Tag Archives: Just Gotta Laugh

The Battle to End All Battles (or just to wash my underwear)

A few weeks ago, I awoke to find a note on the kitchen table from my roommate. Hastily scrawled on a piece of scrap paper were the words that were to bring war to my cozy little apt. Ugly, unrelenting, all or nothing war: The washing machine tore my blanket to shreds. I think it’s broken.

Let me start with a little background. We moved into our fabulous new apt with the knowledge that we would no longer have to drag our unmentionables out into the cold, cruel streets of New York in order to clean them. We would never again have to drag bags of freshly-pressed clothes up four flights of stairs. No elevator? No problem! We were also blessed with a combo washer dryer (much like New Englanders are blessed with below-zero temperatures in the winter.) This one little box of a machine washes and dries your clothes. In the same compartment. No, really. It does. Or is supposed to.

I found it curious that when we signed the lease, the realtor said no fewer than 17 times, “The hookup is the management company’s responsibility, but the maintenance of the machine is yours.” Hm. Strange that this point was so important to make. But, mere weeks later, standing with a bucket of towels and a user’s manual I found online clutched in my hands, I realized that it wasn’t strange at all. It was genius.  Sauron, Darth Vader, fill-in-your-own-favorite-bad-guy-worthy genius.

About a week after finding that note, I broke into my “time to do laundry” underwear. You know the ones- the stuff you bury deep in the bottom of your sock drawer in the hopes that no one will ever find it. Faced with five of the unsexiest pieces of clothing ever known to man and the decision between going to a laundromat or calling a plumber, I made the most intelligent choice. The obvious one. Fix it myself.

 

I was pretty sure the blanket had clogged the machine. Why not run it once without clothes in it to unclog it? Brilliant idea! So simple! I can do that! I happily put a little detergent in, hit start, and sat down to enjoy a cup of tea. The calm before the storm. I went back into the bathroom and was met with the ominous sight of a water and suds filled window. Lovely. My roommates both at work, I was left to sort it out on my own. I had found a how-to manual on the maker’s website, and realized that no one had ever cleaned out the filter. It’s probably just clogged! I bet if I clean it, all of the water will drain immediately. (There are moments in your life that you look back on your decisions and imagine a world where time travel is possible. Not so you can change it. No. So you can go back to that moment and bitch-slap the hell out of your past self just to get even.) The filter was located at the bottom of the machine. I carefully began to unscrew it, and was stopped by a geyser of water hitting me in the face. Dripping with suds and half-dissolved pieces of blanket, I quickly closed the filter, and spent a good ten minutes staring at the machine, willing the water to evaporate. After this inexplicably did not work, I  began the arduous process I fondly like to call: holding-a-1-billion-lb-machine-at-a-forty-five-degree-angle-with-one-hand-while-scooping-sudsy,-blanket-filled-water-out-with-a-travel-coffee-mug-into-a-tupperware-container-and-getting-the-entire-bathroom-soaked-in-the-process. After thoroughly cleaning out every nook, cranny, and filter, I ran the machine again, confident in my plumbing skills. I was a powerful, resourceful, independent college graduate! I could do anything! I…shouldn’t have started the machine again. It quickly filled without even the slightest hint of draining. And so it went, and has gone, for about two weeks now. But will I call a plumber? No. I will fix this myself.

…that’s actually a lie. I’m most likely going to call a plumber. Especially after my roommates and I thought the tub was clogged, poured a whole bottle of Drano into it, and then realized that the bathtub drain switch was on. It just seems that, after that, a professional is probably a solid choice.

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Kicking and Screaming. Thrifty-style.

About two weeks before I moved to NYC, my dad informed me that he would be buying me a pepper spray ring, and that I would wear it whenever I was walking

Attractive, I know.

alone at night. (If you don’t know what these are, they are little rectangular “rings” that have a switch on the side- flip the switch, pepper spray shoots out of your jewelry. Into someone’s eye, hopefully.) I said, that’s nice of you, I love you, but no. (Really, they’re that ugly.) I guess he took my comment to heart because about a week later, he handed me an Ila Dusk. This is a British invention (where pepper spray is illegal) that is supposed to serve as a stylish way to protect yourself. The device looks like a charm you attach to your purse. Pull out the chain at the bottom of the charm, though, and a 130-decible female scream erupts out of the accessory, effectively screaming for you if you have been struck dumb. This, I could live with. I hooked it to my purse and forgot all about it.

