Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where have I been, you ask?

I have been at my job, because I have one. A nice, fancy job that comes with health insurance. I work all the time now, like a real, live grown-up. And this is nice, in it's own way. But there are some things I miss.

1. Sleeping until noon, or taking a nap if I am extra tired.

2. Deciding when I work, if I work, and what my work entails (this is what you do when you are your own boss).

3. Knitting time, and the weekly knitting meet-up at the KenapocoMocha.

4. Going to the KenapocoMocha at all.

5. Unrestricted Darcy time.

6. Getting and watching the television shows I can't get on my TV (accursed digital conversion)

7. Spending time with friends whenever I (or they) feel like it.

I think all (or at least the majority) of those things are parts of life that change as we all get older and more mature. But I don't want to be that mature. I want to be a big kid my whole life, because life is more fun that way, which you can see when you look at my parents. Apple cores and all, being a big kid is much more fun than being a boring old person who wakes up at the same time every day and has no time for any fun at all. I want fun time.

So I am going to have to get used to having less sleep. Because I am not quitting the fun.

Instead I will keep myself a big kid by reading all the books in the kids section, perhaps several times. That's the plan right now. I'll let you know if it works.

In the meantime, I am knitting La Digitessa for real. I have one sock completed and am turning the heel on the second one. It is truly beautiful and makes me happy on many levels. I will take pictures and show you all when both are done. I will almost certainly end up wearing them to work, even if they clash with something, and with them both easily visible in some kind of mary jane shoe. Even if I have to buy special shoes to do it.

Also, I have broken down and purchased a season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show so ridiculous that it makes me laugh hysterically and uncontrollably. Both are things I need right now. And I got a later season for more hilarity, because that is when Angel left, so there is no romance factor, really, just Spike getting himself set on fire, or grabbing the blade of a sword with both hands, or passing out drunk, and the like. That is where the funny is.

It is my guilty pleasure.

Spike on fire just makes my day. It's the swearing, I think. It just works.

Anyway, I will try to keep up with the posting better now that the horror of my first week is at an end. Sorry about the lapse!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Becky Gets Some Credit, But Not Much.

Becky actually spent some time with us today. But first, you must all understand what happened before this.

We ran into Becky the other day, the day when Jen and I went to Biaggi's for tasty food and also went shopping but were disappointed to find that we had nothing to buy or even look at when at the mall.

Becky was buying a nice new shiny sweeper. It had a thing for pet hair, and a thing that came out and dusted while sucking up all the little cobweb thingies that were around. She was with Joe, her husband, the man who stole her from us, her friends, who love her and want her time and attention. Becky. Come on.

We stopped and talked with her. It was nice. We told her that we missed her and that it wasn't fair that we couldn't spend time with her. Joe actually came out and said he didn't have a problem with it. He didn't have a problem with it. Becky, come ON.

Two years has passed since we have had Becky. Two years.

So we tried to get Joe to go home and Becky to come with us, just for a bit. But Becky wanted to go home and play with her new sweeper, which she did. Becky, COME ON.

We did manage to get her to agree to an evening with us, today, March 21. We would get dinner, we said. She agreed. She wrote it down in her little book. I saw her.

So March 20 rolled around and Jennifer called me. She said that she had gotten a message from Becky that she could not come on March 21 because she had to work. Meanwhile, Jennifer had to work through the evening on Friday night, and all day on Saturday. She also had to work on her Master's degree on Sunday, writing a paper. Not to mention all the other things that she has to do, like buying food or dusting or even sleeping.

Becky said she had to work during the day, and could not come. She was bailing on us, and when Jen called her and tried to ask, she couldn't reach Becky. And she called me and was upset, and she talked about how hard it was to thing that we are losing Becky, which we do not want. Friends are forever. We are not petty high school kids. We are forever, like a family you can choose.

Jen and I chatted for a few minutes. We both agreed that we would still hang out together Saturday, but we were disappointed to think we would be one short.

So today, Jen called me again and said that Becky really was coming. So I rushed out and came over to her apartment (where I am now) and we went over to get Becky from her house, and we ate at the Market Street Grill, and laughed. Then we went to Walmart for almost no reason.

Then we went back to Jen's where we are now. And Becky announced at eight o'clock that she had to go home. So that she could sleep.
Becky, COME ON!

We have managed to convince her to spend time with us in the future, but this is not necessarily certain. It is just sad to think that we have to fight so hard about this. So I am writing this entry right after I made certain to e-mail her my blog from the other day. I think this might mean that Becky's public humiliation may lead to her e-mailing me or calling me or even spending time with me and Jen at some time in the future.

If we are successful, I will let you know.

And, P.S. Hi to my New York reader and all you folks from Ravelry! Thanks for coming!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grandpa and the Progresso

Just over a week ago, Mom went up to see her dad for his birthday. He turned 86, and I celebrated from here (not here, in the car but here in central Indiana) while everyone else took him to dinner and cheered Grandpa on.

