Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hamlet...the hamster

I was in Auburn Aries' office looking for index cards on which she must write her speech on flies. I was looking around and realized I was maneuvering around a pedestal fan that magically appeared.

The weather in Portland has been phenomenal. It was around 93 degrees yesterday. That pleases me. Feeling the warmth of sun against my sunlight deprived skin puts me in a great mood. Not being cold...another plus.

Having a daughter that never gets cold can be the only drawback. When I put her bed last night, she requested a fan to keep her cool. The fan ran all night long in her room and she slept like a baby because of it.

While looking for the index cards I stopped, looked at the fan and looked at Aries.

AP: Where'd that fan come from?

AA: My bedroom.

AP: Why is it in your office?

AA: To keep Hamlet [her Albino hamster] cool today.

AP: You ran a fan all day long to keep your hamster comfortable???

AA: Yeah. What's wrong with that? This room is really warm [it's located in the very center of the house] and I didn't want him to overheat.

AP: Wait a second...you ran a fan all day long without my knowledge while I was at work 50 miles south of here at Company South to make sure your hamster was comfy? Were you going to let me know you were going to leave a fan running all day long?

AA: Mom, I told you this morning. I said I was going to move the fan for Hamlet so he'd stay cool. You didn't say anything.

Mental note to self: Spend less time playing with your MAC makeup and picking a sundress and more time listening to your kid.

Somewhere in between "I can't get my ponytail tight enough" and "do I have to brush my teeth" she snuck one in on me.

P.S. Canada Girl, I know I owe you some calls. Bear with me, I'm working through some stuff. And Guru, leave some time open the week of Memorial weekend. You've got a couple of Auburns to meet.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ten Dollar Ha Ha

Last Wednesday I ran home after work, through on some workout clothes and headed for the gym. From the downstairs addiction hole World of Warcraft corner of the house a voice spoke.

HT: When you get back, let's have a cocktail since we didn't go to C.C.'s tonight.

After a quick inventory, I realized I would need to stop by the liquor store for Patron and some Vodka for Hot Toddy.

As I neared the liquor store (I didn't want to go in there all sweaty after a workout) I realized that I had forgotten my MP3 player and doing a cardio without it is impossible for me. My plan was to run into the liquor store, run back to the house, head back to the gym and then home.

There was one unforeseen flaw with my plan.

AP: Hey, Liquor Store Girl (LSG), you don't have any boxes of Patron out so I'm taking the front bottle.

LSG: That's fine. I can get you a boxed bottle if you'd like…

AP: [shrugs] I'm just going to recycle it anyway.

LSG: BTW, we got the Platinum in.

AP: The wha?

LSG: The Platinum. Patron makes a Platinum tequila now.

AP: [in a challenging voice] Show me…

As we're approaching the counter she's giving me the 411 on the new tequila. She said one of the regular Patron patron's bought one and said that it was "fucking magnificent."

She ran into the back to get a ladder to reach the glorious bottle. She reached up on the top shelf (where it belongs) and there it was. What LSG said was true. She gently handed it to me and was laughing at the expression on my face.

AP: OH. MY. HELL. Look at this. It's a thing of beauty.

LSG: The bottle is made of lead-free crystal. It comes in a black velvet bag with a bolo-tie that closes it. It has a small booklet inside that talks about the tequila and the packaging. Each bottle is numbered and signed. The box it comes in is made from curly maple (I think that's what she said, at this point her words were nearly inaudible - I could hardly hear over the angels singing] which is what they make violins out of.

AP: [Taps on the ball on the top of the cork which is made of silver] I have to have one. You never should have showed this to me. I'm going to have to buy it. How much is it?

LSG: $199.95

AP: Two hundred gawd damned dollars for tequila. This is insane. [I think quietly for just a moment searching for logic…that voice that says don't do it. That voice of reason was nowhere around…or I couldn't hear it either, over the angels singing of course…or maybe I was meant to be in the liquor store on that day at that time - it was a sign - okay that's a bit of a stretch]

With only two sales girls and me in the store, I got pretty excited about the new tequila. I actually jumped up and down and clapped my hands saying "I'm so excited!!!!!" They girls were laughing at me.

