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HI! So, what’s up? I apparently went on hiatus but neglected to tell anyone about it.

Anyway, a few things have happened.

My new New Year’s Resolution

You may not remember this but, several years ago, a co-worker asked me what my New Year’s Resolution was and I replied “To not kill anyone this year.” And, amazingly, this is a resolution that I have managed to keep since 2005! Isn’t that awesome? Considering that I can be, in the vernacular of the street, a real bitch sometimes (okay, I just like writing the word vernacular. It’s fun!), the fact that I have not actually stabbed anyone to death with my fork is pretty great.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I have a new resolution. One that I will hopefully be able to keep for many years to come. It is simply this: To not set myself on fire again.

So Beth and I are in her car, headed to Michael’s because we are scrapbookers and must feed our addiction. I am enjoying a refreshing cigarette (menthol so that’s where the refreshing comes in). The window is open, the (really, really freakin’ cold) breeze is rushing in and all is good. Until I drop the cigarette.

Remember aforementioned breeze? Yep. Lifted that sucker up and blew it right back at me. And somehow managed to end up inside my coat, on my shoulder.

I start slapping frantically at myself.

B: Are you on fire?
DM: Apparently! Ack! It burns!* I can’t reach it!

*Note that I am a master of the obvious. I am on fire and it burns. Who knew?

I continue slapping at myself in a most futile manner.

B: Did you want to get out of the car? We’re at a stop sign.
DM: Good idea! ARGH! I can’t open the seat belt! How does this work? Oh my GOD!

Beth, who obviously can remain calm in a crisis, leans over and releases the seat belt button for me.

I fly out of the car and do a strange, hopping little dance. The cigarette removes itself from my skin. All is right within my world again. Except, of course, for the huge burn that is starting to throb!*

*Okay, it wasn’t huge. There was a very slight welt. I don’t even know if this would count as a first degree burn. Is there a half of a degree burn? But I have a low tolerance for pain (you should hear me complain about paper cuts) and was somewhat of a whiny baby for a little while.

DM (getting back into the car): Well. Let’s not do that again.

Later, when we are walking into Michael’s (or possibly Walgreens), we are discussing the game we were playing the night before (Password. Seriously fun. Especially when I’m involved because I am horrible at explaining things). The phrase was rock star and, while I can’t remember exactly what I said to Beth, I believe I used Astronomy or constellations as part of the clue.

Beth mentions how I could have used Mick Jagger as a clue. Then we discuss how something (can’t remember what it is) is rock star.

DM: Do you know what is not rock star? Setting yourself on fire!

Someone gave my nephew a sword. We are doomed.

Last night, Josh received his blue belt. Apparently that means he’s now training with a sword, according to my brother-in-law’s Facebook status. A wooden sword, but still…this is a bit alarming. Unless, of course, we are attacked by vampires. Then it would come in handy.

Overheard at Work

So yesterday, Co-worker Carla and I are discussing clothing (one of the few things that we can discuss without having to cut our conversations short (she’s a Republican. I am so very not a Republican. We have agreed to never ever discuss politics. She ignores my Coexist bumper sticker and I ignore her shrine to Ronald Reagan).

I mention how I will continue to wear sleeveless shirts, regardless of the fact that I have arms the size of Christmas hams (which is a slight exaggeration. They’re not the size of hams. Maybe a big old turkey drumstick).

DM: I figure, you know what, if people don’t like it, that’s too damn bad. Life is too short to worry about this stuff.
Carla: True (like she has to worry, Miss I Could Be a Fashion Model).
DM: Besides, if my semi-evil android boyfriend is ever invented, he will love me for who I am. Well, maybe not love. Since he won’t have emotions.

Co-worker Jessica chooses this time to fall on the floor, laughing. Apparently I discuss my future (semi-evil) android boyfriend often.

Hey, can I help it if Gene Roddenberry ruined me for real men? Between Data and Captain Kirk (plus Bones, Sulu and Spock (from the new movie), I am afraid my dating needs will not be met until sometime in the far, far future. Oh, well, I can wait.

Possible reason why I am going to Hell

Beth and I are watching the last few minutes of Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year countdown or whatever the heck it is called. It’s tradition; even though they insist on letting Ryan Seacrest co-host it with him (I hate Ryan Seacrest. However, if you were to ask me why this is, I can not give you a logical reason. Other than the fact that he irritates the heck out of me).

Dick Clark comes on the screen.

I know. He had a stroke. I think he’s actually quite brave and this is very sweet that he’s still doing something he absolutely loves. But I am somewhat evil.

DM: You know how I said I wanted an android boyfriend?
B: Yes.
DM: That is not what I had in mind.

I am so going to Hell. Sigh. Oh, well, at least Satan is my fake boyfriend. I won’t be too lonely.


