Category Archives: family and friends
I have to start by saying I was completely unaware that Abercrombie and Fitch was still considered the store for the cool kids. I was also unaware that teenagers still use the terms “cool,” and ” the in crowd,” when referencing the popular kids being that the last I checked, teenagers today are not characters from ”Grease,” and use a whole slew of words that most of us born before 1990 don’t even understand. But if the backlash surrounding this article highlighting their CEO’s comments is any indication, the war between the popular kids and the geeks is still going strong. Only now there’s the added stipulation that you can’t be one of the cool girls if your pants size is in the double digits.
CEO Mike Jeffries made this comment in an interview with Salon (several years ago, to my understanding, if we’re all being fair,) ““In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.”
So let me get this straight. Essentially, the CEO of a clothing line known for their overtly sexual advertisements showcasing standard-sized fashion models – which is somewhere around a size 2 -stated that they make their clothes with their target demographic in mind. Their target demographic is teenagers who fit the common perception of beauty. And the common perception of beauty for a female is not a size 16. It’s just not.
Is that fair? Fuck no it’s not fair. Is it right? Of course it’s not. Does it need to change? Of course it does. But bear with me a minute. When I was a teenager, there was a store in Woodfield Mall – I’m not sure if they were a chain or not - called 5-7-9. Why were they called that? You guessed it – those were the sizes they carried. Of course, they also carried sizes 0-4, but they didn’t carry anything above a size 9. When I was a teenager, I would have sold my goddamn soul to have bought my dresses from 5-7-9. That’s where everyone who was ANYONE bought their clothes. However, Jesus blessed me with early puberty and a set of knockers that required underwire at the tender age of 12; juniors clothing was out of the question way before I was a junior. Was I overweight? No. Not at all. At 16, I was a solid size eight. (And yeah, it has to be said that OF COURSE I want to go back in time and bitch slap teenage me and tell her that that Mountain Dew addiction was going to catch up in a major way and manifest itself in a lifelong affair with sugar and fast food that she will never, ever shake.) But my point is that I was a very healthy 5’4, between 130-145 pounds, and a I felt like a GIANT compared to my girlfriends. And not being able to fit into clothes from 5-7-9 was kind of heartbreaking. I couldn’t understand. Why did all of their clothes look terrible on me? How did their size 9 jeans not pull over my hips? I wanted their dresses, I wanted their clothes, I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to buy my damn dress in the Misses section of fucking Penneys, no matter that it looked a thousand times better on me. It wasn’t from the POPULAR store.
Fortunately, my mother has a low capacity for unwarranted histrionics and finally – likely after a hissyfit of giant proportions on my part – put her foot down and said something along the lines of, “Their. Clothes. Don’t. Fit. It doesn’t matter how mad you get about it, they’re still not going to fit. I’m not sitting here anymore.” And while at the time I was probably apoplectic with the anger only a teenage girl can muster, she was so right. And I am so, so damn glad she didn’t let me buy an ill-fitting dress just because it would have made me happy in the short term. Christ knows I have enough pictures of me with a mullet and with a tuba and braces and glasses and perms; I certainly didn’t need to add a too-tight, fuschia-feathered nightmare to the mix.
What’s my point? That was damn near twenty years ago. The stores and the trends might have changed, but the perception is the same. Mr. Jeffries certainly surprised people by coming outright and saying it, but to me, the backlash is misplaced. Saying that Abercrombie hates fat people because they don’t make sizes above a ten for women is like saying that Lane Bryant is discriminating against the single-digit ladies. Boiled down to semantics, it IS the same thing. They’re both making clothes to fit their target audience, to flatter and fit their customers. And Abercrombie isn’t the ones making their audience the cool kids – there’s about a million other societal factors that make the “cool” kids synonymous with the “beautiful” kids. Abercrombie is simply cashing in on it.
There’s no easy answer or quick fix. But I think my mama had it right: this doesn’t work for you, here’s something that DOES, go kick ass in that instead. Who the fuck cares where it’s from, who cares what the label says, who cares what size it is, look at how great you look. Concentrate on that, drill it into your daughter’s head every day. You look beautiful, you ARE beautiful, I love you. No clothing line is ever going to do that. no matter how popular it is.
