Wednesday, October 28, 2015

the whole nature vs. nurture debate also annoyed me

Well, it's just another wild night around here.

And by wild I mean Matt and I just spent a considerable amount of time comparing our respective pronunciations of the word "Alabama."

I pronounce the third "a" as I would in flat or cat, but Matt pronounces it like spam or clam.  He tried to back up his argument for his pronunciation by saying that it's how Florida Georgia Line sings it in their songs, except he pronounced Florida as "Floor-i-duh" instead of "Flar-da" which is how I say it AND IT'S LIKE I DON'T EVEN KNOW HIM.

I think diction and pronunciation is endlessly fascinating.  In fact, my family has endured countless hours of listening to me pontificate on the belief that if we're going to pronounce train as "chrain," we either need to change the spelling or change the way we say it.

After Matt had burned out on the  topic, I broached the subject with Emily.  We discussed our pronunciations for bagel (beggle), syrup (seerup), and water (wooder).

And just when I thought we couldn't analyze those words any longer, Emily told me that when she uses the word water in a sentence, she says wooder.  But, when she says the word by itself, she says wah-ter.

She is so complex.

Speaking of being complex, or maybe the opposite, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts since I've been working from home so much.  I was in the market for some new ones, so this weekend I checked out the top rated podcasts of the week, and decided to subscribe to one called Limetown.

It.  Was.  Fascinating.

It's about the investigation surrounding three hundred people who disappeared ten years ago in Tennessee under very mysterious circumstances.  Since it was only ten years ago, I thought I'd be able to recall hearing about this case on the news, but I couldn't.  So yesterday I decided to do some serious Limetown research.

And right away, I found out why there was no news coverage.

Because it's fiction.

I'd been duped.

It reminded me of my freshman year of college when I had to take a psychology class.  As part of the class, we had to participate in three studies run by grad students.  I signed up for my first one, trekked all the way to the graduate studies building, signed in, and took a seat in the waiting room.

Another student who was waiting struck up a conversation, and we made small talk as we waited for our turn.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  I began to get frustrated because didn't they know my time was precious and I could be in my dorm painting my nails or taking a mid-afternoon siesta in the library studying?

When the grad student leading the study came out and called my name, I said goodbye to my waiting room friend and followed the grad student into the meeting room.

"Well, you can go!" he said.  "You're all done.  The student in the waiting room was part of the study.  We are observing how people react to strangers in various stressful situations."


I did what any angry eighteen year would do in that situation which was to march right out of that psych building and call my mother.  I was FURIOUS.  I felt betrayed.  I hated knowing that I was being judged on what I said and how I acted without being told ahead of time.

I bet that same grad student is the man behind the Limetown podcast.

And that's why I wasn't a psychology major.

But maybe I should've studied linguistics.

Monday, October 26, 2015

the week i joined the fixer upper bandwagon

I wasn't around much last week because I spent the week at my brother's babysitting my niece.
 I know what you're thinking.  It's a real shame that she isn't cute.

Annabelle and I spent five days together and I'm pretty sure this is how she felt about me leaving.

Since Annabelle is only three months old, she did a lot of sleeping, which means I did a lot of TV watching.  I got so caught up in a Fixer Upper binge that it almost made me want to go buy a house that needs a brand new kitchen and to be completely updated.

Oh wait.

I've done that.

I also watched countless episodes of The Pioneer Woman and it brought back memories of the days when Michelle and I discovered her show and watched it constantly.  At the time, we considered a microwaved Healthy Choice chicken margarita dinner to be the height of culinary sophistication, but the Pioneer Woman made cooking sound so easy and delicious, and really, what meal isn't delicious when there are multiple sticks of butter involved?

There was one occasion when Michelle got so caught up in a moment of culinary inspiration that she got up from the couch MID-EPISODE and went to the store to buy ingredients for a salsa recipe.  The recipe called for eight cloves of garlic, but Michelle used eight BULBS of garlic which significantly and unfortunately altered the taste.

It turns out that more butter is better, but not always more garlic.

Lesson learned.

I got home from my babysitting adventure on Friday afternoon and Matt had the day off since he had gone to our house inspection in the morning.  It was a beautiful day so we decided to head to the park for a walk.  And it was glorious, except for the part where Matt pointed out all the dead animals he saw.

My mom and I walk on the same trail pretty regularly and I've never noticed dead animals, but five minutes in and Matt spotted a dead mouse and feathers from a bird that he hypothesized was plucked out of the sky by a hawk.

I didn't know that hawks could grab hold of other birds while they were flying and Matt said, "Oh yeah.  One time I saw a hawk grab a blue jay with its talons."  

Just as I felt a tear in my eye thinking about the poor blue jay unable to escape such a terrible fate, Matt whispered, "It was pretty much the coolest thing ever."

Matt and his lack of sympathy for the animals at the bottom of the food chain was going pheasant hunting the next morning.  When we got home from our walk he started to get his gear together and the next thing I knew he appeared in the living room wearing an orange hat, orange vest, gloves, and his brush pants.

I thought he was so excited that he was going to sleep in his outfit, but it turns out he just wanted to make sure he had everything and that it all fit.

Basically he was a boy standing in front of a girl asking her if his brush pants looked okay.

They looked very rustic but unfortunately Matt didn't get any birds on his hunting trip.

If only he had a pet hawk.

Friday, October 23, 2015

it could be their way of saying happy friday

I received an email this morning from the management office of our apartment complex regarding the previously mentioned water situation in neighborhood.  While I was appreciative of the reminder so that I wouldn't make the mistake of drinking brown water again, what really made my day was the wording in the closing.

Behave.  Instead of behalf.