I haven’t been posting much (or commenting either) because there’s this whole rule about using company property to blog, use Facebook, etc. Technically this has been in effect for a really long time but I may have possibly ignored it. I’m not saying. Anyway, Coffee Drinking Woman figured that you could post via email which is the one thing I miss about BlogSpot. Imagine my joy!!!

This is my test email. I guess we’ll see if it works if you all learn about my shame.

So Beth and I listen to one Celine Dion song. Only one. It is one that we mock mercilessly because apparently the Diva makes these grandiose arm gestures and motions when she is singing it (I’ve never seen the video). It, like most of her other songs, is incredibly dramatic and over the top. Whenever this song comes on, Beth and I start making up our own hand and arm gestures, motioning to our (invisible) love to not leave us. The first time I saw Beth do this, I thought she was insane but I soon learned how much fun this is. You get to lip sync as well. It makes us laugh and laughing is always a good thing, right?

Yeah. Sometimes. Not when you’re sitting at your desk, minding your own business and turn around to see your co-worker standing there, mouth wide open. Because you just happened to be listening to music and, since your arms and back are a little stiff, decided to lift some weights to see if you could loosen up. And then Ms. Dion chooses that time to play so you’re waving your arms around, motioning to the above mentioned (invisible) lover to not leave you. There may have been jazz hands involved. I’m not saying. Christy, however, probably will be. She has decided this might be her Facebook status. Sigh.

In other news, I have joined a girl group and we’ll be performing in West Saint Paul in October. Yes, really. Well, sort of. Every year my company does a big drive for a large charity organization and this year one of the departments decided to host a karaoke “contest.” I was informed by my boss’s boss (Sue) that I would be participating (she actually asked me if I wanted to join her and a co-worker (Nicole) and I said “Hell to the YES! Perform in public and in front of my peers? Of course (I may be paraphrasing there)!” Sue had gone shopping at a costume shop and picked up flapper headbands, beads and boas. I decided I needed to get my hair cut.

louise brooks

Meet Louise Brooks, the silent movie star that made the bob so famous and was the primary person that showed up in Google Images for “flapper hair style.” I brought her picture into Fantastic Sam’s and now have her hair (except not that dark) and her eyebrows. Now I just need some dark red lipstick and black eyeliner and I am ready to go.

Co-Worker Christy: Dana, you don’t wear makeup.
DM: I will for this. I am that dedicated to my music.

I have not bought a flapper dress, mainly because to get one that would fit me, it would cost over $100. I am not that dedicated to my music. But I am looking forward to this. The specific charity we are donating to is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the healing power of artistic expression into the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children and their families. That is pretty cool if you ask me.

Adventures with the ENT

Remember how, back on August 3rd, I said I had an ear infection?  Yeah.  I still have an ear infection.  On the 10th, I got to go to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and wow, let me tell you, that was fun.  Yes, that is sarcasm.

Let’s discuss the excitement of the day, shall we?  Warning, I may or may not have exaggerated a tad.

  • I wake up.  I have a headache.  My ear is throbbing and full of liquid and I can’t hear out of it.
  • What do I do for a living?  Oh, right, I listen to phone calls and monitor them for quality purposes.  Really kind of important that I can hear.
  • I call in sick and go back to bed.
  • I am convinced my doctor appointment is on one side of downtown Saint Paul (near where the old Science Museum used to be) but decide to take a cab instead of walking.
  • Turns out the appointment is near the new Science Museum.  Good thing I decided to take the cab.
  • I fill out the forms and sit in the waiting room.  There is some guy who keeps staring at me.  Why is he staring at me?  This is weird.  Stop it.
  • There is a guy next to me who keeps making these snorting noises.  It’s kind of gross.
  • Weird guy is still staring.  Would hitting him with my book be considered assault?  Probably.  I don’t do it.
  • I am called into the back and meet my nurse person.  She looks at my ear and asks me some questions.  All perfectly normal.
  • ENT guy comes in.  “Hi, Dana.  How are you?  Let me take a look at your ear.”
  • Yep.  I have an ear infection.  Actually, apparently I have an “angry eardrum” and it is very thick and there are air bubbles behind the ear drum.  Oh, wow.  That’s really kind of gross.
  • I get to have a hearing test.  My hearing is not so good in the left ear.  That’s a shock.  But he thinks it will clear up.  Here’s my problem with this test.  When you put earphones on my head and talk into my ear, I can hear you.  I may not be able to hear everything you say but I can actually hear you.  You’re talking in my ear!  I don’t think that’s a completely effective hearing test.  Where’s the hearing test that takes place in the crowded bar or at the movie theater when I’m trying to figure out what people are saying?  How come I can hear better if I’m facing someone or if there are subtitles?  Explain that!
  • Apparently I have residual anger towards people who do hearing tests.
  • Then it is back to see ENT guy.  “Here’s what we’re going to do, Dana.  I’m going to stick this really sharp thing into your ear and slice your ear drum.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?”  Uh, no.  But if it works, I will be thrilled to death.
  • He pours this numbing solution into my ear.  He warns me that it will burn.  I am almost ready to ask if he can just put me out so I don’t have to deal with it but too late, stuff is slithering through my ear.
  • Burn is not the word I would use for this.  I would say “Mother-effing lava.”
  • Then he slices the ear drum.  Now my ear is filled with lava and the pain.  The sharp, horrible pain that will not end.
  • The liquid decides not to drain.  Why would it?  It likes my ear.  No, apparently it is too thick.
  • Happy ENT guy says “Okay, Dana.  Now we get to have lots of fun!  I get my kicks from torturing innocent people.  Some days I dress up like a clown!  Let’s shove a tube into this slice I just made so your ear drum won’t close up.  Look, it’s a really tiny tube.  It’ll be just fine.”
  • Uh, no, it was not just fine.  It was awful.  I am not ashamed to say that I cried like a baby when he rammed that thing in there.  It, of course, didn’t want to fit so there was some shoving and more sharp pain and more tears and oh, my God, this is not right.
  • I have finally found something I hate more than going to the dentist.  I hate going to the dentist so much that if I had a choice between a Pap smear every day for the rest of my life or getting my teeth cleaned, I would pick the Pap smear.  Do you know how demoralizing it is to realize that getting your teeth cleaned is actually a walk in the park compared to this?
  • As I walk out of the waiting room, tears still drying on my cheeks, I see that weird guy is still there.  Still staring.  As I leave, he follows me.  Oh, great.  I’m going to get murdered.  Well, that’ll be perfect.
  • Weird guy actually doesn’t follow me out of the office.  Apparently he was called into the back and I’m just slightly paranoid.

