Update

You know, I’d really like to post a nice, long-winded update about all the stuff I’ve done in the last couple of weeks, like how I cracked the "copy-protection" on the brand-new Japanese-only release Matthew Sweet CD, or how A got yelled at for wearing cargo pants and blogging at work, or how I mastered the art of refilling the minutes on my prepaid cell phone. Take your pick.

Instead, I will suffice with a brief note: Tomorrow, I am taking one day of PTO (Paid Time Off). Not to lounge and relax. Not because I’m ill, since I’m not. No, I’m taking tomorrow to drive two hours to Cleveland to see my Memaw. You remember, Memaw who has lung cancer? Yeah. Well, Aaron and I were planning to go visit her on our way to Easter dinner at his grandparents’ house on Sunday, since they’re in the same suburb, but… the step-Gary says the doctors don’t think she’ll last that long. So, to see my Memaw alive one last time, I’m driving out for the day.

What a cheery fucking thought.

Of course, this brings forth all sorts of thoughts in my head, both deeply spiritual and grossly morbid. Some at the same time. Maybe once I see her and get these things sorted out, I’ll post some of them.

Oh, yeah, and I have duties/homework now:

  • Go through my genealogy work and find out Memaw’s parents’ names for sure. (Granny, Memaw’s mother, was adopted by her step-father. Legally or not, we’re not sure, and we can’t remember which was which.)
  • Locate the hi-res digital file and hard copy of the photo of Memaw in her early 20’s that I cleaned up a few years back, for use in the obit and funeral program.
  • Come up with a suitable phrase ("tag line"?) for Memaw’s headstone.

*gulp*

I guess I’m lucky that I haven’t had anyone really close to me die yet. I mean, I’m almost 27 and haven’t had a grandparent kick it yet. Granny, Memaw’s mother, died when I was a Freshman in high school — I hadn’t seen her for a few years, though, since we’d moved up from Florida where she lived. Tom (my first stepfather, Mom’s husband while I was in 7th & 8th grade) died after my Freshman year in college, and that was pretty rough on me. He was the only quasi-Dad I’d ever known, and even though they’d been separated since I started high school (the divorce took a year or two), we still were close. I’d called to ask if he could help me fund a new-for-me car, and his landlord/employers had told me he’d died of a heart attack a week before. That was rough. Neither of those cases gave me time to prepare, though. At all.

But Memaw… damn, she changed my diapers. She created my imaginary friend (apparently when I didn’t want to wear said diapers, she’d put them on "Madge," and I’d get jealous). She composed my very own lullaby ("Memaw loves the Tinky-Poo" …don’t ask). She lived with us — that is, with Mom and me — for as far back as I have viable memories. I used to consider her my second parent. Some people have "Mommy and Daddy" — I had "Mommy and Memaw."

This isn’t helping.

I mean, damn, she’s 70. That’s reasonable. Still under the curve, but reasonable, especially for a smoker and former drinker. I just wish I could have shown her her great-grandchildren. Not that Aaron’s impromptu compositions aren’t great, but I would have loved to have Memaw’s Own Lullaby for my first little one. In a few years.

Memaw love the ‘Tinky Poo
‘Tinky Poo love the Memaw too
Yes she do
I know she do
She told me so a little while ago
With a twinkle in her eye
I know she wouldn’t lie
She said, "Memaw, I love you too"
Yes I do
You know I do…

Pretty little girl go to sleep at night
Wake up in the morning with her eyes so bright

Grow
and
be pretty!

Can I Borrow Your Muse?

My friend Kris burned me a CD of Vegas Video 3.0 this weekend. I didn’t want it so much for its DV-editing capabilities as for its audio multitracking. I’ve felt like composing again, for the first time in about four years — I’m planning to hook up my keyboard, and to make some drum tracks on my computer, and to sing into my built-in monitor mic, and make some generally low-fi stuff. When my first song is done, I’ll give a cookie to the first person who can name the artist whose style I’m imitating.

