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Sunday, January 31, 2010

And several small fires

Pet Peeve No. 187: Bragging About Personal Failure

There are few things that bother me as much as when people boast about not being able to perform basic, mundane tasks.  It's not a mark of honor.

Take, for example, cooking.  How many people do you know who brag about the fact that they cannot boil water?

Or changing a tire.  I know it's hard to do by yourself, but it's not impossible.

De-fragging a computer.  I learned to de-frag when I was twelve.

Taxes.  Come on, people, in the age of Turbo Tax you really can't understand what is going on?

Sewing on a button.  I once had a boy at church thrust his wrist out at me and say, "You're a girl, you can fix this, right?"  Ah yes, grasshopper, with my Estrogen Powers.  I just stare at frayed hems, and they magically mend.


Understanding the basic functions of U.S. government.  Look.  There are THREE branches.  Not fifty.  Not even five.  You learned about them in fifth, eighth and eleventh grade, and you probably took a class or two in college while you were at it.  How is it possible that it's still a mystery?  AND WHY ARE YOU PROUD OF THE FACT THAT IT'S STILL A MYSTERY?

I am not saying I am good at any of the aforementioned things.  I am good at some of them, adequate at others.  And yes, sometimes it's funny when my adventures in cooking go horribly wrong, but mostly it's just a little sad.  

If you cannot fend for yourself in an emergency, you are not darling or adorable.  If you cannot iron your own shirt, you are not manly.  If you cannot turn on your oven, you are not a bigger feminist than I am.

You're just kinda lame.  And never ask me to sew on your buttons again.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Infidelity 101

When a dirty French man-mistress (who, incidentally, looks like this:)
tells you he's only ever had TWO girlfriends, you laugh your ass off.  You do not look at him all fondly and then start having crazy "our countries run the Security Council" sex.  

(Watching "Unfaithful" every time it is on TV is one of my guilty pleasures.  I just love everything about it.  The cheesiness of the French guy living in a loft, buying and selling first edition books.  When one of the middle-aged moms compares having an affair to taking a pottery class.  And duh, all the naughty parts.  Even if they do have to involve a French man.)

(I don't know what it is about French dudes, but I cannot take them seriously.  Their accents are just RIDICULOUS.)

Weakling

So the half marathon training is ... I think even just writing "going" might be too strong.  "Occurring," I guess, has the right amount of passivity?  Yesterday was a break day, and I'm scheduled for four miles today, but I "hiked" a famous mountain in "Austin" today ("hiked" in that I stopped at the base of the first peak of the easy side -- hey, I'm afraid of heights, okay?) and I am thrashed.

Speaking of my total inability to be a badass, I read a book last night called The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  (Thanks, Mormon Child Bride.)  I just want it noted for the record that I think I could totally survive a zombie outbreak, but probably not an apocalypse.  Zombie apocalypse?  Yikes.

In case you're wondering, The Forest of Hands and Teeth was great.  Yes, I had some issues with plot developments that I don't think made a ton of sense, but in general I don't let stuff like that bother me if the story and writing is good enough.  Highly recommended, friends.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not again, Lost ...

Trying to catch up on Season 5 of Lost before the final season begins next week.

Look, I've devoted a lot of time and energy to watching Lost, but I am well aware of its foibles.  For every Wow, that was awesome! moment, there has been a forehead slapping Oh jeez moment.

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief about a lot of things (A LOT of things), but if we could please have a moratorium on characters asking, "Uh, what?" or "Are you kidding me?" or exclaiming, "This is ridiculous!" or "This doesn't make any sense!"  (Hurley and Jack, I'm looking at you two.)

Look, kids.  There are ghosts and polar bears and smoke monsters on your island, which incidentally causes pregnancy death and cures cancer.  You encountered a rare culture of people known as "Others" who speak only in rhetorical questions.  You are all connected by a series of numbers that have been dropped from current plot lines like an unemployed ex-boyfriend.  There was a magical hatch that appears to have black hole-like properties.  Big flashes of light signal you traveling through time.  And, on yeah, there's random Egyptian shit everywhere.  

Stop being so shocked when something weird happens.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dietcokeovore

I have been battling an unknown smell for the last three or four days.  I have cleaned obsessively.  I have bought dozens of scented candles.  I have Febreezed and re-Febreezed.  NOTHING WAS WORKING.

You might want to conclude that it therefore had to be food-related.  But anyone who knows me in real life knows I don't have food in my house.   Not real food, anyway.  I have lots of Diet Coke, ice cream, yogurt, snap peas and cereal.  I occasionally have bagels and cold cuts.  But these are all highly perishable, in that I eat them well before their respective expiration dates.  Now that I'm being all responsible and adultish, my eating patterns haven't changed much.  

But I did, in an effort to try to be more grown up, buy a bag of potatoes and some meat on Saturday when I went to the grocery store.

I froze the meat.

That left the potatoes.

In the back of my head, as I was cleaning/scenting/Febreezing my entire apartment, I kept thinking, Check the potatoes.  But then I'd think, Nah, how is that even possible?  They're like four days old!  Aren't you supposed to be able to keep potatoes for longer than a week?  If not, why on earth would they sell them in units of bag?  Who can eat like fifteen potatoes in one sitting?

