Germy Germison

Green M&M is a borderline neurotic germaphobe. She carries Ass Gaskets (toilet seat liners) in her purse. Despite this, in public bathrooms, she still hovers to pee, uses her foot to flush, dispenses the paper towel before she washes her hands and uses the paper towel to turn off the faucets and open the bathroom doors. When her now nearly (GASP!) 16 year old nephew was a little boy, she passed this crazy on to him (possibly not the hovering part).

It goes without saying that I give her a never ending rash of shit over this obsessive compulsive behavior. She responds that people are gross (granted) and that it’s unhealthy not to do these things. I remind her that if these things were true we wouldn’t be here now. I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t have Ass Gaskets. The prairie dwelling farmers of the 18th century had no running water or disinfecting hand soap. Hell, Purell hand sanitizer, in which she should own stock, didn’t even exist until the last decade or so.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree it’s important to take precautions and I never, EVER, leave the bathroom without at least running some water over my hands (to quote Boston Legal’s Allen Shore, “I keep a very clean penis.”) but I do think it’s possible to go overboard and she has certainly done that.

Today, while sitting in the stall in the office mensroom I was reminded of all this when, while taking care of my own business, I listened as no fewer than three “Gentlemen” came into the bathroom, took care of their business, and left again with nary a drop of water spilled in the basin. This is particularly disturbing to me because I work for a health care organization (don’t worry, no medical personnel here). However, it got me thinking, if germs were so rampant, there’d be no hope for us in my office because clearly there are germs being spread like crazy.

I thought about this… I thought about it a lot… I thought about it while I was washing my hands (three times)… And while I was using the automatic feature to dispense a paper towel… And while I used the paper towel to open the door when I left.

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

I spent most of yesterday at Green M&M’s house doing laundry.  We have a long-standing arrangement, that might some day be explained in another post, where I come over to her house every other Saturday to do my laundry (the machines in my duplex cost $2.00 per load per machine) and it gives us an opportunity to hang out together.  I like it ’cause it’s a more convenient way to do my laundry (really) and it guarantees we will hang out, without having to put much thought into it or spend a lot of money.

Yesterday was our “anniversary” of sorts.  We don’t really have an anniversary, but the first time we saw each other socially, was when I invited her to come over for dinner and to watch a movie, 10 years ago.  I was new to the Bay Area and didn’t have any friends and we’d gotten to know each other at work and become friends.  I invited her over and it didn’t dawn on me until she showed up at my door-step with flowers (Tulips, which happen to be my favorites) that it was in fact Valentine’s Day.

We went to lunch at Applebee’s.  My food wasn’t what I’d hoped for but we had fun anyway.  Then we went to Target for some brief shopping.  We went back to her apartment, I did my laundry, we watched Transformers, and had Surf and Turf for dinner.  I was home by 11:00 much to Scared Kitty’s delight.  (He hadn’t been fed since I left him twelve hours earlier.)

menu_sweet_corn_tamale_cakesToday we went to The Cheesecake Factory.  I’d heard the hosts of my favorite morning radio show talking about it earlier this week and I was craving it after that.  It’s been pouring rain since the middle of last night and I really expected Green M&M to tell me she didn’t want to go, but she showed up at my house at noon as planned.  It’s an eighteen mile drive to the nearest Cheesecake Factory and we got there just in time to wait for thirty  minutes for a table.  A year and a half ago I was introduced to the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes and was astonished at how completely delicious they were.  Don’t be fooled by what you see in this picture!  Each of these tamale cakes is four inches in diameter and piled high with fixin’s!  They are listed on the appetizer menu, but they are more than sufficient as a meal!  Especially if you want to have Cheesecake later!  Even still, I eat the tamale cakes at the restaurant and bring cheesecake home for later!

Looking forward to the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes all week, I didn’t even need to look at the menu when we were seated.  I knew what I wanted!

You know how sometimes you build something up in your head as being so tremendously wonderful?   You know how sometimes when you actually get that thing, it can’t compare to the build-up in your mind?  😦  That’s what happened today.  This was the fourth or fifth consecutive visit in which the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes have been my entree, but this time, they just didn’t measure up.  Such a disappointment!  Cest la vie!  It was probably just a fluke.

