Monday, June 24, 2013

secret surprise birthday party shenanigans and other weekend happenings

I have been absolutely dying to talk about this. Dying!

In May I started making plans to have a surprise birthday for Kh. I made party reservations at our favorite local bar, got in touch with her friends, and started stockpiling gifts on the sly.

She had a crazy work event that took up the time around her birthday, so we had it this past Saturday. Finally! Talk about stressful, holding back big plans like that. I was a nervous wreck the past few weeks in anticipation. 
Saturday we spent the whole day hanging out with one of my clients while they unloaded their moving van. He’s a 150lb St. Bernard, that just so happens he can’t go up stairs. I live on the second floor of my apartment.. so we took a long walk around a pond, then sat in a park and had some lunch with him. 

The party happened on Saturday night, and it went so well. I can finally relax. We had friends come in from out of town, including my best friend who came in from NYC. She spent all day with us and Kh had no idea she was here for her party. Phew, that takes some skill!

I barely got any photos; I was to busy mingling and enjoying the night. Kh’s good friend made nutella frosting cupcakes, and gluten free brownies. So amazing!

Sunday we went out for brunch. We didn’t plan very properly and it took somewhere close to 2hours before we actually ate. That’s pretty typical of The Friendly Toast on a weekend. I had all the beverages ever, including a mimosa made out of grapefruit juice instead of oj. It was delicious! I also tried my first bloody mary, spicy!

While waiting for our food we saw a giant poof of flame shoot out of the kitchen. Apparently a can of something or another got to close to the grill and exploded. We were too comatose with hunger to really care and just stared at the smoke in the room.
After what turned into lunch we laid around the apartment napping. I had a couple of clients staying over so it was small dog city in my apartment. 

I got Kh a few wet taxidermy specimens for her bday. A squid head, leeches, and rat feet(which aren't pictured).
 Now it's back to work. It was over 90degrees today, and I was quite sure I was dying. I got to take the worlds second longest nap, made hot dogs on the grill, and painted sugar skulls for a few hours.  

I want my weekend to hurry up and get here again. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

a little indulgence

Before Kh went away for work this week, we decided to get breakfast at a cafe right down the street from our house. Followed by a quick stop at the pastry shop next door to it.

I'm in love. Lemon flaky pastry bar, where have you been all my life?


catching up; my weekend shenanigans

Kh had her birthday earlier in the month, and I decided to turn every weekend this month into an extended birthday celebration for her. So far it's working out quite well.

Last Friday night we went to our favorite bar, one we don't get to frequent to often. I managed to put 5 Dark and Stormy's to my face. Five.

Saturday morning I affectionately referred to them as Devils Juice. All the while Kh told me I wreaked of ginger beer. I guess that's better than rum, like some drunken sailor.. eh?

I finished up most of my work earlier in the day, so we could head up to Salem and spend the rest of the day eating.

Our first stop was Salem Willows. It's essentially a boardwalk with arcades, and varying food stands. Chinese food to ice cream, they have any form of disgusting food you'd want. Including fried oreos. It reminds me of the Jersey Shore.. Except not.

 Fried shrimp, a hot dog and fries.. Destroyed it. Afterward we were chatting away when I catch a glimpse of something creeping up behind us. I figured it was another person that doesn't understand personal space, but no.. It was this creeping seagull. 

I threw my shrimp tails at him, the first one hitting him square upside the head. He barely even flinched, and it took him a while to go after it. 

To work off some of the food we just inhaled, and make room for ice cream we played in the arcades. 
Kh had her fortune told by Zoltan. Who had a complete contradiction to the other fortune teller mannequin head. She told me my lucky color was white. I'd probably have to disagree. 

After sufficiently eating everything and playing every game ever, including pinball which apparently I'm fantastic at, we went to our other favorite spot to visit while in Salem. 

They have a cheese plate that I'm pretty much in love with. Particularly the mustard ale cheese. I wanted to order 4 chunks of it and squirrel it away in my purse. Kh found it online for $20 a wheel.. She always ruins all my fun. 

I was that person eating bread and drinking gluten free beer. I wanted to find another option so I didn't feel quite as sick/bloaty afterward. I completely threw my low carb/low sugar diet out the window over the weekend, and damn was I glad to. 

This weekend I have another fun plans set into motion, but I'm keeping them hush hush. Loose lips sink ships. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

at least it's not monday anymore, or my awkward moment of the week

My least favorite, and by far the most awkward part of my job, is the client consultations. It’s one of those necessary evils. If I want new clients, I have to make time to meet said new clients.

And meeting said clients takes place in their homes, with just me and them in attendance. Kh refuses to go with me, I can't blame her. These things suck. I thankfully have only had one instance where I felt incredibly uncomfortable.  For the most part, I just see a lot of dirty houses, clutter, or meticulously cleaned apartments.

Last night I had my first crotch shot.

Ok let me back track. I scheduled a client consultation for 6:30pm. I spent the better half of my afternoon with the time 5:30 stuck in my head, boy was I heart broken when I realized I can’t keep track of shit and I was way off.