So that’s it.  Basically I paid a complete stranger $20 to slice my ear drum open and shove a tube in it.  And the infection’s still there.  I’m afraid to see what he’ll do on Friday when I have to go back.

I also have formed a theory.  Maybe Vincent Van Gogh wasn’t insane.  Maybe he just had an ear infection and the pain was so much he decided to just cut the ear off because that would be easier.  It could have been a radical new surgery process.  I am tempted to try it but Beth and Kim say no.  They also vetoed my using a tweezers to yank the tube out of my ear as well.  Sigh.  They are so very pratical.

GASP!  Facebook Drama!  Film at 11!

I love Facebook.  I really do.  I love the little quizzes and the games and catching up with family and friends.  I also enjoy crafting my status messages/comments to be funny or wry or amusing.  I like making people laugh.

However, sometimes you need to be careful.  One of my family members, John Doe*, took a Facebook quiz to find out how likely he was to go to jail.  It was 39%.  The little quiz result also said something along the lines of “You must have done a more serious crime because they don’t toss you in there for smuggling a lollipop out of the candy store.  Concentrate on positive things like using a hammer, toothpick and a piece of string to escape.”

*I know he’s related to me but I didn’t know how.  Name changed to protect him (and me).

This amused me.  There’s nothing serious about this, right?  Facebook is a social networking site, not a Nobel Prize winning think tank.  Especially when you think of the extremely horrible grammar in many of these quizzes.

So I leave a cute little comment.  Or at least I thought it was cute.

Dana Marie Vittum:  Hmm.  This worries me.  I have a hardened criminal for a relative!  But hey, having MacGyvver-like skills is nothing to sneeze at.

This morning, I am reading my news feeds and see there’s a comment after mine.

Parent Smith:  I am the proud parent of that criminal – back off.  You have other family members that are much worse to worry about.  “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

Um.  The words “WTF” came to mind.  She honestly thought was serious?  Really?  Oh, no!

I leave another comment.

Dana Marie Vittum:  John, if I offended you or your parent, I apologize.  I meant this as a joke, not a judgment.  I certainly do not think a Facebook quiz is an accurate assessment of someone’s criminal behavior.

So I am, of course, obsessing over this.  Am I a horrible person?  Is John going to hate me forever?  I am talking to Co-workers Rykken, Christy and Jessica about this today.

Christy:  Who is he?
DM:  Um, I have no idea.  I know we’re related, I just don’t know how.  He’s probably a cousin.  Or maybe a nephew.

I look up the information.  Yep.  He’s a nephew.  His parent is a former in-law.  That might account for the mysterious comment about worrying about my other relatives.  There may be some bitterness involved.  But part of me is still feeling guilty.

Do you think I’m a horrible person?  Would you have thought my comment was serious?  Should I have ended my comment with “J/K” or “LOL” or an emoticon so I don’t end up being burned in effigy later?

Updated – she did apologize for over-reacting.  We are okay.  I am glad about that.

Next week I am on vacation.  Keem and I are journeying to the wilds of Wisconsin to spend time with my mother, Kari and Josh.  It will be fun and exciting.  I’m not sure if I mean that or if that’s sarcasm.  My mother makes me a little crazy.  Not Vincent Van Gogh crazy.  Yet.