Green M&M was born on St. Patrick’s Day and she wanted to go into the mall to look for St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts and buy a birthday gift for her Step-sister who’s birthday just passed.  While we were in one of a department stores I saw this:  p-640-480-38ae9513-9345-4b03-80a1-8734653408a4.jpeg

Notice the tag:  “Floor Ready Date: 2/13”.  Today is the 15th.  Somehow I don’t think this is what they meant!

The drive home was quite exciting.  Torrential rain left visibilities at just a few hundred yards.  Interstate 580 West bound between Pleasanton and Oakland is not a terribly fun stretch to drive in the first place, but with the bad conditions it’s even worse.  Driving 55 miles per hour and white nucklin’ it all the way.  I was starting to relax as we got closer to my exit when suddenly there was a sea of red lights ahead of me.  Fortunately, I was able to get off the highway before I got to the stand-still so I didn’t actually see what happened.  I can only assume a major accident.  Somebody had a bad day.  I’ve been there.  Glad it wasn’t me.

I drove the last six miles home on city streets I did not know, following the instructions of Gidget the gadget (that’s what I call my GPS system.  I figure any woman who gets to boss me around oughta have a name!)  But I made it home, safe and sound, all in one piece with no dings or dents and none the worse for the wear…  Except for the three different pieces of cheesecake in my fridge.  I never can decide on just one when I’m there.

One Down, Two to Go

Stop me if you’ve heard this. I thought I’d told this story but I’m not finding it in my archives.

When I was about seven years old, Scornful Mother asked her boss if she could do the Janitorial work for her office of about 35 people for extra income.  Now, for SM this amounted to coming straight home after work and picking up the three of us kids, taking us out to eat at our then favorite restaurant, Bill Knapp’s, and then taking us back to her office where she put us to work.   She sat at her desk at the front and did who knows what while we cleaned.  I won’t go into all the crap feelings that surround that topic, but what I want to say is that even from a young age, I have always felt like it was stupid that she took us out to eat before taking us to “her second job”, effectively canceling out the additional income with the additional expense.

Dead Beat Dad, who was raised by parents who did seem to think that how other people in their lives spent money was somehow their business never hesitated to express his own judgment at Scornful Mother’s penchant for taking us out to eat and then complaining about not having enough money.  It’s funny how, despite my own feelings on the subject, I have the inherent need to defend her.  “She was raising three kids on a secretaries salary.”  “She worked all day and had to feed three kids, at night.  Who wouldn’t rather go out to eat than have to come home and cook after that?”

There was a disconnect in the story for me.  I remember Scornful Mother taking us to the grocery store.  We had to walk around in a single file line behind her and not touch anything, including each other.  I remember the grocery cart being filled to the top.  What was happening to all this food if we were eating out all the time.

A couple years ago, I happened to be in the same place with Dead Beat Dad and CPA Sis, and somehow this topic came up.  CPA Sis told him, “What you don’t know is that she’d have panic attacks about writing such a big check, spending so much money all at once.  She’d get to the front with her full cart and she’d experience anxiety about it and have to leave the cart behind, without buying any of the groceries.”

I never knew this.  From a rational perspective this seems ridiculous to me.  I know it’s not good money management, and yet I can understand it…

credit-card-debtIt is my goal for 2009 to pay off my credit cards and have no debt aside from my car payment which I do want to pay ahead on and get completely out of debt ASAP.  I received a very large income tax refund this year.  Not enough to completely pay off my debt, but a large amount all the same.

I’ve already written a check to Green M&M to pay off all the money that I know I owe her.  (Over the years there have been lots of loans which will never be repaid.)  I’m just waiting for the check to go through the bank.  Part of my “new leaf” has meant keeping close track of my expenditures, how much I’ve spent, when I spent it and when it comes through, and how much I have left to spend.

I just went on to the website for the credit card with the highest balance (and interest).  The balance on the account was $887.05.  I knew I needed to pay it off.  I knew it was a financially sound decision.  I knew I had to do it… And still, my finger hovered over the mouse button for several seconds before I clicked “submit”, with thoughts going through my head like, “But this is 65% of the money I have to spend.”  and “I won’t have any money left after I pay these off.”  Suddenly, I had a flash of understanding about what it must have been like for Scornful Mother at the prospect of writing those “big” checks at the grocery store.

