Sunday, May 29, 2011

How I Went to See Sleeping Beauty and Wound Up Scarred For Life

This story hails from my younger days. It was way back in the year 1986. I was 5 years old, and my family was friends with the family across the street. They had two girls, and the three of us spent our formative years generally raising hell. By the time we were in 2nd grade, we were making bows and arrows out of sticks and bailing twine, and those suckers could get some distance. We were a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.

Our moms must have tired of reckoning with our collective force, because they decided one afternoon to take us to see a movie.

Off we went...and yes, the car was totally rockin' the wood paneling. This was the 1980s, after all...
The film of choice was, you've probably gathered by now, Sleeping Beauty. You know, that old Disney film where Jessica Simpson falls asleep and some guy who looks like a brunette version of Vanilla Ice comes along and kisses her to wake her up. That dude must have had some seriously awful breath to wake her up after all that time. Come to think of it, after being asleep that long, I can't imagine her mouth tasted like roses either.
Anyway, we got to the theatre, which was one of those crazy multiplexes that showed like six films.
We got in line.
The long line.
Now, as the line crawled toward the box office where our moms would obtain our tickets, there was this dude who would occasionally emerge from the box office and wander along the line, saying "(movie title), sold out. (movie title), sold out."

My memory's a bit foggy, and perhaps he didn't take quite so much glee in his work, but with the forlorn looks and cries of despair that appeared in his wake, whatever he was doing had quite the impact on people. Heads hanging, eyes down, they'd trudge away from the line, looking defeated and totally bummed.

That kind of power is bound to go to someone's head, you know?
I didn't understand the reactions to his announcements, and I really didn't understand his announcements.

So I asked my mom. Apparently "Sold Out" meant all the tickets for a particular show were sold, and anyone without a ticket was out of luck. It would seem there was a finite number of seats in every auditorium, and standing in line was not, in fact, a guarantee of seeing a film. Another childhood illusion ruined, and I wasn't even in kindergarten yet.

It was only a matter of time before The Bringer of Doom and Ticket Denials wandered down the line again, and my friends and I soon joined our line-mates in their forlornness, because he had this to say:
Our moms were not deterred, though. They'd already carted us a half an hour across town in the Glorious Wagon O' Wood Paneling, and they would not be denied their hour and a half of the three of us sitting still and being quiet. No, really. Park us in front of a movie, and we STFU. We were pretty cool that way. We'd be quiet, relatively still, and wouldn't fashion weapons out of barnyard debris. Total win situation for the moms.

They looked at the movie posters along the wall, and...ah ha! A solution presented itself!
This had to be a cute movie, they said to themselves. Or maybe each this point, the three of us had probably been distracted by something shiny and had forgotten all about the movies.

But with a name like Critters, a barnyard in the background, and a clearly sci-fi theme to it (battle? Galactic? Oh! Star Wars!), it was probably something cute and reasonably suitable for us. After all, we watched all kinds of not-made-for-kids movies without batting an eye, so we were already cool with movies that weren't all glitzy animation and singing animals.

"Guess what, kids?" said they. "We're going to see Critters!"

None of us had a clue what this movie was really about, but we loved animals and Star Wars,! The line was endured, the tickets were purchased, and seats were commandeered.
Now, this is where an iPhone would have been handy. One of our moms could have done a quick Google search, checked out the trailer, and perhaps seen that Critters had an alternate movie poster that was not displayed at our particular theatre.

That poster looked a little something like this:
About five minutes into the movie, we started to wonder if we'd perhaps bitten off more than we could chew.
Then it got scary. Blood, guts, hideous creatures doing horrific things and cackling maniacally, and we did what any five year-olds would do in that situation.

We dove behind our seats.
I know, I know. Logically, we could have hidden behind the seats in front of us, but a terrified five year-old doesn't necessarily go through the entire plan of action before implementing it. In fact, I think it was about twenty years before it occurred to me that we could have just ducked behind those seats instead of leaping over our own. I'm a slow learner, gimme a break.

We endured the movie.

And afterward, we went home. And you know what that evening had in common with that afternoon? What common theme connected day to night?

There was no Sleeping Beauty that day, and there sure as shit wasn't any Sleeping Beauty that night.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Marriage, Insomnia, & Psychological Warfare

So I'm married to this guy. As married people often do, we sleep in the same bed. See? Here we are.
Now, I'm an insomniac. Sleep and I are not very close acquaintances. Eddie, however, has no trouble sleeping.
I'm telling you, the man sleeps like the dead.
It annoys the bejeezus out of me. I mean, it's just not fair. We're married. We're supposed to share everything, and I firmly believe we should share the lack of sleep, too. Especially when he throws it in my face by doing horrible things like getting up at crap o' clock...
...and bouncing out of bed like he doesn't know the meaning of the word "tired".
This annoys me. Greatly.
Since I can't defeat insomnia, I have other ways of leveling the playing field. Specifically, by using psychological warfare to screw with his sleep cycle so he can suffer like I do.

My husband also happens to be absurdly ticklish. Over the last nine years, I've conditioned him to fear the approach of my hand...
I'm a cruel, cruel wife, it's true.

With that conditioning, I can begin my evil plan.

I let him juuuuuuust start drifting off to sleep.
Then I throw a little whisper out there, just to mess with him.
But this is a slow, steady process. The mind is worried, but the body is strong, and he drifts off once again.
And I move in for the kill...
And before long...
Repeat until he's afraid to close his eyes.

And I, victorious, go to sleep.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On Popsicles & Diamonds

Every couple has their little stories that they look back on and swoon over. This is one that my husband and I share. Well, he probably looks back and winces, whereas I giggle uncontrollably, but I'd say that averages out to a romantic little swoon, so we'll call it good.

