Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cookie Cookie Cookie Starts with Me

I am going to miss my metabolism.

Now granted I am 25 years old, in great health, good medical test scores, low cholesterol, healthy waist line, and no reason to worry. But I am well aware that my days of eating anything I want, whenever I want, as often as I want are numbered. And when my day of reckoning comes, my waistline is going to blow up like a peep in a microwave.

I wouldn't be worried if I didn't eat so damn much. I must eat, all the time. It's not that I am a compulsive eater. But I have a problem not putting food in my mouth. If a Mexican fairy came into my home and put down a bowl of infinite tortilla chips and salsa in front of me, I would eat it until my internal organs leaked tomatoes, and flooded my belly with deliciousness.

I don't have a shut off valve. Take bread for example. If a restaurant provides a basket of bread for a pre-meal snack, I do not think of it as a way to stave off hunger. No, my goal is to eat as much of that bread as I can.

Especially if I am working out at the time (I'm really into fitness) I eat like a maniac. My largest expense every month is food. When I go grocery shopping I have so many bags I feel like the person ringing me up will ask, "Excuse me sir but is anyone else from the orphanage coming to help you carry these bags?"

I eat healthy during the week, but sometimes I slip.

One weekend not too long ago, I woke up, had some Bruff Cakes for breakfast (Bruff Cakes, for those of you who do not know, are brownies made in a muffin pan and then finished off with frosting to take on the best characteristics of brownies, muffins, and cupcakes), which I followed up with 2 bagels with cream cheese. Then for dinner I had a small pizza (thin crust) with a Caesar salad on TOP of it, and then I chased that with an ungodly amount of ice cream from Cold Stone.

Had I been running a marathon the next day, this might have been a wise menu choice. But my athletic activity for that Monday was staring at a computer screen for 8 hours.

I visited my parents' in South Carolina for Thanksgiving. I of course got to stuff my face with all the food I'm too incompetent to cook on my own. And I started shoving my hand in the cookie jar every hour. I ate like I was on the Fatkins Diet. Or maybe the South Beached Whale Diet.

This past Christmas weekend involved another trip to the parents', which meant more eating of sweets. I was in the HOV lane on the obesity highway and I didn't even mind. I walked into my parents' home to see not 1, but 6 plates of Christmas cookies sitting on the dining room table. It looked as though we were getting ready to distribute treats to everyone in town. But no, they were just for our family Christmas.

We have four people in our family.

So I did what any normal 25 year old with a healthy metabolism does. I started eating 13 cookies a day. Not just as dessert. I would have a couple after breakfast. Some after lunch, and then a sensible dinner.

That's actually a lie, I ate a cookie every time I walked by them. My logic goes like this, if 1 of something tastes good, then a 100 of something must taste even better.

The piles of cookies were so high, it seemed I had barely made a dent. So I rationalized I hadn't eaten that many cookies. And the cookies were so frigging tasty.

I was like a crack addict. If I had gone too long without a cookie I started twitching and my skin started to itch. Cookies dipped in chocolate, then rolled in sprinkles and crushed up Andes Mints? I mean come on! After a while I didn't even taste them. I just wanted to inject them into my blood stream so I could pass out on the floor in a cookie coma.

I never have to worry about a problem like this at home, because I will never walk into a store and buy 400 cookies. I will never walk past a truckload of cookies sitting on my dining room table. I don't have a dining room table, or a dining room... I don't even have a table. But if YOU have a table full of cookies, yea I'm going to eat them.

My mother bought me some pants for Christmas, that when I tried them on Christmas morning, fit perfectly. When I tried them on again 3 days (and innumerable cookies) later, I fully expected to need one of those button extenders so that my pants would close. Amazingly they fit.

In order to battle the fear of my impending obesity I went for a jog. It was like trying to drive a car with a gas tank full of Pepsi. My system was so full of cookies I was downright lethargic. I felt like I had a wagon full of fat 12 year-olds strapped to my waist.

The holidays are almost over now, and I refused to take any cookies home with me back to New York. I have no need for them. I am not making any New Year's resolutions about cookies or fitness or anything. But I am making a goal to not do so much binging when it comes to cookies.

That is of course until I go and visit my parents in April, because that's when we make Easter cookies, and then I'll really do some damage. It's round 3 in Cookies versus Metabolism. It's going to be epic.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Big Orange Bastard

I am going to rob the Home Depot.

I mean, technically I've already stolen from there once, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it again. And there is nothing you can do to stop me. It's not my fault, it is the fault of the depot. Here is why.

