Thursday, July 31, 2003

This Job Stinks

On top of the whole insect infestation thing we're experiencing here at "work", one of my co-workers(Mildly retarded? Tourette's syndrome? Autistic? Just plain freaking crazy? The jury's out on exactly what her damage is--all I know is that she sits with her hands folded staring at her screen saver all day, then tries to lie about how much work she's gotten done...) just ripped this horrid fart. I mean a fart.

Yes, I know this seems funny. But it was this loud, whoopie-cushion-style fart; and it reeked. I mean reeked. As in, people walking past fell into fits of coughing and my friend 4 cubicles over's eyes began to water. As in, the supervisor moved Farty McFart's seat for the day.

Because this is a constant thing, you see. The farting, I mean.

Just thought I'd give you all an update.
This Job Bites

Something is biting us. They've called Building Services. But something is biting us. We itch. We have inflamed bug nibbles swelling up on our thighs, our chests, our arms.


Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Demise of Dyke Ice Cream

With all that's been going on lately, I almost forgot to blog about one of the great sorrows that the summer of 2003 will be remembered for.

There is no more Dyke Ice Cream.

I know, I know, it's almost too shocking to be true. But the weekend before last, Sean and I set out to get some of the YUMMIEST ice cream you'll ever taste at Davis Square's beloved Dyke Ice Cream joint (or, "Denise's", for the more politcally-correct set...), only to find out that it had been bought by J.P. Licks. Now, I recognize that J.P. Licks is a small local chain, and not a big corporate conglomerate like Baskin-Robbins or something, but I was still nothing if not livid. Especially when I saw that all of my very favorite flavors had been erased from the board (No more White Gold--white chocolate ice cream with cinnamon butterscotch and caramel swirl and white chocolate chunks!!! No more pumpkin! No more coconut almond chocolate chunk!!!)

Worst of all were the employees. Gone were the diesel dykes clad in wife-beaters and baggy shorts who scooped ice cream while listening to Indigo Girls. They had been replaced by a scattering of impossibly perky, uniform-wearing girly-girls with pink lipstick.

And the ice cream isn't nearly as good. A huge disappointment.

So, from now on, when Sean and I go in search of homemade ice cream treats, it'll be Toscanini's we seek. There's a couple in Cambridge, and both Diesel and Someday Cafe in Davis Square sell their stuff. And it's as good, if not better, than old-school Denise's. Burnt caramel, cake batter, german chocolate. Good stuff, folks.

But I'll miss my surly dykes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The Horror of Domesticity and Other Hazards of Love

The years rack up and I've started having to check a different box on the "Age" section of surveys. I don't look like a "kid" anymore. I have the beginnings of creases in my forehead, prewrinkles that have formed from the eternal unintentional scowl that I wear when I have no opinion and no emotion. I'll probably have frown lines before laugh lines, which is the last thing you'd expect from an eternal giggler like me.

It wasn't that long ago that I was still a Party Girl. The first year I lived in Boston, when I was just going to school and living off the student loans, I was out 4 nights a week (if not more!). Before that, when I was waiting tables in Cleveland before moving for grad school, I went out pretty much every night. I wanted to live in the city, to be and do everything as "cutting edge" as possible. I can't imagine how much cash I spent on liquor and hoochie clothes (although, it must be stated, a true Party Girl very rarely has to buy her own drinks...especially when wearing said hoochie clothes....).

And oh yeah, I hate kids.

Yep. Hate 'em.

Ok, it's not the kids themselves so much, per se. It's kind of all that they represent. Women are "supposed" to all be itching to get married, settle down, and begin dutifully popping out puppies. Well, fuck that. I value myself as more than a broodmare, a vessel for the creation of more hungry mouths in a world that can't support all its inhabitants as is. I'm smarter than that. I'm a career girl (Without the career! Hooo-ahh!).

I hate that this revelation demands an explanation. What, so it's completely accepted to do something as self-serving as breed rampantly, but my desire to be more prudent and not needs explaining? Gimme a break!

But, as always, I digress.

I can see having a kid under certain circumstances. I told Sean once that I thought kids should be freezer storable. Like: "Hey, honey, I feel like having the baby tonight! Get her out of the freezer!" But then, when you want to go to Europe for 3 weeks? Freeze away!

Unfortunately, it doesn't work exactly that way. And the thing is, I don't hate them nearly as much as I used to. I smile at the cute (quiet!!!) ones now. This scares the hell out of me.

I like the apartment in the residential neighborhood. I don't shop at thrift stores nearly as much. I haven't worn my studded or my beer-bottle cap belts in ages. I wish we had a yard so we could plant a garden.

