Friday, May 29, 2009

I pick the weirdest times to be girly...

Despite random crossovers to the dark side, I'm not usually a girly girl. I mean, sure, I have issues with egregious assaults on footwear, and I may have some issues with bugs (and other creepy-crawlies,) but it's not like I really need to be taken care of. Or go out in makeup every day. Or even fix my hair regularly. (Unless a ponytail counts as "fixing?")

But sometimes, usually completely random times, that girly side of me pops up and can not be denied. Like when bike-riding. Like when bike-riding with someone who won't shut up about how I need a helmet. But I don't want to wear a helmet...even though I know it's probably smart. So I grudgingly look over the helmets at the bike store and find....nothing. They were all blue or black or silver or red and since I was already not wanting to purchase one, I wasn't inclined to like something that didn't make me happy.

And thus began my search for a pink bicycle helmet.

I know, I know. What on earth? To be fair, I don't mean completely pink. I mean, enough so that I like it. Enough so that I think it's cute, even though I'll look like an idiot while wearing it.

(This biking thing? It's taken over my life. I blame Candy.)

And so my google searching led me to this on ebay. I already have a long-standing hate relationship with ebay, but luckily there were only about 4 hours left on this auction when I found it, and I was the only bidder.
Still, I checked on it about 500 times in four hours.

In the end I am now the proud owner of a helmet with pink on it. I think I won because of the enormous size of my head. No other woman needs a helmet this big. Trust. We're talking freakishly large.

And so now I must wait until it arrives. And then I will post pictures. Of the three muskateers that keep going on crazy bike rides, all three of us in our goofy helmets.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pictures from the Past

Any of my college friends who read this need not worry. I am not about to pull out pictures from college days. No thanks. Those are for the password protected safety of Facebook.

What I will pull out is one of the greatest finds thus far in my 31 year life.*

Now that my parents are retired, they're starting to take on little odd jobs around the house. You know, the things that need to be done, but they're low priority so they never actually seem to GET done? Things like sorting through old photos.

My mother has been having a ball lately going through old pictures. She says that there are pictures of people she doesn't even remember, trips that she had forgotten about, and part of the fun for her is trying to remember when the pictures were taken so that she can put them in rough chronological order. In doing this, she found and sent a picture of me on Halloween in 1980.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am with this picture. It's awesome on SO many levels. First, my mother actually made this costume for me. She said she picked it because it was relatively easy and LOOK HOW CUTE I WAS!!! Second, I'm a pink bunny. Can you see a costume that is further from my personality than a pink bunny?! And finally, of course, I am a HUGE fan of A Christmas Story,** and Ralphie gets a pink bunny suit JUST LIKE THIS for Christmas. Right down to the bunnies on his feet. (Although I have to give my mom some credit as the costume was probably more appropriate on a two-year-old girl. It's not like she made this for me when I was thirteen.***) Keep in mind that the movie was released in 1983. This means that my mother actually dressed me like this BEFORE it was hilarious.

Although it's still pretty hilarious.

*For today anyway. Who knows what tomorrow holds?
**The whole family is, actually. My father actually has a leg lamp on the porch. Cross my heart and hope to die.
***No, she saved a whole HOST of other embarrassing things for the teenage years. Like the leg lamp on the porch. Which is awesome now, but when you're a teenager? Notsomuch.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Confession: I didn't know how to spell the title of this blog. I had to look it up.

There's a beverage at one of my favorite bagel places that I love to order. I love iced tea, it's lightly sweetened, and it's got enough caffeine to wake me up in the mornings. Plus, the name is fun to say (Spontanei-tea.)

Unfortunately (or fortunately if you're me, I guess) that's about the extent of the spontaneity in my life. I know this will come as a shock to some of you (unless you're regular readers. Then you know me. But if you're new it's a shock. If you're new, hi there!!) but I'm a bit of a planner. A little Type-A. A smidge of a control freak. I sort of like routine. Change is not my friend. In fact, change in my life usually takes a congressional mandate if not an act of God. And even those aren't always successful.

