Monday, February 27, 2006

Mirror mirror on the floor

Another family member has lost their job...again. He LEFT his last job to go and HELP OUT this pipsqueek rat, untalented, boozing little moron and rebuild his business. The rat better be thankful that I am 730 miles away b/c otherwise I would go down to said office and rip off his tiny rat package and shove it down his skinny rat throat.

Okay, who broke the mirror in the Stewart family? B/c its already been two years of one fucking crisis after another and quite frankly, we could use a break. Seriously, I'll trade you my eight granola bars and single pair of jeans if you just lay off until, say, April. Life is so unfair sometimes, I know this isn't the end of the world, and in general we are very lucky in life, and have our health and all of that qualifying crap - it just sucks.

One McRedBox, and Supersize It

These are new stations, I am told only found at McDonald’s but verification would have required research so word of mouth is good enough for me. RedBox machines sit outside; patrons swipe only a credit card with no membership process required, and select a DVD from the menu on the right. Out of that little slot with arrow pops out a new release! Just for you! Your credit card is charged $1 plus applicable sales tax for each day you have the movie. How do you return it? Same slot! Now you can pick up a soda, cheeseburger and new movie all in one step. The selections weren’t too bad, quite new and I have heard they change frequently. They should, how else would they get you to come back? Billions of dollars…Dammit! This is ingenious! (leaving out my moral contradictions) that is v. cool. I guess the machine is not very reliable and breaks frequently. New Roomie and I went to get one following a much-needed McFlurry run and the machine was out of order. You can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be back to check out that shiznitch.


Colorado continues to amaze. This apparent private tutoring service, I’m guessing like a cheap Sylvan Center, was next to ComCast. I simultaneously felt the following about this bizarre learning annex sign:

  1. How offensive is the misspelling? Hey dumb kids, kum here cuz we no you ain’t the sharpest tool in the droar
  2. The logo, especially the sad face does not signify to me: Success, Learning, Literacy, Math or Safe!
  3. I cannot read the word success without saying in my head, “Double the c, double the s and you’ll always have success.”
  4. This seems a little prurient for a children’s facility
  5. I am so happy I have a camera with me
  6. WTF is that apostrophe doing there?!? Isn’t come on usually abbreviated come’on!
  7. This is going to make Amy and Lynn laugh really hard but for different reasons
  8. Ha ha!
  9. Ohhhhh.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Of COURSE it works for them!

02/25/06, night

Garage: Sorry we were supposed to call you back eight hours ago.
Me: yeah, me too
Garage: So, um, after like eight hours of tests we can't find the problem.
Me: somebody better come over here and pick me up.
Garage: the "trick" is to start it, stop, and start it again quickly garbledeegookshmeebork vaccuum electricalstuff bring it back in. blah blah blah, we aren't charging you.
Me: Well, um, cool...I guess. hope it doesn't shut off on the interstate for goodnessake.


02/25/06, 02:14
This was my thought process this afternoon:
Gotta get outta the house, will have to ride my bike
Got keys? Yes, make sure I have a bike lock key
Got keys? Yes, have house keys
Got keys? Must have car keys to get the bike lock outta the trunk
On road to mall
Oh, fuck! Left bike lock in the trunk of car back home
At the mall
Can’t believe I left my bike lock in the trunk back home
Yeah, so, stare at me! People wearing North Face but looking like they’ve never seen someone ride an actual bike in their life

18 fucking outdoorsy stores and no one carries a fricking water bottle for a bike
I'll ride my bike back home and get the lock and ride down for a soda or ride over to the walking trails, lock it up and then get some fresh air
On the way home
Oh…yeah, um, car isn’t there anyway, its, its at Goodyear.
I’m retarded. DOH!

The Regal Beagle, not so regal

02/25/06, Morning time:
Balls. I knew that something was coming - like UCESP (unreliable car ESP). My car has been hesitating and coughing – and then, yesterday at the Grease Monkey in Castle Rock freakin’ Colorado it died…one-half block on a frontage road from a service station. The weirdos at Grease Monkey just kept trying to start it while they all stood around and looked at it blankly. Me: get away, get away from it! I know not a single soul in the town, my roommate is ETA four hours, at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. If it weren’t for the impending sale of my OTHER kidney to pay for the freaking car, it would have been kinda cool.

