Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stick Shifts and Safety Belts

I set out in my mid-teens looking for a guy like my brother: well liked, somewhat fashion savvy, understanding to a fault, intellectual, and music lover.

I walked away with someone a little more like my father: widely misunderstood, hot tempered, timidly intelligent, and avid video game player.

This is by no means bad, just strange. I thought dating my brother's friends would be the best way to go about finding someone with his positive qualities, and instead I found someone who could help fill a gap that had been increasing in size between my father and me for as long as I could remember.

Today is the 8-year anniversary of our first date. Seeing as we were young and broke, our date consisted of a few laughs as we roamed up and down the aisles of a Toys R Us, profound conversations while holding hands in his car, a scenic pass through the Metro Parks, and dinner at a restaurant with an old-fashioned popcorn machine.

Back then our relationship was so easily summed up by the lyrics to Cake's Stick Shifts and Safety Belts; we didn't have a care in the world. Of course, through the years my insecurities would nearly destroy us many times, but for some reason he stuck it out, and every time I ask him why, he just says that I was worth it. I'm still baffled by that, because I don't know that I could have handled me.

We have long since left the honeymoon stage, as I like to call it, though we are still close and affectionate. He's been my best friend for longer than eight years, which means he knows me all too well; every facial expression, every tone of voice, every "I'm fine." He knows all of the hidden meanings, sometimes to a frightening degree, because I don't realize I'm doing it. It makes me wonder what we would be like had we not met as teenagers and at the most awkward time of our lives. Would he still know me inside and out? Would he think I'm a stronger person than I really am just because he wouldn't have seen me at my weakest? Would I see him differently? I don't know. And if I have it my way I never will.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Weatherman Lingo

One morning early last week, while enjoying my Cheerios, I switched on the television to catch the traffic and weather report before heading off to work. And when Andre' Bernier announced that we could expect some "snizzle" I thought "Wow, the Cleveland news anchors are actually trying out urban slang!" They will do anything for ratings.

I was wrong, of course. "Snizzle" means a snow and drizzle mix according to the Cleveland weather experts.

So, seeing as we get to make up our own words, I've decided that the snowy/mist combo I had to drive through this morning should be known as "snist."

Fo' shizzle my nizzle.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Blame It On the Weather

My absentmindedness is no secret, and the fact that it seems to be getting worse with age is no surprise to me, but when I came home from grocery shopping Saturday night without my purse, even I was shocked. I was frantically searching the interior of the car and in the trunk when Jon came out of the house to help me carry everything in. I just looked at him with wide eyes and squealed, "I think I left my purse in the shopping cart!" I was too busy beating myself up to drive so Jon volunteered, and since the dog had so obediently followed him outside we had Jack hop in, too.

I could very clearly remember being extremely uncomfortable having to turn my back on the purse, sitting in the seat of the cart, as I loaded groceries into the car. I kept thinking that it wouldn't be so difficult to silently walk up behind me, snatch the purse, and make a run for it. I wouldn't have noticed until I finished loading the car. Now I couldn't understand how I could just walk away from it.

During the drive back to the grocery store I ran all possible outcomes through my head. I didn't have any cash or credit cards in my purse, which was a plus, but I did have at least 10 checks that I could either spend $300 dollars to cancel, or not bother, and hope that a financial institution wouldn't cash it without identification. On the other hand, because it was 15 minutes to closing time, and the cart receptacle was nearly full as best I could remember, an honest store employee could have come out to collect the carts, noticed my purse, and turned it into the lost and found. Although I knew this outcome would be much better than the first, I dreaded it just as much, because c'mon, how embarrassing is it to admit to forgetting your purse in a shopping cart? I still carry mental scars from leaving it at a restaurant a few months ago, and upon returning to claim it the staff snickered at me, and then commented on how cute it was. Mostly, I was just hoping that my purse was still sitting in the cart, unnoticed.

Luckily, the store is only a 7 minute drive from our house. Jon pulled up next to the cart receptacle that I described. We both looked over at the last cart to be pushed in and there it was. My black purse had gone unnoticed in the dark. I hopped out of the car just as the presumed honest workers walked out to collect the carts. I snatched my purse without sparing another glance in their direction, and climbed back into the car. Jon drove off as I checked to make sure that my wallet was still intact, it was.

