Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nailed it

Tonight was the first night of Hanukah. The one thing I don't really cook is fried foods. So I bought half a dozen jelly donuts instead, on my way home to make the potato pancakes (which are fried).

I got Josh three presents, his parents got him three, and my sisters each got him one, so he's getting eight. Except he's getting more because of other relatives. He wanted a grandpa cardigan so I got him one of those. I do not really understand why this is a trend and why guys in their early 20's want to dress like Mr. Rogers. But Josh does, so now he will.

Alex had a friend over who commented on the menorah in the window. She thought it was weird. Alex tried to explain that it wasn't weird since Josh is Jewish, but the girl refused to change her mind. So no donut for her.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wednesday's dinner: now, with guests!

When I told Josh on Sunday that we were embarking on a week of fancy foods, he suggested we invite his parents over for dinner. So I promptly did. They promptly replied saying it was such short notice during such a busy part of the year that they were basically booked through all of December but could they get back to me with a firm answer. Um. I guess it took them a day to rearrange or cancel or whatever but they announced they could come for dinner today at 7:30. They have to meet other people for drinks first. I was a little pissed off at this, but figure there have probably been at least a hundred times I've been rude to them, so they can have this one.

Even though Josh's people are Fancy, I've noticed that they're also kind of "meat and potatoes." Really, I think giving them fancy meat and potatoes is best - it fulfills all of their needs. Josh suggested doing a Thanksgiving dinner, but we don't have enough distance from my sickness and sadness yet. If HE wanted to make it, that'd be fine, but I'm not doing that. I'll do it next Spring, when we're all missing Thanksgiving food.

Tonight's dinner:
Mini tart flambée
Beef bourguinon over egg noodles*
Roasted potatoes
Haricot verts with slivered almonds
Macaroons (French, not Jewish) 

Normally I am excited to feed people but tonight I was nervous. Like, sweating-nervous.  Josh's parents brought wine that went perfectly with the meal. Everything was fine. Honestly, it was the pasta that made me nervous. Technically you CAN have one foot in France and one in Italy at the same time, but still, pasta=Italian to me and this was just such a distinctly French meal.  

I know - I just told you "meat and potatoes" but I've made this before using potatoes and wanted to try something different. Tossed on the side of the table were the potatoes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday's dinner: slurping is illegal in New Jersey

At one of the very first meals Josh ever had with Alex, she got soup. When she slurped it, Josh convinced her that was illegal in New Jersey and suggested some Jersey cops might have come over the bridge into the Bronx and might arrest her by accident. He never told her the slurping just irritated his fancy ways. She has never slurped since.

I am trying to teach Josh that soup can be a meal. Some time I should just serve him a different type of soup every night of the week*. Josh feels like soup is an appetizer. We have had full-on arguments about this, complete with yelling.

Tonight I made lentil and barley soup with mushrooms. I put out a crusty baguette with it. Josh ate three bowls of it, and three pieces of bread. Then he asked me if we were having grilled cheese sandwiches. "No. This isn't tomato soup!"

*Now I totally want to do this next week.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday's dinner: we're not starting out small

- Mushroom polenta diamonds
- Beef wellington (this is one of Josh's favorites, plus he has a hard time believing he's eaten a full meal if there's no meat (I'm trying to change this))
- Roasted asparagus with lemon
- Smashed potatoes (which don't really go, but I was trying to use up the potatoes and we weren't having guests and all of us really like them)
- Homemade apple crumb cake with homemade whipped cream.

To be honest, I totally could have gotten a frozen Mrs. Smith's dutch apple pie and Josh would have scarfed it up happily without blinking. But mine is healthier (less sugar), plus we had a lot of apples and sometimes I like to bake. Someone once told me that people who like to cook hate to bake, because baking always has to be so precise. In a way it does, but I make things up to bake all the time and it works out just fine.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Recommitted to good food

This morning I cleaned out the refrigerator before going food shopping with Danielle. She made a list of what we're making for dinner each night this week. I made the list of what we need to buy so we can do that.

Tonight's dinner will be:
- salad with two types of lettuce (simply to finish one), tomatoes, carrots, a tiny bit of onion, cucumber, broccoli, and mushrooms with the last of the homemade dressing
- garlic bread with a little mozzarella melted on (again, to finish the cheese)
- baked ziti (going to cut up some leftover meatballs and shove them in)
- eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella roulades

We have chocolate gelato and frozen strawberries. I want to combine them. I'm thinking of blending the berries before pouring them over the gelato or melting them. Or something. 

This week is light at work, so dinners may get somewhat labor intensive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Everyone's embarrassed tonight

Embarrassment #1:
I was a baby when New Kids on the Block were popular. By the time I was old enough to like music, they were over. So I never got into them. But then they got back together like half a dozen years ago or something and Alex was into them. Which meant we all had to listen to their stuff. Even Josh. The good thing is though, all four of us have agreed that we like one particular song of theirs. The bad, embarrassing thing is that Alex has seriously studied their older music and choreography, leaving me and Dani very proficient New Kids in our living room. She even made Josh sit and watch us perform for him. He is such a trouper, he threw me a bra "on stage." (I have also come to like their song Tonight, but only when sung live. Also, because I have seen one of them bring their son on stage, the idea of having a kid doesn't quite seem like such an awful thing, if it comes out a boy.) 

