Oh, Indiana, you tricky bastard

On Sunday, it was 67 degrees (F), and now it's snowing.  The older I get, the more I hate snow, except for the first snowfall, because it's funny to see the college kids from outside the Midwest FREAK THE CRAP OUT.

But then it's also the older I get that I realize that snow is like dating a stripper.  At first it's exciting and a bit dangerous, but then after a while you notice that it's really just dirty and annoying.  And it'll probably fuck up your car.

Anyway, it started out like this:

Keeping it classy with a tasteful dusting of powder
 Then an hour later:

Shit's just gettin' crazy up in here

Actually, I'm kidding.  Nothing is "crazy."  Well, maybe for the students on visas from Brazil, but not for Hoosiers.  We will zoom around your slow-moving car, shaking our heads and saying, "sheesh, as if he's never seen snow before!  Your plate says INDIANA, buddy, ACT LIKE IT."  The Indiana-born elderly will probably just drive you off the road.  They have no mercy.


I'm still... functioning?

Spent the better part of my holiday weekend on my ass, either playing SWTOR or watching Survivorman on Netflix.  I did shower and venture out yesterday, only to be met with cold/rainy/windy weather, so my body was like "NOPE NOPE NOPE" and I pretty much went right back inside.

Haven't cleaned, either. 

Then, I came in to work, and my headphone jack didn't work and the water from the lines tasted like biofilm.


Thanksgiving hangover. Part 2.

Apparently, my family had bets going to see when I was going to realize that there were no rolls.  My sister-in-law saw that I'd put the butter dish on the table, and then she removed it with stealth.  When I walked into the dining room, I practically screamed, "I forgot the rolls!"  David then yelled out, "Hey everybody!  She figured it out!"

Crap.  Why didn't they just tell me?  The rolls only needed ten minutes in the oven.  And how did I forget?!  I'd gone so far as to clipping a coupon to buy them, putting butter on the table, figuring out which bowl to place them in... still I forgot.

But despite everyone in my family not getting the awesome carbs and fat that rolls would have given them, they forgave me.

5:15 p.m., Thursday:  I made numerous protests to my family members and especially my dad's girlfriend that they don't have to do my dishes, but they insisted.  Maybe it was the lack of rolls that caused them to have so much energy.

After a quick trip to the park for the kids, we gathered in the living room to watch old home movies that my dad had recently converted to DVD.  My older niece sits in a big chair with me and squeals excitedly when her father, then 12, showed up on the screen, playing a video game with David, then 13, on the best technology at the time:  A Commodore 64.  Or was it 128?

Everyone laughs at the temper tantrums thrown by two-year-old Susie.  They laugh more when my brother gives me bubble gum and Susie is immediately silent and content.  And picking her nose.

They "awwww" when our grandmother is filmed, in her kitchen, making Christmas dinner in 1986.  My dad goes to her and dances with her around the kitchen, while she yells, "I'm holding the gravy boat, watch it!"  They laugh when cousin Jon and I are banging on Grandma's piano (which is now in my living room), and baby cousin Annie toddles up to try to play, and in one motion Jon knocks her to the floor.  Despite this, Annie keeps standing up and smacks the upper keys with her hands, laughing.

"Do you remember going to her wedding last year?" I asked my older niece.  "Yeah," she said.  "My sister and I wore matching outfits and I told David to 'dance, monkey, dance.'"

By 6 p.m., guests were filing out of the house, giving hugs and saying good-byes.  I managed to auction off a few leftovers.

My dad and his girlfriend stayed, and we watched another home movie:  Summer 1993, when all I did was ride bikes and play sports.  My brother was 19, playing Genesis on the piano and wearing Yes t-shirts, working at Bob Evans, where he ended up meeting his wife.  We laughed at how I started every scene with, "My name is Susan and I'm nine."  My mom had painted the side of her fist into a face, with a scrunchy around her wrist as a dress, and hand-puppetted a rendition of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" in falsetto.

That made me a little sad, for some reason.  I miss summers as a kid -- my parents were teachers, so they were always home with me to do something cool.  Go to my softball games, take me to basketball camp, having relaxing lunches with grapes, shrimp and grilled cheese sandwiches.

"Holy crap, it's 7:15," I said, after that video was done.  It felt like midnight.  I played some tipsy piano -- "Maple Leaf Rag," "Sonate Pathetique," and "Moonlight Sonata."  Couldn't find my real sheet music for that last one.

I don't really remember much after my dad left, other than that David and I watched the "Harbough Bowl" (Ravens v. 49ers).  I picked at the spinach dip (hating myself a little more each time I did it), watched some TV, and David went upstairs.

By one I was in bed, and I didn't wake up until almost two this afternoon.  I promptly started writing, sipping one of my dad's girlfriend's Smirnoff Ices that I found in the fridge.  David's been beta testing SWTOR all day, and I'm jealous.  My back aches, my legs ache, and I wish I could do it again next week.

