Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Don't Care How, I Want it Now

I would love to tell you that Verizon employs customer service representatives that were not raised by wolves. I would love to tell you that they fixed my service the moment I reported it broken. I would also love to tell you that I met Ed McMahon earlier today, and he came bearing a big check. But I'm not a fan of lying. I still do not have a functioning business line or dsl. I still cannot check my corporate e-mail from within the confines of this house. However, I cannot leave the confines of this house between the hours of 8-4, because that might result in my missing the "technician" Verizon may or may not send. Do me a favor. If you reside at 206 Patterson Park, please leave the gate to your alley open, so that said "technician" can get through with his ladder to connect my phone service. Apparently, that's the only way. I guess it's time for me to meet my not-so neighbors.

Last week, instead of attending my first class, I feared I had stumbled upon a divorced women's group. Fortunately, Cameron Crowe's mother was not there claiming that she "finally, finally got in touch with" her anger, but almost. I'm sure our professor, the only male in the room, is wondering about the direction of our class...

Today we filled out an adoption application for a puppy. Not just any puppy. I have decided that when I do get a dog (which probably shouldn't be until after the blessed event-- but you know how it is with should), I would like it to be a Puggle (Beagle+Pug). They are small and adaptable and relatively well behaved. Unfortunately, everyone else in the country also thinks this is a good idea for their respective lives, and the dogs are hard to find and expensive. Yesterday, walking along the water to the gym, I stared at a guy walking his dog and talking on his cell phone. Not at him, though, at his dog. Yes, I maybe even coveted him a little. He was adorable. I said, completely ignoring the cell phone on this man's ear, "Is that a Puggle?" I can't even believe it. Not only did I comment on his breed of dog, I asked him where he got it, what the dog's temperament was like and how much he cost.

My fatal error, however, was in mentioning this encounter to The Boy. Because, much like Veruca Salt, when he gets his mind set on something, he don't care how, he wants it now. I looked up puggle adoption, just for research's sake, and learned that certain breeders are accepting orders now for delivery in 2007. Not only are the puppies not born, their parents could have just been born. The idea of paying $1000 for a dog of undetermined parentage when thousands die in shelters did not sit well with us. Today, on a whim, I stumbled across a shelter in NoVa with 7 Puggles. I feel confident that the application I filled out was more stringent than many adoption agencies. For humans. They asked, if we were to divorce, what would happen to the dog? They asked if we were willing to maintain dog health insurance (we said no), and the contract requires that we complete puppy kindergarten and only feed the dog premium food (organic, no preservatives) for its lifetime. I couldn't believe it. The Boy came home for lunch beside himself. He has already decided upon a name.

"Mosotos." He said, in his Chewbacca voice.

"Well, that doesn't seem fair. Why do you just get to name our dog, who doesn't even exist, this ridiculous name?" I asked him. I reminded him that at the vet, the dog would be identified by this name and our last name. I reminded him that we would have to introduce him to others using this name.

"I know, that's what I like about it," he said. He is not wholly without reason. "If we meet him and he doesn't seem like a Mosotos, we could name him something else. I'm thinking Morotos."
Not only did I never plan on having a dog, I also never considered having to roll the 'r' in my dog's name when meeting new friends at the park.

When asked why he was so excited about having a dog, he said, "It will be like three best friends!" I wondered why two wasn't enough. "Two is great," he said, "but this third is perfect because he won't interrupt us! It'll be awesome!"

I hope he doesn't get this gung-ho about having kids, at least not for a while.

But maybe The Boy is onto something. If I got a little more Veruca-esque I'd get through to the folks at Verizon. I might get sent down the chute with the bad eggs, but at least I'd have a high-speed internet connection.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Vision all Undone

For any who may have worried, I am (mostly) not dead. Finished up the old job last week, spending lots of time setting up the office at The Home and plotting ways to kill Verizon in its sleep. Adjusting to life as Mork and Mindy, as Tara has dubbed us. My "blue collar"-colored apartment on the third floor is pretty cozy, and that's nice. It will be very strange once The Boy and I are married. ("Oh, I get to marry you? I kind of thought we were just pals who semi-secretly pined for one another.")

Last Wednesday, my last day, I was escorted out of the building and just stood out by my car for a few minutes. Ever seen Guess Who? Where, upon quitting his job, Ashton Kutcher freaks out in the elevator, much to the bemusement of the security staff. He screams at himself, "What am I doing, I can't quit my job!" That's what I did. Then I called my Mommy.

The whole home office thing, so far, is just not working out. This is day 3, and all I have done is watch download timers, hear "good-bye" from the freaking AOL voice, hold for Verizon, wait for Verizon technicians, search for Verizon dialtones and bang my head against the wall. Despite all this, somehow, the laundry has still not gotten done, I still have not gone grocery shopping and I did not get to work out yesterday, and today is not looking any better. I have a web conference in 30, then I'm headed to our Nation's capital for my first class of the semester, for which I am not prepared, because the university neglected to send me confirmation that I had, in fact, been accepted into the class. Writing the Personal Essay and Memoir workshop. Should be...interesting. I usually find that personal stories others decide to write about are not usually as thrilling as they might imagine. Don't you?

