Sunday, May 04, 2008
You have made dinner. With minimal help from a boy, who's flopped on the couch catching up on whatever brand of Law & Order is on. Generally, he's stretched out as far as he can be on the sofa, a hand is on the belly and shoes are off. If he helped cook noodles, have a gold star handy, you'll need it.
This is fine. You like cooking. It's relaxing. You also know you are a better cook than your boyfriend, purely because of the training your mother gave you. Maybe because she liked it, or maybe because she was used to it.
You eat the delicious fruits of your labor: sometimes something that braised for 3 hours on the stove, sometimes something that popped fresh from the toaster oven onto a plate.
And yet you get stuck with the dishes.
Perhaps you, like me, inhabit that gray area-- where this is my house, and this isn't his house. I can't expect him to be as interested as dusting as I am, but on the other hand he spends a lot of time here. I'd like to not feel like he may start expecting turn-down service when he is around. I'm not wearing an apron, after all. Not even with a touch of irony.
A friend of mine has perhaps, the most illustrious experience.
Mine is known as the "get me water" fight. I'm sure you can see where that went. Let's just make it fair to say I was not headed for the kitchen.
My friend? Her boyfriend ate her food.
Hurriedly preparing for a fun night out, she had nuked a turkey burger to inhale before a few drinks with friends. This friend of mine has effortless composure, even after a few whiskeys. She's bad-ass. It must be the burgers! Her boyfriend arrived as it was freshly plated.
She turned around after greeting him, and found him mid-bite. In her dinner. In their rush. Because he was hungry. So hungry, in fact, that he didn't have the time to ask if he could forage for a snack. He just saw food on the table, and assumed he had full access to it.
This fight generally happens in the gray area of "we have been dating for a while and you are around, but you aren't living here, so you are a guest (?)". And guests get glasses of water handed to them when they ask. And plates of food set out are often for them.
But this dude isn't a guest, he's a part of your life. And when a part of your life puts you into a box without consideration, but in part because you let him-- the line of politeness and caring constantly shifts. You want to do nice things for him, but you don't want to be walked all over. Likewise, he gets used to being too comfortable in his divet in the couch and then when you pitch a fit, he's surprised. He had no idea, that in that moment, of his hands on his belly, or wrapped around your dinner, that he is not a guest. Nor are you the harried hostess who has a dinner party 3 - 4 nights a week with no dishwasher. And a monthly grocery bill that is triple his.
People aren't moving from their parents' house right onto marriage. People don't blindly accept that because I'm a lady I take care of the inside of the house, and a boy would take care of the outside. Because I rent an apartment, and I call shenanigans on whomever takes care of our front lawn (man or woman) because it needs HELP.
I'm already a multi-tasker, and I don't have children! I can put laundry in, clean the bathroom, update my Facebook profile, and make dinner all at once. FOR ME. FOR MY HOUSEHOLD OF ONE. I've lived alone for well over a year and I like things how I like them.
This brings me to the other issue: living alone has made me particular. Also my genes, but that was sort of undeniable anyway. I used to not get it when I "did the dishes wrong" as a child, but now I totally see it as clear as day. You're a fool to wash the pots first, and there's no argument you can make to change my mind. And that's an uphill battle with my own neuroses that I battle every day. The reality of it is that I can't imagine sharing an apartment, chores or DVR space with a boy. There's barely enough room for all the Top Model reruns and hit movies of the 90's in mine.
But that's what a relationship is: choosing your battles. Building a partnership requires give and take, but if both of you are carrying your relationship around in tandem, and one of you is constantly the one walking backwards, you start to resent his view of the future. Of course it looks awesome.
Because all you see is a trail of socks and shoes from your front door. And a collection of dirty glasses on the coffee table in your dishwasher-less apartment. But he sees a great gig with a girl who's funny but sometimes inexplicably furious. Suddenly, the boy who once "broke all the rules of dating" to take you out two nights in a row is completely unable to stand up and hydrate himself. Or if you're my friend, the boy who whispered sweet nothings in your ear in a language you don't speak had blatant disregard your schedule, and above all, your hunger.
