Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm a Real Boy!

I don't blog about work. And about 75 percent of what's been going on in my life has been work-related. That's why I've been so unreliable the last few months.

So, because I miss you, I'll make an exception. Also, I love to brag.
Today is a big day for me. Monday is an even bigger, ginormous, really fantastic day. That's when I officially start as a full-fledged, Pinocchio-becomes-a-real-boy member of the happy squad. Today is my last day as a temp.

Monday might be a letdown, like those couples who shack up, get married, come home from their honeymoons, check their mail, and then immediately start fighting over whose turn it is to pick coffee grounds out of the garbage disposal. (In my imaginary marriage, I hover gleefully next to the disposal's ON switch and cackle while my hypothetical husband digs in. With no gloves, because he's that manly. Or he's a grotesque slob. I haven't decided, but either way, no gloves.)

But, hey, it's the dreary homestretch of winter, and I could always use something to be happy about. So it's time to party.

I've been celebrating in mature, subdued ways. Like tying my offer letter around my neck, and running laps of the office while whooping. Or performing my killer Pinocchio impression, or by ditching my original plans to chill at home tonight in favor of beer. Glorious, wonderful beer.

In summary: woo hoo, huzzah, hurray!

PS - and, as ever, thanks Brett!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When Your Dreams Die, Your Pranks Get Lame

In college, I used to have all sorts of diabolical schemes. World domination. Elaborate pranks. Building an obstacle course in my dorm room, so my freshman year roommate would become entangled in the furniture every time she stumbled home drunk. Founding a "UNC Swingers Club," just so my friend Mike and I could hide in the back and see who would show up.

But, as you get older, your dreams die. Most of us realize by age 30 that we will never be a rock star, doctor, astronaut, human cannonball, or John Cusack's personal assistant. My realization came a little later, and it hit me as much, much sadder: I will never be as evil as I used to be. I will always insult annoying vendors, and I still tell catcalling construction workers that I'm a pre-op transsexual. But I just don't have it in me to do the really elaborate stuff.

So I'm thinking smaller, and, of course, I'm thinking primarily about my own amusement. My current scheme is to get my friends' babies to have really appalling first words. Hint: babies LOVE the word "herpes." They also love "blister," "bunion," and "gonorrhea." Just think of the glorious potential in all this: sixteen years from now, when Mom and Dad are flipping through the photo albums and grilling the 'ol prom date, "And his first word was...HERPES!" is a guaranteed conversation starter.

So, yes, it's a lame prank with a sixteen-year ROI. But, really, I'm just trying to recapture my youth. And this is way more dignified than wearing a plaid miniskirt and dancing on the bar at McFaddens, no?

Now, all I have to do is get people to let me babysit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spend My Money

I’ve never been a financially motivated person. If anything, I'm more afraid of success than failure.

I was a recessionista in the boomtime. I avoided brand names, McMansion mania, vehicles with operational engines, and food that is not a Safeway Club Card special. (Really, I take the circular and plan a whole week’s worth of menus based on what’s on sale.) Even my consumer durables are disposable: my newish stereo died of a massive electric aneurysm, my TV is a hand-me-down, and, for that matter, so are the VCR, microwave, coffeemaker/toaster oven/hot plate combo (I call it, “Frankenkitchen”). I home-dye my hair, trim my own bangs, and don’t have a, er, personal waxer.

My frugality is pretty annoying, isn’t it? No, I’m not smug about it. I’ve never been the sort of person who will follow you around a shop and tell you how overpriced everything is (though I will tell you when that dress makes you look like a kangaroo). And I won’t grimace when you order a second glass of wine.

For the first time in my adult, non-freeloading life, I will have a little cash to spare. Yes, I know I’m climbing while the rest of the world crashes and burns, but I’ve always been contrary.

Starting next month, I’ll be looking into the little upgrades. Maybe I’ll get a larger apartment, but in the same building/rent-controlled warehouse of humanity. Maybe I’ll let a professional hide my nasty gray streaks. Sure, I’ll do the mature stuff: pay down my student loan (my only debt), sock away some savings…yawnworthy, no? Still here?

But I’m going to have some fun that doesn’t involve a vat of Michelob at Recessions, or lonely evenings of Netflix, prosecco and cheese dip. And that’s where y’all come in. Lemmonex asked how you would spend $5,000 of mad money, I’ll ask a slightly different question:

If you could upgrade your lifestyle in just one way, what would it be? More travel? Better furniture? Lasik? Exboyfriendectomy? Tell me, and maybe I'll try it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another Sad Consequence of Global Warming

Tour-group teens are the bane of my commute.

I cannot abide those dubiously groomed, floppy-haired kids gaggling about and shouting, gumming up the Metro escalators during rush hour while their chaperones pretend to be somewhere, anywhere else.

