Coffee Table Declarations
Monday, February 28, 2005
Because I'm still up to my eyeballs in this neverending work project, I am going to have to tell this long story in parts. Here is part 1:

My roommate told me that she will be moving in with her boyfriend.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
If this phone rings one more time I'm throwing it out the window. I have been so busy working on a project here at work that I am all out of sorts. Not to mention the hunt is on for a new apartment (more on that later) and I joined weight watchers on Saturday so I have been seriously starving.

I know that I am not overweight. In fact, I think there is a sort of guilt to admitting to dieting when people look at you funny and say, "you're so small". Almost like you have an eating disorder or you just have no business trying to lose weight. And the truth is, I am pretty small. But I'm not suffering from any misconceptions. I know how much I weigh and it's more than I'd like. Two and a half years ago I weighed 98 pounds and my mom was threatening to take me to the hospital. I was just really active that summer. And stressed out, and living on my own with no dishwasher (hence the lack of interest in dirtying dishes by cooking). I was underweight then and I want to get to a place between that and where I am now.

So far it's been tough but I am a beacon of will power. I am doing really well and I feel good about it. Of course, that hasn't stopped things from floating into my head at all hours of the day. Things like burritos and cookies and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The great thing about ww is that they do give you room to indulge in things such as those, just as long as you factor it into your whole plan.

The not so great thing about ww is that I feel like while I may be keeping within the right amounts of food per day, I don't feel like I'm eating the right things. I've been eating a lot of cereal, oatmeal, and bread with jam. What about protein and fruit and soy milk and juice full of vitamin C? What about my cholesterol?

See? Stressful. And you know, I feel very out of the loop because I haven't been able to catch up on my blog reading lately and the longer I go without reading someone's blog, the more entries are there to be read once I do pop in. Do me a favor, don't write anything for a few days, o.k.? Let me catch up. Also? I can't even tell you how many times the phone has rung while I've been writing this. It's days are numbered and that window is looking awfully inviting to it.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
This morning I left for work after a nice long three day weekend. It was cold, there was snow all over the place, and I was half asleep. I started to drive down the street when I heard a sound - the kind of sound you might hear if you have a window open that you aren't aware of. I looked in my side mirror to find that the driver's side door was not flush with the body of the car as would be expected if it were shut. Still driving, I quickly opened the door and pulled it shut again. But it wouldn't shut any further than it had been shut the moment before which was only quasi-shut.

I pulled over and tried it a few more times to no avail. Thinking there was something blocking it, I started fiddling with the little metal latch on the side. The only thing I successfully accomplished was getting nasty grease all over my fingers. I tried a few more times to shut the door but I had made it worse - now it would only bang against the car and not even shut even a little bit. I was perplexed and for just a few moments, unable to process the situation and figure out what to do next. I was down the street from my apartment with a car door that wouldn't shut and an expected work arrival time of 15 minutes later.

First I left messages for a bunch of people at work describing my wacky dilemma. Then, I turned the car around and drove to my local gas station, all the while hanging onto the door for dear life so that it wouldn't fly open in transit. In retrospect, this is actually comical - me driving along, one hand clinging to the door and pulling against the force of gravity or whatever that force is that causes doors to fly open while a car is moving, and the other on the wheel. I was wondering how I might be able to finagle an extra day off out of the whole scenario.

At the gas station, they adjusted whatever I had messed up with the little metal latch and then sprayed the inside hinge with some special rust remover. When I got to work I climbed across and exited on the passenger side. I sure didn't want to leave my car door open while I was inside work all day! I called my mechanic (who happens to be right at the end of my company's street) to see if he could take a look. He agreed although he's super busy today, and right now my poor sweet vehicle is there. However, the car may have to stay overnight and I have no idea how I'm going to get home! Isn't this all so very comical?
Friday, February 18, 2005
This week has been so busy for me at work that I have barely had any time to read all of the blogs belonging to the lovely folks to the right, let alone post much myself. How spoiled am I at work? I guess normally people go to their jobs and do actual work all day. Anyway, I managed to steal half an hour to tell you two things:

1. I'm feeling a little sad because my hairdresser is no longer available. She is going to have a baby any second now and has apparently dropped all clients that don't get their hair colored. Um, hello? Shouldn't it be the other way around? I finally found someone who gave me a great haircut and who understands my anxieties enough to let me relax and who calls me (and most everyone else for that matter) little endearing names like "Sweetheart" and "Honey" which make me feel all mushy inside. She is an awesome hairdresser and I don't know what I'm going to do now. Keep growing my hair in protest? This is so unfair.

