Can’t Say Nothin’

I have a pretty killer case of laryngitis currently, so I can only communicate through text. I feel like Louis in The Trumpet of the Swan, I should get my chalkboard. Today is worse than yesterday, but I’m pretty sure most medical professionals wouldn’t recommend going to a party – where talking over music and drinking all day is par for the course (my course, at least) – as a health regimen. But I had to go, the party was celebrating my niece’s graduation from high school. I can’t believe my niece graduated from high school, because that means I’m old. I remember getting the call that she was born, I was already in my early teens.

She’s the daughter of my step-brother, a step-brother who was already grown when my dad married his mother, so we were never close. But I’ve always been close with my niece, probably because I’ve been around since she was born. She looked up to me from an early age, even when I was too young to grasp the gravity of being a role model.

She’s been through a lot in her young life. Her family situation has been less than stable, she’s shuffled around from house to house, seen many family arrangements. Yet she’s prevailed and become a great young adult with goals of going to college to become a teacher. Goals that, as a high school graduate eleven years ago, I hadn’t yet figured out (and some would argue that I still haven’t figured out).

High school sucks, I’ve said it before, so it’s amazing that some kids actually have their futures kind of mapped out. Being a teenager is like playing a life-sized game of dodgeball where every hormone, emotion, idea, urge, and desire is being thrown at you at once. It’s no wonder most kids are so confused and angry. Who ever says those are the best years of your life is a pretty sad person, or was a jock who was never able to achieve the amount of stardom in his life outside of the gymnasium walls. I do look back on those years with a tinge of fondness, only because I was able to finagle my way out of most of my high school career so I could live my life. Most aren’t so lucky. Who constantly wants to feel like an outcast? Who constantly wants to feel stupid or under insane amounts of pressure to perform up to the standards of their parents? Who wants to be treated like a child when you’re screaming to be taken seriously as an impending adult?

The only things high school provided me was a place to socialize and nap. I didn’t know it then, but I was conserving all my energy for college.

My niece didn’t take the same road, mainly because she is a totally different person, and I congratulate her for that. She’s smart and determined to make a difference, and I’m so excited to continue to watch her grow.

A party is a great way to kick off the next stage in her life… But then again I’m always a fan of finding any reason to party, laryngitis or not.



Oh Boy!

I got to meet my new little cousin yesterday… or I guess he’s my first cousin once removed… I never understand how that stuff works. He’s not even two-weeks-old so he’s still all tiny and mushy. My mom and I went back and forth between holding him for over two hours, and then I got a stiff neck because I’m not used to propping up a little, mini baby noggin in my elbow.

This makes three little babies within two and a half years on my mom’s side.

There are four of us cousins, between my aunt and my mother. All girls. My grandmother had two children, both female. My mother had two children, my sister and I, and my aunt had two children, my two girl cousins. So when my little cousin was the first to get pregnant three years ago we were certain she was having a girl. It just made sense. She had a boy. A big boy, at over ten pounds. Then my sister announced she was pregnant, and we were certain she was going to have a girl. She had a boy. An even bigger boy, at almost eleven pounds. So when my other cousin broke her news, we chose not to jump to any conclusions. She had a boy. A teeny boy, comparatively, at just nine pounds. A shrimp among his cousins!

Now all eyes are on me.

Would I have a boy if I got pregnant? Would I also have a huge baby? Would I too have to suffer through a C-section after a tough labor? Am I ever going to settle down? Will I give up the spinster lifestyle? How many cats will I end up owning? Some of these things I’m afraid to have answered, pregnancy and the future scares the bejesus out of me. But sometimes, sometimes, a small part of me does want to get knocked up just to see if the boy trend continues… though I’m not that curious yet.


When I’m 64

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful daddies out there! I’m off to see my dad, as well as a whole crap load of my family, this afternoon. There will be beer at this shindig (thank goodness), so it should be fun!

Yesterday I called my dad to ask him what time he would get to the party, so I could plan accordingly. During our less than five-minute conversation he managed to get that dreaded job question in.

Me: I applied to a whole bunch of different stuff today, so fingers crossed!

It didn’t seem to appease him at all.

I know a lot of his concern is for my future. If I’m not able to contribute to social security now, what will happen when I’m at retirement age? What about savings? Bills? What will happen when he’s not around to lean on? Well, fear no longer dad! I have come up with a list of jobs that I could pursue in my golden years that will keep my twenty cats stupid in wet food and cat nip for years.

