Monday, April 28, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

So I went to McDonalds to get a small vanilla milkshake this afternoon, and left with a small vanilla milkshake...

and a Big Mac meal.

Thus begins finals week.

I spent over 8 hours this past weekend making flashcards for my Bio Lab practical. No joke. Over 8 hours cutting out color pictures and making flashcards. I'm thinking about selling them to the next crop of unsuspecting biology students.

Other than ingesting about 5000 calories per day for the last five days, I'm holding up pretty well. Though everything seems slightly surreal.

For example, let's talk about the friendly, chatty old man in the McDonald's drive through. (drive thru?) My friend Jill mentioned once how McDonald's Diet Coke seems to have actual coke in it - it's so good. Once you learn a little tidbit like that, and then find out that it's true, it's impossible to unlearn such information. So, in order to cut down on my Starbucks-a-day habit, I started in on McDonalds Diet Coke. Bigger, cheaper, not as healthy....what's not to love?

As a bonus, there's a chatty old guy with a slight New York accent who runs the drive through in the mornings. He always comments on the weather, or about how he just had the weekend off... harmless stuff like that. On the first day I wore my glasses, he commented that I looked much different with my hair down. Funny stuff like that. I had this image of him in my head as a grandfatherly type guy who probably buys his grandchildren candy on his way home from work. Mind you - I have nothing to substantiate this idea except for random discussions about the weather when I hand over my $2.00 for my large Diet Coke in the mornings.

Today he mentioned that he's had not one, but TWO weekends off in a row. I congratulate him and say that seems like the perfect relaxing set up. His face darkened for a second before he responded, "Yeah, well, until I ran into a cop."

At this point, Emily is inching away from the window in a desperate attempt to cling to the "grandfatherly" image she had in her mind. At the same time, her insane curiosity makes her open her mouth and ask, "What happened?"

Internet, let me give you a tip. When a "grandfatherly" type begins a story with, "I must have gotten confused driving home because of my medication. There's now way I would be drunk after two drinks," you should just leave. Leave or your perception of said "grandfatherly" type will never be the same.

I just kept a polite smile on my face as I inched away from the window. I didn't want to find out if that "ran into" was figurative or literal. Surreal. He seemed Sigh.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to get acquainted with some flashcards. Who knows? If they're nice, I might let them buy me a drink. More than likely, I'll have to see how well they help me on the test tonight before I start thinking about any sort of long term commitment.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Identity Crisis part Deux (or, Be Careful What You Wish For)

I walked out of my bedroom this morning in a half awake stupor and headed over to the door to walk the dogs. On the way to get the leashes, I stopped short in the middle of my living room. The recent changes have been so subtle, and I've been so stressed out, that they hit me all at once and left me feeling unsettled.

As I contemplated the gleaming (completely clutter free) table top and let my gaze roam around the room to the neatly folded blankets, freshly vaccumed carpet, and (the coup de grĂ¢ce) the pillows arranged on the corners of the couch as pretty as a picture, a sense of unreality washed over me.

This vision is a stark contrast to my usual apartment norm of dog scattered pillows, heavily trafficked carpet, wrinkled blankets, and table top cluttered with everything from school books to empty coffee cups. Obviously, I'm not a clean freak by any means. I was raised with the mantra, "my house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy" and that didn't change when I moved out on my own. (In fact, there was a noticable decline in cleanliness when I was in college, as my old roommates can probably attest.... Things have since improved slightly :-)

But the apartment before me was...clean! Neat! Orderly! What?!

In the last couple of weeks, something lit a fire under the boy's rear end, and he's really been helping out around the apartment. When before I used to have to beg and plead and yell to get anything done, it seems that he has now embraced my "Just do ONE little thing per day and it would help me out SO MUCH!" plea to the fullest extent. The apartment looks great!

And I feel bad. I feel guilty. I feel like I'm less of a woman.

How ridiculous is that?

It's all about gender roles, if you think about it. How many guys feel insecure when their girlfriend/wife/partner makes more money than they do? Guys feel all this pressure to be the provider, and when they don't play that role many feel emasculated. On some level I understand how they're feeling, but many times I just brushed it off with a "Welcome to the 21st century guys. Let's keep up with the times here."