Maybe management is also trying to send us a reminder for the weekend.

Friday, October 16, 2015

home sweet old-fashioned home

Well, Matt and I found a house.

We made the offer last weekend and got the news on Wednesday night that as of December 4th, we will be homeowners.  I'm kind of shocked that we were able to decide on a house because we went to the grocery store last weekend and you should've seen us try to pick out a pineapple.

It took an embarrassingly long time to find one that looked perfect, and Matt, because he comes from a long line of men in the produce business, has some unusual rituals to determine whether or not fruit is ripe.

Let's just say I will never forget the first time I saw him enthusiastically slapping cantaloupes in the fruit aisle.

Due to the prickly nature of pineapples he smells them instead of slapping them (which I prefer), and his sniffer found a great one because we got home and raved for days about how it was THE BEST PINEAPPLE WE EVER TASTED.

Here's hoping we found the best house too.

Although there was no slapping or sniffing involved in that decision.

It does have one bedroom with orange shag carpet.  And there is so much wallpaper.  It is like stepping into a time capsule.

Pretty soon I will have to face the reality of packing up our apartment, and I predict that it will probably go the way packing always does for me.  I start out incredibly organized and by moving day I'm tossing completely unrelated items into the same box and then wondering why two weeks later I unpack a box containing snow boots, cinnamon scented decorative pine cones, and serving utensils.

We got the house news late on Wednesday night and then I couldn't fall asleep because all I could think about was Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter paint in the living room and dining room.  While I see gray as a calming neutral, Matt sees is as gloomy and suggested yellow for the main areas.

And I reacted with an impassioned speech about how I've been dreaming for a long, long time about how I want to decorate a house and I envision a house with COOL UNDERTONES NOT WARM UNDERTONES HOW DARE YOU EVEN SUGGEST SUCH A THING?

So bring on the paint chips.  And the rake for our shag carpet.

And the wine.

Monday, October 12, 2015

a story about water and unrelated photos

I found out in the middle of last week that I can't drive for work until the state budget is passed.  So, I have a lot of work from home days in my future.  Unfortunately, not only is there less for me to do at home than there is when I can go into the office, but I'm learning that being home all day by myself is not my favorite thing.  The FedEx man came Friday afternoon to deliver shoes I had ordered and I wanted to have a ten minute conversation with him because I HAD NOT SPOKEN ALL DAY.

So, after three days home last week, I woke up this morning ready to start my week at home on a positive note.  I filled up my water bottle, which happens to be black, with ice and water, and drank it as I ate my breakfast and checked my email.  And then I washed my hands in the white bathroom sink, and bubbling out of the faucet came disgusting brown water.

It was at that moment I remembered the flyer from our landlord telling us not to use the water this morning because they were doing pipe repairs.


And so I drove to my parents' house and drank clean, clear water to my heart's content.

And tomorrow morning I will pour my water into a clear glass.

Can't fool me twice.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

clever title here

It seems like everywhere I turn these days, people are talking about how much they love fall, and sharing pictures of colorful leaves and cozy sweaters and steaming coffee mugs with the Anne of Green Gables quote, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

Well Anne, I have to disagree.  Admittedly, the weather this week hasn't been too bad, but after three straight days of cold rain, last Friday I looked at the attorney I share an office with and said, "Well, it's official.  I'm going to be in a bad mood until May."

On my way home from work I remembered that I didn't have a dinner plan, so I crossed my fingers that there was a frozen pizza in the freezer, or at least a few stray hot dogs in the back of the fridge.

When I got home, I immediately changed into my warmest clothes, and just as I was grumpily wrapping myself in a quilt, Matt walked in the door with two bags from the grocery store and told me not to come into the kitchen until dinner was finished.

Don't have to tell me twice.

And a little while later he served salmon with a honey dijon reduction, a salad, and fresh asparagus.  And then for dessert, homemade crab dip and Fritos.

Now that is my kind of dessert. I'm not a cake person, not even on my birthday.  Stick a candle in a bowl of Doritos and I'm a happy girl.

We did some (rainy) house hunting this weekend.  We still haven't picked one, but there are some prospects and I've been thinking about paint colors for weeks.  In fact, in a moment of unbridled home improvement enthusiasm tonight, I declared myself Captain of the Paint Patrol.

Listen.  No one was more shocked than I was when those words came out of my mouth.  I painted my bedroom a lovely shade of sea foam green when I was in ninth grade, but since then the only thing I've painted is my nails.

On a semi-weekly basis.

It's like I've been training for 13 years to paint a house.

On Monday I woke up to not only some sun, but also a notification from Facebook that Michelle and I had been Facebook friends for nine years.  

Nine years and just as humble as ever.  

My very first memory of Michelle is from freshman year of college.  I was in her dorm room and she was raving about this new calendar she got that was keeping her so organized and on track.  I was so inspired by her organizational breakthrough that I asked if I could see it.  She pulled it off the wall to show me, and there was only one thing written on that calendar, a standing appointment every Monday from 8-10.  It said, "The Bachelor."

Facebook put together a little collage of our friendship, and the pictures on my page were of both of us.  At my wedding.  Down the shore.  Riding posing on a bicycle built for two we found in the shed at Matt's family's beach house.

And then Michelle sent the pictures from her collage.  And aside from two pictures of our apartment, they are all pictures of me.  

Me at my wedding.  

Me holding Michelle's niece.  

Me putting the star on the Christmas tree.

It's like Michelle is my personal paparazzi.

I can only hope she's available when we buy a house to come and photograph me in my role as Captain of the Paint Patrol.  

I'll try to schedule the painting sessions around the Bachelor.