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Archive for November, 2010

In text message parlance, FML. 

My broken down vehicle, which had to be towed, in the rain, on Thanksgiving Day, to the shop, needs to make another visit to the doctor.  On Friday evening, tooling about in my recently repaired vehicle (to the tune of $300ish), the “check engine” light came on.  Further investigation and a diagnostic hookup revealed — are you ready?  — that I need a new catalytic converter. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever had to replace a catalytic converter, but suffice it to say, ouch.  I think it may just be possible that I will spend more on my car in one month than I ever have in the 65 months I have owned it.  Needless to say, this does not make me happy. 

Needless to say, I have been trolling the classifieds, dealer websites, and eBay Motors for a respectable replacement. 

Still unanswered:  whether or not the bank would loan any money to me, considering my spotty payroll record. 

And also, after four days of being able to sleep in, getting out of bed before dawn this morning was quite difficult.  Just saying. 

I’m trying not to be a Debbie Downer but damn it’s hard. 

— Mox

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Perhaps it’s the result of too many years working retail over the Christmas holidays, but I am one of those people who absolutely refuses to participate in the madness known as Black Friday.  While my sisters-in-law were poring over the ads at the post-meal table yesterday, crafting a plan of attack, I sipped my wine and politely declined their invitation to join them to shop at such an unholy hour.  I like shopping — when I have disposable income, which hasn’t been recently — but I don’t enjoy crowds and I especially don’t enjoy rudeness.  Some would call me antisocial and unadventurous (and some did, ahem) but I like to view myself as sensible and to me there is nothing sensible about standing in line outside of a store for four hours in 26-degree weather.  I mean, really. 

Belief in Santa around here is hanging by a fraying thread.  I thought last year might be the last year for Santa, but this year Spawn dutifully wrote a letter to the Big Guy enumerating the three items that Santa should bring.  We long ago established a “three present rule” for Santa gifts — hey, Baby Jesus only got three gifts back in the day.  There are ways this strategy can backfire, however, and this year, it’s backfiring all over the place. 

Of the items that Spawn is asking for, two are completely sold out, out of stock, and otherwise forever gone.  And yes, I checked eBay; I could get it if I had a spare $600 to $800 lying around.  Considering that on the way to the in-laws yesterday my car decided to crap out on the highway, the answer to that would be:  NO. 

On the list this year:  learning to live with disappointment. 

Since my retail days, Black Friday has been the day that I traditionally stay home and begin decorating for Christmas.  And since I am a pedestrian today (because my car had to be towed to the repair shop, and oh, did I mention it was raining cats and dogs at the time) and it is a bone-chilling 30° (my bones get chilled at 60°, I am a hothouse flower) I think my best plan of action is to not venture out AT ALL today. 

— Mox

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After a long, hot, and painfully dry summer — so dry that we had a burn ban for the entire month of October (no smores for us this year) — the fall rains have come. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I am glad to see the rain. 

I am not, however, particularly happy to see the cold temps that come along with it. 

It’s no secret here, if you’ve read my drivel for any length of time, that I am not a fan of winter.  Or anything that I deem “winter” which includes most of late fall and early spring.  Basically, if it’s not at a bare minimum of 70° and sunshiny, count me out. 

The thing that I hate most about winter in this part of the country is the sheer gloom of it all.  Most of the winter here is overcast, wet, and on average of about 40°.  Which means we don’t ordinarily get big swings in weather, the kind that dump snow and push the pause button on life and then get followed by a few days of brilliant sunshine to enjoy it all whilst pretending you’re a kid again.  (It’s true, I secretly love snow days.) 

Most of winter here, being the gloomfest that it is, makes Mox a crabby girl.  What can I say, seasonal depression is a real bitch. 

Today hasn’t been the most glorious of days, since it’s been raining cats and dogs all day, and cold to boot.  I fixed my hair this morning (see previous post) and it was all for naught considering my raincoat has a hood. 

Still, all this rain means that our burn ban has been lifted and we can all be a bit more relaxed about things like people flicking lit cigarettes out of their car windows onto the dry grass along the roadsides.  This calls for a song: 

This is me making lemons into lemonade.  You’re welcome. 

— Mox

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Sometime during our annual beachfront vacation this past October, I hit the wall with my hairstyle. 