And now, when I feel like a worthless female for not being able to handle my load of responsibilities AND keep a decent household, those words haunt me.

On one level, I know that I can't possibly handle classes, work, studying, sleeping, and volunteering, and still keep the apartment clean - not even to my previous level of "acceptable messy." I have enough trouble getting the dishes and the laundry done and those are the necessities. But I just can't accept that. On another (much deeper) level, I feel guilty that I can't do everything. I mean, there must be SOMEWHERE that I'm wasting time. It's gotten to the point where I feel guilty when I get home from class at 8:15pm and decide to read for 30 minutes before passing out cold. I wake up the next morning and think, "Darn. I could have dusted the living room last night. Do I really need to sleep for seven hours per night? I can probably get up earlier on Sunday and get some cleaning done before studying, right? I can do this." It's my responsibility to keep the apartment "visitor-ready" should anyone just happen to drop by. (Does this even happen anymore? And if friends dropped by, would they judge me on my apartment status??) I mean, I'm the female. I'm the homemaker. That's my job, right?

On the other hand, if we lived in a house and I knew the boy was super busy, I would have no problem mowing the lawn or taking out the trash or handling any of the variety of "boy chores" that he usually takes care of. If he was busier than I was, I would pitch in and help him out...which is why I was having such a fit when it didn't seem to work the other way in his mind. As the apartment got messier and messier, and I stressed out more and more, I would nag and nag and nag to get some help.

And now? Now that I'm getting the help I begged for? I feel guilty. I feel like a failure. Funny how that works, right?

It makes sense that he's helping me. And I'm (secretly) so relieved. The apartment looks great, and the fact that it was messy was weighing on me more than I cared to admit (as noted by the weight that slipped off my shoulders this morning.) There are two of us in the apartment making it messy - it makes sense that two should pitch in to clean it up. After all, when I'm on my own, the apartment will stay neater just because I'm not there very often, and the messes will be smaller and easier to handle on the weekends... but still - this guilt...

I've always thought of myself as atypical. I don't decorate my apartment with Pottery Barn, or Crate and Barrel...or even with any distinguishable color scheme. I don't hang curtains. I don't paint my walls. My home is the place that I sleep - if I feel comfortable there, who cares what others think? (Hence the slightly messy.) I spend my money on travel instead because that's important to me. I don't want a family - but I want to save the world. I can't cook and while I sometimes felt the urge to "take care of" my man, those times were more the exception than the rule. Basically, I refused to accept what I thought a woman "should be" and wanted to be who I am.

But maybe I'm not all that different. What is it that makes women think that we can handle everything? It's been discussed at length, but we want it all - a great career, a family, a beautiful home...and we feel like we should be able to handle it all, right? But let's face it - there just aren't enough hours in the day. I used to think that women were better equipped to ask for help (and receive it) than men, but I'm beginning to believe I need to rethink that.

I guess the best we can do is be happy with the choices we make and the lives we lead. For now, I'll gratefully accept the help around the house and thank the boy profusely. I'll accept that the choices I've made will not allow me to be who I want to be around the house - but remember that this is temporary. It's not a failure, it's a choice. And I'm lucky I have the support to continue with the choices I've made.

Maybe I'll cook him dinner or something to say thanks. But is it really a "thanks" if I won't have time to do the dishes afterwards? :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

As Homelessness Looms...

So I woke up Monday morning to the news that there had been a fatal shooting at a gas station about a block and a half away from House #1. But that was just the final straw to take it off my list of possible homes. The actual death blow came on Saturday when I went to volunteer.

I was telling my co-worker at the clinic about House #1 in my usual jovial manner. In the same tone, I was joking about how I have pit bulls that would do me no good in that neighborhood as they would probably be eaten alive. I also mentioned that I do not have a permit to carry a gun because I'm anti-handgun on so many levels. She responded with,

"Well, the dogs would offer some protection. You just have to be careful. We get a lot of calls from people who live in shady neighborhoods and have their dogs stolen. People steal their dogs to use them as bait dogs for their dog fighting rings."

