Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Favorite Things

I am not my mother's favorite child.

I have mixed emotions about typing that sentence. Part of me feels like I'm saying "poor me," (which I'm not) and part of me feels like others don't believe that statement when it's stated so matter-of-factly. Like children don't know.

Oh, we know.

This situation has caused me all sorts of angst growing up (*cough* and sometimes even now *cough*) No one doesn't want to be the favorite. Sibling rivalry sucks. But slowly as I grew up, erm, got older... I noticed that my little brother just had more in common with my mother. They would spend time together in the kitchen cooking new recipes (Emily = not interested) or they would laugh at the same sick (sick sick twisted) jokes. I made my peace with the fact that my mother loved me, and she loved my brother. One wasn't more than the other, it was just a matter of different relationships.

But this post isn't about that. It's not about that at all. It's about how I'm TURNING INTO MY MOTHER! I know this, I've struggled over the inevitability of it, and then last night I had the realization all over again. And this time? This time my angst about what's happening makes the angst growing up seem very very small because, in case you hadn't noticed, I didn't like the whole "playing favorites" thing, and here I am repeating it.*

Casey was my first dog. I love her to death. She's obviously the smartest,
cutest and most talented dog to ever have lived. She's maintained the post of favored dog for about two and a half years now - ever since I got her as a teeny tiny puppy. (You can thank me for the gratuitous cuteness later.) Then again, her competition was Tyson, whom I clearly disliked. Casey could do no wrong. She knows her commands, she's obedient, she's intuitive, she's really really warm to snuggle with, and she loves me above all others. Yep, Casey is a great dog and clearly my favorite. I had no shame about this because, you know, Tyson wasn't ever MY dog. Of course I favored Casey.

Enter Blue.

Blue's personality is as different from Casey's as night is from day. Casey is independent - Blue is a follower. Casey is used to getting her way and is very vocal when things aren't going the way she expects - Blue will sit patiently to see what's going to happen. Casey is defensive and territorial - Blue is welcoming and friendly. Casey is an intelligent problem solver - Blue eats grass until it makes him sick. Casey is used to only eating good treats - Blue is the canine equivalent of a garbage disposal.

On any given walk, I'll scoff at Blue for never taking the initiative at anything. Casey always goes first, and if she's not around, Blue is looking at me to tell him what to do. On any given walk, I'll get frustrated when Blue eats yet another piece of garbage that I have to fish out of his mouth so he doesn't make himself sick. On any given walk, I'll laugh as Casey dives headfirst into the water fountain, and I have to carry Blue in (so he doesn't overheat during the course of the walk.)

But Blue is more loving to Casey's independence. If I sit down, Blue has his head on my lap and is looking at me with love, while Casey's off making sure the house is secure and nothing has changed since her last patrol. I'm hungover on the couch, and it's Blue who lies next to me in comfort. If I'm reading a book with both dogs asleep on the loveseat, I'll inevitably get a visit from Blue's cold nose looking for a pat on the head.

In short, Blue is making an awfully convincing play for favorite.

And, what?! Why? Because he NEEDS me more? Seriously?

I mean, I know that playing favorites sucks. I lived through the angst. And while the dogs won't go through that, what if I have kids some day? If I play favorites with my dogs, I'll do the same with kids, no? I have to nip it in the bud. This has to end. Blue is awesome. Casey is awesom(er). Done.

But Blue's so cute! He's so....cuddly! He's just so loving. He's all "I love you, mom," while Casey's all, "Not NOW, mom. I've got things to do!"

But Casey's so smart! She really is a problem solver. And she's so brave and smart and pretty. Blue drools all over EVERYHING. It's SO gross. And if you take your eyes off of him for a second he'll chew your favorite shoes. Besides, Casey's the first born! She's supposed to be the favorite. Blue's only been around for 6 months max. Casey's got tenure! What is going on here?

My official stance is that I love them both. If I cuddle a bit more with Blue, it's only because he'll let me. If I'm a bit more affectionate with Blue, it's because he needs the reassurance.

Maybe it's not favorite per se. Maybe it's more... well, Blue NEEDS me.

Oh whatever. I'm my mom. Blue is my favorite. Damn. Tell me this is human nature, right? Right? I can't help this, right?

