Giant Party Pooper

I don’t know if it’s related to the fact that I choose not to do anything because I feel like a boring mess all the time, or because I never have someone to share holidays with, but I hate a lot of holidays. July 4th and New Year’s Eve, especially.

I think it has something to do with the excuse most people use to get wasted and overeat on a lot of holidays. Fireworks and gluttony seem to irritate me. And New Year’s Eve is amateur night. No one knows how to drive, park, eat, pay, tip, or hold their liquor.

But I guess it really boils down to the fact that I spend a lot of these holidays alone. New Year’s Eve is not what I want to celebrate in a room full of couples making out at midnight when I know my partner is counting down in a rowdy nightclub with several drunk co-eds climbing over one another to try and make out with him.

I’m not saying Charlie’s all that. I just know what it’s like to be a drunk, horny, single gal in a bar with a strapping young man standing a few feet away. He’s not for everyone, but if I thought he was hot, there’s bound to be a few others who agree with me.

I’m also not saying that I think he’s unfaithful. I’m just saying it sucks that I work in a place where the most amount of action I get is a cirrhotic 70-year-old making lewd remarks at me over a cup of coffee while Charlie gets to squeeze betwixt a series of nubile young eager bodies amid thumping bass. And my curves are becoming significantly more exaggerated, which does not help my self esteem.

It just isn’t a fair trade.

But I do have to say I believe actions speak louder than words and, today, he spoke loud and clear by taking a secret trip to the car dealership while I was at work and attempting an all-time car-buying speed record. Yes, I know we just got the Yaris in May. Yes, I know we seem to get a new car every year. But in our defense, the Yaris was supposed to be the Last Car We’d Buy for Years. Until the kid, that is. And there was a reason every time: the Sonata was my commuter car, but it got stolen. The Santa Fe was something he wanted but it used way too much gas for the drive to Fishers and back every day for him. The Matrix got better mileage but then gas prices went up to over four dollars a gallon.

And now we’ve got the peanut on the way. And Charlie kept saying he does not want to struggle with a car seat in a two-door hatchback. I said I understood, but we could make it work. He kept saying it wouldn’t work. I said, but I’m the one who will be driving the car most of the time. He said it didn’t matter — he wants a four door. So I said fine, if that’s what you want, but I am not going to be caught in a car dealership for another five years.

So he went, picked out another Matrix (we loved the last one – cute, sporty, fun wagon – but decided to trade it in to save on gas, not thinking I was going to get knocked up any time soon), got approved for financing, got a stellar interest rate, and called me only to discuss the payment on his way home.

I told him to think about it. It’s going to be more than we paid each month for the last one since it’s a 2009, but with the interest rate, it’ll be considerably less than I’d have thought for a brand-new Toyota Matrix. If money is the issue with a kid on the way, I said I could pay the difference between what our monthly payout was for the Yaris and what will be for the Matrix. He said his boss wants to discuss a raise “after the first of the year.”

So I guess we’ll find out sometime tomorrow if we’re going to do it. And, by “we,” I mean him.

And It Was Weird

So my sister showed up, after all. My mom freaked out, choked up, and had to go to the bathroom. I told my dad, “There’s something wrong with your wife,” right after I told the rest of my family, “It’s an effing Christmas miracle.” Everyone was shocked, but no one really knew what to say to her.

She stayed with her husband and 10-year-old stepdaughter for approximately one hour before leaving. Maybe an hour and a half. I didn’t time it, but it was fast. Charlie and I made a bet. I said I could go the entire length of her visit without speaking to her. He said it would be impossible. I only said this after she’d been there about 30 minutes and hadn’t once come up to or made eye contact with me. In fact, I approached her at one point to introduce Charlie to her and she turned around and walked away.

For most of her stay, she held court next to a column in the living area, said nothing to anyone, and didn’t eat or drink anything. Her husband and stepdaughter were welcomed by the family and people even had gifts (the couple of people who’d known there was a possibility they’d be coming), so the little girl wouldn’t feel left out.

Both my sister and her husband said what I felt were inappropriate things about the girl right in front of her. When I met the husband, he shook my hand, introduced me to the daughter, and said “She and your sister are always butting heads,” and slammed his fists together in front of his chest in a gesture to prove his point. That poor kid just stood there and looked at us.

The husband was this huge, hulking, dorky guy. Harmless enough, and a nice guy, but definitely on the goofy side. He sat and spoke with my dad for a while about database administration — what they both do for a living. He and his daughter ate and talked with everyone while my sister planted her feet in the same place for at least 30 minutes. I kept glancing over at her, waiting for some kind of okay or approval to go over, but I never got it.

