Saturday, December 30, 2006


Two Days Ago

We had a wonderful Christmas despite the rain and mud. A few plans went awry when two of Jon's family members came down with the flu which moved breakfast to our house. I didn't have enough time to plan anything spectacular so omelets and hash browns it was and it was actually quite tasty. The remaining plans for the day went off without a hitch. We visited with his mom and her husband before they left for a week long trip to New York, and with his dad before he hopped a plane to Vegas for New Years. We returned to my parents house for a few rounds of Mad Gab and Quiddler which were among the many gifts everyone exchanged this year.

I'm now working on the 40 item grocery list for our New Years Eve party this Sunday. Lots of finger foods--vegetable and cheese trays, mini sandwiches on white, wheat, and rye breads, and a pumpernickel loaf loaded with spinach dip.

Present Day

The shopping is done and we are now ready for the party tomorrow. This is a good thing because we have one more Christmas (Yeah. It has passed, but we have to go anyway) party to attend tonight. I figure it will be great to see these people that we haven't seen in months and I don't have to worry about what to do for dinner tonight.


Pulling out of the market parking lot last night Jon and I were behind a jet black luxury car with Virginia license plates that read AKRONOH. At the next light we were behind a more sporty one with Maryland plates that read BROWNS#1. We both found this hilarious because while we will probably never leave Akron, if we do, we will most definitely never have vanity plates advertising it. And while we feel obligated to cheer for the Cleveland Browns due to proximity, we do not kid ourselves into believe that they could be #1 at anytime in the semi-near future.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Look Katie, It Opens!

Five years ago Jon asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve. He somehow managed to convince me that I had to open one of my gifts early. He said it would all make sense later. And when I opened the small but not-ring-size-small box and found a little porcelain ornament with a Mr. and Mrs. Claus standing on top of a box it did make perfect sense--by that time we had started a tradition of buying each other a new ornament each year to fill our very small tree. I thought he had presented me with a cute new addition to our Charlie Brown Tree, but once he realized that I was making a move amidst my "Oohs" and "Ahhs" to hang it up, he quickly pointed out the little box the couple were standing on.

"Look, Katie, it opens!"


I opened the box, confused, and saw my engagement ring. I looked down at Jon, in shock, who was now kneeling on one knee, smiling. I gave him my what-in-the-world-are-you-doing-?! look, and he just kept smiling.

"I love you, Katie. Will you marry me?"


I always look back on that moment and wonder why I couldn't use proper English and respond with a "Yes" or maybe an "Of course! I love you, too!" instead of a meager, yet very happy "Yeah." I think it was the shock. He had totally thrown me a curve ball. By that time it wasn't a question of whether or not we would get married but more when we could afford the ring. I had no idea he had already planned it all out himself. He was going for a surprise and he certainly got one. I got the best Christmas gift I have ever received, along with a little reminder to hang on the tree each year.

Oh! And the real reason he wanted me to open it early? It was so we could make the announcement at my parent's annual Christmas Eve party while everyone was together.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Goose is Getting Fat

Jon and I are entirely prepared for this holiday weekend. The planning, shopping, and baking are all complete. We will be mooching from our massive family for the entirety of Christmas day--his aunt's for breakfast, his Mom's for lunch, his Dad's for dinner, and my parent's for dessert, or more commonly known as the after-party where you may or may not munch on cookies and pies while enjoying a hilarious game of Taboo or Cranium. Yes, my family can't get enough of the guessing games.

My contribution to the baking this year turned out to be chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes. I had never made them before, but have very fond memories of a friend's mother handing one each to my bother and I, and we popped the little ball of peanut-buttery goodness into our mouths, rolled our eyes into the back of our heads, and unanimously exclaimed "MMmmm!" And because I'm always looking for that same reaction from my family and friends when I try something new I decided to give them a shot.

I didn't pay much attention to ingredients before heading out to the grocery store. I saw that I had to pick up some more peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar, and remained oblivious to the overall amounts needed. So when I finally set all of the ingredients out on the counter-top and began reading the recipe you can imagine my surprise and insurmountable disgust when I saw that I had to use 16 oz. of butter--as in 1 entire pound of butter, or the entire 15 oz. tub I purchased plus another ounce! I continued reading and found that I also needed 2 and a half pounds of powered sugar which was, again, the entire bag that I purchased plus an extra cup! The thought of all that butter and sugar and how extremely unhealthy these little suckers must be made me walk away for a while, call my mother to make sure that I wasn't crazy and that 16 oz. really did equal one pound, and stop to ask myself if I really felt the need to give my family death by peanut butter and chocolate?

Apparently the answer was yes, because curiosity got the best of me and I mixed it all together. I spent the next hour rolling the dough into 150 tiny balls and stacking cookie sheet upon cookie sheet into my refrigerator. I felt a little better knowing that the recipe made so many--that way the butter and sugar were a little more dispersed than I had originally imagined.

I have since dipped them all in chocolate, making them resemble real buckeyes, stored them in three separate tupperware containers and did my best at cautioning Jon from thinking of them as a quick and easy snack. The last thing I need is to find out that my husband ate a whole tub of butter and bag of powdered sugar this Christmas season. I will be divvying them out on our Monday travels. I do not, however, know that I will ever make them again. They taste good, but I suppose it's sort of like fast food--once you know how it's made it doesn't sound so appetizing anymore.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Numbers Game

Six hundred and twenty-eight dollars. That is what I had to spend on a new water heater yesterday. Jon discovered the tiny river running through our basement yesterday morning, after I had already left for work. We were fortunate that it ran directly towards the drain in the utility room rather than veer towards the parquet floors in the finished portion of the lower level. The installer said we were lucky that it was discovered so soon because just a few warm showers later it could have burst, shooting water in all directions. I don't feel lucky to have spent so much money on a big chunk of metal, but you know, if he says so.

Ten miles per hour. That was my top speed as I inched my way north on I-71 through the so-called blizzard that ravaged Northeast Ohio this morning. We could have gone a little faster, but it is a known fact that Ohioans have to retrain themselves to drive on the snow every winter, making the first big snowfall the most nerve-wracking. It is only after the first four or five inches accumulate on the highway that we remember to not drive as fast or to pump the brakes instead of slamming our foot down on the peddle. Of course, I was moving at a very cautious fifteen miles per hour through my neighborhood, pumping my brakes every few seconds, and I still managed to careen directly into a curb, narrowly avoiding sliding right into someones front yard. The crunch of my rim as it hit the concrete curb was not a pretty sound.

Fifty-five minutes. That is how late I was to work this morning after facing the congestion on the highway. While the snow was very pretty once I got tucked away in the safety of my office building, it was not worth having to stay later than everyone else.

Seven. That's how many gifts I have left to buy before I have finished my Christmas shopping. I'm actually very proud of myself. I have been able to do most of my shopping while avoiding the over-crowded stores as they carry out the biggest sales, and yet I have still picked out some really great gifts for not a lot of money. Originally Jon and I had planned to go easy on gifts this Christmas because almost everyone (except us, of course) would be out of town, and we had to ship everything, but now I think I have truly been humbled this Christmas season, and I have more of a it's-the-thought-that-counts take on it all. I am buying these gifts to show my family and friends that I love them, and that I'm thinking of them, not to show that I can afford to do it bigger and better than the next guy. It has been a long time coming, and I welcome the humbling.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's a Tree Thing

We put up the Christmas tree last night, or should I say, we attempted to put up the 5-foot shrub we used to call a tree, but couldn't stop laughing at the way it was dwarfed by the tv armoire. The artificial tree was only 5-years-old but we bought it while we were living in a very small, one bedroom apartment and we had to pick a tree to size. Now that we have a considerably larger living area we decided to bite the bullet and buy a bigger tree. And let me tell you that it was no picnic trying to find a tree that was not pre-lit! Jon and I are old fashioned--we prefer to fuss with multiple strands of colored bulbs every year. We do not like to make life easier on ourselves by splurging for a tree that you just pull out of a box and plug in. No, you have to spend at least an hour untangling the strands of lights, then test and replace bulbs until you can finally begin wrapping them around the Christmas tree, carefully applying light to each little branch. That's just the way it is done.

We had to go to a few different stores, but we eventually emerged victoriously from Target with an 8-foot, light-it-yourself tree. They even gave us a $25 giftcard which we used to begin our Christmas shopping.

When we got the tree home we were pleasantly surprised by the way it was put together. Forgive me if I sound old-fashioned, but I couldn't believe that it was only three large pieces to snap together and the branches were already attached! The thing opened up like an umbrella. Gone are the days of holding artificial tree limbs up to the light, trying to decide if the tag on the end is black or midnight blue! I no longer have to compare branch lengths to figure out which row should go on first because I lost the assembly directions again! It turns out we were perfectly okay with a nearly pre-assembled tree, but we couldn't be swayed into believing pre-lit was okay.

The tree looks great, if anything it may be a little too big, but otherwise, it's perfect.

Friday, November 24, 2006

And So The Fun Begins

Homemade pumpkin pie for breakfast--life is wonderful.

I narrowly escaped having Thanksgiving dinner at my house again this year. The votes were 4 to 2 in favor of my place, but the 2 votes against came from myself and my father who garners the most important vote of all. If he says he wants to stay home for the holiday then that is precisely what happens. Thanks Dad!

It's not that I don't like having my family over or the responsibility of feeding them, but I hosted last year when all 5 of my siblings and their spouses and children were involved, bringing our grand total to 30 people. We lined-up tables that overflowed into the living room. After dinner those who didn't head into the family room for video and board games were using my hardwood floors as a slip and slide. It was,to put it bluntly, chaotic. I'm still getting over the shock of stumbling upon children who tiptoed into my bedroom to "secretly" jump up and down on my bed.