Embarrassment #2:
Josh asked me to make "sweet noodle kugel" for Hanukah. Tonight I made a practice one. Josh and I agreed there was somehow too much cream cheese. Three slices of kugel later, Josh told me, "I don't know why I keep eating this. Help, Sammers. I'm out of control." So I hid the rest in the back of the fridge.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My head spun

Tonight I found out that Josh was going to take me somewhere warm for Thanksgiving weekend. Except then I got sick. So he cancelled. Is something wrong with me that instead of just being sad we weren't going, I had to first freak out at the idea of him taking me on a fancy trip? Even when I knew we weren't going, I couldn't cut off the freakout feelings.

Does that go away at some point?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The word "ointment" is nails on a chalkboard

This weekend I went food shopping for a lot of fruit and vegetables. The goal is to be extra super healthy so the goal of working all week can be met (I just typed "weak" instead of "week" by accident). Because staying home from work is so last week.

Another thing I did in preparation is to nap a lot. This afternoon when I woke up from my nap, something felt weird but I couldn't tell what it was at first.

One of my sisters put a face mask on me while I was asleep. Aren't we too old for this shit? I don't even know how long it was on for, because neither of them were home when I woke up and neither would cop to it. They kept playing dumb. "So there's some kind of ... ointment on your face?" "I don't know anything about any ointment!" By the time I finished interrogating them, the word "ointment" disgusted me.

Obviously I will never admit it to them, but my skin does look pretty good now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pneumonia and me

This morning Doug checked and decided I’m doing great. Happily it doesn't hurt when I'm inhaling anymore, but he told me the pneumonia is still there and I’ve just adapted to it. That must be why I am still exhausted and everything makes me out of breath. I still shouldn’t overexert myself, no lifting over 10 pounds, and no flying for a while. I was too embarrassed to ask if that meant I shouldn't have sex.

After that, I emailed another note to work, and got this in response from my manager: I don’t want you to come in until you have a clean bill of health. Colds and flu abound in all offices so don't rush back. That is really a relief. I feel better enough to work. From home. Part time. Between naps.

My sisters and cooking [insert dramatic sigh here]. They can cook. Not as well as I can, but they can cook. They don't like it the way I do. If I'm around to do it, then they don't want to. When Josh has taken me on vacations, I think they cook simple things. Like, I make pasta and from that ravioli. Portions of it get frozen. They'll throw a portion in boiling water and call that cooking.

Alex made a big batch of soup, and applesauce. Basically I eat those and oatmeal every single day. Sometimes Dani makes me a smoothie for breakfast. When you can barely taste anything you don't care what you're eating. You just eat whatever is put in front of you.

Friday, November 7, 2014

I am my pnuemonia's bitch

I tried to work from home Tuesday, but it turned out sitting in a chair AND breathing was too hard. Today was Attempt Two and it still didn't work. My eating has been terrible all week. So has everybody else's, I think. Danielle asked me what to make for dinner one night and all I told her was "something in the crockpot." So she made the filling for apple pie in it, and then they all ate that for dinner after ordering a pizza.

When I went to Doug, after he diagnosed me he gave me a note for work. Apparently this is a thing? Like so they don't think you went on a vacation but claimed to be sick? I emailed a pic of it to all 16 of my bosses, plus an HR person.

When you compare Thursday's health to Monday's health, it seems like there's no hope of getting better any time this month.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where's the progression?

I got pneumonia. It is a little confusing how this happened, because normally you get bronchitis first and then it turns into really bad bronchitis. Nope, not in this case. In this case, I noticed around lunchtime that I didn't feel quite right, brought home deli-bought soup that didn't get eaten, went straight to sleep and woke up slayed by pneumonia. Josh was so worried about how my breathing sounded that morning that he said if I didn't go to the doctor he would call 911 on me claiming I'm too fat for him to carry downstairs to a cab so they should send their strongest EMTs.

Today was my first shower since Thursday. Today was also the first meal I ate sitting upright and not in bed since Thursday. And by "meal" I mean applesauce. Let me just say, the whole pulmonary process inside the body is really complex. Breathing is like the hardest and most tiring thing I've ever done in my entire life.

Work didn't happen for me on Friday, and I don't think it's happening tomorrow either.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It happened again

When I got home from work, Alex and Lily were in the kitchen, making baked ziti and garlic bread and a salad. Once again, Lily had been playing in the hallway. Alex claimed it was for a long time, so she knocked on their door and when nobody answered she brought Lily in.

There is no way this is kosher. Once again, a note was put on their door. Lily (very messily) ate dinner with us. I hope she doesn't have any allergies.

Maybe Lily's parents are overwhelmed or something. If that's the case they could cut back on something to hire help with her. It's hard to understand her, but we're pretty sure she goes to special school so if that's right they have a few hours of break from her. Ugh.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is this what being a feminist is?

So I've thought about it, and just can't be okay with Josh picking out my clothes on any sort of regular basis. It was helpful in the beginning, when I didn't know how to dress for all his fancy occasions, or to work in a professional setting. But now I do.