Grandpa is pretty healthy for his age. His legs bother him (arthritis) but the only other problem is that his kidneys aren't keeping up with the amount of liquid he takes in. Which is a lot. Grandpa is never without water, usually in the same yellow plastic cup he has had since I was born, a cup Gran urged him to get rid of, a cup he still retains.

We (not to mention the doctor) warned Grandpa that he needs to cut the amount of salt he takes in. Grandpa doesn't use a lot of salt, so he though this was no big deal. But he is an older man who lives alone, except for his cat, and he doesn't do much cooking.

The thing he doesn't get, or doesn't care about, is that his new favorite meal is packed with so much salt it alone could kill a person--and that's when you start off healthy. This is not to say the thing is not okay in moderation, but Grandpa never does anything in moderation.

He likes Progresso soup. Saltier than Campbell's, which is very salty, Progresso comes in such flavors as Split Pea with Ham, Traditional Chicken Noodle, and Beef Vegetable. Grandpa has packed his pantry with these and other flavors, all of which he bought on sale.

When the store didn't have his flavors, he got rain checks and came back.

Soon, Grandpa ran out of room in the pantry upstairs, so he started filling up the cabinets in the basement, which are now packed too.

Mom, on her recent visit, was handed a coupon from the big grocery store nearby for Progresso soup. Mom was secretly satisfied to find there to be no more of his flavors, so she hit the knit shop nearby and went back home. Grandpa then was disappointed. But Mom called me and found that I could do with two skeins of the half-off sock yarn (I mean, come on--half off?) so she told her dad she was going back to the shop before it closed.

She was presented again with the coupon and ordered to come home with a rain check.

Mom loves her dad, but she knows that he is making himself sick on the soup.

So she didn't get them. She went to the yarn store and came back, sans rain check. She was going to tell Grandpa this, but when he asked her, he immediately followed his question with, "You don't have to get up and get it now, Jul."

And she didn't.

Conveniently "forgetting" to hand over the nonexistent rain check, Mom went home the next day. And Grandpa called her upon her arrival to ask about the rain checks.

She said "Oops" but it wasn't over. He said she could just drop them in the mail for him.



But the rain checks don't exist.



Mom came to me wondering what to do. And because I am as devious as she is, if not more, I told her to just tell him she bought the soup already with the rain checks, at our branch of the grocery store.

She, however, chose to wait.

And in every telephone conversation since that one, she has been asked about the rain checks. "Have you sent them?" "When will they get here?" "Don't forget them!" Grandpa says, each time imparting Mom with a sense of impending doom. Sooner or later, she is sure he will realize the soup and its rain checks will never come to him.

But this morning, she broke down, followed my advice, and compounded her lie.

She told Grandpa she had gone to the store and bought the soup. But then she did what I had only joked about before, she told him that the store had only had the low-sodium kind of his flavors of soup. So when Grandpa gets his soup, he will be stuck with the low-sodium, which is better for him and he will eat because he was raised in the Great Depression, which is why he hordes food in the first place.

The saga of Grandpa and the Soup is, however, hardly over. Mom doesn't have that low-sodium soup any more than she had the rain checks that supposedly provided her with a discount on it. She will some day end up returning to her father's house, and at that time, she will be expected to hand over the cans of soup, so Grandpa can put them in one of the upstairs bedrooms, which will be filled from floor to ceiling with nothing but cans of Progresso.

In fact, years from now when the house is being excavated by archaeologists, all they will find will be columns of Progresso soup, arranged as if they were on grocery store shelves because Grandpa used to work in one.

I wonder if they will be able to tell that a persnickety old man lived there?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Becky, Where Art Thou?

Jennifer and I want to announce to the world the incumbent 2nd anniversary of Becky's Marriage. This means that it will, in a few short weeks, be two years since she has done anything with the two of us without her ball and chain.

Since there have only been three occasions in that span when the three of us have spent time together with Joe, we know there is a problem. We used to see each other at least twice a week, maybe more.

So, Becky, get with the program and spend some time with your girl friends. We live longer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In which Jennifer selects a topic...

I gave Jennifer the task of selecting the topic of this blog, as she is sitting next to me at the moment and I can't readily think of anything to write on my own.

We're waiting, Jennifer.

Think faster.

"Any other time, I would think: "I want Laura to write about that, I want Laura to write about that.'" Jennifer says, sitting here on the couch in her apartment as we watch an episode of Ghost Hunters neither of us are paying any attention to. Andy is divulging too much information to Jennifer, and she is getting a bit freaked out, causing her to not think of a blog topic fast enough to suit me.

Therefore, I am writing everything that comes out of her mouth. And what is happening in the room right now. Like how Jen is humming. Humming, humming, okay, there--she stopped.

