Friday, June 30, 2006

The Disgrossting Ocean and Other Thoughts

Today we went to the beach! And I wore a swimsuit! And promised Al that I'd swim out to the dock with him! And it was very exciting! Um, until that part where I had to wade through two metric tons of seaweed and noticed that the ocean resembled a dirty lake. There's apparently an abundance of algae here in the Long Island Sound. It was kind of like the Lake of the Ozarks, but with salt and possibly jellyfish. I felt like I should be looking for Party Cove, replete with speed-boat driving Pabst Blue Ribbon drinkers and women wearing ill-fitting bikini tops and Daisy Dukes, but all I saw in the distance were sailboats and a stupid light house. Obviously, I was robbed of experience appropriate to this kind of water.

(I kid about the stupid light house. I love that light house.)

...

Last night on my run I saw the following: two swans, two wild turkeys, and one setting sun, sinking perfectly into the trees that edge the water.

...

I've been having trouble getting everything done that needs doing once my workday is over. At first I thought it was a time management difficulty, but I think my difficulty is really with math. Let's take a look: If a nanny gets off work at 7:47pm and must be in bed by 9pm, how many minutes total does she have to run three errands, do her laundry, and shower?

Answer: Not enough minutes!

(Duh, Mary.)

...

Here in Connecticut, they have the flattest roadkill I've ever seen. On my very first run I happened upon both a squirrel and a chipmunk that had been pressed by wheels of passing vehicles to the thickness of corrugated cardboard. I neither kid nor exaggerate, and trust me when I tell you that you don't want me to have to bring you a photo to prove it.

...

ocean = salt water = saline solution = absolute comfort when I accidentally opened my contact-lens-clad eyes in the green, murky depths

...

My schedule won't always be like this. Someday, not so far away, yet far enough away to make me sigh a little, I will have time to nap again.

...

Two words: Filet. Mignon.

...

Five words: Swiss. Chocolates. (Direct from Switzerland)

...

Why am I up past nine when I have to get up at five tomorrow morning? I don't know. Goodnight.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The First Great Quote on the Job

Al has been having a rough go of getting used to, well, having to do what I say because I am in charge. Sometimes he's a peach, doing just what he should right when, or even before, I ask. However, when the mood strikes him, he'll either refuse outright or just act like he didn't hear me. In those times, he ends up with a lot of negative consequences, mostly time in his room and removal of certain privileges.

Yesterday at the post office, we had a little incident which resulted in forty minutes of room time (I start with ten, then add five for each time he continues to refuse to do what I have asked and/or hits or kicks something because he's mad). He said a lot of normal kid stuff like "Whatever!" and "Geez!" and maybe something about me being so very mean and unfair and terrible. But the best one came on the way back to the car when he turned to me, seething, and spat, "Why do you have to keep making these tough love decisions?

If I hadn't been trying to make a point about respect and following instructions without bursts of anger, I would have laughed long and hard.

As it is, I just had to save it for the internet.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Yesterday I Went to New York City, and Here is What I Thought of It

It's big.

There are lots of people.

That's all.

Okay, I'm kidding. Not about the big and the lots of people, of course, because GEEZ. And also GET OUT OF MY WAY. I'm thinking that a summer Saturday in Midtown is not the best way to experience New York for the first time. But that's what I did, for I am somewhat of an idiot.

For being a first time visitor and being all by myself, I'd say I did all right. I got some decent maps, swapped out my iPod, and at least am at the place now where I feel like I know what I'm doing when it comes to navigating Grand Central Station and any place I can go on foot from there (which is kind of everywhere in Manhattan since I don't mind walking at all). I got to visit the World Vision AIDS Experience (which I highly recommend), Central Park, and a variety of stores I'd never heard of. I give high marks to the Fifth Ave. Apple Store staff for getting my iPod swapped out quickly, and kudos to myself for figuring out how to e-mail photos of the store from my new camera phone to my geek boyfriend, even though I'd never used the camera feature at all before.

Because it rained all day, and because the PEOPLE, they kept GETTING in my WAY, I didn't take many photos, but you can take a look at what I did capture by clicking here. Each time I go into the city I'll be adding to that set, so feel free to check back from time to time.

I've also begun a Connecticut set, which you can access here.

