Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Church Sign Generator

Almost Outta Here

My friends, it is long past time for me to have a small vacation. I can tell, because I'm getting subway rage. Anyone who cuts in front of me, slops over into my seat, steps on my foot, or smells bad runs the risk of getting my pointy little freckled elbow right in their eyeball. That's just about everyone, FYI.

I don't want to talk to strangers -- not even cab drivers or laundromat attendants, people I usually find quite entertaining. I do not care what they did back in Haiti. I'm sorry that life has been difficult lately. Still, I do not wish to hear about their ungrateful children.

If you have a stroller, you should learn how to jog with it or get out of my way. If you are in front of me on line, you should move forward immediately as soon as the person in front of you moves up. If you are looking for an address, you should move out of the middle of the sidewalk. If you do not, well, here comes the elbow again.

Saturday, I will be going to the Cape with Ma and Pa Smash, Mrs. Piddlington and the LT (Mr. Piddlington, who is actually a Captain, but "the LT" is more fun to say). We will sit on the beach. We will eat fried foods. We will read books and not pester each other while we are reading books -- unlike, say the laundromat attendant this evening, who felt that I was reading out of boredom, and would love to hear about her kids.

The origins of this tirade, I hope, are now clear. I cannot wait for vacation!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jennie Smash: Not a Dodgeball Champion

Do you know about this thing Dodgeball? No, not the humilating game, played by my middle school classmates and at yours truly. Dodgeball, the social networking phenomenon. What you do is, you go to the website and sign yourself up. And then you get a bunch of friends to sign up as well. (Or, more likely, if you're me, your friends ask you to sign up, and then wait patiently while you absorb the information. "Dodgeball? Will people throw things at me? No? Is it like Friendster? No? I'm just not sure about this. But you say I should sign up? Is it free?" And so on.)

Anyway, it is free, and here's how it works. Via the site, and some means I've never quite figured out, you text and email your network of friends with your current location and activities, and then they can meet you wherever you are, if they wish. This saves you the trouble of actually texting your friends by hand, the old-fashioned way, which is wonderful if your hands have been replaced by hooks, or if you're very drunk, or if you're hoping that your ex-boyfriend, whom you "accidentally" forgot to remove from your network, will come stalk you at your favorite bar, grill, or speakeasy.

I'm not smart enough to figure this out, but it's probably just as well. I only like about five people at any given time, and am more than able to text those people by hand (or hook), in any state of drunkenness. You can ask them. They'll tell you.

Also, to be honest, if I were to lob them a dodgeball, it would look like this:

dodgeball.com :: jennie s. checked in...

Hey there, your friend jennie s. just checked in at her small but well-appointed home in brooklyn. She is lying around in her underpants and eating cheese.

In underpants
Her house

Why not swing by and say hello?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Comment of the Day

"Maybe you're the one who should be spayed! Hopefully your are sterile...I'd hate to see your hatred passed on to innocent children." [Exclamation point mine; misspellings hers.]

You'll be happy to know, pal o'mine, that I try to spread my hatred to any and all impressionable children who are left in my care. So as long as Mrs. P has kids, it shouldn't matter if I'm sterile. I can still destroy the youth of America.

Violins on TV

Me: I think Barack Obama should be our next president.

Ma Smash:
You think Eric Bana should be our next president?

No! Barack Obama! Barack Obama!

Ma Smash:
I know you love him, Jennie, but do you really think he knows enough about American politics? He's Australian. Also, they'd have to amend the Constitution.

Me: Mum. BAR-ACK. OH. BAH. MA. Do you know who that is?

Ma Smash: Oh! I thought you said Eric Bana.

Me: No.

Ma Smash: Well, I have no idea who that is.


Ma Smash: But I'm glad you didn't say Eric Bana. I don't think that would work.

Me: .

