Don’t Make Me Take Off My Earrings!!

Get ready for some rants, ladies. Because I’ve got them. In spades. SPADES.

First up, the sleep bastards. As any of my blog-readers (bleaders? greaders?) would know, I have found myself in a Hatfield/McCoy feud with a sleep medicine group that has focused their entire practice on making my life a living hell for at least two years at this point. I have called them, emailed, faxed. Shown up at their offices, irate, insane, in tears, borderline-terroristic-threatening them to leave me alone. I have a CPAP and it doesn’t work properly, and no I don’t want to schedule my “yearly fit test” after receiving $3,000 in medical bills a year later, and no I won’t calm down, and yes, calling security is probably in your best interest. GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF OF ME! I SHOT TUPAC!

ImageOh, how you durrrinnn’?

What I find insane, incredibly incredulous, is that after calling recently and saying, point blank, “your office is ruining my life”, that Emma with their front desk would call me and leave me weekly messages asking when I might want to sleep over again while creepers watch my every move both physically and physiologically for the bargain price of a new car. Are. You. Serious. I keep the voicemails handy to remind myself of the lowest common denominators that round out our human race. That, and to chuckle as I consider the pros and cons of krav maga. Moving on, in a disjointed fashion…

Watching television used to be a fun pastime that we all shared. Families surrounding a TV the size of a washing machine, spending time together while trying to empathize with the characters on the Wonder Years or Different Strokes, eating frankenfoods that would end up haunting us through the night. And I must say that I have a special place in my heart for a few programs these days (Lord, I sound like my grandmother with my “programs”). I mean, how many times can I gush over GLEE without the keepers of the Gay Agenda rolling their queenie eyes at me for being so gauche? That being said, some of the commercials are dumber than a box of hammers. Take, for instance, the new Apple iPhone 5 commercial, where the voiceover speaks of the genius of having an option to not be interrupted during sleep or an important activity by utilizing a customized application tool dedicated to keeping calls at bay. Oh yes, by navigating through a series of menus and swiping a few toggle switches, your phone can “know” that you do not want any phone calls interrupting your beauty sleep. What a wonder.

This ingenious new revolution is something I remember from long, long ago. Something that works on all electronic devices.

It’s called the “OFF” button.

ImageAnd yes, it still works.

Now don’t get me wrong, I overpay on a phone that considers itself “smart”, if only because it costs a small fortune to own, but I don’t rely on all of the wonders of modern science to keep phone calls at 3am from waking me up. I turn the damned thing off. Because I’m not an idiot.

Again, I continue to digress.

My most ultimate rant this week stems from the first bill to enter our lovely House of Misrepresentatives: Michele Bachmann’s idiotic, 34TH ATTEMPT to repeal Obamacare.

Michele. Here’s a news flash. And no, it’s not that your husband is more queer than a three dollar bill. Because that’s been established. Health care for everyone is here. Period. Yes, it’s going to be a big adjustment, and it’s going to cost money, because this country spends a shitload of money on health care and still lags behind almost every other industrialized country on the face of the planet because lobbyists own the government and the companies that thrive on our obesity epidemic have deep pockets (which, in turn, pale in comparison to the pockets of climate change deniers and the oil lobby, but let’s save that subject for another rant). And it’s not going anywhere. So take your sanctimonious tea-bagging rhetoric and stuff it somewhere else so that one of the two chambers of Congress can get to doing their job so that I don’t have to be so embarrassed about the way our country is governed. Can you do me that solid, Michele?

Also, Marcus just said “HEY!”

Image“Girl, you bettah WERK!”

Just Another Weekend in Paradise

Ok ladies and gents, the world just got more intense. And no I am not talking about global politics, the gun control debate in the states, how many times Justin Bieber has mooned the public lately, or how incredible Adele’s Golden Globes acceptance speech was. Because let’s face it, if I had to choose between Adele and Kate Middleton (her most honorable-ness) in terms of charming pregnant British women of note, it’s no contest. Adele is adorable. Adele-able. Side note: Kate, eat a sandwich, Jesus.