*Note: I want to be clear that I am well aware that having a child is worlds away from having a dog. However, some of the responsibilities are the same, as are some of the emotions - on a much much MUCH smaller scale. One of the perks of having dogs (besides the crating thing :-) is that I can talk about the not-so-politically correct emotions associated with having something be fully dependent on you - like occasionally wanting to run screaming into the night, wishing you had never agreed to this responsibility in the first place, and wanting to throw them out the window - and not be crucified as being a horrible parent.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses

I exhibited the sort of grievous error in judgement that I would expect from a twenty-year-old, and it happened on Saturday night. This past Saturday night to be exact. This past Saturday night in 2008 when I am well on my way to being thirty-one and supposed to be an "adult."

I attempted to out-drink my sister in law and I failed. Miserably.

To be fair, it did not begin as an attempt to out-drink my sister in law. It began as "Ooohhh! Yummy margaritas!" and ended with "Wow. Their toilet is really clean from this angle. That's impressive."

The backstory to this event goes back to New Years Eve of this year when I unwittingly out-drank my new sister in law. Out-drank as in, I was fine the next day, and she had a nice visit with the toilet in the cabin we were staying at. Unwittingly as in I didn't realize we were in competition until she told me, "Emily, my mistake was trying to keep up with you. Not many women can out drink me, and I was trying to match you drink for drink."

If you have met my sister in law, the absurdity of her trying to out drink me would be apparent. She's taller than I am, at about 5'7", but she weighs maybe 115 lbs. I'm shorter, but I have many (many) more curves in which to store excess alcohol. Besides, I have my rich Italian heritage to fall back on. (Then again, she's German...I should have considered that. Shoot.)

Which brings us to Saturday night. I went over to my little brother's house for some dinner. I had had a rough (read: traumatic) Saturday volunteering and really just wanted to relax and forget the day had happened. While dinner was cooking, my brother mixed me a drink that had four shots and some diet Pepsi in it. Why on EARTH I did not decline that drink is beyond me. (but I did feel better about the horrible day after drinking that drink...) Dinner progressed and after the four shot mystery drink, I switched to a margarita. 'Twas good.

At this point it was suggested that I go and get the boy, and we all hang out together. Perhaps play some bags? Perhaps just drink and chat? Pool? (of the table variety, not the swimsuit variety.) So I go and get the boy. Everyone is merry, everyone is playing bags (Emily and the boy win, ahem,) and Emily continues to drink margartias. Sister in law switches to beer. Emily pays no mind and continues with the yummy margaritas.

Everything at that point becomes hazy. I know there was a point where we were all talking, and I was lying on the couch. I know there was a point when it became immediately apparent to me that I should probably move to the bathroom. An indeterminate amount of time passed, and the boy came to check on me. There was laughing, I was joking and being light-hearted while not moving my head from the cool, reassuring toilet. The light-heartedness was only for my audience's benefit. When they weren't around, I was pathetically wimpering into the toilet and begging God to take me from this cruel world. (Apparently melodrama does not go away with increased alcohol consumption. Did I mention that I'm supposed to be an adult?)

There was a picture taken of little brother posing while Emily's head was in the toilet (I hate everyone) and there was a constant mantra from Emily of "I have to drive to Ikea tomorrow." Everyone got a kick out of that. They assured me that I wouldn't, in fact, be driving anywhere tomorrow, and several "nokia" jokes were made. I asked what time it was (1:30am!!!) and at that point (with the responsibility that I had to fulfill firmly in mind) I finally told the boy that I wanted to go home.

I have no memory of the ride home, I vaguely remember the boy letting go of me for a moment while he opened my front door, and taking that opportunity to sit on the ground. He seemed upset by this. I also vaguely remember (and asked for confirmation the next day) that the boy seemed to find this extreme drunken-ness adorable. Why? Apparently it's not often that I am this "vulnerable" and "need him so much." Hmmm. I'm sure there's a lesson in there that I need to learn.

I think I remember trying to let the dogs out before the boy steered me to my bed and assured me that he would take care of them. (Looking at my basement stairs, I'm SO glad he caught me before I attempted to go down them.) I'm pretty sure I got a cold nose in my face before the dogs were again put away. I KNOW I remember Casey crying at 6:00am, trying to get out of bed to let her out, failing miserably, and wimpering to the boy that if he would let the dogs out, I would be forever in his debt. He did so without complaint. Impressive.