Which is interesting because in a social situation, I am usually the planner. I love to have a group of friends together and it doesn't really matter WHAT we're doing. I'll get friends together whenever and wherever I can.* But, if left to my own devices, I'm finding that the older I get the more I like my weeks to have some routine. I like to go to work, go home and walk my dog, and then spend an quiet evening reading or knitting or basically trying to see if I really can get my couch to have a permanent indentation that is the exact size of my butt. And once I have an idea of how my evening is going to go, it's not that easy to change on a moment's notice. In short, I'm getting boring. But I secretly sort of like it that way.

The boy? The boy is all about spontaneity. The boy has no idea what he's doing most evenings. The boy probably doesn't know what he's doing in the next hour. And even MORE incredibly to me, he can have plans for this evening, and then change them at the last minute. OMG - I cringe just thinking about the uncertainty.

Despite what you may be thinking, this has never been a bone of contention in our relationship.**

But for two nights this week, I've found myself in completely unplanned situations. And I didn't die. The first was when I got to go bicycle shopping. After repeated badgering by Candy and I, zlionsfan opted not to fix the bike that he had languishing in his garage, but instead chose to purchase a pretty shiny new bike. From a bike shop. So I got to go shopping, I didn't spend any money, and I got to help spend a good amount of money that wasn't mine. What's not to like about that? As soon as that was over, I assumed we would each go our separate ways home.

But apparently there was dinner involved. This dinner was assumed to be part of the plans by two out of the three participants.

Um, okay. This was unplanned, but not completely out of the question. Hmmm....Casey had been walked, I was already with friends, I was hungry - why not eat?

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Dinner was fun. (I had fun at an unplanned event.)

So now that a bike had been purchased, we made plans to ride together last night. At one of my favorite places. And ride we did. Another friend, Nicole, came along and we rode our bikes for about two hours (with Casey who ran along with us the entire time.) It was fabulous. The weather was perfect, the riding was both leisurely and heartbreakingly impossible***, and there was plenty of conversation to keep us all occupied the entire time.

When we ended the ride, Casey was worn out. I stopped to say goodbye, and she immediately laid down on the ground. I started thinking about what I was going to have for dinner, and how peaceful the night would be with Casey completely passed out, and how I couldn't wait to get back to the book I was reading. And then Nicole mentioned dinner plans to Candy. And my immediate internal dialogue was, (no joke) "They're going to dinner? I wonder if it's just the two of them. Will they invite me? OH MY GOD WHAT IF THEY INVITE ME? WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY?"

At that point Nicole said, "Does anyone else want to come?"

And my mouth said, "Sure! Where are we going?"

I'm sure it seemed normal to everyone else, but I honestly don't remember making the decision to go. And once it was made, I'm not sure that everyone in my head was entirely happy about it. But we all went out to eat, and surprisingly, I again didn't die. In fact, I had a good time.

When I went home and was cuddled on my couch with a very tired dog, I reflected on my two unplanned outings. Hmmm....unplanned, but still good. Maybe the boy was right? Spontaneous is still okay. Maybe this is the beginning of a change? But wait! Change is bad!! And the boy is never right! What to do, what to do?

In a fit of rebellion I made the immediate unplanned decision to paint my fingernails. See? I can be sponteneous! Look at me go!!****

*As long as I have at least 24 hours notice.
**That was a bold faced lie.
***See, there's this hill...
****Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Like I don't have enough to worry about?

So as not to appear a completely inept cyclist I didn't mention that last Friday, on Ride your Bike to Work Day, I totally fell over. On my bike. Like, tipped over and couldn't catch myself. Like, sprawled on the ground in the middle of the part of town where I work and where there are always a good number of pedestrians. Some of whom rushed over to help me. Which wasn't embarrassing at all. No. Not in the slightest.

And as a result of this incident, I had a pretty black and blue bruise on my shin, just above the ankle, that was about the size of an apple. Which of course made my entire calf and ankle swell up about three times their normal size. Fun times.

I showed the boy, and he was horrified. With good reason. Inexplicably, the boy is none too fond of that part of my body even when it's not grotesquely swollen.

Once upon a time when we were going through a book, the question came up, "What is your least favorite [body] part of your partner?"

Sometimes I wonder why the book isn't called "The breakup book."

