I Should Be Embarrassed – But I’m Not

In the not-so-recent past I had a day out on the town with my loving sister, E.  The plan was to go shopping at consignment stores in the nearby ritzy suburban oasis with a large outdoor shopping district.

We started the day by following this plan – but things quickly came off the rails.

We DID visit the consigment stores – and some others – and immediately collected armloads of loot to try on in the dressing rooms.

Hilarity ensued.  Things we learned:

1 – NEITHER of us are a Size 0.

(The dress *looked* like it would fit E – who weighs about 15 pounds due to her cardio “addiction”.  Granted, she looked like some sort of cheerleader porn princess in it – and it took us both a lot of work to get it off of her.  We were really lucky we didn’t have to cut the thing off  – considering it was $80.  While pictures were attempted they really weren’t appropriate for public viewing – by anyone – and I was laughing too hard to hold the camara steady.)

2 – Any dress that is both shiny and gold is fun to try on.  Bonus points if it’s made from spandex.

(When the “outfit” is so bad it makes you laugh so hard you nearly lose control of your bladder AND cry and the same time it was most certainly worth the time it took to wiggle into it.)

3 – Small dressing rooms are more fun.

Trying on crazy clothes is just better when two people are crammed into the same tiny, curtained dressing room.  (Yes, curtained AND small.  I’m confident my granny-pantied booty was sticking out for the world to see at one point.  I felt a breeze.)  The added bonus is that you don’t have to open a door for OTHER people to see your shame when the dress that on the hanger looks like something a society lady would wear to a luncheon makes you look like a sausage/ street walker/ tranny.

4 – Neiman Marcus was not made for the likes of The Crazy Suburbanite.

(Prolific profanity was used.  We got the stink eye from more than one sales clerk – either from excessivly fondling the clothes or perhaps from the potty mouths.  I saw an Alexander McQueen clutch that included the likes of a pimp ring as the handle.  I even loudly blurted out “Oh. My. God.  That purse has a PIMP RING AS A HANDLE!!!” right before a girl dressed in an outfit that cost far more than it was worth than a monthly mortgage payment walked by.  I mentioned that she was trying too hard a little loud – since originally I though I had only said that IN MY HEAD – and E thought I said something about her having a pimp…  We also tried on all the shoes in the “discount” sale section acting all the while like we would consider paying $700+ for pair of shoes.  There was much giggling and commenting on how tall we were in said shoes.  Look at me!  I’m so tall!)

5 – The architect and interior designer for Neiman Marcus are crazy awesome.

Who knew that 70’s syle art glass would be back in vogue and ready to rock the entire facade of a building?  Oh, that would be these awesome people.  Sharp angles, bright white, contrasting yellow: Oh. My.

6 – When the kid taking your coffee order gives you a blank stare that does NOT mean he wants to hear about your day.

(Yes, this was us. Apparently we’re old and need hot, delicious coffee at 5pm on an afternoon of “shopping” in 80+ degree heat.  We thought we were being splendidly witty in our banter with the barrista.  Seems that was only in our heads.  The blank stare was because he didn’t care.  NOTED.)

6.  E can justify me buying anything.

Case in point:  The $175 shoes, clearly used and from a consignment store. I’m only trying them on because, “Um, they’re MANOLO’S AND purple AND they feel like butter.”  I’m only trying them on so I can say I have.  This is our conversation:

CS: Wow. These are high.  Cute – and MANOLO’S – but I don’t think I can walk in them.

E:  Sure you can – and they’re ONLY $175.  You should totally buy them.

CS:  The dress I need shoes for only cost $30.

E:  You’re saving SO MUCH MONEY!  How much do new ones cost?

CS:  Nope.  Too high.  And, I’d like to EAT on my vacation.

E:  They’re PURPLE!!!!!!

(I did not buy the shoes.)

7 – Bundt cake is delicious – especially if it’s free because they cut the samples in giant pieces.

(We checked for a shift change to get more – because we have SOME shame – but were thwarted.)

Overall, a fun day with minimal damage to the pocketbook.  I ended up with no clothes from the consigment stores – because apparently I enjoy trying on party dresses – and I have no use in real life for this type of clothing. But, I did buy some shirts and a purse at Ross.  E had a similar type of haul.  Win for us!

Sister time is the best.

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A Tipping Point

There once was a time when the day I was born seemed like the MOST important day of the year.  I have many fond memories of anticipation, gifts received, parties shared with friends and family and lots and lots of cake.

However, as the years have ticked by I’ve found that the anticipation I once felt for a day ALL about me has faded to something closer to dread.

Instead of the excitement I felt about being the center of attention I now spend more time deflecting questions about when the ACTUAL day of celebration falls.  (Lucky for me I was born on a holiday weekend – so I can give a “near X day” answer and people buy it without further question!)

Instead of the dreaming about where my life is going I have to fight the urge to not belittle the life I have created.

It seems that somewhere after 30 the tipping point between excitement of a “new year ahead” and the sadness of “another year gone” was reached.

My 30th birthday was one of my favorites.  It was spent with close friends watching silly videos on You Tube, drinking home brew and eating copious amounts of snacks from the farmers market (mmm…  cherries!).  It was a long weekend – so we spent a lot of time hanging out in our comfy pants while talking and laughing until we couldn’t breathe.

But, only a few (?) years later I spent the day in my cubicle at work shuffling paper – only to complete errands and chores after I left the office.  I fell into bed at 10pm – realizing that I didn’t take the time for dinner – or the all-important chocolate cake.  I think the kicker to me is that I couldn’t even rustle up a decent mood.  Sour puss all day.