Oh HELL no. I don't think she meant to absolutely talk me out of House #1, but nothing could have been more effective in getting me to cross the shady house off the list. Steal my dog? Seriously friends, if you hear that this ever happened, you need to come to where ever I am and restrain me because I am the fool that would be going door to door with a shotgun until I found my baby. And in a shady neighborhood, that would mean I would be dead.

So House #1 was crossed off the list. House #2 was put on "maybe" status as I continued to look and House #3...well, bsj said it best when he said "Who wants 'meh'?"

So it was back to the drawing board. On Sunday, I went to see House #4.

House #4 was okay. Half a double in a neighborhood that was just north of House #3, and still just meh. It had two bedrooms, and wasn't in horrible even had a garage and a fenced in yard. I think the dealbreaker for this house was that both bedrooms were on the second floor, and the only bathroom for the house was on the first floor....though the kitchen. Like, about as far away from the bedrooms as you could get. It was most definitely a "boy" house.

I drove around some more and made some more calls*. Yesterday, I stumbled upon House #5 and House #6.

House #5 is outside my budget. Like $200 outside my budget. But, (and I sigh inside when I say this) it's not unfeasible. I took a part time job for the summer (starting after finals finish next week) to save up some money for tuition next year. It could go towards the rent for this awesome house. And I could start getting student loans a bit earlier than anticipated. But honestly? Is the house awesome enough to be worth all that?

When I called about House #5, the owner (a lady in her sixties) was very friendly and funny on the phone. We talked for a while. She spoke about this house like it was her lover. I believe her husband actually built or remodeled it. It's half a double, two bedrooms, and about .4 miles away from where I work. Seriously. The neighborhood is great, it has a driveway, a garage... I mean, it's a really really nice house. But it's pretty expensive. The only thing it's lacking is a fenced in yard, but it's only about half a mile from the Monon Trail... (and we all know how much I love the Monon.) As a bonus, the owner of the house loved me. I seem like a "very responsible young lady." (A: it was nice to be called young, and B: can I say that I'm an adult now that I've been called 'responsible?') She was hesitant about the two dogs, but I'm a very responsible pet owner and apparently I say all the right things to back that up. She didn't ask what type of dogs that I have, but I did allude to it when I told her that "I'm a responsible pet owner - I have to be." We'll see if she still loves me after she sees my dogs.

House #6 is just over a mile away from where I work. The neighborhood is still decent, and it's also half a double. However, this house has three bedrooms, vs the two in House #5. House #6 doesn't have a fenced in yard either (but it's the same distance from my beloved Monon) and it also doesn't have a garage. The biggest selling point for House #6 (which I haven't seen yet) is that the rent is within my budget.

Now, I know you're thinking, "Wait...three bedrooms in pretty much the same neighborhood as House #5 for $200 less? What's the catch?" Well, the biggest drawback to house #6 is that it doesn't have air conditioning.

Whew, right? I mean, I'm sold. It's not a drawback on the same scale as "living in the ghetto where your dog could get stolen." It's not even a drawback on the same scale as "okay neighborhood with run down abandoned buildings," or "teeny bathroom far away from the bedroom." In fact, when I told my friend Dave (the guy who, along with jaclyn, seems the most adamant that I can't live in the ghetto) about the house, I prefaced it with "It has a drawback that we can both agree on." When I told him about the A/C, he said, "DONE!"

So I go see House #6 today. Dave's coming with me to keep me from saying "IN!" and ignoring huge red flags. There still could be some, you know... Cross your fingers for me. And your toes. And think happy, positive thoughts. I realize that Curvy will have to sleep on the street, but after the last two weeks of stressful house hunting combined with the stress of upcoming finals...well, I'm okay with that. It's not ideal, but it's the best I can do under the circumstances. I'm sorry Curvy...

*In all, I've called over 40 rental properties. Dear God I need a beer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Casey's Impact

I heard about this "policy change" at the Humane Society of Indianapolis earlier this year and immediately stopped donations and canceled plans to participate in Mutt Strutt. I know that pulling my donations is exactly the opposite of what the HSI needs, but I just can't support this change. Here's a great article about what the strays of Indianapolis are facing.

