Category Archives: crankiness

When your car uses shouty all-caps, you know it’s serious.

Just so you know I am not dead:

I made it through Tech Sunday. It wasn’t as long as they have been in the past. 7 hours and 45 minutes. Not that bad at all. The show looks amazing; I’m very proud of it. I can’t wait for people to see it this coming week. The crew and the director have done an amazing job with it and the audience is going to love it. And probably cry, if I’m any indication. I’ve seen the damn thing three times now and I’ve cried at various points every single time. It’s GOOD, you guys. I’m going to attempt to video some of it with my fancy-schmancy phone tomorrow, we’ll see what happens. If it works, I’ll let you see.

I might be alive; my car, however, is not doing well. If it was a patient in a hospital, it would be in the ICU. On the way to the theater today, it chugged (as it does, and the garage guy was all “just the catalytic converter”). Well, after a little chugging, it went “DING DING DING!!!” and I was all, “THIS can’t be good.” And it GAVE ME A MESSAGE. I know, WTF? THAT was freakish. Where the “miles til you need to fill up” display is, in ALL-CAPS (so you know it’s my car, I guess) it said: “CHECK YOUR TRANSMISSION!!!”

This light has been on for the past week. SIDE NOTE: the first time this happened, I was all, "Dad! What's the light on my dash that looks like a Muppet face?"

This light has been on for the past week. SIDE NOTE: the first time this happened, I was all, “Dad! What’s the light on my dash that looks like a Muppet face?”

Oh, well, this is not good.

Friend A., when I told him it was chugging, before the guy at the garage said catalytic converter, said “I hope it’s not the transmission. That costs like $2,000.”

This is a transmission, apparently. It is HUGE, it is like the size of the whole ENGINE. No wonder it's so expensive!

This is a transmission, apparently. It is HUGE, it is like the size of the whole ENGINE. No wonder it’s so expensive!

Also, I noticed a couple of times it looked like, when I pulled in somewhere and parked, it might be leaking? But then again, it might be melting, as it has like snowsicles under it? And also when I’m in it, sometimes I smell what I can only describe as a hot curling iron? But then again, one time I smelled celery in a whole parking lot, and there was no celery to be found. I am not to be olfactorially trusted. I DO NOT CARE IF THAT’S NOT A REAL WORD DAMMIT.

So I got to the theater, and went about my day, and the all-caps didn’t happen on the way home, and then I called Dad. The only reason I called Dad was to see if he thought I should a., go straight to the garage tomorrow, or b., could get the car to work, then go at lunch. I don’t know anything about cars or how serious this all-caps transmission situation might be.

Well! Choice tidbits of things Dad said to me on the phone:

“Apparently you don’t UNDERSTAND that CARS are for TRANSPORTATION” (um…I think I get THAT function of cars…it’s just how they WORK that befuddles me)

“Why were you hiding this transmission situation from me?” (Because I just found out about it now? Did you want me to call you from the theater this morning? How would that have helped, the garage isn’t even open on Sundays.)

“The car is LEAKING? Why didn’t you TELL me?” (Because I thought you would say “Stop making up leaking, you don’t know it’s really leaking”)

“IT SMELLS LIKE BURNING?!?!?!?” (This just made me laugh because it reminded me of Ralph Wiggum saying “I eated the purple berries, they taste like burning”)

Ralph would have eaten my car. It ALSO smelled like burning.

Ralph would have eaten my car. It ALSO smelled like burning.

“Go outside and check the transmission fluid level. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.” (What the hell is confusing about this. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. It’s not like daily I’m all “la la la, let’s eat breakfast and check our daily transmission fluid levels” DAD.)

“You don’t have a FLASHLIGHT? OH MY GOD. IT IS LIKE DEALING WITH A CAVEMAN HERE. I CANNOT HELP YOU FROM A DISTANCE WITH THIS FLASHLIGHT SITUATION.” (I didn’t ask him to HELP, I just wanted to KNOW if I needed to go to the GARAGE at 8am or if I could WAIT.)

“NO, you cannot wrap a sweater around some magazines and light it on fire and use that for a flashlight. Do I sound like I’m in the mood for lightheartedness?” (No, but it was worth a shot.)

Dad became convinced that when I went to the Twilight Zone theater and ran over the wood in the road (remember that, all those weeks ago?) I damaged the transmission pan. That sounds like a made-up thing, but whatever. So he said I had to check the transmission fluid levels and call him back. It apparently is a thing that needs to be done when the car is warm and running. Opening a car hood while it’s running seems dangerous, but I’m a trooper. Or is that trouper? Both seem wrong, somehow.

OMG, it is a real thing, and look, this one looks like it's smiling.

OMG, it is a real thing, and look, this one looks like it’s smiling.

So I went outside. First hurdle: I didn’t know how to open the hood. I could POP the hood. But it was LATCHED. So I took out the flashlight (which I totally found; the maintenance men who were here last month totally accidentally left one behind, I WIN!) and saw the latch. I felt like the Queen of Smartness.

Then I tried to find the transmission dipstick. Do you find it as humorous as I do that dipstick is a real word? Fine, just me, whatever. Dad’s actual directions: “It is under the hood. Kind of directly in front of where you sit, sort of.” HELPFUL!

I couldn’t find it and couldn’t find it until I found it, and it was all tucked away far under some things and it was bright yellow. (When I told Dad this later, he said “Oh, maybe it would have helped had I told you it was bright yellow?” YES IT WOULD HAVE.)

BRIGHT YELLOW.

BRIGHT YELLOW.

