Friday, February 25, 2011

No Ma'am

I wish I could remember the first time it happened. I'm sure that time was the most scarring. Maybe it's the increase in crow's feet around my eyes, or the engagement ring on my finger, or the frumpy sweaters I've been wearing this winter, but I seem to be getting called "ma'am" more and more often.

And I don't like it one bit.

Sure, I'm turning 35 in a couple months. But HUMOR ME people! "Ma'am" makes me feel like I'm 67. Grocery checkers and restaurant hosts and theater ushers would put smiles on so many more middle-aged women's faces if they would just refer to us all as "miss." Not so hard. But oh so very effective and endearing.

Mr. Wonderful knows how much I hate the word, so every now and then even he will give me a "no ma'am" answer when asked a question. I yell at him every time and he just smiles wickedly.

I'm sure there are people out there who appreciate being called ma'am. When Mr. W and I were in Arezzo, Italy, we listened to a British woman correct a sweet teenage Italian server because he called her "misses" instead of "ma'am." She was 108 years old, I think. You know who else probably appreciates being called ma'am? Trannies.

Speaking of which, I had my bachelorette party last weekend and about 20 of my friends headed to a transvestite bar in West Hollywood with me for dinner and drinks. The girls dressed me up as a disco bride—with "something blue" platform shoes, fake eyelashes, silver glitter eyeshadow, and of course a sparkly veil. As the night wore on and the drinks kept landing in my mouth and the trannies kept coercing brides-to-be onto the stage (there were 4 of us, apparently Hamburger Mary's is a popular spot for bachelorette parties) I added a pair of candy underwear to my getup. And yes, I let a gay man eat off the butt crack portion of them. Because I'll never have an opportunity like that again after I'm married.

There were some outrageous Ma'am Mans at the bar, singing for us.

One of my girlfriends was going to the bathroom and the lovely lady above was standing nearby. When my friend passed, she slipped on the bottom of the lady's satiny gown and took a digger that left her with a bruised knee. Maybe if she has said, "Excuse me, ma'am" beforehand, it wouldn't have happened.

I might need to do some research and head back to Hamburger Mary's to find out whether the "girls" there would rather be called "miss" or "ma'am." Miss is just so much more benign. I would use it all the time if I were working out in the public. It's irritating that men don't have a young man's versus old man's word for mister. I'm sure a bunch of men got together back in the days of developing Latin and decided to punish women by inventing a word to make them feel like aging hags...

But seriously, would you ever see the innocent, young girl below and call her "ma'am"?

I didn't think so.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Be Gone Demons!

One Halloween when I was working at the coffeehouse in college, my fellow barista and I decided to dress up as an angel and devil for our morning shift. She spiked her short hair into two horns and wore a sassy red dress. I went for a disco look with a silver slipdress, wings and a glittery halo. Knowing how much our regular customers enjoyed our theatrics, we were really hamming it up that day. At one point, I tried to channel the famous quote from SNL's the Church Lady, and I shouted:

"Circumcise the demons!"

Yes, that's what I said. It took me a minute to realize I'd gotten the wrong "cise," in my oh-so-loud declaration. I should have said, "Exorcise the demons." But alas I yelled about penis surgery in front of all my customers. Then I ran into the kitchen and hid while laughing hysterically.

But that story isn't the point of this post.

The focus of this one is that I have an exorcism-warranting situation going on in my house.

Since I moved into the beautiful mid-century Hollywood Hills house I love, (I'm kissing up, Universe, do you hear that?) it has literally been one thing after another. First the roof leaked (even though it had NEVER done that before) on my grandmother's dining room table. Then the garage leaked onto her chairs I was storing there. The Internet also broke one night and Mr. W had to stay up until 1 a.m. to fix it so I could work from home the next day.

After Mr. W left for London, sh*t really started going down. The sprinklers wouldn't shut off. Then that pipe burst, warping the floors, infusing the house with wet wood stench, causing me to have to sleep with a loud fan outside my bedroom door for an entire week. Oh and we can't forget how Mr. W's bathroom cupboard door came off in my hand during the flood cleanup.

Monday morning when they came to take away the fan, I was overjoyed—finally everything was calm and I could exhale. And then I found gooey stuff in the freezer Tuesday. An entire pint of lemon sorbet had liquified. The freezer was broken! I was in the process of making a gorgeous BBQ chicken pizza when I discovered this issue, and when I went to pull the pizza stone out of the oven it cracked in half and my pizza fell upside-down on the oven door. I wanted to punch the frigging house in the face. And of course, I had JUST run the cleaning cycle on the oven two days prior.

I am now convinced that the house is either throwing a fit because it doesn't want a female in it, or I'm putting out so much nervous energy I'm short circuiting everything around me.

Mr. W ordered a repairman for the freezer (all the way from London while I was sleeping because he's sweet like that). I'm hoping he shows up with a Bible and shouts, "The Power of Christ Compels You!" a few times at the back of the fridge.

Just to be extra safe, I'm going to burn some sage in the house this weekend, though...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trail Service

A friend and I were recently talking about church and hiking—which in my book are one in the same. Some of our more devout friends don't exercise on Sundays or the Sabbath because those are meant to be days of rest. Meant only for worship and spiritual restoration.