Not too much going on in my life right now.  Just work and chiropractic appointments, pretty much.  Which is screwing up work because I’ve had to leave early two/three nights a week and have to make up time/miss meetings/get behind on my monitorings.  Ended up at work until 8 last night which, as you can imagine, did not make Keem very happy with me.

Although I did get to see my half sister Suzanne tonight.  I’m not sure when I saw her last, might have been my dad’s funeral in…um.  Let’s do math now.  Dad died 1 month before his 70th birthday so that would be in 1994.   That can’t be right.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen her one other time.  As Suzanne said tonight, our family is not that close which is a real shame.  Fortunately she’s on Facebook so I’ve been able to keep in touch with her and my nephew (who is turning 40 this year.  Gives you an idea of the age difference – Suzanne just turned 60 and she’s the oldest.  Kari just turned 40 and she’s the youngest.  Dad was busy).

It was good to catch up with her.  Kari, Keem and Mom were there as well.  It was a lot of fun and there was the adventure aspect.  I forgot to write Suzanne’s phone number down or the directions and, oh, yeah, forgot to tell Keem this so we could go home so I could get Suzanne’s phone number.  I ended up calling Eric and getting him to go into my Facebook account and get the phone number from an email.

Trust me on this.  Write stuff down.  Your roommate will not appreciate it when, after you tell her that she has to drive around to find the apartment building your sister is staying in, you give the following directions:

DM:  Turn right on something.  Was it Emerson?
Keem:  No.  It was Thompson.
DM:  Are you sure?
Keem:  Yes.  You said Thompson.
DM:  Oh.  Okay.  It’s the first apartment building.
Keem:  There’s two apartment complexes.  Which one is it?
DM:  Um.  It’s the olive in the garden.
Keem:  The what in the what?
DM:  The olive in the glen?  The oak in the something?  It’s the O in the G.
Keem:  Really?  The O in the G?  That’s amazing how descriptive that is.
DM:  Her friends are in Apartment 777 (no, not really).  And their name is Clampton.  With a C (again, no, not really).
Keem:  Well, that’s helpful.  So we’re supposed to wander around and ask people if they live in apartment 777 and have the last name Clampton?
DM:  Um.  Maybe.

Fortunately, that’s when Eric called and I was able to convince him to break into my Facebook account to get the phone number.

I would like to state for the record that we were at the right apartment complex.  It, however, was not called the Olive in the Garden.  It was The Oaks at Heatherglen.  Not quite the same thing, apparently.

So.  How was your weekend?  Mine was…well, eventful comes to mind.

Not the entire weekend, just yesterday.  Keem decided it was my turn to make lunch and I said sure.  We had bought some Market Pantry pizza shells the week before because I had said I was in the mood to make a pizza.  Keem had already cooked the hamburger and I decided I was going to make a garlic butter sauce.

Note to self:  Really, when you’re making a garlic butter sauce for a pizza shell, you only need one stick of butter.  Maybe not even that.

I am sure you may be able to guess where this is going.  I took two sticks of butter.  I microwaved them.  I added minced garlic and garlic powder and some Pampered Chef dipping sauce seasoning (which is very yummy and has garlic in it, if I remember correctly (Yes, I like garlic.  How did you guess?)) and mushed it all together.  I used the pastry brush to brush the garlic butter sauce on the shell.  Hmm.  I still have a lot of garlic butter sauce.  What should I do? 

Oh, I know.  I’ll mix it in with the hamburger and then, after placing the Provolone cheese on the shell, I’ll dump the hamburger on top.  Cover hamburger with cheese and put in oven for 15 minutes.

At about 14.5 minutes, the smoke detector in our apartment started going crazy.  I went and fanned it with a hot pad, as I was taught by my mother when I was younger.  It calmed down, I opened up the oven and was greeted with a disaster.  Apparently the garlic butter sauce decided it wanted to go for a road trip and had dripped all over the stove.

No problem, right?  I can deal with this.  I know, how about I put the oven on self-clean?  Brilliant idea, right?

No.  It is not a brilliant idea.  Do you know what self-cleaning an oven does?  It locks the oven and turns the heat on to 350 degrees.  So the garlic butter sauce that is all over the bottom of the oven starts smoking.  A lot.  And then the smoke detector goes off again.

Only so much waving of the hot pad works after about 10 minutes.  There is an acrid smoke wafting through our apartment, my eyes are burning, Keem’s eyes are burning, the cats are freaking out and my arm hurts from waving it at the smoke alarm.  Keem suggests I go get the fan from her bedroom and lock the cats up in there.  I do so.

The fan works when you set it underneath the smoke detector.  Keem opens the window wide and the smoke starts billowing its way out.  After about 30 minutes, the apartment is fairly clear and we shut the window.  Eddy and Kalli come out of the bedroom, high-tailing it towards Keem (Eddy) and the treat buffet (Kalli).  They are fed and consoled accordingly.