I admit I was being stubborn after a while. I was not going to ask her permission to speak with her, and I honestly did not know what to say. “Hey.” “What’s up?” “How are you?” Blech. One of my younger cousins said he didn’t think he’d ever met her before. If he did, he was too young to remember the event. He’s 15.

Apparently she complained the entire time she was there — about the drive, her headache, the stepdaughter, her job — and they left while Charlie was feeding our dogs. We live right down the road from my aunt and uncle who hosted this year, so he was able to run home and let the pooches out. When he returned, he couldn’t believe she had already left. They must have been in the car a total of eight hours to stay a fraction of that time. It was the first time in the almost 10 years Charlie and I have been together that he has seen my sister in person.

I had fun and got a lot of crap, though. I guess getting knocked up makes people want to buy stuff for you. Several family members who didn’t draw my name made or got stuff for me anyway. You know, baby clothes, books related to babies, ornaments to commemorate the fetus’s existence.

Beyond Awkward Family Get-Togethers

pewter dragon statueAs many of you know, I haven’t had much of a relationship with my sister. And by “relationship,” I mean when you actually speak to or communicate with another human being more than once a decade.

We never had much of anything in common besides a mother and father and going to the same high school. I was into the Cure and combat boots and dark lipstick, she was into pewter dragon statues (when I see things like the photo on the left, I immediately think of her), Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games (and still is), and playing in the band. We didn’t listen to the same music, like the same clothes, or even like the same food. We did share a significant amount of friends, which irked me, but our high school was small, and weirdos were limited. Rather than having individual cliques of nerds, geeks, goth or punk kids, there were only a few of each and we all had to stick together.

It’s been at least 9 years since I’ve seen her in person, and about five or six since I’ve heard from her (she sent an invitation to her graduation from a community college — after the actual ceremony — which led me to believe she just wanted money). The last time I saw her in 1999, she actually stayed at my house for 2 weeks before moving to Ohio with our parents, eating my food, commandeering my bedroom, sleeping all afternoon and going to work at one in the morning, which really screwed up my schedule. Things didn’t seem to end badly when she finally moved, so I haven’t been able to understand exactly what it was I may have done as all these years have passed without a peep out of her.

When Charlie and I were planning our wedding, we went to visit my parents in Ohio and my sister was there, at the house, the entire time we were eating dinner. I could hear her shifting around in her room upstairs, but didn’t come down once to meet her future brother-in-law. Charlie has only ever seen a photo of her. It just seems odd that they were in the same place at the same time for at least four or five hours and have never actually met one another.

About 6 months ago, I finally sat down and wrote her an email, apologizing for whatever it is that I did to offend her. If it was something that happened when we were kids, it was most likely something stupid and I don’t know that I should be held accountable for something mean I did when I was 12, but with my sister you never know. I think she tends to hold grudges. But I did tell her that if she chose not to respond I was fine with that and would take it to mean she wasn’t interested in a relationship. Which was fine with me. I don’t particularly care to have some sort of weird, forced contact with a person with whom I really have nothing in common, all for the sake of being able to say I have that contact.

A few weeks ago my mom was pestering me to email my sister again and tell her that I’m pregnant. I kept saying I’d already tried to communicate with her and she hadn’t responded, so if my mom wanted her to know, well, tell her yourself. Apparently she did and my sister said she’d never gotten any email from me.

I don’t know what to think about that. My first response was that she was just fibbing in an attempt to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, but maybe she really didn’t get it? In which case, I admit I felt slightly bad for being hard on her. Only slightly.

Now, my mom is telling me that there is a chance (“weather permitting”) my sister, her new husband, and his daughter may be coming out for Christmas Eve tomorrow afternoon. Of course, it’s going to bother people who would have otherwise liked to have bought them gifts. Hopefully, my mom and sister will be prepared with something for this little girl, but by keeping it a surprise (mostly to avoid some family members’ disappointment if they don’t show up), people are undoubtedly going to feel bad. It’s not like Easter or Thanksgiving where you just show up and eat. I mean, everyone’s going to have something to unwrap except for them, which seems stinky.

I still have the last presents I bought for my sister for Christmas 8 years ago — a ring I found on eBay with amethyst (her birthstone), and a weird book about the extinction of the dinosaurs because she was really into archaeology and, last I’d heard, it was what she was studying in college. I guess I could bring those?

