Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cruising the Icebergs of Family Crazy

My brother and his girlfriend came around for dinner with my parents. Mr. Zoom and I were invited, but Mr. Zoom couldn't go. I ended up agreeing to face the House of Retired Crazy on my own. And you know what? Some magical things happened.

As it is with every family, the same stories came out in almost identical order to every other family gathering. But this time there was a change. My Dad began to tell the story of how Mr. Zoom had asked for his blessing before proposing to me. I knew 90% of the story already, but there was a backside that I did not know.

My Dad was enrolled in cooking classes - he always is - and Mr. Zoom had arranged a dinner for the parents on one of his class nights. Dad gathered the class and let them know why he couldn't be at the next meeting. Upon returning to the class the next week, he told the story of why he had to miss the previous class. He was so relieved that his daughter finally got a marriage proposal at all, AND that it was from someone who obviously cared about doing something respectful. He wanted to share it with his class. He further added that two rather "rough and tattooed" gentlemen in his class later came up to him and said "We are happy for you, because that is absolutely the way it SHOULD be done. The ONLY way." Dare I say Dad felt like a hommie after that.

The most fantastic part about watching Dad tell the story and learning the new information was seeing how very much he honestly adored the fact that Mr. Zoom did that.

I also learned that my brother's girlfriend's dog literally threw up dog food the very first time he came over to her house. He said he's actually shocked that Miss K went on a second date, knowing that most women will heed the warning of a pet over almost anything else. Especially one who has yacked dog food all over the living room upon the initial meeting. The Dog is now attached to my brother's side whenever he can be. No more yacking.

This next discovered fact might give us all a glimpse into why Miss K gave him another chance. Apparently when she was a kid and was served fried chicken, she would try and put the chicken back together on her plate. She was raised on a farm and I guess this activity freaked out her brothers and sisters.

The not so magical also happened. My Mom got a ticket for blocking the sidewalk with vehicles from their driveway. She concluded that "someone from the street called the police and tattled on her." Because everyone knows that police don't patrol randomly on their own or anything. *SIGH*. Mom now has another "warning" to add to her daisy chain of paranoid like disclaimers for visitors: "Watch out for the children". "Don't park there on street cleaning day." "Do you have $150 spare dollars? Because that's how much a ticket is going to cost you if you have blocked the sidewalk."

She had everyone doing the car shuffle even further into the driveway, even though we were all very much clear of the sidewalk in the first place. I swear I saw her wave her hands in restrained victory after the car engines were silenced.

And my parents got dinner on the table the typical 2 hours later than projected. But it was still good.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"When I Was Six I Had a Full Time Job"

Ah, technology. There can't be many people left who don't use the Internet in some way. Because my Mom recently received some photographs from the woman who used to babysit for me when I was a kid in the 70s. By e-mail. And those pictures are of me FROM the 70s. There was some scanning involved. No USB or card to computer digital dump, attach and send.

And my Mom received them, opened them and there was no 911 involved.

Aside from the typical 70s clothing, something hit me about one particular picture:

That's me, on the left - no hat. Babysitter Lady had a son who was one year older. We were watched at their house. Do you see it yet?

I AM PLAYING WITH A BRICK. I am not sure if I'm frosting it like cake, or if I'm actually playing "build a fence/driveway/house." I'd go with cake since most of my childhood was spent eating dirt in various forms after having been convinced by others to do so.

Can my parents actually claim to be surprised that I am not the delicate flower they seem to expect knowing I played with bricks? I think not. And I will now be throwing that around when I've got nothing else to say. Which means every time.

Why did you/How could you/Why would you/ What were you thinking? "I'm sorry. I played with bricks when I was a child"

Like my own personal pictographic Wikipedia of abnormal child development.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

But I Don't Want the Version for the Flibbity Flam 490 Platform. Thingie.

Mr. Zoom has been super busy at the office. They have been working on a huge tech project, so by the 3rd day of not sharing a car to work with him to and from the office, I became a little determined to bring his attentions back around to me. Plus, I knew he wanted a particular video game and would not have had a chance to purchase it on his own yet.