But I realized today, as I climbed the hills near the Hollywood sign, that hiking (and any exercise outdoors) is my form of worship. It not only enables me to honor the beauty and wonder of the natural world, it allows me to honor the strength and capability of my body.

What better way to say thank you to the Universe and heavens than push your ability and bask in the glory of your physical capabilities? All the while, marveling at the bright blue sky and scent of sagebrush and sight of horseback riders. It makes you appreciate the world around you. And the world inside of you. It taps a well of gratitude like no other.

And there's a meditative quality about hiking—the rhythmic crunch of your steps balanced with the whoosh of your breath. Like a tribal beat. It clears the mind and refills empty vessels in the soul.

I really think there's nothing like it. And there's no other place I'd rather spend a Sunday morning than on the side of the mountain, celebrating all that exists inside and outside of me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Burst Pipe. Burst Bubble. It's all the Same.

Is there a famous quote about expectations being the root of all disappointment somewhere out there? Because man alive, ain't that the truth.

Before I got engaged, I thought planning a wedding would be a snap. I'm an organized individual who loves DIY projects—what more could you need to throw together the perfect Big Day setup? I forgot to factor in all the people who would be attending that Big Day. And their opinions. And preferences. And the beefs they would have with the way we're choosing to do things. I forgot to consider the stress that inevitably comes with planning any event.

Moving in with Mr. W was much the same. I had these romantic notions about what it would be like to hunker down in his house. I'd have a lovely yard in which to relax. I'd have more space and an actual garage where I could park my car. And then I got there and storage was limited. My commute had about 150 moronic drivers on it. That lovely yard sucked every ounce of energy from my body for a week straight.

And then Mr. W left. And the sprinklers wouldn't shut off. And the new avocado tree got weepy. And last week it started to smell like wet cardboard or barnyard in the house—and I couldn't find the source.

Until last night.

I had been sniffing around since Wednesday, trying to trace the stench. Then I was walking into the kitchen and noticed the wood floor in the hallway was warped. Had it always been warped? I couldn't remember. I've only lived there 2 months...but I was pretty sure it wasn't buckling before. Suddenly I realized the smell might be connected to the floor, so I laid down and put my ear to it. I heard ocean. Not a good sign.

Unsure of what to do, I called Dirty Painter and he told me to go downstairs into the rental unit. I had to sort through a dozen sets of keys before I found the ones that would let me into the guest house. The air was thick with humidity. The sound of rushing water echoing through the empty space. I got back to a locked door that led underneath the house, fumbled with the keys again and slid it open to find a small geyser shooting up from one of the pipes attached to the water heater. It had sprayed up all over the support beams and insulation. All the way up to the wood floor in the hallway...

Dirty Painter rushed over to help turn off the water and clean up. When I went to Mr. W's bathroom to get some old towels, his cabinet door fell off in my hand. Because of course that's what else I needed to happen in that moment.

I had to go to my parents' house to shower this morning. And I flushed my toilet last night by pouring bottled water into it.

I can't decide whether someone put a hex on me or if I'm manifesting more stress in my life because I'm putting out so much frenetic, anxious energy right now. All I know is that wrapping up wedding details, working with a cut staff at my job, and trying to handle the woes of homeownership (or in this case, rentership) is pushing me dangerously close to the edge of insanity. Thankfully, I'll probably fit into that tight wedding dress no problem...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Social Experiment: Juju Bombing in Burbank and Beyond

A few weeks ago, I was reading my favorite blog, when I came across this post about how homeowners Sherry and John found a hidden message in their new abode. I'd never heard of anyone purposely leaving a note to new occupants in a house—and I loved the idea of it.

I loved it so much, I started thinking that maybe I could steal it.

If I randomly stumbled across some message of love and advice, I would think it was a gift from the universe. It would make me happy. So why not do something similar: modify the message, leave notes randomly around for others and then feel happy that someone else could read them.

Given that I'm in the midst of wrapping up wedding plans and, thanks to layoffs last week, am now the solo writer at my job, time got away from me after I read Sherry's post. But today I decided to carve out a few minutes to re-craft their message and start the experiment.

Here's what mine says:

May today bring you peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities in yourself and others. May you use the gifts you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. May your soul enjoy the freedom to sing, dance, live and love.

I printed out a page with my message repeated over and over, then I cut two copies from it and put them in my pocket.

I decided I would plant one inside David's Bridal when I went out at lunch to pick up ribbon and sash fabric for my flower girls' dresses.

It was sort of funny scoping out a spot to drop it. I felt like I was sneaking around; getting ready to commit a minor crime. But I left it on one of their counters and I hope either a bride or salesgirl will discover it and smile today.

I stuck the second one in the bathroom at work. I don't know how many women there are on my floor here—maybe 50+. When I entered the ladies' room, 3 of the 5 stalls were filled. I contemplated sticking my little note in the stall somewhere...but that felt kind of creepy. However, I didn't want anyone to see me drop it on the sink. (These were funny things to be considering while I was sitting on the pot, by the way...) In the end, I just took my sweet time washing my hands and flung the note next to the hand towels. Hopefully someone who needed a pick-me-up message found it after I left.

I'm not sure if it's the spreading of good juju that makes this little project so thrilling. Or if it's the sneakiness—the not wanting to be seen dropping my notes. But it's sort of fun. And now that you've read what I passed along, I hope maybe your day is a little brighter too.