Category Archives: weirdness

Life as a wanted woman

This is the story of how I became Public Enemy #1.

Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration: I think probably I’m lower on the list. Maybe Public Enemy #14, or something.

And a warning: just so you know, I am apparently a very suspicious character, and there’s a good chance, just in reading this, you might be exposing yourself to radical thoughts and ideas. I wouldn’t want to get anyone involved in whatever I’ve gotten myself into, so you have been warned! Turn back now!

Ok, what? You’re still here? You’re very brave. Total bravery points for you. Ding ding!

Here we go! The story of a social miscreant. One bad apple, if you will. And that bad apple is ME. (Can I be a Granny Smith? I really like those.)

On Wednesday afternoon, I noticed my wifi wasn’t working. Well, it was KIND of working, but not well. So I thought maybe it was just one of those things and I thought I’d check it that night when I got home. (It was working fine in the office, so I knew it was just my house.)

Now, I work nights and weekends, so I get home between 12:30am-1:15am most weeknights. I’ve gotten used to it. No worries. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. (I’ve always been a night owl. I’m ok with it. I love that I get to sleep in.)

When I got home, it still wasn’t working, and my cable company (good old Time Warner, voted least likely to satisfy anyone in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction index) has 24-hour customer service (that should probably be in sarcasm-quotes – “customer service.”) I wasn’t SO tired, so I thought I’d call them. I do so rely on my wifi.

First, I talked to…oh, I don’t remember anyone’s names. Let’s say Ben. I explained what was up to Ben. Ben kept me on the phone for about 45 minutes, trying this and that. One of the things he tried, fo no reason I could ascertain, was to reset my cable box. My cable has nothing to do with my wifi, other than the same company charges me an exorbitant charge to have them. When my cable box came back online, it was 4 hours off. So it said it was 5-something am. I don’t know why, either.

Ben was at a loss, and said “I guess the problem is that you’re going to have to have a code input into your modem, and I can’t do that, so I’m going to transfer you to someone the next level up.” At this point, I was exhausted and annoyed, but not SO mad.

Then I got transferred to…again, who knows what his name was. Claude. We’ll call him Claude. Claude looked over my file and said, “What did you and Maria discuss when she called you on December 20?”

“I’m sorry,” I replied, “I didn’t speak to anyone named Maria from your company on December 20. I haven’t spoken to anyone in your company since August, when you screwed up my move so prodigiously that I have discounted services and free HBO from your company for the next two years.”

(Side note: this is a true story. I have deeply discounted Time Warner services and free HBO for two years because the company so deeply botched my move from Albany to Watertown that it took two full weeks to get things up and running here again. I don’t like being screwed with, and I made my displeasure very vocally known. They replied with discounts. I kind of wanted them to flog themselves in Public Square while crying “I HAVE FORGOTTEN THE FACE OF MY FATHER,” but you take what you can get, I suppose.)

“No,” replied Claude, “it says here you spoke to Maria on December 20 and she marked your account for suspicious activity.”

“OK, there are a lot of things here to reply to,” I said. “First, as I said, I haven’t spoken to anyone at your company since August, maybe early September. Second, ‘suspicious activity’? What does that mean?”

“Well…um…you know…suspicious…like…activity that is…suspicious…and indicates the user and their account need to be flagged…” he said, very carefully.

“Sir, are you telling me this Maria person thinks I’m a terrorist?” I asked Claude.

“We don’t like to use the word ‘terrorist,'” he replied.

“But are you SAYING Maria thinks I’m a terrorist?” I said.

“We really don’t like to refer to people in this situation as ‘terrorists,'” he said, very nervously.

“Um. OK. So you think I’m a terrorist, then, but you’re just using ‘suspicious activity’ instead. OK. Well. That’s fantastic. Claude, how exactly do I get off this watch list that Maria seems to have put me on?”

“I can’t take you off this list. Maria should have discussed your options with you when she talked to you.”

“And, as earlier mentioned, this conversation with Maria never occurred.”

“It’s all really strange,” said Claude. “Usually, there are detailed notes saying what exactly occured with the suspect. But all I have here is that Maria flagged your account, talked to you, and her phone number and extension are here. She wrote ‘December 20’ and a shut-off date of today.”

“Well, this suspect would like to know her options, Claude. Could you let me know if I get a phone call, or will I be read my Miranda rights, or…”

Claude wasn’t amused.

Eventually, Claude told me he would MOST DILIGENTLY continue working on the problem while I slept (and if I believed that, he probably had a bridge in Brooklyn he wanted to sell me, and I have always wanted to own real estate) and gave me a number BOTH for his supervisor the next day, and for the mysterious Maria. He also assured me that this wasn’t done in error; I was most definitely on some sort of watch list and a suspect in something. But he didn’t like to use the term “terrorist.” No, no, no. Well, who does? It’s such a loaded term.

I cannot confirm or deny that this is me.

I cannot confirm or deny that this is me.

So I slept, and the next day I awoke to many messages from my friends (yes, of course I told Facebook I was a potential terrorist, wouldn’t you?) either saying “what?” or “ha ha!” or, my favorite, “I KNEW IT!”

First, I called Maria. Surprise! Maria’s phone went directly to voicemail.

Then I called the supervisor, who was very rude once he reviewed my file. “There’s nothing I can do until you talk to Maria,” said the supervisor. “Maria will call you back.”

Now. I used to work a phone-based job; I know it’s the worst when people get mad at the operator when it’s not their fault. But Time Warner makes it really, really hard to be Miss Merry Sunshine. They hold the area in a total monopoly and just don’t care about their customers. Oh, you have no internet? Yeah, you have to keep paying for that, but we’ll fix it when we get around to it. Oh, your cable’s broken? Same deal.

