Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Christmas Conversation

..."I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus. Underneath the mistletoe last night...."

"This song makes me smile. It's my dad's favorite Christmas song, you know..."

"This song makes me angry. If I were the dad in this song, I would be so pissed."


"I mean, think about it. She's kissing some other guy. IN THEIR HOUSE! It's outrageous. That kid should totally tell his dad."



"Um, you DO know that Santa Claus is actually daddy dressed up as Santa Claus, right? So she's actually kissing her husband. Only the little kid doesn't know that because he believes in Santa?"

"Oh. Well then, that makes MUCH more sense."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

An Open Letter to my Fed Ex Guy...

Mr. FedEx Delivery Guy,
I have seen you almost daily for the last four years. We've progressed to friendly chatter about sports, my boss, and even my living situation. Since you regularly ask me when I'm going to settle down and get married (and even go so far as to look for an engagement ring after every holiday) I feel I know you well enough to tell you this following tidbit of information.

You're getting screwed.

This is regarding our latest conversation about how we both have one car garages that came up because of our recent snowfall. You looked distinctly shocked and appalled when I told you that I only get to park my car in the garage every other month. When I explained that my boyfriend and I trade off months in the garage (because it's only fair) you looked at me like I was speaking Chinese.

You then proceeded to tell me that your wife gets to park her car in the garage year round. Why? Because apparently once you get married, you have this extra level of caring for your significant other that makes you want to ensure her well being every single day in every way that you can. Apparently this manly "taking care of her" idea means she gets to park her car in the garage every single day.


Now, since I'm female, I completely understand and even appreciate the idea that a man wants to take care of me. Don't get me wrong, if my boyfriend decided tomorrow that I could park my car in the garage every day during the winter, I would be all over it... for about two days. Then the guilt would come. Because, seriously, that's not fair.

Parking in the garage seems like such a small thing. Until it snows three inches, and all you have to do is open the garage door and drive your car into the morning. Or when it gets cold enough to freeze your nostrils while breathing, and there is no pre-heating of the car necessary because the temperature in the garage never drops below 60 degrees. Even in the summer, the benefit of the garage can not be overstated when you never have to worry about your CDs melting with the greenhouse effect. Or the always unexpected scorch of hot leather when you get into a car that's been roasting in the sun for hours on end.

Yes sir, the garage is a wonderful thing. And if you think your significant other can't handle a little snow scraping, or a little scorching, you, my friend, are sadly mistaken. We women may seem like fragile creatures, but mark my words, any creature who can push something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon can handle a little bit of snow....or a little bit of heat. It may not be pleasant, but it's about as pleasant for us as it is for you. And again, it's only fair...

So I would re-think this whole "she gets the garage year round" thing. And I would possibly re-think the character of this woman who is blatantly taking advantage of you in this manner. Because, man, you are getting the short end of the stick in this situation.

If you really want to show that you care, you can always go scrape her car off after a snowfall when it's NOT her month in the garage. That would mean more anyway...


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Identity Crisis

I never thought I was a girly girl. I mean, I don't feel like a girly girl. I don't get manicures, I don't get pedicures, I don't get my hair done on a regular basis. If I could get away with never wearing makeup, I would never wear makeup. I hate to shop. I'm not a huge fan of chocolate. I love football... The list goes on and on...

I know I don't like bugs, and that I'm emotionally high maintenance, OH, and I can hold a grudge like no one's busines... and then there's that thing about being manipulative if it suits me.... but it's not like I can't get dirty. It's not like I make my boyfriend watch chick flicks. It's not like I can't talk sports with the best of them. And when I go to sporting events, I will NEVER be that girl in stilettos and a skintight jersey. I'll be the girl in sneakers and a ponytail.

And, case in point, I'm not at all worried about turning the big 3-0. In fact, instead of dreading it, I'm celebrating it, and heading to Peru to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I have friends who would rather get pampered at a spa. Or go on a huge shopping spree so that 30 feels fabulous. That's just not me. I would apparently rather spend money I don't have on an adventure that I'm not really equipped for.