A few minutes later, Keem and I see Kalli sitting underneath the table where the fan is, still directed towards the smoke detector.  Kalli is doing her patented meerkat impression and trying to figure out what the heck is going on.  There is a stool sitting next to the table and Kalli climbs on it.

Apparently she feels the need to protect us and starts using the Paw of Justice on the fan.  Thwack!  Thwack!  Thwackity, thwackity, thwack!  Take that, evil fan!  Keem and I are laughing hysterically.  Eddy is looking at Kalli like she is nuts.  I turn the fan off and Kalli decides to go off and start talking to her spider friends (there’s about three or four spiders that hang out on the windows outside of our apartment.  Kalli chatters at them.  It’s really cute).

The pizza, by the way, was pretty good.  However, I am banned from making pizza ever again.

How was your weekend?

But obviously not enough.  Beth called me today so we could finalize our plans for tonight and tomorrow.  I asked her to remind me to grab my camera charger, something I’ve been trying to remind myself of for several weeks.  Then I decided to do something even better – I’d write myself a note.  On my hand!  It’s the original PDA, of course.

This is what I wrote:

Rember camera charger.

I misspelled Remember.  I brag about proofreading billboards and I can’t remember how to spell remember.  I am so ashamed.

I did not leave it as Rember, I’ll have you know.  There’s an “em” with a proofreader’s arrow pointing to where it should be.  Maybe Beth will take a picture of it for me.

I emailed Keem about this.  Here’s her response.

Keem:  I’m sorry your body doesn’t have spell check.  Maybe if it did, your tattoo wouldn’t be misspelled.

Life would be grand, if this was a feature, wouldn’t it?

You know what’s really sad?  With all the hijinks I got up to as a teenager and during the drunken years and this is what really embarrasses me.  Now that’s embarrassing.

I go forever without a new post and when I finally have something to write about, it’s because tonight I lived up to the category entitled “Miss Adventure.”

It’s Thursday.  I went to the Chalet with Beth.  Had to go to the bathroom so headed off there while Beth and Bryan talked about Star Trek (have not yet seen it.  Want to go now!).  I try to open the door and fail.  Hmm.  Something’s preventing the door from opening.  Try again.  Still not working.

I walk over to the bar and ask Annie if something is wrong with the bathroom.  She is puzzled and says no.  John gets up from where he’s talking to a couple people.  He walks me over to the door and in a smiling manner, pulls the door open.  

Yes.  I tried to open a door by pushing when I should have been pulling.  Good Lord.  I’ve been going to this bar for at least 6 years.  I’ve used that bathroom for years.  And tonight I completely forgot how to work a door.

While I am washing my hands, I hear a sudden burst of hysterical laughter.  This is when I realized that John told Beth.

DM:  You JUST had to tell her, didn’t you?
John:  Of course I did.  That was awesome.
Beth:  I think this is the best thing you’ve done in years.

She then proceeds to tell John about other things I’ve done that have landed on the not so bright scale.  Like the time we went to McDonald’s and I reached into the bag, pulled out all of the napkins and wiped my face with them.  Beth looks at me and said “Gosh, it’s not like I needed a napkin or anything.”  She still has not let me live this down.  

Or the first night I spent over at her new house and managed to put a hole in the wall by falling out of bed (the trundle bed fell over with me and there’s a nice hole where the wheel sunk into the wall).

And then, of course, she brought up the Fish Hook Saga.  John proceeds to tell us how he’s managed to hook himself twice while fishing.  The first time in his arm and the second time he had a fish hook land in his head while he was up in International Falls.  Apparently going to the hospital to remove the hook stuck into his SKULL was not an option – because that would result in losing too much fishing time (45 minute trip by boat back to the car and then two hours to the hospital).  No, instead his brother used a needle-nose pliers and a pocket knife to fillet it out of his head.  Yikes.

Beth said to him “Yeah, but you didn’t do it on purpose, right?”

John has a new respect for my idiocy now.  Great.  At least when I’m going to pull a stunt like this, there’s only 6 people in the bar.  Sigh.

Beth (random times throughout the night):  I can’t believe you didn’t try to pull it open.  Just push twice and ‘Oh, it must be broken.’
DM:  SHUT UP!  Annie?
Annie:  Yes?
DM:  Tell Beth to shut up.

Annie smiles and walks quickly away to laugh hysterically at me.

Ah, friends.  Because if you’re going to be mocked, it’s good that it’s by people you care about, right?

Last night, Keem and I were sitting in the living room, watching Charlie’s Angels:  Full Throttle (not the best movie ever made but I tend to relate to Drew Barrymore’s character since we both have a thing for bad boys (plus there’s that whole great moment where she and the Thin Man realize that they’re perfect for each other and have this great kiss which makes me happy (and then he gets killed which really ticks me off)) and there’s bombs and car chases and a flying Demi Moore so it appeals to my need for violence and explosions) and once again, I’ve gone off on a tangent.  Let’s try again.

