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July 2006

A good soak in the gin bucket

I went to a wedding this weekend. I also helped my parents move. (At least, I THOUGHT I was going to help my parents move, but they'd already done all the hard stuff and all I had to do was go through my eighteen boxes of Mortifying High School Crap and decide if I was going to junk it or store it in my teeny tiny house, which, Oh. My. God. do I have a scanned-high-school-photo post in the works for YOU!)  Anyway, I am going to tell you about the least traumatic of my weekend endeavors: The Wedding.

(Ha! I kid! Parents, you are SO INCREDIBLY EASY GOING!)

But yes, The Wedding.

Disclaimer: I love weddings! Love them! I even love PLANNING weddings (as long as the wedding we are planning is not mine- damn you evil wedding magazines and your despicable message of "You are not blond OR rich enough to get married!") I can be counted on to bawl through the ceremony, make nice with the grandparents and behave at the reception. I am an EXCELLENT wedding guest.

So excellent that I volunteered to help decorate for this wedding, even though I barely know the bride and would not recognize the groom if he knocked on my door and said, "Hey, I'm The Groom, I'm marrying that one girl you barely know." I volunteered because my friend The Pharmacist was coordinating the reception and it appeared that there would not be enough gin in the world to negate the effects of my friend The Pharmacist's wedding-related nightmares. I told her I would show up Saturday morning and she could put me to work.

But I got to the church and the Pharmacist was mysteriously absent. Instead I was roped into ironing the altar cloth by an industrious bridesmaid. Happy to be helping, I started ironing the Cloth That Would Not Be Ironed. Ever! I practically did a handstand on the iron, THAT'S how hard I pressed, and I could not get those stupid lines out. Enter the Wedding Coordinator, who, in my opinion, was only there for the snacks. "Oh," she said while munching on a carrot. "THAT'S not going to do." I pressed harder. I pressed longer. "Hmm," she said thoughtfully, stuffing a muffin in her mouth. "Maybe we'll just have to DAMPEN it and let it DRY and TRY AGAIN."

Okay, fine. But injuries to my ironing pride aside, there were about 14 million things left to do and I speak from experience when I say that no one is going to notice the frigging altar cloth. I finally adjusted it and draped it enough to satisfy the Most Annoying Wedding Coordinator On Earth and then I got to work pinning the aisle runner to the rug. Let's just say it was a tad crooked, but as my old boss used to say, "Sometimes done is better than perfect." I mean, did she want the 300 programs folded or not?!

And: where the hell was my friend, The Pharmacist!

I was sitting there folding programs with a rather obnoxious 10-year-old girl who asked me question after question about the flowers and the dresses and who really couldn't give me the time of day after she discovered I wasn't even a BRIDESMAID, what good was I to HER? I managed to escape before the Wedding Coordinator could chomp on her apple and start in about the aisle runner because I wasn't about to start fixing that. I had to get home. I had sunburned peeling skin to exfoliate before the grand event, thank you very much.

I couldn't find my friend, The Pharmacist, at the wedding. We were way up front, behind some poorly behaved children, and while I was spared a full on view of my terrible aisle runner job, I couldn't see a THING. After the wedding Phillip and I decided we didn't need to do the receiving line thing (so much for making nice with the grandparents!) and headed straight to the reception, which happened to be in a church building I hadn't even NOTICED earlier that morning. And there was The Pharmacist, wearing her killer black dress and a look that could ice over any human being who dared to interrupt her duties. But I shouted "HEY PHARMACIST!" across the [huge. gigando. decked out in gobs of lavender and tulle.] room anyway and perhaps it is a testament to our friendship that she did not immediately shoot the icicle daggers from her steely eyes and kill me on the spot.

"Pharmacist!" I said. "I couldn't find you! I got stuck! I had to IRON!"

"I know," she said gravely. "And from what I heard, they needed you more than I did." And off she went to tend to the buffet and the punch fountain and the table with the ginormous mountain of little boxes wrapped in pink paper and lavender ribbons. "Those," The Pharmacist hissed on her way to the kitchen, "are the FAVORS."

You see, this was not your average wedding. This was the wedding of a woman who has been employed by the Non-Denominational College Fellowship long enough to know every young person in Washington State, and a man from Philadelphia and a most decidedly different ethnicity than the bride herself. There were a bazillion people at this wedding. Most of us were happy laid back West Coasters, some of whom bothered to wear a tie, some of whom assumed that the little preprinted boxes stacked on the cake table were for taking home the wedding cake. SILLY US! Some of us were Fancy East Coast Ladies in our finest spangles and you people should know I am not one to make fun of spangles, so vast is my love of all things tacky and theatrical. But Internet. These were some SPANGLES.

