fearlesstemp: (working girl)
Guys, it is summer, which means I'm not teaching, which means I have all sorts of time to Accomplish Things, yet all it seems I've been accomplishing so far is:

-developing an addiction to Junior Mints,
-reactivating my ABC Daytime addiction,
-reading piles of books I left around during the school year,
-watching tons of movies (both of the cinematic and awful LMN variety), and
-that's about it.

My room is only half-cleaned and my half of the office hasn't even been touched. I haven't updated my teaching portfolio, and to be honest, I'm not 100% I know where it is. Oh, I have applied for some jobs. So there's something.

One thing I did last week is visit my grandfather's grave for the first time. It was weird; I've driven past the cemetery where he's buried a huge number of times (in fact, every day on my way home from work - it's on one of the busiest roads in my hometown) and I've never gone. I've never been to the cemetery where my other grandfather has been buried since the day of his funeral, which was five years ago.

I kind of worry that this makes me an awful person, especially since it's not like this is being done as a symptom of a bad relationship I had with either of them. I had great relationships with both of them. I loved them very much - still love them. Still miss them. But the cemetery just doesn't seem like where they are, to me.

And so every day I drove past the cemetery and didn't think too much about it. For me, the physical place I visited to mourn my grandfather this year wasn't the cemetery but his house, which was successfully sold a couple of months ago. That's gone now - I can't exactly pop in on the new owners and ask to walk through the downstairs and stand in random rooms for long stretches of time for no particular reason, the way I did before the papers were signed. Maybe that's why recently I've had this flash when I drive past the cemetery lately, a quick burst of Ishouldgointhere. The first time I listened to it was last week.

My grandfather used to take me to the cemetery with him after my grandmother died. It was an important place to him, which is why I think I've been to his gravesite and not my other grandfather's. He would kneel on the ledge of the headstone in the middle and my brother and I would kneel on either side and we'd say prayers. I did the same thing when I went, and it was weird: familiar, but also strange, since I'm twenty-seven, not eleven, and so the proportions are all different. Also, I was alone. The back of the gravestone is different, too, my grandfather's date of death added in.

After that, I went and looked at some other headstones in the older part of the cemetery, which was down this short but steep hill. I ambled around for a while (is it morbid that I like to imagine the lives of the people whose names I see on the stones?), and then decided to go back. Walked over to the little hill, stepped up and just about face-planted. Flip flops + steep incline + wet grass = disaster. There was some dude about fifty feet away cutting the grass, looking right in my direction, so the whole time I was doing this awkward, wide-legged, arms-windmilling climb, I know he was watching. I felt pretty stupid.

Especially when I realized the solution: taking off the flip flops. Bare feet are perfect for such terrain. I scooted right up, hopped in my car, put on some Johnny Cash.

One thing of note: I didn't really cry while I was there. I got all scrunchy-faced and sniffly, but no real crying. It's strange; I rarely cry when I am sad over something in my own life, probably because if I feel the urge, the first impulse is to stifle it and move on. Wow, that sounds way more messed up than it feels! I cry all the time with sad movies, commercials, documentaries, TV shows, etc., though. Why is that? I suspect I am extremely dysfunctional. Yes, that sounds about right.

And okay, I got tagged to take part in some memes! [livejournal.com profile] callmesandy asked me five questions, and [livejournal.com profile] kaelie asked me about five songs I'm into!

two memes! )
fearlesstemp: (cary and baby)
grandpa update )

Must go to bed, but before that, a quick non-depressing anecdote.

Last night I was sleeping peacefully when I was awoken by a shrill, terrified scream. My mother. I reacted the way any kind, loving daughter would.

"Ma!" I grunted, still in bed, eyes closed. "Wassit?"

Another shrill scream.

"MA!" I rolled around in bed, willing myself not to wake up too much because I wanted to be able to go right back to sleep, willing my mother to stop screaming. "MAAAAA! WHAAAT IS IT?"

Another shrill scream.

I gave in. I opened my eyes, rolled out of bed, put on my glasses and stumbled into the hallway; in the time it took me to do this, I heard my mother yell, "Get! Get out! GET OUT!"

I figured the cat had brought in a mouse. We have a two-story front hall, so I can lean over and yell down (and toss down laundry, very convenient) when necessary, and I did just that. "Mom, what the - AAAAAAH! WAS THAT-"

"YES!" She screamed. "AAAAH!"

A BAT. A BIG GRAY BAT, FLYING AROUND THE DOWNSTAIRS! Like he owned the place.

I shut all the doors on the second floor and ran downstairs to assist my mother; I was a big help. She was cowering in the bathroom with a butterfly net, and I crouched on the stairs across from her in my nightgown, and basically all we did was stare at each other in terror and have conversations that went,

"How did he-"

"I don't KNOW!"

"What are we going to-"

"I don't -"

"THERE HE IS!"

Both of us: "AAAAAH!"

(Fit of hysterical laughter.)

"Where did he go?"

"I don't know! WHY DIDN'T YOU LOOK?"

"WHY DIDN'T YOU-"

Both of us: "AAAAH!!"

Basically, all we did was stand there and scream at each other. It was terrible. A real low point for the feminist movement; we went on like this for about ten minutes, and then I had to go upstairs and wake up my brother because I realized my mother and I weren't getting anywhere. He got out of bed, put on his college sweatshirt, went downstairs, got a tennis racket, and within ninety seconds he'd used the forehand that ended many a fun tennis game (he was always hitting tennis balls over the fences, into the park or pond beyond the courts) on the bat, and now the bat is quite literally chillin' in a tupperware container in our freezer, awaiting extradition to the county health department to be tested for any number of scary things I'm convinced I'm now infected with. (That episode of House I saw a few weeks ago about rabies is NOT helping right now.)

More news as it develops.
fearlesstemp: (shop book)
I am wide awake right now. Work is going to be torture tomorrow because of this, and yet here I am, typing away.

Okay, so, confession time: I have totally gotten hooked on romance novels. The last week or so of stress and drama was prime breeding ground for a new reading habit, since I was traveling all over and spending stretches of time seated in strange places that smelled funny, where a compact paperback book was very helpful. I read the entire Julia Quinn Bridgerton series in a week, and while parts of it got repetitive for me (probably because I read one a day), I totally enjoyed them and now I feel this need for more. More!

I have a feeling there must be romance novel fans on my flist. I am asking for your help! I feel like I do this all the time, but I can't help myself - you guys always give good book recommendations.

Until this week, the only romance novels I'd read were those by Jennifer Crusie or Georgette Heyer, and I love both of those authors. I'm leaning toward Regency right now (the more escapist, the better), and I like funny books without too much melodrama. In short, I tend to roll my eyes when the the heroines are constantly crying, or (heaven forbid) the heroes turn on the waterworks.

Basically, I want Georgette Heyer, but I've read all of her stuff that's readily available!

Any recommendations?

In Grandpa news - he was better last night (he ate dinner! The nurse said to me, "Saturday, I would have said he had four days left, five at the most, but now? Who knows!"), and tonight was my aunt's turn at the nursing home, so I haven't seen how he's doing today for myself. I called the nursing home today to talk to his doctor and get an update about his condition/prognosis, but he didn't call me back. My family says I need to let it go and let things happen as they will - and I know they're right! But this uncertainty is maddening to me. I guess I'm more of a control freak than I thought.

Did I mention that my graduation party is Saturday? It's still on, which seems weird to me, but my parents rightly pointed out that we can't postpone because who knows what will happen when, and we can't put life on hold indefinitely, and blah blah blah, rational logical sensible. Oh God, I need to find an outfit. And lose twenty pounds. And get a job.

It would totally be awesome if my fairy godmother chose this week to show up.