This year there were only 6 of us--my parents, 2 of my siblings, Jon, and myself. It was a small, quiet, and enjoyable dinner. Great food and good conversation go a long way. The rest of the family turned up for dessert, which was followed by two hysterical games of Apples to Apples, and a game of Cranium to showcase my spectacular charade skills.

Thanksgiving is by far the best holiday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Always Use Sunscreen

The social committee at my work is planning our Christmas luncheon for December. They decided to do things a little differently this year and begin the gathering with a mixer game that required me to provide something that makes me stand out, but it had to be something that my co-workers didn't already know about me. And after many days of deliberation, trying to decide how quirky or serious I wanted to make my personal information I decided on: I was given an award for being most likely to sunburn.

It was the summer before sixth grade and my softball coach had taken an interest in woodcarving. His wife was always very crafty, and one night the two of them must have put their creative minds together and decided to make small, personal trophies for all of the girls on my softball team to be handed out with our "official" trophies provided by the league. They were very small, a 2"x 2" wooden block for the base, with a little something goofy carved on top. My trophy had three small bottles that Mrs. Coach painted white and added SPF in red lettering. I was too young to find the humor in it at the time. I felt humiliated instead.

Just a few weeks prior I had gone to the Grand Prix of Cleveland with my best friend and her family. I knew nothing about cars or racing, still don't actually, but she and I did everything together so I agreed to go. We sat up high on the bleachers, watching the cars as they circled the track, and we talked about boys, cheerleading, and what we should have been doing instead of watching a bunch of cars taking laps around a track. It was nearly 12 hours of mind numbing boredom, all the while we were unaware of the sun beating against our skin from behind the massive bleachers. She was okay. She had that skin everyone longs for that doesn't have to burn instead it just tans. I, with my fair and freckled complexion, never tan instead I get second-degree burns that leave me immobile for a few days at a time. And that's exactly what happened. Normally I would have played through the pain, I loved softball that much, but because the sun was coming from behind most of the time we were there the worst burning was from the back of my knees all the way down my calves. I couldn't stand letting my knee-high socks and black polyester uniform pants touch my skin let alone take up my starting position at first base and actively play. I opted to miss two games in one week and this was apparently my coach's way of razzing me for it.

My SPF trophy is now hidden away in one of the closets at my parents' house along with the rest of my "official" sports trophies. I'm not sure why I was so ashamed of it. Perhaps it was because I expected something a little more flattering, like a box of Wheaties for all of the impossible plays that I pulled off or a chain link fence for all of the foul balls that I dove headfirst into the metal for, something that symbolized how good I played and not the two games of the season that I missed. I don't know the real reason that I didn't appreciate my coach's humor when I was in junior high school but looking back on it now I think it's hilarious. I'm half tempted to stop by my parents' house tonight to collect it.

At least the guy taught me a valuable lesson about using sunscreen, if nothing else.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Jagged Poetry in Random Notebooks

I never know what to do with myself on poker nights. It's one night a week that I have entirely to myself in this big empty house and I can't for the life of me decide what to do. I generally spend some time dilly-dallying around, straightening rooms that look too cluttered, wash dishes, and maybe fold laundry, but then I am left to stare at the pile of library books on the coffee table unable to decide what to read, or flip through the television channels for something interesting watch. When it's all said and done I usually end up here, on the internet, catching up on my friends page or trying to pull something semi-interesting to write about out of my very bored, sluggish mind. I have failed yet again.

During my little straightening ritual tonight I came across a few spiral bound notebooks that I used to scribble in through my teen years. It was like driving past a car accident--I couldn't look away. The writing was horrific, and it seems that I went through a very awkward stage in which I did not use the names of people or places, so even I am having a very hard time trying to decipher what I was saying and who it was about. The one thing that was blatantly obvious was that I was a wreck and 16-year-old girls should never have thoughts as gloomy and depressing as the ones I recorded. I can vaguely remember thinking that they were beautiful and insightful at the time, but almost 9 years later I am seeing the error in my ways. I can only say that I am so happy, relieved, and thankful that I was able to pull myself out of that 4 year funk. I don't know how I did it, but I'm thrilled.

I don't remember if I was aware of it at the time, but I found a few little notes from my friends hidden in the pages. Apparently my friends read my journal? Ha.

Dear Katie,
You still believe the world is a square and you've discovered how to crawl into a corner and stare, point, and laugh at the rest of us.

I used to wish I could crawl inside your head and discover what makes you recite such perfect paragraphs of wisdom. What inspires you to scribble jagged poetry in your random notebooks, but decided sometimes it's better not knowing why the stars shine.

I only wish they were perfect paragraphs of wisdom, but I suppose it was a time in our lives that we could not see beyond our high school graduation, so when a girl is ranting and raving about how terrible high school is and how awful classmates can be, it could have passed for wisdom. There wasn't anything more important or captivating in our world. It's just depressing that we chose to spend our time with our heads buried in overused notebooks, writing about how we were wronged in life instead of actively doing something about it. I can't help but think I could have put more effort into enjoying that time of my life. Of course, every page of my old journals seem to, in some way, reiterate that I was doing the best that I could.

My problems no longer revolve around my GPA and my social life or lack of. It seems I have graduated to more mature dilemmas such as what's for dinner and which book to curl up with. This is a stage in life that my 16-year-old self never saw coming. If only she had known that it could be this calm perhaps she would have come up for air more often.

Monday, November 6, 2006

All in a Days Work

It seems every unplanned moment is spent raking leaves at this time of year. They keep falling until I'm convinced they will never end. Jon and I have spent the last two Sundays outdoors, moving mountains of brown, yellow, and orange leaves with rakes and leaf blowers and we now have heaps taller than me waiting at the curb until next week when the city will pick them up. And that's only the front lawn. On my last count of the backyard we have thirteen large tulip trees that drop almost more leaves than we can bare each fall, but luckily, we get to push them all over the edge of our massive, tree studded ravine. I consider this my way of giving back to nature.

Sometimes I gripe about how we could still be renting and our landlord could be taking care of the yard work, or how there are people that we could pay to do this stuff for us, but mostly I like getting dirty and playing in the leaves like a little kid again. Not to mention there is a lot of satisfaction to be found in doing it ourselves. It is yet another one of those times that Jon and I are able to look at the finished product and then at each other with a smile and a nod that says "Yeah, we did that as a team, and we did a fine job. Nothing can stop us now."

Friday, October 27, 2006

One Day I Will Grow Up

You probably know the feeling of a cold and sleepy Saturday morning when the light first starts peeking through the windows and slowly pulls you from a deep, restful slumber. You turn over to stop the morning light from shining on your face and pull the blankets up to your chin and think, "Life doesn't get much better than this," as you slowly drift back to sleep.

The only problem is that it wasn't Saturday morning, today was Friday, and my eyes popped open when I realized I was supposed to be out of bed long before the light came through the windows if I intended to make it to work on time. I had forgotten to set my alarm before going to bed.

I quickly rolled back over to gaze at the alarm clock as it flashed 7:45, a time that I should have already been on the road, but I was still in bed with my hair stuck to the side of my face.

I threw my blankets to the side with a few obscene grumbles and ran into the bathroom where I scrubbed my face, brushed my teeth, and pulled my puffy, curly hair back into a messy knot. Thankful for dress-down Fridays, I slipped on a pair of jeans and pulled a light blue hooded sweatshirt over my head. No time for breakfast, though I did take the time to dump some Triscuits into a Ziploc bag and snag a cup of applesauce from the refrigerator. I shoved my feet into a pair of tennis shoes, my copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's Catalyst and a bottle of water into my messenger bag, and I was off to work resembling myself, at the age of 15, as I left for school on my first day of sophomore year.

Even though I was a little late, I made it to work in record time and will not have to stay as late into the evening as I had originally feared. My embarrassingly young appearance is safely hidden behind the drab, colorless walls of my cubical except for a few co-workers who have peeked in to talk to me, but no one has commented.

I am tired, I am cranky, and I do not want to be here. The tiled ceiling is holding more of my interest than any of the work that has been handed to me. I am looking forward to this evening when I can relax on the couch with a vanilla latte, a blanket, and a book and I can read until I fall asleep.

And after sleeping in tomorrow (Saturday) morning, perhaps I will go through my closet and rid myself of everything that makes me resemble a teenager. It has been made quite obvious to me that I will never want to go back there.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Ups and Downs of Winter

It was 33 degrees out and snowing on my drive into work both yesterday and today. The difference is today it is sticking, accumulating in the grass and on my car. I generally consider myself lucky to have snagged a desk next to one of the few windows in my office, but today it only reminds me of how much I despise snow, and wish Jon would agree to move to a warmer climate, but for some strange reason he actually likes the cold and slippery white stuff. So, I am left to stare out the window at my little gray car, with white sludge gathering on the windshield, and wonder if my snow-brush is still in the trunk. I have to scold myself for not watching the weather because I didn't bother to wear a coat, let alone gloves or a hat. Apparently I have been in denial that this day was coming whether I wanted it to or not.

I don't remember when I started to dislike winter.

I grew up across the street from the parking lot of a church, and my brothers and I would celebrate when snowplows would appear to push mounds of snow to the edges of the lot. The mounds became forts and we dug into them to create tunnels and barriers for some of the best snowball fights and ambushes in the history of North Hill.

Nothing felt better than waking up in the morning, only to be told that it was a snow day, and I could go back to bed. I can actually remember missing entire weeks of school because of wind chills at 20 degrees below 0 or massive amounts of overnight snowfall.

We had a park not half a mile away with gigantic hills perfect for sled-riding but we thought it was more fun to all pile up on the lid to our turtle sandbox and take a ride down the long, steep hill in our front yard.

First snowfalls, snow angels, white Christmas...