Well, I encountered my first tour-group teenybop horde at 8:14 this morning, on the 13th of February. Generally, they don't show up until April or so. In fact, several passengers and I commented to each other that tourist season started early this year.

So, does this mean that the Tour Horde Teenagers have seen their migratory habits align northward with global warming, much like birds?

Or does it just mean that I'm old and crotchety for complaining about those darn kids who won't get off my lawn/station platform?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thank You, Bastards of the Universe!

Sure, all sorts of terrible things are happening with the economy. The drumbeat of disaster is picking up its tempo. Soon, we'll be living off generic ramen and dead raccoons. Mad Max will be regarded as a sort of prescient documentary.

BUT, this news has made it all worthwhile:

Whenever you need to seek out a silver lining, remember this: when the economy's Elevator to Hell comes loose of its moorings and plunges us straight to least we won't have to listen to crappy music on the way down.

Oh, and that thing where you jump just as the elevator crashes, so you don't die? A total myth.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Aisle of Your Early Thirties

Last night, a friend and I took a spin through Target’s Aisle of Your Early Thirties.

I think it’s technically called the “Bridal and Baby Shower Gift Wrap” aisle, but let’s not split any hairs. Every option made me want to shoot my eye out, punch somebody, or weep. Perfect little wrapping-paper baby butts. Fairy tale weddings. Faux-engraved invitations. Pastel storks. And that was the tasteful stuff. The Aisle of Your Early Thirties presented such a skewed and cutesy view of adulthood that I could only respond in one way: shrugging and going out for a tasty beer.

Life doesn’t go according to plan. It’s trite because it’s true. Schedules are for suckers. And we all have those moments where we realize adulthood is in full swing…and that sometimes it’s going to swing on without us. It’s hard to not feel left behind. But then I remember how important it is to live life at your own speed, and to hell with everyone else.

At 32, I’m about to make a more solid income than, well, ever. It’s terrifying, as being underemployed, befuddled and broke have been such major parts of my identity. I’m saving for retirement, paying down student loans, and no longer eating Taco Bell over the sink. I avoid hard liquor on school nights, toxic friends, and anyone who refuses to take me seriously. This is my show, and I’ll run it however I want.

Of course, I should probably have had this epiphany five or even ten years ago. Five years ago, I was a lady of leisure in Bogota. Ten years ago, I was crashing in my college town. Neither scenario really lends itself to personal growth.

Then again, I think the biggest mark of maturity is no longer waiting around for a soul-scorching insight. I don’t seek out those tiny moments where everything makes sense, because I know now that it’s a process that will likely never end. And I’d be bored out of my mind if it ever did.

And to think, all this is just because I couldn’t find a Metro-accessible Babies ‘R Us.

In the comments, tell me about your most recent, "Dear God, I'm a grownup!" moment.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A PSA for These Bleak Times

It’s brutal out there.

I understand the urge to cut corners, save a little cash, and cheap out in anticipation of a bleaker tomorrow. Hell, I home-dye my hair, wear discount bin castoffs, and nearly always pack a lunch.

So split that entrée, make your own baby food, or grow fresh herbs on your balcony. Plant a victory garden, teach yourself shoe repair, or make your own lingerie out of discarded parachutes. If you want to save on gas by having shirtless out-of-work construction guys pull your car like a tin can chariot, go for it. Cut your own hair with a hand mirror and kitchen scissors. Churn some butter, give yourself a home lobotomy, or sell all your possessions and live in a yurt. Frugality is a wonderful thing.

But it can go too far. There is one place you should never, ever skimp. People of the world: when your gum is stale, throw it out.

Do NOT continue to gnaw on your hardened wad of cud. You are slurping, cracking, chomping and gurgling. It’s like a techno mashup of the world’s most obnoxious sounds. Plus, you’re on the Metro during rush hour, and everyone within a ten-foot radius is wondering if you have any idea how completely revolting you're being.

Because I'm so generous, I'll give you two free cents to spend in these tough times: get yourself a new stick of gum, dammit. Otherwise, if you sit next to me on the Metro, and smack and slurp on your three-day-old JuicyFruit, I will have to stomp you to death with my $25 faux leather spiky boots.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

TMI Thursday: Oh, Won't You Go and Pee With Me?

I rarely discuss my sense of style on this blog. I love fashion, and on the days I'm not hungover and therefore dressed like a pregnant hippie, I strive to look feminine and put-together. I think dressing well leads to being treated well, feeling better about yourself...and peeing among strangers.

Saturday, I went to Nellie's for a friend's birthday party. I had worn a fantastic cloche (straight dudes: see photo) and was receiving compliments for it right and left. I got in line for the unisex bathroom, where two men accosted me.

