Rambling, Prompts, and Other Nonsense

Well, yesterday, I said I was back. And being back requires more than one post a week. I think. That probably means I need to reestablish the habit of posting every day. I figure if I type long enough, I'll finally hit on something you people want to read. I'm pretty sure most of you are only reading out of some loyalty obligation at this point, not out of any real interest in what I have to say. Maybe that's insulting to you all? Sorry. I was going for self-deprecation. 
Anyways, moving on. To distraction, apparently: The TV is on while I'm typing this and someone on one of those "testimonial" infomercial spots just said something to the effect of "It's like the credit card companies want to keep you in debt." Umm.... Yes. This should not need further explanation. If it does, cut up your credit card right now. Just do it. You'll thank me later.

Where was I? Ah yes, in the middle of a ramble that was hopefully going to lead me to a topic for today's post. Don't you all love how well thought out and planned these posts are? Sometimes I see bloggers participating in one of those stream-of-consciousness memes (don't get me started on memes) and I think "That's not how they write all the time?" because that's totally my MO. Sure, occasionally, I know exactly what I want to write about and I just sit down and write. But most of the time? I'm just flying by the seat of my pants. 

But since yesterday's post was such crap (sorry again to those who liked it...), I think I should actually talk about something tonight. And that something is...

***The sound of a The Price Is Right style "Wheel of Topics" is heard in the background.***

Well, according to creativewritingprompts.com's Prompt #281, my topic for tonight is "9 Good Reasons to Break Off a Wedding. I think I can do something with this, regardless of the facts that a. I have yet to be in a relationship lasting more than a holiday weekend and b. I have never even been asked to be IN someone else's wedding.

Elise's Nine Reasons to Break Off a Wedding--From a Bride's Perspective (Because I'm a Girl and Because I Don't Have to Justify My Self-Imposed Rules to You)

  1. The Groom insists on inviting all his ex-girlfriends. "Honey, I'm not asking you to make them bridesmaids or anything.... Unless you want to, because that would be kind of perfect, actually."
  2. At the tux fitting, you find yourself more attracted to your future father-in-law than you are to the groom. The same goes for brothers-in-law, groomsmen, or the tailor.
  3. He proposed by saying, "Well, I guess... Maybe... Marriage doesn't sound too awful. Heck, why not?"
  4. The term "Sister-Wife" is used in any context. Or you actually ARE his sister. Because. No. Just. No.
  5. The Mother of the Groom shows up to the wedding dressed in a cheetah-print, skintight catsuit with strategically placed cut-outs and then proceeds to greet your future-husband with a sloppy wet kiss on the lips. Trust me, if this happens, he has more issues than you're willing to deal with. Also, you will be embarrassed to show your children the wedding photos.
  6. His plan for the honeymoon: you, him, and his entire family (and maybe one of his old college buddies) in an RV or small cabin for a month.
  7. You or he (or both) need any kind of controlled substance to work up the courage to walk down the aisle.
  8. The Groom is a Zombie. Or an alligator. Or in any other way linked to an impending apocalypse. 
  9. The Groom refuses to add any of his family or friends to the guest list and you realize you've never met anyone who knew him before you, but he does agree to add his "coworkers" who turn out to be really large, angry-looking men that happen to be armed to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons and brass knuckles.

But these are ONLY nine reasons to call off a wedding. There are hundreds more. Pretty much, if you think you should, you're probably at least half right. Tune in next week when I tell you Elise's Nine Reasons to Break Up Someone Else's Wedding. This could get ugly, people...


The Agony We Choose

Hi everybody! Thank you for the kind words and helpful tactics (and horror stories) you all shared last week. Was it last week? Or the week before? Geez! I haven't posted in ages. I know. I'm suffering a considerable amount of guilt over it. This was my worst fear when starting a blog... That I would get a few months in and run out of steam. Out of interest. Out of things to say.

Except that I still have all KINDS of things to say. I just can't talk about them here. First, because of The Rules. And second, because of... The Uninteresting Whining. Because that is all it would be. Rage and whining and nothing worth reading. Aren't you glad I've stayed silent? And in case you're wondering, nothing has changed yet. But I'm choosing to rise above. Well, today, I am. Who knows about tomorrow...

I also kind of unplugged from all social media. I threw myself into this (blogging, tweeting, commenting, reading, participating) when I first started and I loved it. I met a lot of cool people, had some crazy-awesome Twitter conversations, and have made some genuine friends. And I still love it. But I haven't figured out the balance of it yet. Because as soon as I joined Twitter under this name, I stopped checking Facebook under my REAL name. Now, Facebook drives me crazier than almost anything, so this might be a good break, but I have to ask myself if all of this is worth it if it causes me to abandon my real-life relationships...

Plus, now that I follow more than twelve people on Twitter, it's hard to keep up with the stream. And you know how much I love to read things from the beginning and all the way through. But that is practically impossible! So last weekend, I kind of unplugged from everything and then never replugged.

But I miss my people. I miss the crazy tweets and the comments. And I miss expressing myself and having people respond. You know, the reasons I got into this in the first place. So I'm back and trying again.

Has anyone realized that this post has basically been about nothing so far? Well, we're going to change that right now. I'm going to ramble aimlessly, but it's going to be ABOUT something. About my plans for the evening. Hey! I'm easing back in. No judging.

Tonight, I am at Mom and Papa's house for dinner. Supposedly because Sister wants to watch the Cubs game with Mom. But mostly because Mom offered to cook. Which actually sounds like it's going to end up with Mom picking up pizza. Because it's Two for Tuesday at Papa Johns. I may have referred to this as Bad Decision Tuesday in the past. But that's only because I was alone with two extra large Hawaiian pizzas and Satan's Cat was powerless to stop the calories, not because this pizza is a bad decision. This pizza is the BEST DECISION EVER!

So we will eat pizza. And they will watch baseball. I will not be watching baseball. Because even though I was raised a Cubs fan (my parents grew up in Illinois), played t-ball as a child (read: picked clover in out in left field), and can talk about the game more knowledgeably than any other sport and most other hobbies (just don't get me started on horse racing), I pretty much HATE baseball.

