Friday, January 30, 2009

Fake Entry

I'm so lame, but short on material, so here is a meme that's been going around Facebook. I'll post it and pretend it's an entry. I know, I suck. If you want to read something good, check out my sister's post about the ghosts she's seen. I love a good ghost story.

But first:

Stop Tagging Me. Or, 25 Things You Didn't Really Want To Know.

25. I've never broken a bone or spent a night in the hospital. When I was a kid, I was really hoping for some kind of hospitalized illness or injury but it never happened. I got over that kind of thinking and I've probably just cursed myself by writing this.

24. I faint at the sight of blood, mine and sometimes yours too. I also get woozy if I even think too hard about carnage and I can't watch any kind of surgery on TV, real or simulated. I really wish they wouldn't show that shit at all. I mean, really? Who wants to watch someone get lipsuction? NOT ME.

23. I was a really unpopular kid and got picked on a lot. I assumed everyone has a semi-traumatic childhood until I started comparing notes with friends and realized, nope! Just me.

22. I fantasize about candy. I really, really love candy.

21. I love fashion, makeup, handbags, shoes, clothes and have no shame. Stuff is awesome and there's nothing wrong with wanting to look nice.

20. Exercise is really important to me and not just because I like the way it makes me look. I love being strong and really like the way it makes me feel, especially after eight hours of sitting in front of a computer.

19. Kate is my best friend and I feel bad that not everyone has a Kate.

18. When I joke about wanting my own horse I'm really not joking. I want my own horse.

17. I don't think I want to have children and it infuriates me when people say this is "selfish" because I think what they actually mean is "self-centered" which really isn't fair or accurate.

16. I've been laid off twice, both times from jobs I liked.

15. After the second lay off I had a couple of jobs so bad that I had to start this blog just to document the crazy.

14. I didn't care about being Dooced back then, but I do now. I don't write about work anymore.

13. I don't understand people who don't read. Books are my constant companions and my life would be so much emptier without them.

12. I think my grandfather and I would be great friends if he was still alive. He died when I was 13 and I miss him every single day.

11. I have no patience for picky eaters and I'm glad my husband is open to trying anything. I like to cook, but I'm not cooking for a four-year-old's palate.

10. I have been a Bowie fan for most of my life and still think he's the coolest musician ever. EVER. Please, try and show me who's cooler than David Bowie. You will lose.

9. Noah is my oldest friend - we were in preschool together! He and I both agree that people who don't like The Beatles are just wrong.

8. One of the software programs I use is called "Nolijweb" and the creative spelling just makes me want to stab myself in the eyes. It's software for colleges and universities, which just makes it that much more ridiculous.

7. Television is my favorite and I'm never going to stop watching it. I will not participate in any hippie attempts at a week without television and you will have to pry my DVR out of my cold, dead hands.

6. I'm a slob. I try, I bemoan the state of my house, but in the end, I'm a slob.

5. Clowns are scary as all hell.

4. I hate being told to smile, I hate people commenting on my food (when I eat at my desk), and I hate being God-blessed because I never know what to say in response.

3. I really love critters - squirrels, hedgehogs, opossums, guinea pigs, anything squat and snorty is okay by me.

2. I'm an introvert and really love spending my lunch break in the library with a cup of tea and a good book.

1. I asked now-husband out on a date nearly 13 years ago and it was the best decision I've ever made.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sucker Hole, Part 2.

Cuisinart update!

Okay, when I last left off I'd called and had my warranty request moved to "investigation" status. Hmph. I waited and a week later I got a voice mail from the same guy saying that I'd been approved for a replacement and to call back. Only, he didn't leave his name, a phone number or any kind of tracking or claim number. GREAT.

I called back and got a completely different person, who, when I explained my situation, asked me for a tracking number for my claim. YEAH, I DON'T HAVE ONE. He then tried to look me up in "the system" and couldn't find me. Oh, but of course. Then he tried to tell me that I'd have to start all over again and re-file, which I strongly disagreed with and then asked to talk to a manager. He told me he's have one call me back. Yeah.