We had a heavy downpour just as I’m walking out to my car. I get in, look at my directions once more and then drive off. All the while sheets of rain are pouring down on my windshield, the wet spots on my jeans are now cold in the warm air from my car.

I arrive just outside the woman’s apartment 20 minutes early. I call my mom and chat with her about absolutely nothing until I can head inside.

I ring the doorbell and hear footsteps coming down the entryway staircase. A tall, slender woman in her mid-30’s greets me. She’s wearing a red dress that’s tight on top, flowy on the bottom and a belt that can’t seem to get tight enough around her tiny waist. She’s wearing sandal wedges, which helps her be at least 5” taller than me.

I greet her politely and shake her hand. She heads up the stairs first, thankfully. I hate it when I have to navigate my way to a place I’ve never been before.

We go on a hunt to find both of the cats. One of them is lying in her room on her blindingly white bed. I have to step over piles of clothes and shoes to get to the cats. I wasn’t prepared for an obstacle course. We stand there awkwardly chatting, me trying to ignore the giant mosquito netting she has hanging above her bed, until I finally push the meeting along and ask to see the rest of their stuff.

Fast forward to us in the kitchen. She drops the bomb that I need to visit twice a day and one of the cats needs medication. It’s always something, and people don’t like to tell you beforehand.

I have a lot of experience administrating medications to pets, but she decides to show me how the cat takes his pill. She puts the pill inside a ‘pill shooter’ and kneels down to try and coax him over.

So here’s the mental image. The tall sinewy woman in her flowy red dress, kneeling, no, squatting, with her butt touching the backs of her heels. Her legs are close together as she continues to try and talk this cat into coming closer to her.

The next several of minutes go down like this.

The cat slowly starts to saunter over to her, all the while her legs spread farther apart. Soon she has the cat facing me between her legs, with her legs wide open. The red flowy dress is not helping her in this situation, as it’s caught on her knees.

The cats face is directly blocking my view of her crotch. I don’t think she has underwear on.

My first instinct is to stand up and start looking at something else.
My second instinct is to see if she actually has underwear on.

I go with my second instinct. I shift my focus back and am completely relieved to see she has peach colored underwear on. Ok, slightly less awkward.

I stand up and try to make talking to her as painless as possible. I try to make sure my expression doesn’t convey “Ok lady I just saw your pantie crotch shot.”

She shows me how to use a set of keys, and I make a b-line for the door.

The monthly award for most awkward client consultation goes to this one.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

my vacation in mexico; finally

 Waiting for our first flight in the airport. Early mornings aren't my thing.
  Our room

The view out our back patio. 
 It's going to fall on us ahhh!
 We did paint your own pottery, which was probably my favorite ever. 
It took me 2 1/2 hours. I'm a bit of a perfectionist.
 Lizard pals hanging around the property.

I wouldn't mind having a few more days spent on that beach, with that view. It was so relaxing to get away from it all. The resort we stayed at was all inclusive, which took a little getting used to. We found a few places that had decent food, and tried a little bit of everything. My favorite we didn't find until the last day was a Mexican restaurant, with amazing food. 

Each night we had to have "family" style dinners with everyone she works with. By the third night we were ready to have a quiet evening just the two of us. 

We also lived by one rule the whole trip.. "do as little as possible and plan nothing that wasn't planned for us." It worked out well. We laid on the cabana beds, watched the moon over the water at night, and even swam in the ocean past midnight.

I'm longingly looking into the future for my next vacation. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

I saw my first dead person last week, or what I learned at a wake for someone I didn’t know

I’ve somehow managed to make it to 27 without actually seeing a dead person. This isn’t to say people around me haven’t died, and I haven’t seen my fair share of horror movies. (I know, that doesn’t count.)

Grandparents, great aunts and uncles, even people I went to school with have all met their ends, but none of which I actually saw in person after the last ounce of life had left their bodies.

Death has been around me, but I haven’t seen it to truly know what it looks like. How heavy the air feels around it. Or how serious others make it. And oh boy, people make death a very serious happening.

Except this instance. This story has nothing to do with seriousness.

One of my close friends grandfather died after being sick for some time. I’ll call her NK for the sake of narration. I knew he meant a great deal to NK, and a couple of days before the wake she is sitting on my back porch having a good vent about the whole experience when I offer to go with her. For moral support, and to show I care.

I could hear my insides crying – Stephanie, Why did you go and do a damn thing like that?!

The next day, I don’t hear from her. I think I’m in the clear.

Thursday morning I get a text with directions and a thank you for coming. Damnit. Ok ok.. 

I talk to my mom to see if she has pointers on what really happens at a wake. She tells me you have to kiss the recently deceased's mouth. I tell her she's creepy and she laughs uncontrollably until reality settles in and she decides to google it. I spend the next 10 minutes listening to her read aloud from this article - Attend the wake of someone you didn't know well

You can find answers for anything on this crazy thing called the  world wide web, and that just blows my mom away to this day. At number 10 she starts to choke on her own words, she's laughing to hard. After she composes herself, but just barely, she tells me she misread it as "introduce yourself to the deceased." 

