Friday, September 30, 2011

Toyota Thinks I'm My Dad

I got another email from Toyota.

Dear Joseph, <-- That's my dad.

Thank you for visiting our dealership and for thinking of us as you consider buying a new vehicle.... Please contact me and let me know how I can be of service to you in your buying decision.

This email was three paragraphs of how they hope I, meaning my dad, had great service and hoping they can be of help in my, meaning his, car purchasing decision. The last time my dad was at a dealership was almost three years ago when he and my mom leased a car. A Scion. From Toyota. Are the pieces coming together for you as they are for me? Somehow, Toyota smushed together my info and my parents' info, causing them to send me birthday messages about my Scion, which is their car, and updates about financing while addressing me as Joseph.

As for the incomplete emails about the Yaris, I still haven't figured that one out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Organized Registration

Usually, the registration process at the community center is a nightmare. It is hot. Women crowd around, wandering in all directions, not knowing what's going on. Women go on tirades about Zumba being closed. It's all very dangerous.

S and I arrived at the midpoint for dance class registration. When we walked into the building--a very hot and chlorine-smelling building--we saw that this year, the work-out women were coralled in the back room where dance class is held. A young woman was standing a little beyond the doorway. She asked what class we were there for. S said advanced dancing. The girl said she had only beginner and intermediate. We said, Intermediate, and I gave S a look like, advanced, huh?

As we sat in the metal folding chairs to fill out the forms and write our checks, S commented on how having the girl there made this all very much easier. I agreed. We were up to the table to register in no time. The man and woman taking the forms were even in a jovial mood--joking with S about how she shouldn't cry because she had a tissue out.

When we turned around as our forms were being taken, we both noticed, hey where did the girl go? She had disappeared. A woman came in and was disoriented. She was looking for Zumba. Two others came in looking for aerobics. Without the girl, it was chaos once more.

We got our receipts and headed out. The girl was nowhere to be found. No one was very concerned about it. We were. I still am. She was the difference between chaos and order, and I very much like order when it comes to line dancing. I wonder if this is an omen of things to come in dance class.

Why It's Scary Being A Teacher

Because S got a coupon for a free appetizer at TGIFriday's, we decided to grab a bite and catch up. It was supposed to be a low-key evening, nothing fancy. We waited about twenty minutes for a table.

After looking over the menu and deciding on a combo app platter--oooh, we're craaaaazzzyyyyy--our server appeared. S was ordering soda and asking questions. Meanwhile, I'm dying inside. Then I started to ask a question and the server starts to answer it before I'm done, but S is asking questions about the drinks again, so the server goes back to answer her.

So then I just interupted them both and was like, You were my student, right?

She was like, yeah, I was over there and saw you and said, Okay my teacher is at my table and I wrote about this job once.

So I did what any normal human being would in this situation. I just apologized. I was like, Sorry about this. I hope this isn't uncomfortable for you. Basically, I was apologizing for existing.

She was like, No, no, it's okay, really.

On the inside, I'm going nuts, trying to remember what class she was in which semester and what her final grade came out to be. When she said it was okay, did she say it in a sinister way? Oh, man, was this revenge time? Think! Think!

S was fairly amused by this turn of events, so she suggested that I order the apps. Now I'm multitasking--figuring out this gal's grade while simultaneously deciding what deep-fried crap I'm going to put in my mouth. To enhance this already bizarre experience, someone was having a birthday, so as I'm stumbling over baked cheese and BBQ wings, a chorus of Happy Birthday To You is erupting and I stop all distracted and the server gives a faint, Heh huh yeah that, and I finally finish by pointing. Then S reminds me that I want an iced tea. At first, I wasn't going to get it. I was gonna go with water because water is clear and can't really be messed with a whole lot, but I got the ice tea anyway.

When the server leaves, S asks if I remember anything about what she wrote. At the time, I didn't. I do now. She was a good writer. But in the moment, I answered, I don't remember what her grade was and now I'm freaking out. S asked, why is she gonna do something to the food? I was like, I hope no one spits in it. S, very concerned with me of course, asked, Well is she gonna spit in my food too? I was like, I don't think so.

