If you die waiting for a marriage certificate, then you’ll save some time on the next line

I’d like to dedicate this post to my newest reader: The wonderful Rabbi who is going to marry Captain and me.


I don’t know when the last time is that you went to the Boston City Hall for an intention of marriage certificate, but it’s not a romantic experience. Boston City Hall is a concrete monstrosity with limited windows and no discernible doors.

I researched the Massachusetts’s marriage instructions online. Both people must appear in person, together, to complete an intention of marriage certificate. Then 3 days later one person may return for the required paperwork and then any day within 60 days later somebody can sign that paper and it’s official. Kim Davis types are not welcome. The wait is already long enough as it is.

I manage to sneak Captain away from his work. We approach City Hall. Where is the door? Why is our city hall the least welcoming building in the city?  Some people appear to be going toward a part of the building that is either a parking garage or a bunker entrance.

We squeeze in the side of the building and head upstairs to a sign that reads “Births, Deaths and Marriages.” There’s a pad of paper and pencil in a window. It looks like somewhere to sign in. I pick it up. A lady barks at us,

“What do you need?”

“An intention of marriage certificate.”

“Come back here.”

We enter the windowless concrete cave of an office. She sits us down at a computer and we fill out a form with our names and our contact information. We click complete. So far this doesn’t seem like it should be a joint in-person operation. When one of us needs a death certificate, we’ll have to be able to complete the form on our own.

The lady directs us to a line of many soon-to-be newlyweds. Everyone looks morose.  Somehow the bunker like atmosphere has sucked away all the love and googly eyes.

We make it back to the window. We raise our right hand and swear that we’re the people we say we are. We go to another line to pay $50, then we get back in the original line and we get a receipt to bring back in 3 days for more paperwork. If we can file taxes online, surely we could let people fill out their names to intend to get married.

We find an above-ground door to exit from and now we’re one week away from being married, paperwork and all.

drunk-bride-and-groom-funny-cake-topper
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Just because an office bathroom is high security doesn’t mean you want to be in there

One thing I won’t miss about the office is the bathroom situation. And it’s a situation.

Our new office is in a building with several consulates, so we have a lot of security. Our office could probably function with minimal security, like a lock on the door for the few hours in the middle of the night when even the die-hard workers need to sleep for 3 hours.

I tried to take a bike to the office the other day and no go. If you don’t have a photo id don’t even think about going in the lobby. That goes for bikes too.

There are a few other offices on our floor and we all share a bathroom. The men’s room has a few urinals, 3 stalls and a spacious sink area. I’m not taking anyone’s word for this. I checked it out myself. The women’s room has two stalls and an itty bitty sink area. Apparently it all harks back to when women weren’t allowed to work in the office, so no need to give them a bathroom.

There are at least 50 women working on our floor at any given time. It is not possible to enter and exit the bathroom without encountering at least one other if not 5 other women. The toilet paper holders can’t even hold enough toilet paper to get us through one day.

The other day, I exit the bathroom and a maintenance guy is waiting to enter and refill the TP. He’s waiting for a moment when no one is in there. Another woman walks up. He gestures for her to go in. I tell him,

“You might be waiting awhile.”

He nods and sighs. He probably does this everyday.

AND the bathroom is locked. You need a key to get in. Not only do you need a key, but the key for the bathroom is different from the key to our office. Plus our office only has 3 bathroom keys. Our building is so secure that even if you manage to slip your bike past security, it still can’t go to the bathroom.

Germ-wise not much grosses me out. Bathroom keys are cringe worthy. I make a point to leave the key by the sink, as do many of my colleagues. Although some people like the key so much they take it in the stall with them.

It’s one thing if that were their own personal key, but they’re going to pee/poop touch the key and then leave it at the front desk for the next lucky person.

I head to the bathroom for one of my final office bathroom visits. Might as well have been the finale. My coworker heads in before me. She takes the key in the stall.

A few minutes later she starts grunting and groaning. Then explosive bodily noises follow. More grunting. More explosions. Then when it seems like she couldn’t possibly moan anymore she erupts again and yells,

“F*CK!”

I wash my hands, head back to the office and try not to think about what’s going to be on that woman’s key now. I tell my friend at the front desk.

“So I was just in the bathroom with So-and-so.”

“I know what you’re going to tell me.”

“You know what I’m going to tell you? You don’t know what I’m going to tell you.”

“So-and-so was blowing up the bathroom?”

“YES! How’d you know?”

“She does it everyday and she’s not shy about it.”

Drinking in parking lots is fun!

For Captain’s birthday I gave him tickets to Florida Georgia Line. So that happened last weekend.

