Coffee Table Declarations
Thursday, June 30, 2005
I've been put in charge of taking pictures of all my coworkers. Actually, I volunteered for the job and the reason we're doing it is to familiarize everyone with everyone else. Long, unnecessary story. The point is, I have become the photographer extraordinaire. And since I don't own a digital camera, this cute little friend who lives in my desk drawer and sucks up batteries like it is starving to death, has become my adopted camera.

I like making appoinments with people for pictures and I like letting them retake as many as they want until they feel like a super model. But then I also enjoy giggling to myself, ever so quietly, when I see how funny some of the pictures look uploaded on my computer. It's interesting to notice how perfectly decent looking people suddenly look uncomfortable and awkward and paste on a fake smile when faced with a camera. Sometimes I'm looking at the little screen and I think the person looks nice. Then I snap the picture and look at it, and it's different somehow. Too bright, too many chins, eyes closed, tooth exposing grimace. I guess when you take all my coworkers together, we're really kind of a funny looking bunch.

Digital cameras are weird because you can look at the picture right after it's taken and then delete it. I have always loved looking at old pictures from the turn of the century when people dressed fancy and stood stiffly, barely smiling. Even if I don't know the subjects, I like to look into their eyes and wonder what they were thinking at that exact moment (probably "hurry up and take this damn picture") and what their lives were like and what their future held. Those kinds of pictures were so amazing because they could freeze an instant in time forever whereas sometimes digital pictures seem a little contrived and less real.

Don't get me wrong, digital cameras are great. I think it's wonderful to be able to see pictures right away and send them by email and post them on websites. Maybe in the far, far distant future the aliens that take over the planet or perhaps the genetically altered clones who can morph into different forms, will look at our digital pictures on our archaic computers and wonder what we were thinking and what our lives were like.
Monday, June 27, 2005
My poor car is at the mechanic at this very instant. This morning, when I started him, the battery light came on and it went off periodically, but mostly stayed on for the entirety of my journey to work. Coaxing my car gently not to die, "you're a good boy, we'll take you to the doctor, such a good brave boy", I made it to the parking garage. Luckily, my mechanic is right down the street and I trust him one hundred percent.

I told him my list of issues: battery light, possible muffler problem, air conditioning not working, oil change needed, and right hand signal needing to be held in position in order to blink. I told him that whatever he could fix without costing a ton would be great. I'm not made of money after all. I know it's hard to believe considering my highly lucrative position. (I hope you understand that the last sentence was sarcastic and not actually true, although it may be true in some alternate universe).

He called me a little while later to tell me that the alternator needed to be replaced and that was the source of the battery light. That would be upwards of $300. Then he told me that my entire exhaust system was in very bad shape (leaks, holes in the muffler, what have you) and that my air conditioning was beyond repair, so much so that he wouldn't even give me a price estimate on it. He said that between the alternator and the exhaust system, I was looking at approximately $1100 worth of work. I don't have $1100, in fact I can barely afford the $300 alternator work. Luckily, he said I could wait on the exhaust system until my next inspection, or the next time I have $700 to spare (ha). In that sense he said, it's a good thing the air conditioning doesn't work because at least I'll be driving around with the windows rolled down instead of asphyxiating myself with carbon dioxide.

The real question is, is my car even worth $1100? It is a 92 Chevy with over 165,000 miles. The air conditioning is allegedly beyond repair, the tape player long since broke, cruise control hasn't worked since the engine-sieze incident of 2002, the right hand signal isn't working, and I could potentially be asphysxiated by hazardous fumes. I hate to say it about a loyal friend, but it may be time for a new car. Oh, and by "new", I mean used but it would be new to me and hopefully a little newer in general. Late 90's wouldn't be bad and I certainly wouldn't complain about a cd player and a moon roof. I'm envisioning something in the range of $2000 - $3000.