I have so many great memories of winter, but one day the only things I began to care about were the days off school. I became afraid of barreling down a hill on a piece of plastic, or getting hit upside the head with a snowball. I started driving and became afraid of losing control of my car. I began commuting 45 minutes north, closer to Lake Erie and the lake effect snow, and have spent 3 hours trying to get home.

Eventually my fears overrode all of the fun, and now all I do is dread the return of winter.

Of course, I'm not so sure I'm ready for palm trees at Christmas time either.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Get Out. Leave. Right Now.

# 3 goal in Columbus, OH on get out of Ohio
# 9 goal in Cleveland, OH on move to Pennsylvania

I'm beginning to see a trend here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Drunken Bowling

I can count on two fingers the amount of times that I have been remotely intoxicated; once was my twenty-first birthday when I vaguely remember being handed ruby slippers every 5 minutes or so and doing a lot of bar hopping in Downtown Akron. We ended the night in a bumpin' and grindin' dance bar that smelled like sweat and cigarettes, where I plopped myself down at a table with a mudslide and watched the room spin, all the while wondering when I was going to lean a little too far and fall off my stool. The second time was a year later and just pure stupidity on my part to show up to a wine tasting party without having anything to eat beforehand. Seeing as it was a tasting, I didn't have a full glass of any particular wine, and about five tastes in I was feeling a little lightheaded, but I kept going anyway. After what was likely the equivalent to a full bottle of wine it was all I could do to silently plead with myself during the drive home, in my friend's car, with a crystal clear picture of her clean, gray floor mats in my head, "Don't throw up... don't throw up..." I've usually taken a Diet Coke over alcohol since.

Last night Jon's softball game was canceled so he and a few friends decided to go bowling, and I went along even though I am an embarrassingly terrible bowler. Surprisingly, I lost my handicap after the five guys took down five pitchers of beer in a little over an hour. By midnight their original scores had been halved and they were playing a game of P.I.G.: Bowling Style. Around the back, through the legs, and to the right for a strike, man! My personal favorite involved a lunging motion as they slid across the floor and pushed/threw the ball down the aisle. I watched at least two strikes take place through this method and each time all five guys doubled over laughing.

I've never seen my husband drunk before and he was so far gone last night that I had to link his arm through mine and drag him with me as we waddled after another guy who seriously thought he was going to drive himself home.

It was 1:00am before all completely wasted members of our party were partnered with a non-wasted buddy and I took the keys from Jon as I directed him to the passenger side of the car. I know it could get very old, very fast, but it's been a long time since I've laughed as much as I did during the drive home last night, thanks to conversations like this one:

Jon: "Let me give you a little bit of advice... when you've had as much to drink as I have... don't stare into the lights that go around and around... even though it is SO much fun!"

Me: "If it's fun then why can't you stare into them?"

Jon: "Because they give you HEEBIE HEEBIES!"

Me: "What are heebie heebies?"

Jon: "Puke."

I'm so lucky to have a husband who creates his own vocabulary when he's drunk.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weekend To Do List

Accomplished Today:

I crossed the finish line of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Cleveland.
I took Jack to the dog park. And let me just say that I am going to begin recommending the dog park as a place to meet eligible bachelors for my single friends. There are generally more men than women there and who doesn't love to strike up a conversation about their dog? Too easy. Of course, I'm married, so I shouldn't even be thinking about this.
I spent two hours blowing leaves out of the front yard and into the street. Leaf pick-up is on Wednesday and I haven't even made a dent.
I threw the frisbee around with Jack (again) in the backyard.
I scrubbed my entire kitchen including the cabinets.
I'm now working on the laundry.

To Be Done Tomorrow:

Stan Hywet with a digital camera.
Borrow my parents digital camera because mine is on the fritz.
Bring some organization back to the laundry room.
Hit up the grocery store for some food.
Scrub bathroom floor. (Ick. I may avoid this one as long as possible.)
Bubble bath.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Things That Shatter in the Night

When I registered for the not so fragile drinking glasses as a wedding gift I was thinking of my ever so clumsy husband and expecting them to last about a year, rather than the six or so months the cheaper sets seemed to limit us to. And you can imagine my surprise when they lasted not only our first year, but also our second, and now three and a half years later, we were standing strong with ten of the original twelve glasses. Truly an amazing record for us.

But last night it wasn't my husband who broke the third glass, taking us down to nine. It was me. And it was the first time that choosing the more solid, not frail, set of glasses backfired on me.

It was one o'clock in the morning and I was half-asleep when I dropped my fleshly dispensed glass of ice water on the kitchen floor, sending cold water and ice in all directions. Shards of glass were sent flying through the darkness (because who needs a light when you've made this same trip a thousand times), and I was surprised to walk away without atleast a minor cut. But while trying to clean up the mess I found that the sturdy glass had severely chipped two of the brick red floor tiles. By chipped I mean good-sized, obvious chunks of red ceramic were missing, leaving behind several white craters, which would not have been so annoying if they hadn't been centered in the room. Multiple speckles of white, right smack in the middle of all that deep reddish brown. It looked like I did not own, or could not operate, a broom.

I went back to bed with fears of new flooring, or having to bring in a professional to repair the two tiles. I tossed and turned through nightmares of Home Depot and new grout that didn't match the old grout. When I woke up this morning I had to double check, just to make sure it wasn't all a bad dream. Unfortunately it wasn't a dream. My floor still looked like I snacked on a sugared donut the night before and didn't bother to clean up after myself.

Jon and I stopped in at both Home Depot and Lowe's tonight where we discovered that, like most tiles over a year old, our tile has been discontinued. I'm still checking a few places around the house to see if perhaps the previous homeowners stashed any of the leftover tiles somewhere. In the meantime I came up with a much more temporary solution. I pulled out a large box of colored pencils, sat myself down on the floor, and colored my little heart out. I found the perfect color combination between three different pencils, and surprisingly, even I have a hard time finding the destruction from a short distance. But like I said, the pencils are definitely temporary. If I can't find something better, I may be putting in a call to my mother-in-law, the artist, and ask her to work her color magic, and hide my hideous spots.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I am at that fine line between caring and not caring that I look like a stoner. I feel crappy enough to not care, but just well enough to peer into the restroom mirror at my swollen, bloodshot eyes and Rudolph red nose, and announce to anyone who cares to listen: "Eww! I should have worn mascara!"

Monday, October 9, 2006

Vice Versa

I spent most of Friday evening trying to stave off Jon and his sneezing, sniffling head cold with an abundance of dirty looks and as many nice, wifely variations of BACK OFF as I could think of. He was still in the early stages, free of the migraine headaches and severely clogged nasal passages, so he couldn't see the fault in breathing on me, or nonchalantly leaning in for a kiss. I defended myself by putting a hand on his chest and explaining, "Jon, seriously, I CANNOT get sick! I'm too busy at work and I can't get time off, so please, stay back!" Though he tried, it was not in earnest, and it seems I was destined to catch this cold. And when I woke up Saturday morning with a stinging, prickly feeling in the back of my throat, I would have screamed, if it didn't hurt so much.

My sore throat was tolerable and left me feeling minutely lucky as I watched Jon's version of the cold turn into something much more annoying. He spent most of Saturday hauled up on the sofa, watching ESPN while I drove to the market, walked the dog, and took care of our normal, weekend errands. He barely had the energy to blow his nose, let alone breathe on me, and I sincerely thought I'd escaped the worst of it.

Sunday found me in the same predicament as Jon, but while he was clearly on the road to recovery, I was struggling to see through my blinding headache and breathe through my stuffy nose as I got ready for mass. It took me an additional hour compared to the usual Sunday, but we wandered into church, almost on time, and situated ourselves in a back pew where I thought I was less likely to pass my cold onto an innocent bystander. I successfully fought every urge to cough and/or sneeze and when the time came to shake hands with other parishioners I just smiled, nodded, and greeted them, and when they didn't get the hint that I could not touch their hands I blatantly announced, "I'm diseased." Most people laughed, others still didn't understand, but I continued to smile and nod my way through mass. The homily was about woman being made from man's rib and the two becoming like one person. Jon took this opportunity to whisper to me, "That's why both of us had to get sick; we're like one person." I had to laugh, but quietly began cursing man. I persuaded Jon to leave at the earliest opportunity so that we could dodge the crowd before they became sociable and blocked off the church exits, leaving me to breathe a little too close for comfort.

Not surprisingly, I spent the rest of Sunday on the sofa, watching IFC movies and CSI reruns. I tried to sleep as much as possible, convinced that I could sleep the sickness away, and be mended by morning. And, of course, I was wrong. The soreness moved from my throat, to my ears, to my head, and back to my throat again. Breathing became more and more difficult as the evening progressed. I can remember Jon waking me a few times, telling me "I don't think you're getting enough air in that position. You should turn over," but he didn't know that, amidst all other positions, flat on my back seemed to provide me with the most air. While it was far from quality, I did manage a little sleep last night.

Today I am at work as the annoying girl that everyone uses the forefinger cross to ward off, and exclaim that I shouldn't be here, or had better not get them sick. I smile, and nod, and try not to breathe on them. I only speak from a distance and I have washed my hands so many times that the skin on my knuckles is beginning to chap. I have officially gone through two travel-sized packages of Kleenex and had to use part of my lunch hour to stop at CVS for another jumbo box (the other part of the lunch hour being used to write this journal entry). I'm caught in the catch-22 of trying to keep the boss happy or my co-workers safe. Obviously, I sided with the boss and made face at work, and in turn, took on the glares and disapproval of my co-workers, even though I've made every attempt to keep them as healthy as possible. Luckily, I haven't received too many comments and I actually gave Jon more grief on Friday while he was in the comfort of his own home.