But I feel like I am burying my lead. Let’s rewind to the world’s longest drive in the history of man. Should I complain, given I was picking up a $2,500 check for the Clinic, a donation I had fought long and hard for, chipping away at a local minerals company to do their part in the community by helping homeless people access health care? Perhaps a map would help.

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Daybreak: Not just a 1950’s song refrain.

I am thrilled that local companies step up to the plate to help those most vulnerable in our community. But a half-hour up and back in the thickest smog east of Xiangdong province can cause a person to question the cause. But let’s not dwell on the unfortunate, especially since I had the great pleasure of seeing an old friend for dinner last night. And yes, for you… “friends” of mine that can’t wait for me to fail on my no-carb diet, I met said friend and other close acquaintances at Sawadee, a local Thai restaurant that had a few salads that fit the bill. I met Em-Traup, her friends (and a few of mine, we share because that’s what adults do, grow up) and got to talking. Long story short, Central Missouri is terrifying, Em is a magnet for small claims court and burglary, and I like Diet Coke refills. A lot.

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Sawadee, you keep me young!

After a delicious and satisfying dinner, I came home, changed into jammies, and watched one of the new Archer episodes. And let me tell you something. Sterling Mallory Archer is hil… wait for it…. arious. I love the damned show. And thanks for Apple for letting me set up a download schedule that facilitates me being awesome in terms of keeping up with the series. PHRASING. That’s for those of you who keep up with Archer and it’s inappropriateness.

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You better call Kenny Loggins.

I also  went out house-hounting again today. Which, for the uninitiated, is less Hunger Games and more HGTV. The houses are not in any serious danger (unless we’re talking West Valley, even this girl has concerns), so no one in this situation is in any imminent crisis. After a Diet Fanta and a few duds, I felt that the process of finding a home in the Salt Lake Valley would continue to be elusive. I mean, it’s hard enough finding a great place to live, but during the worst inversion in a half-century, a weather phenomenon that put Salt Lake City on the dubious map of the worst air quality in America, you would think that an early morning smog-filled jaunt through the valley would leave me woefully empty-handed.

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Oh how wrong this girl could be.

So I walked through some real zingers. One house had such foundation problems that I could play marbles on either side of the bowed house, never the twain shall meet. I saw some seriously bold color choices (hint: in small houses, less is more). And then, the very last house we came up to, I swallowed my preconceptions and walked inside. And my jaw dropped. This house is incredib-alls. Everything is new. Like new, new. Like a new roof, hot water heater, walls, floors, paint, etc. It was like I had sat on Gay Santa’s lap, told him what I wanted, and he fulfilled every wish, granting me the most incredible house I could have imagined.

Which makes me incredibly suspicious.

Hardwood floors, new carpet, a brand new kitchen. 4+ bedrooms… Was someone murdered in the house? Is this the Poltergeist house? Am I going to get sucked into a television because this is too good to be true?

Stay tuned, as I hyperventilate over making some big decisions that will tie me to a property and location that will forever change my lifestyle. BOOM!

“Climate” Change I Look Forward To

And here I get, all mushy like when I should be back-combing my hair to set it for tomorrow. I have to be up before the crack of dawn to make sure my Board of Directors is caffeinated and well fed to facilitate business honey child. But then again, the great wide world of the Internets has pushed so many stories in my direction today that I felt compelled to update this little blog of mine with some hopeful (however cautious) diatribe when it comes to my gays, the LGBT community in general, and positive change. That’s right, in a step that is so obviously campy, call the Weather Girls, because I feel stormy weather moving in….

ImageHear the thunder, don’t you lose your head!!

The climate for the queers, I am starting to firmly believe, is shifting. The Weather Girls said humidity is rising, but I would argue it’s not just humidity, but finally, blessedly popular opinion is finally catching up. President Obama likened the civil rights struggles of women and blacks to those of gay people in his inaugural address. While I am vocal in the fact that these disparate groups faced incredible and unique odds in finding their paths towards equality, I am proud that the leader of the free world recognizes that while each path was long and arduous, they all led to a similar place. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy at the federal level is gone, leaving those bravest amongst us in battle and orientation to fight the good fight whenever and wherever called. Things like the “It Gets Better Project” and “The Trevor Project” let young non-heterosexual people know that there is a life, a glorious life beyond the desperate walls of high school. High school, that 4-year period of time that everyone looks back at with some nostalgia, but mostly regret and shame. At least, I would hope so. But let’s leave those dogs to lie.

