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December 27, 2007

I <3 cover letters

To Whom It May Concern:

First of all, I don’t think Midwesterners, especially Minnesotans, should be put through the torture of writing cover letters. We are a modest people who frown upon the trumpeting of our achievements, instead preferring to play them down.

That said, I am pretty much the Mistress of the Universe. If you hire me, and you would be a fool not to, I can solve pretty much any problem you and newspapers around the country are currently suffering from. I will achieve beyond your wildest dreams, taking your paper from the squalor it is currently wallowing in to a golden palace of success.

That’s really all you need to know about me, but allow me to regale you with my many, many accomplishments. I was literally born with a pen in my hand (don’t ask me how it ended up in my mother’s womb; suffice to say it was my generous request muffled through the amniotic fluids for a pen rather than a pencil that saved my dear m’ma from lead poisoning), and took the occasion of my birth to do an interview with my parents about how momentous the event was for them.

I was a star student throughout my schooling days, despite the fact that I constantly peppered my teachers with questions. My gigantic well of natural curiosity was always bubbling to the surface, threatening to burst through my very being. I was in desperate need for an outlet, which is why I single-handedly founded a series of award-winning community newspapers in my hometown at the age of 5. Several give the papers credit for exposing the multitude of corruption in our city government. I was able to manipulate city data at the age of 7 that uncovered a massive money laundering scheme, which led to the resignation of no less than 34 city officials.

My accomplishments since have been widely publicized in the mainstream media, so I don’t think I need to name them here.

Let me reiterate that my work is practically dipped in gold and encrusted with diamonds, for all the magnificent profits they will bring to your foundering establishment. I will allow you to contact me for an interview (as if there is even a mote of competition! (doubt it)) at my earliest convenience.

Please feel free to contact my references, for I fear I have been far too humble in describing my incredible worth as an employee.

December 23, 2007

A Christmas Miracle

I heard on NPR on Friday morning that approximately 1 million people were making a grand exodus from the D.C. area that day to spend the holidays with their families. Included in that million is every single one of my acquaintances here (except one of my mom's friends from the olden days with whom I will spend the actual holiday and a fellow member of the tribe with whom I will nosh on Chinese food, as we Chosen are wont to do).

One of those departing ones, an angel I will call The Blessed One, gave me the keys to her lovely apartment for my use this entire week. I walked in there this Friday after work and nearly wept with pure joy. It smelled faintly of clove, not of stale death. There was a pleasant glow from the Christmas lights instead of the harsh fluorescent glare to which I've become accustomed. The surfaces were clean and free from chunks of mystery meat. The bathroom was immaculate, instead of-- well, you know what I'm living with here.

Best of all, there was a plush couch I could stretch out on when I wanted to read or when I wanted to watch a movie. It didn't smell like homeless man.

The Blessed One has my eternal and undying thanks for giving me the very best present I could ask for: an entire week of tranquility away from the Man-Child. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

December 18, 2007

My very own Bridge to Nowhere

For the past few weeks I've been trying my bestest to put away my procrastinatin' practices of the past and get to work on a year-end profile on one of our senators. Every time I open up the doc to start working my verbal magic, however, it seems like the Powers That Be at my news establishment toss another urgent assignment my way.

This morning I went in with every intention of taking that profile by its horns and shaking it every way to Sunday until it didn't know what cliche was going to hit it next, but fate had other plans for me.

A dude at the home office asked if I could assemble a spreadsheet of all the pork our delegation had requested in the 11-bill omnibus legislation Congress has been trying to squeeze out before they go home for the holidays. I had already printed off lists of earmarks on the original bills last week, when it looked like House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wisc.) was going to strip away all the billions of dollars for lawmakers' pet projects to bring the bill closer to the amount President Bush wanted. Facing an uproar from some very unhappy campers, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reneged. I kept all the lists just in case debate resurfaced.

(A note about earmarks: they get a lot of negative press because some of them are truly ridiculous, like Sen. Ted Steven's (R-Alaska) $315 million Bridge to Nowhere or Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.) much-maligned request for $1 million for a museum commemorating the Woodstock music festival. But most of them go to really worthwhile projects, like road repair or social service programs.)

Because I had all those handy lists, I thought it was going to be a breeze to plug them into a happy little database. And it was fun for this Excel geek, at least for a little while. As the day wore on, I started getting press releases from various legislators' offices enumerating the amounts they would receive for their myriad projects in the omnibus bill, amounts sometimes very different from what I had listed. Why hadn't I just looked at the omnibus bill text in the first place to pick out what I needed, you ask? My dear, silly, friend: this behemoth is thousands of pages long. And the document is unsearchable, thankyouverymuch. (I was going to link to it so you could behold its glory but 10 minutes' worth of Google searching has proved unfruitful and I'm bored with the pursuit.)

So I had to meticulously compare the press release figures with the ones I already had, going line-by-mother-freaking-line. Then the Powers That Be decided they wanted the Senate numbers in there, too... we might as well make it a "master" document, eh? Eh indeed. The House and Senate project names often vary at least slightly, so finding corresponding entries was a real treat.

After hours (upon hours... upon hours...) of increasing my susceptibility of carpal tunnel syndrome, I finally finished and chirped my relief to my coworker.

"Yeah, I don't know if we're still going to use that or need it, but I'm glad we have it! Thanks!" he said.

Editor's note: Apparently Nugget wasn't smart enough to Google search "text of omnibus bill," because if she had she would have found this right away.

