Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Day Retrospective

I've always been told that I walk to the beat of my own  drum. So, you'd figure that when it comes to a holiday as cliche as Valentine's Day, I'd be the sort of girl who opts out of celebrating the one day of the second most boring month on the calendar that actually instills some hope and love and romance. I mean, let's face it, February 14 is a date on which you can be at your most pale, and have a stomach that is still just as flacid and gelatinous post-new-year's-resolution as it was pre-new-year's-resolution, and STILL be told just how much you're loved and how beautiful you and your pallid pasty skin really are...all because Hallmark told you so.

I liken myself to the kind of person who seeks out and appreciates those unique, artsy fartsy gifts that symbolize love and a lot of thinking outside the box (minus the cheese factor), such as:

  1. A chia pet that's a grassy replica of a heart-thumping aorta, paired with a bottle of CoEnzyme Q10 (translation: "I wish you and I a long life together, filled with good health and prosperity, with a few double cheeseburgers and milkshakes in between")
  2. An Etsy throw pillow embroidered with both our silhouettes (translation: "May I share my life - and pillow - with you my darling?", "Your profile is so impeccable, I chose to have it emblazened for all eternity on a pillow" and "I very much appreciate your fine love of throw pillow shopping at Homegoods and I too agree that yes, it very well could be both a practical hobby and an art form (despite the fact that we already have 12 throw pillows for one couch), and am VERY MUCH SO looking forward to each of your next 976 throw pillow purchases and would never, ever in a million light years calculate the grand total you've spent on them to date. Never.") BONUS: an accompanying Homegoods gift card will earn you a million gazillion extra brownie points here. 
  3. A knit-it-yourself "snood dog" neck scarf from hip underground knitting retailer Wool and the Gang. It not only minimizes both neck flubbage and age spots but also boosts confidence by teaching you how to knit. Yes, KNIT.  I mean, this thing is like a neck Snuggie for the cool, emo art college set, and yet the best part is, you don't even need to be from New York OR have a retro glasses and half of a pseudo art degree to justify wearing it. 
  4. One of these ultra cool sound images that details the physical, audible design of my hubby's voice saying "I love you, sweetie", framed forever in canvas.  (Hint: match the throw pillows and she'll be forever emotionally indebted to you for thinking all big-picture-like.)

With that said, you'd think I would gravitate to a fellow, romantic creative thinker who would at LEAST do something that falls in the cracks between 1 and 4 above. And I'm talking small cracks, like maybe a potted good-luck bamboo shoot, or a photo of the two of us in a wooden frame handmade from twigs found in the backyard.

But, alas. What did my husband do for Valentine's Day 2009?

Scratch tickets.



And no, there was no accompanying card with a red heart-shaped mouth on the front singing off-key digitized cliche songs like Come on Baby Light My Fire.

Again, I like to think that I DON'T need to be handed a dozen red roses, nevermind anything even remotely close to the aforementioned unique romantic gift giver list, to feel good about the love in my life, but as one would expect, I, a woman who has a tendency to take 3 birth control pills in a day to make up for forgetfulnes, crumbled under the grave weight of the situation and started bawling.

And yes, I was secretly embarrassed not only for my own display of a birth-control-pill enhanced hormonal reaction but for the sheer lack of thoughlessness and last-minuteness of the gesture. I mean, did he just happen to be at the convenience store buying a diet coke and some Rolos when he saw the glimmering roll of scratch tickets and thought to himself, "My wife would LOVE if I got her these today for Valentine's Day." I mean, what gives? And this man, my loving, wonderful husband, is the kind of guy who's on the ball more often than not in this department.

So, what did I do? Well, like the rest of the 9 billion and one women in the world out there, I tried to summon the strength to avoid falling apart just because I didn't get a Hallmark card and red roses. I tried to avoid being all how-to-lose-a-guy-in-10-days-ish by smiling at first, trying to laugh it off. I'm strong, I'm confident. I don't need no stinkin' roses to feel good about myself.