Thanksgiving hangover. Part 1.

There's a difference between a Thanksgiving hangover and an alcohol-induced hangover.  The Thanksgiving hangover causes soreness in the lower back and legs; the subject sleeps 12 hours at a time; subject also wanders around the downstairs area of the house, gazing oddly at random objects:  a beer can on a table (subject does not drink beer), children's toys near the piano (subject is child-free), rolls still in the freezer (subject is an idiot and apparently does not prepare rolls for Thanksgiving dinner).

Subject forgot the rolls.  Thanksgiving was almost perfect.

So my rundown on my Thanksgiving this year:

6 p.m., Wednesday:  I needed David's help to get the turkey in the brining bag.  I only got a 13 pound bird, but I was convinced that was enough.  As I've mentioned a few times before, my family has a habit of preparing a shitload of food and then not eating any of it.  So between the stuffing, the mac & cheese, the mashed potatoes, the salad, the appetizers... there's no way 12 people could eat an entire turkey.

Anyway, so despite the bird being on the small side, it was heavy and awkward.  Reaching into the icy cavity caused my hand to feel like it had become detached from my body.  My attempts to prevent turkey juice from spraying all over my house and myself failed.  I then have Meltdown #1.  I scream at David because I can't get the plastic thing out of the turkey, and then I run to the bathroom.  I exit a minute later, see that David has freed the plastic thing, and instead of saying, "Oh, how'd you do that?" (i.e., be a normal person), I scream at him a second time.

Thirty seconds later, I had apologized something like eighty times.

After clearing the cavity, we placed the turkey breast down in the brining bag.  My brine was:

- 2 gallons water
- one cup salt
- two tablespoons rosemary
- two tablespoons parsley

I boiled the water to help dissolve the salt, and then I iced the water down to cool it -- if there's one thing I believe in, despite having seen an episode of Sandra Lee's cooking show, it's food safety.  Putting hot water on a raw bird is just asking for backed up toilets and dead family members.

We poured the brine over the bird, sealed the bag, placed the bag in a large pan, and refrigerated it overnight.

9 p.m., Wednesday:  I was drunk at this point.  I hadn't eaten anything since lunch except for two slices of American cheese.  But I was determined to make some food ahead of time, so I made the easiest dish possible -- spinach dip -- while watching The Blind Side with David.

10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained (and I mean drained)
1 cup mayo
16 oz. sour cream
1 package dry vegetable soup mix

Combine all in a medium sized bowl; mix well.  Put it in the refrigerator overnight.  Serve it in a sourdough bread bowl, hollowed out and with bite sized sourdough bits around the bowl.  That last part is for the execution, the "ooooh" factor, because I'm all about people thinking that I work really hard at food when the reality is that I was drunk.

10:30 p.m., Wednesday:  Consider making deviled eggs or pumpkin pie.  Reject both ideas because at that point, I was about to fall asleep, and both recipes are time-consuming.  Plus, I would have to be sober upon sober to make deviled eggs. I don't eat deviled eggs, but I make them for almost every other member of my family.  They're the kind of food that's like, "I'm really hard to prepare, but someone prepared me to prove that they love you."

I have the rest of my dinner -- one slice of wheat bread with spinach dip on it -- and watch bad TV.

11 p.m., Wednesday:  David turns the turkey over in the brine, and I pass the fuck out.  There's still laundry all over the dining room, and the front hallway smells like cat.

8 a.m., Thursday:  Ibuprofen, water, shower.

I find that chopping onions is a lot easier when my eyelids are crusted shut.  I prepare the dressing for my cranberry spinach salad -- my recipe is not on hand at the moment, but it's something like:

- two teaspoons minced onion
- 1/4 cup sugar
- two tablespoons toasted sesame seed
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika

If you try the above and it tastes like shit, don't blame me.  That's from memory.

9 a.m., Thursday:  David is cleaning and in a terrible mood.  He's waiting for me to have Meltdown #2.  I announce loudly that I am taking my Effexor.

I forgot to get ginger and cloves for the pumpkin pie, so David runs to the store.  While he's gone, I remove the rest of the laundry from the dining room, tidy up the floor a bit, wipe down the dining room table, and start putting together the centerpiece (just a candle holder, really).  This is while I'm hard-boiling eggs.

When David gets home, he isn't as ecstatic as I hoped that I'd made a dent in the cleaning, and I'm insulted that he insinuated that I'd have Meltdown #2.  I enjoy grinding cloves to bits more than usual.

10 a.m., Thursday:  Pumpkin pie is in the oven after unfortunate incident involving way too much pumpkin pie filling and a hot stove.  Kitchen now smells like burnt pumpkins, but living room is starting to smell better.  I help clean here and there, remove the boiling eggs from heat and cover them for 12 minutes.  I lower the oven temperature to 350, as the pumpkin pie was at 425 for 15 minutes (per the Libby's recipe).  I prepare ice water for the eggs to go into after being in hot water.  By the way, the eggs are in my Chef Basket, which I adore.