December 17, 2007

This morning there was a pair of dirty boxers on the kitchen counter

Think about that for a bit.

I often tell my coworker here about my daily battles with the Man-Child and he's graciously extended an invitation to me to move into his basement on many occasions. Because he has three cats and felines make my face explode in hives and my eyes and nose explode in itchiness, though, I've had to decline.

Last week he suggested I move into the office. I'd have everything I needed there: a kitchenette, showers in the gym downstairs, a TV and computer, ample space to store my things because of all the layoffs/ buyouts... The only I was missing was a place to rest my head. The most viable option was under my desk, a quite spacious space, really. I would just need some blankets and pillows to make my nest and I'd be set.

During our office holiday party on Friday, several now-empty offices were opened up to house the nosh. In the dessert room we discovered a couch. As soon as I can figure out a way to schlep all my worldly possessions there on the Metro, I'm moving in.

December 15, 2007

Ladies' Men

Overheard on the Metro:

Fratboy 1: So today, I was, like, texting with Morgan. I was like, "I had a Caesar salad with salmon; are you proud?" And she was like, "Yeah, five points for fish." Then I was like, "So we're going to be rolling in Arlington later, you in?" And she was like, "Was that meant for me?"

Fratboy 2: Oh man... Snap.

Fratboy 1: I know, right? So I was like, "Yes it was meant for you. We're going to a party if you want to hit that."

Fratboy 2: NICE!

Fratboy 1: Yeah, so she was like, "I don't want to hook up with you if that's what you mean."

Fratboy 2: Dude, she so totally does. That girl is like horny as a toad. She totally wants to get stuffed.

Fratboy 1: Totally.

December 9, 2007

Warning: this is quite possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever written

Alternative title: Poop goes the roommate

I want to make sure that you, my beloved readers, are adequately prepared for what you're about to read. I don't often venture into writing Tales of the Toilet, but I had to make a special exception to convey what depths of despair I experienced last night. If you're weak of stomach or faint of heart STOP READING NOW.

I came home last night after a lovely holiday party looking forward to brushing my fangs, washing my mug and slumbering. When I walked into my apartment, however, my ol' olfactorys were slapped with a pungent odor. Figuring the roommate decided to boil the intestines of a suckling pig for dinner, I shrugged it off and entered the bathroom I share with him to commence my nightly routine.

The stench was so strong in there it almost took on a shape. I then noticed the throne was filled with the soupy contents of The Thing's bowels.

Let it be known that this man-child is 29 years of age. Even accounting for the fact that he was most likely a late bloomer in terms of potty training, he still has a more than a quarter-century relationship with the toilet and that nifty lever that makes its contents magically disappear.

Assuming he left the apartment with it sitting there because the throne was in need of repair, I texted him:
"The toilet is overflowing with your shi(r)t. Did you call someone to fix it?"
I got this in reply:
"wrong number. my name is (Thing's name). No idea what ur talking bout. good luck with that."
Because I am technically squatting here-- the apartment management knows not of my existence-- I couldn't just approach the office and request service without giving away the ruse and probably getting stuck with a hefty fine.

So I steeled myself, gathered all my courage and bravery, and flushed, prepared to turn off the water should the mess reach a danger point in the bowl. To my intense relief it all went down. I lit five matches and a scented candle and opened a window to try to coax a more bearable smell into this place.

One more month one more month one more month one more month one more month.

December 2, 2007

Even free makeovers come at a price

After slogging through yet another work week, my buddy Wink and I decided to have a bit of fun by going shopping. Since I had completed all my holiday shopping the previous weekend and wasn't in need of anything (except a new pair of black boots, which Ma Nugget has promised to purchase for me when I come home--thanks Ma Nugget!), I could browse carefree without the pressures of finding that perfect something something.

Our final stop of the evening was Macy's, where we were determined to get ourselves free makeovers in anticipation of the Event of the Year: Truth Pirate Slumber Party 2007. We weaved in and out of the Chanel, Estee Lauder and Clinique counters, making eyes at the bored salespeople that clearly told them we needed a makeover, stat. But no one was biting. We even went to the Bobbi Brown counter and paged through her instructional book while wondering aloud what the makeup would like like on our visages. The best we got out of that shopgirl was, "Can I help you find something?"

Yeah-- a new face! Gosh!

Admitting defeat (but not admitting to anyone what we actually wanted... which in hindsight was a bit silly), we moseyed our way through the shoe, purse and wintertime accessories sections. On our way out we decided to give it one last go and looked adoringly at the Benefit makeup counter.

A bored, emo-looking lad immediately perked up and asked us if we wanted to browse his company's catalog. We paged through them and asked which of the products he was pimping was best. Benetint, a rose-colored serum for cheeks and lips, he told us. Put this on your cheeks and everyone will wonder, "What has she been up to?" he said cheekily. During his pitch we discovered he was from a locale across the pond. Ipswitch, England, to be exact.

We also discovered his name was Mark, which prompted me to bellow, "MAHK? MAHK!" a la Elizabeth in E.R. He didn't know a titch about his own products (other than what he read off the label)... or makeup in general for that matter. There was no way this limy upstart was going to be able to give us a makeover.

Then he started telling us about how he came to be in this freedom-loving nation. He said he met a girl on MySpace and they got married, but they have since divorced. He assured us he didn't marry her for a Green Card. Then he asked if we knew the hotspots in town where single women would congregate.

Wink told him emphatically that we wouldn't know because we were both dating muscular Minnesota boys. We bid him good day and then left to try on ball gowns.