2. My boss asked me to find out how much it would cost to send a large envelope to Japan. I went to the handy postal service website to calculate postage. We saw that if you want your mail to arrive in 3 to 4 days, the cost is $9.00. My boss opted for the special economy rate ($4.05) even though we noticed that the time it will take from start to finish is 4 - 6 weeks. I'm sorry, did you catch that? Four to six weeks. What do they do, hand deliver the thing? My mailman picks it up from here and says, "oh the economy rate, looks like I better pack my bags," and prepares for a long personal journey over land and sea, on foot and by boat? Now that's what I call service.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Reflecting on my erstwhile friend and would-be houseguest, I realized how much I have changed since my early 20's when she and I were coworkers and groups of us would meet every Friday night after work for drinking and gossiping and laughing. I no longer have the desire to drink to excess as a regular pastime. I still enjoy a good gossip now and again, but for the most part it's too hurtful and high-schoolish for my liking. And laughter? Well, I'm still all about laughter.

I guess my point is that I don't know how to interact with this person without drinking and talking about our (now former) coworkers. We never had much solid ground to form a real friendship on, and the occasions we got together sober, just the two of us, conversation tended to stall. I realize that I am much more sure of myself and self-accepting than I once was. I am learning to set limits with people, especially those who drain too much energy. Sometimes it takes a situation or person from the past to make you realize that somewhere along the way you've changed.

However, I would like to share with you a story that is a classic example of the fun I used to have in my wild youth. This is one of my favorite most fun stories from that time in my life. The above referenced friend, we'll just call her S, invited me and our friend, B, to her apartment one evening. When B and I arrived, S was well ahead of us in the drinking realm, so B and I started to quickly catch up. We played an uproariously funny game of Truth of Dare which became more and more fun as the night went on. Finally, at the pinnacle of the game, one of us dared B to go into S's room and put on a lovely green dress and then come out and model it for us. Did I mention that B is a guy? He would be so upset with me for telling this story to the world. But anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the green dress.

So B goes off into S's bedroom to change and then S gets a phone call from her boyfriend who is out somewhere and they start fighting. She goes into the bathroom and shuts the door to talk to him. I'm sitting in the living room by myself when suddenly I realize I'm not feeling so well. I run outside to get some air and I sit on the front stoop for quite a while waiting for the world to stop spinning. Meanwhile, as B told it later, he comes out in the pretty green dress, only to find everyone gone. He decides to wait for us to return so he nonchalantly sits on the couch and turns on a sports channel. So he's sitting there engaging in the macho act of watching sports while wearing a very feminine ensemble, and he starts to envision S's boyfriend coming home at just that moment to find, not S herself, but B, just casually sitting in a green dress watching tv. It was at that point that logic kicked in and he realized that maybe we were no longer playing Truth or Dare.
Monday, February 14, 2005
On this special day of love, I'd just like to take a moment to say how much I love all of you! Thank you for always leaving supportive comments or just stopping by to read. I appreciate each one of you and I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day.

And everything worked out fine this weekend.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
What would you do? I discovered a message on my cell phone from an old friend who I hadn't spoken to in at least three years. By friend I mean that we had some good times together but we were never especially close. Hearing her voice on the message was strange, but stranger still that she sounded disturbed. Something was wrong. I was driving myself crazy wondering what it was. Was she o.k.? Did something happen to someone we know?

When I got home last night I called her back and when I asked how she was doing she told me that she couldn't be worse. She then proceeded to tell me her tale of woe, the part relevant to this story being, she has no place to live. She has been "bouncing around" and she mentioned that she wasn't sure where she could go in a couple of days. She did everything but ask if she could stay at my apartment. Listening to her, I couldn't not offer some help. I didn't have a very good excuse (looking forward to a weekend alone to catch up on some personal things just didn't seem adequate). So I said, "if you need to crash here for a night or two, that's fine."

As you may be able to guess, she will be arriving tomorrow evening. I'm not looking forward to it for a number of reasons. One, we aren't that close so I don't know if I'm supposed to hang out with her all weekend or what. Two, I have to set limits right off the bat. I don't want her to stay past this weekend and I'm not sure how to say that without sounding mean. Three, if she's not in a good mood, what are we going to do? Sit and talk? Watch tv? It's a huge annoyance all around.

