Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fall Fashion Dont's

I am rapidly coming to the realization that I am going to have to sit out the fall fashion season. Have you all been out there? It’s horrifying.

I don’t know what has gotten into the so-called designers, but I see the makings of a national economic emergency when fall clothing funds are unable to be spent because there is nothing to buy. Mere weeks after I made a joke about how the 80’s cannot possibly come back in style, they filled the racks with “skinny” jeans (a fa├žade we all know, its PEG LEG again, no “pegging” required), spandex legging’s and cotton knit sweaters with huge v-necks and horizontal stripes. I haven’t found a sweater yet that wouldn’t require some sort of tank top underneath to make it decent. I do not believe it’s possible to make this whole tank top layered with big v neck sweater to look good. It’s going to look sloppy and you will never find a tank top that really matches. There is something about buying a sweater that you cannot wear by itself that irritates me. It’s like buying a new pair of jeans and they come with a little card that says “find some cute rivets to hold these pants together before wearing”.

Fortunately for me, I constantly fear I will regret getting rid of clothes, so I still have some leggings from the 80’s buried in the back of a drawer. I hope the ones with the little foot strap don’t come back because those I did discard. But I remember when those were the hot item and they really only fit 5% of the population well. The rest either had them sagging around their ankles from their too short legs, or for the taller girls, they had to keep a grip on their waistband to keep them from being pulled down to their knees when they walked.

Well, I thought, I will get some shirts. How wrong can those be? Pretty wrong, as it turns out. The blouses are all equipped with purposely “wrinkled” material and/or ruffles. If you didn’t appear to be in need of liposuction before, plastic surgeons will be handing you their card if you wear one of these shirts in public. And ruffles on grown women?! What good could possible come from this? Ruffles should be outlawed if you are over the age of 7. Period.

It’s possible that I am shopping at the wrong stores. You won’t find me in Neiman Marcus or Saks and for all I know; they are hoarding all the good outfits. But I’m not shopping there. I have a psychological block to paying more for an outfit than I paid for my first car. And I’m not even talking about couture (my first car wasn’t very nice), I’m talking about that simple short sleeve shirt, a less refined person could even refer to it as a “fancy t shirt”, that dangles a price tag of $220.00. While I yearn to be on of those impeccably dressed women, who reek of quality and you know instantly that every outfit she wears could pay for a year of college, I can’t bring myself to surrender my wallet for it. Primarily because no one would notice if I did. A technology company in Washington is not the same as some hip advertising firm in Manhattan. I could wear a paper bag to work here and no one would notice. And as for my husband, he still hasn’t noticed that I dyed my hair a dramatic dark brunette last month, so I highly doubt he would clue in on the fine stitching and quality fabric of a $600 dollar skirt.

I am simply suffering from clothes-in-my-closet boredom, and if I have to be medicated this fall to alleviate this fashion depression, I’m sending the bill to the design houses.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ontario rated #1 in blog sensibilities

Like all good bloggers, I often check site meter to see if anyone is coming to my blog. My blog is like having a Chia Pet, if you remember those. I would check that silly thing with great anticipation every day to see how much more the sprouts sprouted. Somehow I don’t see Chia Pets taking hold in the market today where the average attention span is about 3 seconds. In any event, according to site meter, you could say I have had 688 visitors to date, or as I prefer to say, I have had 0.000000688 billion visitors. Site meter, being the blabbermouth it is, also tells me that I get a lot of visitors from Ontario.

Curious about what makes these people from Ontario to have such excellent taste in blogs, I set out to learn more about this city. One of the things I learned is I should have paid more attention in geography, because apparently it is a huge providence and not a city at all. I also read that Ontario has 12,634,018 people. I can vouch for this because I grew up in a lakeside city in Pennsylvania where I personally witnessed them all arrive at our mall to buy our tax-free clothes. It always amazed me to see the lines of buses at the mall- I would think "who would get on a tour bus to come to Erie"? But a little tax relief I guess will get a lot of people to brave the diesel bus fumes for two hours. I guess the Canadians should have thrown the tea into the harbor with the Americans.