I’m proud to say, I clicked the submit button, and in that one move, I wiped out a third of my credit card debt!  Yay, me!

Now, If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to cuddle up in the corner and wait for my pulse to return to normal and cry it out!

Lunch Chat Highlights

Unsvelt Girl who Runs and I went to lunch today at the local burger joint.  This is entertaining in itself as UGwR recently decided to become a vegan/vegetarian.  She said she read something that made her never want to eat an animal product again.  I told her she could feel free never to share it with me.  I like my animal products just fine, thank you,  and I don’t need unpleasant imagery while I’m eating just about every meal I ever eat!

We talked about the Grammy’s.  I know.  I’m three days behind the rest of the world.  I don’t care.  I hate commercials and this is how I watch TV.

Jennifer Hudson

APTOPIX Grammy Awards ShowWhat was she thinking with this dress?  It looks like she’s got a dinner napkin stapled to the front of her.  I mean, really!  If it had been tailored in some way, maybe.  If it had more of a shape to it and somehow wrapped around her waste, it might have worked.  But it didn’t!  It’s squared off at the bottom.  Maybe my mind filled in the blanks but I could swear I saw the glint of light reflecting off of metal like I could see the safety pins that could have been used to attach the dinner napkin to the dress.

Here’s what I think happened.  Ms. Hudson and her management team, including her stylist, went for a nosh before the show.  As so frequently happens to women with largeish sweater puppets, she dropped something on her chest and stained her beautiful designer dress.

“Oh my God!  What am I gonna do?” she asked in a panic.

“Don’t worry, hun,” says her stylist, “we can deal with this!”  And with that he whipped out his trusty murse (Man Purse), pulled a stapler and can of hairspray out, grabbed an unused linen napkin from the next table over and went to town.  A little hair spray to give the top some shape and staples to hold it in place and she was good to go.

Unsvelt Girl who Runs said there was another person with a similar look.  I don’t remember it.  She says it was the same color as the rest of the dress, so maybe it worked.

On the other hand Jennifer Hudson looked fantastic while performing You Pulled Me Through and she almost brought me to tears (thank God for my frozen heart) as she struggled to get through this emotional song.  It was obvious she must’ve been thinking of her mother who was recently murdered and her eyes were glistening with tears by the end of the song.  It was a truly touching moment and I really felt for her.

Coldplay

chris_martin61“That guy is a freak!”  said Unsvelt Girl, speaking of Chris Martin.  “What was with those clothes they were wearing!?”

“They were ugly, that’s for sure!  Did you see them apologize to Paul McCartney for stealing the ‘Sargent Pepper’s’ look?”  I don’t think she understood that reference.  “And his pants were too short, but that’s a style.”

“Oh good!  Then I don’t have to buy new pants for my son,” she said.

“Um, yeah.  Your son is 13 years old and not a rock star.  You have to buy him new pants.”

“Damn!”

I think Coldplay faked their entire performance of Viva La Vida.  First of all, there were four musicians on stage, including Chris Martin.  Chris Martin wasn’t playing any instruments, one of the guys was playing only a guitar, one was playing a guitar and a keyboard and the fourth guy was playing kettle drums and a bell.  We apparently weren’t supposed to notice the plethora of stringed instruments, not of the guitar variety that are part of that song, but weren’t represented by instruments on the stage.  I could accept that some of it was coming form the keyboard that was being played, but then the guy walked away from the keyboards and the strings were still playing.

Toward the end of the song there’s some humming, or ooo-ing, or whatever-ing.  On the stage the four boys joined around one microphone to sing them.  Chris Martin had his hand mic by his side and was late getting to the other boys but the sound was full.  It was also full when he turned away before they were finished.  And finally when he said, “Thank you” at the end of the song, he wasn’t at the microphone and hadn’t picked his hand mic back up.  Where did the sound come from?

Late last year, Coldplay performed this song on Saturday Night Live.  I don’t remember whether there were other musicians on the stage then, but what I do remember is that Chris Martin acted in very much the same way, including ending the song on his knees and lying back on the floor.  “I guess they don’t think out side of the box much,” said Unsvelt Girl who Runs.

mia-grammyM.I.A.

O.M.G.

