Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rees Repeats

I will not date my new client.

I will not date my new client.

I will not date my new client.

No matter how cute he is. Or how nervous I can tell we both are around each other.

Even if he does have his own boat. And blonde hair. And loves good seafood.

And no matter how much wine he buys from me...

I will not date my new client.

I will not date my new client.

I will not date my new client.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I hate summer

"How are you surviving in this heat?" chirped the HR lady conversationally at my new job this morning as she looked over my medical insurance form.

It was all I could do not to burst into tears. The truth is, not well.

When I say that I hate summer, I say it without the slightest bit of irony or sarcasm. I honestly hate the summer. I cannot deal with the heat and humidity. (And it's not just because I live in Virginia - when I lived in New York, it was actually worse because of the city's general lack of central AC, heat from the underground subway system, and the fact that you walk everywhere. It was seriously one of the reasons I decided to leave.)

The heat makes me constantly cranky and tired. When there are week-long heat waves, like right now, I actually begin to feel physically ill during certain parts of the day. My constant efforts to hydrate myself leave me feeling bloated, and the fact that my charming little apartment only has one window unit means that I am practically confined to my bedroom when at home. Even my cat has been behaving differently - hiding under the bed, waking me up when I try to sleep, and meowing crossly when she wants something.

I daydream of hibernating until fall, allowing myself to fall into the deep sleep that my body craves all day long. I can't even bring myself to enjoy little pleasures like reading my cooking magazines, because since it's too hot to even be in my kitchen, much less use it for anything other than ice cream storage, seeing all of the new recipes just depresses me even more.

How many days until September?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Taming the Beast

"He's already dropped the N-bomb twice," Marilee hissed as she pulled another cushy seat up to our hotel lobby table. And yes, she meant that N-bomb. The worst one. The one white people do not say.

This weekend, I travelled to Nashville. What started out as a weekend wedding party with my gay BFF, Jason, turned into a family reunion of sorts, complete with lots of drinking, lots of bickering, and a racist relative. When I found out this spring that I was to be invited to a super-fancy party in Nashville this summer, I jokingly told Jason that he should meet me there and be my date. I was surprised to get this response -

"Actually, that could work. My mom and Mike just moved to Nashville so they've been bugging me to come visit, and there's no way I was going to go alone."

Jason is not close to his mother, and he and his brothers all despise her third husband, Mike. Stories of this stepfather are legendary with our group of friends. Essentially, he's your run of the mill bigot, NRA member, Fox News watching, redneck - complete with a foul temper and a complete disregard for diversity and any kind of social graces.

You know - a walking nightmare.

I was psyched. The most fun party date I could possibly imagine, and a chance to get to meet this monster in person? BRING IT.

As the weekend approached, it got more complicated. Suddenly Jason's brother and sister-in-law were going to visit that weekend too (strength in numbers). Then I snagged them an invite to the party also. Then we started hatching plans for me to go undercover and actually befriend the monster, theorizing that this was the best way to ensure lots of offensive quotes that would make good stories down the road.

As the weekend approached, and previous stories began flying through cyberspace as we four comrades emailed back and forth, I actually became nervous. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stomach some of the atrocities that came out of his mouth, much less be responsible for egging him on. Finally, the moment of truth arrived.

Jason and I sat in the hotel lobby downing free drinks while waiting for his mother and Mike to drop off Todd and Marilee. The two of them came in first, while the parental units parked the truck outside, and regaled us of stories that had been happening throughout the day. It already sounded brutal.

"Hello, Jason," his mother said in her whiny voice as the approached. I stood up, ready to be introduced.

"Mom, Mike, this is Rees." I extended my hand. His mother (who I found out later is a total Debbie Downer) reached out her hand reluctantly and gave me a half-smile, half-wince. Mike, on the other hand...

"Well, hello there!" he said, pumping my hand up and down, in a shy but pleasant voice. This was not what I expected. He stood there as everyone exchanged small talk, completely silent, except for the occasional chuckle or helpful remark.

And then I noticed it. His gaze - resting on my boobs.

And it stayed there for most of the weekend. The bigoted comments and NRA manifestos that I had been promised were nowhere to be found. Instead it was -

"Rees, how do you like the smoked ribs?"

"Rees, help yourself to anything in the fridge."

"Rees, do you need to print out your boarding pass?"

"Rees, if you ever get pulled over by a cop, and you have open liquor bottles in your car, get out and lock the car doors - then they'd have to get a search warrant to look in your vehicle." (I'm not kidding.)

Jason, Todd and Marilee watched in amazement as Mike actually succeeded in curbing the behavior that he obviously knows is offensive, and behaved like a semi-normal human being.

I mean, I knew these puppies had power, but even I was impressed with this one. I think it's safe to say that I'll be invited back to these family gettogethers - as long as I promise to wear V-necks to ensure that Mike will be on his best behavior.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

First Day

Visited ten clients. Filled out a pile of paperwork. Got two blisters. Came home with a long To-Do list, and frantically searched my kitchen letting out a huge sigh of relief when I came across an airplane bottle of Absolut Vanilia to stir into my Coke.