The reason I bring my optimism for “the gays” up tonight is that Yahoo! and other affiliated new conglomerates posted a video of a young man, in front of his graduating class, coming out as LGBT (see the link below). Not only that, but telling those assembled that he wasn’t sad or ashamed of who he was. In fact, that he was tired of acting like someone or something other than himself, and that if anyone had a problem with his life or sexual orientation that they could, in effect, suck it.

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A fairy godmother was never so incredibly proud.

What Jacob Rudolph did today was both admirable and benign. Admirable in the sense that he “broke ground” in terms of the struggle and fight for equal rights for all Americans without worrying about who they find attractive. Benign in the very same sense – it shouldn’t matter who we love. Loving one another is the point dammit.

In watching the clip of this incredible young man, I am so proud of what my community has accomplished, to the extent that we have laid a groundwork, a support system that lets young queer people know that they are not alone, despite small minds and big mouths. And I hope that, ten years from now, the climate has truly changed, to the point where such stories are so mundane and every-day that they don’t make the evening news.

http://www.inquisitr.com/493095/jacob-rudolph-gay-high-school-student-from-new-jersey-comes-out-during-award-speech/

NEWS ALERT: Barack Obama is a Commie Smurf

As I again feel the compulsion to mention, this is not a political blog by any means. I might have liberal tendencies, and I might go off on things that are political in nature. I will on occasion air grievances that are related to the bicameral legislature that purports to be the most functional and democratic in the universe. This little blog of mine is not the Drudge Report or the Huffington Post. Hell, if I were as funny as The Daily Show or The Colbert Report I would be rolling in the monnnayyyy more than my girl Honey Boo Boo does after she wins pageants.

ImageFive Dollar Make Me Holler Honey Boo Boo.

But after hearing snippet after snippet after snippet of the inaugural speech of our 44th President of these Divided States of Am-urr-icka, and the ridiculous, uneducated, racist and downright sad comments of my fellow Am-urr-ickans in response, I felt the need to make a few comments (or, ok, one central point) that I would hope those I find near and dear can agree with.

I am not trying to stoke the bipartisan wildfires of this great land, because frankly that’s what CNN and FOX News are for. I am just sick and tired of hearing ignorant people saying ignorant things on the radio, in the media, those “real American heroes” that show me just how much our public education system fails the vast majority of our citizens. I am tired of the birther movement, made up of Tea-Baggers for Jesus and other paranoid schizophrenic gun-toting conservatives that are hell bent on terrifying everyone with the big scary threat of a Muslim socialist President.

So here’s the deal. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Not Kenya. Hawaii is a state. An island state. In the United States. And President Obama was born there. He has documentation. He went to high school there. Ask his high school band that was just marching in the inaugural parade. Though he shouldn’t have had to furnish it, bigoted racist ideologues forced President Obama to publish and show to the entire free world his long form birth certificate. Even after playing the games of our sensationalized media, people like Donald Trump (is he even a person? And how does he get that ferret to sit so quietly and still on his forehead?) and other uneducated people with less teeth than brain cells still spout theories that deny that the President should even get to be President because he’s a foreigner.

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That is Foreigner. Not even a close resemblance.

I hate to break it to you, Jim-Bo, but he’s as much of a red-blooded American as you and your sister-aunt Shanice. And guess what else? Not that it’s something to be feared, but he’s also not Muslim. He has no radical Islamic agenda. While your racism and xenophobia are unfounded, the fact remains that if you want to split hairs, President Obama identifies as a Christian, with Baptist and Methodist leanings in his upbringing. And while we may not agree on all of his policies, the fact that he has dragged us, kicking and screaming, as the last industrialized first world nation that provides universal health care (behind even the Sultan of Brunei and that good old liberal Saudi Arabia) should be something that isn’t criticized, but applauded. Someone please explain to me the justice in denying Americans the ability to see a doctor when they are sick, or worse, need serious emergent or hospital care. And if you think that the hospitals eat the costs, you’re woefully stupid. Any unfunded care provided in the health care system gets passed onto insurance companies and the community, which means that we’re paying for it anyway.