“I’m sure she will, but it doesn’t seem a priority to her. I need the internet in my home; I use it for my job. My job at a newspaper. We’ve written quite a few articles recently about Time Warner and its low customer satisfaction rating and the alternatives people have in the area. I’ll want to talk to Maria to get to the bottom of this; I think they’ll find it very interesting over there that one of their employees was flagged for potential terrorist activities, don’t you?”

Rude McSnotterson got very quiet, and said, “I’ll have Maria call you back.”

You mention you work for a newspaper, apparently.

You mention you work for a newspaper, apparently.

I waited half an hour, then I called the Land of Maria and got her voicemail again. This time I was tricky. I waited on the line and got transferred to the first available agent in Marialand. I explained my situation to him; he, again, told me I had to talk to Maria. He then checked and saw Maria was “out of the office…yeah, there’s no indication when she’ll return” (MARIA IS TOTALLY CIA, RIGHT?) and he was able to input this secret code to get my wifi back online. I guess he didn’t think I was a terrorist, I don’t know. Or maybe he doesn’t love MERKA! as much as Maria does.

Then he realized that both my modem and my cable box had blown up. Yes, that’s the technical term: “blown up.” So I’d have to take them to the Time Warner store and swap them out. “So,” I said, “first this mysterious Maria puts me on a watchlist, then both my cable box and my modem choose this exact day to blow up?”

He agreed, what are the odds? Hmm.

So. Off to the cable company. In blizzard white-out conditions. (Yeah, I had to run some other errands anyway…but I was pretty pissed I had to go all the way over there on the slipperiest roads ever to swap out boxes that just 24 hours ago were working fine. Even the sassy lady I like in the office over there was all, “BOTH stopped working? Girl, who’d YOU piss off?” I wanted to tell her Homeland Security, but I wisely kept my mouth shut.)

Then I almost died getting groceries and random other things (but DUDE did I get some clearance deals at the drugstore…sorry, sorry, tangent) and got home. Reinstalled everything. Crossed my fingers.

Nope. Nothing worked. Not the cable box, not the modem.

Called the help line again. This time, I got my man Dwayne. I don’t remember if this was his name, but he was from Maine and that rhymes. Dwayne had the most prodigious cold, and kept apologizing for his coughing. I apologized for being a terrorist, but I don’t think he was amused. He was polite enough, though; I didn’t even snap at him once.

Dwayne got my cable working. There was a dicey moment where the only channels I was getting were The Weather Channel, every sports channel known to man, and all the home shopping networks. I was all, “Dwayne, THIS WILL NOT STAND” and Dwayne agreed and set things to rights. Even with a cold, Dwayne was damn good at his job.

So, cable’s up and running. However, the modem? STILL FRIED. Come to find out, I have TWO MODEMS. The other one was what one of the millions of people told me was my router, so I didn’t bring it to swap it out. It was the second router that “blew up.” I looked outside. WORSE white out. Nope.

One of the people I’d talked to in the wee hours had a tech coming to my house Friday between 11-12, so I told Dwayne, “can you make sure the tech coming Friday brings a new modem?” and Dwayne said, “oh, I hate to add bad news to your bad news, but there’s no tech scheduled for Friday.”


Dwayne set up a tech for me for Friday afternoon who will be bringing me a modem in the NEXT snowstorm (we’re predicted to get 36″ by the end of the day on Saturday, and we already have 24″ or so on the ground from our last storm. Yeah, Watertown is…intense. The man on the news just said an “Alberta Clipper” is headed our way. AN ALBERTA CLIPPER! Well, what do you know about that? That’s like a ship FULL of snow, right? LOOK OUT!)



In the meantime, Dwayne and I figured out that I could hook up an Ethernet cable to my modem and I could have internet again. AND I DO. Only it’s crazy-slow. But it’s only until tomorrow. I can handle that.

So. Here’s my mystery.

Why, exactly, am I a terrorist?

This mysterious Maria wrote I’d been flagged December 20. So what was I doing December 20? (I think it only matters what I was doing online, right? That’s what Maria seems to have taken objection to?)

It was a Saturday. So I was at work from 9:30am-8pm. (Yes, I have crazy weekend hours.)

I wrote two emails; one talking about a song I’d heard that I liked, one talking about a possible job for a friend to keep an eye on. (It probably bears mentioning that both of these emails were to people outside of the country. Dad’s quite sure that’s why I’m a terrorist. I have all these “Communist” friends, you see.) I wrote one Facebook message, to someone I used to work with, just checking in. I posted on Facebook about someone in my office listening to something that sounded very much like porn on his work computer (but it probably wasn’t…right? Urgh. DON’T DO THAT AT WORK.) Became Facebook friends with someone at work (but he’s like this all-American guy. He’s totally not terroristy.) Posted a bunch of things to our work Facebook account and work Twitter account, but if she’s going to call me a terrorist for reporting local news, I think probably something’s wrong here. Did one internet search – for my paper I work for, in the morning. (I have to post one post before I get in in the morning, which is why I did that.)

That was all I did ALL DAY online. Most of the day I was at work, so I wasn’t even using this account, and usually on the weekends when I get home, I’m wiped out and can barely do anything online (and hardly want to – so tired. And have been online all day, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is be MORE online.)

