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    Sunday, November 30, 2008

    Lunatic Turkey Trotters

    There are things in this world that I just don’t understand, like calculus, the Jonas Brothers, and the way my son’s brain works. And then there’s our neighborhood YMCA’s annual Turkey Trot—a 5 K held every Thanksgiving for nut jobs who think that running is an appropriate activity for Thanksgiving Day. Our house is on the trot route, so we have the pleasure of watching the wackos huff and puff from the comfort of our living room.

    Last year was our first Thanksgiving in this house, and somehow we missed the Turkey Trot memo our YMCA sends to the neighborhood homeowners. Thus, we were surprised to see groups of joggers slogging down our street. Our natural inclination is to heckle such industrious folks, and so we sat on our window seat and cheered and jeered. Kory made plans to loaf in a lawn chair in our front yard with a beer for next year’s event. But he must have forgotten his plans because the trot rolled around this year and Kory stayed inside (it was cold.)

    But evidently one of our neighbors was determined to spur the runners on. We could hear the Bob Denver songs he played on outdoor speakers from inside our house. I don’t know about you, but Bob Denver would make me run away.

    I think next year we should get some outdoor speakers too. In fact, the whole neighborhood could get involved in supporting the poor insane people who exercise instead of eat on Thanksgiving. One house could play Barry Manilow, one could play the Bee Gees. We could throw in some Falco, maybe a little Air Supply. And not to leave the 90’s rejects out, we could add Vanilla Ice and Ace of Base.

    You think I’m being mean, but I’m really not. Just think about it. You’re running, you’re exhausted, your lungs are burning. It’s freezing, but you’re sweating so your body is in perpetual confusion. You’ve made it through 4 of your 5 kilometers, but you’ve hit the wall. You can’t go on. And then. . . you turn the corner onto a street where every house is playing some form of ear-insulting muzak. At first you’re horrified, but then your fight or flight instincts take over. Adrenaline surges through your body as you realize that you must escape this twilight zone or spend the rest of your holiday with “I Saw the Sign” replaying in your brain every five seconds. Your second wind arrives, your muscles respond, and you sprint by the offensive houses, thankful for the kind homeowners who’ve provided you with the inspiration to finish the race.

    I may not understand why these people choose to torture themselves on the one day when gorging is not only accepted, but encouraged. But I do understand the need for people to help people, for neighbors to band together with the common purpose of ridding the area of fanatical joggers who make the rest of us look bad. And so I propose Operation Play Them Away to run concurrent with the 2009 Annual Turkey Trot. Who’s with me? Together we can get back to loafing.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Friends Who Don't Count

    The other day we had a get-together with some close friends. One of my girlfriends was remembering a recent move that wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. When the other girlfriend’s husband said, “Wait a minute. I was there to help,” she responded, “Yeah, but you don’t count.”

    We all laughed because we knew exactly what she meant. These are the friends, who—barring life-threatening illness—will be at your door at 8:00 AM on moving day, rain or shine. You can call them in the middle of the night, and they will drive across town in their pajamas to sit with your kids while you take your spouse to the ER. They know your kids’ birthdays, your shoe size, and your opinion on thong underwear.

    They don’t count as friends because they are more than that. They’ve moved on to the obligation level reserved for family, but the difference is, they chose to. Well, maybe the husbands didn’t exactly choose. They just have to go where their wives do. It’s like, biblical, or something.

    I don’t know why, but Kory and I are blessed with more than our share of friends who don’t count. Yes, that means there are a lot of people, who, whether they want to or not, know my stance on stringy underwear. We might as well make it common knowledge to the voting public. I’m opposed.

    I’d just like to take this moment to thank our dear friends who don’t count for going above and beyond the call of friendship. For cleaning messes no one should even have to see, like diaper blow-outs, scrambled egg vomit, and my oven. For hauling our massive wardrobes up and down too many sets of stairs to count. For sitting with us in the hospital when Monkey came four weeks early.

    Everyone should be so blessed. Yikes! Where did this sentimentality come from? I’m going soft in my older years. And I know I’m going to get teased about this. That’s the only drawback to having friends who don’t count, they tend to remember things you’d rather they forget. Like my twenty-first birthday, when I put a napkin on my head and channeled Little Red Riding Hood. Yeah, I’m never gonna live that one down.

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    Birthday Blunders

    I got a surprise phone call the morning of my birthday. A local flower shop had a delivery for me and wanted to make sure I’d be home. Are you kidding? Not only was I home, but I straightened the front room, brushed my teeth, and re-adjusted my ponytail for the occasion!