I want Josh to be the guy who either just mumbles "Sure, looks nice," when I come home with new stuff, or who sits in the Man Chair in clothing stores playing on his phone while he waits for me.

This blue shirt thing was a fluke, hopefully. (I'm still blue.) And these times of Josh helping with outfits for occasions I had no experience with were ... a growth period? That I'm now out of?

It just doesn't feel good to me. To have a man making decisions about what I put on my body? It feels like ... it's a slippery slope to being in a controlling relationship. Which is ridiculous since Josh is the most encouraging guy ever. And he was never authoritative about it. More like "Aim for skirts for work that don't make your ass look too good because that'll look slutty and they won't respect you," and "Try checking out Century 21."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Smurf!

I can't believe this happened. I can't believe I'm admitting either of these things.

1. Josh sort of picks out my clothes. Sure, I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up off the floor. Not on a daily basis, but overall, he's pointed me towards certain stores, and especially for work clothes and vacation clothes and any weddings or bar mitzvahs or events with his family. At first he just stuck to giving me clothes for my birthday and Christmas. It escalated from there.

2. A couple of weeks ago, I was angry at Josh over something, and on the way home I saw a cute clothing shop and stopped in. I bought a deep blue t-shirt. This is not how I buy clothes. I only buy for specific events, or to replace something that's worn out. But I was pissed, and did something stupid. More stupid than I realized.

On Sunday I wore the shirt. First to run some errands, and then we went for a run. When Josh and I came home I got ready to shower. I took off the shirt, and Josh was like "Whoa, what happened to you?" He walked over and lifted up my arm. Both underarms, from like armpit halfway towards my elbow? BLUE! After my shower? Still BLUE!

Now I'm not going to go so far as to say that Old Navy sells high quality clothing. But this never happened with any of the black shirts I bought there! I'm going to try washing it (separately), but am not sure I have the guts to wear it again. Two showers in and my arms are still blue.

I'm a little stressed out about my arms. My sisters won't stop making fun of me. If it gets hot at work, I can't take off my jacket, but they don't button high enough that I can wear them without a camisole.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Completely different viewpoints

Work is definitely kind of stressful. If the clients say they need three days of work completed in a day and a half, and that means you need to work through the night then you do it. Not that being a teacher is easy, but if a teacher is working through the night grading a ton of essays, at the very least they're doing it from home.

Face-time seems to count for a lot. Most of the time the stress doesn't bother me. Having work to get done is actually less stressful than not having any work to get done. If none of the managers or partners are requesting you to work with them on a client, that feels like a very, very bad sign about your future employment overall.

I work with this guy Colin who seems to get very stressed out by all the stress. Like sometimes, someone will dump two feet worth of documents on your desk for you to review or organize, and you can tell they take glee in dumping all that work on you. For me, it's like "Game on!" For Colin though, it's like "Oh shit, I'm never gonna get it done. I'm gonna get fired. Then I'll be homeless. Then I'll get beat up and lit on fire. Then my body won't be able to be buried because I'll be all ash."

Colin is kind of intense. I try to only deal with him in small doses even though I like him (when he's not stressing out). We were texting earlier tonight and I was like "What'd you do today?" and this was his response, "Sunday's are pre-work day stress days. Been a shitty day. I'm exhausted and panicky."

Got it. Avoid Colin on Mondays.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Teresa and Joe Guidice - Part One

Okay, I just need to get this out there. Firstly, Teresa is spray-tanned to Oompa Loompa levels.

Joe thinks his sentence was "a little high." O rly?! How many months do you think someone should go to prison for lying to the government, falsifying documents, etc.?

Teresa thinks her sentence of 15 months is "shocking." Why would she be shocked to be sent to prison for breaking the law? Is she not aware of how legal punishments work?

Teresa claims she didn't understand she accepted a plea bargain sending her to prison for 27 months. So she's admitting to being stupid? I mean, she HAD a whole team of attorneys - didn't they explain it all to her?

Andy asks about the omissions in the paperwork - what did she say to her lawyers about them submitting incomplete documents? Teresa implies she didn't speak with her lawyers at all about it. Um, if my attorney fucked me over to the point of getting me sentenced to PRISON you can bet your ass I would sue them.

Teresa now claims she would buy a "used home." Even though she's quoted on tv flat out saying it would be disgusting to live in a home someone else lived in prior.

I trust Josh more than I trust anyone else. It was the scariest thing following him out of the country and relying on him to get me back in. If Josh told me that he needed my signature on something, damn straight I would read it first, before signing. And if I had any questions about it, I would ask them first, and wouldn't sign until I understood. And Josh would never dream of questioning my loyalty to him if I did that. Hell, I think he'd be disappointed if I blindly signed anything.

Andy asks Joe what it will be like to be the only parent at home while Teresa is in prison and Joe says, "It'll be a lot of work." Nice, douchebag. Nothing about missing your wife?

They claim that the two middle daughters, in third and fourth grade, know nothing. They are HIGH to believe that. You KNOW that it was talked about in their school.