Ma Smash: Hello? Sweetheart?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jennie Needs a Break

To quote the Donut: "I want to see a medical exam."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hubleyfest 2006

I woke up Saturday morning at about 8 a.m. This is not usual. Also: I was on my couch. Also, my Dad was sitting in the chair opposite, with a pair of pliers in his hand, working over the cable wire. When he saw that my eyes were open, he said, "I've figured it out. The stupid cable guy cut both ends. What time does the hardware store open?"

"I have no idea," I croaked. "Nine?"

He nodded. "I'll go out and get some coffee and muffins soon. And then I'll stop by the hardware store and get some ends for this. We'll have this up and running in no time!" He examined the end again. "Cut both ends. That's not right, you know. This end is your property."

My folks came to visit me this weekend, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I miss them now. We went to see the Statue of Liberty and hung out with my cousin in Chelsea and lounged around my place. Also, my Dad rewired my cable and my Mom cleaned my livingroom. And then Dad hung all my paintings and such. When they left, I looked around in shock. In five hours they'd managed to do more than I have since I moved into the place.

One of these days I'm going to grow up. Just not, you know, soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Little Help From My Friends

Eric: And what are you doing this evening?

Me: I just called the Mouse. I need him to come over and help me assemble my kitchen cart.

Eric: So what does it feel like to be married, but not?

Me: I hate you intensely.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Naked People

I went back to the gym today, after two weeks of being too busy and/or sick to go, and I was alarmed to discover that sometime during my hiatus, I became one of the naked people.

If you go to a gym, you know these people. They parade around the locker room, from the showers to the scale to the lockers, wearing nothing but their landing strip. I used to scorn these people, assuming that they were either hideously vain or possessed of such horribly low self-esteem that they wanted all of us to suffer their nudity along with them.

Many of them had weird habits, too. Horowitz once told me about a woman at her gym who used to blow-dry her ass. She'd stand before the mirrors, buck nekkid, and blow dry her hair. And then, when she was done, she'd bend over, spread 'em, and blow dry her hiney. Why? I dunno. All I know is that Horowitz starting bringing her own hair dryer.

I'm not that far gone, but I did find myself wandering around the locker room naked this afternoon. I was over at my locker and realized I needed a plastic bag to put my gym clothes in. So I padded across the room to the mirrors and grabbed one.

I realize that this might not sound all that strange to many people. To those people all I can say is: Keep your creepy hippie nudist lifestyle to yourself! When I start wandering around sans pants in semi-public places, you know it's time for me to start getting a bit more sleep.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

He Got Game

"The problem is, I have no game," Andrew said.

I considered the problem. It was one I'd heard before, from many men, but hadn't really given much credence to. I mean, c'mon: Do we really need to be fooled, we ladies, into sleeping with a guy? It seems silly.

"You don't need game," I said. "You're a handsome guy! Doing interesting things. Anyone would be happy to get with you."

He shook his head. "This is not true. Think about it. Guys need game."

I thought about it.

"You know," I said. "You might have a point. I know this one guy who gets girls by saying the worst possible thing he can think of."

"Like? I need examples."

"Well, OK. Like, on my birthday, I looked pretty good, right? I mean, I'd had my hair blown out and took a shower and everything."

"I remember."

"And he came up to me and said, 'You're looking for cock!'"

"See? See! Did that work?"

"No. I mean, I didn't jump on him or anything."

"But you thought it was charming! That's what I need! I need game."

"Well, I guess you just have to figure out what your thing is." Pause. "But I wouldn't recommend that routine. It's not for amateurs."

Smash vs. the Delivery Company

I am in the process of being destroyed by furniture delivery companies, but I will not let it happen. Nolite bastardes carborundum.

When I moved into the new apartment, I made a decision that I would no longer live like a college student. To that end, I have purchased a great deal of furniture online, and also given some consideration to buying more than one drinking glass and perhaps a pan that doesn't look like something a hobo would take with him on his cross-country excursion, in order to heat up beans before the railroad cops steal it and use it to beat in his head.