‘Nuff said.

Actually, I just read that she start feeling contractions just as the show started.  I’m not a fan of rap, and didn’t think much of that performance (The Rap Pack) but that girl was shakin’ her groove thang, (Yes, I am very white) and this revelation makes that movement that much more incredible!

And speaking of rap stars…

American Boy

Iamerican-boy happen to like this song.  It’s a catchy tune.  I’ve got it on my iPhone.  I’ve got it… ON MY iPHONE!

“Oh my gosh!” I whispered conspiratorially, crouching low to the table.  “I totally didn’t realize Estelle is black.”

“Really!” Unsvelt Girl said sarcastically as she picked up her iPhone and pulled up the song to show me the album cover… Same one I’ve got on my iPhone.  “Really!  You didn’t realize she was black?”

“I guess I never paid that much attention to the album cover.”

kanye-estelle1It’s a fun song and I enjoy the version with Kanye West, but boy does that man need to cut his hair and HOT DAMN!, how did I not make note of this dress last night?  She looks like a cone coffee filter.  And she was sitting down at the beginning of that performance.  How is this possible?  I feel sorry for whoever had the misfortune of sitting next to her

“I had to turn on the captioning while they were doing this song.  There’s a line in the song that I just haven’t been able to figure out,” I told Unsvelt Girl.

“Really?  What is it?”

“I have tried and tried to figure out what that line is and the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is, ‘I’d really like to cook naked with you.  Will you be my American Boy?’.  But that doesn’t make any sense.  Well, maybe it does.  Hmm…  ‘I’d really like to cook naked with you.’  Could be fun I guess.

“Every time the song comes on I listen real close to try and figure it out. I’m like, ‘She’s not saying “cook naked” is she?  She wouldn’t be saying “cook naked” right?  I mean what kinda sense does that make?’

“Anyway, the line is ‘Come pick it’… Wait.  That doesn’t make much sense either.  Well, that’s what the person typing the captioning heard anyway!”

(A quick Google search has revealed that the line is actually “come kick it”, which, all things considered, makes far more sense.)

The King of Wishful Thinking

go-west“You know,” I told her, “it’s really funny the things we think we hear in songs sometimes.  Back in 1990 there was a song by an obscure group called ‘Go West’.  They had one popular song called The King of Wishful Thinking.”

“Never heard of it,” she was quick to reply.  (Turned out she had.)

“Well the song says, ‘I’ll get over you, I know I will.  I’ll pretend my ships not sinking…’  But Green M&M told me that for the longest time when this song was out she heard the line differently.  She said she couldn’t believe it could be what she heard when they’d play it on the radio but she just couldn’t figure out what else the lyrics could be.

“Green M&M said she thought the lyrics were ‘I’ll get over you, I know I will.  I’ll pretend my shit’s not stinking…”

Disappointment and Revenge

disappointmentIn slightly less than two months I will be “celebrating” my seventh anniversary working for The Company that Created the HMO.  Very shortly after starting this job, I discovered a local deli that has the best sandwiches this side of the Big Apple.

Not long after starting this job, Green M&M and I decided to join Weight Watchers.  We’re both overweight and we both wanted to do something about it.  At the time that we joined Weight Watchers they were pushing their points program where you’re allotted a certain number of points depending on your current weight and can “earn” additional points for physical activity.

I had become very fond of this chicken sandwich that my little deli makes with broiled chicken breast and melted cheese.  I always got mine on a Sourdough Roll which must be about ten inches long, with Dijon Mustard, Jack Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Onions and Alfalfa Sprouts.  Let me tell you, this sandwich is awesome!  When Green and I were on Weight Watchers I did an estimation of how many points this thing must be and I estimated it at 11 points.  If you’re familiar with this program you know, that’s a lot of points and if you’re not familiar with the program it may not sound like a lot but when you consider I was only allotted about 34 points and I was an “active drinker” then (as opposed to a passive(?) drinker now) I needed to save the points for the all important vodka tonics (diet tonic thank you very much!) and wine that I’d be having in the evening.    Needless to say, the diet failed and I gave up a long time ago which is neither here nor there for the story I’m trying to tell.