Assuming I ever get it done and feel OK enough about it to post it…

Today at work, Mary (the upper-middle-aged, slightly flaky one) insisted that I must still be losing weight. "How do you do it?" she asked. I felt like telling her that she only notices that I’m losing weight when I wear two particular flattering shirts to work, but I knew she wouldn’t listen. So, I told her what I’ve been doing: walking at least once a day and cutting back on sweets. That’s all I’ve successfully done, anyway. I must admit, though, that it made me feel good to know that someone thinks I look better than I did. Maybe my weight is redistributing itself as I’m losing a little at a time.

Now comes the bitchy part of today’s variegated blog entry. I know A doesn’t read my blog, so I’m going to be blunt and blatant. [Note: I did edit this after the initial post, to back off on the animosity factor. Just in case.]

A blogs at work. A lot.

Yesterday, I decided to write down a play-by-play of all the ways she stalls from doing work vs. all the ways I stall from doing work. Loni, the third cog in our wheel-o-processing, never stalls from doing work. To give you an idea of how our office is set up: I sit at a computer and run checks through a little machine that reads the MICR numbers at the bottom. (This is what I mean by "processing" work.) If I spin in my chair to face my left, there’s another computer there where I fax and e-mail reports to clients, and log what accounts I’ve processed so far. On the other side of this computer, in the next desk/cubicle over, is Loni. Loni and I face the same wall while we’re processing. Behind Loni sits A. Loni and A sit back-to-back while they’re processing, but face the same way — away from me — when they send reports on their other computers. The end result of this setup is that I can see over A’s shoulder when she’s blogging on the computer she should be sending reports from.

Anyway, yesterday’s tally: nine blog-checks. Minimum. Because, see, while I’m processing, I can’t see her unless I do an over-the-shoulder glance just because I hear her keyboard going clickety-clack. And she’s not always posting; sometimes she’s checking to see if anyone’s responded to her post, or she’s checking other people’s blogs, or she’s taking surveys, et cetera. Me: yesterday, I e-mailed Aaron twice and looked at weather.com three times (mainly to discover I wouldn’t be taking my lunchtime walk due to snow).

Today’s tally: twelve blog-checks. Minimum. These were shorter but more frequent than yesterday’s. I only checked weather.com twice, and didn’t e-mail Aaron at all.

I guess my main rant about this is, if you’re going to blog during the workday, you forfeit your right to comment or complain about how long work is lasting. Because we work until all the work is done. Only in rare circumstances can we lock up work and just get back to it tomorrow.

On the flip side of this, though… rarely, if ever, do any of us take our allowed breaks. We take half-hour lunches when we’re alloted a full hour, and we work through our two ten-minute breaks. So, if you look at it like that, stalling at the computer ten times a day for two minutes each time is equal to taking a ten-minute break twice a day. But then you get into the "using Sky Bank resources (i.e. bandwidth) for personal reasons" argument, which I don’t feel like delving into…

Oh, and one more thing. Yesterday, A’s name was chosen out of a hat and she was named Employee of the Month. She (therefore, we, since I’m her ride) would have gotten a parking spot close to the employee door… had she not been a temp. Yep, she got it taken away from her because she isn’t a full-fledged Sky employee. Which kind of sucks in a way, but also made me snicker in a way. The major bad point to this is that her motivation is now at an all-time low. I guess mine would be, too.

OK, A… I guess I’ll know now if you read my blog.

Girl Talk and Power Outages

I got home from work today around 5:30pm, just in time to have missed Aaron before he went off to work himself. Sigh… But on a good note, I noticed that both my giant 20-disc CD-R trade (lots of The Smiths, The Cure, and similar bands) and my order from Lane Bryant had arrived.