I somehow had remembered to set my alarm for 9:30am. (I was meeting friends to head to Ikea at 11:00am.) I woke up, felt about a THOUSAND times better than I had the previous evening (it's all relative, right?) and took a shower. What I had forgotten about hangovers is that they seem to keep creeping up on you the more you move around. After the shower (where I shaved my legs. What? Was I still drunk?) there was quite a bit of the boy laughing at me, another visit to my toilet, certainty that I would never be able to get dressed and would have the embarrassment of my friend showing up when I was naked, and finally lying on the couch cursing Jose Cuervo. (I did manage to get dressed. I'm not sure I matched though - Diane?) At this point it became apparent that I would not, in fact, be driving to Ikea. I think Blue sensed that I was not well and curled up next to me on the couch. I couldn't have moved that 50lb dog if I had wanted to. So I gave in and snuggled with him and hoped he could make the massive headache subside.

He couldn't.

So, I thought, perhaps if someone else drove, I could still attend the outing? I nixed that thought when I remembered that I get carsick in cars when I'm NOT hungover.

So while the boy watched a movie, and the dogs napped, I closed my eyes, wished for salvation from the pain, and tried to figure out how to not go to Ikea and not feel like an ass.

There was no way for that to happen.

Luckily, my friend was understanding. I'm assuming that I looked like complete hell when I saw her - I'm not really sure... But she did mention something along the lines of me not looking well. Our conversation was dominated by me trying to explain why I'm so sorry I'm an idiot, and simultaneously trying to figure out why the sunlight was made of thousands of tiny daggers that were stabbing into my brain. She was much nicer than I would have been, and for that, I'm grateful.

It wasn't until about 4:00pm that I felt some semblance of normalcy. I ate some popcorn at 2:00pm, slept through an entire movie, and then woke up at four feeling groggy, but alive.

So basically, I drank alcohol for about four hours, and then recovered in fourteen. I thought stupid decisions like that were reserved for the youth of America. Apparently not. Shoot.

I would like to say that I'm never drinking again. Unfortunately, one moment that is crystal clear from Saturday night was being helped in my car by the boy and overhearing my sister in law say to my brother, "I'm so sad. My last worthy adversary and I have defeated her. Who's left?"

Last time I checked, it was one to one, sister. We're going to need a best out of three before we start using words like "defeated."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh How I miss thee, Cable TV

I can see the evils of TV. I really can. I know that when I'm sitting stationary in front of the TV I could be outside walking the dogs/running/enjoying the sunshine (since we're now perpetually in the Eastern time zone and it's light until nine-frigging-thirty at night.) I know I'm not getting any smarter when I'm watching the mindless drivel that is reality TV, and in fact, I'm probably using up precious space in my memory warehouse for ANTM that would be useful for, oh, say, chemistry.

+2 if you caught that reference.

But when someone tells me that they've given up TV, or worse, that they don't even OWN a TV (like Joey says, "What does all your furniture point to?",) I always mentally stick my tongue out at them. "Oh sure, you don't need TV in your life. Excuse me for having a pea sized brain that needs the flickering box (complete with mindlessness of Grey's Anatomy, and cattiness of ANTM) to increase my quality of life. Wait! Did something shiny move??" I can't help but feel less intelligent or less, I don't know...worthy because I enjoy my prime time TV.

So I gave up cable TV to see how the other half lives.

Please rest assured that this decision had nothing to do with feeling holier-than-thou and EVERYTHING to do with stupid tuition payments that are going to suck out the rest of my soul coupled with my intense resistance to accepting student loans until I'm reduced to begging for restaurant scraps and my dogs are fending for themselves on a diet consisting solely of neighborhood children.

In the beginning it wasn't so hard. In fact, it STILL wouldn't be very hard if I hadn't.... I'm getting ahead of myself.