She did recommend my writing about how I should write about how we were Piggy Partners. So, Jen and I, once upon a time, were Piggy Partners. We cut up a fetal pig together, culminating in our using the small intestine as a jump rope and the boys in front of us, Keith and Brook, cutting Keith's hand so badly that he had to seek emergency medical attention. I was secretly satisfied that this happened, because both of them were unpleasant, especially Keith, who liked to preach his right-wing (ignorant, in this case) viewpoints to the class at the drop of a hat.

I tried to take out the brain and it just ended up being extremely disgusting, the only nasty part of the experience. I even grossed myself out, when I thought that I should keep going, when I knew I should stop the horror show.

Did I mention someone put the leg of a dissection subject on the door handle of our freshman English teacher's door? She was odd and kind of deserved it for some of the freaky things she did when we were in school. Like when the chem class made fake smells (strawberry, peach, etc.) and one of them smelled like peach vomit, leading to a class member to vomit on himself and the desk and the horrible stench of both the fake smell and his vomit spreading throughout the high school hallway. Miss M. lit all the candles in her classroom (which had no windows) and filled the room with perfume (I am allergic) and smoke (I am allergic) with no ventilation since it was neither cold nor hot at the time, so no heat or AC in the school building. She would scream at students entering to come in quickly and shut and lock the door after them. By the end of class I thought I was going to die, my head hurt so bad.

And once, Jennifer tried to make our pig walk, ending with her dropping the pig off the table and onto the floor, to her extreme embarrassment. I thought it was kind of funny.

And there you have it, our pig dissection, shortened to a few sentences. And that was how Jen and I first got to know each other, leading to us becoming friends in my freshman year of college, when she leaned out the window of the Winger Commuter Lounge, yelling for me to come inside and hang out with her and Becky.

The rest is history.

Kind of funny to think we bonded over the corpse of a dead porcine fetus. Apparently this is a good foundation for a friendship.

It's seemed to work for us.

In which Laura gets a Real Job

All businesses want in our part of Indiana is accountants. The more, the better. If you aren't an accountant, that's okay--they'll hire you to pretend you are and you can learn on the job.

I hate math.

I can't even do it. The other day Mom and I spent ten minutes trying to figure out how much money our dinner had cost us per portion. The chicken was $5. for 3 breasts which I pounded out and divided into ten cutlets. Mom said it was 20 cents. I looked at her blankly, unable to compute. Mom corrected herself, saying it must have been $2. Then I said, "No, that's way too much." Paul laughed at us hysterically and we never did figure it out for real, though I lean toward the 20 cent per cutlet math thing, because that is at least closer.

I've been offered jobs doing payroll, computing sales figures, or just plain crunching numbers. It seems that companies think that a college degree means that you know everything, not just what you majored in. I had to create my own job, working for myself, in order to work at anything but numbers or fast food.

I have a liberal arts degree. Would you like fries with that?

Anyway. The other week I was in the Wabash library, writing a blog. I saw that they had applications out--they don't give them away unless they have an opening. So I filled one out and turned it back in the next day with my resume and a cover letter.

Days passed. I waited, hoping, and watched my family members depart for various parts of the world.

I went in for an interview. I met with the children's librarians, neither of whom had many questions for me, and the whole process took about 20 minutes. That seemed unusual to me, but I had a good vibe. They told me I would know this week if I had the job.

Today, I got the call. I am now Employed.

Hooray! I will pick out YA books, order them, plan special events, and have health insurance. I will also be maintaining their YA blog, hopefully even starting a children's one. I am excited. Especially because I mostly still read young adult fantasy.

I start next Monday. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh, crap...

Five minutes ago, maybe a bit before, I moved my right hand too rapidly in an attempt to pick up my Manchester Mocha, resulting in the toppling over of my coffee cup. The contents shot out, spraying all over the table and floor, narrowly missing my knitting.

It also missed my laptop entirely, although my power cord (not attached to a power source or the computer at the time) was drenched. I perceive no damage.

I then had the terror-filled moment of: MUST CONTROL MESS--MUST PREVENT SPREAD!

Mercifully, the man Jen and I admire as the Ideal Father-Figure had just walked into the shop.

He got me a towel, made sure my computer was okay, and made me feel better. See, Jen? Good guy. We called it. We both knew.

I scrubbed the floor, I scrubbed the table, and I scrubbed my power cord. Now it seems dry and non-sticky, meaning that I fixed my own mess, and the poor overworked girl at the counter didn't need to come and rescue me.

I also provided the rest of the shop with entertainment. They all came and asked me about my computer, condoled with me, and were just plain friendly. All it took was the first man breaking the ice. He is an awesome guy.


You can see him at the far right of the frame in this picture, taken Valentine's Day at the concert held here. He is the older gentleman behind the disembodied hands.

This experience taught me two important things: always get a cup with a lid when working on your computer, and spillage happens, there is no need for guilt or freaking out unless something irreparable is damaged, like a laptop you can't backup or afford to replace.

I am now taking deep breaths and letting the adrenaline (more powerful than the three shots of espresso in my coffee that were reduced to one in the spill could ever be) wear off at its natural pace.

