Wednesday, June 27

At least he's neutered?

I'm staying at L's house this summer.  She's staying at her childhood home with her mom and 12 year old brother.  Having known them all for 7 years, I'm pretty comfortable with her family.  I try not to let it bother me that they never cook actual meals, that her brother still throws two temper tantrums a day, and that the house is generally a mess.
 
L's parents got divorced a little over a year ago, and to console her younger brother, L's mom bought a dog.  I don't remember the breed, but he's about ten pounds and has a penchant for barking and jumping uncontrollably when people enter the room.  In completely predictable fashion, Dog was trained to sit but not to treat the house with respect, so he must be supervised at all times.  His "area" is the kitchen, which is blocked off with doggy gates that Dog can easily scale when he wants to.
 
L and her family left for a week-long vacation early yesterday morning, and I am now responsible for the house, Dog, and L's new kitten.  The night before they left, I got the animal care instructions for Dog: Feed at 6:30am/pm, give him wet and dry food, 1/4 pill of medicine and a dab of pumpkin puree (what the hell...) then take him to the laundry room 10 minutes later so he can poop on his strange little rockery (aka doggy litterbox?).
 
Any excitement over FINALLY having an empty house with The ex-Ex was dashed when I got my period the morning they left.  When I got home from work that night, I decided to take Dog along on my walk.  Seven minutes in, Dog lay down and refused to keep walking with me.  At first I was concerned; did he think I was taking him away from his home, never to return?  Was he scared because his owners weren't home?
 
After a couple minutes of comforting an unresponsive dog, I stopped caring.  I dragged him along with me until he started walking again.  When we got back, it was time for dinner... for both Dog and Kitty.  I took Dog's food out of the fridge and heated it up to room temperature, then set it down.  Dog did not eat.  I prepared Kitty's food, then brought it upstairs to his dining room (the bathroom).  I called for Kitty, but he didn't come over so I went back downstairs looking for him.  He was eating Dog's food.
 
I brought Kitty back upstairs and as soon as I turned around, I found Dog in the hallway.  He had jumped his doggy wall to join us.  I ran downstairs and begged him to follow me, then stood with him in the kitchen trying to get him to eat.  He would not.  Thinking his food was old, I changed it out and gave him new food.  He again refused to eat.  I tried to feed him his pumpkin medicine, but he avoided the pill.  Finally, I forced him to swallow a pill and took him back to the laundry room.
 
When I returned from The ex-Ex's later that night, I got ready for bed and put Dog in his crate so he could sleep near me, as L's mom had suggested.  Then I curled up with Kitty.  As soon as I turned the light out, Dog started howling.  He whined and barked for a good ten minutes before I decided maybe it would be best for him to sleep somewhere that would allow him to go to the bathroom if he needed to.  I moved him to the laundry room and set his crate there, then tried to go to sleep again... But Dog kept whining and barking, and - bonus!! - scratching the door.  The laundry room is right next to my room, so it was a little hard to ignore.  I waited thirty minutes, then pulled Kitty into one arm, my purse and comforter in the other, and went upstairs to L's room to sleep.
 
I woke up to find that I had bled on L's snow-white mattress cover.  Fuck. 
 
I got up, fed Kitty, then let Dog out to eat.  Luckily, he started eating.  I ran upstairs with a towel to try to clean the blood off L's bed.  As I finished, Dog came sprinting up the stairs barking.  I lured him back downstairs, and as soon as I locked his doggy gate with the intention of escorting him to the potty, I noticed some nice fresh poops on the living room carpet.

Wednesday, June 20

In the closet

"It's 4:20," Creative Insult Guy said with a snicker.

I laughed.

Creative Insult Guy drew in a sharp breath. "TAB! How do you know what that is?"

I laughed again. "Um... I was just laughing because YOU know what it is."

"What does 420 mean?" The wench asked.

"Seriously?" I told her what it meant.

"People who smoke pot are LOOOSERS," she said.

I wanted to question her assumption or tell her she was wrong somehow, but sensed that that might be a bad idea. Instead, I ignored her remark and concentrated on her question: "Where does that meaning come from?"

"Why don't you look it up?" I asked. She refused.


I tried telling Cliche girl on IM about how stupid the wench was, but after I finished my story with the "pot smokers are LOOOSERS" comment, all she said was "They totally are." I then discreetly argued with her about whether that was a judgmental thing to say.

And then I got afraid of being found out to be a pot smoker. I feel like a closet smoker. I had to hide my smoking when I first applied, and now I have to listen to people judge pot smoking in the workplace without challenging them too openly. It's like I'm a gay person working in the army. No one can know.

Monday, June 18

Food and insults mean people care

So... I didn't get the internship. I found out today. As soon as I found out, I felt like I had to call people and tell them, because I had promised so many people, in the spirit of hope, that I would tell them as soon as I knew. But making a ton of bad news calls makes it feel like I'm dwelling on it, rubbing it in deeper.

I texted The ex-Ex first, and he texted back that he was sorry. I asked him to cheer me up when I got off work tonight, and he offered to take me out to a nice Italian restaurant that I'd never gone to.

