Musical Blunders and Other Things, Too

I need to stop buying Groupons.

A few weeks ago, I bought 2 tickets to a local movie theater where you can eat dinner AND watch movies at the same time, for $5 each.  They expire this Thursday.  I had accepted the fact that the tickets would go to waste because we never go see movies and why would I think this month would be any different?  Until I saw this pop up on my twitter feed on Tuesday morning:

I texted hubs with our new Tuesday night plans, and he was game.  So we got home from work, walked Buster, apologized to him for leaving again so soon, and headed to the theater.

When we got to the counter and handed the Groupon to the girl at the register, she radio’d to her manager to ask if Groupons could be used for the Coldplay movie since it is a special event.

Fffffffffffffffudge.

The answer was no.  Last time I checked, I had movie tickets for a movie theater and the Coldplay special event was a MOVIE.  Why is life so hard?  We left and went to Taco Mac to drown our sorrows in queso and beer, and returned home to this smug little face:

It’s like he is saying “I told you so”.  With his eyes.

I love Thanksgiving, or whatever (mostly just the stuffing), but the cream of my holiday crop is Christmas.   I don’t bother buying pumpkins or orange-colored decorations for October/November, 50% because I hate Halloween/the color orange, and 50% because they just get in the way of Christmas.  That being said, I do try to have some restraint when it comes to celebrating too early.  Commercialization of Christ’s birth, yadda yadda yadda, I LOVE JINGLE BELLS and you can’t take that away from me.

So maybe I’ve been listening to Christmas music on Spotify and in the privacy of my cubicle at work and in my car during my commute.  Don’t judge me.  Now if this swamp cough I’ve been fighting for the better part of 2 weeks would just go away already, I could sing along.

Touché.

Speaking of Spotify, I was surprised when it started up yesterday and I saw an ad for Christina Aguilera’s new album, which was already available for streaming.  Come again?  I am a CA fan (though I wish she would wear pants more often) and expected it to be more of an event when her new album came out.  No idea it was already here.

So far…it’s all right.  If you’re going to sample it, I suggest the tracks Lotus Intro (it’s synthy-soothing), Blank Page (old school Christina ballad), and Cease Fire.  Just a Fool ft. Blake Shelton is not bad either.  I could see ellipticizing to this.

I’ve been casually watching the new show Nashville on ABC (coveting Connie Britton’s hair throughout), and noticed the daughters on the show are also real-life sisters from the video below, who are crazy talented.  My sister sent me the link to their cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” a few weeks ago, and we both wondered, what were we doing throughout our childhood?  Playing outside?  We wasted so much precious time.

Also, their first names are Lennon and Maisy, which are almost as cool and unique as Anne and Sara.

WIth that totally organic segway into social networking…

Did anybody else see the new feature on Facebook, couples pages?  You don’t even get a chance to opt out – it’s automatically there!  Hubs and I are horrified.  Luckily our couples page is pretty sparsely populated, because we tend to interact in person rather than on Facebook.  Still…I’m creeped out.  To see yours, go to facebook.com/us.  I apologize in advance.

Funny Valentine's Day Ecard: I'm ready to change my Facebook relationship status if you are.
And speaking of being creeped out, Instagram now has webpages for all of its users, too.  And they didn’t even ask me first!  I like Instragram in the privacy of my iPhone.  A few weeks ago my dad quit facebook because “Mark Zuckerberg is a bad guy.”  (I guess he didn’t see The Social Network in 2010?)  Maybe my dad was right.
One last gripe and then I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled wondering-what-to-eat-for-lunch-today schedule.
LEAVES.  Oh God, the leaves.  They are everywhere.  The thought of raking right now makes me want to weep.  We’re too cheap to pay someone to clear our leaves for us.  So the next time there is an unseasonably warm Sunday in Atlanta, you can find me in the front yard with a boombox, a bottle of wine, and tears.  So many tears.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd how do I always manage to mess up the spacing on my posts?  Always.  I give up.  Sorry this post is so meaty.  Or am I?!?  At least I posted.
I hate everything.

Repentance for Pendants

For the past 2 years, I have been eyeing the pendant lights above our kitchen sink, lusting after the idea of taking them down and replacing them with something sleek, industrial, and that doesn’t remind me of the secret vine in Super Mario Brothers.

You know what I’m talking about.