But, then the tears came and I couldn't stop the faucet.

He felt so bad about it he had to remove himself from the situation and said he was going to "go take a shower".  (Ahem: abandoning your emotionally fragile wife on Valentine's Day MID-bawl - after NOT giving said wife roses nor a card - to go "take a shower" is NOT a good idea.) I heard the shower running - but he later admitted he did NOT take a shower. Instead, he wrangled his 270 lb. body out the first floor window and booked it to the local (translation: exceptionally overpriced) florist around the corner. After "getting out of the shower", he found me blabbering and soaked in my own tears, still heated that he had the audacity and the nerve to give me scratchies (all losers, BTW) ...but to my surprise, he emerged not only with a big grin, but with a huge bouquet of the most bountiful red roses I've ever seen, and said, "Now did you REALLY think I'd just get you scratch tickets for Valentine's Day?"

I thought this was just the most wonderful thing in the world, until a year later he admitted to me what he really did - what had really gone down in the "shower" - and once he told me, I got mad at him and cried. AGAIN.

I know, I know. The poor guy. And my poor, soaring, helpless levels of irrational estrogen. Good thing we can now laugh about it. Always the optimist, here is how I view it: the remaining 65 Valentine's Days that I will come to experience in my lifetime will NEVER, ever have as good of an attempt at a love story as this, so I think this humorous moment, in and of itself - of a man succumbing to a the wrath of a woman's fierce expectations on Valentine's Day - is the best gift he could ever bestow on me. After all, this is the stuff of life, the moments we remember. It's not really about the romantic show on Valentine's Day, it's about the love you LIVE together every other day of the year: the experience, the memories, and the silly stuff that we can look back on and laugh at. When I'm 80, there's not a chance in hell that I'll have forgotten this story. I'd much rather be laughing about this with my decrepit husband by my side than, say, the way I felt wearing that stupid lingerie right before I got in the heart-shaped tub full of bubble bath. Not that that ever happened, but I'm sure that's how a gazillion other people out there are planning to celebrate tonight. Who wants to reminsce about that sort of thing when you're all Joan Rivers meets the nursing home, anyway? No thanks. I'd rather laugh about a ridiculous misstep at the expense of my husband - WITH my husband.
Valentine's Day, while it may seem like the pinnacle of public romance and affection with its braggart 1-800-Flowers deliveries strewn about in every cubicle from Maryland to Miami, is really just a convenient distraction, in a dull month that no one likes, that we've all been groomed to participate in, starting with the confectionary hearts and the Carebears Valentine's Day cards that circulated the classroom in first grade. And so when you actually find love, and this build up of 20+ years of expectation and anticipation is met with such blatant disappointment, it feels like defeat, like a big fat balloon exploded in your heart.  But, what we all need to remember (now that we're adults) is that we really shouldn't be counting grand romantic gestures like this at all. We shouldn't be showing off, just for the sake of a silly little holiday. What's important is that we live every day like it's Valentine's Day, doing small favors for each other, helping out, giving little kisses, with lots of laughs, fist bumps and "I love yous". Right?

But, ironically, it really doesn't hurt to get a dozen roses and a card in the end, if you must...which is what I fully expect to come home to tonight, dear husband.

(These are what I like to call "Smart Roses".)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Porn Star or Surrogate? (The Perils of Ebay)

First off, let me apologize for the past two weeks of utter ridiculousness. I realize I haven't written a blog post since 10/14, which is dispicable and unforgivable. Perhaps that's a dead giveaway that I need to get off my pregnant, burgeoning arse immediately and sign up for NaBloPoMo this month.


And, it's not even like I have a good excuse  for not writing. Yes, I'm pregnant, so I'm a bit tired and out of sorts, but honestly, that excuse can only get you so far in your second trimester, which supposedly "brings welcome relief from the first."

