The rest of my knowledge

 

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29  31days

Day Thirty-One: two days late – all the rest of myknowledge

6. Don’t let a boy give you a hickey.

Hickeys are really gross.  And tacky.  Don’t let them happen to you!  It’s pretty easy to tell if someone is bruising your neck with their mouth, so just make them stop.

Addendum: If by some chance you do get a hickey, it better be in the winter. Be thankful that it is winter time and you happen to have a great assortment of turtlenecks.

7. Smart girls are cool.

This will always be true. Reading is cool. Knowing things is cool. Don’t dumb yourself down.

8. Don’t let a strange man into your apartment.  

Does this really need explaining? It only takes one time to learn this lesson. (Even smart girls can make dumb mistakes.)

9. If you see a sign that says ‘Tow Away Zone’, take it seriously.

This an expensive mistake to make. (Again, smart girl – dumb decision)

10 There is a big difference between dishwashER detergent and dishwashING detergent. 

You will notice this difference by whether or not there are soap suds and bubbles all over your kitchen floor.

11. Wear a belt.

Your pants may seem to fit perfectly in the morning, but this is an illusion. By the time you get off of work, your pants will be a different size. Unless you want your pants to slowly start creeping down your ass while you are carrying groceries and cannot pull them back up again, just wear the belt.

12. Write thank you notes.

People appreciate it. Show them that you were raised with manners. I’m pretty sure my grandmother never forgave me for not writing any thank you notes after I received graduation presents when I was 18. Is 11 years too late? I really did appreciate the towels.

13. High heels aren’t really worth it.

A typical person will put up with a lot of unpleasant situations in their lifetime. It’s part of the deal – usually you just have to smile and get through it. But you do not have to consciously torture your feet. If you stand too long, even flat shoes will make your feet hurt. Screw the heels.If for some reason you do have to wear heels, put some flats in your purse.

14. If you find an article of clothing that is REALLY flattering, buy it in 3 colors.

Just don’t wear it all 3 days in a row. You’ll be fine.

15. Cooking really isn’t that hard.

This I have only learned VERY recently. I may be 29, but just six months ago I prepared most of my meals in the microwave. But guess what? There are directions for cooking. It’s called recipes. I have successfully prepared multiple meals at this point without burning my apartment building down.

16. My mother is a Saint.

She’s pretty much the best mom ever. She puts up with a lot silly shit – not only from me but from my sisters as well. I want you to imagine how awful teenage girls are….now multiply that times 3. My mother lived with that every day for approximately 10 years and didn’t murder anyone. Plus, she always has time to talk on the phone (or returns my calls promptly). Lately, most of these calls are me asking really dumb cooking questions (please see #14).

17.Your parents are not perfect.

They used to be your age. They make mistakes like everybody else.

18. Go to your college classes.

You might think that in the long run skipping class won’t matter. But there may come a day when your 26 year-old self has to explain your 21 year-old GPA.

19. Don’t take pictures holding cigarettes or beer cans.

It’s just tacky.

20. Say please and thank you.

People appreciate it.

21. Be skeptical of any man you meet on the internet.

Yes, we live in an age where internet dating is more common than ever and no longer carries a negative stigma. However, in my experience, most of the guys who converse with online will turn out to be a) dumb, b) boring, or c) looking for an excuse to send you a picture of their penis.

22.  The most perfect guy ever is Westley from The Princess Bride.

Let’s see:

  • He senses when you are in trouble (or you know, kidnapped) and drops his lucrative pirating business to rescue you.
  • He had the forethought to build up an immunity to iocaine power.
  • If you throw a hissy-fit and PUSH HIM DOWN A MOUNTAIN, he’s not even mad!
  • He will kill a large rodent to defend you, even when you are just too lazy get up off the ground.
  • He will jump into a pit of lightning sand to save you.
  • Basically every time you do something dumb, he is going to try and make it better.
  • He will come back from the dead for you, his true love. *swoon*
  • He’s smart – could you have come up with a better way to storm the castle?
  • He would never try to text you a picture of his penis.

Oh, and there is this:

 

23. Make an effort to stay in touch with your friends.

You never know when you will need them. And liking a facebook status does not count as maintaining a friendship.

24. When you move into your own apartment, there are a few must have items.

A broom, a first aid kit, and a plunger. Do not wait until you need a plunger, just have one!