I bought some cheap but stylish pendants from Home Depot a few weeks ago, and they arrived, and the finish was hideous, but nothing a little oil rubbed bronze spray paint couldn’t fix.  One of the pendants was missing an important piece, so I actually had to order a third one, but that’s okay, worse things have happened.

So tonight, as hubs sat on the couch working away because his company was not satisfied with the 12 hours he had already put in today, I decided to replace the light fixtures.

By myself.

I’m not dumb, I’ve done it before.  Seems simple enough.

I took down one vine light.  There were two but I got excited and took one down before I remember to take a picture.

It took about 20 seconds to take down both lights, so I was all, pfffft this is so easy I’ll be done in 20 minutes.

Except the previous owner of our house was the MacGruber of home improvement.  There is paint INSIDE the junction box.  THERE IS PAINT EVERYWHERE IN OUR HOUSE.  No hinge, knob or light fixture was left unblemished when the previous owner painted the house before putting it on the market.  Also, his name is Dick.  So it’s super fun to yell “Dammit, Dick!” whenever we find an issue.

I mean our house was built in 1977 and wasn’t wired for cable until we moved in in 2010.

I realized I would have to replace the existing hanging hardware, which was super fun to do with 35 year old screws that had been painted over (they’re probably newer than that, I’m just being dramatic).  This is when the sweating started, because I spent a lot of time directly underneath a recessed light.

Then I had to strip some wires.  Cue the preemptive feelings of badassness.

Then I summoned hubs and he was the brawn while I was the tiny-fingered wire assembler. All was going swell.

Ta da!

But wait, there’s more!  Look closer…

OH YES, the screws that came with the pendant are about 1/8″ too long.  Because OF COURSE.  Why would I think that a $15 light fixture, which I had to return one of in the first place, would come with the perfect parts?  Maybe because I live in the South and that would be the polite thing to do?

Why is it that every project I think will be a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am of DIY splendor turns into a multiple day crapfest?  Is it just me or does everybody else have the same shitty luck?  Is Dick haunting us?  (He’s not dead, but according to our neighbors he does drive by our house “all the time”, so…eew)

On a more whimsical note, I used this super cute elephant bowl to hold my spare nuts and bolts while I worked.  He looked on smugly as I sweated under the glistening recessed CFLs.

And Buster watched skeptically from the couch in the living room.  Some support system I have.

Dammit, Dick.

To be continued…

Europe Continued: Safety First!

On Monday, our last day in Munich, we checked out of our micro-hotel, stashed our bags, and headed out into the city to kill the last 10 hours of the German leg of our trip.  One of the items on the boys’ bucket lists was to take a tour of a German brewery (any German brewery would do), so we hit up Paulaner to see how 4-ingredient beer is made.

We got to wear really sexy reflective vests, so that we wouldn’t be lost in the underground beer tunnels.  There is beer running through those pipes right this second.

The most unsettling part of the tour was when they showed us the original barrels that were used to brew Paulaner.  See that hole at the bottom?  Somebody had to CRAWL INSIDE THE BARREL to clean it out between batches.  I’m so scared.

We received a “snack” at the end of the tour, which consisted of giant pretzels, a hunk of bologna loaf the size of my face, and MORE potato salad.  Oh plus a weißbier, which is the German version of Blue Moon (or Blue Moon is the American version of weißbier, whatever).

We met a nice Canadian couple during the tour, and by met, I mean none of us spoke German so we were addressed separately from the rest of the tour group.  The wife was French-Canadian, and made us really nervous about being outcasts in Paris when she told us that Parisians are rude to her because although she speaks fluent French, her accent is not Parisian.  Again, so scared.

After souvenir shopping, presumably eating some stuff, and  stopping at Augustiner in the evening, we finally headed to the train station to find our overnight couchette.  A couchette is a compartment on a train with beds in it.  Some have 2, some have 4, ours had 6.  Kinda like this:

The bottom bunk was so close to the middle bunk that it was impossible to sit up on it without feeling like Quasimodo (foreshadowing!).  But since we hit the lottery and had nobody sleeping in the middle two beds, we were able to slide them up (after getting scolded by the hall monitor for tinkering with them at all) and have a little sitting area.

By little sitting area, I mean knee-to-knee, face-to-face, all up in each others’ business kind of sitting area.

