Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Not So Pretty

I have a little chore that I need to complete for the wedding reception, but in order to proceed I need mugshot-type pics of both me and Steven. The problem is that we never seem to be attractive on the same day. I washed and flat-ironed my hair last night, so I had high hopes to get the pics done this afternoon, but alas, I started my period. That makes me photogenically incapable for the next 4 to 6 days. Which also means that Steven will reach maximum attractiveness this week, then take a sudden homely dive just as my face clears up and my hair stops frizzing. We really should coordinate our looks. At least for the wedding.

I'm going to go and eat ice cream.

Current Status of Mr. Squirrel

As of this morning at approximately 7:15 a.m., Mr. Squirrel was still alive, although he sounded weak and disoriented. Which is exactly how I felt at 7 this morning too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Operation Bamboo: Complete!

The joke's on you Bamboo Man cause I got my bamboo!
And this bamboo did not just appear under my pillow one night, delivered by the Bamboo Fairy. No sir. This was all the doing of my Aunt Susan (my dad's sister) in Pennsylvania. Aunt Susan made all my bamboo dreams a reality, by getting us this beautiful stack of bamboo here. Brooklyn loves it so much that she decided to pose for a picture with it (and because I smeared it with peanut butter). And this bamboo did not come easy for Aunt Susan. There was some detective work involved, a little bit of sneakiness, and she even had it transported across state lines from Pennsylvania to the Virginia border. The kind of stuff Burt Reynolds, ala Smokey and the Bandit, would be impressed by. And I'm impressed to. Thanks Aunt Susan. Fifty thousand bonus points for you, redeemable on our wedding day weekend.

Things Are Getting Squirrel-ly

I've got a new alarm clock. It's in the form of a squirrel that visits our attic every morning at 7:15 a.m.

If you've never been to our apartment, then let me give you a brief layout. We live in a row of conjoined rental townhouses. We don't actually have a singular attic, but a joint space that spans the entire row of townhouses. According to Steven, it's a dismal & horrid place. He said there are so many holes in the roof that it's not even dark in the attic because so much sunlight is allowed in. Of course, when he describes this, I picture a serene Baptist church punctured by beams of sunlight coming through massive stain glass windows. I don't think it's quite that lovely. On the contrary. When Steven merely lifts his upper torso into the forbidden zone, he's masked in a hat, goggles, gloves, and clothes that he does not care for. He looks like one of those guys at the end of E.T.

So through these roof holes we obtain some new friends from time to time. A few months ago, we had a rat. I know it's a rat because I actually saw him one day. I came downstairs and walked into the kitchen to make my coffee. I was still rubbing the sleepy out of my eyes when we saw each other. We actually saw each other. He was sitting on my kitchen counter. He looked at me. I looked at him. And then we both panicked. I screamed, and he hauled ass across the counter. Of course, the sight of him in motion took my scream to a higher octave and that was enough to wake Brooklyn (and believe me, that's saying something. Normally, she doesn't get up until the coffee's ready). I don't like rats. Or mice. I never wanted a hamster. But I must say, this was a very handsome rat. He did not look like a hoodlum rat. Oh no, this rat knew people. He was white with black splotches, and had a gorgeous coat of disgusting, puke-out-my guts rat fur. I would not be surprised if this rat had an agent, and would potentially be in some absurd family comedy starring Eddie Murphy or Brendan Fraser. But for the time being, he was on my counter....hauling ass. He hauled is little furry butt right into the top of my oven. I've since been baffled by his choice in escape routes. It would not seem wise to use any sort of major kitchen appliance as a getaway vehicle. But I've never been able to escape anything, so what do I know?

Of course, Steven was out-of-town and unable to handle this little rodent problem. And Brooklyn was completely unwilling. So that left me to deal with it. At first, I tried to be civil with the rat. I thought, WWWDD? (What Would Walt Disney Do?) If there was only some way I could exploit this thing for millions of dollars. Maybe this was not a disgusting rat eating breadcrumbs off my kitchen counter, but a mouse with a dream. Maybe he was planning on cooking me breakfast or tidying my house. Soon, I realized this was highly unlikely. I had no eggs or pancake mix, and he would not be able to push the vacuum cleaner with those tiny little paws. I decided that he had to be murdered.

