Well, you guys, a lot has happened since I last posted. The first and most important (to me, anyway) is my decision to discontinue grad school.
I feel many things as a result of this decision: disappointment, guilt, anger, frustration… but the overarching emotion is relief. When I say I had no free time between work and grad school, I literally mean I had literally zero minutes free to myself. Literally.
It was awful, stressful and—ultimately—not worth it.
As much as I enjoyed the classes and material, the work involved was just too much with my already stressful job. Although writing about bras and panties may seem like a cakewalk (I assume this is a sidewalk made of cake, yes?) think of it this way: I work in the marketing department for one of the biggest brands in the world. For those who don’t know/care what marketing is, let me sum it up in one sentence. My department is responsible for making sure ladies keep buying the aforementioned bras and panties. Millions of dollars are spent enticing ladies to spend their dollars on our sexy wares.
In short, it’s stressful as hell.
So. Yeah. Grad school had to go bye-bye.
But, as someone who always has to be doing something (ADD, anyone?) I had to figure out what my next goal should be. So I’ve decided to focus on my freelance writing career. Again.
This means (for me) pitching ideas to magazines and online publications, as well as finallyyyyyy finishing my book.
The problem with this plan is that while grad school was super-stressful, at least it had established deadlines. Because, believe it or not, I am not the best at self-motivation.
I apologize for your broken jaw, as I’m sure the velocity at which your jaw hit the floor after reading that statement was quite jarring.
So I need y’all to motivate me. Just constantly be like, “How’s your book coming?” and “So, have you been published yet?” or “I’ve been looking for your book on Kindle. What do you do all day, anyway?”
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: you may get punched in the throat. But you will motivate me to stop watching reruns of The Simpsons and write. So really, everyone wins.
Well, I had quite the harrowing experience today. Or something that could have been harrowing, had it actually happened. So I guess it wasn’t really an “experience” in the traditional sense. Basically nothing happened today. But if you didn’t want to read about a non-event written in an overly dramatic fashion, then you came to the wrong place, my friend.
Okay, here’s what happened.
I was enjoying the beautiful morning on my front porch, because apparently I am eighty years old. I had a full cup of coffee in my hand and a nice fat book on my lap and was all set to enjoy both.
I looked across the cul-de-sac to see my cat Emo trotting at a brisk pace toward me. I greeted her cordially; pleased she took a break from her fight club or breakdancing competition or whatever she does when she’s out and about.
She came up on the front porch and that’s when I realized she was making weird meowy noises and her tail was all puffed out.
It was at this point that something made me look over and I froze. Standing in my driveway, appearing like some sort of mythical creature from hell, was a giant German Shepard. Well, probably a normal-sized German Shepard but I was extremely startled, so he may have appeared larger to me.
“Uh,” I said. “Whatcha doing there, buddy?” Possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever said to a dog. The dog was not impressed, baring his teeth and growling.
Let me just pause here and emphasize that I love dogs, especially big dogs. I like a dog to have some girth, you know? However, as he continued to growl and show me his large white pointy teeth, I had a feeling that this dog and I would not be strolling through farmer’s markets anytime soon.
Luckily, he decided I wasn’t worth attacking and ran off. Or maybe disappeared in a puff of smoke, I didn’t really pay attention. I immediately called the dog warden since I didn’t want another unsuspecting porch-sitter to suffer the same fate. Because I am a good neighbor.
But as soon as I relaxed with Emo on my lap the Hound of Calico Court appeared again, moving a little too close for comfort. I stood up quickly and carried Emo in the house.
I want to pause here again to note that Emo is our outside cat and hasn’t been inside in a while. Sabian, her kitten, is now 2 years old and quite the little princess. I set Emo down and peered out the window to keep watch for the dog. Emo looked confused that she was inside but wandered down the hall, probably to see if we redecorated since she was there last.
I couldn’t see where the dog was, so I poked my head out the front door. His enormous head popped up and he started toward me, so I let out a very un-brave squeal and slammed the door shut. Looking out the window, I saw him poke his nose around where I had been sitting; my coffee, book and iPhone still outside, abandoned like the less-attractive extras in a disaster movie.
I then remembered in the midst of the chaos that Sabian hadn’t seen her mother in quite a while and was probably not going to be receptive to a pop-in. I walked in the kitchen just in time to witness Sabian giving Emo what I can only describe as an “Oh, I don’t THINK so” look. Here, this cat meme can show you what I mean:
Sabian hissed when she saw her mama, at which point Emo decided she’d rather deal with the Dog of Satan than her ungrateful daughter.