I contemplate my outfit: Cowboy boots? Check. Jeans? check. Shirt tied up above my belly button? Not sure about this one, but I’m going for it. If it’s just us and a bunch of teeny boppers I’m putting my tummy away.

We hop in Captain’s small sports car and head to the show. We drive past the show. We keep driving. We are driving to pick up Captain’s other car. Captain has a beat-up truck for commuting that lives in a parking lot near Rhode Island and we need the truck to go to the show. I ask Captain,

“Why do we need the truck?”

“So we can tailgate.”

We get to the parking lot. I have been to so few concerts in my lifetime and this was a revelation. It’s one giant parking-lot party. We’re lucky to find something that looks like a spot. I tell Captain,

“There’s a trash can there.”

He heads for the parking spot anyway. I try again,

“Do you want me to move the trash can?”

“I’ll just move it with my truck.”

And by “move it with his truck” he means that he will pull into the spot and knock the trash can over. That’s what trucks are for.

We jump out. Captain opens some beers, puts the tailgate down and says,

“Have a seat.”

“You can sit on it?”

“Yeah! Now you know why I wanted my truck.”

I sit on the tailgate, dangle my cowboy boots over the edge and sip my beer. This is a revelation. I’ve never wanted to drink in a parking lot before, but if you need to drink in a parking lot, this is the way to do it.

Captain tells me,

“We couldn’t have done this in the other car.”

Nope. We’d still be driving around looking for a spot because the other car does not double as a trash-can bulldozer.

Even though the trash can is right side up.

Freelance blogging here I come

Some of my career counseling results are in:

My top career fields:
• Commercial art
• Advertising and public relations
• Broadcast journalism
• Freelance art
• Corporate training
• Floral design

I’m not sure about that art thing. My drawing skills are very limited. I can draw a girl stick figure, a boy stick figure, a ballerina leg and a wedding dress. That’s right, just the ballerina leg, to a little above the knee. So I’m ruling out commercial art and freelance art.

Corporate training sounds good. I’m not sure what I can train people in besides drink making, but I wouldn’t mind telling them what to do.

The career counseling test has another interesting list. People like me are happy in the following jobs:

1. Flight Attendant
2. Broadcast Journalist
3. Photographer
4. Advertising Account Manager
5. Public Relations Director
6. Reporter
7. Translator
8. Cosmetologist
9. Musician
10. Buyer

Interested, I did a little flight attendant research. The Internet suggests that if you’re interested in being a flight attendant, you might like bartending.

I didn’t draw this, but in a pinch I might be able to.

Condom balloons, mermaid tattoos and chickens in bondage

I am all showered and bacheloretted. I hope to never be that hungover again. That’s right, last weekend was my bridal shower and bachelorette party.

A few days before the party my mom tells me,

“I bought 72 balloons.”

“Nice, did you get one of those little helium tanks?”

“No. I figure we can blow them up ourselves.”

“We’re blowing up 72 balloons ourselves?”

“Yes.”

“You’re joking.”

“No.”

I look at her and try again.

“Really, you’re joking.”

“No.”

She wasn’t joking. Between her, Captain and me, we blew up 72 pink balloons. People walking by the house before the party exclaimed,

“It’s a girl!”

A 33-year-old girl.

I opened so many presents! Bowls, pans, sexy aprons, sexy cookbooks, coffee maker, ice cream scoop and lacy underoos. All the necessities of married life.

And just when I thought I couldn’t drink anymore Diet Coke, it was time to change for my bachelorette party. Captain’s mom calls to me,

“The van is here!”

Van. Oh boy. We’re off! We pull into a warehouse parking lot. Interesting start. It turns out to be a beautiful winery with an old fashioned truck we’re told not to touch. I’ve never been tempted to touch any trucks, but once given several glasses of wine and told not to touch, I’m tempted to sprawl across the hood.

Next stop: oceanfront bar and a list of dares. I’m handed a 3″ x 4″ mermaid tattoo. I have to put it on a random guy. I look around. There are drunk pliant looking men everywhere. A bald guy makes eye contact with me and smiles. YES. He’s the one. There’s photographic proof. I’ll give it to you as soon as I get it. There is a man walking around with a 5 day mermaid tattoo on his chrome dome.

The next day my friend tells me,

“The dare was actually to get a guy to put the tattoo on you.”

Next I’m instructed via a video from my friend on the other side of the world to construct male genitalia from fruit at the bar. I was born for this task.

We sit down for dinner in my favorite restaurant. A classy place. I’m dared to go into the men’s room. Check. I’m dared to ask a guy for a condom and blow it up into a balloon. I’ve just blown up so many balloons I couldn’t be more ready for this.

