Monthly Archives: August 2007

Dr. Pepper Panhandlers

Dr. Pepper Panhandlers

 It is now official that the local public schools are back in session: the door to door fundraisers have begun! It’s a race to see who can collect the most money from all of neighbors. Newsflash: I’m not buying this year!

This weekend our doorbell rang and I hustled downstairs to see who had stopped by. A small back story: after cleaning the cooler out from our camping trip, I dropped a can of soda. I set it on the table on the front porch to settle so that it wouldn’t explode. I guess I forgot about it…

I opened the door and a boy about 11 years old was standing at the door with a milk carton with something printed on a home computer glued to the sides. His mom (I assume) stood behind him. She was probably in her mid twenties. The following conversation ensued:

Kat: Oh, hi.

Beggar Boy: Can my mom have this pop? (Dr. Pepper in hand)

K: Uhhhh…..

Mother: It was sittin’ out here on the table.

K: I know. I put it there.

M: Well, I’m hot and thirsty.

K: Uhhhh….

BB: Can she?

K: I guess…. Is that why you came here?

BB: Naw. I’m collecting money for poor people. Can I have some?

K: I’m sorry I don’t have any cash.

M: (sigh. rolls eyes)

K: Do you guys live in this neighborhood?

BB: Naw. We’re visitin’. How ’bout some change?

K: I really don’t have any.

BB: Then why do you have two cars?

K: (Jaw drops, laugh in disbelief) Because we work very, very hard! Enjoy the Dr. Pepper! (Slam door – peek thought mini-blinds, STILL shocked!)

What in the world?!! I’m just glad I had the soda out there! If it wasn’t, she might have asked for the table or chairs!

Blue Tarps and Butt Cracks

Blue Tarps and Butt Cracks

 For the past two weeks the neighborhood has been quiet. It’s been quiet partially because the kids are all back in school, partially because of the unfavorable weather and mostly because I have been working about 70 hours per week. As quiet as it has been, one thing screamed loudly at me as I drove into the neighborhood the other day.

To my right I noticed two women soaking up the final rays of summer sunshine. Of course I noticed them immediately because one woman was (as my other neighbor puts it), “4 bills” aka 400+ pounds and the other was maybe 100 pounds, they were in the driveway laying out on top of a bright blue tarp in bikinis!

Later, as I left for work again I saw them walking across the street in their two-piece bathing suits carrying a can of beer with their bathing suits shoved up their butt cracks. Come on! As if wearing a two piece wasn’t offensive enough! Word to the wise: If your towel is a blue tarp, you might not want to wear a two piece or at least you might not want to lie out in your driveway wearing it. Tarps are used for covering up and in this case, that is what you should have been doing, covering up your big butt.

Take a Left to the Suburbs

Take a Left to the Suburbs

Working in the city and living in the suburbs is so interesting. I get to meet people who live in both of the different areas. Twice this week people have come into the store where I work and asked where they could find a Wal-Mart or Target or Kmart. Here is the answer, on the North-side or the Southside. Today a co-worker simply said, “The suburbs”. That being said, it’s true! The flavors of the city are much better than the flavors of the suburbs. We are so dry and plain that we become the Wal-Mart’s of this colorful country.

I was actually offended that directions to any one of the great “marts” included “The suburbs”. What does this say about the people who live there? Is this indicative of our cookie cutter lives of SUV’s, look-alike homes, McDonalds and Starbucks outings? I think so.

Well, I better go. I’m going to make it a Blockbuster night.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

 This morning I woke up early to get ready for work yet I was still running late. In my haste, I made a peanut butter sandwich and set it on the counter and ran back upstairs to grab my shoes and socks. As I raced back downstairs my dog stood at the bottom smacking her tongue on the roof of her mouth and licking her lips…classic peanut butter mouth. I scolded her loudly as I rounded the corner into the kitchen to be sure my reprimanding was well deserved. It was.

As she lay down beside the back door and stared at me in my rant, I said, “All I do is get up and go to work all day just so that I can give you a nice place to live, food for your meals, medicine when you are sick, an occasional bath and an expensive dog park membership. All I ask for in return is that you give me unconditional love and don’t steal my sandwich! Do you understand how hungry I am?” Then, I realized I sounded like my mom except really ridiculous because it was about a peanut butter sandwich and I was talking to my dog.