Ordinarily you would think that short hair = easy hair, but you do not have my hair.  I have a lot of hair, and while I’m not complaining about it (since I have a number of contemporaries who have thinning hair it would be disingenuous), the fact of the matter is, a lot of hair can sometimes be less of a blessing than you would think. 

One of the things I love about vacation is that I get to lay off my routine, and that includes hair and makeup.  Not that I do a whole lot, you understand, on your average day, but I at least put in some effort.  Vacation means at the most I put on a little bit of eyeliner and run a brush through my hair.  Without the regular attention I give to my hairstyle, particularly with regard to hairspray, it gets pretty unruly.  And so it was on our vacation this year.  I. was. done. 

I came back home and put my hairdresser on notice that I am looking for a new hairstyle.  What I want is this: 

Cute, right?  Spunky, short, and easy.  Me to a T. 

But there is a problem to this plan. 

The problem is, in a nutshell, that I am not Jamie Lee Curtis.  I do not have beautifully graying hair, nor do I have a thin face with high cheekbones. 

I have more of a round face.  A round face tends to look rounder when you cut hair that short, or otherwise pull the “frame” away from the “picture.” 

I didn’t think I had a round face, not really, until I saw a few pictures of myself here recently.  I have a round face.  Not moon-round, necessarily, but fuller in the jawline than I would like. 

And not that I want gray hair (that day is coming, I am sure… Spawn is not a teenager yet) but my hair is pretty much one color.  I’ve never colored it. 

With all the turmoil in the world today, here I sit, concerned about my haircut.  We all should have such problems. 

— Mox

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Over the weekend I went to a hotsy-totsy wedding.  The bride’s parents and grandparents are multi-millionares and my husband is one of their many employees, so it was incumbent upon me to put my best foot forward. 

Here is where working an ultra-casual job in an office full of guys and being on the mommy track comes back to bite me in the butt. 

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I probably should go buy a dress for this shindig, and it’s a good thing I did.  When I looked in my closet I discovered that I do not own any winter dresses.  Summer dresses, sure, since I wear dresses and skirts a lot in the summer.  But in the winter I am all about being warm and comfortable, and there is just not anything warm or comfortable about a dress, hose, and heels. 

It’s honestly been so long since I’ve shopped for a dress that I was a little verklempt about it.   I loaded my arm with several likely contenders and tried them on, all of them.  I made Spawn go with me and endure the sight of me wiggling into and out of all these dresses, keeping me away from the frilly ones (for I am not a frilly girl) and the ones that made my butt look big.  I purposely stayed away from the obvious party dresses, since chances are I’d never wear a party dress more than this one time, and instead settled on a red sheath-style sweater dress with a portrait collar.  It did a pretty good job of balancing what I am beginning to recognize as my mother’s hips.  Add to that some off-black hose, black pumps (because even though high heeled boots would have been apropos, again, I would not have worn them again) and my handy-dandy sequined black party clutch (don’t ask how long I’ve had it)… good to go. 

this dress, without the funky-weird belt

I felt a little like a character in The Great Gatsby, that much-maligned book of my high school English class, you know, in the club and yet so very far out of it.  Somehow we managed to get ourselves seated at the same table as all the big suits in my husband’s company — the CEO, the VP of Operations, the VP of Marketing, and so forth.  Good thing I’d had a glass of wine and remembered to bring my A-game chitchat. 

While there was a wide range of fashion points in the 300+ guests at the reception, I could see that the default setting was very much “Cocktail Party” and to make matters worse, the VP of operations is from Turkey, as is his wife.  His gorgeous, gorgeous wife.  Tall, willowy (after two kids), with a mass of black curly hair piled on top of her head, kohl-rimmed eyes, and a shimmery one-shouldered cocktail dress accessorized with over-the-top glitzy jewelry.  And who do you think she sat next to at dinner? 

Gorgeous women often do not know that they are so striking.  It is the plainer of women who are forced to stand alongside of them who recognize it.  And even though I overheard the CEO tell my husband that he had “married up,” I still felt short, fat, and very, very plain. 

I am by nature not a fan of the dress-up-and-make-small-talk circuit, so I for one was very happy to see the evening begin to devolve as it tends to do when there is an open bar. 

— Mox

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I do not understand people.