So, let’s guess, ladies and gentlemen. Dad thinks it’s my very shady ties to foreign countries that have made this woman flag me. Also, the blogging; he’s sure I’m on a government watch list for bloggery. (And it bears mentioning that my friend Chris tried to visit my blog on Wednesday and was told he could not, because it had “adult content.” Hee! “Doctor Who” was MUCH too adult for his computer!) What do YOU think has been my big transgression?

I suppose she could have flagged me for something I’d done BEFORE December 20, but what made December 20, a day I worked a 10.5 hour shift and came home and crashed because I had to be back at work the next morning at 9:30am, the day she decided I was Bonnie (or maybe Clyde?) And why did it take them almost three weeks to stop my subversive activities? I could have been doing ANYTHING in those three weeks. Causing a ruckus. Fomenting a revolution. Staging a sit-in.

I kind of feel like Arlo Guthrie in “Alice’s Restaurant.” I feel like maybe I’m going to be arrested for littering and this Maria person is Officer Obie.

Obie, didja think I was going to hang myself for litterin'?

Obie, didja think I was going to hang myself for litterin’?

Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen. I plan on calling our girl Maria a few more times in the next couple of weeks, see what’s going on. Would really like a glimpse into the world of Maria and how she internetually profiles those of us who are very terrory terror suspects.


Sadly, the answer (which I have to wonder about) is a total letdown.

Maria actually picked up her phone right away, and when I said, “Hi, Maria, it’s me! Amy! Why’m I a terrorist, yo?” she looked into it and asked me to spell my name about 47 times and finally said, “Oh, I SEE” and I said, “you DO?” and she said my account number was one away from someone else with my exact name who lives on the east coast, and THAT Amy is a TOTAL TERRORIST! (No, ok, fine, she didn’t say that, she said that person was “the real problem.”) So my account was accidentally flagged. “But I don’t know why all of your boxes blew up,” she said. “I had nothing to do with that.”

“So that was a coincidence, this all happened at the same time?” I said.

“Ha ha!” said Maria. “Yes, just a total coincidence!”

I don’t know how much of that I believe.

Also, the tech was here. I have wifi again, and my cable’s fine, but he unhooked a bunch of other things like DVD players and such and now I can’t figure out how to hook them back up and I have a call in for him to come back, but nope. No one’s coming. So that’s nice, then. Thanks, Time Warner!

I guess now the moral of this story is, don’t have the same name as anyone else, and don’t be a very terroristy terrorist, and if you have an option to choose another cable company, I’d say choose anyone but Time Warner. Unless you like torture. I mean, who am I to judge, right?

Sayonara, my little jellybeans.

It’s like my own personal episode of COPS every night.

A newspaper-thing that’s always intrigued me, ever since I was younger, is the cop briefs.

Don’t even deny they intrigue you as well. If you haven’t read them for entertainment value, you’ve read them to see if anyone you know was arrested. They’re vicarious sordidness, aren’t they?

Cop brieffffffs! (Don't Google "cop briefs" unless you want to see a lot of men's underpants, my friends.)

Cop brieffffffs! (Don’t Google “cop briefs” unless you want to see a lot of men’s underpants, my friends.)

Oh, in case you don’t have these where you are (doesn’t everyone have these? I’d assume yes, but you know what they say about assuming…) cop briefs are those quick little blurbs in the paper that say something like “John Doe, 46, of Somewheresville, was arrested by state police on Saturday at 1:02 a.m. He was charged with lewd lewdness, crazy loudness, and public urination.” Things like that.

One of my (many) jobs at the paper is to put certain things online immediately, as soon as they’re proofread. Major stories, some wire stories that we think people will be interested in, and the cop briefs. Cop briefs are *very* popular around here. (I don’t know if it’s just around here. I think they’re probably popular everywhere. People are alike all over. Somewhat nosy.)

I almost immediately realized that the cop briefs were both the funniest and saddest things I would be reading at the paper.

Things that seem surprisingly popular around here, so much so that they’re probably 75% or more of our cop briefs:

  • heroin-related crimes (heroin is HUGE around here. Apparently locals really enjoy riding the horse. Who knew?)
  • Meth-related crimes (cookin’ the meth, yo, cookin’ the meth)
  • drunk driving
  • domestic violence
  • child molestation (yes, I know…shudder)
  • petit larceny
  • check forgery

SIDE NOTE: There is a 50/50 split at work of people who say “petit” (just like it looks – “pet it”, like you would do to a cat, specifically, Dumbcat, who ALWAYS wants petting) larceny and who say “petty” larceny. I’m in the latter camp – too many years of French classes drilled the latter pronunciation into my head. But the “pet it” people are as adamant about their choice as the “petty” people are. I find this fascinating.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: We have a road here named “Gotham Street.” How would you say that? I’d assume, based on the world’s consumption of Batman-related things, you’d say “Gaw-thumb”, right? Nope. Here, it’s “Goe-thumb.” This makes me laugh. Like, a lot.



So. Most of the cop briefs are for the things above. It’s gotten so second-hand that I’m all “ho-hum, another trailer exploded because they were cooking meth in it.” The domestic violence and child molestation ones bother me, I’m not going to lie. I don’t know if I’ll ever get inured to those. I think if the day comes that I am, I’m done. Roll me up and throw me in the sea.

My favorites, however, are the petit larceny ones. Specifically, the FUNNY petit larceny ones. Yes, yes. I know. Stealing’s not all that funny. But when you’re hanging your hat on dark humor, you take it where you can get it, you know?

