Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Um, Wow

I'm all for being green. Hey, I even use those meshy bags when I'm grocery shopping. I even return beer bottles. Woo hoo, Environment!

But I am having a hard time with this:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Soda-Bottle-Candy-Dish

Can you imagine coming over to my house, or sitting at my desk, and seeing that ugly-ass thing? I don't think you'd praise me for being environmentally conscious, I think you'd worry about my sanity.

OR, maybe you wouldn't even NOTICE that this was the bottom of a soda bottle disguised as a candy dish because of the pretty pink ribbon tied around it.

And hopefully wouldn't slice your wrist on the jagged plastic rim when reaching for a delicious candy (have you ever tried cutting a soda bottle? that plastic is sharp, man!).

Maybe I'm being too cynical. Maybe – just maybe – I've found the answer to my lack of Christmas gifts this year. Not only am I giving to family and friends, I'll be giving back to the environment, as well.

Let's see...what else can I make with a soda bottle?

A jewelry box?

A dog's water bowl?

A pot for a mini herb garden?

Someone bring me some scissors and a liter of Coke!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Least Favorite Pair Of Genes

Everyone thinks I look like my father (except my Grandmother, who tells everyone that I look exactly like her). And I definitely inherited my hips from his side of the family (thanks, Dad, for making it really, really hard to find pants that fit!).

But I have to thank my mom for giving me her Insomnia Genes.

There’s nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night, and NEVER FALLING BACK TO SLEEP.

Take the other night, for example. I woke up at 3:30am. For good. (seriously, that’s not even a time NEAR the morning).

So here’s what my day has been like so far:

It’s 3:30 in the morning. The entire neighborhood is asleep. It’s really, really dark out.

And it’s too quiet.

I peek at the clock.

3:37.

Boy, am I hungry. Of course I know there nothing in the house to eat. But chicken parm would be so good right now. Or meatloaf. Or macaroni and cheese.

3:42.

Will my mother like that quilted vest that I got her? Will she wear it? It would look good with jeans and a sweater. Should I not have gotten her the red? Should I have gone with the gray instead? What am I thinking, regardless of the color, she’s totally going to return it.

3:48.

Ugg. I don’t want to use the treadmill this morning. My body is just way too tired. But doesn’t it make sense to use it, since I’m up? Maybe I’ll fall back to sleep and miss out on my treadmill time.

3:55.

I see headlights in the street. Who is driving by at this hour? Only crazy people are up at this hour. Um, right.

4:15.

Well, it’s almost been an hour. I’m pretty convinced I’m not going to fall back to sleep. Vito, however, is able to sleep peacefully, completely unaware of my wide-awakedness, sharing my pillow and emitting deep, contented sighs.

4:38

Did I pay the cable bill?

4:49

If I wake up this early every day for the rest of my life, I’m going to be one tired woman.

5:01

NOW it’s almost an acceptable time of the morning. I COULD get up and use the treadmill.

5:23

Yep. I’m going to fall asleep any minute now. I can just feel it. Totally concentrating on sleep. Letting my whole body relax. Just letting the sleep come over me. Any minute now I’ll be asleep. Deep breaths. Oh yeah, I'm tired now. Can hardly stay awake. Just about drifting off...

5:48

Sleep is SO close! Maybe I AM sleeping, and I'm only dreaming about not being able to sleep.

Cue alarm clock and annoying radio morning show host.

I will not open my eyes. I. Will. Not. Open. My. Eyes.

I open one eye: 6:01.

Time to get up.


(Note: I did not use the treadmill on this particular day.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Haunted House Of Porn

I’m pretty sure our house is haunted. It’s an old colonial, with lots of drafts and creaky floorboards. And I don’t think we live there alone.

For instance, one night the CD player in the living room went on at 12:30 ALL BY ITSELF. I was letting Vito in the back door when I randomly heard Frank Sinatra crooning in the other room. FREAKY.

I also think our downstairs television is possessed. We’ll be watching a show and suddenly will hear these weird, eerie voices. The voices have nothing to do with the show, and they aren’t from some other show, either. It scares the crap out of me.

New development: these spooky voices are also pornographic.

Two quotes from the creepy TV voices last night:

“I’m looking for Dr. Sausage”

AND

“I’m wearing a strap-on dildo”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Nightmares Part III: Holiday Dinner With Clients

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

Monday, 1pm
Connecticut

Tonight we are taking one of our clients out for dinner for the holidays. Nice, right? Well, they are located in New Jersey, so that’s where we’re headed.