I can't take myself anywhere.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

When the internet goes down...

1. There are no blog posts.

2. I can't find out who sang a song I like.

3. I can't read the blogs I like.

4. I can't look at pictures of my new "nephew" who just joined us in the real world.

5. There is no way for me to see if the world outside has ended due to war, flood, or Miley Cyrus' feuds with musicians with talent. (IT'S MILEY!) Jen will get that last bit.

6. I have no way to explain to the world that my internet is down, and that I'm not just being a jerk or taking a blog break.

7. I can't complain to all of you about being sick, not liking being sick, or wishing I was not sick or that I could be healed.

8. I can't tell you all that Dad has set off from Guatemala and is traveling to the USA.

But now that I, Kleenex in tow, have gone to MC to drop Paul off, I have the opportunity to go to the coffee shop and tell you all the stuff you have missed.

Like Dillon, my "nephew" being born--he was! And how he was born just in time, because he had fluid in (or around--Grandpa isn't a reliable source) his lungs. And how he is staying in the hospital for a few days in the Neo-Natal ICU because he is making way too much insulin to counter my diabetic cousin's lack thereof.

Or that he is okay now! And coming home tomorrow or Monday!

Hooray for Dillon!

I am twice an "aunt" now.

I will post tons of pictures when I get to see him, after the newborn puffiness goes away, because babies aren't cute to non-family members until then.

And Dad is in Chicago right now. If he was on his own, I would tell him to swing by the hospital and pay his great-nephew a visit. But he is with tons of overworked folk, so I won't.

Now, I will sign off and let you know these might be infrequent for a few days, until Comteck gets into gear and fixes whatever their problem is. Beside the obvious (speed).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Darcy does ANTM

Darcy has been so miserable.



First she got skunked, then she had Dad leave, then Mom took off for her dad's. This is what she did for the first two days Mom was up north. She just curled up and moped. It took a lot of work for me to convince her to have fun, and I finally pulled it off after the flood.

Monday morning, I slithered on the ground, capping the pipe, and something clicked in Darcy's brain: Laura can be fun, even if Mom is far away! She rescued sticks, watched me make a fool of myself, and had a good time.

We were playing in the yard, and I decided we needed pictures of the flood and what we had survived. I thought it might be fun to get a few pictures of my girl. So Darcy had a photo shoot.

This is how most pictures of Darcy turn out. She moves through the frame so fast that I can't snap a picture fast enough.



I thought it might be a good idea to pose the pictures better. Candids don't work with a happy dog. So I urged her to sit down and stay still, looking at me...and she did.



Originally my feet were in this picture, so I took some more. She was unhappy to have to stay still, so I went down to her level.





She came back later, inside the house, and kept nose-bumping me. I was holding the camera...



And I captured the Darcy Stare, the look she gives us when she wants something. This look was a walk. Which she got.

This one was a treat. Which she also got.



She doesn't need teased hair or freaky make-up to look beautiful. I really love my girl. Thanks for humoring me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Flood

This is the progression of the flood. I thought you who live away from the river might like to see.

The steps before:



The steps after:



My pipe, which I capped, in my awesomeness. Behold:




The pipe after:


Yeah. It's gone.

The middle part of our lawn before, close up (This is a small amount of water, just about a couple of feet above the bottom part):




The middle part after:


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

To Pacify Jennifer

Yes, this is for you, Jen. You know I only skipped one day. That happens, sometimes. I was always going to take weekends off.

Well, Jen, something happened today that will make you very happy.

Not to mention how happy it makes me--even my family. How amazing, to think that this was possible!

Paul called me about an hour ago with the most exciting and fantastic news.

MY BROTHER IS QUITTING WORLD OF WARCRAFT!

This is amazing. I can't believe it.

He is selling his account, which could get him the big bucks. But the best part is that we as a family will be able to talk to Paul about something other than his Druid, his Druid's gear, raiding, forums, his Druid's new flying mount (like, a bird of some kind that takes you places, it isn't dirty), and so forth. We can talk about the news. Paul will leave campus because he won't be raiding on the weekends. This is wonderful. He can have a Real Life.

Or he will just find a different video game to fill his time.

He could get a girlfriend.

Or he will find a different video game to fill his time.

He could get a fun job in his environmental field.

Or he will find a different video game to fill his time.

Jennifer, he could even come and hang out with us on the weekends!

Or he will find a different video game to fill his time.

Which do you think is more likely? I know which one I think it will be. I wish it wasn't. But you can't always get what you want.

At any rate, it is a bit of news to fill my day and a blog for Jennifer that she will find (hopefully) as exciting as I do.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Laura's Day

I woke up this morning and found an expanse of fast moving water outside my front door. This isn't out of the ordinary, because we live right next to a river. It just got a lot bigger overnight.