You know what's very telling? Teresa and Joe said when they got home, their whole extended families and all their friends were there. People who feel guilty of breaking the law are generally ashamed, aren't they? Being surrounded by people after being sentenced screams of them not genuinely feeling guilty, to me. It's as if they've convinced themselves they are victims, somehow. But they're really not. They made concrete decisions - more than one - to break the law.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pumpkin soup

In a word: fail. The soup itself was good. I made bourbon croutons to go with it. Those were good too.

The problem, according to Josh, was that it wasn't a meal. "It's just soup! That's an appetizer." Dude, this isn't chicken soup. That's light. Pumpkin soup is heavy. Completely different beast.

I couldn't think of anything else that went with my pumpkin soup, so Josh had a third helping and then made some popcorn. Then he had a bagel with lox. I don't know how he avoided throwing up to be honest.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Apologies

Josh's mom contacted me and asked if we could have lunch this week. Today was the first day I could be sure there would be a solid chunk of time for it. Usually I just run out for a yogurt or salad or something. Usually I'm working at a client though. My last client wrapped up and today I was at the office. Even though it's good to be on a client, I like having a day off. You can dress down a little, take a little more time for lunch, slouch in your chair without worrying the client will wander by.

We met at the Rock Center Cafe. I was really nervous. Both about the time lunch would take, and why Laurie wanted to have lunch with me. Maybe I wasn't properly sympathetic or respectful at the concentration camps. Maybe they wanted to go back for more on our Christmas trip. Maybe I said something accidentally that made me sound like a Nazi.

All that was wrong. I am not accidentally a Nazi. No, it turns out Laurie wanted to apologize. She felt it was disrespectful of them to make plans for Christmas without asking what I'd like to do. Without asking my sisters if this is okay with them. Laurie was very emphatic.

But I already talked to my sisters. They are totally psyched to go to Europe for Christmas. To buy food and cook a Christmas dinner. To wander around the markets. We're fully down for this. I told Laurie this - that we already have some lists going, and tentative plans of where else we want to explore.

So she thanked me. Laurie thanked me for being so gracious. Me, gracious. I never saw that coming.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's wrong to judge parents, right?

We have new neighbors, and they have a very cute little girl who has down syndrome. They also have an older kid who doesn't, and I think the mom likes her best. The younger one is about four or five, and always out in the hallway with a toy playing by herself. Sometimes one of us going out there to play with her. Today Alex was baking and heard the girl outside, so she went to knock on their door and ask if she could bring her in to help bake. I was in the living room and overheard the conversation.

Alex: Hi! I'm Alex and live across the hall. Is it okay if Lily comes over to help me with some baking? I won't let her use any knives.
Neighbor: Oh! Let me go get Violet (older one) - she loves to bake!
Alex: Um, I meant Lily? Because she's just hanging out in the hall?
Neighbor. Oh, well ... I guess. Are you SURE?
Alex: Sure! I can bring her back in two hours.
Neighbor: Okay.

So Alex brought Lily in, and they had a blast making all different cookie shapes. An hour and 58 minutes later, Alex had Lily by one hand and a bag full of cookies by the other as she knocked on Lily's door. Nobody. Was. Home. Alex came back with Lily and the cookies, and wrote a note to tape on their door saying "Hi! We had a great time baking and Lily is ready to come home now. Please knock on our door to collect her as soon as you get back!"

FOUR hours later, Violet came knocking to collect her sister. So we spent the afternoon with this little kid and that's it - no apologies or thank yous or anything. Lily was here for so long that she helped to make dinner too. I'm sure it's really hard having a kid with all these problems and I can understand wanting a break, but you can't just dump your kid on people. Josh gave Alex a big talk about not being taken advantage of and what to say if this happens in the future.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I travel.

I have a passport with stamps and a suitcase and I go places. Everything IS the same when we got back but it all looks different. When Josh's parents heard about our trip, they wanted to come too. So that was kind of awkward. Especially when they all got choked up at Anne Frank's and I ... didn't. After we walked outside they stood there and said some prayer in Hebrew.

Then we went to Germany and visited some concentration camps. So that was fun. I had to reach out to Dani at one point, and she told me not to think of it as a vacation, but as an educational history trip. Once she re-framed it, the rest of the non-vacation went much better. For me. Everyone else had been having a fine time all along. I learned a lot more about the Nazis and what they did than was ever taught in school.

Also, it's been decided we're going to Antwerp for Christmas after going back to Germany to see the Christmas markets. I'm a little overwhelmed by how big they do things.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Do more, do better, be more clear

For the last couple of weeks I've been thinking that my cooking has really been slipping lately. All the dinners have been quick and easy. Then last night Josh mentioned he wants to be more proactive in cooking for us. So I jumped on that and told him, so do I.

Tonight I made herb butter, homemade pasta and gravy. Josh used each of these things, plus meat and pancetta and peas to make dinner. He gave me a list of things he wants to know how to cook for me, and I've been asked to write out the recipes in full for Josh. Apparently when he asks me how to make meals I say things like, "Just braise it/ deglaze the sauce/ simmer it/marinate and then finish it in the oven."