25. Invest in good bras.

Just do it. And make sure you are buying the right size. Your boobs will thank you.

26. Lots of people have no idea what they are doing most of the time. 

Fake it til you make it is an acceptable strategy for getting through lots of things.

27. You are allowed to say no some times.

Don’t feel obligated to do things you don’t want to do. You don’t have to stretch yourself too thin. You don’t have to be the one who helps out every single time. It’s ok to hang out on the couch and do nothing on occasion. It’s therapeutic.

28. Stick to your deadlines.

Clearly, this is something I am still working on since I planned on being done with this list two days ago. I’m not perfect.

29. Change can be good.

Moving from Mississippi to Illinois might be completely terrifying. But, if you’re lucky, it just might work out okay.

Sisterly Edition of Birthday Countdown

I hope you liked my first post about the countdown to my birthday!  Before we continue the list, I quick story.  My sister called me after reading yesterday’s post and said,

“I just read your blog post.  All this time I thought you were turning 30.”

I wish I could say my response was cool and casual.  Something like, “No 29.  Gosh, you’re silly.”  This was not the case.  I felt like she had slapped me across the face.  How could she forget!  How could she age me an extra year!?!

After I wiped the foam from my mouth, I thought about my reaction.  I was a little surprised at myself.  If this were three years ago, I don’t think I would be upset if she thought I was turning 26 instead of 25. I like to think I have a handle on this whole getting older thing.  I tell myself ‘our culture is too obsessed with youth’ and ‘age is just a number’ and other mantras to ease my transition into ALMOST 30.  Clearly, this ride could still get bumpy.

This next part of my list is dedicated to my sisters.

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day Three: lessons from sisterhood

3. You are the oldest – it’s always your fault.

I’m the oldest of three girls. Being the oldest is pretty tough job mostly because your parents have no clue what they are doing. You are the guinea pig child, and it’s about time you got used to it.  If you’re lucky, your parents will create younger humans who share your genes and will understand the uniqueness of your childhood experiences.  Sisters (and brothers) can be the best.

BUT, if you are the oldest sibling, it is important to know that everything will be your fault*.  Growing up, every tear or scream from your little sisters is assumed to be the result of some cruel torture you have inflicted.  Guilty until proven otherwise.  Even if circumstances prove that you are not to blame for the most recent meltdown, you are still expected to make concessions.  They are younger than you after all! Plus, my baby sister had dimples and really knew how to turn on the water works.  Don’t think for one second that she didn’t abuse this superpower. This will result in countless (and seemingly unjustified) occasions of playing ‘baby’ games, giving up toys, changing the channel, or being sent to your room.

Even once all the siblings are grown, there are times when you have to step up and be a scapegoat.  ‘She’s in a mood – don’t provoke her!’ or ‘She’s sensitive about (insert the issue of the month), why did you bring it up?’  I’m sure it probably goes the other way around, but this is my list so back off!

4. Even if it sounds like fun, it might not be a good idea.

Although learned in childhood, this is a lesson that stands the test of time. One evening, my little sister (approximately 4 years old at the time) created an excellent game. It essentially consisted of spinning around until you were sickeningly dizzy. (There was a second phase of the game that involved jumping on pillows in a certain pattern, but that isn’t relevant to the story.)  While taking a break from the game, my little sister was spinning ’round and ’round (as per the rules of the game) when she fell and hit her head on the coffee table.  She stood up and I spied blood POURING down her face directly between her eyes.  I managed to walk her into the next room (very calmly for my young 7 years) where my parents were watching t.v.  Panic ensued as did a trip to the emergency room. I was yelled at because, of course, this was all my fault.  (See #3) In hindsight, spinning around until you cannot stand was probably not the safest form of recreational activity.

ps_2012_12_08___14_04_49

Except she wasn’t smiling, and her face was bloody.

This lesson can also be applied to:

  • Sledding down a giant hill directly towards a parked car
  • Staying out until 3 a.m. the morning before a final exam
  • Diving into a pool with a glass bottle of beer in my hand
  • Kissing guys who aren’t *technically* single
  • Removing items of clothing in a frat house

5. Sisters know you the best and can hurt you the worst.

ps_2012_12_08___13_49_24

Sisters!!

Your sisters can be the most wonderful people on the planet.  Your sisters will have the ability to drive you completely insane.  Your sisters have probably seen you at your worst but will celebrate with you at your best. They know your insecurities just like you know theirs; please use this information for good and not evil.

