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Friday, March 18, 2011

Duplex Life

I've lived in a third story apartment for some time, I have become unaccustomed to the ways of neighborhood living.  The walls in our old apartment complex were very thick, and we could rarely hear what the other occupants were doing.  We assumed that they, in turn, could not hear what we were doing, as we'd never received any complaints.  We lived in our own little private bubble in the midst of many other little bubbles.  It was bubble wrap living.  It was nice, quite, but mildly inconvenient to climb three flights of stairs with two dogs/groceries/bubble neighbors hanging out on the stairs.  We grew weary of bubble wrap life.  We decided to pop out of our little bubble and move on. 

Now we've moved into a duplex.

A duplex seemed a wise choice for us.  There's the feeling of security I thought I would get from knowing that, though JMan will often be at work until 3:30 in the morning, there would be people on the other side on the wall of every room; people who would be more than happy to come to my immediate aide should any issues arise.  There was also the increased sense of independence- I wouldn’t have people living on all side of me anymore, and that is okay.  But should I need them, there are neighbors within earshot.  Everybody wins.  It's the safety of an apartment without all the stairs.

Having now lived in this new place for a couple of months, I'm finding that duplex life is not all that I thought it would be.  The neighbors on the other side of every wall of every room don't seem to like us very much at all.  They run into their side of the domicile any time we see them, trying desperately not to make eye contact.  I feel fairly certain that, upon hearing my gruesome murder through their every wall, they would sigh, wait for the noise to stop, and go about their business.  The neighbors in the surrounding homes can't stand us either, because our dogs think that the chain link fences that separate the properties do not exist or are somehow invalid.  Therefore, all visible land belongs to the dogs.  Consequently, when the occupants of these residences dare to just *be* in their own backyard, they are met with a barrage of barking, growling, huffing, and lunging.  The whole thing probably seems very scary, even though Jman has told them all that if they'd just interact with the dogs they'll stop barking.  I don't think, however, that "Frig you and your frigging dogs*" is what he had in mind, and as of now, that's all I've heard them say.

I've decided that duplex life is going to be my equivalent of thug life, only without the tattoos and strategically colored bandanas.  I will learn from the experience, grow tougher and stronger, and will emerge from the cul de sac with all the grit and savvy of a genuine hustler**.  Here, then, is:
CURRENT KIM vs. DUPLEX LIFE KIM

Current Kim:  Hi there, neighbor-person!  So nice to know that you're so near me.  I'd like to get along with you and maybe we could do a joint bar-b-que some time!  Hugs!
Duplex Life:  I'ma bar-b-que your face, motha effer!  Don't you step to me, son, cuz I’ll cut you so deep you’ll look like Siamese twins.  Yeah, you better run!

CK:  Hi there, neighbor who lives on the other side of the fence!  I can see you clearly through the chain link and am smiling at you and being pleasant.
DL:  Keep looking at me.  I dare ya.  I'ma turn this wine bottle into a molotov cocktail and shove it down your throat.  Word.

CK:  I'm so sorry about my dogs.  They're little rascals, ain't they?  Don't worry- they won't harm you.  They're just curious baby pups.
DL:  I'ma sick my dogs on your ass to retreive what's left of my wine bottle!  I pity the fool who messes with my hounds of hell!  Yo mama!!!***

The end.

*Frig = I'm jealous of your yard
**To be pronounced 'huss-lah, fool.
***Yes, I realize I got more than a bit blakploitation/racist/Mr. T ins there.  Don't be hatin.  That's how Duplex Kim rolls.  Livin' Duplex K like e-va-ry day...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Keeping it simple in the new year

I have long been opposed to New Year's resolutions.  The whole thing seems pretty asinine to me.  If there's something that I need to change about myself, I'm probably well aware of it and have decided either to do nothing and deal with it or to change it when I'm darn good and ready.  It's not up to a holiday to decide when I will and will not embark on some kind of new life path.  Days don't get to tell me what to do.  Unless they're Fridays.  Fridays tell me to get very very drunk.
Last year, however, I decided that maybe I was wrong and everybody else, contrary to my well-voiced rantings over many years, might be onto something.  After all, other people had pretty good things going for them, and maybe it was time for me to step a little further out of the left of center category and into the almost normal zone.  Mostly, I decided it was time that I start being nice to people the way most people are nice to people.  I thought that this would be a good step toward adulthood for me.
When you make a personal decision to change your outward behavior, it ends up feeling exactly like acting and, in some cases, lying.  I mean, it wasn't as if I'd had some Dickensian catharsis that was driving my newfound desire to do good; I'd simply noticed that it was something I wasn't doing and others were.  Plus, I was finding that my complete disdain for most people was spiraling out of control, and that it was quite possibly fueled by my uninhibited ability to unleash the searing stinky lava that is KimHate right into their poor unsuspecting faces.  Like a hotrod of rudeness I was able to go from zero to scathing in 2.3 seconds.  This usually resulted in the following:

