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April 27, 2008

A Grand Idea: Tea House in a Tree House

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On Friday evening I surprised the gentleman caller with a night's stay in a beautiful bed and breakfast in town for our anniversary. We took the proprietor's advice and pretended we were living in 1904, playing chess by the library's fireplace, tickling the ivories in the music room, toasting each other with champagne chilling in a grand silver urn, popping in a DVD... Oh. Whoops.

In the morning we awoke to a winter wonderland; a freak late-April snow storm had blustered a coating of snow on our quaint surroundings. We continued our game of make believe at breakfast, enjoying a fine array of eggs and chicken sausages on lovely china and sipped hot beverages from the most darling teacups.

Our fellow residents were discussing what they should do that frigid but fine day to make their stays even more perfect. I knew there was only one thing that could complete my 1904 experience, and I had such a hankering for it (the likes of which the gentleman had never seen).

I needed a fancy tea house, stat. One where the waitresses wear long, striped aprons and funny hats, where one must be wearing lace gloves to be properly attired, where there is a delightful selection of cakes and cookies and other delectable treats. I required a place much like this fancy tea house I went to in Paris, but better somehow...

A tree house! Yes! My fancy tea house would be made all the better (and fancier) if it were perched up in a a weeping willow, or some other fancy tree. I could hollow out the trunk to create a dumb waiter system to ferry fancy treats on silver trays from the kitchen. I would build a grand spiral staircase around the tree's exterior so the fancily dressed little girls (who will flock to my tea house in droves to celebrate birthday parties and have Princess Pretend Days) needn't get runs on their fancy stockings by climbing up.

I will instruct the birds living in my tree to chirp only the most charming string quartet music, and I will hang the branches with colored lanterns to make the setting even more festive than it already is.

This idea is gold, I tell you. If you are interested in being my financier do let me know.

April 25, 2008

The temptation of the carbs

It’s been Passover for almost a week now, and I’m craving things I usually don’t care for. Someone has brought muffins—big cakey, chocolatey, sugary muffins, the ilk of which I normally disdain—and boy do I want one. I want one so bad.

Most people think Passover isn’t so bad. How hard can it be abstaining from bread for just eight days? But it’s so much more than bread. It’s anything with flour in it, including pasta and tortillas. It’s grains like rice and whatever’s in tabouli. It’s corn, dagnabbit.

That cuts out a surprising number of lunch options, most notably: The Sandwich. I’ve been subsisting on salads all week and I’m STARVING. Inevitably I fill up with the nearest non-yeasted calorie source, and in this office it’s my buddy Will’s candy bowl. Props to Will, by the way, for having luscious Dove dark chocolate this week so at least I’m getting some antioxidants.

My carbophilia has yet to enter my dreams, but it’s getting to that point. We’ll see how I survive the remaining two days.

April 21, 2008

Lil’ Green the Cell Phone: February 2008-April 2008

I was just getting to know you, little phone, and your ways were beginning to bewitch me rather than beguile me. I finally figured out how to turn on your camera at the touch of the button rather than hunting through menu options. I was just getting used to your predictive text feature, and you were learning with me—you understood that when I typed the “4” and the “8” I was usually trying to say “Huzzah!”

The tiny grooves on your slim body made the most wonderful squeaky sounds when I dragged my nails across them. Your fancy screen glowed paisley orange. Every time my gentleman caller rang you sang, “Hey There Delilah” and it made me laugh because my gentleman caller hated that song.

You were so funny, little phone. I’ll miss that about you.

But I guess the God of Electronics needed you more than I, for last night at approximately 9:48 p.m. you met your watery grave in my second floor bathroom. You sizzled and made a few feeble “mews”—so different from the songs you used to sing me—and then left me forever.

Believe me when I say I tried to revive you, little phone. After delicately cleaning you with a Clorox wipe I blew on you with all my lung capacity in attempts to make you a little less damp, a little less cold, a little less lifeless. But it was all for naught. Your screen grew milky, like the eye of a sheep afflicted with glaucoma, and that was that.

I only knew you for two months, little phone, but that was enough to change my life forever. I suppose I should be grateful that I kept your predecessor, for that means I can suffer through a sufficient mourning period before I buy your replacement. Just know that even when that day comes, I shall never forget you.

April 14, 2008

She's a killer queen

 border=I just finished a biography of Marie Antoinette and have come to the conclusion that, as Pink might say, she’s m!ssundaztood.

I expounded on the facts that led me to this conclusion in the first draft of this post, but then I realized I was just indulging the yearning to write an essay I have harbored since graduating.

Then I ordered myself to cease and desist from boring you. Then I obeyed myself.

Next up: a 700-page biography of Napoleon.