Thankfully, whoever owned (served?) the demon dog came home and presumably put him back in the Lucifer Suite. Get it? They call it that because that’s where Lucifer stays when he’s in town for… the Hell Festival?
Mind you, this all happened in the span of maybe five minutes, if that. My coffee was still hot when I sat back down. Luckily, Emo and I enjoyed the rest of our morning with no other mythical creatures appearing.
Except for our next-door neighbors, the Vampire Family. But that’s a story for another day.
I decided to take a break from grad school for the summer, so I’m all yours until August, when I start back up again.
I’ve really enjoyed my time off so far: soaking up the sun, reading a lot of books, going to the gym (for most people, that’s not “fun,” but I’m kind of a weirdo, in case you haven’t noticed), enjoying a nice glass of wine after work instead of the usual “coffee and a crap-ton of homework.”
My goal before August is to work on my own writing, instead of grad school papers. I’m so sick of APA style, you don’t even know. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. References, citations, the whole lot of ‘em. Awful. I’m a creative writer, dammit.
So I’m temporarily back on my blog. I’ve missed you guys! I hope you’ve missed me… ? Tell me this isn’t one of those one-sided relationships. Am I the clingy girlfriend? Is this blog like my way of calling and hanging up when you answer and driving past your house? Is it?
Alas, the siren song of grad school has once again lured me into the comfort of its academic bosom. Did I say comfort? I meant “stranglehold.”
Nonetheless, going back to school and also working full time means I have to give up a few things, like sleep and seeing my family. I read through my first week of assignments in preparation, and as a final farewell I invite you into the out-of-control train that was my thought process upon reading it:
“Wow, that’s a lot of reading.”
“This is all for one week?”
“Ugh, I forgot that writing papers means like, research and stuff.”
“Citing references? Ughhhhh.”
“AND use outside resources besides my textbook? What do I look like, a journalist? I’m a creative writer.”
“Well, at least I use APA style at work… the bibliography has to be in APA style, too?! Dammit.”
“WHY DIDN’T I DO GRAD SCHOOL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING UNDERGRAD? Past Jessie was the worst person ever.”
“How am I still hungry when I just ate a donut?”
“I really should have gone to the gym today.”
From there my thoughts slowed down in confusion until they screeched to a halt completely. Probably some kind of defense mechanism. My brain, slowly turning to mush on my long sabbatical from school, just had a lot of words to compute. And words are hard. Yes, I’m a writer, why do you ask?
I’d love to tell you that I’ll be back on my break, but I’m afraid that would be like telling your ex-coworker you’re totally going to keep in touch. It probably won’t happen. But I’ll call you, okay? (I’m not going to call you.)
If I had to describe this weekend, I would call it the Jabba the Hutt of weekends. Just a disgusting, unmotivated blob.
It’s too cold. Too snowy. Too February.
Every time I attempted to accomplish something this weekend, my body led me, zombie-like, toward my couch with mindless repetition.
“Maybe I’ll go to the gym,” I thought. My husband then came in the door, letting in frigid cold air. My body shriveled in protest, gluing me to the couch. So I took a nap instead.
“Maybe I’ll go to the store,” I tried again later. Just then a Friends marathon came on. “Or… not,” I said lamely, settling in once more.
“Maybe I should clean, or something.” This was really reaching. Needless to say, my cats decided at that exact moment to curl up on my lap, pinning me to the couch with their plushy, purry adorableness .
Okay, February. I shall fight you no longer. I surrender.
Even this blog post is lazy, right? But I just can’t. My brain has turned to bland mush, like oatmeal with no sugar. I need sun. I need to wear shoes that aren’t boots. I miss frying my skin with delicious UV rays. Oh, Creator of Fine Lines and Abnormal Moles, why hast thou forsaken us?
I’m tired of driving home from work in the dark. I’m starting to loathe my winter coat (even if it is bright cherry red and makes me feel like Mary Tyler Moore). I should be oozing lotion from applying it so much but, ignoring the laws of dermatology, my hands are still dry as sand. Dammit… I miss sand! I want to sit on a beach with a never-ending supply of margaritas yet never have to pee. (Hey, if I’m dreaming, I’m going all the way, baby!)
While I’m at it, I want to eat all the cheese but have no cellulite. I want to turn into Sofia Vergara, basically. Although that’s not just because of winter. Because, seriously?! Look at her!
That’s all I got, folks. Back to burrowing on my couch until spring. Which, in Ohio, is like a week long, so don’t let me miss it, okay?