Okay, I'm talking about fairy godmothers, CLEARLY it's time for bed. Peace out, yo.
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith devastated)
This afternoon I sent out an e-mail to friends telling them that my grandfather had had a stroke, and that it was unlikely he would recover, and would they please offer prayers and thoughts that he would spend the next few days in peace, without suffering. The priest administered the last rites. My father and aunts had a lengthy meeting about feeding tubes and ventilators (no to both). He was supposed to slip away once they removed the oxygen mask.

Today they did just that, and he didn't slip away. He slept all day, waking only enough to tell the neurologist he wasn't in any pain for a few seconds early this morning. My aunts sat with him all day, and he just slept, unresponsive, but calm. They talked about hospice, and called me with the update before leaving to sleep for the night.

I swung by to visit after they had gone home. He was curled up on his side, a big puddle of drool under his chin. I could tell he hadn't moved in a while. I had a magazine and a romance novel with me; I was going to sit for a while, think, visit. I'd done the teary good-bye thing last night in ICU, and there was the distinct possibility of a repeat performance. I sat down in the chair, leaned over, and whispered, "Hey, Grandpa."

And holy cannoli, his eyes snapped open, and he was awake. "Hi," he said.

We talked. He wanted to know where he was, what happened, who his doctor was, why was I there?

"I came to see you," I said.

"But you don't usually come."

GUILT MISSILE LAUNCHED; DIRECT HIT. I have to tell you guys, I visited him weekly (at least) before my evil MAT program started and ate my life. Now he's lost all memory of that, and thinks that I've always been a sporadic visitor.

He told me I must have better things to do. I told him George Clooney canceled, so I was able to pencil him in. And then I stepped into the hall to call my family to tell them what had happened. They couldn't believe it. When my aunt arrived, my grandfather asked again where he was (he got disoriented a lot), and we told him. A few minutes later, my aunt said, "Dad, do you know where we are?"

"Yeah," he said, and then named the pizza place around the corner from the house where my aunt grew up, as a joke.

He will likely backslide in the night, or tomorrow, or the day after that, but I am grateful for tonight, for those ninety minutes he was awake and lucid, so that I was able to have another conversation with him. Especially if this is the end, so that my last vivid memory of him would not be from last night, when he was unresponsive and shriveled-up in the ICU bed, or the night before that, when he had to be put into restraints upon first arriving at the hospital. And I want to write this now so that I remember it.

Anyway. Good thoughts would be appreciated - at this point, still, all I care is that he feels safe and comfortable and without pain, whether he recovers or slips away. And if you have extra good wishes to send in the direction of my father's real estate closing tomorrow, that would be great, too - my state of mind has been somewhat, shall we say, unfocused as of late, and I told half of the people involved that the closing was in the wrong place. I think I called everyone back and set them right, but fully expect one or more angry phone calls at 2:15 PM tomorrow, when someone finds himself or herself in the wrong place.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
.i. desire

I can't express to you how much I want - no, need - Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip Light Ice Cream right now. I kind of want to get in my car and drive to the store and buy it.

Things stopping me from this course of action:

1. It's that time of night cool cats like myself call the wee hours of the morning.

2. My car is covered in snow.

3. I haven't showered since yesterday, and it shows.

4. It would involve sneaking out and sneaking back in the house, which opens up the possibility of getting caught, and having to explain to parental units (who routinely say things like, "Ice cream? No thanks. Not in the mood.") why, exactly, it was so imperative that I get to the store.

5. Also, I would have to get out of my desk chair.

Tomorrow is another day.

.ii. cat wranglin' woman

I was able to snag the random black cat not once, but twice, after I wrote Thursday's entry. And this done without a scratch or bite! There were other casualties, however: a flowerpot, my dignity.

On the loss of my dignity: At first, I couldn't figure out a way to grab the guy while he was hiding under the stairs, so I constructed an elaborate plan that involved me scaring him out of the spot and up the stairs toward the first floor of the house - where he would meet a closed door and I would be able to trap and grab him. The plan worked perfectly, except for the part where after he met the closed door, the cat turned around, got all puffed up, hissed, and I responded by throwing my hands up and screaming in terror. Screaming! Like a little girl! Which made my mother, standing behind me, scream too, and then the cat ran away and hid, pretty successfully, in one of the basement windows (which was, like, ten feet off the ground - how he got up there, a mystery).

On the loss of the flowerpot: I reached up for him on the window ledge, which led to him leaping onto a shelf and knocking a flowerpot over, and then jumping to the ground. He ran back to his original hiding place, under the stairs.

The ultimate tool of success was a broom, which I used to push him towards me until I could reach in and grab the scruff of his neck. After I snagged him, and carried him upstairs, I had a nice screaming fight with my parents.

Their opinion: He looked like our neighbor's cat, so we should let him go outside and let him find his way. He's scared! He doesn't want to be here! Just look at him!

My opinion: We should lock him in the bathroom and call our neighbor, and have him come over and get the cat. It's cold!

Our arguments were much less eloquent and far more CAPSLOCKY, and finally ended in me caving, yelling, "FINE!" and, for some reason I still don't understand, putting the cat down a few feet from the back door instead of outside, which, naturally, led to the cat taking off in the wrong direction and hiding under a recliner. We had another fun conversation that went like this:

Parental Units: WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

Self: I DON'T KNOW!

PU: REALLY, WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT?

Self: I DON'T KNOW!

And so we called our neighbors.

Dad: Hi, Bob? It's Jim MyLastName. Just calling because we think we might have your cat here.

Neighbor: Our cat's dead.

Dad: Oh.

So it wasn't that cat. The non-dead black cat did have a collar, though, and has been spotted often in our yard, and so, finally, I gave in to my parents and snagged him and put him in the yard - at which point he immediately made a beeline down the street, which gives me hope that he does have a house to go to. At the very least, he was very healthy when I found him - nice coat, well-fed. Then again, we don't know how long we've been subsidizing him.

More news if the story develops!

.iii. sacramental stories

I've started screening my calls because, I don't know. I think I'm a very important person or something. Really it's because my life is extremely boring and I don't feel like talking to people, because I never feel like I have anything new to say.

So that's why even though I was home all morning, there was a message on the machine when I was leaving for the day on Friday. I decided to listen to it even though I was just barely on time and wouldn't be able to return a phone call anyway.

Answering Machine: Hello, this is Debbie from Shady Pines. This is NOT an emergency. I was just calling to let you know that Father G. stopped by this morning and administered the last rites to your grandfather.

Self: WHAT?!

I picked up the phone and dialed my mother and played the message for her.

Mom: WHAT?!

Self: I have to go! I'm late!

And so I left. This may seem like a very callous reaction - all I can say is that it's a family trait. We don't respond well in crises (Exhibit A: The time Lifeline called to tell us that they'd gotten an emergency message from my grandfather's Lifeline necklace, and that the fire department was on its way - could we meet them there? Sure! we said, and then my mother stopped at the gas station for a Pepsi en route).

In the car, I illegally called my father on my cell because this was, after all, his father we were talking about.

Self: So, uh, Dad, Shady Pines called, and they said it wasn't an emergency, but that Father G. stopped by and administered the last rites?

Dad: Yeah, I got that message too.

Self: Is Grandpa okay?

Dad: He's fine. Father G. just happened to be there.

Self: And so he administered the last rites?

Dad: I guess.

Self: Because he was in the neighborhood.

Dad: Yup.

Self: So I could stop by St. Patrick's right now and get the last rites if I wanted to.

Dad: Probably.