One of the things about moving into a new place is a whole new batch of neighbors, of whom you must learn their names and witness their charms and foibles. 

The new office has a few neighbors, not as many as before, so it shouldn’t be hard. 

One of our neighbors is an older lady, who, from the moment I met her complained about being sick.  She went up and down the stairs while clinging to dear life to the handrail.  And where was she going, up and down the stairs? 

Why, to smoke a cigarette.  Of course! 

For the life of me, I will never understand people who smoke.  If you are reading this and you smoke, I do not understand you.  Why would a person not feel well and continue to smoke and not draw a conclusion about those two factors?  Like, maybe there might be a link?  Possibly?  Ya think? 

My mother volunteers at our local hospital.  Whenever I’ve been able to visit her on the job, I am amazed at the people standing around outside the hospital, smoking.  Some are patients.  Some are nurses.  What the hell? 

I am not ignorant to the process of addiction.  I understand that nicotine is addictive and the body craves what it is addicted to.  I understand that an addicted body is a body that will rebel when you try to stop that addiction.  (Ref: chocolate) 

Addiction, by its’ very definition, is “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming” and the “persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful.”  Addiction is never about things that are good for you. 

Intellectually, I think that people who smoke know that smoking is bad for them.  And psychologically, a good many of these people probably feel like it’s bad for everyone else.  Because, “I feel fine!” 

Never mind the fact that it takes longer to recuperate from whatever epizootie you contract.  But what really gets me is that sick people don’t seem to make the connection between the two.  Or consider that the smoking might make it easier to contract the epizootie in the first place. 

The human mind is a mystery to me. 

— Mox

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There are things in this world that I am not particularly keen on doing.  Among these things are actions such as sky diving, public speaking, and running a marathon.  Chances are you will not see me doing any of these things, at least not without a gold-plated reason. 

Add to this list:  moving. 

The main reason my husband and I are still living in the house we bought 15 years ago is that we do not want to box up our crap and move.  When we bought our house 15 years ago, we moved from an apartment that was decidedly smaller.  In the house, we had whole rooms with nary a stick of furniture in them for a good bit of time.  We used lawn chairs in the living room.  It was a newlyweds’ dream. 

Over the years I/we have filled the house with assorted furnishings, hung pictures, replaced carpets, and so forth.  Our house is now full.  Occasionally I go on a tear and box up a bunch of unused stuff and donate it, but beyond that we are done.  And it ain’t going anywhere. 

However. 

No one ever said anything about not moving my office. 

Which is exactly what I have spent the past week(plus) doing. 

I do not like moving.  Have I said that already? 

I am a stay-put kind of person.  I like to settle in.  All my stuff has a place to live, I know where it is, and I can lay my hand on it whenever I need it.  (Mostly.)  I like not having to think about the location of my sunglasses, my car keys, or my purse, which frees my mind to try and keep track of all the other stuff I have to deal with, abstract things like appointments and errands.  You want to really mess me up?  Move my stuff from its’ usual location and ask me to try and function.  Can’t be done. 

So when my boss decided to downsize our latest digs, I was less than enthusiastic.  Moving meant having to box up the contents of my desk, including the active work that resided on top of it, packing away my books, and in general dismantling the structure of the office I had occupied for three years.  I was comfy there. 

Not to mention the fact that moving means a lot of liftin’ and totin’. 

We had help with the big stuff, the desks and file cabinets and stuff like that, but everything else we loaded and moved ourselves — all the chairs and tables and pictures, loaded into our SUVs and hauled ourselves.  And moving forces you to deal with the stuff that you’ve shoved aside in closets.  There were many trips to the recycler. 

I came home many nights with sore muscles and aching feet.  I ate like a horse, slept like a rock. 

And then of course once we got to the new place, there was the matter of figuring out where to put everything, particularly since we have less space than before.  Which has begat more trips to the recycler. 

And also, I had committed to throwing a Halloween party during this time period.  So I had to make party food, organize games, and clean my own house.  There is/was not enough space in my brain for all of it. 

I have lost my sunglasses, important paperwork, bills that needed to be paid, and my mind. 

I have tried to be patient and positive about this move but so far my pessimistic nature has won out. 

The bright spot?  I am two blocks from my massage therapist. 

— Mox

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