October 23, 2007

Tre, domesticated.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, my big ass house and my two other roommates and I have been, recently, seeking a fourth roommate. The unfortunate events include but are not limited to letting a douche live with us -- a douche who we thought was our friend -- and then later having that douche douche out on us, by which I mean move to another state a mere week before the beginning of the month (when, lest you forget, rent in the amount of $600-$800 is due).

This has resulted in a few interesting twists in my life over the past month or two.

One of them is that my boyfriend moved into my house.

Now, before my mother starts sobbing hysterically about how hard she tried to "raise me right" and my brother starts repeatedly calling said boyfriend to threaten his life unless he propose, I should clarify: he moved temporarily into my house. Just for a month. To help us with the rent while we sought a "real", non-boyfriend, roommate.

The whole living with your significant other thing is an interesting experience. I've never really been decided on whether or not the rule should be one MUST live with their significant other before marraige or one MUST NOT, and this experience hasn't done much to convince me either way.

Let me explain, pro-con style:

Pros: Your respective schedules, and coordinating them, is no longer an issue, as you're guaranteed to see each other at least once a day, albeit sometimes when you're sleeping.

Another pro? Mealtime. Without even discussing it, Jim and I slipped effortlessly into the ryhthm of making breakfast and dinner for each other. I'd make french toast one day, he'd make egg sandwiches the next. I'd do corn chowder for dinner, he'd do salmon and rice the next day. There's something, as you know, that I find ridiculously sexy about cooking, and cooking together in a house that you both belong in is a whole 'nother hot, intimate, wonderful experience.

Plus there's just the pro of being in the general vicinity of the person who is your most significant other and therefore one of your best friends. Yes -- you better be able to fart in front of each other or your relationship is doomed -- but more than that, it's just nice to come home or wake up and have that person be there, happy to see you, every day.

But there are some cons. Like now he knows exactly how long it takes me to get ready to go out -- about 15 minutes longer than I'd like to have him believe. And he's seen -- and smelled -- me in less than desireable conditions. Living together, you're no longer able to carefully craft your image... cards are all on the table, face up, chips down.

But it gets worse. Take, for instance, the other day, when Jim came home to find me in the hallway outside the washer/dryer, a confused, guilty look on my face.

"I couldn't help it!" I cried, perplexed and flustered.
"Help what?!" Jim was confused and suspicious.
"I saw your laundry pile, and it was just sitting there," I said, face red, hands flapping about, "...and I had nothing better to do, so I just... I just... DID YOUR LAUNDRY!!! Without asking!"

I was horrified. I had become, overnight, a wifey/matronly type who, under the guise of doing her significant other a "favor", occupied her compulsive self by doing laundry like some sort of crack-chore-doing-whore.

There is no end to all the things I suddenly want to do for Jim that he is perfectly capable of doing on his own -- and probably likes doing as a perfectly capable modern man! Like making doctor appointments, cleaning up, doing dishes. Hell, I don't know how to iron and I've been tempted to iron for him!

And I'm OBSESSED with my crockpot. Jesus. I spend 15 minutes a day on Recipes.com looking up crock-pot enchiladas, crockpot stews, crockpot winter chicken roasts. I'm like the weirdly domesticated version of my former self -- suddenly my greatest concern is how I'm going to get a fresh, hot meal on the table in the least amount of time after work. Two months ago, my greatest concern was how to get my blood alcohol level up to .20 in the least amount of time after work.

What has become of me? Am I losing my sex appeal? My spark? My wiley singleton way? Has the constant exposure to testosterone suddenly caused a surge of the opposite in me? Or is it just the winter and the approaching holidays, and that innate female desire to nest, nest, nest when the weather gets chilly?

Whatever it is, it's a phenomenon, and one that's taken me by surprise. I think it must be a phase (a theory I'll test in a week when Jim moves out and into his new place 45 minutes away from me).

In the meantime, I'm going to play out the rest of this little domestic fantasty by going home during lunch to start my spicy black bean soup -- tonight's meal.

But aybe while I'm there, just to be safe, I'll change into some lacy underwear... you know, to keep things cosmically balanced.

October 19, 2007

The past, Hitler, and Rome, according to my mother.

"Hey! That's where my car froze solid one winter and I was stuck here for a week!" I exclaimed, arm outstretched, pointing to a multicolored leaf-strewn residential road on the outskirts of my old college town. My mom and I were driving through it last weekend on the way to our family cabin, which we were traveling to winterize. And I was in the midst of an ongoing flashback, nostalgic and thrilled by the rapid-fire memories I could hardly verbalize before they were overcome with another more powerful one.

"And that's my old house! Oh God, the fondue parties we used to throw..."
"I had my very first class in that building... and there is where I learned how to throw a football... and there's where we used to sled in the winter and mudslide in the summers... and that's where I'd always go to skip class... and that's where I met--"

I stopped short for a moment, torn between enjoying the memory for what it was and mourning its presence at that moment.

