September 28, 2007

The calm before the eating of the hand to get to the treat concealed inside

Wanting it ALL

So I want things. I want a lot of things. I don’t get why that is bad. I don’t whine or beg for or steal the things I want. I buy things that I want with MY money. SK rolls his eyes at me when he hears me say, ooooohhhh I want that! I roll my eyes right back at him and ask, So?

I wouldn’t consider myself a materialistic person. I feel as though I have a healthy grasp of what is really important in life. My family will always come first, I would gladly give a friend in need everything I owned to ease their pain, and I know money will not be THE THING that makes me happy. But is it wrong to want?

For someone my age, I have a pretty sweet job. I work in the computer IT industry, where most of our work is done remotely, over the internet. I wear jeans and t-shirts every day. I dry my hair and put on makeup if I feel like it in the morning. I have my own office with a WINDOW. I make good money and get my car note paid each month via company expense check. I have the means to get the things I want.

And just because I want for things doesn’t mean I have to have them. I understand that while paying off my credit cards I should not buy that pair of stacked sole black and white satin polka dot peep-toes at Steve Madden, even though they are so so delicious and I could totally find something in my closet to wear with them, I solemnly do swear. I get when I need to cut back. I learned my lesson while digging myself into the never-ending debt pit I am in now—if you don’t have the money for it right now, DO NOT SWIPE THE CARD. That knowledge, however, does not keep me from wanting.

I think SK gets so annoyed because it’s not about WHAT I want, but how many times a day I say that I want something. I don’t want a $400 Coach purse. That to me is extravagant. I want a $20 Target purse and I will make it known every single time a Target commercial comes on tv. There is no filter from my brain to my mouth when it comes to seeing something that I want and voicing that opinion. No clue why, it just does not exist, and never has for as far back as I can remember. I don’t expect to GET something when I say I want it, I just let it be known that yes, I want that and I think you should be in on the wanting of that with me.

I am thinking I will just make a wish-list and post it on the fridge, adding to it as I find more things to need. That way he will not have to be bothered with how many times a day I vocalize my Wanting Of The Things; he can just see them every time he goes to get a beer. Anyone wanna place bets on how long it will last up there? I’m guessing about 1.7 seconds.

SL and I have been told repeatedly by friends that we are living the DINK lifestyle and that we should hold onto that and enjoy that for as long as we can with every fiber of our being.
For the uneducated, DINK stands for “Dual Income, No Kids," which isn’t really a new concept to me…it’s kind of how I had always envisioned living my life, which is another reason it is so hard for me to not be able to have everything I want, when I want it. I’m working on it because I get that it is something about me that is MY problem and not anyone else’s, but when SK and I talk finances and I see how much we are bringing home in a month and how we have no one but ourselves to spend it on, I get a little bummed out when I realize that it really is going to be better for me in the long run to put that $40 toward debt instead of cute jeans. I feel a little like a DINK failure. And that is really, really sad.

September 27, 2007

She's definitely not Hella Good

After returning home, kicking and screaming, from our amazing 10-day trip to California, we went to Chandra and Kevin’s to pick up Lady Belladonna. I brought her home with me on July 7th. We left for the west coast on July 27th. She had only been OUR dog for 30 days, 10 of which we were gone. I was terrified she wouldn’t remember us. Well, really I was worried she wouldn’t remember me. I was the one who brought her home. I was the one who rescued her from the shrieking 5-year old Hispanic child, who tugged on her sweet doggy ears and shoved fat baby fingers up her little doggy nose, that belonged to the other family that was looking at her that day. I was the one who went home at lunch to let her out so her tiny little puppy bladder wouldn’t explode midday. I was the one who got up early to play with her and raced home at night to do it again. She and I spent 8 days alone while SK was in Canada. She loved me most and I was afraid she would have forgotten that.

Turns out, she remembered exactly who we were and peed on our shoes a little to prove it when we ran in to see her.

She had gotten bigger, not learned to drink her water any neater, was still not good at sharing toys, had gained not one ounce of agility or coordination and still whined for her treats when she saw anyone move toward a cabinet. However, she HAD earned a nickname. Because of her hyper-active nature and tendency to tear around the house (smashing head-first into walls and doors and bouncing off like nothing had happened) as if she had a fire lit under her ass, she was dubbed lovingly by Chandra as “Hella Bella.”

