Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The one where Jeff regains control

Today's the day that I officially admit that I've lost the "upper hand" in my marriage.  Don't get me wrong: for a few early years Jeff was basically my bitch.  It was glorious!  But no more.  Lately he's been out-God-damn-flanking me at every turn.  He's been playing me like a country fiddle at a backyard hoedown (and it's exactly as bad as it sounds).

Want an example (and I'm ashamed to admit that I walked right into this one)?  Jeff took me out to lunch last Saturday, which isn't too unusual, and we had the following exchange.

Jeff:  How's your sandwich?
LAB:  Great.
Jeff:  So, I, ummmmmm, bought an engine hoist.
LAB:  Excuse me?
Jeff:  You know, an engine hoist.  To pull engines out of cars.
LAB:  Hmmmmm.
Jeff:  It only cost XXX hundred dollars. (amount redacted to hide our spendy ways)
LAB:  XXX hundred dollars?  What a coincidence.  You spent the exact same amount on a necklace that you "spontaneously" bought me last week on vacation.
Jeff:  Huh.  I didn't think of that.
LAB:   Hmmmmm.
Jeff:  What?
LAB:  You unexpectedly spent XXX hundred dollars on a gift for me, and then you spent XXX hundred dollars on something you have wanted for years but couldn't justify buying.
Jeff:  Huh.  How about that.
LAB:  Yep.  How about that.  So now you figure that I've got nowhere to go with this, don't you?
Jeff:  If you say so.
LAB:  You win this one.  But don't get cocky.

Remember my last post, in which I gloated about how I "tricked" Jeff into buying me a nice necklace while we were on vacation?  Yeah.  Not so much.  I think I may have grossly underestimated him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The reappearance of Fun Jeff

One of the great things about our anniversary trip was that “fun Jeff” showed up, as opposed to “less fun, but still tolerable Jeff”  or “Jesus Christ, could his mood get any worse? Jeff”.    I see more of that guy than I care to, but it’s usually because of something I did. Or didn’t do.  Or broke.  Or drove into the side of the house (but that only happened once).

Jeff’s mood is directly related to the amount of sleep he gets and he was working nights the week before we left for vacation, which meant he’d had crappy daytime sleep for a solid week.   I was naturally concerned that the Jeff I’d find on vacation might not be the Jeff with whom I really wanted to spend 24 hours a day for several days in a row.   Thankfully, he was in great spirits for the entire trip.

As part of his good spirits, Jeff took me to a jeweler in Savannah that had a bunch of funky jewelry in the storefront window and told me to pick something out.   He never does this.  Never.  We usually agree beforehand how much we’ll spend on gifts for each other and we don’t deviate from the agreed-upon cost.  Plus, there’s a moratorium on jewelry purchases in our house.  There’s also a moratorium on sourdough bread, but that’s a story for another day.

But last week he walked me into the jeweler and over to a display case that had gold, silver and semi-precious-stone items in it (all very reasonably priced) and told me to pick out anything I wanted and it could be my anniversary / early birthday present.  I thought for a minute and asked “Anything”? 

It was at this point that Jeff made a tactical error.  He doesn’t make them often.  May be he was a little tipsy, I’m not sure.  But without thinking, he replied “Sure”.   In 2 seconds flat I took one giant step away from the reasonably-priced items and stepped up to the diamonds.  Hello, my pretties!!!  I didn’t really expect to get away with it, but a girl’s gotta try!  Turns out, “fun Jeff” is also “easily amused Jeff” and he coughed up for a nice gift for me (not too nice – I went easy on him).    Guess I’ll keep him another 10 years.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Senate Bill 10: revisited

So by now you probably know that Senate Bill 10 passed (SB 10 is outlined at the bottom of this entry for the uninitiated).  Finally.  Many Georgians will be allowed to vote in November on whether or not to allow retail package sales of beer, wine & liquor on Sundays.  Others will have to wait until the next scheduled election in their municipality, which could be as late as November 2012.  Sucks to be them.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today.  Today I want to tell you about the little civics lesson I received by following the live feed of the Georgia House of Representatives Session on April 12. 