I've actually been quite bored, and doing some of the most boring things I can think of. Such as, scouring google for an old shade of lipstick I used to wear, that I *loved*, which of course, was eventually discontinued (hence the countless hours of googling discontinued and overstock cosmetic sites.) I'm not sure if it's just "my luck" or what, but EVERY SINGLE cosmetic that I get attached to - mainly lipsticks, lip glosses - gets discontinued a few years later, after I've seriously honed my addiction. This, my friends, leads to impetuously and impulsively buying up shades and shades of lipsticks that are "close" in color - but that always fail the minute I glide it across my own lips.

This, I suppose, is just the way of the world.

I am entirely aware of how LAME this all really is, considering the fact that I do, actually, have WAY more important things I could be doing, such as working on my first novel and finishing my screen play script, or hell even going buck wild at Babies R Us and registering like it's my job. But no. I've been surfing facebook, baking a little too often and eating a few too many cookies/pumpkin whoopie pies, and shopping for discontinued shades of lipstick.

In my rudimentary searches, I came across a fantastic site, 3 Custom Color. Get this - if you mail them a sample - even but a smudge! - of an old lipstick, eye shadow, whatever, they can match it and recreate a brand new one for you. Okay, is that not AMAZING? (I think it is.)

Finally, I decided (a bit apprehensively) to hit up ebay. I had never "ebayed" before - my only experience with the site was thinking, "now why didn't I think of that?" while watching The 40 Year Old Virgin and realizing dammit, you could've started a "We can sell your stuff for you on ebay" store! What have you been doing the last 10 years?!

Right. Searching for lipsticks. Reading the dictionary. Facebooking. Procrastinating. Writing a blog post about discontinued lipstick and the perils of ebay. Important stuff. Evidently, I'm very busy.

Then again, I had never even used ebay before, so how, pray tell, would I open a "We can sell your stuff for you on ebay" store? Enough said, moving on.

So I did a little search on ebay for my lipstick shade. Sure enough, all these slighty cryptic descriptions popped up, misspelled words and all (a shame!). I picked the first one, saw that unlike the others, it promised to be "sealed". (BTW, how is it legal to sell unsealed lipstick, anyway? It's like asking, "And how would you like to get Herpes today?" Seriously.) Obviously, anything goes in the land of ebay.

I plugged my credit card info into the Pay Pal thing (which in and of itself was a relief). Next, I got an email confirmation. Which kind of sort of REALLY creeped me out. It read:

Dear Kerri,

This email confirms that you have paid leslie king ( $12.99 USD using PayPal. This credit card transaction will appear on your bill as "PAYPAL *MRSBRIGG".

Um. Seriously?

Immediately, I thought "@#%&". I've been screwed. My credit card information AND my address to boot is now in the hands of an amateur porn star (who evidently gets even more cheap thrills by also moonlighting as an ebay thief), and she's coming to get me and is going to drag me and my pregnant arse into her "69 taxi" and sell me into a life of prostitution in the mean streets of downtown LA, left for dead on a street corner somewhere in the ghetto with nothing to my name but a size-too-small hot pink platform shoes, looking a lot like Courtney Love. Or, I've just allowed a crazed, wanna-be surrogate mother aka CRACKHEAD - who goes by the pseudonym "Mrs. Briggs" - into my life, and she's coming to find me.


I then go and look at her picture on her ebay store profile to see if that comforts me, or makes me feel worse about the current situation. Please, please, PLEASE have a soccer mom haircut and be 40 years old ('69, yeah!).

But no. She's got a leopard skin tight shirt on, trailer park, Aqua-netted hairspray hair (bottle blonde, aka orange), and bright bubble gum pink collagen-ized lips.

Great. Grrrrrreat.

So, I closed out of my browser, and just hoped for the best. I locked my doors and swore to myself that if I actually *did*  get a package in the mail from "Mrs Briggs" aka Free Baby Taxi 69, I would open it very, very slowly and watch for any illegal powdery white substances that may or may not sprinkle out. Then, I resigned myself to the fact that my lipstick was a hoax, a terrible ebay scam that probably happened at least 333 times a day to innocent non-ebayers like myself.

