Naked People and Storage Wars

It was one hell of a weekend. As you well know, I rocked the pledge drive and then kept trucking, because September leaves no rest for the (happily) weary. I cracked open my laptop, the one that isn’t out to get me that is, and got down to business looking over Alex’s masters thesis on graphic design. To be clear: I have no artistic ability. Unlike Mr. Moya, I do not have an eye for color (which anyone who has seen me put together an outfit painfully knows) but I am pretty good at the spot edit. And knowing Alex’s work, I figured it would be a relatively innocent project, right? Right?

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Mmmm… for the most part.

Alex’s design and writing were fierce, and raw, and in some cases brutally honest. There was scathing social commentary, some really excellent points on the ways in which design reinforce certain social norms, and then (to my surprise) some naked people. Yep. Nekkidness. To prove a point, which he did really, really well. While I was definitely not prepared for that, after the initial “whoa, that was, um unexpected,” I fixed some spelling errors, moved some parenthetical references around, and broke apart some sentences to help with the flow. Yes, only I could eviscerate an incredible piece of work by focusing on the sentence structure and not the exposed bodies proving how callous and sexualized a culture we sometimes are.

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If only my writing could be as impactful. Seriously.

Then Sunday was for errands, shopping, and trying to find Davey’s pillow in the packed-to-the-gills storage unit right by the entrance to the interstate. I had the code, I had the key, I had the resolve. And after twenty minutes, I had a boatload of frustration in not being able to navigate the labyrinth of boxes, suitcases, and furniture stacked precariously to the ceiling. After some electronic instructions from the other side of the ocean, the only thing I succeeded in was rearranging a lot of couch pillows and keeping the stack from completely collapsing with my shoulder.

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Storage unit, 1. Matt, 0.

So, sadly, Davey’s working on finding a replacement. In the meantime, I’ve got a box of Trapper Keeper folders and some ranch dressing seasoning that will be crossing the Atlantic in the near future. Between that and grant writing/revision, it’s been the perfect busy ending to the most ridiculous September on record. So tonight, I am going to finish making a casserole, catch up on personal email (since I am woefully behind) and watch crap TV. Because I’ve earned it.

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Bring on the spudness, beetches.

Until next time, stay classy (and peace out September) Salt Lake. And <SPOILER ALERT> I will be writing about my being terrified that Ebola is now in the US. Just FYI.

Pledge Drives and The Little Old Lady

Because you know. That’s how we do. I woke up after the explosive thunderstorm overnight (which the cat did not like, so I got zero sleep thank you very much) to a very dark, overcast  and somewhat equally explosive rainy day. I took a long hot shower, had a coffee, and drove up to the University campus to start my shift for the KUER (local NPR affiliate) annual pledge drive. Because I want to support my daily listening habit, but don’t have the cash to actually just sit at home and send in money over the phone. Whatevs. Anyhow, after having to wait a touch for the shift coordinator to come let us in (the weather made everyone late, really), I took up my station, grabbed another coffee, and slid on the headphones.

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Even in my “free time” I am helping other people raise money. Because: sucker.

It was actually really, really fun. I saw some of my old pledge drive buddies (yes, that is a thing) and made some new friends. I always meet the most interesting people, and the folks I met this morning were from all over the place. It being Salt Lake, we all had like two degrees of separation. Crazy. And people were really interested in my actual day job. It was nice to have strangers tell me I was doing something worthwhile with my career, especially given how crazy work has been since Davey left. Plus I got one of the biggest pledges of the shift, a nice lady up north that gave a hundred bucks a month and didn’t want a pledge gift.

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Someday, I will be that middle/upper-midde class. Some day.

I then swung by the grocery store, listening to the radio and feeling like I had done my duty for public radio, and hit the grocery store to buy some grub to get my casserole on for the next week (along with the rest of the fricking neighborhood). I tidied up the house a bit and saw my sweet, elderly neighbor, who I always, always get the newspaper for and put on her ledge because she has limited mobility and it hurts her to bend. I felt even better, as she took the paper in her hands, and then watched (TO MY HORROR) as she opened her trashcan/bench and threw the paper away.

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What. The. F.

She then disappeared inside, and grabbed three more of this week’s papers and dumped them too. She then ceremoniously slammed the trash bench shut, and disappeared into her house. I was dumbstruck. I’ve been diligently scooping up her paper, whether it is on her doorstep or ten feet down the breezeway, thinking I was doing one thankless thing to be nice, and she doesn’t even read the paper. The number of Kohl’s coupons I could have had, were I the type to steal other people’s mail.

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Even Newbs’ mail. Which BTW, you need to come get your chairs, Joshy.

So I don’t even know what to do. If I stop snagging the paper and making it easier for her to get, I’ll feel bad that she’s bending to pick it up. But she only does that to throw the damn thing away. Should I just stop? Keep doing it? Start stealing it because I want a paper? Until next time, stay classy (and please advise!) Salt Lake.

This is getting ridiculous

Ok. So. You know how much I like to write. And after my sister’s surprise visit I had every intention of getting back into the every other day semi-routine of giving you the highlights (and low lights) of the life and times of yours truly. Of course, work has been crazy busy, but the sky is also blue, what else is new. Suffice it to say that my ongoing battle between my body and my mind has continued to keep me… busy.