This deli is three blocks away from my office building, on the same street and less than a block from our sister building where evil lives, and they are always very busy with a long line (The deli, not the sister building where evil lives.)  The sandwiches are awesome, but sometimes it’s really not worth the trip and the hassle.

Sometime around mid October brown paper went up in the windows of the previously vacant store front diagonally across the street from my building and not long after that, a logo went up in the window indicating that this location was going to be either a new, or an additional location, of the deli with the 11 point sandwich I enjoy so much.

One day in October, I asked the owner, Emil, “When is the new location going to open?”

“Soon,” he replied, “Hopefully next week.”

“Great!  I can’t wait.  Is it a second location or a new location?”

“It’s a second location,” he told me.

A few weeks passed and the new location hadn’t opened yet.  “Emil!  When is the other shop going to open?”  It was the second week of November.  I enjoy my 11 point sandwich but I don’t want to make the trip and be near the axis of evil if I don’t have to.

“End of the month,” he told me matter-of-factly.

“Great!  I can’t wait,” I tell him enthusiastically.

A few more weeks passed.  Thanksgiving came and went.  It was the middle of December.  “Hey, Emil!  Seriously!  When is the new shop gonna open?” I asked, ribbing the good-natured restaurateur.

Emil shakes his head now, “Oh, I don’t know Kevin.  I hope soon.”  He seems a little distraught about the subject, but I opt not to engage.

“OK.  Good.  I can’t wait!”  If I can get my 11 point chicken sandwich and not have to walk the three blocks and be anywhere near the evil fortress, I’m happy.

Mid January I walk into the existing location for the deli.  I want my sandwich and I’m just not going to hassle Emil this time.  Emil, is no where in sight.

This past Friday, The Unsvelt Girl who Runs and I went to lunch.  She had to go to one of the other buildings where The Company that Created the HMO has leased space which we are currently responsible for.  We walked to the building six blocks away and then went to a hoagie place across the street.  While we’re eating, The Unsvelt Girl says, “Oh, the new Aroma’s opened today.  There was a line of people out the door this morning when I went out for coffee.”

“Now you tell me?  Why didn’t we go there?”  As long as I’ve been waiting you’d think I’d be there the first day.

“Because there was a line of people out the door!” She replied, and I must say, there’s a certain logic in that argument.

“Fair enough,” I reply.  “It’s going to be after lunch when we walk back by there.  Can we just stick our head’s in and see what’s new?”

“Sure,” she says.  And so as we walked by the new location on the way back to the office we stuck our heads in the door to see what’s new.  The new restaurant is beautiful, all new modern fixtures, nice marble slab counters.  Nice and modern.  Still no real seating, but that’s fine I guess, it is supposed to be a deli after all.  But I zoned in on the menu board and saw the magic word that at once thrills and terrifies me.  The new Aroma’s, or Aroma’s East, as I call it, because it’s a straight shot, three blocks east, down the street from the original restaurant, has a nice selection of Gelato in addition to a plethora of bakery type confections all of which call to me relentlessly, desiring me to come in and submit to them with reckless abandon.

We left the restaurant and returned to the office quaking in our little space boots in sheer terror of the evil with which we’d just come face to face.

Today, being low on funds, and not wanting to take a lunch break, thus prolonging the length of time I’d have to spend in the office, I ate a bowl of Kraft Easy-Mac for lunch.  Not at all surprising, this did not satisfy me for very long.  I have a bowl of microwave chili, which I wanted to save for another day, in my drawer so I was trying to decide on a solution to the hunger that crept upon me a couple ours later.  I could go to the little convenience store in the lobby and look for something but I’d almost certainly end up with something much more fattening and calorie laden then what I really wanted.  And then it hit me, “Wait!  Aroma’s East is open!  I’ll run over there and get a sandwich.  Just nothing so substantial as my usual 11 point chicken sandwich.

So away I went, off to the awesome new location of my favorite little deli from which I’m sure to order many an 11 point chicken sandwich.  I walked into the deli and looked up at the menu board… But wait, there was no 11 point chicken sandwich.  No matter, right?  I mean, it’s the same restaurant, they must have the same things, right?

Emil greeted me, “Hello, Kevin!  What can I get you?”

“Well… I don’t know?  You guys aren’t making regular sandwiches here?”