I seem to be embracing all things domestic. And I'm feeling the slooooow slide down into complete domesticity. When I might do things like be a Soccer Mom (horrors!!!) and try to curb my endlessly f-bombing sailor mouth. And I'm only 28. I wasn't expecting this till I was at least, what, 33?

Again, horrors.

I'm stuck in the quicksand of domesticity!!! And I'm apparently making no move to save myself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Happy Birthday!!!

Today the Snap and Crackle to my Pop turns 28. Ya'll, join me in wishing Brandy a happy birthday! But be sure to remind her not to poke Lincoln Logs in her nose, and that if she attacks my house I will surely cut her butt off.

AND today is Hump Day. How befitting.

The Joy of Shacking Up and Other Snippets of My Life

I sent around an email to some friends and family letting them know that my address had changed (as had Sean's). This was very nice of me. My mother took it upon herself to forward it around to family I had "missed". This was very nice of her. One very religious aunt sent a reply. I clicked on it with quite a bit of trepidation, half-expecting a lecture. I mean, this is the woman who has pro-life checks. (She sent me one as a graduation present, but I refuse to cash it. I mean, come ON...) But no lecture--instead, she congratulated me and said that Allison (her daughter, my cousin) had had the same joy. Joy?

It's a freaking monsoon outside today. Lightning, thunder, the works. It woke me up at 4 am, then stopped long enough for me to get to work, and has now resumed. Rain is coming down in sheets. Sean left me a cryptic voice mail: "I hope you have an umbrella, honey. Oh, boy..." I'm sitting in my cubicle clapping my hands and imploring "Power OUTAGE! Power OUTAGE!!!" So far, no dice. Damn.

Because of the dissonance I have between disliking my "field" yet feeling like I should do something in it, with the master's degree and all; I have decided to look on my graduate education and resulting student loan debt in a new light. Instead of thinking it as $40,000 (that being just the graduate portion) for a degree in a field I'm no longer enamoured with, I've decided to think of it as the purchasing price of Sean. I mean, if I hadn't chosen thatgraduate program, I never would have moved to Boston. If I hadn't moved to Boston, I never would have met Sean. Thus, meeting Sean cost me $40,000. I find this much more palatable. He's a bargain at that price.

Someone told me that "Darkness Falls" was really scary, so we On Demand-ed it last night. Someone is a raging retard.

I've found that if you have fresh blueberries in your oatmeal, you should smash them halfway through the cooking cycle. Yummy.

My friend Sarah's mom is back in the hospital, fighting cancer and liver disease. If you're one of those people who prays or has prayers answered, I'd appreciate you keeping her family in your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Grind

Heading off to work is bad enough, but on a dreary morning like this, the ickiness of the situation is magnified tenfold.

There was no one on the Charles this morning. It was eeriely still--no crew straining their muscles to propel a lithe little boat through the water, no sailboat shooting through the water almost as an afterthought. Nothing at all.

I swear the Metro left more ink on my fingers than usual.

North Quincy is a bleak place at best, and working there seems counterintuitive. You exit the T station, see the Applebee's and Panera Bread across from it, and think to yourself Say, this place might not be half-bad! Then you walk up the street a bit and the civilization as you knew it disappears, leaving an asphalt obstacle course littered with discarded Dunkin Donuts containers and used condoms in its wake. On the short walk from the T station to "work", I pass a junkyard, a skeevy no-tell motel, and a series of railroad tracks. It's like this forgotten industrial borough; and then you crest a small hill and you see it--my place of "work"--rising off of a sea of asphalt and white lines. An attempt to be big and corporate that ended up stark, tall, ugly, and hopelessly out of place; like a girl who runs away to Hollywood to become a movie star and ends up turning tricks on Hollywood Boulevard instead.

You walk inside, and people are already lined up for the 7 am opening of the in-house eatery, poised to order their reheated bacon on stale bagels, to fill their styrofoam cups with stale lukewarm coffee. A white board proclaims the "Lunch Special of the Day", usually something like American Chop Suey, whatever that is. You can also get a "salad" with iceberg lettuce, 2 tomato wedges, and 2 slices of cucumber. Mmmm good.

Up on my floor, the carpet tiles are a mishmash of blue, grey, and beige. The ceiling tiles are square, white flecked with grey like cheap marble. The flourescent lights stretch across the room like highway lines, 23 across. The elevators are across from my row of cubicles, emitting a soft "bong-bong" when someone arrives on the floor, signaling the end of someone else's happiness and freedom for the day.