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Seriously. How do I get flu-ish this early?

So after dealing with the kitchen sink issue, and getting Hulu back in order, I went to Alex’s art show (which was beyond fabulous), and then did my AIDS Walk with Newbs. I was then fully prepared to spend the next bit of the weekend finally potting the new lemon tree so that the cat doesn’t eat it, burying what is left of the avocado, and then, finally, getting two grants done for the non-profit I contract for down south. And when I first got home I felt good. Better than average. Not too shabby.

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And then I had an Exorcist moment. For the next two days.

I won’t go into the gory details (I mean, if you haven’t seen the movie before you should, it does wonders to your imagination of what I went through) but it was pretty miserable. Took Monday off, and have been digging out ever since. Work was and has been stressful as I’m learning even more of what Davey did behind the scenes and how steep the learning curve can be, but after a marathon day yesterday and today, I’m finally feeling like things are getting back to a reasonable pace. Don’t. Jinx. It.

tumblr_inline_nb71if8F5A1s2dtn3Seriously. This song. Right now.

So I am planning on getting back into the saddle BLERG-wise. The (cr)ISIS going on in the Middle East is obviously something we can all rally around, at least in terms of pissing people off, and goodness knows that there’s enough going on in the local news in light of the upcoming elections that I should have loads of material to work with. Look forward to some posts soon about my travails with the UPS/USPS/FedEx trifecta of evil shipping, an upcoming fund drive I am volunteering for at the local public radio station, and more than likely a diatribe about the bull$%^t going on in terms of new voter ID laws. Otherwise known as “let’s disenfranchise poor and old people with no scientific basis or merit to voter suppression.”

voter-suppressionNot that I have strong opinions.

Until next time, stay classy (and healthy, PLEASE) Salt Lake.

Tech Support

I am not by any means a technology person. If I had my way, I would have a land line, a pager, and at this point, a flipping modem. That crackly connection sound is almost soothing in an environment that involves me calling multiple people to fix problems I didn’t create, in a world where people are lined up OVERNIGHT to get a new iPhone, which, last time around (and the time before, and the time before that ad nauseam) is just a phone. Which growing up, I used in order to call people. Because it’s a phone.

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I can see it in your eyes. I can see it in your smile.

The only thing better than  calling tech support is when the person you are talking to (which, by the way to their benefit did call a few seconds after I asked the question online) is when they say things like, “Do you have a different browser you can use?” or, “this website says…” News flash. I know how to Google. Because I was born in the last century. And no, I will not uninstall my ad blocking or tracking software, because you don’t get to know where I am and what I am looking at because it’s none of your damned business.

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And I get no privacy. Cue ’80s music.

So now I get to watch my Hulu on a Friday night solo (I know, I need a husband, or a martini, or both) on some rando browser after resetting all of my damned passwords and whatnot because the Interwebs are against me. I feel like I live in some perverse version of the Matrix where no matter what I do, the behind-the-scenes machines are working not only towards my untimely samurai demise, but actively determining how to make the human hull I live in into a battery. Freals.

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It keeps going. And going. And going…

Until next time, stay classy (and unplug yourself for a change) Salt Lake.

Shellshocked

I won’t toot my own horn too much, but I have to say that there have been many epic surprises I’ve pulled successfully either on or in cohoots with my family. My siblings and I put together a surprise dinner for my parents many years ago nicknamed Operation SueRodge, we all threw a surprise wedding anniversary for my aunt and uncle a couple years back, and I even went so far one year during graduate school as to fly back to Virginia unannounced and have my cousin (thanks Jessica!) pick me up at the Richmond airport to surprise my whole immediate family over a long weekend. I dropped my bags, looked around, and said, “Guys, you seriously need to run a vacuum, this place is a MESS!”

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Their faces were priceless. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.

So fast forward to yesterday, when Big G called and said she was coming. I’d had a long week (as you are all well aware hopefully) and it was maybe 8:30pm? I was falling asleep on the couch. Literally. But I hadn’t seen her in a while so I brewed a few cups of coffee and got ready to chat  for a bit. When she got a call from a friend needing a ride from the airport, I agreed to go along, lamenting that she wouldn’t let me drive because she wanted to listen to her iPod (I prefer NPR because I am elderly). We got to the passenger pickup, wherein I volunteered to get onto the sidewalk and dance/boogie so that her friend could find us, as there were like 50,000 flights coming in late on a Friday night. When my sister Melissa came walking down the sidewalk, my jaw dropped to the ground. And I simply asked, “what are you doing here?!”

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This was the face I made. Total shock.

Both of my siblings have little kids. And Utah, if you didn’t already know, is a lot of flights away from Virginia. Like, a thousand, and none of them are convenient ever. In life. Being “untethered,” I typically go home to see my family because they’re all centrally located, I have fewer responsibilities, and it gives me an opportunity to spoil my nieces and nephews. When I saw that my sister had surprised me with an unexpected weekend of sibs bonding, it was like a thousand champagne corks popping. We’ve had (and will continue to have) an incredible time. And truth be told, I am impressed that everyone in my family not only kept it a secret, but were straight up sneaky about it.