As The Pharmacist had called me the night before to request my prayers for "reconciliation", I was most eager to hear all the gory details, but she barely had time to shovel in the sweet and sour chicken before her services were requested in the kitchen. So Phillip and I were kind of bored. We were only there, we figured, because The Pharmacist was possibly going to keel over from Tulle Overload at any minute and someone would need to call the ambulance. But there were 300 other people there and surely they wouldn't let The Pharmacist lie there untended to. Phillip went off to use the facilities and I started to pack up our assortment of glue-gunned spangled be-ribboned and bedazzled wedding favors.

And then? The Pharmacist appeared, hovering over our table. "Maggie," she said calmly. "I need you to help me save the wedding."

Well. What does one say to THAT?

The crisis was as follows:

In ADDITION to the myriad of things the Mother Of The Groom had initated, caused, done and demanded (that I am not at liberty to speak about, as The Pharmacist has not shook off the wedding induced hangover and has yet to pick up the damn phone to TELL me about them) there was APPARENTLY a Jamaican Rum Cake! This cake had arrived on the plane with Aunt So and So a few hours before the wedding began. It was APPARENTLY sitting in the kitchen somewhere and if The Pharmacist knew how to handle things AT ALL, this cake would have been properly sliced up and dumped into the 300 cake boxes currently hanging out on the wedding cake table. But dear God, WHERE WAS THE CAKE?

We went to kitchen number one. No cake! We went to kitchen number two. No cake! I tottered along in my cheapo Payless heels to kitchen number three and ten panic-filled minutes later, The Pharmacist had located the cake. It was cut into heavy chunks, wrapped in parchment paper, red plastic wrap and tin foil and stuffed into four or five plastic shopping bags shoved in a corner. I don't know HOW The Pharmacist could have MISSED it!

We began to rip open these cakes. We sent out the teenage staff to cart the cake boxes back to the kitchen so we could start filling them up. And right as The Pharmacist had unwrapped the first cake and placed it on a platter for dissection, the Groom's Mother flounced into the kitchen. Internet, hell hath no fury like a mother whose only son's wedding is being systematically ruined by a couple of West Coast hicks who have never seen individual preprinted cake boxes in their entire hickster lives.

"You can't do ANYTHING right!" she started in on The Pharmacist for what was, I am told, certainly not the first time that day. "This should have been done BEFORE people ARRIVED! What were you THINKING?" Then she looked in horror at the first cake on the platter and our bare hands. "And where are your GLOVES! You can't be handling that cake with your BARE HANDS! What are you THINKING?"

At this point I dropped my half-unwrapped cake and attempted to blend into the wall.

"Get me a knife!" she hollered. "So I can show them how to do it RIGHT!"

The groom magically appeared. "Mama!" he kept saying, "It's okay! It's okay! Calm down!" She just looked at him and said, "They need to GET me a KNIFE."

The teenage staff was looking for a knife like their lives depended on it (which, for all I know, they did) but each time a knife was presented it was the wrong kind. The right knife was eventually found, and The Pharmacist busied herself with washing it. It was presented to the Groom's Mother like the crown jewels, but she wasn't going to touch the cake with her bare hands- where were her gloves!

The looks we shot each other said, "Oh God oh God oh God please kill us now," but no such mercy availed itself. "There aren't any gloves," the groom said, handing her a paper towel. So the Groom's Mother gingerly placed the paper towel on top of the cake, brought her knife down oh-so-slowly, and cut a paper thin slice of Jamaican Rum Cake because anything thicker would have, she claimed, induced a diabetic coma. And what did we want to do? Put the wedding guests in diabetic comas? FOR SHAME!

(At this point in the story, my own mother said, "Oh! It was the groom's cake!" And I proceeded to berate her for not raising me right and teaching me the kinds of things that would ensure a future Mother of the Groom wouldn't murder me with the cake knife.)

The groom FINALLY got his mother out of the kitchen and we sliced up that cake in minutes, bare hands and all. The Pharmacist opened the boxes, I deposited the slice of cake and a poor teenage girl got to close it up and stack it on the cart. I kept glancing behind me the entire time, terrified that the Groom's Mother would see me using my grimy grubby fingers.

Through it all, The Pharmacist was the picture of grace. Her eyes were glazed over so as not to let any icicle daggers escape, her manners were pristine, her voice was steady, her kow towing to the Evil Mother of the Groom was jaw droppingly admirable. Had I been The Pharmacist I would have done one (or all) of the following things: Cry. Whimper. Use expletives under my breath. Spit on the cake. Stab the Mother of the Groom with one of the rejected cake knives. Squeeze the cake between my grimy grubby fingers, reshape it into a cake, slice it up and make sure the Mother of the Groom and her entourage received those special slices. The Pharmacist, however, knew a glass or three of Tanqueray was waiting for her at the end of this, God's test, and she would be rewarded for her strength and grace and restraint.

Before we finished boxing up the cake, we heard a loud "THUNK" from the reception. We saw a big crowd of people in the corner, but they were just taking a picture. The groom came in to check on us a few minutes later and said, "See all those people? They're just standing there because someone knocked down the wedding favor table and dear God if Mama sees that we are ALL DEAD."