First of all, I hate the size of that place. It's not a store it's a zip code. It's too damn big. I can't walk from one end to the other without having to stop for a Gatorade and a change of socks. I've been to countries with smaller square footage than that. Every Home Depot should come with it's own public transportation system.

Secondly, I do not understand the pricing structure for the Home Depot. My only option is to buy things in massive bulk. They have put all other hardware stores out of business. Stores that sell things in lesser quantity. I went in to buy 2 nails not long ago. Two nails! Granted its probably my own fault for wanting to do such a ridiculous thing. But Home Depot does not sell nails in packages of 2. I suppose its like going to Costco and asking for 5 cheerios.
I tried to find the nail aisle (which, consequently isn't called the nail aisle. Nails are in the aisle called "Hardware." This is the Home frigging Depot. Isn't every piece of shit in this hell hole, hardware?) 

By the time I finally found the hardware aisle I spent another 10 minutes staring at an entire rack, 6 levels high full of 2 pound boxes of nails. I had no idea what to look for. Technically I was looking for nails so that I could hang my harpoon on the wall. But there were no boxes that said "Harpoon Nails" on them. How do you even inquire about that without seeming like a nutbag nautical weapon collector?

In the "hardware aisle" I evaluated a dozen different nails before I noticed there was a kind of overspill area at the edge of the rack where loose nails hung out. To me this was like being in a Dunkin Donuts at 4 in the morning. Those donuts are all just gonna get chucked anyway, might as well give them to me for free. These nails didn't belong in a box, they were obviously homeless. So I adopted 2 of them and gave them a new life in my wall.
Most of all though, my biggest complaint with the Home Depot is the fact that there is nobody there to help you. I could be running through the aisles engulfed in flames while screaming that a dragon emperor had burnt my village and still, the megadouche in light bulbs would keep his back turned to me and tell me that Dragon Emperors weren't his department.

How many people work at the Home Depot? 5? Maybe 6? It must be somewhere around there, because every time I'm in there, I see one guy at the entrance, one guy at the exit, 2 registers out of 19 open, and 1 confused looking associate walking the aisles telling people he doesn't know the answer to their questions.

I'm in Plumbing trying to find a new drain for my sink. I am trying to get an answer and an associate says "I don't know, I work in cabinets" Well get the hell back to cabinets then because some other poor sap is probably walking around trying to get help from some other associate who can't help him because he works in garden tools, or catamarans, or whatever the hell other aisles they have.

Cabinet man then turns and literally yells, "DAMIEN, YO DAMIEN WHERE ARE YOU?"

I can tell already this is going to be an awesome experience.

Damien comes out of the ether and approaches. He is an older, slightly frazzled Jamaican man who, upon further interaction, seems like he might have spent the first half of his life handling... and maybe even eating out of, lead pipes.
When he walked up to me 3 different customers just started talking to him. He was facing me, as though we were going to have a normal human conversation, but then these cannibals started jumping in, yelling questions like he was Peter Pan and we were his lost boys. Tell us Peter Pan, where is your plaster of paris? Tell us peter pan, where are your filangees?

When it was finally my turn with Damien (not really I just started talking hoping he was paying attention) he pointed to a shelf near my Dad (who god bless him had accompanied me on this trip to Gomorrah) and said, "It's over by dat man." When Damien and I got over to dat man he started rifling through boxes that looked like they had been torn open on some sort of Plumber's Christmas .

There was no order. There was ripped packaging, torn bags, and random pipes hither and tither. Nothing made any kind of sense. I told Damien that I knew the part I was looking for was in the store because I had been on the website and it said online that the part was available in store.

Damien responds by asking me for the part number. I don't have the part number because I don't regularly buy plumbing supplies and I am clueless. So Damien says;

"I don't know man, you got to go on de line. You go on the de line and get de part number and then you bring dat in." Silly me, I thought that if I had seen the simple sink drain on de line, I could just walk in and find it. Little did I know I would be in the middle of a massive sink and pipe orgy of stupidity.

When I finally got and paid for my part I had to hand my receipt to the disinterested looking man in the "Loss Prevention Services" jacket at the exit. He looks briefly at my receipt before running his highlighter over it and sending me on my way. He didn't pat me down, or check the items in my bag.

I totally didn't need to pay for my stuff.

But if in the future, I need to buy 3 screws, or 1 washer, I will just shove them in my pockets and walk out. I will certainly not be paying for it. Unless of course I can find it on de line. In that case, I think I will have to pay.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Follicle Chronicles

I have never gotten more than one good haircut in a row. The entire haircutting scenario sets you up to fail. This traces all the way back to when I first starting getting haircuts as a child.