I guess nowadays that's how the sacrament works - it's called Anointing the Sick, and can be done at any time of mental or physical illness, not just on your deathbed. But if that's what you're going for, don't call the family and use the old school sacramental designation! Last rites makes you think, you know, it's the Last Rites, time for deathbed confessions, the whole shebang!

So that was stressful.

.v. film flam

On Saturday I went to see Something New, which was exactly what I hoped it would be. I recommend!
fearlesstemp: (Default)
The highlight of my Christmas has to be - it HAS to be - the moment when I found myself on my knees, head under the dining room table next to the bare chicken legs of one of our dinner guests, doing my best to unbuckle her velcro sneakers so that she could change into a pair of my mother's sweatpants because, as she had said several times by that point, her words slurred by the Chardonnay I'd given her (one lesson I learned today: ninety-pound nonagenarians generally can't hold their liquor), the other pants were "too TIGHT. I don't know why they gave them to me! Ha! Haha! My pants! They're too TIGHT!"

And then she farted, which was the cherry on the sundae of the whole experience. She was in good company, though; my grandfather, who was seated next to her in the dining room (but had had his wheelchair turned around so that Julia could have her privacy while I stripped her down and stuffed her into another pair of sweatpants), has become a champion gas passer. In the middle of Christmas dinner tonight, long after Julia had been tucked into her new gray sweatpants, Grandpa leaned forward, gripped the table, and let out a fart so loud that I heard it at the other end of the room. It took everything in me not to burst into audible laughter. I did burst into silent laughter, hidden behind my glass of coke, because I am (as we all know) thirteen at heart.

Ours was a wild and crazy Christmas. The guests were:

-My 89-year-old grandfather, who yelled about abortion during appetizers, slept through dinner, and yelled about abortion again during dessert;

-the aforementioned Julia, my grandfather's old friend and neighbor at the nursing home, who has a niece who took her car but doesn't take her in on holidays (maybe it's the farting?);

-Gerry and Joanne, my father's cousin and his wife, who are both nice, lovely people, who can be best characterized by the fact that they always drive the speed limit (always!), even in the fast lane, and do not understand why people tailgate them. They are two contenders for the coveted Most Boring People I Know Award; and

-Barb and Mike, my aunt and her husband. Mike was just diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery to have a section of his colon removed just this past Monday. I was positive he was going to keel over into his green bean casserole halfway through dinner - when I had my appendix out when I was seventeen, I was completely done for for about ten days. He's been out and about since he got out of the hospital on Friday.

It was a wild and crazy evening, let me tell you. I would tell you more about it right now, but my brother and I are about to run out to see King Kong. More later - Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and a very happy Sunday to all others. Happy Hanukkah too!

P.S. I owe a bunch of people e-mails and thanks, and I will get to it soon - promise! You are all lovely people.
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
So I have another temp job tomorrow. Joy! My temp agency pimp (timp), Chris, called me yesterday and said RandomCompany wanted me to start tomorrow morning. I said sure. Then she called back and said that the company wanted me to sit down for an interview, which was annoying because it's a two week assignment covering phones and, also, the whole POINT of temping is not having to interview. I guess they just wanted to look me over, make sure I have a full set of teeth or something. Like I'm livestock.

Anyway, apparently I did okay because I'm headed out there at 8AM tomorrow. Again, joy!

The interview took place right after my Big Scary Ed Psych Test, which I've been whining about to anyone and everyone for the past week or so. I'm surprised anyone is still speaking to me. In fact, the experience has highlighted how awesome my friends are, as one called me from a train station, another from Germany, another from her car, all to find out how the test was. Every time I answered the call I was touched by their thoughtfulness and touched by self-loathing, because it made me realize exactly how much I've been whining about it, and also, would I be so thoughtful? Perhaps we should revisit the Forgetting the Best Friend's Birthday Incident of 2004.

On second thought, let's not.

Anyway, the test: The test consisted of eight essay questions, I filled a blue book, I completely made up one answer and found out when I checked the book that I wasn't completely off track. I will find out if I passed tomorrow. OMG THE STRESS. But I will not say anymore because, again, have been whining about it for a week now.

Post-test and interview, I scooted forty-five minutes north to meet R for some tutoring. You guys. He is doing so well. I can't figure out a way to write about it that isn't incredibly corny. Last week he sounded out "parking" on his own. This week he got a whole stack of vocabulary flashcards right for the first time. Lest I get too overconfident, he still says "plastic" for almost every word starting with p. Why? I don't know. Last week he was saying "place" for every p word. I learned from my Ed Psych studying that the worst thing to do is to introduce a number of vocabulary words starting with the same letter to a student. Right now I've got him trying to learn, like, five words that start with p. Go me! Awesome!

Also, "did" is almost always "don't" even though I've never, ever included "don't" in an exercise. It's maddening. Last week I actually sat there and said, "see, let's try - okay, d-i-d is did, okay? D-i-d did. D-i-d did, d-i-d did, d-i-d did, d-i-d did." I actually kind of sang it after the sixth or seventh time, bopping around in my seat. R just looked at me like I was crazy. Which I am.

I finished up my super-exciting thrill-packed day at the nursing home, where I dropped off some adult diapers from my grandfather. He called to ask them to drop them off yesterday. At 1:50 in the morning. I was awake and everything, but it gave me a heart attack, all, "Oh my God, someone's DEAD" and then, when I pick up, it's his wide-awake voice saying, "Oh, hello, dear, could you bring by some didees?"

Tonight he greeted me at the door of his room with the following statement: "Sweetheart! How nice of you to come see me! I have to go to the bathroom." Then he proceeded to roll into the bathroom use the facilities with the door open while I stood awkwardly by the windows and listened to hear if he'd fallen in or down or anything. Good times.

Afterwards we watched the end of an Audrey Hepburn/Cary Grant movie together. Audrey Hepburn was okay. Cary Grant was awesome (is he ever not?).

And now I have to go to bed!
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
I did not sign off on this snowstorm! W-T-F, people? SERIOUSLY. I was supposed to ! I was supposed to make foolish, last-minute, anxiety purchases at a box store today! I was supposed to get TRAVELER'S CHECKS (at the bank, not the aforementioned box store). Instead I was trapped inside the house, incapable of accomplishing anything, save watching Ed and annoying my friends on the phone! I capped it all off with a solid hour or so of snow-blowing and shoveling, followed by stressed-out last-minute packing, which is the best way to spend your last evening before a trip, in my humble opinion.

Anyway, I have packed, I have written explicit instructions for my parents so that I can tape General Hospital for the next two weeks (I kind of resent GH for becoming interesting and watchable to me right before I'm going on a trip), I have called trusted friend to ramble on about fear of flying and fear of what the relaxy-pills I've been given will do to me (what if I vomit? Or drunkenly approach an attractive fellow flyer? What if I vomit while drunkenly approaching an attractive fellow flyer? HORRORS). I have also found out what movies are showing on the plane (FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX is one of them! ARE THEY MAD?), and have left ample room in my personal bag for the candy and other comfort foods I will need to get me through the flight.

I must stop talking about my flying anxiety (anxiety about flying, not anxiety that flies about under its own power - though, come to think of it, that's kind of an apt figurative description) before I freak myself out further. Subject change!

The other day my mother was telling me about one of her coworkers, who is having trouble getting a promotion, possibly because she's married to the big boss's wife's ex-husband. This prompted me to ask if there were more than thirty people in our tri-county area, or if it just seems that way.

Another example of this arose from my grandfather's visit to the dentist. The dentist in question was:

(a) the son of a couple my maternal grandparents used to socialize with;

(b) my dentist since I was a little girl;

(c) the brother of a girl I went to high school with;

(d) the father of a girl I once baby-sat at a Montessori fundraiser my aunt threw; or

(e) all of the above.