I pulled out the (heh) dipstick. I wiped it off on a paper towel, per Dad’s instructions. “Note the color on the paper towel,” said Dad. The answer was: brownish. THIS is fun times. Then I put the dipstick (hee!) back in and pulled it back out (OMG, totally not a euphemism) and checked the end of it for, per Dad, “pink stuff.” The answer was: the end of it had pink stuff, but not up to the little line that said it was supposed to be up to there. So there was SOME “pink stuff” (the “pink stuff” is actually transmission fluid, apparently) in there, but not enough.

OMG, I found this online. Someone has a lot of time on their hands. A LOT.

OMG, I found this online. Someone has a lot of time on their hands. A LOT. Also, I think I have “internal probelms.” Hee, probelms.

So I came back upstairs and called Dad and gave him the news. He had calmed down some in the past ten minutes and was no longer shouty. He was VERY PLEASED there was some pink stuff and that I hadn’t run it to the ground, but not super-pleased that there was a transmission problem at all. “DID IT SMELL LIKE BURNING?” he said. “No, actually not at all, maybe I imagined the burning,” I said. “Grumble grumble grump,” said Dad. “This is what happens when you hit a tree.” “I didn’t hit a TREE, Dad,” I said. “I hit some WOOD. That was in the ROAD. For no REASON. When I had to drive to that weird town that was trying to kill me that time. I can hardly be blamed for that, now can I?” Dad doesn’t seem to agree. Somehow, Dad would have not hit the wood. (Dad, however, drives about 10 miles per hour all the time, so if he HAD hit the wood, the wood probably would have apologized to him. And he’d be going so slow he’d have had time to have a lengthy conversation with that wood. Heh. Wood.)

Dad said he thought it would be ok to drive it to the garage (which is very close) in the morning, and have them check it out and at the very least, dump some transmission fluid in it if they couldn’t find the time to fix it tomorrow. So I texted my boss all, “Um, I’m going to be late” and off to the garage tomorrow morning. New Job is going to think I’m a gadabout. I’m usually not late all the time. This car hardly ever screws up, dammit! As you can tell, because I haven’t had to open the hood since I got it!

And that was my day. Now I am off to bed so I can tackle tomorrow. With much enthusiasm. Rah rah RAH. And such.

What will happen NEXT in True Tales from Amy’s Car is Not Working Correctly? Only time will tell. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.


We’re all about secret handshakes and meetings after midnight around these parts.

I have (as usual) very little time to write this. Busy week, cats and kittens and precious pumpkins, busy busy week. Work and work and work and today I had a theater thing so even LESS time when I got home. And now I am obsessively watching a random old Criminal Minds episode. YES I know I should be watching the debates. I don’t want to. It’s been a long day and I don’t feel like dealing with that level of crazy right now. I’ll catch the recap tomorrow or something. I’m kind of…I don’t know. Filled with a political malaise at the moment. I don’t want to watch people yelling at each other right now. It makes my stomach hurt. I’m ready for this all to be over. Things are way too tense right now. Apparently there was something about binders? Binders full of women? I don’t know. I want to know who won? Obviously not those women in those totally constricty binders.

So, let’s see. I have tentative work-related news, but until it’s official work-related news, I’m going to hold off on saying anything about that. I could be all hinty-hinty and shit but that’s just rude. I should know more by the end of the week, I think. I’ll tell you more then, if I know anything. Is it good news? It’s more STEADY news. Less scary news. So, yes. It’s good news. But, you know I’m not telling you anything unless I’ve got that bird in my hand, and that BIRD is my CHICKEN and I can COUNT that chicken. You know me and my chicken-counting obsession. That makes me sound all bitter. I DO NOT MEAN TO SOUND BITTER.

OK. So! Among the delicious taste of because it is bitter because it is my heart right here in my mouth-area (I’m going to sigh if you don’t get that reference, JUST SIGH) there was some MOST EXCELLENT NEWS today. Most excellent!

Apparently my beloved Stephen Crane loved using all-caps? I KNEW I LOVED HIM!

First, in Science Fellow news…ANDREAS IS A PROUD DAD AGAIN! Earlier in the week Andreas and Andreas’s lovely fiancée had THE MOST WONDERFUL BABY BOY! He is teeny and tiny and he TOTALLY looks like a Baby Andreas, which makes me smile huge. He is TOTALLY some future-blogger’s future Science Fellow. Since no kids are poppin’ out of this lady-area anytime soon, or ever, I guess he’ll have to be The Nephew’s future Science Fellow, because The Nephew is the closest I’ll ever come to progeny. Aw, can you imagine Wee Baby Andreas being The Nephew’s future Science Fellow? I like this very much.

Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS, ANDREAS! I am so so excited and happy for you and waking up to news that you were a dad again was the only thing that made my day yesterday not-terrible. Someday – and I utterly refuse to believe this will not be the case – I am coming to FINLAND and I will meet you and your lovely family and we will hit it off like gangbusters. I just know it.

Look at Andreas’ pretty islands! I want to go to there.

In other news, I got an email that I will be invited back to review MORE THEATER next month! So apparently my review was ok this weekend! So I got to put in my request for what shows I wanted to review next month (the answer is…well, I’m the low man on the totem pole, so whatever ones are left, honestly, and seriously, I’ll see ANYTHING if you pay me to see it, this is so much fun for me, I can’t even tell you, but one of them is potentially something super-exciting, so stay tuned, jellybeans!)