And if your kids are part of Abercrombie’s “cool” standard and you don’t want them to shop there? Tell them why. They may not get it now, and they might not agree with you because, hey, they’re teenagers. But explain yourself. So many of the comments I’ve seen in response to Jeffries’ statement have been contradictory to what their point should have been, “Well, he obviously wants to try and be around the cool kids now because, look at him, he clearly wasn’t when he was in high school.” What is that proving? It’s okay to make fun of someone’s looks if they did it first? It’s okay to call someone ugly if they call you fat? What does that teach anyone?
No wonder kids are confused. I am too.
Like so many others yesterday, I watched the tragedy in Boston unfold on the news – standing with co-workers in the lunchroom, mouths covered in horror, heads shaking in disgust, eyes tearing up in sadness at yet more lives lost and damaged beyond repair. The act of one person ruining the lives and hopes and dreams of so many. What was supposed to be a triumphant celebration of achievement, a joyous occasion of accomplishment shattered by unspeakable violence. More questions of what can we do, more fear of where we can go, and more disgust at the actions of cowards. Our country mourns yet again; this time with another city, with another demographic, over another type of violence.
I think any writer with a modicum of a platform, no matter how small it may be, would be remiss in not addressing this attack on some level. The part I need to address is hope. Yes, hope. Since the advent of social media, anyone with access to the internet can voice their opinion publicly, can share their thoughts and feelings and words. And so very much of what I saw on Facebook and Twitter yesterday was, for the first time in a long time, simply support. From tweets simply reading, “My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the tragedy in Boston,” to statuses sharing from all over the world, “NY Loves Boston,” “Dublin’s Heart is With Boston,” to pictures of the Boston skyline, to entire articles depicting the emergency personnel and civilians alike running toward the injured instead of away from the chaos.
The helpers. The picture and words I saw the most yesterday were that of the beloved Mr. Rogers, who said this, “Always look for the helpers.” What phenomenal advice. Look for the helpers. Look for the ones who are doing what they can to make a horrible event bearable. There were so many yesterday. The exhausted runners who should have been celebrating the culmination of years of hard work with an ice bath and a chair continuing to move, to push wheelchairs and help people up and give blood. The people of the city of Boston opening their homes and hearts to those stranded in a strange city that had just been attacked, no questions asked. The restaurant owners giving out free meals without regard to their bottom line. Google setting up a site to help frantic family members find their loved ones. The emergency personnel; the doctors and nurses and fireman and police and EMT’s and servicemen who have dedicated their lives to helping being put to the ultimate test and stepping up once again. The list goes on and on.
Smartphones make it almost frighteningly easy to immediately share pictures and videos without censure; many of us saw some raw video footage of people with limbs blown off, puddles of blood, and tearful horror within minutes of the explosions. But so much of what I saw yesterday gave me hope. These videos were unscripted; this was real life and real reactions, and so much of it showed helpers. These are real people. This is the real world we live in. In the midst of explosions and terror and unknown, these were real people that did everything they could to help. And that is what our country is made up of. Helpers. We’ve shown it over and over and over again, in New York and Pennsylvania on that dark day in 2001, in Newtown just before Christmas, in Boston yesterday, and countless other times; there has always been more helpers than evil. There has always been more love than hate. We just need to remember it.
There’s many who will say I’m being naive, that I’m trying to find the rose-colored lenses for a pair of broken glasses. I’m okay with that. Because I’m right. I may not always remember it, but we’re surrounded by helpers. Try using my rose-colored glasses – you’ll see it too. Instead of the sadness of the homeless person on the corner, you’ll see the helper who drops a quarter in his cup. Instead of the frustration of a crowded bus, you’ll see the helper give up his seat for a tired mom. Instead of anger at being stuck in a long line, you’ll see the helper patiently counting out change for the elderly person at the front. And instead of pure evil in a time of terror, you’ll see the helper in not only the people in Boston that physically risked themselves, but in the millions of us around the world who did what little we could to show our support. To help.
Mr. Rogers was a smart man. Always, always look for the helpers. They’ll be there.