Tomorrow begins my first full week of work here, and my charges first full week of summer. So far we've got swim team and tennis lessons lined up, and rumor has it that someone (*ahem*me*ahem*) is working on finding a Spanish tutor and putting together some math enrichment. (Because if a Spanish tutor and math enrichment don't spell F-U-N in the summertime, I just don't know what does.) We'll be busy, but I think that will be good because, well, I miss you Kansas City people, and I need the time to fly by until I see you again.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Connecticut Observations, List One

1. When not in gridlock, people drive fast on I-95. The speed limit is 55, but you'd never know it; when I drove to New Haven, most people were going at least 65 or 70. While in the middle lane, just going with the flow, I caught myself going 75. I quickly pulled over to the right lane behind some poor old clunker so I could do my usual five miles per hour above the posted limit and not get mowed over by an overzealous SUV. I don't know yet how they are with tickets here, but I would rather not get one for going 75 in a 55, even if everybody else is doing it. (See how good I am at resisting highway peer pressure? I am a model citizen.)

2. People are very friendly here, unless they don't speak English, in which case they are a little shy. I had several people strike up conversations with me the past couple of days as I've been out and about.

3. The roads here are very curvy, and many of them have speed bumps at regular intervals so that people who live just around the bend can pull out of their driveways with confidence. I was a little nervous about running on roads with no shoulder and no sidewalk, but people are going fairly slowly, and they always give runners/walkers/bicyclists wide berth.

4. In the evening, the traffic in residential areas south of I-95 is very light. When I am out running, I see a good many other exercisers, and most of the time we can use the middle of the street for our preferred method of exercise.

5. There are a lot of beautiful, old buildings here, many of them with placards denoting the date they were built. I can't help gawking. (If that was your house I was gawking at last night, um, sorry.)

6. Except for exercise, most people don't walk, even if their destination is nearby. They have nice cars, and they like to drive them.

7. When it comes to drugstores, Walgreen's has the best prices on most things. CVS charges nearly fifty cents more on a lot of items, and also they do not keep their Us Weekly rack up to date. I've heard that CVS does a great job printing photos, but who cares about that; I need cheap, and I need a current Us Weekly.

8. I'm pretty sure I like it here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today My Assistant and I Went to the Market

Before that, my pitching coach and I worked on my throw. I was terrible, but he was gracious, and he didn't even laugh about the one I pitched a good forty-five degrees to the left of where it should have gone. (Never wind up your pitch if you can't pitch even when you throw underhanded, very slowly, to someone who is five feet away.) And such is my life in Connecticut. Assistants, pitching coaches, filet mignon...

Please don't hate me. I also iron t-shirts and clip other people's fingernails.

The job is good, I think. I suppose it's not possible to tell for sure after just two days, but I think we're getting along famously. Frank and Al, as I'll be calling them (Frank's the girl, by the way), seem to be adjusting to my way of doing things, and I am adjusting to their way of doing things as well. Frank, who acted as my assistant today, only got me a little lost on the way to the store, and Al is just eager to play anything with me anytime (thus the pitching help). The house is pretty, and my room is becoming more and more mine every time I come into it and put something in its spot. It's good. Eventually we will have things running like a well-oiled machine, and I won't get lost every single time I drive without the navigation system on.

Okay, maybe I lied about that very last part. I'll probably use the navigation system every day until the day I leave.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hi, My Name is Mary, and I Live in... (wait for it...)

CONNECTICUT!

Yes, it's true, I have arrived. In fact, I arrived in a very tacky stretch limo. Oh, internets, if only I had KNOWN. I would have brought my camera up front instead of letting the driver put that bag in the trunk. I don't think that words would do it justice, so I will give you but one detail, and you can fill in the rest. Overhead there were, in a mirror no less, little lights meant to twinkle like stars which also changed color. Yes, internets, it was that kind of limo. It is just too bad that Corey Haim or Corey Feldman or one of those Coreys I had a crush on as an adolescent wasn't there to share the magic. Oh! Oh! Oh! OR! ORRRRRRRRRRRR: Rick Springfield. I'm sure Rick Springfield would have dug this limo.

I'm also sure Rick Springfield and the Coreys would dig my minivan, which has a navigation system and excellent cargo space. Can't you just imagine Rick and the Coreys shoved into my cargo space, delighted by the voice of navigation? I'm sure you can. Because you? Internets? Are just like that.