And I have ANOTHER potentially exciting theater-thing going on! Which, again, I WILL NOT COUNT THOSE CHICKENS! So I’ll tell you when it’s a definite. It’s something in November and it’s something that has money attached AND it’s something prestigious, so it’s pretty exciting and also fancy. I’m finger-crossing for this one. It’s something I’d like very much and it’s a good opportunity. And – but here’s the scary part – IT WOULD MEAN TALKING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. Eek! More soon. More more more soon. I hope.

And another theater thing this weekend where I get to see a show I’m very excited about! That one’s fun but it does mean I’m going to miss Amazing-Race-night with my sj, so that’s sad. I don’t like that part of it. Boo.

SO MUCH THEATER! That makes me the happiest.

Oh, blog tour news! The lovely Mandy at Adventures in Borkdom wrote the most touching post about my book today, and it made me have tears. You should read it. It is really stellar. She’s wonderful, that Mandy. I’m lucky to know her.

Also, it is one of my oldest (not in YEARS, but in TIME KNOWN) friend’s birthday’s today! And I did not have time to send her a card in a timely fashion. HAPPY BIRTHDAY R. BECAUSE I KNOW YOU ARE READING THIS! R. is Baby Girl Awesomesauce (also known as Ceevee)’s mom and I have known her since I was 17. SEVENTEEN! Is that not a very long time? Yes it is! Also, we went to Europe and England and Arizona together. Look, there was totally a time when I used to bon vivant, don’t even think there wasn’t. And she has met Amy’s Dad! Happy birthday, R. You are one of my favorite people and I hope you have a wonderful day! Here is a picture of a penguin because they are cheerful!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRIEND R.!

Most of this post is news I can’t tell you yet. That seems quite unfair. I’m full of secrets. Aren’t I just like a spy or what? The MOST secretive. I’m all code-words and complicated handshakes. Dad totally said the other day, “Don’t you tell those internet people your secrets! Especially if you don’t know they’re HAPPENING yet. That’s just STUPID.” And for all the things I DON’T agree with, Dad-wise, I agree with that one. You don’t tell people what’s up until you know it’s for sure. I would make a very good spy. Or someone who keeps secrets in a fairy tale. Ooh, I want to be in a fairy tale. That’d be fun. I’d be quite good at that. Can there be talking animals and maybe magical beans or something? No dwarves, though. Or princes kissing you all out of nowhere. I don’t want to kiss strangers. Especially ROYAL strangers. No thanks, keep those lips to yourself, buckaroo.

This is the only prince I’d kiss. I do like White’s tree frogs. They’re totally trustworthy. When I worked at the pet store sometimes I’d wear one around the place like a brooch.

OK. This is short and I am tired and I am going to bed now. I know! I know. It’s been a long day. Back tomorrow. More stuff. OH, also, when I got home tonight, there was a note on my door that I won’t have water tomorrow? Which is worrisome because wouldn’t most people want water when they wake up so they can, oh, I don’t know, get ready for work? What the hell, water people? And then I got a weird letter from the power people apologizing for having to cut my trees down in a few days. They’re not MY trees. I didn’t PLANT them. They belong to where I LIVE. What a weird letter! So, I guess I forgive you, power company? For cutting back some trees so I can still have electricity? Because I need electricity so I can…um…see? And have heat? And a television? You’re forgiven. Stop sending me weird letters.

Happy day, people of the internets. I promise, less secrecy soon. But can there be piracy? I’d like there to be more piracy around these parts.

Arr. Always room for more piracy, mateys.


When it was bad, it was horrid.

I have been writing all day. So…I kind of don’t want to be here. I know! That’s worrisome. I ALWAYS want to be here, my little gumdrops. But I started my freelance job at 9am this morning, and with only a couple of tiny breaks, for food and Dad-chatting and a little emailing, I wrote like a MANIAC today. So, let’s say I wrote for about 8 straight hours today, if we take out about an hour for screwing around. That is a lot of writing. And it wasn’t FUN writing like THIS is. It was WORK writing. Yes, yes, I got to do it on my COUCH with my CAT all curled up next to me, so that’s nice, but still, that’s a lot of writing, yo. And I’m not sure if it’s…um…any good? So I sent it over for feedback today and now I have to wait and see. Let’s hope it’s ok. I really don’t want to have to do it again. (And by the way, it was only 1/3 of the freelancing job. 2/3 of it left to go, next week, I think, is the deadline on the rest of it. I assume that’s only if what I did today was ok? Not really sure. It is a FANCY FANCY life I lead, no?)

Ooh, here’s me today. Except, well, not at all me. But similarly disheveled and grumpy.

So this week’s another crazy one in Amy-land. Lots of work. Lots of things to do. Lots of things to think about. Whoo! I’m ready for a break. Anyway, work work work, theater thing, work work work MORE work and sometimes maybe I will sleep a little which will be nice because then I can turn my brain off. It…hasn’t been the best day? I won’t go into detail. Just hasn’t. Got some news, some good, some bad, and although the good was very very good, just like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, the bad was very very bad, ALSO like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, because you know how that goes. Horrid, is how that goes. I don’t…adapt well to U-turns. Today was a U-turn. I think I might have failed that part of the driving test. So, just horrid. Yeah. A day. It has been a day.

This…well, this is terrifying. What’s with this kid’s face, anyway?