Undecided, I turned towards my mom in the car.

"Isn't it weird how strongly attached certain places and things are to people from your past? Even when you don't want them to be," I moaned, "they just can't be untangled."

"Oh honey," my mom scoffed, half-laughing, half-scolding, "tell me about it. I've got 30 years worth of those places and things!"

My mom is recently divorced. From my dad. Her first marraige "failed", if that's the word, after 30 years. And she's doing incredibly well - looks better than ever, smiles all the time -- it was a good thing ultimately, as breakups almost always are.

But the truth remained: she has more memories painfully tied to my father, a compulsive and abusive cheater and liar, than I have of my entire existance.

"Oh yeah," I said. "Does that make you angry? I mean, aren't those memories prone to just barging in unwelcomed?"

"Eh," she shrugged, "At first, I guess. But after a while you realize that all those memories are true, and really happened, and are a part of your past. What are you going to do?"

"I dunno, brainsurgery?" I quipped. "Have you ever seen Eternal Sunshine?"

"Well, there's a lobotomy, or there's recognizing that where you've been before defines you, regargless of if it was as graceful or as spotless as you wish it were. The fact remains that you are who you are today thanks to where you were yesterday."

I nodded. .

"It's like Hitler," she said. "He killed a bunch of people. Mostly Jews. It's horrible, you can't pretend it isn't, but in the end, is what it is. A real part of the real past. You can't undo it."

I nearly broke my neck I whipped my head towards her so fast. Searching her face for a hint of sarcasm while failing to hold back a torrent of horrified laughter, I managed to get out a punishing "MOM!" and then "You realize you just compared your ex-marriage to the Holocaust, right? Don't you think that's a bit much?!"

"Well," she said, eyes dancing with health and humor and a bit of that gypsy mystery she has about her, "Maybe, but when in Rome..."

"Mom, I don't think that's the right context for..." I stopped, smiled and shook my head. "Oh, nevermind."

October 18, 2007

Airlines are the devil. Now gimme my window seat!

I had a conference and a couple business meetings to attend lastweek in Texas, for which I bought plane tickets weeks ago. I was over zealous when buying the tickets, and decided I could tough out a redeye flight, which would save me a night in a hotel, but also get me to my destination city early enough to not feel rushed and deal with anything that went majorly awry before it was, as they say, "showtime".


The night before the flight, at about 10 p.m., I got my handy-dandy Orbitz flight alert with that perky lady who proceeded to tell me my flight, scheduled to take off in 2 hours, was delayed. Yes, a red eye flight, delayed. So I called the airlines in an attempt to catch a later flight out -- like one when, I dunno, the sun was up.

And do you know what the nice lady with the southern accent told me? There was a flight at 11 the next morning which I could get on, but I would have to call back at exactly 11 p.m. to claim the ticket, as there was some sort of 12 hour rule. And there was no amount of convincing I could do to get some leniency on this rule, I discovered.

Well, shit. That meant I had to get in the car and start driving to the airport while calling the airlines at precisely 11 to hopefully snag the last ticket on that flight. So i did. And 20 minutes later, guess what I discovered? No ticket left. But there WAS, I was informed, a flight at 12:30 the next afternoon, and if I wanted to wait until 12:30 a.m. -- or 3:30 a.m. for the 3:30 pm flight, I could do that.

What the fuck? This is a bullshit rule. I was ON THE PHONE, with my CREDIT CARD IN HAND, dying to buy a ticket, and they told me that on a technicality I'd have to skip my flight, cross my fingers, turn around in a circle, and stay awake until 3 in the morning to MAYBE buy a plane ticket for 3 in the afternoon!

This made no sense to me. So I hung up and continued to the airport, where my flight was further delayed. By almost 1 a.m. I was finally boarding, looking forward to my window seat, when I discovered seating had been rearranged, and I was now on an aisle.


I hate aisle seats. I hate them because I can't ever fully relax in them (relaxing is imperative on a redeye flight, as you simply cannot be the one asshole with the reading light on in a pitch dark plane for 4 hours). I can't relax in them because I'm always afraid someone in the middle or window seat is going to need to pee and I'm going to have to get up so they can get out, because if I'm asleep when they have to go they might feel uncomfortable waking me up.

Now, I'm the ideal window passenger because I'm like a camel -- I get on planes and no matter how long that flight is, I NEVER have to get up to pee, or primp, or puke. No sir. I am asleep in a window seat before takeoff, ipod in place, and wake up right about when the plan touches down, sometimes slightly after.

So maybe that actually makes me more like a sloth or hibernating bear than a camel.

No matter, you get the point:

1. Redeyes suck
2. Airlines are the devil (albeit with very friendly voices in customer service)
3. If you're the person who has to pee once an hour on cross-country flights, you might remember me. I'm the person in the aisle who politely lets you out and then sticks her foot out to trip you on your way to the tiny cube potty -- for the THIRD TIME. Nice to meet you.