A friend of mine recently posted on her Facebook page, “Skydiving!!! One more thing to mark off the Bucket List!” and for some reason, it stuck with me. I love the whole idea of a Bucket List. Things to do before you die, things to strive for, places to go. It’s a great idea. It gives us a sense of purpose; it helps us give our lofty dreams some sort of structure. I started thinking, “Hmm, what would be on my Bucket List?” I did some Googling – is that a word? It should be – and stalked some other people’s lists and oh, holy baby Jesus, you people have some GOALS. Hiking Everest and ziplining in the Everglades and saving starving children and starting charities – amazing. My list? Not quite so lofty. And even as I wrote mine down, my mind immediately came up with 400 reasons of why that particular idea was the dumbest one I’d ever had.
But I’m not giving up. It’s my Bucket List and I can do with it what I want. So I still wrote out my list, and then let the rational part of my brain yell at the hopeful, creative side. The result is that now I think maybe not everyone needs to make a Bucket List and some of us should probably just be happy for every day that goes by in which we don’t get hit by a bus or shit on by a pigeon.
Courtney’s (Sort Of) Bucket List
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
- Thought: I love cats! I have time! Ever since my stupid Potato cat went missing and I visited every shelter in the south suburbs looking for him, my heart breaking at these poor kitties in cages, I have wanted to volunteer and spend time loving on these neglected animals.
- Counter Thought: Are you even serious right now? First of all, at that one shelter you went to looking for that idiot cat, there was a fucking PIG there that had just had babies. Can you see yourself caring for a PIG, Courtney? Think about it. Also, remember that one time you went to the pet store when you had PMS and almost came home with an ugly dog, even though you don’t even like dogs all that much? Let me paint you a picture of how this ends – you, fourteen cats, and a piglet. Alone.
See the Northern Lights
- Thought: That would be so amazing to see. I hear Alaska is a great place to see them – I could kill two birds with one stone! I mean, who ever goes to see Alaska? Plus I’d see the amazing lights!
- Counter Thought: You know what else is in Alaska? A raging drinking problem. And darkness. Given your love of beer and the fact that not seeing sunlight for more than 48 hours makes you homicidal – this is not the place for you. Any lights you see are likely going to be hallucinations. Why don’t you try for an eclipse or super moon here in your home state, yeah? We’ll get you a telescope or something.
Live in a Continuously Organized, Orderly Space In Which the Corners of Baseboards are Always Clean
- Thought: This isn’t impossible. My mom does it. My sister does it. It’s likely just a simple system – a routine I need to get into. I bet if I do a complete overhaul, I can keep everything spic-and-span and never have a heart-stopping panic attack again when someone drops by unexpectedly!
- Counter Thought: Really? It’s just a routine you haven’t quite picked up in the past 20 years? Sure. I wasn’t going to do this, but let me remind you of what happened last week. Remember? DO YOU?? You got a new towel off of the shelf and then had to take a whole new shower after using it because it was covered in cat hair. Why don’t you concentrate on never, EVER letting that happen again before you start scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush.
Do One of Those Walks/Bike Rides For Charity
- Thought: Why not? I could help people and get exercise all in one. It looks like such a rah-rah good time, and for such a good cause!
- Counter Thought: Are you even fucking kidding me right now? You bribe people on a weekly basis to go places for you so you don’t have to walk up your stairs more than twice a day. Also, not to be the bearer of bad news, but giving up cigarettes did not magically take 50 pounds off of your frame, give you the gift of balance, or shrink your giant head so that it will fit in a normal-sized bike helmet. This one’s a super nice idea, but let’s keep it on your level. Try a nice short walk at a local high school – I know you, you’re going to sign up for that 3 Day Walk and you know damn well you don’t like to do ANYTHING for more than 45 minutes at a time and you’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment.
There was more, but one can only imagine what my subconscious revolted with when the word “Skydiving” crossed my mind, so I had to stop because I was hurting my own feelings. Regardless, I still think it’s a good list and am standing by it. What’s on yours?
Some of you may have heard in the past few days that there’s been a pretty amazing concert announced in the Chicago area. Facebook and Twitter has blown up with people near apoplectic with excitement for July and one can only imagine how they’re going to wait six more months.