If you push aside the vertical blinds and look out the window, you can see Boston. It's far, far away, like a dreamy crystalline city of hope and prosperity. But by the time you get to work, you've forgotten you ever passed it on the way.

I don't think there's a meeting scheduled for today. I had one a few weeks ago that revolved around the need to tie a string on a pen and attach it to the black binder that I and the other non-phone-drones use to "sign in and out". It was decided by my supervisor that a pen would be tied there. It has not yet happened.

There are 2 main systems that most of the people in my department use to get their work done. One is mainframe-based. (No, that wasn't a typo...) The other, our CMS, freezes up and goes down on a daily basis. At any given time, I'd wager that 40% of my department cannot use their CMS and is on the phone to the Help Desk. The other 60% is probably stuck in a typical 10-minute waiting time for what they've just input to save.

We just received another email reminding us of the company dress code. T-shirts and sweatshirts are only allowed on Fridays, and halter tops and cutoff shorts are a no-no.

In the lunchroom, there are instructions on how to use the microwave.

At about 4:55, I'll make a mad dash for the doors, hoping to avoid being noticed by my boss, who'll comment on my "leaving early", even though I was here at 6:50.

And then, tomorrow at 5 am, my alarm goes off and the cycle starts all over again.

And people wonder why I'm in a constant state of annoyance.

Thursday, July 17, 2003


"Another goodbye. Life is nothing but one long, endless stream of goodbyes," I said tearfully, watching the shapes of my waving friends slowly grow smaller in the rearview mirror. Goodbye again, for God knows how long.

"Yes," he replied, placing a comforting hand on my thigh, "but it could also be said that life is a series of hellos, too."

And so it is. But the goodbyes are the ones that stay with you, like a blister on your foot that just won't heal.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Thank You!!!

A great, big, huge, behemoth THANKS to all the strong, burly menfolk who gave up a beautiful summer Saturday to engage in couch-capades with me and the SB. (Well, mostly others; I think I was pretty useless...) I don't think mere words could express my gratitude; so I'll have to break out the blenders (yay! We've got 2 between us!) and experiment with some margarita-makin'. Watch your inboxes for details... :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Air Conditioner, The Car, and the Cactus

It was an ass-hot weekend.

On ass-hot weekends, especially when you're already moving into a new place and spending money hand-over-fist, the thing to do is buy yourself a couple-few of those handy-dandy newfangled "window unit air conditioners". They'll cool you right down.

Of course, leave it to Sean and me to do this after the ass-hottest day of the weekend.

The sale flyer from Home Depot advertised a great sale on AC's. So we swung by to pick some up.
"Excuse me," Sean asked with Sean-style excruciating politeness, "where are your air conditioners?"

"On a truck. On the way here." replied the orange-clad Home Depot employee with a guffaw. Apparently, they've been sold out of the things since pretty much day one of the sale. And they don't want to tell us when "the truck" might arrive with said air conditioners, because the last time they did that, 400 people were lined up outside to buy a scant 100 AC units. Like the mid-eighties Cabbage Patch craze all over again. Except the AC units are much harder to lift and swipe from other people.

So, the Home Depites suggested that we try BJ's Wholesale. They were running an Open House weekend, and we could ask for a pass and "try out" membership.

We checked it out and found, to our delight, that air conditioners were stacked sky-high in BJ's. Yay! We made plans to come back the next day, when they wouldn't be making impatient announcements that "the store is closing in 10, 5, 3 minutes...."

So. The next day, we had a plan. We had been moving stuff all day, and were ready for a well-deserved break. Our plan was a quick sting-operation trip to BJ's to get the AC units, followed by dinner and a movie--both in chilly, dimly-lit locales.

"Hmm", Sean pondered, "Should we take my mom's Jeep instead of the car?"

The Jeep has no AC. I was hot. Mea culpa.

"No," I replied "They should fit in your car just fine."

(Well, everyone knows where the story's going now; thanks to my clever use of "foreshadowing". But I'll pretend that you don't, and continue with my story.)

After selecting and loading the AC units into our industrial-sized shopping cart, we decided we should take a quick look around and make sure there wasn't anything else we needed. I was back past the pet supplies, next to the meat department, when I spied it. An immense, tall cactus. Southwestern perfection. Spires of green reaching feet and feet into the sky. And only $15.99! The things cost at least 40 bucks at Home Depot. Ignoring the constant burning pain in my wrists, I seized the cactus pot and made for the front of the store with it resting safely against my hip, jutting out of my side like some kind of terrible phallus.

Back at the front of the store, Sean just smiled at me, amused by my big-cactus obsession. We perched it on top of the AC's and eventually traded credit card numbers for goods. I had to turn the cactus sideways to get it out of the store.

