Hi-larious.

A N A G I N G K E L I S , Y E A R S F R O M N O W , R E F L E C T S O N A M I L K S H A K E L O N G E X P I R E D , B U T H O W T H E B O Y S , A H , T H E B O Y S R E M A I N

BY JEREMY RICHARDS

– – – –

(6/29/04)

A soft pool of light falls across a corner of the stage. Enter KELIS, slow but matronly, rubbing her arthritic hands and staring off into the distance.

KELIS: It was … how long ago? No matter. The recipe is now public domain. Bananas, vanilla ice cream, pumpkin-seed butter—yes, that was the mystic green hue, the aftertaste of autumn, the chill beyond the tongue. Despite the hubris of my youth, I honestly don’t know if my results were better. Yes, I’ve had my challengers. Is preference inherited? Is it desired? What I do know is this: the grass is flattened out with the shapes of tents, and, simply, there is no more room in my yard. So it is with regret that I ask you boys to now leave.

Go on now. Please. I can no longer tolerate your patience, and the icebox is on the fritz. Perhaps—and it sounds callous, but I don’t know your intentions—perhaps this is what you were waiting for: Raymond passed on two months ago. You know something? He was lactose intolerant. That’s true, no, that is indeed true. Shame, shame, shame.

Do I teach? What do you mean, do I … oh. Oh, no, I could never live up to that promise, either. The milkshake is not learned. The milkshake is the cultivation of a suffering given way to risk—to pick up all that remains, stuff it down with a wooden spoon, and blend. This is why no one can re-create my lure. Now that I think of it, there was also this—there was the prayer I murmured as I held down the cover and pressed that button: Lord, please make my yard a beacon, make my yard a crosshatch of clover and grace, a place where those boys gone crazy over my milkshake may come to find shade. Amen.

And they came. Yes, Daniel, you were the first one to come in search of my milkshake. Still thirsty after all these years. But I appreciate that, I do. And then there’s … oh, Lawrence, I’ll never forget when you came to my doorstep with that bouquet of plastic straws. Oh! How I blushed. Yet you, too, went without a taste. Remember how I said, I said, “Once you get involved, everyone will look this way”? I was talking about you, Clarence, and you, Mitch, and Frank, Henry, Jack, Trevor, William—all of you got involved, like it or not.

And now, like it or not, you must find another yard. You must stop drinking from the hose and climbing the poplar tree. I have stopped charging, for I never really charged in the first place, and nothing I promised was ever mine to offer. So why? Why the promises? Sometimes I’d ask myself the same thing. Sometimes I’d push my hand into the blender before the shaking was done, dangle my fingers near the blades, then stop.

Birthday Cookout

The party seemed to go pretty well. Most everyone only stayed for a bite and headed out, but we had a few people stay around until after 9pm. I felt like I wasn’t nearly as entertaining as I should have been; my parents were pretty quiet and just sat around. I’m not sure if they ate anything. Dana was only there for about an hour then turned around and went home. I kept asking people if they wanted to play a game or something but I don’t think anyone did.

Around 6pm I started to develop a whopper of a headache. Every time Charlie or Jim laughed it felt like my head would crack open. Probably from not enough food that day combined with alcohol spread out. I didn’t drink nearly enough fast enough to get a buzz; I was just really tired.

Charlie said a few people told him they’d had a really great time, but I was afraid it didn’t go well. I’m my own worst critic. A lot of people who said they’d come didn’t, and most of the people who’d said “maybe” also never showed. In a way, this was good considering we ran out of burgers. We thought we had more than enough for everyone but this apparently was not the case.

Booze, we had more than enough of.

Now I’m back at work and cranky about it. I have Sunday and Monday off from both jobs next week, but can’t take any more time off from either for a while. The coffeeshop manager has me scheduled every day next weekend, starting July 9th. I close, then go in till 6 on Saturday, then I close on Sunday which really irritates the hell out of me. Sometimes I feel like just walking off from both jobs. I don’t know which one makes me feel crappier.

I just realized I should probably write all the people who came yesterday and thank them. That would be polite, but it’s not just a matter of being polite. It made me feel good to have all these people come and celebrate with us. It’s nice to have friends. As long as they don’t come over too often. Ha, ha, ha.

