**WARNING: super-long entry to follow**
Was it just me, or did this past year FLY by?
The past year was filled with ups (a new car! A treadmill! I woke up breathing all 365 days!) and downs (good-bye to Aunt Florence, Uncle Bobby and Aunt Rachel).
As I transfer all of the birthdays, anniversaries and eyebrow waxing appointments into my shiny new 2008 calendar, I’m having a good time reading and reminiscing about everything that happened in 2007.
Ah, my tap class.
My friend Anne and I had danced together when we were younger, and even though neither one of us had strapped on tap shoes in the last 15 years, it seemed like a great idea to take an adult tap class together ("What a great way to exercise! I’ll work my leg muscles! I’ll lose weight!").
We took tap classes for 13 years…we were sure it would all come back to us, right?
The good news was, no one else signed up for the class, so there was no one there to laugh at us.
The bad news was, my feet no longer moved as swiftly as they used to. And my memory wasn’t what it used to be (she had to go over the warm-up every week with us because we couldn’t remember it. Hey, it’s her JOB to remember the warm-up…you don’t see me asking her to remember the registered trademarks for Subway® sandwiches and exactly which surfaces you cannot use Lysol® AND the warm-up, do you?)
In week five the instructor (who was younger than we were) asked: “Do you remember your time steps?”
Absolutely! LOVE time steps! I show off my single time step. Then I do my double. I end with a little STOMP STOMP for emphasis.
“Great!” Perky instructor praises me. “Now let’s add a triple time step to the single and double, insert a break for each one, and do it up to tempo.” She demonstrates and ends with her own little “ta-da!”.
Hmm…it seems my only excitement in the month of February was a bikini wax and the return of The Amazing Race on TV.
Oh, and I had pants shortened (that no longer fit me, I’m sure).
(in my best Kathie Lee Gifford imitation singing voice):
See me now, aboard a Fun Ship cruise…”
Then they would see me trapped on a big-ass boat, surrounded by 800 Parrotheads. (Yes, I’m referring to Jimmy Buffet fans. Yes, they were on my ship. Yes, they were annoying after the first 23 minutes on board.)
For a week I watched people my parents’ age drink too much and wear too little. I swore I’d jump overboard if I heard “Margaritaville” one more time.
And I was worried about what I’d look like in a bathing suit in the middle of winter (pasty white appearance, remaining evidence of holiday indulgences, weird dry winter skin). Next to those Parrotheads, I looked GOOD.
HB to me! (33...ugh)
HB to Mom! (33 plus 28)
Got a promotion at work!
Now I was basically doing the same amount of work, but getting paid a little more.
Respect I received from other people remained the same (at zero, btw).
Worst. Driving Story. Ever.
It would be 2009 by the time I actually recapped all of the ridiculousness that ensued on my drive from a new business pitch in Salisbury, Maryland to a video shoot in Richmond, Virginia.
Instead, I’ll give you the highlights (I guess you can consider these the highlights of the highlights from May, 2007):
Thursday, May 10
4:30pm: Leave new business pitch with coworkers on rented mini van (for more company-related horrific stories please see “Christmas Nightmares Part III: Holiday Dinner With Clients” down below)
5:30pm: coworkers drop me at Hertz rent-a-car in the Salisbury airport (and by airport, I mean a deserted runway with tumbleweeds).
6pm: I make small talk with the rental car guy, I sign for rental car (watch out! I’m driving an Impala!) and GPS navigation system and hop behind the wheel. Car has a bench front seat, which reminds me of my mother’s 1976 Gremlin. The gear shift is on the dashboard. I program the GPS, secure it to the windshield, and I’m off!
6:15pm: Finally make my way out of the rental car parking lot after missing the turn and having to completely loop around the entire parking lot. TWICE.
Number of people I’ve seen since getting to the airport: 1 (the super-perky rental car guy).
6:30pm: I’m on the road! The nice GPS lady (whom I’ve named Flo) has informed me that my estimated arrival time is 9:30pm. I think I can hold off eating and peeing until I arrive.
7:00pm. Flo informs me of “Severe traffic ahead”. She politely suggests I take an alternate route.
Now, I am a GPS novice, and shame on me for not trusting Flo. But I was too afraid to hit the “Alternate Route” button and find myself in seedy sections of Maryland.
Flo was right. I HAD to find an alternate route, because the bridge I needed to cross (read: the only way out of Maryland and in the direction in which I needed to go) was closed indefinitely due to a really bad accident. When I got the base of the bridge, people were standing outside of their vehicles. Not a good sign.
7:30pm: I watch my arrival time advance. 9:40pm. 9:44pm. 9:50pm.
7:45pm: I suddenly have to pee. Badly.
7:46pm: I bite the bullet and press the “Alternate Route” button. Flo informs me that she’s “recalculating”. Then she tells me that my estimated arrival time is 1:10am.
8:03pm: I’ve reversed directions and am on a new route to Richmond.
8:11pm: Roads are severely dark.
8:17pm: I spot the Golden Arches. I stop to pee and grab a cheeseburger and a Coke, all the while watching the rental car filled with my stuff and GPS (hey, I have NO idea where I am. I’m not even on a highway, just a route. I could be in Abductlostwomentown for all I know)
8:40pm: Stage 1 of driving around in unknown territory: utter disbelief.
“Really? Really? The bridge is CLOSED?” I ask outloud to no one in particular 23 times.
8:51pm: Stage 2 of driving around in unknown territory: anger.
“Really? Really? The FUCKING bridge is CLOSED?”
8:58pm: Stage 3 of driving around in unknown territory: despair.
9:03pm: Stage 4 of driving around in unknown territory: delusion.