A few days later I get a voice mail from someone named Crawford (not his actual name, btw.) who left his name, number and an extension. Progress! I tried to call him back, but guess what? The Cuisinart phone system doesn't do extensions. Yeah, you can dial those four digits like crazy but nothing is going to happen. You just wait on hold for the next available representative like everyone else. GRAND.

I talked to yet ANOTHER representative, told him what I was trying to do and who I was trying to reach and he said that Crawford worked the morning shift and he'd leave him a message. A message on paper. Really? Crawford has an extension and you can't, like, transfer me or anything? I've not heard back from Crawford, but I'm going to keep trying since he was dumb enough to leave me his stupid name. BAD LUCK FOR YOU, CRAWFORD.

Best. Day. Ever.

Yesterday was great, right? I mean, I don't know about you guys, but I have never felt like this about a president before. Sure, I liked Clinton and voted for him, but I didn't want to line up outside his door and ask him what he wanted me to do, like, starting NOW. I watched yesterday's inauguration with a pure heart. That's right, I felt no cynicism at all about our new leader or his family. This is ridiculous, this feeling. It's like falling in love where you just have to take that final leap and hope you don't get crushed into dust. I guess this is what faith is, huh.

Just in case you think I've gone soft, I did guffaw loudly when they rolled ole Cheney out in that wheelchair. Oh, the RIDICULOUS IRONY that he hurt his back moving out! Oh, lord, that is rich. My friend Emily's husband speculated that he actually hurt his back loading corpses into his trunk, which I think it probably how it happened.

I also made nasty faces at gross Rick Warren and his bizarre declarations of the Obama girl's names, as if he were trying to call up the holy spirit with them or something. What a creep. Other than that, I was thoroughly charmed. I loved the music, I loved Aretha's hat, I loved the ball gowns, I loved it all (even if I was cringey about them walking down the street like that, all out in the open. Gah!)

And so, I remain hopeful and optimistic even though I know it's gonna take a while to get everything straight. Faith, my friends.

(Hey, you like my icon thing up there? Make your own here!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birthday Roundup

Thanks for the birthday wishes, all. I had to work today, Monday, a day most people have off. I was sad, but I did take off Friday (my actual birthday day) which was fantastic. I had a really good day off. I met my sister for lunch, went to the gym (hi, you know what's good on a cold day? THE SAUNA. Why did it take me so long to discover this bake-y warm wonder? It's freaking awesome.), went shopping, relaxed at home with Kenny, ate cookies my friend Ashley sent me, had Thai takeout for dinner and watched a movie and generally just had a nice day.

On Saturday I saw Slumdog Millionaire with my mom (it's so good!) and then had a bit of a panic because the douchebags who sat next to us left early and took my coat with them. Luckily they figured it out and left my coat with the manager, but really? Maybe just bring it back so I don't have a coronary in the theater, people? It was cold out too. Hmph.

After the movie Kenny and I went over to Kate's and had a really lovely dinner. Thanks, Kate! She made a chocolate bread pudding that we're still talking about because it tasted like unicorns and rainbows and holy crap, it was good. SO GOOD.

Since I'm pretty admittedly shallow, here are the highlights of some of the nice gifts I got:

earrings from Kate:

made by our friend Tere. I'm wearing them right now! I love them. Kate also knitted me the cutest scarf, ever, which I wore with my red coat this morning. I look awesome because of her.

Kenny gave me tickets to see The English Beat (or The Beat, as apparently they're known in England) which I'm pretty excited about. I love ska a lot because it's happy music even when it isn't. It's sad to me that I mentioned this show to a young person who gave me a blank look and said, "Who?" Lord above, children.

My sister gave me several gifts, the highlights being:

and a paper fan with a Kenneth (the page on 30 Rock) face on it. It's indescribably beautiful. I wish I had a photo. Okay, it looks like this:

in paper fan form. Jealous?

