Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Think She's Traumadized

Last night, at around 11pm, Peter and I got back from Borders and were bringing massive amounts of cardboard boxes (Thanks Borders Managers!) into the house, when a mewling noise caught Peter's attention. This was the same mewling noise that we have been hearing in the middle of the night.

An itty-bitty kitty came out of the darkness and went right up to Peter. He went to get me and said, "You've got to see what's out here."

Well, I did, and in about two seconds I was sitting on the floor petting and playing with the cutest kitty ever made. She looked a bit rough around the edges, but she was extremely friendly. We were kind of worried about her being out there so we decided to put her in one of Scout's kennels. We tried to lure her in with a can of cat food given to us by a nice neighbor, but when Peter finally got her close enough to push her into the kennel, she freaked out and there was cat food EVERYWHERE.

By the way, cat food smells disgusting. It kinda smells like vomit. Why do cats like to eat vomit.

As soon as we threw her into the kennel, Peter turned to me and said, "Fuck! We have a cat now!"

All through the night, we were trying to decide what to do. What if this kitty doesn't get along with the dogs? What if it's not tame enough to keep as a pet? What if we hate having a cat?

In the morning, after we got up, we went to the kennel and found the most fucked-up kitten ever created. She did not look that messed up last night, but apparently she had been thrashing herself against the kennel so badly that her nose is all bloody. One of her eyes got smaller than the other, so she looks like an insane cock-eyed-crazy-cat. And in the bright light of morning, her fur looked all mangy and messed up.

It must be kind of like when a drunk guy brings a cute girl home and in the morning, comes to discover that she's got one eye bigger than the other and she's kinda fugly.

When I said this to Peter, he said. "That's not really fair. She's had a really rough night, probably the roughest night she's every had. She's totally traumadized."

At this point, we don't know if we're going to be keeping her forever. We hope that it works out and we're trying it out for now. It's going to take a LOOOONG time before she's acclimated with us much less the dogs. I don't know if I want a cat for the next 15 years, but I kind of feel like she came up to us for a reason (even though the reason may just be that she's a kitten and that's what kittens do) and I want to see what happens.

Also, a side of me wonders if she's the reincarnation of someone I used to know. If it's my Uncle Jack, she should be a nice cat. If she's my grandmother. Hmmmm...This may get interesting.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Like, What Are You Saying?

A few weeks ago, my sister and I were at our parents' Japanese restaurant and we were having a conversation. An older gentleman who kind of reminded me of Peter O'Toole kept looking over at us. He was sitting, waiting for his to-go order. I thought that he wanted to jump into our conversation. My parents are very friendly with their customers, so they usually want to get to know us. My mother can make friends with anybody. She got that from my grandmother. My grandmother makes friends on the bus traveling from Princeton up to Manhattan.

"But Ama!" I said to her once. "You don't speak ANY English. How do you communicate?"

"Well," she said. "Sometimes these old American ladies sit next to me on the bus and they just start talking. By the time they're talking a few minutes, I feel too bad to let them know that I can't understand a word they're saying."

"How do they not pick up on this?"

"Every once in a while, I'll say 'uh-huh' and 'NO!' and that seems to do the trick."

Boy, those old ladies sure are easy to fool.

So this old guy kept staring at my sister and me and when his order was ready, he spend a good portion of time talking to my mother. My mother's English is not so good. I don't understand how someone who spent 5 years in Japan can speak Japanese fluently, but the same person, who comes to the United States and has been here about thirty years, still cannot read a Vogue magazine.

"What did that old guy say?" I asked my mom.

"Oh, he thought that I spent too much money on you girls because you like so many things."

"He did NOT say that!" my dad said. "What he SAID was that you girls say the work 'like' too often and you should be punished. Every time you say 'like' you should have to put a dollar in a can."

First of all, I do say "like" a lot and I can't help it. I don't know why or how I picked up this terrible habit and I blame that Catholic elementary school I attended. I'm lucky to have escaped without a Queens accent. Second of all, how DARE this old guy sit there and judge how I speak? I mean, English was my THIRD language, so even if I say "like" once in a while, cut me a break!

I think that every time that guy acts all judgey, he should have to put a dollar in a can!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What the Hell Happened to 3 o'clock?

The best time to call my sister is 3pm, because it's right after dinnertime in Tanzania. Her birthday was about a week ago and I have not been able to wish her a Happy Birthday! because everything in my life decides that it must happen at 3pm.

Day 1: Closing on the new place.
Day 2: Dealing with handyman over crazy plumbing problems in the new place.
(post coming up, I promise!--I'm still PROCESSING THE TRAUMA)
Day 3: Meeting at the magazine where I work.
Day 4: Totally overslept and then totally forgot about calling.
Day 5: Terribly long phone call with a client.
Day 6: Went out to lunch with Peter. Came back too late.
Day 7: Dentist's appointment (two cavities. boo.)

