Archive for December 2012

Six Christmases and it's finally over!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Remember that movie Four Christmases?  The one with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn?  Well, my family has them beat!  We have six Christmases and the last one ended today.

My kids are under the impression that Christmas begins around mid-December only to finally end around December 30th.  Now, I'm sure you're fully aware that with Christmas comes gifts.  A ludicrous amount of gifts.  Forget Jesus's birthday, the season for giving, and everything else that goes along with the holiday.  My Christmas is about attending six, count 'em, six different festive events!  Along with this comes six gluttonous meals, six loads of presents and six car trips.

Christmas number one was on December 16th this year at my father in law's.  The large meal was Subway sandwich platters because my step mother in law claims she has the oldest stove on record since moving into their new house.  (It's old, like circa 1985.  It could be older.) Next onto the gifts.  My father in law buys the toys and Jennifer (it's strange calling her my MiL) was in charge of the clothes.  She always hits the nail on the head with the clothes.  This year she even threatened to beat up an old lady in Kohl's over Diary of a Wimpy Kid pajamas.  My father in law, Mike, on the other hand buys the noisiest fucking toys around!  Multiple fire trucks complete with working sirens!  He also purchased a microphone that somehow got "misplaced" after a few minutes of use.  It's always great to see my in laws and this fiesta went out with a bang when my niece drove her remote control Dale Earnhardt Jr. car right into the nativity scene.  Take that Jesus!  What'd you think it was your birthday or something?

Parties number two, three and four are my side of the family.  My parents are still married and I have only one brother.  So you ask, "Why do you have three Christmas parties?"  One with my mom's family, one with my dad's family and one with just my nice, small family.  By now we had gifts coming out our ass. I was the lame-ass aunt and I bought my new little niecey nugget a car seat.  She's only four months old, so it's ok.  Luckily BJ and my boys came through and bought her a kick ass butterfly rocker.

Next comes Santa!  Now Santa did something he told me he would never do.  He brought my children a Power Wheels.  Damn him! I really dislike them.  Although it was quite comical when my oldest ran BJ's foot over multiple times.  Get out of the way you moron!  Even funnier was when I realized I could drive it.  That is until my neighbor began mocking me from his window.

Last but not least, Christmas with my mother in law and step father in law.  My mother in law always brings my kids books and pajamas.  Bless her. We had Panera, visited with them and all was quiet.

As our three week Christmas run comes to an end—I can't say I'll miss it.

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Dear Snow, I hate you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The only thing missing from this
picture is me flipping the snow
off from inside my mitten

I have an irrational hatred of snow. As the first snowfall of the season looms over the Chicago area, I am once again inundating with feelings of utter hatred. It's not only the snow that I so deeply despise, it's the cold and the seemly never-ending darkness that comes with winter.

There are many factors that play into my distaste for snow.

1. The fact that Chicagoans suddenly lose all sense of driving ability as soon as that first effing flake appears. Now there are two types of snow drivers. The ones that go into panic mode and drive so freakin' slow that a grandma using a walker could pass them. The second being those assholes who are in such a hurry that they drive like an extra from the Fast and the Furious. Rarely do you find the in-between driver. The cautious, yet sensible one. But, I do get it, sometimes you need to take on the characteristics of the panicked driver, say like when there is 12 feet of snow. 

One of my favorite winter moments came two years ago when I encountered Vin Diesel in a Nissan Versa (aka: a roller skate with seats). This was during the Snowpocalypse. If you are unfamiliar with term, it was when winter made Chicago its bitch and dropped 24 inches of snow. I was on my way home from work and the snow was blowing so badly that 
I couldn't see a thing. There were cars spinning out and people stuck, streets were blocked and roads were left unplowed. It was quite a scene. I take a rarely traveled road to and from work that runs through a forest preserve most of the way. My quiet road was not plowed. Not surprised, so I proceeded with caution. Driving at a quick clip of 35 miles per hour. Thinking this was sensible since said road was covered with at least 6 inches of snow. Vin in his green Versa hauls up behind me. Throwing his arms around, swearing at me and just being an all around dick. He slams on the gas petal, flies around me and disappears into the white oblivion. I few minutes later I come across his trusty roller skate. It's wedged in a snow bank on the side of the road. Now, I would never wish anyone harm, so when I saw that Vin was all right I had to fist pump the air. Serves him right. (Not sure if this needs to be said but it obviously wasn't actually Vin Diesel.)

2. Another thing that pisses me off about snow is the predictions and the overreactions from the weather reporters and the public in general. Everyone panic! We are getting snow of epic proportions! Stock up on shovels, snow blowers, canned foods, drinking water! You may never leave your house again! News flash- It's fucking snow. It will melt. The first snowfall of the season usually elicits this response. This year is no different.