AAA Nebraska got me transferred to AAA Colorado (did you know each state’s AAA are separate “clubs”?!?). A very sweet older man, garbed as retired ranchers tend to be, with at least one artificial leg came to rescue the Regal Beagle from the Grease Monkeys. Walking down the car ramp he walked gracefully with one leg, lifting the other to the side while climbing over towing gadgets. He reminded me of the quiet, Schroeder/Harder German mechanics of northeastern Nebraska. In fact, the peeling, car-lot logo still reads “Ponca Motors.” The old man picked up my car, one-half block away, and towed it to the service station and advised me to be sure if they couldn’t fix it, they give me a ride home.

I waited in the lobby for about two hours and I was happy to do so – I was glad they at least got it in to look at it. The growing anxiety, loneliness and dark combined with the acrid smell of new tires, oil and general machine gave me a headache. An inarticulate customer service manager talked for FORTY-FIVE minutes with a young man about tires that had improperly been installed on his car – a young man, I might add, who prefaced the conversation by stating that his license had been revoked by a DUI pushing his points over the limit. This CSM used the phrase, “speed rated” in the conversation approximately 600 times. They just repeated the same things over, and over and over to one another. Confirming, reaffirming and cementing, and then confirming the cementing that in fact the other vendor had installed improper speed rated tires on the drunk driver’s car. “SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE DAMN SPEED RATED TIRES! IF YOU SAY SPEED RATED ONE MORE TIME SO HELP ME GOD I WILL CLEAN UP THIS LOBBY AND REDECORATE WITH PINK BUNNIES!”

I was doing just fine with everything until New Roommate left this morning for work and a reminder that he’ll return late Monday night. Now I feel v. stuck and alone. I am going to turn on some David Cross, which might keep me from crying like a baby.

Friday, February 24, 2006

View from my Coloradan window

Coloradan window? Coloradinite view? I have no idea...what's the pronunciation on that one? Nemises. Anyway, this is the view from my new temporary digs in Castle Rock. Beautiful, non? What this doesn't show is the melting off of my face. Castle Rock is actually a little higher in altitutude that Denver, and the sun feels SO DIFFERENTLY. Its kinda like going to Phoenix in the rainy Nebraska spring. The sun is so - much - more intense. Upon arrival I thought I'd get out of the car and look like the Joker (its like the touch of god but wait, fortune smiles, today for you is wine and roses, or in your case, beer and pizza). One half of my face smiling, the other droopy and disfigured and melty. To the right of this photograph, or rather to the southeast is the massive Outlet Mall. I perused the mall's parking lot today, having done nothing yesterday but sleep and drive to Panera's. It looks like dangerous fun. I am going to avoid at all costs, maybe right before I leave.

I am tooling around today learning the roads and streets, but Castle Rock is a tiny, quaint place and I think it will be easy for me to learn to get around. I had to go to EvilMart to get some cheap mouth wash and shower caps (its weird the things you miss packing) and I have to say - I am having a harder time than I thought I would adjusting to the altitude. I keep waking up at night doing a snort/snore/gasp thing that rocks me awake. I feel all squeezy inside.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dannielle - has - arrived

I am sitting in a Panera's Bread in Highland Ranch, Colorado, just north about 15 mi from my new temporary digs in Castle Rock. The little town of Castle Rock is just beautiful. I am going to do my best to upload some photo soon. Yesterday, having gotten only about two hours of sleep I left from Valley, Nebraska and drove the 700 or so miles to Castle Rock. The drive was, well, kind of a bitch. There is a strong front moving in from the west and my car struggled again the BA wind. Neil and I did an excellent job securing the bike and I even left myself a little bit of rear view but the benefit of driving oneself is that you are in control of any and all potty, pop, gas, stretching or junk food breaks. Its wonderful and breaks up the drive.

On my stop in Ogallala, NE, I had one last Runza swiss cheese mushroom burger. If you've never had Runza food - I pity you. Its amazing. It started with a little German grandmother making a regional German dish - the Runza, a stinky bread sandwich baked and filled with onions, ground beef and cabbage. I love their cheeseburgers and I swear the stars aligned and forces of charma said, "Dannielle, we will miss you. Please, let us make you the best swiss cheese mushroom burger ever." It was PERFECT. Hot, fresh, the bun wasn't smushy, lots of mushrooms, the cheese was melted but not molten or nasty, the hamburger - perfection. It was wonderful, and with that and a short drive, I crossed the Colorado/Nebraska border. Coming upon Denver, the mountains coming into view in the distance, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was at the point in a drive when you just want to be done, the fun has worn off and the caffeine and you just want to go - and suddenly, I was perfectly happy and everything was wonderful.