In an effort for everyone to travel together, and so that everyone can imbibe and enjoy themselves, my company has hired a van to drive us roundtrip. It has a wet bar, lights that change color and a bathroom – everything a party van needs besides a dancer's pole (which would have been put to use as the evening progressed – more on that later).

With the worry of driving in someone else's hands, I am ready to party.

I start the night off with a pomegranate cosmopolitan. It was pink and fruity and went down like water...the best combination for a drink if you ask me.

The clients are late. So I have another.

Really do these people have watches? I absolutely must have another until they get there.


Three cosmos in and the clients have arrived. Time for appetizers! And a glass of Pinot Noir!

I wash the first glass of Pinot down with another, and a small slice of bread.

We’re having fun, now!

I’m making small talk with the client and the conversations are flowing as smoothly as the vino.

Our dinners arrive and so does my third Pinot. MMMM.

The night wraps up around 10:30 or so and we all pile back onto the party van. I have a full belly and a good buzz as we make our way back to the highway.

When we pull into a gas station I don’t really think anything of it, until I see the hood of the van open.

Shit.

The President of the company is out there with the bus driver, taking a look at things. No offense, but I don’t think that a marketing agency President is going to be able to fix our van. Instead he comes back with this: “Turns out we have a broken fan belt and can’t drive the bus. A replacement bus will be here at 1am. Who’s going to go and get beer?”

Half an hour later, Jeff returns with two six packs and two bottles of corked wine. Let the party begin!

I spend the next two hours drinking, playing a very G-rated (thank God) version of “I Never”, attempting charades (seriously, who was going to correctly guess “Bridge To Terabithia”? I mean, have these people ever played charades before?), and painting the girls’ nails.

Surprisingly, time flies. (Guess I was having fun. Who knew?)


An identical twin to our broken bachelorette van arrives promptly at 1am. We gather up all of all belongings (leaving behind dirty napkins, empty beer and wine bottles and some people’s dignity) and hop on the new van. I assume the same seat on the bus; close to the front so I can see out the windshield and hopefully avoid motion sickness.

We are ready to go we see the drivers open up the hood of the new van. We MUST be on candid camera. Where's Allen Funt hiding, in the bathroom?

Then, to make things worse, the driver starts up and moves the first van. WTF? I thought that one was broken? If someone tells me we’ve been sitting in an On The Run gas station parking lot in the middle of New Jersey (aka, the Armpit Of America) for the last two hours I am seriously going to lose my f*ing mind.


Higher powers sense my stress and the drivers close the hood and join us on the van. We start her up and we’re off!

It is an hour and a half drive back to the office. I am ready for a nap. But I have no chance of falling asleep, because:

1. The bus driver has developed lead foot and we are traveling at lightning speed to get back to Connecticut (I attempt to avoid car sickness but every time I peek out the windshield I either see our van barely avoiding sideswiping another car or moving quite freely and accidentally veering over the white lines of our lane. Basically, I am more afraid of watching us die than vomiting, so I stop looking)

2. The radio is loud. Ear-piercing loud. Volume is on 10 out of 10. Oh, and for some reason NO radio stations want to come in, so we are listening to dance songs mixed with static. Did I mention it was loud?

3. Our van turned into a dance club. “Where was there room for dancing?” you might ask? Well, there’s PLENTY of room for dancing in the two-foot-wide aisle that runs between the seats. And there’s even MORE room for dancing when one of the girls is suspended in the air, holding the railings above her head with her legs wrapped around a dude’s waist. You can actually save lots of dance floor space this way.

4. People keep falling on me. Apparently, after a loooong night of drinking, it’s hard to keep your balance when you’re boogieing in a van that’s careening down the highway at 80mph. There is a possibility that you will lose your balance a little, and fall down like dominoes onto the laps of those not dancing (Hi! Ouch! That was my f*ing foot, asshole) and then onto the dirty van floor in a pile.

We make two quick pit stops before we’re back at the office. The first is to let the President out in Stamford at his car, and the second is two exits later to let off the driver of the rescue van (who, btw, rode the whole way back sitting on the steps of the van while our original driver took the reigns) at the end of the exit ramp in the middle of nowhere.

When we finally pull into the company parking lot at 2:30am, I am exhausted. The bus driver appears to be a combination of tired/incredulous/pissed off, so I try to cheer him up a bit.

Me: “Thanks for everything and getting us back here safely.”

