Films of My Youth

Last night we rented Semi-Pro, which was not worth the time I spent trying to decide if I really wanted to see it or not. I like Will Ferrell, and I have liked the last couple of sports-themed movies he’s done, but they’ve gotten progressively worse. What I really wanted to rent was Simple Men, this plot-less film from 1992 that I rented the summer it came out on DVD about 20 times. I don’t know why I chose to watch it so many times, but Charlie is adamant about seeing it. The actors in the three main roles have shown up in more than a few Law & Order episodes, and my glee over seeing them all together again has just made him all that more annoyed that he’s never seen the movie

I’m also jonesing to see 1971’s Cold Turkey, a comedy about a town that stands to win $25 million dollars if they all quit smoking and the tobacco executives (one of which is played by Bob Newhart) that try to stop them. Dick Van Dyke was the town reverend, who agrees to take up cigarettes again, just so he can quit, to prove to everyone that it can be done.

Tom Poston played Mr. Stopworth, a lush who has to leave town in tears because he refuses to quit smoking. As the reverend is pleading with him to consider how badly the town needs the tobacco company’s money: “My drinking is directly connected to my smoking. Now, when I say ‘directly,’ I mean there’s a thing – a physical thing – that is directly connected from my liquor buds to the smoke pouch in my lungs. If you want me to quit smoking, you would have to cut – I mean, you’d have to physically cut that thing! And when you do, my head’s gonna fall off! Do you understand, reverman? The booze bone’s connected to the smoke bone. And the smoke bone’s connected to the head bone. And that’s the word of the Lord!”

Four years later, Smile was released, a parody of beauty pageants and the first of its kind. I remember one scene where a girl is introducing a Young American Miss contestant and her multiple talents. I think the speaker is played by Melanie Griffith, who says the contestant will play the piano and show her artwork “simulatenously and at the same time.” That line has been stuck in my head for thirty years.

Although some of humor in these two movies is probably a little advanced for the age I was when I first watched them, I always counted them among my top favorites when I was a kid.

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Guess What? Chicken Butt.

I’ve been up to lots these past few days. Monday I got called in to cover a shift first thing, then we went grocery shopping for a cookout we were having for all the people who wanted to see Cavan since he came back to the States. Not everyone who wanted to be here could make it, some people that I invited he didn’t know very well (and I just wanted to get them out of their homes), and a few straggled in late. But it was a good time, if not mosquito-infested.

One of the more amusing aspects was right before people really started to show up. Charlie, Liz, Audrey, and I were in the living room and I noticed the hose hadn’t been attached all the way to the vacuum, so most of the dog hair was just pushed around on the living room rug. I pointed it out to Charlie, who had been sweeping, and he got sort of mad about it. I started to pull out the vacuum again, and said screw it. No one will notice. A big step for me.
Charlie, however, got the sweeper out of the closet and went right back to work. My therapist found this highly amusing when I told her about it the next morning.

Tuesday I had my regular batch of psychiatrist and therapy appointments, then had to close at work. I overheard a very quiet young woman who comes in once in a while arguing with someone else over her cell phone. Most of the time I have to ask her to speak up or repeat herself because she mumbles and has a really soft voice. Yesterday, though, she was literally shouting in to her phone. At one point I heard her say “I am not a slave to be traded into a marriage with a man who doesn’t have a job or own a car!” Molly and I looked at one another with baffled expressions and continued to clean as the young woman went on and on about suing someone for harassment and stalking.

In other news, the new market is open and we went to check it out today. It was a madhouse, as expected. It’s not an especially large space, so every woman lugging around her three kids and a cart presented an obstacle, especially considering they all wanted free samples. I got a little anxious in the crowd, but mostly because it was really frustrating to be at a standstill in a place where we all should have been moving along. The prices were a little high; I won’t be doing my primary shopping there, but it will be nice to have a “fresh market” right down the street. The grocery closest to us is kind of ghetto, for being in this neighborhood, because the food is — more often than not — rotten or expired.

