Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hickory, Dickory, Crap.

I accidentally acquired a chinchilla about 5 years ago when a friend asked me to watch him while she was on vacation and then refused to take him back. He's a cute little guy and we have a symbiotic relationship that is based entirely on me giving him banana chips and craisins and him giving me big puppy eyes that send the message "more craisins please!". Chinchillas are generally pretty solitary dudes and so I thought Mr. Grumps preferred the bachelor life free of chinchilla ladies who, one assumes, will not shut up about how you never clean up your cage (human ladies have also been known to bitch about this). However, recent events seem to indicate that I have misjudged Grump-n-stuff, in his old age he seems to be inviting friends over to party down at his place.

The fact that my crib was a new trendy hang out first became evident a couple of weeks ago when I turned on the kitchen light and *thought* I saw a scurrying in the corner. I chose to deal with this potential situation in the same way I deal with the very slow drain in my bathroom and how bad my hair looks most mornings: ignore it in hopes that it'll go away. No such luck. On the 19th when G and I returned from our preChristmas Christmas celebration we were greeted by a special holiday gift from my apparently very appreciative house guest(s). Mouse turds. On my couch. Now I know that admitting this discovery likely means that none of my human friends will ever come over to my house again but honestly I'm not that troubled by the presence of a mouse (or, heaven forbid, mice) my general feeling is "hell, this beats bugs." Which isn't to say that I want them to feel welcome.

Soon after cleaning the poops off of my furniture G caught sight of the poop maker crawling swiftly up the side of the chinchilla cage. And what was the chinchilla doing while his abode was turned into a jungle gym? Chilling in the corner all nonchalant and "oh, hey little dude, how's it going?" Obviously I had to have a little chat with Grump-a-roonie. I let him hang at my place, rent free I might add, and he goes and invites over a bunch of other rodents to mooch off the free grub? Talk about not earning your banana chips. But once the lecture was over I had to stop stalling and actually confront the mouse situation. We moved the chinchilla cage away from the wall and discovered two things: 1. A huge gap between the floor and the base board known as The Transcontinental Mouse Highway and 2. The world's largest collection of mouse turdlettes. Again, I know everyone now thinks I live in squalor but remember this: I haven't seen a waterbug in over a year.

There was much talk of mousetraps but despite the stirring of mice it was mere nights before Christmas and I was on my way to California for 7 days the next morning. Ultimately I decided that I would rather come home to a mouse infested house then a dead and possibly rotting corpse. Instead we stuffed all of my excess brillo pads into the mouth of the mouse hole, pushed the cage back against the wall and went to brunch.

Special note to Amy: So now you know that I let you come over and feed Grumpzilla while a mouse scurried about. Sorry, I realize this is especially cruel given your painful history of mice infesting your room in college but I couldn't let Grumpers starve so I figured what you didn't know... and look, you lived through it! Don't you feel stronger?

It took less than 12 hours back in the NYC to discover that The Rodent Boom Boom Room was still in operation. As we sat lounging on the couch bemoaning the passing of days spent lounging on the couch the little mouse invader again scaled the chinchilla cage. This time we were on to the bugger. G saw him on top of the cage but did not spy him climbing down and with a cursory review of the covered box that I keep on top of the chinchilla cage (and full of chinchilla food) found a mouse sized hole gnawed into the back corner. Figuring the mouse was trapped I told G to flip the box over so the hole was on top and the mouse was (hopefully) trapped inside (you'll note that despite my lack of mouse shame I am still unwilling to touch the box that the mouse is inside of, this is how I retain my girl status). We stuck a book on top of the hole and I sent G to release his catch out into the cold outside far far away from my house. He had barely gotten down the stairs when I heard the screams.

Apparently up until that morning my boyfriend didn't know that mice could crawl up walls and his little heart (and lazy little feet) wanted to double check that the mouse was in the box before he ventured down the street. So he removed the book from the hole and his curiosity was rewarded with a face full of mouse. Were this a cartoon or a snippet or America's "Funniest" Home Videos here is where we'd cut to the "Mouse: 1 Humans: 0" scoreboard panel. If you, like me, are holding out hope that a mouse can't possibly be brazen or smart enough to climb back upstairs and return to the scene of his capture you would, sadly, be wrong.