I left the office last night and went to Best Buy. Mr. Zoom wants Rainbow Six Vegas, 2. It was supposed to have come out this week. So I thought I had this little chore totally locked up as a simple stop on my way to the grocery store for more instant oatmeal. I went in and knowing I have no clue where to obtain a video game for the PC (except at Target. I totally know where they are in there), I went to a clerk to ask for help. He said "Oh, I don't think that's out yet. Let's go see the computer."

He clickity clicked around and said "No, that won't be out about a week from now. March 26." I said "Oh, ok. Thanks anyway." But he kept going: "The street date for the PC got pushed back for a month, so it's not coming out until April sometime. But the version for the 340/690/playstation/my grandma's turntable is here. Do you want that one?"

Street date? What? Who? All I know is the words that were fed to me by Mr. Zoom. "RAINBOW SIX, VEGAS, 2 FOR P.C." Going outside the lines in this instance would not be a good idea. And isn't April a lot later than what he had just told me? Because this whole spiel sounded suspiciously like a mathtacular word problem, I just said "no thanks" and slinked away to the DVD section. Totally defeated. NOW what was I going to buy for Mr. Zoom? I knew there were at least two more games on the list he had given the family for ideas from his last birthday, but like a typical Zoom I left that in the car.

Then I saw a copy of "Eagle v. Shark". One copy. I've been looking to buy this movie since I caught it on On Demand. They've always been out of it, and now here's a copy with my name practically written on it - begging me to buy it. So I did. Oh, and I also happened to attract a copy of "Into the Wild", which I haven't seen but did read the book. I'm such a fantastic wife. I go to the store to buy a present for Mr. Zoom and come out with none for him - TWO for me!!

I got into the truck and realized I had Mr. Zoom's list of other games wanted. BUT, I couldn't go back in the Best Buy, because I had just been in there and the language they spoke I did not understand. So I needed another store. Luckily there's a Circuit City just across the street from this particular Best Buy. So I drove like a typical girl over there (I took out a curb on my way) and readied myself for a second attack on Operation Gift for Mr. Zoom.

I went inside and tried to find a clerk. There were two of them having a rather heated debate about cinnamon breath mints and a slammin party for the evening. I asked the one who decided to break from the discussion first to help me out. He couldn't find any of the games I needed on the list, so we went to the computer for more information. "Jibber, I don't have those two games you need for PC. OH, wait, I have a Hit Man Trilogy, which has the two games you want, plus another one." I said "OH, great. I'll take that then."

His response? "OH, no wait. We don't have it here." Of course they didn't.

This clerk tried to uber sell me some other versions and some other games, and I just kept backing away from him saying "nothankyou, nothankyou ...thanks for looking it all up, but really, nothankyou." I backed into the Nintendo DS games, and when I turned around to browse, I found the pictograph game I've been jonesing for - for like a month. My brother-in-law had told me about it and offered to let me borrow his wife's pictograph chip. I declined, because look at my life. Does anyone think I could borrow something from someone and not have it accidentally go down the toilet or something? And these days, things are discontinued about 10 minutes after they hits the store for the first time. So it's not easy to replace stuff. So when I saw pictograph, I made an actual little jump for joy and took it to the register. And bought it.

If anyone is keeping count, that's 3 PRESENTS for me, and 0 for MR. ZOOM.

Next I drove to an alternative Best Buy. Because dammit, I was going to buy Mr. Zoom a game he wanted no matter what. Inside the alternative Best Buy I had the exact same luck. Zilch. I avoided speaking to any clerks - because in my mind - I might have to come back here AGAIN tonight, and I didn't want to burn another electronics store option. I searched the games until I found something that I hoped Mr. Zoom would like. Even if it wasn't on his list. Which is the biggest, fattest chance you ever saw. I chose something that looked like it might work. I then browsed the DVD racks, because I thought I had heard him mention that he wanted "I am Legend" on DVD.

There was a huge display of that movie, right in front of me. I skipped over to it, figuring I had finally won a nod from the luck department. Not so fast, apparently. Can anyone tell me why a DVD now has to come out in 8 thousand flavors? Why there has to be the one with a t-shirt wrapped around it, one with a metal cover, one with a cardboard cover, one with "never before scenes", one with "alternative ending", the "collectors version special edition", one in wide screen, one in sucker buy non-wide screen, one for dvd players owned by ferrets; and then don't even get me started on the versions for game consoles. Of which there are another 600 versions. All this does is guarantee I will buy the entirely wrong version for Mr. Zoom.