11 p.m., Thursday:  Pumpkin pie out of oven; I put it on a rack on top of the stove to cool.

Then I get to sit down!  I'm peeling the eggs, which I'm really bad at.  Lions game is on in the background, and we're just now adopting the No Smoking Inside The House rule.  David pours me a small cocktail, which I can't really drink unless I want bits of egg shell in it.  I later find egg shell in my hair.

12 p.m., Thursday:  Time to get the turkey in the oven.  It takes the two of us to lift it out of the fridge, place the brining bag in the sink, and get the turkey out of it.  David holds the turkey while I rinse it off.  He puts the turkey in the pan, which I take over to the stove, and then he disinfects the sink.

I do the following to this poor turkey, which by this time I've named Dumbledore:

- three tablespoons butter under the skin on each side of the breast (next time I'll use more)
- melted butter, chicken bouillon, minced onion, parsley mixture over the top of the turkey
- seasoning salt all over the turkey
- more minced onion around the pan

Then I threw that bitch in the oven at 350.

The house is coming together.  David has set the table, candles are lit, the Thanksgiving Day parade is recorded to our DVR thingie for my niece, and we're still watching the Lions game.

My mom arrives!  She brings crackers, Cheerios, strawberries, toys, etc. for my nieces.  Food:  Mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped asparagus.  She also brings whiskey.  Amen.

After the turkey is in the oven, I begin preparing the deviled eggs.  For a dozen eggs:

- yolks from the eggs
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mash that shit together, then put it in a Ziploc sandwich baggie.  Cut a hole in the corner of the baggie, and then squeeze the mixture into the sad-looking, empty egg halves.  Toss the baggie -- yay for no clean-up.  Make sure your mom is at your house so she can immediately wash the mixing bowl.  My dad likes to see a dash of paprika on the eggs, so do that too.  My sister-in-law likes it when I include a teaspoon of dill weed in the mixture, but no one else in my family likes it, so I never include it.  I only mention it here because I still think it's a cool idea.

1 p.m., Thursday:  More cleaning.  David thinks the whites of the deviled eggs are too soft, so we stick them in the fridge.  I then accidentally smoosh a deviled egg with a stick of butter.

1:15 p.m., Thursday:  My first basting of the turkey.  I nearly start a fire.  So this is why McDonald's is open today.

I get stomach cramps and have to sit down for a little bit.

2 p.m., Thursday:  My brother and his family arrive, and everyone starts drinking.  Fortunately, my younger niece is on the wagon this year.  Brother brings spiced pumpkin ale, which he made himself, and sister-in-law brings corn casserole.  Older niece brings a drawing she made for me of a dog, and a note on the back that says I'm kind.  Younger niece loves loves loves it when I pick her up and stand us in front of mirrors.

I bring out the spinach dip and deviled eggs, which are almost smooshed again by nieces playing an Angry Birds game.  Younger niece calls me "Susie," which I hadn't heard her say before.

3 p.m., Thursday:  Aunt and her family have arrived; my father and his girlfriend arrive.  They bring a shitload of food:  an incredible artichoke dip, broccoli and rice casserole, a cake from my aunt; dad and his girlfriend bring mashed potatoes and a cranberry fruit salad.  I could totally be forgetting a lot here.

By this time, I was working on a sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing (er, dressing, I guess, because I didn't put it in the turkey) -- I can't remember the recipe right now, but other than the ingredients listed in the name, it's also got onions, celery, toasted bread cubes, rosemary, sage, thyme (those three things make it smell amazing), and some other stuff.  Parsley also, I think.  A lot of parsley.

I toast almonds for the cranberry spinach salad.  Just has spinach, almonds, cranberries in it, then the dressing I made this morning.

Table is slowly getting more dishes on it.  We all take a few minutes to drink and "oooh" at the turkey.  It has reached 170, which I worry about, because I didn't want to overcook it, and it still has to rest.  My aunt's stepkids stop by -- they've already eaten, but I plan to feed them anyway, because food is everywhere.

3:30 p.m., Thursday:  Turkey is resting on the serving platter.  Casseroles in the oven, heating back up.  I have a cigarette outside with David, who says I get a D- in portion control and time management.  I disagree with the time management thing.

We carve the turkey and gather around the table.  My aunt makes an emergency dish of gravy, which I'd forgotten.  My plate looks like The Challenge dish at the Sunrise Diner.

Compliments of my turkey abound.  Success.  It is juicy and tasty, especially the dark meat.  Still too dry for me, but I'm a freak.

5 p.m., Thursday:  Everyone has finished eating and is helping with the clean-up.  I go to the freezer to put some ice in my glass, and fuck.  I see the rolls.

Meltdown #2.


