Things I Hate

Before I tell you this story, I want to make one thing clear: I have always hated when delis and other eating establishments give their sandwiches or meals “clever” names.

Why, you ask? Because undoubtedly I’m going to want the thing on the menu with the most ridiculous sounding name. In my head, I’m ordering the spinach, brie, and turkey wrap. But on the menu, I’m ordering Laverne’s Dream Wrap. In my head, I want the chicken cutlet sandwich. On the menu, I’m ordering the Cousin Ed.

Awkwardness is unavoidable, and I hate it.

But you know what else is unavoidable? Delis with awkwardly named sandwiches. Or so I’ve learned.

Case-in-point, a certain deli caters our cafeteria. It’s fine. Rumor has it they’re being replaced soon, but none of the employees are supposed to mention it. Lest we spend a couple of weeks choking down spit sammies. But I digress. It’s fine.

EXCEPT FOR ONE THING. All of the wraps and sandwiches have funny names.

And sure, I could list out every ingredient I want in my sandwich just to avoid saying the name, but that’s not efficient. And when there’s a line of people behind me, I’m bound to panic and say something wrong. (THERE’S JUST SO MUCH PRESSURE TO HURRY UP.)

So instead, I’ll do what they want me to do. I’ll order the Samson Swinger. Or Carla’s Favorite.

But here’s where the real trouble begins. Because apparently the deli that caters our cafeteria has no idea what is on their menu.

A few weeks ago a little sign appeared on the counter advertising Karen’s Special. It sounded delicious: turkey, gouda, spinach, sauteed onions, and Russian dressing on a roll. What’s not to like? I noticed the sign when it went up (obviously this must be something new), but didn’t have a chance to try it until, well, today.

As I approached the counter, already dreading having to order some other woman’s special, I bit the bullet and ordered.

And the guy behind the counter stared at me blankly.

“What’s that?” he asked me, as if I was just some chump making up sandwich names.

I gestured at the placard and giggled nervously.

“Um…that.” He looked where I was pointing, but apparently had never noticed the sign before.

That had been there for weeks.

I turned it around to face him and he spent a solid thirty seconds staring at it.

“I don’t know if we have that cheese.”

Um…ok? I’m mean, it’s fine for you not to have every kind of cheese, but then why would you make a special sign for the sandwich you cannot make?

“Oh…that’s fine. Provolone is fine.”

He and the other cook conferred for a minute about the ingredients. They both looked stumped. They both gave me weird looks. Like I had made this weird! Like I had somehow tricked them by smuggling in my own sandwich sign when they weren’t looking.

“Really, provolone is fine!” I chirped, eyeing the line behind me uneasily. They both shrugged, made the sandwich. I took it, paid, and fled.

I mean, the sandwich was delicious. So it’s not all bad. But I’ll probably never order it again. Because lunch should not be that stressful.

And, you know, they’re getting replaced soon.

So I’m just going to say this fast to get it over with. I’d honestly rather not talk about it at all because it just SUCKS, but since I opened the door yesterday, I feel obligated to give you all some closure.

We won’t be getting a dog for at least another ten months.

Ugh.

It turns out that when we signed our lease that said we could get a small pet and paid more of a deposit, what it MEANT was that we could get a cat. One cat. And only a cat.

UGH.

So…yeah. That was a super fun landlord conversation yesterday. I may have cried. Today I’m just frustrated. Tomorrow I’m expecting acceptance and maybe optimism or something stupid like that.

Blah.

Thanks again for all your nice words and super helpful advice yesterday. I promise to revisit it all next year.

NEXT YEAR.

Blah.

Well, you guys, I’m a little bummed today.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I would really, really like to get a dog. Joey feels the same. It’s part of what makes us such a great couple. (Ok, a fairly small part…but it doesn’t hurt.)

But we’ve been holding off. Partly because we feel guilty about having a dog at home all day while we’re at work. (I know, I know, everyone does this. People have to work. And since we plan on adopting a shelter dog, isn’t it better that at least they’re in a loving home than in a cement cage somewhere? Trust me, I have played out this inner dialogue more times than I care to share.)