It all started when we met back in 2002.
La la la romance la la la dating la la la. Anyway.

In spite of the fact that it was Seattle, it was an epically hot summer. I mean, it was nuts. Horrifically hot.
Yeah. It was THAT HOT.

And since it doesn't usually get THAT HOT in Seattle, no one has air conditioning. While we were sweltering away one fine afternoon, my lovely boyfriend decided to be a dear and get us some popsicles to try to take the edge off the insane blistering heat.
(note:popsicle image courtesy of, because I can't draw them to save my life)

Now, while it was only a short walk from the freezer to where I sat awaiting the promised treat of tasty frozenness, it was a long enough journey for some gears to start turning in his head.

He saw the popsicle in his hand. He saw my semi-lowcut shirt (which I had the figure to wear at the time...*le sigh*). And he had a thought.
Eddie, darling, this is where it all went wrong. You should have just let that thought go.

But no, he didn't. He reached the chair in which I sat, and he executed his badly-conceived plan...
Now, in order to explain what happened next, I must first explain a few other details.

First, I'm sure you're all aware of the concept of a kneejerk reaction:
Second, in spite of the oppressive heat, I was not wearing my Birkenstocks that day. No, I had been at work that day, and was thus wearing my customary not-slacking-off-in-the-heat footwear:
With those factors in place, and taking into consideration the height of the chair in which I sat compared to Eddie's height, the temperature of the popsicle that had just invaded my cleavage, and Eddie's unprecedented -- and not since repeated -- ability to keep a straight face until just before the attack, and...

...well, certain things were inevitable.
The aftermath, my friends, wasn't pretty.
Funny as all hell, but not pretty.

Eddie recovered, though there was much wincing and swearing.

The following day, in a preplanned and completely unrelated series of events, Eddie and I got engaged.
As I said, these events were unrelated. However, I have been known to make bizarre connections in my brain. I mean, when things happen in certain sequences, it just...makes me wonder.
With our tenth wedding anniversary on the somewhat near horizon, I've been doing some thinking. And I think I might like an anniversary band of sorts. I'm not usually a jewelry kind of girl, know, it might be nice.

So, if the past is any indicator, I know exactly how to get the diamond I want...

(And for the sense of humor impaired, no, I am not advocating domestic violence. This is just a running joke between my husband and me.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

All Hail the Queen: The Day I Crowned Myself Nerd Queen of Okinawa

This is the story all about how, my life got flipped turned---

Wait. Sorry. Let me start again.

This is the story of the day I crowned myself Nerd Queen of Okinawa. It all started back in 2008 when my husband received orders to Okinawa, Japan.
So, after a great deal of hassle and headache, we made it to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Now, upon arrival, we were informed we needed to go to "Island Indoctrination." Basically, it was a military briefing to give us all the information we needed in order to make it through three years on Okinawa without winding up deported, dead, or permanently affixed to the scenery.

If you're familiar with the military life, you probably snickered at the word "briefing". Why? Because it's anything but brief. Briefings last for-fucking-ever. Always. Never fails. And this one?

10 hours.

10. Bloody. Hours.

But that wasn't the worst of it. You see, flying to Japan from the States involves crossing about 7 million time zones, not to mention the International Date Line. This results in a degree of jetlag you simply have to experience to believe (and it's actually worse going back to the States from here, but I digress). Basically, for the first few days, your internal clock looks a little something like this:
And they wanted me to sit through a ten-hour briefing. Let the fun begin.

Being perpetually on time, not to mention having our internal clocks all jacked up, my husband and I were early. Which meant we wound up sitting in the front row.
So much for casually nodding off and getting away with it.

The briefing began, and the boredom set in like a tick burrowing under the skin. Not only did most of our speakers go to the William Shatner School of Public Speaking, and graduate magna cum boring from the Politicians' Academy of Being Interesting, they also went to the University of Graphic Design for the Blind. Either that or the College of Torturing Innocent People by Way of Their Retinas.

And they were armed with PowerPoint.
On, and on, and on, they droned. Reading the PowerPoint slides aloud. Repeating everything multiple times. Harping on stupid crap while glossing over the actual important stuff.
And deeper still burrowed the tick of boredom.
I mean, seriously. There's only so much PowerPoint a girl can take.
It was starting to get ridiculous. I'm not kidding.
And I was starting to get fucking irritated.
My husband knew I was getting annoyed, and he started getting worried I might do something like morph into an alien and decapitate someone. I was seriously thinking about it, but then they served lunch. And by "served" I mean they made us purchase lunch from the enlisted club. Nothing like shitty food at highway robbery prices to make a briefing easier to stomach.

But, at least I'd eaten. So things were more bearable.

Slightly more bearable.
I'm not kidding. This dude was lecturing us about drugs and alcohol and how they're bad. If I'd had a desk, I'd have been getting my forehead acquainted with it.

I started to tune him out. It was my last defense mechanism. I had no choice. It was either that or drop to the floor in a fetal position and start weeping for death. Believe me, that was tempting.

But then the speaker started talking about a drug problem that was especially significant on Okinawa, and with six words, I was jerked back into full awareness:
And somewhere in the deep, dorky recesses of my brain, something sprang to life. For about 7 nanoseconds, I fixated on that word...
...and I couldn't stop myself.
The words echoed through the room.
And...nothing happened. Murmurs of confusion rippled through the crowd.
And I one had a damned clue what I was talking about.
After an awkward moment, I took my seat, and while the speaker cleared his throat to continue his coma-inducing lecture, I silently crowned myself Nerd Queen of Okinawa.
But at least for a few fleeting seconds, I wasn't bored off my ass.