In the beginning it wasn't so hard. Even now, I read more, I listen to my iPod, I walk the dogs a LOT and spend time outside with them as much as I can. I go out to dinner with friends and engage in plenty of conversation with wine (which probably negates saving the monthly cost of cable, but whatever...) Remarkably, I found lots of different ways to fill my evenings. Even if I chose to knit, I could put in a DVD of Friends (which I figure isn't technically cheating since I'm not really watching [due to having every Friends episode committed to memory, again taking up precious warehouse space for biology] and since it's not cable) and be perfectly happy with that. Besides, it's summertime! What's on TV now? By the time the good stuff is on I'll be back in school and won't have time for TV anyway. And right now? With the Brett Favre stories and the Brett Favre stories and the Brett Favre stories (ad nauseum) I'm sort of glad that I can't watch SportsCenter in the mornings. I have a feeling it would just make me very very angry.

And then today I was reminded that a new season of Project Runway premiered this past Wednesday.

Nevermind. I will just read the recaps online. It will be fine. (sniff)

See? This is much better. I wonder what other shows I'm missing right now. I mean, it's summer, so there's not THAT much on. Hmmm...


Breathe. It's okay. You have plenty of friends who have TVs with cable/satellite and will share with you. Besides, it's not like Discovery doesn't recycle programs and you haven't seen them before. You only REALLY need to see the new ones.

And then I started looking into what I missed on Army Wives this season.

Didn't see that one coming, didja?

Last year I watched Army Wives religiously. I loved it. I was hooked.

This year, I convinced myself that what I didn't know I was missing, I wouldn't actually miss. So I deliberately avoided all stories, recaps, etc about the show. But today I was bored and started rooting around on YouTube to see if some generous soul had posted entire episodes.

Um, no. But there are pieces. There are certainly very small, unfulfilling and not always consecutive pieces of episodes online. Those pieces are just enough to remind me why I loved the series and why my life is sadder without it, but not enough to SHOW ME THE ENTIRE EPISODES THAT I'VE MISSED!


I mean, I'm still not going to get cable, but now I've seen how the other half lives, and I can honestly say that I don't like it. I'm convinced that I'm still that person with a pea-sized brain whose quality of life just isn't quite what it could be with the evils of television. Bless you, my smart friends who can exist without The Deadliest Catch. Who don't miss The Dog Whisperer. Who have never even heard of Heroes or Friday Night Lights. All I can say is, "You're a better man than I, Charlie Brown."

Now, can someone please invite me over to watch Shark Week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stop Bugging Me!

So my new backyard isn't huge, but it's not tiny either. There is a picnic table that was left by a previous tenant, and this is apparently a great thing to mark the center of a circular track around which Blue will chase Casey endlessly. (Poor thing, he seems to think that he will one day catch her.) When the dogs aren't eating grass, their favorite game is tearing around like crazed animals and narrowly missing mom as they run by. It's all very chaotic, but I'm glad they have this outlet for energy in addition to their daily walks. (In an interesting side note, I can't use the backyard as a substitute for walks. Casey will absolutely not go to the bathroom in the backyard. Apparently the backyard is for playing only and bathroom duties (or doodies) are done elsewhere. I wonder if she learned this at daycare?)

The fence is chain link, and not what you would call "sturdy" or "new." But it does serve its purpose which is to keep the dogs contained. The dogs know better than to chew or paw at the fence, though Casey has learned that she can jump it and does so at every opportunity...as though to taunt me with her independence. She doesn't run off, mind you - she just jumps the fence and then stands on the other side laughing at me. But I digress...

Oh! And I'm also fairly certain that I'm never going to get robbed, even though I live in a statistically safe neighborhood. When people see me in the backyard and approach to ask to mow my lawn/wash my car/pet my dogs, Casey charges the fence barking her fool head off. She'll never jump at strangers (she's a wuss at heart) but she sure talks a mean game. Blue runs along after her for fun. I've had people run away without talking to me because of this, despite my repeated assurances that the dogs are friendly. What, I don't look trustworthy?

I haven't yet spent a whole lot of time in the backyard, but I will say that every time I do, I get eaten alive by bugs. And I mean eaten ALIVE. I know that bugs just seem prefer some people and completely ignore others, and believe me, I appreciate the honor of being declared "delicious" by random insects, but in the spirit of actually using the backyard every now and then, I would like the Emily buffet to permanently close. (It seems there is also a "Casey buffet" as she is also covered in bug bites. Blue seems immune.)

(I've narrowed the source of the bug bites down to the backyard. Either that or the apartment, and I refuse to think I have bugs in my house. When I take walks elsewhere I've been with other people who currently aren't suffering the malady that I am. These people haven't been in the backyard with me.)

