Friday, February 27, 2009

The Joys of Sleep Deprivation

I'm tired. Really, really tired. I've been having trouble falling asleep off and on for the past couple of weeks and because I'm stubborn and not a quitter I can't just stop trying. I'm normally one of those jerks who falls asleep instantly so this is really ridiculously annoying. I know after 30 minutes of lying awake you're supposed to get up and do something else, but how is that going to help me to be asleep? Instead, I keep trying. You know what happens when you try to force yourself to fall asleep? Your heart races and you breathe really shallowly. Oh, maybe that is why I can't fall asleep. I weep.

I've been dosing with Benedry1 (wonder! drug!) off and on but we were out of it. Sadness. I did stumble across a half does of Ativ@n leftover from my dental nightmare and took it hoping it would chill me out but nothing happened. Stupid dumb drugs. I lay there vibrating with non-sleep even though I was so physically tired that I could barely move my body. Yesterday was my sixth day of workouts before my usual rest day and when I picked up the 30lb barbell to do my usual warmup, it felt heavy. That is never a good sign when your easy warmup weight feels like a giant cartoon anvil.

So now I'm grudgingly doing all the shit I hate to do: cutting out mid-day caffeine, cutting out sugar, cutting out joy. I'm a party. The sugar part is especially hard because I really love my sugar. I love my candy so much. Recently someone in my office brought in a bag of Hersey's Miniatures, which aren't my favorite, but I still like them so I've been trying to avoid. (See also: insomnia.) But! Then I remembered reading a review on Candy Blog and I pulled it up. Sad but true, Mr. Goodbar and Krackel are no longer made with pure milk chocolate; they now have crap mixed in. "That's horrible", I thought, "I should do a taste test immediately to make sure this is true. A really pure, scientific taste test in which I just take a small bite of each and see if I can taste the addition of the horrible palm oils and whatnot. Then I shall rinse out my mouth and throw the rest in the trash."

So I did. It went like this:

Krackel - I took a tiny bite and sure enough, it was no longer quite as tasty. A bit fake and oily...but still pretty good. I took another bite and then ate the rest real quick.

Mr. Goodbar - I took a small bite and sure enough, it was also not as good as it used to be. I sighed with sadness before shoveling it down, roasty peanuts, mockolate and all, in the manner of Cookie Monster.

Special Dark - Never my favorite. It's "dark" chocolate without actually being dark chocolate. Hmph. I ate it as if someone was trying to snatch it out of my hand.

Hersey's Milk Chocolate - Again, not my favorite, but I ate it in two quick slavering bites before searching frantically, droolingly, for more.

A highly professional and controlled taste test, yes sir. Now, please excuse me while I go curl up for a nap under my desk.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spinny From The Block.

I should probably put this on my bike blog but nobody reads that damn thing so you guys get to hear all about the insanity that was spinning last night. Because I'm a wuss who hates to ride outside when it's cold or dark (or both) I've been taking a spinning class three times a week. (for the uninitiated, spinning is an indoor group cycling class held in a dark room with loud music. I love it.)

The class I take on Monday and Wednesday starts at 5:30pm and I get off work at 5pm, so in order to get to the gym in time to actually claim a bike, I have to leave right at five. If I leave at 5:02pm the traffic leaving campus is impossible. I jet out the door at 5pm on the nose and drive hell-for-leather to get to the gym at 5:15pm, rush down to the cycling studio in my street clothes to (hopefully) triumphantly throw a towel over my favorite bike in the front row. I like to be right where the action is because sometimes I don't understand what the instructor is saying and I need a visual. I also don't really love looking at other people's sweaty butts, so there's that too.

Last night I did this whole routine but when I got in the studio my #1 bike was taken and my #2 bike was taken. Mother F. I finally chose a bike off to the side in the second row behind where my friend Michael was set up. Whatever, that works. I went to change my clothes, hit the bathroom, fill up my water bottle and was back in the room at 5:25pm, five minutes to spare!

Except, the instructor was a substitute and goddamn if she hadn't already turned the lights down and started the class. This is really not cool. I need lights to set up my bike and class starts at 5:30. FIVE THIRTY. I was not happy and was even less happy when she waved me in all, it's okay if you're late, come on in anyway. It's FIVE TWENTY FIVE, LADY. GOD.