Some of you may not know about Lane Bryant, be you a "normal-sized" woman or just a guy. Lane Bryant caters to the larger woman, sizes 14 to 28. — Guys, you’ll be clueless on the size thing. Let’s say that your average height, average weight (not-too-waify, not-too-fat) female is probably a size 12 or so. Maybe a 10.

(Hey, guys? If you’re squeamish about girlie talk, skip down a few paragraphs. I’m going to talk about my new bra now.)

When I was out lingerie-shopping with Sheryl on Saturday, we visited a place called That Special Woman. It’s actually a mastectomy-supply boutique, but they also carry plus-size lingerie and undergarments, to our surprize. When we arrived, the attendant ushered me into a fitting room and took my measurements, then brought me a few actual bras before I could announce my intentions to look for a long-line or bustier. Anyway, I did try on one of the bras she brought in… and holy crap, that thing was comfy! OMFG. It was an underwire, but the cleavage part didn’t stick out all funny like some of them do, and the back was plenty supportive. It didn’t threaten to pull up between my shoulder blades after a few moments of wear.

This bra, I later discovered, cost between $40 and $50. Holy crap.

So… a few days later, I visited lanebryant.com. — Actually, I visited several online stores looking for a bra just like the one I’d tried on, but Lane Bryant was the first and only place where I actually found one in my size. OK, girls, if you have big titties, or you’re a "husky" girl, I recommend this bra. Just like the one I tried on in Toledo, it has full-coverage cups, non-sticky-outtie underwires, a stay-in-place back, and it’s made of a neat-feeling cotton/Lycra blend, too. Honestly… it makes me want to squeeze my boobies like one of those stress-reliever things you see in Spencer Gifts. TMI… sorry. The underwires still get me in the armpits, though. I don’t think there’s any solving that issue.

(Hey, guys? You can come back now. It’s safe.)

After parading around in my new get-up, I reclothed myself, sat down at my computer (which had been left on to allow fellow WinMX’ers to download from me), and prepared to check my e-mail.

Cue loud, echoing, percussive noise from outside and resulting instant silence inside. Only sound: that of my hard drive spinning down. A transformer had blown, and I was in silence (but not yet darkness).

First action: look outside. I saw the neighbors congregating across the street, so I threw on a ratty old black cardigan and some shoes and went out to hobnob. The guy who lives on the corner had already gotten out the cell and phoned the city. Looked like he was still in his work clothes: dress pants, crisp collared shirt. I wandered across to the other neighbors, catty-cornered from us. I met Toby (I think), Danny (short for Danielle?) and her husband Rob (Ron?), and a few others. We chatted for a while about how much we like the neighborhood, how we got to live here, how nice this side of town is (away from the bar crawl), etc. Eventually Toby’s wife had to go get grilling-out supplies, so we all dispersed from their driveway and went back to our own houses.

The power still wasn’t on, and it was almost thinking about getting on to dusk, but not quite. So on to the second action: get out the candles. It’s not dark yet, but who knows when it will be. I’d rather be prepared than fumbling around looking for the lighter. I managed to locate one votive in a tulip-stem holder; two votives in short, roundish holders; one votive in the snowman my Mom gave me for Christmas; and one scented candle-in-a-jar from my grandmother. I lit them all and placed them strategically around the apartment. Then it occured to me that I wanted to go trim the hedges, so I blew them all out but two. 🙂

Watered the houseplants, trimmed the hedges. As I was outside, I saw a relatively rare occurence: there were people outside. Danny, her husband, and their neighbors had started a pick-up game of basketball — "PIG" or "HORSE" or something like that. Neighborhood kids were biking, skateboarding, and inline skating up and down the street, and some of them joined the game. Neighbors peeked their heads out to see if the city had come out yet, and some still milled about, meeting one another.

I finished pruning, went back inside, got my book and headed back out to sit on the front steps. (Or the "front stoop," as my Mom or Memaw would call it.) Reading was actually a facade — I was listening to the b-ball game ("How old are you? Thirteen?"), watching the kids skate up and down the street, quipping very junior-high-ish rips on one another, and eventually watching the city workers fix the transformer up the road. Once my porch light came back on, I retreated back indoors. Others didn’t, though — the game went on, at least until the families’ respective cookouts were ready for consumption.