Okay, that's not true. I just hate talking about baseball. I actually enjoy the game. I like watching it on TV. When I lived close to a city with a team, I liked going to live games. I liked watching my brother play for most of his childhood and adolescence (mostly I liked the ballpark junk food and playing with Barbies under the bleachers, that's pretty much the same). I like baseball. I just can't get worked up about it. I can't find any passion for it.

Sister, however, has. Located. The. Passion. She LIVES AND BREATHES baseball. Okay, maybe that's a little strong. But she has like seven apps on her iPhone to help her keep track of the Cubs and the NL Central, she reads at least three sports bloggers, and she watched or DVRs almost every game. And it makes her happy, so I don't complain. Much.

But I have personally given up on the Cubs. It's been 103 years, people. It's no longer optimistic. It's no longer hopeful. It's just plan masochistic. Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Sister. But this is not really new information to either of you, am I right? I love you...

So while they enjoy the pain of the predictable ninth inning give-away, I'll be reading my book. A book that was foist upon me by a friend who claimed it was an amazing series and I HAD to read it. It's teen fantasy, which is not my normal cup of tea, but I'm pretty willing to try anything on the recommendation of a friend. And it's not THAT bad. Except that the main character found out (near the end of the first book) that her love interest is her brother. Which is weird and whatever, but I think we're all aware that this will turn out to be a lie or a red herring or something. EXCEPT THAT I'M FULLY INTO THE THIRD BOOK AND HE'S STILL HER BROTHER! AND THEY'RE STILL MAKING OUT OCCASIONALLY!!! But I cant stop reading now. Because I have to find out. If I leave now, it's like it's true and it will always be true. But if I keep reading, there's a chance it's not.

Well I guess we all find our own ways to punish ourselves, huh... So, in the grand tradition of blogging (starting discussions about things-that-no-one-ever-thinks-to-discuss-but-are-incredibly-important-to-discuss), tell me about the ways you've been punishing yourself recently. Er... Uh... Not that kind of self-punishment... Come on, people, you know what I mean! Right?


Observatio​ns, Conclusion​s, and BUTTMUNCHE​RY

The following occurred between my boss and myself yesterday:

“Hey, boss, you have a few weeks free if you want to go visit your family. I know how much you miss them,” I say, glancing at his calendar. 

“Elise, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something. You see, I’m a science kind of guy. And science is all about observations and conclusions. Do you know the difference between observations and conclusions? I’ll let you think about it. Do you have them in your mind now? You know the difference? No, I don’t think you actually do. And I’ll tell you why. I hear you say things like this all the time: ‘You’re free on such and such a date.’ How the heck do you know I’m free on that date? Because you looked at my calendar? Not everything I do with my day is on the calendar. So your statement would be a conclusion. What’s the observation you should have made?”

He looks at me expectantly. He waits for my answer. He actually wants me to say it out loud? I answer stiffly, “That you do not have any appointments on that date?”

“Very good! That’s the observation. You should try to speak in observations more often. I thought this would be helpful to you.”

I nod. I assemble what I hope looks like a grateful smile and slap it onto my face. I say, “Thank you, sir. I will try to make that improvement.”

He nods. He smiles beneficently. He goes on his merry way. Emotional destruction is the only sign he has been here.

Scissors, people. SCISSORS!

Okay, so the man has a Masters in Biology. He taught remedial Biology to disinterested teenagers for about four years. About forty years ago. But don’t be fooled into thinking that he has worked in any kind of science related field for several decades. Unless you count attending a two day conference once a year that has an hour long class titled “Renewable Energy in Business” as science. I, personally, do not. 

So instead of “I’m a science kind of guy,” I heard “I’m a ‘science’ kind of guy.” I even added imaginary air quotes as he was speaking. Plus, “science guy” made me want to hum the Bill Nye the Science Guy theme song. Now, a day later, I’m replaying it with him saying, “I’m a schmience guy!” with jazz hands. The brain has amazing coping mechanisms, no? Anyway, let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that his “science” background is the most important part of his professional experience and directly pertains to my occupation (not really and, uh, not at all).

Let’s also set aside the fact that my main job is NOT the maintenance of his schedule. Sure, I put things on it sometimes, as the situation warrants. And I often get accused of not doing my job when I have changed the schedule on my computer and his iPhone (which is the very first version they ever sold with no updates) hasn’t updated yet. Yes, Boss: When I say I changed it, but you can’t see it, I MUST be lying. It couldn’t possibly be that you are 1000 miles away, in a different time zone, and using outdated technology. Nope. I’m a lazy incompetent liar. So, pretend with me, if you will, that my only task, my one reason for living and breathing and accepting a paycheck, is to create tiny colored boxes in Microsoft Outlook. 

With all of this pretending, we’re going to need some dress-up clothing and a tea set. But we’re a low-budget operation around here, so tough bananas. Just solidify in your mind that my boss is the KING OF SCIENCE and that I am CALENDER GIRL. No wait… Not that kind of calendar. Let’s try this again: My boss is the KING OF SCIENCE and I am the SLAVE OF THE SCHEDULE! Much better. Have we all “got this in our minds”? Good. 

Now, being the King of Science comes with a lot of weighty responsibilities, I’m sure. The golden safety goggles, the Armani smock, and the fur-lined rubber gloves must become tiresome. And I’m sure the throne (made of beakers and test tubes), must be a little uncomfortable at times. Thank God being King comes with so many privileges—he gets to christen new Bunsen Burners with bottles of hydrochloric acid (this sounds like a really bad idea…) and there’s that whole “naming new elements” thing he’s got going for him. 

And I know being the lowly Slave of the Schedule obviously means I do not have a mind of my own and that I must be kept in line (for my own good, you know). I can’t possibly understand these things he calls “science” so he needs to speak very slowly, repeat himself often, only use words made of five letters or less, and ask for my participation so that it sticks. He’s so magnanimous and patient and benevolent. I am eternally grateful. Uh… Not. 