I wanna use my potato masher. :(

I think my mom is mad at me because she told me that she and I should go for a walk around the Wabash Heritage Trail before it gets too cold out, and I replied with, "Isn't that where all the homeless people are?"  And now she's being icy and not returning my calls.  WELL.  THANKSGIVING IS CANCELED.

Just kidding.  But Mom, if you read this, I want you to know that I was kidding.  We can see the homeless people!  That's fine!  It sounds like fun!  Also, you are the most unique person I know.  And I mean it, because nobody reads this blog, so you would literally be one in seven billion.

I received a potato masher as a gift at my bridal shower, and after the engagement ended, my dear friends Alisha and Jeff -- the givers of the potato masher -- told me I could keep it on account of all my anger over my canceled wedding and that they would be happy to be responsible for relieving a part of the grieving process.

They also gave me trivets, which I use a lot more.  That's okay, though, because I gave them trivets when they got married.

Anyway, so I've still been stressed out, and one of my guests is bringing the mashed potatoes tomorrow, so I can't use my potato masher in a legal and socially acceptable way.  Still making appointments with the massage therapist.  Weird thing happened at one of my last visits there:  He was working on a knot in the corner between my neck and my shoulder -- that's been a problem area for years; it's hard as a rock -- when I suddenly felt like I was sweating bullets of ice.  Even my breath felt cold.  The minute that happened, he said, "If you feel yourself getting clammy, tell me."  I did, and he immediately stopped working on me and left to get me some water.  He said that my physical reaction to the massage was a sign that he'd broken that knot up and now toxins were flowing through my bloodstream; the water he got me was for flushing the toxins out.

**"The more you know..."**

Yesterday my dad took me grocery shopping for all my Thanksgiving items.  One thing I forgot, though -- a container or bag large enough in which I can brine a 13 lb. turkey.  At the time, I wasn't sure that I wanted to brine the turkey, but the more research I do, the more I realize that if I brine the turkey, there's a chance that it won't taste like sand.  So I'll need to run out and get a huge stockpot ($$$$) or one of those sealable bags for such an occasion (.$).

Had a chat with my boss about feminism today.  I discovered years ago that he is very much against the idea of a man asking his girlfriend's father's blessing before proposing marriage.  He sees it as a throwback to when women were considered property (and here is when I make a joke along the lines of, "you remember that era well, do you?", then he says "gee, thanks," he walks away, I'm left at my desk flailing my arms and yelling, "Oh come on!  It was just too easy!"), but I'm more of the belief that it's a "respect" thing.

The one time I was proposed to, the man talked to my father first, and I thought it was sweet because my father and I are really close.  I'm close with my mom too, but growing up, I was involved in a lot of sports, and from a young age, I would always be in the backyard with Dad, tossing a ball around.

So I disagree with my boss on this -- I don't see it as "please give me your daughter," but more like, "do you approve of this?  Your daughter thinks the world of you, and I think the world of her, so we both want you to be happy about it.  Do you have any advice about becoming part of the family?"  I was always the kind of girl where the only men eligible for my trust were my brother and my father, so it seemed fitting to me.  My boss sees it as antiquated and demeaning.  "You want to marry my daughter?  Go ask her yourself, y'moron," was what he said, and it got me thinking.

(Of course, my point might be shit anyway, because as soon as the engagement ended, all the men in my family told me that they wanted to like my betrothed, but they never really thought we were a great match.  Geez guys, way to blow it.)




Haven't posted in a few days, so I thought I'd give some updates...

1.  Have been super busy at work.  No time for pronouns.  Nd n tm fr vwls.

2.  Have been planning Thanksgiving feast, now known as "Gourmet Thursday" (a term my mom coined last year when I hosted).  I am having:
  • Ginormous turkey
  • Sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing (not stuffed in the turkey, though)
  • Cranberry spinach salad
  • Gravy
  • Haven't decided if I want to make those crescent roll things or just buy some French bread
  • Appetizers:  deviled eggs and spinach dip
  • Pumpkin pie
All my guests are bringing things, too, so the thought has already crossed my mind to leave plates full of food on my neighbor's doorstep.  Is it possible to donate the rest?

3.  David and I are in a cleaning frenzy with the house and preparing to drywall an upstairs bedroom.  We did more demo on it this past weekend -- taking the ceiling down -- and I have pictures and video of that, but I don't have a way to get them on the computer at the moment.  Will try to get that done this weekend.  But we are working feverishly to have the house spic and span by Thursday.  David rented a steam cleaner (which I unknowingly had a $6 coupon for, grr) for the carpets, and they look much better than before; they were stained from a year and a half of eating, smoking and drinking in the living room... and the stairs were stained when a family friend who shall remain nameless got a bit too drunk one day.  I just don't want the house to smell of cat.

4.  Got a new computer at work, and it's confusing.  It makes me feel old.  I find myself peppering David and my own IT people with questions -- "Where are my databases?  Where did my browser go?  It says I can't log in..." -- and it reminds me of trying to show my mom how to use a cell phone or talking my dad through the process of uploading a picture to a website.  At the time, I was just like oh, silly old people, but now I'm in their group.  The group of people who say things like "I clicked on the internet."