I'm hoping that, after tonight's dose of Claritin, this cold will be a distant memory by tomorrow morning; that I can stop acting like the world is ending, like I will never be a healthy, vibrant 24-year-old again. And then I'm going to scheme and make ready for the next horrendous thing that I can pass onto Jon, seeing as we are one and we should share everything and all.

Friday, October 6, 2006

An Ex-Diet Cokehead Wannabe

I recently discovered the convenience mart down the road from my office building bought a new fountain drink machine. They now have caffeine-free Diet Coke on tap, and I keep catching myself heading in that direction, and I ask myself the same question each time: What is it about Diet Coke that I cannot give up? It's obviously not the sugar, because, well, it's diet. And apparently it isn't the jolt of caffeine, because I no longer need the caffeine to stay awake or keep my body functioning. I am past the point of shaky hands and migraine headaches from caffeine withdraw. That leaves me to ask: Is carbonation addictive? Or maybe I am subconsciously defying the numerous changes I have put upon my body in the past three months.

Perhaps part of me is rebelling against my new smoke-free, caffeine-free, water guzzling, 3-miles-a-day, fruit-eating self. And if that is the case, I say to her: Tough luck! I love the new me. I haven't felt this good in a long time, and I only intend to improve upon myself for the next three months.

My defense against Diet Coke has been to not keep it in the house. And I'm fine with that. I drink only water or juice while at home, but mostly water. I made it a point after I quit smoking to begin drinking the recommended 64 oz. of water daily. Something about it made me feel like I was flushing all of the ugly, blackness from my body, and giving myself a new start.

Now if I could only come up with something like that for while I'm at work...

Thursday, October 5, 2006

As It Should Be

Jon did eventually make it home on Monday night/Tuesday morning, after his direct flight to Cleveland was canceled. He was put on a flight to Miami, where he had a three hour layover, and then a flight home that was frustratingly delayed, but touched down at Cleveland Hopkins Airport around midnight. And probably not so surprising was that his luggage was nowhere to be found, even though he was told it would be waiting for him. He spent an additional hour arguing with the airline only to find that even they were unable to locate his baggage. It was 1:00am before I watched him cross the bridge from the terminal to the parking deck, where I had been waiting for an hour in the 30 Minute Only parking slot, to finally take him home with me. After the long and hectic day of wondering if he would make it home or not, and the baggage gone MIA, our first encounter in nearly a week was far from ideal. It was a quick "Hi. Hello. I'm driving," and we were off on the 40 minute drive home. I could only imagine the stress he had gone through during the day so I didn't press it, but I gladly accepted an apology and kiss when we finally made it back to Akron.

I called work the next morning and informed them that I would be taking a vacation day. I was exhausted after our airport rendezvous, and it just felt too good to be lying in bed, next to his warm body, our arms wrapped around each other, and the dog at our feet. Everything was as it should be again and I wanted an entire day to live in the perfection of it all.

Around 3:30pm the doorbell rang and it was American Airlines with his suitcases. His luggage smelled like Texas. I was glad that he didn't.

Monday, October 2, 2006


Ugh! Jon's flight to Cleveland was cancelled and instead of getting home at 4:20PM as anticipated, we will be lucky if he is here by 11:00PM! He is now coming home by way of Miami.

Oh, and his luggage is somewhere in Chicago on stand-by for a flight back to Cleveland. That makes no sense to me.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Girl's Night Out

The phone call from my mother-in-law came as a surprise, but it was a good one. She explained that her husband was working late at the university, and she wanted to spend the evening with me since Jon was out of town, so she took me to Chipotle for $3 margaritas and 2 hours of girl talk. We followed it up with an hour of shoe shopping and then we stopped in at Target to rummage through the $1 bins.

I think we were both surprised at how much fun we had.

If Jon doesn't come back soon his mother and I may become a force to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All By Myself

September has become a hectic month for us over the last few years as we prepare ourselves for Jon's annual business conference. For me, it is more mental preparation, gearing myself up for a week of independence and living on my own. For Jon, it is packing, planning, and containing his excitement for the upcoming free stuff and nightly drinks with his colleagues.

The first year that he participated I was a young 21-year-old who had never lived on her own, not even just over night. We had been married for 2 months and a month of that had been spent with me fretting the day that he would leave. And on the day that he left, as I waved good-bye to him from the other end of the airport terminal, I fully expected that calling me would be at the top of his priorities. Company meetings, agendas, and even sleep would not take precedence over me. If there was a break between meetings, a few minutes after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or if a chance for a restroom break arose, he was supposed to call me. His train of thought was supposed to constantly revolve around me, and the next time he heard my voice. At last that's what I thought, and boy, was I wrong! That first year that he left was also my first experience as Psycho Wife, and I repeatedly thank him for being so sweet as to not tell any of his buddies just how psycho I was, amidst my constant crying, depression, and threatening divorce with each long awaited phone call.

Last year presented me with my first, lonely, experience in our house, and to me, the first time that I had been alone overnight during which no one would hear me scream. I had learned how to control my emotions where our long distance relationship was concerned but I hadn't come to terms with not having neighboring apartments where good, scream-hearing, life-saving people lived. And it didn't help that commercials for The Exorcism of Emily Rose were being plastered all over the television. So, while there were a few nights of lying awake, wondering when someone was going to sneak into my bedroom and strangle me, or when evil spirits were going to take possession of my body, I did manage to survive and I eventually gained control over my fears as well.

And, of course, this year does not go without its very own firsts. This will be the first year that Jon will not, technically, be leaving me alone because we now have a dog. A dog who sleeps at my feet, under covers, and will bark and growl at the littlest sounds, perhaps convincing unwanted intruders that I am Emily Rose. And he's a dog who loves being talked to and cooed at so I don't have to feel like a complete loser when I have to say something, even if it's just to make sure my vocal cords work. This is the first year that I am not fretting anything at all. I've made plans with friends, invited my little sister over for a night of chick flicks and burritos, and I look forward to a few nights of just me and Jack. Sure, I will miss my husband while he is gone, but at least I don't foresee a resurrection of Psycho Wife. I plan to keep her under wraps forever.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday Night Fun

Jon and I stopped by at his colleague's 30th birthday party last night. There was all kinds of fun to be had and it started with me, the girl who can't stomach beer, finding a brew that I could actually guzzle. (It's just my luck that the closest distributor is in Pennsylvania!) For the record I only had one, followed by at least 4 bottles of water as I sat around the wives table and we chatted about our weddings, houses, and husbands employer.

At one point 14 of us put some money on the line and had at a game of poker. We started with two tables, and merged into one when we reached eight people. I consider myself a pretty decent player but I have never played for money before and my stomach was in knots at the thought of just throwing it all away on a stupid game. So you can imagine my excitement when Jon and I were both at the final table, and then we were both in the final four. Sadly, I was taken fourth but Jon took second and won back both of our entry fees, plus $10! It's only disappointing when you think that first place walked away with $100, but at least none of that was my money. Honestly, I was just happy to have experienced those few rounds when an entire table of guys were fearing my next move.

Poker was followed by more beer around the bonfire, stories, laughs, and an all around good time. Boy, have I needed that.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Don't Be Afraid

The basis of our relationship could very well be that opposites attract. Jon is more the happy-go-lucky one. He's adventurous, extroverted, and willing to do whatever he has to in order to get what he wants. I like to consider myself the grounded one but I probably come off as more cautious than anything. I'm introverted, analytical, and known for picking apart his wants until they just don't sound like a bright idea. I think that's why buying a house was one of the more terrifying things I have done in my life.

And now you think I'm peculiar because buying a house isn't "terrifying". Skydiving, haunted hayrides, and walking in stilettos are "terrifying". It was scary because my 22-year-old self couldn't quite grasp the idea of doubling my rent payment. I couldn't comprehend a life without a handyman or a landlord to cover repair costs. And let's not forgot the added cost of heating and cooling a space that is triple the square-footage of our then two bedroom apartment. So when Jon approached me with the idea of home ownership I let myself dream a little (because life without the neighbor's wall-rattling music would have been wonderful) but I didn't get my hopes up. Buying a house, putting myself in debt for almost 30 years, didn't seem all that possible, at least not for a little while longer. But in the end I gave him the reigns, told him to start the process and we would go from there. I thought we could bide our time, wait until the perfect house came along. I figured it would take about a year.

Surprisingly, things moved at lightning speed which is when I am least able to comprehend what I am doing and therefore stressing out even more. Jon had us approved for a loan the next day. The day after that I was speaking to a realtor as I scanned websites of properties in our target areas. And the day after that we visited a few of those properties. I fell in love with the first house I saw but Jon said "Not so much," and we kept looking. Two days later we found the perfect house. And on my 23rd birthday we were writing out a contract, entering into a bidding a war that we would emerge from victoriously. Our realtor even provided pizza, balloons, and a birthday cake. I do not believe I will ever be given a larger or more expensive birthday gift than I received on my 23rd birthday--my very own house.

Considering I had convinced myself it would take about a year, I became a mental case when I was given 30 days to closing before which I had to gather all proof of my existence, have an inspector go through the house, inform the landlord we were leaving, pack up our apartment, and spend an entire evening doing nothing but signing stacks of paperwork. And I was frantically pinching pennies, trying to save as much money as I could, because I was still afraid of the costs. There are some things that you just don't know how it is going to work until you give it a shot and my problem was that I was very frightened of the unknown. I found solace in my newest CD at the time, Tori Amos' The Beekeeper, which was forever on repeat.

Apparently we did good and all my worrying was for naught. We moved out of the apartment and into the house without any problems and have been living very happily (without the neighbor's terrible music) since. And mostly I forget about how stressful it was and immerse myself in all of the benefits.