Some people would have been frightened by all of this, but I know what step it made it to when I was a kid and we were sure we would have to flee. We didn't have to then, and I knew we weren't going to have any real problems due to this flood. I was just annoyed. Because I knew I was going to have to do something I didn't want to do...

Our family has a freaky white pipe that leads out from the house. If this pipe is submerged in water, all kinds of bad things happen, including the flooding of our basement. I had a flood on my hands, and there was only one thing I could do.

Clad in my pajamas, my fuzzy robe, Uggs, and my dad's over-sized and super-warm coat, I decided I had to cap the pipe, for our safety. Our meaning mine and the pets.

I went into the garage, and got the long curved section of pipe. Then I took the lid portion, and put it on the curved part.

I took both and went out to the "dry" creek where the pipe lives. The ground was all mud and nastiness, and I couldn't reach the pipe from the safe part. So I half-slid, half-climbed down to the pipe. Putting one foot on each of the two rocks on either side of the pipe, I reached out and managed to put the lid on.

After, I found that the pipe, though attached, failed to cling well, as it slid forward and then leaned sideways. Crap.

I decided it was okay. I would be just fine.

I climbed back up, then looked down and pondered the fact that water was still rising. It could at any moment rise far enough to liberate the cap from the pipe and take it far enough away that I could no longer use it. Or replace it. And I didn't want that.

So I went back down.

Meanwhile Darcy decided this wasn't very safe. She knew the thing I was doing was important, and I had to do it. Otherwise I wouldn't be acting so stupid. So she came down next to me, and she came down and rescued a stick, just like she thought I was doing. And she kept it up while I grabbed the pipe and leaned forward all the way until I could push the cap all the way on.

Mercifully, I didn't fall face-first into the nasty river water, which during a flood is part water, part animal poop from all the farms around us. And it smells like it.

I was victorious, and I proved yet again that single girls can do it on their own.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Night, Again

Jennifer and I decided that the fine weather we are having here in Indiana was just the excuse we needed to go out and have a good time.

We traveled to Fort Wayne only to discover we had no idea what to do with ourselves. So we wandered from store to store, bought some Wallflowers from Bath and Bodyworks to make Jen's house smell lovely.

Then, with no other ideas of how to spend our time (we don't want to buy any new clothes just because we can't fit into the old ones--winter inactivity--so we refuse to) we went to Biaggi's.

Jennifer whipped out her camera as we sat there, discovered it to have no juice, and, despondent, was about to give up when I handed her mine.

So here is what happens when Jen tells me to be serious:






And here is what happens when I take the camera away from her:










Doesn't Jen look like she belongs in a painting by Raphael in this last one? The Madonna and Child? Only with a camera and not a baby?

And this is what happens when I give it back:











Jennifer likes the last one, I was supposed to be sad/angry to see the bill.

Finally, we ended up at Walmart, where we discovered a long, lost friend, Becky, the final member of our three-some of friends that became a two-some when Becky got married and left Jen and I by ourselves. We miss her!

We managed to get her to agree to girl-time, March 21. Let's see if it happens...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Goodbye, Everybody!

We finally managed to get rid of Dad last night, after which Mom announced that she too would be hitting the road...today.

She is now gone too, off to see her dad, who has just turned 86. Happy birthday to my grandpa, who will never read this post or understand what we are talking about when we try to explain it to him!

I love him.

So, now, I am a lone girl out in the country all by myself, with only my sporadic network TV and my dial-up internet to comfort me. Oh, and my dog. And my cat. And Paul.

But as Paul has often said, in case of an attack, if I were with him, there would only end up being two victims instead of one, since he would not be able to defend me or himself. I laughed at him, and Paul told me I just needed to remember that I didn't have to outrun my attacker, just my brother.

Now that is sibling love. Because I am a much faster runner than Paul is, and I don't run bent over double, as he does for some reason. So unless I have to pass through a doorway, or between two trees, I will outrun them both easily. But if I do have to run between those things, I will end up slamming one or both of my shoulders so badly, I will no longer be able to continue. Just like what happens to me every morning and evening as I walk in and out of my room.

But I am moving at a much slower pace when I hit the door frame those times.

I am now trying to find ways to fill my life with something that does not include eating throughout this weekend. Today...I ate. And will continue to do so as I watch my Friday Night TV choices, including How Many Dresses (Ghost Whisperer) and Numbers (Numb3rs).

I will watch them with a carton of Chicken and Mushroom from the Great Wall, and Paul will be nearby with his Chicken and Nothing, over white rice (He doesn't eat vegetables, like Jay Leno but without the talk show).

Paul will inhale his meal, then leave me in my corner where I will wait a half hour, then begin searching for more food that I could eat, because I might be hungry in a little while so I should eat something before that so I won't get hungry at all. Eating for Fun and (Not) Profit.

Saturday I will take Paul back to campus because he will have realized that there is nothing fun to do at our house except talk to me, and that is not even a little bit fun.