Not girly.

I think this is exciting. Sure, I'm not super outdoorsy, but this is an adventure. It will be exciting, and I'll bond with my friend, and we can say we turned 30 in unusual style. This was my outlook on the whole thing until recently. This past Sunday to be exact.

This past Sunday was the day I purchased my first pair of hiking boots.

In retrospect, I think I made a mistake inviting the boyfriend to join me on this hiking boot purchasing expedition. I mean, it makes sense on paper - he is the outdoorsman. He does hike on a (semi) regular basis. He has a watch with an altimeter on it for goodness' sake. He camps. He fishes. He knows about all this stuff. So of course he would steer me in the direction of purchasing good hiking boots. He wouldn't let me buy something that would make my feet cry in agony halfway through my little "adventure."

I just didn't think they would be ugly as sin.

I mean, there were these Columbia hiking boots that I thought were okay. They looked like something a girl would wear. They were waterproof. Columbia is a good brand. What else do I need?

I heard all this "blah blah support, blah blah blisters, blah blah REAL hiking boots." All I saw was ugly. Seriously. And while my rational mind knows that the boots are comfortable, and they're waterproof, and they'll keep me from getting blisters, and they're practical, and the boyfriend knows what he's doing... the rest of me is depressed at the thought of wearing these shoes for four days straight.

It's a feeling completely foreign to me. I mean, I GREW UP wearing things that I didn't want to wear because my mother wanted me to. She had a distinctly different sense of style from me, so until I got brave enough to explain that sequined t-shirts were not acceptable to wear in the third grade, I was in sequins, and skirts, and sequined skirts..... I would just bite my lip and get through it. Wearing the clothing I didn't like was easier than explaining to my mother why I didn't want to wear it. I'm such an expert in "grin and bear it" that even now, I care very little about my appearance. If it's comfortable, I'll wear it. Unless I'm heading out somewhere where appearances matter, I'm content to wear clothing that is Who cares, really? If you judge me because you think I look unattractive, you should see me when I put some effort into my appearance. Don't judge too quickly, buddy.

And in the Andes, who's going to be judging my choice of footwear?

Apparently I am.

I read my friend Alisa's blog about snow boots and laughed. I think the snow boots she currently has are perfectly acceptable and cute. Yet, she's convinced she needs some "cuter" shoes. I didn't get it. Now? Well, I'm so sorry I laughed at your angst Alisa. Seriously.

I'm supposed to break these suckers in for the next month. I can barely bring myself to wear them in public. I wish I were kidding. Nevermind that they're waterproof and warm in the snow we have. Nevermind that they're comfortable and I still need to get used to them. I feel like everyone is staring at my feet and thinking....

Well, thinking something not very politically correct.

I'm such a girl.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Life in the Looney Bin

There are white chocolate caramel clusters sitting about ten feet away from me. Do you have any idea what this does to a girl's diet? Seriously. I don't even LIKE chocolate all that much. But when you put a bunch of caramel on....well....anything really, it's pretty much a given that I'll eat it, and I'll like it....a LOT.

Yippie Christmas, right? The time of year when all vendors, even the ones I hate, send us Christmas presents. This is my third Christmas here, so I already know which vendors will send pens, which ones will send chocolate, and which ones can be counted on to send the really good stuff.

One vendor sends us a box of butter toffee every year. Blech. But my boss LOVES the stuff. Works for me! A treat in the office that doesn't tempt me at all, but that he can eat to his heart's content.... Another vendor sends us one of those chocolate candy samplers that has chocolate covered graham crackers, caramel clusters, mint toffee bites, etc etc. That stuff is the devil. Yum. We also get an assortment of pens that no one really wants or uses, and usually end up in my pen holder. Oh yes. And more calendars than we can use. I currently have one on the wall, one on my desk, and three more that need homes. So if you get a calendar from me this year...

But there's one vendor that sends the good stuff. I mean, nice gifts that are really useful. A couple of years ago, they sent one of those folding cloth chairs with their logo on the back. You know - the camping chairs? The nice ones that people use for outdoor concerts? My boss laid claim to it immediately....but then left it in the office, and during one of her cleaning sprees, his wife was going to toss it. It went home with me.