That’s right, New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, and freaking Boyz II Men are coming to the Allstate Arena!!!! The Package Tour!!! I can’t even believe it!! (Wait, did you think I was talking about Pearl Jam at Wrigley? You should probably stop reading now cause you most likely don’t like me anymore.)
I’ve been a diehard New Kids fan since my tuba-playing elk days, and despite my friends and family making decidedly more pointed “suggestions” that perhaps I don’t need to advertise this fact as proudly as I do, I am so very excited about this concert. In addition to my favorite boy band ever, NKOTB – seriously, Boyz II Men?? I mean, who doesn’t have great memories to one of their songs? Admittedly don’t know much 98 Degrees as I was too busy drinking at fraternity parties in college when they were popular, but I’m confident I will love them.
So last night, I was home alone again and decided the best way to spend my evening was to watch “The View” on which this heartstopping announcement was made. i found a 30-minute video on YouTube and settled in for happiness. Below are the thoughts that were swimming around and slamming into each other in my head as I watched. If you’d like to follow along, feel free. Here’s the video. And please don’t put me in a straitjacket. At least not before July.
- Well, Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s still annoying as fuck.
- aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh I still love you Donnie!!!
- But what’s with the glasses, man?
- Why is the audience filled with desperate looking old girls?
- Dammit. That’s EXACTLY what I look like. Potato! Get me a beer!
- OMG! Nick Lachey is still super cute. I miss “Newlyweds.”
- Although, God, that bitch was dumb. I wonder how often Nick wanted to smother her with a pillow but couldn’t because of the cameras?
- Struck with a memory of an argument in which I defended Jessica, stating, “When you’re that pretty, you don’t have to be smart.” Mentally kick self repeatedly in head.
- OOOOHHHH I loved that song!! They used to play it at the bar!!!
- Wait, New Kids came before Boyz II Men? How old am I?
- I’LL MAKE LOVE TO YOU, LIKE YOU WANT ME TO!!
- Didn’t there used to be four Boyz? Did one die? That’s super sad.
- Ah, answered. He just left the group. Smart move, dummy. They probably won’t make any money on this tour. Glad he’s not dead though.
- I don’t want to hear about you giving your kids bottles backstage, gentlemen. You’re supposed to be sexy.
- Wait. I guess if I had kids that might be considered sexy.
- Dammit, again. Potato, beer me!
- Did Drew Lachey beat out Joey McIntyre on Dancing with the Stars? Why didn’t I watch that show again?
- Shut UP, Elizabeth. God, you’re irritating.
- Seriously, what grown woman actually believes her husband has never looked at porn?
- A really, really naive one, that’s who.
- OH-OH-OH-OH-OH!! THE RIGHT STUFF!!!
- I never did get that dance down.
- “That’s cause you’re disturbingly uncoordinated. You can’t even walk down the stairs without a handrail, spaz. Remember when you almost killed all those people walking to the Blue Line cause your shoe was untied?” (That was my subconscious. She’s an asshole with an excellent memory.)
- Heh. They said “Package.”
- I STILL LOVE YOU DONNIE!!! SEE YOU IN JULY!!!
So yeah, I know it’s not groundbreaking, Grammy award-winning music. And I know I will be mocked mercilessly for the next few months for being so excited. But it makes me happy. All of that being said, I WILL name my firstborn after anyone who can score me good seats to this show,
Also – aren’t you glad you don’t live in my head?
Seriously, how cute are we? I’ve had that shirt since 1989. And it still fits! (Sorry, 11 year old Courtney. But we’ve already established you were a hot mess.)
In doing some research as to how to make my cats suck less and smell better, I came across this encouraging article, written by the managing editor of The Daily Cat, one Jennifer Viegas. In it, she describes how pets, and cats in particular, can have a positive impact on a person’s health and well-being. After snorting with laughter throughout most of it, trying to compare the sweet housepets she describes with the two rotten animals I live with and finding nothing in common, I decided to counterpoint her hypotheses with my own experience.