Me: Hi there, coworker!  How are you doing today?
Coworker: Oh, I'm good, good.  Did you go out for lunch?
Me, now scowling: No.  Of course I didn't.  When do I EVER leave for lunch?!  I *ALWAYS* stay right here.
Coworker, expressing nervous concern: Oh, maybe you should go somewhere sometimes.  It's a nice day out there.
Me, now spitting words through clenched teeth and brandishing my fingernails like tiger claws: OF COURSE IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY OUTSIDE!!!!  IT'S EFFING SPRINGTIME YOU MISERABLE DOUGHHEAD!!!!

At this point, the coworker generally ran screaming from the vicinity.

Under my new guise of niceness, however, interactions were no more pleasant, if not certainly more unbearably awkward.

Me, grinning like a stoned idiot in a high-pitched voice that is a few decibels too loud: Hi there, you awesome person you!  How's things?  Are they good?  They’d better be good!  Yayayayayay!
Coworker, who is all at once very uneasy: I'm...yeah, I guess I'm...doing...well...How're you, Kim?
Me, in a voice that only Care Bears could stomach: Oh, I'm super-fantastic-okelly-doo!  It sure is a lovely day out there!  Don't you just love butterflies?
Coworker, who is inching away: Bu...butterflies are nice.  Are you feeling well?
Me, now sickened by my own behavior and feeling the need to lay down:  No...not really, no...

I made it about a month before scrapping the niceness project entirely and going back to chewing peoples' faces off.  All was right with the world, and my coworkers actually seemed relieved to see me revert to my old ways. 
I've decided to try again this year.  Not as part of some crappy resolution.  Not because I feel sorry for the people I'm mean to most of the time.  I'm doing it to prove I can.  I have adopted three rules in order to help facilitate the change this time.

1.  Try to think about things that make me happy.  If I run around thinking about the Goo Goo Dolls and paper cuts and some kind of Kardashian*, I'm more likely to be unpleasant.  Rather, I need to focus on floppy pup ears and sweet rolls and new designer dresses.   Oh, and pickles.  It's impossible to be angry when thinking of pickles.

2.  Wait 5 seconds before responding to things that upset me.  Sometimes, I'm rattled by things that shouldn't be rattlers, and I realize this only after unjustly removing someone’s head with my teeth.  By adhering to this new take on the five second rule, I'll be better equipped to delineate the awful from the not really so terrible.

3.  Sleep.  A tired Kim is a grumpy Kim.  And a grumpy Kim is a homicidal Kim.

By following these three simple rules, it is my goal to get through 2011 without emotionally scarring or physically dismembering anyone.  Wish me and my coworkers luck.

*Contrary to what you might think, these are all terrible, terrible things.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And now…some levity!

‘Tis the Friday before Christmas Eve and all through the Haas
Not an order is stirring- please don’t tell my boss.
My spreadsheets are up, so upon them I stare
In hopes that my team lead will see progress there

The buyers are nestled all snug in their cubes
In hopes of going home to watch their boob tubes
And me in my casual Friday attire
Think of Sunday with poopers and JMan and fire

When all of a sudden-nothing at all happened
Things had not improved, and nor had they crappened
I still sit here drooling, beginning to fear
That nothing- no new work will ever appear.

I’ll sit here and look like a wee busy bee
In hopes that not one soul will catch on to me.
When the clock strikes five and my workday is through
I’ll be on my merry way and go home for a brew.