I picked up the bag today, and got pretty liberally sprayed with rotting potato juices.  Yeah, I solved the mystery all right.

I know my mom would want me to pack up the bag and go back to the grocery store to complain about being sold rotting food, but really, it's so not worth the money to subject my poor car to that nonsense.  I threw all the potatoes into the trash and put the trash out.  Then I repeated my whole clean/scent/Febreeze process.

This is why I subsist on yogurt, Diet Coke and cereal, people.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FHE: Encouraging Awkwardness Since 1963. Part Two.

So that last post couldn't sum up all the wackiness of my second trip to Family Home Evening in the new ward.

(As a caveat, I actually find the new ward fairly pleasant.  Most of the people are really nice and the activities have been above-average.  But with a new ward comes new weirdoes -- weirdoes you haven't yet learned to avoid.  This results in an above-average rate of awkward encounters at the outset of any new ward adventure.)

So here's a rundown of my evening, prior to the Boob Incident.

Weirdo Numero Uno: I got stuck in a conversation with a girl who refused to make eye contact.  She wasn't staring at her feet, or something normal for a shy person.  She was deliberately staring at a spot 45 degrees higher than my right shoulder.  I kept turning around, trying to figure out what she was looking at.  There was nothing there.

Weirdo Numero Dos: Another girl, who for the record is my age, told me about how much she loved school and living at home.  She would literally like to go to school forever, getting bachelor degree after bachelor degree.  I must have looked puzzled, because she abruptly changed the conversation.

"So you live by yourself?"

Yup.

"And you have a job?"

Sure do.

"How do you like that?  Being by yourself, being independent?  Is it all it's cracked up to be, or is it really hard?"

I stared at her, trying to determine what she meant by that.  "Um, it's good," I said slowly -- when what I wanted to say was, "Isn't it kind of irrelevant?  I can't keep living with my parents and I can't keep going to school.  Not because I actually can't, but because I would lose self-respect if I did.  Who cares whether it's all it's cracked up to be, or whether it's hard?"

She kept probing.  "Like, what is the worst part of being alone?"

I tried to think of something.  "Um, when there's something wrong with my car, I can't go ask my dad or guy friends for help?"*

She did not seem to be satisfied with that answer, so I made up an excuse about going to get a second helping of chili.

Weirdo Numero Tres: This was the worst kind of weirdo.  At first, I didn't realize he was a weirdo.  It actually took me about two minutes, at which point I was stuck.  I just wish people would let their freak flags fly, so I would know from the outset how to navigate social situations.

This fella was apparently very interested in the fact that I will be (pending approval of the Texas Supreme Court) a lawyer soon.  And when I say he was "interested," I mean in the sense that he wanted to judge me and my chosen profession, not "interested" in the sense of being actually interested.

First, he wanted me to know that he was too moral to be a lawyer.  "I just don't think I could take a position that I disagreed with," he said loftily.

I tried to indulge him, just for the sake of my own entertainment.  "Well, most of the time, there isn't really a right or wrong answer," I said honestly.

He shook his head.  Not in a I don't agree sort of way.  More like a No you're wrong sort of way.   "My brother is a lawyer with the Blah Blah Blah, and he has to take positions all the time that I would consider immoral."

Still, I tried to point out the obvious.  "Well, in our system, someone always has to take both sides.  It's how we preserve our Constitutional liberties."

This semi-argument lasted a few more seconds, during which WN3 informed me that but for his moral reservations, he could have gotten into an Ivy League law school.

Not just any law school.

Not just a school in the T-14.

Ivy League specifically.

Then he veered off into the gray area of potential racism.  "So how do you like living with all the Asians downtown?"

I blinked.  "Pardon me?"**

"You live in a high rise downtown, right?  Asians love high rises."

I am pretty proud of the fact that I maintained a straight face.  "I have not noticed an inordinate number of Asians in my building, no."

He shook his head, once again asserting his intellectual superiority.  "I learned that on my mission.  Asians love living up high.  Americans like things spread out."

"Really," I said, at this point no longer even trying not to laugh.  "That is a sociological observation right there."

The best part is, WN3 teaches high school World Civ.




* I realize I am indulging gender-stereotypes with this comment, but the fact is, of all my female friends and relatives, only Amy knows anything about cars, and I've already asked her too many random car questions to justify any more.  So yes, in my case, the most frustrating thing of living in Austin literally is that now that my dash lights don't turn on anymore when my headlights are on, I can't run to my pops or guy friends for advice.  And every Saturday has been spent organizing and unpacking, so I haven't had a chance to talk to my friendly Toyota dealership, either.  Guh.

** In addition to being kind of concerned about the implications of WHY someone would ask me "how I liked living around Asians," I just have to point out that Austin does not have a particularly high population of Asian people.  From what I can tell, the percentages are about the same as they were in Salt Lake.  There are more Hispanics and African-Americans, fewer Polynesians, but basically the exact same proportion of Asians.

Monday, January 25, 2010

FHE: Encouraging Awkwardness Since 1963. Part One.

Today as I was walking out of the grocery store, a cute boy smiled at me and said, "How's it going?"