When I mentioned this to zlionsfan, he said that I couldn't just get rid of the bugs, I had to get rid of the source. Um, okay. What's the source again? I mean, I always thought the source of bugs was "outside." Hmmm...

There isn't much grass in the backyard. There are too many trees and too much shade for grass. Instead there's a lot of clover. (I think it's clover? It's not grass, I do know that. And it only needs to be cut maybe every four weeks or so. And yes, I know what poison ivy looks like - it's not poison ivy.) Trees surround my backyard...but they're not actually in the yard. The neighborhood is older, so the trees are HUGE and shady. The trees next door have overgrown my fence and there are big leafy branches that reach over the fence by about 2-3 feet, and vines that wind around the fence. There is also a tree in the backyard of the other half of the double. It's not technically in my half, but it overhangs and I plan to leave that one alone for shade. Now that I'm settled (and my father introduced me to hedge clippers - both the type for "leafy" and the type for "branches") I am turning my attention to cutting back my neighbor's overhanging branches and errant vines to make maneuvering around the backyard a bit easier. Last Sunday was my second foray into the world of trimming back trees. I got about halfway down the fence before I decided to call it a day.

Today, since I have little to no self control, my legs are now once again covered in scabs from the constant scratching
brought on by hundreds of bug bites. (Okay, not hundreds, but lots. Like, I could have chicken pox.) I never notice getting bitten. And I wear my Off. What on earth could I be doing to help the situation? Suggestions? Is trimming back the trees going to help? What if I mow more often? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Until then, I'll crack open my second tube of Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel. I'm pretty sure I'm using more than the recommended amount, but you know what? I care not. It's better than the constant torment of itching. Now if you'll excuse me...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Recap

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have air conditioning.

I was originally going to try and go without the blow to my pocketbook by not purchasing the somewhat expensive window air conditioning unit. However, what with the emergence of the Evil Twin this past week, and the fact that it reached approximately 1,000 degrees (Celsius) and 99.9999999% humidity on Saturday, Evil Twin demanded that I put aforementioned window unit on my credit card to end the misery that was my apartment. I think the straw that broke the camel's back was the image of Blue literally melting off the couch and onto the floor where he lay splayed out and panting as though he had run a marathon. (Casey was napping and panting in her sleep.)

The boy called and got the angry earful as I complained about having to spend the money that I hadn't planned on spending, I had other bills to pay, blah blah blah. His response (bless his patient soul) was, "Wait, you're not going to buy it and install it youself are you?"

At the time, Evil Twin got all offended and went off on a rant about how I can do anything a boy can do and OF COURSE I was going to do it myself. I am an independent, self sufficient woman and I can take care of myself.

You can imagine how that went. I cringe to think of it.

The boy calmly talked me into eating a popsicle, pointing all fans in the place towards myself and the dogs, and waiting until he got home from work and could go with me to purchase the a/c unit.

He arrived, we went to Lowes, and proceeded to disagree about exactly how big the a/c unit should be....not to mention where it should be placed. Luckily, there is central air at Lowes which made the Evil Twin relax some, and we were able to compromise. I didn't get the ginormous, really expensive one that the boy seemed to think I needed, but I didn't get the tiny cheap one that I thought would work just fine. (The compromise did have a remote control...something I wasn't sure was necessary and now can't believe I considered going without.)

In retrospect, how come the boy got to spend my money?

Three and a half hours and a whole lot of sweat later, the window a/c unit was installed.

I don't know how long I expected it to take, or how difficult I thought it was going to be, but the actual experience exceeded both of my expectations...whatever they were. The installation manual wasn't difficult to understand, the steps seemed pretty simple, and luckily my window was perfect for the unit (outside windowsill and all) but there was this heavy ass a/c unit to maneuver, a storm window to remove, a cat to find after she jumped out the window and disappeared for 20 minutes (she ended up coming back on her own) and several instances of "Wait - let's read the manual...look at the picture. Does that help?" It was hella-hot in the apartment, too. The sunshine, the heat, the open window while we figured out what the heck was going on... I'm surprised we both emerged unscathed, actually.

Of course, as soon as the unit was installed, the cool breeze that signified impending rain began. We ended up opening the windows and letting the cool air in that evening anyway.