I’ll keep this rant short and sweet. You want to criticize or attack President Obama on something substantive, be my guest. But, like the majority of people reading this blog, he was born in this country, he was elected by this country to run the damned place, and so far it hasn’t rained fire and brimstone so he’s not the anti-Christ the far right would want you to believe. So drop your pitchforks and do something productive.

Shopaholics go to Meetings

So once upon a time, there was a recession. The stock market crashed, the financial markets plummeted, banks busted. People’s retirement accounts took big hits, foreclosure rates skyrocketed, and Detroit started to completely disintegrate. In the midst of all of this chaos, I took a solemn oath that I was going to do my part in turning things around in America. I was going to be proactive in the fact of such adversity. I was going to fight.

I got another Visa card.

Now everyone knows that I am not working on Wall Street. I make enough to be comfortable. The ramen days of graduate school are behind me, and my liquor doesn’t come from the bottom shelf in a plastic bottle. But I’m also not buying the Grey Goose while chomping on caviar and pate. I clip coupons, I bulk shop, and I buy store brands when I can’t taste a difference, which is more frequent than not. I do these things so that I can jump in my car on the weekends and hit solidly middle class shopping centers to check out new amazing products that solve problems I didn’t even know I needed. The cheese grater from IKEA that stores the cheese you just grated? Blew my mind. The clearance pillows from Kohl’s that double as floor cushions? Changed my life. But the place that South and I would typically go to for a “really good price” is the holy grail of discounted shopping. I am talking of course of Target, or Tar-jayyy as the boojie would call it. And the only thing better than a Target? Super Target. BOOM.

ImageIf only it wore a cape…

It being a holiday three-day weekend, I woke up late, cleaned and attempted to freshen up the house (word to the wise, don’t bake cod in SLC in January), took a shower, ate an Atkin’s bar and got ready to rock the retail. After thinking about the best places (Kohl’s, Smiths) and worst places (Wal-Mart, IKEA) one might shop on a Sunday in the promised land, I set my sites on the Big T, threw on the infinity scarf, and rocked NPR while traveling through the deserted streets of downtown. A few miles later I was pulling into a decent parking spot, eyeing my fellow shoppers to see if there would be any good people watching. Satisfied that there were indeed a few “wowsa” couples I might surreptitiously follow, I entered the brightly lit red and white mecca of commerce with a few ideas for essentials, a giant plastic cart, and plenty of time to kill. I mean, it’s a Sunday, in the middle of a three day weekend for most 40-hour work week people. Where do I have to be, seriously.

On entering said Target, I saw a few couples that pulled a cart leisurely from the entry-area, and then begin slowly making their way down the central arteries of the mega-store, stopping here and there as I do on almost every weekend shop-trip barring the holiday crush to look at different things, ask one another about the color or cut of this T-shirt, spend ten to fifteen minutes deciding on whether to buy the Fifty Shades of Gray series (hint: they did). These fellow members of retail humanity are like me in this environment during a long weekend: calm, friendly, and in no particular hurry. This isn’t the ’90s Shop Til You Drop game show where every second counts. This is Super Target. On a holiday weekend. At 2pm. Consumers are going to take their time.

That is, until the very end. At the very last few moments of the shopping experience, people shift from leisurely shopper to hungry piranha. I am talking, of course, of the check out stand process.

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“That person in the Express Line has more than 10 items!!”

I understand the frustration and rage that comes during, say, Christmas when there is a mad crush of people days before the blessed commercialized holiday night commences. The stress of the season typically makes ordinary people become extraordinarily insane, willing to punch one another over a Tickle-Me-Elmo or some equally disturbing children’s toy of the year. There are also more “regular” times and places that can cause some irritation. More often than not, for example, I will roll my eyes when I see every checkout stand taken with long lines at Costco, primarily because this problem might be partially rectified if their conveyor belts weren’t the size of place mats. I will scan the aisles at the grocery store to determine if I just want to self-scan if I’m on a work errand or in an otherwise harried situation. So I don’t claim to be “above it all” when it comes to being someone in a hurry that just wants to get into the store, get what I need, and get the hell out.