Chicken Skins

Chicken Skins

 My dog and I were out in the front yard and she ran away. Knowing that she would likely gravitate towards children or traffic, I was 50% alarmed so I started looking for her. A woman who purchased the house across the cul-de-sac (the one we liked so much because it backed up so close to the people who live behind it that you could toss leftovers to them), came running out of her house to my rescue. Lucky me, the 60-something princess was wearing a black one piece bathing suit with black shorts over them. Woman, as much as I appreciate your assistance, let me warn you that if you make a regular show of helping people, you need something with a little more support. Also, who has the pool? That is why we wear bathing suits right?

In our part of the neighborhood, we fondly refer to this woman as Crazy Cat Lady. Aha, you say. You know who I’m talking about! Crazy Cat Lady kindly helps lure my dog over to me with fried chicken skin that materialized out of nowhere, perhaps her pockets? The dog took the bait and as I stood there holding her collar, Crazy Cat Lady talked my ear off about how much she hates the neighborhood: there’s too many kids, there’s too many rules, there’s too much noise, there’s too much traffic, etc., etc. She even referred to herself as “the oldest bitch on the block”. There people go, always trying to change their God-given, neighborhood nicknames. Let me reiterate that she keeps it real with the bathing suit. Finally, relieved of her idle conversation, the dog and I walked home with chicken skins and a headache.

To my cat loving friends and fans, I’m not ragging on you. Crazy Cat Lady got her reputation, not from having two or three cats, but from last count around the neighborhood, 30 or 40! She also enjoys extravagant cat décor; her home has a good 15 cat statues in the front yard, some brass kitty décor and the wonderful cat national flag flying proudly. I tell the kids in the neighborhood that each of those statues has a dead kitty buried under it; I’m just waiting to see her yard all dug up one day.

For the Cake

For the Cake

Today is my birthday. It’s crazy how much we love our birthdays when we are younger. Last year was the first time that I felt a little bit weird about it being my birthday. Here is my number, I’m 26! The way I see it, I’m almost 30! This year I’ve decided to have a party, mostly because I love parties and also because my best friend from high school is going to be in town and I want her to meet my friends and vice-versa. My party from here on out will always be an “Almost 30th Birthday”, that way even when I turn 30, 31, 32, 33, I can still say that I’m almost 30 and who will know? I will have had that same party theme for 5+ years!

Some of my insecurities of growing older come from my other best friend who doesn’t want to grow up either. My dad has always shunned his birthday. I’m pretty sure that my mom likes her birthday. I just like having a party for any reason and a birthday adds a new reason each year and now that I’m married, I have two reasons. If I have 363 kids, I can have a party everyday of the year!

My neighbors who can’t even spend a few extra dollars a month to water their lawn have the biggest kids birthdays ever. All of the neighbors and their children run down the street several times a year for a day of bounce houses, clowns, balloons, food and music. I’m convinced there’s an open bar for the adults but I wouldn’t know. I don’t have kids so therefore I am not ever invited. Instead, a few Saturdays a year I have to drive past their house, staring longingly at the bounce house (those are sooo much fun), watching as they play lawn games and kids run around the outside of the house dressed as princesses, screaming at the top of their lungs (did I mention that most of us don’t have fences around our yards?). I can’t stare too longingly because sometimes those kids just jump in front of my car. Luckily they are at a stop sign so I can stop and stare for at least 30 seconds before it becomes too creepy.

I think I know the reason that people are having such extravagant parties for their children: It’s personal. We all (for the most part) love a good party; we especially love a good birthday party. It reminds us of when we were the center of attention for one whole afternoon, a song was sung just for us, we tore open the colorful paper with pretty bows that housed Barbie dolls, bicycles, G.I. Joes and coloring books and we had a right to throw a fit if things weren’t perfect (it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to – our parents know the song). When was the last time that someone bought you a Barbie doll? So, instead of continuing on having colorful parties with laughter and joy for ourselves, you throw those same parties for your children and settle for a night out at Sizzler, T.G.I Fridays or Oliver Garden for your own birthday.

This is all okay because at our age, we don’t have room in our lives or our homes for those toys and extras that birthday parties bring. Just as long as we get some cake! Have you noticed how as we get older, the cake gets better and we also become less picky about cake, even though more options are presented? How many five year old birthdays have you been to with cheese cake or chocolate cake with berry filling and a whipped cream frosting. Let’s not forget the ice cream cake! The array of dessert options at restaurants is quite overwhelming too! Choco-Lava Cake, Brownie Obsession, Chocolate Angel Swirl Cake, Sizzling Apple Pie a La Mode, White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Black Tie Mousse Cake.