Oh, my mom.

I work a hellacious day. Run home and strip out of my work clothes while running into the bedroom to put on my wake clothes. I have a hard time deciding between what black top, out of my closet overflowing with black tops, is the right black top.

I throw on a new layer of mascara and I’m out the door.

45 minutes later I’m sitting on the world’s most uncomfortable wooden chair, memorizing the shape of every floral arrangement in front of me. A steady stream of people make their way to say their goodbyes and give the family their condolences. He looks peaceful, and I can't help but smile at the family photo collages strewn across the side of the room.

3 hours later and I’m not sure I have a butt any longer and I’ve only managed to sneak out for one smoke break. Where what used to be nothing shy of a plush hiney, I just feel a negative tingling sensation that creeps down the backs of my legs.

In the (somewhat) hushed silence and whispers that were all around me in my 3 hours of narrowly avoiding looking at his corpse, I made a few realizations.

a.      I’m really great at shutting off my mind and staring off into space while pretending to be incredibly interested in floral arrangements. Particularly the sunflowers.
b.     People are rude, disrespectful, and this is why I don’t have friends.
NK had one of her childhood friends with her, as well as myself for support. It seemed fitting, as this girl actually knew her grandfather, and the rest of her family for that matter. I got stuck sitting next to her for a good portion of my space odyssey, and got very close to wanting to stick a q-tip (it’s all I had in my purse) in my ear until I couldn’t hear any longer.
Her constant repetition of “Where’s Stacey and Clinton?” when referring to what people were were wearing wasn’t funny the first time, or the 20th. Especially after she tried to throw an old lady in a walker into her daytime television bus. I don’t think Stacey, nor Clinton would have appreciated her carpetbag skirt and silk poof sleeve shirt. We weren’t at an 80’s prom.
c.     Funeral homes have some fantastic furniture.
I didn't sit in any of it, aside from my wooden chair that still haunts my backside, for fear of breaking it all. I was fairly impressed with the supply of tissues that seemed to be next to every seat you could think of to sit in.
d.     When I die, it better be a crazy celebration of life, not a somber reflection of my death. Keg stands and joints abound. (Not that I've ever done a keg stand, but I think someone should do one at my funeral, as a nice send off)  I'd also like to breech the topic of photos at a funeral/just make sure you get my good side, and not allowing people to have their cell phones on. There's no need to beat your game of candy crush, put it down for a minute.

That night I had dreams NK’s grandfathers face sunk in while laying in the casket and the world was infested with zombies. All during which I was trying to master the art of floral arrangements. Go figure.


Friday, June 7, 2013

when stress stresses me out i make lists

Oh, to get away.

The few weeks before my vacation I found myself getting annoyed. Irritated. Irrationally angry at everything. I drop my pen, and a minute long freak out ensues. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. My insides felt horribly scrambled, like the eggs I’m thinking about making for breakfast. I couldn’t direct my own voice to make its way out of my head, so it just bounced around inside shattering things and making me feel like I was losing it.

Then vacation hit. We had four days away from work, home, and every other stress that happened to be seeping into my life. And you know what I realized? While walking on the tightly packed sand just where the ocean hits the beach, I realized it was stress making me lose my mind.

Oh! Right, that’s what stress feels like.

I had made this business venture to gain more control over my own schedule, my own life. To limit myself and be able to nourish the other parts of me creatively that had been sucked dry by so many years of slaving away for someone else’s agenda.

I haven’t been sticking true to my original agenda or myself. In three months I managed to let clients start walking all over me and business seep into my personal life. I’ve been going 3 weeks at a time without a full day off, and last minute client requests completely dovetailing my days.

My first thought when I got home from vacation? This shit has got to stop.

So I made two lists.

A. Shit that stresses me out.
B. Shit I need to do more often.

List A includes such topics as: Not adding to my savings each month. Taking on last minute new clients. Putting too much on my workload twice a week. Taking on clients that are to far out of my coverage zone. Agreeing to twice a day visits during the week. Never having a day off. Needy clients that are not manageable. 

List B. Take days off. Go swimming. Take day trips. Plan to take one full weekend off from work each month during the Summer. Have more sex. Read. Unplug from technology. Sit on my back porch. Stop eating shit that’s not that great for me (gluten you’re such a bitch). Be more spontaneous. Enjoy time with Kh. Set office hours, when I’m reachable and when I’m not.

I’m starting to already put things into motion to limit my stress each day. I’ve had a stomach bug since coming back from Mexico, and lemme tellyasomfin, it’s triggered a lot by stress. That on top of my other health issues, it’s just no bueno to feel the physical effects of something that can be managed like stress.

This weekend I vow to have a stress free time. Sleep in. Make a big breakfast, get work done at my own pace, and celebrate Kh’s birthday (even if it’s just a tiny celebration for now). I might even try to get her to head into Boston to see the Pride Parade. I’ve been trying for 2 years now, maybe this year will be the one?