There happens to be another bachelorette party a few tables away from us. I’m dared to go give that bride my condom balloon. I approach their serious-face table and offer my bulbous, lubricated, penis-shaped balloon. The bride declares,

“I’m not taking that.”

The rest of the night becomes a little blurry. I do know there was a Bon Jovi cover band.

Now I’ve started plowing through my new favorite cookbook: “Fifty Shades of Chicken.”

It’s not you, it’s me

So about that office job. We’re taking a little time off. We’re going to see other people, figure out if we still want to be together. I’m going to career counseling and my job is looking for someone else.

It’s not a clean break. I’m working part-time for now. We still like each other a lot and want to be friends. No ghosting, just a slow fade.

My resting heart rate is 68 beats a minute. When I gave my notice, my heart rate was 130 beats a minute and I didn’t just run a marathon. Fitbit helped me put a precise number on the anxiety I already knew about. My supervisor tells me,

“It’s going to be ok.”

So far she’s right. When we discussed part time, she asks,

“Will it be weird if you say good bye to everyone and then you’re still here?”

Yes. That would be weird. Maybe I won’t do that. Just slow fade.

I like my career counselor a lot. Especially if she’s reading this blog. I told her about it and writing and she said,

“I don’t know for sure, but it seems like someday, someone will see your blog.”

I need to tell my career counselor that my mom already knows about it.

And you thought I was doing the slow fade on YOU blog, but I’m not.

I’m in my blogging jammies as we speak.

That’s some good Cookie Puss

Captain had another birthday.

Two years ago, when we were both still in our thirties, was the first time we discussed ice cream cake. He tells me,
“You know what ice cream cake I like? Cookie Puss!”
“WHAT?!”
“Carvel’s Cookie Puss.”
“That’s not a real thing.”
“It is. It was the 1970s.”
He shows me a photo of Cookie Puss.
“Nooo. C’mon.”
“Yes. The Beastie Boys even wrote a song about it.”
“Nooo.”
“Yes.” He plays the song.
A few months ago on the LONG drive to my grandfather’s. My mom and I are talking ice cream cake for the wedding and Captain interjects from the backseat,
“Cookie Puss!”
My mom is lost. I explain. Captain spends the next half hour Googling Cookie Puss. I ask,
“Do they still make it?”
“I don’t know. It was the Seventies.”
As his birthday approaches, I’ve got Cookie Puss on my mind. I look into it. Cookie Puss is still one of Carvel’s signature cakes. I’m getting this man a Cookie Puss. Now I just need to find a Carvel.
The closest Carvel is 2 hours away in Hartford, CT. Done. I call them,
“May I order an ice cream cake?”
“Sure. What would you like?”
“Cookie Puss.”
“Cookie Puss?”
“Yes please.”
“Standard Cookie Puss?”
“Standard Cookie Puss.”
“I haven’t made one of those before, but shouldn’t be a problem.”
On a random weekday night, I drive to Hartford, collect Cookie Puss and drive back to Boston. Captain is 100 percent surprised. He exclaims,
“Cookie Puss! Where’d you get Cookie Puss?!”
“Hartford, CT.”
“You drove all the way to Hartford?”
“Yup.”
“What’d you do when you got there?”
“I bought the cake.”
“Did you do anything in Hartford?”
“Turned around and came back.”
We’ve been eating Cookie Puss for days now. 

All is well that ends with me being back in bed before 9:00am

I open a birthday card from Captain: A hot-air balloon ride! That sounds awesome. It starts at 5:00am. Wait, what?

Captain relays his plan. Head to NH Saturday. Get a hotel. Go first thing Sunday AM. A whole weekend thing. Sounds fun. 
Saturday we drive up to NH to go hiking in the woods before sunset with no long clothing or bug spray. We get 20 minutes into the hike when the mosquitos surround us. We are two large all-you-can-drink-blood buffets. We scurry back to the car.

We drive to Salem, NH, the town the balloon leaves from the next morning. Not a destination. There are lots of cute little New England towns and Salem isn’t one of them. We find a good place for dinner and wait for the 8pm phone call to confirm our balloon ride. We get the call. Woohoo! Captain starts calling the few random hotels in the area. The first one is full. The second one is full. The third one is full. The last one is full. What is going on in Salem, NH?

We start looking at hotels near Salem, but they end up being 30 minutes away and our bed in Boston is 40 minutes away. We drive back to Boston. We need to be in a random parking lot in Salem at 5:00am.

Our alarm goes off at 3:30am. Happy Birthday to me. We drive back to New Hampshire. We pull into a lot with a few other cars. A scraggly old man, with long greasy gray hair, a torn sleeveless shirt, and a cigarette hanging off his lip, walks up to the car. He asks,

“Here for the balloon ride?”