Brandon and I unloaded my car and by 4:30 I was having dinner. It was a scary last week and I have no credit to take for myself, its the love of my amazing friends and family that have kept me afloat. I am going to finish my soup and there will be more to come later. Pardon my horrific spelling.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Good morning Nebraska

Its either 1000 o'clock or -1000 o'clock, I can't figure out just which. I am going to meet Lynnie in 45 minutes for breakfast and then I am on my way. I figure, I'll toss my stocking cap in the air and smile right before the trip - just for good measure. For now, I need a bath and some frickin' caffeine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Moving out of the apartment day, hour #8

Why do I have SO MUCH CRAP!??!? It might never, ever end. Thanks be b/c its an absolutely beautiful, wonderful, warm day outside. The sunshine is making me less homocidal and more, well, less homocidal. I am trying to get everything moved, and packed and I KEEP FINDING THINGS. Damn box of Christmas decor which has not been opened since I moved in here and can't throw away b/c maybe someday I'll be a grownup and actually put out Christmas things. I can't seem to make myself pack up the compy. My beloved compy, then it will be silence for the Dannielle, except for the cell phone, and only for like 2 hours until I go to my parents house.

Okay, I'm off to haul more crap off to the storage unit. Blech! However, the pink, old flannel blanket hanging over my windows for two years has come down, now I remember why I put it up - its 12 square feet of glass! oh yeah, and I'm too lazy for curtains. I bet my new roommate will be excited to see the pink blanket moved to Colorado. day

I am freaking out here! I hope I can get everything done b/c right now - I am NOT feeling it. I need some moving mojo to come my way. Today its packing the remaining clothes, tomorrow, Colorado!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Blind, stupid, simple, doo dah clueless luck

I was at this damn gas station TWICE this week. I don’t usually play the lottery so it doesn’t totally surprise me that I didn’t win – but what if I had?!?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

growing up blows

My face is chapped. Not only b/c its -20 degrees here, but from crying and weeping, laughing and then starting all over. Growing up sucks...donkey. I spent all day moving and packing (more) and getting closer to my moving date, which has seemed to put the clock on steroids. It’s hard to have all of the sad feelings of leaving home, going to an unknown – that sick, painful feeling of homesickness and hearing the same things echo in the voices of the people you love. Its hard to know that you're causing them pain. Granted, I would not feel better should they be partying and celebrating my leave. This is a part of moving on and of beginning a new life. Each time that I feel sad and take a step back to gain some perspective it remains perfectly clear that that this is the right decision. That doesn’t seem to ease the feelings of leaving.

My best friend Lynn and parents helped me pack today and its funny how much you learn about yourself from other people. I am something of a paradox. Lynn kept looking at me each time I came to check on her “area” of work and she would shake her head at me disappointedly. Apparently, not only do I have an imperfect system of organization as I first feared - it seems as though no such “system” exists. Interesting. Several boxes that I had thought were well packed, I was informed, were not at all packed well. In my mind nail polish, q-tips and TV remotes packed together makes perfect sense b/c that’s what one would find on a nightstand. After finding many items in multiplicity, Lynn said that if I bought any more packages of travel Kleenex she would, in fact, break my arms. I assume that if something is not readily found it’s something I should pick up the next time I’m out and about.

Things found in excessive quantity:
  • Winter hats (I thought you could never have too many of these)
  • Travel Kleenex (see above)
  • Tubes of Neosporin (I am helplessly clumsy and hurt myself at least once a week)
  • Hangers – approx. 300

I need help. This move will be good for me to relearn a care for my possessions. Right now, I appreciate that I have them but they’re not enough to tear me away from Gilmore Girl reruns.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hot stuff, coming through