It occured to me after this minor incident that the invention and maintreaming of electricity was probably one of the first steps toward the decline of the family and community. I won’t say I’d rather be without it, and I won’t say that it’s done more harm than good. I will say, though, that the hour that the block was without electricity was probably the most social hour I’ve seen here.

Think about it: you can’t watch TV, listen to the radio, play PS2/Gamecube/X-Box, play on the internet… what can you do? Read. Do something creative. Socialize. Gossip, even. When it gets dark, you light a candle, read or write by the flickering flame, talk with family, and go to bed. Simple.

The days before electricity had to be so different… it’s hard even to imagine.

T-minus Two Months…

Yep… I’ll be Mrs. Schnuth in about 60 days. Kinda scary in a cool kind of way.

I guess I should keep all the girls who read this updated on the wedding planning thing. Oh, yeah, and maybe Dan and Eric will be moderately interested, too. 🙂

Well, Sheryl has been kind enough to act as a surrogate bridesmaid while I’ve been getting my dress altered, traipsing 20 minutes north to Rossford on Tuesday, then on Saturday, then again a couple weeks from now. She’s also helped me find some appropriate undergarments, since the neat thingy I bought online totally peeks out of the back and armpits of my dress. Gah. Anyway, I’m sure she’s seen more of my pale flesh than she ever bargained for.

I was totally lucky to get as nice of a dress as I did for only $99 on eBay. (The auction’s expired now, but once the wedding’s done and Aaron’s seen the dress, I’ll post up the auction page that I saved.) I’m not used to wearing form-fitting apparel, so the dress actually makes me feel thinner, I think.

Speaking of… Now that I’ve been on a weight-loss kick (sort of) for four or five months, making a graph of my weight as I go, I can really tell when I gain my monthly few pounds. My graph makes a pretty picture like waves now. 🙂 I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I’ll look like I do now at the wedding. I won’t look like I did during drumcorps, and I won’t look like I did even five years ago. (Would you believe I put on 50 pounds between 1997 and the year 2000? Seriously. That’s amazing to me. What’s even more amazing is how much longer than that it’ll take to get that weight back off…)

This week’s goal is to take two walks daily, preferably after meals. Should be a good week for it, except for Sunday, when snow flurries may rear their ugly heads.

Man, my writing is all over the place today. I can’t seem to concentrate on one topic long enough to get a good thing going. Bah. Maybe I should go watch the news… although I know what’ll be on.

Getting Old(er)

Before I get to the mushy parts (be forewarned), here’s the interesting part of my day:

So, last night was the crazy thundery ice storm of death and destruction. This morning at 9am, Aaron and I were awakened by the sound of the city workers cutting and removing fallen tree branches from the middle of the road. Fun. Once I was ready to go to work, it took 15 minutes to chisel my car out of the ice. Had I known getting my car out was going to involve ice sculpture, I would have brought an ice pick and hammer…

Anyway, all day I was peering out the office windows at the ice-covered trees. Took a couple pics through the window with my point-and-shoot, but was waiting anxiously to get off work so I could take some "real" pictures with my SLR. (For you non-camera types, that’s my bigger camera with the cool adjustable stuff and long lens.) Luckily, I got out of work at 5:30 — plenty of light left for photography, and the sun was just in the right place for backlighting the ice on the trees.

I ran in the house, warmed up a hot dog, put on socks and sneakers over my knee-highs, ate my hot dog, gathered my camera and an extra roll of film, and hit the road again, all in the space of two minutes. Gotta catch the good light, after all. Sped down to the bike trail — although I would rather have taken photos at the end of the trail nearer my house, there’s no parking at that end. I had to drive down to Wal-Mart and park on Gypsy Lane. That’s OK, though; there’s plenty of photo ops all down the trail.