So how do you fix them? How do you undo years of their mommies mommy-ing them and then even the years of your desire to be nice to them and do it the only nurturing way you know how? More mommy-ing? Greater interest in sports? More beer chugging like one of the guys? How can you show your appreciation without sacrificing your self respect so that when it comes to making big decisions you don't let your resentment speak for your heart?
Because hearts generally are better leaders, and often lead you to the good sense to have a dishwasher. And boys, take note-- they are necessary.
Monday, April 07, 2008
But really, I couldn't be squishier inside. It's a bad holdover from high school.
Shhhhh, don't tell. I sleep with a stuffed panda. That my boyfriend gave me. And I knit things for babies, and cry at work, and TiVo Extreme Home Makeover. Punk rock I am not.
But one thing that I think is a little bad ass is my ladies-only poker night. It's become extra enjoyable now that we're all finally better at it (i.e. thinking in flushes and straights aside from wishing desperately make two pair).
Also, it comes with a serious amount of rib-poking. It's fun to be only chicks, talking the girl talk, sassing each other, and doing something "the boys do". Just pass the pinot grigio, shut up about your boyfriend, and call someone a naughty word for your own ladyparts if they mess it up. It's the absence of men that makes it so fun, actually. But the fact that there's some risk involved, quick thinking, and lots of wine help.
But with the bad-assery comes the squish. It's a $10 buy-in. Sometimes we'll sing with Lily Allen. Often, chocolate and cheese are involved.
But hey, like all tough players, regardless of gender, we stand up when we go all in.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
But back to stupid April 1st.
It's an excuse for the corporate world to try and nervously prove that it has a sense of humor. Meetings held to announce the end of TPS reports, email trails of Family Circus cartoons, and a promise of lobster in the office cafeteria. Of course, none of this is true, minus the stupid forwards of cartoons, usually from the type of person that has an email message background, a quote on the bottom of their email, and makes a lot of smiley faces.
The webber-tubes are also overly geeked about April fools day, making jokes with slashes, ones, zeros and cats laughing, rabbits disapproving, and dogs failing. One of my personal favorite sites, Jezebel, turned into Lucky-magazine-meets-the-skinny-website for a day. I let that slide though, because it's smart.
The only gag that really made today worth grinning and bearing, is the You Tubes.
When I was little, my dad had this 45. YES, THE 45! I would dance to it, watching my reflection on the darkened TV with Get in Shape Girl sweatbands on my wrists, thinking this is what it must be like at prom. Minus the spandex. And also, the possibility of cleavage.
Rick Astley makes everything better. A lousy week at work. Gloomy weather. A sinkful of dishes you've been ignoring since Sunday.
The bouncy dancing. He really leads with the knees and the finger snap, doesn't he? He's guilty of the white person overbite. And someone clearly told him to write his name in the air with his ass. While attempting "the eggbeater".
The pants. Specifically, the whole head-to-toe denim look. It's like he's hiding a cheese steak in there for a snack later. Maybe two.
The bartender. Where is he when I need him? Can we get him a job at Sonoma, my new favorite place to hang out? Seriously, just don't kick over my bowl of baby peaches and I think that would really spiff up the upstairs atmosphere. I especially like when he's recycled as the dancer in booty shorts who bounces off a fence. Nice transition, 1980's music video editor!
The set. Clearly, the filming location of your local haunted house during Halloween.
The two blonde backup dancers. Who does this guy think he is? The artist formerly known as Prince for the Landsende catalogue crowd?
I've watched this video no less than about 17 times today. I maybe danced to it in my living room.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
My new (old) bike!
Originally uploaded by dckatastrophe
Lots of big, life purchases are made in your mid-twenties. I know people buying rings, buying homes, buying cars, or buying time. You know, for their grown up lives of homeownership, parenting, and credit-having.
I just bought the most gorgeous vintage bicycle. Really, who needs a better life-stage purchase than that?