Until a few days ago. I was shopping at a thrift store in my neighborhood, searching for flannel shirts for my new serving job. It was a small store, cramped and packed to the brim.  As I was exiting the dressing room, I bumped into a banner and knocked it off of its nail. (Thank you, 10 + years of ballet for my excessive amount of grace and poise. ) I whipped around, bent down and quickly picked up the banner. As soon as I touched it, the thing started screaming at me. Loudly. For no apparent reason. My first thought was, “Wow, they put an alarm on a banner? Maybe it’s an antique…” I hung it back on its nail, hoping this would quiet the screaming…but nope. The banner continued to shriek at me. At this point, I had managed to garner every shopper’s attention. My cheeks began to burn as I stared hopelessly at the stupid piece of fabric, looking for some sort of hidden button or lever, anything that could get it to stop shrieking. That’s about the time I started to realize…the screaming was coming from me. Sort of. I looked down, and there, hanging on the outside of my purse was the Ila Dusk. And it was missing it’s chain.

I began to frantically search the surrounding area, employing the help of several

This is my Ila Dusk. Polka Dots. Cute. Non-threatening. Until you pull the chain. Then it’s a harpy. A wailing, bitchy harpy.

concerned shoppers, all the while keeping my thumb pressed against the speaker. Of course, 130 decibles doesn’t really stop because of a thumb, and the thing was going to keep screaming for ten minutes if I didn’t find the chain and reinsert the pin. While I searched, I kept up a constant stream of “Sorry”‘s and “It’s my personal alarm”‘s to the pretty steady flow of curious passersby. The screaming was so loud and, well, disturbing, that people were coming in off the street to see who was dying. Who was being killed. Who was having an emotional breakdown. With each person, my flailing and apologizing grew more frantic. I combed the rug with my eyes, praying for a glimmer of silver. Finally, after what felt like an eternity (and what was probably closer to a couple of minutes), I saw it. There, caught on a hanger, hung my chain. I tugged it off the hanger and reinserted the pin. A silence the likes of which I have never known filled the room, pressing in on my ear drums. My entire body was shaking. I could feel every eye on me. Of course, being the suave, quick-witted, intelligent person that I am, I had the perfect line to smooth this whole fiasco over.

“Whoops.”

Hopefully my mortifying experience saves some lives- everyone was rather interested in the device that had effectively burst their ear drums. And hey, at least I know it works, right?

Blame it on the Zodiac

When it comes to making decisions, I am generally not the person you want to turn to. I credit this entirely to the fact that I am a Gemini- this is not because I am a true believer in the whole Zodiac signs thing, but rather because it’s an incredibly useful and available scapegoat for why I run to the hills whenever anyone asks, “Where do you want to go for dinner?” Or “What CD should we listen to while we get ready?” OR the ever ominous “What should we do tonight?” You get the picture. Indecision is my most impossible trait, and it rears it’s ugly head 24/7. (I’m gonna blame it now as to why I haven’t written in three weeks- i.e. what should I write about?)

One of the big side effects to indecision is insomnia. You see, once I make a decision, however hard it is to make, I am fine. Golden. This is what I’m going to do, and so now I’m just gonna shut up and do it. But the minutes, hours, days, WEEKS preceding that moment? I’m like a crazed, sleepless, twitchy ball of fun. And since I am in the process of figuring out all sorts of fun things like where I’m going to live, who I’m going to live with, when I’m going to move, and what I’m going to do for a job, I haven’t been sleeping much. With all this extra time on my hands, I was faced with yet another decision: What am I going to do at 2 AM?  So, I thought I would compile a list of things to do if you, like me are ever faced with insomnia:

1. Reread books. – Let’s face it. You’re still tired, even if you can’t sleep. Reading new books, therefore, is pointless. You’ll have to reread every page about 30 times before anything sinks in. 

2. Watch countless hours of Netflix.- You are about to be SO caught up on every t.v. show you’ve ever watched, thought about watching, tried to watch but didn’t have the time, or swore you would never, ever watch.

3. Call/text other insomniacs. – Friends, family, exes, neighbors, that girl you did a project in school with once…the possibilities are endless.