LESSON LEARNED: I am very, very lucky. And I am not responsible enough to carry cute handbags that do not fit comfortably over my shoulder while wearing a winter coat. I must either stick with a messenger bag or larger purses with a long shoulder strap. If I cannot comply with these rules I will be forced to resort to a fuzzy bunny backpack.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oh, Sunny Day

Contrary to what you may think, fellow Interstate 71 commuters, I do not get my kicks out of setting cruise control at 65 mph and watching you flip me off through the rear-view mirror. I do not enjoy hearing you spit profanity at me, listening to your horn, or being blinded by your flashing bright lights. I mind my own business in the far right lane where the slow traffic belongs. I set cruise control at the speed limit to conserve gas, to pollute as little as I have to, and to save money. So please, go around, or BACK OFF.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sink or Swim

I didn't know how to react on Saturday night when my 19-year-old sister told me she was pregnant, so I cried. I cried because she is so young and looked so scared. I cried because her part-time clothing store gig that is lacking benefits is not going to be enough anymore. I cried because her boyfriend already has a little girl somewhere in Michigan that he never sees, and because neither of them has learned how to take care of themselves yet, let alone a child. I cried because I could see her at some free clinic, signing up for free insurance, and a free crib at the completion of her Well Baby Classes. And as selfish and caddy as it may seem, I cried a little because the frightening word "infertility," and possibility of, was still floating around in my head from my last gynecologist appointment.

I immediately gave myself a mental slap, wiped at the tears that had started down my cheeks, and began asking her about the facts in order to get over myself. I had no right to make her feel even worse than she already did. The last thing she came to me for was a guilt trip no matter how unintentional it may be. I got over myself very quickly.

Apparently the doctor at the clinic believes she is four months along, but my sister is convinced it is less than that. She says it is a mother's intuition, but I wouldn't know anything about that. She did sign up for the free insurance and classes, and she went as far as to consult our older sister, who is in the low-income housing business, about places for single mothers. I have no idea where her boyfriend stands in this, but given all of the steps she has taken thus far, it seems she expects him to run.

As of Saturday she had told her boyfriend, our mother, our older sister, and me, which left our father and three brothers. I think she was trying to rally as much feminine support as she could before letting any of the male family members know. I suppose I can't blame her, but even for someone as quiet as I am, this information is a little hard to hold on to. I told Jon after she left, though I'm pretty sure she expected that.

My sister is five years younger than I am. She is the baby of the family, and has always reaped the benefits of being so. She still has an enormous amount of growing up to do, and I suspect she will have to do so very quickly now. She still lives at home, though we aren't sure for how long after our father is given the news. To say that I am jealous of her pregnancy is probably an understatement, but I wouldn't wish to be in her predicament in a million years. God sure works in very mysterious ways.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Still Think He Could Win the Amazing Race

SURVIVOR casting calls were being held at the House of Blues today. I offered to drive Jon up but he looked at me like I was crazy and then politely declined. The funny thing is that with his extremely out-going, yet sometimes confrontational personality he would so be picked for the show, and then voted off in the first episode.

You have to be a special kind of person to live with him 24 hours a day. I don't think the other survivors could handle it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Post Christmas Shopping

I had $65 worth of Target gift cards burning a hole in my pocket and I decided today was the day to use them. An hour and a half later I walked out with two sweaters, a pair of shoes, and an apple slicer. Can you guess which purchase I'm most satisfied with? It's the apple slicer. I'm thinking I could have waited to use the gift cards.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Restroom Bulletin

I despise using the restroom in this office building, and apparently, someone else has had enough of the consistently nasty state of the ladies room as well. This little note, complete with a full diagram of a smiling toilet (toilet paper goes here, this is my handle, etc.) has appeared on the back of each of the stall doors.

My name is Happy Toilet.

I like to be free of germs, so please put paper in me, and not on the floor. Should you have an accident clean me up. Flush me when you are done. If need be flush me twice, or three times. I will not feel bad. I will be a Happy Toilet, because I will know then, like me, you do not like GERMS.

I think I frightened the poor woman in the next stall as I burst out laughing at the illustrations.

Venturing Out

I consider myself a fair-weather sports fan because I only watch when it seems really important. With the exception of the Cleveland Cavaliers, I often catch only the Browns vs. Steelers games, the World Series, the Super Bowl, and of course, the BCS National Championship Game when the # 1 ranked team is none other than Ohio State.

Fair-weather or not the loss of last night hurt. I stopped watching the game as I was reminded of the train-wreck that is all too often a Browns game--the opponent always on the move while the team I'm pulling for appears to have their feet stuck in a lake of molasses. Don't get me wrong. I knew about the possibilities of defeat, but that wasn't just any loss--Ohio State was obliterated.

No matter the outcome Jon and I still had a good time. We threw our own little private party consisting of only the two of us. We finished off the last of the vegetable tray and the remaining cheese and crackers left over from our New Year's Eve party. We had a couple beers and Jon's famous homemade burgers. We went to bed shortly after the disappointing loss.

Tonight I'm headed out to my mother-in-law's house for Salon. Though I've been invited to Salon many times, this will be my first appearance. It has been described to me as a small group of women who get together monthly to discuss world, political, and feminist issues. I've warned my mother-in-law that I may be the quiet girl in the corner, but she still insisted on me coming. I am henceforth considering this my first attempt at New Year's Resolution 2. Enhance my social life. It will be an exercise to see if I am able to crawl out of the corner and have a real conversation with people I don't know.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

2007 New Year's Resolutions

1. Continue preparing my body for the hopes of a baby in 2008.
2. Enhance my social skills.
3. Encourage the savings account to grow, not shrink.