Him: “You’re welcome. I’m really sorry for what happened.”

Me: “Why are you sorry? You didn’t break the belt. Did you break the belt, Felix?”

Him: “No! I didn’t break the belt!”

Me: “Then no worries. Stuff like this happens.”

What a relief to get into my (extremely cold) car. I feel the fatigue take over my body and I put the key in the ignition.

I don’t even want to think about the 45 minute drive that I still had to make home, on a very curvy highway with no lights that is littered with deer. Or my alarm going off in a few hours.

I. Must. Get. To. Bed.

((btw, so you know I'm not entirely crazy, there was NO treadmill for me the following morning))

Things You (Thankfully) Don't Hear Everyday

In an email from my friend Tracey who works in a hospital:

"There were a lot of animal sacrifices here yesterday and today and I’m exhausted."

(Even after the crazy week I've had at work, this sort of puts things in perspective and makes me appreciate my job.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Reunited, And It Feels So...Weird

I saw an old college roommate this weekend that I hadn’t seen in 10 years.

How is it that 10 years could feel both so short and so long ago at the same time?

Like, it seems like just yesterday that we were stumbling around the Caves – a wooded area filled next to campus – clutching our keg cups looking for a private place to pee.
(In retrospect, ridiculously drunk college kids + oversized, jagged rocks + a bonfire does NOT seem like the smartest combination)

And it seems like forever ago that I was 23, working for a puzzle publisher, making $22K and living with my parents.

So I wasn’t surprised to have mixed feelings when I ran into Kristen at a mini college reunion.

I mean, in the back of my mind, I KNEW she was going to be there. I knew her husband was invited, that they knew the owner of the bar, that they hung out there every once in a while.

And when she saw us, roommates she hasn’t spoken to in a decade, she felt the same way. I could see it on her face.

There’s nothing more awkward than making small talk with someone with whom you shared four very important years of your life. It’s sort of like running into an ex-boyfriend, except that you have every reason to hate the guy standing in front of you. I had no reason to hate Kristen. In fact, seeing her made me sad that we hadn’t kept in touch.

But here was a girl with whom we shared heartaches, deep secrets and way too many beers. We were there when she was homesick, when Kevin broke her heart, and when she got too drunk and sang “Short Dick Man” at the top of her lungs to an ex-hookup.

We stuck by her when seniors wanted to kick her ass, when her crazy mother called 11 times in a row, and when she needed to be carried home on her 21st birthday.

And here she was, our good old college friend, standing in front of us like a total stranger.

Our small talk went something like this:

Me: “Hi! How ARE you?”

Her: “I’m doing great! We have a 10 month old at home.”

Me: “Wow – congratulations!”

Her: “What are you up to?”

Me: “Oh, living in Connecticut and working, that’s about it.”

((horrendously awkward long moment of silence))

Her: “Life is good for me.”

Me: “That’s really great – awesome to hear.”

Her: “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.”

Me: “Yeah, wow, I know – me neither.”

I swear – I’m super articulate and really good at making small talk.

As the evening progressed (and we kept drinking) catching up became easier. Of course, I can only remember half of what we talked about.

And at the end of the night, when we were both liquored up, we swapped emails and promised to keep in touch.

In the cab on the way home, my friends and I recapped the evening, and how weird it was seeing our old roommate Kristen.

Me: “Think we’ll hear from her?”

Tracey: “Not a shot in hell.”

Why kid ourselves, right?

Question.

How is it possible, that after I’ve started using my treadmill (2 days in a row!), my clothes are TIGHTER than they were before?

Seems Auntie Fat Thighs is taking her time leaving town.



Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Nightmares Part II: New People I Can't Stand

Man Searching For Cell Phone Service In Macy’s

It’s obvious that this man does not want to be in a mall. He’d much rather be at home on the couch, watching football. He does not want to be standing in the ladies’ accessories department at Macy’s with his wife and two daughters.

So instead, he whips out his cell phone.

Here’s what I hear:

“Hello? Hey – it’s me…What? No, wait…Is that better? What’s goin’ on? How about now? Yeah, I can’t…What’s the spread?”

He’s oblivious to everyone around him – including Yours Truly.

I am trying to get around him by guessing in which direction he's going to move. I step left he moves left, I maneuver right, he sways right.

We appear to be doing a loose interpretation of the tango between the Michael Kors handbags and Clarins counter.

When it seems there will be no break in our endless dancing, I charge forward, triumphantly catching him in the groin with the corner of my shopping bag.