At that point, Myst will be asleep somewhere and I will be unable to find her. Darcy will be looking at me as if to say, "When is Mom coming back? I like her more than I like you." And I will be thinking, "Isn't there some way some network provider could make me happy and give me internet? I want entertainment."

Because there isn't even bad TV on Saturdays. If there is TV at all, it's like a coin toss out here.

If I am lucky, I will make it through the trial of life on my own without causing harm to myself (I couldn't hurt others, because there won't be any others). I hope I do survive intact, because I really want to finish these socks I'm working on before I go.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dad's Epic Fail

Or, Let's Try This Again

Last night, at 10 p.m., we (Dad) became tired of waiting for 11 to roll around. We (Dad) wanted to get a snack before Departure Time, and since Dad was exhausted and dropped his sandwich on the kitchen floor at home, it had to be fast food.

I drove, both of my parents were tired already and I knew that all the time I spent with Jennifer has reprogramed my brain to allow me to stay up and remain good to drive for far longer than either of my parents. We loaded into the Taurus, noticed we needed gas, and set of for Warsaw.

Where we live, gas stations close early. We knew that we would need to make it all the way to Warsaw before we found one that stayed open after nine. The only problem with that is the Taurus' messed up gas gauge. You see, as we drive along, it looks like we are peachy keen in the gas department until the sticky meter decides the car needs gas, now. At that point, the meter drops fast. As it rockets toward the "E" the little gas pump light goes on, and we know the car means business.

But we weren't there yet.

I drove, playing fun music for my unappreciative father, and we all made it to Warsaw, passing sneaky deer and the wafting scent of Darcy's best friends (the skunk population of our area). Mom and Dad then chimed in with directions to the fast food area with the restaurants most likely to be open.

That was because every time I set foot in Warsaw, I get lost.

Badly too, and each time I end up calling Dad because I am nearly late for an appointment or because I didn't know there were so many Zimmer buildings in Warsaw (or the world at large). Dad took so long making a fast food decision this time that I ended up proving my driving skills by circling the same convoluted parking lot for ten minutes. We got sandwiches, and I then announced that we were out of gas. Yes, the little gauge had become unstuck as I turned around and around between Hardees and Arbys, as Dad changed his mind again and again.

The sad part of that was, there were no open gas stations on that side of Warsaw. I had seen one on the way into town, so we turned around back down Center street and made for 15. As I did so, the little gas pump light shone brightly and Mom commented that it was too far to drive all the way back that way. I replied that, if we didn't, we wouldn't be driving anywhere for long.

Finally, we found a gas station. Mom handed over eleven dollars. Dad then said, "Is that all the money you have?" Mistakenly believing that Mom ever put more than 10-15 dollars in the gas tank if she could help it...

As Dad pumped, Mom sat in the backseat and said, "Laura, I have this feeling...Did Dad remember his passport?"

We all know that if Dad screwed that up, he wasn't going anywhere. Our trip would have been an enormous failure. The second he sat down in the passenger seat, Mom asked him, because she likes to scare people.

We do that in our family, usually to ourselves. I like to, once or twice in a day, freak out because I am completely sure that my keys/phone/iPod/wallet/laptop have been abandoned in a location I have visited during the day. I once was right, taking off at a dead run in Leonardo da Vinci airport (Rome) to retrieve my travel wallet (money, passport, driver's licence) that I had left in the bathroom after Dr. Angelos had warned us seconds earlier not to do that very thing.

Dad had not forgotten his passport.

We ended up 40 minutes early in the parking lot of Hands of Hope. And, if you know our family, you know how good we all are at waiting. So, for two minutes, we waited patiently. Then I decided we should turn the car into a nightclub.

So, I turned the bass up as high as it would go and played "Just Dance" by Lady Ga Ga, turning the dome light on and off repeatedly as a makeshift strobe light.

That lasted for about three more minutes. That left us with 35 minutes to kill.

So I told my parents, "Let's drunk dial Paul, even though we are sober!" So I called my brother and did my fake-drunk voice, I proclaimed him the "best brother ever," and said there weren't any brothers like him in the whole world, even feigning tears as I reached that proclamation.

Then, after we had hung up, I waited another minute before calling him back and asking him if he was mad at me, again feigning the influence of alcohol (which I can't even spell without help).

I told my family that we ought to call Grandma and Grandpa Beutler (Jen knows the back story here) and do the same thing, or, better yet, I could go up to their Elkhart home and fake drunk in person. I would say this to Grandma, "You have, like, the best hair ever on a Grandma. I mean it. That is the truth. I mean, it is so Floofy. That is awesome." Moments would pass, and I would go on, "I just have one really important question for you Grandma. Can I touch your hair? I want to find out if if is fluffy, or hard, like a shell. Or if when I push it in, it will bounce back."

Not even my dad has ever touched Grandma's hair.

We called Paul back. Then, we (I) asked him to look for YouTube videos he could describe to us.

Yeah, we were that bored.

So, because Paul loves me, he did it.