Ah, tax time. It’s the time of year that never fails to remind me I have the organizational skills of a 3-month old golden retriever. You know how most normal, functioning adults have some kind of filing system (I assume)? Probably something involving drawers and files and tabs and labels and other things I don’t own. You want to know what my system is? “Throw Everything In a Box and Promptly Forget About It.”
This usually works for me… except once a year, when the dreaded envelope arrives in the mail, bold type ominously proclaiming, “Federal tax information enclosed.”
Noooooooo! Not my W-2’s! That means I have to drag out The Box and sift through a year’s worth of receipts, bills and other paper miscellanea. It might as well be called Box O’Ambien.
Since my husband handles the tax appointment, a horrifying expedition that literally takes half a work day, the responsibility of getting all those nasty papers together falls to me. As awful as it is, it’s a way lesser evil than sitting in Tax Lady’s house for hours, listening to her conspiracy theories and slowly suffocating from cigarette fumes and dog fur. While doing taxes. That’s what hell is, you know that, right? Okay, maybe not the dog fur part. Because all dogs go to heaven, duh. Everyone knows that.
So I was filling out my 2014-2015 FASFA for grad school (my life is full of fun right now) and realized I needed my 2012 taxes as a reference. To The Box! No taxes. A pile of birthday cards? Check. Grocery receipt from an ice cream run? Check. Empty container with no clues to what it formerly contained (possibly ice cream)? Check plus! This is what I’m talking about, folks. How am I allowed to function in society if this is how I run my life? I’m like a kid who constantly spins around in circles, runs into a wall, then gets up and start spinning again. My entire financial history can be summed up in one word: Derp!
And my husband is worse at this stuff than me, if that’s even possible. How we found each other and what cosmic joke brought our dysfunctional brains together in marriage is something humankind may never know. Instead of balancing each other out, we’re knocking each other down, like a never-ending game of chicken.
My new plan is to place an ad on LinkedIn for a self-loathing, down-on-their-luck and (preferably) desperate accountant-type person to transform our finances into a mecca of organization. I don’t know what that would look like. A really fancy box?
I’m really scraping the bottom of the idea barrel for this post, but I’m home sick today, bored and have only my cats to entertain me. So I apologize.
I’m in the bathroom when Emo, my cat, starts yowling like she’s being burned alive. This is a regular occurrence (the yowling, not her being burned alive) so I try to ignore her as best I can. But anyone with a vocal cat can tell you there’s a certain point where the human brain cannot ignore this horrible sound anymore. Don’t believe me? Watch:
Apparently my limit is about 52 seconds.
Anyway, I fling open the door to find her staring at me with a toy mouse head in her mouth. Not taking her eyes off me, she opens her mouth and drops it on the carpet, waiting expectantly.
I can just imagine if I could understand her cat language. For some reason, in my head it translates like this:
Emo: BEHOLD! I HAVE BROUGHT YOU THE HEAD OF A MOUSE. (drops it at my feet)
Me: Great. Thank you. That’s very nice.
Emo: I HOPE YOU HAVE FOUND MY GIFT WORTHY.
Me: I do. Only… why is it just the head?
Emo: I don’t know. The body’s around here somewhere. Why, don’t you like it?
Me: I love it. Obviously. So somewhere in my house there’s a headless mouse body?
Me: But you don’t know where.
Me: Great. Can I take my shower now?
Emo: I suppose.
I take my shower. I hear her yowling again. I ignore her and turn my music up louder. When I’m done drying off, I open the door to find Emo once again with what appears to be the mouse body, judging by the straggly tail hanging from her mouth.
Emo: I NOW PRESENT YOU WITH THE BODY OF A MOUSE. MY GIFT IS COMPLETE.
Me: Yeah. That’s great. It’s… wait, that’s another mouse head!
Emo: No, it’s not.
Me: Yes it is! (I pick it up and inspect it.) It’s a different mouse with the bottom half of its body torn off. What is wrong with you?
Emo: Do you want my gift or not?
Me: In my house there are two headless mouse bodies.
Emo: Well, technically one is half a headless mouse body.
Me: Please leave me alone.
I think I’m ready to start back to grad school again, what do you guys think?
You know I saw you see me, right? I saw you see me.
In case the incident wasn’t as memorable to you as it was to me, here’s how it went down:
I opened the bathroom door. You were wiping your hands on a paper towel, getting ready to use said paper towel as to not taint your delicate hands on the germy door. To save you the small yet significant inconvenience of opening the door, I held it open for you.
And here is where society as we know it fell apart.