We also take the commitment of a dog pretty seriously, and we want to make sure we have the time to dedicate to training and giving the pup plenty of attention. So even though we would love to get a puppy, we’ve become open to the idea of getting an older dog.

After over a year of going back and forth on the idea, and after a host of job changes (on my part), we’re finally at a place where we’re ready to make the leap into pet parenthood. (Yup, I called it that. You’re taking on a completely dependent life form, so yeah, I think it applies.)

The problem is, we haven’t found the right dog yet.

We came dangerously close to taking home a puppy a few weeks ago. We were with our friends Brett and Heather, when Heather (who is equally as enamored with dogs as we are) casually suggested swinging by a pet store to kill some time.

You know. Just for fun. To look. Nothing serious.

This is known as the point when we should have known better.

After I nearly sprinted into the store, I was immediately drawn to two tiny beagle pups. I made myself do a lap to appreciate every dog (Am I the only one who does this? Dogs are apparently like fine art to me.), but it wasn’t long before I found myself crouched in front of that little glass window.

One of the puppies stood out. She had immediately spotted me and was licking the glass to try to get to my fingers.

I asked if we could play with her. You know. Just for fun. To look. Nothing serious.

This is known as the point where I started playing with fire.

One of the store associates fetched the puppy (see what I did there?) and set us up in a little room with a bench full of toys. After a few minutes of warming up, it’s safe to say my husband and I were in love. (With the dog. I mean, with each other too, but that’s nothing new.)

And just to give you a point of reference as to exactly how tiny she was:

I know it looks like I’m begging for the puppy in this picture, but really I’m having a joy-meltdown because she started licking my fingers. Let me tell you, I am an excitable individual around dogs.

In a matter of minutes, our just-for-fun-to-look-nothing-serious puppy visit turned into Joey and I playing with the numbers, debating names, and figuring out how much work we could take off to train her.

In the end, though, we forced ourselves to step away. Besides the fact that pet stores skeev me out a bit, the puppy was really expensive. To the tune of $1,300. Ahem.

(For the record: A quick internet search when we got home led me to a local breeder who charged a third of the pet store’s price. AND the puppies would be more socialized and we would know where they came from and the list goes on. Don’t even get me started on what we would save by going to a shelter.)

In short, we made the responsible decision. And sometimes being responsible sucks. We’re both still a little heavyhearted about the whole ordeal. (I mean, come on. Look at that face!)

Then earlier this week, family friends of Joey’s parents told him that they were trying to find a home for their 1-and-a-half-year-old boxer/pit mix, Bella. Joey met her first, and she’s a total sweetheart, but as soon as I met her, it was pretty clear she was way too big for our apartment. A hyper beagle-sized dog is one thing; a hyper 50-pound ball of solid muscle is another.

So despite her totally loving disposition, we again made the responsible decision that we weren’t the right people for this dog.

This story could end there and still be a total bummer, but, in true me style, I’m going to take it a step further.

Last night, we decided to swing by an animal shelter to see what our options were there. We scoured every single cage, but we didn’t find anyone that really jumped out at us and headed home dog-less yet again. I mean, there are other shelters we can check, but I’m just feeling a little disheartened.

I’m just…bummed, you guys. I’m one of those people who truly believes life is better with a dog. Both Joey and I always had them growing up, and it’s a little weird to not have a furry little body snuggling with you on the couch after work.

For my pet-owning readers, where did you get your dog/cat/whatever? Do you work full-time? How’s that going? Any advice for me on finding the right dog?

Sorry for this bummer of a post. I’ll work on something more upbeat for tomorrow.

There’s an alarming trend running through the wedding industry.

You’ve probably seen it, and—even worse—you’ve probably been swayed by a pretty inspiration shoot into thinking that it’s not that bad of an idea.

I’m talking about movie-themed weddings. And I’m here to tell you why you should back away from those wand favors and reconsider.

{source}

1. Today’s hottest trends are tomorrow’s fodder for VH1’s I Heart the ‘10s.
It’s one thing to say you want to incorporate timeless, Gothic-style decor into your reception space. It’s a whole other to want “Edward” and “Bella” signs hanging on your chairs at dinner. I’m firmly convinced that movie-themed weddings will be for our generation what feathered bangs and bell-bottom trouser pants were for our parents—quickly outdated and the subject of much mockery by posterity.