I smiled back and said, "Fine.  How are you?" in that sort of not-really-asking-but-maybe-I'm-asking sort of way.

I thought he was going to say something, but then I noticed him glancing at my chest (PS - fellas, girls can always tell when you do this, no matter how sneaky you think you are) and then ... he got a strange look on his face.

Not to brag, or to elaborate in any way, but I'm used to guys having a positive reaction to my ta-tas.  I glanced down, trying to figure out what had gone awry.  As soon as I did, I figured it out.

You know that scene in Inglourious Basterds where the Germans are playing the name-on-your-forehead game?


So tonight at Family Home Evening, we played an incredibly lame version of that game.  When you guessed what sticker was on your back, you got to transfer it to your chest and get a new sticker.   Most stickers figured out wins.

I had forgotten my stickers and gone grocery shopping with TEMPTATION and CRUCIFIXION written on my right boob.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wasted cuteness

I'm not sure about the other ladies out here in Internet Land, but I have cute days and not-so-cute days.  For me, it's not just bad hair and good hair days.  It's total package.  Some days my makeup goes on nicely, sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes my hair maintains its volume, some days it goes flat within fifteen minutes.  Sometimes crazy frizz appears and won't go away.  Sometimes Dress X makes me look awesome, some days it makes me look fat.  There really doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to it.

But today, my hair looked awesome and my makeup was doing everything I wanted it to.  The outfit was just ok, but seriously, when two out of three are working out, I'm plenty satisfied.  It doesn't happen too often.

And then, about forty-five minutes into church, I started to feel dizzy and achy.  So I went home and napped for three hours, and woke up looking like an extra in Les Mes.  And not just any extra -- one of Fantine's whory friends.

Sigh.  Knowing my luck, tomorrow--when I will be outside in the public for ten or eleven hours instead of forty-five minutes -- none of it is going to go right.

Newsflash

I am not a member of a cult.

But thanks for your concern.  I'm sure it was motivated out of Christlike love and not your own personal issues.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Any recommendations on how to decorate cement walls?


I need to get a grip



Is it weird that I think I should get a Kitchenaid, even though I hardly ever cook, and when I do, it always goes horribly awry?

Thank goodness for the church dumpster

First of all, without that damn dumpster, I would be drowning in cardboard right now.  As it is, I'm still overwhelmed by cardboard, but beginning to see the light.  (Cross your fingers that the couch and book case that are arriving today come with minimal packing.)

But second, without that dumpster, I think I would be way less inclined to go to church and church-related functions.  Perhaps I shouldn't internet-admit this, but it's already difficult for me to drag myself out of bed and get ready on Sunday mornings.  Now that I don't know anyone and could happily slide into anonymous semi-inactivity?  Way harder.

(I know that some people would think of church as an awesome way to meet new people, but I'm a girl who takes the path of least resistance.  Staying home and watching movies?  Painting the canvases I bought at the Michael's sale?  Blogging?  All preferable to driving ten minutes to meet new people at FHE.)

But - and here's where my gratitude for dumpsters comes in - I do need to get rid of all this trash.  

So on Monday, I went to family home evening.  I showed up ten minutes late and still managed to be caught in the awkwardly spiritual intro to playing dodgeball and missionary tag.  (I believe there was something about reaffirming commitment?  I don't know, I found it uncomfortable, so I rudely deleted text messages instead of listening.  I just didn't want to hear and analogy between church and red light/green light.)

Bonus: Got rid of two loads of boxes and bubble wrap.

Then on Wednesday I went to institute.  It wasn't too shabby, but I was already tired from a long day at work.  As the hour wound down, I started getting antsy, but the teacher made no indications of wrapping things up soon.  I leaned over to the girl next to me and asked, "How long is this class?"

"An hour and a half," she whispered back.

I was pretty outraged at this news.  I mean, what at church lasts more than an hour?  (Granted, the whole church experience technically lasts three hours, but in one-hour chunks, so I can take mental breaks.)

Bonus: Got rid of two loads of boxes, paper and styrofoam.  Also ate a bagel.  (From the activity, not the trash.)  

On Thursday, there was a tornado and flash flood warning in Austin, so I stayed home from enrichment. Pro, I missed enrichment.  Con, I lost the opportunity to throw more stuff away.   However, I did notice on Wednesday that my junk made up more than half the contents of the church dumpster.  Perhaps I should find a new place to unload my crap?

But if I do that, what what will motivate me to go to church tomorrow?

(Don't judge me, you know you'd want to sleep in, too.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun times with Latin

I would just like to publicly express my preference for id. over supra.

Supra sucks.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I love my friends

Today I emailed Amy, Kate and Hannah about how they need to get off their booties and visit me already. With two weekends in February already tentatively taken, they better act fast.  These weekends are going, going, gone!

This lead to a conversation of who was visiting when.  Sandy is taking Presidents' Day Weekend and friendster Nelson is tentatively taking the weekend after that.  Aaron has made a standing promise that as soon as flight prices drop to $200, he's booking a flight to Austin.  (Apparently I have to be ready to go at any time, because he might just show up tomorrow.)