Anyway, so there’s that. Let’s attempt to put that in our rearviews, ok? Yeah. Let’s do that. Let’s see, what’s up. Well, today (many days ago, for you) Blog Tour week started over at Insatiable Booksluts! That’s fun! Today (or…yeah, again, many days ago, for you) there’s a giveaway – you can get my book! For free! – and there’s an interview with me! You can find out things like a word I love, and a food item I think is an abomination. Oh, plus poetry stuff, of course. More stuff is upcoming, too! It’s going to be a week FULL of adventures! It’s like vicarious bon vivantery. You know how much I like to bon vivant.

One of my lovely Twitter friends sent me this the other day. An INSTRUCTION manual! Oh, I like this so much.

Oh, last night was night of all the television and THE WALKING DEAD is back! And you’d think I’d be SO EXCITED about that! You know I love my zombies. But…eh. I didn’t care as much as I should have. Do you think I’m broken? I found it more entertaining that someone ran into the camera with their face on The Amazing Race than I did with what went down on The Walking Dead last night. I know. I may be broken. In my defense, I was distracted by this thing I was doing so I may not have been paying as much attention as I should have been. But…I don’t know. I didn’t find it as exciting as I have in the past. I guess you see people kill zombies in a gross and repulsive way, you’re over it? I don’t know. I’m at a loss. It seems to still be good. People still seemed to like it a lot. I think it’s just me and I am broken. (But, in Amazing Race news, sj and I are totally the most famous, because after our marathon “discuss The Amazing Race” time on Twitter, TWO OF THE CAST MEMBERS TWEETED US. So I’m pretty sure we win Twitter, right? What’s that? That doesn’t mean we win Twitter? Oh, I think it does, Naysayer Nellie. My mom was mucho impressed, anyway. And she’s not easy to impress, so therefore, WE WIN TWITTER. Yes, yes, she was ALSO impressed when Tom Cruise started following me but let’s not talk about that part since he only started following me when I made fun of his scary teeth AND HE STILL HASN’T STOPPED.)

Look at our new friends! Aw, aren’t they adorable? They totally are, and one of them ran into the CAMERA with her FACE this week, which is something I would totally do.

OK, so later this week American Horror Story is back. Am I going to be so filled with malaise about my OTHER most favorite show, or am I going to be excited about it? It’s just an utter mystery, isn’t it? (I’m already a little trepidacious, to be honest. The second season of something that was that good the first time around might be terrible, since they’re completely changing the format. But we’ll see.)

This will be good. It will, right? It’s in an ASYLUM. Asylums are totally scary.

OK. This is short. And I know! I know. You’re all (well, those of you that like such things) so disappointed and “AMY WHAT THE HELL THIS IS NOT WHAT WE PAID FOR.” My brain’s a melty melty thing at the moment and I’ve got nothing more in me and like I said, it’s been a day. I have a thing I have to do soon, and it’s not something I’m looking forward to. And then I’m going to go to bed and I’m hoping it’s like when you can’t fix your computer so you just turn the whole thing off hoping that will fix it. But by the time you read this, things might be all better, who knows. That’s the fun of writing to you from the past.

(Psst: no more freelancing job. It…kind of fell through? No more details I can share. But it’s now in the past. It is an ex-freelancing job and possibly also an ex-parrot. So, I guess that means more time to frig around on the internet and less money in my pocket. Dear today: you’ve been a peach, thanks for adding insult to injury, I adore you so. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME, TODAY.)

Hey, past-Amy, cheer up, buttercup. Love, future-Amy. Ooh, maybe here in the future we have FLYING CARS. I utterly CAN NOT WAIT.


Follow not; I’ll have no speaking: I will have my bond.

It’s Random Crap Thursday, now with politics, work shenanigans, and deep piles of debt! Wait, where are you going, get back here, you. This is going to be AWESOME. OK, fine, maybe your definition of awesome and mine are completely different. It’s going to be…informative? At least you’ll know why I was in such a shitty mood while writing this? FINE. Thank you for coming back. You can have a cookie. NO, I don’t know what kind of cookie. Something with chocolate in it? Good, fine, here you go. Happy now? Great.

I just took a very scientific quiz that told me I agree with Obama on 92% of the issues in the upcoming election. I’m thinking I probably shouldn’t tell Dad about my results on this quiz. In hilarious news, the second-most person I agreed with? Jimmy “THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH” McMillan. YES. This is quite impressive.

TOO DAMN HIGH!

Mostly what I agree with about Mr. McMillan is his sense of STYLE. He has a lot of panache. Also, he talks in ALL-CAPS. I like that. Also, he’s a crazy. I like crazies a great deal, as long as they’re not, oh, I don’t know, running the country or following me around singing to me or saying things to me on public transportation. I don’t care for that at all. (Also, he’s still running for president? Why do people do these things? Where does the money come from? Use that money for something more productive, like buying food for poor people or buying me a pony. Dummies.) The person I agreed with on LEAST of the issues, so, therefore, my ENEMY? Romney. Ahem. No comment.

In news of the ill-conceived, I somehow was chosen to train two people for two and a half hours at work tomorrow. Well, by the time you read this it will have come and gone. Sorry. Timeline’s still out of whack over here at the old Football. Still trying to be ahead with LIFE. I had to make up a training sheet, and I have a conference room all checked out for me, and this is all very confusing. OK, so you (probably, I mean, you’re here, aren’t you?) read my blog. You know how I’m kind of all over the place and you probably think some days that I have ADD? I just took ANOTHER very scientific quiz and here’s what it says. (Apparently you can’t take JUST an ADD quiz, it’s ADHD or nothing. When did this happen? ANNOYING.) 

I apparently have something in the middle of these brains. Look how pretty a normal brain is! That brain is shooting out MIND BULLETS.