Yay! It was time to load the car and head to the local Macaroni Grill!


Neither AC unit would fit in the trunk.


My bad.

We ended up with the smaller AC unit in the backseat. The big one wouldn't fit in the backseat, so it had to go in the front passenger side, with the seat laying all the way back. This meant that I'd have to ride in the backseat, contorted around the giant boxes like a ghetto Cirque du Soleil wannabe.

But no big deal, right? It would work.

Wait--the cactus.

Sean handed it to me through the sunroof, and I set it down on top of the air conditioner and wrapped a spare arm around it. It stuck out of the sunroof a good 2 feet. This meant the sunroof had to stay open.

But no big deal, right? It all fit!

We started moving, and a few pieces of dirt and fertilizer began to fly around the car. Just a few. Then we got on the highway. Instantly, the car's (ahem...leather...) interior was caught in what appeared to be the worst dirt tornado ever to hit eastern Massachusetts. And it was still hot out.

By the time we got back to Sean's current place, we were sticky with sweat and gritty with the soil of past generations. And Sean had to haul both AC's upstairs. Again, sticky with sweat and gritty with the soil of past generations. And there was about an inch of sand in his car.

To his credit, Sean is still speaking to me. The cactus is still intact. And I was only reminded once that "HE wanted to bring the jeep!"

Monday, July 07, 2003

Thoughts on a Monday

My job sucks. This is not something that is up for discussion.

Yes, I am grateful to have a job. I recognize that others are not so fortunate as I, and have to stand in unemployment lines and sell their homes and clip endless coupons. I have vacation time, sick time, and other killer benefits. And, as I've stated many times; every Thursday that direct deposit magically appears in my bank account, making it "all worth it". Right? Right?

I was absolutely desperate for a job last summer. My grad school loans were gone, I had about a million resumes out there, I had gone on scads of interviews. But people don't like to hire people with masters degrees (or, then, half-a-masters-degree...) for clerical crap jobs. They're wise enough to know you'll quit the second you have the chance. So I got broker and broker, and more and more desperate. Ridiculously desperate. I mean, I ate rice and pudding I learned to make from cornstarch and milk (when I had money for the milk). I would go to the neighborhood whole foods store with change and buy as much oatmeal or cornstarch or rice as I could to eat. I had to stop running every day because it burned too many calories and made me too hungry. When I recount these tales to Sean, he gapes at me incredulously and says "But why didn't you tell me?!?" Hell, he was already feeding me on weekends.

So, I fell into a temp gig that became a permanent gig that now seems a far more permanent gig than it was intended to be. Where are the jobs? Where, I ask you?

I'm stuck with this one for now, lines and lines of data entry in a huge warehouse of cubicles filled to the brim with people who are beaten down with the futility of working in this department. Negativity festers here like athlete's foot in the boys locker room. And I type and type and type and try to ignore my ever-worsening RSI, so bad now that I've been here only an hour and change and I've already got the shooting pains in my arms going on. And my fingers are going numb. And I haven't even started with the 'serious' mousing project yet. I'm still just entering a few addresses.

But I've got some money. Not much, but some. I can pay for dinners out and my share of large appliances and concert tickets.

The thing is, I think I was happier when I was broke.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

The Incredible Shrinking Apartment

How is it that, between the time you sign the lease and the time you move in, apartments tend to shrink about 400 square feet?

No, they do, I swear. It's not just me! Sean looked at me the other day, cocked his head to the side like a curious Jack Russell terrier, and asked: "Wasn't this place bigger before?"

It was! I swear it! It has mysteriously decreased in size! And gotten further from the bus stop!

Apparently it's a widespread phenomenon. Others have reported it, as well.

But, it's still a nice, big place. I think the bathroom may actually have increased in size. The ceilings are high enough to necessitate the purchase of a ladder just to change lightbulbs. (And before you make a smartass comment about Sean and I's Sasquatch-like dimensions, bear in mind that the ceilings are 11 feet high!) The floors still sparkle pretty, and the kitchen is still chock-full of almost-new appliances. Including, thanks to the purchasing power of a Home Depot card that's almost maxed out before it arrives, a brand-spankin'-new washer and dryer. (My new definition of "serious relationship"--co-owning a large appliance or two!!!)

So, I'm psyched about the place. (If we could fast-forward ahead to after everything's moved and unpacked, I'd be even happier...)

The best part of the "new" apartment, though, was the impossibly huge grin on Sean's face as he looked at me and said: "It's our apartment, honey!"

*insert "AWWWW!" track here*