Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Woe is Me (Y1/M7/D29)

The "Woe Is Me" Entry

I'm having a spot of misfortune right now and I just need to vent. Here it is:

(1) I got major food poisoning on Thanksgiving 3,000 miles from my own bathroom;
(2) thus, had to travel on Monday instead of Sunday and fall behind another day in work;
(3) traveled 15 hours on Monday;
(4) beloved family member had major surgery on Monday (very scary);
(5) got a traffic ticket this morning for turning 5 minutes before 9:00 a.m.;
(6) got a letter from IRS saying they think I underpaid my 2004 taxes;
(7) am being sued next week for a quarter of a million dollars by my "friend;"
(8) some dude hit my car last week and there is a coverage issue because he was driving Somebody Else's car and Somebody Else won't return the insurance company's calls;
(9) my car has been in shop for 2 weeks already and no work has been done;
(10) my payroll check was not signed by MY EMPLOYER so it got rejected and the bank just deducted the entire amount from my checking account and started drawing off my savings account and charging me a fee every time and they notified me of this by U.S. Mail while I was out of state for ten days;
(11) in response, threatened to Take My Banking Elsewhere! and bank didn't care and then I realized I would only be inconveniencing myself so I stayed put; AND
(12) Since November 18, have been at home for a total of 11 hours and I am getting on another plane in three hours then will come home for two days then leave town again for one week.

I am so tired. I just want to close my eyes and when I open them I want to be in a bathtub in Maui with a glass of champagne and an island breeze. But instead I have to go to some conference on current developments in securities law, executive compensation, M&A and employment law. I'm sure that'll be just as good.

On the upside, while I was out of town, El Sid learned to pee outside. God bless her fuzzy little heart.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving - Leg 2 (Y1/M7/D25)

Greetings from the Garden State and E's childhood bedroom which is exactly the same as it was in 1987. No kidding.

E and I are at his parents house in beatiful Maplewood, NJ, to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Each fall, here in the States, we are bombarded with festive outdoor scenes depicting the First Thanksgiving. But you know what? It never dawned on me before that renderings of the First Thanksgiving are always outside. And do you know why they ate outside? It could be because there were just too many people. But I think it's because they had no electricity. And when you think about it, electricity makes Thanksgiving a whole lot better. I know, because this year E & I nearly had a very authentic Thanksgiving.

About half an hour before the thirty-plus guests arrived at E's parents' house, the power just went out. Not everybody's power, mind you, just ours. Turns out a tree rubbed through the main power line just before in connected to E's parents house and... with the rain and all... it just shorted out. So there we all sat gathered 'round the front picture window as the police arrived (three cars). The fire department arrived (one full-size truck, and one emergency services vehicle). We watched as they set up flares to close off the streets (the very streets upon which our thirty-plus guests were scheduled to drive up any minute). We watched as they tied bright yellow caution tape around said tree, one telephone pole, and one street sign, forming a big yellow triangular Zone of Danger.

Gradually, the sun set and the neighbors came out to talk to the firemen and we pleaded with the police to open the streets up so our guests could get through. Thankfully, the police decided that the Zone of Danger was no longer very dangerous so they opened the streets back up.

In no time, we had a house full of people (mostly crowded around the front window looking around anxiously for the electric company truck) and not nearly enough candles to light up the whole house. Just as we began to accept that we were having the first Thanksgiving Unplugged since Mr. Edison introduced the light bulb, the electric company truck arrives. I'm not sure, but it looked to me like the electrician just climbed up there and wrapped duct tape around the wire, then flipped a switch on the transformer. It didn't seem like the kind of repair that was... well... safe. Nevertheless, the power came on and we all gave thanks.

So all was well until the next morning, when we all woke up sick with what was either food poisoning or the flu. (Because apparently the power outtage wasn't enough to make this a Thanksgiving to remember!) But you know, it's still nice to be together for the holidays; I'd rather be here without power for a few hours and sick as a dog for a day or two, then miss Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays Y'all!