So for all you East Coasters: are we really idiots in hickville out here? Who are totally clueless about cake boxes? (And a multitude of other things, which, STILL The Pharmacist has yet to enlighten me.) I thought I'd been to some fancy pants weddings, but I don't remember any groom cakes or spangles or wedding favors glue gunned to within an inch of their lives.

Anyway. The Pharmacist instructed me not to bother her before the after-wedding fog lifts. As for me, I am still shaking from the Wrath of Mama. Honestly. I go to weddings for the free food, not the free scathing lectures from people who are not my parents.

Tomorrow! Or later this week! Hairstyles that roamed the earth circa 1993! The junior high dance! The note from the boy who was friends with the other boy who sat next to the boy who I thought was cute! Flannel and bodysuits and fourteen-year-olds who have no idea how to use makeup! Whee!

Assistant [to the] Regional Manager

Phillip gave me a bobblehead for my birthday. Normally I think bobbleheads are pretty stupid, but this one is a Dwight K. Schrute bobblehead.


My Dwight is a bit off kilter, as he arrived with his head broken off and I had to superglue it back on. Now his head is cocked just so, as if he's about ready to whip out his volunteer sherriff's deputy badge and arrest me for getting pastry crumbs in my keyboard.

(Lest you fire up a nasty email to my husband asking how he could possibly give me a BOBBLEHEAD for my BIRTHDAY, I should tell you that I also received some very nice jewelry, also known as The Lovely Birthday Earrings. I get a lovely pair of earrings about every year, except for the first year we were dating and he gave me a spiffy blue Venus razor for my birthday. A RAZOR. Supposedly this was some kind of JOKE. But neither of us can remember what the joke was about, nor can we remember what the REAL birthday gift was, which means should he ever try to give me such a horrible "gag" gift again, it better be accompanied by, oh, I don't know, DIAMONDS.)

I am bored, people. BORED.

I can go read wikipedia's entry on Dwight K. Schrute.

I can plan my next vacation (is it too early?) to Maui. But if not Maui, then Kauai. And if not Kauai, probably Thanksgiving in Italy with my parents, with either a several day stopover in Paris on our way home, or a trip down to Sicily. Where I would want to go to Taormina and Siracusa and eat my weight in ham and mozzarella calzone. God I'm spoiled.

I could do, like, actual WORK. Ha!

I can work on reducing the number of unread posts in my Bloglines account from eleven bazillion by randomly clicking on all the updated-every-four-minutes sites I thought I could keep up with. (I can't. But those sites seem to max out at 200 unread posts. TWO HUNDRED. eep!)

I can update you on the important events from the last few days:

  • I took the Beloved Automobile to a car wash after a bird did its thing right on the driver's side window. Which is unacceptable. There ended the two year run of filth and grime.
  • I earned a whole $40 for a freelance editing project. That plus the $45 my grandma put in my birthday card means someone is going shoe shopping this weekend.
  • I finally got to the end of the sixth Harry Potter on my iPod, which meant my boss found me sobbing in my car this morning while I listened to the last few minutes. And then, because he is an ogre, he demanded to know if I "still think Snape is innocent!" To which I said, "Mpflurgh! Weep! Achugh!"
  • Freaking UPS called at seven in the morning to ask me about a redelivery that was redelivered a month and a half ago, because thedumbestonlinestoreintheuniverse called them JUST NOW to ask about it. Of course I have already written a very nasty note to said online store and demanded a full and total refund, because HONESTLY how hard is it to send a package and get my address right?

Cough. I'm bored and cranky.

Here's something else to do: go visit my friend Lee and hand him a celebratory happy birthday cyberbeer.

Will it ever stop? Yo! I don't know

Yesterday Phillip came home at 7:30. He worked till about 6:30 and biked home. I worked till about 4:30, drove home and proceeded to eat the entire contents of my refrigerator. After hearing my pitiful self-loathing on the subject, Phillip said, "Why don't you take the laptop and go write for an hour after work?"

I hate it when my husband is right. So. Today I have the laptop in its ugly REI carrying case. I have my thumb drive. And I have a vague idea of where I might go after work to indulge my one-day-I'll-be-a-real-writer fantasies. Starbucks? Zoka's? Anyone want to meet me after work to actually ensure that I will do this?

I'm feeling down about the whole Work thing today, Internet. It's not worse, but it's not better either. There are plans and actual action being taken in order to make it better, but it's all going a bit too slow for me. Add to that my growing doubt that it's going to happen at all and, well, my natural sunny optimism is decreasing by the day.

