sound like fighter pilots are dropping bombs in the office downstairs when Phillip plays, or anything that includes the words "war" or "craft" or "dragon" in the title.

So anyway. I went through my new Nancy Drew game pretty quick and now I have borrowed another masterpiece: Grim Fandango. People, this game is HILARIOUS. (And hard. I searched for the cheat sheet about five minutes into it. But I'm pretty lazy.) A bit more sophisticated than the Monkey Island games and just as difficult to maneuver the characters. I spend half my time trying to walk Manny through a door.

I've decided that adventure games are pretty cool. I kind of sort of remember King's Quest from when I was kid, but the game I really liked was called Masquerade. I have googled it to no avail, but it's ancient. You start up on a cartoony picture of a dead body (I think) and you have to figure out what to do from there. There is no mouse and no character to move around. You have to type all your commands in and you don't know what command is going to work. (Also, if you got really really frustrated and typed in a bad word, the game called you a potty mouth and kicked you out. But we never EVER did that.) My mom played it too and eventually one of her friends gave her a piece of paper with all the correct commands written out in order. My first walkthrough!

So... yeah. I planned to watch the Emmys last night (thank you TiVo, King of Fast Forwarding Boring Acceptance Speeches!) but Grim Fandango got in the way. Sigh. (Which isn't to say that I don't know who won. Where is Lauren Graham's emmy? Where?! Did they NOT see the episode where her parents are getting married again and she looks at Emily with the meanest stinkeye ever and says "WE'RE THROUGH." Did they NOT get chills?)

In other news, today is Election Day (okay, Primary Election Day) and your trusty blogger hopes to attend a certain election night party for the sole purpose of collecting blog fodder. Let's all hope we're toasting a win and not drowning our sorrows.

I'm sorry

I just want to apologize to anyone who tried visiting this site sometime tonight (Saturday) as there was all kinds of formatting weirdness going on. This is due to the fact that I cannot figure out how to preview advanced template designs without republishing my whole LIVE blog. Dear Typepad: Why is this so?

Anyway. I may be deciphering the mystery that is CSS, but I cannot figure out the preview thing. Which is bad, right? Shouldn't this be an option? WHERE IS THIS OPTION?!

I am also sorry if you visited this site tonight because, really, I do love my readers, but don't you all have something better do? (I, obviously do not, as I am up in my yellow bedroom drinking wine, listening to the CMT countdown cohosted by Trisha Yearwood (barf) and cursing at the computer. Honestly, though, it's been a lovely Saturday. Miracle of miracles, I slept IN. I am halfway through a new Martha Grimes mystery (Help The Poor Struggler) and had dinner with a friend where I learned that low-carb ice cream actually tastes okay. It's been a good day.)

The meaning of television in the Mighty Maggie space time continuum

The big news today is that Renee and Kenny are broken up and the reason Renee cited on her application for annulment was "Fraud." And because I grew up on military bases where there was one American TV station and the commercials were all public service-type announcements, I can't help but add "Waste! and Abuse!" onto the end of "Fraud!" (And annulled? Whatever.)

Here is a nice little historical piece on AFRTS and here is a FAQ lifted from the Yokota (Japan) Air Base website where my dad lived when he was a little kid:

Why don’t you broadcast stateside commercials?

DOD Regulation 5120.20R prohibits commercial advertising on AFRTS stations. We can’t even promote membership drives for organizations requiring dues or a monetary fee for joining. Broadcasting commercials on AFN would put us in competition with local television and radio stations. Most host nation governments would not authorize transmission frequencies to AFRTS stations if commercial announcements were broadcast.

This is why I am much more familiar with "Practice good OPSEC!" than I am with "Where's the beef?!" I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of shows when I was a kid, but I swear the AFN commercials warning the young NCOs about alcoholism and spousal abuse did more to psychologically harm me than any episode of Married...With Children.

Of course, once we moved to Italy (the second time) we discovered European MTV. I remember watching the Bon Jovi "Always" video over and over that first year, but on the whole, European MTV completely trounces American MTV in the race for Wackiest VJs. Or maybe, when you can't speak the VJ's language, you can spend a lot more time marveling over the weird sets and bizarre clothes. Then again, having wasted a half hour the other day on TRL (because I thought Lauren from Laguna Beach was guest hosting, JEEZ), maybe it all comes out even. Maybe I'm just getting old.