**Disclaimer – I love these stupid cats more than I like most people I know. They are treated extremely well and I would never actually do anything to harm them, no matter what I say.***
Cats as Pets Have Direct Health Benefits, such as Lower Blood Pressure.
Apparently Ms. Viega’s cats are well trained and have never used her clean laundry as a litterbox. My small cat, Potato, despite all working parts and no health issues other than being a complete and utter asshole, has a real affection for us. So much is his affection that he feels it necessary to mark his territory on our clothes, shoes, purses, coats, and occasionally bed. If you don’t have high blood pressure yet, I challenge you to get up for work in the morning, step out of a clean shower, and put on a shirt, happily going about your morning routine until you realize that the smell you’re noticing is actually you, and you now need another shower immediately. And now? You’re late. Imagine spending hours setting up a Christmas tree, lovingly putting up each ornament, only to wake up to a cat-sized hole in the middle of it, the tree on the ground, and your ornament from Disney World busted into gazillions of very sharp pieces. Or imagine exhaustedly climbing into bed late one night, sleepily pulling your blanket riiiiight up to your face only to shriek and throw it at the other cat – Ramon, who is helpfully standing on your head – in horror. Take said blanket down five flights of stairs and sleep with a nothing but a sheet in the dead of winter and then talk to me about lowered blood pressure. The above scenarios, no matter how calm you are, WILL make you want to set your cat free and get the blood pumping right to your head, I promise.
Cats Improve Psychological Health.
Bullshit. Have you ever wandered up and down a dark street, in the dead of night, shaking cat treats and yelling, “Potato!! POTATO!!!” while your neighbors look on with a mix of interest, pity, terror, and curiosity as to why a fat blond girl would need more carbohydrates? Have you ever had to apologize to two separate family members, trying to explain that their hospital-requiring bite marks are because Ramon “really doesn’t like to be touched?” Have you ever woken up to the sound of a cat joyfully rolling a golf ball around your house while you lie, terror-stricken, convinced that not only are you being robbed, but it’s by a completely crazy person who is trying to make as much noise as possible? Have you ever tried to reason with an eight-pound ball of fur, to the point of tears, when said ball of fur scratches your hands and hisses at you while you’re trying to work? Because nothing makes you question your own mental health more than when you actually say to an animal, WHILE CRYING, “Please, please, just leave me alone! I’ll do anything!”
Cats are Forever Friends.
My ass, Ms. Viega. MY ASS. Maybe your cats are forever friends. Mine? Are forever trying to escape and murder me. I bet your cat doesn’t curl up against you, purring, right before sinking her teeth into your arm. I bet your cats don’t knock open the bathroom door in the middle of the night just in time to trip you in the dark. I bet your cats never hid in a basement for four days, eating the food you hauled down five flights of stairs but staying hidden from view, forcing you to crawl around said creepy basement with a flashlight, looking inside old refrigerators and trying not to get tetanus from the rusty nails and lumber stored down there. I bet your cats haven’t hidden inside your boxspring so many times that it’s now ruined from all the time you’ve taken a knife to the fabric, trying to set it free. I bet your cat never hauled ass into the basement late one Friday night after you’d had too many beers, causing you to fall down the stairs and bruise your tailbone.
Cats Help When No One Else Can.
I’m starting to hate you, Ms. Viega. Where are these animals? Where are these happy cats that do things other than make you spew made-up profanity? Are they helping you have less houseguests? Because that’s what mine do. One time, Ramon helpfully ruined Valentine’s Day when she tried to eat some roses and then got her leg caught in the chair when I pushed her off the table. Another time, Potato ruined my entire day when I realized he’d peed in my purse far, far too late. Oh, and another time, Ramon ruined my tremulous hold at being a good pet owner when the vet said, “Oh, yes. She’s a difficult one, isn’t she?” after looking at her chart while she was trying to climb inside my shirt, claws first.
Then again, they’re not on Prozac like my sister’s cat, so maybe we’re doing okay? Probably not? All right. I give. The cats suck, Ms. Viega. There’s no getting around it. I’ll send you the medical bills to prove it.