The Sting of a Poor Grade

Last night I was trying to withhold outrage until the final information was posted online, but I was disheartened to find this morning that my feminist art instructors (there were two for this course) apparently think I only did 78.25% of the job. They finally updated the gradebook and gave me a C+ in the class. Ouch. It was like getting sucker-punched. I tried not to cry at work, but I saw my cumulative GPA (now barely above a 3.5, which was almost a 3.7) and my semester GPA (3.219, not Dean’s List for the first time).

The most insulting part is where they gave me a total of 175 out of 250 possible points for my final paper. Granted, it wasn’t the most stellar of all papers I’ve ever turned in, and I’m not especially proud of it, but that means they thought my paper was only work 70% of the work I could have put into it. And I definitely put more into it than that. I mean, come on. You couldn’t give a friggin’ B-?

Charlie says I should get their copies, look at their notes, and meet with each instructor, pointing out where I think I met the requirements, and arguing why I should get a higher grade. I don’t know if I have the balls, the gumption, the energy, or the desire to do this. If I got really upset, I know I’d end up saying something rude or speaking out of anger, pointing out how it was difficult to come to class and listen to one of them going on and on about her own artwork, the groups she’s created, all the great friends she has in the art world, how important and meaningful her work is . . . Not to mention the fact that she pointed out in class several times that people weren’t citing her in their papers and if we aren’t, well, “something is wrong.”

I don’t think I deserve an A just because I like art and call myself a feminist. But I do feel as if they were rather harsh in their determination of value and I do take offense. This is the second C I’ll receive in my college career, and it seems in both instances I managed to piss off my professors, causing my less-than-stellar grade, and their reluctance to utilize any sort of lenience when doing said grading.

I keep thinking, maybe if I’d stayed longer one day, or hadn’t cut out after the break, or had tried just a little bit harder to make my paper more cohesive . . . well, I would have done better. Maybe neither of them were especially fond of me (my “participation” points were 80 out of 100 — and I participated a lot), and I know bad students have a tendency to blame their teachers when they do poorly, but I really think I just didn’t endear myself enough towards them. Plus, they’re female professors, teaching feminism in a male-dominated profession. It’s sexist to even think it, but are they more hard on the students who are feminists than they would be on the males in the class? Do guys get better grades just for being present in a class that’s 95% women?

I will accept that this is some sort of karma grade, only because Charlie got a letter in the mail from the government about the job he’d applied for just two weeks ago. It said he was qualified for the position and may be getting a call for an interview. At least I know all the time helping him fill out the mounds of paperwork required just to apply for this job (a ridiculous amount) was spent doing something important and productive; I wasn’t just sitting on my ass playing video games in lieu of writing papers.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Cute Haircut

I received my first official grade today: an A. Technically, it might be an A- because it says 91% and I don’t know, exactly, what that grade is. But I don’t really care, because it was in my most difficult class — one of the most difficult I’ve ever taken.

It was a 100-level anthropology course that I took as the final requirement for my science credits, and I admit that the reason I chose that one was because the professor teaching it had a “chili pepper” next to his name on RateMyProfessors.com. The people rating him had said he was fun and the class was relatively easy. So I signed up.

Imagine my surprise the first day of class when a very young, very energetic young woman came in and began speaking with a heavy accent at about 100 miles per hour. She was probably one of the brightest people who’d ever taught a class I’ve been in, but she is definitely a specialist. The sheer volume of information we were expected to absorb was ridiculous, and I honestly thought after the first exam that I was going to get a C in this class; a B if I was lucky.

In the women’s bathroom down the hall from our class one morning, she stopped me and said how much she liked my hair. I wanted to ask if she would give me a few extra credit points if I gave her the name of my stylist. But I also never missed one class (except when Obama came to the Fairgrounds, which I notified her about in advance), and I came to the review session before our final. I think this may have helped me a little bit.

This was the class, at the beginning of this semester, I thought would be my “cake” course — I wouldn’t worry about it, my attendance, or my grades, ’cause it’d be a snap. I was wrong. It was the one I ultimately ended up spending the most amount of time on, and as a result, my attention to my other courses waned. So while I’m thrilled with the outcome of this class, I’m afraid I may have done worse than I could have in everything else.

I also realized tonight that I may end up like my dad when I have this kid. Someone was in the store tonight with an obnoxious little kid who was trying to knock our Christmas decorations around with his “pirate sword” (a plastic ruler his parents apparently let him carry). Before I knew it, I was saying, “If I had done that, my mother would have made me eat dirt.”