5.  My best friend at work left about a month ago, and a new person started yesterday in his place.  Not much more to say about that, other than I miss working with my friend and I doubt I have anything in common with the new person.  I say that because I don't often feel like I have anything in common with any of my other co-workers, either.  

And I almost forgot:
6.  Due to all the demo upstairs, we had an electrician come to the house on Saturday to take out the old knob and tube wiring in the attic, because -- contrary to everything you've ever heard -- it's a bad idea to walk on knob and tube and cover it with a bunch of insulation.  So the electrician took a look around and pretty much said the house should have failed inspection.  He walked into one of the rooms in the basement and all David heard was, "holy shit!"  Knob and tube was connected to new wiring, the boxes were warm to the touch, etc.  The electrician won't even take out the attic knob and tube -- won't even put his name on the invoice -- unless he fixes the stuff in the basement too.  So there goes another $1500.  (Do you think this would count as a project expense?  David was bragging about redoing that room under budget... and I'm in kind of a shitty mood, so I need someone to "neener neener" at.)


What? No fisticuffs?

My friend Grant was in town last night, so I went to dinner with him and our friend Beth.  To sum up the visit:
Me and Beth, who's drunk

Grant and me.  Photo courtesy of Beth, who's drunk

Meanwhile, the audit at work is finishing up without betraying the historical reputation of leaving political explosives in its wake.  That being said, sitting in on the audit was really exciting. 

Now that it's pretty much over, I can concentrate on Thanksgiving.  Time for a mass email to everyone invited to find out what they're bringing, since everyone insists on bringing something this year (just occurred to me that I cooked almost everything last year... I'll take the hint), and I want to avoid having nine green bean casseroles on the table.  David and I are getting the house ready -- cleaning cobwebs out of the corners, trying to finish drywalling a bedroom, finding out where any unpleasant smells are coming from.  Then on Monday, my dad and I are going to go shopping for food and booze. 

David wants to get the P90X DVD workout program for Christmas.  That couldn't come at a better time; I look pregnant in this dress.


I shouldn't even be surprised anymore.

So, yesterday we had a thunderstorm, complete with hail and several funnel clouds.  I didn't even know it was supposed to rain.  If anything, me not even bothering to check the map when the sky is dark shows my lack of faith in Indiana weather forecasts.

It was about 3 p.m., and I was in someone's office, getting something signed off, getting things ready for the Big Audit, and I noticed the sky was nearly black to the west.  My first thought was actually "fucking Daylight Savings," as it makes absolutely no sense for us to be on New York time when Chicago is RIGHT.  THERE.  but probably about five minutes later, I heard the sirens going off outside, and then one of the "sheriff"-type people got on the PA and demanded we go down to the tornado-safe hallways.  He also said that a tornado has been spotted in the area, which I later learned wasn't true. 

My co-workers and I spent the next hour in the lab hallways, waiting out the tornado warning.  It became reeeeeeally warm in this hallway, and after a while I felt like I was going nuts.  We were all but locked in these hallways by our security/emergency team, and I didn't want to get in trouble, but... I wanted to see the storm, for one thing, and I couldn't sit in all that body heat anymore.  So I crept around a turn in the hallway and saw 3-4 people checking out the storm from a side door.  Relief!

By the time the storm was over, we'd had one funnel cloud near the mall (five minutes from my house), one about ten minutes northwest of my work building, and an unofficial (i.e., the National Weather Service hasn't confirmed it on its little "funnel cloud/tornado interactive map" thingie) one near an intersection no more than two minutes from my work building. 

I got to this side door at a good time to see some action. 

Shortly after I took this picture, the hail started, and the sideways rain was so dense I couldn't see the trees (also pictured) on the other side of the parking lot.

Driving home after work, I saw a lot of minor damage like this.

And minor flooding like this.  If I were still driving my low-to-the-ground coupe, this might have been a little more serious, though.

And you know what, the last time we got audited, I think we were under a tornado watch.

EDIT:  For anyone who came here looking for a better post, check out one of my kittens playing with string:


I believe I've reached "Disgusting"

Someone needs to make up just one word for the particular type of fatigue that occurs after Staying Up Too Late And Drinking Too Much™.  Most people just say "hungover," but to me that implies headache and nausea as well.  I don't have headache or nausea, but I have the glazed eyes, the "ughhghghghh" every time I get out of my chair, the sensation that I am 70 pounds overweight (either because of the gallons of vodka, the 1700 mg of sodium that was in the entire pizza, or the 15 hours I spent playing SWTOR), and the suspicion that I could probably fall asleep within ten seconds if I just rest my chin on my hand.

But I need to be in good shape tomorrow -- big day at work.  Of course, I'll still be playing a lot of SWTOR, just without all the booze.  Less booze means running into fewer walls in the game.  And in real life.