In order to take full advantage of all birthday opportunities you must celebrate at work, celebrate with your significant other, with your family and with your friends. Plus, at our age we’ve learned the novelty of the entire restaurant knowing that today is OUR special day and then there is that free dessert that they bring to you at a restaurant. Let’s face it; we’re all just in this for the cake anyway.

Skate Ramps and Rails

Skate Ramps and Rails

Last night I had a hard time sleeping, so at 4am I went downstairs to sleep on the couch. This morning my husband, J woke up and I wasn’t in bed so he was confused. Later, he told me that when he heard the lawn mower start up he was thinking, “Wow, how nice! I can’t believe that Kat is actually mowing the lawn for the first time in her life!”

Ha, ha! Dream on! Never in my life have I ever mowed the lawn! Growing up we didn’t have a lawn and when we did, dad took care of it since I was mostly already out of the house. Where I lived later was very close to a church and someone from the church was always so kind to come over and mow my small yard (thanks again) and since getting married and moving here, J has always mowed. It’s his job.

Don’t get me wrong. As attractive as my neighbors look pushing that lawnmower back and forth, sweating to their iPods, running over Chihuahua poop, being careful to miss the tulip planters, there is just no way that I will EVER mow the lawn. I’ll push the mower out of the way in the garage to make sure my mini-SUV will fit, but that is the extent to which I will push a lawn mower. I imagine that if I ever were to mow the lawn, it would be à la Gabriel Solis in Desperate Housewives; wearing an evening gown with strappy high heeled shoes on, trying to cover up a secret from my husband.

So many people try to hide things from their spouses. I can’t think of a single secret that I’ve kept from J. If it’s something that I can’t tell him, then it’s wrong and I should stop is how I look at it. Sadly, during my few years here as an adult, I’ve learned that not everyone feels the same. I’m beginning to think that something is going on with two of my neighbors. One is married and the other divorced but they are hanging out with one another an awful lot. It seems that his wife is not really happy with the idea that he is BFF with the next door neighbor.

She zooms out of her driveway an awful lot, driving like a drunk Indy 500 driver. I’m thinking that one of these times she might kill one of the kids that skateboards in the street and leaves their ramps and rails out in the road at night. Maybe one day she will crush those ramps or rails, teaching several people a lesson: kids, do not leave your crap out in the middle of the street, almost causing a deadly accident everytime someone rounds the curve in our neighborhood and crazed, scorned women, please do not drive fanatically, almost causing another deadly accident. Although, it would be really cool if one day I could jump that ramp with my Saturn Vue. That would be Ah-mazing! YouTube, here I come! I know that insurance doesn’t cover PMS induced accidents but what about kind of accidently jumping skate ramps in the dark?

In Between

In Between

My husband purchased a little box in a baby making factory. That is, he bought us a beautiful home in a neighborhood where all of the houses are one of 6 different models and three different colors. Our house has a blue door and we love it.

The first house we looked at was wonderful! It was a one story, four bedroom, two and half bathroom home with an amazing floor plan. To my delight, it would have worked well for entertaining many people at once. When I looked out the back door, there was a railroad track about 20 feet away from the back door. No thanks. The next house was the exact same layout, but when I looked outside the backdoor of this one, there were some people sitting in their dining room eating dinner. If were eating dinner at that moment, we could have shared dessert or at least shouted, “Please pass the salt!” I noted that they were eating pulled pork sandwiches with macaroni and cheese before I waved at them and turned around to shake my head at the realtor.

Finally, we found it. A two story house on a cul-de-sac that was five feet apart from our neighbors houses on each side and had a nature preserve behind it, otherwise known as woods, but I like to call it a forest. All of my friends make fun of me for calling it a forest but it is! Are there a lot of trees? Yes. Are there a lot of plants? Yes. Are there a lot of animals? Yes! Does it provide oxygen? Yes! It’s a forest gosh darn it! Let a city girl at least pretend that she lives in the country or somewhere in between. That is exactly where I live, somewhere in between downtown and homegrown, the suburbs. Welcome to my retort to life somewhere in between the flawlessness of the Brady Bunch and the sex-capades of those New York City girls.