I planned on being humane by purchasing "no kill" traps and sonic sound things, but that crap didn't work. I didn't have the heart (or stomach) for sticky traps. I could not get old-fashioned snap traps to work without hurting myself in the process. And...I'm about to confess day....I stole a cat. I borrowed the cat really. And she was already in my yard, so technically she was trespassing. But it was pointless. Turns out, I catnapped the laziest damn animal next to Brooklyn on a rainy day. She was a napper, not a mouse hunter.

So I moved on to poison. It worked for the girls in 9 to 5, the evil queen in Snow White, and it worked for me too. Rat problem solved. But now we've got a new problem -- Mr. Squirrel. How do I know it's a squirrel? Context clues. He sounds very acrobatic and busy. He's much more motivated than a rat. Plus, he's very punctual. He keeps a set schedule every single day. At 7:15 a.m., he starts to scratch and gnaw in the attic and he actually moves in a set path throughout the ceiling. By 9 a.m., he's done. This is his schedule, every single day! Now, everybody knows that rats don't have enough pocket space to carry a watch, much less a map and compass. But squirrels do -- why do you think they have those bushy tails? It's not for balance, it's cargo space.

Yeah, I know. It could be something else. But I'm not Discovery Earth, I don't have a film crew capturing the goings-on of my attic. There could be another rat up there, or a wayward penguin. Maybe a drunk and confused Rip Torn, looking for his house. Hell, it could be that cat that I kidnapped, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I really don't know what's up there, and I don't care. This stupid freaking thing has been waking me up every morning for 4 days now and it must die. With any luck, after a few days and a few handfuls of poison, it'll be nothing more than a dead lump of furry regrets.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Splendor in the Grass

My dad is sick, so I mowed my parents lawn out of the sheer goodness of my heart (read- my parents guilted me into it. Ugh, why don't I have a brother and/or why don't my parents own a goat?!?) I'm really crappy at mowing lawns. I can't get the lawn mower started at all. Someone else has to start it for me, which means I have to do the front and back lawns all at once cause I can't let the mower shut off. The real problem is the shaking. I've got kinda puny arms, so lawnmowers and weed trimmers shake the crap out of my arms. I overcompensate by holding on with a death grip. So needless to say, I've got blisters on my hands.

The mowing actually went pretty well until the very end when the lawn mower started making strange sounds. Maybe it was running out of gas, maybe it was tired? I'm not really sure. I'll admit, I have rarely ever mowed a lawn, so I'm not up-to-date on my lawnmower sound diagnostics. I only had a small section of the yard left. And you know the section of the yard I'm talking about. It's the small patch of grass on the side of the house where it connects with the neighbors crappy little patch of grass. You both secretly hope the other one over-mows so you don't have to, but that rarely happens. So I half-assed finished the job and put the mower back in the shed.

Then I saw Brooklyn. Apparently, she thought it was a good idea to roll in dog poop, followed by grass clippings. Basically, she tar and feathered herself.

So now I had to give Brooklyn a bath. It's actually pretty easy to give Brooklyn a bath at my parents house. When they had their master bath remodeled, I don't think they planned on creating a dog spa utopia, but they did. They have a very large walk-in shower with swinging glass doors and stone floors. So once a dog gets trapped in there, they can't get out. The shower head is removable, so no matter what corner they try to hide in, you can squirt them down easily. My favorite thing about giving Brooklyn a bath in that shower is, without fail, she will attempt to open the door with her paw at least once during the bath. She walks up to the glass door and rests her paw against it. It never moves. The problem is that I don't think Brooklyn knows how to push. I think she assumes doors work by merely placing your palm against them -- like in Star Trek. She doesn't get the whole pushing thing, or she's just too lazy to push...I'm not sure which it is.