Your eyes slid over in my general direction. I held the door, smiling and waiting. Waiting in vain for a THANK YOU THAT NEVER APPEARED. Because you sailed out the door without so much as a nod.
There I was, smiling like a fool with my folksy, corn-fed Midwestern manners. Wasting valuable face muscles. Face muscles that I could have used to do other things, like chew corn and yell at the Buckeyes.
And it’s not like the bathroom was wall-to-wall women, bustling with feminine chatter and chaos, and in all the confusion you forgot to say thank you.
No. It was just the two of us, wasn’t it? Two women in an almost empty building, drawn together by biology. We should have been comrades, you and I. At the very least we should have given each other the “office greeting.” You know what I mean. The generic things you say to an office coworker you don’t know. “Is it Friday yet?” is a popular example.
But no. No acknowledgment of the extra seconds and mouth muscles I set aside just so your precious fingers wouldn’t touch the bathroom door. Nothing.
Just the breeze as you kept walking, right past my arm—the arm supporting the door that allowed you to leave the bathroom. Taking with you the tiny, sad remains of polite society and leaving the extinction of human decency in your wake. That’s all.
Oh, and by the way? Those pants were NOT FLATTERING on you.
Well. Today is Halloween. Usually I’m pretty into Halloween, but this year I’ve been feeling kind of meh about it. There are a few reasons for this and you will sit here while I tell you allll about them.
When I was little, obviously I loved Halloween. I enjoyed playing dress-up anyway, so not only did I get to dress up and go out, I showed up at my neighbors’ houses and demanded candy! And they had to give it to me. Take that, GROWN UPS. The day was all about me, my rockin’ witch costume, candy, candy and more mother#$%^ing candy.
But then suddenly I was too old to go out trick or treating. I stayed home (still wore a costume, because hello, have you met me?) and answered the door for all the lucky little ones who still got to go out. My biggest pet peeve was giving candy to kids who were clearly wayyy older than me. The worst part about it was their total lack of effort: they just threw on jeans and their Metallica sweatshirt or whatever, lurking there until I resentfully dropped candy in their pillowcase. Ugh. Freaking teenagers. And now I have two of them!
Then it was on to high school. What sucked about high school (besides everything) was that a lot of kids didn’t want to dress up for Halloween because “dressing up is lame.” Back then I was super-shy (I WAS. No one ever believes me!) but I still rocked a costume. My favorite high school Halloween memory: senior year my friends and I did a group costume as Aladdin and his harem of genies. (Not as slutty as it sounds. The movie Aladdin was very big that year. Yes, I’m old.)
Then: college. And, as every college student eventually discovers, I found the best Halloween treat since mini-Hershey bars—alcohol!
It was roughly a decade of costumed debauchery, and I’m not too boringly adult to admit that I miss it.
But now that I’m old and staid (shut up, you guys), you know what I miss? Taking my stepsons out trick or treating. As I have mentioned previously, they are both in high school now, and yes, that’s just as awful as it sounds. I miss them when they looked like this:
Now, when I think back to how they wore those masks approximately 12 seconds before they began whining, it’s funny instead of infuriating. “It’s hot. I can’t see. It’s itchy. I can’t breathe!” Gahhhhh. Why do kids ALWAYS pick out the costume with a mask/something to carry/both? And why do costume-makers hate parents?
But I miss watching them trot up to our neighbors and chorus, “Trick or treat!” And they even remembered to say thank you, most of the time. They weren’t like those rude kids who just grunt and thrust their plastic pumpkin at you. You gotta work for that candy, kid. Dance for me! DANCE, I SAY!
So now I’m in this weird phase in my life where I still enjoy Halloween but my “Halloween plans” go like this:
ME: Huh. There’s a Halloween party at The Lodge on Saturday. (a local bar/restaurant)
ERIC: That sounds fun.
ME: Yeah. It does. We should go.
ERIC: We should.
And that’s as far as it got! The day of the party we got all involved with the kids…. we had just went out of town the weekend before… Eric didn’t sleep well… we had church in the morning… you could almost hear the fizzle as life just let the air out of our big plans.
But that’s fine. Because we had a good night with the kids and I don’t regret not going to that party at all. Ish.
So instead of going out this year I thought I’d trot out the sexy ghosts of Halloween past. (That costumed debauchery I mentioned earlier? There’s evidence. You’re welcome, Internet.)
19-year old me and my BFF dressed as Marcia Brady and a gypsy, respectively. (Or NOT so respectively, amIright?) Much Zima and other disgusting alcohol was consumed this night. So much that a group of us made a trip to Kroger to get more… while dressed in costume. We’re lucky we didn’t get arrested. (We had a DD, don’t worry. He was dressed as Phantom of the Opera, but for that part of the evening he was Phantom of the Overly Crowded Toyota Corolla.)
