Thursday, June 28, 2012

and then I found five dollars

This morning, when I opened the garage door, there was a rabbit sitting in our driveway. He gave me the side-eye, as if to say, “YOU DON’T SEE ME, YOU DON’T SEE ME, I WAS JUST LEAVING.” I went about my business instead of staring at him and shrieking, “WHO IS THE CUTEST BUNNY IN THE WHOLE WORLD...IT’S YOU!” (which is what I desperately wanted to do) and he slowly hopped his way across the street.

We have a lot of wildlife in our neighborhood, especially considering we live in a fairly populated area. But our street dead-ends into a small wooded area that I guess is big enough to house all manner of wildlife. Plus, you know, many of the yards on our street are fairly large and/or have a shed that can easily house a family of groundhogs through a hard, cold winter. And then if that family is relocated, another groundhog might move in. You know, HYPOTHETICALLY. Or not hypothetically, which is why said shed now looks like this: 

Joe was quite proud of this. I just wanted to smash the shit out of it with a sledgehammer.

But that’s a story for another day, for today I want to talk about how often animals make me cry because you guys? I am the biggest pussy. Seriously. I don’t know when this happened (birth?) but pretty much all animals, whether they’re being cute or sad or GOD FORBID hurty, turn me into a weepy mess. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

I met some friends last weekend for dinner and drinks, right next to Wittenberg’s campus. After dinner, we decided to take a walk around campus so we could see what had changed (um, everything basically). Most students were already gone, so things were very quiet, but we did make a friend. While walking through a parking lot, we noticed a small cat sitting under a street light. I assume is not uncommon on most college campuses. Students get kittens, the kittens grow into cats, and they are either deemed outside cats or abandoned altogether at the end of the year.

This cat decided that we looked like nice people, I guess, because it followed us ALL AROUND CAMPUS. Until we got to a busy street. It thought better of crossing with us and instead plopped down on the sidewalk, which was unfortunate timing, because we’d decided to give it some water once we got back to our cars. We went to a bar for another drink and, although Joe was hoping I would not do this, I drove around campus looking for the cat before I headed home. Alas, I did not find it, so instead I made up a story about how a nice couple found it and took it home to their daughter who named in Binxy and everyone lived happily ever after and so THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED OK?

But the whole thing just made me sad. The poor kitty! Following us around! Was it lonely? Hungry? Thirsty? All of the above? Who knows. I wish I’d found it before I left campus. I could have at least taken it to SICSA the next day, although Max and Phoebe probably wouldn’t have been happy with a houseguest, even if only for a night.

SPEAKING of Max. He made me sort of weepy the other day, too, but this is a regular occurrence because he’s SUCH A GOOD BOY. I took him for a walk and at one point he started limping. He used to do that at our old place because sometimes a piece of the teeny tiny gravel would get caught between his paws, so I thought maybe the same thing had happened. But no! He’d stepped on a thorn or something, some sharp, skinny, twiggy piece of wood and it was stuck in his little paw! So I stooped down to pull it out, fully expecting him to bite me because it probably hurt a lot, but instead he licked my hand. LICKED MY HAND. And then looked up at me with his stupid sweet face and my heart burst into a billion tiny pieces and I scooped them up and put them in my pocket so I could glue them all back together once I got home which turned out to be a bigger project than I anticipated WHO KNEW.

AND FINALLY, don’t even get me started on the Jurassic Bark episode of Futurama NO I SAID DON’T I CAN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT WITHOUT CRYING. Here, cry with me: 

(I'm really, really sorry I just did that to you.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

some housekeeping (and whatnot)

1. I decided to create one of those Life Lists all the kids have been talking about (you know, since like five years ago) but still haven't thought of 100 things. I'm filling it slowly. I'm up to 35, which is going to take me a year to fulfill just by itself, so I can't say I'm in a huge hurry to think of the next 65 things. I think I'm going to keep the list itself private, at least until it's all written, except for #35. I'm quite fond of #35.

