Friday, March 28, 2008

Two for the Money, Three for the Show

Lately I’ve been house hunting, due mainly to the fact that I don’t have a current project to occupy my time and house hunting seemed like the way to go. Normally when my boredom level reaches critical mass I take up a new time killer- like making plans to move to Maine or obsessively looking at plane tickets to The Netherlands. I don’t actually plan on doing any of these things, I just waste valuable time researching them. Time that could be better spent not eating cookies so as to give myself a better chance at fitting in that godamn bridesmaid dress. But I digress.

While I’ve had the most success at finding possible homes on the generic MLS search engine,
craigslist has been the most amusing. I was introduced to the site back in 2002 when I lived in New York and my roommates and I had what you might call a spat. That spat had me dreaming about baseball bats and the kind of damage I could inflict with metal vs. wood. In my dream I decided on wood, because I thought I’d get a more satisfying crunch when I hit a homerun with their kneecaps. That will forever remain in Dream Status, because otherwise that’s known as attempted manslaughter by reason of the Twinkie Defense. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I am not a good candidate for jail. Jumpsuits make me look bloated.

And so became one of my top timewasters after a coworker found me on the flower bleeding from my ear because I’d just found out how much a broker charges to get you into 450 square foot apartment. She took pity on me, poured me a glass of vodka and pointed my browser to that fairytale place where brokers don’t rip flesh from your upper arm as payment.

But the houses are just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall scariness that can be found there. Need a small ass? Get a
mini donkey! Ever thought about moving to San Francisco to live it up with a Caddyfastic light peanut butter man with zero setbacks, check out brotha brotha. Don’t bypass those errors of grammaticalness. Then there’s a packrat whose wife has probably threatened him with bodily injury if he doesn’t get rid of those Car & Driver magazines from 1977. And 1983. And 1992.

Or I could just buy this house. Or should I say houses?

Ok. Duly noted.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Two months ago I got a text message from my friend Becca with a picture and a tagline that said, “I just got engaged!” The picture could not have been more disgustingly adorable, what with the Magic Kingdom castle in the background and rosebushes at every conceivable angle. Both of them were smiling like they’d just eaten opiate-laced sno-cones and her hand was placed strategically on his chest, which is girl code for LOOK AT MY FUCKING RING, BITCHES. Her future husband could not have picked a better place to propose to her because if anything personifies Becca, it’s Disney World in its truest form. Not the scary teenagers in Pluto costumes or the eunuch-esque voice of Mickey Mouse, but that magical tingly sensation you’re supposed to get when you’re a kid and you see the sparkling castle in the distance where Tinkerbell might live. Becca is Tinkerbell, if Tinkerbell were a recovering hippie with a tendency to wear jingly ankle bracelets and frolic through fields of flowers.

Right after the engagement announcement I got word that I’d be playing the part of bridesmaid. I was kind of excited, because if Becca is getting married it’s the real deal. I met this guy over Thanksgiving and to say I approve would be an understatement. Not that she needs my approval- but it sure is less gut-clenching when your friend isn’t marrying a total douche. It also means that there will be less surreptitious sipping from the whiskey flask, which would lead to fewer grain-fueled speeches about how their love is like a bb gun: not too painful and rarely fatal, unless you shoot them right in the eye.

The only issue I have is my selected bridesmaid dress:
Pretty, no? It is. Except when I put it on and it zips up to my bra strap, wherein my upper chesticular region starts to laugh and says REALLY? TRY AGAIN. This is a problem, because J. Crew doesn’t make clothing above size ITSY and I got the largest size they make, knowing as I did that what fits in the waist does not fit in the top, and the top must definitely be covered. Can’t upstage the bride in the middle of her wedding vows with a boobtacular revolt.

So I set out to correct the problem. I ordered a second dress from ebay with the hopes of using the extra material as… something. A wrap? A jacket? A poncho? Because that’s what it’s going to take to move this dress away from the gaping maw of Slutville. A fucking poncho.