He reeks of alcohol. This man is not taking me anywhere. Especially not in anything that leaves the ground. He tells us,

“Your balloonist will be here soon.”

Good news.

The balloonist arrives and runs through the safety drill,

“We never know where we’re going to land. It all depends on the wind. Chances are we will land in someone’s yard.”

Maybe they’ll give us breakfast. The safety news continues,

“Chances are we’ll have a soft landing, but we may have a hard landing. It could be like jumping out of a second story window. All you need to do is keep your knees bent and you’ll be fine.”

I don’t know anyone who can jump from a second story window and be fine as long as they keep their knees bent. I climb into the hot-air balloon basket.

We soar above the trees into the sunrise. It’s gorgeous. People come out of their homes to take our photo. Who are all these people awake and ready to take photos at 6:00am Sunday morning?

Forty minutes later our balloonist announces,

“We’re over half-way through our fuel, we need to land.”

We float over suburbia looking for a good yard. We drop down fast, taking half of a dead tree with us. It’s a soft landing. The homeowners do not appear to be home. Either that or 12 random people milling around their backyard with a giant balloon is not a good enough reason to get out of bed before 7am.

We pack up and head back to the parking lot for a champagne toast and our award ceremony. Awards below. I give my award to a co-worker. She declares,

“I’m concerned that you went on this.”

Now I know why the rest of my clothes don’t have trains

I can’t tell you too much about my wedding dress in case you’ll tell Captain, but I went for my first alteration fitting. It took 3 hours and my legs were aching. Standing around looking pretty is not as easy as it sounds.

Also it required a lot more decision making than I was ready for before eating a decent meal. I would’ve eaten before the fitting, but I didn’t want a food baby to throw off the measurements.

There are several types of bustles. All of which make me feel like a lady in a royal court. What era and what country are what’s to be decided: French bustle, American bustle, Austrian bustle or carry the whole darn train around all night. But a hand that’s holding a train is a hand that’s NOT holding a drink. I know you’re thinking I have another hand, but maybe I need to hold two drinks.

My main concern that no one else is concerned about is that I like to go to the bathroom and I go a lot. What’s the best sort of bustle so I don’t drop the whole dress in the toilet?

After all the hemming, pinning and rutching is done. The seamstress says,

“You’re free to play around.”

All I’ve ever wanted to do since I’ve dreamed of a wedding dress is twirl and dance around. I twirl a few times and plop down in a chair. My legs are so tired.

To an entertaining ceremony or your money back

I’m getting excited for the ceremony part of this whole wedding shebacle. That’s shebang and debacle.

As with any proper Jewish event, the ceremony starts with some mandatory wine drinking. Then there are many opportunities for audience participation. Do you want to say one of the seven blessings? Sign up now.
Our rabbi tells me,
“You’re funny. You could add your own writing to the blessings. You should make them funny.”
“Really?”
I’m about to blogify my own wedding ceremony. Should I post some funny photos on the altar too?
This photo would be funny, except that this might be Captain’s dream wedding photo.

What’s more romantic than a list of dead people?

A rabbi, Captain and I walk into a Greek restaurant. The rabbi says,

“We’re doing our part to support the Greek economy.”

Our current honeymoon plans to Greece will help more, but a $3 baklava in the US can’t hurt.

The last time the three of us met we were just getting to know each other, trying to figure out if we’re a good fit. This time we’re getting down to the nitty gritty details of getting married: Who says what and how long it will take until we can party.

The rabbi asks,

“Are there any dead relatives who were a big part of your life that you would like me to mention when we start?”

Captain and I don’t have any one person who stands out, so we start listing all the dead relatives we can think of. I really love a few of my past pets, I’m tempted to list them too. The rabbi looks at us and says,

“Ok, we’ll start the ceremony after I deliver a litany of dead relatives.”

To a lifetime of ice cream together

I love ice cream cake. I’ve loved ice cream cake longer than I’ve loved Captain, so it only makes sense that they should both be at my wedding.

When I think of ice cream cake, I think of a sheet cake with vanilla and chocolate ice cream and little crunchies in the middle. The top often says “Happy Birthday.” So when I dream of an ice cream cake for my wedding I’m thinking all of these things, except for the Happy Birthday part.

I email Ben & Jerry’s,

“I’m interested in an ice cream cake for my wedding, is this possible? Do you deliver?”

The ice cream cake guy sends me back a flavor list. There are almost twenty flavors. I don’t bother looking. I already know I’m getting vanilla and chocolate.