On the other hand, if the situations were reversed, I would want someone to do it for me. She must've been pretty desparate to call me out of the blue like that. We used to work together. She always had problems, but nothing this major. The first thing my roommate asked when I told her was "is she going to steal our stuff?" And I couldn't confidently say no. I feel like really, for all the fun we had together - drinking, laughing, etc., - I don't even know her all that well. I feel bad and want to help, but I also feel like I need to be careful about putting myself in an uncomfortable position. I have a hard time figuring out how to help people without hurting myself. Please think good thoughts that my friend will get back on her feet and not overstay her welcome. And while you're at it, just add boundary issues to my list of neuroses.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Well, my faithful, reliable, trusty old friend (my car) and I had a safe and successful journey on Saturday. I have to say that I'm starting to rethink my views on transportation. It just isn't practical to only feel comfortable driving someplace yourself. If you look at a map of the country and you locate teensy little Massachusetts and then you pinpoint approximately where Boston is right on the coast and then you identify the approximate location of my friend's hometown in the top left corner next to New York state, you will think that I drove a few mere inches on Saturday when in reality, I drove over a total of about 250 miles round trip and it took just under three hours one way. Now if you take that teensy little distance into consideration and look at the places I'd like to go at some point, California perhaps to visit my brother, or North Carolina maybe, you will see just how impractical it would be for me to drive anywhere.

My car has no cd player and the tape player is broken. Most of the time this is no problem as I'll just scan through the stations. However, you would be surprised what you would be willing to listen to when you're driving between two mountains watching your radio scan through all the stations stopping only on an opera station at the lower end of the dial. At one point I turned off the radio altogether and the peace and quiet of nature nearly lulled me to sleep. I had to start singing to myself which was frustrating because I only know all the words to so many songs. Another activity to keep my motivation up was that every time I passed a sign that said "Entering (town name)" I gave a loud cheer of "woo hoo, (town name!!)" Hey, it's fun to do crazy things when you're alone in your car. Also, it resulted in me noticing town names I previously didn't know even existed. It was a geographical adventure and a soul searching drive all wrapped up into one.

The baby shower itself was pretty standard. There was food, there were gifts, there was my pregnant friend. I was greeted pleasantly by the rescuing bridesmaid and her sister. No one seemed to be giving me the evil eye. I stayed until late afternoon and ended up driving mostly in the dark on the way home which made me feel slightly paranoid but mostly just tired.

I was also sad and that surprised me. This friend and I have been close ever since college. We used to get together at least once a week for dinner or marathon chats at her kitchen table. I love her for many reasons, not the least of which are her ability to consistently make me laugh, the fact that she gives the best advice on any subject, and her positive energy that just makes being around her feel good. A realization finally hit me after getting home from her baby shower - that things will never be the same between us as they were before. They haven't been for quite a while since she got married and moved to Canada but this was the final factor that drove the point home. I am so happy that she is having a baby and I know she'll be a great mom, but I wish she wasn't so far away. Then I think, things would still be different between us even if she lived close because I would still be left behind in the same place and she would still be up ahead in another place. It feels like a very real loss in a way and one that I am just beginning to come to grips with.

On a lighter note I think that making the trip itself was a very good thing for me. If I had avoided ever driving out there again, it would've remained in my mind as this insurmountable obstacle - something that I just couldn't do. Now I can see myself making the drive again, as I'm sure I will at some point when my friend is there. In fact, I have already decided that next time I am getting a hotel room instead of making the drive in one day. Doing the drive again gave me another association for it, aside from trauma. I need to stop letting fear limit me from doing things. I go around thinking "I can't do that" when really I should be thinking "oh, get over it Katie". Instead of giving power to the fears, I should be giving power to myself. I know it's easier said than done, but I've decided that this year one of my goals is going to be to do something I'm afraid of. In fact, we should all make that our goal because it's an amazing feeling. Who's with me?
Friday, February 04, 2005
A couple of summers ago I had to drive out to the western part of the state for a friend's wedding in which I was a bridesmaid. The drive was three hours long but that didn't bother me all that much because it's quite a scenic drive. I have made the drive several times in the past to visit my friend at her parents house while we were on summer break from college. Western Massachusetts is mountainous and parts of it are quite rural. You begin the drive on a typical four lane highway and before you know it, you find yourself on a winding mountain road quite different from where you started. It's so strange to see mountains rising up on the horizon in all directions, making you feel like you are in a fishbowl, and you have to remind yourself there is a clear path out. At least, I do. But it's strikingly beautiful at the same time. And once we went to the top of the highest one and looked down through the observation binocular thingys. But that's a story for another day.

So that summer I got an oil change before my trip at a popular well known chain of oil change places. I'll only say that the name starts with the letter J and that if you know which one I mean you need to promise me you will never ever go there. They did such a half assed job and did not put the oil filter back on my car correctly. Little did I know that the whole drive through the mountains (where there is no cell service I might add), my poor vehicle was slowly leaking oil.

