Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goodbye, 18-34

So, today is my 35th birthday. [thud]

That was my ego collapsing into a hot old mess on the floor.

No, I'll be fine. As long as I don't LOOK my age, I'm cool with it (incidentally, if you didn't get me a present or card, it's okay as long as you tell me I look 12). And as my friends will attest, I certainly don't ACT my age.

So, what then is the point of counting up the years if it's only to see how many candles to put on the cake? (At this point, I'd need a cake the size of a twin mattress.)

Well, I guess there are some biological reasons why age is important. In fact, turning 35 is especially traumatic because of them. When I turned 30, my Mom said, "I hope you don't plan on waiting much longer to have children because after 35, the risk of having a child with Down's Syndrome increases 50%." Yeah, it's times like that when you wish your Mom wasn't an RN.

Birth defects aside, I think I'm most afraid of filling out surveys and forms now. Goddamn whoever invented "age brackets." I dread the first time I have to check "35-44" instead of "18-34." [Ugh. Did somebody just close a window? I need air!]

Here's a word of advice to all my 18-34 friends: live every minute like a fucking rock star.

I didn't believe the old people when they first told me but it's true: life really does start to speed up as you get older. Days and weeks become months and then years faster than Seth Rogen churns out movies.

One day you're in high school and the next, you're 3 years away from the 20-year reunion ('sup, class of '91). The only thing that remains besides hazy memories and crappy yearbooks is student loan debt (at this rate, my grandkids will inherit mine).

In honor of birthdays and the years when 35 seemed like retirement age, here's a trailer from one of my favorite movies, 1984's Sixteen Candles...enjoy!

The most quotable movie EVER!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm afraid of me 30 years from now

In the process of re-doing the old roommate's room and transforming it into a home office/guest room, I became obsessed with throwing things away and buying stuff. It was like "Trading Spaces" took my apartment over, except they forgot to give me money and someone else's place to ruin.

Well, I haven't ruined anything (yet). The home office/guest room is coming along nicely (will post photos of it once I'm done, no doubt). I've dubbed it the "boogie down" room as I'm going with an old school hip hop theme. In the meantime, I've got some nice pieces in there, repainted the ceiling a crisp white and then one wall a gorgeous sky blue.

While I was in Target getting a new power drill to put the corner desk together, I passed by a stack of microwaves on sale for $40. Hmmmm.

I thought of the big, brown microwave in my kitchen, the one my Dad gave me waaaaaay back in '97 when I moved in with my boyfriend. Bigger than most compact cars, the microwave was already a fossil when he gave it to me -- but, it worked. And that, with my experience in childhood poverty, was enough reason to keep it for the next 11 years.

But here was Target offering little white ones for $40 (yes, they're made in the USA - I checked). The proverbial angels appeared on my shoulders to duke it out, except they were Rachael Ray and Suze Orman:
"Aw, it's so cute and only $40!"
"Yes, but the one at home works."
"True, but this one would perfectly match the other things in my kitchen."
"So what -- since when does one need to accessorize in the kitchen?"
"I do! Plus, the cute one will free up much-needed counter space."
"Okay, but what would you do with the extra 2 inches?"
"What WOULDN'T I do with an extra 2 inches?"
"Is this just for the kitchen?"

Finally, Rachael Ray won and I bought it (along with the power drill and a box of Goldfish to inhale on the way home).

It was a much harder decision than one would expect about a microwave. Part of me felt a sentimental attachment to the old microwave with its faux wood paneling on the sides. After all, my Dad had given it to me. It was like a family heirloom (that zaps the living shit out of things).

(L) The old microwave--with a water bottle nearby for perspective--awaiting its removal while the new microwave (R) leaves ample space for whatever it is that one does in the kitchen.

When I got home, I delicately opened the new microwave's box, just in case I had second thoughts and decided to take it back. But once it was on the counter top, shiny and white and taking up a significantly less amount of space, I ditched the box. Getting rid of the old microwave was a different story, though.

Placing it in the hallway to be removed by the super the next day was tough. I put a Post-It note on it boasting, "I work!" with a happy face below, just in case a neighbor wanted it (or collects first-generation microwaves from the '80's). Thankfully, I didn't see it tossed outside on the sidewalk with the other trash so perhaps someone adopted it after all? (sigh) I'd like to think so.

Every time I use the new microwave, I'm overcome with a terrible fear as I wait for the food to cook. What will I be like 30 years from now if this is what it's like for me to part with stuff at age 34? I don't want to be one of those old ladies with plastic on the couch (because it was the first one she bought) and who still uses her first toaster. I don't want to smell like moth balls, either.

And I've been waiting a while for food to cook in the new microwave, ironically enough. It doesn't have half the nuking power of the old one (I guess they really DON'T make them like they used to). Things such as popcorn and soup take twice as long to heat (Suze Orman's angel is cursing me for the money I'll now be wasting on electricity).