I was doing fine with the fact that I’m staring down the barrel of departure day until my regular Wednesday night dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. It struck me that each event in our evening routine, now down to an exact science, might be the last I have with them. I come into the house, arms full of my laundry; carry it to the basement much to a stir of the household. Grandpa is trying to be helpful and yet is oppressively obstructive to the dinner preparation; much yelling ensues. I carry my laundry as well as theirs to the basement, down a treacherous and slick set of ancient steps, clinging to the wall with one hand trying not to fall. Extra kitchen towels are thrown onto the stairs behind me. I try to step on any live spiders and avoid the dead ones. Once, I SCREAMED at the top of my lungs b/c a sewer bug had crawled up through the drain and parts of its head had MELTED to the hot water heater but it was still alive and moving. If you’ve never seen one, they look like a praying mantis the color of a yellow wax bean and are partially translucent. In their basement, grandpa used to operate an antiques shop and without any lighting the packed, dusty, rusty tables of antiques cast creepy shadows. On the landing of the stairs is a door to the outside, to the east of the house, and I usually inspect the surroundings just in case someone snuck in and is hiding out. This is not an outrageous idea as there are many homeless people who use their lawn to cut through the neighborhood and to the rear alley.

Dinner is served in nearly as much chaos – I am trying to grab heavy things out of my grandmother’s hands while simultaneously keeping sharp objects from her that can be thrown in grandpa’s direction. Rolls are warmed, heavy things carried out. In the Stewart household to carry hot dishes into the dining room one must holler, “Hot stuff, comin’ through! Hot stuff!” so no one will be burned or get in the way of the carrier. Grandpa does dishes after dinner, I make up leftover tubs and make grandma, who has usually retreated into the living room, hot cocoa. She and I then have several minutes of quiet to visit. The newest show that we watch on Wednesday nights, in-between my up and down the stairs laundry tasks, is “Cash in the Attic” on BBC America. This is both interesting and frustrating b/c with her poor hearing and the heavy accents grandma can’t understand much of the show. I act as translator at commercials (which are ALWAYS muted the second the show segment ends). “Those two people, the blonde gal and the pudgy guy, are getting married. They have to raise 700 pounds for a wedding dress.” Then, usually a great discussion of pound to dollar translation follows.

Its that or Emeril Live and, while the guy is entertaining and I have learned much about the use of butter and essence in cooking, I was ready for a change. I had previously put my foot down about no more Andy Griffith. Two episodes a night, every week, for years, makes one want to pick off the good Sheriff with a rifle and free Aunt Bee from her domestic slavery. Someone sign Opie up for basket weaving b/c if that kid is actually interested in football I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. The greatest benefit of watching Cash in the Attic, other than catching up on English slang and practicing my fake accent, is a rather dashing antiques appraiser named Paul Hayes. He’s sweet and polite, and despite knowing everything about Victorian spoons really interesting. I think maybe it’s just those dreamy blue eyes. I inevitably get caught up in the family/group/couple’s auction and hope that they can reach their goal! If items fail to reach their estimate, dark and instrumental tends to play while they flash between headshots of the auctioneer and the group, adding to the intensity.

But this Wednesday I found myself looking around the room at my grandparents and the house that has been the only constant structure in my life. I studied the walls and the paintings, the way they look in their chairs, grandpa in his rocker and grandma in her green armchair. It was in that chair that as a child my granddad and I stayed up one night – I was probably three or four – and sang songs into a tape recorder and talked, playing it back for ourselves and laughing like old pals; intermittently sneaking in for Oreos and milk. It was in front of that same TV that they would baby-sit me, and I would fall asleep on the floor listening to their shows, although at that time they had no remote and commercials had actual sound. Like clockwork, at eight o’clock my grandpa gets up, loosens the lid on a bottle of Ensure for grandma to take with her to bed, affects the thermostat by way of flashlight in the dining room according to some mathmatical formula I have yet to crack, removes his glasses and kisses grandma. I then get my own hug, scratchy kiss and thanks. Then it’s best-friend time; grandma and I have an hour or so to visit, chat – sometimes to get advice or give it. And each time I leave grandma waits at the door, even though she is nearly blind, to watch my lights leave, pulling back the yellowed curtains at the front door. Should a pedestrian pass by, she gives a hard, nasty glare to the passerby as if to say, “I’m watching, you’d better not try any funny business.” A quick wave and then she disappears into the house.

Wednesday, I wanted to record every detail, memorize each sound – but I know them all. I realized this warm, mini-family we have built is going to be heartbreaking to leave but I’m sure will never leave me.