Last night, Keem and I were sitting in the living room, watching Charlie’s Angels:  Full Throttle when Kalli in her “I must hunt down all ice cubes and destroy them” phase decided to knock over Keem’s ice water.  Said ice water fell onto Keem’s laptop.  This is not good.

After much cursing (on Keem’s part) and meowing (on Kalli’s part while she rejoiced that she had triumphed over the evil ice cubes), I found Co-Worker Beau’s phone number and called him.  Keem explained what had happened and Beau said he would be over in a few minutes (because he is awesome).

Beau arrived and looked over the computer.  Keem had already removed the battery and used compressed air to get as much water as possible out of the keyboard.  Beau told Keem to let it dry out and try restarting it in the morning (and it worked!  Woo-hoo!).  He then looked at Kalli who was trying her best to demonstrate what an angel she is (hah!  Everyone at work has heard the stories, they aren’t buying it).

CWB:  Hello, freaky kitty.  She’s really gorgeous.
DM:  Yes, she is.  Want to take her home?
CWB:  Laughs.
Keem:  She’s not kidding.

Later that night, I’m talking to Beth.  Kalli is wandering around, whining about “how no one loves me or feeds me and oh, hey, why don’t I just push Keem’s computer onto the ground and break one of the keys off of it and did I mention that I’m STARVING!”

DM (to Beth):  Hold on a second.

I put the phone down.

DM (to Kalli):  For the love of GOD, shut it!

I pick the phone up.

DM (to Beth):  Want a cat?
Beth:  Kind of.  But not Kalli!

She’s a wise woman, that Beth.

I am leaving work in a few minutes so I can go to a new dentist and be yelled at.  I am sure there will be a lecture or two about the fact that I’ve not been to a dentist in at least 10 years.  And I don’t floss.  And I subscribe to the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  Or, if it is broken but not causing massive amounts of pain, don’t fix it” philosophy.  This is probably not a healthy philosphy.  Plus, there’s been the occasional throbbing emanating from the giant hold where my filling fell out last year.  It’s probably time to get this worked on.  Stupid teeth.

But hey, maybe the dentist will want a cat!

I came in to work this morning to find that my computer profile decided to become corrupt over the weekend and suddenly I had lost all of my precious, precious computer related things. It was very sad. So, while Computer Guy Eric was working on my computer, I was sitting at Co-Worker Beau’s desk, reading my favorite magazine (Woman’s World) and then moving on to my new book (Remember Me (by Sophie Kinsella)) when Beau came in. He was a little surprised to see me but I explained that his chair was more comfortable than Co-Worker Rykken’s chair.

Beau: What’d you do to your computer?
DM: I’m not sure. My profile is corrupt or something.
Beau: I always knew you were corrupt.

What? How could he say such a thing? Was it because my Sunday was spent jet boating with a much younger man, deep sea fishing? And I was steering the boat without a real driver’s license? Could that be it? Must be.

Expect that the much younger man was 4 and the jet boat was in our imaginations.

Saturday, Beth’s mom Laurie picked me up and we got to Beth’s new house at about 2:30. Beth gave me the tour of her new house and it is terribly, terribly cute. Completely adorable. After Beth left for work, Laurie and I got started on the “fun cleaning,” putting in shelf paper in the kitchen. I know this sounds easy but it really wasn’t. Other than a lunch break (at Wong’s, quite possibly the best chicken chow mein ever, well, outside of David Fongs (which I’ve only had once but have been craving for years)), we pretty much didn’t stop (well, okay, I did take a break or two). It was interesting watching Laurie climb all over the counters and contort herself to get into the lower shelves. I wish I would have remembered to take pictures. I was in charge of cutting the shelf paper. Yeah, maybe not such a good idea because I am measuring challenged and also have a slight problem cutting (let alone walking) in a straight line. Eventually I got the hang of it. At about 9:30, Laurie and I finished the kitchen and thought about doing the linen closet. Common sense won over though and we left.

Sunday, people started arriving at around 11:00. First it was Beth’s dad Terry, Laurie and one of Beth’s employees, Jennifer. We started hauling boxes and it was soon established that I should not walk down the stairs because a) I am terrified of the stairs, b) it hurts (left knee has arthritis, right heel has foot spur) and c) walking down the stairs requires walking back up the stairs and that results in asthma outbreaks. Wow! I’m useful to have around on a move. But I was able to carry boxes to the top of the stairs at least.

A little while later, Liz and James showed up and so did Sarah, Nicole (another one of Beth’s employees) and Nicole’s 4 year old son Timmy. Then Scott, Laurie’s boyfriend, Dave, Sandy (Scott’s brother, sister-in-law) and their daughter (whose name I forgot) were there. Somehow I ended up being in charge of Timmy, distracting him so his mom could help move stuff and also keeping him out of the way.