The end result was a really really long walk with the dogs on Sunday morning that ended with a nice quiet nap for all three of us on the couch/loveseat. No panting at all.

More to come later with stories of yard work...

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Evil Twin

I like to think that I'm nice person. I have a sign hanging in my house that says "Because Nice Matters." I truly believe that. I do my best to be a good friend to others, and I sometimes do things out of responsibility that I don't want to do, just so I don't let others down. In fact, that's one of the (few) good critiques that I got at my last job. "Emily is good with responsibility." I don't like to let other people down. I don't like to be the bad guy and have others think badly of me. Especially if I value their opinion. I want people to be able to count on me. Is that the same as being nice? I don't know. Other people seem to think I'm nice, but then, other people don't really see the motivations behind my being nice, do they? If they knew that the motivation was simply because I don't like people to dislike me, is it still being nice?

I mean, most of the time I believe in that whole "you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar" thing... but then I ask myself why I would want to be attracting flies in the first place?

It's true that I can also make cutting and cruel observations. I sometimes find life's irony HILARIOUS, especially if it causes someone else brief emotional distress. (to be fair, though - when life hands me lemons, I can usually find the grace to laugh at that irony too....eventually...later on down the road...waaaaay on down the road.) Does this jibe with nice? Are people who seem to be made of sugar and sweetness, sugary and sweet all the time? Don't they have an outlet? I need an outlet.

But then, the people who are priveleged enough to hear the cutting and cruel observations are hand-picked, tried and true friends. If I see a skinny hoochie wearing way too little clothing to be playing in a co-ed rec sand volleyball game, I don't share my venom about said hoochie with just anyone. In fact, if my girlfriend Chris isn't around, the mean observations are internalized and I just make sure to serve the ball to the hoochie every time I get the chance to confirm that, though she may look good, she sure as hell can't play. (If she can play AND she looks good, I will be convinced that she is a bitch. If I find out otherwise I will want to be her friend :-)

To the three-year-old in my neighborhood who comes over every. single. day. to see the "dog-dogs" I'm sure I'm just the nicest person ever. Without fail, I will let Blue out to jump all over said neighbor boy and lick his face to make him giggle, while holding the quietly growling Casey on the porch. For those of you who know me, does that seem like a situation that I would enjoy? Do you not think I'm muttering exasperated curses under my breath when I hear that daily knock on my door?

I love sarcasm and I'm good at it. Does that seem like a talent that a nice person has? When I'm exasperated, I tend to talk down to you and treat you like an idiot. I'm sure I don't seem nice in those circumstances. But then, it usually takes a lot to make me exasperated. I love my life, I'm usually happy, and when I use the cynicism, it's usually to make an anecdote funny - not necessarily to be mean. (The sarcasm is used to make you feel dumb, but at least other people will laugh!)

And then comes this one week per month.

During this one week per month, I am... shall we say... less than patient? I am angry, I am irritable, and I am just not pleasant to be around. My cutting remarks become more cutting and more hilarious to the casual listener, but if they were ever overheard by the subject....well....normal Emily would be horrified. I am downright cruel.

I hate myself in these weeks. Seriously. I crack myself up, but I hate myself. I don't feel well, nothing makes me happy, and if I'm not paying attention... if I don't REALIZE that it's the danger week, I tend to...um...overreact to things. I want people around to make me feel better, but I hate having people around because they irritate me. (Just ask the boy. Or my boss for that matter.) I'm dangerous during this time. Most people can catch the warning signs and run away. Emily is not subtle. The usual casualties are dumb people who don't see the train until it's too late. They're the ones who hate me.

I used to think that this week was useless. It's horrible, and it sucks and I just need to spend the week at home in bed where I can read a book, eat ice cream, and complain about how fat I'm getting. And then, yesterday, my credit card charged me a late payment fee for a payment that was posted online the pre-requisite 48 hours before the due date. The evil in me almost started salivating in anticipation for how this conversation was going to go.