I remember my mom taking me to the barber. He was an older Greek man, maybe Italian, who worked at one of those barbershops with the spinning red and blue pole outside. He would talk in his thick accent saying things I didn't understand. He also helped me lose a tooth.

I showed him one I had hanging by a thread , and he quickly yanked it out of my face. I am pretty sure today this would be an offense punishable by law, or at least a damaging statement from the American Dental Association, but back then it was cute I suppose.

As my barber and I got older I learned that while he was lovable and endearing, his haircuts were less than symmetrical. And symmetricality, at least for me, is an important quality when it comes to the shape of my head. That is was why I stopped going to my beloved Greektalian barber.

When I went out to Arizona for college many a haircut took place at Supercuts when I was feeling cheap... which was pretty much all the time. There I would sit in the waiting area looking through old issues of Cosmo Girl for inspiration, finding none. Really Supercuts? What am I supposed to do, go up to my stylist and say, "Hey, can you make me look like this picture of Mandy Moore?"

The only saving grace was that I kept my hair short enough that if I had a bad haircut I didn't have it for long before I got another.

Sometimes when I was feeling trendy, I would go to one of the more zestily named places like "Grooming Humans" or "Grooming Humans II." More often than not, the only thing that would determine whether or not I went back to a stylist was how attractive she was. I found this great woman who was adorable. I have no idea if she did a good job or not because I was too busy trying to make her like me.
I am not very good at meeting girls.

Another challenge I face is the woman who does the shampooing. (How this became a strictly female profession, I will never know) This woman is always 1 of 2 kinds of people.

She is either some sort of Ex Bavarian Torture Frau who had been laid off and turned to hair washing as a back up. This woman inevitably alternates between scalding and freezing my scalp with extreme water temperatures and then scrubbing my head so hard that I often wonder if there will be any hair left to wash.

The other type of hair washer is the woman whose hands are magical. After a 2 minute shampoo and conditioning I am often rendered speechless and asleep with a parade of drool running down my face.

I always close my eyes during shampooing. I do this because I find it awkward to be staring upside down at a strange woman massaging my head. The massaging is so relaxing that I often open my eyes feeling like i had just finished a Nyquil-tini and all I can say is something like. "ohshlumpsfea" while squinting like I just came out of cataract surgery.

Then I go to to the actual stylists chair where she says, "What are we doing today?"

What are we doing today? We're cutting my hair! What do you mean what are we doing today? I don't know what to tell you, your the one who spent months learning how to use a scissor. If I knew what we were doing today I would have done it myself in the bathroom. Lord knows I tried (more on that later).

Here's what you're gonna do today.

1. Cut my hair.
2. Don't stab me
3. Don't make me look like Friar Tuck.


I mean seriously that's about all I really desire. And then afterward they say, "What do you think?"
I have no idea what I think. I think I have less hair than when you started. I always think it looks good. And then I wake up the next morning and realize my head looks like a toilet brush. I just assume the haircut is good and tell them so. And then, pending they haven't stabbed me, I tip them nicely.

I feel you shouldn't have to tip on a haircut until 3 days later when you have had time to sleep on it (literally) and can see what you truly think. I am so rushed and confused after a haircut. What am I supposed to say to this woman?

You ruined it! You ruined me! The woman has a BOX of sharp scissors and razor blades on her shelf. I'm no fool.
No, for better or worse I just lie and hope for the best. And unless we change the payment scenario for hair stylists, I suggest you do too.
I have been keeping my hair a bit longer these days (women seem to prefer it) and when it grows for a while without being cut it takes on a shape that can only be described as shrubesque. So I try to go to nicer places to ensure a shrub-free-me.
But I got a bad expensive haircut this spring. I tried to rectify this by getting a bad cheap haircut 2 days later. I tried to rectify THIS by cutting off chunks of my own hair in my bathroom with a Leatherman pocket knife. I got this idea because the expensive place cuts my hair with a razor blade. So I figured razor blade, pocket knife, whats the big difference? Turns out the difference is HUGE.

The whole fiasco was exacerbated by the fact that when I finally went for another haircut 2 months later, the stylist was baffled at the condition of my head. She seemed to believe I had let some blind thumbless toddler cut my hair.
I didn't contradict her. It was either that or tell her I was kidnapped by a band of hook-handed beauty school pirates.

I read that Cary Grant and George Clooney cut their own hair. I was hoping this was a hidden talent I possessed. As it turns out the only I can do well with a pocket knife is accidentally stab myself.

Multiple times.