Anyway, I handed her the bottle and walked over to the vodka section. I grabbed the half gallon of Potter's Vodka HT had requested and then picked up a bottle of Patron Silver and sat them on the counter. LSG rung up my order.

AP: No, no, Sweetie. I was serious. I want that bottle of Platinum.

LSG: But you have Patron right here.

AP: Yeah, that's the rot-gut tequila for mixing. That, right there, is not.

Now, I never thought I'd see the day I referred to my beloved Patron Silver as rot-gut…and we all know I wasn't serious because it's the polar opposite of rot-gut yet here I was saying it. I paid the bill $278 liquor bill and waited for LSG to bag my prize.

She put the Platinum box (which she retrieved from the back of the shelf to assure no one had touched it), in the bag first. Then she grabbed the rot-gut vodka tasty beverage of Hot Toddy's choice and hovered it above the bag.

LSG: I can't do it. I can't put Potter's Vodka in the same bag as the Platinum.

I left the store with two bags.

I raced home forgetting the gym even existed.

I yelled downstairs and begged HT to come upstairs to see what I had done. When I told him I had done something "over the top" he replied with "what did you buy?!" He knows me too well. As I pulled out the box of Gran Patron and unveiled it in all its magnificent glory, he was in awe of its beauty and we were both excited to taste it.

We headed outside to partake in my new purchase. Toddy grabbed two small bucket glasses and I poured 'em neat. We spoke a small "Blessed Be" to each other and felt the subtlety of the Gran Patron delicately stroke our palates. It is exquisite. HT said it was like drinking silk. He is 100% correct.

So based on the price I'm sure you can understand how tight-fisted I am with this particular bottle.

Fast-forward to Saturday night. Ren came by to say Hi. We (me, Hot and Ren) were on the front porch visiting and I showed her the Patron. Though she was unable to participate in a cocktail that particular evening, I offered another drink to Hot Toddy and poured one for myself.

Now there's one minor detail I feel compelled to point out. I am unaccustomed to drinking anything straight up. Even Patron Platinum. So when I pour drinks for HT and I, I pour more for him than I do for myself. Same thing Saturday night. In fact, his was a pretty heavy drink.

We sat there talking and I took very small sips of my tequila savoring each time it passed my lips. The evening got late, Ren was leaving and it was Aries' bedtime.

HT: Well, I guess I'll go downstairs. [Hot Toddy began collecting his things…vodka glass, mail, bucket glasses…]


HT: What? Oh, really? Which one was it? [He grabs the top glass, holds it to the porch light of the neighbors house to verify it was my glass of Patron and GULPS IN DOWN IN ONE DRINK] Well….NOW IT IS!!!!!! HA HA

I was blown away. $200 tequila that I share with my dearest friend who has the most indiscriminate palate of anyone I know and he guzzles down my cocktail. It's so expensive, I wasn't going to pour another, nor did I really want to. I was only going to have the one drink.

I wasn't sure what to do. Was I pissed or hurt? Was he drunk or thoughtless? Do I say anything or let it go? These things I pondered until I fell asleep and again when I awoke. I simply couldn't believe he had done it.

Later Sunday morning, Toddy and I stepped outside to have coffee and tea, respectively.

HT: Man, I was so drunk last night.

AP: Drunk?! You were drunk last night? Well, that explains the Patron incident.

HT: Oh my gawd, WHAT Patron incident.

AP: You don't remember?

HT: [hesitantly awaits my response to see how bad it was]

AP: [explains his actions the night before]…You actually took my bucket of Platinum and guzzled it down like a shot of Cuervo. I had only had two small sips of that tequila, ya bastard.

HT: Oh my gawd, Aub…I'm SO sorry. Wow, I guess that was like a ten dollar ha ha wasn't it…

AP: Yeah, Hot, ten dollar ha ha…very funny.

So let's do some simple math, shall we? A fifth of Silver is $50. A fifth of Gran Patron Platinum is $200 which is four times as much. A shot of Patron is $9 therefore a shot of Platinum would be…$36… yeah, Hot…a funny ha ha indeed!

He SO owes me a margarita the next time we go out and I'm SO not letting him off the hook.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Driving Un-etiquette

Now that I'm commuting I have time to think about a myriad of things. It's amazing what a person thinks about when they're all alone…or not.