There was…

  • the man who bought a bunch of crap at Walmart with counterfeit $100s, got caught, got arrested, got an appearance ticket, then THREE DAYS LATER got caught AGAIN for trying to buy MORE THINGS with a counterfeit $100. (Vitamins. He was trying to buy vitamins at the drug store.) This time, the cops were all “yeah…think we’ll keep you” and he had $50,000 bail, or something. We were all, “Hee! You know he’s saying ‘oh! $50k? I HAVE THAT! Do you take $100s?'”

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

  • the woman who decided she HAD TO HAVE the Keurig from her hotel room, so she put it in her bag and was all “gonna gooooo now” but got caught (not sure how…but based on future info, I’m guessing it was just poking on out of her bag, she doesn’t seem the brightest) and when the cops showed up she had a PLETHORA of wee bags of meth on her. Now, my thought: if you’re packing, like, MULTIPLE bags of meth? Probably don’t also steal the Keurig from your hotel room. You can buy one from your meth money later, and you want to keep a low profile, you know? You don’t need that Keurig right now. No. You don’t. Put it down. PUT IT DOWNNNN.

    "If it's in the hotel room, it's mine, right? I'm just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR CRACK COCAINE."

    “If it’s in the hotel room, it’s mine, right? I’m just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR METH.”

  • the guy who got arrested at his home for stealing something but then resisted arrest, and then his mother got arrested for trying to stop the cops from arresting him, and then SHE resisted arrest as WELL, and then his BROTHER tried to stop the cops from arresting his MOM and then resisted his OWN arrest. So, we’re three for three, then. Good show, folks.
  • the woman that got arrested for stealing a Dr. Pepper and some Cracker Jack from the convenience store. That one just made me sad. It was less than $4 of stuff. I kind of wanted to find her and give her $5 and tell her to keep the change.
  • The woman that just walked right out of the grocery store with something called a “mega meat savings pack.” This one was kind of the best, because the reporter who was on cops that night was on the phone with the police station, and we overheard him say, “I’d like a little more detail about this petit larceny of the ‘mega meat savings pack?'” And Coworker R. and I (BTW, I’m quite convinced Coworker R. and I are siblings separated at birth) at the exact same time said “Mega meat savings pack?” and got the giggles. And then the poor reporter was trying to hold it together while he was talking to the cops, but it was like on “Saturday Night Live” when everyone gets the giggles and no one can behave. Church-giggles, is what it was. And when he got off the phone, he was all “YOU GUYS” and I was all “MEGA MEAT SAVINGS PACK!” and even now I can’t say that without laughing like a looney.

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

  • The couple that got arrested for stealing a shopping cart filled with camping supplies from Walmart (Walmart gets stolen from, on average, 47 bajillion times a week…ok, I’m exaggerating, it’s like 47 KABILLION times a week) and then after listing all the things that were stolen, like “Sterno, a tent, tent poles, marshmallows, an inflatable mattress” it also listed “sexual lubricant.” Heh. Well, I guess the point of couples camping is that it’s (turn your eyes away, kiddos) fucking in tents. Or maybe they had some other campy use for that lubricant; I don’t really do outdoorsy well, so I couldn’t begin to tell you. Like, maybe it keeps away bears, you don’t know.



Probably the best, though, which was NOT petit larceny related, was the chick who foiled a kidnapper.

YES! A man called the cops, and said “someone tried to kidnap my ladyfriend in front of the convenience store!” so the cops were all on red alert and ran over and took statements and there was a lookout for a black SUV with a couple of nefarious white guys in it, and the woman was all “I left the store, they tried to pull me into their SUV, I fought ’em off with my sweet ninja moves” (I might be making that part up a little, but it was something to that effect.)

Everyone on our Facebook page, when we posted the story, FREAKED OUT. “Why are the cops hiding something from us?” “It’s like they WANT us to be kidnapped!” “FIND THESE EVILDOERS!” “CASTRATE THEM WITH RUSTY GARDEN SHEARS!” (Again, I might be making that part up a little.)

There was no news for a day or two…then the truth came out.

So, the chick had a job interview across the street from the convenience store. She and her boyfriend showed up early. Because she had time to kill, she proceeded to get very drunk (…yeah, I don’t know, either) and then she somehow lost her boyfriend in the convenience store. Convinced he’d left without her, she went in the parking lot, angry at him. When he came out looking for her, she was all, “YOU ABANDONED ME. And…um…because you did that, SOMEONE TRIED TO KIDNAP ME. I hope you’re HAPPY, Frank.” (His name wasn’t Frank. Like I remember his name. Please.)

So the boyfriend, who wasn’t (I’m assuming) drunk, was all, “babe, I was just inside this convenience store, how did you lose me? And more importantly, WE GOTTA CALL THE COPS ABOUT THIS KIDNAPPING.” And, mired in her web of drunken lies, she said, “Um. Yeeees? Yes, sure we sure do. Those dirty kidnappers who totally tried to kidnap me just now heh heh I’m not even lying at all even a little bit.”

The cops then broke her down after intense questioning (I’m guessing “intense” was just they looked at her seriously and she was all “OMG I AM SO SORRY” and started crying, she’s not really the criminal mastermind type, is she?) and she was charged with wasting police resources and reporting a false claim and inciting a riot. I made up that last one because it sounded cool. And, I have to assume, she did not get the job, probably. Unless the job was “professional drunken parking-lot kidnap liar,” in which case, she NAILED the interview (and I’m guessing there wasn’t much competition.)

As you can expect if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I totally crack up over these kinds of stories. And I tell ALL my coworkers about them. “DEAR COWORKERS!” I say, and proceed to tell them the latest transgression in a VERY dramatic reading, which I like to think is appreciated by all. (Or, if it’s not, they’re too polite to tell me to shush it.)