"We love your hat!"

"It's the cutest thing!"

"Can I try it on?"

"I love it!"

"You should totally go to the bathroom with us!"

"Come on, it'll be fun!"

And, in one to tell the grandkids, that's how I wound up using the facilities at a gay sports bar, while two strange men faced away from me, took turns trying on my hat, warned me away from using the "spunk sink" at any time for any reason, and offered me a free place to stay in Philadelphia.

When my mother said that a good sense of style will take you anywhere, I don't think she had the men's washroom in mind.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'm Sorry, Mass Media, But I Can't Buy a Bunch of Useless Crap Right Now

Last year, my morning paper would put out the occasional feature piece about how I'm a horrible person because I've yet to crank out my allotment of 2.4 babies. The media analysis is usually that I'm laser-focused on my career, I don't believe in biological clocks, and that I'm quite possibly a selfish whore.

"Divorced, no money, and living in a studio apartment," is the actual reason, but, hey, "selfish whore" works, too. Whatever.

With The Greatest Economic Disaster Ever, Ever, EVER going on, the media has taken a new tack. They are no longer chastising me for my dusty unfeminine womb. Instead, I'm being clucked at for a new form of unfeminine hagitude: I don't shop enough.

I caught this blaring Express headline on my way to the Metro yesterday:

"U.S. Thrift Hurts the Economy"

Well, golly. I'm no economic expert. My knowledge is limited to a daily digestion of the Business section, and that D- I got in Econ 10 my junior year of college. But I do know that we got into this mess, at least partially, because America's savings rate has been near zero for heaven knows how long, we all bought on credit like we were on a neverending shore leave, and we're stupid moronic idiots. So when the job losses rolled in, and mortgages ballooned, we had no cash reserves and immediately began to squawk for help.

We lost 55,000 jobs in one day last week. Health costs are leaping all over the place, 401(k)s are worth about as much as Zimbabwean paper money, and we have real concerns about the sustainability of the economy. But nearly every day, the Post writes a pity piece and chastises us to go help the poor sad helpless retailers. (Who, incidentally, are major Post advertisers...coincidence?)

Gack. Spare me. Thrift is a virtue. Savings are good. We're supposed to sock away money for a rainy day/retirement/a down payment. We cannot live forever as a society of people who go out and buy stuff they don't need, and can't afford, with no plan for the future. Yes, hoarding is bad, and money needs to circulate, but do we really want to encourage people to go buy a bunch of useless crap when a sacking might be around the corner? Doesn't that cost us more in the long run?
Oh, wait, what long run? Who needs to think ahead, anyhow? There's a bailout at the end of the every tunnel!

In the meantime, I will be saving my pennies. In fact, I will pour them into a kiddie pool and swim around, like a low-rent Scrooge McDuck.
PS - if you have differing opinions, and/or actually understand economics, please do weigh in. I love a good dialogue. Just don't be a dink - I've freely admitted that maybe I don't know everything, and appreciate when others do the same.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Tea-Bagged by the Boss

I love football. Especially the Superbowl.

OK, I don’t like, understand, or care even the tiniest bit about football, but I will whore myself out for any excuse to slob out on a couch, double-fisting chili and guacamole and washing it all down with calorie-dense, nutrition-free beer.

Therefore, the Superbowl did not disappoint. I spent this vital holiday with Foggy, who owns the couch that eats people (my feet don’t touch the floor, and I have to be airlifted out at the end of an evening), a much nicer TV than mine, and an endless patience for my football idiocy.

I tried to participate with the occasional, “Yay Pittsburgh Bumbebee People!” or, “I can’t believe I’m not rooting for the Cardinals, red is my favorite color,” or, “That dude is awesome,” and, lastly, “WHOA.”

The “WHOA” was saved for the halftime show. Bruce Springsteen, corny, obnoxious, eager-to-please, but still rockin’. Well, except for when he slid across the stage and squished his crotch into the camera. The reaction on the Man-Eating Couch was instantaneous:

“Oh my God! Bruce just crotch-slammed the camera!”
“He teabagged America!”
“That was manly.”
“I think we’re all pregnant now.”
“Even the guys?”

"I think my Bruce Baby just kicked."

However, I haven’t seen any news reports or sputtery bloggers discussing the camera-ready Boy Parts o' Bruce. The Bosses of the Boss. The Team, if you will. The whole thing strikes me as horribly unfair.

If we can get all bent out of shape over Janet Jackson’s exposed (and glamorously accessorized) ta-ta, can’t we muster some good ol’ Puritan outrage over the Franks n’ Beans of the Boss? Springsteen's Stringbean? The Gainfully Employed?

Come on, America, I expected better.