Not that this girl was the do-something-gross-to-someone's-food type at all. She is a lovely person, a smart and studious student. It's just that, I've heard things, I've seen movies, and I've created enemies.

I wound up eating the food and drinking my ice tea. S did the same. My student/server came back only twice--once to check on us and once to give us the check. We'd been there a really long time and had only apps and drinks, so even though our goal was to have as free of a night as possible with the coupon that started us off on this idea, I was like, We need to leave a good tip. I felt like I owed her reparations. You know, again, an apology for existing.

In the end, we had a huge discount on the apps and didn't pay much at all, yet the bulk of the money pretty much went to her tip. That way, she could magically take out any of the gross stuff she did to the food if she did anything, right? Next time, maybe I'll just pay the tip up front. In any case, I'm still standing, and I think she'd gotten a B+ in the class, which is nothing to be too angry about. So I'm fine, right? I just have one less place to get a meal at. No need to encounter another very awkward situation in which I feel the need to apologize for wanting to eat at a restaurant.

Monday, September 26, 2011

As If The Rain Were Really Shards Of Glass

I have been wanting to buy rainboots for a few years. I never get around to doing it. I also want new snow boots, but at least I have an old pair. As for rain, I have been wearing just my regular dress boots and hoping for the best. What I've found is that dress boots are for dressing nicely at work, not for slogging through deep puddles. You see, what happens is that the water gets into the boots because they are not waterproof. They have seams and zippers. That is the opposite of what I'd like to happen to my socks and my feet when I have to walk in the rain.

With the threat of rain immenent, I finally headed over to Kohl's. I'd tried Macy's and found nothing. Then I tried Sears and fell in love with two pairs, but I could not find my size in the ones I liked in two different Sears. It wasn't meant to be. Kohl's was next on the list, so I went to the one near the mall, the one that is very large and is easy to get lost in but holds a special place in my heart because that's where I got my wedding dress after fighting with their online kiosk. Ah, memories.

Anyway, I got into the store under cover of dark, dark clouds. I wasn't buying the boots for that day in particular, but they would come in handy if I found a pair.

After about twenty minutes of walking in circles, I found the shoe department. I don't know why it took me twenty minutes. I walked in, looked up at the signs, found the one that said SHOES, and followed the arrow. The problem was that the arrow took me to a cross-section of the store that had no more signs. I took the wrong way and wound up in the bath department and then managed to walk not once but twice in a circle in the wrong direction.

The rainboots were towards the back of the section. They had several styles in several colors. I played with the idea of getting neon pink boots, but scratched it. They were too clunky. Wouldn't you know, I found three pairs that I actually liked? And after trying them all on in size 6, I had to go UP a size? Yup, me and my midget feet, walkin around in a size 7. How bout that?

I settled on a black pair with plaid design in white, gray, and red. I figured I could wear em with jeans, black, gray, and I'd even wear em with brown. In the rain, who cares if you match completely? Actually, students care, especially the fashion ones, but I don't care if they care, so really, again, who cares?

Once I got through the cashier--thankful that I didn't have to do the online kiosk thing--I got down to the lobby before the parking lot and saw that the skies had opened up. So, I sat on the bench in the lobby and proceeded to change out of my sneakers and into my new boots.

And this is where I become everyone else's concern. First, I saw several people pass by and smile at me. I guess they approved of my switcheroo.

Then, a youngish woman passed by, or maybe she was in her late teens. She took one look at my attire and said, Heyy, you don't have no umbrella?????? She was appalled in a sympathetic but also motherly-judgy type of way. She may have feared for my safety, thinking I might be part-gremlin or a witch. I answered a meek, I have a hood. I tugged at the sad, small hood on my tiny hoodie, which is made of cotton, not rain-repellant material.

She kept going up the escalator, away from the now-teeming rain. I guess my cotton hoodie didn't impress her. I tucked my hair up under my hood and put on the second boot.