Apparently I assume knowledge that's unknown. Whoops. This is why I bought Josh a present tonight. This book defines all the terms and explains all the basics I take for granted. It even tells you what kinds of pots and pans to use, and when to use different types of salt. I don't buy Josh gifts very often - it's a little intimidating to buy someone who has multiple trusts, a gift. This book though, made him happy. That makes me happy.

Not quite sure why I have been such an ass in not giving Josh proper recipes. If I had, he probably would have been cooking meals for me (us). I was talking with Dani about this, and she pointed out that maybe cooking is the only way I feel superior to Josh and that's why I haven't given him the tools to cook in case he cooks better than I do. That girl needs to stop taking so many psychology courses.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crossover

This weekend we had to attend a cousin's bar mitzvah. At the reception we sat at a table with cousins of Josh's who were all in their 20's and 30's. It's a reminder that I'm not at the kids table anymore at Micah's bar mitzvah and at life.

For so long I've felt like this is just a game (that can't be lost, but still) of playing at being an adult. Except now there are little signs like which table to sit at, that indicate it's not a game anymore. Shit is real. Sitting with adults and having to talk about boring adult things like ISIS or how we're all sexually harassing Jennifer Lawrence when we look at her nude pictures or the crisis in the Midwest. I sat among people who honestly said things like, "Remind me to find out who Julia used for the flowers; they're just stunning."

Nobody wanted to talk about which of the boys were cutest, Jersey Belle, which dresses we liked best, or anything fun. I was polite. I didn't get drunk at the open bar. I sat with the other adults while the kids played the games led by the band. I did not get a party favor.

Bar and bat mitzvahs were so much more fun when I was 11-14.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All the Big Feelings

A girl at work had what seems like a nervous breakdown today. She had to go home early and everything. This really pissed off another girl, which pissed me off.

Basically, between Robin Williams killing himself and the way the police are handling themselves in St. Louis, last week was really intense. Today this girl was going on and on about how scary it is, how she can't sleep, she looks at police differently, etc. The catch? She's white. She basically worked herself into a tizzy (I am a terrible person because of wondering if she was faking it to cut out of work early) and got sent home.

The girl who got pissed off is black. She started going on and on about white privilege and how spoiled rich white bitches have no right to be upset or scared. For the most part I agree with her, but I didn't need to hear her bitch about it for three hours straight, and finally just packed up my stuff and left to finish working at home.

I'm reading this book that takes place in a concentration camps during WWII, and when it got really intense I started to calm down by thinking, "Well it was hell, but it can't ever happen again." But then I realized ... people probably thought a lot of the things going on in Ferguson couldn't happen, after all the work done in the 60's. So maybe the girl from work is right to be scared. Maybe none of us are safe, after all.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We want to run wild

Josh and I have agreed we both want our freebie to be Bear Grylls. We also want to do his show, but together. Like as a couple. Pathetically, we got into a heated argument during dinner about who would get to spoon with Bear while sleeping overnight on the ledge of the mountain, before we remembered it's not actually happening.

I don't know what the equivalent is of the type of army he was in, but it was not your average army. When I watch him eat any live animal he comes across, I want to ask Bear "Are you as good in the city as you are in the backwoods of Montana?" Like, does he know how to pick every type of lock there is? Could he run through the tunnels to get from one end of the city to the other?

You know those people who say "confidence is sexy"? When they say that, they mean Bear. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Time to get an attack-service dog

My friend Bianca always gets attacked by mosquitoes. She gives off some pheromone or something that makes them seek her out. Even in a room full of other people Bianca will be the only one to get bitten.

I think Alex has a special victim pheromone. She got mugged yesterday - some guy followed her into the building and was punching her while trying to steal her keys. The doorman came back from his break or wherever he was and pulled the guy off Alex and threw him out. This is not her first mugging. It needs to be the last. Josh and I are signing her up for krav maga. Alex needs to get more aggressive.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Passports exist to be used

Josh: Hey, want to go to Amsterdam?
Me: Like ... the country?
Josh: Yeah
Me: I could go to Anne Frank's house, sure.
Josh: No, seriously Sammers. Want to?
Me: When?
Josh: September?
Me: Umm ...
Josh: Then we could go to Antwerp and Brussels!

So I am putting in for vacation for next month. There's a good chance I'll get it, because everyone's been taking vacations left and right through the summer and all I've done so far is take one Friday off for a weekend in the Hamptons. Two of the managers have asked what my vacation schedule was for the summer and seemed relieved that I am in town the whole time.

Why do I get so scared at the thought of leaving the country?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Just fucking once

Just fucking once I would like to come home and have somebody hand me a glass of wine and point to the couch while they serve me dinner, instead of coming home and promptly being asked by whoever is laying on the couch what's for dinner.

About every other month I, as Josh says, "go all Italian" and scream at everybody about it. We are forever instituting all these rules and schedules about who should be cooking what on which days, and it never sticks. Nobody is capable of planning and cooking an entire dinner without my input. Even though I wrote out recipes, complete with which dishes to use. Josh will even sternly tell my sisters they need to cook dinner one night a week, but he'll forget his own night. Or get sushi delivered.