Holy crap, people.  The GA House is a clusterf*ck. 

SB 10 was presented late in the day on Tuesday the 12th.  As I recall, it was after 9 p.m., but I’m not sure of the exact time (alcohol was involved).  Anyway, I had been watching the live feed with great boredom, just waiting for SB 10 to be called.  When I finally heard the magic words, I immediately perked up.

The bill was introduced and the Speaker asked “will there be any questions”.  Due to the late hour and the number of issues left to discuss, several Representatives mumbled (not too quietly) “Noooooooo”, which I thought was all kinds of awesome.  But alas, several Reps had questions.  There was the normal back & forth until one Representative (and I wish to God I knew who it was, it was an older lady dressed to-the-nines in her ridiculous Sunday-go-to-meeting hat) stood up and said…and I shit you not…”Is this the jobs bill”?  Jesus. H. Christ.  He just read the damn thing in its’ entirety.  Did it *sound* like the jobs bill?

There was a moment of silence in the chamber and then the Rep who read the bill from the well said “No.”  Crazy lady, still standing, replied “Will it create jobs?”   Rep in the well said “Ummm. It could.”  Crazy lady sat down.   Seriously.  The people we elected to represent us in the GA House can’t even be bothered to pay attention to the issue on which they’re voting.  And it’s not like it was some bullshit bill about waste management or renaming a street.  It’s one of the most controversial bills introduced this year.  It received an enormous amount of press coverage.  Everyone from the Christian Coalition to the Liquor Lobby had piped in on it.  So no, lady.  It’s not the jobs bill.

After the questions, we got to the Speech-a-fying.   Two reps made rational comments about how the bill isn’t about religion or alcohol and was really focused on citizen’s rights.  One rep asked to be excused from the vote (big baby!).  We had the requisite son-of-an-alcoholic Rep who spoke about how his shitty childhood justifies his opposition to the bill (apparently his Dad was always sober on Sundays because he was too dumb to plan ahead).  We had the standard Christian Coalition kiss-ass make his point.  Blah, blah, blah.  Not exactly “must see TV”.

But later, I heard the most convincing argument yet against the bill.  A representative stood in the well and said that his issue with the bill was that the Legislature was pushing decisions down to the citizen’s because they were too chickenshit to make the decision themselves (I’m paraphrasing here).  It actually made sense to me.  His point was that if they’re pushing this issue out for a vote, why aren’t all decisions made by local referendum?  It was a valid point, but it was made much too late.  And frankly, I’ll take my rights however I can get them and local referendum works just fine for me.

The bill was finally put to a vote, and easily passed 127 to 44. Not even close.  The whole thing took less than 30 minutes.  It was equal parts riveting and appalling to watch.  I stopped watching the stream immediately after the bill passed, but I still wonder if crazy lady stood up when the jobs bill was introduced and said “Is this the liquor bill”?

From the Georgia Senate Website:
Senate Bill 10: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Code Section 3-3-7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the local authorization and regulation of sales of alcoholic beverages on Sunday, so as to provide that in each county or municipality in which package sales of only malt beverages and wine by retailers is lawful, the governing authority of the county or municipality, as appropriate, may authorize package sales by a retailer of malt beverages and wine on Sundays from 12:30 P.M. until 11:30 P.M., if approved by referendum; to provide procedures; to provide for applicability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's 3 a.m. Do you know where your husband is?

I’m still sorting through my vacation stories trying to determine what’s “funny funny” (i.e. Jeff’s encounter with the Lady Chablis in the hotel lobby) and what’s “you really had to be there funny” (i.e. busting a sales clerk asleep on the floor under the display cabinets of a mall kiosk), although it’s all hilarious to me.

First let me explain why we chose Savannah as our destination.  Since Thursday is our 10th wedding anniversary, we originally wanted to go somewhere really cool (as in out of the country), but the economy and my job in real estate have us spooked so we decided to lower our standards (which is fitting, since that’s what Jeff did when he finally agreed to marry me).   