The boy had to answer this question first. I braced myself and went through the list of every single insecurity that I have. (The List that is catalogued and cross referenced alphabetically in my it is in the minds of all women, gents. Don't let us fool you.) Let's see... My ass is huge, and I carry weight in my thighs, so they're none too pretty either. My arms are flabby, I have no neck... the list goes on and on. I was ready for anything the boy said.

Until he said, "Your ankles."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Well, it's just grandmother really doesn't have ankles either. I just don't like that."

"You're saying that I have CANKLES?!" This was said at a pitch that I'm pretty sure all the dogs in the neighborhood could hear.

"What are cankles?" The boy asked blankly.

"Um, when there is no ankle. So your calf goes right into your foot."

The boy began to giggle, "Oh. Yeah. That's what you have."

"WHAT?!" Again with the high pitch.

This was NOT on my List of Insecurities. In fact, I think it's the only body part that escaped even an honorable mention on The List. (Which is no small feat.) But one mention from the boy pointed out a whole new thing that I had never ever thought to worry about in my life. Which meant that I had to review every part of The List to see if there was anything ELSE that I had missed. Which is unacceptable because, seriously, who has time to review a list that they've been compiling since they were approximately 13 years old?

The thing is, in my unbiased opinion (which is deeply rooted real facts and actual observations,) I don't have cankles. My ankles are not the most slender ankles on the planet, but they are most definitely there and distinguishable from my calf. However, the boy is a bit more, um, dainty than I am [please see Bulldog/Cheetah comparison] and I guess he's used to seeing smaller joints. Whatev. I don't have cankles. And I pointed this out to him repeatedly until I'm pretty sure he just agreed with me to shut me the hell up. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the entire reason why the boy hates the book with a passion. He thinks it's evil.

Which brings me back to today. And the fact that since I have one ankle swollen to about three times its normal size, I actually DO have one cankle and one pretty slender ankle by comparison. And so I'm all, "SEE?! This is what a REAL cankle would look like."

And in response I get a weary, "You're right, Emily."

Darn tootin' I am. Motion to add "cankles" to The List - DENIED.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Calm After the Storm

Yesterday was insane. Mostly good insane, but in the aftermath of insane, it all feels the same - exhausting.

My parents were in town for the Broad Ripple Art Fair and, you know, to pick up their favorite grandchild. While we did get rained on at the art fair, I think everyone had a good time checking out the different items for sale. My father walked away with some very interesting art, and my mom walked away with some pretty suncatchers. After that and some lunch, we met up again to go duckpin bowling and play some board games. An undercurrent to that busy-ness was that my mother seemed to have her own agenda to learn everything about her cell phone that she could - including the art of text messaging. I know my friend Jill is going through some training of her own, and I wonder if we compared notes who would be more frustrated. The one trying to get a three year old potty trained, or the one trying to get a sixty-four year old woman to understand text messaging. Saturday was a very full day.

But Sunday was what killed me.

I usually keep Sundays plan-free. I love Sundays for this very reason. Sleep in + no schedule = paradise. But this Sunday I had two very old and dear friends in town. So we planned to have brunch at eleven. And then I had to meet my parents back at my place to hand over Blue....somewhere around one. THEN I was responsible for arranging a meeting between this sweet girl and some prospective adoptive parents. That was supposed to be at one, but I bumped it to two. (I was late anyway.) Still, that was a whole lot of arranging in about three hours of my day. I didn't want to rush my friends (who I don't see terribly often,) but nor did I want to delay the meeting between this dog and the interested potential-owners. Throw in finding a time to get my parents in there, and MAN was I stressed.

Luckily I knew the people who were thinking about adopting the dog. They offered me a beer as they were getting to know her. DONE! The boy was with me and commented that he could literally see the tension leaving my body. The meeting was successful, and "Izzie" found herself a new home. That was a good way to end the weekend.*

And when I got home that night, I had a text message from my mother that read, "Home ok thx 4 gr8 time lol mom n dad" I assure you, she did NOT learn that from me. When I called her back and asked, "Mom, who taught you to text like that?" her response was, "I read the comics."

I can't make this stuff up, folks.