*poof!*

Don’t you just hate it when you go to all sorts of trouble to do something and then – poof! – it disappears?
This has been the story of my life. Today I was composing an email to a coworker about areas of town into which she may want to look for rentals and Lotus Notes asploded. Twice. Thanfully, I’d saved it as a draft but had gotten twice as much written when the ‘sploding took place.
The same thing happened to me yesterday when I was writing Andy from the other job about what had gone on at my orientation. *poof!*
The same thing happened to me a few months ago when I was planning a move to San Diego to go in to UCSD’s Visual Arts program. Kate and Charlie both decided not to go. *poof!*
Then when I was trying to figure out a time to visit Madison. Scott and Jay are going the weekend after July 4th and I told Charlie it would be nice to have someone around that we knew. We could have them show us a couple sites. When I asked him about it yesterday he got a little patronizing, patting me on the head and saying “Silly girl. You know I have football games every Saturday.” Yet he complains that we never do anything. Hmmm . . . I wonder why?
And a few years ago when we had gotten married and J’s mom pulled the rug out from under me, saying it was time for me to move on with my life and I needed to dedicate myself to my marriage. No job, no J, no housemates, no nothin’. *poofpoofpoofpoof!!!!*

ADHD, Baby!

I must have a really short attention span. I can't seem to get out of the funk created by being at the same job for a while. It's barely been a year (plus a month or two, I guess) and I'm already antsy, agitated, bored, frustrated. How I managed to stay in social services for 8 years, I don't know. I suppose it was the freedom; my time was really my time. Living with my client meant grocery shopping, laundry, and house cleaning together while I was at work, so whatever I did away from home was just what I wanted to do. Now, between both jobs and the paper, I have to cram a trip to Marsh in 15 minutes.
Kate had some pretty crappy experiences here with the department she was in. On Tuesday she was treated like a complete idiot and ended up walking out. I feel bad because we referred her for that job. Of course, part of me was afraid something like that would happen; as soon as her boss left, she'd be pushed out the door.
Other people here are just as disillusioned. We had someone quit a couple weeks ago because he hadn't been promoted in six years, another guy left because his boss overheard him talking about his raise and threatened to fire him, our department has had a dozen people leave since I started and only about 3 of those positions were filled. Of course, my department has a hundred or so people in it. Maybe around 80 . . .
But that doesn't mean that I don't wonder if I'm making a hasty decision by going back to school and leaving this job. I make more than Charlie and, combined, my two jobs pay pretty well. Without the bigger paycheck and just student loans, I'm not sure how I'm going to do. I'll be cutting my paycheck, basically, in half, and we'll have to try and budget really well. Of course, I can always work more hours when school is out, during holidays, etc…
I am a little worried that I won't get nearly enough hours. At the part time gig, 20 is considered full time. I know quite a few people that can't seem to get more than 24 or 30 hours per week. Not that I want 40, but when I'm not in class, I'd hope to pick up more hours elsewhere. If they would open that one closer to my house I could work there as well as the one where I am now. I don't think that would be too bad.
But I also don't know many places that want to hire someone part time then let them adjust their schedule as they go. And the last thing I want is to get stuck back in retail. I couldn't go back to the bookstore because the manager hates me now.
Ugh.
I'm just thinking out loud, I guess. I just am always second-guessing myself, wondering if I make hasty decisions and don't think them through. If we hadn't nearly doubled our rent and I could trade in my car for something a little cheaper, I'd feel better about making this kind of a leap, financially. And while we're not exactly rolling in it, we're doing better than we have in a while.
I'll guess we'll see how it goes, but the last thing I want is to go for a semester, find out it's not financially feasible and end up dropping out again. I'd feel pretty crappy.

Mrs Munchausen

The first time I ever met anyone in Charlie’s family we drove up to his hometown. We were to stay the weekend there, visit with his friends, and hang out. For me, this was a huge step. Had he known me better at the time, he would have realized how in love with him I must have been. Of course, at the time, I didn’t really know what I was in for.
He had told his dad about me and what I did for a living at the time. At this point, I had been in social services for around 5 or 6 years and had offered one-on-one semi-independent-living assistance to adults with moderate to severe disabilities. I was not a nurse, not a case worker, not a therapist. Most people thought I was one or the other, including Charlie’s stepmother.

The first thing she said to me when we were alone together was that she was thinking of homeschooling Charlie’s younger brothers because (as she said), it was obvious to any one that they were mentally retarded.

I was appalled. Of course I had never thought there was anything wrong with either of these boys. She then went on to ask me what I would recommend for them, as if I were a psychologist or therapist. I said that it wasn’t really my place to make judgments like this, but from what I could tell, most kids who were homeschooled did lose out on quite a bit of social interaction as a result. I said that I would not, personally, recommend homeschooling a child unless he or she had a severe enough physical disability, or if the child was so academically profound that there were no options in public or private school that could meet his or her standards.

