It’s been two months since we moved, and I’ve started to feel the twinge of homesickness. The loneliness and unfamiliarity, I was prepared for; the profound disappointment at missing the Indiana State Fair, I was not.

The video above is one I took, just a few seconds, when Charlie and our old housemate Cavan went on the swings at the fair. Every summer for a few years in a row, we would go with Cavan to gorge ourselves, take photos, ride the rides, and people watch. People watching was definitely my favorite part (a close tie with buttery corn on the cob, elephant ears, and those corn dogs that probably don’t qualify as “food”). It never ceased to amaze me how many morbidly obese people I could count who wore overalls with nothing else. Or people in bare feet. Or mullets and rat-tails on children and adults.

And the best part was jabbing Cavan or Leti or Sarah or Audrey in the side and trying to nod subtly at the person you were making fun of, but didn’t want to notice you were making fun of them.

So I guess I’m not just missing the fair, I’m missing the people we would attend it with.

For the most part, I’m okay with hanging out at home. I know it won’t last forever, I know I will make friends — or get some old ones here. Katie, who used to work with me at the coffeeshop and started last fall at Brooklyn Law is transferring to Northwestern at the end of the summer! I actually don’t mind not feeling too pressured to socialize because we are so broke right now. If too many people wanted me to go out to eat, have drinks, go shopping, or even hop on the train for sight-seeing, I’d have to bow my head and admit we have less than $15 in our checking account for the rest of this week.

So, I think laying low for a couple more weeks is probably just fine.


My Frozen Cutlet Friend

The other night I had a ridiculous dream. I was responsible for the care and maintenance of a girl named Ryan, with whom I’d attended high school, because during the winter she had chosen to be deep-frozen. Not to be confused with cryogenic freezing, this was merely deep freezing in a walk-in that was kept at zero degrees. It also happened to be in the freezer we have at work, which is why I’m guessing I was put in charge of her maintenance. She was stored on a very large metal cookie sheet, covered in plastic wrap.

At one point, I got really upset because someone wanted to visit her, so I was expected to wake her up, which was impossible. Although she was clearly alive throughout the whole thing, I was not supposed to try and rouse her while she was “hibernating.” I kept patting her face through the plastic wrap and repeating her name, but she wouldn’t respond.

Another time I checked on her in the freezer, I noticed a mouse wandering in and out of the shelves. I was horrified by that, but couldn’t get the mouse out of the walk-in.

And yet another time, she had been sliced up into a series of cutlets, like pork chops and ribs and things. I assumed this was to store her easier and make room for other things in the freezer. In the dream, I wasn’t frightened that she was being kept in pieces, because I knew she was fine. At some point when it warmed up, she’d be pushed back together and would thaw into her old self.

Suspicious Activities

I’ve had two people add me to their “friends list” on either MySpace or Facebook in the past couple of weeks, both of whom I know from high school and the evil former housemate (not Cavan, of course!). Since I know for a fact that both of these people are still friends with said evil former housemate, I have to question why they’re adding me. One of the girls I know —  kind of, a little bit — but haven’t seen her in years. The other I have only met twice and is most assuredly a good friend of the evil former housemate.

I have not approved either of these people. In fact, one of them I hit “ignore request,” and the other I just haven’t even bothered to sign in and check. I just received an email about it and chose to do nothing. It makes me feel weird, like what are their motives, and why are they trying to connect with me? Are they arbitrarily adding me because we went to high school together, or are they trying to “get information” about me to give to the enemy?

Today I went to the library to check out some books and an older gentleman approached me at the elevator. It would have been really odd if we’d been alone, but there were several other people standing around. “If you know anyone who’s having a baby soon,” he joked, eyeing my obvious condition, “this is for the piggy bank.” And he just handed me a silver dollar. It was a cute gesture, if a little weird. I laughed and said thank you, if I came across someone, I’d pass it on.

By the way, this last bit wasn’t suspicious to me, despite the title of the post; I just wanted to tell you about it.

Here I Am.

There hasn’t been much going on the in the Peanut McNugget household. One of our supervisors from work is on vacation all week so everyone’s working extra hours to cover in her absence. I’m relieved that I don’t have to worry about school on top of this and the pregnancy. The Peanut has been doing somersaults lately. Charlie got to feel a couple of kicks last night and giggled like a schoolgirl. If this is what she’s doing at 6 months, I can’t imagine how things will feel in April or May when I’m trying to sleep or eat. This kid is active.

People all around me are having health problems that cause me to worry, but there isn’t much I can do about it. My dad is having some sort of spinal chord inflammation that’s really bothering him. One of my friends just discovered she had a heart attack. Maureen threw her back out. Everyone at work has a sinus infection. One of our regulars just had a mastectomy. Another, who’s got to be in her sixties, fell and broke her leg a couple of weeks ago.