(And if you have some free time, maybe you want to read up about the electrical innovations Mr. Edison developed right here in The Garden State).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving - Leg 1 (Y1/M7/D21)

Ahoy from Boston! We are visiting my brother on the way to New Jersey. It's cold here (40's) but sunny. I brilliantly packed one tennis shoe (where IS the other?) so I picked up a cute pair of black converse to fill in. We had dinner at this supercrazyfantastic restaurant last night. It's called Figs (a Todd English restaurant). We had asparagus frites and calamari to start. Then a big pizza that was half steak, tiny delicate onion rings, arugala and mustard aioli (amazing!) and half shrimp with an arrabiata sauce. We washed it all down with a tasty pitcher of sangria.

Today we are off for a road trip up the New England coast and we leave for The Garden State tomorrow.

We call to check on El Sid nearly constantly (she's just fine, apparently). Last night I dreamed I was back home and trying to pick her up. Erm... obsessive much? Okay, I gotta run. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Car Accident (Y1/M7/D17)

I had a car accident. I know you are dying for all the details and here they are:

I was the first car in the northbound left turn lane (Car #1). There was a car in the southbound left turn lane (Car #2). Another car was heading southbound in the thru lane (Car #3).

Car #3 decides that he doesn't really want to go thru, he wants to go left, so he gets in the southbound left turn lane behind Car #2. (Seriously, if you are going to read this whole thing, you should probably use your coffee cup for Car 1, your mouse for Car 2, and your stapler for Car 3 in the desktop re-enactment. Spoiler: Bad things happen to Car 3). Anyhoodle...

I proceed to turn left because it's all clear. Just then, Car 3 decides he wants to go thru after all. So he looks in his rear view mirror, sees some southbound traffic, and decides to dart out in front of the southbound thru traffic and into the intersection. Which is exactly where my car was at the time. Of course, because he was looking in the rear view mirror, he saw my GIGANTIC EFFING SUV way too late and crashed into my rear passenger door.

His car was pretty much totalled and his airbags went off and everything. My rear passenger door needs to be replaced but I hardly felt the impact. This is where it gets good.

Car #4 was directly behind me in the northbound left turn lane just prior to the accident. For whatever reason, the woman driving Car #4 hates the very oxygen I breathe. I have no idea why. But anyway, she pulls over, she points a finger at me and screams (screams!) "It's all your fault I saw everything!"

I say to her: "How could you have seen if the intersection was clear when you were directly behind me?"

"I saw everything and so did the other two people in my car!"

To which I respond: "Did you see him [points at offending driver] pull into the left turn lane then drive over the solid white line and dash into the intersection?"

She (still screaming): "That doesn't matter! You were turning left and the left-turn person is ALWAYS wrong! I used to work for an attorney!"

I refrain from telling her that I am, in fact, an attorney myself because I divine that this will make her hate me even more deeply. Instead, I say: "It's up to the insurance companies."

Then she gets her card and gives it to the offending driver (who is fumbling around so much that I start to suspect he has no insurance) and refuses to give me her contact information BECAUSE I AM AT FAULT AND SHE KNOWS IT!

Turns out he didn't have insurance ... BUT it wasn't his car and the car owner had insurance. Whew.

But you know what the real problem here is? He is going to lie. He is going to say he was just driving along minding his own business and I lurched out in front of him. And the witness obviously pull her bizarro Jerry-Springer routine: "THAT WOMAN IS AT FAULT! I SAW EVERYTHING!" My only hope is that Crazy Screamer Lady will recall that she and I discussed the fact that he pulled in and out of the left turn lane.

Tune in next time for pictures of El Sid frolicking at the beach.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sid's Trip to the Dog Park (Y1/M7/D5)

So it turns out E and I are stereotypical new parents (and by "parents" I, of course, mean "people with a puppy"). E is prone to whipping out his cell phone (at poker nights, no less) and passing it around so people can admire the latest photos he has snapped of El Sid. And while I like to mock him for this, I have to admit that part of me actually thinks people want to see these photos; people need to see the amazing cute fuzziness that is El Sid! Dammit.

Well, today we got our first reality check. You know, that moment when you realize that your pup is not actually the first pup ever and is also (possibly) not totally enthralling to everybody else. We learned this hard lesson when we took our dear sweet pup to the leash-free dog park for the first time.