What have we learned?

If you do something stupid, your name’s going to be in the paper. THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING!

(Also, just an FYI, we have computerized archives going back to the 80s. So don’t be thinking I won’t look you up and see if you were ever in the cop briefs. I SO WILL. This is like the next step in Googling one’s date. Newspaper-archive-searching one’s date. I am not going out with someone and then finding out after I’m head-over-heels he deals meth out of his nasty meth-trailer. I also, by the way, researched my apartment to see if it was a murder house. What, like you wouldn’t. It was never a murder house. But it WAS a drug house in the 90s. So if I find any little packets crammed in the corners, I’m going to probably not eat those, then.)

So…probably don’t do stupid things, my little gumdrops. Or someone, somewhere, is laughing HYSTERICALLY at you at the copydesk of a paper with their amazing coworkers they love more than all the cheese in the world. (ALL the cheese. And there’s a lot of cheese in the world, is how much those coworkers are loved.)

Thus endeth the lesson.

(Oh, and I guess also bring K-Y jelly camping? I don’t even know about that one.)

Someone’s doing this wrong. It may well be me.

In an attempt to be a normal human, and to take 2014 by the horns (THE HORNS, people!) I decided to do something that might be a gigantic mistake.

NO, I didn’t dye my hair blonde. Don’t be absurd. I look terrible blonde. Tried it once, in grad school. I looked like I was wearing a terrible wig. I immediately went to a salon and had them fix it because it was too embarrassing to leave the house with. (Well, obviously I had to leave the house to go to the salon…I wore a hat.) Then I did it AGAIN years LATER but that time it was an accident. So I just dyed it back myself, because I was poor then. Anyway, in summation: I’m not a blonde, nor will I ever BE a blonde.

Yeah, I didn't even look this good. There might have been weeping, though.

Yeah, I didn’t even look this good. There might have been weeping, though.

Nope. What I DID do is sign up for online dating.

See, here’s the thing: you don’t meet a lot of people hanging around your house. You meet your cat, and sometimes the old guy who lives downstairs and coughs a lot and Dad talked to him once and said “he’s just waiting to die, his wife’s dead and he’s so depressed” and I said, “how did you find all that out from talking to him for, like, five SECONDS?” and Dad said, “Well, I might have guessed parts of that.” You sometimes meet package deliverymen and Chinese food deliverymen and maintenance men. None of these people are really dating potential. This isn’t a porn. No one’s showing up at my door asking “Did anyone call for a PLUMBER?” and then bow-chicka-wow-wow music’s going to start. Also, ew, that’s how you get the clap.

So even though the last time I tried this online dating situation I had…well, let’s just say the worst luck ever…I decided to give it another go. It would be nice to date someone. Or maybe a few someones. See what happens. It is a thing that people do, right? This dating thing? Yes. Yes, it is.

So with the support of my friends, who were all “that is a very good idea! You do that! You will meet someone awesome!” I filled out pages and pages of questions and silly blurbs and whether I liked dogs or cats (WHY MUST I CHOOSE?) and how very, very much I love long walks on the beach and getting caught in the rain and laughing like those people in the online dating commercials while eating pasta by candlelight. Online dating commercials about meeting the love of your life on the internet can’t lie, right? RIGHT?

However! I have learned some things from the online dating site that I think are important for people to bear in mind when attempting to online date. And I thought, should I share them with the internet?

Well, what the hell else am I going to do with them? The cat doesn’t care. He’s napping at the moment. As he does.


(Note: I’m not telling you WHAT site I signed up for; I think they’re all pretty much the same, other than you pay for some, and you don’t for others, and there’s one that hates the gays and athiests. Or at least it used to. I think I remember reading it grudgingly decided the gays and athiests had money to spend, too, and therefore changed things up a little bit.)

Many people can’t spell and make no attempt to do so. It’s not going to surprise you that I actually have it written in my profile that I’m a grammar nerd and there are extra points given to people that contact me that write well. Actual emails I’ve received on the site: “YOUR PRETY,” “what r u doin,” and “its cold in winter.” Yes, I realize that sometimes, a very good heart beats within the body of a person who cannot express themselves in their native language, but it still makes me cringe. Also, if your entire profile paragraph is an all-caps “TWO HEATS BEET AS ONE I AM LOKING FOR MY SOLEMATE” and you “flirt” with me (don’t ask, these sites are kind of ridiculous) I’m not replying to you. I’m not a cobbler. You’re going to have to keep looking for your solemate, my friend. All my best to you.

People can be very aggressive and persistent. One guy “flirted” and then “favorited” me and then sent me a message (which was “ANY LUCK HERE?” and that’s not at all off-putting) and we were not even a little compatable so I sent him one of the pre-written “no-thanks” responses and then the next time I signed on he immediately popped up as wanting to chat with me so I clicked the “I’m busy” button and seriously, dude? I feel like maybe you’re chasing me down the sidewalk. Down, boy. DOWN. (Also, why so interested, when I don’t meet any of your criteria? You wrote those damn criteria. If you hadn’t written you were only interested in young, young women and “no fatties” I MIGHT have replied, but since you did, I was all, “nope” and wrote you off as a dick.)

The particular site I signed up for doesn’t seem to understand how “matching” works. You put in your criteria (like, age and such) and the site’s supposed to send you daily matches, only my matches aren’t within my criteria, so either I’ve broken the site, or they don’t care what I like. Or maybe they know better than me. Do you think the site knows better than me, and I’d really love dating a 60-year-old with kids the same age as I am? I guess we could hit up the Golden Corral for the Senior Buffet. Thrifty!