I had a dream last night that I stumbled across some sort of baseball game/laser light show combination when I was wandering downtown. I stopped because I couldn’t figure out why both things were happening at the same place and I saw a bunch of regulars from the coffeeshop (one is the woman who had the mastectomy. She’s been on my mind a lot lately, which is why I imagine she appeared in the dream). I had the baby in the dream and she was tiny. I kept trying to hold her in a way that didn’t hurt her, and I kept forgetting to support her head, which was just sort of rolling all over the place. At one point, Woody Allen was peeking in through a window, looking wistful and wanting to join the party. I asked Charlie if it was okay and he said yes, but keep an eye on him with the baby. That hurt my feelings because I didn’t think Charlie believed all the Woody Allen hype.

A few days ago I found myself on the couch, eating some Cheetos, and watching Dr Phil (it was a special on the woman in California they’re calling the “Octo-Mom”). As soon as I realized what was happening, I put the junk food down and turned off the television. What is happening to me?

Charlie leaves for Las Vegas on the 2nd of March. He’s going for a “work-related conference,” something they managed to con the owner into believing was beneficial to running a nightclub. I’ve been to my fair share of conferences, back in the day when I had a Real Job, and I know how that works. As soon as you get there, you attend one event and then discover no one takes attendance or anything, so you wander off and go shopping. Or, in this case, gambling and drinking. He’s going with two people I trust, one person I don’t. They’ll return that Thursday and I have to admit I’m jealous. My one trip to Las Vegas (almost ten years ago) completely sucked and I made Charlie promise he won’t have “too much fun.”

In a couple of weeks we’re going to check out the office where Jay & Scott live to see about building, look at models, go over prices. We’re both completely torn when it comes to home buying. I don’t think I need to detail a laundry list of the positives and negatives of either buying an older, drafty, moldy home with “character,” versus a boring brand-new construction with energy-efficient everything and no trees. We like the idea of Peanut growing up next door to her godparents (whether or not they’d think it was fantastic remains to be seen). I think the main problem for us is the location; it’s the complete opposite side of town from all our family, who may or may not be willing to help out with the kid, and it’s not convenient to work or school for either of us right now. The last thing I want to do is commute just to work at a coffeeshop, and I doubt Charlie would think it was worth it to work at the club. He has to make a lot of short runs over there during the day to let people in or take care of problems. But I don’t think either of us want to do what we’re doing right now as careers, so we’re trying to determine if this is an area we’d want to end up, and if so, what would we do?

The Curse of Hissy Fits

I had a dream last night that I was a teaching assistant to my dad for a group of five-year-olds. For some reason, it was his responsibility (or choice) to explain the philosophy behind Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. I had to assist in this explanation and act it out for a series of kindergarten classes.

My dad then asked me to help explain the story of Sisyphus. I told the kids that it’s what happens when someone gets really mad and throws themselves on the floor in a temper tantrum. My dad asked me to repeat it and I did, adding, “You know, hissy fits.”

It’s the Little Things that Drive Me Batty

I don’t know if it’s pregnancy hormones, work-related burn out, or something else, but I have found myself getting more than irritated with some customers lately.

I opened this morning, which is my preference if I have to work on a Sunday, because as the day stretches on, things only get worse. Sunday is amateur day; people who don’t normally go out for coffee make a special trip before or after their church services, after their special Sunday brunches, or just for special shits and giggles. While I can have most customers’ drinks ready before they even finish paying, Sundays are full of people I don’t recognize or have only seen a few times. But sometimes these people are a special kind of regular — they always come in on Sundays and get irritated with me when I don’t know their drinks. Despite the fact that I work two a month, at most, and I don’t look familiar to them.

One of these people is an older woman who gets “treated” by one of our regulars after church. She never knows what she wants, takes a really long time figuring it out, and always ends up getting a small cup of coffee. When you ask her if she wants room for cream and sugar, she snaps that she doesn’t know; she wants to taste the coffee first. Then she tells you how strong it is. Over and over and over again.”Ewww. This is so strong.” “This coffee is really strong.” “Oh, my word, this is the strongest coffee I’ve ever tasted!” Then she wanders over to her friends and continues to talk about it, making sure we’re within earshot.

This morning I kind of lost my patience with her and, without even realizing it, I muttered under my breath, “Je-sus. I know.” She heard me and did not appear to be very happy, but for Pete’s sake — what does she want us to do about it? I’ve suggested everything from foofy, sweet drinks, to tea. Today I wanted to tell her to walk her happy ass home and drink her Sanka or Folger’s or whatever the hell it is she drinks that isn’t as dark as our brewed coffee.