I was all set to hate her, for real. But, I set up my bike anyway and got my ass in the saddle and was ready to deal with whatever she had to deal out. I was ready for her jelly. She was something too, with a pink baseball cap, lots of lip gloss and long squared-off french manicure stripper nails. To quote Michael, she was "ghettodivafabulous." That about covers it, I think.

Because she started class early I guess I missed her explanation of how she operated or maybe there wasn't one. Her system involved numbers. There was no warm up. There was no escape. It went like this:


Michael looked back at me, wide-eyed with glee, and I mouthed WHATTHEFUCK. Because, really, what the fuck. Not even WTF, I meant WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I finally figured out that the high numbers indicated tension on a scale of 1-10 (though in her case, really 7-10 because she never went below a 7) and the low numbers 1-3 were hand positions. Oh, okay then, crazy.

She was brutal. We spent most of the time out of the saddle and then she made us "climb" with one arm behind our back. I caught the eye of the girl next to me and we both cracked up because it was so ridiculous. That was when I started to enjoy myself because hey, what else could you do? Her music was straight up Public Middle School Early 80's Dance and how can you be all pissed off when you're jamming to Midnight Star, and Morris Day? I mean, you can't. You just can't stay mad. So, I decided to enjoy it and I was rewarded with Salt-n-Peppa. AWESOME.

I will forgive her the Pussycat Dolls because I can't imagine how she couldn't. It was that kind of class.

By the end most of us were completely sweaty and grinning, except for the people who walked out. Lightweights.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Delayed Reaction

My sister recently wrote about a heartbreaking encounter she had with a little girl who she wanted to help but couldn't. Last night I had my own similar experience which I walked away from feeling helpless and frustrated. It did, however, disprove something that I'd worried about - that if I ever do have my own child (don't hold your breath, mom) I won't completely suck as a mother. My maternal instincts are on a delay, but they do exist. Perfect example of why I had suspected my lack of such instincts:

Over Christmas I was holding my friend Ashley's son Henry and he spit up on me. My first reaction wasn't, "Is he okay?" but rather, "Did I just get spit-up on my sweater?" I guess that's more an issue of living with kids vs not living with kids? But yeah, no maternal instincts there. Hey, at least I didn't drop him! Henry, is awesome, by the way. If I ever do change my mind and have a kid, I hope to get lucky enough to get a giggly laid-back kid like him.

So, last night after work I went by a stupidly large sporting goods store to look at workout clothes because I wear my stuff until it's completely dead and embarrassing. The store is almost always creepily empty and last night was no exception. I was browsing the racks when I saw a young boy of maybe eight or nine walk by. A few minutes later, he walked by again. The third time I wondered what was up and the fourth time (a good fifteen minutes after I'd first noticed him) I actually paid attention and looked at his face. He had that look, one that I recognized from my own childhood, like he was just on the edge of panic and barely keeping it together.

I made eye contact and asked him if he was looking for someone. The relief on his face was palpable. Just to be found, even by a total stranger. Chin quivering, he told me he was looking for his mom so I took him over to the first employee I could find and asked if they could page his mom over the intercom.

I saw her coming before he did and wow, did she looked pissed. Tiny and blond, with spiked heel boots and a big designer handbag, she stomped up to the front register still pushing her shopping cart and pulling the boy's younger brother behind her. Oh lord, kid. I'm sorry. I'm sorry your mom looks like a total bitch and that her reaction to losing track of you is outright fury.

I could hear her arguing with him and later they walked back by, he in tears and whining about wanting to go home, her, tight-voiced and adamant about finishing what she was there to do. And I get that, I do. I'm sure as a parent you have days where you want to finish just. one. task. I was a wanderer as a kid and I'm sure that it drove my mother crazy insane, never getting to do what she set out to do because she was too busy looking for me again. Add to that, I'm sure getting paged over the intercom was really embarrassing, but that kid was nearly in tears looking for her and maybe a hug would've been a better way to resolve that situation?

I'm not a parent, so I don't want to judge too harshly, but I left that store feeling like I'd let him down somehow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Suffering Fools.