The year after, they sent one of those blankets that folds in on itself to a little pack with a strap. The blanket also has a hole (with a zipper) in the middle so it doubles as a poncho. This, too, had the vendor's name on it. One side was nylon, the other side was fleece. I have a boyfriend who loves the outdoors, so it would have been perfect....but as per the year before, my boss immediately claimed it. And then, as per the year before, it came home with me a couple of months later courtesy of his wife.

Let me explain my boss's wife. She's a strong woman. A STRONG woman. What she wants, she usually gets. It's not that she's mean, per se. She's just....strong. We share a lot of the same characteristics, but she's a tad more ruthless than I am. I am careful to stay out of her way because I'm afraid that if there were ever a throw down...well, my temper would get the best of me, and I would have one less job. It's not wise to fight with the boss's wife. Even if you're right. In the end, the boss will always side with her. (That's an Emily truism :-)

Luckily, most of the time, we get along well. We have a lot of the same views, and she's actually the one who got me involved with a lot of the volunteering I do now. We can talk about girl stuff, and discuss the simliarities in our men (I swear the boss and the boyfriend were separated at birth somehow. They're practically the same person.) However, when her temper is short, or mine is short, she stays in her office and I stay out of her way. Those days are usually difficult for my boss who gets it from both sides. He doesn't like those days much. But since she only works about 10 - 15 hours per week (she handles the finances) those days are rare.

(But when they do She's one of those people who "can't handle" details. She would rather just tell someone else to do something for her that she doesn't feel like doing. When she's in the office, guess who that lucky person is? And she's completely computer illiterate. I can't TELL you how many times I've had to go to her office to explain how to attach files to an email. Honest to God. I mean, it's gotten better over the years. I'm not quite the doormat to her that I once was... (I typed out laminated instructions about the attachments) but still. Dealing with her on some days is...difficult. You have to watch yourself. She'll ask for favors all the time, but getting favors from her? Hmmm....)

Back to the matter at hand, this year the fabulous vendor sent a thermos as the Christmas gift. I don't know what is special about this thermos, it's not that big (I put a ruler so you could see), it's not that I drink coffee from home every day....I just know that I want it. It's a very good thermos from Stanley. (You would recognize the logo if you saw it. Trust me.) It's heavy. It has the lid that's a perfectly sized drinking cup. You can just tell it's a good quality thermos. What am I going to use it for? I have no idea. Nevermind that there has never been one day in my life when I thought, "Gee. I wish I had a good thermos. You know. One of the expensive kinds." But I want it. For some reason, I feel like I absolutely can not live without this thermos.

So my boss thought about it, remembered that he had recently purchased a thermos for himself, and decided that I could have it. (He got the swiss army knife, keychain, and the tin of mints. I don't care. I'm happy with my thermos.)

Unfortunately, whatever it is that makes the thermos appealing to me, also made it appealing to the boss's wife when she arrived at the office at 10:30am. Uh oh.

I refused to relinquish the thermos.

There was that whole "kidding but really I'm being serious" fight where she talked about how she ran the finances and supported the organization. I responded with how MY name actually appeared on the gift along with my boss's. She was at a distinct disadvantage because I already had possession of the thermos. After all, I had been there since 8:00am....all the deliveries had happened by 10:00. At this point, things were all still fun and games, and my boss even contributed to the discussion, "Yeah, Emily's been here since eight o'clock. Maybe if you got here earlier, you would have a shot at the good stuff too." (Her hours are a notorious subject of hilarity with my boss and I.) She questioned me on what I was going to use it for, what a good thermos it was, and noted how cute it is. I responded with "It IS cute, isn't it?"

Another vendor came to take us out to lunch, and he actually had to witness a scene where my boss's wife picked up the thermos to show it to him and comment on how she wanted it, and I went to her, took the thermos out of her arms, commented that it was mine, and went ahead and put it in my car for safekeeping.