Somehow I made it safely, checked into my hotel room, got to the rehearsal at the church and back to the hotel for the rehearsal dinner all without a hitch. The next day however, I was following another bridesmaid in my car because she had grown up there as well and knew the area. We were on our way to get our hair done for the impending matrimony, when suddenly my car's oil light came on. I was mystified because I knew there had to be oil in there. But sure enough, moments later my dear sweet car simply died on the side of the road.

The other bridesmaid didn't notice right away that I wasn't behind her anymore and I just sat in my car and cried. I called my parents in hysterics and begged them to come pick me up but they said they weren't driving three hours and I should take a bus. My parents are generally not so unfeeling but then again, most adult daughters wouldn't dissolve into absolute panic at the prospect of being stranded in an unfamiliar mountain town three hours from home.

Once again my anxiety had to rear it's ugly head. I hate riding in other people's cars. It makes me panicky not to be in control. I know that's crazy, I wasn't always like this, and I hope I won't always be, but there it is. So I had no idea what to do and I've never felt so stranded in my life.

The other bridesmaid finally came back for me and she was terribly sweet and sympathetic. We got my car towed (the other problem - I couldn't have it towed to my mechanic back home without it costing a huge sum of money). It was towed to a local service station and the other bridesmaid took me to her parents house (promising to pull over if I asked her to). From there many more phone calls were made as we tried to locate a rental car place that was actually open on Sunday (I'm telling you this is not the big city out there). I finally found a person willing to make the drive out and rescue me, much to my relief. I was also lent the bridesmaid's sister's brand new car to get back and forth to the hotel in. That was probably one of the nicest and most trusting things anyone has ever done for me. Additionally, the bridesmaid herself had sacrificed the opportunity to get her hair done so she could help me and never once complained. Even after listening to me tearfully admonishing to my father over the phone, "So you're willing to just leave me out here in the middle of nowhere?" Boy, those mountain folk sure are good people!

It all turned out o.k. I was rescued by a knight in shining armor and through the aid of a motion sickness drug, was relatively calm during the ride back. I didn't crash the sister's brand new car or permanently insult the bridesmaid with my opinion of her hickville town. The wedding wasn't ruined and our hair came out o.k., even though we'd done it ourselves. My car was fixed and brought back home and those bastards-at-the-oil-change-chain-which-shall-remain-nameless-but-I-really-hope-you-know-who-I-mean had to pay for the whole new engine (since mine had seized by the way, a big big problem) because I was able to prove the whole thing had been their fault.

Tomorrow for the first time since this whole sordid incident, I have to return to western Mass for the same friend's baby shower. She now lives in Canada with her new husband so it's a heck of a lot easier to see her in western Mass. But I am scared. I feel like I'm getting back on the horse. And I'm embarrassed to see the extraordinarily friendly people who helped me - embarrassed because they probably remember me as the hysterical girl who insulted their town and made the bridesmaid miss her hair appointment. I don't want to go but my friend means just that much to me. So I have to.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Because of my central role at my company - answering phones, handling the travel arrangements, etc. - I get to interact with the people in the various locations around the country more than most of my coworkers do. This week, three of those people came to our office for a big important meeting. There were two from Arkansas and one from Tennessee and I'm not kidding when I tell you that they are some of the nicest people you could hope to meet. When they came in the door they had big hugs for everyone and greeted me as "Miss Katie" and acted like they were just thrilled to see me. It really made me feel good, as though however meaningless and mindless my job may be, I am still making connections and promoting positive energy in some way.

I had a conversation with the AR woman about all the snow on the ground and how cold it is here and I jokingly said I should move down there and she was all for it, even telling me that the amount of rent I am paying for my two bedroom apartment would get me a small mansion in her area. I'm a little suspicious why some places are that cheap to live though, like maybe there's nothing there worth living close to.

Additionally, I sent someone down to the AR office last week and due to plane mix ups and whatnot, she didn't get to her hotel in Little Rock until 2 am. They had given up her room but they weren't supposed to so they sent her to a hotel which unbeknownst to her was in a not-so-nice area of town where she was then solicited in the lobby by a gentleman who introduced himself with a name that I'm certain his mother did not bestow upon him at birth and then he politely inquired as to whether she had ever been with (and by been with, I mean slept with, or at least, that's what he meant) a man of his particular racial persuasion. It really shocked me to think about all this happening to this poor woman on a business trip in an unfamiliar city in the middle of the night because this is Arkansas for goodness sakes but you know, that sort of thing happens all the time in Boston I'm sure and we still have to pay an arm and a leg to live here.
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