Not that I have any thousand mind you. I spoke to my mom about possibly borrowing from the Bank of Mom and Dad and she said, "what would you do if we weren't here?" Hmmmm, actually, that's a good question - what would I do? I guess the answer is, I would keep sinking money into my car as long as possible, or I would buy one of those really, really cheap used cars that is going to need tons of work down the line anyway, or I would sell myself on the street corner for some quick cash. At that suggestion she said, "well, do that then because we don't have any money either."

Does anyone have any ideas? Either how I can get a reliable yet inexpensive used car or how I can make a quick couple thousand (without resorting to anything illegal or demeaning)? Does anyone out there live in the Boston area and want to give me a good deal on a car? Please?
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Today has been a very bad day. It started this morning when there was major traffic and I ran in with no time to spare for coffee.

Then I had a run in with a really nasty coworker. I don't want to go into too much detail, but let's just say that no matter what you think I did or didn't do? If you've known me in the past to do a good job? Then maybe going right over my head without talking to me about the problem first is a really harsh thing to do. Because you know I can't even imagine doing that to someone. Are we in first grade? Do you need to go tattle to the teacher? Needless to say this guy is a really huge ass and we'll just leave it at that.

Then I had to deal with another character. He always asks for something and instead of leaving me alone to do it, will loom over my desk and sometimes, may even wrestle control of my mouse so that he can, basically, just do it himself. This guy has no respect for the term "personal space". It's so horrifying. But I'd rather deal with a space invader who is friendly then a huge ass.

Can I please go home now?
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
When I was small and first started going to kindergarten, we had to walk past the second grade classroom. The outside door always had a gang of hoodlums hanging around. Those second graders were so big. I can remember when 8 years old seemed like a life time of maturity.

One day was particularly special because my dad was picking me up after school and that never happened. I was so excited to see him waving to me from the road that smiling and waving back at him, I tripped and fell right in front of the second grade classroom. My knee was scraped and my laughter became sobbing as my dad ran up to help me. He took care of my scraped knee and didn't let me feel embarrassed about the second graders.

Just last week my dad was helping me install my air conditioner and suddenly he grabbed onto the wrong place and got a nasty cut on his finger. He was startled and bleeding so I poured peroxide over his finger and gave him a bandaid. Luckily he was o.k., but it reminded me of how he took care of me that time I scraped my knee and I saw how for a moment, the roles were reversed. Really, the only difference was that the air conditioner incident didn't involve second graders.

Happy Father's Day to fathers who install air conditioners at the apartments of 29 year old daughters and to fathers who take care of the scraped knees of 5 year old daughters.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Last night I came home to find that we had no water. Turn on the faucet? Nothing happens. Shower? Nada. Toilet? Just the weakest and most reluctant of flushes. After consultation with roommates one and two, who arrived home shortly thereafter, I left a rather frantic message for the landlord. At least it wasn't 8000 degrees outside and we needed water to drink and moisten our hot (temperature-wise, but also attractiveness-wise) selves with. But still, no shower, no washing dishes, no flushing? This was troublesome.

As the three of us sat around waiting for the landlord to call back, I wondered if the problem was our building or if it was a city problem instead. I suggested calling the Department of Public Works. My roommates enthusiastically agreed. After all, that's logical right? I mean who would you call if water was not coming out of faucets and fixtures?

After explaining our situation to the man who answered the phone at the DPW, I asked, "Do you have any idea why this is going on?" and the man replied, "No ma'am, I don't" and then he paused and asked, "would you like the phone number to contact the Water Department?" Boy did I feel silly. I laughed and said, "oh, there's a Water Department?" and he assured me that "yes, they're a whole different entity." At least he had a sense of humor.

I called the water department and was asked if there was someone in our basement doing work. I said I didn't know and he replied, "you don't know if someone's in your basement??" to which I had to explain that I rent, not own. He then asked, "are there other people in your building?" "Yes", I said, glad that I could answer something. "Do they have water?" a logical question. "Um... they're not home" I answered quickly because I didn't want to say I hadn't asked.