As I packed up my sneakers, an old man on crutches appeared from, well, I have no idea where he came from. He took a look at my new shiny boots and said, It's a good day to get those! He said it in a very relieved manner, as if wearing my sneakers outside in the rain would have caused him much despair. I said, Yes, that's why I got them!, trying to pull him into an upbeat state of mind.

Then I realized, what the hell am I doing, defending my raingear or lack thereof with people I will never see again? I headed out into the rain and found myself drenched immediately. In seconds, I was soaked. Wet jeans in warm weather is not a very good feeling. However, what felt great was having dry socks and dry feet after running through the two inches of rain that flowed across the parking lot. Good purchase.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I recently got an email that started,

"I messed up."

I'm married now, so getting this email sent me into a frenzy of what the hell who could this be. My stomach dropped and I went into panic mode.

Then I reminded myself I was reading an email from Netflix. I'm serious. This email was from a business. It was from the CEO of the business. And he was writing as if he was my ex-boyfriend trying to apologize and get back together with me.

Here is the rest of that thrilling email, with the subject line "An Explanation and Some Reflection" --because journaling in public is also a very good business decision--

Dear Christina,

I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn't make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. [blahblahblah long paragraph]

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.

I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail.

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.

It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.

[blahblahblah long paragraph]

There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). [this is a sad attempt at humor, much like a sniveling ex trying to make light of his mistake of putting his penis into another girl's vagina--heh heh we're done with that!--anyway, blahblahblah long paragraph]

For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.

[blahblahblah more sniveling]

Respectfully yours,

-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.

1. Really? A LONGER explanation AND a video?

2. Here's a business move: change your original service, split it up into two different services, and then change the name of the original service to something else and keep the old name for the new service. Genius!

3. Reed? The guy's name is Reed? What is he, a soap opera character?

4. Actually, this whole email would make a lot more sense if he were a soap opera character, you know, with the personal tone of a get back with me plea.

Unfortunately, Netflix Quickie Mart is still the best service for DVD rental, so I have to suck it up and use it. Maybe in time, I'll finish out my queue and be done with it. That means I have to stop adding to my queue, which is a bad, bad habit I'll have to break. Change is bad, people, Change. Is. Bad.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take A Whiff Of This

To celebrate my birthday, again, I headed over to Aveda with T. Neither of us had been there before; she'd never heard of it until I told her about my birthday postcard. She asked if it was actually in the mall, and I figured it wouldn't be since she's my go-to gal for all things mall-related and if she'd never heard of it, it couldn't be in the mall. Then I looked it up and saw that it was.

After a quick look around Macy's for rainboots that they don't have and avoiding the attack of the overly-pushy sales woman and her get-a-credit-card-scanning-machine, we went into the mall and found the directory. I couldn't find the store at all. T found it on the map; it was teeny.

Usually, I look at a map, look around, look at the map again, and then head off in the wrong direction. Not T. She found the spot and then was like, Let's go this way. A few quick turns and I was dizzy. She, on the other hand, was exclaiming, Oh, there it is!

Aveda is much like Origins or Whole Foods--it's for specific products but has a very zen-yoga-rainforest vibe. The woman working there said hi from across the store and I told her I had a question as another woman asked for help. Of course I couldn't find the post card so I told her she should probably go help the other woman while I dug through my bag.

By the time I found the postcard, she was finished with the woman and calling out, Happy Birthday! Come on over! She asked if we'd done this before and I answered that I didn't even know how I got a postcard for my birthday. She said they have my birthday from when I signed up online. I don't remember signing up other than signing up on another website for something from Aveda, so I guess I's signed up then. I'm not complaining. I was getting something free!

Something free from Aveda is no small deal. Their shit is expensive!

So we sat at a long, tall, wood table on fancy wooden stools--not barstools--and she placed a tray of about 12 essential oil bottles in front of us. She explained that I could smell them all and then decide which one I liked and suggested not cheating by looking at the chart but going by the scent I liked best. I smelled a bunch of oils and decided if I liked them or not and then smelled them again by looking at the chart, too.

New job: sniffing scientist.