Before hitting the market, we drove out to meet Jennifer, her boyfriend, and Julie (my former housemate/client) and have lunch. There was lots of talk of Julie’s guardian and What She’s Doing This Time, which is more of the same asinine, ridiculous, probably illegal, crap. I despise that woman so much that it makes me physically ill to think of coming in to contact with her again.

The Local Flavor: Crime is Foreign to Us!

At some point last weekend, someone came along and cut the wires we use to lock up our patio furniture at the store. We did this so as to avoid lugging five heavy, metal tables and twelve chairs in and out of the store every day. They took three of our tables and six chairs, and left the remainder on the other side of the front door.

I’ve been patiently awaiting the inevitable questions about Where the Furniture Went. Thus far, only a couple of people have said anything. I attribute that to the fact that I’ve worked all mornings since the tables were ripped off, and no one really sits outside on weekday mornings.

Finally, this morning, I was rewarded for my patience. The Toe Team [as in “camel” – copyright Toby, 2005] from next door came in after their workout and, as per usual, one person paid for everyone else’s drinks — and never knows what anyone else drinks. They just call off each person’s name [changed to protect the wealthy]: “My drink and Mary’s drink and Susan’s drink and, oh, do you know what Lauren gets? And that one thing Anne gets” — and the rest staggered in, sweat dripping between their enormous fake breasts, and down their incredibly tight spandex shorts.

Natasha (I don’t know her real name, but I always think of her as saying “Moose and squirrel” with her accent), rattled of the list of people whose drinks she was buying, then wanted to know why they couldn’t sit outside. Leticia, Sarah, and I looked at her with confusion. “Of course you can sit outside,” we told her. Then a few more harpies came in, all squawking about the lack of tables.

“Why did you get rid of all the tables?” The Toe Team asked.
“We didn’t get rid of them. They were stolen.”
A series of oooohs and whaaaaa?’s were issued.
“Why would someone steal the tables?” Asked one harpy.
“Who stole your tables?” Asked another.
“If I knew that, we’d have them back already, wouldn’t we?” I commented.

In my adult life I have had several things stolen from me, from shoes and clothes that my very first roommate took when she left in the middle of the night, to a brand new car out of my driveway. And everything else in between. I’ve had my dashboard ripped out and a CD player stolen, money out of my wallet, credit cards that someone used at a Meijer on the south side of town, and textbooks taken from my backpack. People at the office where I used to work took my food and drinks out of the fridge, and someone even stole my coffee mug.

I may be a cynic, but that doesn’t mean recognizing that people commit crimes — even in this neighborhood! gasp! — makes me more of a cynic. You can really tell the quality of a person’s life by how immune he or she is to THE REAL WORLD. Their indignation over the theft of some tables wasn’t even out of some sort of sense of violation; it was the fact that they were so inconvenienced! They had to haul out three more chairs from inside the store so they could squawk and screech at one another whilst sipping their four fucking dollar lattes. Oh, the humanity!

Catching Up

We went for Indian buffet today with Cavan; one of the things we always used to do before he left for Spain a little over 8 months ago. It was sort of like seeing Leticia again after so much time — except he had a lot more facial hair when he got back and she didn’t. It was like I hadn’t seen him in years and as if he’d never been gone. The strangest part was when he left the house. I found myself wondering when he’d be back before realizing he wasn’t living with us anymore. I’m so used to him being a staple in the house and my life that once he’s gone everything feels weird.

Audrey is starting her actual apprenticeship at the tattoo shop and has to start practicing on people. There are about a dozen people who want to go in and have her give [us] tattoos. I wanted to do it on Tuesday before I realized I have fifty different things going on that day. I also have to open the next morning.

I thought my raise wasn’t going to be effective until the first of July, but I guess they gave it to me retroactively from the first of June, so it was on this check. Only problem is, no one signed it so I couldn’t deposit it. Now I have to track down the owner and ask her to sign my paycheck. That’s not going to be awkward. Well, it shouldn’t be, but it probably will.

I looked up more information about the skydiving thing, thinking I would reserve space for five or so people, when I realized there’s a weight limit. It makes perfect sense. Only problem is, Charlie has to lose at least 8 pounds before he can go. A year ago he’d have been almost 30 pounds over their limit.

