Wednesday, August 26, 2015

with age comes wisdom. and i have lots.

Well, hello.  I'm coming to you live from vocal rest.

Of course, the vocal rest is completely self-imposed and not formally diagnosed by a medical professional, but on my way to work this morning I experienced sudden, severe pain in the vocal cord region during an overenthusiastic rendition of Uptown Girl.

I just can't hit those notes like Billy can.

Anyway, I've officially been 27 years old for one week now, so I thought I'd write a post about 27 things I've learned since I turned 27.

And then I realized that's a lot of things to learn in just seven days and I'm not that observant or ambitious.  So, since 7-2=5, please enjoy a more manageable list of 5 things I've learned since I turned 27.

1- In my younger years, I used to be able to stretch my birthday celebrations for several days on either side of my actual birthday.  Tonight, I got home from work and realized I'd not only forgotten to take something out for dinner, but also to run the dishwasher.  So my feeble attempt at dinner was to serve Matt a slice of leftover birthday cake that I'd cut with a steak knife.  On a paper plate.  With a soup spoon, our only clean utensil.  

I tried to sell it to Matt under the guise of "Isn't this so fun?! And festive?  Birthday cake on my one week birthday anniversary!  You can't possibly expect a girl to cook dinner on her one week birthday anniversary!" 

Fear not, after some creative thinking and a perusal of the freezer contents, we managed to scrape together meatball sandwiches.

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2- My memory is going.  On my actual birthday, I left the house without my wallet.  The really unfortunate part was that I didn't realize I'd forgotten it until I was at the drive through window picking up the birthday beverage I'd ordered.  And then after work I drove seven minutes out of the way to go to the bank and pulled right up to the ATM.  

Without my wallet.  

Because I'd forgotten that I'd forgotten it.

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3- I am suddenly using phrases that are popular among the more senior crowd.  I have three brand new colleagues, all of whom I believe are closer in age to my younger sister than to me.  During a conversation with two of them the other day I used the phrase "burr under the saddle," and one laughed and said, "That's my grandmother's favorite phrase!"


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4- In a conversation with the third colleague and some others the following day, we were discussing the high schools and colleges we attended and when, and trying to figure out if we knew any of the same people.  She said, "Wow, you graduated in 2010?  You don't look like you'd be so old!" 

I am choosing to focus on the part that she thinks I appear youthful, not the fact that she thinks a 2010  college graduate is old.

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5- I'm no longer into pop music.  When I'm not listening to Uptown Girl, I'm listening to Dan Fogelberg.  My current favorite is his 1981 hit, Leader of the Band.

Today I was thinking about how Michelle and I rented a place at the beach for Memorial Day weekend a few years ago because young! And carefree! And then we got down there and turned on the tunes and Michelle said, "Okay, here's a tough question.  In Leader of the Band, where did the singer's two brothers go?"

EASY, one went to Chicago, and the other to St. Paul.

So I think the final thing I've learned is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.


As long as I bring my wallet along.

Monday, August 17, 2015

treadmills should come with air bags

I had to travel for work last week and had reservations at my standard hotel.  I checked in around 4:00 on Monday afternoon and was given directions to room 357 that did not include stairs because even though the hotel is under new ownership, the ground floor is still the third floor and I am still confused.

I settled into my room, and Monday and Tuesday nights were problem free.  However, when I returned to the hotel after my meeting on Wednesday, I noticed that I had no towels or washcloths to speak of, which was unfortunate because I wash my hands obsessively when I'm in a hotel and I had to dry them with the hairdryer.

After my hands were dry, I walked to the phone to call the front desk to rectify the towel situation, the air conditioner made a very loud pop and shut off.

Well, that's convenient.

No AC.

In a hotel room.

In August.

So, I called the front desk and let them know about the towel shortage and air conditioner explosion and was told someone would be right up.  And 45 minutes and 100 degrees later I asked Matt how long he thought was reasonable to wait for a repairman to come.

He said five minutes.

I AM A PUSHOVER.

At that very moment a knock came at the door, and in came Barry the maintenance man with a giant cup of coffee and a can of spackle.  I don't know much about AC repair, but I was immediately skeptical of his tool repertoire.

After Barry gave the AC unit the once over, he said he was going to go downstairs to check the breaker.  Two minutes later, the air conditioner came sputtering back to life in a cloud of smoke and a blaze of sparks, accompanied by the smell of something burning.

It was like my own personal fireworks show.

Barry came back up and said, "Okay! It's all fixed!"

"There were lots of sparks," I said, "and do you smell that terrible smell?"

"Oh yeah," Barry said, "the smell is totally normal.  Since the unit has been shut off for a while, it's just the dust and chemicals moving around again."