If you chose (e), you're probably one of our area's thirty residents!

Anyway, my grandfather insisted that I accompany him into the examining room with him, where I watched him have impressions done for dentures and made small talk with the dentist about items (c) and (d), mainly. During the conversation he said something about how people are always asking why he hasn't had another child (he has one daughter). He said that having one of her is like having seven, and that he couldn't handle that.

I chuckled in a polite way and my grandfather sat there silent, goo from the impressions pooling at the corners of his mouth. I did not realize at that moment how fortunate his temporary inability to speak was because, later, when I was in the nursing home van with him and the driver, and, in a vain attempt to make bland small-talk, told my grandfather that I could understand what the dentist meant when he said that - I baby-sat his daughter once, and she was a handful - he said (and I quote), in his most booming voice,

"That isn't his decision! That's God's decision! CONTRACEPTION IS WRONG!"

(I wish I was exaggerating with that emphasis there, but I swear I am not.)

I almost died of embarrassment. After coming back from the brink, I asked him to table the conversation for later and responded pleasantly to the van driver's comment on the weather thirty seconds later - the usual social niceties one must be familiar with if one wishes to spend time with the Grandpa Unit.

Now it is late! I must away to bed. I am leaving tomorrow and won't be back until the 24th, and that evening I'm going to a young alumni mixer for a bunch of area colleges. SO LAME and I can't resist. I'm making my friend Jo go and the only reason my friend Andrea is escaping is because she's leaving the state.

It's actually pretty great because since it takes place the day after I get back from Europe, I can start all of my conversations with that fact, instead of my usual opener: "Well, I'm unemployed at the moment, but I've been temping for the past few years, living with the parents. And oh! I just got a new cat! Want to see a picture?"

Those of you who have my cell number can leave messages there if you need to reach me (I will be checking the voicemail while I'm away), and my internet access will be sporadic at best. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, my AOL address still works but I do have another gmail one - fearlesstemp@gmail.com.

And that's it! I'm outta here!
fearlesstemp: (fred and ginger pick self up)
I'm sure lots of people had wild weekends full of debauchery, but I ask you – did anyone else get to ride on an old school fire truck with Santa on Sunday?

I was out at a festival with an assortment of female relatives, including my seven year old cousin Emma, who insisted that I ride on the fire truck with her and her mother. I felt kind of assholish because there was a looooong line of kids behind me waiting to ride in the truck with Santa, but I couldn't let The Emster down, and so I followed her up onto the back of the truck pretended to act like I was nobly suffering for the sake of the child, when really I was excited. It was totally fun.

Anyway, before the winter festival, Emma stopped by my house and met our new kitten Dusty, and today she sent me the cutest E-card ever - the text was:

hi jess i loved your new kitten dusty he is so cute i could just eat him up .

Oh, the cuteness! It threatens to overwhelm!

On the not so cute side, I went to visit my grandfather tonight. I've been trying to ask him more about his life, since he's done a lot of interesting things. Tonight I asked him about my grandmother, how they met, etc. The highlights:

-The way he said he first got connected with her: "My beloved sister Eleanor was down at college and got to know Paula, your grandmother's sister, when they exchanged certain feminine hygeine products women need at certain times of the month."

-How he asked her out: "I called and said I was a Hollywood producer looking for Lois M. She was out with another guy, Jimmy Something, but I didn't think he was competition since I was just home from the war and very confident about myself."

-Their dating adventures, which included running out of gas in the snow a mile from my grandmother's house in the country. My grandmother was wearing an evening gown but didn't complain.

-A too-long foray into TMIville: "And there was no funny business," he said. "It was all on the up and up. It was better that way. All we did was hold hands, or the equivalent of that – necking, really, which was mostly –"

At that point I started waving my hands around wildly to distract him.

Right before I left, the American Legion stopped by and dropped off a decoration for him. My grandfather trotted out his usual army joke ("I only served four years but I did save one German in the war, you know. I shot at him and missed.").

After they left, I opened up the card they dropped off and realized that they were from our ARCH RIVAL AMERICAN LEGION POST! My brother played American Legion baseball for years and this post totally kicked his team's ass regularly and without mercy. They were always super-organized and had players that looked like they'd walked out of a Yankees training camp instead of the dregs of the area's JV squads (our team).

The inspirational way to close this would be to tell you about how my brother's team eventually toppled their arch rival in the quest for the state championship, but I can offer no such inspiration. The best I can muster is my brother saying, "I think we beat them once. Maybe."

And now, to bed.
fearlesstemp: (john doe mike)
I love Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for a lot of things, too many to name, but if I had to give a brief list: my health, my family, and my friends, including all of you.

notes from today's turkey day )
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
I am at peak performance here. A few notes from the last couple of days.

-Monday I had another tutoring session with R., which went very well. I also spoke to his supervisor on my lunch break, which went as well as it could have given the circumstances – everywhere I eat lunch feels compelled to pump their establishments full of easy listening or classic rock music at top volume, which makes it challenging to have any kind of conversation. Add in a bunch of fellow lunch eaters and questionable cell phone reception, and you've got a recipe for fun!

The conversation actually went fine. She assured me they had realistic expectations, etc etc. "As I said to D., thirty sight words or so," she said.

Which kind of makes me want to kill D., the local literacy volunteer organizer, because when I talked to her last week and asked if she'd spoken to the company about expectations, she was all vague and brushed me off. She said, "Why don't you just call her?"

I was sitting on a park bench in sub-freezing temperatures at the time (the place where I'd been having lunch had awful reception for my phone, so I had to abandon my salad half-eaten to go outside and call her back), and it took everything in me not to snarl, "I don't know, maybe because you get paid for things like that?"

Okay, so it didn't take everything in me not to do that – I'm a wimp. I would never do anything like that. Also, you know, I signed up for this, etc etc. But I signed up for tutoring! Not navigating the dangerous waters of a strange company's HR office and employment policies!

And so I just said, "Sure! Fine! I'll get right on that!"

Tutoring itself went fabulous, which was good because last week was a tough one – he seemed to have forgotten everything we'd worked on. But this week, it all came back and more. He knew the "ch" sound. It was thrilling.

-File under Nightmares Do Come True: Yesterday I got into work, got my Mets Mug o' H2O, and settled in to check my e-mail (how I start every day). Was in the middle of typing in the web address for my e-mail when the phone rang and I answered, quite naturally, "Aolmail – dot – aol – dot - com." Five seconds of confused silence later I realized what I'd done and said, in my best I'm A Professional, No Really Voice, "I'm sorry, please excuse me. All Irish Law Firm, can I help you?"

I wanted to die.

-I almost cried in Target when they did not have The Office Christmas Special in stock. But then I bought popcorn and read an awesome story and felt better, which was good, because at my next stop (WalMart Supercenter; I was all about the big box stores last night), I had the following conversation with my mother, the one, the only, Peg of the Cautionary Tale.

Self: So, you want me to get you Turkey Tetrazinni?

Mom Unit: If they -- wait. It's dark out.

Self: …Yes.

MU: Don't go. Just come home. I'll have noodles with butter. There are crazy people out there! Remember, that girl --

Self: Mom, it's fine! There are a ton of people around, I'll be just fine.

MU: Be careful.

Self: Hmm, I was planning on wandering around aimlessly with my eyes closed, fists full of money, to the darkest areas of the parking lot, but if you –

MU: JESSICA

Self: I'll be careful!

MU: Don't get kidnapped!

Self: Right right, don't get kidnapped and bring home Turkey Tetrazinni.

So a few minutes later, when I was walking through the dark parking lot, remembering all of the scary stock footage I've seen of girls getting snatched from parking lots, and a big green SUV came to a sudden stop right next to me, I kind of had a heart attack.