Miscellania

Did I mention I’m finally getting a raise? Word travels fast at our store. Everyone already knows Sarah is pregnant, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone “accidentally” let it slip that I was putting my resume and applications out in the workosphere. I’ve already had a couple of offers, but as usually happens at our store, once a year or so, shit hits the fan and I get really frustrated … then it calms down and so do I.

This was the first time I’d been determined to get another job and was patiently awaiting my completely expected call from the new market down the street. For some reason, they never called, and the web site where I filled out everything said the position I’d applied for was filled. My theory is that I didn’t fit their tax write-off requirements. Part of the application process included asking me whether I’d been unemployed, received unemployment, was on public assistance, food stamps, WIC, or Section 8 in the past 6 months. I answered no to all, so perhaps I wasn’t worth hiring?

Sarah probably got wind of my frustrations, and last Saturday mentioned that she wasn’t supposed to tell me, but that I would be getting a raise effective the first of the month, and she’d have the evaluation filled out and ready for me to sign in a few days. I got fifty extra cents an hour, which is nothing to sneeze at, because we don’t make all that much there to begin with. I know that one of our employees only got an extra ten cents at their last evaluation, so I’m not complaining.

I’m glad that Sarah fought for me, and that the owner recognized I had at least some sort of value, even if her husband doesn’t know my name. Supposedly, there was an argument at a managers’ meeting where Sarah followed the owner in to her office and said that if they didn’t give me more money, I’d leave and find another job that paid more. She also mentioned that I was their “best employee” and they couldn’t afford to lose me. That was really sweet.

Ideally, this is where I’d like to stay until I graduate, if only because it affords me the opportunity to walk to and from work every day and avoid wasting any gas, plus a flexible schedule. And, for all the assholes and nutjobs who come in, there are ten more nice people who like to chat with me and make my job easier. The market isn’t that much farther, but far enough that it would be impossible to walk to in the dead of winter.

Last night Cavan’s plane arrived at some point (at least, I hope so) and I’ve been eagerly awaiting a phone call all day. I misread his last email, thinking he’d be coming around today for lunch, but then realized that didn’t make any sense. He would most likely have jet lag and need to sleep for a while before running around town. (Update: Just got a call! Lunch on Friday!)

And in case you didn’t already know: Mel’s pregnant! She’s about as far along as Sarah, which is both exciting and weird for me. This is probably the first time anyone very close to me has gotten knocked up. Most of the people I know with kids either lost touch soon after getting pregnant, or had kids when I met them. I have to admit, a very small part of me was almost a little bit disappointed when I started my period on Monday. My therapist thinks it’s funny because she’s convinced I would be a good mom, while I think it’s terribly frightening (epidurals! episiotomies! hemorrhoids! 48 hours of labor! diapers!). Since I didn’t get the job at the market, which offers health insurance for part time employees, and my only other options are paying an arm and a leg for the shittiest insurance out of pocket (private and student), I’m not sure that’s really an option for us right now, anyway.

Last, but certainly not least, I have an appointment for another tattoo in a couple of weeks. Megan (also pregnant), the newest artist at Metamorphosis, drew up an octopus for me. I’m really excited about this because Megan’s stuff is so crisp and clean looking. Plus, I’ve never gotten work done by a woman. When I went to look at it yesterday, I really liked it, but I got a little nervous after making the appointment. I have no real interest in covering my entire body with tattoos, but I also have no intentions of not getting more tattoos. At what point does a person stop? I’m running out of cover-able space . . .

From 6 Weeks to 24 Hours

The last 24 hours have been extraordinary for more reasons than one.

One, I opened for the fifth morning in a row.

Two, Trinity has been unable to get up and down the stairs and has me on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve slept on the couch with her the past couple of nights.

Lastly, our foster dog, Jag, is going to a new temporary home already. I fretted, debated, worried, wrung my hands, talked it over with Charlie. But with each new shove into Trinity and by the third time he’d knocked her down, I kept getting more anxious. I had visions of Trinity having to get surgery, of her breaking something, of thousands of dollars of vet bills. Jag stepped on her a couple of times accidentally, as well.

Clearly none of it was on purpose, he just doesn’t realize how big he is and he really, really, really wants to play. Maybe I got in over my head.