I turn and smile sweetly at him. "Oh, I'm SO VERY sorry."


Chatty Intimate Apparel Saleswomen

My mother wants a new bathrobe for Christmas. I make it my mission to pick out a robe that she won’t return (which is difficult because most of the time when you buy something for my mother you are just setting yourself up for failure) and try on every robe in the store.

When I finally pick out a robe I am suffering terribly from static cling, shocking myself with everything that I touch along the way.

I put my robe on the counter (zzzt! shock) and take out my wallet (zzzt! shock).

IA Lady 1: “What a nice robe.”

Me: “It’s for my mom, I hope she likes it.”

IA Lady 2: “Moms can be the hardest people to buy for.”

IA Lady 1: “Tell me about it. A few years ago my family all pitched in and bought my mother new appliances.”

Me: “What a great gift!”

I reach in my bag for my coupon (zzzt! shock) and hand it over.

IA Lady 1: “Yeah, the only thing we didn’t get her then was a dishwasher. Can you believe she had never had one?”

Me: “Does she have one now?”

IA Lady 1: “She’s dead.”

Um, wow. So THIS is what these sneakers taste like.


Clueless Salesguy In Men’s Designer Collections

I used to work in retail. I worked for a big department store called Filene’s, that was eventually bought out by a big company called Macy’s.

One of my responsibilities was writing the exclusions on the coupons, and ensuring that the right exclusions were on the right coupon, on the right day for the right percentage. Horrendously tedious work, but I loved it. **

I still take the role of coupon guru very seriously, and they are usually the first thing I read when I get any sort of coupon on the mail. I never want to be standing somewhere trying to use a coupon when right there in black and white it says I can’t use it on the grammy panties I'm planning to buy.

Men’s Collections are usually always excluded from the coupons. It has something to do with the vendor, and designer stuff being sold at certain prices, and having to stick to a rigid discount schedule, blah, blah, blah.

About 4 times a year, however, there are special coupons that are valid on Designer Collections. This was one of the times, so I marched up to the register with some Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein duds for my dad for Christmas.

It seemed my salesguy was less-than-thrilled to be working that night. Which is why I think he gave me attitude.

I put my stuff on the counter (sans warm, holiday greeting from him) and as I reach into my bag for my coupon he sighs. Loudly.

Salesguy: “Your coupon isn’t valid on this designer stuff.”

Oh, really?

That’s funny, I haven’t even taken my coupon out of my bag yet.

Me: “I think this one is.” Fake it’s-the-holidays-and-I-know-my-shit smile plastered to my face.

To his credit, there is more than one coupon valid this particular weekend. There’s the standard coupon (with Men’s Designer Collections excluded) and the super-special coupon (valid on all of the stuff I have on the counter!), which I have.

Salesguy: “I don’t think so. Not on this stuff.”

Okay. Here’s the thing: I understand how you could THINK that the coupon I have isn’t going to work, however, I have not even retrieved my coupon from my bag yet. You haven’t even read it. You haven’t even seen that it’s the super-special one that includes almost everything.

Me (forcing a losing-my-patience laugh): “Why don’t we just try it.”

Whammo! I place my coupon on the counter, in all its hardly-any-exclusions-at-all glory.

He ignores me and starts ringing in my stuff.

Okay. Deep breath. He can still scan the coupon afterwards and the register will work its magic.

I pick up my coupon and shove it at him, between his face and the register screen.

Me: “Don’t forget this!” I sing cheerily.

FINALLY he looks up. At my coupon. He raises his eyebrows. Yes, it’s THAT coupon, asshole.

Ring. It. In.

**Loser Alert: I used to find extreme satisfaction in proofing a direct mail catalogue and discovering that furniture should actually be excluded from the coupon (not merely called out at a 10% discount) because that particular coupon is valid during the Lowest Prices Of The Season Furniture event.**

**Just When You Thought I Couldn’t Be Any More Of A Loser Alert: Right before I left the company I was awarded the President’s Award For Outstanding Service. This was a big deal because very rarely did anyone in advertising get this award (usually only people in the buying offices received it). Not only that, but the fact that a creative got the award was unheard of. So when the President was talking a little bit about me and what I do, I think he said, “Her big job is making sure all of our coupons are correct and the exclusions are right.” (The fact that I ran the entire copy department, got 60 direct mail catalogs out every year and made sure our ads ran in 80 newspapers across eastern US was a close second, I’m sure)**
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