And I thought I was already a nerd.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night playing Star Wars: The Old Republic as a weekend beta tester.  As I've mentioned before, SWTOR is pretty much like World of Warcraft, but with better storylines and Star Wars stuff.

I was a bit intimidated at first -- very overwhelmed with the controls, buttons, whatever -- but I kept hearing Cartman's voice from the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft," where he says, "Go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you."

All the pressure came from the fact that David has been so deliriously excited for this game to come out.  He convinced me to play, and we set up a guild with our friends and family members.  I just wanted to be awesome right from the start.  A natural.  Like someone who could just swoop in having never played an MMO RPG in her life and conquer everything.  (Okay.  I didn't have a better analogy, so I just said exactly what I was trying to do.)

And I was awkward.  I was frustrated.  I kept running into walls and getting my directions mixed up.  David would tell me to look at my map and see what I needed to do; I looked at my map and calmly asked, "WHAT THE FUCK AM I LOOKING FOR.  JESUS FUCKING CHRIST."

After only about an hour, I took a break and made us some enchiladas.  I thought that watching last night's episode of Kitchen Nightmares (which documents the trials, tribulations, and idiocy of the family that runs the Los Angeles insane asylum restaurant The Burger Kitchen) would help soothe my nerves and relieve some of the pressure I felt I was under, but now that I see that logic in the light of day, I wonder what the fuck I was smoking to think that Kitchen Nightmares could do anything less than make someone develop epilepsy.  Not one person in that family was likable.  The mother, who yawns and feigns sleep with an obnoxious look on her face and doesn't listen to anyone.  The father, who has conspiracy theories and hovers around the kitchen like a fly on a horse's ass and doesn't listen to anyone.  The son, whose whiny voice leads everyone to believe he's a "victim" when he's really just a doormat with ugly hipster hats who's also too stuck up to listen to anyone.  And the son's girlfriend:  Obnoxious, ugly hats, doesn't listen to anyone, and obviously on meth.

The American version of that show is such crap -- family members scream at each other until one of them does a complete 180 and starts crying, and then Chef Ramsay gives them a new menu on a silver platter and leaves.  But I digress.

I came back to the game with a full tummy of enchiladas and the knowledge that nothing is more annoying and frustrating than shitty people.  And I got more agile, I got used to some concepts, and I started taking actions on certain things where David responded with "atta girl... I didn't even have to tell you!"

This morning I woke up -- NOT sore from my massage, yay! -- excited to play the game again and eventually become all fat and zitty like the South Park characters on a mission.


Is being surrounded by idiots entertaining or frustrating?

First off, I'd like to wish David a happy Veteran's Day, thank him for his service, and express my gratitude for the fact that he came home safely.  Well, he's got a bit of a bad shoulder.  And a potty mouth.  But still.

David, relaxing at home in "his" king chair.  Buy a veteran a drink today!
Meanwhile, I have had one of the longest weeks at work I've ever had.  I never planned to write much about work on here because I don't want to get dooced, but it's tempting.  To top it off, we're getting our annual audit next week.  And even though audits are just a part of the industry, they still make me really nervous.  Just the connotation of the word "audit"... like when I was eighteen and filling out my very first 1040EZ, I have memories of my mom hovering over my shoulder, at first warning me, and then demonstrating how easily she could fly off the handle:  "Be careful how you fill those out, and save all your receipts.  You don't want to have any regrets if you get audited, because that's serious stuff.  Wait, what are you doing?  Don't write it in like that!!  WHAT IF YOU GET AUDITED?!"  Cue me looking around in fear, expecting to see a silhouette of an auditor in a Fedora and a suit creeping around outside, waiting to audit me and ruin my life.

I even went to an internal auditing course earlier this year.  I passed the exam, but really all I did was frighten myself.

Anyway, so I've been pretty tense at work, resulting in headaches every day.  I then realized that I'd had tension headaches every day for a long time, so I finally broke down and got a massage.  First time I've ever had a male massage therapist (though he calls himself a "physical therapist," I can't really bring myself to say that I'm in physical therapy, because I feel like I'd need a prosthetic leg or something to get that distinction), and yes, it's awkward.  It's hard not to think about, especially when he's talking about the knots I have...in my pectorals. 

One thing that was cool, though:  when he started out (and most massages I've gotten start out similar to this), he just circled around the table I was on, firmly pressing on each "area" of my body.  My feet, shoulders, etc.  When he was on my legs, he pressed down just above my knee, and as he continued to work, he said, "So how old were you when you threw your back out?"

I was 19, at a Rush concert.  I hadn't told him that I was rocking out to "Working Man," felt a hollow pop, couldn't move the next day, and pretty much spent the rest of that summer in a chiropractor's office.  That chiropractor was hot, though.  Looked like Mr. Clean.  Anyway, but I guess my hamstring still gives it away, eight years later.