Here is a brief selection:

1. Paul found a voice chat recording he had listened to earlier of a young man who was playing World Of Warcraft. The kid/teenager was doing something with a group and one of his parents came into the room to tell him to stop playing. The kid/teenager then began to cry, yell, and whine pleas to be allowed to continue with WOW, since he had just begun to play.

2. I laughed and mentioned to Paul that the story he had just told us was almost as funny as what had happened to his old guild's leader, who had been arrested over voice chat. He had been sitting, playing WOW, and apparently, those old possession charges came back to haunt him when the cops came in and told him to step away from the computer. He was found with pot again, and the additional charges eventually led to the dissolution of the guild and jail time. He apologized over guild chat and mentioned, "Uh, the cops are here. I may be gone for a while..."

3. Paul then told us about another guild chat that had gone awry when one of the players had forgotten to take his hand off the microphone button. He told a friend, as the other players listened in, that he wouldn't be playing that long, he would just grab all the gear he wanted and log off quickly (that is WOW stealing). They waited until he finished the story, then said, "Uh, we can hear you." He quickly logged off as Paul and his online buddies laughed.

4. We then talked about a guy who had screwed up by trying to do a live feed, a guy who had been rapping (a British guy) just kept rapping along until his roommate came up behind him, noted that he was rapping on a live YouTube feed, punched his friend in the head. The would-be rapper fell to the ground, stood up, and said, "Why would you do that, mate?" Or something to that effect.

5. Paul played another audio clip from WOW where someone hacked the voice chat and was pretending (using audio clips from various movies) to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. He repeatedly asked another young man if he could speak to the man's mother. At first it seemed as if the guy didn't buy it, but then, due to the accuracy of the voice clips.

6. Paul told us all of another skewed study by Fox Snooze. Apparently, Beer Pong, a recreational game Paul has taken part in from time to time, is a hazard to young people's health. Unfortunately, the right wing conservative news group think beer pong's little ping-pong balls are tossed into drinks that individuals then drink out of. This, they proclaimed, would lead to herpes infection. This is disregarding the fact that (Paul says) they don't drink out of the glasses the balls end up in at all, and that the alcohol in the glasses would, if the ball ended up in them, kill any bacteria or virus that came into contact with it.

Meanwhile, I said: "It's twelve o'clock in the Midwest, Dad, do you know where you're tour bus is?" Paul played us suspenseful music while Dad found out.

He called Sally, the trip coordinator. She answered the phone. I listened in as Dad asked where the bus was, if they were meeting somewhere else, and what was going on.

"You're kidding me," he then said. "Oh, man."

We all knew what she was saying. Dad had the wrong night.

Indeed, we had driven all the way to Warsaw to drop Dad off a full day before he ought to have been, all because of the confusion that happens when the date changes over from March 4 to March 5. Oops.

Paul had been listening in, and proclaimed, "EPIC FAIL!" I laughed hysterically, so hard that I had an asthma episode.

So tonight, we're going to try this thing again. Hopefully it will work a little better this time, and we won't be leaving early this time...

The Best Night of My Life

Tonight was quite possibly that. Nothing this good has ever happened to me before, and I mean nothing.

I can't believe it really happened.

I am still laughing, off and on. At first I laughed so hard I had an asthma episode--that takes some doing.

Let me just say, the trip to drop Dad off took an unexpected and hysterical turn last night (tonight?) and I'm not talking about the fifteen minutes we all spent in the car with the bass turned up really loud listening to club music and dancing in our chairs. That was just filler.

I will fill you in completely tomorrow, for now I will just give you Dad's reaction.

I told him this event would be the one thing everyone on the Guatemala trip talked about for at least the first few days of the trip, only falling to second if something more hilarious were to happen. "That's unlikely," Dad muttered back to me, forcibly repressing the shame of what had just occurred.

I then consoled him, saying that it would all wear off soon and he would undoubtedly be the first person to laugh about it and repeat it again and again...

"Yeah, in about a decade," Dad replied.

I think Dad is working hard right now to forget what happened to him. He is pushing the memory far, far back into his mind where it will fester as a mental illness long into senility.

The poor man was laughed at by Mom and I alone for a good hour, and that doesn't include the time Paul was on the phone making fun of him too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Get Out of My Country,"

I said, as Dad walked out of his bedroom yesterday.

Instead of being angry like you would think a person would be if their daughter said something like that to them, he laughed.

You see, Dad is getting out of my country. He is going to Guatemala. He used to do this annually on my birthday, as a way of subtly telling me how much I mean to him, but he switched to the winter when Mom put her foot down and told him she was sick of him coming home between trips just long enough for her to wash, iron, fold, and pack his clothing.

I can see how that would get on someones nerves.

So Dad is leaving tonight, having just finished giving a funeral service moments ago (he prepared it over the last three days, because he is good like that. He works fast). And I, his daughter, get the immense pleasure of driving him to Warsaw and hurling his luggage onto the ground in the parking lot outside of Hands of Hope. Then, when he gets out to retrieve it, I get to drive away at high speeds, laughing as he fades into the distance in my rear view mirror.