My God, LOOK AT MY ABS. Look at them. This is 22 (?) year old me with my boss at Sunglass Hut on “Malloween.” (Where parents bring their kids to the mall for trick or treat. I’m not sure why I felt I had to explain that.) We had so many dads bringing their kids over that we ran out of candy. Sigh.
25-ish old me dressed as an angel (ha!) with friends. Recognize the pregnant chic dressed as a prostitute? Yep, my bestie from the first picture! That baby in her belly? She’s about to turn 11 in a few months. Fun fact: since she was pregnant and couldn’t drink, her hubby thoughtfully got TWICE as drunk and puked all over himself. Memories!
This is actually the same Halloween, different day. Actually I think the party above was the weekend before Halloween and this is on Halloween night. Can’t wear the same costume twice, duh. The scary looking person next to me (not Winnie the Pooh) is the one and only picture I kept of my ex-husband. Bonus! Fun fact #2: He had already been out for hours by the time that picture was taken, and was so drunk that we left shortly thereafter. I’ll just leave you to draw your own conclusions why that marriage didn’t last.
Eric and I are at a themed Halloween party—the theme was Movie Characters so he went as Maximus from Gladiator and I’m Roller Girl from Boogie Nights. Yes, I wore those skates all night and NO I did not fall down.
29-year old me as a Goth Fairy. This is one of my favorite costumes. So fun! I bought fake eyelashes and fake tattoos, borrowed the wings and the outfit is mine. Cheap + adorbs. My favorite combination, other than chocolate and peppermint. Which totally beats chocolate and peanut butter no matter WHAT MY HUSBAND SAYS.
This was the last time Eric and I went out for Halloween and I had to almost physically drag him out. Since I’m a bunny I wanted him to dress as a magician. CUTE, RIGHT? But he “couldn’t find a costume,” meaning “If I don’t have costume, maybe she won’t make me go out.” Ha, think again, Pingle! So he had to throw something together last minute and he came up with, um… what he’s wearing above. I think he is supposed to be “Sith Lord working at the Death Star on Casual Friday.” So. Yeah.
And, you can’t tell from the pics above, but I’m wearing super-sweet white go-go boots, which I originally bought for an office Halloween costume:
Groovy, right? I wish I could wear those boots every day. EVERY DAY.
This post is mostly just an excuse to not do homework. Please enjoy my ramblings, brought to you by the gods of procrastination.
War of the Dip 2
Last week, Eric and I were arguing (again) about The Dip. He had just got back from the store and was making yet another batch. I told him before he left that we already had cream cheese and butter in the fridge (the main ingredients in this super-healthy snack).
He was in the middle of making it when he suddenly exclaimed, “This is mixing like paste!” He tasted it and made a face. “It tastes weird!”
He then accused me of sabotaging his precious dip with substandard butter. “This isn’t the butter I usually use.”
I squinted at it. “I didn’t buy that. I always buy the store brand.”
We then had a long, pointless argument about where this butter came from. He claimed I bought it; I said no way could I have bought it because I always buy the store brand. He always buys the name brand, ergo the gross butter must belong to him. He was about to retort when he looked at butter package and said accusingly, “It’s expired!”
“I don’t know!” I said defensively. “I thought you’d just bought it, I didn’t even look.”
“I DIDN’T BUY THIS BUTTER.”
And around we went again. Of course by this point we descended into ridiculous insults wherein he claimed my baking sucks because I use generic butter.
Sputtering, I responded with, “The only thing that sucks around here is you, because you’re a sucker for wasting money on name brand butter!”
He came to halt and repeated slowly, “‘The only thing that sucks around here is you because you’re a sucker.'”
I had to laugh. “Shut up! It makes sense.”
That’s marriage, folks. No need for a winner, we resolve our debates with laughter. Although clearly I won.
(In case you’re wondering, he ended up making another trip to the store to get his precious name brand butter and declared the next batch of dip as the best one yet. Tastes the same to me.)
P.S. or Why I need meds to get through life
Actual conversation I had with the Starbucks barista in my office (yes, there’s a Starbucks in my office. I know, right?):
It was the end of the day on Friday so the pastry options were slim pickins’. Then I spotted a lone slice of raspberry swirl pound cake. My mouth filled with saliva.
Me: May I have that lonesome little raspberry swirl pound cake?
Her: You sure can.
Me: Yay! It looks so sad and lonely. It needs to be in my mouth.