It's true, it wasn't expensive. Five crisp twenties handed over to some kindly Dutch lady who was moving back to the Netherlands who had this bike while she was here.
She loved this bike, all three speeds of it. The fenders especially, for the rain.
I like it because this is a dream. Well, part of the dream.
Since I've lived in DC, I've wanted a bike. Since I was an idiot eighteen-year-old, wide-eyed with the city life. Specifically, with a basket. To put a puppy in. And streamers. Perhaps a horn. To ride to Eastern Market. To purchase veggies and fresh flowers. To ride home to my perfect life.
Now I have the bike. No basket or streamers or puppy or veggies. Just yet. But I live near Eastern Market. And I sometimes have fresh flowers.
I might have to buy this first. But otherwise. I like this stage. Free transportation is a good thing.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Really, work needs it.
A little Paula Abdul that is.
Seriously, it's like my cool kid card should be revoked. Ok, ok, ok, ok, like the half a cool kid card I found on the sidewalk once should be revoked. I should be telling you how much I love Vampire Weekend, but instead I really just want to dance like there's no tomorrow.
I don't know WHY exactly either. It's a little magic carpet ride, a little Prince hooky baseline, a little forever your girl, a little "Remember the Time" Michael Jackson kick-back and tres over-produced. Paula's voice is as flat as a pancake and as thin as her hair.
It's the kind of song you make dances up to. This song calls for three Katastrophic signature moves: making one's neck work (generally in a circle from right to left), the Roger Rabbit and the Michael Jackson snap while leaning to one side.
You should give it a try. It feels good. But not great. This song is the appetizer to your entree of Rhianna. The amuse bouche to your Fergie. This song revs you up to hear oooooooh what's next? Because that song is ABOUT that feeling. it's like an M.C. Escher drawing of getting ready to go out and flip your hair around, 3 cocktails to the wind and in a new shirt.
But I'll still take it, I'm a little cheesy.
Case in point: I'm the kind of girl who's had 7 PBR's and when "Umbrella" comes on at the Argonaut, I whip out my umbrella from my purse and do a little Mummers strut in my chair while I'm a little losing my balance and a lot losing my pride. At the Argonaut. Cuz there's lots of dancing at the Argonaut. With an umbrella open indoors. Bouncing above our heads. I squarely blame awesome bartender Lee and my boyfriend's birthday celebration for that. And PBR was $2.75.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I'm on the metro home from work. Late. Because even though I'm miserable, all of that birth order hoo ha is completely true. I am not going to break any rules, stop over-achieving (hi first-borns!), or disappoint my superiors just because of a little misery?!
So I am sitting in one of those coveted seats, with no inward-facing seats in front of me, in the first row. By the window. I'm ipodless, bookless, knit-less and paperless, for once. I usually need an army of supplies to get me through my 16 minute commute or I am as cranky as a toddler on an endless road trip.
So I'm employing the standard Marge Simpson method-- closing my eyes and thinking of items I'd like to purchase to pass the time.
As I'm off enjoying visions of not sugarplums, but slingbacks, I hear someone behind me.
"I'm gonna bust a rocket up your ass. Yeah, I said it. I'm gonna bomb you."
I'm snapped out of my fantasy of shoe shopping with Stacey and Clinton and think, "huh.... I'm not sure who that was directed towards", and decide to resume fabricating the perfect flat, knee-high boot.
"Yeah, and I need an apple, or yogurt or something.... With some FLAX!" the voice behind me exclaims.
Now I'm intrigued.
It's the million-dollar question.
Are they crazy, or is it just Bluetooth?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
How to survive 30 mins on the elliptical with only the golf channel to squint at and nary a magazine in sight
Hey Mama - Black-Eyed Peas
Never Gonna Come Back Down - BT feat. Mike Doughty
Smiley Faces - Gnarls Barkley
Stop - The Spice Girls
Ojos Asi - Shakira
My Love - Justin Timberlake (Diplo Remix)
Days Go By - Dirty Vegas
Touch the Sky - Kanye West
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Cue the chorus of groans, you've all witnessed a girl cry at work. I'm groaning along with you, really I am. That girl sucks. I hate her too. She can't just separate work and real life. She can't not take everything too personally. She can't stand up for herself, she gets overwhelmed, blah blah blah.