I was apparently put on this earth to suffer fools.

I've been selling magazine back issues on eBay and I have two different idiots trying to back out of winning bids because they were STUPID and bid on multiple auctions for the same exact issue. Sorry, it's not my fault that you're now the proud owner of three different December 2006 Domino magazines. Now pay up, moron. I have $80 in unpaid auctions right now because of stupid people.

Speaking of stupid, I never told you guys the other story I alluded to in this entry. Well. It's something. I'll start by saying this: despite the attitude I give off in this blog, I'm a pretty reasonable and understanding person. I'll forgive a lot, but if you rip me off I will COME AFTER YOU. I hate being cheated more than almost anything. I cannot let that shit go. So, here's the story:

I post on a fairly large fashion-related online forum, and a bunch of folks who post there have created a private Yahoo swap group to sell or trade without having to deal with eBay. A year and a half ago I listed a red designer handbag for sale at a very reasonable price. A girl bought the bag from me. She p@ypaled me and I shipped the bag to her via Priority mail the next day. I didn't get a tracking number (this is stupid, never do this) because I'd checked out this girl's eBay account and she had great feedback. This used to go a long way with me.

A week goes by and she contacts me and says the bag never arrived. I told her to wait another week just in case, as sometimes Priority mail isn't all that. Another week, no bag. So I did the right thing: I refunded her money. But, I kept an eye on her. I knew her eBay account name and watched her auctions. I got alerts every time that particular brand of bag in red was listed. I kept an eye on the private swap forum just in case she was dumb enough to try and unload it. I suspected she had the bag, but I had no proof. I just tucked it back in my mind and continued on with my life.

You know what's coming next, right? Oh, it took 18 months, but I got her. That brainiac posted on the same swap forum about several items she had for sale, including a red designer bag. O RLY? I had a friend request photos from her and damn if it wasn't my bag. Aside from it being a rare bag in a rarer color, I also had my old photos of it and it matched down to the last ding and scratch. I lined them up side-by-side and it was the exact same bag. OH I DON'T THINK SO. I emailed her, very calmly, and asked for my money. She denied it. She also erased the swap forum info (but not before I got a screen shot!) and deleted herself from the fashion forum. Ha, guilty loser.

I pretty much kept on her and told her if she didn't pay me I'd be giving the San Francisco police a phone call. And I meant it too. I don't know that it would've done any good, but I would've done it. The email exchange went back and forth, and then I got this:

I am dealing with a death in my immediate family. I do not have the energy or desire to deal with you and your accusations right now. Give me a few days and I will send you the money that you are extorting from me. If my grandmother hadn't died and I wasn't flying out of town I would be going to the police as well.

Extortion! Dead relative! Oh, ho ho. Woo! Good stuff. In the end, she did send me the money she owed me and that was the end of it. Now I just have to get busy extorting funds from eBay morons. It never ends.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reasons Why I Was Late Today

Okay, I was late to work today and I have good excuses. Stupid, but good.

Reason the first: I bought a new alarm clock because my old one ran 25 minutes slow and even though I'd completely adjusted to it (and lived that way for more than a year) I finally decided that trying to do that sort of mental athrimetic on a daily basis was just using up brain cells that I need for more important things, like lyrics and dirty jokes. And Lost. (Jesus H, I thought I had a handle on it and then I go read the TWOP boards and OMG those people are machines. MACHINES. They know character's names from three seasons back! It's just wrong.)

Anyway, so ponied up the $12 and bought a shiny new alarm clock which claimed to have unlimited snooze capability but I swear it stops after the third hit. And each interval is nine minutes, which is way too long. Nine minutes! Do you know how deeply dreamingly asleep I can be in nine minutes? Very. Anyway, so apparently I'm used to hitting the clock multiple times at five minute intervals and that is just not working for the new clock. I need to get on it's program or else I need to go back to 25-minute-slow time or something. Hmph.