Anyway, I imagine that those days of global consumer commerce between US and Canada are ticking down. In December, a new law takes effect that requires a passport to cross the border. Americans in general are not good advance planners and getting a passport is something that requires a lot of paperwork and weeks of advance planning. If you are in the 10% of people who's original copies of their key life documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc., aren’t LOST by the US Passport Agency (don’t worry, if its like mine, it will inexplicably show up in your mailbox 19 months later. At which point, you must resubmit), then you still have to deal with the passport photo lottery. In most cases, the passport photo will make you looks like you escaped from a freak show or circus side show, and thus the passport must be "lost" and you must apply (try, try) again.

As a result, Americans will be forced to sit glumly on the decrepit US side of Niagara Falls listening to the cacophony of bricks falling off vacant buildings, while the Canadians whoop it up on the glitzy Canadian, we-allow-gambling-and-underage-drinking, side. It's going to be bad.

At least you will not need a passport to continue to read my riveting blog (at least I don’t think Bush has introduced that legislation yet), so for that at least, we can all breathe a big sigh of relief.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Language of Husbands and Wives

I've noticed that, over time, the conversations between husbands and wives can morph into a new language of sorts. You hear about this phenomena among twins, but I haven’t given much thought to it's relevance to those who have been elbowing for room at the bathroom sink for over 10 years. I can't imagine 9 months in utero would have anything on them.

If you had been surreptitiously following us over the past week, you may have overheard, and been perplexed by conversations such as these:

Situation 1: Driving in the car, running errands

Him: "I've decided you are never getting a new car. Ever."
Me: "What ever happened to you keeping me in the manner in which I was planning to become accustomed to?"
Him: "You mean in which you were accustomed?"
Me: "No."

What you don’t know: We have fallen into a stupid habit of making up things while driving and the other seamlessly responds as if it were true. For example, when driving by a new office building under construction, my husband might say: "See that building? I just bought it." and I will respond with thoughts on decorating it, or strategies for leasing it, or advising him that it has been condemned to preserve the historic foundation of a 1820 farmhouse it was built on top of.

Situation 2: Getting Ready for Work with TV Blaring

Him: "…Powerball…(garbled)…Wisconsin…(garbled)…Tell (nanny)."
Me: "What?! The winning Powerball ticket was sold on Wisconsin Avenue???" (becoming agitated and devastated that a winning $250M lottery ticket was sold so close to me, even though the last time I bought a Powerball ticket in DC was over two years ago)
Him: "No, I said we have to tell (nanny) that a Volcano erupted in her homeland."
Me: (impatiently brushing him off) "But what about the PowerBall on Wisconsin Avenue???"
Him: "Do you hear yourself? Anyway, I said the ticket was sold IN WISCONSIN."
Me: "Oh. I thought you said Wisconsin Avenue."

What you don’t know: I have no excuse on this one.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Crosby Stills Nash & Young (CSNY) Concert

We went to a Crosby Still Nash and Young (CSNY) concert over the weekend. We've seen CSN before but never with Neil Young, so we were excited. Apparently, I'm what you call, The Minority, given that we only got one friend to join us. I mentioned the concert at work expecting a few people to thank me for alerting them and rushing out to buy tickets. Instead one person responded "CSN? I thought they were dead?..." and the other said simply, "Hippie". After that, I didn't tell anyone else.

It wasn't the world's greatest concert (a little too much new material), but there is something about being outside on a summer night, with a sky full of stars, lounging on the grass and drinking $8 dollar cups of domestic beer, that makes you happy. I got to thinking about how the majority of my perferred music is from the 1970's- at the latest, and apparently I am now ridiculed for it. The Beatles, CSR, CSNY, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, The Stones, The Doors…the list of greats goes on. I am racking my brain trying to figure out what people my age are listening to if not them. Kelly Clarkson? Is that possible?

Even with my love of 1960s or 1970s music, I felt a little robbed, since truthfully, while I was alive (partly), I wasn’t exactly old enough to consider myself an "original" follower. Somehow I got stuck coming of age in the 1980's. Virtually every decade has had a resurgence and become cool again except for the 1980s. It’s the one decade we simply cannot overcome our embarrassment of and bring it back in vogue as "vintage". I feel a little ripped off in that respect. Parachute pants, break-dancing, "zipper jackets" like Michael Jackson, big hair. Ugh, the list of humiliation has no end. I would have rather had the groove of the 70's or the grunge of the 90's than the tackiness of the 80's.