T began testing them as well and shook her head at a lot of them. I liked most of them, but thought about how much I would like them if the scent stuck around all day. That narrowed it down. I was surprised to find that, although I like patchouli, sandalwood, and jasmine, I did not like all three of them together as one scent. I usually do not like the smell of roses, but anything with rose in it, I did like. Wow, this was throwing me for a loop.

I found a few peppermint ones that I really enjoyed. I told T there was definitely mint in them and she smelled them and was like, whoa yes there is. Then she held one up and said it smelled like Christmas. I looked it up and said, well, yes, it has cinnamon; you're good at this. She gave me a look and answered, I come up with Christmas and you come up with hints of peppermint and I'm good at this?

Really, if someone didn't smell the peppermint in the one I did, something was wrong with their nose. I started to really like it, but then worried I'd smell like Trident.

While we sat with our experiment, two women were getting advice on facial scrubs. The Aveda Gal was explaining that if you use St. Ives scrub, it creates tiny tears in your skin because the scrub doesn't dissolve. I mumbled to T that while that's true, St. Ives is also cheap as opposed to the bottle the women were looking at from Aveda. T's eyes bugged out as she whispered back, That bottle is 45 bucks! Yup, and that's why I slowly rip my face off with St. Ives.

Aveda Gal came back over to see what I chose and I went with the Trident peppermint. She poured out the oil into a lotion. The bottle was large. I could have gotten lotion, body wash, bath salts, massage oils, or purfume. I went for a big bottle of something because the bigger, the more expensive, and this was free, so I wanted a great deal. In a few moments, I walked out with a very large very expensive customized bottle of lotion, all for FREE!

To celebrate, we headed over to Teavanna, the uber-expensive, also zen-like tea shop and tasted all their free samples, taking double shots of some of the flavors, until both sales people asked us if we needed help with anything, meaning it was time to stop drinking all the free tea.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Toyota Confusion

I have been receiving emails from Toyota. Eddie says that it's spam. So either Toyota needs a better email system that blocks the ability to spoof, or they need to get their records straight.

The first email I got was in July. Keeping in mind that I leased my car in June of this year, let's read it together, shall we?

Dear Christina,

The lease on your 2011 yaris

If you have any questions regarding lease procedures, mileage limitations or your responsibilities, please drop in or give me a call and I will be glad to answer them.

On the chance that you may already be looking ahead to your next vehicle, I would like to offer my services. It would be my pleasure to serve you again.

Everyone loves a cliffhanger every now and then, but a cliffhanger at the end of a seemingly important sentence is not my idea of a thrilling experience. What about my lease? Is it extended? Is it nonexistent? Is it fake? From the rest of the email, it seems that they are trying to tell me that the lease is going to expire. So I basically have a two month lease. Okaaaayyyyy.

September 3 rolled around and I received another email from the same email account that has the salesman's name in it. See if you can feel the dejavu too:

Dear Christina,

The lease on your 2011 Yaris.

If you have any questions regarding lease procedures, mileage limitations or your responsibilities, please drop in or give me a call and I will be glad to answer them.

On the chance that you may already be looking ahead to your next vehicle, I would like to offer my services. It would be my pleasure to serve you again.

Alrighty. I still don't know what the hell they are talking about. Now there's a period at the end of the first line as if that statement has some sort of finality.

Then my birthday arrived. I received an email full of balloons and colorful framing. Here it is, word for word:

Dear Christina,

Happy Birthday from your friends here at Advantage Toyota.

We want you to know how much we value your business and appreciate your patronage.

We hope you are enjoying your 2009 Scion.

As always, if there is anything we can do, please contact us.

I hope you have an excellent birthday!

Basically, the least on my Yaris is over with and I should instead enjoy a Scion from 2009 that I don't even own. Way to be, Toyota. Way. To. Be.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes Parents Explain Things Best

My mom wrote this to family and friends on behalf of herself and my dad. My dad forwarded it to me today. I wasn't on the original, as my brother and I received a different email, one that reminded us we were loved and will be loved to the ends of the earth. I like this email, too, because it kind of describes without preaching and prays without boundaries. Please read it and think about it and take it as you wish.

Good morning, family and friends,

This morning is clear and cool with sun, bright skies and some clouds; very much like the day 10 years ago that changed all of us.