Cooking remains a mystery to me, is what I'm saying. But I am determined to have someplace to put my socks.

To this end, I went to Target.com and ordered, in the space of a few hours, a bureau, a desk, a kitchen cart and a rug. I'll show you the rug, but you can't see the rest, because frankly, we just don't know each other well enough for you to know what all my furniture looks like. Next you'll want to know about my underwear and before you know it, we'll be dating. (Hint: my underwear comes in packages of three from Old Navy and frequently features silhouettes of gender-neutral persons surfing or else ginormous Hawaiian flowers.)

Here's the rug:

As the rug shows, I'm in the process of turning my home into my grandmother's house, circa 1978. If I can locate a Formica table, rest assured I will have that installed right under the owl-shaped kitchen clock, and directly to the left of the brass wall hanging shaped like a sailing ship.

Anyway, all of this is fine, if a bit expensive, but the trouble is that most delivery companies suck ass. For one thing, they require you to be home during the day, which is kinda hard if you work for a living. (Which, let's face it, you probably do, otherwise how could you afford all this furniture you're having delivered?) Also, the "delivery window" is generally ridiculously large, like 10 to 7, and largely hypothetical. The last problem is that no one wants to be a customer service representative, so the person who fields your inquiry, when your furniture fails to arrive, is either stupid, in prison, or deeply unhappy. (Sometimes all three.)

This is what happened when I called the delivery company to inquire about the location of my kitchen cart.

Customer Service Representative:
Hello, this is [blankety-blank courier service]. For quality purposes this phone call may be recorded. How can I help you?

Me: Yeah, I've been waiting for a delivery for a couple of days now, and I guess you couldn't drop it off because I wasn't home.

Can I have your tracking number, ma'am?

Me: Sure, it's [blah, blah, blah].

CSR: OK, ma'am, I'm showing that the third and final delivery attempt was today, and that it could not be delivered because the signator [no, I'm not kidding -JH] was not home.

Me: Oh, yes, I know, see, the thing is, I knew I couldn't be home, so I asked Target if I could have my neighbor sign for it, and they said yes. So I put a sign on the door and told them to go across the street.

CSR: OK, ma'am, we cannot deliver the package to anyone other than the addressee.

Me: Um, OK. Well, what are our options then?

You'll have to come pick up the package.


CSR: It looks like the closest pickup point is on Foster Ave., ma'am.

Me: Foster Ave. Do you know what neighborhood that's in?

CSR: No, ma'am.

Me: Hmmm. OK. Well, listen. Today's Monday. Can you hold the package at the Foster Ave. facility til Saturday? Cuz that's as soon as I'd be able to get over there.

CSR: We can hold the package for five days, ma'am.

OK, so ... until Saturday?

Yes, ma'am.

Me: OK. What are your hours?

Ma'am, our hours are 9:30-6:00, Monday through Friday.

Me: And what are your hours on Saturday?

We're closed on Saturday, ma'am.

At this point, your humble narrator completely lost her shit. I was in the process of threatening to start some sort of grass roots campaign against the company, when my buzzer rang. It was the delivery guy, as you might have suspected. Great, right?


"This package weighs 150 pounds," he said. "Who's gonna help me get this up the stairs?"

I opened my arms and beamed, "You're looking at her!"

He looked me over. I was wearing a skirt and flip-flops. I'm about 5' 2".

"Anyone else?" he asked.

At this point, my neighbor from across the street wandered over. This is the guy I was going to have sign for the package in the first place. He runs a store across the street that sells incense and crystals and religious statues and seems to spend most of his time sitting in a round cushy chair outside the entrance, reading a newspaper. He's Indian and has a long gray beard and smiles almost constantly.

"Hello!" he said. "This gentleman was most anxious to get you this package."

"This guy's gonna help me," The delivery guy told me. "He said earlier."