This actually happened. All with that jovial air that's very "I'm kidding, but deep down, I'm very very serious." It was around this point that my boss stopped making comments to fuel the fire. I think even he realized that there was more at stake than the thermos.

This is dangerous territory. I'm well aware. Especially since the boss's wife is...well, the boss's wife. Not to mention hormonal. But I'll be damned if I'm giving up the stupid thermos. I know. You don't understand. But there's more than the thermos at stake. Nine times out of ten, I will roll over if there's something that the boss's wife wants. That's just the way the heirarchy is. I get that. But in this this singular case, I have a few intangibles that are in my favor. First - the boss gave me the thermos. Unless I relinquish it, there's no way he can take it back to give it to his wife. Second - I actually have possession of the thermos. Third - I am extraordinarily immune to peer pressure when I want something. And I want this thermos.

Did I mention that?

There have been some joking comments about the worth of the thermos and how it's coming out of my bonus. Those comments are no fun, and I make sure to mention that the thermos wasn't really hers to give....after all, HER name wasn't on the shipping label. You bet your butt I'm going to count every cent of that bonus this year. Kenny Rogers and his advice be damned. I wouldn't put it past her to short me because of this dumb thermos.

I know, why not just give it to her. Well, would you? Aren't there some things that for whatever reason, you just won't give on? Not even an inch?

The final resolution is that she's going to send a message to the vendor, in a joking lighthearted tone of course, and request a second thermos.

I can't wait until the vendor responds to the message with "Who are you again?"

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Sometimes, I have ideas, and sometimes they don't work out very well. It's all good. I can most definitely admit when I'm wrong. (sometimes)

I *may* have been a bit wrong in thinking that I could take a Christmas card photo with the entire menagerie that I have living in the apartment with me. I mean, I'm not saying that the idea wasn't a good one. I'm just saying that, well....perhaps it was a bit, um....impossible. Unrealistic. We got exactly two takes with both dogs and Laney in the photo. Here's one of them. Please note Tyson's obsessed stare... I mean, he would not look away from the cat. So it's ironic that it's actually CASEY that I had to hold away from the cat. But then, I think she just wanted to say hello to her buddy. Unfortunately, her buddy was busy trying to get away from the huge, cat eating monster. So far, the shoot was not going very well.

So then, of course, my next step was to take the dogs and have the boyfriend handle the cat. This is about the point where I started to lose patience. The only reason why Tyson paid any attention to what I was telling him (basically variations of "stop going after the cat you d**n demon.") was because I had his pinch collar up around the top of his neck and had enough pressure on him to know that it would only take one more tiny pull to cause him a lot of pain. Even with all these precautions, he refused to take his eyes off the cat. Instead, in this photo, you can hear the cat growling, and Tyson making this urgent little whining noise which I believe meant, "Must. Get. Cat. Cat. Is. Near. Cat. Looks. Tasty...."

It was a tad bit frustrating. So after we finally got this picture (the gods must have been smiling on us) we released Laney into the safety of the bedroom where I'm certain she immediately went to find some article of clothing that the boyfriend had left on the floor so she could "release her frustrations."

But after reviewing this picture for a while, we both thought there was something....well, something just wrong about it. I mean, the boyfriend and the cat really don't look close enough to the dogs to make it look like we're all part of the family, does it? Everyone agreed that perhaps we should keep shooting, sans cat.

And thus the decision was made to remove Laney from the Christmas photo. Poor Laney. I still love you.

So it's just me, the boyfriend and the dogs. After the chaos that was Tyson plus Laney, this part should have been easier. Um, no. Until the boyfriend got the BRILLIANT idea to have the photographer (an extremely patient, understanding and wonderful man with a sense of humor) to hold a rawhide in his hand, we got variations of this picture. Do you love how Casey's hat made it onto my head? And how I'm explaining to her that she needs to look at the camera like she can actually understand me? And what is Tyson doing, you ask? Well, he's trying to get to the spot where he last saw know, so he can make sure she's really gone. (This was taken immediately before Casey backed up and started wagging her tail in the fire. That was about the point when I decided that the photo shoot was done. Done done. We had a decent shot, I hated the way I looked, and Tyson had demon eyes, but otherwise, it was decent and that was that.