What I wanted to say was that no woman who was so emotionally unstable and mean should be allowed to trap two boys in her home with her all the time. But, of course, I tried to be polite.

[insert segue here]

Yesterday, during my incoming-freshman orientation, I met a girl who would also be attending the art school down there. Her mom had come along and made a point of loudly asking what types of programs were available to people with learning disabilities. She brought it up so many times that people were staring at her. Charlie and I were totally embarrassed for the girl and by the woman. If that’s possible — I get more embarrassed for other people than I do for myself.
Let me paint you a picture: the woman was probably in her late thirties, early forties, but she looked like she’d aged really poorly. She had long, stringy greyish hair and a pinched but chubby face. Her teeth were various colors and shapes. The woman was wearing a sweater that was too short and jeans that weren’t high enough. Her breasts were huge and hung down so low that I wasn’t sure if her stomach or her boobs were peeking out at me. She had ashy, grey feet that she kept slipping out of her sandals.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that, if these people weren’t wealthy, they weren’t worth my time. I didn’t get the impression that they were poor, just that the woman was not exactly a prize and here she was, shouting to a room full of 18 year-olds that her daughter was mentally retarded while she paraded around in tacky, out-of-style clothes.
I talked to the girl. She was mousy and painfully shy, had bad skin, and wore her hair in her face, but she was not disabled in any way that I could tell. She was also on her way to college — a pretty big step for someone who, as her mom made it sound, is so severely retarded that she couldn’t attend classes on her own.

I would like to bitch slap both this poor girl’s mom and Charlie’s stepmom, for many different reasons. The former for being so obvious in her attempt to get attention and sympathy from people for the cross she has had to bear; for humiliating her daughter in public specifically to get sympathy and attention. The latter – for more reasons that I can even remember at this point. One being having the nerve to take aside the best man and beg him to talk Charlie out of going through with the wedding after our rehearsal.

Planning

I spent most of the weekend waiting for people; waiting for C to get home, waiting for K to get ready, waiting for L to call me. I ended up missing a party Saturday night that artschoolgirl77 was having and feel really bad about it. She'd called speficially to invite me and is even coming to our cookout this weekend. But K has a nasty cough and said she wanted to stay in, L never called (I had to call her at 11:30 and ask if she was planning on coming out or not), and this guy I work with at the part time job seemed more interested in meeting L than anything else.
However, I did get some Googling done. I looked up lots of stuff on Madison, and C and I are planning a trip there in August or September to at least check it out. You know me, I always have to have something to plan. The party, now school, the trip . . . Labor Day is September 6th, so we might make an extended weekend trip or something.
Tonight I have to be downtown at 5:30 for my placement tests for school, then be back down there tomorrow morning for orientation no later than 8:30. Yuck. I certainly hope it doesn't last all day.

What good is a search engine?

I remember sometime in or around 1995 or '96 thinking that this whole “Information Superhighway” business had gotten out of control around me and that I had no real grasp of what was going on. In fact, I recall reading a Dilbert cartoon where everyone was speaking in URLs with “www dot” and “http colon slash slash” in their word bubbles and I felt really far behind.
I took myself to the local public library and signed up on a sheet of paper allowing me an hour on the “Internet.” I sat down and stared at the screen. Though I'd had access to PCs and Macs most of my young life, I hadn't been using any regularly for a while. Believe it or not, this was a time when I didn't chat in instant messages, Google people to find out what they look like, or look up the pizza place using whitepages.com.
It took me a while to figure out what to do. There was a handy reference tool next to the computer monitor telling me to click on the Internet Explorer button on my desktop. I did so and up popped a groovy window with some stuff on it about the library in which I currently sat.
I continued to sit there, staring at the screen as if something magical would happen. In my day, you had to direct the computer to do things and I wasn't sure how to direct this one. Instead of a blank screen with a flashing cursor, I had a window with all sorts of information on it. But I was on a PC, not a Mac.
Hmmmm . . .
Eventually I noticed the bar up at the top of the screen with some words in it. I recognized them to be some sort of key showing where I was because some of the words were “lib.in.us.” I thought “lib” must mean library. Okay, now we're getting somewhere.
I then typed in “neworleans.com.” I looked at the New Orleans website. I next typed in “ford.com.” Then I tried things like Indiana, Indianapolis, and my own name, of course.
After a while, I reverted back to my sitting-and-staring stage because I'd run out of arbitrary words to type in to my little window bar thingie.
Google would have come in so handy back in 1995.