((uncontrolled, mad-woman-esque laughter))
9:30pm: I see a sign for I-95.
Relief! Something I recognize.
Frustration! I think I’m at the base of New Jersey.
(I contemplate driving home to Connecticut and hopping on a plane to Richmond in the morning)
9:47pm: Roadwork. Traffic. Tick Tock.
10:16pm: I find solace on the radio with Delilah (seriously, she’s been through more shit than everyone on earth combined. how can I let a little detour on a road trip rattle me?).
11:15pm: Hey, there’s the Washington Monument. Hi, George!
12:22am: Highway sign reads: Richmond 90 miles.
(Um, that’s like 90 minutes. Flo has me arriving in like 40 minutes. Math was never my strongsuit.)
1:02am: I realize that my co-workers have made it back to Connecticut (count them: five states away) before I made it to Richmond (count them: two states away).
1:10am: I have not arrived. Arrival time STILL says 1:10am. Weird.
1:27am: Still driving.
1:35am: Have to pee again.
1:37am: Ooh! The BeeGees!
1:46am: Still driving.
2:11am: Arrive at hotel.
Check-in. Ask for 6:30am wake-up call.
(Hey, afterall, I was there to work).
Am dead tired. Inspect GPS. Seems Flo was set to the Central time zone. Awesome.
You know it was a slow month when the highlight was a trip back down to Salisbury, MD (Yeah! We won the business!) where I spent 3 days submersed in Chickenland (aka: Perdue headquarters).
We visited the Hatchery (ooh! cute and fuzzy chicks!), the Grow Out Farm (yikes! 20,000 chickens in one room….walking over my feet!) and then the plant (wow! so THAT’S what the defeathering machine does!)
And, sadly, we said good-bye to Aunt Florence.
What better way to welcome summer than with a root canal? THAT was awesome. And so was the not-so-temporary crown they put on that ended up in a million pieces when it fell off of my tooth and ended up in the saliva-coated mound of everything bagel I had in my mouth.
Also saw Michael Bublé at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. Awesome show. He’s very charismatic, that one. Made me understand how women fall for musicians. I was THIS CLOSE to becoming a groupie.
Sadly, my Uncle Bobby passed away. He had been diagnosed with cancer about 4 years earlier, went through treatment and seemed to be in the clear.
But that’s what’s so scary about cancer. Just when you think you’re doing okay, it sneaks back up on you. No matter how many donations, walks or T-shirts there are, cancer has a mind of its own.
Real life can be really scary sometimes.
(Oh, I also got a haircut.)
The Newport House! We rented a house in Newport, Rhode Island for the month with my friends Tracey and Leigh. The locations was great (a short walk to restaurants and bars) and, miraculously, September was filled with sunshine and 80-degree weekends.
I love Newport. I would live there if I could. Of course, if I lived there, I would have to hold a Newport-ish job, like selling T-shirts on Thames Street, selling sunset booze cruise tickets or giving guided mansion tours (Just like Disney – only fewer Brazilian tour groups!).
The month started with a company trip to Tennessee to celebrate our second birthday and the opening of our newest office in downtown Nashville (read: two days of boring classes and team-building activities).
Guess what October is like in Nashville?
Luckily, yours truly is an avid researcher/Googler/crazy-person so upon previewing the impending heat I was smart enough to pack shorts and a tank top. So when we were all running around the city on a scavenger hunt, I was sweating half the amount as other people. (And btw, I had the WORST team. THE WORST. One girl in particular from the LA Office has made my list of Top 20 people whom I can’t stand, and we only spent those few brief hours together, so kudos to her).
On our second night there we had a party at this big bar. We were on the second floor that overlooked the first floor and a massive stage. You’ll never guess what concert was going to be there night?
REO Speedwagon! (Are you hearing yourself say to yourself, “REO Speedwagon? I didn’t even know they were still alive!”).
If I had a chance to talk to Mr. REO, I would have gladly told him that he should no longer wear leather pants. (Seriously.)
And in my second attempt of the year to get in shape (twice the number of attempts compared to last year!), I took a pilates class. Lots of stretching and laying around on a mat, little sweating or calorie burning. I pretty much could have gotten the same results from sitting on my couch. (So that's what I've been doing instead, obviously)
And you know what I hadn’t had in a while? Car drama! Yep, this is the month everything goes terribly wrong with the Passat, and car bills spiral out of control.
(Please refer to past posts for the gory details)
Changed the clocks!
Picked up my new car!
What a crazy month, filled with holiday parties with clients, Christmas shopping and learning how to make my mom’s famous pignoli cookies (totally rocked them, btw).
And, sadly, we said good-bye to Aunt Rachel just a few days before Christmas.
Now, Rachel was my husband’s great aunt. She was 95 years old, had a 24/7 live-in caretaker from Jamaica named Diane and she was NOT a nice lady. Plus, she was on the what you would call the “stingy” side. She would sit in the dark and deny Diane the pleasure of television because she didn’t want to pay for the electricity.
At her wake, Diane sat front and center in the receiving line between my mother-in-law and Rachel’s sister. She just sat there and cried and cried, big old tears streaming down her cheeks. This amazed me because I knew for a fact that Rachel and Diane didn’t get along at all. They fought constantly and Diane took lots of vacations.
Anyway, at the end of the wake my mother-in-law walked a sobbing Diane out to the parking lot to say good-bye. She thanked her for coming and for all of her hard work and patience with Rachel.
Then, tears gone instantaneously, Diane asks my mother-in-law: “Do you think I could have the TV that was in Margaret’s room?”
Can’t make it up, folks!
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2008!