You appear to suffer from mild attention and concentration difficulties according to your responses to this self-report questionnaire. You should not take this as a diagnosis of any sort, or a recommendation for treatment. However, you may want to look into seeking further consultation with a trained mental health professional if you are experiencing any difficulties in daily functioning due to these difficulties or if you’d like a more in-depth answer. 

Oh, well, that’s nice. It’s only mild. Only MILD ADHD. (Mostly the questions I was like “nope” on were ones like “is your brain talking to you like a television set?” Um. No. No, it’s not. Do people who have ADHD’s brains talk to them like their brains are a television set? Is it tuned to a good channel? Because maybe I want that, after all. That’d be ok, wouldn’t it?)

I feel like this is the channel my brain would be tuned to most of the time. Or maybe cartoons. It could be cartoons. Or “Buffy.”

ANYWAY (is this proving my point I didn’t even make yet? YES) they want ME, who can’t even stick to the point in a BLOG POST, to train these people. I’m going to need a bigger boat, or in the very least, more than the 2.5 hours that’s been allotted to me. Here’s the thing. It’s kind of weird? OK, here are my issues with this training. 

  • I’ve never trained anyone at work before. At the theater, sure. But not at work. So I’m already all nervous. 
  • The people I’m training aren’t here to learn. I know, you’re all, WHAT? right now. Me, too. Here’s the scoop: we just merged with another company. They’re smaller than us, so we – I don’t know, what’s the term? Absorbed them, I guess? They’re in another town, so they’re staying there, but with our name on their office from now on. We don’t, however, want them to feel like we’re evil usurpers, so we’re not making them change the way they do anything (except we are making them change some of the software they use, so we can all be using the same software since we’re all on the same server now. At least I think it’s the server. Don’t ask in-depth questions about this, because that’s as technical as I can get. Me + computers = glassy eyes and confused stammering.) SO, the two administrative lackeys there, whose job is the same as mine here, are coming here to see how we do things here tomorrow. But they’re under no obligation to change what they do. So why are they coming? And why am I training them? And providing pretty handouts that I totally made up and they’re stapled and everything? If they’re not going to be changing to our system, I mean? I mean, yes, I guess if they like the way we do something here, they might WANT to change, but who likes change and submits happily to it? Like, no one. Everyone fights change. This is going to be all kinds of awkward. Also, does anyone else get the feeling these two women just want a paid day away from their office? Or am I just being suspicious for no reason? 

    Even my hot boyfriend Jake is suspicious.

  • My office, who thinks I’m all RAGEMONSTER (actually, only when I’m here, guys, there’s a direct correlation and it has to do with YOUR FACES) has told me fourteen times I need to be nice to these people. What the hell do they think I’m going to do, get them in a conference room and start screaming and throwing potted plants at them? And now that I’ve been told I can’t, it’s all I want to do. HULK ANGRY! HULK SMASH!  

    ME AT WORK. (Not really, but I’m pretty sure this is what they see when they look at me.)

    (I just took ANOTHER quiz and it says I’m probably going to have an anger-related meltdown: “A score of this type suggests that you are seriously prone to anger problems. Anger problems are likely causing difficulty in family, social and/or occupational settings. We strongly recommend that you seek out an anger management program – available through your EAP program at work or through local therapists – to help yourself learn better, more constructive ways to manage your anger.” WHAT THE HELL IS EAP THAT MAKES ME SO PISSED. Honestly, I’m really only FURIOUSLY ANGRY at work, and not ALL the time. Just when I have to talk to others, or do any work, or when I’m getting paid, or when I’m not. In my life, I’m about 75% non-stabby. I think that’s fine! I don’t think I’m going to strangle anyone, kitten or human or otherwise. CALM DOWN PEOPLE.) 

  • THEN, when the unnecessary training is done, I have to take these women out to lunch. I’m pretty low on the ladder, so am not sure how this works. Is the corporate world usually so full of wasted time, money and tomfoolery? If so, how does anyone get anything done? What’s that? They give all their work to people like me? Oh, OH, so THAT’S what’s going on! Things are so much CLEARER now! 

So this will be good times, won’t it? YES. Oh, one of my coworkers was supposed to help me with the training but she refuses to check her work email so she “doesn’t know what’s happening in the office.” Somehow she doesn’t get in trouble for this. If it was me, I’d have been pulled into a conference room full of management-types, had to sign a ton of paperwork, and be told QUITE STERNLY that MY INSUBORDINATION WILL NOT STAND and these signed documents will be going IN MY PERMANENT FILE. I mean. Hypothetically, of course. Who’s something like THAT ever happened to? Certainly not anyone writing this BLOG! Whoo! 

Insubordination! My favorite of all the nations.

Oh, let’s see, what else is kicking around my brain of braininess. Oh, so I owe a kabillion dollars in student loan debt? Like, that’s why I have to work the second job, just to pay INTEREST in it each month? And I never pay down any of the capital, not even a penny, and it keeps getting BIGGER and BIGGER and at this point, what are you going to do but laugh, right? Nothing. I can’t not pay it, or I think they’ll send goons, or possibly Men in Black. So I pay the minimum I can pay without them coming to kneecap me and watch the total go up every month and just think, meh, this is what happens if you make BAD LIFE CHOICES LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! 

I take a lot of rights.