3. Snow days, yep I don't like them. Yes, I'm a teacher and I don't like snow days, especially this year. If you don't already understand how a snow day works let me enlighten you. If my school cancels classes due to snow we have to make up the day at the end of the school year. This school year my last day is Friday, May 24th. That would mean I would have to come back to work on a random Tuesday before beginning my summer break. (Monday is Memorial Day which would make a snow day even suckier)  So, snow days, you can suck it this year!

As the first snow is nearing the Chicago area I ask everyone to drive like assholes, but more importantly, stock up on canned food and drinking water booze.  God knows I'm gonna need it if I'm trapped inside my house with my two kids and a yard full of freezing cold frozen shit.

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It's gonna cost how much to print it?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Now, I'm a spender. That's pretty much the reason I work. I can't stop spending money. On the other hand, BJ is not. We are polar opposites in this regard. He would much rather watch the money sit in our bank account and go unspent. Not me! I LOVE to spend it. I love vacations and new clothes, toys, books, eating out, new cars. You name it, I'm cool with spending money on it. The only problem I see with my spending habit is that occasionally I have buyer's remorse. When purchasing things like, clothes, shoes and toys, my hasty decisions can be rectified pretty easily. I just run my crazy purchase back to the store and get my money back. Just a note: This unfortunately doesn't work with cars or self published books.

So, last night after the 9 millionth edit to my book, I decided to upload it to FedEx Office and have it printed and bound. 

In college I was the copy girl at Staples. I understand that this was over a decade ago, but honestly, did the cost of paper really go up that much? Inflation, you suck! 

After the upload, the total appeared, now mind you, I'm not usually super concerned about the cost of things, especially if I think they're a necessity. (Think adorable glitter ballet flats from the Gap). I was certain the paper copy of my book was not only a necessity, it was a must. Yet after seeing the total that was more than half my car payment, I nearly fell out of my chair. 

$300!!! For what? Was it bound with diamond encrusted gold spiral bindings? Was it going to do my laundry? Would it bathe my children? Hell no!

BJ, who was on the couch trying to create a new territory for his super fun job, (turns out my geographical knowledge on the state of Michigan is pretty piss poor), also got the shock of his life when I announced the price.

BJ: Where is Flint, Michigan?
Me: Southern Michigan.
BJ: Nope, but you sounded certain. How about Traverse City?
Me: Oh, that's southern, too.
BJ: Wrong again, but you do really sound sure of yourself if that helps.
Me: At least I was in the right state.
BJ: I gave you the state.
Me: Don't make fun of me.
BJ: You had it coming.
Me: It's going to cost 300 bucks to print one copy of my book.
BJ: No.

Now, when he said, "no" I'm sure you're thinking he was saying it like, "No way. It can't be that expensive." But really what he was saying was, "No, you are not printing your book."

BJ joined me at the computer and in a few short seconds the price went from $300 for one copy to $100 for two copies.

In my days as the red shirt and khakis wearing copy girl, we only had three choices of paper. White in three different brands. Colored in three different brands. And card stock in two different brands. Nowadays there's 10,000 choices and FedEx Office, in a plan to turn a profit, selects the most expensive paper they have in stock as the default. Asses! 

Now, had BJ not been present, my printed copy might have cost me $300 and bypassed number one on my list of frivolous purchases. A non-returnable Toyota RAV4. (They will take it back, but not after they rob you blind and punch you in the stomach on the trade-in.)

I'm glad he's around even though he mocks my knowledge of the locations of cities in Michigan. I live in Illinois for craps sake!

Anyway, here it is in all its black and white glory!

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Smooshed-Faced Stories: Starring Beeker the Pug with Guest Appearances by Oscar the Cat— Part 3

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I once read that a dog will eat its owner if the owner dies in the home. Macabre, I know, but it got me thinking. 

So cute, yet somehow I think he
is planning my demise.

Beeker, literally eats everything. Just last week, Beeker pulled a diaper bag from the closet, dragged it into the hallway and tore through it. Consuming, two bags of fruit snacks (wrappers and all), an entire box of Annie's bunny cheese crackers and an unused disposable diaper. I'm sure you're thinking I should have rushed him to the vet. Hell no! The first few times he ate random shit from strange locations, we did but not anymore. Vets are obscenely expensive and ridiculously judgmental. "You have to be more responsible. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs. His nose wrinkle is filthy. You need to brush his teeth.  You owe us a thousand dollars for nose wrinkle cream." Blah, blah, blah. I totally should have gotten a cat. They're self cleaning. (But they have their own evil ways. I'll get to that later.)