“Yeah,” he enthused, “we have panini’s.  We’ve got chicken… roast beef… I’ve got an Aroma panini still.  That’s vegetarian.”

“Yuck,” I reply without thinking.  “Yeah, I see the panini’s but you’re not going to have, you know, regular sandwiches.  Like you have at the other place?”

Emil looks at me with a blank stare for a minute.

“If I want a regular sandwich like I always get, I can’t get it here?” I ask.

“Oh.  No.”

“I have to walk up to the other place?”  I ask.  I’m still in disbelief.

“Yeah,” he answers taking on a slightly impish grin, as if somehow this will get him out of the very deep trouble he’s in with me and which matters not one iota to anyone else.  This is most disappointing.  After all the anticipation, this new location does not do me any good and might do me harm!

“But I wanted a BLT.”  Surely, if I keep pushing it he’ll bend.

“I don’t have that,” is his simple reply.  This is not going the way I wanted.  “Don’t you like chicken?  I have chicken panini’s”

Don’t I like chicken!?!” I think to myself astonished.  “Don’t I like chicken!?! I’ve been getting the same damn 11 point chicken sandwich with nary a variation for seven years! menu_cheesecake_godivachocolate1Don’t I like chicken?  Of course I like chicken.  But today, I don’t want chicken.  I want a damn BLT!”

“I already ate once today.   I mean I already ate lunch once today, I don’t want all that!” I answered…

So I ordered a piece of chocolate cheesecake instead.

I guess I showed him!

Prayers for A Drunk

Today has been a bit of a mixed bag of feelings and somehow I don’t think it’s done yet.

As a part of my efforts to reclaim control of my life I made the conscious decision to go to bed at “a reasonable time” (is 11:30 a reasonable time?) last night so that I could get up at “a reasonable time” (is 7:30 a reasonable time?) this morning.  My routine tardiness at work has not gone unnoticed and has gotten quite a bit worse in recent months as my general motivation to attend has been dismal at best.  Part of the problem, I realized is that I have a hard time getting up early enough in the mornings.  So I thought it wise to attempt to adhere to the recommendations of so many “experts” and try stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends.  Now, I’ll grant you that sleeping from 11:30 to 7:30 is probably not the best sleep schedule to have when you work a theoretically 8-5 job, but since I’ve been getting out of bed between 7:30 and 8:00 for the last few weeks it seems wise to start rolling that schedule back at a gradual pace.

At any rate, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my decision to work on my sleep schedule and when my second alarm, on the other side of the room went off at 7:00 this morning, I only snoozed it three separate times before I forced myself not to get back in bed when I turned it off.  I put on my robe, (it’s much too cold for my not at all uncommon state of undress that often meets my mornings) and went for my morning pee, after which I went into the kitchen to feed a very demanding Scared Kitty.  He still had a bit of food in his bowl from last night but if you ever needed a lesson in how to act as if you’re starving, Scared Kitty would be an excellent coach. grand-marnier After feeding his royal highness, I went on to make myself a pot of coffee and sort out breakfast.  I finally decided on the Gladware bowl of orange segments I had in the refrigerator.  The segments are lefter over after using the peels to start my own batch of homemade Grand Marnier last weekend, for which I found a recipe a few weeks back.  It takes seven weeks and I’m not really all that optimistic about the outcome but I thought it would be fun to give it a shot,  you should pardon the pun.

I brought my carafe of coffee and my bowl of orange pieces into the living room, sat down in my recliner, threw a blanket over my legs and propped my feet up to watch some television.  My DVR tends to build up during the week and I try to clear it back out on the weekends so I don’t get too far behind.  Three episodes of the much maligned and barely watched General Hospital, one episode of Ghost Whisperer, five episodes of The Click List: Best in Short Film, and a misnamed movie all awaited my attention.

Natalia Livingston

Natalia Livingston

Tyler Christopher

Tyler Christopher

I actually just started recording General Hospital again this week after many months of freedom because Green M&M told me there’s some weird event happening at the beginning of each episode that I wanted to investigate and because I read that Natalia Livingston, who played Emily Quartermaine for several years until she was murdered about a year ago in a “very dramatic” story line, has returned to the show but supposedly not as Emily Quartermaine.  Her character has not really been explained yet, but whoever she is, she does seem to have a considerable fascination with Nikolas Cassadine, played by Tyler Christopher, not that I can blame her.