Joe and I would ask you to reflect a bit today, thanking God once more for his safe deliverance from that hell. Pray, also, once again, for all those souls whom God took to Himself that morning; and especially for their families.

We are going to the World Trade Center site today to spend time with a group called "Voices of September 11". There will be survivors like Joe, responders, and families of those who died on 9/11; all of us sharing an excrutiating bond. Pray that God finds ways to ease the pain that will be in lower Manhattan today.

We love all of you. Honor this day - the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania - NEVER FORGET.

I didn't go with them. They went, just the two of them. I think my parents are two of the bravest human beings I know, and the kind of love they have for each other is the kind of love I hope I share with Eddie. The kindness they have for their family and friends is the kind of kindness I hope I share with everyone I know.

Over Welcoming

Eating at Moe's Southwest Grill is an interesting experience. So that you can sort of experience it the way I did, I will now write this post the way I spent my dinner. WELCOME TO MOE'S!

I've had a desire to go to Moe's since I saw them popping up around Long Island. WELCOME TO MOE'S! I love southwest-Mexican-Tex-Mex-Mexican food. Anything that involves nachos or chips and salsa on the table is a good time. If it involves guacamole -- WELCOME TO MOE'S!-- then even better. When I travel abroad or to other states, I need to have some sort of Mexi food to see what it's like. I suppose it's a guilty pleasure.

The reason we went to Moe's instead of a sit-down place was upon my insistance. When I got my--WELCOME TO MOE'S!--free entree birthday coupon, I was delighted. Free! Free! I love free! WELCOME TO MOE'S! Eddie knew nothing about the place except that it probably had nothing on the menu he'd like and it wasn't fancy, but he agreed to go because it was my birthday and it's what I wanted to do. WELCOME TO MOE'S! WELCOME TO MOE'S! I looked up the menu beforehand and saw that it has food named after characters and things from Seinfeld and Fletch. Very kitschy. Me likee.

When we walked into the place to look at the oversized menu on the wall once more, everyone behind the counter yelled, WELCOME TO MOE'S! We looked at each other and laughed. I figured they were bored. The place was pretty empty. WELCOME TO MOE'S! It was funny.

Eddie ordered for me a Close Talker salad, no tortilla bowl, no olives, both kinds of beans, with cucumbers. I ordered for him a simple cheese and chicken quesadilla. WELCOME TO MOE'S! We got fountain drinks, a Coke and an unsweetened iced tea. You can probably guess who got what. We made our way to a booth. And that's when the onslaught happened.

WELCOME TO MOE'S! We looked towards the door. Two people had walked in. That's when we realized--that's part of what they do. They yell that whenever someone walks in. And again, WELCOME TO MOE'S! A guy walked in and got the same greeting.

Sometimes their timing was off. There were customers who streamed in, several in only two or three minutes, so not everyone got a huge welcoming. Only one counter guy yelled WELCOME TO MOE'S for one of them instead of having a chorus go up. Some of them got, HUBIEHUBBAMOE'S, a mishmash of sound that was a very distracted welcome. But for the most part, WELCOME TO MOE'S.

It was funny. We laughed. Eddie tasted his quesadilla and did not like it at first. He tried just the chicken, which was the part we both thought he would like. It had spices on it and so, it wasn't good. WELCOME TO MOE'S! He sort of liked the actual quesadilla wrap. He didn't like the cheese, either. That's when you know the place really isn't meant for Eddie. He likes cheese on everything, but not even cheese could save WELCOME TO MOE'S this dinner.

I on the other hand, WELCOME TO MOE'S! WELCOME TO MOE'S! loved my food. I ate it very quickly, savoring each bite in my mind. In reality, I scarfed it down like a dog who hasn't found food for a while. Between bites, we attempted to have a conversation, but mostly, we were laughing at WELCOME TO MOE'S the shouting. It was happening quite a bit. WELCOME TO MOE'S!