But while driving home today The Beekeeper shuffled it's way onto my iPod and I felt a hollowness in the pit of my stomach. All of the sudden something was effecting me, something was giving me the urge to burst into tears and I realized it was the music. A month of my life was spent listening to that CD and the most prominent emotion experienced during that month was fear. I thought it was amazing that music could have so much power over me. And I thought it was very sad that I let myself ruin what should have been an exciting time.

Monday, September 11, 2006


It has been 5 years and yet I still catch myself glued to the television, watching footage of the 9/11 attacks. It has been 5 years and it is still no easier to watch than it was back in 2001. I didn't lose anyone in the carnage, though there was initial fear for family in both NYC and Washington. And my heart aches each time I see the planes crashing into the monumental structures, the WTC collapsing, and the bold story of United Flight 93. I can not fathom what it must have been like to be there, covered in the debris, as your city appeared to lie in ruins. I'm so hurt and angry that it happened and that so many innocent people lost their lives and that so many families were broken for a reason that still eludes me.

I can only hope that one day the world will become a peaceful place.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Boredom Abounds

The Labor Day Barbecue went wonderfully and heading off to work this morning was not nearly as hard as I imagined it would be, though the day did seem to drag on forever. I took Jack for his 2 mile walk when I arrived home and have since been very lazy. And it's a strange sort of lazy as I actually want to be doing something but can't for the life of me come up with an activity. It's times like this that I wish I had taken that scrapbooking class or signed up for the softball league as I had planned.

Sadly, I don't have anything to write about either.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Almost There

Well, after two trips to the market and nearly an entire day of readying the house for guests, I think we are just about set for this Labor Day barbecue. My "To Do List" is down from four little pages to one, and consists of:

  • Mow front lawn.
  • One more trip to the market, need: 1 large Hershey chocolate bar for bonfire s'mores and 2 bags of ice for coolers.
  • Sweep back porch.
  • Replenish toilet paper supply in both bathrooms.
  • Vacuum rug in family room.
  • Play chess.

All the while I am mentally preparing myself for the chance of rain. There is a possibility that 20-25 people could be traipsing mud all over my house tomorrow and delicious s'mores will have to go unmade. Here's to hoping that will not happen!

Welcome to My Little Crib

I recently caught myself watching MTV Cribs just to see what celebrities keep in their refrigerator. And I like the way they have an entire shelf full of their favorite beverage. It all looks so organized.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Vacation House

My 19-year-old sister appeared on my doorstep Monday evening with a bag of groceries and a basket full of clothes. Her blonde hair was pulled back in its usual ponytail, and her Covergirl eyeliner was pristine. She did her best to smile but I could tell she was about to burst into tears at any moment, so I held the door open while she walked passed me into the kitchen. "What's going on?" I asked in my best sincerely worried, big sister voice. "Oh Katie!" she said, and that was all it took before she crossed the distance of the kitchen to hug me, started sobbing uncontrollably, and mumbled a lot of unintelligible things into my shoulder. I tried really hard to understand her but I only caught a few things; "I don't know..", "uncomfortable in my own skin..", "don't know who I am."

She made me feel old. Even now I go through most of my days feeling like a teenager, like I never really grew up, but she proved to me that I had. I could listen to her slobbery cries and understand that she is freaked out right now. She's tense about where her life is heading and what her future holds. She's trying to "find" herself and map out the rest of her life all while her friends move away to college, proving that high school really has ended. It didn't happen quite the same way for me but I understood it all the same. I hugged her back and smiled over her shoulder, "It's going to be okay."

It turns out the groceries and clothes were all part of her master plan. She decided she was abandoning her on-campus apartment and inept roommates to vacation at my house. She needed a week of solitude and our place was the closest and most affordable thing she could think of. Only our parents, Jon, and I know her whereabouts, but her roommates do know that she is alive and well (except for their speculations that she is in the hospital psych ward.) She has turned her cell phone off, and barricaded herself into my spare bedroom, washed all of her laundry, and somehow convinced Jack that she is the best thing since bread and butter. And I don't mind as long as she is happy; all though I have seen her almost finish an entire tub of peanut butter ice cream and a very large bag of animal crackers.

It has been a lot like a slumber party having her around. I think I was in need of a little more estrogen and female conversation than Jon is able to provide. I haven't been asleep before midnight so far this week. Last night we played rummy, ordered pizza and watched Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro. And we still have plans to play a little Man Bites Dog, watch Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and have everyone over for Labor Day this weekend.

Right now, I feel like she could stay forever, but I know that eventually I'll want to charge her rent.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Hearty Update

I had an insanely early appointment with the cardiologist this morning. It was my first visit to his office and I was extremely anxious, not only slightly afraid of what he had to tell me, but also being able to find the office building amidst downtown's hectic rush hour traffic. Luckily it didn't take much coaxing from me for Jon to wake up at dawn and come along for the ride. And I'm extremely glad he did as I may have ended up in Columbus without him. I don't have my best sense of direction when unfamiliar territory is mixed with one-way streets, construction cones galore, and bumper-to-bumper vehicles.

The waiting room was uninhabited when we first arrived, only proving that I did, in fact, have the first appointment of the day. The good thing about all of this was how quickly I was checked in and taken back to see the doctor. I was weighed, placed on a table while my blood pressure and pulse were taken, and then Jon and I were left facing each other in a small 9x9 room to yawn at one another. We passed the time by discussing the very "doctor's office" paintings and ignoring my unnecessary nervous twitches. (I credited most of my nervousness to never having been to this office and not knowing the staff but mostly I was nervous because I didn't know why I was nervous. It was weird and I think I was very tired.)

The cardiologist entered, armed with a thick folder full of my test results from the hospital, obviously analyzed, labeled and filed. He introduced himself as Dr. Smith and pulled out the stethoscope. After some deep breathing on my part, he rested on his doctor's stool and pulled a pen from the pocket of his white coat. "Describe what you are feeling to me."

"Well, first it feels like my heart is skipping a beat, and then as if to compensate, I feel one extra large beat afterward."

I don't know anything about the heart aside from the fact that I take it for granted. I go through my day expecting it to do its whole ba-bump, ba-bump and keep the blood flowing. While I understand what they are, chambers and valves are mostly alien to me. I felt like an idiot trying to describe the feelings to him but he looked back at me with perfect understanding. "It's interesting that you would describe it like that because that is almost exactly what is happening."

He proceeded to show me a printout of my EKG test and exactly where the abnormalities were while he explained it all. "Do you see how all of these beats are uniform except for the ones at the end? Well, what's happening is your electrical system is prematurely filling your heart with blood all through the long pause that you feel, and because there is more blood than in a regular heartbeat you feel that extra large beat."

Ah, now it makes sense. He agrees with the hospital that this is nothing serious pending an ultrasound of my heart to verify that the heart and all components are working correctly. He did not have a reason for them to begin at such a young age without previous heart or blood pressure complications but he said it was fairly common and nothing to be too concerned about. I am supposed to avoid caffeine and stress of all kinds (which should be interesting) and continue with my new, healthy life style. Surprisingly, there are medications that will help make the PVC's less frequent but he wanted to use them as a last resort; I guess the side effects of the blood thinning medicines are often worse than the original discomforts of a skipped heartbeat.

"Is this something that will begin to heal itself with time?"

"No. It is one of those things you will learn to live with. If the pain or discomfort becomes too much we will try the medications. You'll be fine."

Okay. If you say so.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I Heart Charity

Well, it took a couple of days to sort through everything but I have officially donated 12 men's polo shirts, 7 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of slacks, 16 knit tops, 7 skirts, 5 tank tops, 8 sweaters, and 2 men's dress shirts to Goodwill. They made it so easy too. All I had to do was sort it, bag it, and leave it on the doorstep! The Salvation Army collected it this morning.

While always rewarding, charity never felt so easy!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Heart Attack at 24

I knew it was coming but I had been trying to avoid emergency rooms and doctors at all costs. Most nights I went to bed thinking "Well, I made it through last night, why should tonight be any different?" I had been experiencing some very odd and irregular heartbeats. I attributed it to a lot of unnecessary stress I'd been putting on myself. Though it seemed as good a reason as any, one can only take so many nights of needlessly fretting a heart attack at the young age of 24 before breaking down and calling the doctor, and it would be just my luck that my doctor couldn't see me for three weeks. Oh well, I've made it three months, what's another one?

All I wanted was someone to hold a stethoscope to my chest and tell me I was perfectly fine. I was entirely ready to be told I had gone crazy and all I was feeling was my heart beating, haven't you ever felt your heart beat before, girl? No big deal. I could wait another month for that to happen.

I made it 48 hours before telling Jon, only half serious, that the reason the dog was clinging to me was because he knew I was going to die tonight. He grabbed my purse and sandals and whisked me and my beat-skipping heart off to the emergency room.

They admitted me immediately and wasted no time ordering me out of my clothes and into one of those one-sided tablecloths with arm holes and two strings to tie it closed in the back. They rigged my body with enough stickers and wires that I must have resembled a bomb and they finished me off with a band to take my blood pressure and a finger contraption that I dubbed Robofinger. They left me in a bed with a warm blanket and turned off the light. I took advantage of the time by ceaselessly watching the machine as it advertised my heartbeat and I was happily surprised when every six or so beats the line would go flat before picking up again, as if my heart really was skipping a beat. I would have jumped up and down, announcing to the entire hospital how relieved I was that I wasn't making it up if so many wires hadn't tied me down. Instead I nodded my head and wiggled my feet with a "Yep! I knew it!" and continued my stare down with the machine.

Doctors and nurses came and went taking blood from my hand and adhering more stickers to my back, chest, hips, and ankles for an EKG. They took my blood pressure while I was lying down, sitting up, and standing on my head and kept asking me if I felt lightheaded or dizzy. "No. I feel fine except for this annoying flutter in my chest," I told them. I heard whispers of "Isn't she too young for this?" "What do you think the problem is?" coming from the nurses. I couldn't decide if it was a good or bad thing that I had come in here and baffled them.

