Monthly Archives: September 2014

In Which Being a Grown-Up is the Worst

When I was a kid I thought grown-ups were so boring.

Either that or they were just pretending. Surely they were just speaking in some kind of unfathomable grown-up code. Nobody could actually be interested in the mundane topics they always seemed to be bringing up voluntarily, could they?

Wow Bob, looks like rain.

Sure do need it, Susan.

You know that’s right, Bob.

And how about that construction over on the loop?

Well it really wasn’t that causing the congestion this morning, Bob; it was that fender bender over there on Magnolia Street!

Was that James’s boy?

Sure was, Susan. Such a nice kid — just a shame.

Oh you know those insurance rates are just going to skyrocket!

Blah. Blah. BLAH.

I used to stand in a kind of stupor in the grocery store while my mom got roped into one of these types of conversations and try to slink away to find something more interesting to do. You know, like stare blankly into a freezer or read ingredient labels or pretend the floor was lava and step from tile to tile until even that got boring, and I began to wish that the floor would open up and swallow me into its magma-filled abyss, since that at least would be more interesting than the conversation that my mother and I were being forced to endure while shopping for sustenance for our home. Maybe this is why people farmed for so long–not because they couldn’t figure out how to industrialize, specialize, then package and ship goods to stores for retail, but because they’d rather get up at the butt crack of dawn and milk their own cows on a daily basis instead of getting trapped, shivering, in the milk aisle by some guy they vaguely know from a church they used to go to, so they can talk about the weather for so long that rain becomes just a vague recollection.

Honey Boo Boo isn't about this life either

So this is why I am ashamed to make this confession: Here I am at the tender age of not-yet-twenty-five, and I have begun the wretched transformation into one of these capable, intelligent human beings who suddenly, for no apparent reason, morphs into an unbearably boring zombie caricature of my vibrant self.

Yes. I am becoming a Grown-Up.

(Or a Grup, as my sisters and like to call them, based off this one Star Trek episode we really liked.)

Here are some things that I found not even remotely interesting circa 1998:

– Seasonal allergies

– Turning off the lights when you leave the room

– Pet dander

– Waiting until the dishwasher was full to run it

– How fast grass grows

– Traffic

– Zoning laws

– The cost of a gallon of milk

– When we might be getting some rain again, Bob

– Gas mileage (Although it is fair here to note that I did not have a driver’s license until 2006.)

As of 2014 I have some level of interest in every single item on that heinously mundane list. This is not okay with me.

But you know why all of the things on the list are suddenly interesting? It seems that my parents were sheltering me throughout my childhood from a very unfortunate reality about adulthood: it costs money. Lots of it.

Turns out the magic of childhood is not in the way that clothes appeared in my closet or sheets appeared on my bed or food appeared on the table, but the fact that I did not have to put them there, work for the funds that made them available, pay taxes to make them legal, or, most magically of all, ever wonder about any of the economic process whatsoever. And everything on that list in some way leads to something that ends up costing money.

I’m learning it’s not all doom and gloom, however. If you have a nice Manfriend, the two of you can have an extended conversation about which gender roles you will choose to adhere to in your marriage and decide how to assign tasks accordingly. I like to think of it as Domestic Utilitarianism.

For example, I don’t really like to cook, but Manfriend is really good at making Fancy Chef Ramsey Food, so he cooks, and I follow him around with a sponge and a bottle of 409 and do all the dishes, and at the end of the night we’re both fed, and I didn’t have to cook, and he didn’t have to clean, so we’re both happy. He cooks; I bake; clearly we’re both going to end up fat even though I don’t fulfill the traditionally female role of meal preparation. Just gotta play to our strengths. (And I’d say we’re both very gifted eaters. Why yes, I would like another scoop of spaghetti. Thanks.)

I invite you now to take special note of the “how fast grass grows” item on my list. This one is important, because it has implications beyond just the length of a lawn. It encompasses watering, mowing, edging, and fertilizing that lawn. It involves monitoring that lawn for pests and disposing of those pests accordingly. It involves understanding what type of soil you have. It involves maintenance. It is a gigantic pain in the butt. Guess which item on the list Manfriend volunteered for in order to properly maintain our level of Domestic Utilitarianism?

I am basically content to let the grass die. But my dad and stepmom came to visit over the summer and bought us some trees as a housewarming gift. Then my dad and Manfriend spent the rest of the weekend hauling bricks and deciding where to plant them and digging holes and basically doing a lot of things I dislike (moving heavy things outdoors in the heat in the dirt surrounded by bugs) while I got to stay inside. So I feel like I owe it to them to be a good steward of their gift by taking care of the trees.

Apparently this means watering the poor little dears every morning and every freaking night. Like what the heck. These greedy bastards are so scraggly and unimpressive and yet so DEMANDING. Even Betty is doing her part by providing ample fertilizer. Still this does not change the fact that I did not sign on for any freaking yard work but I’m out there twice a day–before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down–like some kind of non-mustached Lorax, trying to drown these damn agua-holic trees.