So I just got my haircut this weekend. Does it look good? I have absolutely no idea. I think there's a good chance people at work will stop referring to me as "foofy" but I think its still too early to come to a conclusion.
Otherwise its back to Cosmo girl for inspiration.

I hear Mandy Moore's hair is looking great these days.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dr. Mother Nature

I got sick this summer. This is something I do on a semi-regular basis. I'm kind of a collector of diseases. I won't list them for you here, but it is safe to say I pretty much have had most of the terrible/awful/disgusting/embarrassing diseases. I've warded off the really bad ones as of late, but this year I got this nasty head cold that wouldn't leave.
If your anything like me (and god help you if you are) you probably wait too long to go to the doctor. Nobody wants to go to the doctor on the first day they are feeling sick only to have the doctor make fun of you for being a hypochondriac. But on the same token I tend to wait until the disease has almost completed its course and prescription drugs are pretty much not needed.
This happened with my head cold. It was a head cold, that became a neck cold, and then a chest cold. I finally went to the doctor and he asked a couple of questions. (What color is your phlegm? I don't know doc, Magenta?) Then he prescribed me the beloved Z-Pac. This is the equivalent of the baby Jesus of the antibiotic world. It is the savior of all.
Except for the fact that Z-Pac is kind of like carpet bombing your system. It's like if you are trying to find an escaped felon in Disney World, but instead of just targeting him, you blow up the whole theme park.
In this scenario the felon is the disease, and my body is Disney World. Don't ask me why, it just is damn it.
Anyway, doc gives me Z-Pac, and the cold goes away. Not really totally but most of the way leaving me with a little cough that lingers.
A couple months pass before the same cold comes back. This time the doc doesn't even ask any questions before giving me a Z-Pac prescription again. He literally asked me no questions. It made me kind of nervous. I mean I could have been some kind of antibiotic junkee looking for my fix of germ killing drugs. Maybe that's the kind of sick thing that gave me the thrills. I don't know.
But doc gives it to me again. I blow up Disney again. The disease goes away again. But not totally, it came back last week. By this time I had had it with the "doctor" as his diplomas refer to him. So I said screw it. I'm going native.
I don't really know what that means but I figured it meant natural. I thought I would try out mother natures cures at the Natural Store. I used to think that Natural Cure stores are for stinky hippies and people without health insurance. People who can't afford to pay 185 dollars to have a doctor write them a prescription for a 10 dollar medication that makes zero dollars of difference.
Anyway I go in, and I'm just as baffled as being in the regular pharmacy. So I go up to the "pharmacist" (as his name tag calls him, where did this Natural pharmacist go to school, The Academy of Leaves and Moss?) and I tell him I have magenta phlegm and ask for a recommendation. He hands me a bottle that looks like a speakeasy flask full of something with elderberry (older wiser berries?) and some other crap in it.
I tell him my friend (who is not a "pharmacist") recommended Osha root. I don't know what that is but she said it would clear me out. He thinks this is a good idea. I'm not sure why he didn't recommend it right of the bat but hey, as long as I get healthy.
So I buy the berry juice and the Osha root from some hippy looking woman who walks like she'd been riding a horse for 8 days straight.
I take them home and give them a shot. The berry juice is surprisingly sweet, and I find myself taking more than just a teaspoon. I take a swig from the bottle. Kind of like when I used to eat 3 or 4 Flintstones vitamins at one time. If I was only supposed to eat 1 you shouldn't have made them so damn tasty Flintstones folk!
The berry juice needs to be kept in the fridge after opening. So twice a day I'm sneaking off to the office fridge to take swigs of what looks like moonshine. I even felt like I was doing something wrong.
The Osha root on the other hand... is awful. It smells like bad scotch. I dilute a spoonful in a glass of water and take a sip. It tastes like old dirty socks boiled in ass. It defies foul. But because I want to get better, I take more than the recommended dosage.
Each time I take it I use less and less water until I am just pouring it directly into the back of my throat with an eyedropper. I try to follow it with the elderberry juice but the only appropriate chaser would be a box of jelly donuts. After I swallow it, I cough like a cat trying to cough up... another cat.
It is now a couple of days after I finished consuming my plant and berry medicine. Do I feel better? Yes. Do I still have a cough? Yes. Am I able to see any discernible difference between drinking boiled sock water and antibiotics? No.
So what the hell did I figure out?
Well, I figured that that Osha root is probably an awful drink mixer, while elderberry juice would taste wonderful if mixed with Vodka. And as for what I'll do the next time I get sick? Considering it will probably be in a couple of weeks, I'll have to figure out something soon.
I'm thinking a combination of Oreos, Nutella, and Milk. It may not seem effective to you Medical Pharmacists, or you Natural Pharmacists. But I am a cookie Pharmacist, and if I'm just going to get better anyway, I might as well enjoy the process.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Midnight Madness