So I ask you, while you’re still wearing your pretending hats (which are pretend in and of themselves because low-budget, remember?), is this any KIND of appropriate way to speak to one’s employees schedule slaves? Personally, I wouldn’t speak to a child this way, even if the child did, in fact, NOT KNOW the difference between observations and conclusions. Then again, I have never been in charge of managing people. And I don’t have a degree in “science” either. So what the hell do I know, anyway?


But in the interest of…needing to post something this week, I thought I would share my rage with you all. You see, it’s a golden opportunity. Because it doesn’t give away specifics about my industry and is a perfect example of what I have been dealing with EVERY. DAY. FOR. TWO. MONTHS. 

Okay, let’s face it. He’s been saying crap like this since I started working here a year ago. But it was less frequent and less… less ridiculous, I guess, back then. Or maybe I handled it better back then. Who knows? This summer, I swear he’s kicked it into overdrive. I wonder if he wants to fire me, but he doesn’t have the stones (or the cause), so he’s pushing me to quit and save him the trouble. Then I wonder how this kind of BUTTMUNCHERY could possibly be part of a COORDINATED EFFORT. Because please! This man has trouble remembering the names of the TWO PEOPLE who work for him. TWO! PEOPLE! I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have the brain capacity for evil plans right now. 

I’m sorry. I think that was a conclusion.

As you can tell, people, I need your help. Please tell me about your work-related buttmunchery.  Fast. Because I need to laugh at your pain share in the human experience that makes up the Internet. Tell me your bad boss stories. Tell me your incompetent coworker stories. Tell me your they-don’t-pay-me-enough-to-put-up-with-this-crap job stories. Tell me your CONCLUSIONS, dammit!

And then tell me it’s okay to quit my job. Because I just might do it anyway. But the approval of the Internet would make me feel better.


I Have Never Been Convicted of a Felony

You guys! YOU GUYS! I was just smacked in the face with inspiration. It has been so ridiculously long since I felt this way that I thought I’d share the excitement about the inspiration before I share the thing I was inspired to write. And now I’m hoping that saying all of that didn’t just jinx my post. Because I have four posts sitting in draft form, you know. The jinxing has been epic lately. So, to avoid more of it, I’m just going to dive in.

After Sister graduated college (and while I was still in college), she moved to another state and took a really great job. Or so she thought. Wait. Crap. I have to go ask Sister if I can talk about this. Because even though it’s kind of my story and definitely my inspiration, it includes details about her life. And because I’m a good sister, I’ll ask permission. Hang on.

Okay. She says to write it and let her review it before publishing. She promises to read it faster than the other post, which took her three days to read and she ended up saying not to publish it. Which was the best choice, but her track record does not give me much faith for this post… Except this one will be GOOD! You’ll see, Sister. YOU’LL ALL SEE!!!!

So, Sister was working at this seemingly awesome job. And actually, for the first few years, it WAS awesome. But it was the kind of job where you work on projects with a team and a boss and when the project is done, you get a NEW project and a NEW team and a NEW boss. So, it was a bit of a Wheel of Fortune kind of spin every time she got a new project. On the fourth boss, the wheel landed on IMPOSSIBLE JERK.

Sister worked for this boss for about a year, with the situation starting out bad and getting progressively worse with each month. The man was verbally abusive and impossible to please and ridiculously demanding and incompetent and rude and whole host of other negative adjectives. We shall call him Big Jerk Boss Man. Big Jerk Boss Man is rivaled only by Crazy Boss Lady. I bet if those two got together, they could spawn something resembling Satan.

Sister and I have been very close (ever since we stopped sharing a bedroom—good call, Mom), so when we lived in separate states, we talked on the phone every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. When she worked for Big Jerk Boss Man, she needed a pressure release valve and I fit the description well enough (funny how these themes repeat themselves in my life, huh?). So most evenings, during her hour-and-a-half commute home (usually leaving the office between 7:00 and 8:00 pm after having gotten there by 6:00 or 7:00 am), she would call me to yell or cry or rave or laugh or do anything that would help her slow the onset of The Crazy.

Somewhere along the line, I told her that I would not be surprised if we got a call from her company saying that they had found Big Jerk Boss Man dead, scotch-taped to his desk chair with a pair of scissors sticking out of his carotid artery and that they were pretty sure Sister had fled to sunny Mexico. Do you see this image? Because we really can’t move on until you see a middle-aged jerk strapped to a spinning and wheeled office chair with his head lolling back and to the side with a giant pair of scissors sticking garishly out of his neck causing a small trickle of blood that stains the collar of his oxford shirt and bolo tie. And you have to imagine a half-crazed, gleeful Sister bouncing excitedly on the rough fabric seat of a Mexico-bound Greyhound bus, clapping her hands AND feet like a small child and cackling defiantly. Got the image now? Good. We’ll move on.

“Scissors” became our secret catch phrase. All she had to do was say that single word and I knew how she was feeling. Then, since the horrors only got worse as the year drug on, “scissors” stopped being accurate enough. So we came up with a scale. It was kind of a “between 1 and 10” scale, but really more like “from Safety fiskars to Hedge Clippers” scale.

There evolved many jokes about her hopping on the bus to Mexico, commandeering it, and “swinging by” to pick me up. This was infinitely* hilarious, since there was no way in any kind of geographical logic that she could “swing by” a town severely north of her when she was headed south to Mexico. Sometimes, we left the scissors out of it and I would just ask, “Mexico?” The answer was ALWAYS yes.

For Christmas that year, I made her an escape kit. I bought a set of three nasty looking sewing scissors in progressively larger sizes—the largest one was so wicked looking, I was sure it would cause fatal damage if wielded irresponsibly (or with intent to maim). Then I fabricated two bus tickets to Mexico, but in a ridiculous way. I may have called it the “Off-White Canine Express” or something. [I  just looked it up in our e-mails and apparently I was feeling contrary that day, because I refer to it was the "Black Cat Express."] I do remember listing just “Mexico” as the destination city, with an intermediary stop in my incredibly-out-of-the-way town. Then I made her a fake ID. But because I didn’t want it to in any way look like I was actually trying to forge government documents, I used a picture of a giraffe and named her Beulah (I’m a RULE-FOLLOWER, remember? A line-toer. A law-abider. I only FANTASIZE about killing people with office supplies). Then I put it all in a box and labeled it “Use only in case of an emergency.”