4. Write in a journal. – This makes for some pretty entertaining reading in the morning. Or whenever you’re not tired anymore.

5. Clean. – I know, I know. This sounds awful. But when you’re about to fall over, cleaning can be very conducive to stress release. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself. In any case, your house will never look better.

6. Try to name state capitals.- …nah, I’m just kidding on that one.

7. Cry out to the sleep gods for mercy. – I mean, what have you got to lose, right? Besides your dignity.

Well, I hope this helps you sleep. It helped me… since I created this list at 4 am last night, and then finally crashed. Maybe that’s a good number 8- make lists.

Got something to add to the “to do list for insomniacs”?

How Getting Cold Feet Can Attract the NYPD.

Well, the hopeful move-in day is getting precariously close. Less than a month. And I’m starting to experience the beginning stages of about 30 different incredibly strong emotions, all vying for my attention. Currently topping the list are terror, dread, fear, anxiety, nervousness, insecurity, and an extremely persistent joy. As I was sitting at work today, amidst several teetering piles of contracts and grumbling co-workers, a memory hit me square in the face. One that I think fits my overall emotional state when it comes to NYC.

About two summers ago, I traveled to the city with a friend of mine from our acting gig in upstate New York. We had a few days off, and thought we’d go stay in her apt, eat some sushi, drink some very strong Margaritas, and watch a disturbing amount of True Blood. Now, my friend (we’ll call her the Apothecary, after her character), lived in a very nice part of the city, so I felt immediately safe and relaxed. Her roommate was in Austria for the summer; we had the whole apartment to ourselves. Girly activities ensued. It was absolutely fabulous.

The next day, the Apothecary and I are happily asleep, the AC drumming in the window, when we are jolted awakeby a knock on her door. A quick glance at my cell phone shows that it’s 7 am. Odd. Before we can react, the person knocks again- which leads to the unsettling realization that the knock is coming from right outside her bedroom door. Oh goody. We’re going to be murdered, but at least the guy is nice enough to alert us.  The door opens roughly, and in steps a cop. Holding a gun. Pointing at a space directly between the floor and where I am lying on the bed.

“Stay where you are! Put your hands above the covers! Do you live here?” 

“Yes, I do.”

” I need to see some ID.”

Before the Apothecary can so much as nod her head, a second cop enters, demanding to know if we live here. As I had been sleeping about two minutes before, and also didn’t happen to live there, I sat, petrified and absolutely silent. A great deal of scuffling around could be heard coming from the living room and the other bedroom. And just as I’m starting to think this is all a dream, yet another of NYPD’s finest enters the room. Aggressively. With a gun drawn. Delightful.

The Apothecary begins reaching for her purse in slow, measured movements; and that’s when we hear a confused female voice calling her name.

The Apothecary stands up uncertainly and walks into the living room, where the pieces start to click into place.You see, a friend of the Apothecary’s had been  watering the plants for her while she was gone. She was an EMT and worked odd hours. Her shift had just ended, and so she was coming over while she had a minute, and noticed the window was open. This made her a little confused. A tad bit concerned. Then, she arrived at the door to the apt only to find it dead-bolted. Now she was downright alarmed. And instead of calling the landlord, she called the cops. Who forced their way throw said window, knocking it out of its frame and onto the exact plant that was needing to be watered, broke the dead bolt in their hurry and confusion (apparently they never open a door from the inside), let in a few more cops, and woke up the Apothecary and I, thinking we were intruders.

Sheepish smiles and apologies were offered from the people who had, up until a few seconds ago, had their guns drawn at us. Then, the seven or so cops who had been standing around in the cramped living room trekked out the door and down the stairs, as I watched with utter disbelief.

And so, that is where I’m at. On the verge of an amazing, fun experience, but aware that I might get woken up by a bunch of gun-wielding cops. Yeah, I think that sums it up.

 

 

The Curious Case of the Lap Top and the Yoga Mat

I like research. Not the I-had-no-choice-as-to-my-research-topic-and-now-I’m-reading-a-book-about-the-Donner-party-and-I’m-squeamish type of research (true story: thanks Mr Mozden). I’m talking about looking up how to julienne a cucumber in the middle of cooking dinner research. Or  which type of jeans would look best with your body research. Or, my most recent endeavor, how to bend yourself into a pretzel research.