*My boss wants to know when I'm going to start selling for him the way I "sell" for his wife (who runs the pit bull rescue.) I told him he needs to find better products.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Environmentally Friendly Fail

The whole "ride your bike to work" thing went swimmingly for my boss and I. Until we realized that we were hungry for lunch and no one really wanted to go out to get food. In fact, when talking to one vendor who asked if my boss had ridden his bike (meaning motorcycle) to work given the beautiful weather, he responded, "No, it's dumbass ride your bike to work day, so I rode my bike-bike."

That pretty much sums up how we were both feeling. Apparently we both prefer being environmentally friendly in theory vs. in practice. It was about this point that the boss (who lives closer) decided that he would ride home at lunch, get his car, and thus be able to run errands after work. A brilliant idea that I only wish I could take credit for. Instead I just copied him.

And so I now have my car. To run errands. And I can't decide whether or not I cheated. Because technically I DID ride my bike to and from work today. I just, you know, drove my car too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's good for me

So, Friday is Indianapolis Ride Your Bike To Work Day. It occurred to me on Monday that my excuse of class after work had expired, and I needed to get back on my bike. Of course, by Wednesday when the sky was overcast and threatened to open up at any time, I remembered why I vastly prefer driving my car.

Still, since I'm at the tail end of a tank of gas, now seems as good a time as any to renew my adventure from last year. And when I saw a flyer for Ride Your Bike to Work Day, I mentioned it to my boss. Actually, "badgered him until he agreed that it was a good thing to do" would be more accurate. (We are not super environmentally friendly here, and I always do my best to make little changes. My boss is not at all excited about this one.)

And then, of course, I promptly forgot about it. Until today. When my boss said, "I sure hope the weather holds for us to ride our bikes tomorrow."


Oh yes. Riding my bike to work. Right...right. I totally didn't forget about that. I am all over it.

"I expect you here at 8:00am sharp, Emily."


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Her Baby

In the big Blue dropoff of 2009, I got to see my parents interact with Blue for the first time since they've "owned" him for longer than a week. I mean, I've been getting random phone calls that go something like, "I'm worried - it's raining and Blue is afraid of the rain. How will he go to the bathroom?!" or "His nails are so long? How do I cut them? Do I just use nail cutters?" or (my favorite) "This dog FARTS! You didn't tell me that he would FART!!" So I knew that the adjustment was going well and Blue was well on his way to being spoiled. I just didn't get a chance to see it firsthand.

When I came home to find my parents waiting for me and Blue's crate was sitting on my porch ready to be moved in, I wasn't surprised. It makes sense to bring his crate for the week he would be here. What surprised me was the twenty-five pounds of dog food, dog treats, blankets and leash that also accompanied him. Um, they DO know that I already have one dog, right? And thus all the tools to be able to take care of two dogs? In fact, it wasn't very long ago that I used to HAVE two dogs.

Well, they wanted to bring "his" things. Hmmmm. Casey's things are apparently not acceptable. Hmmmmm.....

And then (AND THEN!) we were moving everything in, and my mother says to me, "Watch this." I obediently watch. She then proceeds to say, "Blue! Sit!"

Blue, of course, sat.

Following this, a series of high pitched words in BABY TALK (the likes of which I have never heard come out of my mother's mouth ever before in my life (ever!)) erupted from my mom, "Ohyouaresuchagoodboy! Youarestartingtobemydoggie, aren'tyou? Aren't you?? YouareSOGOOD!" All this was done while she was squeezing his head in a sort of hug that Blue didn't even TRY to wiggle away from.

I couldn't have been more surprised if she had taken out a gun and shot him. Seriously. More disgusted, maybe....horrified....but not more surprised. I mean, what just happened??

By the time my vision cleared and I was certain that I was not going to faint, it was too late to delicately ask if Blue was still considered my dad's dog.

As the evening progressed, I heard stories of how Blue is starting to bark at strangers who come to the house (a sign that he's accepting the house as "his" house) and how he puts his "big heavy" head on my mom's lap. Which she used to complain about. Until she realized that the farts are in dad's direction. Then we came to the subject of clipping his nails.