You don’t have to be the same people, so don’t bother trying to change them into your clones. Enjoy them when you can because they probably won’t live down the street forever.  Remember you all come from the same place, so they are the only ones who know exactly how crazy your parents truly are.

 

*Ok, the times when I would pin you down and threaten to spit on you…that was mean.  I definitely deserved punishment for that because that was really gross.  Thanks for loving me despite it.

 

Can I just hibernate through my birthday?

hi·ber·nate
1.to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain otheranimals. 
2. to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.
hibernate

Wake up! Winter’s over!

I’m back.  I didn’t really go anywhere except my apartment and occasionally Wendy’s, but there was definitely a lack of activity on the interwebs.  Sorry that I went into hibernation for a few months.  Did you miss me?  It was a rough winter, and not just for Mississippi girls like me.  Everyone in Chicago was pretty miserable for a while.  But now the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, so I figured I should reemerge.  And just in time, because in 29 days I will be turning 29.  Twenty-nine years old!!!

 

Logically, I know this isn’t a big deal, it doesn’t really mean anything, blah blah.  But the other parts of me (the non-logical ones) may or may not be freaking out.  To keep myself from having a complete existential crisis, I need a distraction.  Today’s distraction method of choice will be making a list.  Without further ado, I present:

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day One: Lessons learned in childhood

1.  Do not cut your own bangs.  It will not end well.

…especially if you are 10 years old.  Fifth grade is definitely old enough to know what scissors can do to your hair, but did that stop me?  No, sir!  It starts out innocently enough: just the tiniest trim.  But then you have to make sure the sides are even, and before you know it your bangs are inch long sprigs standing straight up with no hope of ever covering your forehead.  Oh yeah, and it’s right before picture day.  Luckily, your sister is 5 years old so you can blame her for this unfortunate mishap.  (Did people actually believe that story?)

You would think after ‘the 5th grade bangs incident’ I would learn my lesson.  Wrong again!  There were a handful of times in high school and college where I would trim my bangs myself.  The results weren’t quite as traumatic, but of course never as good as what someone in a salon could do.  (P.S. It’s pretty embarrassing when you tell your hairstylist that you trimmed your own bangs and her response is “I can see that”.)

 2. Just ask where the bathroom is – it’s less embarrassing than the alternative.

I was a shy kid – painfully shy.  I spoke to teachers in school as little as possible.  When I was in the first or second grade, I spent almost every single recess playing with my friend, Ashley.  Ashley was an idea person.  She decided what the activity/game would be, and the rest of us would play it.  One afternoon (in the middle of what I can only assume was an awesome game), I realized that I needed to pee.  The teachers were all the way on the other side of the playground and for some reason I didn’t want to walk up to them by myself to ask if I could go inside.  In my memory, the walk to the teachers was SO FAR.

I asked Ashley to walk with me to the teacher’s playground post.  She said no, opting to continue the game instead.   I can’t blame her – it is not normal for a 6 or 7 year old to need an escort to walk across the playground – so, I pushed my full bladder from my mind and just kept playing.  I don’t know how long this went on, but soon the need to relieve myself outweighed my fear of approaching the teachers.  I struck out on my own, and when I reached the slide I realized I no longer had to pee.  Yes folks, I had peed my pants.

Now I was REALLY afraid to talk to the teachers!  So, I walked my soggy bottom back to my friends and Ashley’s game.  I was panicking!  What should I do?  I was way too old to be having accidents at school.  I confided in Ashley what had happened.  Suddenly, the teachers were blowing the whistle.  Recess was over.  I was so mortified.  Ashley’s solution (remember, I said she was an idea person): walk behind me in line so that no one would see my pee pants. Lucky for us, the school day was almost over plus my grandmother was picking me up which saved me from the shame of riding the bus in my current state.  With Ashley’s help, I made it back to the classroom with no one the wiser and sneakily positioned my backpack to cover my bum.  I left school that day without incident.

I wish I could say this was the only pee pants incident in my childhood – but alas, it takes me some time to learn.  Most others involved being at a slumber and laughing too hard.  However, almost every one that I can remember could have been solved by just asking where the bathroom is!

Also learned:  It is a true friend who comes to your aid when you have wet your pants and smell like urine.