Overall, I think the boyfriend thought that the photo Christmas card was a great idea. Don't you? I mean, I guess I can't blame him. Just because we all live in the same apartment, doesn't mean we can all be within three feet of each other. Maybe next year I can just photoshop Laney in? Of course, if it comes to that, I'm just going to go ahead and photoshop Laney on Tyson's back. 'Tis the season and all that, right? I mean, the lion is supposed to be lying with the lamb right now. What's wrong with the animals in my apartment? Don't they have the Christmas spirit? I mean, they're wearing santa hats!

After this photo shoot, I say bah humbug. And judging from the boyfriend's expression, he does too.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Newbie

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "Fish and visitors smell in three days." I'm sure hoping that's not true, because the boyfriend and I are doing a favor for my boss and his wife by taking on a visitor. But not just any visitor. The visitor that I met here. Here's Casey meeting the newcomer. This is Azul. (For those of you who didn't take high school Spanish, it's pronounced "Azool" He actually didn't have a name, and I got tired of saying "little blue dog" so this is the boyfriend's suggestion...)

Speaking of which, those two hit it off instantly. So far, Azul hasn't caused TOO much chaos in our apartment. I mean, he's new, he obviously doesn't know the rules yet, and he did sort of challenge Casey, but Casey handled herself very well and nothing came of the challenge. (Azul is about 50 lbs, so he didn't even consider challenging Tyson. Basically, Tyson humped Azul, Azul got angry, and now they just sort of coexist...) All in all, I think he'll fit in just fine for the next sixteen days (which is as long as we agreed to take him before the holidays....after the holidays we'll talk again...)

What this did to our household is actually pretty interesting. It showed that Tyson is OLD. I mean, I knew he was older than Casey, but when you think about it, Casey is less than half of Tyson's age. All of her energy is now matched by Azul, and Tyson is pretty much left in peace. Of course, Casey + Azul = Tazmanian Devil. It pretty much looks like that too. You don't really see a see a spinning mass of fur.

Anyhow, Tyson still can't be in his crate for any significant amount of time, so having the dogs out is much more difficult now. Especially since Azul doesn't yet know the rules... And walking them in the morning? I took two walks - one with Casey and Azul and the other with Tyson. I have a feeling that this will get old, and get old SOON....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Calling all photographers

So, I'd like to send out pictures in my Christmas cards this year. I was hoping for a decent photo of Casey and I... but I realized pretty quickly that while the boyfriend's strengths compliment mine, they do not lie in the photography area.

Basically, I'm an "act before I think" person. The boyfriend is a "think....think....think before I act" person. So he does a near perfect, very meticulous job at whatever he is attempting to accomplish, but it takes about ten times as long as when I try to do it.

This drives me insane.

But again, he's really really good at what he does. So I've learned to accept his methods, as foreign as they seem to my way of thinking.

However, he tends to miss the good photo opportunities. You know, when you're aiming, and aiming, and moving and situating with a moving target (like Casey) you're going to end up with pictures like this one. Where's the dog, right? And why are your eyes closed, Emily? I know, and I'm sad. This was a perfect picture about three seconds before it was taken. But it's better than some of the others he took. I mean, at least Casey was still close enough to actually be caught in the frame on this one. (She's the brown blur on the left in case you were wondering.... I'm the dork who closed her eyes when the picture FINALLY snapped. With no warning, I might add.)

He's better with a more sedentary subject, like....oh....say....Tyson. It only took him two tries to get this picture. I sort of like this picture. I mean, my hair is doing something goofy on the couch...and it's TYSON and not CASEY....but we sort of look comfortable there on the couch, don't we? Like we actually like each other. Don't buy it. Tyson doesn't really move once he finds a spot on the couch that's comfortable. I think I sat down next to him. Hey, wait a sec....Tyson's not ALLOWED on the furniture. WTF?