Knowing this, I decided to buy the most elaborate and ridiculous version of the dvd I could find. I bought the one that comes in a metal container. And I think it has the alternative ending. Or something. Hell, I don't even know if we own the proper player to play it at this point.

FINALLY, I had gift(s) for Mr. Zoom. Although I knew they were merely representations of my efforts, and possibly things he was going to have to return. So I went home and told Mr. Zoom about my day.

And then I realized I totally forgot to stop at the grocery store for the Oatmeal. HOORAY!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Don't Underestimate The Comfort of Dry Pants

Last night as we drove home from work, Mr. Zoom practiced his routine of scolding all the drivers on the road. It is one of those things that I've learned to expect from him. "Hey, that stick on the wheel? yeah, that's a TURN SIGNAL. USE IT." And his complaints are legitimate complaints.

If it weren't for his routine, poor Mr. Zoom would be forced to listen to my yammering all the way to and from wherever we are going. I'd yell at stuff too.

One of his favorite lines is "What?? Are you just learning to drive TODAY?" He pulled it out as we got stuck in an alleyway by a car that was sideways in the road. Right as Mr. Zoom got the last word out of his mouth, the offending car pulled around and on the back was a huge red sticker "STUDENT DRIVER".

I laughed so hard I thought I'd actually vomit.

I didn't know it at the time, but Mr. Zoom would soon have multiple chances to laugh at me just as hard.

This morning as we were driving to work, I was juggling my large coffee. I've done this a thousand times, and I've spilled a little of the coffee on myself a thousand and 45 times. Mr. Zoom took a corner - and not at any unreasonable speed or angle - and my coffee cup exploded. At least it felt that way. Neither one of us knows exactly what happened, but I was wearing the contents of an entire 16 oz coffee. And it hurt.

Mr. Zoom kept asking if I was ok. All I could say was "pull over. please. pull over. please. stop the car. please." I got out of the car and fought the urge to yank off all of my clothes. STEAM was coming off of both me and out of the car. As soon as I stood up, the burn let up and the cold set in. And the dripping from my jacket, shirt and pants began. I was not only hurting physically, but ego-y - too. I just stood there trying to figure out if I should just cry or try to hold it together.

I felt so bad for having accidentally spilled all that coffee in Mr. Zoom's car. I managed to get some on him too, but it was just his jacket. And if you'd seen the scale of this coffelanche, you'd realize that "just his jacket" is a miracle. I also coated the inside of the car he loves. Because he's the best husband in the world, he assured me that he didn't care about the spill in the car, only my well-being. And he didn't laugh at me out loud.

Mr. Zoom gathered me up and took me home to change. He cleaned up the car and let the office know we'd be late this morning. I spent the time soaking my pants and shirt in cold water. My jacket has to wait for the cleaners - so I laid it out on some plastic. Oh, did I mention that the shirt I was wearing during the wave of coffee was purchased LAST NIGHT? Yeah. Last night I had finally found the perfect shirt to wear with a stubborn color of brown pants I owned - pants I've been dying to find something to wear with for a long time.

After I finally got myself together, we were off to work again. Mr. Zoom handed me a coffee mug thing with a lid on it. I protested "but I don't want to use the retard cup!" You see, when I feel like I've done something stupid - I tend to say things that really are stupid. Mr. Zoom told me to shut it (in a very nice way) and drove me back to the coffee shop. The ladies filled my retard coffee cup for free after hearing my story. I wouldn't have even told them about it, except the shop is small enough and I'm in there every day that they wanted to know why I was back after having already been in that morning. And in different clothes.

As we drove to work, I realized that the money I had intended to use to buy my lunch at the office today was still inside the coffee soaked jacket at home. Start crying. Mr. Zoom gave me another $20 and tried to talk me away from the crying ledge. Then I realized that since we were going to the office late, I'd miss the lunch service that came in the morning to sell lunch to us. Start crying.

