… would’ve made a great name. But we went with Pippin instead. (Also answers to the names of: Pipsqueak, Slim, and Ears McGee)
In Which We Try to do Good. And Fail Miserably. September 25, 2009
Fully aware that certain combinations can lead to regrets (drinking+texting, lamenting+ice cream), I try not to speak or write when furious. At least not at first, and not anything the public will ever see. In the past, such actions have only led to the firm implantation of my foot in my mouth.
Here’s today’s story anyway. Hopefully coherently written and not overly cruel.
For quite some time now, J and I have been contemplating adopting a little friend for us and Sophie. We were hoping to bring a male kitten into Sophie’s world before she’s old and bitter and hates everything new. Today, for some reason (okay, yes, we were scouring the “pet” category on Craig’s List which leaves nothing to blame but our own compassion), we were both overcome by the desire to get out and see some of the candidates in person. We looked at each other, we looked at the clock. We said, “Let’s do it.” And, giddy and excited, we grabbed Sophie’s old cat carrier (just in case, we told ourselves) and ran out the door.
The Humane Society is not far from where we live, and after a short drive, we pulled into their parking lot, promised ourselves to try to remain level headed, and in we went. I was surprised at how few cats were currently housed there. A few adults wandered the great cat enclosure they provide… and then there was Harpo. This 3-month-old black and white male kitten was playful and lively, and I liked him even though he was a little older than what we’d had in mind. Then, I picked him up. Harpo cuddled against my shoulder and placed his tiny soft paw against my cheek, then my lips. And I was ensnared. Hook. Line. Sinker.
Just in case (again), we decided to think on it, and drove down the road to the Animal Control center to look as well. There we found more adult cats and one tiny, tiny black kitten. Who was psychotic. We’re talking demonic possession. J found it entertaining to attempt to play with her without losing any blood. I was ready to go back and see Harpo again.
So we jump back in the car, drive back to the Humane Society, and revisit our little guy there. Everyone behind the adoption desk is excited to see us again. Harpo’s little brother had been adopted the day before, and the staff was rooting for him to find a new home, too. We filled out some paperwork, and one of the women was gathering together some toys and food to get Harpo started in his new home.
Then. The worst.
They called out apartment management office to check on the pet policies where we live. Which would have been fine. Our place allows 2 cats in one apartment. But then this woman goes on to ask if we needs to pay a deposit, and if so how much, and if so, do we need to pay it before we bring home a new animal. The answers: yes, $200 and yes. $200 for EACH ANIMAL. Whether it’s a 10 lb cat or a 150 lb lab. $200.
We’d already put down the $200 nonrefundable for Sophie. We thought THAT was insane. We also thought that this fee would cover another pet, and that we’d only need to tack on additional pet rent (also b.s. if you ask me). Not so, apparently.
The woman at the Humane Society told us we should just go get that “squared away” and that we could come back for Harpo the next day. We said “sure,” and walked out as if everything would be fine, knowing fully that we could not afford another $200 we’d never see again.
Fuming and dejected, the drive home was quiet and sullen.
Had that woman not called our property management and asked specifically if WE had paid for another cat to live here, no one would’ve known the difference. He woud’ve had an amazing home and loving parents, and isn’t that what the Humane Society really wants for their animals? Was it not enough for them to see that animals are allowed in our homes? I know they don’t want to see adopted animals come right back to them. I get that. But there was no opportunity to defend ourselves, no chance to say, “Look. He’s going to be fine with us. Better than fine. Why the EFF are you ratting us out, you paranoid witch?!?”
(Remember how I said I don’t speak or write when I’m really angry?)
Needless to say, we’re still a one-cat household.
How Not to be a Rockstar September 14, 2009
… Jeff’s proposed title of the compelling bestseller he proposes I write. Not a bad idea, really, for a girl who spent a good 6 years pursuing a career in music, only to realize the pursuit had made her into something she was not. Into someone she did not envy or admire. And thus, she walked away from it all.
Not to say I was anywhere close to infamy. But those years did produce some pretty great stories of experiences both hysterical and terrible, both bittersweet and just plain bitter. SO maybe this is the new direction of my masters thesis… for the grad program I haven’t been accepted to yet…. because I’m still working on the application…. and because I can’t decided if it’s the right thing to do.
Which brings me to my next point.
Today is one of those thankfully rare days when, never mind all the a##-busting and name-taking you’ve been doing, you feel like you’re just not doing enough with your life. In fact, you can’t figure out what exactly you are doing, and why any of it hasn’t gotten you somewhere beyond serving shrimp teriyaki to college kids.
((Oh- great story – today, an elderly woman of questionable sanity walks in and tells the hostess that a friend recommended our sushi restaurant to her. For seafood. She is also allergic to shellfish. So when we settle on the seafood tempura, with only red snapper and salmon, I think it might just work out. I even bring her ketchup in lieu of cocktail sauce (Cocktail sauce. In an Asian restaurant. Seriously?). She looks pleased, but when I glance over a while later, she’s calling me over. “Honey… I’m sorry, but I just don’t taste any fee-ish in theya anywaya,” she says. She has eaten all the salmon, but the red snapper is there untouched. “I know it’s hard to see it with the batter, but these are the white fish,” I explain, pointing out all the fish she hasn’t eaten. “Well, I know forah fact they’s onions theya,” she says, pointing to the one white thing on her plate that, true, is not fish. Soon, I convince her to open up one of the “potatoes” so that she’ll see it is, in fact fish. She puts a small piece in her mouth. “Well that don’t taste like no fee-ish I evah had; try it,” she adds, actually offering me a piece of fish. I tell her that’s really okay, that I believe that she is unsatisfied with the fish and will see what I can do. I’m able to comp half of the price of her meal, tell her so, hand her the bill and get back to my other tables. Moments later, the hostess comes walks over and tells me the woman is at the front desk trying to get her bill decreased. I take a huge breath, trying to summon whatever patience I might have left. And to not drop my tray and run screaming for the hills. (Did I mention there is NO MANAGER ON DUTY??) Once again, I try to explain to her that we’ve already given her a huge discount on her meal. Somehow (and I’m a little foggy on the details here; I may have blacked out in order to save my head from exploding), I get her to pay 7 of the $7.51 she owed me. Victory? I’m still not sure.))