I sighed, and thought about how I'd rather go another 55 years without my favorite lipstick than be stalked by Mrs Briggs and her wanton uterus and/or permiscuous cross-country-traveling vagina.

Sure enough, a few days later, A goes and checks the mail.

A: "You got a package. From a....MRS BRIGGS?"

Me [non chalantly, as if she were just a run-of-the-mill Avon lady]:  Oh yeah, that's just a lipstick I ordered. [Secretly hoping a plastic dildo or something didn't drop out of the package.]

I waited for A to absorb into the living room couch, and I scurried with my package into the bathroom. I carefully opened the package, peeked inside, and saw the following:

Yup. My long lost, kissable lipstick was finally in my possession!! Score. It was even SEALED. Go figure. It seems that despite her private shenanigans, Mrs Briggs is a trustworthy lady when it comes to her ebaying principles.

I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief, and promised myself to remember that I shouldn't judge people by their names, no matter how porn star sounding they are, or by their photographs (I mean, hey, we've all made bad choices when it comes to hair and lipstick choices, right?)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hump Day Photo: If you can't stand sharing a candy jar at work, get your own

It's funny how tempting a (or, ahem, ten) mini candy bar(s) can be when it's Tuesday (or Monday, or Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday) at 3pm. At that time, when you're at work, the world around you seems dead and gray - time is ticking so slowly, it seems like it's going backwards, you're beat from the day already, and all you can think about is what's on TV tonight/what's for dinner tonight/how many hours until the weekend arrives - and to boot, you're stuck like a caged animal inside your office or cubicle, the "outside world" nothing but a pretty framed window that you can steal glimpses at here and there (that is, if you're lucky enough to even HAVE a window. Luckily, I am.) 

What cures this? Why, a handful of FREE chocolate, that's what. Eaten uncontrollably, no portion control taken into consideration.

We have this woman in our office who works until 3pm everyday, and around 3:03, there's always a rush to her cube, followed by a rustling / clinking sound. Some way or another, all us offfice mates end up bumping into each other either in her cube, or on the way to or from her cube. Why? Because she has an AWESOME candy jar (aka FREE CANDY) on her desk.

We raid it when she leaves. It's sad, really, but it gets us up and moving, injects us with much needed sugar, and gives us, I think, a general sense of office comaraderie. The worst is when you think she's left for the day already, and you take the turn into her cube, your grabbing handing reaching across the desk, and boom, you realize she's still there. You feel stupid, smile, acknowledge how lame you look because yes, she knows and you know you've been waiting, what, like ALL DAY, to raid her cube for its free candy. Luckily, she's a doll, a Mom doll, actually, so she just smiles at you sweetly, knowingly, and winks, and you dip in. Because what are you supposed to do, say, "Oh! Hi. I was just rushing over here to say hi, and bye, because it's 3 and I wanted to say bye before you left. At 3. Right. OK. So I'll just be going now..."

Because I'm pregnant and somehow turned into a chocolate cow aka whore overnight (not that I wasn't before, but now, it's ten fold) I decided I'd make my OWN candy jar. I mean, yeah, the reason it's great when OTHER people at work have candy jars on THEIR desks is because you're not constantly tempted by it, and you have to wait until a certain time of day to raid it. Also, you do it in moderation (the frequency of visits and the number of candies you grab) because you feel like a blatant cheap pig who is too cheap to buy her own candy.

Well, I decided to become one of "those" people. Except, I don't have a cute jar from Crate and Barrel or Homegoods on my desk. I just hit up CVS for their 2 for $5 bag-o-candy deals and then throw it all in a drawer in my desk (photo below).

And, I didn't even tell anybody that I'm doing this, out of fear of embarrassment - I mean, how lame is that? I have to secretly stow away 5 pound bags of candy in my desk drawer? Please.

So then of course it begs the challenge of opening up a candy bar wrapper very, very quietly, over and over and over again.