Saving the Strays

Everyone should be concerned about this. I mean sure, yes, call me a bleeding heart liberal... but "a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.*" There are so many homeless animals who make great pets and just need a good home... Even Oprah has come to this realization. Yes, I know it's a personal decision, but I just don't know how anyone would chose to go to a breeder (or, God forbid, a pet store) for a "pure bred" dog of any kind (*cough-new-sister-in-law-cough*) when there are so many beautiful animals for much less money and probably better health...

*Yes, I know the original quote by Dostoevsky. I just like this one better.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

House Hunting...

Since I don't like anything to be easy, it's like I've set myself up to fail in this whole "finding a new place to live" adventure. Finding a home between work and school (an area that admittedly doesn't encompass the nicest neighborhoods ever) combined with having a lifestyle that combines the word "pit" with the word "bulls"...well, it's like I'm looking for a needle in a haystack.

Here's the status for today:

House #1 - I love it. Unfortunately, I don't love the neighborhood. In fact, when I mentioned it to the guy who does yard work at my office, he said, "Well, it's okay. You have a permit to carry a gun, right?" (Um, no.) When I mentioned the neighborhood to a close friend, she said, "Absolutely not. I'll kill you myself (if someone else doesn't do it first.")

Still - I'm not one to judge based on reputation. If I was, I wouldn't have a pit bull, right? Everyone/thing deserves a chance. So I did a drive by of the house in the daylight and at night.

What I found is that the block itself that the house is on is okay. The houses are shabby, but well kept. The house itself is immaculately kept. Unfortunately, it's an okay block surrounded by the depths of ghetto hell. But did I mention that the house is awesome? And it's RIGHT between work and school? And it's got a fenced in yard AND a garage? And a FULLY FINISHED BASEMENT?! (I never thought the words "fully finished basement" were orgasmic, but lo and behold...) Seriously. In my price range and 2500 square feet? Seriously? Seriously?!

When I mentioned this to my mother, she thought about it and then said, "Well, that's why you have a dog, right?" (Note that I have not yet broken the news about Blue...) I didn't have the heart to tell her that the pit bulls in this neighborhood could kick my pit bulls' asses. Casey and Blue wouldn't have a chance. Hell, they wouldn't even seem scary. They would be like kittens. The other dogs would look at them and laugh. The only thing they've got going for them is that Casey barks her fool head off at strangers, and Blue sounds like a hound from hell when he sees another dog that he doesn't know. (of course, when the other dog approaches him, he runs and hides behind me.)

When I did my night time drive by, I came at the address from a different direction and of course ended up lost. The first street that I came across and thought I had to turn onto was scary. SCARY! I literally became terrified that I had to drive onto that street...and then breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed that the street I actually needed was one block north. (ONE BLOCK!!!) When I turned onto the street where the house is, I was pleasantly surprised. Well lit, well kept, quiet... It was a nice little street... but then I passed a cross street and looked one block south again. Um - ghetto hell. I was on the phone with a friend and kept her on the phone the whole time...just in case. (I then proceeded to get lost in ghetto hell on my way home, but that's a whole other blog. I escaped with my life and no one shot at me, so I think the neighborhood is okay, right? RIGHT?!)

House #2 - I love it too, just less. It's smaller, very cute, and with an unfinshed basement. Same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as house #1, just smaller. No garage and no fenced in yard. Very safe neighborhood. Unfortunately, it's in the middle of "bohemian chic" and is about $200 higher than I'm willing to spend in rent per month. The main pros for this house are the safe neighborhood, and the fact that I could actually walk my dogs for more than one block in either direction. Oh, and it's SO cute. It's a place that I would love to have my friends over for some wine and board games.

House #3 - Meh. It was a house that was "meh" in a neighborhood that was "meh." The house was also huge, but not as nice as house #1...older and more run down. It did, however, have a full length screened in porch that Laney would love. (Yes, Laney. You thought I had forgotten all about her, right? Shame on you. I love, um...what was her name? Oh yes, Laney.)