Other than being told that Dana Marie Vittum was a silly name, Timmy and I got along fabulously. We sat in the chairs in the living room while people moved things around us, pretending we were fishing. Sarah walked by with the smart-ass comment “Fishing? Yeah? Well, keep her a way from fish hooks.”

As we were fishing, Timmy protected me from an “ark” that had bit my leg clear off. But Timmy “ixed” it. Timmy has a slight problem pronouncing the first letter of words which led to me saying “Cat food?” and being told by Sarah that he meant harpoon. Yes. Because they sound so much alike.

Timmy also caught two dolphins for me, one a baby and to which I said “I will hug him and kiss him and call him George.” The shark was put in a cage.

DM: Should we go jump the shark?
Timmy: Yes!
DM: Okay, let’s go. Vroom.
Timmy: Vroom.
DM: Yes! We jumped the shark.
Beth: Laughter.

We also saved Beth’s stuffed penguin from the sharks as well. Later, after the chairs were taken away and Timmy was following Beth around, I took him outside. We sat on the concrete outside of her apartment and were using our jet boat to travel to Colorado. I’m not sure what is in Colorado but Timmy suggested it.

DM: Should I drive?
Timmy: Yes.
DM: I don’t have a driver’s license.
Timmy: Oh. Here you go. I’ve made you one.

He hands me an imaginary license.

DM: Thank you.
Timmy: Now make me one.
DM: Okay.

I hand him an imaginary license.

Liz is climbing out of the truck.

DM: Liz! I have a driver’s license.

The look Liz gets on her face is well, stunned. The best description? Deer caught in the headlights.

Liz: Really?
DM: Yes. Timmy gave it to me.
Liz: I was wondering about that. I was worried it was from the state.

Later, Timmy and I put on our imaginary pajamas (penguins for me, Power Rangers for him. I wouldn’t normally choose penguin pajamas but who am I to argue with a small child?) and took a nap on the boat.

James: What are you doing?
DM: We’re wearing our pajamas. Mine are penguins. Timmy’s are Power Rangers.
James (To Timmy): You know I kick penguins (He pretended to kick the stuffed penguin earlier). Now I’ll have to kick her.

DM: You’re going to kick me? Gasp.
Timmy: Dump the arks on him!
DM: Okay.

Timmy hands me the shoe box he became fascinated with and asked his mom if he could take it home (it soon became the ark cage). I take the box and pretend to dump the sharks on James’ head.

DM: Look. The sharks are biting his ears.
Timmy: They’re biting his hair!

Later, at Beth’s house, I took Timmy out to the back yard after he was wandering around talking to every one. This way, since the path through Beth’s living room was ever shrinking, it would make sure that he did not get smooshed. In the back yard, he showed me his robot dog and how he was living in the box with the sharks.

Timmy almost (operative word almost) made me regret my choice to not have children. He was adorable and funny and seriously, seriously cute. I am sure he is not like this all the time. As he was leaving with his mother and after he had told me he would miss me and then came running back to hug me goodbye, I almost told Nicole that, if she ever needed a babysitter, she should call me. And then I came to my senses.

Keem wasn’t able to participate in the move because she went home to LaCrosse for the weekend. She got back into town later in the afternoon and was sitting in the back yard with Beth and myself after everyone else went home (this was an amazingly quick move. But Beth had a huge amount of people helping her (and taking my share of the load. Although I was able to do more than when she moved into her apartment. Then I got to hold the door because I started up with the heat stroke again. I am a wimp)).

Beth: I bought a new wireless router. The guy said the difference was that it was stronger and then I could sit in the back yard and be online.

Keem: I could also sit out here with you on my laptop.
DM: I don’t have a laptop.
Beth and Keem (this was back and forth and I don’t remember who said what): We could get her a piece of cardboard. And draw a keyboard on it with qwerty. And then she could pretend she was typing.

DM: Uh, yeah, I think I’d read instead. Thanks.

For whatever reason, the top of my right foot decided to start cramping. Beth suggested I get up and walk around and I did. For awhile I was fascinated by the two squirrels that were chasing each other around one of her non-pine trees and then leaping to the pine tree. And there were also birds that I was watching. Eventually, though, I decided to head back to sit with Beth and Keem. It is then that I saw it.

I’m kind of allergic to pine. Because there’s mold on pine. So you would think that when I saw the really cool pinecone that wasn’t really a pinecone but looked like a pinecone thing on the tree that I would just say “Oh, cool” and walk away. Nope. Not this girl.

I pull the branch down to look at the above mentioned pineconey thing. A strange green substance, almost like smoke, comes drifting down towards my face.

DM: Cool!
Keem: That’s pinecone pollen. The tree is germinating. That’s how it does it.

Keem knows everything.

DM: Weird.
Beth and Keem: Do it again.
DM: Okay.