The rest of my story is rather anti-climactic. The guy at the water department said he'd look into it. Fifteen minutes after I hung up the phone our landlord showed up all apologetic. They are renovating the other side and didn't know they could shut off the water only on that side. We thanked him and then ran around turning on faucets and praising the sweet flowing water.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Summer blues. Let me start with a disclaimer: I love summer. I mean, I LOVE summer. It is my all time favorite season and no matter how hot it gets I will smile and proudly proclaim "I love summer!" because I just love summer that much.

That being said, we had a month of rainy weekends and weeks of unnaturally low temperatures. Up until June I was wearing my winter coat. And suddenly it became summer. There was no transition, it was just suddenly in the 90's with humidity and I was so happy. Of course, I discovered that my bedroom gets extraordinarily hot and stuffy and it's hard to even lie still without sweating. But there is always the ice cream place two blocks away when I need some relief.

My parents felt so bad for me, they bought me an air conditioner. My dad installed it for me last night and now it's bolted to my window, the only window in my bedroom. We all know I have mixed feelings about air conditioning. If it's summer, I want it to feel like it. I love opening the window at night and feeling the fresh air breeze in. That won't be happening now though. But mostly I'm thankful because it's been awfully uncomfortable. What did they do before air conditioning was invented? I think it's rather humorous that you buy one because it's so hot but then you have to go through a huge process to install it, during which time, you become unfathomably hot. I warned my dad that my room felt like a furnace and perhaps the seventh circle of hell, but he bravely came and installed my new air conditioner anyway.

Sunday I went to the beach and did something stupid. I didn't use sunblock. It was late in the day and overcast and I just didn't think. I am now as red as a freshly cooked lobster and the pain. Oh, the pain. I have been applying aloe every two hours. I have been making little pouty faces and saying "ouch" a lot. I have been thanking my Italian heritage that at least my skin is a little more resiliant than my English heritage alone would provide. Someone at work said, "got some sun, huh?" Gee, what tipped you off? The economy-sized bottle of aloe on my desk or the fact that my skin is glowing like a neon sign?

But I love summer. Yes I do, I love it. Woo hoo, summer.
Friday, June 10, 2005
For at least a year I've been recieving email updates from a local group for professionals who are in their 20's and 30's. I don't even know how I first heard about the group, but the emails include lists of events that you can participate in and some of them sound really fun. They do all kinds of things from horseback riding to wine tasting to after work drinks in the down town area (business casual dress preferred). I have always wanted to go to an event but always feel wary of going alone and not too thrilled about trying to get into the city at rush hour on a weekday in order to attend.

Last night I finally went to my first event and it was a blast. It was outside the city and I brought a friend. The event was a girls' night jewelry making class at a very cute studio/crafts store. Wine and cheese and crackers were provided, as well as a kit to make a piece of jewelry. I made a necklace that looks like something I could've bought at a store. It was actually pretty easy although the pieces we were working with were small and stubborn. Of course, I now want to make tons more and am planning a trip back to buy the materials.

My friend and I sat at a table with other friendly girls and by the end of the night we were exchanging business cards. Today I already got an email from someone we met. So, all in all, I discovered an enjoyable new hobby, made some potential new friends, ate a lot of cheese, and made a pretty necklace. A good time was had by all.

Not everything was picture perfect however. There was one weird girl sitting at our table who my friend and I encountered later while we were eating dinner at a nearby burrito place. The girl sat down with us, asked for a chip, and then proceeded to single handedly finish off our chips and guacamole while making us listen to every detail of her troubled relationship. So you know, I guess you can't have everything.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Shanna recently tagged me for a meme about books. Probably because my reputation as a book-lover is widely known. So, without further ado, here are my answers:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to save?
I'm going to save The Complete Adventures of Curious George (is that cheating because it includes multiple stories?) Anyway, I'm saving George because... do I really have to explain? Is it possible NOT to love that monkey?

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Sorry to be so boring but... no. Not from a book anyway. I get crushes on characters from TV all the time but that's a story for a different meme.