Let's recap, in case you missed that: The delivery guy would rather have the guy across the street, who didn't strike me as a prematurely gray-haired man, help him with the 150 pound breakfast cart instead of me, a strapping, 30-year-old person who often goes to the gym expressly to pick up heavy things and put them back down again. Sexism!

Eventually, the delivery guy decided he would do it himself, and rolled the box up my steps to the landing, where he pronounced it as delivered as it was gonna be. And then I bid my neighbor goodbye, assuring him that I would call a friend to get the box inside.

"It's a nice hot day for it!" He said. "Have fun!"

I immediately went upstairs and called Smyres.

"The breakfast cart is here," I said.

"It is? Jesus. Where was it earlier? In the back yard, or something?"

"It's a long story. I need your help. Also, I need beer and meat. If you help me, I will buy you beer and meat. What do you say?"

"OK. I'll leave now."

This is why Smyres will inherit all of my new furniture when I finally have that stress-related aneurysm.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

The Old Switcheroo

I dedicated the bulk of this weekend to taking care of apartment stuff, because my place still looks like the Joad's jalopy after two months of living here. The trouble is, I don't notice that things are messy until they're really, really bad. It's one of many reasons why I live alone. When I had roommates, I'd forget all about cleaning the tub or even checking the mail until someone hit me over the head about it. I mean that literally. Roommates actually used to strike me, and no one blamed them. In fact, I think Ma Smash might've baked pies for a few of them, out of sympathy.

Anyway, the good thing about planning a whole day of cleaning is that it means I'll get a lot of writing done. Because I operate under the Old Switcheroo School of Productivity. Need to get writing done? Plan to clean. Need to clean the bathtub? Commit to a freelance project. It works really well, I'll tell you. Except that my bathtub is somehow filthy, and I've neglected even this blog, more precious to me than all other projects -- except the ones that actually pay the damn rent. Ahem.

So, in an effort to prove to you all that I don't have blogger burnout, I've decided to answer a few reader questions. This of course means that I definitely have blogger burnout, and that it's only a matter of time before I have to hang it up entirely.

Today's questions are from MiamiPRMama, whose profile seems to exist only for the purposes of this blog, and so I won't bother you by linking to a blank page. Ms. Mama recently posted the following comment and questions in reference to my recent exhaustion:

You know, pregnancy can also cause extreme exhaustion. I hope you're being careful.
And I'm sure you're not fat. Whatever happened to the new hottness? Or the dating fiesta? Where are the updates? Feel better.

OK, let's take these one at a time.

Q) Pregancy can cause extreme exhaustion. I hope you're being careful.

A) Yikes, Miami P., keep your voodoo to yourself! The new apartment is bigger than the old one, but it ain't big enough for a baby, that's for sure. Also, I just spent all my money on furniture, and kids are more expensive than puppies, even if they're less likely to pull at their stitches.

Q) I'm sure you're not fat. Whatever happened to the new hottness?

A) The new hottness continues, albeit not as regularly as it should. I figured out that in order to make it work, I'd have to eat less, as well as exercise. This is a drag, but I'm seriously vain, which gives me something like will power. (Otherwise, I have none.) So I've been cutting calories. Bleh.

Q) What about the dating fiesta?

A) The fiesta is quite festive, although New York is not helping my two-month relationship limit. This place gives you dating ADD, for sure. Although, I had a great talk with my old pal Horowitz yesterday about this, and she said that in her opinion, two months is how long it takes to figure out that you're not really into someone. For example, not so very long ago, I fell madly in lust with this one guy, only to realize, two months later, that: he couldn't spell, hadn't read anything since high school except the TV Guide, and smoked more pot on a daily basis than the entire population of Jamaica. Understand that I had convinced myself that we had a deep spiritual connection. This was based largely on the fact that he had a very soulful expression, I felt. It took two months to figure out that he wasn't contemplating anything. He was just squinting, because his eyes were dry from pot fumes.