The obvious option is to find a new job! Of course! But my near daily perusals of the want ads leave me more depressed. I can't find anything I'd like to do. I don't really want to quit my job, anyway. For one thing, I love my coworkers, all of them. From what I hear, this is rare? (I wouldn't know, as I've never really HAD coworkers, my last coworker having been a poorly behaved golden retriever puppy.) For a misanthropic social misfit, loving one's coworkers seems like a fairly big deal. Also, I love the two guys who own the company. They're not perfect bosses. They can greatly annoy me, as well as everyone I work with, but 99% of the time they are friendly understanding flexible people who listen to ideas and take you seriously. (Best of all, they leave me alone.) I work for a tightly knit local industry. I know a lot of people in a lot of different companies. And because my own company is so teeny tiny, I have the opportunity to do a lot of things I am totally unqualified to do, which is super fun. What I don't like is MY JOB. Because I am a smartass and incredibly cocky, I have somehow conned my bosses into crafting my perfect (?) job lest I flounce out of the office in a huff and quit, and they are actually following the master plan- it's just going sooooo sloooow. And I? Am not infinitely patient. I have the patience of, oh, a seven-year-old in the Barbie doll aisle whose mother tells her to wait and see what Santa brings.

Besides. My perfect (?) job is hardly anyone else's perfect job. Had I informed my senior English teacher that I landed such a job, the person I wanted to impress more than any other at age seventeen, his reaction would have been a resounding "Meh." I know that shouldn't bug me, that I'm a much different person ten years later (TEN YEARS OH MY GOD), but still. It'd be nice to have some kind of knock-your-socks-off job title to spread around at the family reunion.

But whatever. Things change. I no longer want to be a fancy pants Career Lady with an office and overtime and a bulging Rolodex. And the fact that I could be this person, if I wanted to, if I only worked hard enough, shouldn't matter. Like how I brush off Sloth with a lazy little flick of the wrist? But even if I wasn't the laziest human on earth, I still don't think I'd want to wear suits and heels and go to meetings and talking about how to make more money and have a staff. Ever. (Unless my staff was only there to head to the grocery store for Godiva ice cream every time I snapped my fingers. Because how awesome would that be?)

Ten years after my highly ambitious college essays, all I want to do is hang out with my husband, have a family, write a novel and find a day job I don't hate. Throw in some frequent European travel and I'm all set. I guess that makes me rather less than ambitious, but I'm okay with that for now. I have every hope in the world that my current day job is morphing into "the best day job I can imagine", and I really think it will, no matter how depressed I am right now. Still, I can't see how it will ever be more than a day job. Ten years and a college degree later and I still haven't figured out what I'd like better than sitting in front of the computer making up stories about imaginary people.  So I'm working on it. Really. Try instant messaging me tonight and you will find me at some local cafe pretending to be an Artist. And I will instantly write back because I'll take anything to distract me from the depressingly blank screen.

***Today's post title comes from listening to my new favorite radio station at top volume on my drive to work. You know how there are oldies stations? And then "classic rock" stations? Well, I feel like my generation was just given it's very own "classics" station. Because dude. Bell Biv Devoe? En Vogue? Janet Jackson from the Rhythm Nation era? They have yet to play a New Kids song, but if they did I'd probably have to marry the radio and they just want to keep me at arm's length.***

I actually really like these people

I intended to be productive this weekend, until the weather decided to KILL ME. You could find me lounging about the living room in various states of undress, getting up only to reposition the artillery of fans and occasionally whining to updating Phillip on how much of me had melted thus far. We went to the grocery store at 11 o'clock Saturday night just to stand in the freezer aisle.

So I was not really looking forward to the Gigando Family Reunion on Sunday at a park in Tacoma. Tacoma is south of here and south means "more hot". I brought my swimsuit, because the park is on a lake, but I figured everyone in Tacoma would be there as well and there's nothing like a strip of grungy lakewater filled with screaming kids to ruin the memories of your recent Hawaiian vacation. But we mostly ate hot dogs and played volleyball. (I don't know if you know this, but my sisters and I are Professional Volleyballers and if you don't play right we will let our merciless tongues go unfiltered until you start crying and have to go find your mommy, even if you are twenty-four years old. We are super fun.)

When we weren't stuffing our faces and making the five-year-old chase all the balls that went out of bounds, we were small talking with the Grown Ups. The Grown Ups consist of:

  • The Ancient Italian People, including my grandmother, her brother, her sisters-in-law and the cousin who drives the red Alfa Romeo with the gold interior. Or, at least he drove it that one time when I was in junior high and we made up Mafia stories about him.
  • The children of the Ancient Italian People, who are my mother's cousins. On one side are the sassy girl cousins with the jewelry and the manicured nails and the entertaining snarky commentary. On the other side are the boy cousins with the tiny blond wives and the pretty lakeside houses and the frightfully earnest questions about What Are You Doing With Yourself These Days, Maggie!? Then there are my mother's brothers and sisters who are, in my incredibly biased opinion, heaps more fun than the rest.
  • The Third Generation. While I can name every single person in this category (a feat unmatched by most of the grown ups, which is sort of desperate and embarrassing), I don't really know any of them. Most of my second cousins (second cousins once removed?) sort of intimidate me, as they are terribly good looking and successful and their parents enjoy informing me about their business trips and mission trips and babies on the way and one of them bought a house in Seattle with a view? The kinds of things where you can't exactly square off and say, "OH YEAH? Well I have a BLOG!" (Unfortunately for me, all of these people, without exception, happen to be disgustingly and annoyingly NICE. So nice that I can't think of anything bad to say about them. Nothing! Gah!) I'm more comfortable around my own cousins, who are the kinds of people who drive VW vans and dyed their hair blue in college and play serious guitar and dress their babies in shirts from honest baby.