So, free dinner.

Then I texted L and told her, and she told me we would make brownies tonight.

So, baking and sympathy.

Then I told S and she reminded me that "everyone in LA has the herp anyway".

I like my friends. :)

Friday, June 15

The cool club committee

So Receptionist and I struck up a little friendship shortly after I started my summer job. She had to train me to use the phones so that I could cover the front desk during her breaks, and while I sat with her we chatted. We even got to stories about creepy guys. I, of course, am skeptical of any friendship so easily sprung.

But she invited me out to lunch and then to drinks and dinner last Friday after work, and she hasn't let me down yet. She even gets my jokes AND thinks that they're funny.

Reminder: we're not dating. This is my screening process for friends. I guess I'm a tough cookie to crack?

After it was clear that we were getting along pretty well, we started talking about who in the office it would be fun to go get drinks with. As we put our suggestions forth, we laughed and said we were making a "cool club" for the office.

Today, Receptionist returned from her afternoon break telling me "I decided to give Cliche girl another chance, so I invited her out to drinks with us sometime."

Score!

Then later we were talking about who else to invite. "Well, I asked Easy-going guy but he hasn't responded yet," She told me.

Later on she suggested inviting High Strung Gal.

"She kinda scares me," I said.

"Okay, yeah I was going out on a limb there."

Later on, Easy-going guy told me that he was honored to be considered part of the cool crowd. So now it's official: I'm cool. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, June 12

Smokin' finals

Does it sound judge-y to say "Well, I'm not going to judge you, but..."

The ex-Ex told me he was going to smoke pot before taking one of his finals. I thought that was a little... wrong. Even if the final won't do anything to affect his grade, like he says.

But wrong often passes for "funny" in the best comedies. Fucking an apple pie? Wrong, but funny. Taking a test stoned?

... Hmm...

Monday, June 11

A bad day for junk mail

A couple weeks ago, I was still waiting to hear back about the internship I applied for in March. I got an email from one of the representatives two Tuesdays ago saying the decision would take a little while longer. When I asked her for more detail she told me they were waiting to secure the internship host and would then send interview tapes to them, giving 5 days to make a decision. With my amazing math skills, I guessed I would find out by Friday, June 8th.

Apparently my "amazing" math skills were a bit flawed, as I did not find out on Friday. I considered emailing the courteous admin again, but opted not to bother people who hold my future in their manicured clutches. So I'm waiting... Winners get phone calls, and losers get emails. Apparently today the universe decided to screw with me, since it obviously knows I care and leave my gmail browser open at work.

When I arrived at work, the page loaded with Gmail - Inbox (1) on the top of the browser. I waited for the page to load, imagining that this particular Los Angeles office must open before 8am. Instead, it was an East Coast department store advertising some Father's day gifts. Superb. "Fuck father's day," I thought as I archived the sucker.

I noticed another Inbox (1) a little after 9am. Aha! They were definitely open by now, with fresh knowledge from my internship host. Of course, an email was definitely not a good thing, since I actually want the internship, but any information is better than none at this point. Instead, though, it was a reply from the financial aid director at my school.

The rest of the day went like this, one at a time...

9:47am - Mom

10:43am - Ticketmaster (who the fuck is Michael Bubble?)

11:40am - Mom (leave me alone already)

12:09pm - Victoria's Secret (a shoe sale? I bought my summer shoes at Fred Meyer, leave me alone!)

12:20pm - Mom

12:48pm - Mom... (at this point I stopped replying to her)

2:14pm - Newsletter from old-old internship that I keep forgetting to unsubscribe to


I took a late lunch, and when I came back my coworker, Creative Insult Guy, said "Hey TAB, your phone's been going crazy. We were having a dance party and everything."

I rushed over to my phone, apologizing for leaving it on at work. The screen said I had a voicemail, so I checked who the call was from, hoping for the 818 or 310 Los Angeles area code. Instead it was my cousin.

I angrily clicked on the Inbox link, hoping it would get the hint and refresh with an email. Nothing. (surprise!)

I headed home, and when I reached for the phone to switch it from vibrate mode, saw I had another voicemail. "Maybe they're open til 6 there?" I thought.

No. It was L, asking me to play Wii with her.

Fucking Wii.

Thursday, June 7

Haters

I don't know how I do it, but I attract a lot of haters.

At the new job, there's a girl who is also an admin of sorts. She started a couple weeks before I did. I was hired to help everyone, and she does a few things that are boring as well. I figured out how to do more things than she did because I'm doing "everything," and I think she's a bit upset about it.

The first sign I had that she was a wench was when we were both in the kitchen. She made a comment and I made a weird-sounding laugh that she repeated. Thinking we had some sort of giggle rapport, I made it back to her. Instead of going along with the giggles, she just said "Yeah... kind of a loser, I'm not gonna lie" and then went upstairs.

Hater #2? When I went out to lunch with Receptionist this week, she told me that the girl who sits a cube away from me is kind of a bitch. I call her Cliche girl, since all she does is talk about "my man" and shopping and tanning. Apparently on my first day, she told Receptionist that she didn't think she was going to like me very much. Of course I find this out after it's too late to be bitchy to her. She seems nice now, but... I guess the key word here is "seems."