I also got the gift of kick-ass from both my husband and my friend Amy. I got Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Bob Whathisface's Biggest Loser book. I feel like perhaps maybe I hit the bread pudding too hard or something. Are people trying to tell me something? Happy birthday! Now, repent and suffer!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Square Pegs

Important lesson to be learned: certain things do not fit in small spaces. That sounded porny! Sorry, it's not what I meant, for reals. I'm talking about the downside of living in a small house with an even smaller staircase. Recently Kenny's beloved great aunt passed away and she very kindly left us some furniture. Most of what we have in the way of furniture was gifted or donated, thrifted or trash-picked. We clearly had no idea that people actually go to stores and purchase furniture, I mean, brand new, picked-out-just-the-right-one furniture. We have never done that. I have certainly gone to furniture stores and lazed about on the furniture within, but it seems fantastically unrealistic to bring something so new and shiny expensive into a house filled with obsessively destructive cats. (They pretty much ruin our lives and eat all our steaks and we somehow continue to coddle them and let them fling hair into our food. Like any loving relationship, really.)

We were gifted with a very nice corner cabinet:

And some weirdly excellent knick-knacks to live in it:

And we were also given an set of vintage bedroom furniture and a bed. A bed! With a headboard and brand new mattress set. Sweet good times. The bed upstairs is some old futon frame thing I bought at yard sale with a mattress of dubious origins on top of it. Seriously, I'm not sure where that mattress came from but I know we didn't buy it. Don't think about it too hard.

So we get the bedroom furniture and between the two of us are able to heave it up the tiny narrow, bendy staircase into to the "upstairs", which is really kind of an attic. No problem. Then, because we're brainiacs, we haul the incredibly heavy headboard, footboard and other bits of the bed up the stairs and put it together. Gosh, it's big. But a bed! A real bed!

Then, we go for the boxspring. No really, we didn't think about this before we put the bed together. Shut up. Kenny goes first and I get the other end and we push and haul and wedge and shove and it gets stuck because boxsprings don't bend. At all. We try to tip it and shove it sideways and again, no. We try yelling at each other and that somehow doesn't work either. I stubbornly insist we try again and Kenny stares into space, trying to visualize how we might make it go. It. Will. Not. Go.

Dismay. I suggest we put the old mattress down on the slats and the new one on top of it. Kenny tries this, and, even though he knows it won't work, lays on the mattress and falls through the slats in a dramatic fashion that I don't witness because I'm busy hiding, having realized it was a bad, bad stupid idea. Really, good one, Adrien! You are brilliant.

Finally we admit defeat and Kenny puts the new mattress on the old futon frame, hauls the boxspring off to the thrift store and lists the bed on Craigslist, where it sells in about two seconds. Score! Everyone is happy. Then we took down the Christmas tree. The End.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sucker Hole

I'm tired of feeling like a sucker. I have two examples - one for now, one for later. But first, whither art thou readers? I get a new masthead and give you fresh lions and I get nothing? Hmph.

Okay, so last year I got this amazing enameled casserole by Cuisinart. It's big and green and I love it for making soups and whatnot:

Its heavy, it heats evenly, it's green, I love it. Over the holiday I decided to use it to make that bread recipe that all the rage on the Internets. The recipe requires that you have a heavy oven-safe lidded pot in which to bake your bread. So I make my dough, let it rise for eleventy billion hours and then I heat my enamel pot per instructions. When I pulled it out of the oven to plop the dough in I was met with HORROR AND DESTRUCTION. The inside enamel had bubbled up and cracked off in one big spot and the bottom of my pot was littered with nasty little enamel shards. I was pissed. But, I brushed it out, lined it with foil and threw the dough in anyway. Fuck it.