So here's how the email conversation went after that:

Amy: I'm glad Nelson is visiting.  Way to be a man!  (For the record, I'm calling him a man, not you.)

Kate: Are you going to chest-bump him when he gets off the plane?

(This one requires brief explanation.  For awhile there, Kate's husband Ryan, Hannah and I were really into chest-bumping.  Kate made us promise we wouldn't chest-bump at their wedding.  Tragically, we broke that promise, several times.  Memo to any readers: Don't chest-bump in high heels, and definitely don't do it in high heels on a lawn.)

Me: Of course I'm going to chest-bump him.  And I'm going to find a stranger to photograph the moment so I can share it with you guys.

Hannah: By chest-bumping, you mean boning, right?  Awww, that was inappropriate.  And I'm leaving it.

You're a big jerk if you don't take a meaningless stand!!

I love facebook, but I'm a little irritated by how much it demands of me.  Join this, add this, support this.  Tell the world what color your underwear is.

The worst is all these "If you ___, then repost this message as your status."

It doesn't mean anything.  It doesn't change anything.  It just makes me feel arbitrarily bad because I don't want to turn my facebook into a political platform.  It's just a thing I use to goof off every once in awhile, don't make me change it.

So I have to say, thank you Kate.*  Logging in to facebook after a long, facebook-free day at work to see this status update made my day:


       All these "repost if you care" status updates are kind of stressing me out. Of course I care about the troops, curing any and all diseases, I'm a good Christian, a big fan of Jesus, and I love my family. Do I really need to devote my status to prove it? Stop guilt tripping me. :)



* Not her real name.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Anyone sick of me talking about The Bachelor yet? Anyone?

Can I just say that I don't want to marry my best friend?

It's a cute thought -- I want to marry my best friend, squeeeee! -- but is anyone else puzzled by a grown man (Pilot Jake is 31) telling someone he wants to marry his best friend?

Dude -- why don't you already have a best friend?  And if you do, how does he/she feel about being replaced by your spouse?

Don't get me wrong, I hope I marry someone I want to see every day, someone I can always carry a conversation with, someone who gets my jokes, etc. and so forth.  I heard someone once describe marriage as "true and faithful friendship," which I think is a very nice thought.  (Of course, we all mentally added "hot, true and faithful friendship," right?  Right, glad to know we're on the same page.)  

But my best friend?  Please.  The position is already filled, by several peeps.   You get the husband title, be happy with that.

Rant over.

And now for your Bachelor quote of the week:

People hate me because I'm real and I tell it how it is.

So awesome.  That's my new life mantra.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I want to punch you in the genitals

So those of you who hail from Davis County have probably heard by now that Barnes Bank is going under.

This was particularly upsetting to my family.  My grandparents knew the Barneses.  My dad and aunts and uncle knew them as kids.  My dad was invested in the bank, as were several of his siblings.  That's where I got my first bank account.  It's all very It's A Wonderful Life (I played softball at Barnes Park in junior high and high school), minus the happy ending.

It's hard realizing a hometown institution you grew up with was, in its later years, managed by people no better than the short-sighted, self-centered losers on Wall Street who started the whole financial meltdown.  At the shareholders meeting where the bad news was first announced, apparently the president and vice presidents were crying, they felt so bad, as if they didn't know how this could possibly happen.

IT HAPPENED BECAUSE YOU SUCK AT YOUR JOBS, THAT'S HOW IT HAPPENED.  It's not like Mothra flew down and raided the vaults, you know?

Ahem.  Topic for another day.

Anyway, my sister Echo was on her facebook today (don't all bad stories start with facebook?) and she noticed an old friend had written something about Barnes Bank on her status.  And someone else had written in response (and I quote) "This may make me a bad person, but I feel worse about Barnes Bank than I do about Haiti."

[Cue outraged screaming from me and Echo.]

Yes.  It is sad that Barnes is closing.  It is sad that people will lose their jobs and their money.

BUT IT IS NOT AS SAD AS 50,000 DEAD PEOPLE.  NOT NEARLY AS SAD.

I want to find that kid.  I want to find him and cut him just to watch him bleed.  And then I want to tell him, "I feel worse about Barnes Bank closing than I do about your massive blood loss.  Sorry if that makes me a bad person."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Funny family

So today at church I saw the 21st Century Yankee Doodle.

Skinny blue riding pants tucked into boots.  Button down shirt, tie, vest, cufflinks.  (Cufflinks!)  Burgundy velvet sportscoat.  (Velvet!)

Taking a picture during Sacrament meeting probably would have been inappropriate, but I promptly texted my sister Echo and called my dad right after church to report my find.

Echo's response?  Did you tuck a feather in his hat and call it macaroni?

Dad's response?  Did he come to church riding on a pony?



Half-marathon update

OK, it's confession time.

While the first three days of half-marathon training went well (if getting shamefully tired after the second mile can be termed "well"), I must admit I've been off the program for the last five days.  It seemed like every day there was a new thing to assemble -- table set, bed, desk -- and by the time I was finished, I was already thrashed.  But yesterday friendster Nelson called and asked how the training was going, and I had to ruefully admit that it wasn't going anymore, and my excuses actually weren't very good.