By 9:42 when we finally pulled into the office parking structure, I was feeling ok about it all. I had Mr. Zoom, I had alternative plans for obtaining lunch, I had lunch money with me, I had coffee in a cup, and my pants were warm and dry.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You Can Only Push Me So Far, Quirky Genius Man

I've finally found a book I hate. Ok, wait. Let me be honest. The book is far too smart for me, so I hate it.

Mark Z. Danielewski's "Only Revolutions"

Here's what I believe to be the official site for this...this mind scramble of a book.

And I was really looking forward to this book, too. I read and really enjoyed Danielewski's "House of Leaves". Now, I didn't get A LOT of that one, either. But it at least started out with easy to follow text...and then got all weird. It sucked me in and I was invested and interested when the footnotes got out of control and the strange little puzzle pieces started making their way onto the pages.

When I first picked it up Revolutions to read it, I opened it and my heart dropped. It appeared that much of it was poetry. I really don't like poetry at all. Wait, I actually hate it. I wouldn't have purchased this book had I realized there was poetry-like verse through much of it. I had merely picked it up knowing that Danielewski wrote it and a glance at the pages proved that the same strange footnote/text/color/random blocks of text floating about were used in this book as his other one.

I decided that despite the poetry, I'd give it a try. And what I got was an authoritative flick in the brain before I'd even gotten through one sentence. "Why would you try and read me? You should probably go find some form of chick lit."

This is the "Hailey" side. Starts with a big "H". Then you flip the book, and it becomes the "Sam" side. Starting with the big "S". (unless, of course, one should start with the Sam side...but who effing knows.)

Which was fine, I was ready for that.


I was, however, NOT ready for the upside down and all over the place shenanigans to be there from the very first page.

Not sure if you can tell, but half of the page is upside down. PAGE ONE! On both sides!

I went to the all-knowing internet to see if perhaps instead of a story, this was merely a piece of art. Like, a collage. And maybe I wasn't meant to get it. No. Turns out I'm just incapable of following instructions on how to read this book. INSTRUCTIONS. The only HINT of instruction, I found later, is on the inside jacket in the second paragraph, on the "Hailey" side.

If I know I want to read a book, if I've already purchased it, I'm not going to read the jacket. AND, it's more of a friendly hint than instructions: "If you turn the book upside down and swing it around every eight pages, you can alternate the monologues of its two narrators, Sam and Haley, so as to spin them together..."

THANKS A PANTLOAD for that oh so helpful information you buried in the jacket. On only one side.

So let me make sure you understand what has to be done. YOU HAVE TO TURN THE BOOK UPSIDE DOWN AND AROUND EVERY 8 PAGES. Really? Yes. And you know what? If that were all that it took, I'd try to read it. But the combination of having to keep track of every 8 pages, as well as the footnotes and strange ... things on those pages ... AND having to flip it like a flapjack? Fraid not. I'm out.

There is something I really liked about it though. The dedication page reads "you were there." (on both sides) which I thought was fantastic. Without even really knowing why - as most of my life goes.

Another thing I learned about it from the net - because I would have never gotten it on my own - hooray - the page numbers are on the right side, middle of the page in a circle. When you flip the pages like a flip book, the page numbers "revolve" inside the circle. I took a video of it to try and show you. Apparently my white hot anger at this book makes my focus and video skills non-exestent - but you can kinda see it.

Is it a Yo-Yo? Or is it a book? I do not know.

This book can bite my giant ignorant hiney right after the creators of daylight savings time do.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Chuckey. Coming to a Table Near Me.

Why is it that my parents can pull the term Turducken out of the air and talk about it as if it is a ubiquitous main dish...

...yet I can't get them to research snopes about those ridiculous internet forwards they keep reading. And forwarding. And talking about in mixed company.

Definition of Turducken from Wikipedia:

A Turducken is a dish consisting of a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The name is a portmanteau of those ingredients: turkey, duck, and chicken. The cavity of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are filled with, at the very least, a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture or sausage meat, although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird. Some recipes call for the turkey to be stuffed with a chicken which is then stuffed with a duckling. It is also called a chuckey.


I had never heard of a Turducken or Chuckey [I'll be calling it a Chuckey] before speaking to my very own mother today on the telephone. I had to look it up on the internet. Seeing as it is cooking, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. But when she said Turducken, I honestly thought her tremor was preventing her from speaking clearly.