I spent the next two hours listening to the man in the next room as he sobbed after he was told he couldn't smoke in the hospital and cursed the police for bringing him in. He and the female nurses were having a standoff and he threatened to kick them in the balls if they came any closer.

After a while the doctors allowed a red-eyed Jon to come back and sit with me while we waited on test results. "Were you sleeping out there?" I asked him.

"Almost." He said. "I watched Leno and then Conan. Last Call just started and I was drifting off when they came to get me. How are you?"

"I'm okay. Watch that machine to see what I've been feeling!"

The results surfaced around 3:00 in the morning on Thursday and a very fatigued looking doctor reported to us. "Your test results show that you are a very healthy 24 year old and nothing is wrong except for the PVC's or Premature Ventricular Contractions we found in the EKG. We don't have any reasons why someone as young as you would get them but I can assure you that they are harmless." She went on to explain how this has to do with the electrical system of the heart and though it feels as though it is a skipped beat it is actually a premature beat. She instructed me to follow up with the cardiologist within the week for further analysis. After asking all of the questions that Jon and I could think of that early in the morning, I was told I could get dressed and I was handed my release papers. I was a little upset that I was told I could experience these chest flutters for the rest of my life and I think it showed.

"Do you want me to stand outside while you get dressed?" Jon asked.

"Umm.. yes, I don't want anyone to get any ideas, but I think I'm going to need your help locating all of these freaking stickers."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Per the 2007 World Almanac for Kids

"It is estimated at least half of the people in the world include insects in their diet. Shoppers in Thailand can buy water bugs and grasshoppers at the market. Moviegoers in some parts of South America can snack on roasted ants instead of popcorn at the theater. In the U.S., each person unintentionally eats up to one pound of insects per year. Common foods such as tomato sauce, hot dogs, and chocolate all may contain insect eggs and parts. But don't worry: health codes allow only very low levels of these ingredients."

Not even my tomato sauce is safe?!

Excuse me while I puke..

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Job as the Only Female

Father-in-law: "Okay Katie, I need a woman's opinion. Does this look okay? Are my slacks too short?"

Katie: "You look great. The slacks touch your shoes so I don't think they're too short."

Husband: "Kate, does this look okay? Is my tie straight? Did I forget my sport coat?"

Katie: "You look great. Your tie looks perfect. You must have forgotten the sport coat because it is not in the car. You look fine without it."

Brother-in-law: "How do I look Katie? Jon says I look emo because of the purple tie."
Katie: "You look great. Ignore Jon, I think that is a very pretty tie."

Okay, now that all of the egos have been tended to, can we go?

By the way, that was the prettiest lilac tie I have ever seen.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What Do Normal People Do at Funerals?

One of the more morbid memories of my childhood involves my mother, the selfless, spiritual, and thoughtful woman that she is, bringing a five year old me to the funerals she attended. I can recall many funerals, mostly members of our parish or dear friends of my grandparents, and sometimes a few distant family members that I hadn't gotten the chance to know. More often than not, I didn't know who they were, only that I was supposed to behave as I would in mass--stay quiet and sit still. I realized very quickly that funerals were a bit different than mass. For one, we didn't sing the same songs, and two, people were crying. Even then my five year old self was so desperate to fit in that I would look at my mother to see if she was crying, and if so, I would force myself to tear up and begin weeping. I have always been quick with the waterworks so it only took a few unhappy thoughts like my dog getting hit by a car or my brother pulling my hair and I would begin sobbing and curling up into my mother's arms. Eventually I began shoving one of my father's handkerchiefs in my pocket before a ceremony so that I could dab at my tears and pretend to have control over my emotions. Some days I couldn't force the melancholy so I would quietly sniffle in our pew. I usually left the church with the same puffy, red eyes and tear stained cheeks as everyone else, gripping my mother's hand as we walked back home. It wasn't until much later in life that I realized there was something terribly wrong with this situation.

I'm thinking of this now as I prep myself for a relatives funeral. Jon's great-aunt passed away recently and the funeral is being held tomorrow morning. Unfortunately I did not know her well, only meeting a few times in the many years that I've known his family, but I'm taking Jon's word for it that she lived a long, abundant and blissful life. Unlike the old days I do not aspire to cry at her ceremony, but I will if I feel so moved, which I probably will. Though from what I have known of her and been told she was the vivacious type that did not want us all to be sad at her death. Mostly I plan to attend the mass and pray a lot, sing beautiful songs in memory of her, and proceed to the luncheon afterward where family and friends will congregate and share great stories and memories of her. She was 85 years old so I'm sure there are many.

I've been fortunate to not have many friends or family members pass away. Part of me is well aware that it will happen one day but a much larger part of me remains blissfully ignorant with a "no, not me" approach. Sadly, Jon has been losing many relatives in the last few years, beginning with his grandmother, whom we both adored, only months after our wedding. Only days before his aunt passed away of a heart-attack, he was told another great-aunt has been diagnosed with cancer. I find myself wishing I knew the magic words to make it all better, to keep him from having to lose yet another family member to cancer, but I don't. The best that I can do is be there for him and the rest of the family, and become a health activist, to ensure that we are here for as long as we can be. I haven't told anyone yet but I signed myself up for my office's team in Race for the Cure. Jon has had two (very young) aunt's diagnosed and successfully treated for breast cancer and I hope my signing up will be an example of how much I have grown to love them all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

As Strange As Strange Can Get

I had a dream about Al Pacino, except I knew him as Don Corleone, and I couldn't get his name right. I wanted to call him Don Quixote.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Should Be Worried

I'm beginning to worry about my husband. I don't know that I've mentioned this before but he is and probably always will be a bit of a geek. You see, he's a proud and true player of video games and his latest addiction has been Final Fantasy XI which he has been playing on and off for about a year now. My philosophy has always been that video games are his vice, as reading is mine, and it is something that enables him to escape his thoughts or stresses of life and relax, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that until his thoughts and stresses of life become Final Fantasy.

We were standing in line at the grocery store this evening after a very hectic jaunt through an insanely busy market, and as always, were sharing our horror stories of splitting up so one of us could find the laundry detergent while the other took off for milk. Today it was a matter of the store being too small for the amount of people and their carts inhabiting the place. Every time we attempted to walk down an aisle we had to turn around because there wasn't a chance in hell we were going to get through. Every time I found what I was looking for I couldn't reach it because someone had abandoned their cart right where I needed to be. So today's check-out line complaining could have been pretty meaty if he hadn't said to me in all seriousness, "All I did was put the box back and then I turned around and there was a cart sitting right in front of me. It was like the person who was pushing it must have cast invisibility on themselves!"

Invisibility? Did he seriously just say that? In public? I had to look around to see if someone had overheard him and if they were now smirking at the freak and his wife. I laughed it off but not after letting him see that I was totally shocked. "Umm.. I love you but you're really weird."

EDIT: I'm pretty sure I was going somewhere with this entry before Jon walked into the room and started talking to me about something that happened in his game as if I just wouldn't believe it. The good news is I was able to stop him with a glance. The bad news is he started up again with an "I can't help it! It's my passion!"

"Oh man. Don't give me anything more to write about!"

"Are you writing about me? Are you telling them what a dork I am?"

"Yeah, but I called you a geek."

"Oh. Well, my party is waiting for me. I love you."

"Ha. I love you too, dork."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Still a Little Miffed

March elections have come and gone but while talking to Jon's aunt yesterday I thought to myself.. why would anyone ever turn down a school levy? Our local school system is running out of money and the levy that could have solved their problem was vetoed by the March ballot. Now, debate has never been my strong suit but wouldn't you want to make sure that your children, grandchildren, and future leaders of the country get the best education possible? It kills me to think that teachers are losing their positions, or are being transferred through out the school system because the general public couldn't stomach a small raise in taxes to ensure a better overall life for the children. His aunt was a Japanese foreign language teacher for as long as I have known his family, but because the levy failed, the school system eliminated her position, and come September, she will be a third grade teacher at a new elementary school. Many sports and art programs were also done away with in an attempt to save money. The middle school that I attended has all ready been closed and there is now talk of my high school closing also. And what really gets me is how obvious it is that the schools need more money. Jon and I were talking to my sister, who just graduated from high school in June, over dinner last night about his aunt and her family:

Me: "What's so cool about it is that their three year old son is bilingual!"

Her: "What's bilingual?"

Me: "Umm.. it means he can speak two languages. He knows English and Japanese."

Unless you have an extremely viable reason, please do not vote against a school levy. Don't let your children graduate from high school without knowing what "bilingual" means.

Baby Cravings and Other Tales

The updates have been sparse but this vacation has been exactly what I needed. I was asked countless times why I would take a week long vacation but not travel anywhere and my response is because I needed to veg. I needed to be lazy and sleep whenever I wanted. I needed to lie down with a book and not care for how long I had been inactive or about the more important things I should have been doing. I liked the freedom of staying up until 5:00 in the morning on Thursday and sleeping in until 11:00am. It was freedom that I haven't experienced in a very long time and it was much appreciated. Not to mention Jon and I all ready took a trip to Maryland and D.C. in April so I didn't feel any strong pulls to get out of Ohio.

While most of our time was spent simply relaxing, we also took the opportunity to extend our evening walks, go exploring through the woods and get eaten by mosquitoes, and spend a few afternoons pool-side at Jon's aunt's house.