My new husband! Only a couple years younger than Dad, so they could be besties!

My new husband! Only a couple years younger than Dad, so they could be besties!

People are either very vague or very specific in what they’re looking for. Some people don’t fill anything out, so you don’t know if you’d fit their criteria at all, and some people are all “I want a woman who’s 5’7, athletic and toned, with red hair, green eyes, 20 years younger than I am, liberal, only has a high school education, and has a cat.” This seems extremely limiting to me. Who is this person? And does she exist? I think you might have better luck contacting Warren to build you a Buffybot.

There you go, boys, I found you your perfect match.

There you go, boys, I found you your perfect match.

Apparently quite a few people don’t bother to read the information you took time to post. I get contacted by people regularly (that sounds braggy…please note that it’s not. These people are not anyone I want to hang with) and then I look at their profiles and the person they’re looking for is my exact opposite. Did you read my profile? Or did you just notice I’m female and live in your area? I’m confused.

Having conversations with these people is like pulling teeth. OK, anyone who emails me knows exactly what kind of emails I write. They look very much like one of my blog posts. I don’t know how to reply to an email of “yup” or “going to get food now.” How do you even answer that? You could start some sort of new conversation, like “let’s talk about your favorite cheeses” or something, but I’ve found in the past you’re not allowed to be kooky until the person’s known you for a while, or they think you’re insane and run off screaming. So apparently I’m in for a lot of back-and-forth of “Hi”/”Hi”/”How are you”/”Good”/”Weather’s nice today”/”Yes”/”How was work”/”Busy”/”Here too” and SINCERELY, I’m climbing the walls with boredom at this point.

Sooooo booooooreddddd

Sooooo booooooreddddd

Stop asking for more pictures. OK, I have pictures up on this site? But not, like, ALL the pictures. I’m undecided about whether or not I’m going to stay there, and also I find it creepy to put a billion photos on a dating site and then a stranger could see me at the grocery store and be all, “OMG, YOU ARE LOOKIN’ FOR LOVE ONLINE I RECOGNIZE YOU YO” or something. So people email me and their opening gambit is, “do you have more photos?” and what’s funny is, THEY hardly have any photos so I’m not sure if they want tit-shots or what the point here is. One guy was displeased and was all “I’m quitting the SITE” when I told him nope and one guy was all “OK, cool” but I’m pretty sure our conversation about dinner, weather, and such has come to a natural conclusion so we’ve broken up and I’ve already gone through the five stages of grief and I’ve come out the other side a better person for it.

What have we learned?

I’m very bad at this. I have been informed by a friend who does this on the regular I need to be more open-minded in order for this to work, and also maybe it would help if I lowered my standards a little. The former, probably. That would be better in a lot of aspects in my life. The latter…I don’t know. How can you force yourself to be attracted to someone? I’ve only had my mind changed twice, romantically, about someone (I mean, from my first impression to falling for them) in my life, and I’m kind of old. Maybe some people can become attracted to someone after some time and getting to know someone, but I’m weird about such things. I like the click. Everyone who’s important in my life, who’s been long-term important in my life, either romantically or on a friendship level: there’s been that click, where it’s like meeting someone you’ve known all along but have been separated from for whatever reason, and then you found them again. Is that naïve, waiting for that? Yeah, maybe. Is it likely I’ll get over that? Probably not, but I suppose anything can happen.

If anyone wants to tell me a., how to do this correctly, b., if there’s a dating site for internet geeks who like books and where people can SPELL, dammit, where I would be in high demand, or c., that they have a brother/cousin/male BFF I’d be perfect for, I’m down for all the advice. Comment it up, yo.

Stay tuned, jellybeans. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. Will Amy go on an actual out-of-the-house date with one of these people? Will she give up and delete her whole profile because the whole thing gives her the willies? Will she be psychokilled by an internet murderer? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

Adventures in Inadvertent Homesteading

So, as you may be aware, I am on vacation. 9 days in the mountains! In my parents’ nice, quiet cabin! Just me, the pine trees, and Dumbcat!

What’s that loud noise from next door?

That’s the best-laid plans of mice and men going astray, ladies and gentlemen.

I am presently sitting at the picnic table, trying to beat sunset to write this. Because when it gets dark, well, that’s it. You can’t blog well by flashlight. I tried last night.

But, I’m jumping ahead.

Yesterday I came home from work, threw everything in the car, and immediately almost passed out from heatstroke. It was 95, but the handy-dandy weather app on my phone said it felt like 105. (I’d put the degrees sign in there, but I don’t know how with the WordPress app. Sorry. We’re bare-bones until my brother brings me his mobile hotspot thingy tomorrow around these parts.)

It was probably not best to travel under those conditions, but what can I say. I’m stubborn as hell, and I wanted an extra night of vacation.

I put an icepack in a towel for Dumbcat, prayed to the gods of weather that it would cool down, and took off. (I also packed a ton of cold water and ice for myself and some cold wet washcloths in a baggie in case I needed to swab myself off, guerilla-style, while driving. I’m awesomely planning-ahead like that.)

We got about an hour and a half from home (with Dumbcat melodically alternating between yowling and panting the whole way, which scared the shit out of me, even though when I’d pet him he was purring, weirdo) when I realized he was soggy. “Why are you soggy, buddy?” I asked. He yowled. I thought, maybe the icepack is leaking?

The smell in the car made it immediately apparent it was not a leaking icepack, but a Dumbcat TAKING a leak. In the carrier. All over his fur.