April 9, 2008

Baby Mama Drama

 border=Ever since I moved home in January, my father has patted an invisible bundle of joy on his shoulder and looked to me plaintively. My mother has repeatedly made known her desire to be a grandmother. At a funeral I attended yesterday, my fellow congregants exhorted me to create some “happy news” this summer—an engagement would suffice, but what they really wanted was a little babyleh. The mazel tov’s would ring from the hillsides.

My guess is that it all comes down to bragging rights. Most of the folks in my parents’ set don’t have a whole lot to talk about now that their kids have ended their schooling and gone on to become boring adults. With no school-related achievements and accomplishments to laud, life events have become the new frontier. And if your kids are staying stubbornly single and barren, you lose.

But I still don’t really get the frequent hints and near-demands. I’m barely into my twenties and have yet to land a secure, benefits-providing job. Heck, I’m still moving cross-country at the rate of least twice per year. My baby would be raised in abject poverty and insecurity. Is that really what they want?

I’m clearly of fertile stock—there are four kids in my family—and I’m more than willing to pop ‘em out. It will happen, dear parents. Just give me some time to lay away enough capital to keep the tot clothed, fed and in clean diapers.

April 8, 2008

My parking garage attendant either has a crush on me or is plotting to kill me

Parking Garage Guy has sandy blond hair, chubby cheeks and prefers windjackets and the occasional baseball cap as garb. He seems to be in his late teens or early twenties, and is about 5'9'' from what I can tell (he's usually seated or leaning out his window). Please give this description to the authorities when the begin their inquest into who has buried a piece of my mangled flesh at every mile marker along I-35.

He's the type of guy who spends hours in his basement making YouTube videos of his light saber skills, the lovable weirdo who would burst into uncontrollable giggles with his buddies when teachers asked the class to turn to page 69, the overgrown pre-teen whose every Halloween costume involves a cape.

Our relations started innocently enough. At the end of my workday I would roll up to his station in my mom's battered minivan and we'd exchange pleasantries about the weather (me: Sure is frigid out! him: Yeah, my nose is full of booger-sicles), innovations in currency (me: Whoa-- the "5" is all huge and purple now. him: I could totally counterfeit that) and life events (me: Did you have a good weekend? him: Shyeah! Me and my friends head-butted each other's stomachs til we puked!).

His behavior has gotten more bizarre recently. Instead of saying something random and making me laugh, he's nervously repeated the same inquiry at least five times over the course of a few weeks:

Him: Do you need a receipt?
Me: No thank you.
Him: So why is it that you work downtown and stay here all day and never need a receipt? Don't you get reimbursed?
Me: No. Like I said, I work at the paper. They don't even have money to keep us all in a job. They're not going to pay for extras like parking.
Him: I think that's so lame.
Me: I know. That's what you thought the other four times we've had this conversation.

Last week, when I pulled up to his station he was pointing his opened phone at my face and grinning. I asked if he was taking a picture of me. "That's what they all ask," he replied. It's a natural thing to ask when there's a camera phone up in your grill, I said. He continued staring at his phone, smirking. Thoroughly creeped out, I put my ticket and the correct change on his ledge and got the heck out of Dodge. Lately he's taken to resting his chin in his hand and gazing at me, refusing to take my money and ticket until I say something to him. Then he pretends to have just woken up from a daydream.

I can only assume he's dreaming up ways to off me.

April 6, 2008

Friday night date with the pape

I've found that in the newspaper biz people tend to want to flog stories until they're good and dead. Every story could use a follow-up, so why not multiply the fun with three, four or 10 of the same thing?

On Friday my mission was to produce our fourth article in two weeks (and I'm not counting the many columns) about the movie "Leatherheads," a film that, if you'll remember, brought a certain George Clooney to my humble town. Though I'd already written about locals' reaction to a screening of the movie, this time it was premiering to a general audience. These folks would supposedly have a new, fresh take on the flick that I hadn't already gleaned from the previous sample set.

I got there way earlier than was necessary and was accosted by the manager of the local semi-pro football team that's hosting a "throwback" game in honor of the team on which "Leatherheads" is based. This dude has harassed me before-- he tried to get me to get the editor in chief to get George Clooney to do the coin toss for this selfsame game-- and he's relentless. On Friday he insisted I had the power to choose which photo would grace my story, and told me he would buy me two dozen roses if I ensured it would be of his three bored-looking players manning a table with a leather helmet signed by the film's stars. After I emphatically explained to him that photo selection was far from being under my jurisdiction, he tried to extract a promise that I would cover their upcoming game. I'm not in sports, I told him.

"This isn't sports news; it's front page news!" he insisted. Sadly, he's probably right.

When most everyone had trickled into the theater I purchased myself a kiddie combo and climbed solo to an empty row where I could watch George and Renee try to out-sass each other for the second time. Two of the three football players made their way toward my row and excused their "wide hips" as they thrust their crotches in my face en route to the seats to my left. They proceeded to chat and text their way through the movie, the best part of which was the "Sex and the City" trailer that preceded it.