Savannah was the obvious choice for one very good reason.  When you enter a bar in Savannah and order a drink, the bartender replies with the following magical words: “For here or to go”?  Oh, hells yeah people!  Those five little words put a song in my heart (and a stumble in my step).  In Savannah you’re not only allowed to gad about in public with an adult beverage in your hand, it’s practically required.   You can take your drink everywhere you go as long as it’s in a plastic cup.  It’s tragic that I’m not already a permanent Savannah resident.

The first night of our stay, it finally hit me what it means to be married to Jeff for 10 years.  Jeff was coming off a week of working the p.m. shift, so we knew he probably wouldn’t sleep well the first couple of nights.   I wasn’t at all surprised to hear him get up around 3 a.m.   We booked a suite for this very reason, and he went into the living area while I slept.  About 30 minutes later I was awakened by the strangest sound coming from the living area.  It was like a long, low screech and then a kind of a ripping noise.  It almost sounded like huge pieces of packing tape being ripped off the roll.  And it happened again and again and again.

Any woman in her right mind would be concerned by this noise.  But not me.  When you’re married to Jeff, you learn to expect the unexpected.   We’re 10 years in people.  Nothing surprises me.  If he was out there wrapping up a dead body in a spare blanket for disposal, I was sure he had a good reason.  So I did the obvious thing and went back to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I asked Jeff if he was making a strange screeching, ripping sound overnight.  His response?  “Yep.  I decided to shave but the cold air was blasting out of the ceiling vent in the bathroom.  I didn’t want to turn off the A/C, so I taped over the vent with packing tape.”

See?  Perfectly reasonable explanation.  Don’t all husbands take a giant roll of packing tape on vacation and get out of bed at 3 a.m. to tape over a ceiling vent and shave?  No?  Well, mine does.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fit for a dog

Since my tragic rejection by the USO, I've pretty much given up on the idea of finding a volunteer opportunity.  Most of the opportunities I was interested in weren't a good fit due to my work schedule or were already fully-staffed with volunteers (lots of folks out of work these days).

So I've decided to find a new hobby that I can do on my own.  Today's venture?  Homemade dog biscuits.  Check it out, peeps.  And my pooches like them, too!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Second Best Typo Ever

Jeff and I just got back from our vacation to Savannah (which I didn't mention previously because nothing screams "Free Flat Screen TVs - first customer only!" like announcing online that your home will be uninhabited for a few days).  While on a side trip to Tybee Island, we came across the second best typo ever. Don't get me wrong: "Persue Perfection" will always be the gold standard of typos.  No question.  But the #2 slot has officially be filled.

On the advice of Trip Adviser, we stopped for lunch at Gerald's Pig & Shrimp on Tybee.  On the back of the menu was a little blurb about the owner (the aforementioned Gerald), which noted that he was a former "Thesbian".  Spelled exactly that way.  I'm assuming that it meant that he was a former Thespian, but I'm open to the idea that he was a former actor who liked the ladies (Thespian + Lesbian = Thesbian).  You never know.

Whenever I come across such a misspelling, I like to hit up the Urban Dictionary website to see what awesome definition they found for the word.  And I wasn't disappointed:  Thesbian - A woman who isn't really a Lesbian but is just acting gay, either as a response to negative learned behavior towards men or not wanting to be alone due to unattractiveness.  Urban Dictionary, I think I love you.  Although I should note that the UD entry is grossly unfair to imply that Lesbians are unattractive.  Based on my (none of your business) experience, there are some smokin' hot daughters of Sappho out there.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Return of the J-Dubs

Guess who stopped by my house for a visit on Saturday?  My pals the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The ole JW’s.  The J-Dubs, if you will. God, how I’ve missed them!

I first noticed that they were on my street when they knocked on my neighbor’s door (my Pentecostal neighbors, I should note).  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation:

  Jehovah’s Witness: “You’re going to hell.”
  Pentecostal Neighbor: “No, you are.”
  JW: “No, you are.”
  PN: “No. You.”
  JW: “No. You.”