My mom, Captain and I head to Ben & Jerry’s to meet with the ice cream cake guy. He sits down and starts sketching a three layer wedding cake. It’s an ice cream cake that looks like a wedding cake. My mind is blown. The ice cream cake guy says,

“What flavors are you thinking?”

“Vanilla and chocolate.”

“You have to pick 6 flavors. Each layer of the cake has 2 flavors.”

We review the list of flavors. He returns with several bowls of ice cream, whip cream, brownies and crunchies. This is definitely one of the better parts of planning the wedding. We pick out a few flavors, but not all six. We might need to go back and try a few more.

Now to decide on a cake topper…

If Jehovah decides to visit Boston, he shouldn’t have to sit in traffic and get him some Boston pamphlets

Every morning I walk by a cart with pamphlets about Boston and another cart with pamphlets about Jesus.

The other day as I approach the carts, a scraggly man is flailing his arms and shouting at the Jesus pamphlet people. They hold their ground.

I don’t know if the people staffing these two carts are believers in Boston or Jesus, but based on the diverse clientele and the early morning hours, I hope they’re getting paid.

The man starts jumping around. The Jesus pamphlet people smile and nod. I get closer.

The man declares,

“Jehovah? Jehovah?! You know what I know about Jehovah? The HOV lane is for Jehovah.”

I survived law school graduation

My brother graduated from University of Chicago Law School last weekend. Months ago, my mom emailed Captain and me,

“If you want a hotel room for graduation, you and Captain should reserve it now or you two can sleep on your brother’s futon and I can sleep on the floor.”
I was inclined to save the money and sleep on the futon. With a month to go, my mom mentions,
“I made a hotel reservation in case you want it.”
There’s only so much family time I can handle and I didn’t want to have to pack an entire sheet and towel set, so Captain and I start considering the hotel my mom reserved. We read one star review, after one star review. The gist being:
“There are rats, spiders, ants, drug addicts, construction, no AC, no security, rats. DO NOT STAY HERE.”
My brother’s futon without sheets is starting to sound luxurious. We turn down my mom’s hotel reservation. We end up at an airport Courtyard Marriot. Not the most or least convenient, but I’ll have a chance of maintaining my sanity AND not getting bed bugs.
The hotel calls a taxi for us. An unmarked white van pulls up. We get in. This is no standard taxi. There’s no machine calculating the fare. I start bargaining. We settle on $30. Based on what the internet told me before, this is reasonable.
We head to the law school for drinks, food and a personal tour. President Obama has a surprisingly small photo in the law school. That doesn’t stop me from getting my photo taken with his photo. 
We preside over the mock courtroom and take photos with my brother’s locker, only to round the corner and see another mom taking a photo of her child with his locker. University of Chicago Law School lockers are very photogenic. 
We head to my brother’s apartment. In the hallway outside of his place he orders,
“Take your shoes off here.”
My mom explains,
“He doesn’t have a vacuum.”
Instead of writing him a check for graduation, he should’ve gotten a registry.
We settle on the futon. Not sleeping here appears to be a good decision. My brother is making dinner. I ask Captain,
“Are you full from the food we had at the law school?”
“No way. I’ve already forgotten about that food.”
We sit down to eat. I scarf it down like I do with all food. It’s my inner labrador retriever. My brother asks,
“Would you like more?”
“No thanks.”
“What are you anorexic?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re very skinny.” Then he asks my mom, “When did she get this skinny?”
“When she met Captain.”
“What is everyone talking about?” I gained 30 pounds in college due to the 2 dinners a night plan and I lost it 7 years ago running up and down stairs delivering millions of 10 cent tacos at the bar in Worcester. I’ve been the same weight ever since. Just ask my jeans.
I’m not sure when my body weight became one of my family’s favorite talking points, but it’s not mine. I look at Captain. He knows. He says,
“Ready to go?”
“Yup.” Getting a hotel room was the right decision. We sign up for Uber and Captain manages to talk me back from the ledge of family estrangement.
The next day, the actual graduation, is amazing. I’m glad we’re here for this. My brother’s accomplishment is impressive, most impressive. The head of the FBI and all his secret service friends are there. 
Captain and I head into the city to play tourist until dinner time. We do a good job of it and make it all the way to the top of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower.
At dinner Captain and I appear to be the only ones in anything resembling a good mood. I extend an olive branch to my brother. I tell him,
“I’m putting my anorexia on hold for your dinner tonight.”
“Going with Bulimia instead?”
“The things I do for your graduation.”
The main point of dinner is accomplished. Everyone is full and no one is estranged. Captain and I grab an Uber. This is our third Uber ride ever. The first two were smooth and encouraging. This driver swerves off, messing with her GPS as we drive. She says,
“You’re going to the South Side? I’ve only ever driven on the North Side. I don’t know the South Side.”
Ok. We don’t know any sides.
She gets on the highway, drives a couple miles, gets off and gets back on the highway going the other direction, only now we’re in bumper to bumper traffic. What the heck? We went out of our way to sit in traffic.
She starts swearing at drivers. I make more eyeballs at Captain. What is going on?
She tries to explain herself to us,
“You booked an Uber because we’re cheaper than a taxi. If you wanted someone who knew where they were going, you would’ve paid more for a taxi.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not Uber’s slogan: “We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re cheaper than a taxi.”
She asks us,
“Can you get directions on your phone?” More swearing at drivers. She puts on talk radio and blasts the volume. I recheck that Captain and I are buckled in. An hour later for what should’ve been a 30 minute ride, she drops us off at the hotel. Uber tries to charge us $50.00 for that ride. NOT cheaper than a taxi. I email a complaint. Uber responds,
“It looks like your driver’s route was not ideal. We’re changing the total charge to $13.00.”
At work on Monday a friend asks,
“How was Chicago?”
“Good!”
“Family was good?”
“Minor drama, but nothing that derailed the whole weekend.”
I know I used this photo a couple weeks ago, but it still seems relevant.