Self: AAAH!

Michelle: Jess?

S: Oh! Hi! Michelle! And Meg! Hi!

Michelle and Meg: Hi! You all right?

S: Fine, fine, just, you know, thought you were a scary kidnapper.

MaM: . . . oh.

S: My mother – I was on the – never mind. Long story. Walk in together?

And we did. Meg had little Abigail with her, so I got to coo and poke at her little covered-in-winterwear-belly, and talk like an idiot. All that good stuff. We did the high-pitched-girltalk thing, argued over who had lost weight ("You!" "No, you!"), when most likely none of us had, and then parted ways in produce because I had to get to my next destination pretty quickly.

-Speaking of: My next destination was my grandfather's nursing home, where I came upon him already snoozing. The woman at the desk told me to wake him up, and he seemed happy that I did. It kind of blows my mind that anyone would be happy to be woken up, but I suppose this is one circumstance where even I would be glad.

We talked about exciting nursing home happenings (he's changed lunch tables, and the other day got sick at breakfast. "I flashed the hash," he said, and then, just to make sure I understood, added, "That means I vomited."), his recent doctor's appointment ("I am bigoted against the Jews," he said, in a reflective, kind of apologetic way. "Not that I'd ever admit it. But I liked him."), and Thanksgiving ("Where am I going, again?").

The last two times I've visited he's complimented my alabaster skin and dark hair, which was nice, but sufficiently romance-novel-sounding to feel kind of weird. I know he didn't mean it that way; he's just one of those people who won't say in three words what he can say in seven. This time, no such compliments. But he did, as always, call me Curlyhead.

-This morning I slept until exactly five minutes before I'm supposed to leave the house if I want to be on time for work. The awesome ending to this would be to reveal that I got here showered, well-coiffed, snazzily dressed, and on-time. There is no awesome ending. I didn't get to shower, threw some gel in my hair, put on a default easy outfit (complete with clunky clogs), and arrived fifteen minutes late. Note: I usually arrive ten minutes late. So to be just five minutes later after sleeping a half hour late? Not too bad!

And yes, you did that math right – I do get up a half hour before I'm supposed to leave for work. No, I can't get ready for work in a half hour. Yes, that is a problem.

Because of the oversleeping, all day I've felt kind of disconnected from the world. This has done wonders for my work performance. Ten bucks says I'm asked not to come back at the end of the day. I won't come back tomorrow, at the very least: it is the day of THE DREADED GREs. They warrant all caps.

It's a good thing I don't have a three-hour pointless literacy volunteers meeting tonight! Oh wait, I do. Oh well. I will do well or I will do poorly. All I can do is ride the rest of it out.

And possibly sneak glances at my GRE prep book during the meeting.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
Oh my God. You guys. My grandfather is so trying to drive us insane. Insane! And it's WORKING! He's left sad, pathetic messages for weeks and weeks (always directed at me, because my voice is on the machine – and I have to tell you, coming home to one of them is the perfect cap on a long day. They make me want to cry, or possibly rip the answering machine out of the wall) about how much he wanted to go home.

"[Gross throat-clearing noise]," the message would say. "Jess? It's Grandpa. I want to go home. Can I go home? I love you, sweetheart. God bless."

Sometimes I would be home when he called and we'd spend a half hour in an endless, circular discussion about how he wanted to go home, in which I would make a number of cheesy, corny, Think Positive statements.

After all of that, the nursing home and my aunts made the decision to let him go home October 1. They started building a ramp for the wheelchair on the stairs, they started arranging aides to cover for him, looked into outpatient physical therapy.

And now are you ready for this?

He doesn't want to go home! He wants to stay.

Now we're scrambling to figure out how we can keep him in there. I can see it happening: we will figure it out, and he will announce that he wants to go home again.

The situation with my grandfather is kind of like the presidential election for me, in that both of them make me want to lie down on the floor and stare at the ceiling for a long time. I would do it right now, except I wouldn't be able to reach the phone, and I dropped half of my banana down there today and so there's probably some banana-stickiness happening there. Also, I'm not sure when/if they vacuum back here.

My life is so boring lately. My life is always boring, but lately it's been more aggressively so. Tonight I have to go to a family party and I will have nothing to talk about. Maybe I could pretend to have laryngitis? Something to consider.

Something I'm considering right now: The discomfort of having done something stupid and possibly rude on such a small scale that I'm not sure it even registered with the other person, so that apologizing is out of the question. Do you know what I mean? I'm trying to think of a better way of describing it so that this mess of a paragraph makes sense, but I can't. And I'm too lazy to describe what actually happened.

This happens a lot with me, because I hate the idea of hurting another person's feelings, but am by nature so oblivious to things that I can sometimes say or do (or not say or do) things that will, ten to fifteen minutes later, blindside me with their stupiditiy and rudeness. And I'm all about apologizing – I've never had a problem with saying I was sorry, to the point that it annoys other people that I say it too much – but there are those occasions where it's kind of a fuzzy thing, where it's so small that it may not have even mattered to the other person and apologizing for it would be impossibly embarrassing and possibly even more rude.

Argh! I am crazy. That is the root of my problems. I need a road manual for life! Or possibly magic wishes. If I had one selfish wish, I would wish for perfect eyesight. If I had two selfish wishes, I would wish for perfect eyesight and the ability to genuinely enjoy exercise. If I had three selfish wishes, I would wish for perfect eyesight, the ability to genuinely enjoy exercise, and the grace to navigate any personal interaction with ease.

But there are no selfish wishes, and so I fully anticipate stumbling through life with astigmatism, chubby thighs, and awkward pauses. Oh well.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
Did I mention in my last entry that I only got ninety minutes of sleep last night? Because I did. I have never longed so much for the below-desk cubby George created on that episode of Seinfeld.

Seinfeldish Epiphany of the Month: If George Costanza and Cosmo Kramer mated, the result would be my father. There are, like, two people reading this who will fully appreciate the accuracy of this description. As for the rest: now you have a vague idea of what you'd experience if you ever met my father.

Speaking of paternal figures: The Grampster.

He continues to kick it bitter in the nursing home, which I understand. It's a sucky place to visit, let alone stay, and he and I have taken to having these bizarre inspirational-sports-movie-esque conversations, where I feel like some old coach telling this beat up former champ that he can do it again, really he can. I find myself saying things like, "You have to believe in yourself! That's the first step!"

I annoy myself in these conversations. I'm surprised he still speaks to me.

Continued Amazing Cluelessness of My Family: My grandfather can't use the bathroom by himself, or stand on his own, or do much of anything. He fired one of his aides before he had his surgery and nothing has been done to replace her or prepare the remaining aides to handle his new condition.

Naturally two of my aunts want to take him home! To his house, not theirs.

"He tells me that they never do rehab with him anyway," Aunt 1 says.

"And wouldn't it be a nice birthday treat to come home?" Aunt 2 says.

"Oh my God, are you insane?" says my little branch of the family tree.

First: He does get rehab (my father has witnessed it). The thing is, he either doesn't remember that it happens or he does remember and is lying about it to my aunts. He's definitely crafty enough to lie.

Second: It would be nice, but he's in no condition!

Anyway, all this led up to me overhearing the following conversation between my father and my uncle Jim, who is married to my father's sister Christine.

Dad: Hey Jim, how's it going? Is Christine there? Oh. Okay. Just give her this message: [tone completely changes from Jovial Jim to Angy Attorney] The old man cannot go home. It would be a death sentence. [tone returns to Jovial Jim] Good talking to you! Bye.

Tonight I think I'm going to head over to the nursing home and visit. Perhaps we'll have a replay of Friday evening's dinner.