I’ve always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers

Saturday is the day I realized my car was stuck in it’s parking spot.  (Please notice that last Saturday was two days BEFORE the extreme low temperatures.)  I got into my car on Saturday and attempted to drive to my first destination of the day; I put the car in reverse, but nothing happened.  I tried to move the car back and forth, little by little, but my tires just kept spinning every time.  I put the car in park and took control of the situation: I called my mom.  But Mom couldn’t actually help me because 1) she’s 700 miles away and 2) she’s never dealt with lots of snow either. After hanging up (I’m still in my car that is going nowhere), I used my phone to Google ‘car stuck in the snow’.  Here’s an excerpt from Wikihow on ‘How to Get Your Car Out of the Snow: 12 Steps’.  (Please notice the section in bold)

Dig away excessive snow and ice. Break up the ice immediately surrounding the tires. Obviously, if you have a shovel, you can dig out the snow. (This article assumes you don’t have a shovel handy (or else you wouldn’t be stuck, would you? If you don’t have one, improvise. A trowel is a good cheap shovel that can stay in even a small car; a plastic one won’t rust.)

That is what the website says word for word. A normal reaction to all this would have been to go buy a shovel immediately, dig myself free, and find a better parking spot.  But wikihow was mocking me, so I went back inside my apartment feeling defeated and didn’t leave for the rest of the day.  There was more snow on Sunday, and I knew the situation would only be getting worse – so I watched all 10 episodes of Sean Saves the World, the new sitcom starring Sean Hayes as a single, gay dad. (Can you tell I avoid my problems?)  I even had a friend text me that she would help dig me out, but I stayed on the couch.

It wasn’t until Wednesday (when the city of Chicago reached an almost tropical 14 degrees) that I bought a shovel on my way home from work.  I had to take the shovel on the train because my car was still submerged in snow – hence the need for a shovel.  I could feel the commuters on the Red Line looking at me and my shovel and thinking, “Silly girl.  You get the shovel BEFORE the snow,” but maybe that was just my imagination.  When I got off the train, it was cold and dark outside.  So I did what I do best and decided to put the snow-shoveling off until the next morning.

I did not look forward to this whole exercise.  I’ve never actually shoveled snow before.  I got my shovel (how many times can I use the word shovel in one post?) and walked towards my car.  A man was standing in the street and asked if I needed him to dig my car out of the snow.  I wasn’t really sure what to say – did he want money?  But I said ‘Sure, some help would be great.’  (The man had 5 or 6 braids in his hair so I will refer to him as Braid Man.)

I didn’t take a picture of Braid Man, so here is my artistic interpretation using ClipArt and Paint.

knight

I had my little ice scraper, so I tried to help as best that I could but Braid Man did most of the work.  And there was a lot of work since my car had fallen victim to a snow-blower.  It looked something like this:

Wall of Snow (2)

I would have taken a real picture, but then I wouldn’t have been helping with the digging process.  However, this picture is pretty accurate, except there was even more snow.  Once Braid Man had gotten rid of most of the snow (while all I really did was clear my windshield and break my ice scraper in the process), he told me to get in the car and try to drive out.  The car moved some before getting stuck in a fresh pile of snow, but Braid Man would not be thwarted!  He pushed my car from the front and then the back, and continued to clear the snow and ice each time the car stopped moving.  A gentleman walking by on the sidewalk stopped to watch our maneuvers and give some helpful tips on which tire was stuck. He eventually lost interest – I’m not sure Braid Man appreciated his comments.

Finally, after close to 30 minutes my car was free!  During the digging process, I tried to express my gratitude. ‘You’re an angel’, ‘What would I have done without you’, ‘I appreciate this so much’.  Once I was out of my parking spot, I wanted to thank him one more time.  But he just handed me my shovel and walked away before I could say anything.  Kind of like a cowboy walking into the sunset at the end of a movie.  OR like my own personal Dennis Quaid (another Day After Tomorrow reference!)- conquering the frozen elements to come to my rescue.  Thank you Braid man, wherever you are.

And thank you Dennis Quaid, just for being handsome.

Ok, Cupid, Where are you hiding the normal guys?

Welcome to Part 2 of my online dating adventures.  As I stated in Part 1, I went on a few dates with guys from OkCupid when I first moved here, but after some dates varying from mediocre to not-so-great I had to take a break for a while.  The break ended about a month ago, when I actually started browsing OKC’s website again.  I decided I needed to put myself ‘out there’ again, and I promised myself that I was actually going to go out with someone (as opposed to clicking through tons of profiles haphazardly and accepting my impending spinsterhood).