As I explained to my mom, Blue's nails are clear, so clipping them is fairly simple. You can easily see where the quick begins (where you don't want to cut because he will bleed) and just need to cut off the tips. She first cringed at the possibility of making Blue bleed, but I did my best to get her to see how easy it was to avoid. The problems began when she realized that getting his nails trimmed wasn't his favorite thing to do (he doesn't fight it, exactly....more just moves his paws out of my reach) So she made me stop. No putting Blue under any stress. If Blue doesn't like it, apparently Blue doesn't have to go through it. (Which means I'll be trimming his nails in secret apparently.)

I was seriously floored by these revelations. I mean, Blue's a great dog, don't get me wrong. He's loving and easy, and relaxed and endearing.... I just didn't realize that my lifelong "cat person" mother would be so easily taken in.

On Mother's Day, I called my mother to sing and let her know that I was thinking about her. She told me what they had planned for the day, and then asked "How's my baby?"

"Oh, I'm fine mom. I've got a whole Sunday stetching out before me with no plans..."

"No, no. I meant Blue."

"Erm, of course you did. He's fine."

"Is he? Because earlier I heard him barking at Casey. Is she stealing his bone again?"

"We're fine mom. We're all going to walk to Broadripple later today to visit the boy at work. It should be fun."

"Good. Give him a kiss for me."

"Um, okay. I love you too!"

I have this sneaking suspicion that my brother has been bumped from the position of "favorite child.*" I just can't believe I didn't see this coming. Not one little iota. I mean, there was baby talk. BABY TALK! I don't think my mother even uses baby talk on BABIES!!

*Which he SHOULD since he had to call his big sister to get his mother's cell phone number in order to call for Mother's Day. How did I get second place again?!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Of Cheetahs and Bulldogs

So the parents have come and the parents have gone. My refrigerator has more alcohol in it than it's had in a long long time...and my dishes were mysteriously washed while I was volunteering at the Animal Hospital on Saturday morning. Overall, I'm pretty sure my parents left wondering how on earth I live in such a tiny space, but I think the visit was without any emotional or psychological scarring, and really, that's all a girl asks for.

After my parents had arrived and were decompressing from the drive, we were making small chit-chat as we waited for dinner to cook and my mother's eye fell on a book on the coffee table.

(If you remember, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I posted about a book that I had purchased for the boy and I. I highly recommend the book to anyone in a relationship. I mean, you have to have a solid relationship, because there may be some answers that will truly test your patience (and your sense of humor.) But overall the book was a success. I loved it. It's been relegated to a box in my bedroom for over a year now, but in the deep clean that preceeds a parental visit, the book was dislodged from its usual spot in my bedroom and brought out to the living room so that I could re-live all the hilarity that the boy and I went through when filling it out. I just, um, forgot to put it away before the parents arrived.)

My mom asked about the book, and after I explained it to her, it became a topic of conversation. See, the whole object of the book is that it asks questions, both parties have to answer them, and it's supposed to open up more conversations. The questions range from serious (When did you know you were in love with your partner) to silly (What animal most reminds you of your partner?) I chose the silly to discuss with my parents. (No, I did not let my mother actually SEE the book. Are you crazy?)

When it came to confessing which animal most reminds us of each other, I went first. The answer came easily - a cheetah. The boy reminds me of a cheetah. He's lean, he's fast, he's agile....and he always lands on his feet.* I think cheetahs are like poetry in motion when they're running, and I see the same in the boy when he's playing soccer, playing with the dogs, etc. Done. Cheetah. The boy chewed that over for a while (I don't think it's what he expected) but he seemed satisfied with my response. (Image courtesy of National Geographic, btw)

When it was the boy's turn, he answered with no hesitation whatsoever, "Bulldog."


Blink blink.

The boy, seeing my astonishment hurried to explain. "You know! It's because you're tenacious. And stubborn. And strong. And strong willed. And, you're short. Compact."

Now, I don't know what springs to YOUR mind when you hear the word bulldog, but in my mind, a bulldog looks like this image that I found at kandinginfo. Um, notsocute. I mean, I think they're cute, but in that 'they're so ugly they're cute' sort of way. In fact, I think of slobber, and underbites, and snorting, and no agility whatsoever. Dear God, I'm a bulldog?! THAT'S how the boy sees me? A BULLDOG?! This is...what? I mean....what?!