The bread, amazingly, came out great. My first loaf, my first time using the mysterious yeast! Here's the hilarious thing about yeast: nobody will tell you what the deal is. The instructions tell you to put it in warm water to make sure it's active but doesn't tell you what it's supposed to do, exactly. Nobody I asked seemed to be able to describe it either. Despite my lack of knowledge the yeast did it's freaky thing and the bread rose and all was good, aside for the destruction of my really expensive enamel casserole.

So, at the urging of my friends I called Cuisinart customer service and decided to make good on that lifetime warranty. Ha de ha ha. The customer service person I got was friendly enough but I could barely understand him. English was not his first language which made things a little... awkward. It was also awkward that he couldn't seem to find my item even though I gave him the model number and described it and even told him where on the damn website it could be found. FINALLY he figured out what I was talking about and was all, "Oh yes, that should be covered under the warranty and you should get a replacement." Then he put me on hold for a while, which is never a good sign.

When he came back, the story was suddenly different. He was all, "Actually, because this is enamel we have to do an investigation first and get back to you."

Say what?

Now, really. An investigation? Is that code for, "This is expensive so we're going to stall until you give up?" Or, is it code for, "We're going to wait until you go to work and then sneak in your house and poke through your cabinets for sign of improper pot usage?" I mean, WTH, Cuisinart. What, exactly, are you investigating?

I got a little sputtery and made Mr. Customer Service understand that I had NOT DROPPED OR DAMAGED the damn thing, that I heated it up and it busted. I mean, REALLY. He was very soothing and promised they'd get back in touch. Then he took down all my contact information which took about seven years because I had to spell everything out slowly and do that stupid army letter thing:

It's L E I



No, not P as in Peter, C as in Charlie.

No, LEI not LIE.

No, N like Nancy.

No, no, O as in OMG I'M GOING TO KILL YOU.

I hate spelling out my name and address over the phone almost as much as I hate centipedes and wrapping gifts.

So that's all I've got for now. We'll see what happens. My other story involves getting ripped off online and then catching the person who ripped me off, but we're still mid-negotiation, so I want to see how it ends before I document that squalor. I'll be in touch.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Year of the Lion

What happened last year that's worth writing about that I haven't already written about? I usually do a highlights/lowlights list, but instead I'll give you this:

small good things about 2008

I read a shit-ton of books: 42 of them, to be exact.

I now own a truly fantastic pair of red shoes.

I finally baked a loaf of bread. I know, hold me back.

I completed an entire weight training program, start to finish.

I started out the new year with a mountain bike ride in weather so cold I'm still whimpering about it. Character building.

But, one of the last rides I did in 2008 was a short-sleeve ride. Gotta love that messed up weather:

In 2008 I stayed active, I made stuff, wrote stuff, regressed into past lives, got in touch with old friends (thanks, F@cebook!), voted in an historic election, painted the damn bathroom, frolicked with friends in Knoxville, grew some vegetables, made (and sold) a lot of jewelry, and cooked a lot.

I could make a similar list of bad things, but I'm not trying to bring y'all down. It's a new year, a new start. I don't really do resolutions, I just try to not suck a little less every year. A worthy goal. I did like the resolution that my gym friend told me was his: "I'm going to rise above it and try to take the high road EVEN WHEN I KNOW I'M RIGHT."

Yeah! That's the stuff. (We talked about this resolution of his after I spent some time whining about the resolutionists clogging up my gym and requiring me to show up 30 minutes early for my spin class. Don't misunderstand, it's great that people want to change their habits, but I'm there every damn week all year long and the gym owners don't seem to care that there are suddenly 20 more people in line than there are bikes available. It's like going to work every morning in January and finding a stranger sitting in your desk chair with five more people in line behind it. Anyway, I'm happy with taking the high road as long as there's a damn spin bike on it, is all I'm saying. I'll even help the newbs adjust their saddle. But I digress.)

So! Since I mentioned the lion, I feel like I need to give you lion. For those of you not on Facebook, here are a few more stealthy photos my husband found of that annoying critter: fabulous new masthead is courtesy of the lovely Saucy Trollop! Thanks, Suzanne.