However, the bathroom in house #3 was tiny. TINY tiny. Not that I spend much time in the bathroom...but, this was tiny. It also did not have a garage, and cars park on both sides of the street. As an owner of a car that is less than a year old (wait, what's that? You haven't met my car yet? Friends, meet Curvy. Curvy, meet friends.) I would prefer not to park her on the street. Oh, and there was no yard. None. Not a hint of a fence. However, there is the added bonus that if I walked the dogs north, I would get into a really cute neighborhood in under three blocks. I could have friends over here...but they would have to park about three blocks away.

(Am I crazy because I actually prefer a great house in a shady neighborhood over a meh house in a meh neighborhood?)

I'm seeing house #4 today. Decent neighborhood, but it's half of a duplex. I don't have really high hopes, but maybe this one will save me from the great house in the shady neighborhood where I'll live gun free. (But I have baseball bats and pit bulls!! :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008


As alluded to previously, I won't be renewing my lease at the apartment complex I've called home for the past 5 years. New management has taken over and I dislike them, but to be honest, I probably dislike massive change more. If pressed, I would probably admit that honestly, going to school downtown makes living in a northern suburb a bit inconvenient.

So the apartment/house search begins, and along with it comes the stress. I wish I could wait until after finals (May 3rd) to do this, but I'm afraid that if I do that, my head would literally explode. As a planner, if I got to less than a month before I was moving out with nowhere to move in to...well, it wouldn't be pretty.

I'm looking for a little house this time. There are some parameters for this move that make the search

#1) The area in which I work is a pretty expensive area. Not "la di dah" expensive...more "bohemian chic" expensive. Whatever. All that translates into for me is "can't afford to live near work." However, if I'm going to be able to take care of my dog(s) AND take night classes, I need to live somewhere between where I work and where I go to school so that they can have a brief potty break before my classes (or maybe at lunch.) (In a perfect world, I would also be able to walk the dogs in my new neighborhood when I get home around 9:00pm...)

#2) The neighborhood in which I live currently is safe. Like, leave-your-door-unlocked-during-a-two-hour-walk-and-nothing-is-touched safe. It's even accidentally-leave-the-garage-door-open-while-you're-at-work-all-day-and-nothing-happens-other-than-getting-yelled-at-by-the-boyfriend safe. I don't really want to downgrade to a less safe neighborhood...but some of the areas surrounding all this "bohemian chic" are a little on the left of shady. The areas surrounding the areas surrounding the "bohemian chic" are most definitely shady. I mean, I'm tough...but I'm also realistic - and somehow a single female measuring all of five feet no inches tall doesn't strike fear into the hearts of potential attackers, no? I'd like to be able to walk my dogs without mace. But then, I have pit bulls, right? Ummm....

#3) I have dog(s). Not just any dogs. I have pit bulls. Now, I don't know who decided that all pit bulls are dangerous (when it's so obviously the owner and not the dog...I mean, look at these faces...are you scared of these faces?) but for some reason, apartment complexes don't seem to be in any rush to rent apartments to me. Or, to be more specific, they would LOVE to rent to me - just not my "dangerous" dogs. So basically, my "dangerous" dogs don't provide protection, but keep me from renting most apartments. Fabulous. Maybe I should make them look meaner? Is that even possible?

Oh, and don't give me crap about keeping Blue. I still haven't decided completely if he stays or gets adopted. Shut it. He's adorable and I'm just looking for the perfect home for him. If that's with me, well then, who am I to argue?

So the search is on. Due to the aforementioned pit bull issue, I'm focusing more on rental homes, so that will be fun, right? I've never lived in a house by myself before. Any suggestions for what to look for/what to ask while looking?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Growing up

Sometimes I feel like I'm an adult. Lord knows it's about time. At these moments I feel like I'm in control of my life, it's heading in a direction I'm comfortable with, and I'm making an impact in all the ways that are important to me. I'm paying my bills on time. I'm not staying out drinking the night before some huge responsibility. I'm making good decisions. You know - all the things I didn't do in my early twenties.

And then there are times when I'm driving back to work with my fingers in a tub of cookie dough that I literally couldn't resist buying for lunch and I think that perhaps I haven't come as far as I think.