The kid was simultaneously perplexed and sort of scared, although his parents didn’t seem to notice one way or another what he was doing. At least he stopped.

It’s completely something my dad would say, and I started thinking about how I would respond to those typical “Why?” questions children have. Facetiously. Sarcastically. With irony and causing my child vast amounts of confusion.

I Make Another Enemy

As it stands, there are at least two of our crazy regulars who absolutely hate me right now. One is the Toothless Angry Hungarian, the other is our beloved neighbor, Crazy Pink-Haired Lady.

TAH I have intentionally alienated, by ignoring her, not speaking to her, not smiling at her, setting her cup down and walking away without making eye contact. I tried the kill-her-with-kindness thing for a while and it didn’t work. She still complained that I wasn’t saying “good morning” to her — I was only saying “hello.” So I just quit.

My recent drama with CPHL, on the other hand, started out innocently enough. Friday morning she stepped in between a customer and myself as we were having a conversation. Because she’s deaf and knows limited sign language, on top of being barely literate, it’s difficult to communicate with her. But I did motion to the customer and then to myself, making a sign that we were talking and asking her to wait. CPHL did not like this. She turned up her nose at me and stepped right in front of the customer so that the other person could no longer see me and would have to talk to her.

Again, I told CPHL she was being rude. She told me to shut up and started mocking my hand signals, at which point I threw up my hands at her and walked away.

The next morning she came in, she was immediately hostile when she saw me. She waved her arms around at me and made faces, acting like a child of 8 rather than her 73 years. I ignored her, which only made her more angry. She left after a few minutes, only to return several hours later and begin, one more time, being hostile and angry.

I’d had enough. I told her to turn around and leave, that if she was going to continue being rude, she would not be welcome back. I told her since she doesn’t pay for anything, she’s not a customer and does not need to come in at all. This absolutely enraged her, at which point she threatened me (not very scary considering I could break her over my knee), started waving her fists in my face, and screamed. I was pissed that she was making such a huge commotion and kept asking her to please remove herself from the store before I did it for her (which, of course, I would not do, because she has a case worker and she’s old and deaf, and I don’t want to go to jail). “This is my job,” I signed to her. “I work here. You don’t. You have to leave.”

I finally had to ask Sarah to tell CPHL to leave and not come back as long as I’m working.

Of course, she has come back, because she knows I can’t do anything, physically, to her. And she’s extremely childish about the entire thing. She was wrong and rude for interrupting me, but her life and her world are very small. The tiniest personal slight and she’s going to throw things at you.

Personally, I don’t believe this is something I should have to put up with at my job. I don’t work in social services and I don’t provide care for her. I’m tired of her and all the other f–ed up crazy people who come in to the store, day in and day out. I’m absolutely done.

Charlie said he gets tired of hearing how people with disabilities should be treated “just like anyone else,” and the people saying that treat people with disabilities like they’re mentally retarded. This lady is not mentally retarded. She’s deaf. There’s a difference.

And Speaking of Me Being Non-Confrontational

I begged Charlie to cancel the appointment with the first OB we saw — the one who couldn’t have cared less if I was there, and who never once made eye contact with me. I didn’t want to do it because I knew they would ask why, but I also knew I could do a better job of making something up than Charlie, who would probably just say “We didn’t like that doctor.” I really, really didn’t want to say it because relationships like that are so subjective and, just because I didn’t dig her doesn’t mean a hundred other people don’t absolutely love the woman.

So he called and cancelled for me this morning while I was in my final from 8am-10am and said they never even asked him why. Of course, I just got off the phone with them. The doctor’s nurse called me to ask that question and I totally B.S.’ed my whole way through the conversation, saying the office is over 30 minutes away (almost true), and how I’m covered better if I go through this other office (not true at all), and I was sorry (kind of). The nurse is actually someone I liked very much, but since she wouldn’t be the person hovering above my vagina for god-knows-how-many-hours, I couldn’t go on that alone.

I also had a brief moment of panic on Monday when I thought I was going to be fired. Our trainer got called in for an emergency meeting and had it in her head that she was in trouble for opening one of our other stores late the previous morning. I told her to text me just to make sure she was okay. Around noon, I got the text saying “I’m okay, someone else isn’t.” At which point I wrote back, saying I was glad it wasn’t her . . . did it happen to be me? Chuckle, chuckle. Except she didn’t text me back. In fact, I heard nothing from her for over 3 hours, at which point I had gotten it into my head that I was, in fact, in trouble, and all of these scenarios kept popping up in my head when I had been kind of rude to someone, or hadn’t done something stupid a customer had asked of me, or maybe had ignored someone I can’t stand for just a little longer than was reasonably forgivable as being distracted.