By the time we, meaning I, were finished, the entertainment factor had worn off and I was ready to not hear WELCOME TO MOE'S anymore. I sat for a few minutes to relax after the big bloating meal, but that made me only nibble on the free chips and salsa that came with the meal. WELCOME TO MOE'S! That's right--FREE chips and salsa. Mmm, mmm, mmm. I ate way too much, but it was worth it.

Until the next day when I couldn't move. Oh, man, was I still full. But that's the price you pay when you want to milk a free meal WELCOME TO MOE'S! coupon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

And Again, For Always

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeling The Love On My Birthday (From The Oddest Places)

So it was my birthday. It still is. I celebrate all month. I love life. I love having been born. I love celebrating the month in which I was born. I love everything about it.

I love free stuff, as we all know, so free birthday stuff is simply over the top joy.

I got a free Baskin Robbins soft serve cone. Eddie ate most of it. Sometimes a simple vanilla soft serve cone can make two people even happier than they thought they could be.

I got a coupon for Red Lobster. It was $5 off two entrees. Um, no.

I got a coupon from Cold Stone. It was buy one, get one. No, that's not free either.

I got two Happy Birthday emails from PLJ radio, one that had a code for bonus points. I hoard points and rarely use them on their site, but it was a fun bonus anyway.

CVS sent me a $3 coupon. Yeah, that's right. Cheaper shampoo is cheaper shampoo, you get me?

Jet Blue sent an email that told me to have a Truly Amazing Day. I'm part of their True Blue program.

Sephora kind of wished me a happy birthday. They sent out an email telling me what the free birthday product is this year. They didn't say Happy Birthday. They also didn't tell me to print out the email and bring it to the store to pick up my free stuff like they normally do. I emailed and asked if I needed an email to bring to the store, and they responded that I could check out online and enter my birthday code. Someone at Sephora needs to take a reading comprehension class. Still, I plan to go there anyway. S told me to go in and just tell them my email and say it's my birthday and they'll hand me a bag of stuff. Last time, I got sucky stuff because I didn't go to one in the city. But if I go to the one in the city, I'll spend money on the train, which defeats the purpose of getting free stuff even though it will prove some sort of point somewhere in the universe.

MyPoints sent me a birthday bonus email but not much came out of the bonus other than advertisements for things I do not want. They also sent me a birthday gift card from Lancome which was not a gift card at all but was an advertisement for Lancome.

I got a text message from my eye doctor's new automated appointment reminder system. It said Happy Birthday. And then I got an email that said the same thing. My eye doctor is very happy about my birthday.

Acuvue also sent me an email to say Happy Birthday even though I don't get contacts from them. Maybe my eye doctor gets them from there and then sends them onto me (perhaps at an inflated price considering the last time I was there, I went broke).

Advantage Toyota sent me a Happy Birthday email and said they hoped I'm enjoying my 2009 Scion. I own a 2011 Toyota Yaris, but we'll get to Toyota and their emails at a later time. Because it's just that strange.

Though I have not been to a heated yoga class in Long Beach since my Groupon expired, they sent me a complimentary class. Score! That? Is good business. I'm a cheap bastard and won't pay for more classes as the promotion intends to get me to do, but still, good business model.

CareCredit, the credit line that I used for laser stuff, sent me a happy birthday email. I haven't used that credit card in years, but they still love me.

I got a coupon in the mail from Aveda. I have never been there. They have beauty products that are really expensive, and for my birthday, I get a personalized product for free. That will be the only time I ever go into that store unless they continue to send me birthday coupons.

Finally, I got a coupon from Moe's Southwest Grill. One free entree, except for fajitas. I could live with that. And that's the story of how I wound up at Moe's for my birthday dinner with Eddie. He says I'm a pretty cheap date. Yes, yes I am.