I won't post it on here, but I will say that I got the charge removed from my credit card, and before I spoke to her supervisor and got my APR lowered for good measure, I'm fairly certain that I made the young customer service person cry. Now I know the true calling for my evil twin - and a nice outlet for my anger and frustrations during this week that does not involve my sister in law or mother. So, I have a proposition for all of you. In order to save the sanity of my boss, the boy, my parents, and anyone else who may accidentally come in contact with me during the second weekend of every month - you should save all of your unwarranted charges on your cell phone, false "maintenance fees" on credit cards, or numbers from jerks that treated you badly for me to deal with. Heck, I'll even lower your APR if you want me to. I'm effective, it calms me down, and I definitely enjoy myself. When I come back to my senses, I rarely feel bad for yelling at people who should have trouble sleeping at night for the things their company makes them do.

When it's over, I return to the normally scheduled programming of the person who would rather eat the overcooked steak than return the food at the restaurant. Everyone wins. So start saving them now, folks. You've got four weeks to send them to "Evil Twin Emily" to take care of.

(If you want to listen in on the conversation, I charge extra.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

I am without muse lately. I am muse-less. Additionally, I am cranky, out of sorts, and tired as heck. But it's been over a week, and I'm feeling more and more pressure to get a blog up (thanks J!) So I think that for this post I'll steal an idea from one of my favorite blog friends, Ann, and post my first Thursday 13.

(Note: this will not be a weekly feature. I don't usually like weekly features because I sort of want this blog to be me posting what I want to, when I want to...but I obviously can't avoid feeling SOME pressure from posting "what I want to, when I want to" because I like to think that people who read this are looking forward to the next post...so, like most things in my life, I will take an idea and use it when it fits with what I want to do :-)

Reasons why my mother should weep for my impending spinster-hood (aka, why I so love living alone*)

1) I do so much less laundry now that I live alone - it's seriously ridiculous. Are boys just dirtier? Do they just wear the same 7 outfits over and over and over each week so that you HAVE to wash them every weekend? I have no idea. But seriously, laundry maybe once every week and a half is a nice perk of living alone. I've thought about seeing how long I can go without doing laundry, but sometimes a girl just needs her favorite jeans.

2) I live with two dogs and one cat in a new place that is less than half the size of my old place, and I STILL do less cleaning than when I lived with the boy and his dog. (Are my DOGS neater than the boy? I must do more research on this before I pass judgement.)

3) I do dishes immediately after using them, and it takes roughly 5 minutes. Sometimes, I even use paper plates so no doing dishes is necessary. (GASP!)

4) I haven't yet set up cable (because I'm still undecided on whether or not I want it in the new place) or internet, and there's no one who's bugging me to get it done. (Well, there's zlionsfan, but really, I don't count him.) Due to this, I do not respond to emails sent between the hours of 5:00pm and 8:00am...but really, why are you sending me emails then anyway?? Just call me or get outside and play instead of sitting in front of the computer....ahem.

5) I'm learning about trimming bushes and trees, and edging and mowing the lawn (well, mowing eventually...) and it's really not that bad. I'm sure it will get worse when I realize that I have to do it on a regular basis, but for now, it's all about learning and accomplishment. (And after one episode of having to say, "No really, I'll do it later. Seriously. No, I WANT to do it. Stop!" I think guys believe that this is their domain, and would I get to do any of this if I lived with one?)

6) I get dates now.

Men who live with women take note. We may not complain, and heck, we may not even notice....but we DO miss dates. An occasional date night wouldn't kill you. (And this includes the asking, the PLANNING, the picking her up (even if you live together) and the paying (even though it's "our" money.))

7) A bottle of wine lasts longer than 24 hours.

(Okay, okay. A box of wine. Bottled wine doesn't keep so well and I can't finish a bottle in one night without severe consequences...besides, the boxed stuff isn't bad. [says the spinster-for-life]) Same goes for a 6 pack of beer. I can go home and decide whether or not I would like to have some beer that night. Some nights I might even say no. (the horror!!) I never understood what it was about boys that made them think that if there was beer, they had to drink it immediately lest it disappear and no beer is ever found on earth again.

8) Shave my legs? What's that?

(Okay...it's summer, so I have to keep that within reason. But just wait for the winter. I'm out to set a world record!)

9) I can take two-hour-long walks with my dogs, leave my phone at home, and be completely unreachable for those two hours. And it's okay!

10) I love confusing the heck out of my neighbors (all men, all who say "hello" every time they see me) with the revolving door of men who are at my apartment for hours at a time... Zlionsfan, the boy, Jmac, my little brother, the maintenance guy... I like to mix it up so no one guy is there more often than any other. I want to see how long it is before someone asks me what the heck kind of operation I'm running...