We had a lot of ice on the sidewalk this morning, so while my opener was trying to put down salt, I was ringing people up and making drinks. As I was finishing up someone’s latte, a man I’ve never seen walked up to the counter and stared me down. I greeted him and said I’d be with him in just a moment, I just needed to finish this drink. He glared at me and as I handed the other customer her latte, he barked, “Are you ready for me yet?”
I composed myself and said, “Of course, what can I get for you?” As I walked around the bar area to the register.
“Make me a hot chocolate,” he commanded.
So I had to turn right back around and go to the bar. And, of course, I had to ask what size he wanted, if he wanted a particular kind of milk (“What do you mean?” He growled. “Cow’s milk. That’s what I want. Do you have that?”)
I hesitated before asking if he wanted whipped cream, a controversial topping that some people despise and some can’t live without. I chose to put just a little bit on top to avoid irritating him further, psychically willing Rebecca to stop messing with the salt on the curb and come back inside. When I handed him his drink, I said, “Here’s your cocoa!” as sweetly as I could.
“I said I wanted a HOT CHOCOLATE,” he practically bellowed. To me, the terms are interchangeable. Some people apparently disagree. Before I could stop myself, I said, “A hot chocolate is the SAME as a hot cocoa,” and I slammed it down in front of him. Luckily, Rebecca had come back and I walked away from the register so she could ring him up and I wouldn’t say something I regretted even more.

I don’t know why I’ve lost my patience. I’ve been working in customer service and people-oriented fields my entire life. Whether it was with the publishing company where I coordinated entire series of books and had to communicate with editors, authors, and copywriters, in social services when I worked with disabled adults, or bookstores, coffeeshops, and pizza places. I’ve always been proud of my ability to brush the bad attitudes off and move on. But lately I have to grit my teeth harder and harder to stop from slapping people and screaming about how petty they’re being. Maybe I need to go back and see my counselor.

Overheard on Campus

Yesterday I was hoofing it to my car to try and avoid the inevitable clusterf*ckery that would result as the snow started to fall in chunks. As I was getting ready to pass into the parking lot where my car sat, I passed two young guys, one with a pencil-thin, pathetic attempt at a mustache, the other was slightly overweight and wore a black duster and boots.

Mustache kid: Do you think we’d have airplanes if we never invented guns?
Overweight kid: Huh?
MK: ‘Cause the airplanes were invented to put guns on so people could kill people. So if we didn’t have guns, would we have airplanes?
OK: Oh. I dunno.

Overheard in Cavanaugh Hall

So, every Monday and Wednesday morning I leave for class around 7:45am to find a parking spot, walk all the way to my first course in Cavanaugh Hall, and eat some breakfast that, hopefully, I’ve remembered to bring with me.

This morning I was sitting on the fourth floor at a table, reading the paper and munching on animal crackers and yogurt. Two young girls were sitting a few feet away from me, going over what finals they had coming up. One of them was proudly explaining her elaborate notation system for her day planner. Orange is for exciting things. Pink is for really exciting things. Yellow is for sad things. Then things got weird. The planner girl said, “I hate Yoko Ono.”
Her friend said “Who’s that?”
Planner Girl: She’s that chick who broke up the Beatles. She, like, stole John Lennon and turned him crazy or something. And broke up the whole band.
Other Girl: Oh. That sucks.
PG: Yeah, I hate her.


I have issues with Pizza Hut’s “P’Zone.” I don’t like anything about it. The concept, the execution, the spelling.

My grandmother was having hallucinations last night, possibly due to a narcotic she’s on for back pain. Apparently she called my aunt to say she couldn’t find my grandfather and that there was a rat or mouse somewhere in the house. My grandfather has been dead for about 10 years.

Tyra Banks is quite possibly one of the most horrifying human beings on the face of the planet. I honestly do not know where she gets the enormous amount of confidence she has in her “expertise,” but more power to her, I suppose.

Tomorrow we have an appointment at the new OB’s office. We’ll see her nurse at 8am, have the whole interview thing all over again, and possibly tour labor and delivery. Yipes.

The Local Flavor: Disgusting Old Men

Today I had a regular customer say the most offensive thing I have yet to experience at a job. And there have been some whoppers. He was getting a steamed cider drink that he made up himself, which is disgusting, and I was bending down to get the cider out of the fridge. I have been having some difficulty bending at work so I have to sort of scrunch down and use my knees more. He poked his head over the side of the  he said:

“Wow. I love a woman who gets on her knees that fast. Usually I have to beg for a while first.”

I stood up, shot him a really dirty look, and said, “Man, you are one class act.”

He tried to back peddle, saying it was supposed to be a joke about praying and he meant I was saint-like or some other shit, like I just “didn’t get it.” Which is just how it is with perverts. When you give it right back to them, they think they can keep doing it. When you call them out on being a dick, they act like you can’t take a joke.