Lovely.

Barry told me the room would be back in tip top shape in half an hour, so I decided to go to the hotel gym while I waited for my sauna to cool down and the smell to go away. Please note for the record that I travel for work about once a month and never have I ever used a hotel gym.  This was my first foray into the hotel gym arena.

And my last.

I found my way to the gym and hopped on a treadmill.  I set the speed at my standard 3.9 because, as I always say, why run when you can just walk?

And walk I did, until I was a mile in and humming along to Blake Shelton and the treadmill suddenly shut off.  I almost catapulted over the front because INERTIA.  And I was an object in motion.

I hopped right off that thing and sped back to my room only to discover that I still had no towels and the room had "cooled" to a brisk three hundred and twelve degrees.

After a few calls back and forth to the front desk, I packed my bags and waited for Barry to return with keys to a new room a few doors down.  I unpacked my bags in my new room and and put my slippers on and then went over to the AC to adjust the temperature, and this happened.


Where's the spackle when you need it?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

vote for me

It seems like everywhere I turn these days, someone is talking about the presidential election that's happening in the not-quite-near-enough-future.

Since there's already upwards of twenty candidates, I figured I'd toss my name in the ring too because what's one more?  In fact, I've had my platform established since I was in third grade, a whopping nineteen (ohmygosh I'm old) years ago.


If I were president I would make everyone live in a manchine.

I meant mansion, obviously.  My spelling has improved since 1996.  And my nine year old self was evidently VERY IMPRESSED with the idea of a mansion because I initially wrote "castle" and crossed it out.

I would make there be seat belts on the bus.

I would make all Catholic schools, but half day.


I think it's as good a platform as any, really.  See you on the campaign trail.

Friday, August 7, 2015

i can't pass along any math info but i do have other advice

Well, my brain was fried this morning.  I had a few big meetings yesterday and then a terrible thunderstorm kept me up last night and by this morning, I felt like I was in a fog.

I gave work the old college try, but I had to complete a report for my boss to justify how many staff I need next year, and it involved math and I just could not make it happen.  So I sent Matt a text that said, "S.O.S.  If it takes five paralegals 40 hours each to work on 350 cases, how long would it take six paralegals to work on the same number of cases?"

I know.

That's sad.

But on my best day I'm no mathematician, so after a bad night of sleep and an early morning, a math equation with a tricky variable was a mountain I could not climb.

Matt responded that it would take six paralegals 33.14285714 hours to complete the work and so I wrote, "Using the same math, it would take six paralegals 33 hours...." and just crossed my fingers that when I clicked send my boss wouldn't reply and ask what math I was referring to exactly.

Because then I'd have to admit that I'd outsourced that particular task.

Anyway, tonight I decided to open my notes app to get some post ideas, because I knew I had a bunch of old notes in there where I'd jotted down things down I wanted to remember to write about.

And here is what I found.






So basically, I've got nothing, except a lot of confusion and a questionable situation involving the first lady, a jury, and a guillotine.

However, I do know what "wedding wardrobe forget stuff" means.

A friend of mine is getting married later this month, and she asked if I had any advice for the big day.

And of course, I did.

When Matt and I got married, our reception was at a beautiful old inn and restaurant.  We stayed there overnight after the reception, and had reservations there for brunch the next morning.

And the brunch there is FANCY.

So, the morning after our wedding, as I proceed to get dressed for my first fancy brunch as someone's wife, I discovered that I had really fallen short in the packing department.

Because here is what I had in my bag: a pair of brown knockoff Ugg boots, a royal blue turtleneck cable knit sweater, and a pair of old, thin, black leggings that I typically reserve for cold, snowy days to wear UNDER MY PANTS because I am firmly in the camp of "leggings on their own are not pants."

Since skipping brunch was obviously not an option, it was either wear my wedding dress or wear my unfortunate getup.  I felt that the wedding dress would draw more attention, so I decided to wear the leggings and turtleneck sweater.  I figured that I would be fine as soon as we were seated.  From the neck up I looked totally appropriate.

So, we entered the restaurant, led to a table, and then the hostess said, "Brunch is served buffet style."
And the buffet table was set up right in the middle of the formal dining room.

I have never perused a brunch buffet so quickly.  I think I grabbed about eight pieces of french toast and some of bacon and rushed back to my seat before any other diners had the chance to notice my questionable outfit and absence of substantial pants.

I felt like Jo in Little Women, when she stands too close to the fireplace at the party and burns the back of her dress and has to shimmy along the wall so no one sees.

So my advice to my friend, the bride, was to make sure to pack an appropriate, complete outfit in your overnight bag.