And I won't be able to call tomorrow, because the cable guy is going to show up between 2-4pm at the new place.

So I guess my sister will have been 21 for about a year before I'll be able to say, "Hey! Remember the day you were born? I do!"

I think my life is just too exciting at 3pm. She probably should have gone to Asia this summer, because nothing's really happening at 7 o'clock.

Side note: On the invitation for that fourth of July wedding, it stated that the wedding was going to take place at "Four-Thirty O Clock." Does that seem right?

Monday, July 14, 2008

We're Moving...Again!

Peter and I just closed on an apartment in Mamaroneck, where we used to live. It's a really nice place and closer to the city, which is key, since we go down there a lot.

We really liked Mount Kisco, but most of our friends and family are further south and Peter's going to be starting a new job in New Rochelle, so this way he'll be closer to work.

I'm excited about this, but everything leading up to this move is going to take up a lot of time and energy -- did I mention that I absolutely hate moving? Just thinking about it gives me a huge headache. We've moved about three times in the past few years and not once did we hire the right company -- so if anyone knows of a great moving company in Westchester, please let me know.

I guess Peter's no longer going to be the Count of Monte Kisco.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Breaking News

I was watching the new Denise Richards reality show and a BREAKING NEWS STORY usurped my show. Peter rushed into the room and said, "What's going on? Isn't that the E! channel?"

"If they're breaking news into E! it must be really serious."

We sat there, watching a French person speaking French and since I had the TV screen expanded, we couldn't see the subtitles just under the surface. Quickly, I grabbed the remote and changed the setting so that we could see the subtitles. And when I saw that it was that stupid Angelina Jolie's French doctor, it made me so mad.

"I can't believe that they're BREAKING NEWS into the SHOW I WAS WATCHING for this MEANINGLESSNESS!"

When I looked at Peter, he gave me this look he always gives me when I'm being totally stupid. It's a look that says, "And...?" As in, "Let me give you a few seconds to process what you just said and run it through your brain, because you obviously skipped that part last time."

"Okay, fine," I said. "I can't believe that they're breaking into my meaningless show with their meaningless news!"

Sunday, July 06, 2008


So we survived the fourth of July wedding. It know that Peter was very nervous at first, driving to the wedding. Of course it was a really long Catholic wedding with a lot of standing up and kneeling and standing up again. I kind of felt sorry for the priest because he was like, "Do you promise to raise your future children Catholic? You promise, right? Yup, you said it and now you have to."

Whenever we attend christenings and weddings, the priests do act a bit harrumphy about all the people the Catholic Church has lost over the years, especially when people are supposed to go up and take communion, and he tells everyone not to come up if you're not prepared -- and then only five people go up.

We did the receiving line and Peter kind of hesitated before going up to his sister, and he almost turned around to walk away, but she acted very normally and thanked us for coming. Later, at the reception, Peter's nephew was kind of all goofy around Peter, as if they were still very close. I guess he just doesn't get it. We showed up because it was an obligation, but it's difficult when people who have acted in an awful manner in the past assumes everything is okay just because you show up at his wedding. There's a large disconnect there.

I think that it was a bit healing for Peter to see everyone one last time. He doesn't think that we will see his older sister's family ever again. I'm still processing what happened, so I'll post more about the wedding later on.

The nicest thing happened. We were sitting at this table with an older gentleman, someone whose wife had worked with Peter's sister about 45 years ago. I was a little tipsy (after downing four drinks as soon as we got there) and talked with him about all sorts of things. At some point I went to the bathroom and Peter said that while I was gone, this guy said to him:

"I've met a lot of people in my life, but that woman you're with? She's WONDERFUL."

And then when Peter told him that we were married, he said:

"Oh! Now THAT makes sense!"

And then he went on and on about how lucky Peter was, which was really sweet. Dealing with Peter's family is really trying because no one seems to want to get to know me and whenever I reach out to people, it's met with nothingness. So it's so affirming when other people say: Hey! You're WONDERFUL.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Going "Poo-Free"

Last night I decided to try a new way of washing my hair. I found it here.

My usual shampoo is a very no-nonsense cheap-o Head and Shoulders 2-in-1 shampoo I've been using since forever. Mostly because it's the only shampoo that doesn't leave my hair all gunked up. I have really wonky asian hair that is straight, but has this (very) slight wave to it that makes it kick out.

Okay. I have to come clean. My hair is fabulous. It's my own fault that I am too lazy to actually brush it and put product in it. Because it is so straight, I can go for several weeks without brushing it.