I'm not sure how I feel about this particular food item. I will be facing it in the future at a family gathering. I think I was ok until I read "...stuffed with a chicken which is then stuffed with a duckling." I am the first to admit that squeam inducing food is more psychological for me than anything else. I once couldn't finish a stew I found out was made out of bunny. And only because I found out it was made out of bunny. So ... duckling? I really don't think I'll be able to get that down either. Although it's not certain that the one I'll be facing is going to have duckling rather than duck.

I can't help it. Bunnies and baby ducks are critters I just can't eat. If I were starving, yes. I'm sure I'd eat them at the speed I reserve for chocolate cake - but for just regular eats? No. It doesn't make any sense. I'm fine with eating cow, full grown chicken or even chicken eggs! But you say duckling and I'm out. I'd rather eat one of Dad's other experiments - even if it has peas in it.

Maybe it is the fact that I don't cook, but I really don't see the appeal of making my dinner into a set of Russian nesting dolls.

Also, this thing has got to be one dense mo fo for the purposes of cooking all the way through. Traditionally, my parents can't get a dinner on the table within 2 hours of the projected time because something went wrong. Doesn't a regular turkey take like 12 hours to cook as it is? I'm going to have to sneak in bags of chips to keep this dinner party from becoming the Donner party. I'll have to make up reasons to have people meet me outside for a handful so Mom doesn't think we are ruining our appetites for dinner.

Sometimes I really wish they would just order one of those 300 foot party sandwiches from some shop and call it a day.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

How I Watched All The T.V. To The End. Ow.

It started last Saturday when I woke up. I felt a little wonky, and I had a cough. I went back to bed and didn't get out until, well, I've been out of it but not for long even a week later.

It is the flu and it has kicked my sorry ass so hard that flu's boot is still nowhere to be found. I always thought the flu was really just a super bad cold. I've had it before, but I have never found myself crying when I woke up covered in sweat the way I was this time. I also had body ache. And I demand a new word for the pain that I had. Ache is far too sissy a word to adequately describe what it felt like. Juggernaut comes to mind....

By Wednesday when I had no relief from the fever and ache, I begged Mr. Zoom to take me to the Dr. He had been asking me daily if I wanted to go, but because I already suspected they couldn't give me anything to help me, I had decided to fight it off myself. When the Dr. told me exactly what I already knew, I burst into tears. The last thing I wanted was for someone with authority to tell me that I had to suck it up, because I was in for at least two more days of misery before it was going to get slightly better. I'm pretty sure the Dr. thought I was a drug seeking fiend at that point and was merely disappointed that I wasn't getting anything out of the visit. It had been so long since I had slept a real sleep that I guess I just lost it.

She did advise a combination of over the counter drugs to help with symptoms. She and Mr. Zoom kept trying to assure me that sleep would help. I kept snapping back that sleep wasn't going to show up anymore. I'd already used a lifetime of sleep. And even if it did show up, I'd wake up and feel exactly the same or worse that I did right then. Start crying.

I'm a gem when I'm sick. But you know what? You haven't experienced marital bliss until you and your spouse, both strong willed people, are sick with the same ass kicking sick at the same time, in the same house, arguing over who should take what over the counter elixir is on the table covered with false promises. At one point he was just begging me to try a cough drop. "I WILL" I said, "but you won't see it." "Why?" "Because. If you see me take it, you will have won." He unwrapped it and gave it to me anyway. And two days later while taking out the garbage I heard him say "hmmm. I see some one's cough drop in the trash. Nice honey."

Mr. Zoom does sick a lot different than I. He curls up into a ball and sleeps the entire time. Days, weeks, it doesn't matter. That's just how he does it. I try so hard to get things for him, but he does all of that on his own when he's awake. He just really wants to be left alone.

I sleep a lot, but when I'm not sleeping I'm watching t.v. And coughing, and sweating, and forcing myself to eat. Which is a strange strange thing, let me tell you. When I feel full from 4 forkfulls of steamed rice - something is really wrong.

By Wednesday night Mr. Zoom had contracted the same flu and we were both zombie-ing around the house. Still are, actually. I'm 5 days ahead of him, so I do feel better. Not great, but better. I hope Mr. Zoom feels better soon. I miss having him tell me what to do.