He worked on areas that, once loosened up, will take care of my headaches.  Some moves didn't surprise me... he did my neck, my shoulders, and upper back.  But he also did my pecs (Dad, if you're reading this, please don't shoot him), and he stuck his fingers in my eyes, which is ultimately what got rid of my headache.  I have never heard of this.  Has anyone heard of this?  How does this work?!  It was very intense, especially the eye part, and several times during my 60 minute massage, I had to breathe through the more painful parts.  When he was done, he asked how I felt, and I told him that my entire upper body felt like I'd just run a mile or done a hundred push ups.

So that was on Monday.  Tuesday, I pretty much felt like I was recovering from surgery.  I was miserable.  He'd told me to hydrate, and I was like, "Mmmhmm, okay, yessir," and then I was all, "oooh look, vodka," and I didn't use any ice packs like he'd instructed, so I basically did it to myself.  And then I had a shit day at work.  I need to invest stock in Pfizer.  I've had so much freaking ibuprofen over these headaches/neck aches that I'm surprised my liver hasn't gone on strike.

Anyway, is anyone reading this a male massage therapist?  It was really a different experience for me.  I mean, I know it's just your job and everything, but seeing ladies in the buff... do you ever check them out?  I couldn't help but wonder that while this guy was working on muscles just below my collarbone.  One person I mentioned this to said, "Well, male doctors see naked women all the time, and they don't check you out because they're just doing their job.  It's the same thing."  I dunno... male doctors don't work on women's bodies in a sensual way in order for them to feel pampered.  Male doctors do, however:  apply gauze, weave stitches, test reflexes, maybe perform surgeries, etc.  And they have to literally instruct people to say "ahhhhh."  Massage therapists just do whatever they do, and people say "ahhhhh" pretty much nonstop for an hour.  (Although in my case, the massage therapist was beating the living crap out of me, so I was not "ahhhhh"ing.  In fact, at one point, I kept telling him to go fuck off.  He didn't mind.) 

Wish me luck for my appointment today.  Actually, wish me luck for tomorrow.  I hope I feel better than I did on Tuesday.

In other news, I got a weekend beta invite for SWTOR!!  I downloaded it last night, so after my massage, I'll be testing out on whatever Sith class isn't as busy.  David's guessing that'll be the classes that don't use lightsabers.  So, so exciting, even though David hasn't gotten my new gaming computer yet, so I'm still on my bitty laptop while he's on his monstrous new gaming computer with eleventy-thousand-billion GB or whatever.  (I don't know anything about computers.  All I know is that there's a blue light in the tower fan thingie, so his tower glows blue, and he's got different color lightbulbs for it as well.  It's super pretty.)  I'll just play on a low graphics setting until I get my new PC. 

David and I aren't going to get anything done this weekend, I think.  Not counting SWTOR stuff.  Which sucks because Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and we're hosting.


Star Wars: The Old Republic

So David got a beta invite for SWTOR.  I am so jealous.  We've both pre-ordered our copies, but I've still got to wait probably a month before I can play, too.  He's been playing ever since he ran home from work yesterday to download it on the brand new computer he bought for this sole occasion.  I don't know anyone that can focus like he can.  He was up until 2 a.m. last night, and he was playing again when I got home from work today.

I'd have more of the screen in the picture, but he's under a confidentiality contract.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with SWTOR, it's a new MMO that comes out in December.  It's like WoW, but Star Wars-based.  David's already set up a guild, which he'll be leading.  It's my first MMO.  I'm a bit nervous, because I've never been a Star Wars fan -- admittedly, I've never even seen any of the movies -- and I'm not a big fan of science fiction in general, either.  But David has seen the meticulous way I play Sims enough to say that I would not only love this game, but excel at it.

Everyone else I talked to who is beta testing for SWTOR say it's the last game one would ever play.  I hope they're right.

And I hope David can manage to leave the computer in a few weeks to come downstairs for Thanksgiving dinner.


The Vintage Union

Maybe some big news.  I might be recording a piano part for my cousin Jon and his band The Vintage Union in a song that Jon wrote about our grandmother after she passed away.

The most poignant lyric in that song is, in my opinion, "If I could only live my life the way she played piano."

She taught me how to play the piano when I was three years old.  Twenty-four years later, I could be recording piano to a song about her.  I'm not new to the recording studio -- in college, I was in a band with another girl and we recorded several songs, and we also played in a few places around town (including a coffee shop in which Peter Tork later held a concert).

Playing at the Skylight Coffeehouse in downtown Lafayette, IN, circa Summer 2008.  I'm on the left.  Peter Tork later played on this stage November 5, 2009.
However, my piano skills are a little rusty now.  I don't even play anymore, especially if anyone else is in the house, because I don't want anyone to hear my elaborate mistakes.  Here's hoping that I'm able to get some prep first.

Oh, and just for some proof that I have, in fact, met Peter Tork (and he totally flirted with me, but I have no proof of that):


Pointless practices

Screw it -- his name is David.  This is David.