Merry Almost Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mr. Sunshine

I work in an office that is quite similar to that of the TV show The Office except that none of the funny or interesting stuff happens in mine.  As a result, I spend most of my time feeling pretty terrible and the rest of my time getting drunk.  This adds to, or perhaps is responsible for, the hazy misery spiral wherein I feel terrible, drink to feel better, feel worse the next morning, and go to work.  What I'm saying is: I'm an idiot.
That aside, even before the cycle of suffering that is my current life began, I had a fairly solid and well-deserved reputation for being a cranky person on days that aren't my birthday, Christmas, and Super-Sleep-in Saturdays.  The outcome is this:
General cantankerousness + job-related awful times = Bad Mister Falcon.*
Luckily, I'm not at all adept at hiding my mean nature (nor do I care to, due to my mean nature), so most people have learned to approach me with a certain degree of caution.  Everyone, that is, save one special man.
I don't know when he appeared here, but it was long after my sentence began.  He works on the other side of the office, so I'm not forced to interact with him all the time.  But every time I go to the break room - EVERY FALCON TIME!!!! - he knows, and he scurries in there too.  It goes a little something like this:
Me, silently pouring scalding hot water into my tiny bowl from a spout that desperately wants to burn every one of my fingers.
Mr. Sunshine, smiling ear to ear: It's lunch time!  Yippee!**
Me, still carefully watching water spill onto my rice noodles to protect fingerprints: Yes.  Lunch.
Mr. Sunshine: Oh boy, that sure does look good!  Mmmmm mmmm!
Me, becoming visibly uncomfortable and trying to navigate my crazy-hot bowl into a microwave to ensure maximum danger potential: They are noodles.
Mr. Sunshine, who has decided that now is the time to retrieve something from the cabinets over the microwave and is awkwardly trying reach around, over, and through me: I sure do like noodles!  This one time I had noodles in a restaurant!  They sure were good, mmmm mmmm!
Me, on the brink of abandoning the noodle endeavor outright and running screaming from the break room: Yes.
<microwave dings>
Mr. Sunshine, still grinning that nightmare-inducing grin: Soup's on!!!  HEEE HEEEE!
Me, actually wincing to fight back murderous impulses: Grumble.
I then exit the break room as quickly as possible, inevitably sloshing skin-meltingly hot noodle juice onto my feet, into my shoes.  I welcome the pain, having lived through what I've just experienced.  No amount of pain can out-torment a few minutes with Mr. Sunshine.
I adjourn to my desk, where I sink back into my chair to snorfle lunch out of my tiny bowl and footwear.  All is as right with the world as it can be, and the noodles serve as a temporary salve to the wounds my misery cycle inflicts.  I take my time, often eating one long ricey strand at a time, savoring its salty goodness.  Upon finishing I'm downright chipper until I receive a soul shattering roundhouse from reality: I have to wash the tiny bowl.  I have to go back to the break room.  And I will, undoubtedly, have to face the grin once more.
It doesn't matter how long I wait to return to the break room.  Mr. Sunshine knows.  I creep around the corner, the theme to Mission: Impossible playing in my head.  I slither down the hall, silent as a serpent.  Eureka!  I've reached the sink and am grabbing the mildewed sponge when I hear it:
"Oh boy, was that a great meal or what?  I tell you, the only thing that would make that meal any better would've been some noodles!  Say, (slyly lifting his disturbingly bushy eyebrows) didn't someone in here have some noodles for lunch?"
Me: Uhm...
Mr. Sunshine, now using a voice used primarily by preschool and special ed teachers: Those were probably scrum-dumptious, eh?

At this point a generally black out due to blind rage, hatred, and revulsion.  I come to about an hour later, having miraculously made it back to my desk, and with no recollection of the events that got me there.  Sadly, they simply cannot be as violent as I would like them to be, because this same scenario befalls me at least once a week.

I work with the happiest damn person on the planet.  He is approximately 60 years old and works in IT.  He is never not smiling.

And I want to punch him as hard as I can.  In the soul.

* For those who do not understand this reference, please see and be enlightened by the following:
"Yippee-kay-yay, Mister Falcon”
'Nuff said.
**This blog post contains the word "Yippee" three times.  Take that, Mr. Sunshine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life lessons learned from dogs

The JMan and I have sculpted our lives to revolve, pathetically, around the interests of our dogs. It is for that reason that so many of my posts will likely feature tales of our dogs, their needs, utterances, bowel movements, and so on.

Occasionally, there's a weird sort of insane wisdom guiding the dogs' actions; a kind of rare gift often only appreciated by those who enjoy the entire Scary Movie saga. Today’s idiot dog lesson is:

(booming voice) BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!

We get our dogs rawhide bones to prevent them from eating the carpet, furniture, walls, baseboards, and ceilings that they encounter on a day to day basis. As it stands, our home currently looks like a nesting spot for feral, berserk power sanders. While the rawhide bones do diminish potentially costly damage, they also introduce a new problem: competition.

Everyone knows that little girls must always have what other little girls have. This is no different, apparently, in the animal kingdom. Our retarded children (we'll call them baby dog and butt plug), are never content until each has what the other has. Naturally, this results in a seemingly perpetual state of dissatisfaction in both creatures.