So I pulled over at a rest stop, praised all the random deities I may or may not believe in for the planning-aheadness of the wet washcloths, and swabbed off my cranky-as-hell pee-soaked cat. And his carrier. He then looked like a drowned rat, and while I cleaned the carrier he ran around the car saying “Meow meow MEOW” very cheerfully because he thought he’d escaped. (I’d let him ride without the carrier, but he’d fall out a window. He’s not called Dumbcat for shits and giggles.)

Back in the carrier. Hit the road and BAM! Thunder! Lightning! The way you love me is frightening! Oh, wait, that’s a song. No! HAIL! All the hail! And rain! In the ten minutes to clean Dumbcat’s mess, AN APOCALYPSE HAPPENED!

I drove in the terrible rain with my windows only cracked a little so as to not get soaked and grumbled about my lack of AC.

I FINALLY arrived at camp, Dumbcat yowling the whole way, and the lights weren’t on. “UGH!” thought I. “Why did Mom and Dad not turn the lights on?”

I called them. “Where’s the breaker box? You guys didn’t turn the lights on for me.”

Dad was silent. “Um. Amy? The power’s been out in the whole area for about three hours. The lights are out. REALLY out. We had a huge storm.”

This means no water, no showers, no toilet-flushing, no lights, no television, no phone-charging, no laptop-charging, no Kindle-charging…


So I unpacked the car with a flashlight, was VERY pleased to see I had cell service so I could tell my people I wasn’t dead, tended to a very smelly Dumbcat as best I could, and went to bed early. What the hell else am I going to do? It’s not like I could do anything else. TOTAL DARKNESS.

When I woke up today, the power was still out. (The loud noise mentioned earlier? The neighbors’ obnoxious generator. SO LOUD. Yet I want one, because I WANT A SHOWER.) So I tried to call home. House phone was out. “How lucky my cell works!” I said. Nope. No coverage.

No power, water, phone, or cell.

I did what anyone in this situation who hadn’t showered in 36 hours, was covered in sweat and cat pee and sunscreen, couldn’t have breakfast because the milk had gone bad and hadn’t eaten in 15 hours would do.

I started to cry and threw on clothes and headed to my parents’ house.

Yes, I’m almost 40 years old, thank you very much.

On the way, I stopped at McDonalds. SHUT UP I AM ON VACATION. That Egg McMuffin was like manna from on high. I HAD NOT EATEN IN FIFTEEN HOURS.

I also emailed people because I couldn’t when I woke up and called Mom and Dad and said, “I AM COMING HOME I AM DISGUSTING AND SMELL TERRIBLE I HATE VACATION RIGHT NOW.”

They very wisely agreed this was a good plan.

I got home. I showered. It was GLORIOUS. I felt like a new woman. Until I spilled iced coffee all over my clean clothes, but we can pretend that didn’t happen.

THEN I got to spend a few hours with The Nephew! That was unexpected. We played Lego and raced cars and he showed me all his toys and he was SO HAPPY TO SEE ME! And listen, if you haven’t heard the person you love most in the whole world say, “You’re funny, Aunt Amy” and giggle? (Well, substitute your name in for “Aunt Amy,” unless you, too, are an Aunt Amy.) Then you have not LIVED, my friend. He makes my whole heart hurt with the happiness of him.

(Tomorrow I get to hang with him for all the daylight hours. ALL OF THEM! We will be watching Finding Nemo and reading books and playing games and blowing bubbles and playing with Play-Doh and I am MOST excited. I cannot wait!)

I got to meet my brother’s cat, Abby, who is the teeniest calico you have ever seen and who I wanted to hide in my teeshirt and bring home with me, and cuddle with his dog who I love very much and she went “haroo! HAROO!” when she saw me because she is a beagle and that’s how she rolls, and my brother made me lunch! WITH A FRYING PAN AND MEAT AND VEGETABLES! “I’m a grownup who cooks now!” he said gleefully. (I’m apparently still a kid, because when he wasn’t looking, I put my carrots on his plate so he would eat them. Blech, carrots.)

Then I braved it and came back to the mountains. Where there is still no power.


There are 178 people without power in this town, and 180 people live here and are serviced by National Grid.


Better still, where do they live, and can I come take a shower at their house?

(I told Dad I thought it was the mayor and his mistress; Dad said “That town doesn’t have a mayor. It’s too small. Stop making up things.”)

Also, on the drive through town, I saw many funny things, like:

A sign that said “wood ahead” and I yelled, “EUPHEMISM!” (Really, they were just selling wood. FIREWOOD. Not “wood.”)

A lot of houses that had just collapsed from neglect; I kept saying, “Well, THAT fell down.”

A deli named “Shat’s.” Is that not the worst named thing you’ve ever heard of? When I told Dad that, he was all, “That’s a good name. You city folk are so weird.” YOU DO NOT NAME YOUR DELI SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE POO.

Now I am going to publish this, and read on my Kindle for a bit because it’s too dark for anything else, and go to bed early because what else can I do, and also, The Nephew will be here early! (Also, supposedly, the power will be back on around 10pm-midnight. WISH ME LUCK!!!)

Oh, vacation. You certainly are turning out to be more work than was intended.

A good place to be lonely is the Walmart. Also, the turning down of awards!