[Grandpa, Mary, and Aram sit together at a table waiting for their dinner. Aram's family and I stand around the table, chatting.]

Grandpa: Have you met my granddaughter? This is Jessica.

Self: [Waves a hand] Hi!

Everyone: Hello!

Mary: I'm cold.

Grandpa: You need a sweater! Jessica, get her a sweater.

Self: Mary, do you want one? I could run to your room if you wanted?

Mary: No, dear, I'm fine.

Self: Okay.

[Two minute pause.]

Grandpa: Have you met my granddaughter? This is Jessica.

Self: [Waves a bit more tentatively.] Hi!

Everyone: Hello!

Mary: I'm cold.

Grandpa: You need a sweater! Jessica --

Self: I already asked, but --

Grandpa: She needs a sweater!

Self: All right, all right. Mary, would you like me to go to your --

Mary: No, dear, that's fine.

Self: Okay. Just let me know.

[Two minutes of something else]

Grandpa: Have you met my granddaughter Jessica?

Anyway. Good times! It's 5PM, time for me to blow outta here.
fearlesstemp: (strictly ballroom)
My grandfather had surgery to have a shunt put in a couple of weeks ago. It's kind of freaky because it's so visible -- you can see the tube under his skin going up his neck and the side of his head behind his ear, until finally it disappears at the top of his skull. When I went to see him in the hospital last week, I gave him one of those strappy-string-things for your glasses, so you can wear them around your neck. I attached it to his glasses and then put it around his neck. He was very happy with it.

For about ten minutes. Then he reached up to scratch his ear and felt the string, and this look of absolute horror came over his face. "That's not supposed to be there!" he said. "The shunt is coming out! It's out!"

It scared him half to death. I had to jump up and say, "No! It's okay! The shunt's still there!" and pull his glasses away so he could see the string.

I give excellent gifts.

Anyway, so he's all shunt-tastic now. Every time I go to see him it takes all of my self possession not to shudder at the sight of the tube under his skin.

Other things I have to make sure not to shudder at: The phlegm-filled Kleenexes he hands me to throw out after he finishes coughing; the smell of the hospital; the sight of the food they're giving him.

So far I'm mostly shudder-free.

He stayed in the hospital far longer than he had to because they couldn't find him a bed in a local nursing home/rehab facility. This is because the rehab facilities and nursing homes don't permit coed rehabbing, and there were no male beds in the area for about a week. We were about to put him in a wig and a dress Bosom Buddies-style when they finally found one, at a nice, new facility.

I went to see him there today )
fearlesstemp: (Default)
Today I brought my car in for an oil change and ended up paying $330.00 for alignment work. I would be sad and pathetic and whine about it, but the thing is...I kinda sorta ran over an orange traffic cone last week. So it's my fault.

But! I still argue that the orange traffic cones were in a stupid place! I had to merge! I couldn't avoid hitting them! Okay, maybe if I was, you know, "obeying the speed limit" but come on! The speed limit is for LOSERS!

Kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, now car has oil change, alignment fixed, and two new tires. Happy little car.

In other news: It has been quite a week. My cousin Meg had her little baby Abigail, who after a day of being around my scarily huge extended family decided to get away from it all by having a seizure, refusing to breathe, and being placed in the ICU. I've got to tell you, that was a day. I do not look back fondly on Wednesday, July 14th.

It turns out she has meningitis and will have to be on IV antibiotics for 20 days, which means she won't be able to come home with Meg and her husband for another three weeks. They think Abigail should be fine, but still it's a difficult ordeal for Meg and her husband and for little Abigail, so any good thoughts that can be spared for them would be appreciated. Right now we've got the greater tri-city area's Catholic phone lines with God opened via conversations with my aunt Lynn's coworker (formerly a nun with the order of the Holy Names), Meg's boss (Sister Maureen -- Meg teaches at a Catholic school), and Father IForgotHisName (the priest at Meg's school). We've also lit up the Presbyterian hot line through a friend of mine, who asked her church to pray for Abigail at a service tonight. We take any and all good thoughts and prayers to the intangible force or deity of your choice.

I kid, I kid, but I also honestly appreciate it.

When I wasn't stressing about Abigail, I've spent a good chunk of my stress time obsessing over my grandfather's checkbook. Which brings me to: Have I mentioned that my grandfather's aides are driving me crazy? Because they are. It's like doing one of those complicated logic word problems: How do you keep the peace in a situation with five aides, Debbie, Carolyn, Lorene, Marilyn, and Diana, where:

-Debbie doesn't like Carolyn
-Carolyn doesn't like Marilyn
-Marilyn acts like she's the boss of everyone
-Jim doesn't like Carolyn or Marilyn all that much, but doesn't want them fired. Yet.
-Carolyn is a personal friend of Lorene.
-Lorene is Jim's favorite.
-Lorene doesn't like Diana because of the way she folds her sheets when she spends the night.
-Diana is pretty chill at this point. But give her time.

They keep calling me up and gossiping about each other to me. I feel like The Man, keeping them down, and I am so close to not caring about that.

And, okay, reality check (this is an honest request) – am I being an Evil Hardass Bitch from Hell by requiring these people to have worked all of the hours they're scheduled for before I pay them? Is that such a crazy idea? My aunts had, for some reason I have yet to discern, been paying them in advance, but that inevitably led to inaccurate amounts on the check, causing discrepancies that would have to carry over week after week. This has made the checkbook insane, and so I created this new system where everyone gets paid on Saturday for the week, and it's driving some of them crazy! They're all upset and keep calling me for their checks even though I sent them a letter telling them that the next check wasn't coming until July 17th!

I'm not crazy, am I? I mean, I cleared it with my grandfather, and he saw the logic. You work, then you get paid! Right?

Anyway. I'm so wiped out. Must go sleep. Am behind on everything in life. Owe e-mails, phone calls, other stuff. Apologies, will get back on things soon, honest.
fearlesstemp: (bucky)
All I write about in this LJ lately is career angst and my wacky grandfather. This entry is about the latter:

grandpa anecdote #1, in which i discuss sunday dinner )

grandpa anecdote #2, in which i discuss the anti-abortionmobile )
fearlesstemp: (fred and ginger pick self up)
I haven't done laundry in an age, which makes the morning interesting. Today I was running around the house in a towel post-shower on a desperate underwear hunt (pair found at the bottom of the clean laundry basket next to the dryer, thank goodness) when I realized the answering machine was blinking. Played the message while looking for socks (wanted to wear sandals, since it is so nice out, but yesterday received an e-mail at work saying that bare legs aren't okay until after Memorial Day – am confused as to what that says about bare feet. If one is wearing pants, can one wear sandals without stockings? It seems such a pain to wear stockings with pants and, also, I just hate the look of stockings with sandals. Wonder if I can get past this), and found two messages from aunts C. and B. about grandfather. Aide very sick with stomach virus, desperately need someone to go over and give him breakfast, blah blah blah.

Parental units unavailable, Mom already left for work and Dad preparing for colonoscopy. He initiated the following conversation as I was getting ready to go over to grandfather's house to meet my aunt, after calling work to let them know I would be late.

"If I don't see you again," he said to me from the top of the stairs, "I just want you to know, you have been a perfect daughter."

"Thanks, Dad, that's sweet," I said. "But you're going to be fine!"

"And also, remind your mother that I want you to hand out ten dollars to everyone who comes to my wake and funeral."

"Will do," I said, and ran out the door.

Raced over to grandfather's house, where I was meeting Aunt B., who had, when I returned her call, revealed that she'd burst into tears in the middle of the office in front of people right before I called and thusly had to get out of there, but wanted company.

"I just got my period," she explained when she arrived at my grandfather's house.