There's a fourth generation, but they don't really contribute much except "I WANNA GO SWIMMING TAKE ME SWIMMING" and "WAAAHHH" so I'm leaving them out.

Family reunions are weird. You feel like you should know these people, but you don't. I have friends who know all their cousins and are super close to them, but my cousins are mostly older than me, they're mostly boys (ew) and we were living on the other side of the world. It makes getting to know each other difficult.

But I was super best fast friends with one of my second cousins (second cousin once removed?) for about two weeks the summer I was eleven. He and his family (plus an indiscriminate number of other assorted crazy family members) descended on our house when we lived in Sicily. The plan was to drive up to the Old Family Farm in southern Italy and visit an ancient aunt, but the kids didn't really care about this part. We were solely concerned with tormenting each other. My second cousin's older brother teamed up with my brother Alex and my second cousin teamed up with me. I think his brother tolerated him at about the same level my brother and I tolerated each other, which was: very very horribly low. But what I mostly remember was introducing my second cousin to the wonderful world of Yahtzee. Who has not played this game? It was shocking, truly! and was instantly remedied. But then he wanted to play all the time, so much so that one morning when I was still sleeping, he was outside knocking on my bedroom door all, "Wanna play Yahtzee?"

I bumped into him at the food table yesterday. He is balding and has three children and is one of the business trippy uber-successful cousins. But he instantly knew who I was, even though I think we've shared about five sentences since we were eleven and thirteen and stuck in the back of a van on the autostrada.

So that was kind of cool.

Why I spent $40 at Target on absolutely nothing

In Hawaii, where it is a perfect 85 degrees year round, one wears a darling summer dress over one's adorable swimsuit while one peruses the shops on the Waikiki strip. One can either retire to one's perfectly air conditioned swank hotel room or strip off the dress and wade directly into the cool, but not too cool, ocean water, as one conveniently carries a beach towel in one's summery tote bag for this precise occasion.

In western Washington, where it is a dull 60 degrees year round, where one cannot possibly imagine heat of 90 and ohmygod 100 degrees, where one does not expect to stick to one's desk as she types her blog post, where people do not install air conditioning in their homes let alone think to carry a beach towel ever, where, when it reaches insane temperatures, one can either choose death by heat stroke or death by hypothermia after throwing one's miserable self into Lake Washington- one simply finds the strength to climb into one's air conditioned automobile and heads to the mall.

Boo hiss

Let's just say I am not happy to be back. So not happy, in fact, that I am quite unwell and seeing a doctor in about an hour. I think he will diagnose me with Dehydration and Too Much Sun, but I know better- I am actually suffering from DoesNotWantToGoBackToWorkItis.

Seattle is trying to cheer me up by offering 90 degree weather this weekend, but where are my white sandy beaches, hmmm?

But seriously, I feel sick. I started getting these weird chest pains the morning before we left, which I attributed to Stress. I do not travel well, Internet, and the THOUGHT of getting on an airplane starts up the blah headachey motion sickness. I thought sleeping in and going into work late would help, but I felt worse when I woke up. So... the doctor, he will take one look at me and roll his eyes. "What a wimp," he will think to himself, and write a prescription for WATER.

The workers building the new townhouses next door are listening to what sounds suspiciously like Mexican polka music.

So Hawaii was awesome. I highly recommend it. My mother is a tad disappointed that we had such a good time, because now we will plan all our vacations around tropical beaches and mai tais, none of which can be found in her neck of the woods. But no, that will not be the case, as we needed to take out a home equity loan on our third day. Even when we left Waikiki, even when we hung around in HILO, food cost a bazillion dollars. And don't go searching for gold dust in your twelve dollar cocktail- it's not there.

Part of what made Oahu and the Big Island so fun for me was the familiarity. Not the beaches and the luxury and the cocktails, but just being on volcanic islands and driving their perimeters and seeing water everywhere you go. I spent my formative years on volcanic islands in the middle of nowhere, and I'd kind of forgotten what it was like. The second island I lived on, in particular, was 12 by 18 miles, it had a few "beaches" but mostly cliffs and giant volcanic rocks you had to hike over without falling into tidepools. That said, the locals weren't terribly wealthy, the fancy houses with the views were summer homes, the American military dominated the economy and livestock was everywhere- just like Oahu.