As those thoughts ran through my head, the boy asked me what I was thinking. "Um, I dunno. Isn't there anything with all those characteristics that is a bit, um...cuter?"

At this point in the story, my father was laughing out loud. I told him that eventually I just accepted that this is how the boy is and chose to see this comparison as a good thing. I mean, I am tenacious. I am stubborn. I am compact. I really can't fault the boy for his opinion. It's not completely devoid of reality, you know.

After his laughter died down, my mother turned to my father. "So what animal would you compare to me?"

Whoops. Sorry dad. Didn't see that one coming.

An awkward silence decended while I tried desperately to think of something to say to change the subject. Unfortunately, all I could think of was "What animal would I compare my mother to?" None of the answers that occurred to me seemed appropriate.

"A monkey." My father said finally.

My mother seemed appeased. "Why?"

"Well, because you were born during the year of the monkey."

My mother's appeasement vanished. "That doesn't count!"

Another awkward silence. I could see my father getting frustrated. "Fine. Well, you're stubborn like your daughter. And you yell a lot. I don't know, a jackass?"**

And all of a sudden, the boy's answer didn't seem quite so bad.

*And for StaceyJ, I'll point out that cheetahs also sleep something like 18 hours per day. Though I did not realize this at the time and did NOT point it out to the boy.

**Don't worry, it was said in frustration/jest. My father took back that response later and promised to think about it. I'm sort of hoping he goes with "badger" next time, though I think "monkey" wasn't too far off the mark. He should have gone with his gut instinct.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Missing you (since you've been gone)

The boy is off on a two day backpacking/hiking trip with a mutual friend (whom I shall dub 'Curly.') A mutual friend who (as his wife pointed out) shares a surprising number of traits with the boy. As such, I'm sure they're currently reveling in their unshowered, damp, two day hiking had-to-carry-all-supplies-on-their-back manliness. And as much as I miss the boy, I am not at all disappointed that I didn't go wasn't invited.

Not one little bit.

See, when the boy and I met, I was 100% honest with him. Every word I said to him in that first conversation has stood the test of time.* One of the things that I mentioned was that I "love to do things outdoors, but I'm not so much a camper." To which the boy responded, "Really? I love to camp."

Then I went and did this madness. All of a sudden, the boy figured that perhaps the door to camping had been opened a crack.

It hasn't. Truly.

When the boy and I started hanging out with Curly and his wife (who is a super cool awesome person, btw) the boys began discussing the possibility of a camping trip for the four of us. Uh oh. The more we hung out, the more the idea appealed to them. My response was, "Sure! If you guys plan the trip, I am SO THERE!" Since Curly's wife is no more looking forward to the camping than I am (and immediately grasped the implications of having the boys plan the trip) she agreed.

Did I mention that Curly and the boy are very similar? Nothing has been planned. It's been a couple of years now. I felt pretty safe.

Then Curly had to go and propose a two day hiking extravaganza. And, much to my surprise, it actually happened.**

In the days leading up to this hiking trip, the boy was very very excited. As he gathered up everything he would need (and didn't already have,) he made a list.

Sleeping bag
Emily's Camera
Water Filter
Poop Shovel

I'm sorry, what?

Yeah - apparently a poop shovel was needed. You know, so that a hole can be dug to poop in, and the poop can then be buried.

I'm sorry, what?

The boy was about to explain to me again, when I interrupted to tell him that I completely understood, and that there was no way I was ever (EVER) going to do that. I mean, I know that I've backpacked. And I've camped. And that I was traumatized by having to poop in a glorified hole in the ground while doing so.*** But I didn't actually have to dig the hole!

The boy showed a rare flash of emotion and got a bit upset. "Well, you know this means that we can never go on a backpacking trip together!"


After all, I think that if you got a girl who previously thought "roughing it" was Motel 6 to agree to camping, it falls under "compromise." Trying to get her to agree to dig a hole in the ground and then defecate into it....well, that's just madness.

*Which is more than I can say for some people. Ahem. "I'm a morning person" indeed.