After reading that dogs have no loyalty to anything but food, I kind of began to fear Beeker. I now sleep with my bedroom door closed because I have convinced myself that Beeker may eat me after a few hours of non-movement (i.e. in my sleep). I even wonder sometimes if he's plotting my death when his food is placed in his bowl a few minutes late.
The moral here is that Beeks only acts like he loves me and when he sleeps he dreams of eating me. (I used to think he dreamt of chasing squirrels and meeting other Pugs. So much for that.)

On to my thoughts about getting a sweet, biscuit making, sand pooping, self-cleaning cat. My friend, Kri has two cats. One is mildly normal and the other is the spawn of Satan. Not so much in that, "downright evil" way, but in a more conniving and "I'm gonna kill you secretly" way. I am pretty sure Oscar is plotting to kill her in her sleep. (Hopefully Oscar isn't cahoots with Beeker or she's definitely a goner.) Oscar wakes her at bizarre times, kneading her face (small paws make suffocation difficult), purring and meowing. He stares at her all hours of the day from weird locations in her house. She has even gone as far to refer to him as "the asshole", but like me, she loves that stupid little animal.

Only time will tell if Beeks will eat me or if Kri will be smothered by Oscar's paws. Either way, they're here to stay.  Coincidence that they both have smooshed faces?  I think not.

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Book Review: That Time of the Month by Emily Shaffer

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Have you ever picked a book up, read the first page and knew you were going to love it? That's how I felt about That Time of the Month by Emily Shaffer. This is one of the funniest books I have read in a while.

The book begins with Eleanor "Ellie" Bennett losing her job as a temp lawyer. Not the worst thing since she hates her job, but a near disaster, because she has no money and no real job prospects. In a moment of weakness she formulates a plan to write a novel in a month. She chooses a quaint little coffee shop as her quiet writing location, but it's anything but quiet. Ellie has multiple debacles throughout the book, including a broken foot and a mystery coffee shop regular that may or may not be the man of her dreams.

Ellie's disasters are not only funny, but totally relatable. If you are at all clumsy or have ever felt like you've made the wrong choice a few too many times, then you'll emphasize with Ellie. Her neurotic, list-making tendencies are by far some of the funniest parts of the book. A personal favorite of mine is her New Year's resolution list.
"Resolution #152: Try to understand America's fascination with Nickelback."

Emily Shaffer's comedic timing is perfect and the jokes just keep on coming. That Time of the Month was well written, but could still benefit from the help of a good editor. Overall, I recommend picking up That Time of the Month, you won't regret it. And the best part— it's cheap, especially if you chose the kindle edition like I did!

That Time of the Month- Nook Edition
That Time of the Month- Kindle Edition
That Time of the Month- Paperback

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Who needs a publicist when I have Tracy?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tracy is a friend of mine from work. I met her a few years ago and she's one of those people that everyone listens matter what. She's hard to avoid. If she has something to say there is not a chance you're getting away without hearing it. She's loud, opinionated and all around vocal about anything and everything. Now, I mean all of these things in the best possible way. The delivery of her bossiness usually comes with a barrage of swear words coupled with humor.

All of her bossiness is currently working to my advantage. Yesterday another friend from work threw a house warming. Tracy, a bunch of other people from work and some random people I don't know were in attendance.

In comes Tracy and the first thing she says is, "I gotta take these boots off!" She's wearing a pair of knee-high boots and like me, her calves are slightly too big for knee-high boots. If anyone else has encountered this issue, you know this problem makes it difficult to get the boots on, but even more difficult to get them off. It's like a twenty pound sausage in a ten pound casing.

Tracy flops down in a chair and in her commanding voice, requests that someone pull her boots off. I grab the ankle of her boot and pull. To tell you the truth, I only helped her because I knew she would only get louder if no one came to her aid. Plus she'd never turn me down if I asked her for help.

This brings me to why Tracy is better than a publicist. 
1. She's my friend
2. She firmly believes my in my ability to write a great book.
3. I don't have to pay her.
4. Finally, her big-ass mouth!

Last night at our friend's house warming party, she sold the shit out of my book. I told her that when my book is done and published that I am bringing her everywhere with me. I'm going to have her pitch my book because I am still really struggling with this whole self-promotion thing. I'm also sure that if I asked her to stand on a street corner with a sign promoting my book, she'd do it. Not only would she do it, she'd hunt down every person that passed her to make sure they actually bought it. She's the best!

Now if I only had as much faith in myself as Tracy has in me, I'd be set.

Thanks Tracy for being my biggest fan! XOXO

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