  • Cute old lady extra on a TV sitcom.
  • Elderly spokesperson for low-cost insurance.
  • Greeter at Walmart.
  • Test subject.
  • Reality show contestant based on seniors finding love. (My generation is destined to be the first to do this).
  • Playing a corpse for mortuary cosmetology students.
  • Wheel of Fortune contestant.
  • The crazy cat lady that ends up on all those Animal Planet shows.
  • Nursing home tour guide.
  • Corpse on a cop drama.
  • Tapioca pudding taste tester.
  • Door-to-door denture salesperson.
  • Teaching ‘origami for arthritis’ classes.
  • Coach of the musical wheelchair team at the community center.
  • Bingo caller or community bingo shark.
  • Geriatric call girl.

So… I’m totally thinking about my future. Happy Father’s Day, dad!


I’m Never Eating Again

Since I’ve been off gallivanting around the eastern seaboard, I decided to take this afternoon and check in on what’s going on in the job market. I’ve been applying to jobs all day, or what feels like all day. But I find after reading a handful of ‘about our company’s and ‘requirements’ they all start to blur into one huge job-blob. My cover letters begin to look the same and completely insincere, and I lose all interest. Maybe it’s because it’s Saturday and I should be doing something fun, or maybe it’s because applying to jobs totally sucks, or maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m suffering from the absolute worst food hangover I’ve ever encountered.

Last night I met some friends I hadn’t seen in a while for a drink downtown. Luckily, our meet time was just after the torrential downpour some of us experienced in the New York area. It was nasty. I walked into a moist, dark bar which seemed to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. It wanted to be a little country, but also eclectic in a T.G.I.Friday’s way. There were velvet Elvis’s on the wall next to a huge Chinese New Year dragon and another state’s license plate. They played awful honky-tonk peppered with Thriller era Michael Jackson and Pink, my nose full of stale beer and stale Polo cologne. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dive bars like they are my own child… but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one. One crappy $6 pitcher of no-name-apple-juice beer and a pitcher of Bud Lite later my one friend was ready to leave to meet her boyfriend, my other friend and I decided we were hungry.

I was slowly getting over some kind of stomach-based food aversion that had kept me from eating all Friday, so I was ready to feast. We walked to Chinatown to my favorite, cheap, awesome Chinese restaurant. It was on.

A huge bowl of crispy noodles, two veggie egg rolls (yes, two), veggie fried rice, and a beer later, I couldn’t move. My friend and I looking at each other, sighing, while holding our stomachs asking why we would do such a thing to ourselves.

We waddled to the subway, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. I toyed with the idea of lying down on the platform, just because standing hurt so much. I prayed for the smell of rotting garbage to trigger my gag reflex. I waited for the sweet release of death. The saddest part about all these feelings I was having was holding the bag of leftovers, and an extra order of chinese broccoli I took for later. (I still can’t look at it). I got home, fell onto my bed with labored breath, unbuttoned my suddenly too skinny jeans, and counted the minutes until it passed. But it hasn’t, still. I tossed and turned all night, and woke up to find that nothing had digested.

I’ve never been this full in my life. Isn’t Chinese food supposed to make you feel hungry again in an hour?

Have you ever done this to yourself? What did you eat? How did you get over it?


My Fortune Teller, My Friend

Oh man, it’s been a while. I was on vacation from the vacation I call my life. I took a very long weekend ‘down the shore’ to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. Two days turned into five (because, let’s face it, I had no where else to be), then time started getting away from me.

Oddly enough, getting away was just what I needed. A chance to stop thinking about how I’m going to avoid my bills, why I’m not hearing back from my job applications, what the hell I’m doing with my life. It was just all walks on the boardwalk, surrey rides in the morning, afternoon drinks by the pool, boardwalk pizza, and amusement rides at night. A super escape from the boring ordinary.

One afternoon, my cousin, a friend, and I went for a stroll down the boardwalk to load up on some very necessary junk food. We decided to get our palms read when we saw the ‘special $5’ sign. I was certain all of my life’s questions were going to be answered, and I wouldn’t even have to break the bank!

My cousin went first. The lady was so ‘mesmerized’ by her soul that she was able to convince her to also get a tarot card reading.

I, apparently, wasn’t that interesting.

My reading took all of three minutes. But I learned a lot! I shall live into my late 80’s, which is promising, I guess (though I have no idea how I will be able to survive without any social security or savings. This might end up being a curse!) My third and last love is on his way and GET THIS, he’s going to own either a tattoo or motorcycle shop (I’m sure this had nothing at all to do with the fact that she could see a couple of my tattoos. Ps. None of my tattoos involve a motorcycle.) At least he’ll have a job!

Then she said something that really hit me hard, I worry too much. So much so that she insisted I start taking more time for myself. I need to relax, enjoy life and stop worrying about my responsibilities. I insistently thought to myself, ‘should I tell her that I have so much time to myself that I’m currently on a vacation that I can’t really afford just to get away from the day-to-day of lying on the couch checking’ Nah, she knows best, right?