It is the worst. Just GROW UP ALREADY AND PROVIDE ME SOME SHADE.

Also when you are outside watering your helpless baby trees, you discover other unpleasant, nature-related things. Like fire ants. WHERE DO THEY KEEP COMING FROM. I think they’re growing inside the grass. Like at night the grass all gets together and has a secret meeting while I’m asleep about how it’s being neglected in Manfriend’s absence, and to teach me a lesson, it’s going to sprout ant beds every week in random places across the lawn.

“Oh? Not going to water us again, are you? Well, we’ll just see about that…” FIRE ANTS, GRASSHOPPERS, HORRIFYING-LOOKING LIZARDS. Bam, bam, bam. “Enjoy watering your lawn. …Bitch.”

Don’t tell me I’m being dramatic. My lawn is out to get me because it’s jealous that it doesn’t get watered every day like the lawn next door, which is owned by some zealous over-waterers who really need to calm down, since they’re making all the other lawns in the neighborhood jealous. It’s like bringing your kid Panera or Chick-fil-A for lunch every day when you know all his classmates are just getting soggy PB&J’s in hand-me-down lunchboxes. That’s just wrong.

And anyway, who really cares how green your lawn is, crazy neighbors? Are you competing in the Hey Everybody, Look How Green My Lawn Is Today competition that Fort Hood isn’t holding? Such a waste of time. Such a waste of money.

There are other wretched Grup topics that I foist upon innocent bystanders. I talk about how busy I am at work. I talk about my water bill. I talk about how high my energy bill is during the summer. These are terrible, boring, Grup-like things to do. I know it. I am confessing it to you here. BUT… If my stupid trees would become responsible adult trees and provide me some shade on my house I could have fewer conversations about my energy bill.

That is a lie.

I would have the same number of conversations about my energy bill, but instead they would just go something like, “It’s amazing how much less our energy bill is in the summer now that our house gets some shade from those whiny, high-maintenance Lorax-tended baby trees!”

I have to go now. The aforementioned trees are ready for their water. I can’t wait till they become tall, dependable, shade-providing, boring Grup trees that will bore the baby trees next door to tears. Lady Lorax out.

Lady Lorax

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Five Things I’m Over This Week

Labor Day Weekend was delightful. Then I had to go back to work. And it was a looooong four-day week. I would like to briefly update you on the top five things I am quite finished with this week.

o People Who Have Deleted the Facebook Messenger App…AND WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS IT

I know a lot of people were up in arms about having two separate apps on their phone for Facebook when they first came out with the new messenger app. I actually didn’t mind it at first, because I thought maybe it would make the original app run more efficiently, cut down on glitches, solve world hunger, improve my vocabulary, and help me lose 30 pounds in 30 days! (Essentially, I really didn’t care.) But as I continued to use it, the messenger app became a digital thorn in my side.

I couldn’t figure out how to permanently turn off the notifications, so every day I’d go into the app and choose the “disable notifications until 8 am” choice, or whatever the option was that was furthest away. I looked in the Facebook Help section and searched online and couldn’t figure out how to permanently disable it, which leads me to believe that there is not a way to do it at all…and I do not appreciate that, Mark Zuckerberg. Tell your people.

So because I was tired of the app binging at me and putting my friends’ face bubbles in the corner of my phone, I finally just uninstalled it. And when I want to use FB messenger on my phone, I log in to Facebook on a mobile browser and go from there. Problem solved. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a good enough solution for several of my friends.

“TO THE PERSON WHO SENT ME A FACEBOOK MESSAGE. I UNINSTALLED THE MESSENGER APP SO I CAN’T READ YOUR MESSAGE”

“EVERYONE STOP SENDING ME FACEBOOK MESSAGES BECAUSE I’M UNINSTALLING THE FACEBOOK MESSENGER APP BECAUSE I’M NEVER READING MESSAGES AGAIN BECAUSE FACEBOOK IS TRYING TO SEE INTO MY SOUL THROUGH MY PHONE”

“I CAN’T READ YOUR MESSAGES TILL I GET ON A COMPUTER AND I ONLY USE FACEBOOK ON MY PHONE SO JUST TEXT ME AND NOBODY EVER SEND ME MESSAGES AGAIN BECAUSE I UNINSTALLED THE APP”

“EVERYONE UNINSTALL THE APP FOR FACEBOOK MESSENGER BECAUSE IT IS BAD AND EVIL AND THEY WILL TAKE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AND YOUR FIRSTBORN CHILD IF YOU LET THE APP WORMHOLE ITS WAY INTO YOUR PHONE”

Obviously I’m paraphrasing, but really. Some people have been pretty dramatic about it. And I say this as a child who grew up in a household where my father made us put tape over the built-in camera on our laptops because he was convinced someone was going to randomly hack into our computers and track our every dull-eyed facial expression while we built an unimpressive Neopets empire and waited for Backstreet Boys music videos to buffer.