I’m surprised it ever ended!

Let me first say that when the J-Dubs come to my house I treat them with respect.  Well, first I try to hide from them but if I can’t avoid contact then I treat them with respect and hustle them off as quickly as possible.  It must be really hard to go door-to-door espousing your personal beliefs to complete strangers, and while I disagree with their beliefs they’re just doing their thing. Whatever.

My personal choice is to spend as little energy as possible on religion.  I’m not an atheist or a theist or a deist or any kid of an “ist”.  I guess if I had to declare myself I’d say I’m an indifferent agnostic.  Is it possible that there is a God and a Devil and a heaven and an afterlife?  Absolutely.  There are a lot of religious options out there, I’m just not interested in participating in any of them.  I liken my view on religion to a high school guy who can’t decide whether to ask out the homecoming queen or the less attractive girl who is more likely to accept, so he just goes out with his buddies instead.

But back to my Saturday guests.  I was effectively hiding from them in Jeff’s office until I had to leave the house to take Marley to the vet.  I walked out the back door, put Marley in the car and...AMBUSH!  They were standing in my driveway.  How do they do that?  One minute they were across the street and the next minute they were right in front of me.  Spooky!

I like to immediately take the upper hand in these situations, so I said “Hello.  Out visiting today?” (Hello, Captain Obvious here) and I reached out my hand to take the pamphlet offering of the day.  They handed me a pamphlet and said “We’d like to invite you to a service to celebrate the death of Jesus.”  Ummmm.  OK.  I replied “Thanks, I’m just headed out.”  That was the entire exchange.

So I got in the car, glanced at the pamphlet and noticed that the “celebration” they invited me to was at...wait for it...a frigging funeral home.  Sweet. Jesus.  Apparently the J-Dubs are celebrating the death of the son of their God at The Flanigan Funeral Home.   Not much surprises me, but this?  Had me wondering just what events are planned for the death celebration.  Will there be a casket?  Will someone be in said casket?  I have to admit I’m almost tempted to hit this thing up just to see what goes on (but I won’t).

I know what you’re thinking: “Bullsh*t, LAB.  You must be making this up”.

And to you I say:

BAM!  You should know better than to doubt me.  As an aside, I’d like to mention that somebody needs to work on their sticker-sticking skills.

The whole episode got me to thinking (which is never good): next time they visit, can I treat the J-Dubs with respect and still mess with them just a little?  They kind of owe me some slack after the whole funeral home invitation, right?  

I’m thinking next time they knock on my door I’m going to pretend like they represent the Fellowship of the Sun from True Blood.  I imagine it would go something like this:

  JWs: We’d like to invite you to a…
  LAB: (interrupts) DIE FANGERS!
  JWs: Excuse me?
  LAB: Praise his holy light!  You guys packing?
  JWs: What?
  LAB: Stakes!!!  You have them with you, right?
  JWs: What?
  LAB: Never know when you’ll need to stake a vamper!
  JWs: (backing away) Heresapamphletwehavetogo.

How awesome would that be?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

In our 10 years of marriage, I've had to explain many of my dumb ass "incidents" to Jeff.  I tend to run into trouble when he's out of town.  Like, for example, the time he came home from a business trip and found 3/4 if our Dalmatian's coat was dyed pink (henceforth known as the "Exploding Blender Full of Daiquiris Incident") or the numerous times he had to drive my ass all over town to retrace my steps in an attempt to locate and retrieve my car (collectively known as the "I should write down where I parked before I get my drink on and catch a cab home" incidents).

But tonight?  I'm going to have to explain to him how I ended up with a giant bite mark on my inner thigh while he was out of town.  People, we have a winner.

I'm going to explain to you exactly what happened, and then I'd love some feedback on whether I should stick to the truth, come up with a convincing lie or just attempt to avoid letting him see that part of my anatomy until the bruise is gone and hope for the best.