I mean, buying cookie dough to deal with difficult situations in life is one thing. Eating said cookie dough in the car is quite another. There was no spoon. There were no napkins. I couldn't even wait until I got back to the office. I may as well have been wearing a bib.

Yes, difficult times have befallen the life of Emily, my friends. And instead of ignoring the sage advice of my cousin that "Ben and Jerry go straight to the hips," I opted for cookie dough that, in my mind, is little more than some flour, eggs, water, brown sugar.... it can't be that bad, right? Not when it's SO so good.

I guess I can just look at it as an adult decision to drown myself in cookie dough, though, right? I mean, at least it's not alcoholic beverages. Or drugs. Yep. This is responsible. I'm being responsible.

Even with my fingers in my mouth to get every last bit of the cookie dough off.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

iPod magic

Okay, so putting your iPod on shuffle and having it dig up a song you love but have totally forgotten (BNL - When I Fall) is the best kind of pick-me-up ever.

Like a mole, I tell you.

There was a graduation song that had the advise "Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone." After my issues with knee pain brought on by a golfer running late, I understood.

Now, I think it should be edited to read, "Be kind to your eyes. You'll be blind as a bat if you don't. Oh, and wear your damn glasses."

After about a week of studying during every free minute (with a brief hiatus to celebrate my brother's birthday - Happy 25th, little bro - and to have the best dinner out EVER with old friends) I officially can't see. I mean, the can't-read-street-signs-until-I'm-on-top-of-them, bright-lights-have-halos, forget-about-the-projector-in-the-lecture-hall kind of can't see.

Yes, I have glasses. Yes, they're prescription for distance. No I do not wear them regularly. It's not completely vanity. It's more that I lose things that are not attached to me, and I flat out refuse to wear those hang-your-glasses-around-your-neck things. It's amazing to me that I still have a cell phone. I don't even carry a purse because I don't like keeping track of things. So no, I don't wear my glasses.

And yet, today I have no choice. (Note: my favorite Starbucks guy says they make me look intellectual. Then I proceeded to order the wrong thing and he commented that looks aren't everything. Such is my life.) So I'm out in my glasses, and, oh yes, my brain is fried. Fried. Like using-the-wrong-word-to-describe-things fried. I needed stamps and sent the boyfriend to the post office for a sheet of paper. (Luckily he's fluent in Emily speak and knew what I was getting at.)

Both of these maladies are directly tied to the fact that I had three tests in the last 48 hours. One was officially called a quiz, but it was an hour long, so I'm calling it a test.

And people? I took a beating on these tests. I mean, I don't know that I did really well on any of them. That hurt. I like to think that I'm pretty intelligent if I do say so myself, but this whole school and work thing is killing me. I keep thinking that I'm not using every spare minute efficiently (which I'm not) but there has to be some downtime to myself, right? Or is that just a luxury that I can't afford right now? Luckily I have no more assignments/tests due this week. Just a presentation, test, and quiz next week. I wish I were kidding.

But the point of this is that, while I realize that in the grand scheme of things - 30 is the new um....30, I don't see any 18-year-olds complaining that they can't see the writing on the gigantic projection screens that line the front wall of the lecture hall. All of a sudden, I feel old. And tired.

May 3rd can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

To be fair, I never said I was nice...

I haven't pulled an April Fools Day prank in years. I was afraid I was getting rusty. It turns out that as long as you remember the basics, it's like riding a bicycle...

The Basics:
1) You can either go for a surprise, or a lie.

The surprise is obvious. A fake roach in the sink, a pop up monster in the toilet, you with a mask jumping out of the dark yelling "April Fools Day!" Meh. Those are fun, but I think I stopped with those when I was in school.

The lie is more fun for me these days. It's taking a set of details about a person, and weaving them into an elaborate hoax that the person completely believes...before you come out with the standard "April Fools Day" line. Sometimes you can pull these off on your own, and sometimes you need a cast of characters.

2) With the lie, it has to be believable.