And marry somebody who is good at math.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

my favorite niece

I mentioned a few months ago that my brother and his wife were expecting a baby.  The baby was due August 3rd, although I was selfishly "predicting" that the baby would be born on July 30th so that I could take the day off and "miss" a training at work.

Well, my brother called me while I was in a meeting on July 9th.  He didn't leave a voicemail, so I quickly texted him to see what was up.


SOUND. THE. ALARMS.

My brother kept me posted throughout the afternoon and by the time I got home I had so much nervous energy that I changed the sheets on our bed, rearranged the kitchen cabinets, went for a long walk, and ironed three pairs of shorts.

I've never ironed shorts before in my life and I haven't since.

I didn't know what to do with myself.

Finally, when there was no baby by 10:00, I sat down to paint my nails.  I painted my toes blue and my fingers pink because we didn't know if the baby was boy or girl and I am an equal opportunity aunt.

And then at 11:00, when there was still no baby, I repainted my fingers blue because even though I thought girl all along I was having an eleventh hour change of heart.

And THEN I got into bed where I laid wide awake the entire night except for maybe twenty minutes when I fell asleep and had a dream that it was TWIN BOYS.

I woke up at the crack of dawn and picked my sister up and we walked laps at the mall because there was nothing left in my tiny apartment to clean or organize and did I mention the nervous energy?

Then we went to Panera where we got iced caramel lattes, and just as we sat down my brother texted "Not much longer now."

I looked at Emily and said, "DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD LEAVE? I FEEL LIKE WE SHOULD LEAVE."

She wasn't about to argue, so we left.

We went to my parents' house and Emily made me a grilled cheese sandwich and I ate exactly one bite.  And then I made the executive decision that we needed to go to Target and pick out a boy outfit and a girl outfit.  We picked out the cutest outfits in the store and then we walked around.

And around.

And around again.

And then we discreetly hid our outfits on the very back of a rack and walked next door to TJ Maxx because I promise you we had looked at every piece of merchandise in Target.

Twice.

And when we looked at every piece of merchandise in TJ Maxx, we went back to Target, re-secured our outfits, and began walking through the purse department for the fourteenth time when my brother called and said, "You have a niece!"

We left for the hospital as soon as my dad got home from work and even though baby A had to spend her first night in the NICU, we got to go up and see her.

Sidenote: we had to scrub in to the NICU and I really felt like I was on Grey's Anatomy.  As I was sudsing up at the sink and saw a doctor pass by I really had to resist the urge to yell, "Push one of epi! We're going to need a CT, and page cardio!"

Anyway, to the surprise of no one, she was the most adorable little peanut in the world.

My sister and I went back to the hospital for a few hours the next day and got to hold our new favorite family member to our heart's content.



When baby A is older, I'll apologize for my blue nails in these pictures.

But I hope she will appreciate that even though my nails were the wrong color when I met her for the first time, my shorts were crisply ironed.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

the best and easiest homemade iced coffee


I've never done a "how to" post before, but I have to share this.

Iced coffee is one of my favorite treats, and Dunkin' Donuts is my favorite place to get it.  In fact, I've written about my love of Dunkin' Donuts a time or ten on this blog.

I'm not exaggerating.

There was the time they falsely advertised pumpkin flavored beverages.

And the time Emily had to low brow it at DD instead of her usual Starbucks.

And of course, the time I incorrectly counted my change and didn't have enough to pay my bill and so I pretended I did not speak English.

Unfortunately, a large iced coffee at my beloved DD runs upwards of three American dollars, and since I haven't won the lottery yet I decided I should figure out how to make my own version at home.  After many trial runs, I think I've finally perfected my recipe.

Most recipes I found online involved cold brewing coffee for days, but I didn't think that would work for me because I already have an economy sized box of K-cups and also, I do not own the cheesecloth required to strain the coffee grounds, nor do I know where to buy it.

First, brew hot coffee, add a tiny bit of sugar, and freeze in ice cube trays.  I make a bunch at once and keep it in a bag in my freezer.  I like to make some cubes big and some tiny so that I can fit as many as possible in my cup.

A little caffeine maximization, if you will.

When I wake up each morning, I fill a glass with the coffee cubes and pour milk over them.  I add a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk if I'm in the mood to take a walk on the wild side.

Or really, a walk of any kind.  Because S.C.M. isn't exactly low calorie.

I stir it all up and let the ice cubes melt while I dry my hair and do my makeup, and it's perfect by the time I'm ready to walk out the door.

Since I've been making my own iced coffee, I haven't even had the urge to visit Dunkin' Donuts.

But obviously, I will have to go back sometime.  I'm going to need new blog material eventually.
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