Yesterday when we were sitting the airport waiting for our flight, we talked about what we would nominate as our Favorite Hawaii Thing. Shockingly, we both put snorkeling at the top of the list (possibly because we did not die, and our sunburns were feeling a bit better at that point) and after that we listed our one night stay at the Fairmont Orchid because there is nothing like having your own private beach and pretending you are actually very wealthy and important. My friend The Local took care of all the arrangements for our Big Island trip, but she somehow neglected to tell us that our hotel was actually going to be a RESORT with a dozen different restaurants, movie-perfect scenery, an enormous and beautiful pool, massage tents overlooking the ocean and super swank bathrooms. And you know, I can totally get used to that kind of lifestyle.

Now I am home where I have to clean my own bathroom and make my own dinners. Lame!

I'm off to indulge my hypochondria at the doctor's office. Back later. And if you are feeling blue and your work ethic is sinking and you find yourself in dire need of vacation, take this as an open invitation for a bit of drowning our sorrows with mai tais at my house tonight.

In conclusion (while sort of tipsy?)

People. You must all go to Hawaii. Like, tomorrow. Even all of you who are like me: people who like to visit important historical cities in November and December, who like to see all the right museums and warm up with cappuccino in small cafes, who collect every ticket and receipt for the scrapbook, who read up and study ahead of time, who prefer vodka and gin to rum, who duck into enormous cathedrals to get out of the rain. ESPECIALLY you people. You are the ones who need to squeeze yourselves into your swimsuit and check out a turquoise towel from your hotel pool boy and march yourselves across the street to the most famous beach in the world and lie in the sand and cook until your skin starts to peel off. Then you need to go celebrate your twenty-seventh birthday with a mai tai at the Sheraton Moana's beachside bar with your husband and your friends and the dudes playing ukelele in the background.

We're leaving tomorrow and oh, I am so sad. I am going to get up early and go swimming one last time. I'm going to sun myself on my lanai. I'm going to gaze mournfully at Diamond Head and think about how I'll be able to afford another trip at Christmas if I live on Top Ramen for the next four months. People! How come it's taken me THIS LONG to get myself to Hawaii?

Everyone here is on vacation. Everyone is happy. Even the flight attendants were cheerful and friendly and joking around. The locals love charging us $12 for watered down cocktails. The tourists are enthralled by the white sand, the palm trees, the glorious blue ocean, the 24 hour pool access. They're talkative in the elevators, they smile at you at the pool and ask if you're on your honeymoon. The streets are full until way past midnight. The locals surf in the dark. The hotels are like tiny cities, with huge lobbies and numerous towers and boutiques on the ground floor. If you happen to drop your wallet as you're exiting your car and notice it's missing ten minutes later, a 16-year-old valet has kindly picked it up for you and turned it in, preventing misery and trauma and the utter ruination of your wife's twenty-seventh birthday.

Now I know what it means to be on vacation. And unfortunately, it's OVER. WAH.

Actually, I think I'm ready to go home. I kind of miss my bed, even though the bed here is a king-sized cloud with fresh white sheets and a dozen down pillows. I'm a little worried about my garden and the dust bunnies and the bathroom I neglected to clean; and my mom says it's supposed to be super hot this weekend, which will be a small consolation. I am wholly uninterested in going back to work, but I'd like to see what TiVo has saved for me. You know- going back to what's normal.

Also, I am old. I have exactly two minutes left of my birthday in Hawaii and I am spending them on the laptop while my husband channel surfs from the bed. I had a drink and a half at the swank hotel down the street and then the four of us slowly sauntered back to our room to say goodbye because we are OLD and TIRED and it's WAY past our bedtimes. I should tell you about my friend Malia sometime, and how she still likes me even though I talk about things like blogs and Flickr and embarrass her by whipping out the laptop in the Hilo airport. I should tell you about how our mutual friend set us up to be roommates and how we always celebrate our birthdays together and how she's from Hawaii and I am not and how I bawled when I saw her off at the airport after graduation. But I am very very tired and there is one minute left of my birthday which means one more minute of getting Phillip to do whatever I want.

So... get thee to Orbitz and find yourself a flight!

Superman or SuperSean?

[While I am sulking about the most godawful suntan (sunburn?) lines in the history of the world, I hope you will all enjoy Sean's Inaugural Post. By way of introduction, Sean is the Bestest Pal of Phillip and Me, literally, the Best Man. He doesn't like to make up his mind about anything (see below), but we keep him around because he's always up for whatever WE want to do. Which is really the only necessary Friend Requirement we have. I am dying, no really, DYING, to make some editorial comments in the long ass sentences that follow, but perhaps you have heard that I am in Hawaii? Where I went snorkeling and did not die? Where I am now about to head out to dinner and a mai tai or three? Where I went from Pasty White Northwesterner to Hideously Tan-Lined Tourist in a matter of hours? So no time for editorializing, but let's all welcome Sean, who is too non-committal to decide on a topic, let alone start his own blog. Hey Sean! Just so you know, I'm leaving for the Big Island tomorrow morning and come Monday I'll probably drinking my 82nd mai tai by my fancy shmantzy hotel pool while you're stuck in that office with the jerk boss who snorts cocaine in the bathroom. AND THE INTERNET THINKS I'M KIDDING!)