I have this strange thing with vanity. I attended an almost all-white Catholic school with mostly Italian and Irish kids. Suffice it to say that diversity isn't very prized in an Irish/Italian Catholic environment. For the first fourteen years of my life I was convinced that I was hideous and would end up a lone spinster like those witches in fairy tales.

The style that was popular in my elementary/junior high school was the gaudy Guidette with her pouf of hair-sprayed hair and long red fashion nails. Let's not forget those shiny pink lip-glossed lips. Gloss that come in the white plastic tubs you buy at the local drugstore. And the mascara! Oh yes, the mascara!

During this time I learned to not look at mirrors too much. I used to have to wear a uniform so there goes any need to pay attention to fashion. My only desire in high school was to blend into the crowd.

After junior high, I attended a school that was VERY asian. In fact, there were so many asians, I no longer stood out! Okay, it was a nerd school, but for the first time in my life, I fit in!!

I started to wear makeup, do my hair, and wear all sorts of ridiculous outfits (after all, it was the early nineties).

Then I met my friend Amanda, who had been horrified that a mutual friend of hours took two hours every morning to get ready for school.

"Do you mean," Amanda said. "That this girl spends TWO HOURS looking at herself in the mirror?"

I never thought about it that way before. Through Amanda, I was given books by Derrida, Wittgenstein, Kristeva, and JD Salinger. She introduced me to The Cure, New Order, and indie punk bands. We bought second-hand clothes by the bag and wore the same thing three days in a row. It was a messy, dirty, fabulous life. I no longer cared how I looked. I went out on dates in my ugly white sweatshirt with the orange collar and sleeves. I felt that if the guy didn't like what I looked like all non-dressed-up, then he wasn't worth dating.

As it turns out, it was a very effective way of weeding out the duds. Although it probably only works when you're 22-years-old.

Anyway, I've recently wanted to go more green in terms of the products Peter and I use in our house. I now only use green products to clean almost everything (except for the occasional use of bleach) and yesterday I learned about a new way to wash my hair using baking soda. It's not just good for baking!

I put one tablespoon of baking soda into one cup of hot water. After I wet my hair, I poured this mixture on my head and rubbed it in for about a minute. Then I rinsed it, finished my shower and went to bed.

Yes, I take my showers at night. It's something I've always done. I like to go to bed all clean. I've been trying to convert Peter since we met, but he is a morning-showerer.

The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hair was shiny, bouncy, and smooth. This baking soda thing is the greatest shampoo ever! I'm going to keep using it for a few weeks before I decide if I'm going to completely go "poo-free" -- so hopefully this will work out because it's even easier than the Head and Shoulders 2-in-1. Not only am I lazy, but I'm frugal too and baking soda only costs pennies. So I can save a whole $20/year!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Love Boston, but Those Red Sox Fans Better Chill

Yesterday Peter and I made an impromptu visit to Boston. Yes, we drive 3 hours to go on a day trip. We told our friend John we were going and his reaction was that it's not worth it.

"What do you do? Drive for six hours just to spend about four hours in Boston?"

Why? Is that crazy?

This is something I've always done with my parents. We'll drive four hours to go to a restaurant we like. Every spring, we'd drive all the way to Washington DC from NYC just to look at cherry blossoms for about an hour. Sometimes you just want to go to another city, isn't that why we have cars?

On the way there, we stopped by a visitor center on the highway to pee. The old guy behind the counter gave Peter a look of evil and it took me a moment to figure out that Peter was wearing his Yankee hat!

Walking with Peter down Newbury Street when he's wearing a Yankee hat is a misery of dirty looks and constant barrage of: "Nice haaat."s (picture Boston accent here)

Peter wanted to get a Boston Red Sox hat because he likes their colors and he likes the team as long as they don't play the Yankees, but I am putting my foot down. No Red Sox hat is allowed in my home, just because of all the stupid fans that have given us such a hard time in the past. In NY, I would never notice if someone was wearing a Red Sox hat, let alone make a comment about it.

When we got into town, Peter stuffed his hat into his pocket and people pretty much left us alone.

Walking down Boylston Street, we noticed that Boston is now about 65% Asian. When did that happen? I mean, don't get me wrong, it's an improvement :) -- but since when? Is it because there are a million colleges and universities there and Asians love to study? Hmmmm...

Also, Peter noticed that there are a lot more attractive people in Boston now. Is Boston the new New York? Now THAT will really piss off those Bostonians.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

They Said This Would Happen!

Hey! I got my first hatemail!

Okay, more like hate comment.

I've arrived!!

I'm strangely ecstatic about this. In fact, I'm so excited and I can't stop grinning.