Everyone sing along!

You don’t have to wait any longer. The lyrics to the Syracuse University Forestry song from my grandfather’s time are in. Remember the scene: 6 hour drive, Captain in the back, my dog and me up front and my mom giving us her very best serenade.


We’re just a bunch of foresters;
We aren’t so very neat.
We never change our underwear;
We never wash our feet.
Our boots are never polished,
And our nails are never clean;
We never mow our whiskers,
And our manners are obscene.
I have nothing to base this on, but you probably needed to know this song to graduate. 
Gotta go to work now.

It was a very long 2 day weekend. Happy Belated Mother’s Day

My Grandfather is 88 years old. For the last 10 years he’s been throwing away his clothes instead of doing laundry because he’s convinced he’s going to die soon. He’s still alive, but underwearless.

He lives in upstate New York; a six hour drive from Boston’s Fort Point. This would be a long, but worthy trip if he actually wanted to see us, but he doesn’t. In past years my mom asks,

“Do you want to go to Grandpas?”

“Nope.”

This year I asked my mom,

“What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

“I want to take Captain to meet Grandpa.”

She’s got me in a corner. The last thing I want to do with my precious weekend is wake up at 5:00am and spend 12 hours of it in a car.

The least we can do during the drive is check off some wedding planning. I tell my mom about my plan for an ice cream cake. Captain mentions his favorite Carvel ice cream cake from when he was a kid. He says,

“It was called Cookie Puss.”

My mom asks,

“What?”

I tell her,

“He’s talking about an ice cream cake from when he was a kid.”

Captain pipes up again,

“Cookie Puss!”

He hands my mom a photo.

My mom and I move on to other wedding topics. Captain sits in the back playing a Cookie Puss song by Beastie Boys.

My mom is worried that Captain is missing the scenery. It’s true, he might be missing something while he stares at Cookie Puss commercials, but he has four more hours to catch up on scenery. My mom tells him,

“I’m going to sing for you, but not until we see the Erie Canal.”

Then we see the Erie Canal. After her rendition of “Low Bridge,” she segues into Syracuse University’s forestry songs from the mid 1900s. I wish I could remember some of the lyrics. Google can’t either. Relative to how long we’re in the car, my mom’s medley is over soon enough.

We stop at Walmart for sugarless pies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my 88-year-old grandfather, besides hearing loss, many missing teeth and heartburn. He has decided, of his own free will, not because a doctor told him he needed to, to stop eating sugar. What’s life without sugar? No wonder he’s been counting on dying for the last ten years.

We finally pull up to his doorstep. The only person who is clearly happy to be there is my dog. Booker dashes around. He spent the first two years of his life here and it’s like he just smelled it yesterday.

We sit and chat/yell with my grandpa. He says he’s going to get cleaned up and we’re going out for lunch. The fun begins.

My mom drives the slowest and most carefullest she’s ever driven. My grandpa still yells at her about how fast she’s going. I tell him,

“I’m always telling her to slow down.”

“Does she listen?”

“Nope.”

My grandpa keeps spelling Captain’s name. I mention,

“My name is going to change to Jessica Curtis.”

“That’s an improvement.”

Although I just Googled ‘Jessica Curtis’ and this photo popped up:

It’s unfortunate.