My parents tell me that everyone now has a TV "decoder" and they have, like, four or five channels. Amazing! Of course they're all versions of ESPN.

A few days ago one of my friends asked if me if the reason I love TV so much is because I didn't watch much when I was a kid. I had to think about that one, but I decided that:

1. Where did she get this idea that I "didn't watch much"? I have seen every single episode of Reading Rainbow, for example. Educational or not, this is a LOT of TV. Plus we had no end of sympathetic relatives in the States sending us video tapes of TV shows. I really loved that show based on Dave Barry's life with the guy from Night Court. I was just telling Phillip about this show and about how the family tried to buy an air conditioner and it was hilarious and Phillip was really not interested. And God bless Wacky Aunt for taping the MTV My So-Called Life marathon, thereby providing me with a cultural landmark for my dressed-in-plaid-flannel generation.

2. So, in short, no. That's not the reason. Here are my reasons:


So anyway. It's September, it's Premiere season and my TiVo is full again. All is well in the world.

Girl detective

You know what's really fun? Playing your new Nancy Drew computer game (for detectives 10 and up) in your pajamas at 11:30 at night because you can't sleep and you're waiting for the Benadryl to kick in and knock you out. This, after I'd just got done bragging to all and sundry that I'd been able to fall asleep without abusing any substance for the entire summer. It was, however, an improvement on Saturday night which was spent half in bed, half out of bed, drifting in and out of whatever was on TV. Anxiety's a sneaky bastard. Right when you think you're falling under, a new wave splashes over and you and, well, there goes your fourteenth chance at staying asleep.

But Nancy Drew? Is awesome. Those games have some creepy background music that doesn't necessarily soothe the anxious soul, but they do keep your mind off things. My new game is about a haunted amusement park- someone stole a carousel horse, there's a secret workshop under the haunted house and four suspects I get to interrogate. They're fun and not totally frustrating like a lot of other adventure games (see: ages 10 and up)- except for the parts where you have to play a game or figure out a riddle. I hate that. It's annoying and takes up valuable hunting-for-clues time. But in this game I have to win a particular prize from an arcade game in the amusement park. I have to actually play the game. And the game is a full color version of a game my brothers and I used to play on our dad's old Macintosh (the kind that was like a shoebox balanced on an end with a tiny green and black screen on top) and I have spent all morning trying to remember what it's called. It's the game where you have a paddle and a ball and you have to clear the screen by hitting the objects without dropping the ball. On the Mac it was a stack of bricks that disappeared when the ball hit; in my new game the ball has to blast "barnacles" off the screen. Does anyone know what that Mac game was called?

So anyway. It's 11:30. It's terrifically hot in my little yellow bedroom but opening the window requires getting up from my desk. I am super tired and super jittery. My brain is swimming in Benadryl and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I CANNOT BEAT THIS GAME.

Now I am tired, jittery and pissed off.

MAGGIE: This is freaking ridiculous.

COMPUTER: I know. Look at you. A grown woman playing a Nancy Drew game. For shame.

MAGGIE: Shut up. I only have seven barnacles left. I need to concentrate.

BENADRYL: Ha ha! Concentration!

MAGGIE: Six! Only six! I'll make it this time!

PADDLE: Whatever. You're good for another fifteen tries at least.


MAGGIE: cry of woe

COMPUTER: Starting over? Again? Possibly it's time to consider shutting me down for the night.

BENADRYL: We are currently enjoying a period of blurry vision and lost focus, but my drowsy side effect has not yet overcome the symptoms of an unnaturally anxious state. This is SO EXCITING!

PHILLIP: Maggie? Are you... shouting at the computer?


MAGGIE: I need the harmonica so I can take it to the carousel and learn the song and then play it for the suspect in the park office! JUST GIVE ME THE HARMONICA!

PADDLE: It's not MY fault.