 I started calling him D. because, when I started this blog, my fiancĂ© at the time didn't want his name in it.  I called him P., and when I started talking more about David, I just automatically started doing that.  I'll still call my ex P., and I'll still call my wayward ex-friends C. and M., but who knows for how long.


Who has two thumbs and doesn't know how to pay bills?

Remember, remember the first of November
The bills were paid, I thought;
Then for some reason, the one time this season,
The mortgage I forgot.

It's actually the first time ever I have forgotten.  The whole time I've had this house.  I'm an idiot.

Here's what happened:
Knowing all my bills are due around the first, I cozied up to my computer and went to my bank website.  I noted that the cable bill, my car payment, my cell phone, and both of my student loans (from Wells Fargo and the Department of Education) had been automatically paid.  Excellent, I thought, when I saw my checking account balance -- I had more than enough left over to pay the rest of the bills and then make significant payments to credit cards.  So I go through the payments --

Gas bill -- $22
Electric bill -- $89
Water bill -- $28

I made a payment to Home Depot, because that's where D. and I got all our stuff to drywall my bedroom.  The bedroom isn't done yet, and we're on this 12 month no interest plan thingie; I'm hoping we can have the bedroom done by the time we pay off the card...

ANYWAY, so I check to make sure there was no balance on the Kohl's card.  Not that I had to check, because I've been deprived of clothes shopping for months now.  Every time I see that $0.00 on my Kohl's statement, I feel frumpier.

I then pay off my Amazon Visa, which was only about thirty bucks.  Then -- thinking, "D. is going to be so happy and proud!" and "I hope we don't have an emergency before D. gets paid on Friday" -- I take every last cent out of my checking account and put it toward my bank credit cards.  One of the cards, once paid off, will never be used again, and the other card will be used to make big purchases, but only when we have the cash saved up to pay it off that same month... that way, we still get my rewards points, but no finance charge.  (I think.  We don't have the money book yet.)

So I'm sitting there with my calculator, doing the math on how long it'll take to pay off the rest of my cards, and I glance at my checking account statement, where I happen to see this:  WF EFS STDNT LN AUTOPAY PPD.



Wells fucking Fargo.  The lender for my student loans.  And, incidentally, my mortgage.

"Oh, fuck," I said out loud in my cubicle.  The guy that shares my partition paused for a second during his phone call before resuming his discussion.

I forgot that they take my student loan out of my checking account on the 28th, but they usually don't take my mortgage until the 2nd.  I had seen the "WF" in my account before I started paying bills, and I somehow reasoned that I'd already paid the mortgage.  I didn't pay attention to the "EFS," because I'm not smart enough to realize that it stands for Educational Financial Services.  So then, suddenly, I didn't have a cent left, and Wells Fargo would end up trying to squeeze water from a stone.  Tomorrow.

Maybe I could call them?  Ask them to wait a few days before my room mate is paid?  Ask them if I can pay with a credit card?  (That was an option I didn't want, as I'd just paid an amount equal to one and a half mortgages to my credit cards.)  Could I write them a check?  Maybe I could get hired one night as a waitress somewhere and make a bunch of cash.  Wait, no, a waitress wouldn't make enou-- ooh, stripper!  I bet I could pull in some good money there.  But then what if Wells Fargo finds out that their homeowner is stripping for extra cash?  Really, I just wanted to insist that they tell me why on earth they would lend to someone who is such a fucking moron. 

I called D. instead.  One of three things could've happened:  (1) He would be mad and say something like, "No wonder we never save money!" and then I'd probably cry; (2) Maybe he would have a solution somehow??; or (3) He would provide moral support, despite my mistake that could easily be our treacherous path toward foreclosure and homelessness.  Having slept on dirt before in the Army, he would probably adapt better than I would as a homeless person.

"I messed up," I said in a small voice.  "I paid down the credit cards but didn't leave enough for the mortgage."

"Why don't you just make a transfer from your savings, and I'll pay you back on Friday?"

............ oh.  I have a savings account.  Left over from the first-time homebuyer tax credit, for which I had to go through a lot of red tape, as ex-fiancĂ© P. had to amend his taxes to let me have the full amount of the credit.  And D. isn't mad.  He didn't even make fun of me, and he always makes fun of me.  Like when I botched my hair:

So I stuffed some cash in a savings account after the tax credit, and the whole point was to not touch it -- that's why it didn't even occur to me earlier to use it to pay the mortgage... I'd pretty much forgotten I had it.  But now I'm rethinking it:  I'm not making enough in interest to even justify having a savings account.  I'm losing more money in interest on the credit cards than I am earning money in my savings account interest.  I have made literally $0.06 with this account.  So this week I'll be taking my savings and paying off the credit cards, down to every filthy penny.  After that, I don't think I'll be using credit cards anymore -- I think they're giving me a rash.