Anyway, so I was in this government consolidation thing up until a couple of weeks ago, where after paying religiously for 25 years, they wrote off whatever was left, Even if, by 25 years of not touching the capital, what you owe is enough to buy an deeeeeluxe apartment in the skyyyyyy. (You’re laughing right now, but what’s funnier is I AM NOT EXAGGERATING.) It’s written off! It’s gone! It’s called the Debt Forgiveness Program! (What’s humorous is, that year? I will have to pay income taxes on that amount, because it’s treated as income for that year only. HA HA HA! How will THAT work? I don’t know. It’ll look like I’m a ZILLIONAIRE! And I will never be able to pay those taxes, never. I guess whoever’s the president then will be able to buy a new jet with my taxes, though.) 

I’m sure the president will need another one of these. I WILL PROVIDE THAT FOR YOU MR. (or MRS.) PRESIDENT!

Anyway, I got a letter from the government a couple of weeks ago saying they’d SOLD MY LOAN to some shady-ass debt collector, see ya, so long, you’re a bad credit risk, you’re never going to fund our vacations to Maui paying only the minimum, Ms. Lucy’s Football. So I was IMMEDIATELY freaking the hell out because a., I can barely afford to pay what I’m paying now (sincerely, my minimum, which, as mentioned, doesn’t even TOUCH the capital) is almost as much as my rent each month, and b., what if the DEBT FORGIVENESS PROGRAM I’ve been hanging my hopes and dreams on each month is GONE now? The government never mentioned they could just sell my loan to some Loan Shark Larry. Grumble. 

CHOMP! GIMME MY MONEY!

(Before you’re all “AMY! You are a DEADBEAT! I will have paid off my whole debt probably twice over by the time I’m 65. It’s not my fault the interest is insane. I refuse to feel guilty for that.)

So yesterday I got a letter from them. What’s it say? Oh, nothing, hi, we’re your new lords and masters, you now owe TWICE AS MUCH A MONTH THAN YOU WERE PAYING. Twice! Twice as much!  

So after I took a nitroglycerine pill to stop my upcoming heart attack and had a cool beverage, I called them today to have a conversation. 

Listen, I was PREPARED FOR WAR. I had all documentation all spread out around me and my tax return saying that I make just a slight bit more than someone folding sweaters at the Gap makes and I was ready to get shouty. 

However? They were actually really nice. I think they’re getting a lot of panicky calls right now. They said I had to fax them a copy of my most recent tax return, they’d put my payments back where they were once they verified my income, and that the Debt Forgiveness Program is for everyone, not just through this government thing I was doing, and that it carries over, so when I started paying them off (I think it was about 7 years ago – I totally hid from my student loans for a while, because they couldn’t find me because I’d moved and hell, I knew I’d never be able to pay them back and they’d find me eventually, don’t judge unless you’ve been where I was at the time, eating people’s leftovers and ramen and sometimes living without electricity or phone for a couple weeks at a time because you couldn’t afford the bills and wondering, would it be so BAD to live in the car? Would it REALLY? Think of the extra cash you’d save, without having to pay rent!) was when the 25 year time-clock started ticking. So when I’m approximately 65, give or take a few years because I don’t remember the exact date I started paying? NO MORE STUDENT LOANS, BABY! I will celebrate by buying some Metamucil and new tennis balls for the footies of my walker. 

Aw, me when I’m ollllld!

However, I found it a tad bit shady that when I tried to send them my tax return, the fax number they gave me (and then the second one they gave me when I called all panicky) were invalid. Um. Not a good way to instill confidence, people. Also, I was on hold waiting for someone to help me for half an hour. After that, I was the asshole who kept punching “0” for operator. Enough waiting. I’m at work, for the love of Pete. And it was BUSY this morning. I mean, obviously it’s not NOW. But it was this morning! And I was all tied up talking to people about money I don’t have, which always makes me all panic-attacky! Anyway, they finally gave me an email to PDF the whole mess to, so we’ll see what happens. I’m choosing not to freak out until I get the letter telling me what my monthly payment is in the next month or so. (And honestly, probably not even then. You’ve heard the old “blood from a stone” saying, right? There’s only so much I can pay. Don’t fret, jellybeans. I’m not.)

Don’t squeeze me, bro. There’s only so much blood in there, and I need that. For LIFE.

Anyway, my advice, kids and kiddos, is probably don’t take out a million student loans? Or go to an out-of-state grad school relying completely on student loans? Because they are a huge scam. I mean, sure, it’s nice to get an education, but they’re not free money at all, even though you’re taking out these huge, life-altering loans at a time when money is not a real thing to you, because you’re just a kid and it doesn’t all seem real, like a credit card or Monopoly money. Or, if you do decide to take them out, plan on getting a really good job after college so you can pay them back? Because otherwise, they’re going to be hanging over your head until you’re of Social Security age. Also, if anyone’s wondering why I never have any money? There you go. I don’t have money because I have an EDUCATION. Which…well, isn’t doing me any good at all, actually. I could have learned everything I learned in college on my own. Sorry, but that’s totally true. I furthered both my English and my theater education with real-world experience and kept up my studying on my own by reading anything that looked interesting I could get my hands on, and I’m more educated now in both of the fields than I was as a bright-eyed bushy-tailed girl right out of college ready to take on the world. I shit you not. 

OK, so that was a TOTAL downer. Sorry. Um…in happier news, I saw the next-to-last edit of my book today? I had a couple changes to make, then I see the final edit, then it GOES TO PRESS. And copies get sent to the reviewers. And and and and I AM SO EXCITED. That’s my happiest thing today. That’s what I’m keeping my eye on. 

Off to a board meeting. I will attempt not to strangle anyone. I PROMISE I WILL ATTEMPT. I make no guarantees. 