Tonight when I got home I smelled something good cooking even from the hallway. Upon opening the door Alex pulled a glass of wine from the refrigerator and handed it to me. Then she pointed to the couch. Where I sat. Within 15 minutes we were all eating pasta and meatballs with garlic bread. Alex made chocolate pudding pie with whipped cream for dinner.

I can die happy now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Big baby steps

Both my sisters have had to pay for their cell phones for a while now. Alex has had to pay for her toe shoes. Now that she's graduated she has officially retired from ballet (I'm sure her school is pissed that they wasted all that time on her), and will just take classes for fun. This means she won't be going through toe shoes almost weekly anymore. I realized Al will have a lot more money without having to buy all her ballet stuff.

So yesterday I announced that from now on they both have to buy all their own clothes. Plus all their stuff for school. Unknown to them, I did both their budgets. There is just no way either can afford to move out, and Dani's grades will suffer if she works as much as I did since she's double-majoring, and Alex is simply ... not capable. I don't know if she's too immature or too spoiled or what, but she won't be able to move out and support herself in a month.

Josh suggested that we tell them that they have to move out next summer. It gives them a year to figure their shit out, save money, figure out if they want to share a studio or what. I asked Josh if he's sure he can stand to deal with them another year and he pointed out that Danielle is barely here, and Alex is going to be super busy now that she's starting college.

Plus I know Danielle wants desperately to do a year abroad, so that alone would make home much less intense.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tequila Tuesday

That's what Josh decided tonight was. It was an excellent idea, and even more excellent considering tonight was the season finale of Real Housewives of New York. Leggate! We had a few friends over and it was really fun. I left work at 6pm which was beautiful. By 6:30 I was in shorts and a tank top in the kitchen.

Our menu:
Drinks: 
  1. Bloody Marys (normally I think of these as a breakfast drink, but somebody asked for one, so I made a batch)
  2. Mango Tropical (silver tequila, mango, organic agave, fresh lime)
  3. La Sandia (silver tequila, fresh watermelon, rosemary and lemon)
  4. Coronas (some guy brought that)
Guacamole (avocado, jalapeño, tomato, onion and cilantro) with tortilla chips

Food:
  1. caesar salad (romaine lettuce, roasted red peppers and chile croutons, tossed with jalapeño-parmesan dressing)
  2. chicken enchiladas (pulled chicken rolled in soft corn tortillas and topped with a tomatillo cream sauce)
  3. refried black beans
I wanted to do empanadas but only started planning last night and there just wasn't enough time.  For dessert I did these icy melon granitas. I'm not quite sure what I was doing, but people seemed to like them. Honestly, I'm thinking about having one for breakfast tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am obsessed with tomatoes

I made stuffed tomatoes for dinner tonight. Leftovers will be brought to work and school tomorrow. Everybody loved them. We used pancetta instead of bacon. I wish there was a way to freeze tomatoes - it would be awesome to make this all throughout the year. I had Josh make garlic bread to go with our tomatoes. It didn't go well. He forgot he was cooking and went out for a run. Alex rescued the bread before it burned.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dumped

I am not a wallflower. Sometimes I don't say anything when someone treats me like shit, but I am absolutely aware. At a certain point I am finished taking their shit.

That point came today. This girl at work has really been struggling. Like, Closed Door Talks with her mentor struggling and Scared She's Going to be Fired struggling. Plus she's the type who makes stupid mistakes when she's nervous instead of intensely focusing and triple-checking everything. So I have been helping her when I can. Sometimes I can't, like when a manager asks her a question and the first sentence of her response has "like" four times.

I'm sort of getting a handle on how work works, so I only help her when I have free time. Like yesterday I had 20 minutes for lunch, and I agreed to review her report while she ran out to get our food. If it's not too late at the end of the day I'll stay a few minutes and help her figure out what her emails mean. But I refuse to put my work aside for hers. She is really decent about respecting my boundaries.

This week I'm working on a client with this guy who right away announced he has some executive functioning thing. He is forever using it as an excuse. "You'll have to do that part because I can't. Because of my disability." He keeps dumping his work on me. Not asking. Demanding. Fuck that. He'll interrupt my work to put his in front of me, and then do that thing some guys do where they physically intimidate intimidate you with their body by standing over you while you're sitting down. I hate that.

Today I snapped. "Maybe you're not cut out for this job if your disability prevents you from doing so much of it." He claimed he was firing off an angry email to HR about my lack of sensitivity and unwillingness to be a team player. "Good luck remembering to follow up with them," I smirked when he told me what he was doing. Bitchy thing to say, but your disability is not my problem. Your "reasonable accommodation" is not "dump all work on Sam." I am like 90% interested to see how HR handles this and 10% amused.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The bitching about work must end, immediately

A guy from work committed suicide over the weekend. No idea if it was because of work or what, but I could totally see that being the case. Some managers really get off on making other people's lives miserable. A really sensitive person having that happen could take it super personally.

All day we were unsettled and everyone kept gossiping about him. I didn't want to talk about him. Not because I don't care. Because I didn't know him very well, and can't imagine someone wanting their pain and life discussed by people who are just excited to have something big to talk about besides work.