At lunch there’s a rifle raffle displayed on the counter. Captain buys 3 tickets. Then we head to an Amish farm to buy some maple syrup. The maple syrup is half the price of what I pay in Boston. Which makes at least a half-hour of the 6 hour drive worth it. My grandpa puts in an order for some more sugarless pies.

My mom offers to show Captain Lake Ontario. My grandpa opts out in favor of a nap. I wouldn’t mind one of those.

After putting our hands in the lake, we head back to my grandpa’s. He says,

“Let’s go up the road, I want to show you my neighbor’s outhouse. It has a bay window.”

We pull into his neighbor’s driveway and without a so much as a shout hello, we start snooping around his yard. The outhouse neighbor hollers at us from his second floor window.

“HELLO!”

“I’m just showing my daughter, my granddaughter and her fiancé your outhouse.”

“Oh sure, go ahead.”

The outhouse is classy as far as outhouses go. Even more impressive is what’s in his driveway:

It’s a huge, water-worthy raft with a diving-board bird’s nest, tiki torches and a fire pit. It’s something every child has dreamed of and my grandpa’s neighbor built.

We’re headed to check out the barn with a homemade movie theater when from behind me I hear,

“Jessica!”

What? The only people who know who I am out here in wherever-the-heck-we-are, are walking ahead of me.

I turn around and it’s one of my cousins who I haven’t seen since he was a boy. He looks the same, except 6 foot 3. He and his wife flew in from Minnesota a few days ago.

The outhouse neighbor invites us in. His man cabin is full of random people who just spent a day on the raft. There are two small women in oversized camo hunting suits. The neighbor offers coffee. YES PLEASE.

The neighbor regales us with his outhouse building story,

“So then I was in line to buy the bay window and the lady behind me says ‘that’s nicer than any of the windows in my house!'”

There’s a knocking on the floor. The neighbor swings half of his kitchen counter to the side and a woman pops up from a trap hole in the floor,

“Can someone hand me my cell phone?”

Someone hands her her cell phone and the kitchen counter swings back. I tell my cousin,

“You’re so big!”

Should’ve said tall. I meant tall. The last time I saw him, I was bigger.

My cousin tells my grandpa,

“I was gonna stop by and see you.”

“Why would you do that?”

“So you can see me and my wife. Don’t you want to see her?”

“Are you offering me your wife?”

Nope. I don’t think he was.

I glance around the cabin. There’s a meat cleaver hanging about the table, several wood bats in the corner, a rifle above the door and a crossbow above my head. We’re ready for an attack of people or an assortment of edible animals.

Captain talks tractors with the neighbor. I try to talk weddings with my cousin’s wife,

“Where was your wedding?”

“We eloped.”

My grandpa can’t hear anyone and is playing with a puzzle. Finally Captain declares,

“Is it dinner time?”

It is definitely dinner time. This is the longest day and it still isn’t over. After dinner we head to our sweet sweet hotel room at the Super 8. Shower, snuggles, I’m out.

The next morning we have breakfast with my grandpa. He pulls out a two dollar bill. It’s quiz time. He asks Captain,

“Do you know what’s depicted on this bill and another bill?”

My mom’s taken this quiz before. She whispers across the table to me,

“Independence Hall.”

I whisper back across the table to Captain,

“Independence Hall.”

He yells at my grandpa,

“Independence Hall.”

“You’re right!”

My grandpa peers at Captain with his one good eye,

“You don’t look forty.”

I tell my grandpa,

“You don’t look a day over 80.”

He smiles the biggest smile I’ve seen since we got there. It’s time to leave on a high note. But not a literal high note, my mom does not sing her medley for the ride back.

The meeting was like this blog post: LONG

Five months ago I moved in with Captain and in the process I became a resident of the “Fort Point Community.” Captain is an active member of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association. Couples have their individual interests and I assumed this would be one of his.

A few weeks ago Captain asks,

“Do you want to come to the Fort Point Neighborhood Association meeting tomorrow night?”

“What’s it about?”

“They’re announcing that they’re hanging up Fort Point banners.”

The Fort Point Neighborhood Association is facing a branding issue. Everyone refers to where we live as the Boston Seaport or the Waterfront. Which sounds like a place I might like to live. The Neighborhood Association wants to be clear that we’re living in the historical Fort Point area. I thought what matters is what sells real estate and all I get when I say “Fort Point” are blank stares and questions,

“I just moved.”

“Where?”

“Fort Point.”

“Where’s that?”

“Near South Station.”

“Oh.”

Or the conversation can go like this:

“I just moved.”

“Where?”

“The Seaport.”

“Nice.”

So Captain asks,

“Do you want to go to the meeting?”