NANCY DREW: Girlfriend, you are making me look really bad. First you can't find the soldering gun, then you nearly get run over by the roller coaster and now this. If Ned finds out about this we are THROUGH.

When I get older, losin' my hair

For some reason the electrical outlets in the guest bathroom stopped working. The weekend we had guests. And now the outlet in my bathroom stopped working. And I still live there. What's up with that? When my guest told me her outlet wasn't working I said, "I'll inform the management." And of course what I meant was: I'll tell Phillip, the person who doesn't believe there are little elves sitting behind the outlets in the wall and breathing the magic of electricity into my hair dryer cord. Except, Phillip doesn't know what's wrong either and it's right about now that I could really appreciate having an apartment manager. Even a manager who doesn't do anything, like our old one who, when we told him about the Great Ant Invasion of 2004, was all "Uhhh, you can look up an exterminator in the phone book maybe?". Because even if you have a manager who doesn't do jack, it's not your fault and not your responsibility. At most, the outlet that doesn't work is a very great annoyance because who likes having to blow dry their hair in the kitchen? But when you own your house? Drying your hair in the kitchen because you don't know how to fix your electrical outlet falls somewhere between Pathetic and Damn Fool.

So anyway. This is why my hair is still wet at 9 am.

Which makes me think of another subject entirely because, DUDE, my hair used to dry INSTANTLY. Is 26 about the age when you start to notice that, hmm, things were a bit different when you were 20? Because all my life I've had a scrawny handful of flat stringy hair that took about five minutes tops to dry. This is why I could make my winter death march to the bus stop every morning with wet hair and have it dry by the time I got to school. But now? Ten years later? I have about two scrawny handfuls of hair that does not dry in five minutes and when it does dry, it's WAVY. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?

I know you guys totally don't care about this, but it is a wondrous thing to me, the girl who PINED AND PINED for a perm in sixth grade. (Dear Mom: THANK YOU for banning the '90s perm, thereby sparing me the triangle-shaped-head junior high pictures. And while the pink plastic granny glasses didn't do much for me, at least they are not compounded by a frizzy perm.)

Also, upon reaching my mid-twenties, I now have the knees of a 87-year-old woman. I've stopped wearing heels for the most part because they seem to throw my alignment all out of whack. I'm considering seeing a CHIROPRACTOR, THAT'S how shoddy my joints are. (Of course, an ideal time for your knee to go out is right when you are supposed to be moving no end of heavy boxes up two flights of stairs.) While I can't say that I look back all that fondly on my afternoons of running sprints and full court press drills, I do miss those knees. (And those lungs. Sigh.)

Before I end this sorry excuse for a post, let me leave you with the Mighty Maggie Tip of the Day: when making risotto and after you realize that you don't have any dry white wine, do not substitute with rose. Do NOT.

The crap day that was also my husband's birthday

Yesterday I lost

1. every single email in my work inbox, including all of those organized and saved in perfect alphabetized folders

2. the five databases I work with, also known as "the company's bread and butter"

3. every folder and document saved to my desktop

4. my mind.

Today I retrieved

1. the five databases

2. every folder and document saved to my desktop

3. small bits of my mind.

The emails, however, those are lost. And it's my fault because the pst file I exported beforehand did not actually, ahem, export anything. I'm thinking, though, that this is not such a horrible situation. Now when someone calls me up to complain about something I can say, "Well, sir, you may have emailed me about that, but my email was wiped out yesterday and you'll have to send it again." And if you do not feel sorry for someone whose entire mailbox was emptied in .73 seconds, you are a bad bad person.

Yesterday was so rotten that at 3 pm when I whined "Can I go home yet?" my boss said, "Okay." So I left my server problems and my missing databases to our Tech Guy (who is all kinds of awesome and did not say anything mean when he told me my pst file was empty) and went home. This is where my day picked up.