So there you go. Updates! And now if you'll excuse me, I have to wander back into the bathroom and try to convince myself to clean the tub.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Occupation: Jackass

There are many things I love about living in New York, and a few I hate. People who ask you what you do, immediately after meeting you, are one of the latter.

The question goes like this: "What do you do?" It comes right after you learn each other's name, and it implies both "for a living" and "with your life" in equal measure.

Now, I love my job. But that hasn't always been the case. Years ago, when I was an underpaid peon at a publishing company and a boyfriend actually broke up with me because he felt that I wasn't serious about my career ... not so much. Or, you know, when I got laid off from my first decently paying gig ... not so much. But that was before I lived in New York, and in Boston, people don't ask you what you do, because they don't talk to you unless they already know you. So that was OK. I didn't have to deal with it.

But in New York ... oy. Five seconds after you meet someone, you're giving them your CV. Everything is a networking opportunity.

Last night, I went to a party and had far too many Stellas for one who is trying to shed weight, and at least five different people asked me the dreaded question. And each time, I gave them my occupation and company name and a brief sketch of what I do. But by the end of the night, I was sick of it, and decided to think up a few substitute answers. Here are a few of my imagined responses to the dreaded question, "So what do you do?"

"Your Mom."

"I work at Wendy's. Right now I'm doing the fries, but if everything works out, I'll move to the register."

"Oh, you know."

"I'm training to be a Welfare Queen."

"I perform unnatural acts with napkin dispensers for small fees. Because of the current legal climate, it's best if we refer to this as 'performance art.'"

"Ha! Ha ha ha. What?"

"Never mind that. What are we going to do about all these hurricanes, hmmm?"

I had lunch with my friend Cedric today, and I told him how irritated I was with this question, and he had an interesting perspective. A few things you should know, right off the bat: Cedric is German, uses the word "efficient" at least three times in every conversation, and believes that my desire to be known for my writing is evidence of "hubris."

Anyway, Cedric said, "You know that this question is just people who are trying to be polite and cannot think of anything else to say, right?"

I sort of stared at him for a second, blinking. "So ... then ... actually, by making fun of them, I'm sort of being a snob because I can think of something else to say?"

He smiled kindly. Hubris!

Several Unrelated Paragraphs on Various Things

It's finally a normal temperature outside, and I keep thinking I should be out there taking advantage of it, but then I lie down until the urge passes. At least I have the windows open.

I have three birthday parties this weekend. Two of the birthday boys are turning 29. November 1976* must have been cold and lonely. (It took me way too long to do that math.)

My apartment needs to be cleaned and the slave girl seems to have disappeared again.

I'm waiting for my new bureau to be delivered, so that I can stand the box in the corner and look at it. Because it requires assembly, and I'm lazy. When I get it put together, it will be the first bureau I've owned in five years. I'm confused about how I've been organizing my underpants all this time.

*Thanks Angelina!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

I Heart Mrs. P

I was explaining to a friend the other day what, exactly, is so fantastic about Mrs. Piddlington. She's my sister and all, but anyone who has siblings can tell you that that's not a guarantee of adoration.

Anyway, here's why: Mrs. P is the only person I know who not only puts up with my particular brand of lunacy, but also thinks it's funny. On any given day, I'm liable to call her up and this conversation:

Mrs. Piddlington:


Mrs. Piddlington: What's up?

Me: I'm getting fat.

Mrs. Piddlington:

Me: Yes!

Mrs. Piddlington: I'm sure not. You looked great when I saw you.

Me: In March? Listen, can you just tell me: Do I sound fat?

Mrs. Piddlington:
(Soothingly.) You sound very thin.

Me: Really?

Mrs. Piddlington:
Too thin, maybe! Why don't you eat something.

OK, one more thing.

Mrs. Piddlington:
Mmm hmmm?

Me: Do you think it's possible that I'm totally riddled with tumors? Because I've been really tired lately.

Mrs: Piddlington:
(Laughing.) I love you.

See that? Anyone else would have hung up! I love me some Mrs. P.