Yes, I know it appears that we're being complete jerks about this stupid wedding, but it's mainly because there's a lot I haven't explained to my readership so here goes (take a deep breath):

We're not exactly happy to be attending this wedding because Peter has a very strained relationship with that part of the family. Basically, his sister and mother had a falling out over the purchase of a kitchen appliance.

Although Peter has purchased a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a sofa, a dining room table, three air conditioners, a microwave, and any other household appliance that needed purchasing in his parental home, when his eldest sister decided to purchase a new stove for his mother, her husband informed Peter that he would be chipping in for it. That was fine for him, in fact, he had wanted to buy his mother a stove just a few months previously for her birthday, but his mother insisted that she didn't need nor want a stove and she would actually prefer the cash, thank you very much.

I think that Peter's mother keeps quiet about all the things he does buy for her because she wants to play the martyr card in front of her other children. So this whole time there has been a lot of resentment amongst the other children (who only visit her once or twice a year) on how Peter had been fleecing her dry until he met me (the villainess) and then he moved out and abandoned her. I'm sure she never tells them that he paid off the large credit card debt she accrued buying Christmas presents for them. I'm pretty sure that all she does is complain about the stuff that Peter doesn't do for her instead of looking at all the things he does. Basically she's a glass-half-empty kind of person. If the glass is Peter and the empty air is all the unrealistic things she expects from her youngest son.

Okay, back to the original story: New York has this strange law that the stove store cannot hook up the stove. You need to unhook the old stove if you want to have the store carry it off and you need to hook up the new stove. I'm not sure why a Sears technician cannot do this, but he can't and don't even mention it to him because he will shrug his jumpsuited arms at you.

So when the new stove got delivered, Peter's mom insisted on not asking her landlord to unhook the old stove. I don't know why, but she was really against it. So for a few days there were two stoves in her kitchen. Then, there was a phone call from Peter's sister to Peter wherein he told her about this strange New York Stove Law.

In frustration, she called Sears and had them cart away the new stove and return it and she no longer wanted to buy the stove for her mother. In fact, she didn't speak to her or Peter for about four years.

You know how sometimes a stove isn't just a stove? I think that this stove represented a lot of things to Peter's sister and what happened was just the last straw. The fact of the matter is that Peter was born when his mother was in her forties and his elder siblings were already adults, so a lot of water got filled up under a lot of bridges even by the time he was born. There's a lot of crazy family dynamics that he doesn't even understand because they predate him. So this stove thing happened and his sister snapped.

During this time, Peter's father died. (That was a complete nightmare in and of itself without any support system for Peter or his mother during this terrible time.) Peter's eldest sister's entire family did not attend the wake, the funeral, or make any phone calls to the family.

There was a lot of resentment all around, and Peter's mother still has not forgiven them for not attending the funeral. I mean, I had to pick out the coffin and I was all, "The one with the big gold cross. No! The one with the roses. No! The one with the big gold cross. Wait. Uhm. I'm not sure. Can you show me all of them for the third time?" The funeral director was very patient and nice and I was so afraid of picking the wrong casket and the whole time I wished that someone older and wiser could help us out. (Ultimately, the funeral director assured me that yes, the one with the roses is completely appropriate and very Catholic-y)

It's true that for a long time Peter and I have judged this family very harshly for what they put his mother through and the embarrassment this caused her in front of all the other people who attended the funeral service. She doesn't like to feel that her family has completely fallen apart, but sometimes being confronted with it at the age of 84 is extremely difficult and she's not very good at dealing with feelings.

Peter has tried his best to reach out to his nephew. He had called him and not received any telephone calls back. He had asked his nephew to serve as a groomsman at our wedding, hoping that this would mend things a little, but his sister's family did not attend. In fact, their RSVP note was written in ALL CAPS to convey the fervency of their refusal, I suppose.

Because Peter's nephew did attend our wedding and he did stand up for us at our wedding, Peter feels obligated to attend his nephew's. Also, we understand firsthand what it's like when family does not attend a wedding since his sister did not attend ours. We didn't want to do that to anyone else. So we are attending the wedding, but we have reservations about everything. This will be the first time he will have seen his sister in about six years and he's not sure how that's going to be like. He doesn't really understand why his sister has removed herself from our lives, this was a sister that he had felt very connected to until six years ago. He feels that this relationship is completely damaged and irreparable.

The reason we're attending this wedding is that we were invited. And yes, it probably didn't matter which day of the year it was going to happen, but the fact that it was happening over the 4th of July weekend gave me an excuse to bitch and moan about it without really talking about the real issues.

But now that piece of hatemail has forced me to open up that can of worms, so THANK YOU HATEMAIL!

I am trying to be more positive and hopeful about this Friday and I guess that means I'm going to have to stop bitching and moaning. Which sucks because I LOVE bitching and moaning!

So okay, positive feelings from now on!