But then, this is what happens if I am my own photographer:
or this EXTREME close up:

(Here's a confession. I only posted those close ups because I can hear my friend Kat(i)e laughing right now. Seriously. I can hear her cracking up at her desk at work and getting ready to send me an e-mail to tell me how much of a dork I am. Well, Kat(i)e, just for you, I have enabled comments to be posted by anonymous users. Well...for you and Jaclyn. That way you guys can stop complaining to me about how you don't want to create another account to comment on my blogs....wah wah wah. I had better be getting some damn good comments now.)

But I digress...

I obviously have a problem. I would like a Christmas card picture, but I have no photographer. It occurred to me that I could probably find a way to exhaust Casey and end up with a picture like this one, but upon inspection...even this one doesn't feel right. It almost feels like...something is...missing. Hmmm...

Is this the year that Emily will finally make her mother happy by sending out "family" Christmas cards? Has she actually decided that her Christmas cards, nay, her LIFE is not complete without the boyfriend and (gasp!) Tyson included? Has the Christmas spirit actually thawed our author's icy stance on "Joint Christmas cards? We're not quite there yet?"

Stay tuned.

(Some of you will actually get one of those eventual Christmas cards in the mail. What the readers of this blog will get that others won't is a peek at the outtakes also. You know, like this one. Lucky you guys :-) Any volunteers to actually take the picture??

Monday, December 03, 2007


So, like everyone else in the world, I bought into the "large sunglasses" craze this past summer. I love them. They're not like Nicole Richie huge (you know, cover your entire face) but they're decent size. Definitely larger than any I've worn before.

I love them. I feel like "Secret Agent Emily" when I wear them. You know, like no guy can see me checking him out. Like no slow drivers can see the evil glares I gave them as I sped around them. Like no one can recognize me when I have them on. I would say they're one step away from being an invisibility cloak that would rival Harry Potter's.

Except that, you know, they aren't.

My first clue that my sunglasses weren't the best disguise ever was when I was walking into the car dealership for the last step of the purchase process for my new car. Walking out of the dealership at the exact moment I was approaching was a college classmate that I hadn't seen in the seven years since we had graduated. To put it nicely, this girl and I were not the best of friends, though we're forever bound by the permanent ties of sorority life.

As she exits the dealership, I first tensed for the uncomfortable encounter, then relaxed while thinking to myself "Oh thank goodness. I'm wearing the sunglasses. She'll never recognize me. Whew. Close one."

I mean, I actually thought that. That was a very real thought in my head. Seriously. That was my reality until she said, "Emily!" and just like that put me into the very awkward encounter I thought I was going to avoid.

I was shaken, but still had faith in my sunglasses. I mean, I lived with this girl for about three years. She probably saw through the disguise because of our previous proximity, you think? Surely I was still incognito to others on the street, right?

This past weekend was my final test (before the final exam) in chemistry. I headed down to IUPUI for some studying dressed in comfy clothing, my backpack full of notes, my iPod, and my sunglasses (surprisingly necessary for December.) I was ready for some hard core studying.

As I headed towards the library, I hear "Emily S-----?!" (If you don't already know my last name, just ask...I don't think I can bring myself to put it on the internet if I can help it.)

As I turn, I see a girl who went to my high school. My HIGH SCHOOL! She wasn't even in my class, but graduated two years behind me. I said hello and pulled her name out of my rapidly fading memory banks at the last split second. We had a friendly chat about how she was doing (married, no kids, getting her masters) and how I was doing (single, two dogs, still believes in magic sunglasses) and parted ways. As I walked away it occurred to me that I was still wearing my "magic" sunglasses.

After being recognized by someone who had little contact with me in high school, and absolutely no contact for the last eleven years, I am forced to abandon my "perfect disguise" ideals. Apparently my sunglasses are just that - sunglasses.

So now I have to worry about all those guys and whether or not they actually saw me checking them out. And all those girls who got the bitchy looks. Um... And what about the guys that I checked out when I was with the boyfriend?!

Maybe my next pair should have the big plastic nose and moustache attached, you think?