She opened it the second I handed it to her.

Once, when I went to visit her (if I could find good airline deals, I visited for long weekends, holidays, and spring break), she had to go into work on a Saturday. Not like, “Hey, get your butt in here for a 10:00 am Saturday meeting in which we all work our tails off so corporate doesn’t close our branch…” or something. No. More like, “You should probably come in on weekends and work harder and longer than anyone else on the team because I hate you and oh hey you’ll be all alone in the office on the weekends, which will help your productivity, because the rest of us have lives and families and did I mention I hate you?” So she sat in her crackerjack sized office in the empty building and I wandered around trying to entertain myself quietly for a little while. I was mildly entertained when I went into his office and farted. Then I closed the door as I left and prayed it would stink until Monday. I’m pretty sure it didn’t even stink right then, but it’s really the thought that counts.

Eventually, she “escaped” that job and ended up moving home to…the town we’re now in (Whew! That was close. You totally just expected me to tell you where I live. Good thing I’m quick on my…er…fingers).  She moved home a few months after I had graduated and moved home, so when she bought her house at the end of that summer, it was only reasonable that I move in with her. Financially reasonable. Why? Were you thinking for an alibi? That’s silly. Just because I have a super top secret identity and won’t tell you where I live does not mean I am an accomplice to Murder with a Deadly Weapon (namely, a wicked pair of scissors). I live in FAR NORTH, remember? Nobody fled to Mexico. And that’s all I’m going to say about that (under advice of counsel).

The bottom line is: Sister and I have survived some crazy stuff. And we now have secret code words to express our frustration. When I started living with Crazy Boss Lady, all I had to say during our nightly phone calls was a nonchalant “scissors” and she understood. Which was good, because Crazy Boss Lady was listening at the door most nights, unbeknownst to me, and I think I would have gotten fired a whole lot earlier than I actually did if she had heard me making threats to her carotid artery. Hmmm… Maybe this was a miscalculation…

And now, every time I get on twitter and somebody is talking about getting stabbity-mad or about bludgeoning their coworkers with office supplies, I think back on those awful days and smile just a little. Because it’s always good to have a plan an outlet for your rage fantasies.

*Hilarious only to us probably. And occasionally to our mother. But mostly just to us. We’re happy to let you join us in the hilarity, though. 

[The author of the post does not endorse, encourage, advocate, and/or condone in any way the stabbing, maiming, dismembering, killing, and/or otherwise physically and/or psychologically damaging of one’s employer(s), coworker(s), and/or colleague(s) with scissors, Safety Fiskars, Hedge Clippers, and/or any other cutting instrument or office supply. Nor does she endorse, encourage, advocate, and/or condone in any way the forging, falsifying, and/or altering of any legal government documents.  She does, however, endorse, encourage, advocate, and condone the use of humor, witticism(s), fantasizing, and Twitter to express one’s discontent, rage, frustration, observances, musings, hatred, and/or other human emotion regarding one’s situation in life, employer(s), coworker(s), and/or colleague(s), family member(s), friend(s), and/or stranger(s). The author also wishes to convey that she did not receive any form of payment or sponsorship for the entirety, and/or any subsequent part, of this post and is kind of miffed about that, because this was pretty funny, if you ask her.]