But this is not what I am talking about.

I am talking about Super Target. On a holiday weekend. At 2pm. And this following example is where I get confused. The same couple I saw when I entered the store, the ones slowly scanning the clearance section, discussing the latest Blu Ray player, the calm and collected individuals that I saw during my casual amble became jungle beasts when they approached the register corrals. As I walked behind them, looking for a cashier that wasn’t too busy, they changed lanes not once, not twice, but three times in the course of 60 seconds, aggressively trying to gauge which register was going to yield the fastest check-out process. They cut off an old lady at the last register, staring around defiantly as if to dare anyone to say anything. The male member of “Couples Gone Wild” was more vocal in his frustrations, grumbling loud enough for me to hear him 3 registers away while I chatted with my cashier, smiling and admiring her Mockingbird necklace (a la Hunger Games) while snapping the Visa and completing my transaction. For all of their jockeying for placement, they left at roughly the same time I did. Grabbing my bags and cart, I followed Couples Gone Wild as they grumbled about how slow the service was, saying quote “that was like checking out on a Saturday two days before Christmas!” as they slowly made their way through the parking lot. I could hear the guy still grumbling as they walked at a snail’s pace to their car. And this is what confused me the most.

What is it about the five minutes one must wait to check out at a retail store, or grocery store, or any store for that matter that makes people so obnoxious? This couple was clearly in no hurry while shopping, nor were their speeding out of the parking lot, late for some sort of social occasion. Couples Gone Wild were only in a big stinking hurry during the check out process. What is that about? As is often the case, I don’t have the answers. I imagine part of it is the American Way of being pissed at having to wait, no matter how short of a wait it is, to get something. That somehow, the cashing-out process at a middle class shopping center is time being stolen from us, time we could be spending browsing other aisles, or staring at the wall, or otherwise occupying our free time. But I will leave it to y’all to try to unravel that particular mystery. I mean, I’ve got bags to unpack and I haven’t checked my Amazon daily deal yet!

Kentucky Fried Willpower and Sharing the Road

So this post might seem a bit disjointed or rambling at times, but dammit that’s what you signed up for so pay attention.

When you work in the non-profit world, you wear a lot of hats. You have your job description, and your title, and the sundry activities you are expected to engage in on a routine basis. But you also have the little jobs that you are asked to do, or that you volunteer for, so that things get done. The volunteer coordinator proofs a press release. The finance department picks up a birthday card. External affairs stuffs envelopes. You finish a couple of grant reports before being sent to buy fried chicken and biscuits…

But before we get into that afternoon jaunt, I feel justified in giving myself a little pat on the carbohydrate-fighting back. I’m 16 days in and I haven’t caved. And that in the face of significant temptation. In the last three weeks, I have ordered and had to sign for five pizzas for workplace meetings. I’ve avoided the clinic kitchen on Friday mornings, knowing that free bagels and schmear would greet me (and potentially reduce me to tears). Today I attended a lunch get-together that had sandwich fixings, pasta salad (I see you tortellini, you temptress), and cookies from RubySnap, a local bakery that I am convinced includes some sort of illicit and addictive substance in their orgasmic confections. I have stood resolute, munching on diet bars and almonds while those around me eat their lunches while I envy their fresh oranges, oatmeal, salad dressings. Their bread. And while I may feel the urge to waver, as my pants get a bit looser I continue to tell myself that it will be worth it in the end. You know, that bullshit mantra that “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” that you repeat to yourself before you start gnawing on the couch arm. This willpower (or self-delusion, potato, pot-ah-to) ties into today’s escapade where I fought people riding bicycles over two foot snow drifts to pick up a family bucket where they do chicken right. You know, for work.

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Oh yes, you read that right. K to the F to the C.