This morning I had every intention of getting up early and putting in the three miles before church.  Well, goal was probably a bit misguided to begin with, so we'll see how after church goes.

Sorry blog community, I know I've let you down.*

11 Weeks, 6 Days to Marathon





* I know I haven't let anyone down but me, but it's easier for me to motivate myself when I believe other people have a stake in things.  Self-delusion: it's the new Wheaties.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An all-new "Hoarders"

No, I haven't turned into a cat lady or someone who has to create tunnels between her stacks of old newspapers.

But in the course of moving and ordering new furniture, I have become overwhelmed by cardboard.  IT'S EVERYWHERE.



The problem is that my new apartment complex does valet trash.  I leave my trash or recycling outside my apartment at night, and little garbage fairies come to take it away.  Then I bring my empty cans back in the next morning.

But the fairies won't take anything that won't fit inside a normal, kitchen-sized trash bag.  Little bastards are unionized.

I bought a box cutter last night, thinking I could slice up all the cardboard and slowly filter it out the door with my recycling.  Then I began the process, and realized it would take me about a month.  I really, really don't want to keep looking at empty boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap and cellophane for the next month.

Not to incriminate myself as to future crimes (hello, theft of services), but I think I'm going to take a stealthy trip to the church dumpster tonight.

The only problem is that I think it will take multiple trips.  :/

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just substitute "lava" for "racism"

Has anyone else noticed that Volcano and Crash are basically the same movie?



Both set in L.A.

Both follow multiple characters whose lives will intersect by the end of the movie.

Both have touching endings in which life lessons have been learned.

But surprisingly, only Volcano features an Oscar-winning actor: Tommy Lee Jones.  Sorry, Don Cheadle, nominations don't count.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Holy shit, it's headed for the mine*

IT'S RAINING IN PHOENIX AUSTIN!!






* Whenever something unexpected happens, this line pops into my head.  It's phenomenal watching, so please enjoy.  It's safe for work, as the word "shit" was redacted from the theatrical trailer anyway:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I am the proud owner of a ...

... TABLE!

And yeah, I basically feel like a carpenter after assembling it myself, hahahaha :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Here for the right reasons"

May I always be in everything, everywhere, for the right reasons.

Because I would hate to be here for the wrong reasons.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

No food for you

I went to my new ward today.  The people seem very friendly.

Except when announcing tomorrow's family home activity potluck.  Apparently people who bring food to share will have their hands stamped, and only those with stamps will be able to partake.

Um ... I think I'll just stay home and watch The Bachelor, haha.

Let's be honest - it's what I would have really wanted to do anyway.  :)




As a caveat: It's not that I don't like pulling my own weight.  It's just that I don't want to go buy rice (my last name's assignment) and boil it (or whatever you do to rice without a rice cooker) after work and run back over to church.  Way, way too lazy for that.  Had I been assigned celery sticks or shredded cheese or something, I would have considered it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Second opinion

Do you ever realize you want someone else's opinion, for no real reason?  Yesterday I cut my finger while slicing bread.  (Yes, it was gross.)

Suddenly my longing for having friends and family around ratcheted up to Level 9.  Sure, Kate, Alicia, Hannah, Diego, Nelson, Echo, Charlie, et al have no medical training.  But in the face of a dilemma, you don't really want expert opinion.  You just want someone to gut check your gut check.  Do I go to Walgreens and buy tape and antibiotic?  Or does the amount of blood warrant a trip to the hospital?

Making that decision alone is probably helping me to become a more independent person.

Ugh, independence.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's like a story straight out of The Ensign

And I don't mean that in a good way.

Yesterday was my first full day in Phoenix  Austin.  (My mother is upset that I reveal so much personal information on the internet.)  I dropped my pops off at the airport and went grocery shopping.  On my to-do list was buying a TV and DVD player so when the cable guys arrived later that afternoon, they would have something to hook up.

First I went to Walmart, since I still have that gift card I got from exchanging some presents.  Unfortunately, Walmart may have always low prices (always), but they don't especially have those items in stock.  The size TV I wanted was gone.  The TV a size smaller was all gone.  The only TV available was one that could double as a king-size bed.  (I'll be honest, I considered it.)

 So I settled on just getting the DVD player, but as I was checking out my credit card was declined.  (Whaaaaa?)  I was frustrated, since I knew there was no earthly way my credit wasn't good, but I pulled out the debit card and paid so I wouldn't hold up the line.  (Also, in this hubbub, I forgot to use the effing gift card, so another trip to Walmart is tragically a part of my future.)  As I was leaving, an elderly gent stopped me to say the same thing happened to him all the time, and share his belief that Walmart is running some sort of conspiracy designed to force people to pay with cash or debit.  I would say this is crazy, but as my friendster Nelson helpfully pointed out later*, Walmart doesn't exactly have a reputation for the most reliable clientele.

Then I went to Costco, where I got my VERY FIRST COSTCO MEMBERSHIP.  (Tear.)   And thankfully, the TV I have been secretly lusting over for the last month or so was in stock, and way cheaper than the Walmart counterpart.