Parked my car, as I said, and gathered up my equipment. As I got out and onto the trail, I was glad I didn’t bring my tripod — the concrete bike trail was literally a sheet of ice. At this point I was getting a little apprehensive about my photo trip, but crossing Gypsy Lane (toward the area I’d originally wanted to shoot, anyway) unveiled a much easier-to-travel trail, with little to no ice for a good 50 yards.

So, I photographed for about a half hour or so, using up one and a third rolls of film. I could have kept going, but I had no more film. I got what I hoped were some great shots of icicles from tree branches, frozen leaves dripping icicles, and some sort of berry or wild fruit sporting an ice covering. Trés cool. Back to the car.

My pants muddy from kneeling on the trail, speeding back toward town, I contemplated how to develop my pictures. I figured I’d hit Blue Ribbon Photo in town — I’d always rather go with them, but I usually go with Meijer for convenience’s sake. I parked in the public lot behind Blue Ribbon, walked around the building, down the sidewalk, into the door, and asked if it was too late in the day to get one-hour prints. (I was really anxious to see these pics.) No, she said, they won’t be ready today. I asked if I could drop them off, thinking I could come back after work Friday. She responded, "Yeah, but they probably won’t be ready ’till Monday."

Monday?

Then she said the dreaded words: "It’s ’cause the machine’s broke." Aargh!

I waffled over leaving the rolls or not, and opted not to leave them at Blue Ribbon to be processed at some indeterminate time on an indeterminately working machine. By this point, my photo high was deflated, and instead of dropping the film off at Meijer, I just brought it home. I’ll get it developed this weekend.

Now, on to the mushy stuff I thought about at work today. If you are ultra-sensitive to gooey sweet musings, please have a trash can, barf bag, or other handy receptable nearby.

I’ve been doing some thinking and reflecting about love. Yeah, love. Not just snoo-snoo, although that’s a very important part of love. And I’ve been contemplating how my relationship with Aaron has transmuted over time. We’ve gone from being boyfriend and girlfriend to being lovers and lifemates. (Wow, that sounds cheesy. Moving on…)

Today, I was thinking of the things that have changed — the little things that make me more aware that we’re in it for the proverbial "long haul." Things like:

  • In everyday conversation, I can start a sentence with, "When we have children…" and Aaron doesn’t even blink. We can talk about these things, because we plan on having children, as frightening as that prospect can seem right now. (And, FYI, I will be one of those parents who says things like, "You are not going outside this house wearing that." Assuming we have children that look like hoochies — which, given their genes, is unlikely.)
  • We bought a car together. Thirteen-grand worth of mutual debt, and both of our names on the title, is a pretty binding thing. It’s a good start to our future of combined debt. 🙂
  • Speaking of future debt, we can talk about buying a house. It’s not a thing to be entered into lightly, but we know we’re getting one eventually, because that’s how things work. You get married, then one of two things happens first: you have a kid, or you buy a house. (Of course, some of our friends do all three things in bass-ackwards order… and you know who you are.)
  • (Wow, this one is kind of personal. I don’t know if I should post this, but…) When we make love (I told you it was personal…), I can look into his eyes and cherish what I find there, not be disconcerted by the intensity or wonder what he’s really thinking. (No, honey, not that I ever really wondered that! Just for example…!)

Sometimes we wonder if we’re getting old, since we don’t "get it on" as much as we used to. Used to be, anytime we were together, we’d end up in the bedroom. Now we don’t do it as often… but neither of us are really upset by this, I don’t think. Hell, I don’t think I could survive a four-hour marathon make-out session like we did six and seven years ago. Damn.

Of course we’re getting old. Or older, anyway. We’ve both matured a lot over the last several years, and it’s one of the things that has helped us grow closer. I’m not upset about this in the least.

And, anyway, he’ll turn 30 before I do. 😉