It was a special night.  I might be crazy, but it was actually fun.

The British man who came around to check our tickets reminded us to lock the doors, because overnight trains are breeding grounds for shady people doing shady things (not us, obviously, but all of the other shady people on the train).  It was super comforting.

Our train arrived in Paris over an hour late the next morning, so we had to rush across the city on the metro, with all of our luggage during Parisian rush hour, then run 3 blocks through the pouring rain to the apartment we rented (via homeaway.com), which was up a 5-story spiral staircase (at least it makes cool picture?).

{Note on the metro: from what we read, the cheapest way to get around the city for an abbreviated stay is to buy books of 10 tickets at a time, which will run you about €11.  Each ticket will get you in/out of the metro once.}

We settled into the apartment, which had a fully functional kitchen with a washing machine, separate toilet and shower rooms, a separate bedroom and a living room with beds for 4 people total.  It was a great place, relatively affordable, and coincidentally owned by an American couple, so if you’re interested in where it is and how to rent it, email me and I’ll be happy to share all the details with you.

Our first order of business was to see the Eiffel Tower, which was only a 5 minute walk from the apartment.  I think it hit me then that we were really in Paris, ready to eat croissants and drink Bordeaux until we were bleu dans le visage.

{I would’ve centered this shot but there are about 50 tourists on segways just outside of the frame on the left.}

We spent the rest of the day on foot, getting lost, drinking wine, finding the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Shakespeare & Company bookstore, before stumbling through (not drunkenly, but lostily) the Latin Quarter on our way back home.  You’d think we would just be able to shoot for the Eiffel Tower, but it’s not always visible, and the streets through Paris are hella windy.  Nothing is a straight shot.

We saw and did so much in Paris that it’ll be really, really ridiculously good-looking difficult to recap succinctly.  I’ll do my best to include relevant travel tips without boring you to death.

Onward!

Put A Fork In Me, I’m Done

Two of my coworkers will occasionally invite me out to lunch, but only when they’re going somewhere weird and they know I’ll say no, like to a Vietnamese place or a restaurant whose specialty is lamb kabobs…so I almost always decline.

Today they asked me if I wanted to go to Firehouse Subs.  I said sure.  They immediately backtracked, saying, “you really don’t have to” and “no pressure, really, it’s cool”.

AND THEN THEY LEFT WITHOUT ME.

WTF.  I said yes.

Instead I went to Panera by myself and got some broccoli cheddar soup and a tuna salad sandwich, which are pretty much my Depressed Lunch, so if you ever see me eating it, you might want to ask me how my day is going.  Because it’s probably in the shitter.

AND THEN.  Just now, someone told me that our team’s happy hour tonight is cancelled.  Which is totally fine and doesn’t impact my Friday night plans at all, since they never invited me in the first place.

I give up.

Doggy DNA Test Results

For Christmas this year, hubs bought me a kit to test Buster’s DNA (Wisdom Panel Insights) to find out what exactly the little mangy mutt is made of.  I’ve wanted to try it ever since we got him, but had some shame about buying it for myself.  But it’s not shameful if it’s a gift!

For some background on Buster, he is a 30 lb. white scruffy dog, with long legs, and lots of wiry hair that sheds about a medium amount.  He has eyebrows like a schnauzer but soft ears like a lab.  He is too smart for his own good.

Lots of people have told me that he looks like the dog in the Travelers’ insurance commercials.  Our vet said he has Westie hair, but he otherwise bears no resemblance to a Westie.  I’ve had multiple people tell me that he looks like an F1 mini Labradoodle.

So a few weeks ago, I did the DNA swab of Buster’s cheek, and sent off the swab and no other information about him to the testing company.  Not a picture, no info about his appearance, nothing extra aside from good old fashion puppy saliva.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting the results ever since, and yesterday, they finally came through, and…

They are freaking HILARIOUS.

According to Wisdom Panel Insights, here is Buster’s family tree:

HAHAHAHAHAHA.  This makes NO sense.  Please tell me how a purebred Pomeranian and a half-Chinese-Crested/half-mutt mated and produced Buster.

For good measure, the other breeds that possibly make up the “mixed breed” grandparent are:

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these results might not be accurate.