The last book you bought is:
I don't buy many fiction books because my mom works at the library. I've got connections. I do buy plenty of nonfiction books about topics I am interested in. Most recently it was About Time by Paul Davies although I have a feeling it's going to scare the heck out of me while fascinating me all at the same time.

The last book you read is:
The last book I read for bookclub was Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. It was super interesting subject matter, but kind of tough to get through. I also finished Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco just the other night, and I could probably apply the above sentence to this book as well. I spent the whole book being enthralled by the topic and half clueless about the plot.

What are you currently reading?
I usually have three books going at once but since I just finished two (see above), I am currently reading only one. It is The Midnight Club by James Patterson. It's enjoyable and easy reading, but not as edge-of-your-seat as some of his other stuff.

As always, I am open to book recommendations, so feel free to suggest something to me and maybe you'll read my thoughts on it in a later entry! I am now going to tag three people. The lucky readers are... Cindy, Lainey, and Sassy because I'm interested in what their answers will be!
Monday, June 06, 2005
Because I do the travel arrangements at my company, I was the recipient of many urgent phone calls today about cancelled flights. The reason for all of these cancellations? Weather. Atlanta was bad, Memphis was bad, New York apparently had thunderstorms and everything was cancelled.

Now, ironically, though I am the travel arranger, I don't travel much myself. I have flown twice ever. So I don't know much about flights getting cancelled due to weather. Can't planes still fly through a thunderstorm? How can a little rain wreak so much havoc for travelers everywhere (and consequently, make my life more difficult)?

My other question about flying is this. I know of a good deal of people who are afraid to fly, but do it anyway. I don't know what makes some people afraid of something but still able to do that thing. If I am afraid of something I avoid it like the plague. I am afraid to fly so I don't do it. I probably could do it if I had to and if I had some sort of sedative, but generally, I don't like the idea. I'm not so worried about crashing, although I'm sure that would be unpleasant. I have issues with being stuck up there, unable to get off the plane. It's a claustraphobia-control thing. So my question for you is - do you enjoy flying or are you afraid, and if you are afraid, do you fly anyway and if you do, how do you make yourself do it?
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Wow, reading over my last post, I sounded a bit drunk. I assure you I wasn't. And now, an actual true story.

Over the weekend I bought these cute new shoes. They looked like this but were less expensive.

Yesterday I took them out of the box and put them on. I noticed they had a leathery new-shoe smell which reminded me of the shoe store I bought them at. I didn't give it much thought beyond that and the fact that they were so cute.

Sitting at my desk at work, I could still smell them. That morning a coworker came by and said "I smell a camp fire." I said, "Could it be my shoes?" and I held up a foot. "Oh, it is!" she confirmed, but told me they were cute shoes. As we were discussing them, another coworker walked by and said, "it smells like burning rubber in here." We thought it was pretty funny.

Later, during my staff meeting, someone said, "do you smell smoke?" and someone else agreed. Sheepishly I said, "um, I think it might be my shoes." We determined that it was and we all had a good laugh though everyone thought the shoes were very cute.

During the afternoon a coworker dropped by and said, "I smell turkey". At this point I was feeling less amused and more embarrassed about the whole thing. "For goodness sakes, it's just my shoes," I explained. After all, at least it wasn't the smell of dirty gym shoes or something. It was new-shoe smell. That coworker also complimented the cuteness of the shoes.

Finally, toward the very end of the day, a coworker came by my desk and started looking around and sniffing. Before he could say a word I said, "it's my shoes." He said it wasn't an altogether unpleasant smell, just strange. As I was leaving my boss asked, "um, will you be wearing those shoes again tomorrow?"

I'm kind of nervous to wear the shoes again. But they're so darn cute. How can I get rid of that smell? The smell was described as smoke, campfire, burning rubber, and turkey. Turkey? I should have used the whole experience as an experiment to see what people imagine they smell when presented with an odd, unexpected smell. Henceforth, those shoes shall be known as my turkey shoes.
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