**And Curly and the boy are, like, friends now. Like, friends independent of the four of us. Which is weird. Because previously, Curly's wife and I were friends independent of the group, but the boys just came to dinner when they were told. And now they're all hanging out and camping and... DEAR GOD I'M GOING TO HAVE TO CAMP! Which I've actually made my peace with.**** Until the boy told me about the new tent he had purchased. The tent that is big enough for him, myself, and "our dogs." (cue the ominous music) I'm sorry, what? Not only do I have to camp, I have to camp with my nemesis? When did I sign on for this??

***Because sometimes people turn thirty. And sometimes when they turn thirty, they do crazy, insane, out of their mind things that they would never normally do. And sometimes those things are incredibly poorly thought out, but turn into once-in-a-lifetime breathtaking adventures. But they were still insanity. This should never, ever, be forgotten.

****Beer. There will be lots of beer. Enough beer so that the gigantic bugs disappear and are definitely not within a one mile radius of me.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Customer Retention

I went on a quick grocery shopping excursion the week before last because I could no longer scrounge up any sort of meal from the items left in my kitchen. (Parmesan Cheese, pepperoni, soy sauce, and something that used to be chicken.) I had just gotten out of class, and was making a quick run before heading home to take care of Casey...because, um, dog food was something else I needed, and if I didn't buy some, there was going to be no "taking care of Casey" just a "starving and angry dog."

I was in a really good mood after having received my latest physics test score (which was a 97% in case I didn't already tell you!!!) but otherwise, the only things on my mind were getting what I needed and getting home. When I got to the checkout counter, I began putting my items on the conveyor belt and was immediately amused by how the items screamed out "lives alone!" Tuna helper, tuna fish, wine, skinny cows, dog food. Hmmm...if that doesn't scream single woman, I'm not sure what does.

So I was smiling to myself as I lifted the 25lb bag of dog food onto the conveyor belt and when I glanced at the cashier, I was somewhat startled to make immediate eye contact.

< Tangent > I always try to make eye contact with people when I'm speaking with them, whether they be the Starbucks barista, the pizza delivery guy or the checkout guy at Safeway. My rule is at least a good second of eye contact and a smile. It's actually pretty difficult to catch and maintain eye contact with strangers. You should try it sometime. It's like we've become a society of no eye contact. I miss it. I think it makes you feel more connected to whoever you're talking to and these days, who doesn't want to feel connected? < /Tangent >

He was a young man, probably in his late teens, but in my eyes he looked approximately twelve years old. He had really pretty eyes, and as he watched me heave the dog food onto the conveyor, they widened slightly.

"Wow. You're really strong."

I got embarrassed and looked down. "Yeah, well, I've had a lot of practice." When I glanced up again, he was still looking straight at me, and at that moment I could see him decide to say something. I braced myself for some comment about the "great night" he could see that I had planned based on my purchases.

"You look like J-Lo. Has anyone ever told you that before?"

My immediate thoughts went something like this: Do not laugh. DO NOT LAUGH. That was a COMPLIMENT. Nevermind that it has no basis in reality. It probably took a lot of courage for him to say that. Don't you even smirk! Just say something non-committal and move on. Do NOT LAUGH AT THIS LITTLE BOY!

I bit the inside of my cheek for what felt like five seconds, swallowed back my laughter and said, "Well, thank you. I don't think I've ever heard that before."

"Well you do. You know who she is, don't you?"

"Oh, I know who she is."

As he handed me my receipt he said, "Can I have your autograph?"

For a brief moment I was tempted to sign 'Jennifer Lopez' but refrained at the last second. I silently returned the receipt, took my bags and with one last smile, I headed out to my car.

Where I dissolved into tears of laughter.

I immediately called my father, "Hey dad, do you want to hear something hilarious?" and proceeded to tell him what had just happened. He laughed, and mentioned that between that compliment and my test grade, it had turned out to be a pretty good evening for me.

"It really has. But dad, do you want to know the best part? From where the boy was standing behind the checkout counter, he couldn't see my butt! He wasn't saying I look like J-Lo because of my behind. He actually thought I looked like Jennifer Lopez!"

And then I laughed again. Because I was flattered. Truly. But in reality? No freaking way kid. Thanks for making an old lady's night.