Anyway, CSNY rocked out in the second set. The music transported us back 10, 15 years, and we jammed out to the tunes that were part of the anthem of our youth. For a little while, at least, we were all young again. All in all, not a bad way to spend a beautiful summer night.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Escalators, Trash Cans and Garage Doors, Oh My!

My 2 year old son's favorite things are Dada, Mama, trash cans, elevators, escalators, and garage doors. Not necessarily in that order. I lay awake nights worrying what these obsessions mean for his future. Some days I attempt to introduce NEW obsessions, like 'practicing medicine', mathematics and physics, or NFL-worthy catching of the ball. However, his favorites stand firm.

As a result, we spend most of our carefully planned events to zoos, parks and swimming pools huddled around the trash cans. "There's one!" he will exclaim at every single one, as if he has finally, and just now, found his long sought treasure. Taking him to the mall usually involves 9 minutes of frenzied shopping and an hour and a half of going up and down the escalators like escalator test-dummy-robots. On our nightly walk, we discuss the relative open and closed status of every garage door we pass (about 6 million of them) and then when we gets home, he likes to have me set up the laptop so he can surf the internet for pictures of garage doors.

Last night, I was cuddling him before bed. I like to prep him for the day ahead the night before, when he is calm and sleepy. Last night, I was trying to work in the concept of him wearing his new sneakers since his old ones were worn and "broken". I told him if he wore his new shoes without crying, he could pick out a treat. Sensing opportunity, he said, "Mama, I get escalator in my room?".

At least the kid dreams big.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why I Wish I Wasnt Too Lazy to Clean My Own House

My maids are walking on thin ice. One would never guess that when we let strangers in our home, to rummage (or "clean", whatever) without supervision that things might go wrong.

Anyway, I was out with the girls the other night, another night where things like "what we like/dislike about our vacuum cleaners" topped the conversation list, as we all silently wondered when we stopped being cool and started being suburban moms.

To make matters worse, shortly after we sat down and ordered drinks, half the county police department showed up and sat down 10 yards from us. Apparently the restaurant is close to a police station and is a known Smokie hang out. We never would have made this kind of error back when we were hip to the scene, I can tell you that much. Not that we were planning on drinking excessively, but it would have been nice to have the option. The cops kept throwing glances over at our table and we debated whether they thought we were hot or if they were trying to make sure they arrested the right women later. We’re hot, we decided.

Figuring the night was shot anyway, I brought up my maid issues. First of all, I said, "they took the Tupperware out of Jack's bathtub that I use to rinse his hair. I have no idea where they put it! Probably back in the kitchen, god forbid, but why move it at all? And I never remember to bring a new one up so every night I curse under my breath as I try to rinse his hair with a little purple stacking cup that holds a thimbles worth of water." Half the moms, who also have maids, nodded knowing, murmuring support. The other half, those who do not have maids, gave me a look that basically said "F--- Off!!", and didn’t elevate their verbal response a whole lot higher. Ok fine, if you don’t have a maid then maybe you are just DYING for some stranger to come in and remove critical rinsing utensils as long as it means they are also washing the floors while they are there, but still, its uncalled for.

Then, this week, they topped themselves. I often suffer from buyers remorse, so I keep bags and receipts around so I can take back whatever junk I bought in a "moment" of whatever. Specifically I had some hair color I decided against as well as a flat iron I decided against. Why I ever decided FOR these items, I cant really say. Especially the flat iron. All my features are large and they look freakishly so with hair plastered against my head. Anyway, I was going to take it all back. Except when I got home and discovered that the maids had unpacked this stuff from its bags, thrown away the receipts and used one of the bags as a garbage can liner.

I don’t know if I was more upset that my maids now feel they can unpack merchandise at their leisure or that they didn’t use a real garbage bag in the trash can. Is a real trash bag in the trash can too much to ask? Do I really have to recycle everything to death including looping shopping bag handles around the handles of my trash can?

I can tell you I would FIRE THESE MAIDS IN A SECOND, if it didn’t also raise my risk of having to clean my house myself.