"That'll do it," I said.

We walked into the house to find my grandfather already up and around, motoring from the bathroom to the kitchen, his two favorite haunts.

"Hello!" he said. "What a nice surprise."

"You're up," my aunt said. "How long have you been awake?"

"Hmm, let's see," he said, leaning on his walker, pretending to ponder. "I fed the chickens at 6:30, and then – come on, how the hell do I know when I got up?"

"Right," I said. "That's the right answer."

My aunt helped him get dressed ("I'm in my ballet outfit," he said of his undershirt and sweatpants.) and I made him his delicious breakfast of oatmeal and hot chocolate, which my aunt and I then watched him slowly make his way through over the next half hour. Topics of discussion during this period: Flowers outside, article in paper featuring acquaintance of grandfather, my job. It may not seem like much but since my grandfather's mental slate tends to clear out every ten minutes or so, each topic got covered two or three times in our time there.

Aunt and grandfather continued in their remarkable faith in my future. "You're such a great role model," my aunt said, suggesting I look into teaching possibilities at a local private school.

"Yes, definitely," I said, waving my hand in a majestic way. "I could show them how to become a directionless twenty-something living with her parents."

"Don't put yourself down," my aunt said, and I instantly felt bad.

"I was kidding," I said, "I'm fine."

And I am. It's a nice spring day, my grandfather was in good spirits and eating well; when I got to work today, an hour late, I found out the stuff I'd done for the event on Tuesday worked out great. Things feel possible, even if I am wearing unsightly white socks and clunky black shoes instead of cute sandals.
fearlesstemp: (superjoe)
As you may recall from the awkward Sunday night conversation, my grandfather has been having some trouble lately getting out of bed in the mornings (or, as he put it, "getting erect in the mornings"). Because of this, he asked if one of us could stop by in the mornings to help him get up.

"At 7:30, preferably," he said.

"Well, I leave for work at 8:00," my mother said. "Would a little after 8:00 be all right, Jim?"

"Oh, fine, fine," he said. "That would be lovely. [Sentence blacked out because it involved my grandfather thanking my mother for offering to get him erect in the mornings.] I'm so indebted to you."

Flash forward to Monday morning, about 7:45. My mother and I are in the kitchen, getting ready for work (my mom) and whining about an achy back (me), when the phone rings. It is, of course, my grandfather, complaining about how no one was there to get him up, he had terrible troubles, etc etc.

"But grandpa, remember, you said my mother could come by at 8:00?" I said, even though I knew he wouldn't remember.

"Well, it has to be 7:00," he said. "7:15 at the latest."

"All right," I said.

Flash forward to this morning. My mother drags herself out of bed and down to my grandfather's house at 7:00, walks into the house and is greeted by my grandfather bellowing out, "WHO'S THAT? WHAT'S GOING ON?"

"Jim, it's Peg," my mother said. "It's 7:00 in the morning, you asked me to come help you up, remember?"

And then there was a long pause. "WHY THE HELL WOULD I WANT TO GET UP AT 7:00?"

To which my mother could only say, "I, well. I don't really know, but you said that 8:00 was too --"

"8:00! Yes, 8:00 is much better. MUCH better. That's when someone should come by."

At this point, of course, my grandfather had gotten himself up fine and was moving on around the house at his breakneck speed of approximately 3 feet a minute.

Ah, fun fun fun. My mother told me the story in detail this evening after we'd both gotten home from work. She finished the story, stopped laughing, and then stared off into the distance for a minute before saying, "I need a beer."

She totally did. So did I, except I hate beer. So instead I just had a bowl of Life cereal. It was pretty good.

~~

In happier news, the Mets are on FIYAH! Opening day was today, against the Evil Braves, Tom Glavine on the mound. Tom Glavine, like most Mets acquisitions, was this truly amazing player for years and years, but then he joined the Mets. As you may know, immediately after joining the Mets, any given baseball player, regardless of his past record of health and consistency, will:

(a) suffer an injury;
(b) fall into an inexplicable slump; or
(c) both.

I provide you with Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, and countless others as examples. Exception that proves the rule: Cliff Floyd, who came to the team with a chronic injury last year and still rocked the casbah. We love Cliff.

But tonight! Tonight they WON! And they won BIG! And guys they'd acquired did AMAZINGLY and Mike Piazza hit a home run and looked hot, which is all I really need. Mike Piazza is totally one of the guys who, if he showed up at my door, I would run off with him, no questions asked. The list includes: Colin Firth. JC Chasez. Joshua Jackson. There are others, of course.

Why Mike Piazza, you ask? Many reasons. He is the best hitting catcher in history! And he's so cute. And, a few years ago, a sportscaster ran into him in the history section of a local bookstore, where Mike was carrying out a pile of books because he's a history buff. He can read! And when all of the other baseball players said Field of Dreams, he named Bull Durham as his favorite movie, and one time, when the team was in Montreal, the team made the rookies get up and sing karaoke, and at the end, he got up himself and sang some Guns and Roses song. I would know the name of the song if I were a cooler person, but I am not. I am actually the kind of person who has spent the past two minutes going, "Is it 'Guns 'n Roses'? Or 'Guns and Roses'? And where do those question marks go in relation to the quotation marks?"

I just. I love him. Am very sad my Mets icon is not a Mike Piazza icon. Not that there's anything wrong with Joe McEwing! I do love Joe.

~~

And that is all.
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
i.

Saturday night I went to the grocery store with my brother to pick up a few things, including this massive glass bottle of wine vinegar, which my brother wanted to buy for his growing stash of winemaking supplies. This led to a long, Abbot-and-Costello esque conversation regarding said wine vinegar.

Me: That's a lot of wine vinegar.

Jim: Yeah.

Me: I didn't know they used vinegar to make wine.

Jim: They don't.

Me: But it's called wine vinegar?

Jim: They get the vinegar from the wine. I think.

Me: But...you're making wine.

Jim: Yeah.

Me: Why are you buying something that comes from wine if you're trying to make wine?

Jim: Retard, I'm buying it for the bottle. It's huge. And it's only three bucks.

Me: You're so weird.

Since my brother's previous bottle-gathering method had been driving around picking up empty bottles off the road (I swear, it sounds like we raised him out of a cardboard box, or that we're hillbillies or something, and I swear we're not), I decided this was a step up. I picked the huge bottle of wine vinegar out of the cart to put it in my car and, of course, dropped it. On the pavement. Where it shattered and splashed wine vinegar all over our clothes.

Jim: You IDIOT--

Me: (already walking toward the supermarket to alert cleanup crew) Shut up! I know!

I walked into the store with the top of the bottle dangling from one of my fingers (I'd reached down to pick up part of the bottle before leaving the parking spot for some reason), and held it up like it were a live weapon before the customer service desk, where they not only booked it out there to clean up, but also let me have another whole thing of wine vinegar free! Even though it was my fault the other one was destroyed! Part of me thinks they just wanted me out of the store and away from them because of the whole being-drenched-in-vinegar-and-stinking-to-high-heaven thing, but still, it was pretty cool.

ii.

So I made the mistake of letting it slip that I'd been walking long distances to and fro class Monday nights, and my parents promptly freaked out.

Mom: You know, a girl disappeared just last week from a mall in, well, I don't know where exactly, but she just VANISHED and she was on her cell phone and the last thing her boyfriend heard on the other end was her saying "Oh my God" -- and you know, you can never be too --

Dad: Jessica. Why haven't you gotten a parking pass? You shouldn't be parking all the way across campus. That's stupid.

Mom: Did you forget to go? You forgot, didn't you. When can you go?

Dad: Maybe she should get some mace.

Mom: That's a good idea.