So, as if any of this were not mind numbing enough, before it began, The Boy and I have been deep in hibernation. At about this time, I can nearly hear the regret that any of my meager readership has given me a second thought during this time. Hopefully, my amusing life will resume, because what I thought would be monotony and cabin fever is instead uncertainty, inability to catch up, stress and fatigue.

But seasons always change.

Monday, January 09, 2006

It's Not Just for Bears Anymore

This weekend, the previously agreed upon Hibernation began in earnest. The Boy has been feeling under the weather since the middle of last week, so Friday night I bought a few DVDs and cooked Carbonara and we watched the mismatched doubleheader of Finding Neverland and The Life Aquatic (in our defense, we saw the latter in the theater, but by our own admission, we are way behind). Saturday morning, despite his “sickness,” The Boy played icy mud football with my little brother and pals, and I spent three hours and over $100 getting my hair trimmed (but it actually looks longer!) and further lightened (that part, I love). I meandered (two doors down) to The Home from the salon to find The Boy sprawled on the couch. I was antsy to do something—would have been a shame to waste my newfound good hair. Alas, the Boy had other plans. What I did not know, though he swears he told me, was that this weekend kicked off the NFL Playoffs, which meant that football could no longer be contained by the Sundays I had relegated it to.

What you must understand-- I’m okay with Football Sundays. I’ve come to accept them, and even to like them. Except for the fact that they are never as relaxing for me as they used to be, or as they are for The Boy. In the days when he was still trying to impress me, he cooked dinner on Sundays or we cooked together. Not anymore. I have become meal planner and chef, especially on Sundays. I gather whatever ingredients we still need, get snacks together, provide drinks and refills. I think The Boy is so engrossed that he doesn’t realize I’m the one perpetuating this action; all he knows is it’s getting done. Needless to say, when he asked to have people over to watch football on Saturday night, even though we had already planned that for Sunday, I was less than pleased. Now, The Football (as I called it, in my disappointment), had taken over my weekend. After a lengthy discussion (verging on argument) and two trips to the grocery store to switch my Sunday menu to Saturday, we hosted a few friends for football.

While I prepared a Bolognese sauce in the kitchen, The Boy danced in to check on his wings. I teased him. “FOOTBALL! CHICKEN! FRIENDS! BEER!” I mimicked him.

He replied, “I KNOW! And you’re here too! It’s like all my favorite things in ONE PLACE!”

I joked, “You know, I could probably round up some bananas and peanut butter too, to make it more complete.”

“Could you really??” He responded. So that was it.

By Saturday night I began feeling the symptoms of the sickness I could never have avoided. Skipped singing Sunday and saw a matinée (The Boy: “$11 for a movie, babe, did you see that? Why don’t we go to more matinees? Really!?”), then more football and random movies on TV. The Boy confronted me on my restlessness.

“I’m not really sure you’re feeling the hibernation,” he ventured. He was right. But I’m looking at my calendar and realizing that, in addition to creating an office and beginning a new job, it’s possible I will visit Florida, Texas and Vermont, just in the next month and a half. And I'm sure that, around the end of my first flight, I’ll be wishing I had savored this long winter’s nap.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Shift Has Been Made

I quit my job today, in favor of what now feels like a risk. I verbally accepted the offer this morning, and sat at my desk with my signed letter of resignation all day, cringing every time my boss walked by. Because I just hate that part. Even when I worked in an incredibly hostile environment for a man who made me miserable, I still hated to tell him I was leaving. He, as is his custom, did not handle it professionally. But even then I felt guilty and vaguely deceitful.

Conversely, today involved a teddy bear of a man who baked us all pumpkin bread at Christmas and who is not exaggerating when he says he has done everything in his power to keep me here, even when others had to leave. He was gracious and sad, asking what he could do to keep me. He patted my head when I confessed that I felt guilty. He told me he understood and called me kiddo.

I will miss trading stories with my neighbor, the other blonde—the one I pray will be me in 25 years. And I'll miss teasing the Army vet who never knows I'm joking. I’m nervous about working from The Home prematurely. I fear that I’ll have trouble keeping myself in line. Delineating work and personal time, professional and private. I fear.

But, over the course of this endeavor, I resolve never to conduct conference calls in my jammies. Unless they occur at 7 am. I resolve to join a gym and go as often as possible, not only to achieve that perennial premarital fitness goal, LBN (looking better naked), but also so that I do not become an interaction-starved stay-at-home mom, minus the kids. I resolve not to tackle The Boy when he arrives at The Home just so he will pay attention to me. I will schedule lunches with my friends. I will buy more suits like the one that got me this job. I will invest in real shoes. I will not say, to those of consequence, that I fear I have oversold myself. And in every case, I will do my best to make my voice stop shaking. I will thank God for blindspots and blindsiding by opportunity. I will be proud that I’m doing what feels like the right thing, even if it’s not the safe thing. Because, as Ann-Margret and Jack Lemmon taught me in Grumpy Old Men, I’ll only regret the risks I don’t take.
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