After work I changed my clothes and took Josh out for a run (this makes him sound like a dog but he's not - I just wanted to talk and move). He asked me to promise that if I ever felt so bad that suicide seems like a good option, I would come tell him. I just agreed and didn't say that time already passed.

As I thought about it more I realized that for me the feeling passed. Maybe for the guy at work, it didn't. Not every problem is temporary. I hope he's at least at peace now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Out! Out damn ... sisters

Tonight Josh and I went to Butter for dinner. I was late, because I suck and work ridiculous hours. Josh was on his second drink when I got there and swore he wasn't upset. This dinner was on me, because I insist on taking Josh out to dinner once a month. This has been going on since I got my grownup job, and am almost at the point of not thinking about the cost when there's an urge for an appetizer or dessert.

Josh thinks it's amusing that I pay. He talks all through when I'm figuring out the tip, and each time I worry about doing the math wrong, which would be outrageously embarrassing. The accountant who couldn't do simple math.

We were talking about my sisters moving out. It doesn't look good. Neither of them earn that much, they're now super spoiled from living here, and they don't want to move out only to have to live together. Josh's parents already pay more than half for our apartment even though I have more than half the people in it. I would have to take out money that goes to my retirement account to put towards their rent. Which I guess I could do, but that would be like, for a shitty apartment in Queens. I don't think Alex and Danielle will go for that. Everything really comes back to them being spoiled. I may have made a really horrible mistake five years ago.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

First comes love

Aside from the money issue there's one other issue that makes me hesitate when I think of marrying Josh. He wants kids. "Not a lot - no need to become the Duggarsteins - but just like two or three." Umm ... two or three is about two and a half too many. I'm totally down to have a dog.

The thing is, I could be okay with having a kid if we had a boy. Of course there's no way to guarantee that unless we adopted an already-made boy. Josh does not want to adopt a kid. I just feel like with my sisters, I'm over girls.

We are at an impasse on this. Josh has this sister who basically left the family and nobody has spoken to in years, and although he never talks about it I know it hurts him. That's why he wants three kids - so if one pulls what his sister did, the sibling won't turn into an only child. Though, what are the odds of that happening?

I don't want to get married until this is sorted out. As a potential solution I suggested that if a girl pops out, we should just switch with someone who's had a boy and is disappointed. Josh is adamant that we need to raise a baby that's had our genes mashed together.

The other thing is, I have been going so aggressively for so long that it's hard to imagine sitting at home with a baby. At the same time Josh's solution - a nanny - would never feel comfortable. My deadline for working all these things out is a little over seven years from now. By 30 I want to be finished having any kids we may have (or adopt).

In sum, our two big issues are money and kids. The two issues that drive people apart. So yeah, the future is looking great.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Raining dollar bills

Last week I found out my friend, who had been seriously dating her boyfriend for almost as long as I've been with Josh and was moving towards getting married, broke up with him out of nowhere. It was kind of shocking for everyone finding out. We're trying to stay friends with both of them - Josh went out with the guy for drinks; I had my friend over for brunch this morning.

When Josh and I compared notes, we came away honestly surprised they've lasted as long as they have. Basically he's Irish and traditional and wants a wife who will stay home and pop out babies. She's in law school. Yeah, neither will change their mind. It makes me feel outrageously lucky that Josh and I are almost completely on the same page.

The two things we disagree on are having kids and handling money. I could become a trillionaire and still will never be able to spend the way Josh does. He has gotten a thousand times better but Josh will never be able to think of cost and respect money the way I do. Right this very second, there is a stack of bills totaling $660, in a loose pile on the couch next to me. Josh took $800 out of the ATM last week. I would bet you $660 that he has no idea what he spent that $140 on.

When I go to bed tonight, that money will come with me because we have too many people coming in and out of our apartment to sit out in the living room. If someone took a few bills Josh would never notice. This is how he is with money all the time. I bet I could find money in the kitchen, in the hallway (a few times I've found dollar bills being used as bookmarks in books), everywhere.

Every cent of my money is accounted for. I know exactly how much is in my bedroom, and in my workbag. Josh has talked about blending our money when we're married. As a poor girl I know that's supposed to be like, my ultimate wish. But if I saw "our" money keeping the place in a book, or strewn in random places, it would make me crazy. I don't want to break up like our friends did. I don't think Josh is ever going to change.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It would be too corny

So I'm not going to say Howdy even though I'm in Texas. In NY some girls wear dresses with cowboy boots. It's sort of ironic. Here they do it, and it's ... not. Everything I know about Texas comes from Friday Night Lights.

I don't know if everything really IS bigger in Texas but everything is more ... constructed here. I once heard the term "a full face" in reference to wearing a lot of makeup. In NY, when someone's all done up like that, I assume they're a model or actress coming from work. Everyone is all into subtle. Not in Texas. Big makeup. Big smiles. Is assertive smiling a thing?

The great thing is, it's super easy to get good quality food. Huge portions - I haven't finished one meal yet. I was sort of hoping for really big hair, like 80's Jersey height. You know, the higher the hair, the closer to Jesus?

In case you didn't know, I'm really really mean. The slow-talking drives me crazy. It truly makes me feel like I have ADHD to listen to people here talk because it takes them so long to get their words out that I have to keep reminding myself to pay attention and not scream, "HURRY UP, SPIT IT OUT!" It's at the point now where I'm emailing our clients just a hallway away because reading their responses goes so much faster.