So we resorted to traps. I went into the drugstore with the intention of buying some hippy-ass no kill traps but apparently much like organic food and shops selling hipster knick knacks Astoria isn't ready for letting their mice run free. So in an attempt to further alienate myself from everyone I know ("She has mice in her house and she kills them! dirty and evil! let's string 'er up!") I bought your standard "put cheese here and watch mice die a gruesome death" traps. Now, every morning I wake up and steal myself to peak inside of the box in hopes and fear of finding a mouse corpse. But, despite my best efforts, my homicide record is still clean. Of course this means that my house is infested with some super smart race of mice that is untrappable, next thing you know they'll raise an army of waterbugs and I'll be forced to live on the street.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pay It Forward

Long ago in a land known as September Gillian posted the Pay it Forward challenge on her blog and I managed to snag a coveted IOU for Gillian made treats. Then less long ago in November she gave me a shiny tin full of two different kinds of chocolate chip cookies which were so amazing that the next day G and I took them to the zoo and chose to eat roughly 15 cookies each rather than get a real lunch. And then last week I had to get a personal trainer to work off the cookies. And this week it's your chance to get fat.

The first 3 people to comment on this post will receive a Brianna made goodie provided you're willing to submit to the contests rules:

I agree to send something fun, cute, and nice to the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry. In turn, those three will post this information and pick 3 people they want to send something to and so on. Unfortunately, due to postage costs, I can only pay it forward within the United States. If you are interested in participating, be one of the first 3 blog owners to leave a comment!

You have to promise that you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, and then send something to the first three people who comment on your blog so that this continues. When the first three have commented I will email you a request for your shipping address and I will send out something that I hope will make you smile!

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Letter to My Personal Trainer

Hi! I am writing you this letter in hopes that you will find me hilarious and then you'll like me and probably not want to yell at me and/or make comments about how fat I am. This also seems like a good opportunity to warn you about my personal workout quirks. Firstly, you should not take the fact that I joined the Gym and just threw out the term "workout" all casual-like as an indication that I'm a Gym Person. I don't much enjoy feeling the burn or paying for gain with pain or running. I have also noticed that working out has a horrible return on investment. For example on Friday I did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and apparently only burned 235 calories. Do you have any idea how many pieces of pumpkin pie I could eat in 30 minutes?

When you called last week to confirm our appointment I was glad that you were a dude. I had this fear that you'd be a girl exactly my height who weighed 50lbs less then me and who would say things like, "See my thighs? Yours are a lot bigger." I am still hoping that you are gay so that you can occasionally compliment my ass in a totally nonthreatening sort of way.

I am super not interested in being weighed at the gym. I lost 40lbs a few years ago and since then regularly weigh myself at home but I fear using a new scale which could show me as heavier and that could cause me to have a break down here in the gym. I would probably cry and that would probably be embarrassing for both of us so let's just stay away from the scale. I lost my weight through a diet I invented called "I Have a Very Acute Sense of Personal Guilt." Basically I wrote down everything I ate and felt so badly about eating fattening things that I eventually learned to avoid them. I never increased my exercise though I am naturally a "if it's only 3 subways stops away you might as well walk" kind of girl.

Despite all of my stated fears that you will make moo-ing noises at me while I stumble my way through a step routine I don't really think I'm fat. I just think that Gym People have ridiculous standards. Most of my fear of fat stems from the fact that I gained about 10lbs this summer and am having a tortuous time trying to lose it. This has lead to daily hallucinations in which I wake up one morning suddenly so fat that I can't actually fit through the door of my bedroom. On the bright side I don't usually keep food in my bedroom so this could turn into the most effective diet regime ever.

The main problem I have is that I really like food. Have you noticed how delicious it is? Here is a brief list of a few things that I very much wish I was eating right now: salt and vinegar potato chips, won ton soup, Greek yogurt with honey and almonds, pasta with really spicy sausage and broccoli, heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, Ben and Jerry's coffee coffee buzz buzz ice cream, left over thanksgiving stuffing, blue cheese with the black truffle honey that they make at Otto... I could go on. You'll note that I am not eating any of those things right now which is a sign of my incredible self control. If denying yourself food burned calories I would weigh 4 lbs.