In your world it is Thursday. Here, it is Monday. I had every intention to go to work this morning. However, I could not sleep last night. Not even a little. After tossing and turning and coughing up a lung (maybe both lungs) for a few hours, I finally fell asleep, but when the alarm went off, there was no way I could go to work today, because I was stumbling around like a zombie person and I couldn’t open my eyes and I was coughing and coughing and just wanted more sleep. MORE SLEEP. I was like a junkie and the only thing I needed? SLEEP. So I called off from work and went back to bed. And promptly slept for – ready for this? FIVE MORE HOURS. Yes. In total, I slept for about 11 hours last night/today. That is too much sleep. Or maybe just enough, I don’t know. I am attempting, today, to stay awake, in the hope that tonight I will be SO TIRED I can sleep normal hours and go to work tomorrow. I can’t miss MORE work due to a cold. This is ridiculous.

Also, I was supposed to see The Nephew tonight, and because I love him, I decided to cancel that. He doesn’t need my germs. It makes me sad, though. You know I love to hang out with my best little buddy more than almost anything.

So today Dumbcat and I are hanging on the couch watching bad television. I am trying to stay awake. He is not even trying. He’s been asleep all day long. Dammit, Dumbcat, way to be a good companion.

Today I have to mention that I have been nominated for THREE awards and isn’t that fancy? Yes, it is! Well, twice for the same award, but twice is twice, right? Right.

Most of you know my stance on awards. I find it very nice to be nominated, but I can’t accept them. Why can’t I accept them? Because they make you nominate a number of other blogs. And if you nominate other blogs, then you’re leaving some blogs out, and feelings get hurt. And I hate to hurt feelings. I hate to hurt feelings more than I hate to clean the litterbox, and that’s a lot, yo. So, as always, I am very thankful for the awards, and for thinking of me; it is most kind, and most appreciated.

So, the first award I have been nominated for is the Versatile Blogger Award. I feel like I’ve gotten this one before, right? I could go back and look but, well, sick. And kind of lazy. Sorry, world.

First I was nominated by meANXIETYme. Thank you!

Then I was nominated by Kat at Kat’s Den. And thank YOU!

Then I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger award by Andrea at When in New Places. Also, thanks to YOU!

I am supposed to state seven things about myself and then nominate fifteen blogs. Well, I refuse to nominate anyone, as is my wont, and therefore I CANNOT ACCEPT THE AWARDS. Mostly because these things seem like a pyramid scheme, you see. I don’t like pyramids. All triangular like that. Sticking up out of the sand. Being all pointy.



I don’t know if there are seven things about myself you don’t already know, other than the things I’m not going to tell you because they’re mine. Oh, shush, we all get a few things that are ours. You can’t even tell me that you don’t keep some things just for yourself. So instead, here, I will tell you my top seven favorite cities in all the world that I have actually been in with my whole body. Yes, my whole body! Not just my toe.

  1. New York, NY
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Albany, NY
  4. Sedona, AZ
  5. Santa Barbara, CA
  6. Rouen, France
  7. Baltimore, MD
New York wins! You are not at all surprised by this, are you? Didn't think so.

New York wins! You are not at all surprised by this, are you? Didn’t think so.

There you go. It’s LIKE seven things you didn’t know about me, only in NUMERICAL ORDER. (The top two haven’t changed since 1995. I’m pretty damn predictable.) Do I win going places? Yes. Also, I think it’s a sign I’m in the right place, life-wise, that where I live is in the top three. Because that means there are two places that are like dream vacation spots, but then coming home is in the top three. That’s good, I think.

So, in summation: thank you for the awards, ladies. I am honored and humbled, even though I can’t accept; the fact that I can’t accept is not at all your fault and completely mine. I so appreciate the thought, and give you many internet smooches for the gifting.

Before we go, let’s talk about a super-classy thing that happened here lately. And when I say super-classy, I mean like BEYOND classy. It makes me so proud I can’t even. CAN. NOT. EVEN.

(Props to sj for finding me that most excellent pie chart.)

So, Queensbury is about an hour from me. And in Queensbury, there is a Walmart. I mean, of course there is. Where is there not a Walmart? There’s probably a Walmart in Antarctica for all I know. (In that Walmart they would probably sell a lot of mittens.)

Apparently, you can get more than beef jerky and large boxes of Cheese Nips at the Queensbury Walmart.

Someone called the po-po and said, “You guys? There’s a Walmart employee doin’ the nasty back in the corner of the housewares section.”

Because nothing says "illicit sex" like a ton of flair on a blue vest.

Because nothing says “illicit sex” like a ton of flair on a blue vest.

So I guess one of the Walmart customers offered the employee some cash under the table if he…um…did a naked price-check for him in a corner? And the employee did? And then someone shopping for a new toaster was totally scandalized and was all “OMG MY EYES MY EYESSSSS” and called the cops and to jail the Walmart employee went, hopefully before someone had to call for a cleanup in aisle three.

I don’t know who to feel more pity for in this scenario, honestly. The employee, who is obviously making so little money that he had to take some (probably icky, let’s be honest) customer up on his offer of a quickie BJ in a corner? The customer who, for who-knows-what-reason decided to solicit a most-likely minimum-wage employee for sex at a Walmart? The customer who was going about his or her business and stumbled upon oral pleasure by the dishtowels?

Oh, Queensbury. This isn’t very regal behavior at all. Shame, shame. See, this is why I shop at Target. The most scandalous thing I’ve seen at Target recently is a price-check on some shampoo that was irregularly priced and a customer who was SO PISSED about that.

OK. I’m attempting to go to sleep at like 9pm tonight. Hopefully, by the time you read this, I am healthy and happy. Wise, I don’t know. I think that’s a lot to ask, to be honest. I’ll stick with healthy and happy for now.

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