John sent me a message.  It said:

  • I think you are cute wow, and when I read you very a bubbly personality, that’s adorable, and then you might have an accident (he means accent). I’m hoping you message me. Sorry I never actually said hi, lol Hinthere. I’m John. I’m very much the creative type to, I’m out there doing stand up and have a side job to pay the bills as well. So tell me more about you…what’s your name?

Since I was trying not to be too judgmental, I decided to  let the spelling errors slide.  He seemed pretty normal, so I messaged him back.  We exchanged phone numbers and sent a few texts back and forth.  Mostly we talked about tv shows we liked.  A few days later, John asked if I wanted to get together for a drink over the weekend.

He wanted to meet in Bucktown (a neighborhood a bit south of me).  I chose a bar around the corner from a friend’s house and told John to meet me at 1:30 on Saturday.  I spent most of the morning running errands, so by the time I got to the bar I was starving.

John seemed nice enough.  Not great looking but very friendly.  I ordered food which meant I was committed to sitting with this guy long enough for a meal.  That’s when the fun really started.  Some fun highlights included: a story about how he got kicked out of Canada, he wants to be a stand up comedian but he doesn’t want to make people laugh, and he’s written a book (just for himself, not published) about his previous jobs dressing as an elf or bunny.  But here’s what really stood out:

Red flag #1:  He referred to his sister as ‘evil spawn’.  The first time he mentioned this, I thought it was just a joke.  But he continued to talk about how much he hated his sister. Even if you have the most dysfunctional of families, please don’t share this information on a first date.  PLUS, if your sister once tried to convince your family that you were beating up your mom (whether it was true or not), don’t tell anybody, EVER!

Red flag #2:  He is 30 and works at a deli.  Ok, I know the job market is in the toilet these days BUT it wasn’t just the fact that he works in a deli.  He has only been working there for a month, and he told me a story about calling in sick to work and having his boss chew him out about.  I think I responded by saying something like, “Yeah, sometimes you get sick.”  He made a face that made me think ‘sick’ was code for ‘hung over’ or ‘just don’t feel like it’.  He didn’t say it outright, but I am sensing that this guy has been fired a time or two before.

  •  Can I just say that we are at 2 Red Flags and my food has JUST arrived.  I knew at this point that John and I would not be sharing a lasting connection.  However, I could tell that the club sandwich and I were meant for each other.

Red flag #3:  Trying to maintain to most basic of conversation I asked “Where did you go to school?” His answer was about high school…and high school only.  This would have been bad enough, but then he went on to explain that he went to the alternative school (for kids with behavior problems, I think?) and didn’t even finish.  He got his G.E.D.

  • I tried to focus on my sandwich.  But I must have an amazing poker face, because he just kept on sharing.  Which brings us to…

Red flag #4:  Towards the end of the meal, he said he needed to be honest with me.  (Oh no, this can not be good.)  His announcement was (drum roll please)  He still lives with his ex-girlfriend.  SAY WHAT!?!  They broke up in October and he’s too nice to kick her out because she’s uneployed and blah, blah, blah.  At this point my face could no longer stay disconnected from my brain and my face must have given everything away.  “You’re judging, aren’t you.”  I responded truthfully saying something about this being a surprise and a complicated situation.

Here’s what I should have said, “Of COURSE, I’m judging.  You just told me that you hate your sister, you never graduated high school, and even though you are living with your ex-girlfriend you are looking for dates online!”  But I didn’t say this.  I’m too nice.  Finally, it was time to pay and leave this disaster behind.  John mentioned maybe wanting to go out again, and I smiled and said maybe and then practically ran to my friend’s house.

If you ever have a bad date, you should definitely immediately take your gay friend to see Catching Fire and forget about ending up like a cat lady.  That’s what I did, and it turned out to be a splendid afternoon.

Thank you, Peeta and Katniss. You saved my Saturday.

A few days after the date, John sent me a text that said something like this:

  • Kate, you’re really sweet and a great girl.  I don’t think this is a good time for me to be dating anyone.  I hope you find what you’re looking for.

That’s right – he’s the one who officially broke it off.  I was relieved but at the same time a little ticked that he was the one to do it first.  The lesson here: Never excuse spelling errors and bad grammar.  You will regret it.

I’m kind of on another break from OkCupid.