I Have No Answers or Excuses--I'm Sorry For This

Here are some things you need to know:
  • Nothing has changed in my life in two months. I wouldn't have a problem with this except that there are some bad things going on in my life right now and I could stand a little bit of change (Kim at Let Me Start By Saying... had a good analogy about lemon shaped bruises). Instead, I get nochange (Nochange is a THING. It IS. Leave me alone). So, just FYI: Misery isn't that funny. Neither is this blog. There is a correlation.
  • I was driving down the highway the other day and saw an interesting sight. A man was driving an old (probably late 1980s) model Honda Passport--a junky old SUV with dings and large rust spots. He was wearing a t-shirt that he'd cut the sleeves off of, so it was like an extra low-budget muscle shirt. He was pale, flabby and past middle age. Then he stuck his hand out his open window to flick some ash off of his CIGAR! I didn't know how to process this. My brain says cigar = high society/rich/pretentious, but junker car + homemade muscle shirt + flabby white guy = something other than classy/rich/pretentious. I didn't get a look at his face, but I'm kind of guessing pornstache. You?
  • I have a REAL post written and all ready to go. But I was feeling self conscious about it, so I sent it to Sister for review. She hasn't read it yet. So, let's blame her that you get a blog in bullets today, shall we?
  • I've decided that I'm not allowed to clear my feedreader or look at Twitter during the day until I have written a post. I'm hoping this will lead to more posting, but I could just stop going on the Internet. We'll see...
  • Twitter is a time suck of massive proportions and I never seem to keep ahead of it. Maybe I'm following too many people? I actually went through and unfollowed a bunch of people whose tweets I generally ignore, because c'mon. What's the point of following someone who doesn't post information relevant to my interest? Except. Now I have this massive guilt every time someone follows me. I feel obligated to follow back. Plus, I feel this pressure to tweet interesting/funny/relevant things to make it worth following me. You'd think I was Catholic with all of this guilt I'm carrying around.
  • Umm... Catholic jokes? Funny or offensive? My funny sensors aren't functioning properly. I mean, jokes with the Pope in it seem to be pretty funny (Popes in a Volkswagen!). But maybe that's just because "Pope" is a funny sounding word. Where's the line?
  • Speaking of lines, I have a whole OTHER post written about lines. But I think it might just be grammatically obnoxious and morally depressing. I'm leaving it as a draft for a while to see if anything gets better. We're going on a week, so I'm thinking the outlook is a bit dim.
  • Back to Twitter (I got distracted by the Catholics): If you're following me and you think I'm a jerk for not following back AND you think your tweets would be relevant to my interests/that I will fall in love with you/be your new Twitter BFF, direct message me. I can't promise I'll follow forever, but I'm willing to give it a chance.
  • Word of warning... if most of your tweets are flowery pseudo-philosophical nonsense stolen from someone who self-published a self-help book and/or four-square-esque updates about you being places I have no interest in A. being or B. knowing you're there, I might not even give you a chance... Sorry. Take solace in the fact that many other twitterers agree with me. Ooops. Maybe that's only solace for me...
  • I have a lot of split ends and my eyebrows look like a small woodland creature has taken up residence on my face. I have no idea why you need to know this, but I'm sharing anyways. I should go see my hairdresser, but it's pretty difficult to time off of work right now. I kind of want to ask my boss, "Do you want a furry-woodland-creature-faced employee or do you want to lose my 'productivity' one half hour early at the end of a Thursday?" And by 'productivity' I mean blogging...But the boss isn't completely read in on the whole blogging thing. So I'll stay furry for a while.
  • I love Pandora. But today, I wish it was an actual person with an actual body so that I can grab it by the front of its shirt and shake it while asking, "WHY WOULD YOU PLAY AVRIL LAVIGNE ON THE SAME STATION AS DAUGHTRY AND ONEREPUBLIC? WHY???"
  • I'm drinking free coffee. I like free coffee. I especially like that I got this free coffee after eating lunch with my mother. I like my mother. Actually, on a list of things I like, coffee and my mother are totally  top five. So, today is a good day. Better than most, at least. Thanks for suggesting lunch, Mom. And for paying. I like when you pay. I also like you. In case you're worried, my liking you is not dependent on you paying for things.
  • I thought that these bullets might disguise it, but I'm giving in. This is not a well thought-out, planned, or even bullet-worthy post. It's just stream of consciousness rambling. I'm hoping that the bullets keep you from thinking I'm crazy. Probably not, huh?
  • It is pouring today. We don't often get a deluge like this, complete with thunder and lightning. But every once in a while, we do. And I love it. I don't love getting wet so much, but sitting indoors watching the rain pelt the earth and hearing the crash of the heavens is pretty cool. But these things are only fun if you get to be indoors, be near a window, and have time to enjoy it. I've mostly been dashing to my car praying I don't fall off my high heels and land in a puddle. Completely possible. I'm a dancer, remember? This is not to say that I'm not loving the storm. I am. I'm just wishing I wasn't missing so much of it.
  • Today is the first day of school for most of the kids in my town. It makes me a little bit nostalgic. But not enough that I actually miss going to school. Because ew.
  • We have Youth Group tonight. Last week, the kids were extra squirrely and I felt badly for all the teachers that would have to handle them this week. I'm not sure if a whole day of sitting still and listening will make tonight easier (because they're primed and disciplined) or even worse (because THEY'VE BEEN STILL ALL DAY LONG AND WILL NOT STAND IT FOR ONE. MORE. SECOND.) We shall see. I think I know which one my money's on.
  • I have to pee (damn you, free coffee!!). So I guess this is as good a place as any to stop the rambling and hit publish. See you tomorrow. At which point, I will hopefully have an ACTUAL post for you. If Sister doesn't want the job, I bet my mom will read it for me. Because she likes me. Most days.


A Russian Roulette of Emotional Angst

Last year, when I had to relocate for a few months because of my job with Crazy Boss Lady, one of the only things that kept me from harming myself or others were the e-mails Sister and I exchanged throughout the day. It was a tiny pressure release several times an hour. The following is a copied and slightly redacted version of one of our many e-mail streams. If you need background information on Crazy Boss Lady, read this post.  Oh, and the subject of each day’s e-mail was a movie or TV quote. Bonus points to anyone who can figure out the source of this one.

WARNING: This may be funny to no one but me and Sister (and please note the incredibly codependent way I leaned on her during this time. Some things haven’t changed…Also, note the overuse of emoticons. I think I was compensating.)

“Okay, but this is seriously the LAST thing I do before I quit!”

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 8:09 AM):
I have managed to start the day off with Crazy Boss Lady ticked at me before we even got to the office. Want to know how you do that?  It's really easy.  Don't be told what time they want to leave and make your best guess, because you’re not allowed to ask.  No matter what it is, you're going to be wrong. But if you don't try, you're wrong then, too.  8:00 am meeting?  Plan to leave at 7:45 am because no one told you different?  7:35 am was the ticket...  
I have tried covertly asking her what time we’re leaving and no matter how I slice it, I get into trouble.  A few weeks ago, she was talking about the next morning and said, "I think...  nine o'clock.  Maybe 9:30... I'll have to think on-- Oh, by the way, did you hear about ______?"  And then went off on a twenty minute tangent and never got back to the point.  The next morning, I decided to clarify, since "9:00 or maybe 9:30 or maybe I'll think about it and come up with a firm answer" didn't seem too specific to me. When I asked, I got this response, "Elise, didn't we talk about this last night?  I already gave you my answer. Remember we talked about you asking about this and that you should take my first answer unless I change my mind?" So I went into my room and shot myself.  

Okay, not really on the last part.  But a lesser person might have been tempted to...

DISCLAIMER: I am in no danger of doing harm to myself or in any way attempting to end my life. 
Other people's lives are a whole different ball of wax....

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:16 AM):
I hate my job. I can't even explain the minute and various ways Crazy Boss Lady makes me feel stupid and how she drives me crazy. I've got to start focusing on the things I'm grateful for or I'm going to lose it. 
Here's what I have so far:
1. I did my absolute best to anticipate what time I was supposed to be out of the house today.  I could not have done anything different with the information I had.
2. Janet invited me to Easter at her house. Which I think is exactly what I need.
3. I now have two W2 forms winging their way to me so that I can do my taxes on time.
4. I was left alone for almost an hour and a half this morning in the office, which means I didn't have to deal with the crazy for part of this day.
5. I kept my cool and was gracious (I think, I hope...) in the three obnoxious situations I have had to deal with already with the Queen of Mount Coffeelava.
6. I got a new picture of [brand spanking new] Niece.
7. My brother is really sweet, even if he tries to play the tough guy.
8. I'm working on it.