Clothes shopping with Amy: a primer

You can argue there are other train stations prettier than Grand Central, but I won’t believe you.

Well, I’m in New York City right now. My train arrived approximately half an hour ago. I am writing this days in advance, because I couldn’t leave you all without a post. What would happen? Likely the universe would implode. Oh, wait, what. It wouldn’t? Nevermind, then. *I* might implode. I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t post for a day. I might wither like a plant hidden in the dark and denied water, I don’t know.

You’ll get a total NYC recap later in the week, as soon as I sort through my millions of photos and tweets and memories and such. I want to do it up right. If you want to see what I’m doing, pop in and peek at my Twitter feed. The link’s on the right. Susie and I plan on tweeting up a storm today. Well, unless my phone battery dies. It’s pretty shitty. I bought a backup battery so I could switch them out halfway through the day, as I know I’ll need to do that, but I bet I still run out of battery life if I’m not careful. Silly battery-sucking phone.

Oh, before we get to the main event, let’s discuss this nonsense, since I’m in the city so nice they named it twice today. 

Mayor Bloomberg – kind of a dork, in my opinion, but whatever, I don’t hate him, he’s just kind of a dork – has decided the reason people are so fat is that they drink big sodas, so he’s proposed that restaurants, delis, and movie theaters (and I would assume food trucks and kiosks that have fountain drinks, if there are any) are banned from serving any full-calorie beverages in cups over 16 ounces in New York City.

ILLEGAL! ILLEGAL!

Now, listen. I don’t drink soda. I can’t. My migraine medication interacts with it, strangely enough. Anything carbonated tastes bitter. Soda, seltzer, whatever. It all tastes bitter and makes you make a bad face and gag a little. So I can’t drink soda anymore. And even when I did drink soda, I didn’t drink regular soda, because my stupid pancreas stopped working so I’m not allowed. I was a little addicted to diet soda, though. Which would have been allowed under Bloomberg’s diabolical plan.

Isn’t he just kind of goofy? He looks like a cartoon rat or something.

I just find this all very confusing. Is someone going to police the self-serve soda fountain? Or are those going to be outlawed, too? What if you went back up to one 47 times, to make a point, and drank all the soda? Would you be arrested? Are they going to allow people who say, “diet soda please” to have a big cup, but then choke-hold them if they attempt to fill it up with regular soda? Will there be some sort of alarm on the fountain if someone tries to dispense more than 16 ounces at a time?

Also, and here’s my biggest issue. We’re grownups. We can choose what to eat and drink and what not to. If some adult, plus-sized or not, wants 72 ounces of Coke? Oh, for the love of Pete. Let them have it. Who the hell cares. Part of being an adult is being allowed to make our own choices, for good or for ill. SHOULD people be drinking that much soda? Well, no, probably not. But people shouldn’t be doing a lot of things. Right after Bloomberg proposed this, he went to the big National Doughnut Day giveaway in New York and gave a whole speech about how New York City LOVES DOUGHNUTS! And, EVERYONE EAT ALL THE DOUGHNUTS NOW! Come on, dude. Really? Doughnuts are ok, soda’s not? Doughnuts are actually worse, with the fat and the sugar. At least the soda doesn’t have the fat. My dad’s very up-in-arms daily about how THE MAN is watching us, and THE MAN is taking away our liberties, and THE MAN wants to implant chips in the back of all of our necks, and sometimes that’s annoyingly endearing, and sometimes it’s just annoying, but seriously, every time something happens where someone in charge treats those he or she is in charge of like babies, I have to wonder how much of the nonsense my dad spouts has basis in reality.

OK. Enough of that. Let’s talk about the point of the post. Almost 700 words later. Sorry.

Clothes shopping!

I went clothes shopping for New York City clothes today. Don’t even “pics or it didn’t happen” me, I hate that, plus you’ll see what I bought, I’m sure, because Susie and I will take copious photos today. But as I was shopping (which went surprisingly smoothly, for once), I thought about shopping. And life. As you do.

I hate clothes shopping. Well, I hate most shopping. Shopping for things I need sucks. Shopping for fun things, when I have the money for it – I like that. Book shopping. Ooh, nailpolish shopping. I like those things a lot. But clothes/food/toiletries shopping? Blergh, no thanks.

I can do serious wallet-damage at Sally Beauty Supply. Happily, too. Not a complaint in sight.

But clothing is my least-favorite thing to shop for. Mainly this is because I have the weirdest body in the history of the world. I blame this on genetics. Also cheese. And the hatred I have for physical activity.

I am top-and-middle-heavy and yet have no butt so pants fit oddly. I am all front and no back. I need voluminous tops so the girls don’t get squished but then the rest of me looks like I’m swimming in the top like it’s a circus tent. Different parts of my bottom half are completely different sizes. I AM A CIRCUS FREAK.

Luckily, I’m not alone in this. The top half of me looks like my mom’s side of the family; the bottom half, my dad’s. I’m not a total genetic aberration.

Anyway, I go to the store. And NOTHING EFFING FITS. So I get super-cranky super-fast. My mom hates shopping with me. HATES IT. Yet she’s always all, “let’s go shopping!” because she thinks it’s the most fun thing ever, I don’t know.

So, anyway. Tops. Let’s talk tops.

Google Images bought this up when I searched “plus-sized tops.” Um. Why do you assume I want to look like an extra on “True Blood?” An extra that would probably get killed in the first five minutes? No thanks. I’m not a goth teen. I AM A GROWN PROFESSIONAL WOMAN.