I find that boys are usually worse at this than women. (Surprise, right?) Boys want the immediate reaction when they realize at the last minute that "Hold up! It's April Fools Day. I've gotta do something!" Women are more methodical and can lay a believable foundation to achieve the final reaction. For a really good April Fools joke, you either have to play on circumstances in the past that work with your scenario, or start laying the groundwork really early. Don't get me wrong, I've met some great male pranksters...but on April Fools Day? Has a woman ever forgotten what date it is?

3) Joking about death is never funny.

Enough said, right? Calling me in tears because you just ran over my dog, having me ready to rush over there and freak out, then saying "April Fools Day" isn't going to be funny.

4) Joke about something with a "freak out" factor of 5 or below.

"I'm pregnant" would be a freak out factor of 10 for a guy you've only been seeing a few months. Or just cruel to a guy who really wants to be a dad. But to a guy you've been dating a while when you're not ready for children? It could be fun if played right.

If played right, the April Fools Joke has no lasting repercussions, leaves the subject of the joke chagrined that they were fooled, and (best of all) can't be repaid for at least a year. (Who's silly enough to fall for an April Fools Day joke on the same day you just played one??)

So, this year, with those guidelines in mind, I set out to play a joke on the boyfriend. It was sheer genius, if I do say so myself. To be fair, a lot of things worked in my favor to have this be a successful prank. Let me explain...

Fact #1 - I handle the household finances. I make sure all bills are paid each month, and then have the boyfriend write me a check for half the utilities. This includes paying the boyfriend's cell phone bill and car payment. I'm better at this sort of organization, and it's sort of soothing for me to balance everything each the task just became mine when we moved in together. (I know. I'm weird.)

Fact #2 - Our mailbox is in a really inconvenient location. It's sort of close to the garage, but not really. Usually the person who gets to park in the garage that month is in charge of checking the mail. However, since the boyfriend "lost" his mail key, this too has become my responsibility.

Fact #3 - We just got new phone lines installed at my office. With caller ID. These are Vonage phone lines, and mainly used for long distance. Since the boyfriend's cell phone is local, I've never called him from those numbers.

Given these facts, plus the fact that I hadn't even mentioned the upcoming date, I figured I could probably pull off a fabulous prank.

So I put together this letter:

I pulled information from the Chase website to make it believable, and once I had it written, had my boss sign it. Then I called the boyfriend, and had a great conversation where I explained that I hadn't been checking the mail regularly due to classes (I keep forgetting) and about the letter that I had found. Much to my satisfaction, he freaked out and reacted as I had predicted, saying that he would handle it this evening. I then dropped the bombshell about the repossession today if payment is not received. (Note: I put that in there specifically because I knew he would put off dealing with the situation. I'm a genius :-)

While he freaked out some more, (Repossession?! I'm at work! How would I get home? Do I need to hide my car?! We've been paying the bill!!!) I offered to fax the letter to his office so that he could see it and deal with it immediately. Maybe there was still time to avoid losing his car... He agreed, and asked that I write the last three payment dates on there for him to reference when he called.


So I sent the fax and waited. Not two minutes later, my cell phone rang. I literally could not keep a straight face at this point, so I let the call go to voicemail. Another minute passes, and the office line rings. At this point, I was about to pee my pants, I was so excited.

My boss answered the phone (with the most ridiculous fake accent ever) and put the boyfriend on speakerphone. The boyfriend's tense voice filled the room with his anger barely in check. A conversation filled with "I've been making online payments" and "I'll look into this, but it might be too late to stop the repossession order that's been issued" ensued. Finally my boss said,

"Mr. Boyfriend, can you please tell me today's date?" (Obviously, his real name was used.)
There was a brief silence while the boyfriend digested this and slowly responded, "April 1st."

I'm sure that if he hadn't realized what was going on in that moment, the cackles of laughter that filled his ears clued him in.

He was definitely amused and definitely bummed that he fell for it. About thirty minutes later I get a text message that read,

"I don't know when and I don't know how, but YOU ARE A DEAD WOMAN WALKING."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to decline the third call from "No Name" that I've gotten on my cell phone since. Apparently the boyfriend doesn't know the part about how you have to wait a year for retaliation...

Silly boys.