It all started when my parents bought my brother a nautilus system for his birthday. Now, I’ve used one of those before, but this thing is HUGE. With lots of  protruding metal bars and huge circular weights that you have to load on yourself. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the war I would inevitably wage with this thing.

And the war was short. It won. Hands down. After 20 minutes of staring at it in slight confusion, I opted to start looking into yoga. Relaxing and a good workout.  And without all of the scary equipment. I’ve gone to a few different yoga classes, but never really had the time to make it a regular thing; so why not do it myself? Let the research begin.

I spent two days just looking through different poses, tips, sequences and stretches, hoping it would all get absorbed into my brain before I hit the mat. On that third day, I knew it was time. And so, armed with a yoga mat, a bottle of water and my laptop, I descended the stairs to my basement, traversed through my cat’s lair (really, though. It’s his spot. And if you don’t acknowledge it, you’re a goner), and found my way to the exercise room. About a half hour later, I’d attempted one pose, and then, afraid that I was doing it wrong and would somehow pull every muscle in my body, I stopped, opened up my laptop and began to look up again exactly how to do it the right way.

This carried on for another forty-five minutes before I collapsed onto the mat, a ball of frustration and tension (so much for yoga being relaxing). As I reached for my laptop to look up cool down techniques, I was hit with a strange thought- maybe researching something while you’re doing it is a bad way to go about things. Maybe it’s just a clever way of procrastinating. Maybe your laptop is what’s holding you back from succeeding in holding the warrior pose longer than 10 seconds. Maybe…

…I should probably look that up.

The Awkward First Date- a Classic in the Making.

I have no false notions as to my capabilities when it comes to first dates: it is there, whether “there” is a restaurant, a movie theater, or a disco roller-derby spectacular, where my awkwardness thrives. Fine. I accept this. It is my cross to bear in this life.

Which is why I am still confused as to how I ended up asking temp boy to save me from being the third wheel on my sister and her husband’s movie date.  Clearly, I had been hit in the head by some blunt object earlier in the day.

Even so, I found myself rushing home on Wednesday to get ready for my date. Or double date, rather. I hadn’t been on a real first date since my first college boyfriend, during freshman year. Four years to let my awkwardness just fizzle away, making room for the new, sexy, confident me, right?

No. No, unfortunately that was not to be my path in life. And so, I humbly offer you my step-by-step guide to making sure your first date is as awkward as possible.

1. Don’t exchange phone numbers. Even immediately after you ask him on a date, when he’s taken his phone out and is fiddling with it in an obvious attempt to get you to freely offer your digits, don’t do it. This will ensure a good fifteen minutes of craning your neck in what must be a graceful, sophisticated way, looking for your date and praying you didn’t get stood up.

2. If going to see a movie, buy your ticket before he arrives. This will allow you to hop around on the other side of the roped-in line while he purchases his ticket. And for the love of God, make sure not to choose to go with the other party (when on a double date) if they go to get food while your date is waiting in line. This gives you ample opportunity to stand in the middle of the theater lobby, alone, without any sort of activity to take your mind off of how everyone is staring at you.

3. Go to a comedy. That way, you laugh so hard, you snort. Loudly. In his ear. He will find this adorable and charming. As will everyone else in the surrounding area.

4. Make sure to park far away from your date to ensure a quick, abrupt goodbye. This creates an air of importance and mystery about your person.

5. Upon said goodbye, be ready to shift forward and backward uncertainly for a few seconds. Do this at a far-enough distance as to make it seem as though you do not want a kiss goodnight. That way, everyone, including families pushing their way past you, can feel equally awkward. Do not, under any circumstances, lean in for so much as a hug.

6. Make your exit unforgettable by practically running to catch up with the other half of the double date.

And thus did I once again enter the dating world, awkwardly and ready to make an impression.  I will say, however, that all is not lost with temp guy. The next day at work, we were back to flirting and joking around, all awkwardness forgotten. Maybe he found my obvious ineptitude charming? Whether an awkward second date is in our future or not, I am content, for now, to know that I have not scared him off entirely. This time.

Any awkward first date stories?

My Fourth of July (or how I learned to drown in a kayak.)