The sad thing was to hear C on the phone with one of his friends, our age, who had recently purchased a PC for his home and had called us out of desperation. [If you know C and me, you'd know how funny this was. Most people like to look at him and start using technobabble, at which point he defers to me saying, “I don't really know anything about computers. Talk to her.” I like to see the look on men's faces when they hear this.] It was like the blind leading the blind. C was trying to explain to the guy what sorts of buttons to click on where to type things and asking me what they were called. I'd tell him but the guy was even further behind C, not even understanding what “desktop” meant.
How do people get to this point? How can this man be 30 years old and not understand how to use a computer? It's so simple anymore. Does anyone here remember the games we used to play that were all text? You had to have some serious imagination. “Turn east.” Shudder.
I guess I'm off to bed. Time for sleepies!

Emotional Wreck

I had a not-so-good day today. To start off, I was in a grumpy mood (as usual) when I woke up. I've been reading the Men's Health magazines J and S loaned to C and I read a medical/health section where a man had written to ask how he could tell if he needed to try Prozac. The response was something like; “If you think you might need it, you probably do.” Most guy's aren't “in touch” enough with their feelings to recognize depression. And it comes out differently than with most women. People think “depression” and then think: weepy, down, mopey, blue . . . Not irritable, grouchy, easily agitated, insomnia, and always waking up in a bad mood. This is me. I'm more like a man when I'm stressed and depressed.
So, because of the jobs and now school, money, and any number of other things I worry about, I've started to notice a lot more irritability and jumpiness.
Tonight I was very ashamed of myself because I reacted way too severely to a situation that was best handled simply. As it was happening, I felt sick and angry with myself and knew that I was out of control.
I also couldn't calm down at the coffeeshop job tonight. I was jumpy and scatterbrained, trying to do three things at once all night. The fact that we have later hours on the weekend doesn't help.
Sometimes I feel bad for C and all the things he has to do; between both his jobs and now football, plus trying to keep on top of the bills (I got so fed up with trying to straighten things out that he offered to take over just so I wouldn't have to worry about them anymore). His weeks and days are all screwed up from the nights he works late at the club, comes home, sleeps a few hours, goes to work, then has football practice without a nap. He crashed last night, then worked today and is back at the part time job now. I just got home.
I guess my frustration with everyone led me to react violently but I took my frustrations out in completely the wrong way so now I feel even angrier with myself.


I was also pissed to come home to a house that's still dirty, drapes that I washed two days ago but were never taken out of the dryer, dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is completely empty, and a kitchen table piled with junk.
I thought I'd made it clear (and I know this is going to make me sound like an anal retentive biatch) that I don't want the kitchen table to become a mecca for all our crap, and that I prefer dishes to be put away as soon as they're used. It's not “my house,” I know; I share it with two other people. But it's a well-known and joked-about fact that I like to house to be neat. I hate the way everyone (including myself at times) gets lazy and just stops doing things. I don't want to feel like I micro-manage housework and chores . . . I don't live with children — they're two adults who also claim to want to live in a nice home.
I guess our ideas are just different but I'm not sure how to get them to mesh. My idea of cleaning house is doing it as you go, a bit here and there. They seem to feel that, once something has gotten completely soiled, then it's cleaned. I'd rather have day-to-day chores and keep the heavy-duty cleaning to special occasions.


I'm so tired right now. I feel physically and emotionally exhausted but I can't bring myself to get in to bed. I know that as soon as I get up tomorrow it will start all over again. And this time I'll have to sweep and dust, do dishes and start laundry, put up the drapes, and still get in six hours between noon and six before coming home to finish cleaning and straightening.
Argh.
Don't even get me started on why it won't happen while I'm gone.