In the middle of Brooklyn's bath, I heard a loud KABOOM!!! My initial reaction was that it was the lawnmower exploding in the shed. It was not. It was the Blue Angels practicing for the air show this weekend, and they got a little close to the house. Hopefully, they didn't get too close. I would hate for them to notice the crap job I did on the lawn.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Magical World of Home

We're back from Florida! We had the best vacation ever. Technically, it was Steven's first vacation, so it was especially exciting for him. But it really was a great, super fantastic time. I have nothing bad to say about anything. Those Disney people, they run a really top notch organization there. They've got it all figured out. Pretty much all their rides are family friendly*, and when you exit the ride you walk directly into a gift shop. Seriously, every ride emptied into a gift shop. And no worries about having to carry anything around their park cause they send it right to your hotel of charge. Genius!

*Family Friendly...ha! Check out this short clip of me on some runaway train ride at Magic Kingdom. I'm a wiener. I'm not good on rides.

We went to 5 theme parks in 5 days (Magical Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios). So needless to say, I'm pretty freaking tired. I need a vacation from my vacation. We had a blast, but it's nice to be home. The only problem is, some little punk fairy wrecked our house when we were gone. I could have sworn we left a clean, meticulously organized and spotless house. But when we came home...clothes everywhere, mail everywhere, unwashed glasses in the sink, and no toilet paper in the bathroom. How could I leave on vacation and not stock the toilet paper first? Did I think, upon return, we would no longer need to use the bathroom? Did I think Disney World would equip us with some sort of non-defecating superpower -- like a lame, lesser known superhero? My only real option was to use old wet naps from Buffalo Wild Wing that I found in the junk drawer. And that's not good for anybody involved -- not for me, not for the toilet, and definitely not for Buffalo Wild Wing's branding department. So needless to say, I had to pretty much hold it until I went to work on Monday. I don't know what Steven did. And I don't want to know.

So what I'm getting at is this...I'm too tired to post right now.
I'll post more later. But in the meantime, here is treasured picture from our vacation. It's a borderline racist pic from a It's a Small World-esque boat ride in Epcot. Notice that the little Mexican kids have Donald Duck strung up like a pinata and are having a grand ol' time beating him to get to those sugary treats they love so much. Maybe a cinnamon churro even? Good times!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Anatomy of a Half Marathon

The Rock n' Roll Half Marathon was this morning.

Here's my timeline:

5:30 am- Alarm goes off. I've only gotten 4 and a half hours of sleep. Steven has only slept 2 hours, staying up till 3 am with a tummy ache and watching old Richard Pryor movies on his laptop. Brooklyn having had 10 hours of solid sleep feels well rested, but questions our motives for getting up so early. She retreats under the covers.

6:30 am- Steven has dropped me off at the race start. I do my stretches, eat half a bagel, GU Chomps (energy gummy bears), and contemplate standing in line for the port-a-potties. I do not need to go to the bathroom, but last year I found a 20 dollar bill in a port-a-potty. It was a surreal moment finding a perfect 20 bill on the ground of a disgusting port-a-potty. Like finding pirate treasure while pissing. I left it on the ground because I didn't know where to put it (I would have had to stuff it down my sports bra). Gross. This year, I came prepared with a running belt. Still...I don't wait in line for the port-a-potties.

7:00 am- Race begins for the fast people (i.e. the Kenyans). Everybody else waits patiently for their start. I begin to daydream about the riches I could have found in the port-a-potty.

Mile 2.5- My right knee is bothering the hell out of me. This is particularly alarming because my right knee is my "good knee." I pull to the side and try to stretch it out. It doesn't work; it still hurts. I think if I keep running, it will eventually "pop" but it doesn't. I start feeling like a schmuck for finally reaching the age where I have a "good knee" and a "bad knee."

Mile 4- My iPod shuffle has played 4 songs in a row from Britney's Spears album Circus. I begin to question my iPod's judgement.

Mile 5- I get behind a jogger with a "Running in Memory of BLANK" on the back of their shirt. Under the name is a picture of an American soldier. While I truly appreciate people running for fallen friends and family, I don't want to get emotional. I divert my eyes.

Mile 5.5- Enrique Iglesias's "I Like It" comes on my iPod. I start thinking about The Jersey Shore.