A couple of weeks ago, Auburn Aries and I were in the car when a really bad, really slow driver pulled out in front of me. If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought they did it just to piss me off. Once behind these people there was no way out. Every red light we stopped at turned into an eternity of me begging the other driver to "PLEASE, TURN…DO SOMETHING…GET OUT OF MY WAY…"

To quote Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty..All this horsepower and nowhere to gallop.

Aries was in the car laughing and knows me well enough at this point that she started a dialogue.

AA: Man, I can't believe they pulled in front of the Mustang. Don't they know how fast this car goes? I mean, it would have only taken a second for you to be out of their way.

AP: This is all I'm sayin'!! Eh, their just jealous cause our car is nicer than theirs and if I were in front it would sting doubly bad.

AA: [mocking Jim Carrey] Laaahoooo-saaahhher [and smacks the letter L on her forehead]

Well, I started laughing which probably wasn't the right thing to do.

AP: (prepare yourself for an airhead moment) Hey, I wonder if we did that so they could see it in their rearview mirror, which hand you'd have to do it with.

Aries and I talked back and forth about - if we see it this way in the mirror, then they'd see it that way if they were looking at us, but their not. They'd be looking in their mirror too so…

Visors were pulled down; examples were shown; and we were laughing so hard it didn't matter that we were sucked into a blonde-moment vortex even though we're both redheads.

I was telling my coworkers today about the Loser hand signal in the mirror story today. Everyone was laughing and shaking their heads. One of the guys piped up and said, "you should have just told your daughter to use a lower case L (and holds his index finger in the center of his forehead). Someone else said, "You can kill two birds with one stone with that hand gesture by using your middle finger."

I laughed so hard… I reminded him that teaching my daughter to flip people off while driving isn't a good thing. I've actually taught her that when someone flips you off and are steaming mad, the best thing to do back is to flip them a Peace sign. It really chaps them when they see you were the better person!

Admittedly, however, I'm not the best example of perfect driving etiquette. Au contraire… I'm the "if they could hear me ranting they respond with road rage" girl. I cannot shut the hell up when I'm driving. It's like a hobby - which is a fun hobby for a short-tempered redhead who is Irish, Scottish, German, Indian. It's like a mini-pressure release valve similar to a pressure cooker. I'm making myself laugh today. By the time I get home I'm all cooked and easier to swallow! I’m crackin' myself up!

What I've found is that whereas I have a 90 minute drive home, if I spend it talking to someone on my cell phone with my headset on, it makes me frickin crazy. I start feeling like I have no alone time which dominoes into being snappy because I talk until I get into Portland and hang up outside daycare and immediately have to engage in conversation with Aries. Not pretty. I end up not taking any calls on my cell because I hate the damn thing.

I seem to be getting used to the drive. Sometimes I don't like forfeiting the time I spend on the road because it feels like time lost - but I've made pretty good use of it so far.

For instance, this morning traffic was heavy (I was in the fast lane not going fast.) On the shoulder was an older van that was obviously the work truck of a small mom and pop shop. As I approached I noticed blackish smoke starting to pour from the hood. The driver had propped the hood open and was running to the back of the van - hopefully to grab an extinguisher.

My instinct was to pull over and help him then I realized I don't have an extinguisher in the Mustang - something I'll have to remedy. When I checked my side mirror though, a semi-truck quickly pulled off the freeway to help him. It reminded me how tight the trucking community is and how selfless they can be. I've never met a trucker who hasn't stopped to help in some way. I just hope if the day comes that I need help like that, that I'm wearing one of my sundresses and sexy shoes!!

I've also noticed that there are a fair amount of people (translation: a lot of assholes) who think that doing 70 in the fast lane justifies their presence in that lane. For the Aries K car that won't effing move - you know - the one with the duct tape on the bumper…GET OUT'THE WAY BITCH, GET OUT'THE WAY.

And for all the people who slow waaaay down when they see a cop...the presence of a policeman doesn't mean doing one mile an hour less than the speed limit will fool him into thinking you always drive that speed. Find some ovaries and go, gawd dammit.