Black Friday has always been, in my family, a chance to make fun of people who are so obsessed with finding a deal, that the laws of rational behavior no longer apply to them. After eating enough turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread, apple pie, ice cream, and cookies, to fill up a small barn, I usually like to lie down on the couch and sleep until Christmas when I will wake up and promptly do it again.
But some people in America, lets say a couple million, find it necessary to wake up at the very butt crack of dawn, stand on line in freezing cold weather, so they can get 92% off a cashmere hat and scarf set. I even made fun of my dad when he went to Sports Authority 2 thanksgivings ago to purchase a $99 set of golf clubs of which the 6 iron snapped in half like a pretzel rod the second time I used it.
Sure I love a bargain; I would sleep in the changing room of the Banana Republic outlet if I could. But I have my limits. I won’t battle screaming hordes, I will not rise before the sun, and I will not wait on outrageous lines.

So I was more than a little confused when I found myself standing next to my sister at 11:57 pm Thanksgiving night waiting for the J.Crew outlet to open. How had I gone from distributor of sarcastic remarks and condescension, to active nutcase and midnight shopper? What the hell happened?
I lost my damn mind is what happened.
The clever email advertising got me hook line and sinker. The idea of an extra 50 percent off made me giddy. I literally had to have my sister tell me what I didn’t need from the items I was holding when we got to checkout. I get so greedy at these sales.

J. Crew also had a woman whose sole job was to be the greeter. I can’t think of a single human being (aside from maybe a hooker or a crack dealer) who would be happy to see a line of people trying to get into their store at 1 a.m. It takes a special kind of person to be the greeter. If they had made me the greeter, every person that walked in the door would have received this tasty zinger;
“Go home moron face!”
Perhaps greeting is not for me.
While waiting on the epic line I started doing a little dance to the music to keep myself from falling asleep standing up. My sister looked at me and said, “Don’t dance you look silly.”
Really? I am standing in J.Crew on a 60 person line at one o’clock in the morning holding a hundred dollars of merchandise for myself… what dignity am I clinging to at this point?
The woman behind me started laughing. She too saw the ridiculousness of the situation.
She mentions she is having so much trouble finding something for her husband. I looked down at my arms, loaded up with over 100 dollars of merchandise… for myself, and realized just how selfish I was. Not only was I ridiculous, now I had guilt to deal with as well.
I was bargain hunting for myself, in the middle of nowhere South Carolina, with a bunch of school children from Savannah who had showed up 6 hours early to wait for the Abercrombie Store and Hollister stores to open.
I was standing behind someone who said that it wasn’t that bad that they had to wait 3 hours for stores to open… so they could buy underwear and t-shirts. I know those stores are absurdly overpriced but are their underwear and t-shirts really that worth it?
I felt far superior to this simpleton. But, and this might be revealing a bit too much about myself, I have absolutely no will power and I am easily swayed by clever advertising.
Percentage off signs are really what do it for me.
Anything less than 20 percent doesn’t even warrant an eyebrow raise. If it’s 30 percent off, hey I might swing by at lunch time. If I see 40 percent off, I will definitely make some extra efforts to get there. And what I found out this weekend was, 50 percent off, I will leave the comfort of my couch, to drive 15 minutes, to stand with a bunch of nutcases up from Savannah so that I can buy a striped vest and some argyle socks.
Really Rich Boehmcke? This is the kind of man you’ve become?
I think what I found most interesting were the people waiting on a 40 person line, holding 1 item. And not even a big item like a cashmere coat or a new suit. No, they were holding like… a glove… or a sock. Granted there were some people on line who looked like they were trying to clothe their city, but most people only had several items.
In Banana Republic as soon as we walked in I just got on line. I didn’t have anything in my hands so I picked up a tiny purple woman’s sweater. I didn’t want somebody to ambush me and say something like, “HEY ARE YOU JUST A PLACE HOLDER?” I don’t really know if that is illegal, but when it comes to the type of people that wake up at midnight to buy socks, I really wasn’t willing to take any chances.
By the time we left at 2:30 a.m. the parking lot had emptied slightly… but not much, there was still a line to get into Coach, and now there were flashing lights from police cars outside Nike, as something had apparently gone horribly wrong at their sale.
Was the entire scenario ridiculous? Yes. Do I regret going? Absolutely not. Do I now realize that I have no right to make fun of anybody ever again? Well…
You betcha!