I read ya. Loud and clear. I received a "I'm worried about you" AND a pity coffee today.
A PITY COFFEE.
In a time of layoffs, by the way. Again. Now with more beer money and less patience in waiting for my F-ing severance already!
The hot tears sprung to my eyes for the first place because my job is like working for The Terrible Trivium.
So, after moving piles of sand with tweezers, drilling through mountains with needles, and emptying wells with an eyedropper, I had about had it.
So I cried.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Every time I'd walk by, I'd press my nose against the glass to see the candles flickering, customers laughing, and the wine flowing. Seemed like my kind of place, if I could dig my elbow far enough into DK's side to get him off the couch, away from the soft glow of my flat screen TV.
DK and I couldn't wait to try it out. It was out of our normal price range, so we made it a special occasion. A maybe 3-year anniversary (who can know? We don't!). A date. A thing. That we'd drop some coin on.
Frankly, it was unremarkable.
Our server came over immediately after we sat down and pushed a cocktail on us. No menus had been opened, no wine list inspected, not even a breath between “hihowareyou” and “howaboutacocktail”. We said we were still deciding and off she went to be chatty with other patrons and let us sit for 10 minutes too long. That wait multiplied between courses while she laughed with the preferred table of five to our right. They ordered the cocktails. And maybe they didn’t look shocked at her attire. Which consisted of a short black skirt. And a black hoodie. A HOODIE. In a restaurant where 12 gnocchi were $17, and 3 scoops of pistachio gelato were $10, I feel like that waives both the customer and the server the right to wear a hoodie.
The busboy was my favorite hilarious wayward detail of the night. Water glasses? SLAM! There you go! He ran suicides back and forth from the tables to the kitchen, huffing and puffing the whole way. Bread and dipping oil was tossed onto the table, the basket skidding to a stop before he angrily re-arranged our glasses to accommodate the gliding hockey puck of an oil dish. He was so over-worked slamming glasses around; he only managed to refill water once—after we had finished eating.
In fact, the only likable person I encountered was a server who set down my cheese plate. Smiling, she explained which cheeses were which, and said to enjoy.
The food was lovely, but for the money you paid the loveliness of it didn’t warrant that teeny of a portion. DK had the pork belly, which was cooked to perfection, I must concede. My cheese plate was also delish, but compared to the past five days in Quebec without a war on bacteria, the cheese we ate there from the grocery store was decidedly better.
Yet the place was crowded. Packed. People desperate for a nice place to eat without leaving the Hill. Perhaps this is why we Hill people are so persnickety about leaving the neighborhood- we have to all the time just to get some decent food, we could be at least left alone to stare into our $5 beers stumbling distance from our apartments.
I love living on the Hill, don’t get me wrong, dive-y bars and all. I like watching dogs, having Eastern Market a few blocks away, and a knitting store just a few further. But since the government office and the throngs of their workers descend upon the neighborhood for lunch and post-work snacks, it’s not like any place sits idle— no matter how mediocre.
But seriously, the further DK and I get from our date, our special anniversary dinner, the less I liked my experience. This place doesn't know if it wants to be a Hook's Mediterranean little sister or a funky neighborhood bistro. If it wants to be the former, ban hoodies and amp up the sevice. If it wants to be the latter, lower the prices and amp up the portions. Considering there was less handholding and nuzzling on this date, and more “whoa— what is up with this busboy?” the more I think I’ll never try it again.
In fact, maybe you shouldn’t either. It was much better off remaining Meyhane.
Locanda is decidedly disappointing.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
2.) Return home to the warm, soft glow of new TV and multiple episodes of Girls Next Door in the DVR.
3.) Spaghetti (not diet friendly).
4.) Three vodka tonics. Extra lime. (diet friendly! diet tonic!) No sharing.
5.) Rinse and repeat.