Just once I'd like to have the freeway to myself...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Time is a precious commodity

It's interesting that I've gone from having too much time on my hands (and not particularly caring for it) when I wasn't working to feeling like there is now never enough.

A typical Auburn Pisces day:

Wake up at 4:10 a.m.
Throw on workout clothes and head to the gym
Train with my Hot Trainer from 4:30 - 5:00 a.m.
Back home by 5:15 a.m.
Get cleaned up and put make-up on by 6 a.m.
Wake Auburn Aries up at 6:00 (which is not a quick task)
Get dressed, gather healthy snacks and make a lunch between 6:00 & 6:30.
Deal with Auburn Aries trying to convince me it doesn't matter if it's raining, flip flops are the best choice.
Shoot for getting out the door at 6:30 (translation: this means 6:45 unfortunately)
Drop Aries off at daycare
Drive and hour and ten minutes to Company South
Work until 4:30 p.m.
Drive 90 minutes back to Portland
Pick up Aries at her after school program

Evening Variables are:

Variable One:
Go to the gym by 6:30 p.m. to get in a cardio workout
Get home at 7:30 p.m.
Make dinner
Eat around 8:15 p.m.
Put Aries to bed at 9:00 p.m
Die on couch soon thereafter.

Variable two:
Go straight home after picking up Aries
Make dinner and eat by 7:15'ish
Swear to all that is Holy that tonight is the night you'll get caught up on [the laundry, cleaning off the kitchen counter or cleaning the bathrooms]
Die on the couch around 7:30 only to be awakened by Aries saying "Mommy, it's time for me to go to bed."

It's a split, really. Two nights a week it's Variable One; two nights a week it's Variable Two and the other night I pray that Toddy will be coming home right after work so we can have a cocktail on the front porch and unwind.

I'm tired. I haven't gotten used to the lack of time I now experience. I slept 12 hours both Friday and Saturday night. This feels absolutely great considering that the reality is I only get between five and six hours of sleep a night during the week. Once I nap on the couch I can't fall right to sleep when I go to bed - try as I might. I also have to contend with feeling like the day is half over when I wake up.

I turned off my cell phone for the first time in ages because I wasn't willing to forfeit any of my precious time yammering on it.

To top it all off, Aries was sick on Friday which caused me to miss a day of work. I took her to her Dad's this weekend only to receive a call this morning with her in tears due to a misunderstanding between her and her Dad and the fact that she was sick again. I left early to go get her. She slept all the way home (an hour) and feel asleep on the couch promptly after she ate a little dinner. We'll have to see what tomorrow brings. Right now it's a crap shoot.

I do have a list of things I want to blog about. The systems at work are very locked down which makes it difficult to post. Hot Toddy had a great suggestion though. If I write my entry and email it to him he will post it for me. A viable option indeed.

Thing is, I have not been very successful at planning my time better. It's times like these I wish I were a Type A personality like Hot Momma... Now there's a woman who knows how to get things done. Sadly, however, I am not. Occasionally my friends will point out that I tend to be OCD. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't seem to be in the areas I most need it.

Gurustu sent me an email that speaks of a solution that I'm implementing that will help in making me successful. (Guru, I couldn't find the link on your site to post here.) He spoke of turning "maybe" into "may be." He wrote about making a list of all the things that are going on in our lives and all the things that we want to have in the future.

Then assessing the list you've created, eliminate the things that you are clinging to for all the wrong reasons. Also eliminate the things you truly have no intention of committing to. Giving each remaining items a score rating it for what value it brings and how easy it is to obtain. Then circle the top 20% of the list. That's what's most important; that's what's going to take up 80% of our time.

He indicates that's where we'll put most of our time, energy, resources and motivation, then those most-valuable-things are the ones that truly may become.

I agree wholeheartedly with Guru's thoughts on this. It would work even on the most fundamental level. Just creating the list alone would put into perspective what you're doing with your time. For me it comes back to the saying I used while working at Company X. If everything is a priority, then ultimately nothing is.

For now, I'll keep my list of things I'll be blogging about and do what I can to get out here and get them posted. I'm sure I'll find a blog-groove soon.

How funny...I just spell checked my post and blogging wasn't listed in dictionary but flogging is. And a smile creeps across my lips......