Since I’m on the subject, while looking for a good picture of Tyler to include here, I happened across this rather unexpected gem:

tyler-christopher-nekked-02

Anyway, I don’t watch very much of General Hospital because I’m really not all that interested in most of the characters and I don’t want to get sucked back in, therefore I was able to watch all three episodes pretty quickly.

Jennifeir Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Then it was on to Ghost Whisperer.  I enjoy this show and I have been a fan of Jennifer Love Big Tits– er, Hewitt since she first showed up on Party of Five.  I’m a bit tired of the current, on-going story line, since they killed Jim off and his spirit is now inhabiting the body of another man who died and crossed over.  But I’m still watching… for now.

The Click List: Best in Short Film doesn’t show episode descriptions in the on-screen guide and I think I may have seen all of the current shorts, but I record it anyway, just in case something new comes across.  I “watch” that on four times fast forward and there was nothing new so I was done with that in five minutes.  And that left me with just the misnamed movie.

The play list in my DVR said the movie was called “The Killer Condom”, but the movie that was actually aired in that time slot turned out to be “Dead Serious.”  If you haven’t seen it, I strongly encourage you not to.  It’s about vampires and it’s lame as all get out, but had a sexy hero so I watched it anyway.  Two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

When the movie was over it was only 11:00 and I decided to go out and get my shopping done early.  I made a list of things I needed and wanted from Target and the grocery.  I also needed cat food and gasoline.  With my list made, I hopped in the shower and then got dressed to head out.  I decided to take a second look at my finances before I left and it’s a good thing I did.  I just got paid yesterday but I have to pay my rent and car insurance and after those things happen I only have about $185.00 for the next two weeks.

So much for my positive feelings about myself and my new leaf of better money management.  Yes, I’m essentially up to date with my bills and my rent and car insurance are important, but I was starting to feel like I had things more under control and I wasn’t gong to be hurting for money and then this realization.  I went back over the list and eliminated everything I didn’t need and pared my trip down to just the grocery store.  I forgot about the gas station and the cat food and now those will have to wait for another day, but I spent $90.00 at the grocery and put $40.00 walking around money in my pocket (I only had $5.00 before that.)

I also sent a text message to Green M&M and canceled our plans to go into San Francisco tomorrow.  Wheeler Dealer Landlady lives in The Haight and I have a couple pieces of mail for her so I thought I’d go in and drop those off along with my February rent check and then we could go and play after.  Now I realize I do not have any money for that and it reminds me that I’m not really so well off after all.  Now I’m going to have to spend the next two weeks trying not to spend any money.  I’ve got $50.00 left in the bank that isn’t already spent on paper, and I have to get food for Scared Kitty and gas for the vehicle with that.  I may have to use a credit card (which I’m trying to pay off) for one or both of those things and I hate that idea, but I guess it’s better than having my account overdrawn again.

As soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m going to put the computer down and watch the Lifetime movie Prayers for Bobby.  I made up my mind to watch this movie after I read an article about it in the most recent issue of The Advocate, however, I suspect, unfortunately, that this movie will be difficult for me to watch as, from what I already know about it, I would expect to be able to relate to it pretty closely.  I too, am the son of a “devout” woman who is convinced that to be gay is to be damned.  It’s an issue that is very difficult for me and it wouldn’t really surprise me to find that the movie is a hard pill to swallow.  I guess it’s time to find out.

Better Left Forgotten

Today is an anniversary of sorts. Not one that I’m proud of by any means, but one that is somehow unavoidable and unforgettable.

Five years ago this morning, I walked into my managers office, very nervous about what was going to come of our conversation.

The previous Saturday, Green M&M and I had gone to a club in San Francisco to meet up with some friends. There was some sort of event that was supposed to be happening there. I can’t remember the name of the club now but it was some sort of arctic theme which was tremendously ironic to me, because it was hotter than hell in there. Green and I had a couple drinks while we surveyed the crowd trying to find the group of people who were supposed to be meeting there. Forty-five minutes later, when we still hadn’t found anyone we knew, we decided to bail and go to another club we knew of that was likely to be less crowded and not so hot.