When Katie finally called me back, it was almost 4 and I was convinced they were going to give me the ax, but she laughed and said her phone had died and she didn’t have a charger on her all afternoon. It was so stupid of me to get all freaked out, but there have been a few times when I’ve almost lost my patience with people at work and have been borderline rude. That’s pretty much why John got let go, so I imagined if enough people had complained about me in a short period of time, I’d be next.

It’s a relief, of course, knowing I still have a job, but a little part of me is disappointed I have to go back to work tomorrow morning. But what would I do without health insurance?

Speaking of which, I paid a mere $25 for my cleaning at the dentist yesterday. That was, by far, the cheapest appointment I have had involving my mouth in something like three years. I just got them cleaned. It only took 30 minutes, and that includes the free drilling I got to make the two crowns on my back left side a little bit shorter. I admit I’d been paranoid to say anything for fear that I would have to get yet another one replaced, but the drilling was minor, painless, and only slightly irritating. Now I can chew on that side!

I should have said something a while ago, I guess. But that’s just how I am.

Non-Confrontational

I’m sitting here, half watching The Price is Right, and half studying for my Anthropology midterm tomorrow, cringing as I try not to listen to Charlie yelling at some poor Best Buy employee. First it was the poor kid who happened to answer the phone in their customer service department. Then he wanted to speak to a manager and now that person is on the receiving end of Charlie’s wrath.

I realize why he’s upset. They’ve changed the terms of his card, which he only got to get zero interest on some thing or another that he bought a few months ago (a TV?). Now they’re not sending him statements, and they’re trying to charge him $15 to make a $13 payment today, his due date, by saying that it won’t post today, even if he makes the payment online. He gets plenty of advertisements in his snail and email boxes from them, but no actual statements in the past 3 months since he opened the account.

As much as I understand his frustation, I cannot imagine yelling over the phone at some poor sales rep who just wants to keep his job and could care less about changing Best Buy’s policies because Charlie is upset about them. I suggested he do what I did — close the account. I had similar problems with my Target card jerking around the payment “cycle” dates and eventually just paid it off and closed it out of frustation.

You can yell as much as you want, but the loudest message is the one where you give them no more money.

The Half-Assiest

This semester has to be, by far, the worst I one I’ve ever experienced. I chalk it up to a general lack of enthusiasm toward college, after five years and no degree, attending pretty much full-time all those years. Also, needing to work 30-35 hours per week, on top of my 13 credits. Oh, and the peanut (now more like a grapefruit) sucking all intelligence, nutrients, and energy from within my uterus.

I have written some of the worst papers I’ve penned since high school (in terms of lack of focus and editing/drafts), and I would not be surprised to find that GPA I struggled so hard to pull up (currently a 3.7-ish) plummeted below a 3.5. I can already see my chances for graduate school slipping away. I’ll have to write one of those excuse-me sort of statements if I do apply, apologizing for my lack of concentration, and starting the first of a lifetime of blaming my stupidity on my kid.

Speaking of the peanut, our first appointment with the new OB is Wednesday afternoon. I have an 8am final (a review session for which I actually attended this morning, despite the struggle my body put up to keep me from getting out of bed at seven on a Monday when I knew I didn’t have to be on campus), but will probably come home afterwards, rather than spending all day doing nothing at school before the appointment. I’m sure I’ll have another gallon of blood removed, and may or may not have to shave my legs. Again. My main concern right now (besides the entire concept of birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and college savings plans) is whether or not I will need to go back on Zoloft in the third trimester. I have always been concerned about postpartum depression, and how at risk I may be. That is to say, a lot.

Charlie’s application to our old employer appears to have been overlooked, despite the Human Resources department’s apparent enthusiasm about his re-applying. They’ve hired at least three different people since Charlie applied, only one of which stayed more than a couple of days.
I did, however, make a few connections at work and discovered that today is the last day he can apply for a muckity-muck type job with the federal government downtown. I won’t say what right now, but he would get preference since he’s a veteran. The pay is even better than he would have been making had he gotten the other job, and the benefits, of course, would be stellar. It’s the gubment.

I’m not going to relay my entire schedule this week, but I am pretty sure that my social life has been on hold for the past 8 days and may not restart for another 7 days. And, about 6 months from now, it will probably be on hold for another 18 or so years. Just do you know, if you want to plan anything with me.