Here's what (really) happened:  Last week Jeff bought a jumbo-sized bag of dog food for Marley.   I used the last of the old food in her dish last night, so I grabbed the new bag to empty into the storage container.  It was really heavy, so I had to kind of squat down to get enough leverage to handle the bag.  As always, Boomer and Marley were watching me intently in case I spilled a few kibbles onto the floor.  Marley was on my left and Boomer was on my right.  I had emptied about half the bag into the container when I lost my footing and landed on my butt, spilling a fair amount of food in the process.  Boomer immediately lunged for the food.  Marley immediately snapped at Boomer.  My inner thigh got caught in the middle.  Chaos ensued.

So now I've got a bite-shaped bruise (including teeth marks) that distinctly resembles a hickey right near my Business District.  Just below The Chamber of Commerce, if you will.  Explaining this one may be tricky.

Friday, April 1, 2011

University Smackdown

I was going to post another April Fool's entry today, but due to the hilariously negative reaction I got from some of you crybabies regarding my April 1 pregnancy post last year, I reconsidered.  So no hi-jinks from me today.  I'll just write the same old crap.  You're welcome.

Jeff told me about a couple of months ago that he thinks he should bite the bullet and finally finish his college degree (he's a few credits shy of finishing).  I'm all for it, but when he told me that he decided to apply to Georgia State University since it's near his office, I had to warn him to gear up for battle because he'll be getting a boatload more than he bargained for.

I attended GSU for one semester during my Internship in Atlanta while I was a student at Auburn and I also took a handful of post-graduate courses there a few years ago.  And that school put me through the absolute wringer.  Repeatedly.

Don't get me wrong - GSU is a great school (especially the School of Business), but they laid the smack down on me like nobody's business.  I'll give you a quick example: halfway through a semester (for which I had already paid  and was faithfully attending each class)  I received a letter stating that my enrollment had been canceled due to "immunization issues".

That's right: my histological history had been sufficient to get me through all four years of school and graduation at Auburn, as well as a year of graduate school at UNC-Charlotte (which sadly did not result in a degree), but as far as GSU was concerned I was right off the rubber raft from a third-world country and I needed to be thoroughly scrubbed and possibly deloused.

They specifically wanted me to get a measles shot, although I could prove that I had been fully-immunized as a child and that I underwent a second round of shots during the measles epidemic at Auburn in the 80's (remember that one AU pals?).  Didn't matter.  They wouldn't let me back on campus until I went to *their* medical office to get re-immunized (do I smell a university money-making conspiracy here?).  I checked with my doctor to make sure another round of measles shots wouldn't do me any harm and I got the damn shot.  I don't remember how much it cost, but the whole thing left a really bad taste in my mouth.  And my arm hurt, too.

I could go on for paragraphs about the real (and perceived) slights heaped on me by GSU, but today's post is about Jeff's experience - before he even takes his first class.

Jeff sent in his application and his transcripts from the colleges he has already attended and he received a provisional acceptance letter that said before he could enroll he needed to take a standardized test to assess his "reading, writing and mathematics" skills.  You read that correctly.  Jeff, who has already earned an Associate's Degree, who has lived in Europe and Central America and can communicate effectively in three languages, who works in a high-pressure job with a large staff, and who is substantially smarter than I'll ever be, is being asked by GSU to participate in the standardized test version of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader".  I know it's all kinds of wrong, but I find this hilarious.  Jeff?  Not so much.

The best part?  The letter was addressed to "Dear Non-Traditional Student".  What. The. Hell.  I guess being in a professional male in your 40's lumps you in with students who are non-English speakers or GED recipients or whoever else gets this treatment.

And it's not like he can just show up and take the stupid test.  He's going to have to buy the study materials to get a refresher course in all that crap you learn in high school and never use again (hello, Calculus!).  I find this even more hilarious.  I really am a crappy wife.

Jeff read the letter and said "What the hell do they want from me?"  They want to break you down and steal your soul, babe.  Trust me on this one.