Besides, your wedding photos are going to be prominently displayed in your home (and your parents’ and grandparents’ homes) probably forever. Unless you plan to live in a haunted castle or a thatched-roof cottage, movie-themed wedding photos might not exactly match the curtains. (At the very least, be sure to order a few prints in black and white.)

{bridal party source, decor source}

2. Your wedding should be a reflection of you.
“But Justine,” you say, “I love Harry Potter! Harry Potter is me!” No, dear reader. Harry Potter is a fictional (sorry, fans) character that you really enjoy reading about and possibly watching on screen. Harry Potter is a fantasy who lives in a fantasy world you like to escape to now and then. You might wish it was all real, but you also (hopefully) acknowledge that it isn’t.

You know what is real and should be taken seriously? Your marriage. And there’s something about basing the most important relationship of your life on a fairy tale that spells trouble for the future. Besides, if your relationship really is based on the eternal battle between good and evil, the struggle of the people versus an oppressive government regime, or your fiance’s struggle to not drink your blood, you have issues beyond the scope of my advice.

{dress source, cake source, hair source}

3. I’m not sure that means what you think it means.
Yup, I’m dedicating an entire point to one movie: The Hunger Games weddings. Can we just…not? You have read the books right? Then you should know these books are not about romance. They never are, and they never will be. Just trust me that you don’t want to base your wedding day on a story about children murdering children. Something about that is just a turn-off. And I say that as someone who really likes this trilogy.

What you really mean when you say you want a Hunger Games wedding is, “I want a woodsy wedding theme and to wear a side braid.” Just do that. Including a mockingjay monogram on your stationery is just unnecessary. (Unless you’re planning to have your bridal party battle to the death to see who gets the bouquet. In which case, maybe you live in more of a fantasy land than I thought.)

Now, obviously I’m not saying you shouldn’t incorporate the things you and your fiance are passionate about in your wedding. You should. And if one of those things happens to be the latest YA lit craze, by all means, incorporate details into your wedding. (Even some of the examples I showed above can be pretty.)

So, go ahead. Name your tables after the Hogwart’s houses. Decorate your tables with a few black candelabras. But for the love of all that is holy, leave your bow and arrow at home.

Can we talk about something that’s sort of difficult to talk about?

I promise it’s not about my period or something. (Although if you want to talk about that, I’m sure I can come up with something.)(Hmm? No? Okay, moving on.)

I want to talk about getting hit on. Or, I guess, more generally, flirting.

First, why is this such a difficult topic to really discuss? Because admitting that you got hit on is often a cloaked way of saying, “OMG, it’s, like, such a burden to be this beautiful.” Which is a humblebrag way of telling the world you think you are beautiful. Which, in our society, is largely frowned upon. Because it means you are self-centered, stuck-up, and generally shallow. BECAUSE WE SHOULDN’T CARE WHAT WE LOOK LIKE EVER OR THINK WE MIGHT LOOK NICE, YOU GUYS.

Ahem.

Obviously, I have feelings. But the point is, that particular pachyderm is in the room for this whole conversation. And lest one want to be deemed self-centered, stuck-up, and generally shallow, the conversation is usually avoided.

But I kind of want to talk about it, so for the rest of this post, I’m instating a parallel universe where it is not a personality flaw to NOT think that you’re ugly. Okay? We’ll call it Floyd Universe. Welcome to my parallel universe. Welcome to Floyd.

Personally, I love a good hit-on story. I really, truly do. I love when someone is really good at hitting on someone else, and I love when they are really bad at it. (I guess I’m neutral about the people who are just so-so.)

Despite my penchant for a good story, though, I want to talk about the side of things I don’t like.

Getting hit on when you’re entirely unavailable and uninterested is such an awkward experience. On one hand, sure, it’s very nice to be noticed in a positive way, and it’s flattering that someone worked up the gumption to actually do something about their attraction to you. Which is probably why it’s so awkward to have to turn someone down. In general, I try to be friendly but business-like about it. I’m flattered, but I’m married. Sorry I’m not sorry.