The test was fun, and I don’t regret that hubs spent the money on it, and I really thought that at best I’d get some sort of “your swab sample was terrible, he’s a mutt, end of story” response.  The ridiculousness of the actual results make me so excited.  I can’t wait for the next time someone asks me what breed he is.  CANNOT FREAKING WAIT.
*Wisdom Panel Insights Review

Things I Did Not Miss About Work

I don’t know if anybody ever looks forward to getting back to work after an extended holiday break, but there are some pros that go along with the multitude of cons.  A regular eating schedule that allows me to consistently eat greek yogurt and Amy’s Organics meals daily vs. the 8 lbs. of candy that we were gifted by my mother-in-law.  The necessity to shower first thing in the morning.  The excitement on my dogs face when I return from a 9 hour workday vs. the “why are you still here?” looks he gives me when I’m at home all day.

You know what I didn’t miss though?  ALL OF THE INSUFFERABLE NOISES.

The kid that sits in front of me eats porridge every single clucking morning, which wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t scrape the spoon against the container for the entire duration of his meal (yes, porridge – he also says “schedule” the British way, even though he’s not British).

Another coworker of mine types with the fury of 1,000 suns.  She probably sits 30 feet away bird’s-eye-view.  But I can hear every GD keystroke as if she’s tapping away on my face.

I am currently listening to someone on the other side of the cube wall eat what has got to be a bottomless bag of chips with his mouth open.  CRUNCHCRUNCHCRUNCHCRUNCHCRUNCHI’MGOINGTOKILLSOMEONE.

Per the winter season, there are sick people everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  The guy in front of me does the dramatic phlegm-clearing of his throat every 5 minutes.  The sound of it is making me want to vom.

And as an extra annoying finale, there is a tin of cookies on top of a nearby filing cabinet, but I am the only person who is within eyeshot of said tin of cookies.  If one more person asks me, “who brought these in?/can we eat these?/are these cookies any good?” I SWEAR TO GOD I’m going to throw them away.  I am not the keeper of the cookies!  Do not ask me any questions regarding the cookies!

Thank you for listening.

Words That I Hate

You know how there are some words that just grate on your soul and make you cringe every time you hear them?  Well, these are mine.  Add this to the collection of things I have issues with (see also: popcorn, snacks in general).

Cream

I can’t be the only one who hates this word, because this commercial for Olay Regenerist that recently used the word “cream” excessively was re-done so that instead of the woman with the weird accent describing the cream, a man’s voice is used every time the word “cream” is mentioned.  I noticed because I dreaded this commercial every time it came on, just for the use of the c-word.  I’m glad somebody else realized this egregious error.

Here’s the original:

And here’s the manly version:

Also see: creamy.  Blech!

Crisp

Crisp.  Did you feel that?  It was me cringing while typing that word.  I feel bad for people named “Crispin”, because if I were single and at a bar and I met someone and he introduced himself as “Crispin”, I would shiver (in a bad way) and walk away.

Bonus points if the words “crisp” and “creamy”, while counterintuitive, are used together to describe something.  Example: “A crisp apple dipped in creamy peanut butter is the perfect after work torture device, because I just used the words crisp and creamy.”  BOOM!

Take a Lunch

Does this bother me because I’m from the South, and we don’t “take a lunch”, we “eat lunch”?  Is “taking a lunch” for rich people?  Is it like osmosis, where looking at a salad makes you feel full?  I really loved watching The Rachel Zoe Project until one episode where she tells her assistant, “I never take a lunch,” because she said “take a lunch”, and also because it made me feel fat and insecure, and I think that it sent a bad message to people who work in offices and watch the clock slowly tick closer to 12:00 minute-by-minute, because we need our munchies!  And when we need them, we don’t take them, we eat them!

Supper

MAKE THIS WORD GO AWAY.  It’s the 21st century.  Is the word “supper” even appropriate anymore?  Is it historically acceptable?  What is supper?  If not lunch, or dinner, then what?!  Can this word please be extinct?

MISTAKE: I just looked it up on dictionary.com, and the definition for “supper” reads: “Any light evening meal, especially one taken late in the evening: an after-the-theater supper.”  TAKEN LATE IN THE EVENING!  AN AFTER-THE-THEATER SUPPER!  It’s like dictionary.com knows my deepest fears, and is exploiting them.

See also: Anything called a Supper Club.  Just say it like it is and call it a bar, people.

What are your least favorite words?