Keep in mind these are meetings that Captain goes to and doesn’t come back from for 3 hours. I ask him,

“On a scale of 1 to 10 how badly do you want me to be there? Ten being you’re dying for me to be there and one being you don’t care if I’m there at all.”

“Five.”

I skipped the meeting.

This week Captain tries again,

“Do you want to go to the meeting?”

“No, but I’m getting the feeling you’d like me to go.”

“We can leave after an hour if you want.”

That’s all I need to hear. We wander in. There’s a generous amount of older people. Which I expected, but there are more people my age than I thought. That means there’s one other person my age. There’s food. Restaurants donate food for these meetings in the hopes of drumming up new business. This is how I know I don’t live in Somerville anymore. No one there was giving me free dinners.

I stuff my face while the meeting moderator covers neighborhood updates and takes complaints. I nudge Captain every time someone says something ridiculous, but then I stop or else the whole meeting would be non-stop nudging. A sampling of complaints below:

“There’s a lot of trash under the A St. Bridge.”

“Yes I’ve noticed more litter than usual.”

“People aren’t moving their cars for street cleaning so there’s a lot of trash between the cars and the curbs.”

“Are there more planes flying in? I’ve noticed an increase in the flight patterns and I don’t like it.”

Everyone nods and agrees. The airport traffic is out of control.

The thing is, the airport moved in way before the Fort Point Neighborhood Association had one complainer.

I’m finding it very hard to take any of the complaints seriously. The moderator asks,

“Are there any services people would like?”

And before I know what’s happening, I shout,

“We need a grocery store!”

There are some nods. Not as many as the airplane complainer got.

The local cops are on the scene to give us an update on crime in the neighborhood. There isn’t any. So in lieu of that, they give us an update on crimes in the surrounding areas. If you thought the complaints were boring, then listening to a recount of fender benders that didn’t happen in our neighborhood takes the boredom to a whole other level.

Captain nudges me. He whispers,

“Do you want to go?”

“No way!” My blog is writing itself.

We settle in for the meat of the meeting: Verizon’s 5 year deal with the City of Boston to bring the National Indie Car Race to our neighborhood streets. That’s right, starting in 2016 Boston will have its very own Grand Prix and I’ll be able to watch it from my bed.

Eight years ago I worked the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a huge, loud, 3 day circus, that includes two hours of actual racing. It’s awesome.

The Grand Prix guy opens the floor for questions from the Neighborhood Association. The airplane complainer asks,

“Are the cars loud?”

She should consider moving. The cars are more than loud. The Grand Prix guy tries to reassure her,

“The cars have jet propulsion engines, so they’re loud, but don’t worry, they’re not so loud that they’ll break any windows.”

In a coma, but not on a ventilator so there’s hope

I know you think this blog is dead or dying. But it’s not. The few intermittent posts are not death throes. This blog has sunk into a coma. Sometimes there are signs of life. And sometimes you should check back next week.

I promise it is still very much alive and at any point will come roaring back to life. I’m just not sure when that is. Definitely when I’m home with another human being using my body as a refillable drink machine. 
Work is crazy. I’m not sure how all the work I’m supposed to do fits into 40 hours a week. And when it doesn’t fit into 40 hours a week it leaves me very little time for this blog and Rabbi first dates.
I spent 32 years of my life without spread sheets. There were good times and bad times, but never times that I said, “If only I had a spreadsheet.” Captain and I spent an evening last week reviewing Excel tips and techniques. I love this man more than anything and want to share so many things with him, but not everything.
And as much as I know you love blogs about spreadsheets, the good news is that there’s a Rabbi first date next week. 

We may not have a photographer or a Rabbi, but we’re going on a honeymoon

Things are looking up on the home front. We have pictures on the walls, curtains in the windows and we traded in our plywood countertop for an immovable stone one that I’m still not allowed to sit on.

But no matter what happens my closet is still in the kitchen.

I have a new boss at work. My old boss is still there, she’s just taking on another department. For my weekly supervisions I’m meeting with both of them, so instead of 1 to 1s I’m having having 1 to 2’s.  I’m a big fan of my new boss and not just because she bought me a beer the other night. And not just because she might read this blog since I mentioned it over the course of my two beers.

I head home to Captain around 8pm, a little buzzed, in good spirits and ready for bed. As I chat with Captain in the kitchen/my dressing room. I strip out of my work clothes and slip into my snuggy ready-for-bed robe. Captain asks,

“Is that what you’re wearing to meet the photographer?”

“What? NO!!!” I forgot I scheduled a meeting with a wedding photographer at 9:00pm at night. I put my clothes back on. As we head out the door, I ask Captain,

“Why did I do this to us?”