Some of you may know how often I use FutureMe. I send my future self a letter on every birthday (well, except for last year, apparently) and randomly whenever I feel like it. It's kind of like getting a note from the past. Actually, it's not kind of like that at all, it's exactly like that. ANYWAY.

Number 35 on my Life List can be described thusly: I'm going to send myself a FutureMe letter every week for a year. Each letter will be set to be delivered a year from when it's sent. So next year, starting on June 12th, I'll start receiving a letter from the past once a week.

So that'll be fun! Or depressing. (Both?)


2. Update! The groundhogs are gone (relocated gone, not dead gone). Did I already tell you guys that? I was kind of sad for a couple of days because I missed watching them frolic through the yard. Oh well, there are always YouTube videos. Joe saw some chipmunks running under the shed the other day. I guess they heard there was a vacancy and a groundhog hole is probably like a mansion to a bunch of chipmunks, so they wasted no time. Chipmunks are bad for the foundation or whatever, much like groundhogs, but they will probably not claw Max's face off, so we're not too worried about them BECAUSE ALSO...

3. We're totally going to tear that shed down. I AM SO EXCITED TO USE A SLEDGEHAMMER. But first we have to remove the roof, and there might be wasps living in part of it, so we have to kill those first. I wish we didn't have to kill anything, even wasps, but they will not listen to my polite requests to "GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME, STINGING MACHINES AHHHHHHHHH," when I see them in the backyard, so killing it is.

4. The rest of the house is going to (hopefully) remain standing, so I hope it doesn't miss the shed. We're thinking of having a Demolition Party so we don't accidentally maim ourselves tearing the shed down on our own. It's BYOSledgehammer. Bring your friends.

5. You know what's crazy about having a house? You have to, like, take care of things yourself. Like, no one has taken it upon themselves to come water my flowers (only they're not MY flowers, I didn't plant them and so I feel no ownership over them) so some of them are dying. And there are some crazy plants growing that are also sort of dying, but I think that's OK because they might be weeds? I tried to go out one weekend and trim everything, because it looks a bit jungle-y in our garden, but there were bees and wasps all over and I think we've gone over how I feel about stinging things. You win this round, bees.

(OK, and all rounds.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

waiting round the bend

I told Joe this morning that I felt blue, but what I really meant was tired. It took me a while to realize I actually have the mean reds. Holly Golightly, sublime keeper of irreverent knowledge, describes the mean reds as such:

And I’m fairly certain my mean reds started last night and can be blamed entirely on the mega anxiety-inducing dreams I had, brought on by...I know not what. Last night, as Joe and I were reading in bed, I put my book down, even though I wasn’t yet tired, and insisted that something felt off. It was too quiet, save for the rolling thunder outside, and even the lightning illuminating the room seemed out of place. I turned my light off, tried to relax, and was doing fine until just after I fell asleep, when I woke up gasping, my heart pounding, and I couldn’t remember why.

Everyone has those moments where they feel like they’re falling suddenly as they lie in bed. (It even has a name.) This wasn’t like that. I don’t know what this was. But it woke me completely. Everyone else was asleep, including Max and Phoebe. The room was dark, mostly, except for the lightning. I thought about going downstairs with my book but I’m going to be completely honest. We haven’t lived in our house that long and I’m still sort of worried about both murderers AND the duck head curse, so I try not to creep around the house while everyone is sleeping in case someone, ghost or otherwise, is waiting to horribly murder me in some way.

I went back to sleep eventually and had dreams about drowning for the rest of the night. What’s great about that is that it makes Monday morning seem not quite as bad, you know? Normally when I wake up on Monday, it’s all tantrums and sadness until I put on my Work Face and head out the door. But this morning I woke up and was just glad I wasn’t rolling, end over end, in an endless sea of crippling waves. THAT IS NOT A METAPHOR.

Clearly, I need to find my Tiffany’s but, I mean, I sort of already know that my Tiffany’s is at home, where I get to go in a few short hours, and which will hopefully blow my mean reds right out of the water. So to speak.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I hope I don't grow out of The Shins like I did Garden State.