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM):
Those are all really good. I would add:
9. People love you. Especially me.
10. People miss you. Especially me.
11. You didn't get hit by a bus on the way to work this morning. I think we're both grateful for that.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM):
I'm clinging to 9, since it's getting harder and harder to believe that here in the vortex of human emotions. I'm hoping 10 is true, because it would be really pathetic if it weren't.  And 11 is negligible...  Okay, not really (See earlier disclaimer). But I bet if I were hit by a bus and moderately-to-severely injured, they'd have to let me go home... :)  Not that I'll go looking for any buses, or anything.

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:39 AM):
12. You have a sister that looks out for you.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:45 AM):
13. [Creepy Old Man] thinks I'm beautiful. I still can't decide if this is something I can find the good in and leave behind the bad, but I'm trying... We'll see.

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:46 AM):
No. That's not OK.
13. I think you're beautiful.
Yes, that's better.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:49 AM):
13. Crazy Boss Lady thinks I'm beautiful and "could make something" of me on the pageant circuit... I'm not sure this works either.  Somehow, I end up feeling ugly and also patronized...

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:51 AM):
13. I think you're beautiful.
14. You don't have to go on the pageant circuit to prove your worth, but you'd still kick ass without her help.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM):
Now 14 I can get on board with!
15. I love you.  You're awesome.

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:03 AM):
So my Easter dress solid teal. But last night I was having doubts about finding shoes and thinking how much easier it would be to get the lilac one on Target’s website, since I already have shoes and jewelry to match it.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:10 AM):
I prefer the teal. And white shoes work for Easter, but black or brown are completely acceptable.  Just make it strappy. Also, how much do you love that Target gives you the option to "Search by sleeve length"? I think it's pretty much genius!
16. Papa and Mom calling me randomly through the day to check on me just because they know I need to hear their voices.

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:11 AM):
"Get me a shoe, and make it strappy!"
17. Your sister's kinda funny.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM):
17. My sister's REALLY funny.  And also thinks a lot like her sister. :)
18. Colored tabs may be a pain in the ass, but they're pretty. I am trying to be grateful for the pretty. Also, that I was allowed to give my OCD free range on this ridiculous assignment. :)
19. Water coolers of filtered water and cute purple metal water bottles help me to get all of my water for WeightWatchers.  And they give me a reason to escape the office to both fill it up and then to "empty" it out of my body.
20. Her meeting may take a while today, since I think they're tackling the budget-- this means no crazy for at least an hour. :)
ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 11:36 AM):
20. Scratch that. No budget. But she has been gone for 36 minutes, which must be the grace of God. Also, that means I'm only 24 minutes from lunch... :)

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:54 PM):
21. This ordinal is greater than or equal to the number of days until you come home, barring a special session. You have more grateful things today than days left on relocation!

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM):
(Over-reaction is my state of mind right now...)
22. I love my sister's emotional mathematics.  Or mathematical emotions...

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 1:04 PM):
Wow. Yes. I'm back. :)
23. Mom left a present waiting on your bed for when you get home.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 1:08 PM):
24. For half of an irrational second, I thought you meant my bed here. I actually got halfway through wondering how she would get it on my bed here before I realized what you meant.  I am trying to be grateful for a present at all. :)

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 1:09 PM):
Awww...now I'm bummed for disappointing you.
25. It could be worse. You could be Miley Cyrus's sound engineer at her recording studio. Now there's a job with ANNOYING written all over it.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 1:12 PM):
25. I happen to like Miley Cyrus. I would be grateful to have that job.  It would be better than this job.
26. I have to go pick up an extra copy of an interview with Crazy Boss Lady at the local news station (I have no idea why we need 2 of them, but I go where I'm told), but at least I get to get out of the office and see the sky once today. :)
ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 1:17 PM):
27. Her meeting was postponed at 11:45 am.  Usually, they just cancel and reschedule.  Instead, they took a break until 1:00 pm.  Which means she's back in the meeting now and out of my hair.  As soon as the cronies get back, I'm out of here, but it's nice to know she won't be popping in on me with stupid tasks... :)
ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM):
28. I ran into one of my elementary school teachers and he recognized me. Okay, he asked for my last name and then recognized it from Brother and I had to tell him he taught me, too, but that he had probably blocked it from his memory because I was one of those terrifying little girls who cried frequently... :)

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:07 PM):
28 makes me laugh. :) Just the way it devolved...
29. You're still funny.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM):
30. I have prepared Crazy Boss Lady, to the best of my ability given the expressed expectations, for her 4:30 pm meeting on the audit.  And I'm kind of a genius. They just can't see it. :)
ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:35 PM):
She may not be happy with it, but it's all I can do. I also think she's hit the 3:00 zone where nothing actually sticks to her grey matter long enough for her to get angry or excited about it.  She's pretty much done absorbing information or making substantive decisions by 1:00 pm, even if the day requires those things until 6:00 (which is a strong argument that a person should not get up at 4:30 every morning if you have to work until 6:00 pm, but I'm only 23 and I don't know what I'm talking about...). The most exciting thing about this is that some of those things that don't stick on Monday afternoon don't bounce off either.  They slide along the surface until Tuesday morning (or even Friday noon), when they finally stick and actually come back to bite you.  Usually taken out of context, given a sassy tone, and with the words all mixed around.  It's like a Russian Roulette of Emotional Angst.
31. I have stayed within the WeightWatchers points I planned to consume prior to dinner (with the addition of four cinnamon jelly bellies, which can't really count, right?) and I'm not feeling inclined at the moment to bust out the p-corn.

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:43 PM):
31 is MUY MUY bueno. You are good leetle girl.

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:50 PM):
32? The Queen of Mount Coffeelava is back.  I am grateful that God is trying to teach me patience?

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:50 PM):
I’m Ron Burgundy?

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:56 PM):
Exactly.  I'm not sure I can be grateful.  However, she hasn't spoken in about 7 minutes.  That can be my 32. :)

SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:57 PM):
33. Less than three hours until you get to go home for the night. I say that because it really should be only an hour, but you never know with your boss. But you're still well over half done with your day!
SISTER (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 4:28 PM):
Solve for "i":
9x - 7i > 3(3x - 7u)

ELISE (Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM):
You're weird. And i<3u, too. :)

UPDATE: Bonus points, everybody! Crazy Boss Lady just walked into my office to tell me something about our building (I work near her, but not for her). She left and then came back, gave me a great big hug, told me she loved me, was so glad we were talking again, and that she's so glad she gave me my "start" in the industry. This post about her amazing heights of idiocy was open on my screen while she was HUGGING ME! Seriously. I cannot make this stuff up!