Does anyone actually put their head down on the pillow in the evening and wake, rested and ready to face the day, the next morning at an appropriate time? Because I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened to me – save the occasional anomaly and the slightly more frequent “whiskey makes everything better!” nights – in approximately 20 years. I have a nice bed, I have a nice pillow. I’m lucky that I live comfortably enough to have heat in winter, and while central air would be far preferable to my (free) wheezy window units, a cold shower and a fan will keep me cool enough in the summer.
So why can’t I sleep through the night, you ask? After the past several nights found me lying wide awake staring at the moon and pondering such important topics as “I wonder if I have all of the ingredients to make mashed potatoes tomorrow?” and “Tomorrow if elevator 12 is the only one open, I’m totally not getting on. It’s way too slow and makes a funny noise. I’m just waiting for the next one,” I put together a few things that may be interrupting my REM cycle.
If you want to sleep through the night – don’t have pets. Or, more specifically, don’t have my cats. No one likes my cats. One of them bites, one of them pees, both of them are kind of horrible but for some reason I love them anyway. Well, I love them most of the time. Excluded times would be pulling a sweatshirt off the shelf only to discover it’s been used as a litterbox, apologizing to family members whilst offering to pay their hospital bills for penicillin, and trying to sleep. The first night we brought our older cat, Ramon, home, she was an adorable little kitten bouncing all over the down comforter through the night. Ten years later, she’s not happy unless she’s sitting on your face with her extended claws resting on that sensitive skin under your arm. Try and move her and she squeaks and hisses and meows like you’re trying to pull her teeth out. Try to push her off the bed and she becomes a stubborn, horrible being much like one of those inflatable punching bags that just keeps popping back at your face despite your strongest pleas and efforts. (Side note. When you find yourself trying to bargain with the cat to get off the bed, you’ve already lost.) As for Potato? My sweet, terrified insane cat? Let’s put it this way. A few nights ago, he found a golf ball which we had (because we’re assholes) stolen from mini-golf at Navy Pier. Somehow, he managed to transport it from a table in the kitchen to a chair in the dining room and was having a cat PARTY playing with it. If you’ve never heard the sound of a joyful cat playing with a golf ball, let me just say that the only thing you’re missing is a “What the FUCK is that?” in the middle of the night.
Crippling, Childish Fear of Monsters and Murderers in the Dark.
Okay, I’ll put it out there. I am a big, giant, ridiculous baby when it comes to getting up in the middle of the night. I am the first to admit that I cannot watch a scary movie – to the point that the mere thought of seeing Paranormal Activity last year gave me palpitations every time I went in my basement – and have been known to walk out of a room when Criminal Minds is on because I know it WILL keep me up. During the day, I am a (mostly) fully functioning adult, with a job and a college degree and a full set of pots and pans. In the wee hours of the night? I turn into a toddler who has, on more than one occasion, considered waking up my husband just to sit up and make sure there were no scary men with hatchets waiting for me in the bathroom. (I haven’t done it because the chances of him cracking me with the baseball bat under the bed is far more likely than hatchet man lurking behind the door.)
I’ll never forget, when my sister first started working and was a floor nurse, talking to her one evening when she mentioned, “You know, I don’t think I’ve gone to the bathroom since I left the house this morning!” It was six o’clock in the evening. I had peed twice since we’d been on the phone. I cannot make it through a movie, a car drive further than 30 miles, or a long commercial without having to pee. Incidentally, everyone HATES going places with me and any time we go anywhere, I am asked no less than three times by no less than two people, “Did you go to the bathroom?” I’ve been tested and there’s nothing wrong with me, I just simply cannot retain liquid for more than four minutes. So unfortunately, I rarely make it through a night without having to get up at least twice to use the bathroom. Combine that with my paralyzing terror of leaving my bed in the middle of the night, and I spend a lot of time with a racing heart clumsily running from the bedroom to the bathroom, turning on all of the lights in my path. Which, incidentally, wakes up the cats on the off chance they were asleep.