I do. More green smoke-like stuff drifts down on my face, I inhale it. You know, because I’m brilliant.

Keem: Um, Dana, I just thought about this. You’re allergic to pine.
DM: Oh, crap.

By the time we left Beth’s, I was starting to get a headache. By the time we got home, I was starting to wheeze. I popped two Benadryls and then was supposed to get in the shower but was reading my new book (my previous new book (Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot)).

Keem: Dana! Stop reading and get in the shower!
DM: I am.

15 minutes later.

Keem: Dana!
DM: Okay.

I was still wheezing a little bit this morning but nothing major. At least I didn’t break into hives or throw up or anything like that.

And my computer is fixed (well, obviously since I have sent this via email). Once my computer was fixed, I was able to start working (most relaxing Monday morning ever since it took until after 10 for it to be fixed. An hour and half of reading. Woo-hoo!).

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Or I’m not hearing things and the piped in music in the Ramada Inn lobby is actually some jazzy version of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Seriously. I just had to check the date. It is May 7th. Christmas is not for many, many months. Who plays Christmas music in May?

And then, I swear to all that is Holy (such as the night), it then turned into this jazzy rendition of “At Last.” WTF? Are you kidding me? Not that it wasn’t good but it was a duet. Very strange.

I also got to hear a conversation between some English guy and the male clerk at the front desk about how the English guy usually scores pretty well because he’s English. Apparently we foolish American women are turned on by an accent and overlook the fact that he a) is married and b) seems to have no personality. Apparently both he and male clerk are on their 3rd wives. Male clerk looks to be about 35. Also, English guy got married for the 1st time when he was 16. Apparently that’s legal in England.

In case you are wondering, the lobby has computers with free internet so I can catch up on my blogs and email. And eavesdrop on interesting conversations between the clerk and random people. The Ramada Inn, by the way, features a Belgium waffle breakfast. I’ve heard that approximately 6 times. I have also heard “Rockin’ Robin” and “Little Bitty Pretty One” twice within the last hour so apparently the music played here is odder than I thought.

The vacation is going well. On Friday Keem and I went to the zoo (the Minnesota Zoo, it’s bigger than the Como Zoo in Saint Paul but the Como Zoo will always be my favorite) and the worst Mexican restaurant in the world (Tequila’s in LaCrosse with Keem’s mom Kathy and her niece Kylee (a mini version of Keem – silly and sarcastic. At the age of 9. I thought sarcasm wasn’t something you learned until you were a teenager)).

We spent two nights in LaCrosse and went to visit my favorite store in the world, Shopko. I don’t know why Shopko is my favorite. I have loved it ever since I lived in Madison, many, many years ago. Perhaps because it was cheap but also had cool stuff. Saturday, Keem, Kathy and I drove to Marquette, Iowa to the Isle of Capri (a river boat casino. Not as exciting as I thought but I did manage to walk out with money left in my pocket and only lost 5 dollars. In my book, that counts as winning). The drive was very pretty and I have many pictures.

Keem, Kathy and I drove to Wisconsin Dells on Sunday (after I called my sister and wished her a happy Mother’s Day. And then everyone laughed at me because apparently Mother’s Day is this Sunday, not last Sunday). We stayed at the Ho-Chunk Casino because Keem and I stayed there last year and enjoyed it. The hotel is very nice. We decided to only stay there for two days because it is expensive and also, the temptation to gamble is removed if you’re not actually staying in the casino.

On Monday, we took the upper Dells boat trip. Very fun, would have been better if not for the two screaming little girls that sat in front of us. Apparently they were tired, which you would think the parents would notice before taking the kids on a two hour boat ride. After awhile, you could just turn them out and they did stop the screaming for most of the trip. Their older brother was a perfect angel during the entire trip and amused me greatly when he turned to his dad and asked “Can’t we just throw them off the boat?” His dad responded with “I think I’m going to jump off the boat.”

Keem and I got rather sunburned so we decided to take another boat trip the other day and compound the sunburn. This was on the lower Dells and was only an hour.

Today was kind of rainy. Kathy left earlier this morning and it is now just Keem and I. So we decided to go to the movies. We saw “Made of Honor” with Patrick Dempsey (I’ve liked him ever since “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Lover Boy” and that other one he was in where he was a pizza delivery boy who began to supplement his income by providing other services besides pizza (can’t remember the name, too tired to go to IMDB) and “Iron Man” with Robert Downey Jr.

Liked them both. For different reasons, of course. “Made of Honor” was cute, funny and had some gorgeous scenery (parts of it is filmed in the UK). “Iron Man” had things that blew up, an awesome plane chase and Robert Downey Jr.

Tomorrow we are off to Mount Horeb for the second annual visit to the Mustard Museum. So looking forward to that. NPW, not sure if they have post cards but if they do, you will receive one. If not, I’ll find another one for you somewhere.

Pictures when we get home. Have a great week, guys!

July 2018
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