Friday, June 16, 2006

On the Envelope She'd Written, "Thank You Lady Across the Street"

I don't know that the rest of the story is worth telling, or perhaps it's that I think it would come off as self-congratulatory, when what I really want to say is that some of the best hearts are found in the most unlikely bodies, and that a woman named Sandy, who is down on her luck, totally made my day today.

Your small kindnesses matter. Don't forget that, wherever life takes you.

(My life is taking me to Connecticut. I'll see you there...)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I Try to Freak Out at Least Twice a Day, Just for Kicks

I also try to drink excessive amounts of coffee with my lunch so that I can scare my banker when I go talk to him. I sense that I might end up talking a little fast and gesticulating wildly. Lucky banker! I'm going to make his day, if only because after me all his other customers will seem calm and relaxed.

I've got my schedule for the rest of the week scribbled out in typical Mary fashion on a piece of paper which contains no less than six separate lists. I'd prefer to use index cards, but I packed those already. I've packed almost everything already. I am living on a prayer and a bunch of wrinkly clothes. Also on chocolate chips straight from the bag, but that's not out of the ordinary. It's just how I self-medicate when I'm feeling anxious.

I'm coming down to the wire when it comes to time left in Kansas City. As much as I'm excited to start my new job, I'm feeling really sad to leave everybody behind. I know that time will fly by, and I'll be back lots, but still...weepage. Five more days, people, just five more days...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It Was All Going So Well Until I Realized That Whoops! I'm a Moron!

If you ever buy a full-sized shower curtain with the intention of cutting it to fit a bathroom window, you may want to both measure and mark your measurements before you cut it.

That or make sure you kept that packing tape in your bag instead of leaving it at your current place of semi-residence.

Right. I think you can figure out what happened, though maybe not where exactly it happened unless you, too, know how mildewy a couple of guys will let shower curtains get, and that I'm dating someone who is, in fact, a guy, and has a roommate that is, in fact, also a guy, and that suddenly I've got time on my hands and the urge to ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! but no space of my own to do it in.

You should see his kitchen. Two words, if I may, to describe my skills in this situation: Miracle. Worker.

I should have taken some before and afters.

Right, so anyway, what did I come here for? Besides the moron report? Oh, yes, some sort of update thingy which I don't really feel like giving, but here's a summary:

I'm pretty close to all packed, eleven boxes have been shipped, mail has been forwarded, cats are settled in their new home, I ran my first 20-miler of the season on Sunday and still lived, shindig celebrating (mourning?) my departure is tomorrow evening, internet access is erratic, iBook is forthcoming, iBook sleeve which is very cute and features a poppy is also forthcoming, departure is set officially for June 18 at 1:55pm so I can sleep in. Any questions?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Love Vs. Not Love

This is a game Shiz and I have played before, and now I am spreading the love (vs. not love). I'll go first, then you play in the comments section. Here we go:

Know what I love?

Sleeping.

Know what I do NOT love?

Vomit in the middle of the sidewalk. (C'mon, people, take it to the curb. It's just a few steps away.)

Okay, now it's your turn.

Friday, June 02, 2006

And Y'all Are Out There, Hitting Refresh on my Page, Going, "TapTapTap...Is This Thing ON??"

At least, that's what I like to think you're doing--that you're, you know, sitting there, just waiting and wondering about me.

Hi, it's on. This thing, that is, if you're talking about the whole moving out of my apartment and sometime soon living in a brand new state thing, it's definitely on. So definitely on that yesterday I turned in my apartment keys and nearly drove right back there afterwards, the car's autopilot ("autopilot" meaning "girl who's driving not really paying attention, just going where she always does") taking me to what it knew as home.

It was kind of sad, really. I don't live there anymore. And I loved living there.

(*moment of silence while we shed a collective tear for the cuteness that was my living space*)

At the end of the day, Jarod and I counted up how many places I'm distributing/ have distributed my things. There are/will be ten. TEN. I trust you don't envy me the sorting and transporting.

Internet access is a little touch and go for me now. Surely there are plenty of places I can go and even a couple of laptops I'm free to use when they're around, but my guess is that for the next two and a half weeks I won't be very present here on the World Wide Web. I'll try to pop in when I can, but I'm trusting that in the meantime you can amuse yourselves otherwise.

See ya when I see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya...

(Er, wait, maybe that's you not wanting to be me. Whatever. Carry on, then.)