In preparation for this monumental outing, we decided to outfit the SUV with a doggy safety restraining barrier thingamabob so she could travel in safety and comfort. Seventy dollars (and a wee dispute over the Proper Installation Method) later, we have the barrier in place and El Sid is loaded into the truck. El Sid promptly lays down and goes to sleep. Which makes us question whether we needed the restraint at all. I ask E if the mere sight of the barrier discouraged her from struggling to get to the front. He is uncertain. Together, we ponder whether we could have created some sort of illusion of a barrier (that cost less than $70 and was considerably easier to install) and gotten the same result. We decide that despite Sid's suddenly Ghandi-like demeanor, the barrier was a definite necessity (in part because I don't know what I did with the receipt).

While driving over to the dog park we begin saying things to each other like: "Don't you think she'll be the cutest dog there?" "She'll probably draw a small crowd." And we also begin to fantasize about how tired she is bound to get from frolicking with so many other dogs -- how batshit happy she is bound to be at the site of dozens of dogs running and playing. "She'll sleep like a rock tonight!" we say. And we are positively giddy over the idea of Sid passing out cold so we can watch a bit of TV or have a glass of wine without constantly saying: "Sid! Please don't eat that! Sid! No!" and "Honey, can you get that from her? Honey, can you just... hold her for a second so I can get that away from her? Is that my bra? How did she get one of my bras?" Because this is how we spend endless volumes of time each evening.

So we park the truck and unload her and get her off the leash and she just sort of... stands there. "Well," we think, "she's just overwhelmed by all this newness." So we walk her over to a group of dogs and kind of encourage her. Nothing. No dogs will even look at her. She will not approach them much either. Even the other dog owners scarcely look in her direction. Can it be that we have an ordinary dog? Can other people really be blind to all this beauty?

Just then a Husky comes over and tackles her. He seems vicious. She whimpers. We are beside ourselves with horror! Who owns this vicious creature?! WHO?! Is there no security here?! Are we powerless to stop this reign of terror?! And before we can even collect our thoughts the Husky has moved on like it never happened. Even El Sid appears to not care at all that this transpired. We are relieved.

Still, we're a little shaken. We encourage her across the park for a drink of water. We look in the communal water bowl and it seems... well... dirty. El Sid looks in the bowl and looks at us kind of like she's trying to say: "Ee-yew. It's dirty." Just then an Irish Setter comes over and literally gets in the bowl. First he sits in it. Then takes his rump out and leans the front half of his body in it. Then he shakes and repeats. I think he is bathing in the water bowl. I wonder if I smell like wet dog now that my left leg is covered in shaken-off dog-bowl water. I decide to run the hose and flush out the communal bowl and El Sid wisely drinks directly from the hose. I take it as a sign that El Sid is more highly evolved than the Setter.

After about 15 minutes more of just roaming about aimlessly, during which time Sid never once broke into a run or played with another dog, we decide it is time to go back home. Sid seems totally fine with that. Back home, we all settled in for a long enchanting evening of saying: "Sid! Don't eat that! Sid, come here! Sid, drop that right now!"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Random Product Endorsement

Behold the Kong! Sure this toy looks simple (and it is) but Sid thinks it's supercrazyfantastic. They come in a variety of shapes and some have ropes and whatnot. Sid has the size "C" red Kong. You can see that they have a big hole on one end and a small hole on the other. You can fill the cavity with a variety of things and you can also string it up to give your dog something to jump and try to pull down. Personally, I don't want Sid learning that jumping and grabbing things is fun, so we don't do that.

There's a few things Sid appears to particularly love about the Kong. First, she loves the cheez-whiz like peanut butter filling ("Kong Stuff'n Paste") you can put in there. It takes her a good half hour to get it all out (which happens to be the amount of time I need to mop down the kitchen floor without her barking at the mop). She also loves to try and liberate (then devour) the liver-snap biscuits that you can stuff in there. Today, E is taking her to the vet to get her last round of shots (praise the lord! she can finally play with other dogs!). So to keep her occupied in the crate for the car ride over, I filled the Kong with her kibble, then sealed off the big hole with peanut butter and froze it. The frozen peanut butter keeps the kibble in the Kong and it also takes a lot longer for her to eat.

Finally, the Kong is a totally fun toy even without any treats in it. It's rather bouncy but in a highly unpredictable manner (unlike a tennis ball that tends to follow a linear trajectory). Sid is baffled by the bouncing pattern and will play with the bouncing Kong much longer than a tennis ball. So there you have it. It really is the "World's Best Dog Toy."