Katie was as considerate, kind, and understanding as anyone could be. She reassured me that we weren’t assholes and that he had other foster options. That doesn’t keep me from feeling guilt about dumping all the responsibility back on her. We owe her a lot for taking so much time out of her life to accommodate us and Jag.

I think we’ll foster a dog again in the future, but this time, longer than one day, and perhaps we’ll meet him first.

Zoloft, Don’t Let Me Down Now

Today hasn’t been one of my better days. I opened the store, and was running late because the dogs got up with me and wanted to go out. I was rushing around at the last minute to get everything together when I remembered I had to brew twelve (12!) extra full carafes of coffee for a special order that was coming in at 7am. I broke out in a little sweat, but kept my cool.

Leticia was opening with me, and despite having been gone for 5 months, she didn’t seem to have any problem remembering what to do and where everything was. Sarah offered to come in and help us with the coffee order and I tried to talk her out of it because she had already scheduled herself from noon to close. Why would you want to come in at 6:30 when you have to be there at twelve?

Turns out it was a good thing; our 8am chick — the new girl who has called in five or more times already — never bothered to show up. Sarah ended up working until 11 when I sent her home, and she came back around 1:30. I offered to return again, myself, so she wouldn’t have to stay for the full close, but she refused.

Being the extraordinary person that I am, I then suggested I open the store for her tomorrow morning and she doesn’t have to come in until 10 or 11. This has not been one of my better choices because I’ve been a wreck all night. Not because I have to work, but because we’re supposed to be bringing in a foster dog tomorrow sometime, Charlie will be gone all day playing golf with his dad for Charlie’s birthday, and Trinity can’t seem to move one of her back legs without screaming in pain.

Sometime after our 4pm walk, she started howling whenever she moved. It got worse and worse. By the time Charlie had left for work and I was brushing my teeth, getting ready to settle in, Trinity tried getting up and made a noise like I have never heard come out of an animal before. I shot down the stairs and she was just standing at the bottom of them, holding her back left leg up and staring at me. I asked if she needed to go outside and potty, and she started to head toward the back door, but kept howling whenever she would take a step.

When I managed to help all 90 pounds of her down the four steps to the backyard, she just walked over behind the air conditioning unit and began digging a hole. She then laid down in it and wouldn’t even look at me when I stood in front of her and called her name.

Being the logical, rational person that I am, I immediately started freaking out. All I could think was “Isn’t this something animals do when they’re going to die? Go dig a hole and lay in it?” Next thing I knew, I was calling Charlie, hysterical, and telling him I couldn’t get her to move. Because I was inconsolable, he came right home and managed to get her to pee and come inside. We ended up putting a towel on the couch and creating a series of steps so she could get up.

I’m currently curled up on the other side of the sofa, next to my recently moved alarm clock, wishing I hadn’t offered to work tomorrow morning. The good thing is, I’ll be getting home as Charlie’s leaving, so Trinity won’t be alone at all. I’ve already decided to take the Cesar Millan approach with the foster dog and introduce him slowly to the house, room-by-room, rather than dumping him in the living room. It will be easier on Trinity, anyway.

The Local Flavor Part 8,000: Jesus-y Motorcycle Preacher Dude

There’s a guy who comes in every morning (sometimes many, many times for refills) who is well known as a Jesus-y Motorcycle Preacher Dude that goes around to prisons and proselytizes. He also occasionally says something mildly uncomfortable to one of us. Last Easter he walked in and screamed “Praise the Lord! He has risen!” at the top of his lungs. No one said anything and a few customers appeared visibly uneasy. I muttered under my breath to a couple of people that we’d probably have heard about it already, if that was the case.

Recently, however, he took the cake. He has apparently seen Matt walking in to a local bar down the street once in a while and chose yesterday afternoon to pull Matt aside and chastise him for 25 minutes about how Matt’s a “fornicator” and a “drug abuser”, an alcoholic and “going straight to hell.” Assuming, that is, he doesn’t do whatever Jesus-y Motorcycle Preacher Dude tells him to do.