    As the wife of a romantically challenged engineer, I was flabbergasted. I never expected Kory to send me flowers, especially after I went a little overboard doing my own birthday shopping earlier in the week. I figured he must have realized that I was having a wee spot of trouble with the big 3-0 and decided to give me a boost by proclaiming his steadfast but rarely demonstrative affection.

    The doorbell rang. The bouquet was beautiful. The card was . . . mystifying. “Happy Birthday from Unpronounceable Name at Maxim Corporation.” At first, the only thing I recognized was the company my husband works for, but as I pondered the foreign-looking name, I vaguely remembered Kory mentioning a CEO from another country.

    And then I got it. Mr. Unpronounceable Name’s admin. assistant makes sure the employees’ spouses are recognized and affirmed by the company on their birthday. A lovely gesture, but also a letdown for obvious reasons. I was disappointed that the flowers weren’t from Kory.

    Here’s my take on the sitch. This company knows they employ a large number of socially inept head cases who regularly fail to comprehend culturally ordained expressions of appreciation. Why not do their engineers a favor, and—since they were going to send flowers to the wife anyway—put the husband/employee’s name on the card? Think of the happiness Maxim could generate simply by notifying the clueless engineer that his wife’s birthday approaches and giving him the option of including a personal message with the flowers the company will send.

    I mentioned my views to Kory when I called to tell him that his CEO sent me flowers, and being a fan of optimization, he thought I had a point. Of course, he was still in the doghouse. I recognize that it was not his fault that I got all excited about the flowers he didn’t send, but what can I say? I am a woman.

    Things went from bad to worse for poor Kory. Chunky and I went to Sams to pick up fixin’s for my birthday dinner party. When we went through the check-out, Chunky happily informed the cashier that it was Mommy’s birthday. Nice Mr. Sams Check-Out Guy then grilled me about my birthday plans and became indignant on my behalf when he discovered that I, not Kory, would be cooking my birthday meal.

    I went home and emailed Kory about Sams Guy’s opinion of him. For the record, I didn’t mind cooking the meal, especially since we were going out the next night—and I told Sams Guy that.

    Kory has a history of landing himself in hot water with me through no deliberate action of his own, so he took his disgrace calmly. Little did I know that this time would be different. Instead of accepting his unearned schlub reputation, Kory was determined to prove Unpronounceable Name and Sams Guy wrong. He showed up that evening with an armful of flowers, four cards, tiramisu, and new ink cartridges for my printer. I’m pretty sure the gesture was meant to sustain me for another ten years of marriage, but I was thrilled nonetheless. Until I opened the cards and realized why engineers should be excused from societal traditions like buying greeting cards. I got two sympathy cards, one princess card with a 0 added after every mention of a 3rd birthday, and card with a disgruntled baby’s picture bearing the words, “I hear you’ve got a big one coming.” Yeah. Okay, it was pretty funny. And I even got a crown with the princess card, so I can’t complain.

    All in all, my birthday was pretty memorable. Well, at least everything that happened before the pomegranate margaritas.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Obsessed Much?

    So I did something a little fanatical today. No, it had nothing to do with the election. Yes, I voted. Whatever.

    After I stood in line and played connect the dots with my ballot, I took myself over to Target to buy my own birthday presents. See, Kory and I have a good system. I either tell him exactly what I want and he gets it, or I just get it for myself. I’m never disappointed. Actually, I’m not hard to please, so when Kory goes out on a limb, it’s still all good.

    Anyway, I had one particular thing in mind—the Twilight soundtrack that released today. When I got to the store, however, they were still stocking, so I had to ask a helpful Target employee who had to go find somebody else who had to go to the back and get me my CD.

    There was a time when this spotlight on my rather immature obsession with the Twilight Saga would have embarrassed me. But here I am blogging about the experience, so obviously I’ve reached some level of tranquility regarding my geekiness. (Besides, I have a track record for humiliating myself at Target, so there’s not much I can really do to change my “That Weird Lady with the Cat Toy” title.)

    But it is true that I tend to go overboard on some things, like LOTR, Harry Potter, and now Twilight. But you know what? That’s just me. And what do we notice about my little obsessions? They’re all really good stories. So sue me if I still get weepy when I think about Frodo and Sam trudging through Mordor, or Harry walking into the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort, or Edward and Bella…okay, I don’t get weepy about Edward and Bella. But you get the point.

    I will be—gasp, sputter, choke—THIRTY on Friday, and frankly, all hope for the label “cool” deserted me ten years ago. So I’m unapologetically embracing my inner dork, and I intend to have fun with said dork standing in line for hours on November 21st, signing petitions for Stephenie Meyer to finish and release Midnight Sun, and compulsively re-reading my old standbys, LOTR and Harry.

    And now, I’m off to change my Facebook status to “Vote Carlisle Cullen for President.”