(Wow. I just realized that I haven't had one female visitor yet. I need more girlfriends. Come on over girls! I have wine! Lots and lots of wine!!! Girly-girls need not apply.)

(Wait, did I just type that? I AM moody. Perhaps now is not such a good time for any sort of visitor...)

11) This goes back to the "box of wine" thing, but I've had a box of popsicles in my freezer for over a week now, and it's only half gone. I can't stress how much more boys eat than girls. I mean, I eat. (I eat.) But apparently I must eat less. As evidenced by the popsicles. That are always there when I want them. And when I finish them? There's a note to buy more. And then more are purchased. It's a fascinating system really. Boys should get in on this.

12) My toilet seat is always down. Even for sleepy morning visits.

13) Everyone has a place to sit. I have a couch and a loveseat. I can stretch out on the couch and the loveseat looks like this:

*Now, this is not to say that there aren't several reasons why I miss the boy. There were good things about living with him, and definitely things that I miss...so I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of future cohabitation. But for now? So. Happy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Humble Pie

"Hello Gorgeous."

This is what I hear from the very hot, very shirtless guy who is jogging towards me on the canal towpath as I am walking my dogs. He's wearing an iPod which covers for the fact that I am stunned speechless and can't even muster a witty retort. (He was that hot.)

Also covering for my moment of idiocy is the fact that he's looking at my dog. More specifically, he is looking at Blue. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the hot man was hitting on my dog. I would normally be depressed by this, but at this point, I'm immune.

My dog gets hit on all the time.

My dog gets hit on more than I do.

In fact, the current tally is Blue - 110, Emily - 1. (Give or take a few. Take in Emily's case.)

To be fair, Blue is a good looking dog. I mean, he was cute when I first met him, but now he's put on weight (all muscle - that boy is STRONG) and his coat is all shiny and blue... He's a good looking dog. But, seriously, what am I? Chopped liver? Blue will literally stop conversations. We will approach a group of people talking on the sidewalk, and they will all pause as I walk by. Just when I'm about to pass them, I hear a low whistle, or a soft, "What a beautiful dog." To which I respond, "Thanks!" and am then inevitably drawn into a conversation about what his name is, what kind of dog he is, how old he is, and "What do they call that color? I've never seen that color before!" Funny - his name is Blue...

You would think that these conversations would parlay into something about me and the guy who stopped me to talk, right? After all, isn't that what dogs are supposed to do? I mean, guys walk puppies to pick up girls, right? Aren't guys supposed to start talking to me about, well, me after complimenting my dog? Isn't that conversation supposed to lead to a date for Blue's mommy?? But no... people carry on about how gorgeous Blue is and then the conversation ends. (or the hot shirtless guy just jogs on by.)

Casey usually gets the shaft. Nevermind that I think she's the world's most adorable dog... When someone deigns to comment on her appearance, it's usually something like, "I like that one's eyes," or "I've never seen ears like that before." And then the conversation turns back to Blue. I would say that she's getting a complex, but since she doesn't really like new people that much, I'm sure she doesn't mind that all these strangers are heaping praise on her adopted brother. She's off sniffing some new smell or pulling slightly - urging us to end the conversation and get going on our walk again.

It's a psychological principle that people are attracted to others of the same or similar attractiveness levels. That's for both friendship and relationships. Those relationships work out the best because there's no undercurrent of competition. Give that information, can I continue to be a good mom to a dog who is apparently my main competition in the looks department? (Um, I'm competing with a DOG in the looks category? That can't be good on any level...) I mean, Blue is ruining my mojo. That fact, coupled with the fact that the neighborhood kids called me "The lady with two pit bulls*" doesn't bode well for my chances on picking up any dates soon while walking the dogs, and really, what else do I spend the majority of my time doing? Studying? Fabulous.

Bummer, because first on my list of "must haves" for a future date is "must love dogs." Maybe it should be changed to "must love dogs - just not as much as you must love me."

*I don't know what I expected there, really. Girl? Pretty girl? All I know is that the word "lady" just about caused me to pass out from sheer panic. The only thing that could have been worse is if they had called me "ma'am."