Oh yeah, and I got to taste five different wines. I like this job.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'll never stray again

While getting my oil changed for the first time in, oh, 10,000 miles (sorry, Dad), I decided to hop on over to the Books A Million that was in the shopping center and pick up the latest Book Club selection for my plane ride next weekend.

Big mistake. Fifteen minutes later, I left feeling dirty and vowed to never again to enter into a bookstore that wasn't Barnes and Noble.

The shelves were disorganized, the employees looked comatose, and the selection of Christian reading was disturbingly large. Knowing that I was hunting for a book that would be in the biography section, but not being able to remember the name of the author, I ventured over to the "Customer Service" station. After standing there for a few minutes, some kid with an apron finally asked me if I needed anything. I asked if they had the book, and said that I just needed to know who wrote it.

"Oh, I can take you to it if you want!"

Uh, ok. I followed him to the biography section and watched as he aimlessly scanned the shelves.

"Um... I can probably find it. Who was the author?" I tentatively asked.

"Oh, uh, I don't really know," he mumbled before going back to aimlessly searching.

Major restraint involved on my part.

"Um, that was why I came to you in the first place. I needed to know who wrote it. I could have just looked around for the title in the biography section myself but was trying to save time."

Mumble, mumble, mumble. He left, presumably to actually figure out what he was looking for. Some other surly employee returned in a few minutes and grumpily pointed me to the book. Somehow I left the situation feeling like the bad guy, even though I thought there was clear stupidity on the first person's part, and undue bitterness from the second. This kind of insolence would never happen late night in front of my laptop while browsing for books on Amazon.

For me, buying books is a very sacred and pleasurable experience. Moving forward, I vow to only patronize institutions that respect that. Even if they are disgustingly huge chains who squash the little guys out of business. At least I know the atmosphere will be pleasant.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Addicted - Top Ten Reasons I Loved the Kelly Clarkson Concert

1. The name of her new tour is "Addicted" - cause you know you are.

2. She covered a Mark Broussard song.

3. She's not stick-skinny.

4. When she talks to the audience, she's very down-to-earth and humble.

5. She performed the entire concert barefoot.

6. She never once said the word "American" or the word "Idol".

7. No fake extensions - she sported a cute bob that anyone could pull off.

8. You can actually feel good about the little girls who were there looking up to her.

9. When she launched into Since U Been Gone, my brother and I went ape shit - along with the entire amphitheater.

10. It was the perfect last night hanging out with my brother before he heads back to his own hellish paradise.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The only thing missing was the apple pie

Uh... Happy 4th of July, everyone... or something...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The quest for someone to cook for continues...

TB Player and I ended things tonight, right after dinner. I had invited him over, part of me knowing that we probably wouldn't be together much longer and wanting to take advantage of the captive food audience for as long as possible.

As we sat on my hot porch afterwards, sweating and sipping drinks, not talking very much, I knew I had to say something. The increasingly stagnant state of our relationship was more than I could bear - especially knowing that at this point we were only two months in and that it was only bound to get worse.

I expected him to get defensive and argumentative. He didn't. There was no explanation for why he has changed so much in the last few weeks. There was no explanation of his self-depricating humor, just the lame excuse that it was always something he did and he wished I wouldn't make such a big deal of it.

The thing is, everyone makes the small self-depricating joke once in a while, but this went beyond that. For whatever reason, TB Player was constantly cutting himself down and then brushing if off with a sullen, "I'm just joking." But this goes beyond joking, and after a while it became exhausting to listen to and try to combat.

For whatever reason, the shift in his behavior coincided perfectly with the end of the symphony season. This did not for a second go unnoticed to me, but there seemed to be nothing I could do about it. The farther into his summer boredom he got, the worse he became. And sure, everyone goes through slumps, but this difference in energy and motivation that was becoming evident was unfortunately more than I was willing to work with anymore.

The odd thing is, instead of being sad to be back on the single side of the fence, I'm actually relieved. Relieved to be released of the burden of constantly having to battle with his negative attitude, which sometimes actually manifested itself in the form of insults to me (poorly hidden behind the "I'm just joking" guise, of course). Relieved to have more time to read and write. Relieved to be able to throw my energy completely into my new job. Even relieved to be able to flirt with strangers again without feeling guilty.

But I will miss having someone to cook for...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mass email of the day, from Rees

Hey everyone! Please excuse the mass email, but I have some good news that I wanted to share.

After two interviews, last night I was offered what is basically my dream job working for The Robins Cellars, a wine distributor in the Virginia market, as a sales representative! I've wanted to work for this company for two years now, but there is almost no turnover in the sales staff because they are such coveted positions. They have known of my interest for a while, and contacted me to come in and interview last week when they realized that they would have an opening.

This is an amazing company that focuses on small wineries, not huge, already known labels, and sells almost exclusively to boutique wine stores and restaurants. The perks are great, and I'll basically be spending all day just talking to people about wine.

Even though I've been very happy in my current job, this is an opportunity that is too good to pass up! I'll be starting on July 18.

Anyway, I am absolutely beside myself with excitement, and I just wanted to let everyone know what is going on!!! I hope you are all well, and that I'll get to see you soon!