I Have A Dream. No, Really. A Lot Of Them All The Time

[Due to Bloggers "issues" yesterday, this did not get posted. Even though I was being a good blogger and posting before the end of the work day. BUT NOOOO! Blogger had to go and get all angry at nothing during my prime blogging hours. So let's pretend this got posted yesterday and I'll post something later for today's official post. Mmmmkay? Thanks.]

Last night, I dreamt that I was seven months pregnant. Since I'm not married and am waiting until I'm married to do any of the things required to get pregnant and even though it was a dream, I was confused as to how I had gotten in that situation. When I woke up, I thought maybe I'm just fat and trying to make excuses. I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, but I think you need to know these things. You’re welcome.

This leads me to tell you about my dreams. No. Not in that really boring way where I tell you all of the details of my dream that are only coherent and significant to me and you're sit there and say things like, "Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure. Of course. So weird. Cool. Yep. I get that" but what you're really thinking is, "Why in the world does she think I care about a furry monster who wasn't actually furry, but was kind of furry and also looked like her eighth grade gym teacher except that it was in the future and that guy is dead, so it's weird that he's in Jamaica on her vacation?"

No. Not like that. Instead, I thought I'd tell you about my dreaming habits IN GENERAL and then you tell me about your dreaming habits IN GENERAL and then we comment on the strangeness/commonness of each other's dreaming habits IN GENERAL and we end up having this interesting thing called a conversation. I know. It's cutting edge. It's risky and newfangled and uncertain. But I think we're up to the challenge. What say you? Yes? Good. I thought so.

So, “science" tells us that we all dream every night. It's part of the sleep cycle. If we didn't dream, we wouldn't form memories or get any rest and our heads would explode and we would die and other BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. Or something. All I know is that lots of sciencey people say we all dream all the time. And before you say, "Well, I don't!" just stop. Because "science" also says that many of us don't remember our dreams when we wake up, but that doesn't mean we don't have them. And if you're wondering what's up with the quotes around science, I have no answer for you. Sorry.

Moving on. The point is this: we all dream, but we do not all remember our dreams. Since I subscribe to the Temerity Jane Philosophy of Averageness, I'm under no delusion that I'm some kind of Special Snowflake when it comes to dreams, but I also know that among the people I have talked to about dreams, I am slightly unusual. So I'm taking a larger sample, hoping for one of two results: 1) I am not alone! There are people in the world just like me; or 2) I really am a SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE! My money's on the first one, just in case you're wondering.

So here goes. My experience with dreams:
  • I remember most of my dreams. Almost every morning, I wake up with memories of my night-time imaginings. I usually have more than one and I can almost always tell you about each of them in detail if you ask (no one ever does...).
  • I often dream in linear storylines. I've used quite a few of them as jumping off points for the novels that I... never get around to actually writing... Ahem.
  • Sometimes, I am not the main character in my dreams. Occasionally, I'm not a character at all and they’re more like movies (I'm not sure what it says about me psychologically that I'm not the star of the movie even in my own mind, but I'm going to save that analysis for a different day...).
  • When I wake up in the middle of a dream, I can go back to sleep and finish it. Sometimes, I don't control this and fall back to sleep to continue nightmares, which is not so fun.
  • I can choose my dreams. I focus on what I want to dream about before I fall asleep and have moderate success with influencing those things into my dreams.
  • I can also control my dreams. Sometimes, one will end in an unsatisfying way. I will wake up slightly (still kind of half-asleep), realize I didn't like it, and decide to do it over again, but better.
Now it's your turn. Remember, people. We’re trying to have a conversation here. IT will be tricky. We’re charting new territory. And I need your help. Does any of this sound weird to you? Have you experience any of these things? More than just one? Tell me about your dreams. No, not your aspirations, your sleep dreams. Geez, keep up! Okay, fine. You can tell me about those other dreams, too. I’m not strict. Someone just TALK TO ME ALREADY!


I'm a Loser or 6th Grade "Boyfriends" Count, Right?

Okay, so I know I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been posting sappy pieces about my childhood or trying to pass off Microsoft Publisher fumblings as a real post. So I know I owe you. In light of how big I owe you all, I’ve decided to pay up in the form of a super-secret revelation. A confession if you will. Are you ready? I’m not. Hang on. Let me take another sip of wine. Okay.

I have never had a boyfriend.

Yep, that’s right. I’ve spent nearly a quarter of a decade century (I am THE smart) on this planet. And I have spent that time completely alone. Romantically anyway.

So, this isn’t that big of a surprise to you? You’ve read my blog and you’re like, “Of course this girl is single and has been for her whole life. We expected nothing less from someone that has crazy conversations with her Sister and writes pathetic letters to her future husband…” At which point I will call you a jerk. Because I’ve had a crappy day (crappy summer, actually) and you’re kicking me while I’m down. JERK!

So before I get preemptively angry at the things I assume some of you are going to say… Wait…

Anyway. Yes. Big confession. I am that girl. It’s not like I even have the excuse of “Sure, there were boys who asked, but I was a good girl who didn’t date before X age and then I was so busy with school/career” or even “The boys liked me, but I’m super picky. I’ve had the opportunity, I’ve just not taken it.” Nope. No one asked. Ever. So, you know… I’m hot stuff and all of that.

Except. If you’ve read far enough back in the archives, you will probably realize that I already basically told you this secret in my post about getting hit and hot on in the same night. So this is kind of a lame pay back for my lame blogging skills as of late (there seems to be a theme here…) However. My confession has a Part Two. Yep. Big time confessions tonight.

For FIVE WHOLE DAYS in the 6th Grade, I had a “boyfriend.” And Mom, I’m sorry if I never got around to telling you about this and you have to find out on my blog—I broke your No Dating Until Sixteen rule. But I think my lack of Post-Sixteen Dating totally makes up for it. Right?