Dad: But what she really needs is a parking pass.

Mom: That's right. You know if you're kidnapped that the most important thing is --

Jess: Not to let them take you to the second location, I know.

Mom: I mean, if they're going to shoot you, they're going to shoot you, so they may as well do it right there.

Jess: There's a happy thought.

Anyway. So it was resolved, eventually, that I was to park illegally at the restricted lot right by my class so that no one would kidnap me. I know it sounds like my whole family is insane (and they/we are), but the truth is, a girl my age did disappear while walking across this very campus five years or so ago and she's never been found. Kind of creepy. Anyway, I agreed to park illegally partly to make them feel better and mostly because they said they'd pay the fine if I was caught, and due to my (lack of) luck with anything car-related, I wasn't putting much faith in my ability to avoid the law.

This was a good plan, an excellent plan, except for the fact that I had no idea where the parking lot next to my classroom was. It's a good-sized campus, the bulk of which was built at the same time and consists of four quads with identical high-rise buildings set at the four corners of campus. I cannot express to you how alike these quads look, especially at night.

So, short version: I got totally, totally lost, which led to me wandering alone, lost, and confused for a good forty minutes (including some time spent driving the car to different parking lots seeking out the correct building) instead of the usual four minutes I spent booking it across campus with my most confident stride. The correct quad was, of course, the first one I went to (I walked in the opposite side I usually do and got all discombobulated!), and I actually walked RIGHT BY my classroom while bitching into someone's voicemail about how confused and lost I was and how it was all the CAMPUS'S fault because it was so CONFUSING. Am such a tard.

Found class eventually! And got out of presentation for this week. Will have to go first next week. More time to prepare, which is good.

iii.

Speaking of my presentation, I must include this here because it must be documented for posterity. Conversation between me and my grandfather yesterday, after I'd dropped off some of his groceries.

Me: Well, I've gotta go. I have a project to work on.

Grandpa: Really? What are you studying?

Me: Women in the Temperance Movement.

Grandpa: [Spouts of impressive amount of facts about the Temperance Movement.]

Me: Wow, yeah. That's right.

Grandpa: And its leaders and members, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard -- ALL Pro-Life.

Me: Grandpa.

Grandpa: I know, I know, you don't want to hear it--

Me: You're right, I --

Grandpa: It's inavoidable! The most important matter of our day! THOUSANDS of innocent babies are dying EVERY DAY! It's INESCAPABLE!

Me: Sure it is! If we stop talking about it, I've escaped it.

Grandpa: [Isn't amused.]

Me: Okay, I really have to --

Grandpa: You can't hide from it. The Democratic Party, the party of abortion and homosexuality--

Me: Okay, gotta run! Love you! Bye!

That's become my way of knowing when to exit the room, the second the phrase "The Democratic Party, the party of abortion and homosexuality" hits the air. And yes, it does so at every gathering, and other places. Last week I came down to eat breakfast and my parents pointed me towards the Opinion section of our local newspaper, the Sound Off section in particular, where people can call in and voice their opinions to the Editorial staff's answering machine. One comment read (I'm paraphrasing from memory):

"The article of [insert date] about Eliot Spitzer clearly failed to mention his alleigance to the party of abortion and homosexuality."

I almost choked on my orange juice. He's everywhere!
fearlesstemp: (lionel)
Okay, so this simply must be documented.

My father turned fifty-three this week and my grandfather decided to take us all out to dinner on Wednesday to celebrate. And so we all gather together, pick up Grandpa, haul butt over the river to the little Italian restaurant that's been selected, and get seated three tables away from the Worst Table Ever, In The History Of Time.

Now honestly? As a group? My family is fairly tolerant of little kids in restaurants. I *understand* that a restaurant is not a natural environment for a toddler and that they're probably going to get bored or cranky or whatever, so I don't flip out if the tears erupt or wailing occurs. But when it goes on for like ten minutes unabated? With two other children racing around the restaurant, nearly running down waitresses, all while the parents sit and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stop them other than halfheartedly gathering them up whenever a waitress would walk into a kid? Then it bothers me. We literally could not hear each other talk over the sound of the screaming two-year-old and since it looked like nothing was going to happen, we resorted to the passive-aggresive person's best weapon: The Dirty Look.

After about twenty minutes, I had it down -- sit up straight, pause, look over left shoulder, perhaps make eye contact, stare a moment longer than necessary, then turn calmly back to the table. I sound so obnoxious! But seriously? It was out of control. Waitresses kept coming over to our table, apologizing while they leaned close to drop off bread or get drink orders, telling us that the worst part was that the parents found it all very funny -- which was true. They were laughing! Getting a kick out of it!

It was so incredibly annoying.

Anyway, eventually the hostess came over to their table and says something, after which nothing changed. Then later, this guy (presumably the owner) came out of the kitchen and informed the group that they would have to leave and take their dinners in doggy bags. The table promptly FLIPPED OUT, demanding refunds and refusing to pay the whole meal, storming around the restaurant swearing, etc etc. It was lovely. We were all quietly excited they were getting the boot, doing our best to eavesdrop without looking obvious.

Finally, things calmed and quieted down and this voice comes booming across the dining room from The Table From Hell. "I hope you enjoy your fucking dinner," Mr. Unfortunate Goatee spat at us.

I know! So classy!

My grandfather turned his head and said in his most imperious tone, "Excuse me? I heard that!" James E don't take crap from nobody.

And then -- and THEN -- Mr. Unfortunate Goatee said, in response to my grandfather -- directly to my eighty-six year old grandfather, "Yeah, I'm going to come over there and slap your face."

Slap his face! Wow, he is sooooooooo brave and manly, threatening to slap a man six decades older than him. I am so turned on just by typing this.

Anyway, in response to Mr. Unfortunate Goatee's comment, my mother turned and gasped out, "Oh my GOD!"

On the heels of that Mr. Unfortunate Goatee's other half came back into the dining area and said, "Hey, you better stop, they're going to call the cops" in the same sort of tone you'd hear someone say something like "Hey, you'd better stop, it looks like it's going to rain." COMPLETELY matter-of-fact like this happens every day.

The best part of this is how the three most able-bodied among our group -- in descending order, my brother, me, and my father -- did absolutely NOTHING during this exchange. Well, I think I muttered "I didn't say anything" when Mr. Unfortunate Goatee told us to enjoy our fucking dinner, but in terms of calling Mr. Unfortunate Goatee out and standing firm? It was my eighty-six-year-old grandfather leading the way, baby, with my fifty-two year old arthritic mother backing him up. The rest of us just cowered in terror, staring down at our plates, hoping not to get shot. My father said that as a lawyer, he was used to being called worse, usually by his clients. My brother and I are just wimps.

It was insane!! They took forever to leave and even after they did, I was afraid they were waiting outside to slash our tires. After they'd gone and we were all sitting around reliving the adventure, the waitress came over to our table, leaned down next to me, and said, "It was your last look at them that did it -- I saw the expression on your face and said 'Yep, they've got to go.'"

My dirty look was so powerful it got people removed from a restaurant AND pissed them off enough to threaten us with bodily harm! How do I HARNESS this power for my own conscious use?! It comes and goes at its own will, occasionally getting me out of demeaning office tasks like making coffee and ejecting fellow restaurant patrons at will! I hadn't really wanted the people to get kicked out, just to realize how inappropriate their behavior was and to maybe keep a better eye on their kids.

It was kind of good that it happened because it made the rest of the dinner rather fun, since we could turn to each other and say, "Hey Dad, how's the shrimp? Good? That's good, because you really should enjoy your effing dinner."

Craziness! You can't take my family anywhere.

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fearlesstemp

February 2009

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