Reason the second: my clothes are all ugly and don't work together. I had black pants (I know this is totally phoning it in but I was already running late) a green top, and a cream jacket. It should have worked but just doesn't. The top, quite honestly, has NEVER worked on me (and requires all kinds of stupid underpinnings because it's too low cut and I don't need a boob swinging out at work) but I keep trying. So I have my outfit on and hate it but I'm running out of time and can't figure out anything better on such short notice. It's insane. I ask my husband if I look like an asshole and he glanced over and said, "You look fine."

Okay, just something to point out. "FINE" is not what I'm going for. At minimum, I want cute. At minimum. On a good day I want to look more than cute, I want polished. Sleek. Something in that family. Something really pulled together and quirky, yet still sort of minimal. GOD. IT'S ELUSIVE. But I want it. I do not want "fine". Fine is sad. Fine is a Sunday-afternoon-when-I-run-up-to-the-Food-Dog-for-a-bottle-of-wine-and-some-candy outfit.

Poor husband. It's so hard to know the right answer.

Anyway, I put away my laser eyes when he told me that my fine was better than most people's cute. That works.

Reason the third: I get in the car and go go go because now I'm late. I get on the narrow and hilly road that takes me from my part of town to the road that takes me across the river and almost immediately I'm screwed. There is a BACKHOE tootling down the road ahead of me. Top speed on the flat sections: 15 mph. Top speed on the hills: 5 mph. I am not even making this up. He chugged up the hills at the speed of sssssslow and there was no way around him. One of the hills was so steep I wasn't even sure he was going to make it. I mean, those things aren't really meant for joyriding. Or even no-joy riding. Or driving at all on public streets when people be trying to get to WORK. Damn.

I finally arrived at work just in time to miss the last parking space. Hooray for ill timing. I blame that damn clock.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Twist and Crawl

Wow, I'm old. But I had a really great weekend.

Saturday was the usual good stuff - gym in the morning, lunch with Kate, some shopping, some errands, some worry because my car had started making some very unfashionable groany noises that worried me a lot. I mean, I know it's got 170,000 miles on it, but it's a Toyota! Bitch better last forever. Sadly, 170,000 miles does not sound that bad to me. I cracked up recently when someone on a message board I read was considering buying a used car with 21,000 miles on it and are advised not to because the mileage is too high. THAT IS NOTHING, SUCKER. (Kenny topped up my power steering fluid and that seemed to work for now, so fingers crossed.)

Anyway, Saturday night, instead of being old people like normal and watching a DVD, Kenny and I got up off the couch and went out. Yes, that is right, we not only went out, we went to a concert. Specifically, we went to see The English Beat. I love Ska music and was really excited.

Even more exciting, some friends of ours had rented a sky box, so we had our own private viewing area, complete with a bathroom, a bar and ample seating, if we so required it. The venue wasn't big but it was packed, so we were glad to have been invited. When the opening band started (the very excellent Bad Manners) I started to get all itchy because I wanted to dance and it felt weird to not be down with the crowd.

So Kenny humored me and we went down to the floor, packed full of people, and I was all, "Oh hell no." I suddenly realized that my crowd shoving days were pretty much over. I couldn't fathom fighting my way through anymore, ME, the girl who was always right up front for whatever great band was playing. I was officially too old for this shit. Related, I really liked the shoes I was wearing and didn't want them to get stepped on. Back upstairs for me, please.

So, once upstairs everyone had a few more drinks and The Beat took the stage and oh damn, what a great night. They did all their great songs plus "Tenderness" which was such a dreamy General Public bonus. You can't not dance to this music, is all I'm saying. We all did our best skank (read: sad but enthusiastic) and apparently we did too good a job because someone downstairs complained that we were making the lower level's ceiling shake. Hey, we can't help it if we rule.

The private box next to ours had the adjoining door open and it was full of weird drunk women and old preppy Richmond guys who all looked like they should be named Chip - the kind of guys who wear dockers and loafers without socks and enjoy crappy beach music. They were barely watching the band and were clearly there to get drunk. DUuuuuchebags. One of them was wearing a sweater of such ugliness that I made Kenny pretend to pose for a photo so I could document it for you all. Don't say I never did anything for you:

After it was over we hobbled back to our car and made it home, tired and happy. I woke up Sunday looking and feeling like I'd been punched in the face. Wow, staying out all night does not agree, apparently. It was totally worth it, though.