Had it been me (since all three things would apply to me at some point or another in his opinion, if not more so than Matt since I’m atheist and Matt’s Catholic), I might have pointed out that Preacher Dude is a drug abuser, himself. The guy pounds like 60 ounces of caffeine every day, and sometimes indulges in “sinful” drinks like white chocolate mochas and whatnot. He’s also an alcoholic (his word, not mine), although I guess he’s been forgiven for that … or however it works.

At first I think Matt was shaken up a bit, because he wasn’t expecting this (how the hell could he?), but I think it bothered him the most because, out of all of us, he’s probably one of the only people who works at the coffeeshop that really has any faith rooted in any sort of religion. It was also highly effing inappropriate.

I think, to deter Preacher Dude, Matt may have mentioned something about being Catholic, at which point the dude told him that didn’t matter, you can’t confess and be absolved or whatever, you have to seriously repent with The J.C. above. And he pointed at the sky. I shit you not.

Preacher Dude came in again this morning and didn’t bring any of it up. I have been known to tell crazy religious types who “want to talk” with me about their god that the business I work for doesn’t allow solicitation, which I find absolutely hilarious because they really are selling something, and which those people find incredibly offensive. I briefly considered pulling him aside this morning and saying the same thing, but there are too many regulars there, and too many of them know the owner personally. I’d rather quit than get fired.

It was a weird morning all around, too, despite the dude not mentioning his session with Matt yesterday. One of the new people, a pregnant hippie chick, just got dumped by her boyfriend — 6 1/2 months after their child’s conception — and I know it’s turned her whole world upside down. I didn’t know how I would feel about working with someone that was that far along in a pregnancy, but she’s really cool and “gets it,” which is rare. Considering one of our other new employees has called in, oh, about 5 times in the past month since she started, the hippie chick is a nice change. I just feel terrible for her.

I also had a man shouting his drink order at my back while I was getting tea for another customer about fifteen feet away from him. I turned around and told him — nicely, of course — to wait his turn. That was ballsier of me than usual. I haven’t heard anything on the potential new job yet, though.

The good news is, Leticia will be back tomorrow night and I’m really excited to see her again.

Slow & Steady

I can’t say for certain if it’s the counseling, the meds, the sunshine, or what, but I’ve been making some steady progress. My therapist told me yesterday morning that when I first began seeing her about 4 months ago, I was much “darker,” like I had a cloud over my head. I seemed stressed out and in pain, and, she said, she felt burdened for me (not “with” me, but on my behalf), because I couldn’t even figure out where to start digging.

I have been feeling more at ease, more confident. I think part of the problem with anxiety is that, while I genuinely experience it, it also becomes a sort-of habit. My therapist is pretty sure I was beginning to get agoraphobic, and that if I hadn’t gotten help soon, I may have been hanging over the edge of not being able to leave the house.

It’s definitely nice to have some relief, although I know I still have tons of work to do. I did ask my friend Audrey if she would be willing to take me around the block a few times in her car. She suffers from anxiety, too, so she would be understanding and (hopefully) drive safely. 

I guess I’m still having some guilt, though. I worry that a lot of stuff is happening around me that I’m still not a part of because I’m not quite “ready.” I’ve been working more hours to try and make some extra money, and I’ve been spending my off time embroidering and sewing Christmas gifts (hey, you gotta get started early when it takes you two days to make something). 

Some interesting news is, I got Charlie a tandem skydiving session and, if we can afford it, I might board the dogs for the day and go with him. No, I definitely will go with him. Whether or not I will participate remains to be seen, but I at least want to leave that option open for myself. Jumping out of an airplane has never been something that particularly frightens me. In fact, I’ve always wanted to try it. Getting onto the plane, however, is a completely different story, which highly amuses the psychiatrist I’ve been seeing for the study.

To Whom it May Concern…

To “jojo@yahoo.com,” (76.208.172.197) I realize this isn’t your real email address, and if you had the balls to give me your correct contact information in Texas at sbcglobal.net, I would contact you and let you know that other peoples’ blogs aren’t the place to broadcast your opinions about them.

Perhaps you should start your own “Trashy Hoes [sic] Who Have Tattoos are Disgusting” blog?

Also, consider using spellcheck.