Because it was PHILLIP'S BIRTHDAY. I have to say that Phillip is a bit more grown up about his birthday than I am. When I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate he was all, "Oh, nothing big." (For future reference: anything to do with my birthday is always going to be big.) What Phillip wanted to do was watch the last episode on his Sopranos Season Five Disc 1 DVD while I made the birthday cake I'd been planning to save for Sunday when we have guests. ("Can we have cake now?" he batted his eyelashes at me.) That was the original plan, but the computer we use to play DVDs wasn't working so Phillip set up the laptop and the mouse and was figuring out the problem while I baked the cake and read the entire new Newsweek. With no small amount of tact I said, "We HAVE an actual DVD player UPSTAIRS." So FINALLY we went upstairs and I didn't fall asleep and THEN

we went to Blue C Sushi. Oh Internet, I love this restaurant. And not because I like sushi. How can you not love going to a restaurant where all the little dishes travel around the dining room on a conveyor belt like little pieces of color coded luggage? It's JUST like Escape From Monkey Island. (Except for having to melt something and start a fire with a tiki torch... Is that right? Dude, I totally forgot how to get into the restaurant kitchen!) Each dish is labeled so you know exactly which ones you want (or which ones you don't want, in my case) and at the end of dinner your server comes around to count up how many plates you acquired of the different colors and goes to ring up your bill. (I think this is probably the only restaurant in which I could successfully waitress. I mean, you're pretty much there to fill up water glasses.) It is super fun and you don't have to eat sushi! Yay! Well, I like the little kappa maki with the cucumber and vegetarian ones with tofu, but I stay away from anything with fish or krab. I don't like avocado or cream cheese either. But the chicken katsu is divine and they have other little non-sushi dishes. (And yes, I know, pickiest eater in the world etc. etc. but PEOPLE. I have tried JELLYFISH. I have eaten Chinese food in CHINA. I have come a LONG LONG WAY since the days of asking my mom to make my spaghetti with butter and parmesan because, ew, tomato sauce? No thanks.)

The rest of the evening was sponsored by Phillip's brother and sister-in-law who sent him a pack of cards, a box of poker chips and the movie Rounders for his birthday.

But Internet, my husband is a trooper. The day before his birthday he was at work until eleven. The day OF his birthday he went to work at 6 am. I made him wait until 7:30 to get his sushi and THEN we had to wait for a table for half an hour. And then? He had to get his [unwrapped] gift out of the back of the Explorer because I am a weakling and couldn't carry a box full of Executive Office Chair parts into the house myself. My husband is a SAINT. Sing him happy birthday via mightymaggieATgmailDOTcom.

There's not much tonight

It is September. And do you know what this means boys and girls? It means Television is coming back into our lives.  Our boyfriend Television, who went to camp all summer and forgot to write us letters, is finally coming home and he's ready to commit. I updated my TiVo today and here is my list of Must See TV:

  • Gilmore Girls
  • Veronica Mars
  • Lost
  • Everwood
  • The O.C.

If these shows are recorded for me in a timely and commercial-free manner, all will be well in the world. There's tons more stuff TiVo is catching for me (Good Eats, Laguna Beach, New Yankee Workshop WHICH IS NOT FOR ME AND IS TAKING UP THE ENTIRE HARD DRIVE), but the aforementioned shows are the necessary ones. How DID we get through the summer without knowing what was in the hatch or if Luke said yes? I CAN BARELY STAND IT.

I'm excited about the return of television as cable news is really starting to give me ulcers. Giving my hurricane charity of choice my credit card number was satisfying for mere moments- now I'm back to channels 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48 and feeling rotten because that's all I know how to do. I can't watch network TV because Oprah is on right now with Julia Roberts talking about how just giving someone a hug makes a huge difference. Puh-leez. I'd say it's your wallet that will make the difference, Julia, and perhaps those poor folk are hugging you in hopes of getting their mugs on television so Grandma in Alabama will see them and know they're alive.

Whatever. Someone might have watched a tad too much Sean Penn on Larry King this evening.

My brother the National Guardsman shipped out to New Orleans this morning and who knows what he's doing right now so we're all going to think happy thoughts for him, like "Hopefully he'll get to take a shower within the next seven days". Okay? Good.

My husband is still working (WORKING! AT NIGHT!) and I am getting tired of Nancy Grace. That woman is a little bit embarrassing sometimes. See you tomorrow. Which is SOMEBODY'S BIRTHDAY...