In April, we house/dog-sat for Chan and Kevin while they were on their honeymoon and spent quite a bit of quality time with their “children.” Abbi and Baxter are both Boston Terriers and are 4 and 3 years old. They are, quite possibly, the most energetic dogs I have ever met in my life. They are also the sweetest little dogs EVER, and are extremely well-behaved (and no, I am not writing that just because I know Chandra reads my site). They are spoiled little puppies—they sleep IN the bed with Chandra and Kevin, they get put up in a Doggy Suite when they are boarded, and Abbi even used to get pink pedi’s when Chandra worked for a groomer in college. We rarely left the Crane house when we were house-sitting. Being in an actual house was so nice and after the many emotional months leading up to my best friend getting married I was freaking exhausted. So we hung out with the dogs, watched tv, and made surprise meals out of whatever Chan and Kevin had left in their pantry. While we were at work Chandra’s mom or sister would come over at lunch to let Abbi and Baxter out. Something happened mid-week and someone didn’t make it over one day, so the dogs were inside for something like 9 hours straight. Not a huge deal for them usually, but apparently Bax was either pissed that no one came to see him or really just couldn’t hold it anymore. Nonetheless, I got back to the house after work and was greeted by a smiling Abbi, a nowhere to be seen Baxter, and a steaming mound of poo under the dining room table.

Thus he shall be called BaxTURD.

SK got home not too long after that and I informed him of my moniker moment of genius. Not to be outdone he christened Abs AbPEE (even though she is much too prissy to do such a distasteful thing anywhere but outside, out of view, in the perfect patch of soft green grass). We knew Chandra and Kevin would be so proud.

Bella is “Hella” something. Coincidence that as I typed in Hella my word count hit 666? I think not. While she can be sweet and adorable and so cute that I just want to eat her little face off, most of the time she is hyper and whiney and unable to do anything that remotely resembles cuddling. She cannot drink water like a normal dog. She slops it all over herself and the kitchen floor, sometimes even stepping into her bowl with her front paws because water is better absorbed that way, into the pads of her stinky feet. She will pace at the entry way, which is GOOD because we want her to let us know when she has to go out, but she will pace for no reason and then stand with her nose firmly pressed to her leash, which is hanging in the corner by the front door, occasionally looking up at me all HELL-O! I would like to go my 47th walk of the hour NOW please! We will call her to sit on the couch with us when we’re watching tv and she will run and LEAP into the space between us, usually landing a big-ass paw on SK’s crotch inadvertently helping in our decision to never have children, then turn and turn and turn and wriggle into the cushion and then turn and turn and wriggle some more until she decides that no, this is NOT comfortable and will NOT do, at which time she flies off to the love seat where she turns and turns and turns and wriggles a little over there, FINALLY collapsing on the floor with a huge, exasperated doggy sigh. She does this at least 3 times a night. You think I am exaggerating. I am not.

She even SLEEPS violently, which is evidenced by the following photos and why I say to those who ask if she sleeps IN the bed with us, HELLmotherfuckingNO.

September 21, 2007

Celebrate we will…just not this year

I have a confession: I am in love with another man. And actually, it’s more like FIVE other men. It’s true, but I’m not ashamed, nor do I try to hide it. SK is fully aware and supportive of my years-long relationship with these other guys. He knew when he met me that he would occasionally have to take a rain check for my full attention because I was just so consumed with my adoration for them. And tonight is one of those nights. Sorry, SK.


That’s right folks, Dave Matthews and his band are going to be at the Woodlands tonight. And are we going?!

No. Boo.

The tickets are just too expensive for us right now. What with paying off my credit card debt—the huge, black, gaping, soul-sucking hole I have dug myself into over the past 6 years—every extra cent I have goes to Visa or Discover or Capital One, those bastards.

That is my one major complaint about live music right now—the cost. I get that it’s expensive to tour. I understand that your whole entourage needs a cut of the profit, too. I completely agree that the sound you produce and the words that you sing are BRILLIANT. But taxing me $75 just to get in the door to see you? Ouch. That’s $75 just to walk through some gates. $75 to sit on a hill with thousands of other people who swear their undying love (posers…no one understands you like I do, Dave) in the heat and mosquito-ridden September twilight. That’s $75 that doesn’t include beer, wine, or even a freakin’ Dixie cup of water. That’s $75 of meanness, is what it is.

I have seen the Dave Matthews Band live 5 or 6 times. They tour every year and always come to Houston. Ticket prices keep climbing and I’ve always figured out a way to afford them. Do I really need to eat in August? Hell no! Dave is coming in September!! But this year, I just can’t make it happen. Short of selling my body on a corner downtown, I can’t figure out how to come up with the money. It’s disappointing, yes, but if I ever want to get out of this financial rut I am in, I am going to have to make sacrifices.

Do you like how I am trying to talk myself off the cliff? I am desperate to make myself believe that I am being responsible by not buying the tickets this year. This sucks.

SK and I have a plan for getting ourselves out of debt and I am a little ashamed to admit that I haven’t been as good at following it as he has. SK’s ability to save and not immediately spend all of his money astounds me. I have never been able to do it. Even when I was little and given a quarter for doing some random chore around the house, you can bet your ass that as soon as the ice cream man cruised up the street I was out on the curb, flailing my arms wildly, screaming for him to stop because I have a quarter damnit, and I want a piece of gum. Never mind that the quarter I had probably just dusted the entire house to earn was gone in a flash, and that the gum I so absolutely HAD TO HAVE with that quarter would end up on the bottom of someone’s shoe in about an hour. The thought of saving that quarter, and the 3 quarters that would follow within the next few days, to make a whole dollar and actually buy an ice cream from the ice cream man was such a foreign concept. I had money, and I knew how to spend it.