I made my way to the front of the line, thinking of all the good times this TV and I were going to have together, and pulled out my debit card to pay

DECLINED.

At this point, I was just humiliated.  I mean, I was standing next to a hand truck with a flat panel TV on it -- how ballsy do you have to be to try to scam that situation?  As I frantically called my bank, mouthing to various employees and passersby, I'm so sorry, I totally do have the money (not sure why I felt compelled to tell people that), my face just turned brighter and brighter red.  I called the cable company to cancel my hookup, and went over to my bank to try to straighten this situation out in person.

I was explaining to the customer service rep that both my credit card and debit card had been declined, and he distinctly made a judgy face at me.  Seriously -- the guy I entrust with my money is secretly displeased with how I spend it.  (Ahem.  And for the record, I don't spend it unwisely.)  (Well, at least not terribly unwisely.)  Another bank employee came over to try to figure out the problem, and he very helpfully told me I shouldn't be having any troubles -- both my cards were active, neither had exceeded their limit.  (Um, yeah, I know.  That's why I'm here.)  Service Rep said he couldn't figure out the problem from the branch, but if I would follow him to his office, he would call headquarters and work out the problem.

As I was sitting there on hold, Service Rep asked me if I was from Salt Lake City.  He had seen my Utah drivers' license, so I figured that wasn't too creepy of a question.  "Yes," I said, trying to avoid further conversation with the person who had judged me for getting my cards declined.

"Are you LDS?"

At this point, I wasn't really sure how to respond, but slowly said, "Yeeees."  When Service Rep smiled instead of making a second judgy face, I asked, "Are you?"

"Yes," he said proudly.  "Did you move here for school or work?"

"Um, work," I said hesitantly, still not wanting to get into a conversation.  But get into a conversation I did.

(By the way, his response to my answer that I did not serve a mission?  Judgy face.)

At one point he asked me where I lived, and since I figured he was staring at all my financials on his computer screen anyway, I told him.  He thought for a second, and then informed me (from memory) which ward and which chapel I was assigned to.  "Wow," I said, honestly impressed.  "How did you know that?"

"I'm in the branch presidency," he explained.  And then proceeded to grill me.

Do I attend church every week?  (Real answer: No.)  My answer?  "Well, I only got here yesterday," I said with a smile.

Judgy face.

I swallowed.  (At this point, I was actually more worried about what he might do to my money should I displease him.)  "Um, I try to," I said, which is mostly the truth.  (If by "try," you mean "don't actively not try," sure.  Look, I just believe in taking personal days here and there, all right?)

Am I going this Sunday?

"Yes," I said firmly, because this one is at least completely true.

Am I married?

"No," I said.  (Too much personal information, Mom?)

He shrugged, as if this were completely irrelevant.  (And here I was expecting another judgy face.)  "There are lots of good people in your ward," he said.

"Good to know," I said weakly, wondering if he also had their addresses memorized.

Long story short -- the customer service reps at headquarters very helpfully concluded that the problem must be Walmart and Costco's, since my accounts were fine.  Since that was obviously not true (both stores had the same problem?), I withdrew the money and went back to Costco to pay cash.

As I was leaving the bank, Service Rep yelled across the lobby, "Make sure you go to church on Sunday!"**

The rest of the story: To be continued ...   



* Via phone.  Still don't have too many friends here in Austin ... but give it time.

** Seriously, I hope he harasses enthusiastically fellowships every Mormon who walks into the bank, because otherwise, what does that say about me?  It's like he was a Mormon Jedi Master, and he sensed that the Force was weak with me, or something.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Personal qualities

So I'm watching the second hour of ... a show that shall remain unnamed ...  and I realized something.

People, when you describe yourselves, please feel free to throw around the details.  "I am honest," "I have a big heart and a lot of love to give," "I am passionate," "I love to have fun."  Seriously?  Everyone thinks they are honest, that they are loving, passionate and fun.  It would be more interesting to hear that someone thinks he or she is NOT honest, loving, passionate or fun.   Actually, an interesting thing about me is that I hate fun.  For reals.  It all dates back to my elementary school days ...

And on top of that, listing vague, self-congratulatory qualities is not the same as "opening up."  Admitting you have pooping problems is "opening up."  Please, people, let's all agree, it's best that some things remain a mystery.  While blogging is, almost by definition, about ego-boosting and over-sharing, I give you my solemn commitment that I only intend to fulfill my own need to continue writing on a semi-regular basis, and occasionally (hopefully) amuse.  

So in the spirit of under-sharing, here are ten, not-so-personal things about your friendly blogger:

  1. I love sleep.  Adore it.  Would take a nap every day if that were feasible.
  2. I am OCD about my nail polish.  Once it starts chipping, I must immediately repaint or chip all the rest off.
  3. I understand the rules of grammar (for example, I know that the previous sentence improperly ends in a proposition), but I just don't care.
  4. Along those same lines, I know the difference between an adjective (describes a noun) and an adverb (describes a verb), but tend to use them interchangeably.
  5. I hate, hate, hate repeating words in one sentence, paragraph or thought.  I do it all the time.  Whenever I re-read a blog post that says any word more than once, I have to fight the urge to go back and edit it forthwith.  (Note how I avoided saying "immediately" in an effort to not echo point number 2.)
  6. I am sincere in my actions, but completely insincere in my statements.  In general, 90% of everything I say/write should be taken with a heaping serving of salt.
  7. Every time I walk up or down stairs, I think, "Don't fall and break your teeth."  After seeing American History X, that thought also extends to curbs.  
  8. I love raspberry Creme Savers.
  9. I am indecisive over both big and little things.  Please don't rush me when trying to pick out an ice cream flavor.
  10. I hate puns.  Cannot emphasize this enough.  