Let me give you some context. At Fourth Street Clinic, we have a group of former or current patients that form a steering committee to help clinic management in improving programs, activities and access. This group meets once a month in the evening with members of the Board of Directors, so they typically get dinner. And this month, they wanted fried chicken, mashed pototoes, coleslaw, biscuits, corn on the cob. The whole kit and kaboodle. I coordinate supper so that the meeting can start on time without growling stomachs. When ordering the monthly knosh, I usually work with the finance department and set up an advanced order and payment so that pick up and delivery of the meal can be done quickly and easily by anyone on their way, and with the appropriate documentation for billing. Easy peasy. But when I heard that the crew had decided on some southern deep-fried goodness, I took the KFC trip upon myself completely for one small, but important reason: because I’ve been to the KFC downtown. And I knew that no advanced planning was going to make this trip anything other than a colossal time suck.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that there is a place in life for KFC and I will give in from time to time to get my drumstick on. It wasn’t the choice of KFC, but the choice of the one downtown that I knew in my heart of hearts was going to consume my afternoon. The KFC downtown is, um, special. For example, the very few times I’ve been there (regardless of the day, or time of day) they haven’t been able to fulfill my order. Because this particular establishment runs out of things. Things like potatoes. Gravy. Chicken. So I prepared in advance. I left an hour early. People thought I was a bit crazy, but I figured if I was somehow wrong in my assumptions, I would be back early enough to set up the room and get things situated before the meeting started. I snagged a work buddy and jumped into the car. I even stopped by the grocery store, barely missing a hipster wobbling over a snowbank on a Schwinn, on the way to pick up plates, cups and utensils. Which is where I bring in my next sidebar of ranting:

I have a storied past with sharing the road with cyclists. I have learned that while many are courteous and know how to share the road, many others do not. They fail to recognize the difference between sidewalks and roadways. They don’t understand, or are set on blatantly defying, basic traffic laws and right of way. And because I live in a city that strives to be bicycle-friendly (and I recognize that those tree hugging bastards are one less car on the road making our air quality the worst in the nation), I do my best to share the road, to shake my head at the few bad apples as they narrowly swerve into traffic, iPods firmly in place, running red lights and getting the finger from the TRAX driver. That being said, I think I can safely say the next few things I anticipate saying without getting too much hate mail.

Hipsters. If you think that riding your bicycle on city roads that have a decent amount of compacted snow on them an hour before rush hour downtown is a smart or prudent thing to do, you are mistaken.

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And stop with the jeggings, for the love of Jesus.

Again, this is one of those places where I try to pick my battles. Fearless and clueless cyclists, you can have the right of way nine months of the year. You (and your more enlightened brethren) can run stop signs and use the entire lane and I will cede you the green lined space and keep my distance so as to not accidentally murder you when you attempt and fail to hop the curb onto the sidewalk. But when there’s a sheet of ice between you, me, and the asphalt, use some common sense and drive/walk/take public transportation. I mean, come on.

But back to the chicken.

As I pulled up to the window, my co-pilot looked at me with disdain. “We have forty five minutes, girl, seriously. This chicken run is almost over.” I looked over, flashed a smile, and rolled down the window to talk across the frigid winds to the electronic squawk box. After ordering from the very friendly staff member, there was a long pause, and then the response: “Um, sir, for the chicken, it’s going to take about 25 minutes. Do you want a free soda while you wait?”

As usual, my prior visits had prepped me for the inevitable: that Kentucky Fried Chicken didn’t have any chicken ready for sale and distribution. I sighed and slowly moved my car to the side lot to wait as my coworker looked on with surprise, then frustration as the minutes ticked by and we watched the traffic thicken. We traded witty banter while watching a strange stream of our fellow humanity move in and out of the restaurant, each time wondering if they were leaving with a piece of chicken that should have rightly been in our bucket. At one point I threatened to get out of the car and stop a fellow drive-thru driver, screaming “bitch, that’s my wing, drop it like it’s hot and no one gets hurt.”

Just when I thought we would both lose our minds, the four steaming bags arrived, a cacophony of down-home smells enveloping and pervading my car’s interior. Fighting the afternoon rush back through the gridded streets of the big city, I reminded myself that these little actions, these side jobs and extra efforts can seem insane. But as I drove home after delivering the slowest fast-food bounty in the history of man to an incredibly grateful (and hungry) group, that greasy smell reminded me that being appreciated for those little things is what makes me heart my job.