On Wednesday I visited my cousin and met her new son. He's her first child and seeing her facial expressions and mannerisms in him took me back to memories of Skip-its and Slip and Slides and all of the other cool things she and I did twenty years ago. I also felt a twinge of regret that we had managed to grow so far apart in those twenty years. As I was leaving she made fierce eye contact with me and said, "You're next. Make sure you're ready before you have kids. I thought this would be a lot easier." And yet I left with a renewed desire to be pregnant. I was so inspired, in fact, that while at the library today, as Jon was looking through the new CD's, I scanned the nonfiction shelves and walked away with What to Expect When You're Expecting. I think I'm more curious than anything but for some odd reason, at the young age of 24, I can feel my so-called "clock" ticking. Perhaps I'll never learn.

Today I begin preparing myself for Go Back To Work Mode. Yes, it is only Friday but I do not want to be blind-sided by Sunday evening. I get to start meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry washing, and otherwise getting on with my real life, all while learning what I can expect if I can ever manage to become pregnant, or at least, learn everything that a book can tell me.

Sadly, that doesn't sound like a half bad weekend to me.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Look Out World!

I recently found out that my 15 year old niece has been diagnosed with some sort of aggressive behavior disorder. It was described to me as "She can never admit that she is wrong. She will argue with you until she is blue in the face rather than admitting that you are right." As much as I love her and admire her for being able to stand her ground better than her aunt ever will, I can see her in all of the descriptions. And it made me wonder what is it with teenagers and disorders in my family? Is it just us that can not seem to get it together?

As if that was not bad enough, Jon was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD in his early childhood. Our children are going to be something else.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

I Feel Good

Though it officially begins Monday, I'm viewing today as the start of my week long vacation. I do not have to return to work until August 14th and I am elated. In fact, I was so excited this morning that I received a sudden burst of energy and at 10:30am I stuck a leash on Jack and set out for the park with every intention of exploring the 1.8 mile hiking trail that had been eluding me. I'd seen park maps for the trail but they appeared very convoluted and I couldn't tell where it would lead or where I could possibly end up. For a reason unknown to me, I decided to find out today.

Jack and I reached the park in no time to find a few people already there. A bulky man watched us from his massive, white 1988 Cutlass Supreme. We both kept our heads up and went on. We encountered an older woman walking her two dogs. Jack noticed the dogs first and began cowering at their size and I noticed the camera that hung from her neck and thought one day I would like to spend my days in retirement, walking the dogs and taking pictures of butterflies. She spoke with a European accent when she greeted me and her dogs began to wrap their leashes around my legs as they sniffed after a very frightened Jack. We chatted briefly about the weather, untangled my legs, and she walked in the direction of the park exit as Jack and I set out across the soccer field to find a beginning to the trail.

It turned out to be a bit more intimidating than I had expected. While the map did show the approximate area we'd be hiking across, it did not show the first half mile being down hill, and after reaching the bottom of the obnoxiously steep hill, all I could think to myself was "Do I have to climb back up that thing?" The trail smoothed out and I found us in the valley near a wooded park road that I drive every day to and from work. It was actually very pretty with numerous creeks running by and surrounded by so many immensely tall trees. We were only a mile or so from a road that was once considered the western boundary of the United States. We encountered more people out walking their dogs and they all pleasantly greeted me and my vigorous pup. And while I wish I could tell you that I enjoyed every wondrous minute of our now flat hike, I can't, because I was freaking out about where this trail was going to take us. Was I really going to have to climb back up that hill? I even began wishing that I brought my cell phone, because if that was the case, I might just call someone to pick us up instead.

The trail eventually lead us to an equally long and steep hill to get back up to the park and I climbed it without complaining though I can't explain the emotions that came over me as we emerged onto the familiar and grassy soccer field. They were a jumble of exhaustion, relief, and triumph all in one. I began to wonder why I stressed so much as we walked passed bushes covered in butterflies and I thought of the nice woman with her camera. The man in the Cutlass was still in the parking lot but this time he was ogling a girl at the picnic tables, wearing a revealing tank top and sunbathing. Creepy.

When we got home Jack lapped up an entire bowl of water and I downed a bottle of my own. I stretched, showered, and entered into a house cleaning frenzy. I rigorously scrubbed every surface in my kitchen and washed a couple loads of laundry. When I couldn't think of anything else to do I went to the grocery store. Because I thought I deserved it, I stretched out on the couch with DVR remote in hand, and watched a weeks worth of Dinner Takes All. I couldn't think of a better day to kick off a much needed vacation.

I will definitely sleep well tonight.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Turn Forever You and Me

"You have Feel Good Inc. as a ring tone?"

"Uh huh. Can you guess who I have it set for?"

"Umm. Your brother?"

"No, it's for you, because you make me Feel Good!"

Believe it or not, this is incredibly sweet coming from him.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What Seems Like Centuries Ago

"Katie, what year did your volleyball team win the championship?"

"A lot of them, why? Which one?"

"What years did you win?"

"Umm.. it must have been 1995, 1994, 1993, and 1992. Why?"

"Mom and I are down at the church rummage sale and they're selling the trophies! Do you want them?"

This was a phone call from my older sister last night in which I learned that the church I attended as a child was closing all doors to the public, except for mass. They recently closed the school due to low enrollment which sent a lot of their existing parishioners off to attend mass at the new school their child was a student of. I'm not sure if they expected it but the church then fell on hard times and couldn't afford to pay the bills. Their solution was to turn the school section of the building into a home for the elderly to generate more revenue. And while I was expecting that this would happen one day I never really considered what would happen to all of the school's stuff like the trophies, jerseys, desks, books, chalkboards, and tables.

I debated on the trophies but turned them down when I realized the rest of my volleyball, softball, and basketball memorabilia was long forgotten in the closet of my old bedroom at my parents house. Though I did have them search through the jerseys for one of my old numbers but it was to no avail.

"You should come down here, maybe you will be able to find one."

"Maybe I should."

"Yeah. All right. I'll see you later."

I waited a long time while I debated on going. I'm still not sure what kept me. Perhaps I was lazy or the sentimentality was just too strong for me to handle. I thought back to the eight or so odd years that I attended Sunday school there--the Christmas plays we practiced and the songs and prayers we learned. I remember the library being one of the smallest and darkest I had ever been in, but also one of the most furnished with big round tables and shelves upon shelves of books. The preschool room is my favorite. My parents live just across the street and twenty years ago my mom would walk me the short distance to preschool everyday where we would sing "This old lady swallowed a fly.." and count red balloons and my friends and I would make hams of ourselves trying to sing the loudest during musical pageants. Countless years of running, jumping, sweating, and spiking took place in the gym during volleyball and basketball seasons. When I was a teenager I worked the concession stand during Bingo nights.

In the end I grabbed my purse and keys and drove to my parents house. The church parking lot was packed and in an effort to procrastinate even more I walked into my parents house to visit with my dad first.

"Did you go down to the rummage sale at all?" I asked him.

"They didn't say anything about a sale. Your mom just asked if I wanted to go down for a final walk through but I said no. I remember what it looked like."

As you can guess my mother is obviously the more sentimental of the two but it hadn't occurred to me until he and I had this conversation that this school wasn't only part of my childhood, but my parents attended grade school there. They first met while attending school there and while they did not start dating until years after they would graduate, I'm sure my mom was envisioning a little version of themselves and all of their siblings walking through the hallways and listening intently while the nuns gave lessons.

I never made it to the sale. I sort of regret it now but I have a tendency to become a little too emotional when it comes to my past. I wasn't sure I was ready to see any of the people or risk them seeing me get all chocked up.

Strangely, the church Jon and I attend now still has countless years of jumping, sweating, and spiking in the gym but we were there as a rival of sorts.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Coldstone is Making Me Fat

I've decided my body is like a credit card. I keep charging all of this Cake Batter Ice Cream and the debt is piling up on my waist.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You Learn Something New Everyday

Jon and I found a park the other day, just around the corner from our house. It wasn't the first time we had been there but it was the first time we had actually explored it. (It's not very busy and I found it the perfect place to teach my little sister how to drive last summer.) It turns out this place has a wide open field perfect for playing frisbee with Jack. It also has a 1.8 mile hiking trail and a hill designed specifically for winter sled riding complete with bonfire pit to keep your phalanges warm. I can't believe we have been missing out on this. We've been taking Jack there every day to run around (ignoring the signs that advise keeping your dog leashed) and he's never seen so much fun. You truly have not lived until you've seen a dachshund running at you with a frisbee twice the size of his head. Picture eyes, nose, big floppy ears and two little paws because that is all you see. Too cute.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Real Estate Meddling

If I were to ever be accused of stalking someone it would be by way of real estate. I've become obsessed with the Ohio real estate market since buying our home over a year ago. When I see a For Sale sign in our area I start itching to get home and log on to a realtor website just to view the statistics: number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square-footage, what price it is listed at, and what year it was built. I then compare it to the number of our bedrooms, bathrooms, square-footage, payments, and age to decipher if we paid too much or actually snagged ourselves a deal.

It wouldn't be so bad if it ended there but during our home search last year I came across this wonderful, free website provided by our county that maintains far more detailed information. Among other things, it gives me a list of all previous owners of the property, what they paid for it and when, any permits that have been issued for the property, and the actual amount the house appraises for. While I haven't set foot in any house on our cul de sac other than our own, I know that we are one of only two houses with two wood-burning fireplaces. Though I have not yet met the couple that just moved in three doors down I know their names and that they paid $2500 over the asking price, all thanks to this website.

Unfortunately my neighbors aren't the only victims either. I've also investigated all family members on both my side and his, along with any and all properties we viewed or thought of viewing during our house hunting. These poor strangers have me looking at their personal, yet public, information just to find out if I would have spent more or less on the house they purchased instead of me. I have yet to fess up to anyone in our family that I can tell them what the county rates the condition of their home, or that I've seen blueprints. The opportunity never seemed to present itself.

I know it sounds crazy and borderline stalkerish but it started off small and escalated.