Mile 6- I get behind a girl with a virtual rose garden tattooed across her entire back. Red roses. Yellow roses. Black roses. On the small of her back (tramp stamp area), it says "Rose." Really? I thought your name might have been Lily. There are a lot of bad tattoos on full display during the race. Tattoos on thighs and hips and necks. I appreciate bad tattoos while running. In school, I learned that Buddhist monks cherished imperfections in pottery because it gave them something to stare at while they were meditating. The worst idea for a tattoo that I have ever heard was this girl wanted to get the story of her and her boyfriend tattooed down her mermaids. That's right, I said mermaids. Damn, I wish I was running behind that girl right now.

Mile 6.5- I'm given a GU Energy Gel. It's vanilla. I do not eat vanilla or chocolate GU. For the reasons, you might be thinking (she whispers- when they get warm, it's like eating poo-poo and man juice). Gross. I give my vanilla GU back to the volunteer. He is not pleased and tries to hand it back. I ball up my hand little kid-style so he can't force it back into my hand. My little kid trickery works. I go to the next volunteer and grab some more GU. It's blueberry. I hate blueberry. Curses.

Mile 7- For no apparent reason, I begin thinking about Pat Benatar, the headliner for the American Music Festival in Virginia Beach this weekend. Years ago, I saw her perform for free at the 24th Street Stage at the oceanfront. She destroyed it. Her husband plays guitar in her band and they've been married for 28 years. His nickname is Spyder. During his guitar solos, she stared at him with the sort of adoration that only a young girl could hold for Justin Beiber.

Mile 8- I see a guy dressed in all white and wearing angel wings. He is running in memoriam of his friend, Erik. I divert my eyes.

Mile 8.5- I get behind a father and daughter team. On the back of her shirt it reads, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!" On the back of Dad's shirt it reads, "WHAT? THIS IS MY PRESENT?"

Mile 9- I start thinking about chocolate chip pancakes. This is not unusual. Steven and I are having brunch at Citrus immediately after the race. When I ran the Shamrock Marathon in March, I was motivated by Captain George's seafood buffet. I actually developed a cadence around mile 16 where I just repeated "Shrimp, shrimp, shrimp, shrimp" with every step. It's what I imagine gets Brooklyn through her day.

Mile 9.75- The race course runs past Croatan, an affluent oceanfront neighborhood. Like always, some of the people of Croatan have set out yard sprinklers for runners to cool off under. They are also passing out orange slices and cantaloupe. I begin to reassess all the bad thoughts I've had about rich people.

Mile 10.5- I am no longer thinking about rich people. I am thinking about making it over the Rudee Inlet bridge. My right knee is questioning my judgement.

Mile 11- I fart. I know that it's not physically plausible, but I always feel that when I fart, it gives me a little turbo boost. And I run real fast for like 30 seconds. Sorta like hitting the nitro boost button in a hot car.

Mile 12- The longest mile. I begin to think about Burt Reynolds and that prison/football movie.

Mile 12.2- People always pass out during this last mile. It's a potpourri of dropping runners and fallen bodies. You really have to have your wits about you not trip or get pulled down by a delirious runner. Kind of like playing Frogger, but with fallen runners instead of cars. This one lady drops right in front of me. A medic rushes to her side and repeatedly asks, "Do you know where you are?" For some reason, I want her to answer, "Cleveland." She does not. She, in fact, does not know where she is.

Mile 12.5- My morale and stamina is at dangerously low levels. I become increasingly annoyed with spectators on the sidelines yelling things like, "You can do it! Finish strong!" I suppose it's meant to sound motivational and inspirational, but it comes across as condescending to a tired runner, when yelled by spectators in flip flops and eating snow cones.

Mile 12.75- Flo Rida's song "Low" comes on. I begin thinking about big asses and Reebok's with the straps. I notice that several women are wearing jogging pants with built-in ass support. While I have sometimes wished for a slightly larger, more curvaceous rump, I am very happy that I do not have to wear a sports bra for my ass.

Mile 13.1- I finish! To my surprise and dismay, I did not win. I finish 2nd to 6,226 people. It's been a long day; I'll take 2nd.