[Hawaii! Is starring on Flickr!]

OK Internet, here is my debut. I’m already resigned to the fact that it’s going to be subpar. Oh, I know Maggie’s talked me up a little, but “heck” she doesn’t REALLY know what she’s getting herself into. The only writing of mine that she’s ever reviewed are the instant messages that we used to exchange all the work-long days before one of my micro-managing bosses moved my desk into his office not three from his and started watching me like a hawk.

So, as Maggie is FINALLY receiving a notice in her inbox that Sean has FINALLY written SOMETHING that she may be able to post to “mighty maggie” after she’s been hounding me for weeks on end, I must tell you that it’s really taken me this long to just choose something to write about. I mean come on Internet, everyone wants to make a good first impression, right? Or are you all more forgiving than I anticipate? Just promise me you’ll be gentle this first time…

Consequently, I ran through a myriad of ideas in my mind over what to write about. Literally, it’s like a merry-go-round in there – “…maybe I’ll write about This. No, how about That. No, That-Other-Thing would be better. But then again, This might’ve been a good choice. However, That does have the benefit of going in a certain direction…” – all until I started feeling like Abbot & Costello doing their “Who’s on First” bit. Sheesh.

Well, I never settled on an idea. It just kind of came to me last night before going to bed. As I was brushing my teeth these thoughts started going through my head. (If only I was able harness the creativity that seems to flow through my noggin when I’m taking part in hygienic activities I’d have a million blog entries already…) I decided that I’d just write about work. Everybody works, everybody can relate. Right? Sort of. (Just wait ‘til you read…) But because I was on my way to bed at 1:30 AM I thought that maybe making a few notes would be most prudent since I obviously wasn’t going to sit down and write the blog then.

Let’s get to it, Internet! I hate my job! Can I get a “hell yee-ah” from anyone out there in cyberspace? I hate my job with a passion. Oh sure, I have some good days that make me think maybe I could stick around, but I quickly come to my senses. Don’t believe any of my friends if they tell you that I’ve not yet come to my senses. I have, oh, I assuredly have. They’ll tell you “Sean’s back at the same ‘ol Crappy Job again that he left over two years ago to go back to school. He’s never going to quit.” I did go back to school – to study something totally unrelated – but, it’s true, I am back at my Crappy Job. I was only supposed to be there until February 2006, but I’m still there at my Crappy Job. Honestly, I’m just waiting for that end of the year bonus before I cut and run. I promise. Shhh. Don’t tell my employer though, OK? Now you all can keep me to my promise.

I’ve done some thinking. A lot of thinking about what I’d rather do. Obviously, it’d be to pursue the career that I left the Crappy Job for in the first place. Said career would be graphic design. That’s all well and good, but it’s really a story for another time. What I’d prefer to focus on is a job that, I think, would be much more enjoyable.


Not that Superman had any CHOICE in the fact that his planet exploded and his parents sent him away in a little space ship as a baby which then crash-landed on a planet with a yellow sun thereby rendering him super strong only to be found by a couple that would raise him as their own until he grew up and moved to the big city to become a journalist-by-day and superhero-by-night.

I would, however, CHOOSE to be Superman. Why, you might wonder? Well, maybe you don’t wonder. I’m sure there are many out there who share my same sentiments – probably mostly those of the masculine gender. As I gaze upon the Superman statue that adorns the top of my television I think I’d like to be The Man of Steel for a few of, but not limited to, the following reasons:

  1. I could open my beer without a bottle opener (the ones that AREN’T twist-off for those of you whose initial response was that I must really be a weakling.)
  2. I could sleep in until the last minute and still make it on time to everywhere I need to be, and dressed to the nines.
  3. I wouldn’t have to worry about commuting time. Or contributing to global warming.
  4. I could fly to Europe to vacation in Tuscany at a moments notice without the expense or time it takes to fly on a commercial airline.
  5. I could become a World Dictator and make everyone get along.

The biggest reason that I’d like to be Superman, however, is because I wouldn’t have to work. Oh sure, Superman works. Remember, he’s a journalist-by-trade, Clark Kent. But does he really HAVE to work? I’m sure that being at the Daily Planet allows him to remain “informed,” and to keep up on late-breaking tragedies that require his attention, but, again, does he NEED to work? Does he require money to buy hip threads? Does he need cash to pay for food? I’ve considered these points very delicately and have come to the conclusion that the answer in both cases is, indeed, a simple “no.”