This season on "The Bachelor" ...

Finished packing up the Uhaul, sitting in my semi-empty, soon-to-be-old room, watching the premiere of "The Bachelor."

All I want to say for now it that it only took 26 minutes for one of the women to declare that she's "already in love" and 27 minutes for one of the women to propose to bachelor Jake.

This season is going to be so awesome.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's been a long, long, long, long day

The following is a brief synopsis of an hour and a half of my life.  Yes, more stuff happened, both before and after.  But this part is fairly representative.  


2:10 pm Went to Walmart to return a Christmas present.  Normally I don't shop at Walmart for ethical reasons (I know, I know, I'm just another liberal shmuck), but Target was only willing to give me $12 for the second season of 30 Rock my sister gave me before she knew I already had it.  Walmart, on the other hand, shelled out $31.  For the first time ever, the point goes to Walmart.

Random bit of knowledge about me: I get emotional at the drop of a hat.  No, I don't cry in sappy movies; that, at least, would be understandable.  Nope, I get teary when I see certain kinds of people.  Morbidly obese people, old people in motorized wheelchairs, people with missing teeth, etc.  It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does -- whoa.  I can barely keep myself from bawling when I think of how lucky I am.

Also, I cry during Liberty Mutual commercials, and anything that ends with "A message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."  It's a burden, it really is.



The problem with being such a lamester is that when you go to a place like Walmart, you're surrounded by the truly tragic.  I felt the emotional roller-coaster starting, and I was like the fortieth person in the customer service line.

Lucky for me, right as I felt the meltdown coming on, I saw the most fantastically whiskey-tango couple EVER wearing his-and-hers BYU sweatshirts.  Sweet, sweet poetic justice.  I really wanted to take a picture, but not even a BYU hater like me wanted the Y represented like that.  Immediately after this visual treat, I saw this sign above the customer service center:

THERE IS NO RETURNS ON THE X-BOX 360.

Suddenly my crying jag turned into a giggle fit.

Man, is the guy who ends up with me a lucky fella, or what?

2:40 pm I'm walking to my car and I hear someone say, "Excuse me, miss?"

I turn around and see an elderly black woman walking toward me.  "Miss, would you mind driving me to the bank?  It closes at three, and I don't think I'm going to make it."

First shameful confession: Even though I am twenty-five years old, I retain an irrational fear of strangers.  Thanks, elementary school teachers.

Second shameful confession: I am really scared that (a) I am secretly racist without knowing it and (b) minorities will know this about me.  Whenever a minority asks me to do something, I feel compelled to agree.  I don't know why.  I know that I'm not actually racist.  I am just super scared of SEEMING racist.

So here I was with a dilemma.  Granted, this woman looked about as dangerous as a stuffed rabbit with floppy plaid bowtie.  But I couldn't stop imagining her pulling a gun from her oversized old lady purse and carjacking me.  And then I promptly thought, You racist bitch.  But then I thought, Hey, I would have had the same thought even if she were white!  I'm totally also scared of white people!  Stranger danger!  And then, You know that is completely irrational, right?

Immediately after this pleasant vision/internal debate came the thought, Jesus would give her a ride.

Oh, damn it.

"Of course," I say, even though I'm kind of in a hurry.  "Which bank?"

"Oh, it's just down the street.  I just don't think I'll be able to walk all the way.  I just had triple-bypass surgery, and I'm not supposed to run."

I immediately regret envisioning her as a geriatric gangsta.  "Oh, I'm so sorry.  I'll get you there in time, no worries."

So Berna and I drove off for her bank, which I then found out was really a check-into-cash store. (Oh balls.  Shopping at Walmart and facilitating 37% interest rates all in one day.  Well done, self, well done.)   If any of you are from the Davis County area, you know what a total disaster Main Street in Layton can be.  NO ONE CAN EVER TURN.  You might as well commit to just driving in a straight line from the freeway to Crown Burger.  And making a left-hand turn from the Walmart parking lot?  Forget about it.

With the clock ticking down, I pull out into traffic in a move that likely would have failed me on the driving test.  (I would know, I did actually fail the first time.)  Thankfully, I managed to get into the turn line at the traffic light, so I knew I would at least have the protection of the green arrow as I tried to deliver Berna at Mr. Money.  

Berna told me that Mr. Money was located in the same strip mall as Savers, which was somewhat unhelpful since I didn't know where Savers was, either.  But eventually we found it, and ...

... Mr. Money was actually one parking lot over.