So, you heard it here first. My psychic said that a job would just complicate my life, and I can’t argue with that!


Father Doesn’t Always Know Best

I always appreciate my dad’s advice and wisdom, because he leads a very successful life. But when he attempts to advise me on parts of my life that he’s not completely schooled in, I just have to smile, nod and laugh a little.

I went to his house for dinner last night and the inevitable subject of my employment came up. He seemed to think he had the perfect plan. Then when I revealed my plan (which basically results in the same outcome), he appeared less than enthusiastic.

Dad: You need to get a job in a nice restaurant so you can bring home cash tips.

Me: Yeah, maybe in a diner.

Dad: No, you have to work in a place you can make about $25 a table.

Me: That’s not going to happen.

Dad: Why not? You’ve worked for Georges Perrier, you have experience!

Me: As a hostess! TEN YEARS AGO!

Dad: So what. You’ll need like, one night of training and you’ll be raking in the cash.

Me: I’m not sure you understand how this works. It takes a little longer than that. (Not mentioning the fact that waitressing terrifies me because I’m an absolute klutz. I didn’t have the energy to argue that little tidbit with him as well).

Dad: So what’s your plan?

Me: I’m going to find some crappy day job until I find ‘the one’ and babysit in the evenings. I have about four families lined up right now that I’ve been working for.

Dad: Four families? What’s that going to do for you? Once or twice a week won’t do anything for you.

Me: It’ll give me extra cash… It’s the same idea as waitressing, except I know what I’m doing.

If my dad really isn’t a fan of the whole babysitting thing, I suppose I can always try stripping. They make cash tips too.


Educating Roni

I never thought I’d be here at thirty, way back when I was a teenager. Hell, I didn’t even know thirty existed for me when I was a punk-ass fourteen-year-old wearing knee-high combat boots, mini skirts referred to as ‘wash cloths’ by peers, and bright dyed hair in the colors of red, purple, or pink depending on my mood. (PS. Not much really has changed.) I didn’t think I had to look that far ahead because either all of my idols died before the dreaded thirties, or were rock stars with the ability to continue acting like children. I was going to be a rock star, nothing else made sense.

I spent all my free time, and time that should have been dedicated to school work, listening to, singing along with, dancing to, reading about, and thinking about music. Every square inch of my room, including the ceiling, was wall papered with torn out images of my favorite bands from magazines. It inspired and comforted me years beyond moving to New York, until my mom took it upon herself to tear it all down soon before one of my visits home. I still can’t believe it’s all gone. But then again, those kind of superficial attachments may just be the kind of stuff I should talk to a shrink about.

I wasn’t a great student, but that’s because I wasn’t interested. I was smart enough to know how to get out of big projects, to not get in trouble for skipping class, even how to find a way around actually having to show up for my senior year. I made friends with the right teachers, and sworn enemies with the ones I hated. I did my best sleeping in chemistry and math, my best arguing in english class, and my best goofing off in shop or art.

I hated high school as a whole. I never attended a prom or school function, and the night of graduation my parents took me out to Red Lobster for shrimp scampi and a margarita. Throughout those four years, I was certain that college wasn’t for me, but I changed my mind last-minute. Literally, the last day of registration at the local community college the fall after I graduated. I thought it was worth giving a try. And I loved it. (Except for one teacher I reported to the Dean for being a total ass. He didn’t take kindly to me challenging his unfairness and fondness for randomly changing the rules in class, to the point of making it personal. He failed me, but I take comfort in the knowledge that I didn’t take it sitting down.)

I did the community college thing until I had the crazy idea to move to New York to finish off my college career. I applied to one school, and got in, planning to start the fall of 2001. My housing fell through, forcing me to defer a semester while I searched for a new apartment. Then Sept 11, 2001 happened. I suppose the fact I couldn’t move up there when I wanted was a blessing in disguise. I don’t envy anyone who had to function in the days, weeks, and months after that event. But I was determined and did make it up there to start the spring 2002 semester. I haven’t looked back since.

I thrived in college. I enjoyed going to class, even participated in those classes, I took summer school just to get extra credits out-of-the-way, made the Dean’s List a couple times, did my homework! Granted, I took my time graduating (any attempts at true expediency would be out of character), but at least I did it.

Now, I’m not saying I was an amazing student. I did my best. I absorbed the most I could and made it worth my while.

The sad fact is that college degrees don’t ensure any extra ease when searching for a job these days. So far, my education has only afforded me the opportunity to be a substantially qualified errand girl.