Dear plus-sized top manufacturers: here are things we don’t want in tops.

  • Elastic waistbands. This tends to make us look like we’re super-fat and pregnant. Or five years old and trying to be cutesy.
  • Cap sleeves. We have chubby upper arms, buckaroos. Cap sleeves just highlight that.
  • Turtlenecks on summer tops. WTF? It’s HOT out. Why would we want that? Also, turtlenecks make chubby girls look fatter. They highlight our double chins. Unless they’re a cowl neck, and again, WHY WOULD I WANT THAT IN THE SUMMER.
  • Button-downs that aren’t cut a little wider in the chest area, because, well, chest. With curves. If you don’t factor that in, I can’t button the buttons, dude.
  • Shirts with stupid sayings right across the boobs. Come on, really? I’m a grown-ass woman. I don’t need that nonsense. I like a motto tee as much as the next person, but I don’t need it to be garishly ridiculous.
  • Shirts that think “plus size” means “just make it mega-huge, that’ll do.” NO. You need to still make it FLATTERING. Ass. Aren’t plus-sizes outnumbering non-plus-sizes now? Sheesh, start marketing to us, already.
  • Also, this is a thing we WANT, not DON’T WANT. Fitted plus-sized ringer tees. I love them. I can never find them. The ones I have are falling apart from overuse, I love them so. Come on, really? This can’t be that difficult.

Now, pants.

From the same site that brought you chunky goth tops, we have these pants. Really? Zebra-print? That’s not flattering on SKINNY chicks. It’s sure as hell not going to look good on me.

Things we don’t want in pants:

  • Pants that make us look like we have a penis because they have, for some reason, a yard and a half of extra fabric in the crotch.
  • Pants that are so tight we have no circulation to our babymaker and/or a super-pretty cameltoe.
  • Pants that are either so long we have to get them hemmed or so short they might as well be culottes. Why can’t they just be normal lengths? Everyone else can just walk out of the store in their pants. I am 5’8″. This is neither super-tall for women, or super-short. I shouldn’t need to visit a tailor after I shop.
  • Pants that have a mile and a half of extra fabric in the ass. (This might just be me. Cause I have no ass. NONE. Sorry, people that are imagining me as baby-got-back. Baby got NO back. None. I go straight from head to heels. Not a curve in the back at all.)
  • Stupid shit like grommets and bedazzling and creative weathering and nonsense like that. NO NO NO. Just PANTS. I just want some damn SLACKS. Maybe with pockets. I’m a huge fan of khakis. I like to put things in my pockets.

So, anyway, today, after an hour of trying things on, I got two tops and a pair of khakis. A patterned teeshirt with swirly flowers and a pretty v-neck; a purple jewel-toned top with a v-neck and kind of a tie-thingy (and an elastic waistband, which seems to be THE IT THING, but it was somehow actually sort of flattering in this case) and a pair of chocolate-brown khaki-type pants that are very comfortable. A little too long, but that’s par for the course. Plus-sized clothing manufacturers assume that if you’re a fatty, you’re also 7 feet tall, apparently. Which is, of course, true. We’re all Sasquatches. Oh, also, I got all of those things for LESS THAN $30. Win! Total win. They were all buyout and all 20% off.

I also didn’t try to stab anyone at the store, although the other shoppers were annoying and driving me nuts, and the music was SO EFFING LOUD I couldn’t hear myself think. I was just so excited about getting clothes that would be worn in New York City I think I was a lot more forgiving.

Clothes shopping with me, if it ever happens for you, needs to go thusly: you leave me the hell alone. I’m going to get cranky. I’m going to cuss under my breath, get hot and tired, and probably need a beverage. Nothing’s going to fit. I’m going to fall in love with the most expensive things in the store. I’m going to get cranky at the other shoppers and the salespeople and the racks and the dressing rooms and probably the air. I HATE SHOPPING. Just smile and nod. I promise I’ll be ok once we leave the store. If you promise me we can buy nailpolish afterward I might be more tractable.

Anyway, so you probably don’t want to go shopping with me. It’s the worst. BUT, I was successful, and I will be cute as a button today. Well, no. I’m never cute as a button. I’ll be presentable, let’s put it that way. Totally presentable. And I’ll be wearing my best accessory: a HUGE SMILE. Because I’m seeing Susie! Hooray! NYC, I AM IN YOU!

Oh, let’s continue our Bloggiversary week!

Remember, you have until Friday at midnight EST to comment on this post (no, not THIS one, the one in the preceding link!) to be entered into the drawing!

Today’s post of popularity – number five, in case anyone’s counting – is one of my favorites. Not only because I like the topic and am proud of how it turned out and all the work that went into it, but because it led to a collaborative series of posts a week or two later that still remains one of my favorite things about the entire damn year.

Feline Fatal Attraction: Dumbcat is Trying to Kill Me With Brain Parasites

If you click on that, you have to read the comments. They’re the best part.

What did we learn about the popularity of this post? Lots of things. You love things that are awesome. You love Dumbcat. (And why wouldn’t you, he’s fantastic.) It’s worth my time to do an hour or two of research and highlighting and reading of scientific articles, sometimes, because look at the awesome post that resulted. That you love sciency stuff. That Andreas is the best Science Fellow and this blog wouldn’t be half of what it is without him. Lots of things. We learned lots of things with the continuing popularity of that post. Thank you for the continuing popularity of that post.

Happy Tuesday! Go check in on me on Twitter, what do you think I’m doing now, I wonder? Having an adventure? I BET I AM!


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