HGTV House Hunters: Utah Edition

As many of you may or may not know, I have decided that at my ripened age (some might say overripe, but they’re haters) to become a homeowner. Or homo-ner. Take your pick, I like the second one, I think it’s clever and if you don’t you’re an orientationist so there. I met with my realtor today, and when I say “met” I mean literally met for the first time. Kathy and I have been emailing back and forth for the last couple of weeks, electronically chatting about my wants and needs (can we say washer/dryer hookups?) in terms of what would get me in the market to pledge 30 years of my life and a substantial part of my salary to a large financial institution. We shared ideas and MLS listings, and she set up a few houses to walk through today. I got prequalified for a loan, something that I was terrified of and, that after a ten minute conversation where I told a complete other stranger the most intimate details of my finances, was blissfully over relatively quickly.

I woke up this morning excited and nervous, like I was gearing up for a date. Would I like her? Would she like me? Would she be really pushy? Being freakishly tall, would I fit in her car? Would bringing my iced coffee into her car be a broach of etiquette? If so, how would I stay awake? Would she show me a house that she knew was haunted like on the first season of American Horror Story, and if so, would I buy it?

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Spooky and haunted, but the curb appeal!

With these thoughts in mind I got up, took a shower, threw my wild mane into a ponytail and set about removing a foot of snow off of the top of my car for the third time in 24 hours. I trekked carefully through downtown, dealt with the maniacs on Interstate 15, and pulled up to the offices 10 minutes early because I’m always early. Blame it on my parents and my high school band director: If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. That being said, when I pulled up I instantly knew, like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade, “I had chosen wisely.”

Kathy, my realtor, pulled up literally seconds after I threw the Element into park. I called her number as I saw a woman a few spaces down clearing out her front passenger seat, and of course it was her. We laughed, shook hands in the parking lot and went into the offices to look at some additional listings she had put together for me. We chatted easily, like old girlfriends, about my understanding of the house hunting process: bank-owned properties versus foreclosures (semantics really), cosmetic versus hard core repairs (I know better), new hot water heaters and home warranties (necessities), the whole gamut. Kathy laid out her strategies and highlighted the irony of the “short sale”, a process that takes ages and doesn’t guarantee a house in the end. She told me point blank that she wasn’t going to show me houses out of my price range unless I asked her specifically and with a particular house in mind, something that made me swoon after watching those damned Property Brothers tempt home buyers with something they wanted but couldn’t afford.

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Dammit if they aren’t handsome though, I’d… well… nevermind.

Then we jumped into her Mercedes, which was quite spacious after I got my giant head into the car, and sped off to Magna to peer into the lives of strangers by going through their biz-ness. On the drive west we talked about our families, a shared interest in Napa (a fellow drinker, another good sign), growing up constantly moving around, settling in Zion. We pulled up to the first place and realized that, after a day or two of blizzard conditions at vacant houses, we would be trudging through some pretty serious snow drifts. Taking my second step across the front yard, I felt the snow give. A lot. Up to my thigh.

And it didn’t even buy me a drink first.

Apparently, the street has a very deep culvert that runs along the front for water runoff, and I had learned firsthand that it was, in fact, very deep. Kathy was of course mortified. I thought it was hilarious. My first house walk-through had to start off with something memorable, no? I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details of all of the houses, but leave you with some of the highlights.

  1. Usable basements are awesome, but those with full size windows are even more awesome.
  2. Don’t try to sell a “flip” house and not change out the kitchen cabinets. Or the closet doors. I mean seriously, who are you kiddng? and
  3. If you list a vacant house, check it frequently. The third house I walked through was another gut/remodel and it was gorgeous, with one small problem: the basement (which had also been significantly remodeled) was completely flooded due to what Kathy and I think is a frozen pipe. It would have been a great match, if it wasn’t reminiscent of the Titanic.

After a lovely afternoon, we sped back to the real estate offices, giggling over shared acronyms (she introduced BMW as Big Mormon Wagon while I explained the more nuanced MRS. degree more typical of the early 20th century Vassar gal) and making plans to meet up the following weekend for more showings a bit closer to my current home base. The experience was thrilling, still a bit daunting in terms of the commitment to be sure, but worth it in taking the next steps towards semi-adulthood. My real estate date was successful. And as I comb through the internet, obsessively and compulsively looking for a new place to call home, I feel giddy as a school girl for my date next weekend to find something of my very own.