I suppose you're going to ask me what my goals are. Gym people probably answer this question with things like "get a six pack!" or "run a marathon" or "work it." Mostly I want to eat more yummy food without getting fat. I would also like to avoid getting older and having some doctor say, "you have a life threatening disease that could have been prevented by doing a few sit ups 3 years ago." I would also like to find a way to see working out as fun. I know other people speak of this mythical feeling that washes over them post workout (perhaps it's in the sweat?) but though I promise I have done plenty of sweating I have never experienced this. I suspect the whole workout high thing is like magic eye posters -- i.e. a vast conspiracy maintained by all of humanity only to make fun of me. Would I like to be stronger, or more toned, or able to leap tall building in a single bound? Of course, but I need to be realistic. I will likely only make it to the gym 3 times in a good week. I will likely only stay for 30-45 minutes. I will likely behave as if this makes me some sort of martyr/hero combo pack.

Can we work together or shall I find the nearest Korean yogurt to drown my sorrows in (only 90 calories!)?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Winner Parade Entry 5: Fight! Fight! Fight!

After some initial eye rolling I have come to love Facebook -- this is mostly due to the iphone application which allows me to while away the minutes I spend waiting for late trains stalking my friends. The great thing to hate about facebook is not how easy it makes for other to stalk me since I generally encourage all citizens of the internet to embrace the fascinating reality that is Brianna but how difficult it is to avoid people whose 5 times a day updates on their latest crush, sandwich topping or bowel movement has you threatening to swear off the internet all together. So I am coy when it comes to approving friend requests because I hate being left with a news feed full of minutia about people I didn't like in person, much less in digital. I am also coy when it comes to hitting "Ignore" because I am a huge wimp who hates to digitally offend people even when they're people I don't much care for. However there are some for whom ignoring is all too sweet.

I received a friend request this morning from someone I was hoping I did not know. In his profile picture he is wearing a prison uniform. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt that this is a Halloween costume and not his mandated wardrobe. His chosen hair style seems a bit harder to explain away. His head is shaved and the part of it that is not disfigured with an unsightly mole (one imagines he was surprised to pull the razor away and find that little genetic gift) is covered with a huge (likely fake) tribal tattoo. I have to admit that were any of my friends to go the extra Halloween mile and pull out the Bic I would think they were awesome. But the difference between all of my friends and this guy is that my friends actually are awesome.

Sadly, I do know this boy -- much more intimately than I care to admit. Be glad I sometimes think of this blog as a confessional. This is a boy I once had the mental retardation to agree to making out with during my senior year of college. This is probably the single most embarrassing hook up in a somewhat lengthy 800 car pile-up of bad dating decisions. I met him at a Frat party (I know.). Obviously I was drunk-ish. Later that night, in a the most poorly executed attempt to get in my pants ever, he told me how he and his brothers were really into "fighting." Not boxing or even "ultimate fighting" which might even be a real sport but just, "fighting". This was listed as a sort of hobby like "ya, my bros and I like to get together on Sundays for a rowdy game of monopoly followed by baking bread and gossiping all night!" Except with fewer descriptive words, "I like to fight." At this point I knew two things 1. I would have to devote the rest of the year to avoiding eye contact in the lunch line and 2. We better do some more kissing before he starts jabbering again and makes things even worse. Luckily, this young man seemed to sense that we just weren't made for each other ("Yeah, I met this girl last night, she mentioned that she likes to eat ice cream. Like that's hobby! I told her to check out fighting. Anyway, total loser.") until one night at least 2 months later when he called me at 3am to see if I wanted to "hang out." I'm not sure why one would even bother with a euphemism for "get it on" during such an obvious booty call -- unless he was actually calling looking for some hard core fightin' action. Either way I giggled and hung up.

While its tempting to approve his friend request in hopes of receiving hilarious status updates about fighting ("Kick to the groin! I am HE MAN!!!") I cannot risk this dude tracking me down for kissing. Or fighting, "Ignore."