Berna told me she could walk over to Mr. Money, and I think anyone else could have accomplished the task.  But after watching Berna totter over the five yards of snow between parking lots and I realized not only was she not up to the task, but she seriously might not make it to Mr. Money in time if she were forced to walk 50 yards.  I mean, seriously -- she was moving that slowly.  So I drove back and told Berna to hop back in.

2:53 pm Back on Layton Main Street, and this time is even scarier than the first.  I pull some more questionable driving maneuvers, and people promptly honk at me.

One part of wants to flip them off.  Don't they know I'm engaged in a good deed?  Don't they know that entitles me to flout traffic laws with impunity?  WITH IMPUNITY?

The second part of me is trying to decide if Berna could sue me if we got in a wreck.  Negligent driving on my part was pretty clear, but wasn't it possible that she assumed the risk of such by hopping in a car with a strange girl from the Walmart parking lot?  Even still, if three years of law school have taught me nothing, it is that I NEVER want to be sued.  I don't care if the law and the facts are completely, utterly and irrevocably on my side.  If I were ever sued, my friends and family would find me days later in some alley, huddled in the fetal position and sucking my thumb.  I repeat: You do not ever want to be sued.

Finally we're in the right parking lot, and just as we're pulling up to Mr. Money ...

... I see the OPEN sign flash off.

I groan and timidly point out that it appears Mr. Money is closing a little early, would she like me to drive her back to Walmart?

Berna decides that she's going to try to convince the man to let her "do her business" anyway, and I suppress my sigh of relief.  I drop Berna off, wave cheerfully, and drive to D.I. where I plan to drop off a few boxes of clothes I am not going to be taking to Phoenix.

3:15 pm In the middle of the donation line at Deseret Industries, I reach over to grab my purse and find ...

... OH DAAAAAAAAAAAMNIT!*

... Berna's bus pass and house keys sitting on my passenger seat.  

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Since I'm in the middle of the line, I can't back up.  I can't drive forward.  I can't get out of the line.  And the longer I stay in the line, the less likely it is that I am going to find Berna.

Balls balls balls balls balls.

3:22 pm  I finally am at the front of the line.  I jump out of my car without waiting for the D.I. employees to come help me, throw my stuff on the distribution carts, and peel out of the D.I. parking lot.

On to Main Street in Layton for the THIRD TIME.  I am somewhat panicking, but I think that (1) it can't be too hard to find an elderly black woman who moves at the rate of turtle with a sprained ankle in the middle of Davis County, Utah and (b) if nothing else, Berna's bus pass has her ADA information on it, and I could probably contact some sort of caseworker to track her down.

(On a Saturday.)


(Shut up, internal naysayer!)

3:30 pm I find Berna!!  And I am so excited that it didn't take too long.  I think the look on my face must have been somewhat deranged with joy, because when I pull up next to Berna, she gets this, "Oh damn, this white girl is going to kill me" look on her face.  "Hey Berna, you forgot your bus pass and house keys!" I blurt out at the pitch and speed I was so often criticized for using during law school.  (Too fast, Ms. Frost.  Slow it down.)

It takes her a second to recognize the stuff I'm waving at her, and when she does, she breaks into a huge smile.  "Did I leave my debit card in here too?" she asks eagerly.  "Do you mind if I search your car?"

My smile freezes.  Uh, kinda.  "No, go right ahead!" I reply brightly.

So I idle on the side of the road while Berna checks my car for her debit card.   No such luck, but at least she has her bus pass.




* It was actually a much, much, much worse swear.  And it wasn't in my head.  It was out loud.  Several times.  Fortunately for me, I generally don't feel bad about swearing.  But this is a child-friendly blog.

Mostly.

While packing ...

... I am indulging in some prime pop culture.

Think sassy, clever teenage girl living with her law enforcement father.

Think danger and mystery.

Think bad boy love interests.

And forget about vampires.  (I did mention the teenage girl was sassy and clever, right?  That should have been a huge clue from the beginning that I wasn't talking about that Mary Sue Bella Swan.)



For your future reference: I am not particularly a Stephenie Meyer hater.  I read all four of the Twilight books and enjoyed the experience, but I don't think that prevents me from fault-finding.  I think The Host was much better, though still problematic.  As a random sidenote, I'm a bit concerned that she's the 21st Century's George Lucas, in that she has come up with a very clever, poorly executed story, and because she's a cash cow, no one around her is willing to say, "Hey, we think you could do better."*  And if that turns out to be the case, I want it known that I called it here and now.


* For the best review of George Lucas' flaws I've ever found, please see: 



And the subsequent six videos.  It takes awhile to watch, but the entire thing is a Pantheon of geek achievement.

Friday, January 1, 2010

NYE in SLC

I know my first post of 2010 should probably be a sentimental recap of 2009, or perhaps a list of resolutions for the coming calendar year ... but nope.  That's just not my style.

Rather, I would like to complain that I lost one of my favorite earrings last night.

While I was stone-cold sober.

And surrounded by several tipsy people.

And a few drunk people.

And one REALLY drunk person.

I was the person who lost something and cannot figure out where it could have possibly gone.

And folks wonder why I don't drink.  It's simply because I lack the necessary life skills, friends.


PS - Just because they were $8 J.C. Penny earrings doesn't mean I didn't truly and deeply love them.