I didn't mean to be so nosy, honest.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Maybe You Don't Like Your Job

I often wonder what my parents had to say about my peers and I while we were on the front lines of customer service. Were they constantly leaving the store in a funk because of the overall quality of service that they had received? Did they walk away from the checkout line feeling as though they had just put a crimp in the plans between cashier and bagger? I would like to think not, but it's probably so. There isn't much that bothers me more than walking up to the counter and hearing a large, vulgar sigh coming from the other side, as though I wasn't supposed to be giving business at this particular point in time, because you know, I was supposed to wait until someone else could help me.

While my experience at the market today wasn't quite that unpleasant I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable as I stood waiting for my groceries to be rung up. At first I thought the banter between the teenage cashier and her chatty co-worker was amusing but it quickly went down hill when they began rapping back and forth at each other and she started sniffing my foods without an explanation. She stopped to sniff my bag of pinto beans, shook her head, and pointed at the container of fresh stir fry vegetables. "No, it must be that." Then, just like that, she started rapping the next verse to her song. I remained dumbfounded while listening to the beep of the register as she finished ringing me up. I tried to block out their conversations about earrings, hair, and plans for the evening. I was mostly unsuccessful and took my receipt quickly, saying thank you without being told to have a good day. I walked out of the store wondering why I had just given them $54.23 of my hard earned money when I could have gone somewhere else? Somewhere that I would have been greeted by a smile and a "Hi, how are you today?" they may or may not have attempted a conversation with me, it doesn't matter, and they would have handed me a receipt with a "Have a nice day, ma'am." As it was, I felt I was told "Your broccoli stinks, go away."

I'm not attempting to say that all of the customer service that I have received lately was terrible, I'm more wondering how some of these people were able to keep their jobs when I would have been fired, or at least reprimanded, for some of the things I've witnessed. It's a common conversation between my co-workers and I about how our company will bend over backwards to keep the customer happy. Oh, you didn't like that book? Well let me send out a prepaid shipping label and you can return it to us. Oh, you don't know what title you would like instead? Well let me send out five other titles on that subject to preview, just put them back in the box when you're finished and keep the one you want. Oh no, your book fell apart? Well here's a coupon for free shipping, cataloging, and 25 percent off your next order and I'll credit your account for that bad book. The last person to huff and puff and say "Well, there is nothing I can do for you," mysteriously disappeared.

I fully understand that pleasing a customer is a hard task and it shouldn't have to be. I live in my strange little world that believes everyone should just get along and be happy and kind to each other, smiling like the cheshire cat. When I'm forced out of that world of "please" and "thank you" I get a little defensive. I'm so sorry. Here's a coupon for $5.00 off your next purchase of $50.00 or more.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sleep Could Also Do Wonders For Me

I foresee this weekend as being one of self-maintenance, both physically and mentally. I have various little things that I either started and did not finish or I have added to my mental checklist of to do's but never got around to. I plan to take Dr. Phil's advice seriously this weekend and take on those unfinished photo boxes and flower beds overflowing with weeds, even picking up all of the little twigs that have accumulated in my backyard thanks to our summer storms. I want to put more time and effort into my grocery list this week, concentrating on fruits and vegetables because I think my body could really use those good nutrients right now. I could also use a personal spa day full of manicures and pedicures and thick, greasy conditioner to shine and tame my curly mane.

First things first, I'm taking on a few weeks worth of laundry. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Suffered Through Kylie Minogue This Morning

"For some reason I kept hoping In the Belly of the Whale would play on my way home today."

"You have an iPod. Why didn't you just put it on?"

"I couldn't! I would have lost the game!"

"What game?"

"I challenge myself every day to not press the skip button. If I skip a song, I lose."

"Oh, I'd lose that game all the time!"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Calmness in Our Lives

I got this email at work today. I think I'll follow the advice:

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started and never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel. Please pass this on to those you feel might be in need of inner peace.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I haven't been getting enough sleep lately and my body decided to remind me of that fact this morning as I lay in bed pleading with my arms and legs to move. My eyes were swollen and sore and my head was pounding so hard I could barely lift it away from my pillow. Nearing tears I had to shake Jon awake and tell him I needed motivation or else I wasn't going to move. He did the best that he could and provided me with 15 minutes worth of grumblings from under the blankets.

"C'mon Kate, you can do this. Just get up and go to work."
"It won't be so bad, I promise."
"You're having an anxiety attack. You just have to realize you're having one and you'll be fine."

And I did. He let me know I was having an attack, I thought to myself "I'm not going back there," as in back to the days when my whole life was one big anxiety attack that no drug, psychiatrist, or other well-meaning person could bring me out of. A time in my life that was so detrimental my mind can't even remember most of it. I've blocked it all out except for a few bits and pieces. One day, namely the day I graduated from high school, I snapped out of it and I've been running from the anxiety ever since. Every once in a while it will creep back up on me and it seems I'm more susceptible to it when I'm exhausted but for the most part I have a handle on it. Tell me I'm having an anxiety attack and I will run away from you, in this case, to work.

I was 45 minutes late to work to give you an idea of how long I had been laying there fighting the good fight. And things weren't so bad, just as Jon promised. There were only a few instances that I thought my head would crash into the keyboard.

Atleast It's Not the China

I accidentally broke a plate and bowl from the blue dinnerware collection we were given as a wedding gift. An "I am really sorry!" goes out to the guest who was kind enough to buy us more than we even asked for, but it just felt so good. I had no idea I was harboring so much frustration.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm One of Those Annoying People

Jon had been talking about getting a dog long before we moved into our house. It was after we signed the papers and handed over a large check for our new home that he started using serious dog-talk. The odd thing is he's highly allergic to animals and most specifically to cats and dogs. I generally give him 30 minutes around anything with fur before his eyes become bloodshot, his nose starts running, and he can't finish two sentences before he begins sneezing profusely.

I personally wasn't too keen on the idea. Not only would it be a complicated process to find a dog we could adopt that he wouldn't be killing himself to live with, but I saw myself being in charge of everything. I saw myself doing all of the feeding, watering, bathing, and cleaning. Most of all I saw myself forgetting to do all of these things. I was somewhat convinced that I wouldn't be able to keep another living thing alive and well, let alone happy. Unfortunately my fears did not dissuade Jon's determination. He was driven to find himself a furry friend and there was nothing I could do about it. He ran internet searches, flipped through books, and talked to as many people as he could to gather information. In the end we were taking a two hour trip to Salem, Ohio to pick up a 6 week old puppy we would name Jack.

I remember thinking it was such an odd feeling to have something else in the house that could move and breathe. Every morning I would wake up thinking "I have to see the puppy. I have to give him food and water and take him outside." At the time it seemed like Jon was working around the clock and that was all Jack and I needed to bond. He developed some sort of separation anxiety. He couldn't stand to be away from me. That's how I became one of those annoying dog owners who has no problem telling you what the dog is thinking just by the face he is making or so I think. He gets far more attention than he needs, too many toys, and all the dog treats he's willing to wiggle his floppy ears for. I'm a sucker for my dog and I'd never forget to feed him.

Sadly, Jack became a victim of Bob Barker's advice and was neutered today. I was a nervous wreak calling Jon every few hours, asking if he'd heard anything, wondering what was going on. Jack is now walking around the house very slowly. It's strange to see a dog stop to contemplate whether or not he really needs to risk hurting himself to hop onto the couch or if it's just better to stay on the hardwood floor. He can't run or jump around like he usually does. He sort of resembles a little old man but the doctor said he'd be better in about a week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

She Doesn't Get It

Conversation during an UNO game between my sister, Jon, and I:

Kristin: "Man, I never even saw the hole!"

Jon: "That's what he said."

They look at each other funny and both begin laughing hysterically.

Me: "I don't get it."

They begin laughing even harder.

Jon: "You're so dense."

Me: "Ouch! Okay, I get what the hole is but I don't understand why the guy couldn't find it. It's not like you have to see it to--you know."

They both fall to the floor and begin laughing so hard they can't breathe.

Kristin: "Woo! Okay, you are thinking about this way too much."

Sunday, July 9, 2006

The Nice Thing About Kongs


Not only do they provide your dog with countless hours of spastic entertainment, but he can do this on his own, offering you much more amusement than anything found on television, in print, or on the internet.

For example, my dog spent much of the day repeatedly dropping his KONG down a staircase and running after it maniacally. He may have been trying to race it down all those times, or perhaps he was trying to hone in his pouncing skills--I'm not sure--but there was the constant doinga, doinga, doinga of the toy bouncing down and the pitter-patter of his little paws coming back up the stairs to do it all over again.

It was the World Cup on four legs, but down hill.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Three Years Down

This year it was leather. Jon and I get an odd sense of amusement out of torturing each other every year by following the different material for each wedding anniversary. Though I must say that leather was far less difficult than paper or cotton, for me anyway. I have a knack for completely losing my gift giving imagination when I'm given guidelines. This year I was pretty proud of the leather iPod case I bought. He seemed to like it enough.. at least it is already in use. He gave me a leather photo frame and a brown leather pocketbook. He said he thought I had outgrown the hot pink one I've been carrying around for the last two years.

We went to dinner at Crave; a sophisticated and artsy corner restaurant downtown with a great atmosphere and even better food. We talked about the past three years, what we've accomplished, and what we hope to accomplish in the coming years.

"So, are you happy with our life so far?" he asked.

"Absolutely," I said, "are you?"


When we got back from dinner he opened a bottle of champagne and poured a glass for both of us. I lifted my glass as if getting ready for a toast just as I saw him tilt his head back and start, very nearly, chugging his.

"Oh! My bad." He said when he noticed me staring at him. I started laughing uncontrollably and finally he toasted:

"Here's to many more years of me being me, and you putting up with it!"

"Cheers to that!"