I don’t remember how I first heard about The Shins. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t from Natalie Portman, though she did try her hardest. Maybe Kat? A quick search through my Gmail tells me that, according to a chat record from 2007, I had already heard of The Shins but didn’t have all of their albums, at which point Kat sent me a bajillion files of music, as she so often did. She's very generous with good music. (PS: You know what’s weird? Reading chats from 2007. It’s like hopping in a time machine. What kind of life did you live, 2007!Jennie? Oh, beer and complaining? We are not so very different, you and I.)

ANYWAY. I have now listened to all of their albums so many times that if they were cassettes instead of CDs and mp3s, the tape would be completely worn out and broken from being played so often. Just ask Heidi, who lived with me when Wincing the Night Away came out, and dealt with me playing not only the album on repeat, but one song in particular, over and over and over and I just cannot believe she didn’t kill me. 

So, yeah, when I saw that The Shins were coming to Columbus, I immediately emailed Joe and told him we were going. Then I checked the date and realized WITH HORROR that the concert fell on my last night of volunteering of the year, the night we have a balloon launch and say goodbye before summer break. It would be in poor taste to skip volunteering for a concert on any night but on that night? No way.

I’m not gonna lie, you guys. I threw a little tantrum right there at my desk, then gathered my wits and checked the rest of the tour schedule, sighing with relief when I saw they were going to be playing in Cleveland on a Friday, so I would only have to take half a day off of work for the drive up there.

The concert was at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, a venue that did not have a website I could find, which worried me a teeny tiny bit, but it ended up being a great venue even though the seats smelled a little like feet.  It didn’t matter, though, because having a seat at a concert is a magical experience, especially if all of the people in front of you realize that they too spent extra money to be able to sit and actually STAY IN THEIR SEATS. I sipped on my beer and enjoyed the people-watching until the show started and then my brain exploded from awesome because YOU GUYS I WAS FINALLY SEEING THE SHINS.

At dinner before the show, Joe had asked me what songs I really wanted to hear. I named a few off the top of my head (Australia, Kissing the Lipless, number 6 from the new album WHAT I’m rubbish at remembering song titles, leave me alone), but was having trouble picking favorites because I love so many.

Girl Sailor wasn’t a song that jumped to mind when Joe asked me the above question, but I was so happy to hear it at the concert that I almost cried. And not just because of the PMS that had made me all weepy at Wicked the previous night (wtf?) but because there’s a line in that song that I used to say to myself whenever I was feeling particularly angsty. I'd repeat the line in question, “a stronger girl would shake this off in flight, and never give it more than a frowning hour,” in the hopes of snapping myself out of whatever mood I was in and to remind myself to stop whining so damn much about everything. (I apparently even used it as a title to a nonsensical blog post ABOUT MY CAR, so I guess it wasn't always effective.)  

Wincing the Night Away came out a few weeks before I drove six hours to Knoxville, on my way to see a boy who didn’t like me as much as I liked him, and I’m fairly certain I listened to it the entire way there and back (which, let’s be completely honest, was probably responsible for a lot of my angsty feelings above). It was one of the last CDs I played in the car I was unnaturally attached to (again, see above), the one I complained about getting rid of even though it never started and leaked oil everywhere. It was the album I played if I was in a good mood, the album I played if I was in a bad mood, the album I played if I was bouncing off the walls or if I was so unhappy that all I could think to do was lie on my bedroom floor and listen to music until my heart stopped hurting. I tried to force it on everyone I knew, though I stopped short of placing my headphones on a stranger’s ears in a quiet waiting room (because ew, germs). 

Manic pixie dream girl damage aside, I don’t know that I’d say The Shins necessarily changed my life, but as I sat (yes, sat!) at that concert last week, listening to what was basically the soundtrack to my twenties, I took a moment to remember that person I used to be, ponder the person I am now, and wonder about the person I’ll become as I make my way through my thirties, whoever that may be. I’ll see her on the other side, I guess. I hope she still likes The Shins.