When I realized that the task at hand involved things like seam rippers and sewing machines, I thought maybe I could just rectify the situation with some undergarments. Have you ever seen those really ugly garments that look like modernized corsets? I bought one, but not for my waist. I thought that maybe, possibly, if I hooked and lycra-ed them into submission, it might give me a few more inches of zip-able dress. It does. But it makes me look like I’m smuggling really large and strangely poofy dinner plates. Not my most flattering look. So I bought a cardigan, hoping to cover up the inches of material that steadfastly refused to meet in the middle. Also not my best look. I look like I’m about to serve tea in 1956 and, oh, I’m sorry, let me get you a plate for that, I’VE GOT ONE RIGHT HERE IN MY BODICE.

I have from now until April 26th to come up with a viable solution. I’ve even enlisted the help of my mother, who will be lugging a sewing machine up three flights of stairs because the one I’ve got is broken, possibly due to the last time I tried to sew something and I ignored the telltale angry machine noises and let the needle lodge permanently in the plastic siding.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dude does not look like a lady- rather, lady sounds like a man.

Right now I’m sitting on an eight hour long conference call and if you think I’m listening, you’re right. I’m listening with my magical multitasking skills to three people carry on three different conversations. I can’t tell who they’re talking to but that’s part of the fun. Are they talking to me? The wall? That crazed chinchilla in the corner, staring beadily from his hiding place inside the laptop bag?

Lately I’ve been on lots of these calls and sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I get to fly to The Frozen Tundra to bodily participate in these meetings. I use the term “participate” very loosely because, hello, I am Southern. Southern Folk don’t waste their time on all-day meetings, especially when there’s this handy-dandy newfangled thing call THE INTERNETS and THE ELECTRONIC EMAIL. So mostly I nod intelligently and pretend to take notes. During bathroom breaks I check to make sure my face is still holding up its Moderately Interested look because there’s always the chance I’ll get tired and slip into my WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK face.

Last week was more interesting than most because my boss, Leotissimus, was requested to join the call. It’s not that his mere presence made it interesting because it’s generally real hard to spice up a conference call when you’re stuck on the ass end of it, listening via the telephone in your office. It’s more that Leo has this innate ability to insert his foot square into his mouth, all the way down his esophagus where his toes wriggle around and rip a hole in his spleen. Like that one time he accidentally walked in on a woman pumping breast milk in one of our unused offices, right after someone had told him that a new mother was going to be using it to pump in peace. He just wanted to make sure the door was locked. Imagine her surprise.

He’s normally pretty good with the shit we give him, just like the rest of us. Nobody is immune. My other boss once sent an email to the wrong [redacted] that just said “Kreatur wants a kiss!” That sentence has a long and sordid history and one day I might explain it. But it has nothing to do with my boss wanting a kiss, which is pretty much what The Other Robin assumed. I once returned a phone call from our then-Vice President, like, THE Vice President, the one that’s right under the president, the one that blinks twice and shit sings down the toilet, with “TAG, YOU’RE IT.” In my defense I didn’t know who he was because much like Dick Cheney he just kind of faded into the background, on purpose, so he could surprise unsuspecting employees and make them piss themselves with fear.

The thing is, we all do it. We all do asinine things and later regret that our mother didn’t shoot tequila during her pregnancy because at least then we could claim mental defect. It’s just that here, at The Undisclosed Location, we never let you forget it.

So last Thursday I was sitting in a room with fifteen very unhelpful Yanks while Leo dialed in from Little Rock. We’d had about two hours worth of document revising when the person to my right started talking about how System X was going to communicate with System Y. During a lull in conversation, Leo popped in with “Who was the gentleman that was just speaking?”

Pretty innocuous, right? But the room goes silent and since no one appears willing to speak up, I lean into one of the strategically placed microphones and tell Leo that the last person speaking was Tanya, but Robert was the one a few minutes before. Leo says, “No, the gentleman. The gentleman that was just talking about System X.”

That was pretty much what I was afraid of, so I whipped out my blackberry and sent him a message that said “NOT A DUDE.”

But I’m 700 miles away and there’s probably a 2-3 second lag time between when I hit Send and when he reads his message. Three seconds that could have saved us all a lot of tension. Meanwhile he digs the hole deeper, summarizing what “the gentleman” was just talking about, just to make it clear that he wants the name. Of the gentleman. That was just speaking.

And then The Universe intervened and he finally read his crackberry message. His response? “Oh FUCK.”

It’s a tribute to my upbringing that I kept a straight face.