The culmination of the above three things, plus the addition of a husband who apparently enjoys making my heart stop, is what makes up the situation in my apartment at 3:45AM yesterday morning. I woke up and had my usual immediate thoughts, which generally consist of, “What in the actual fuck was that dream about?” “I wonder which cat this is that is currently paralyzing my foot?” and “DAMMIT I have to pee.” I tried to hold myself off a little longer, which did nothing other than to feed my fear that the vague shadow in the kitchen was a vicious intruder, and then finally gave in to my stupid bladder to get up. As quick as I could, I tiptoed through the hallway to the bathroom, did my business, then took a deep breath for the scary, shadowy journey back across the hall. Upon entering my bedroom, I saw that my husband was sitting straight up in bed. (Which. Is. Fucking. Creepy. I don’t care who you are.) My heart in my throat, I croaked, “What are you doing???” No answer. Making the miraculously brave move of walking toward the bed, I ask, a little louder, (and likely MUCH more panicky,) “Why are you sitting up?” Because he hates me, (or according to him, “Didn’t hear you, you f*ing psycho,”) he didn’t answer again. So, again being brave, I decided to crawl into bed, because even though in my terrified little heart I knew he was obviously murdered, I couldn’t just leave him there.
And then I landed on the cat and completely lost my shit.
The cat yowled and tried to escape, but was momentarily stunned and halted as I fell face first onto the bed, letting out a bloodcurdling scream that would rival that of any horror movie actress. Which set about a chain of events that went something like, “What in the FUCK is wrong with you???” ”WHY ARE YOU SITTING STRAIGHT UP??” Followed by some relative nonsense (because really, after that, there’s no intelligent conversation to be had,) and then some more hissing and repositioning of the cats, who were extremely distressed about the whole thing, which was then followed by another half hour of no sleep because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
And that’s why I don’t sleep. Whiskey, anyone??
Hmm, apparently when your computer explodes in a puff of smoke and your brother in law tells you it’s a quick, $30.00 fix, you should listen to him instead of only using the internet on your phone for the entire summer. That was much easier than expected.
Anyhow, life’s good. We are loving the city so very, very much ~ enough that the nightmares of drunk neighbors and Beavis and his dad are nearly erased. While my sense of direction will never be as good as my father’s, I now have a solid concept of where I am at any given time and can navigate us to ANYWHERE via public transportation and the help of rtatransit.com. We have made some great friends already, and any stories posted about them will be of the funny variety, not the hate filled assaults you have become accustomed to. In addition, due to the fact that we are enjoying our new place so very much, this will also be known as “The Summer of Beer,” which tends to make things more interesting.
So much has happened in the past few months that is blog worthy. For instance, the fact that every time Tony gets drunk now he finds it absolutely necessary to climb the towering, three story Norwegian spruce in our backyard. Or perhaps the party we had and the seventeen increasingly alarmed emails from my mother regarding my (lack of) preparation for it. But those are nice long stories on their own, to be told at a later date.
But I’ve missed my computer and writing, and I need to put some of this on paper before my brain takes over this space with other useful information like junior high friends’ phone numbers and middle names. In looking for some inspiration, I came across a website with a bunch of famous quotes. There’s happy quotes, there’s inspirational quotes, there’s motivational quotes. I’m a sucker for that shit, so I read through a bunch of them thinking I would maybe tape one or two to my monitor at work, so the next time I find myself presented with a 5,000 page print job, I may smile through it instead of hoping that someone will come kidnap me. I found some great stuff, and thought to myself, hmm, I should try and apply these to my life. What I came up with wasn’t exactly Socrates type material, but it’s probably funnier. Please note I’m taking these quotes directly from this website, and am assuming they are accurate because I’m lazy.