Don't go to the Futon Factory

Whatever you do, don't shop there. I've decided to let everyone I know that they should never, under any circumstances, solicit this establishment.
Now, don't confuse this place with the Futon Source, the Futon Shop, the Futon Store, or the Futon Gallery. This is the Futon Factory.
I have no idea if any of these places are related to each other, but I do know that when they screw up an order, they refuse to do anything about it.
Long story short, we paid for a queen size platform bed. Super cheap. Maybe it's an omen, I don't know. Maybe the bed is total crap and we're better off without it. However, I'm still sleeping on a mattress on the floor. This is not good. We got a full size bed, however, not a queen.
The people at the Futon Factory were not willing to do any one thing from the following list we eventually suggested:
1. Comp the difference between the full and queen (not gonna happen)
2. Waive the delivery charge for the queen (we never do this)
3. Pick up the full if we had the queen size delivered (this is absolutely impossible)
4. Give us a refund (turns out it takes almost a month to do it)
5. Void the sale and just hand us back our check
I've worked in retail for about 6 different companies in as many years. At all those places, I was fully aware of how to void a sale and hand back the customer's method of payment. I either refunded the card or gave them cash, or handed back the check. Six different companies, six different point-of-sale systems or registers.
If it was someone I'd seen in the store literally an hour beforehand – someone who came in and said, “Holy crap, you completely screwed this up.” I'd be embarrassed and fix it. Our young Futon Factory Friend was not as accommodating.
We just wanted it all the be done with. “Give us back our check, don't cash it, and we'll be on our way.” Because, as it turns out, it takes them a month to get back your money. No, no, no, we said. You can't keep our money AND the merchandise. This is a special circumstance. We're not asking for a refund; just cancel the damn sale. The kid acts like an idiot and cops out, saying we'll get our check back. I narrow my eyes at him.
Our check, or one from you guys?” I ask.
“You'll get your check back.”
C seems pleased with this, but I won't let it rest.
“Why would you return our check to us later, rather than now? Does someone else have to fix something in computer?”
“No,” says the kid – his first mistake. “I'm the manager.”
I finally squeeze it out of him that the FF deposits our money, then turns around and cuts us a check from their account. He claims it'll be about a week. Another week of sleeping on the floor.
A week then turns in to “around two weeks” and, after reading the receipt, it states that it will take 3-4 weeks or more to have our money back.

Okay. This is all completely the fault of this dumbass working there Tuesday night. He eventually apologizes, fine. He says he hasn't made a single mistake in the past year since he started there. Whatever. I don't care, everyone makes mistakes. But we had to find someone with a truck to drive up there, pick up the bed, bring it to our house. Then we had to shove it into our car (the full fit but a queen would not have, hence getting a friend with a truck), take it back up there, argue with the kid over a refund (he decided it would be easier to let us believe we were going to receive our own check back, rather than an actual refund from the Futon Factory. Nice, kid).
Eventually, we realized we were getting no where, so we went home. C cancelled the check first thing in the morning (they have our money AND the merchandise? I don't like that.), then called the FF back to let them know. The warehouse manager was all like, “Oh, boy, you really did it now. Man, you won't ever be able to write a check in the city again!” C got a little freaked out till I told him the guy was just being a prick.
The best part is, they fixed it so they wouldn't have to deposit our check, but now they want us to pay them $30 for cancelling it in their system.
Somehow it doesn't really seem fair that we spent all this time and hassle on the phone and in their store and we're STILL getting charged. I told C to tell them to suck it. He thinks we should pay. Whatever. Don't shop there.

6505

I've managed in the past week or so to do absolutely nothing with my journal. As you can see from previous posts, my intention was to blow you away with my hardcore scripting and knowledge of Moveable Type. Alas, it was so much more difficult that I'd anticipated.
In other news, the party invite is coming along smashingly. We've had somewhere around 40 RSVPs and 15 “Maybes.” Now. If only we could feed and quench the thirst of all of these people for less than a couple hundred dollars.
Our original budget was about a hundred, but the more people RSVP, the more we want to do and provide. Part of the party is for K's graduationg, part is for C's birthday (which is today), and the rest is our combined housewarming. I got them both a card last night but this party is really the celebration (a month or so late, that is). I hope people don't feel obligated to bring anything, but I know some will. It's always so nice when people go out of their way to be thoughtful.


I'm really dragging these past couple of days. Last weekend was a severe jolt to my mental health. After working all day Friday, half of Saturday, and a good portion of Sunday, I woke up yesterday morning with every intention of calling in. I was such a mess. I'd fallen asleep with stomach cramps somewhere around 2am, woke up with crampy-cramps (better that than pregnant, though), and then had myself some really awful dreams.
From what I can remember I was a model getting ready for a show (hold the laughter, please) in the home of a guy who was going around killing people. It was a scary and intense dream and I woke up believing it was really happening to me. I shot up in bed and looked around, trying to figure out where I was and what was going on. My dreams are almost always totally real to me and it takes a while for me to wake up and come to my senses.
In fact, the nicest dream I've had in a while was Saturday night, where I made out with Brad Pitt. Yeah, yeah, I know. It was still pleasant, even if adolescent.
His hair looked bad in the dream, but I forgive him.