Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pawn Stars

When I was in college and I came home for the holidays, I couldn't wait for my family to clear out on weekday mornings so I could have the house to my self.

Living in college with anywhere from 5-9 roommates (all of whom were girls) was a little much to deal with, and I was happy to finally be alone.

But now that I live alone in my apartment in New York, I'm used to being able to be alone on a consistent basis. So now that I'm home for Thanksgiving and my parents and brother are out for the day all week, I am b-o-r-e-d. Add to the fact that I don't have a car to use, I am essentially under house arrest.

I was so bored yesterday that I cleaned the kitchen and did the laundry. My mother came home and almost dropped dead on the floor when she saw that, as "WHY DIDN'T YOU EMPTY THE DISHWASHER" was a common sentence screamed at me throughout my teenage years. I made cookies. I answered work emails. I read some trashy magazine that my mom buys (did you know that Marie Osmond's husband, Brian Blosil, was abusive for YEARS? Who cares).

Then, I found exactly what I needed.


I swear to God, this show is great. You would think, why would I want to watch a bunch of obese trashy pawn shop guys in Las Vegas? WHY WOULDN'T YOU?

Just LOOK at these guys. They scream out, "WATCH ME, I'M INTERESTING."

Welcome to my new obsession. Who would have guessed?

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Duking it Out: My Mother & My Father's Surprise Birthday Party

Not to be dramatic or anything, but I almost died these past few months.


Because I was planning a surprise 50th birthday party for my father with my mother.

Let me just tell you, in case you're confused as to why planning a party with my mother would almost kill me. Planning a party with my mother is like trying to plan a party with Helen Keller.

Translation: she doesn't listen, and she can't get anything done on her own.

We started planning it in September, and as we got closer to the date, we were fighting on the phone at a more rapid pace. In the last phone call I had with her, when I landed in Buffalo as my cousin secretly picked me up at the airport, I said, "I can't wait to see you so I can fucking strangle you."

I wasn't joking.

Here's what happened throughout the two months this was going on:

FIGHT #1: I didn't want to use invitations that are cheesy. You know the kind—the ones that make ridiculous age jokes that aren't even remotely funny. So, I went to the different card-making sites where you could upload your own designs, but even those restricted you to some cheesy template and the font choices for your text are like Comic Sans and Times New Roman. So, I decided I would design the whole thing myself and get the printer that prints our magazine to do it for me for $100. My mother cannot BELIEVE that I'm going to spend $100 on invitations, when you can go to Party City and get a pack for $15. I told her to shut up, because it was my money, so why does she care what I do with it? I win.

FIGHT #2: We were holding it at the Yacht Club. But don't think we're really fancy here. My hometown is very small, so think of "yacht club" in small letters, rather than in all caps. So, the way they do things is very different than how I'm used to doing them in the city. They wanted my mother to come down to the club and sign the contract in person. Of course, she couldn't find time to do this, because she was tied up doing something that I'm not aware of, so after yelling "WHY THE FUCK CAN'T YOU JUST GO AND TAKE CARE OF IT," I conceded and asked the Yacht Club to fax it to me so I could sign it and send it back to them. I guess if her goal was to avoid having to do anything, she wins.

FIGHT #3: Ohhhhhh God, the motherfucking guest list. My mother has a huge family, and while some of them are very close-knit, some of them are as estranged as they are strange. When we're paying per head, I just don't think that Aunt Suzie (whom we haven't talked to in like 5 years) and her new boyfriend need to be invited. I also have 35 first cousins on my mom's side alone. A lot of them are my age or older. We decided, in order to keep the guest list under control, we wouldn't invite the cousins. My one exception, of course, was my cousin Jessica, who was 1.) picking me up from the airport 2.) hiding me at her house for a day and a half before the party since it was a surprise that I was even in town 3.) driving me around to run party errands and 4.) delivering me to the party. I think ALLLLLLL of that work justifies an invite. My mom didn't agree. I brought her anyway, because that is just ridiculous. Tie. Jessica got invited, but so did Aunt Suzie and her boyfriend.