But, it's nice to have something smaller that matches the fridge, blender, toaster and coffee maker. That's the price of progress and fashion, I guess. Sorry, Dad and Suze.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I lost my pants in the Grand Canyon

Okay, so today was a very emotional day for me. Since returning from a 4-day trip to the Grand Canyon nearly 2 weeks ago, a little voice (one of the many in my head) had been quietly nagging me to check the whereabouts of my favorite pair of pants. Today, I finally listened to that voice (who by now was smugly humming A Tribe Called Quest's "I left my wallet in El Segundo").

Everyone has a favorite something or other in the closet -- shoes, jeans, t-shirt, Honduran boy, etc. Me? I had a favorite pair of camouflage pants. I say "had" because they're gone.

The last time I wore them was on the flight to Vegas, where I met my Dad. After getting the Shelby GT-H Mustang, we made like Elvis and promptly left the building for the Canyon. The last time I saw them was in the cabin we rented; they were in my luggage, awaiting their next tour of duty.

I've heard of traveling pants but... The last photo of my favorite camouflage pants was taken somewhere on the border of Nevada and Utah. At least they went out with a 350-horsepower bang.

The horrible realization that they'd disappeared first began to dawn last Thursday when I couldn't find the black belt I usually wear with them. Luckily, I tend to buy things I like in two's so I had a back-up belt waiting (grrrr, if only I'd done the same years ago when I bought those pants at Macy's!).

It wasn't until today that I fully realized my all-time favorite pants are no longer with me. I checked my luggage again, I texted my cousin in Vegas, I called the two hotels where we had stayed, I even called my Dad to see if he accidentally packed them (they are, after all, camouflage and could easily blend in with other clothing). Nothing. The pain in my heart was as though I'd lost a friendship.

Oh, you think I exaggerate. Seriously, I've had easier breakups than what I felt today. Not only did they make my ass look great (camouflage is a wonderful thing), their soft fabric was versatile -- light enough to wear in the God-awful humidity of South Florida and scorching heat of Nevada while heavy enough to wear on a cool fall night in NYC. Ugh! The more I think about them, the harder this is to accept.

After searching the Internet high and low for a replacement pair (I found a distant cousin of my pants on eBay and am now the highest bidder but it's no consolation), I lamented the loss while on the phone with Paula, my friend in Miami whose shoulder is harder to cry on than a desert cactus'.

"Damn, Jenn. You really are white trash. You lost your pants while on vacation with your Dad? What the hell?"
"When in Rome, bitch."
"No, seriously, how exactly did you lose your pants? You saw the Grand Canyon and said, 'if you think THAT's a gaping hole, check THIS out!'"

I expect other friends will offer the same sort of comforting, especially Jeremy who banned camouflage anything about six months ago. I can still hear him now, "Camouflage is never in season. Period."

I think the hardest part is imagining my pants in some pile of trash somewhere (no doubt, Jeremy would approve), carelessly tossed in with the hotel's garbage or perhaps already baking in an Arizona landfill. I guess the happiest fate I could wish my pants is that they're at home in some poor hotel worker's closet. I can only hope that whoever found them doesn't share Jeremy's opinion.

For those that don't know, now ya know.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

God hates my left leg

A little background: I went to the Grand Canyon a couple weeks ago with my Dad for Father's Day, rode around in a convertible Mustang GT the entire time and basically bathed in scorching hot sunlight for 4 straight days. I hid my face under a wide-brimmed hat and blanketed my skin in SPF 45 sunblock the entire time. I returned to NYC a slightly-tanner version of my pasty self (i.e. I was a bit grey).

This weekend, I joined Dan, Susan, Marni, Doron and Julia for a round of pitch and putt golf out in the Far Rockaways, the spit of sand that divides Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic. Although I brought the very same sunblock I'd used in the Grand Canyon, I decided that the morning sun and northern exposure didn't warrant another bath in the stuff. So, I pitched and putted the 18-hole executive course with sunblock on my face and arms only. What resulted is mind-boggling:

As a redhead, I've had my share of burns but nothing quite like this.

My neck sustained a slight burn but the worst of it was reserved for one area on my left leg. I got a sunburn on back of my left knee and half of the kneecap (the right leg escaped unscathed). How did this happen? We were teeing off in a different direction at each hole so there's no reason for just one leg -- and one PART of the leg -- to be burned. It's just bizarre. And it hurts.

I came home and doused the back of my knee and half of the kneecap with cold aloe vera from the fridge, wondering how on earth I managed to do this. How to explain it? "I accidentally poured burning hot stupidity on my knee?" "Turns out, some asshole on the course had a magnifying glass pointed at my knee?"

Seriously. WTF? As a kid, all of my major cuts/scrapes/injuries happened to my left leg (it has the scars to prove it). In summer 2005, I tore my left calf muscle playing soccer (was on crutches for 2 months, had PT for 6 months and can never play again). Now, I get this weirdo burn just inches from where the gimpy remains of my calf muscle are. Does God have something against my left leg?