That will make up for all the times he forgot me, not to mention all the times he abandoned Paul, after school or church functions. In your face, old man.

Dad and I have a special relationship.

When he had his second heart thing, the one that might have but might not have been a heart attack, I spent an hour in the hospital with him as we exchanged insults back and forth. We are cruel to each other beyond reason, and we both think it is hilarious. I call him a fat old man and he calls me a snot-nosed teenager, though I have left teen-dom behind and he is only getting older. I untie his shoes; he eats my cookies without permission. We laugh hysterically as we do this, and onlookers think we have the most messed up, deranged relationship on the face of the planet.

His church friends, at the hospital with him years ago, thought I was being terrible to him as I made fun of how his heart rate changed with the topic of conversation. I told him I wouldn't be happy until his pulse sped up when I walked in the room. They thought I was trying to kill him. I told them I was saving that for later.

Dad has thrown me in ponds, he has pursued me with the riding lawnmower, blades down (though I have done that last thing too). We have more fun together than I can express.

But on the outside, we look like total jerks. We're happy jerks, but if you can't grasp our brand of detrimental Arrested Development-style harassment, you think we are evil people (I have the right to be evil, this man makes fun of me from the pulpit as a lesson to members of the congregation. Imagine that during adolescence). So I thought I would do my best to explain it.

Dad thinks he is funny. That is how this whole mess started. He thinks he is funny, and he teases people. Unfortunately, starting this teasing with a young child causes her to retaliate. And since I think I am funny too, I retaliated in kind. So Dad created his own monster, a monster that lives in his house, eats the food he wants to eat (or buys good food and hides it from him), and uses his car so she doesn't have to buy gas for hers.

We seem weird from the outside, but I love my dad. And even though I only see him about three minutes a day, I will miss him in a strange way. Kind of like the way I miss my car when its getting fixed, even though I know when I get it back, it will rain on me again and I will almost get killed once a week because people don't see me where I am, so close to the ground.

Come to think of it, it is Dad's fault I have that car in the first place. What a complete and total toad...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The New Pillow

My nasty dreams have come to an end, everyone. I am very happy.

Friday night I had another horrible dream, involving people hiding in my house and injecting my family members with sedatives so that they could do horrible Saw-like things to us, despite the fact that I never watched any of those movies and don't know what happens in them. The dream culminated with me walking into my parents room as I searched for them (so we could escape) only to be captured and drugged myself.

It was unpleasant.

Saturday (the day of two trips to Kokomo) I got a new pillow.

This is the best pillow of my life. I used to think I had good pillows...I was wrong. This is a Rich Person pillow, marked down to a Poor Girl's price (from $50. to $10. I can afford that).

Not only have the nightmares stopped, due to my dispelling the bad karma of my old Alpha pillow (I sleep on three, in a stack so I can breathe, and they have an order they go in...I'm not weird), the kink in my neck has gone from my life, and I am finally happy.

I have a sad, small little life, with some yarn for color.

Monday, March 2, 2009

In Which I Finally Get What I Want

In the saga of my cell phone, I have had many defeats.

Sitting in the Lounge one day, a friend of mine took my phone, connected it with some cord to his laptop (Apple, go figure) and gave me a random song he thought I would like. I think he did this because our music tastes are similar and because he had a rough day and knew how happy random tech victories make me.

So I thought, "That didn't look too hard. I can do this."

I had purchased my cell phone mere months earlier. I didn't know what kind of a battle I had in store. I plugged in my phone with its cord. My computer, an older PC, said "No thanks, not without a driver."

I found a driver, downloaded it (a two day task on dial-up) and it DID NOT WORK. My computer wanted software. I found that on several websites, for more than I paid for my phone in the first place.

All I wanted was the X-Files theme. I wanted my telephone to ring and make me want to defend myself with "terminal intensity." As if I even could. But it would have been nice to delude myself.

A year passed. I got my laptop. Then I tried again, and failed again. In this time, I endured other problems with my phone than just the ringtone. I would have been happy with almost anything other than what I had. But no, that could not be so. I had to cringe each time my phone rang with its obnoxious, freaky ringtone (the only one on the phone I could endure at all).

Finally, I learned of the Great Internet Lie, and got a ringtone. It was a lame one, a song that Ellen dances to, that I got just to get rid of the old ringtone. Okay, it was "Just Dance" by Lady Ga-Ga.

I know. You don't have to say it. And you're right. I am an Iron & Wine type of girl; I don't know what I was thinking.

But while waiting for Paul to come down two flights of stairs so I could drive him to the grocery store, it happened. I found my song, the X-Files theme song, on the cell phone's internet. And I got it. And now, my phone rings and I think, "The truth is out there..."

It's really too bad that I don't get that many phone calls.
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