We spent four hours at the other club, closing the place down and then it was time to go home. When it was time to go, I did something, for which I remain completely ashamed and disgusted with myself and would give anything to undo.

The club was in San Francisco and Green M&M and I lived in Richmond, California, roughly 20 miles drive. The club was also in the South of Market (SoMa)/Mission Districts and while not a terribly frightening place to be, it was not a place I felt great about leaving my car over night, either. Plus a cab ride home would have cost a considerable amount of money.

I believed that I was fine to drive home and opted not to leave my car behind to be vandalized and broken into. At first it was no big deal. I used to subscribe to the old, “I drive better when I’ve been drinking” philosophy. I now know that the only reason why anyone can say that is because they know they’ve drunk more than they should and they’re afraid, and therefore are far more focused and “present” while behind the wheel… Sometimes.

The problem was, that as I was driving on the highway, and across the Bay Bridge I became increasingly drowsy and was having difficulty staying awake. I was on the bridge though and had no way of pulling over or exiting the highway. And then, for just the briefest of moments, I fell asleep. Fortunately, I was driving in the far left lane of the one way bridge and my car drifted to the left until my wheels hit the curb shocking me back to awareness and causing a surge of adrenaline that woke me up. Sadly, it’s likely that, had there not been any intervention, I probably really could have made it the rest of the way home safely on the adrenaline that was coursing through my veins.

Fortunately, there was intervention. The ruckus that was caused when I drifted into the curb was enough to attract the attention of the highway patrolman that I had passed a few minutes earlier and when I looked up again there were flashing lights behind me.

I was asked a number of questions I couldn’t possibly repeat. I did the “usual” tests. I’m not sure that I failed most of the tests. I never have been able to walk in a straight line, even when stone sober. No one can say the alphabet backwards. But I had no problem touching my nose. After going through all that I was given a breathalyzer test (which I kinda thought they shoulda done first). I blew a BAC of .18 (later lowered to .17 by a blood test) and was hauled off to jail.

I spent five and one half hours in a jail cell before being released “on my own recognizance” on the streets of downtown Oakland, without my wallet or cell phone, both of which went home with Green M&M who was not driving and therefore not arrested. I had to call Green from a pay phone and waited inside the front door of a local movie theater for her to pick me up.

The following Monday morning, I told Douche Bag as little as I had to and still feel like I was being honest. I had no idea what the outcome of the situation was going to be. I didn’t know if it was grounds for termination, but I knew it would be worse for me if he found out some other way. I also, didn’t know what was going to happen with me legally. I was terrified I was going to go to jail.

I didn’t lose my job (dammit) and I didn’t go to jail. I’m tempted to say that everything turned out alright but that’s taking things too lightly. This was a trying and difficult time for me and it has definitely not been worth it.

When I appeared for my court date, I was sentenced to “2 days in jail with time served.” The 5 hours I spent in jail after being arrested counted as one day. The second day was commuted to Community Service, which amounted to six hours on a municipal work crew. I had to pay a $1750.00 fine. And my automobile insurance skyrocketed. Before the DUI, I had an impeccable driving record. I had the very best rating possible with my insurance company, “E”, and after the DUI my insurance rating was “7”, the absolute worst rating. Every July, my record is reviewed by the underwriters and every year that I have no additional blemishes on my record that number decreases. Currently, my rating is “3”. Thankfully, my insurance has gotten far less expensive, but the blow to my pocketbook at the time was substantial.

Five years is a long time, and much of the time, it has felt as though the DUI was a lifetime ago. I’ve become accustomed to the insurance rates, and am only grateful when my rates go down each year. I have done my community service. I have paid my fine. Until last year when I applied to be a Big Brother, I had mostly put it out of my mind. Big Brothers and Big Sisters requires that you not have had a DUI within the last five years, and only have had one in your life. That’s when I did the math and realized it had only been four years.

So today, it is with mixed feelings, that I tick off the five year anniversary since my DUI. I’ll be paying for the damage to my record, by way of my increased car insurance premiums for three more years, but as I stated, I’m accustomed to that. Otherwise, I can finally put this thing behind me. There’s nothing left to stand in my way. I’ve learned my lesson. I know better than to take the risk. I’m glad it’s over.

Maybe now this anniversary can be forgotten after all.