Boo for me and my bad attitude!

So, as I start my first day of my new year I’m struggling to find my happy place(Thank you Mr. Ze Frank.  I WILL type like a crazy secretary today – and many days to come!)

It will take some soul searching, but I will make this year a good one.  Perhaps the next time my day comes around I will have tipped back to a place of excitement and hope for the year to come.

In the meantime – I need to find myself some chocolate cake.

The Island – Part 1

No, I wasn’t on Lost.  (Although how totally awesome would THAT have been???)

Okay.  Focus.

Last year before I moved into the wonderful home I have now – The Big Guy and I had three months where we lived in a very “interesting” (read: ghetto) residential hotel.  We lost the month-to-month lease for the place we had been renting (the landlord wanted to rent to family) and we had JUST put the offer in to purchase our current home.  No one wants to rent to someone for 4-20 weeks, so we opted for the hotel.

Now, I’m not sure if any of you have thought of the cost of living in a hotel for 3 months.  My first thought when we decided to “hotel it” was to go to one of the big corporate residential chains and call it done.  Then, I did a price check.  Um, sooooooo very much not in my price range.  We still had some down payment to save for and these places were going to cost 2 to 3 times our normal rent!  So, we started checking the seedier establishments.  They kept getting seedier and seedier.  But, at the very bottom of the list we found one we could afford.  The extra bonus was that it had a kitchenette and allowed us to park two cars in the lot.

Now, first, let’s get this straight.  I am VERY thankful that this hotel was available and that we had a roof over our heads.  But, I entered into my stay there looking at it as “life experience” and “an adventure”.  Please take any snarky finger-pointing that follows in the good nature it is intended.  I’m glad these places exist – because many, many people need and use them – including me.

Anyhoo…  On to the snarky finger pointing!

This place, The Island, exposed me to a part of society for which my upper-middle class upbringing had not prepared me.  How do you want to pay?  That would be cash.  Checks?  No.  Credit Cards?  Not so much…  I actually balked at this: a hotel that doesn’t accept credit cards?!?!  Luckily – The Big Guy was prepared with good ol’ cash.  The very friendly staff provided us with a contract (!) that had to be read and agreed to before they would rent us the space.  This contract was provided to us in a drawer that was slid under a ceiling-high plexiglass bandit barrier.  (Again – ?!?!)  This contract included choice tidbits such as: no refunds – NO exceptions!, a housekeeper MUST be allowed access to the room at least once each week, minors may not be outside their room without an adult after 10pm, and my favorite: no “fraternizing” with the housekeeping staff.  And, in case we forgot these rules were written on a 10-foot high sign behind the check in desk.  The plexi- bandit barrier also had some choice signs and notices pasted to it including one professionally printed sign that had been hand “corrected” to include spelling and grammar errors.  Freaking priceless.

We moved into our new home in about 5 minutes.  Suitcases, sleeping bags, box o’ food, cooler chest of fridge items, about 8 houseplants and the (contraband) microwave and DVD player we had just signed a contract stating we did not have in our possession.  (Seems the building is old and the electronics might be a slight fire hazard.  Whatever.)

I had been briefed by The Big Guy prior to entering the room of what the “rules” for our stay would be: coverlet would be removed from the bed and tossed in the corner never to be touched again – we would sleep on top of the sheets in our sleeping bags; no looking under the bed or too closely at the walls – you probably don’t want to find what might be lurking there; no walking on the floor with bare feet; and all windows would keep their drapes drawn at all times so no one could see into our space.  (Doesn’t this just make you want to run out and live here?!?!)

The first night was finished up with frozen dinners eaten with plastic forks sitting on the bed and watching the second half of Avatar on HBO.  I had already broken one rule by looking at the wall next to my nightstand.  Heebie jeebies ensued.  (I would rather not say what was on the wall – but I will mention it had been there a long time and still grosses me out.)

All in all – I was kind of enjoying myself.  I felt like I was in some world that had been hidden right under my nose my whole life and now I was “an insider”.  Adventure was on my brain.  I had heard stories about this place – after all it was (and still is) a frequent “contributor” to the police blotter in the local newspapers.  I might see cars towed against their owner’s will!  I might see a drug bust/ police raid!  Prostitution action right outside my front door!  Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!

The other things were just a bonus.  I had asked at the front desk if we were supplied cable for our $33+ tax a night.  I was ensured we were and was handed an HBO schedule in east coast time.  Little did I know that for the next four months I would be watching Fox, HBO or self-supplied DVD’s.  Yes, you read that correctly – we didn’t even get reception of local network channels.  However, being that the remote control supplied was not for the television in our room, the lack of channel surfing ability might have been a blessing.  Far less time is spent getting up and changing the channel when you have minimal options.

So, Day One of my adventure ended with me going to sleep in a sleeping bag on a bad mattress in a skeevy room.  The irony?  It was quieter than the quaint little duplex in the nice neighborhood we had just moved out of earlier that evening – since we no longer had to deal with the Jamaican bar we had right outside our backyard.  (Live and learn folks – unless you really can sleep through a war, never rent a place that close to a bar regardless of what the landlord says about the noise level.)  I had my flip flops next to the bed and was warmer than I’d been in weeks since the wall heater was on full blast now that we didn’t have to pay the energy bill.  I fell asleep with visions of adventure in my head.

Stay tuned for more on my life at The Island in the future.  Many of my “adventure” dreams DID come true!