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Fort Knox ain’t got nothing on them. Sneaky bastards.

So we’ve been rocking SLC like it’s 2014. We hit the farmer’s market, went shopping at Trolley, rocked all of the street fairs. We traveled all over the valley on the giant grid, my sister bewildered constantly as she’s only been here once before and I lived in a different part of town. We laughed so hard on the drive home from dinner I was crying. And tomorrow is going to be more epic. Stay tuned. Until next time, stay classy (and way to pull a fast one on me) Salt Lake.

Chik-Fil-A is Mocking Me

So the last week has been busy. Which is a nice way of saying insane.  And a lot of things took some getting used to. As you well know, I started the week with a sinus infection, but actually took a day to get better. Which I never do. The house was relatively back to its original self after Davey’s departure, until the plumbing gods decided to keep me on my toes by throwing a curve ball or two into my pipes. And work is rather busy, especially today (and tomorrow will be as well) with us operating on a skeleton crew until J&A get back. In short, a crazy week.

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Oh Mugatu. You always get me.

So after the plumber fixed my kitchen, I went to the grocery store (which was crazy busy, who runs out of Diet Coke?) caught up on emails and made a few calls. Looking despondently at the mess in the kitchen, I decided to put the crockpot back in commission because there are only so many protein bars I can eat before I feel like Hulk Hogan. I went to grease the pot and throw some marinade in, and checked the fridge for the chicken I had just bought. And realized, in my quest to get out of the insanity of people bouncing checks and demanding to speak to the manager at Smith’s, that I had forgotten the chicken. At the store. Two hours earlier.

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Big G would murder me for wasting money.

So, being the idiot that I am, I drove back to the store as the sun was setting, and went up to Customer Service to explain that 1) this has literally never happened to me before, but 2) did any of your checkers tell you that someone forgot their poultry? The cashier smiled and nodded, and informed me that it was fine, go grab another package, that this sort of thing happens all the time, etc. Relieved and sheepish, I walked back to the meat section, grabbed a pack of boneless skinless breasts (get your mind out of the gutter) and jumped back into the toaster to drive home. And then the cashier’s words returned to me…

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“This sort of thing happens all the time.”

Um, wait. I know I say this when something happens relatively frequently. And that the gal was hopefully just trying to be nice. But really? 32-year-old man-children leave bags of s%^t at the grocery store for two hours and then come back demanding their chicken and, “this sort of thing happens all the time?” Really? Either the Sugarhood is full of some really scatterbrained people, Smith’s is really forgiving, or I’ve just been sucked into one of those Super Mario warp pipes that spit you into an alternate universe where my familial Mr. Magoo tendencies are not only recognized, but accepted as the way to do business.

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In which case I’ll take two of these. Put’em in the cart.

So lesson learned. Do not try to do fifty things at the same time when you’re souped up on antibiotics and coming down from paying a plumber in kidneys and vital organs, because you’ll forget something important. Like some chicken in a bag. And you know what Sweet Brown would say to that. Until next time, stay classy (because ain’t nobody got time for THAT) Salt Lake.

The Joys of Homeownership

I was hoping for a nice, quiet Wednesday evening at home after a rough start to the week with my sinuses deciding that it was the season to make me want to crawl into a hole. Imagine my surprise and delight to come home to a kitchen sink that looked like a couple of dirty bombs went off in it while I was at work. Perplexed by the ring of gross that had somehow magically appeared during the day in an empty home, I went about cleaning out the debris as best I could and running the disposal. Upon which nothing happened. Other than a really gross amount of greyish water backing up into the other sink.

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At this point, I figured this was probably above my pay grade.

I drove to the grocery store, bought some Dran-o, and hoped for the best. So far, no luck. The sink is still clogged. And in going online to terrify myself with searches like, “what did I do in my life for my condo to turn against me,” and, “how do poltergeists screw your clogs up when no one is even home to frighten,” I have found a whole host of issues that I might be facing in the near future. Best case scenario, the dishwasher (my most hated kitchen appliance) is messing with my sink drain. Worst case, there’s a clog somewhere in the building that is causing my anguish. Long story short, I may end up having to get a plumber to come out and try to determine what the problem is.

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Can’t wait for that bit of sunshine and rainbows.

So as of right now, the kitchen is kaput. I made food in the crockpot that is cooling on the counter, but I am afraid to use the sink to rinse the bowl for fear of a flood of green-ish water akin to Noah’s predicament, but with nasty bits of old (what I dearly hope is) food floating around first in the sink and if I am lucky staying there until I can figure out what the problem is. These are the days that I miss renting, when I could have called Virg and Sarah to come over and fix all of my problems while I screwed around on Netflix, blissfully unaware of the potential plumbing horrors they faced in my stead.

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Those were the good times.

So I’m just going to sit here and stew in the living room, waiting for the big speech by the Prez and the coverage that will ultimately piss me off enough to take a Unisom and hope that I don’t wake up to a lake in the kitchen. Until next time, stay classy (and beware homo-wnership) Salt Lake.