facebook-messenger-android

o The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Let me immediately clarify: I am not over the giving of money to charitable organizations. I do it occasionally and really should keep better records, because then I could take it off my taxes. I think all of us should give more frequently to organizations that we think are worthwhile

In fact, here’s a quick plug for an app that will allow you to give to a few great charities–and it won’t cost you a cent:

Install CharityMiles on your phone (they have it for both you iPhone zombies and for us Droid believers of the world), sign up within the app, then pick a charity. Enable the GPS for your workout, keep your phone on you, and go. Bikers earn 10¢ per mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile. I choose the Wounded Warrior Project every time, but they also have Habitat for Humanity, Autism Speaks, ASPCA, Alzheimer’s Association, and more.

charity miles

But I am tired of watching people dump buckets of ice water over their heads. Just donate money to a great cause. Nobody cares if you’re cold and wet any more. The Internet is over it. We have moved on. Kermit the Frog has now participated in the ice bucket challenge so you really can’t top it at this point. Just give money to make someone’s life better instead of wasting 15-75 seconds of our lives watching your video, since at this point we’ve all seen so many of them that we know about ALS. And if you don’t, you didn’t bother to look it up when your news feed was awash in an icy torrent of activism, in which case, you probably kind of suck.

o Taylor Swift

Her freaking ridiculous new song has apparently topped the charts for the second week in a row. I was hoping when we hadn’t heard from her in a while that she was going to slow fade away, as is proper, praise be to Allah, thank Thor, Alleluia He is Risen Indeed, etc. But apparently her silence just meant that she was plugging away in the studio at an album of defamation to my poor, innocent birth year.

Every night I say my prayers and end with, “And please God let the world stop worshiping at the altar of Taylor Swift, and may she never appear in the news, or the tabloids, or the fashion magazines, or the Twitter, or the Internet, ever again, and also please let her not put out any more albums because everyone will realize that she is overrated and we are tired of her because her country-girl-ingénue persona has got to give out eventually, right?”  I don’t think she’s bad or evil. Just overrated and annoying and I am ready for her to go away. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

#genuflectforTaylor #gagme (Side note: if you’re not following Feminist Taylor Swift on Twitter, you are seriously missing out.)

Feminist Taylor Swift

o 40% Sales

I love Hobby Lobby. It’s my happy place. But for the last two weeks, they have been irksome to me. They have all their fall items and Christmas items marked 40%. Great. Super. Yay. Wow.

NO.

JUST MARK IT 50% ALREADY LIKE I KNOW YOU ARE EVENTUALLY GOING TO DO. Better yet, just make me really happy and mark it all 66% and then I’ll go in there and blow all my money and you’ll be happy too. 40% is a stupid percentage to put things on sale. Either go half-off, because that makes sense, or go higher, because then everyone feels like they are getting a steal (not a deal, a steal, because then you’re like an extreme couponer except you didn’t have to ruin your life by becoming an extreme couponer).

hobby lobby

o Unrelenting Summer Heat While Everyone Loses Their Damn Minds Over Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Everything

It’s not even like it’s really cooling off up New England either. The weather at West Point as of Friday afternoon was “87, feels like 92.”

Wow. Brr. Put on a sweater. Where are my gloves? Chilly. Can you see my breath?

No. You cannot. Because it is basically still summer, but because everybody is sweating their butts off in classrooms and cubicles around America, we are all apparently in denial about the fact that it is simply not fall yet. Today I tried to pretend it was fall by turning the heat on my feet in my car because my toes were too cold in my flip-flops due to my relentless air conditioning blasting. (Betty was riding in the front seat and she likes it pretty cool. When she gets hot she goes into full Dragon Bunny mode and starts breathing fire.) The smell of the heater being turned on after so many months of disuse was comforting and smelled so wonderful and autumnal…for about thirty seconds. Then it got really stuffy and disgusting in the car and I immediately swapped back to A/C and just let my toes enter into early stage frostbite.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to make some acorn and pumpkin-shaped muffins using a banana bread or pumpkin spice recipe or something that conjures up similarly cozy feelings, then build a fire and jump in a pile of leaves and wear a scarf and a pea coat. But just because the calendar says September doesn’t mean the weather has caught on yet. It is summer outside. Sorry.

I blame you for this, Starbucks.

Pumpkin Spice

Bonus item:

People bringing their screaming children to work

I already have to deal with people of underdeveloped intelligence sending me a constant barrage of e-mails and sticking their heads into their office and forcing me to attend meetings that slowly erode my already questionable attention span. Adding someone who is not potty trained into this menagerie is really just not helping. Do not bring an infant into the office unless it is perfectly groomed and wants to be held and gurgle and wave hello and be adorable and give me baby envy. Any other type of baby in the office is just not acceptable. It is doubly unacceptable for you to play Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” on repeat on your phone because you think it will make said wailing child happy. It is not making that baby happy. It is not making me happy. YOU ARE MAKING EVERYONE UNHAPPY.

T. G. I. F.

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