Fireworks, of any variety (romantic or, you know, the kind that actually explode in the sky), are quite possibly my favorite thing in the world. Top five at least. There’s always been something about lights for me, whether they be twinkle lights, Christmas lights, sparklers, or good ole’ fashioned stars. I’m immediately enthralled. In fact, I have a habit of picking restaurants based on who has the best string of lights decorating the outside of their building- but I digress. Fireworks. They’re fucking awesome. And so, when one of my best friends from high school asked me if I wanted to kayak down the Charles River to watch Boston’s 4th of July fireworks from the water, I said “yes.” Actually, I think I squealed, jumped around a bit, and then said, “Are you serious?!,”  about 500 times…but “yes” is pretty much what all that conveys.

So, Wednesday morning I made the trek to Boston, armed with a flashlight, sneakers, and little to no knowledge of how to kayak. The day passed in a happy blur of window shopping, book store browsing, and some really strong margaritas, until finally, it was time to make our way to the launch point. (Side note-how cool is it to get to say that? “It was time to make our way to the launch point.” Bad ass. I feel like an astronaut. Or someone who kayaks. Either way-  bad ass.) After the quickest safety course I have ever been a part of (“Here’s where you go to see the fireworks, don’t get too close to the barge, stay to the sides or you’ll get run over by rich people on boats.”), I was given a life jacket, an oar, and, finally, a kayak. My friend ( let’s call her Specs- she has awesome glasses) and I were going to be rocking out in a double kayak for the night, so we jumped in and started trying to steer away from the launch point (again, bad ass). After a few minutes (around 30 or so), we got the hang of it, and sped along the Charles toward some point that was approximately 4 miles away.

Let me pause for a moment here to talk about upper body strength. You don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of a river in a kayak to start thinking about incorporating some push ups into your daily routine. Lesson painfully learned. Now, back to the story.

After about an hour of rowing, Specs and I arrived at the viewing point.  Clusters of boats, kayaks and canoes sat in the water, waiting for the show to begin. As we reclined in our kayak, I started to notice bursts of light out of the corner of my eye. Lightning. Oh goody. It was around this time that we thought to ask a fellow water dweller what the estimated start time was: 10:30. It was 9.

Thunder began to start echoing across the water. we paddled forward to look for Specs’ friends, who had fallen behind in a four-person kayak. As we passed under a bridge, I became aware of the crowd: thousands of people lining the shore. I couldn’t help but smile. We had the absolute best seats in the house- the barge that held the fireworks was directly in front of us. We sat, listening to the Boston Pops, floating back and forth, waiting. And then, about five minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to begin, it started to sprinkle. Tiny droplets of warm rain. Now, we were already soaked from the decent amount of flailing it had taken us to reach our destination, so a little bit of rain was nothing. Child’s play. I turned to joke with Specs about the ridiculousness of the situation- sitting in a slowly filling kayak in the middle of a crowd of equally endangered kayaks and canoes- when a burst of color made my head snap back to the front. Without any

I cannot even put into words how gorgeous these fireworks were…so here’s a picture!

forewarning, the fireworks had begun to fill the sky. My jaw subsequently dropped. I had never seen anything like it. The sheer size of the fireworks was stunning, not to mention the variety of shapes and colors that exploded across the the harbor in a continuous stream. (Heart-shaped fireworks. HEARTS!) As I stared, slack-jawed, up at the show, the rain started getting heavier. And heavier. A torrential downpour of lukewarm rain pummeled our little kayak (and my face), creating a wall between me and the fireworks. The sane reaction would have been annoyance, concern for the kayak, or even a shuffling of clothing to try to slow the attack. But me? I laughed. I doubled over in the kayak, overcome with the insanity of my evening. Kayaking 4 miles to sit in a rain-filled kayak, watching the most beautiful fireworks I had ever seen.

The rain eventually slowed, and then stopped, while the fireworks continued to get better and better. As I watched the finale, a barrage of colors that literally filled the sky, I felt a wave of gratitude and awe crash over me. How lucky was I to be experiencing this?

And then I remembered…I still had to paddle 4 miles back. My arms became dead weight at the thought, silently protesting the hour-long rowing party that was about to begin.  Needless to say, Pocahontas was lying when she sang “just around the river bend.” Bitch.