Okay. So. To pay penance. I am going to sip this glass of wine and take a non-sappy trip down memory lane. I am going to tell you all about Travis.

Travis sat in front of me in science class. He was almost my height (I was Asian Monster Movie tall even back then), a little on the round side (so was I!), and he was nice to me. He would turn around and joke around with me all the time. He had brown shaggy hair and he wore a NOFX hoodie every day. These are the only details I remember.

One day, another boy (also named Travis, although this is really not so much important and confusing. I could change it, but I like to stay true to life am lazy) came to my table and told me I was so fat that even if I were to stop eating altogether, I’d probably never be thin enough to be pretty. He was a real charmer, this Other Travis. My Travis stood up and defended me. And he took quite a bit of crap for it. So, of course I liked him.

Anyways, my friend did the typical junior-high-who-do-you-like-pestering. I didn’t really like anyone, but I wanted to fit in. And to get them to shut up. So I said Travis. There was a bit of confusion when they thought I liked the oh-so-charming Other Travis. But when they realized who I meant, they went crazy. Before I knew it, I was being dragged across the lunch yard, five girls tugging on my wrists (like I said, I was a big girl and I was resisting, so it took quite a few of them). I can still the feel the gravel shooting out from under my feet as I dug in my heels and my “friends” tugged me along, heedless of my protests.

Then I looked up. Coming at me was another group of girls, dragging Travis. We met in the middle of the yard. Time stopped (yeah right). One of the girls next to him said, “Elise, will you go out with Travis?” He looked anywhere but at me. One of the girls at my side said “Yes, she will.” We were officially a couple. Romantic, right?

That was Thursday. We didn’t see each other after lunch, but by magic (read: through our network of over-zealous and obnoxious “friends”) he got my phone number. That afternoon, he called me. I was making macaroni and cheese (these details are important). My brother answered the phone. His face was precious—he couldn’t believe there was a boy on the other line asking for me. I said, “Hi.” He said, “Hi.” We exchanged monosyllabic sentiments. We were on the phone a total of three minutes. Two of which were basically silent while I stirred radioactive orange powder into noodles and milk. I had never felt so close to anyone before in my life. Heh.

Friday morning, our class was scheduled to go to an awful play about Thomas Edison in the next town over. Okay, so we didn’t know for sure that it would be awful, but we were suspicious. And we were not disappointed in the least. I sat near the back of the bus with my friends. Travis sat with his buddies up front. For the first (read: only) time in my life, I was THE TOPIC of discussion for my classmates. We were THE COUPLE of the moment, even separated as we were by a bus of smelly preteens. Looking back, I think the fascination stemmed from the fact that I was a wallflower and he was a loner, not from the fact that we were innately fascinating, but that’s water under the bridge. Whatever the reason, our friends orchestrated the seating arrangements so that we got to be next to each other—our teachers were usually wise to the couples in class and tried to separate them, especially during times when the room would be dark, but they never even thought to suspect us.

The lights dimmed. The curtain lifted. I felt all of my classmates’ eyes on us. Other Travis was sitting directly behind and above me in the tiered seating. He made kissing noises in my ear. I got angry. And underneath the anger, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to kiss Travis. But I even more didn’t want to be UNCOOL. I couldn’t not do something. So I reached over and grabbed My Travis’s hand. In view of everyone. That shut him up. Actually, it shut both Travises up.

And it was nice to hold someone’s hand. It didn’t matter that the hand was kind of cold and clammy and limp. Or that I had no real affection for the boy attached to that hand. I was daring. And bold. And COOL.

As I said, the play was awful. We all mocked it in voices just low enough to keep the teachers from coming over (actually, I think they could hear us and just agreed with us enough to avoid making an effort). It was so boring that I slumped down in my chair and almost fell asleep. Aware of the eyes on us, I decided to really go for it. That’s right. I did it. I rested my head on Travis’s shoulder! SO DARING. SO BOLD. SO. COOL.

When the play ended, we praised Jesus and piled back on the bus for the ride back to our town. I was finally comfortable enough with Travis that I sat with him for Fifteen. Whole. Minutes. During those fifteen minutes, he seemed more interested in his finger skate board (remember those?!) than in getting to know me, but I pushed on valiantly. I tried to talk about our hobbies and I think he talked about lighting things on fire. I’m not sure. The only thing I distinctly remember was that we were talking about our families when he suddenly offered, “My parents are thinking of putting me up for adoption.” I thought he was making a joke, but he was so matter-of-fact that I knew he was dead serious. I had no idea how to respond to this. I just looked blankly at him. Then he said, “HEY! Just because I do bad things doesn’t mean I’m a BAD PERSON!” And then wouldn’t talk to me anymore.

Well, as fun as the romance had been up to that point, a tiny alarm bell chimed in my ear as I scurried back to my friends. From this advantageous viewpoint a dozen years later, I can tell he was a hurting kid who had a bad home life. But to my twelve-year-old brain, all I heard was, “I HAVE ISSUES! RUN AWAY!” We didn’t speak for the rest of the day.

The weekend was a holiday (I can’t for the life of me remember which one), so we had the Monday off. I spent the weekend doing normal stuff, not really thinking about Travis. He did not call. On Tuesday morning, I realized I was dreading seeing him at school. I was pretty sure the coerced “asking out” ritual we had participated in and proving-we’re-cool-hand-holding we had done were not the recipe for a successful relationship. So I did the only thing I knew how to do at the time: I wrote him a note and shoved it in his locker.

Yep. I’m that girl.

I lost track of him in the shuffle of classes over the next six years. When we graduated from High School, he had an electric blue Mohawk and was still wearing the same NOFX hoodie. Every day. He told my friend Mary once that he remembered me, but all he said was some girls forced him to “go out” with me for a few days in 6th Grade. Funny, that’s exactly how I feel about him. Maybe we should get back together?

Okay, so now I've spilled my guts. It's your turn. Tell me about your Middle School "romances" or your first loves. Tell me about first boyfriends or peer pressure. Tell me something embarrassing and incriminating. I hate feeling alone in this. So I'm dragging you all down with me.