Clearly, my life is not glamorous.
But I don’t need it to be. The years in which I sought musical stardom (in one form or another) were some of my most exciting but undeniably my loneliest as well. I’ve traded it all in order to be true to myself, and was rewarded by meeting a most amazing partner. Together we traveled to a more happy latitude, and finally I live by the sea.
It’s like working on a puzzle, and your down to your last few missing pieces. But as soon as you find one that fits, you realize another has gone missing, and this continues until you feel like you’ll never get the damn thing together.
But if history repeats itself (and clearly it does) I know the feeling of being completely overwhelmed will only last so long, that tomorrow I’ll wake up with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. Happens every time.
‘Til then I’m summoning my patience, not running for the hills.
Sophie’s Choice September 12, 2009
I told her the life of a model was no life for her… being the adolescent she was, she threw me an icy glare as the flashbulbs exploded. The rest – was history.
Apology September 9, 2009
Dear Guy at Table 26,
I wanted to take this opportunity to express my deepest regrets for your family’s experience at my restaurant the other night (in case the five times I apologized to you that evening were not enough). But first, please make yourself comfortable – this could take a while.
I’m sorry, for starters, that on the Sunday before Labor Day (which might as well be a Saturday), I was one of only two servers scheduled.
I’m sorry that you happened to arrive along with four other families and a couple of two-tops, so that when the server assigned to you failed to notice you and was too overwhelmed to take your table, I stepped in to make sure you didn’t wait any longer.
I’m sorry that at that point I had 5 other tables, one with a special needs child who had tipped over a full bowl of soup that nearly ended up in his mother’s lap (consequently, she was thanking me profusely just before you told me what a horrible job I was doing).
I’m sorry that under pressure, I failed to enter two of your sushi rolls. I’m also sorry that when I tried to correct the error, the sushi chefs (who are still working on their English) could not understand my request.
I’m sorry that you brought three small children to a sushi restaurant, and that your two young girls were squirmy. And that your son was screaming and had to be taken outside at one point. And that you and your wife do not appear to be on the best of terms. (Or even in love anymore).
I’m sorry that you decided to cancel the rolls as they were being made. They looked good. Reee-aly good.
And I’m sorry that you had to tell your server how to do her job. “Maybe if you just slowed down and listened, things like this wouldn’t happen.” You’re probably right – or I’d have five other tables also upset with me for not moving fast enough. But whatever. At least YOU would have been happy, and that’s what we’re really concerned about here.
Most of all, sir, I am sorry that you probably treat other people this way. Some of us have learned to roll with the punches, and even so it stings a little. Other people are not so lucky.
I can only hope that you now feel like a bigger man (because no one else who’s heard this story so far seems to see it that way), having put your waitress in her place.
My sincerest regrets,
Too Sexy for Milan, New York or Japan September 1, 2009
So there I was – surrounded. The darkened alley stretched out on either side of me. I eyed my four-inch patent heals critically, took one more look at the ivy-strewn, open window above me, hitched up my skirt and decided I was definitely not too sexy to climb up a wall in a dress if it meant getting the shot.
Back up an hour or so. I had volunteered to model for a Wilmington-area photography club at its first event. The group of roughly 10 photographers met me and two other girls in historic downtown to try their hand at shooting models – many never had. Never mind that I’m 5’4” and have the uncanny ability to blink in sync with camera triggers, today I was a model.
Truth be told, I had ulterior motives for participating. While I think it’s fun to get in front of the lens every once in a while (this, after overcoming an irrational terror of being photographed), my real itch is for art direction. Not having a great camera of my own, I still love to see the shot, to concoct the idea and make it real. I thought this might be a good chance to help these photographers not just get shots, but create images.
Therefore, I was a little bummed when the first half hour was spent being posed (by the guy running the show) in hokey, portraiture positions with silly props (ahem… balloons??) in uninspired settings (ahem.. flagpoles???).
Something had to be done.
So when one of the photographers lamented that she’d wanted to look in one of the old alleys close by to find cool textures, I told her I was in, and a group of us left the main event to explore.
Immediately,we were graced with a killer doorway with lots of depth and great color on the surrounding walls. After a few minutes there, though, we walked down further and struck gold. One of the buildings enclosing the alley was completely gutted and missing its roof. The windows were entirely blown out, and the inside was overgrown. “I’m going in!” one of the photographers shouted. “Well then I’m getting up,” I responded. I knew if I could get into the window, the framing of it would be amazing. I’d be able to squeeze in and have enough room to fill out the window by pushing out my legs and arms and working with the massive vines that had grown in. We couldn’t have staged it better.
Never mind that I leaned my head back into a huge cobweb that stuck mercilessly to my hair when I tried to pull way. Or that I broke my shoe. Or that it was so warm that evening that they probably had to Photoshop out entire droplets of sweat on my face. The lack of fuss made for some stunning work.
My thanks to Tami LaNunziata, Scott Halford, Mitch Ward and all others involved. It was a spectacularly creative evening.