The situation is only compounded, though, when you’re not even sure if you’re being hit on. Are you being paranoid? (AND GOD FORBID SELF-CENTERED, STUCK-UP AND GENERALLY SHALLOW FOR EVEN THINKING SOMEONE COULD POSSIBLY LIKE YOU AT ALL?) Or are you being, you know, perceptive?

It’s especially difficult when you’re in a serious, committed relationship. Because, here’s the deal folks: I don’t even think flirting with someone besides that person you’re committed to is appropriate. Flirting is advertising. Why would you advertise something that isn’t for sale?

For me, if I can’t quickly shut something like that down, I end up with an eternally icky feeling about the whole exchange. So if I go on thinking a conversation is innocent, only to find out later that the other person thought otherwise, does that mean I’ve accidentally done something bad?

Side note: There’s a really adorable scene in an episode of Gilmore Girls where Sookie (after marrying Jackson) runs into a guy she knew in cooking school. After catching up, he asks her out. She panics and turns him down, but then she is riddled with guilt that she may have accidentally flirted with him to make this happen. THAT IS HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. And I wish some kind soul had put this clip on YouTube, but I’ve searched and searched and all I can find is this compilation of funny Sookie moments, and at second 3:44, Sookie is just realizing that she flirted and calls herself a whore (it’s actually hilarious to just watch those three seconds):

Anyway.

Obviously this isn’t really as bad as if I were intentionally flirting with other people, but I would rather avoid the icky feeling if possible.

So I guess what I’m asking (because, let’s face it, I know I have attractive readers and just about everyone has been hit on in their lives whether they realized it or not) is how you handle that? Whether you’re in a relationship or not, what is your response to unwelcome advances? Especially if you have no desire to hurt the other person’s feelings?

Actually, especially if you’re not even sure the other person is coming on to you. Because, honestly, there is nothing worse than trying to save someone else hurt feelings, only for them to be like, “Dude, I was just wondering what time it is.” Because then, guess what? YOU’RE SELF-CENTERED, STUCK-UP, AND GENERALLY A SHALLOW IDIOT.

Ugh.

So…what do you do? Just tell yourself that you’re being paranoid and move on? Or pay attention to your instincts (you know, like EVERY other animal on Earth would)?

You are now departing Floyd; population: me.

Renting has a lot of perks. You never have to mow the lawn, rake leaves, shovel snow. You (in theory) don’t have to fix things when they break. (Though in our case, sometimes it just means they NEVER get fixed…cryptic grumble…)

Of course, as any renter knows, it also comes with a lot of…shall we say, downsides.

You know my beef with not being able to paint. (IT WILL BE A BEEF FOREVER.) But lately I find myself staring around the apartment making mental adjustments to other things. Unfortunately, they will have to stay mental because I am not allowed to touch those things (plus, it would be a huge waste when we eventually move on to nicer digs), BUT. The best part of having a blog is that I can imagine it a bit further.

So, without further ado, here are three things I would change about our apartment if I could:

A chalkboard door. {source}
I don’t know why I’ve become obsessed with this idea, but I think if we painted the back of our door with chalkboard paint, it would be the cutest thing ever. It’s already metal, so it’s magnetic, but being able to write out little notes, things to remember, etc. would be so handy. Plus, I think the black door would look really cool in our mostly white room.

Dining room built-in cabinets. {source}
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I would do a smoky grey. Open shelving mixed with closed cabinets to hide the less-inspiring stuff. And it would be perfection.

Open kitchen layout. {source}
Ok, so pretty much nothing I could do to the current apartment would make it look like that, but I love the look of an open kitchen. If I could, I would knock out the (totally useless) wall that turns our kitchen into a cave separate from the living area, instead turning it into a bar/work surface area. Then when I’m cooking, I can still be involved in what’s going on out there. Plus, it would make the whole space feel so much bigger.

Obviously, I have a lot more I could add to this list. (Including a complete overhaul of the bathroom and kitchen.) But those are posts for another time.

To my renting readers: What’s on your short list of “things I wish I could do to this place”? Misery loves company, so tell me about it!