“Life is what you make of it. Always has been, always will be.” Grandma Moses
Yes, it is. A few weekends ago, I checked Facebook on a Saturday afternoon. An old high school friend had posted a a cute story about her son not wanting to put his tooth under his pillow because he didn’t want the Tooth Fairy, a stranger, in his room. (Smart kid.) And I thought, hmm, I bet she didn’t wake up to Marzilli standing over her saying, “Why the hell are you sleeping in the dog bed?” While I could have pondered the fact that friends my age have children losing teeth while I’m still bumbling around, I instead concentrated on the fact that I had one damn fun Friday and wow, am I glad I don’t have to change a diaper today.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Robert Frost
True. For instance, some people might get upset when they walk out to their car on a Monday morning to find a flat tire. And a flat spare. And then get even more upset when they come back home and find no parking signs posted up and down the street said car is on. But the bonus of having the most ridiculous luck on the planet is that you don’t get very surprised anymore. Instead, you think, hmm, good thing there’s a bus that will take us to work and you enjoy the ride. (The monkey wrench here is I didn’t realize there was a 49B bus that will take you only to the Brown Line, which is four blocks away. The fact that the bus driver, who watched us basically run two of those blocks to catch said bus, didn’t mention that, makes him an asshole. A big one. But other than that, we didn’t sweat it. Simply devised ways to end his career.)
“It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice.” Ron Burgundy
Yes. It was the hottest summer on record in Chicago in 17 years. The only people unsurprised by this were me and Tony. In fact, I called it when we moved in. Why, you say? Because we didn’t have air conditioning. So it logically follows that of course the temperature would hover around 90 degrees for 45 days. Going to bed became an Olympic event similar to the “Cooking dinner without setting off the fire alarm” extravaganza in Chicago Ridge. Take a freezing cold shower, put the box fan directly next to our heads, and pray to fall asleep before you dried off. Also, close the blinds as the apartment building next door looks directly into our bedroom. Add to that the fact that Tony tried to put in the window units one night and I made him him take them out (yes, I did. I still maintain that putting them in at midnight after we’d been drinking a solid portion of the day would not have been smart and they WOULD HAVE FALLEN OUT) and there was a Crips/Bloods level of animosity building on the days it reached 100 degrees.
“>”Challenges make life interesting; however, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Mark Twain
I should have this one taped to my forehead. Or to Tony’s, where I could see it all the time. I wonder if Mr. Twain ever had a bed collapse at 2AM while he was in it?? Because that? Was a challenge. About a month ago, I was planning on executing the simple task of leaving my bed to use the bathroom when the entire bed, whoomph, crashed to the ground. After a quick “WHAT THE FUCK?” from Tony, we jumped up and immediately pulled the whole thing up, as poor Potato is not adjusting well and spent roughly 99.5 percent of his time sleeping underneath it. Once we ascertained that we had not flattened our pet, I continuted on to the bathroom, only to return to my husband, blissfully back asleep on a mattress half on, half off of the broken frame. After a half hour of swearing (at each other) we had placed the entire thing on the floor and Tony once again fell into a deep slumber while I lied awake in a panic sweat, convinced the cat was inside the boxspring and suffocating as he comfortably slept, despite having checked it multiple times.
“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” Barbara Bush
We just got back from a family vacation, which was awesome. However, this quote makes me think, “Hmm, I wonder if Babs ever got into her cups a bit and uttered anything along the lines of ‘Dear, if you’re going to be that close to the fire, take your feet off!!!’” My guess is no. But I’ll also guess that if Jenna had to pee, Barbara’s husband would nicely pull the boat over instead of suggesting she drop trough and moon the senior citizen’s home on the lake.
“If you yell at a cat, you’re the one who is making a fool of yourself.” Unknown
I wish I could find the person who first said this. I would like to ask him/her if, when they moved, they ever encountered a cat that manifested his unhappiness by peeing inside every purse in the house, no matter where they’re hidden. Or if their other cat reacted to moving the litterbox three inches by peeing all over the bathroom floor, as though the box was now impossible to find. Or if their cats discovered the joys of playing dice at three in the morning on hardwood floors. Or if they’ve ever been scratched in the eardrum in the middle of the night when something, likely a mote of dust or slight breeze, scared the bejesus out of the cat. Or if their cat figured out how to turn on a remote control light, rendering its owner mute, terrified, and unable to get out of bad at 3AM. (Because, you know, the first thing a robber/rapist/murderer is going to do is find the light for my shelves and illuminate the house.) And then I would like to ask them if they ever yelled at their cat.
So there’s my life lessons. They’re likely not going to be published next to Einstein and Thoreau, but hey, you get what you get. Life really is what you make of it. And I have a damn good one. In the words of my good buddy Charlie Brown, “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.” Enjoy, smile, love your life.