Who would disagree that Superman is always sporting stylish threads. And especially now since he’s Returned after being away for so long. There’s really nothing further to discuss on this point. And that conveniently segues into my next point. He’s been away for soooooo long. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t yet seen the new movie. And as a big Superman fan I should be ashamed. But I’ve heard the general plot. Superman goes to find his old planet of Krypton, and while he’s gone earth feels that it’s been abandoned by The Man of Steel, so much so that Lois Lane writes a story about why they don’t need him anyhow. So, Superman must’ve been gone for a FREAKIN’ LONG TIME. Now we must analyze just how he chose to get to Krypton? Did he take a space ship that could carry LOTS of supplies, including food? No. Why would he when he could most likely fly much faster? Moving on. Did he strap on a SuperBackpack that could carry SuperClif Bars? Of course not. Duh! There’s no such thing as SuperBackpacks and SuperClif bars! Did he take nothing to eat which confirms my idea that Superman doesn’t need a job to pay for food because he can leave earth for a FREAKIN’ LONG TIME and doesn’t need to eat anything for sustenance. I THINK SO! Then again, I suppose he could eat asteroids and not break his teeth, or he might’ve stopped off for a rare steak at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In any case, you all must agree that the evidence is there. Superman does not need a job. And, therefore, if I could be Superman I wouldn’t need to have a regular job either. Just being Superman would be job enough. Heck, it wouldn’t even seem like a job.

Now I just have to figure out how to be reincarnated as the newborn son of an brilliant scientist on a planet far away that will agree to send me to earth in a space capsule as soon as our planet shows signs of exploding. Got any ideas Internet?

Miss me?

I am here:


Also here:


And then it was all just so exhausting I had to go here:


So, it may have RAINED today, which you'd think I get enough of at home, but whatever. (Although this is weird rain- warm, light, like continually receiving the sprinkling rite at church- and everyone is still walking around in their halter tops and tiny shorts in the rain, but STILL. Could we please do away with the rain? As I am going snorkeling tomorrow and would like to concentrate on not drowning rather than sucking up to the sun gods.)

I've been feeling like Annie in the musical. When Daddy Warbucks brings her to his mansion and she starts belting: I think I'm gonna like it heeeeeere!

More later. My friend The Task Master The Local is insisting we get to Hanauma Bay by 7:30 in the morning and my body thinks it's 1 am. Time for a macadamia chocolate or two and then off to bed!

Aaaaand the freak out begins.

Even though I pride myself on my tremendous ability to do 400 things at once, I am sort of in huge denial terrified of sick to my stomach about overwhelmed by the number of things I have to get done before we leave Thursday morning. The kind of overwhelmed where you think you cannot possibly get everything done, so instead of trying to whittle down the pile the week before, you do things like go to housewarming parties and see movies and watch six episodes of House and bake cookies and attend the mini-pre-birthday get together your best friends have arranged in your honor. Because those things are FUN.

Yesterday we tried to balance out the work with the fun. We both worked late (Me! Work late!) and put a deposit on our future automobile (work) and took Katie out for dinner and a birthday movie (fun). Some of you possibly think that signing over your right arm in exchange for an automobile that will be delivered no earlier than October is fun, but no, car dealerships are never fun places. Especially when you can't even hope to dicker with the dealer because everyone in your hippie granola city wants one of these environmentalist-pleasing Dar Williams-approved cars and the dealer knows that if you don't want to give your right arm, it won't be too hard to find someone else who will. Anyway, I'll warn you right now that the tributes to the Beloved Automobile will be fast coming these next few months, before he is replaced by the New Car and unceremoniously handed over to Katie who is somewhat frightened of owning a vehicle that starts burping scary white smoke in the middle of a bridge.

But October? Gah. Please pray for the vehicle we need to trade in to make the New Car even remotely affordable. Because having to wait until October pretty much seals the deal on our chances of getting into a horrible accident, don't you think? And a totalled trade in means driving the gas guzzling behemoth Beloved Automobile until I'm 95.

Unfortunately, all that's left is the un-fun things. Boo. Like finishing the laundry that's been sitting on the upstairs landing for a week. Packing. (Packing! I haven't even THOUGHT about packing!) Agonizing over what to bring my friend's parents- Washington wine? Cleaning up the kitchen. Dusting the floors so we don't come back and think we are living with PigPen. Buying sunscreen. Taking all the stuff I'm giving to Goodwill down to the car. Printing out all the airplane and hotel stuff, asking the ATM for a truckload of cash, finding my Lonely Planet Oahu book. Writing out TiVo directions for my sister who will housesit and water the plants. Deciding whether or not to bring my hairdryer.

Most of all, I need to get the spare bedroom ready for this fat little thing:


Her parents decided to visit at the exact same time we will be in Hawaii. Coincidence? Or smart planning? They get in late Wednesday night so I have about six hours to hog the baby and smother her with sloppy aunt kisses before I give her up and tell her not to eat my stuffed animals and get on my plane to paradise.

Until then I have to somehow get myself back into Geek Mode because now that I'm about to leave on vacation, the BaneOfMyExistence Organization has suddenly discovered the existence of their database and they are SO excited about this and are now demanding three dozen reports by this afternoon. I hate them. And the programming synapses, they are not firing...

ETA: TypePad just got around to inviting shmucks like me to try Vox. You mean I can start ANOTHER personal website? Bye bye Tuesday.