Back to Hater #1. Yesterday, the wench was bored as hell. Chillboss didn't give her anything to do, and instead of appreciating the fact that she was being paid to do nothing, she complained to me constantly. I tried to entertain her with a recap of a Planet Earth episode, but she ended up crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow as I chattered on about trees and deserts. I forced myself to stop after I made a "Land Before Time" analogy that went over particularly poorly.

Later in the day, Chillboss asked me to work on something in our system. I got started, then covered for Receptionist while she went on break. When I came back I heard the wench, obviously frustrated, making a joke to Chillboss about being my assistant (because he refuses to let her cover Receptionist's breaks anymore). I smiled and said nothing, getting back to work. I had to ask Chillboss a question at one point, and after he answered it he let me know that the wench was now working on the same list I was. Not wanting to run into each other, I started working on something different. Five minutes later, the wench turned around to face me.

"Hey, did you send this email to someone?"

"Who was it?" I asked.

"Kevin Wu."

"Oh, yeah... Chillboss had me working on that list and I didn't know that you had started. I stopped as soon as I found out though..."

Right afterwards, she called out another name to me and glared. "Yeah, sorry!" When her glare did not subside, I added: "I didn't know! I stopped right away... it'll be okay."

"You can't do everything, you know," the wench said in the I-sound-like-I'm-joking-but-I-actually-want-to-punch-you tone.

"Actually, I was hired to help everybody. So I am supposed to do a little of everything," I replied, ignoring her tone but not hiding my smile.

As she swiveled back to her computer, I heard her mutter something under her breath, ending with "you little brat."


As I left to cover Receptionist's break today, I told the wench "I'll be back in fifteen minutes."

"I'll miss you!" She chirped, smiling.

What? Coming from her, this seemed like quite the development. "Aww, how sweet" I replied. As I walked down the hall, I heard her say "Dork"

Monday, June 4

Side-seat kitten raising

My dad got a puppy shortly after he got engaged to his new wife last summer. The puppy's name is Liam, and he is the most adorable piece of work ever. He's a black lab/husky mix, with the cutest little brown highlights on his eyebrows, paws, and tail. He was born with an abnormal, almost useless front leg that we had to amputate when he was a few months old because it got infected. Before I met Liam, I was a proud cat person. But the more I spent time with him and my dad, the more I learned about dogs. My dad would explain to me the way he trained the dog, and how it was related to the dog’s understanding of the universe. “Liam doesn’t bite me anymore because he knows I’m the alpha dog.” And so on.

Learning to tailor my actions to Liam’s way of thinking made me love him even more. I felt like we understood each other. Who knew that taking care of a pet could be more rewarding than petting some soft fur?

Dogs seem pretty straightforward. They want your attention, and you want them to want it (usually). But some cats can be assholes. I know I want to get a cat in the future, so that makes me nervous. I want to know: What makes some cats so friendly, laid-back and playful while other cats are cold and moody?

“Oh it’s definitely the way you treat them when they’re kittens,” L’s friend Neuroscience Guy said over dinner one night. “I think the cats who get played with too much when they’re babies are indifferent when they grow up, because they’re used to attention. If you ignore them a little, they appreciate you more.”

I thought about this for a second as we all debated the matter. “Maybe you should hold off a few days before getting a kitten,” I suggested to L. “Read a few things about raising them so you know more about what you’re doing.”

“That’s ridiculous,” L said passionately. “I’ve lived around cats my whole life; I don’t need to read anything about them. All I need to do is litter train them and give them lots of love.”

Her response seemed a tad na├»ve to me. “Okay, maybe you don’t need to read up on them. But why wouldn’t you want to know everything you could about your cat?”

L dismissed the matter and we moved on. I chided myself for judging L’s way of raising her pets and decided not to give more unnecessary “advice.” But, of course, my "decisions" are rarely set in anything, let alone stone (See: The ex-Ex). When she got the kitten, she bought all of its toys and litter box in the same trip, and then had to clean its temporary home, the bathroom, when she got home with the cat in its carrier.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” She admitted.

“Yeah, those are all things you should have done beforehand if you were planning on getting a kitten today,” I said with a tight-lipped “I told you so” expression on my face. And then remembered: no more side-seat kitten raising.

Later that night I went downtown with L, Attention Whore, BandGeek, and Art Girl. We hadn’t decided what to do, but it was a Friday night and we had the unmatchable power of a VW station wagon at our fingertips. On our way into the city, L’s cell phone rang. When she got off the phone, she told us that her mom had called because the kitty was knocking things over on her bathroom countertop. L seemed surprised.

“Uh, yeah. It’s a kitten. What did you think would happen?” I asked.

“Well, he was being really good when I was in the room. I probably should have cleaned off the counters…”

“Yeah… I thought this might happen.”

“What?! Why didn’t you say anything?”

And then I felt guilty for not being bossy... or was that just being helpful? Hmmm…