Upon giving each dog a shiny new rawhide chew, joy emanates from both pups, flooding the domicile. However, as the minutes pass, baby dog and butt plug discover that the chewing sound they're hearing is coming not only from their own mouths, and that the other has something. What is that thing? I think that's my thing! How did that thing get my thing while I'm still chewing on it? How can this be? Why would the world do this to meeeeeeee??? Ahhhhhh!!!!!

That's when the fighting starts.

Baby dog, still temporarily entranced by her own mindless gnawing, is rudely awakened by an unsettlingly familiar sound.

Hawonk! Haaaawwwwwwwaaaaaaaonnnnnnk!

Butt plug has positioned herself approximately six inches from baby dog, ears upright, hind in the air, body poised and ready to strike. Baby dog reacts the only way she knows how: she grumbles in a low, not immediately threatening growl. This only feeds the already growing fire in butt plug's belly. Her need for the other thing that's really her thing that the other thing has and oh god give me that thing hurtles her toward madness. She begins to shriek as loudly as she can.

Aaaarghck! Arrrrrrrrraghck!

This snaps baby dog out of her hypnotic chewing, and she, too, realizes that there is more than one bone to be had. Shoe doesn't simply want what the other thing has. No- she wants them both.

Baby dog stands, her 60 pound frame seething with hatred and jealousy, the hairs on her back standing on end. Fully mohawked, she lunges toward butt plug's chew.

That's when the open-mouthed tooth wrestle-ballet begins.

The dogs topple onto one another, mouths circling, teeth whirling. Hawnks, shrieks, and grumbles fill our tiny space. They tear around the room, colliding against the furniture and walls, each leaving their own precious chew vulnerable and alone. At some point, baby dog will decide she has had enough, and jumps up onto the couch to take cover from the snarling, hawking tooth ball of fury that is far meaner and faster than she is. She ends up behind mommeh or daddeh, and one of us gets to wear her as a stole for a while. We shout at butt plug and tell her to leave her older sister alone. We've had enough, we aver. Baby dog's eyes fill with feigned terror followed by relief. Butt plugs sulks for a moment, laying her enormously eared head onto her freakishly huge paws. A welcome silence embraces us all. Baby dog hides behind a cooing mommeh and daddeh, waiting.

It's all just a part of a master plan. Butt plug, now content with her apparent triumph over the slightly bigger baby dog, trots off to gather the prized thing that the other thing had for a while. As she bends down to collect it, baby dog leaps from her haven and grabs butt plug's chew. Butt plug, shocked and amazed, becomes enraged and shrieks once more. As she stands there, making far more noise than any dog her size should ever be able to make, baby dog has taken both chews and stored them safely in their crate. Baby dog sits at the entrance of the crate like a sentry. Head down, eyes up, and muscles tensed, she guards her booty. No one, not even mommeh or daddeh, can come close without incurring her rumble-filled wrath.

When night falls and stillness fills the house, baby dog waits patiently for butt plug to adjourn to our family bed. She then scarfs down both chews as quietly as she can.

The sun begins its slow ascent over the Austin skyline. Butt plug rests peacfully at the foot of our bed. Baby dog, content in the family room, belly full of pork-flavored animal skin, slowly opens her eyes. She stands. She finds her way onto the family bed where mommeh, daddeh, and other thing sleep soundly. Then she she begins to retch. A lot. While standing on the bedspread mommeh is borrowing from her parents. Mommeh and daddeh stir, wake, and spring into action just in time to see the vomit hit the carpet. And then again. All morning. She then lays there, looking miserable, wondering why we've done this to her and why in the hell we ever brought home the other thing which never stops hawonking at her and has ruined her life. Surely it's the other thing's fault that she feels the way the does. She seems to remember a time when she was contented, when she was free to chew as she pleased. She glares at butt plug from under the kitchen table. Then she vomits. Butt plug naps, still exhausted by the previous night's activity.

Half a day later, butt plug and baby dog feel refreshed. Happy and frisky, they become bored with watching mommeh and daddeh watching TV. The baseboards begins to look like raw, succulent filet minion...

The lesson in all this clear:

Do not pay any attention to the thing that the other thing has, or what it does with it. Doing so will only result in dental WWF, anguish, and puke.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I started a blog!

I know that there is absolutely nothing that I can do on this thing that hasn't already been done.  I'm fine with that.  Also, I realize that this thing is really just a way to tell the world "hey, I think I'm funny and clever and worth reading."  I get that.  Nevertheless, I am starting my very own hand-made blog. 
Enjoy.