Needless to say, this habit of getting and spending and not saving followed me to college, when I received my first credit card, for emergencies only, of course. You know the story…Friday nights become “emergencies” and suddenly I am standing in the middle of the mall in San Antonio with 3 of my sorority sisters, armed with bags and bags and BAGS of clothes that I didn’t even have to pay for today. I would make a poor grade on a test: pick-me-up dinner and drinks on me! I’ll put it on The Card! Road-trip to Austin or even f’ng Florida: I’ll drive! We can put the gas on The Card!

It’s not that I was a spoiled brat or anything…my mom paid off The Card each month until she noticed charges at suspiciously mall-like places and numerous not-the-campus-cafeteria restaurants. She called me at school and handed over the bill and told me to quit using The Card for everything. I had a job. I always worked while I was in school, so I had some sort of income. I could have easily cut my spending by 90% and been able to pay off The Card each month, with extra money to spare. Instead, I kept swiping that plastic and paying just my minimum balance each month. I’d gotten pretty good at it, paying just the minimum, and I guess I just thought debt was normal and nothing to worry about.

Now, with the buying of a house looming into my very near future, the thought of debt terrifies me. I won’t get a loan. My interest rate will be 1,000%. I will have to live in a box under a shrub because of my very bad credit and past spending habits with no room for SK or Bella.

Which is why I am choosing to put more cash into my Visa bill this month than fork it over for concert tickets. We’re going to sit in my parent’s pool and listen to every Dave Matthews Band CD that I own, drink beer until the ache in my heart goes away, and pretend we’re sitting in the grass on the hill swaying and singing along to every song. I’ll be able to go to the concert next year and then return home to my Brand! New! House! that Dave actually helped me buy. Do you now see why I love this man so much?

September 13, 2007

But the leaves here always only change from green to brown

September in Houston means three things:

1) the mosquitoes triple in size due to all the West Nile they have ingested and passed on throughout the previous summer months.

2) everyone becomes a storm-tracker and posts maps of the Caribbean and Gulf up in their dining rooms and bust out the protractors and push-pins. They watch to see if the tropical depressions turn into tropical storms and then if they will develop into full-fledged hurricanes and then if they are ranked a 3 or a 5 and then OH MY GOD if they will hit land. Thanks to the Hurricane Paranoia that has struck the Gulf Coast in the past 2 years (not knockin’ the plight of New O, just sayin’…) if there is even the slightest hint of a hurricane making landfall near Houston—and I use the term “near” loosely as apparently “near” applies even to South Padre, a 7-hour drive south—everyone in the city promptly loses their minds and begins to evacuate and board their windows and we all have to go to Home Depot and buy every generator they have and eat everything in our fridges and fill all the bathtubs with water IN CASE the power and water go out. Which it never does.

3) FINALLY we get a break from the heat and stickiness, and the temperature drops to something below 104 degrees with 97% humidity.

Ok, granted, #3 only happens for one evening sometime in the month, while the other two listed go on and on and on and make September feel like The Month God Forgot, but the night the weather finally gives it a goddamn rest is sooooooo nice. Everyone who lives in Houston knows we don’t have actual seasons…we have really f’ing HOT and approximately 2 weeks of really f’ing COLD. The one night of moderately cool that September so graciously gives up is uh-mazing. It makes you want to turn off the A/C, throw open all the windows and do everything that you would normally do that evening on your patio. Cook on the patio? No sweat (pun intended)! Yoga on the patio? Sweet. Watch tv on the patio? Awesome. Sleep on the patio? Yesssss…until you remember that the mosquitoes are now the size of a 6-month old’s head and their normally small, albeit, annoying blood-suckers more closely resemble an epidural needle. Sleep inside, no matter how badly you want to camp on the patio. Really. You’ll regret it in the morning if you don’t. If you live to see the morning, that is.

That glorious night this year happened Tuesday of this week and do you want to know what we did? SK had a stabbing pain in his chest that we were pretty worried about and the dog WOULD NOT CALM DOWN and looked at me like, Bitch please… when I tried to take her outside. When Bella finally stopped flipping into the air and snapping her jaws at anything that came within 10 yards of her face and let me hook the leash to her collar, I took her down the three flights of stairs to her favorite little grass patch by the pool and it was only then, at 9:45pm, that I realized that this was the night! The night Houstonians wait all summer for! I did a little happy dance while Bella did her thing and then ran all the way up the stairs, practically falling through the door to tell SK that we HAD to get outside and enjoy the night, only to find him doubled over on the couch in pain. We both just sat there on the couch kind of looking at each other, then out the window, then back at each other. So yep. We sat our happy asses inside on the couch. All. Night. Long.
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