I just want to go home. Maybe I'm not a traveling person since I think so negatively. I just want to be around my sisters and Josh. I want my own kitchen. I want to come home from working for 12 hours and bake while cooking soup. The problem with traveling for work is that at the end of your (very, very) long day, you don't go home. You go to a hotel. So you feel like you're just working for days on end. Which you are. Weekends mean nothing. Night time means nothing. I think this must be why people seem to drink so much while traveling for work.

The only good thing is, we didn't get a dog. Pretty sure missing my dog would push me over the edge.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Turnover

When we moved into our building, we were probably the loudest people here. Beyond being loud Italians, we're not really that loud. There's a strong mix of people here - families with babies, young couples, older couples, single people... and basically everybody gets along. Sometimes someone's dog pees in a hallway and one neighbor complains so the dog-neighbor apologizes. It's all very quiet and civil.

It seems like there's been some turnover in the last few months. I haven't noticed anybody moving in or out, but all of a sudden there are a LOT of little kids, and they're not the well-behaved kind.

The desk Dani sits at to study is up against a wall that's shared with neighbors. Neighbors who have kids. For at least two hours every day she hears what sounds like people being thrown against the wall (she thinks a bed is up against that wall) and toy cars or something like it running all around the wall.

Almost each night we hear little kids screeching and screaming through the halls. It goes on and on, and sometimes we can't hear each other talk within the same room. It's not even words - just sounds. Who the hell is letting them make so much noise?

Last weekend when I was coming home, I ran into two little kids hanging out in the lobby, like 3 and 5? They were super open and smiley Indian kids, happy to tell me all about the picnic they were about to go on. I don't think they're the ones making all the noise. I want to have them spy and report back who the bad kids are so I can go yell at them.

Josh got aggravated tonight during the Screaming Hour after dinner and mumbled, "time to move!" I don't know if he means us or them.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Still working it all out

It's been long enough that Josh and I have been living together - you would think by now all issues would be smoothed out. I did. Everyone knows Dani wishes we hadn't moved in with Josh. Everyone knows Josh wished he could have moved in with just me and not my sisters. It's all out in the open.

Josh thought me and my sisters were too close. He is still uncomfortable being in bed with my sisters being in the bedroom. He does not like our lack of modesty with each other, and wishes we all closed bathroom doors during showers. To be honest, I think Josh still thinks we're too close. He thinks the regularity with which we share clothes is too much. We try to humor him a little, because living with three girls must be hard.

Sometimes we forget. I have told my sisters repeatedly (more in the first year or two when we moved in together, less these days) to be respectful of Josh's uncomfortableness with walking around in jeans and a bra in the mornings. On Saturday Danielle apparently forgot, and I was woken up to a high pitched screech. In the middle of getting dressed she'd wandered into the kitchen to start water going for eggs.

I thought Josh was upset that Dani didn't have a shirt on, and he was. But he was also upset that she was wearing my bra.

Me: What? We're the same size.
Josh: That's like sharing underwear!
Me: No, it's different.
Josh: It's gross!
Me: No, it's really not.
Josh: I pulled that bra off you a week ago when we were having sex!
Me: .... oh.

He walked out completely disgusted. I told Dani we can't share anymore. Josh came back an hour later. I saw him go toss an envelope on Danielle's bed before coming over to me. "Please use this," Josh said. He pressed something into my hand. Today I spent my giftcard at Victoria's Secret. Danielle also spent hers. Poor little Alex got nothing new, because she's ... little.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Wise words, calming cadence

Yesterday Josh and I were walking back from a farmer's market and ran into a guy I work with. He's like way higher up than I am, and was actually kind of dickish to work with. Ed waved us over and invited us to sit down and chat over coffee. Josh told me to stay, saying he would take all our food home. So I stayed. I chatted.

It turns out Ed is not a dick as a personal person, just as a work person. We had this hour-long talk about how difficult work can be, how to get clients to give you the information you're waiting on, how to manage your anger when they give you deadlines but sneak out side doors at 8pm on Fridays while you sit waiting for the docs to meet those deadlines, and on and on.

This was a really good talk, surprisingly. I totally feel like I'm going to walk into work tomorrow with a totally different perspective. Better able to work around assholenish. It was super nice of Ed to reach out like that and help so much.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yes, all women

When we lived in the South Bronx it was never apartments that had doormen. I never unlocked the door to the building if a man was walking behind me, or towards me. Same thing in the hallway in front of the apartment. I never held the door open for anyone. In ninth grade my social studies teacher told us about how she held the apartment door open for the man who turned out to be her mugger.

This weekend I realized my sisters never got a serious talk about this stuff. I made a mental note to do it. Today I was coming home from work when I saw Alex almost a block ahead of me. We have a doorman so I was really surprised to see her walk right by our place and keep going. She stopped half a block past our apartment and started digging in her bag. I ran to catch up with her as Al was pulling out her cell phone.

"I didn't recognize the doorman. Is he new?" she asked me. So proud. Guess we don't need to have that talk.