FIGHT #4: Perhaps the most important part of a surprise party is coming up with the ruse to get the person there. Since I think about things logically, when you're spinning a lie you want to control as many of the variables as you can. My mother's idea was to print up a fake invitation to a "party" the Yacht Club was holding on Saturday. Of course, the Yacht Club ends up having a real party on Friday, and they send out an invite for that as well as TWO EMAILS reminding everyone about it being on Friday. My father, who is on their email list, is convinced that my mother has the date wrong. This whole thing is about to go up in smoke, and I have to tell my mother that it's all her fault. She hangs up on me. To fix it, I call the Yacht Club and tell them that they have to 1.) Delete him from the email list, so he won't get any more messages saying that the party is on Friday and 2.) Send a fake email being all like, "Oh shit, we made a mistake! It's on Saturday, not Friday!" She wins.

FIGHT #5: How the fuck are we gonna decorate this place? My mother wants to put up a cheesy, cliche photoboard. I say, that it's, well, cheesy and cliche to have a photo board. I try to go the classy route. I tell her, go to the dollar store, and buy a bunch of plain black frames. You can put pictures of him in there and then we can put them all over the tables as decorations. I show up at Jessica's house the day before and my mom has dropped off no framed photos, but instead the worst photo album of pictures you've ever seen in your life. So now, hours before the party, my cousin and I are in a mad dash to JoAnn Fabrics, trying to buy a new photo album to put it together so that doesn't look like Ray Charles made it. "Where are the framed photos?" I ask/scream. "Your uncle is going to drop them off before the party," she says. What photos are they? PHOTOS SHE TOOK OFF OF HIS DESK, LIKE HE WOULDN'T NOTICE THEY WERE MISSING.


So, it's over, and despite her best efforts, it was a surprise. Or my father is lying. Regardless, it was a success.

My mom? She celebrated by puking in the driveway on the way home.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Look, it's hard not to be smug.

I got promoted again.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shit Just Got Real

I went to a Thanksgiving potluck this past weekend with some old co-workers. I've known these guys since I moved to the city about 2 and a half years ago, and one of the good things about my company is that it's filled with young, snarky dbags that I tend to get along with swimmingly.

Awkwardly enough, two of the three people I was with had been fired. By my boss. Ouch.

And this, everyone, is why a friendly game of Apples to Apples can get a little intense:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fucking Greek Yogurt

So ever since I started Freshman year in college, I worked out pretty regularly. It was easy in college because I literally was in class maybe a total of three hours a day. That, of course, left plenty of time to get wasted beyond recognition and make other bad life decisions, but it also left plenty of time to hit the gym. I would go in the afternoons during TNT's Law & Order mini-marathons and rack up 2 or 3 hours of cardio just because I wanted to see the killer brought to justice (it's a sickness).

One of the first things I did when I moved to Brooklyn after graduation was get a membership to New York Sports Clubs, but with long hours at work and a total daily commute of an hour and a half, it became harder to establish any kind of a steady routine. I would still work out 3-4 times a week, but it was in short increments and really half-assed. I was essentially just making an effort to work off all of the gallons of beer I was drinking.

So over the past couple of months, I've stepped it up and been more conscious of a.) what I'm eating and drinking (aka:
maybe I shouldn't drink 12 beers in one night 3x a week and b.) getting more out of my work outs. And honestly, with minimal effort on my part, I've lost about 15 lbs. so far.

That's where the Greek yogurt comes in. I feel like I've always eaten pretty well, mainly because I love food, and all kinds of food. My college roommates would marvel at my gourmet dinners of salmon and roasted asparagus, but it was just eating normally for me. My problem has always been a.) portion control and b.) my drinking. So I've started reading more on what you really should be eating and trying to think of food as fuel.

Every morning for like two fucking years, I've eaten one of those Yoplait light yogurts that brainwash you with their commercials. They're 100 calories and no fat! Yo, guess what? They also have 25g of sugar, which is the equivalent of like 3 doughnuts. GREAT.

So I decided to take the leap and switch to Greek yogurt, which has 15g of protein, 0g of fat, and only 7g of sugar. Only problem? It tastes like straight up ASS.

Greek yogurt: the biggest hurtle in weight loss.

Okay, I know I've said this 45 times...

But I'm going to try to post on semi-regular basis again. Are you all out there?

Photo via Hyperbole & A Half.