Eddie also hosted a birthday party for me. After the wedding, I wanted to not plan anything. I was fine with not having a party, especially since I was receiving all of this birthday love in my inbox and mailbox. He threw a party anyway. It was not a surprise, but if anyone asked me about it, I directed them to him. I was not part of the planning. It did confuse my friends who were unclear as to why I did not mention my party, but then they got it. He was the host. He was in charge. He was it. That in itself was a great present.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How To Prepare For A Hurricane

1. Drive to New Jersey via Staten Island.

2. Listen to the radio as they announce your town as having to evacuate.

3. Call your landlord parents and instruct them to pack their stuff for the next day.

4. Find a parking spot on the grass.

5. Carry your plastic bag of ponchos and a towel a mile up and down hills.

6. Buy a soft pretzel, a burger, fries, and a Coke for $19.

7. Trek up and down grass until you find the midpoint.

8. Stand and watch Gavin DeGraw, Maroon 5, and Train.

Maroon 5's newer stuff is better than their older stuff even though every song sounds the same. Fun fact: Friday Night Whites is their outfit of choice for concerts on Fridays.

No one really knows who Gavin DeGraw is though some people now refer to him as That Guy Who Got Beat Up And Then Hit By A Taxi.

The security at PNC Bank Arts Center are sticklers for the no standing on the concrete rule. Your heal hits the pavement, and you're under scrutiny. They are also supporters of the praying mantis cause. They found two of them and scooped them off into the brush for safety.

Ponchos are fun.

Train knows how to entertain a crowd. Not only did they play our song (how could they not when it's the most popular Train song every), but they played every song I love.

9. Go home in panic mode about the impending hurricane.

10. Convince your landlord parents to leave for higher ground because "mandatory" means you have to leave.

11. Stay behind to watch the house in case hurricane looters come around. (I'm not kidding--my mother AND my husband were both convinced that people were going to rob us). Also, my mom felt better about leaving knowing that we'd be in the house. Thanks, Mom, for feeling better about us staying in the flood zone.

By the way, three different maps show three different ideas about where exactly our house is in relation to the flood zone. Two of these maps are from the county, even though they conflict.

12. Watch two Netflix and an HBO movie into the wee hours of the morning while trying not to shit yourself every time a strong wind comes swooping in, causing the lights to flicker.

12.a. Talk out loud to the hurricane: Please don't kill the power before the end of the movie.

12.b. Realize how ridiculous you sound talking out loud to a hurricane.

12.c. Realize how ridiculous you are to be worrying about the end of the movie rather than about windows smashing, trees falling, and the house floating away.

12.d Realize that drinking screwdrivers, however weak they are, was probably a bad idea seeing that their proposed effect of taking the edge off was not happening, and instead, the effect of crazily talking to the wind and getting more and more paraniod was taking over.

13. Go to bed.

14. Hope for the best.

A Kite And A Key

I contemplated standing outside, waiting for a lightening and thunderstorm, so that I could pretend to be Ben Franklin and somehow power up my house. Instead, I took quick, luke-warm showers, listened to the battery-operated/hand-cranked radio, played Solitaire in all different forms, played 500 Rummy, played War, lit candles, and talked. These are things I do anyway, except for the shower thing. I like steaming hot showers.

Also, I spent several days chowing down on restaurant food. Every day became a date. This is how the other half lives--the other half being people who can stomach restaurant food daily. I have a strict food regiment. I don't eat like a normal person, so the whole not having a fridge thing threw me for a loop. I don't know how to make meals out of non-perishable items.

The gas-stove was a blessing and a curse. I could heat up just about anything, but I had nothing to heat up. If I made something like pasta, there was no place to put the leftovers, and I'm not one to know anything about measuring and making a small meal. Besides, I don't eat pasta as a meal. I missed my protein terribly.

It wasn't all that bad. I missed a few episodes of my shows, but my shows are also On Demand and online. I missed a few phone calls, but I could check my voicemail from my cell. I used my cell sparingly. My laptop was working and I used it sparingly, too, just not the internet since I had no wireless access since the router was not powered up.

We did not flood. We had no downed trees or wires. No windows shattered. Nothing broken. Nothing injured. These were things to be thankful for. This is what I thought about when I got exasperated at not having power in the house.

Apparently, the LIPA guys came early in the morning, right after I'd left for work. They left right after noontime. They'd repaired two transformers and some wires somewhere. Our block was back on the grid. So I kept up my half of the bargain--I paid my LIPA bill. They still have not responded to my email rant. I don't think they will.