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!"

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

July 4, 2006

I don't come from hard knocks, but my parents did struggle to make ends meet. They come from a world that believes the conceiving of children is left to no one but God and any form of birth control is sacrilegious. I have five brothers and sisters and my childhood was chock-full of hand-me-down dresses, cheap cooking, and many games of ghost in the graveyard. The one thing that I felt my parents could always promise me was one helluva Fourth of July. I remember so many years of carnivals, glow-in-the-dark necklaces, Rainbow Brite balloons, and most of all, fireworks.

Akron does it big. Tens of thousands of people congregate to the closed off highways of downtown to spread their blankets on a grassy knoll and watch a musically synchronized, twenty minute display of big, colorful booms. The congested hike there and the obstacle of finding a place for your entire family to sit is a bit hectic, but once the arguments over which spot will be better are out of the way and everyone is settled into their chosen seat, things calm down and the fun can begin. I don't know that anyone soaks it all in as much as I do or that it means as much to anyone other than me but the minute the fireworks start I reach my greatest state of calm and can forget everything that has been nagging me. My mind shuts down to everything except how beautiful and meaningful this precise moment in time is. I remember the previous twenty odd years that my parents have brought me to this exact spot and how happy it has always made me to feel as one with everyone else in the city.

This year was no different. The colors, shapes, and sizes were all beautiful. The location was amazing and I had the added benefit of having my husband at my side. Three years ago he and I missed the fireworks display because we were running around taking care of any last minute details for our wedding on July 5th. We saw a few of the big ones from I-77 while on our way to drop me off at my parents house to sleep for the night.

Tonight, during the display, Jon tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You know, it's pretty cool how, every year, we get fireworks on the night before our anniversary."

I smiled a crooked grin at him and said, "Yeah, I planned it that way."

Sunday, July 2, 2006

On Being a Disfunctional Couple

"I'm just saying it would have been nice to have been invited to the party, considering the only reason they know how to play poker is because we taught them!"

"You're reminding me of Laura Peetrie."

"It's Petrie."

"Wow. You really did watch too much Nick-at-Nite as a kid."

"Ooh, Rob!"