The Hellhole

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This evening, we are watching The Big Bang Theory, a series I find most amusing and entertaining.  If you don't know, four of the protagonists are a theoretical physicist, a particle physicist, an astrophysicist and an aerospace engineer.  So - geeks.  Nerds.  Serious nerds.  Nerds with a capital N-E-R-D.  It happens that one of this evening's episodes finds the Extreme Nerds in their favorite comic book store.

I'm watching and I see something in the background staging, and I shriek, "Alan!  Look!  There on the shelf!  It's The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman!"

Alan, bored, "Yes, honey, I see."

"I OWN that comic!  I have all The Sandman!  [Sandmen?!?  Sandmans?!? ] Anyway, I own that!  That's volume two!"

"Yes, honey.  You've told me."

"You don't understand!  I own the original 1991 graphics, I own the 1995 paperback collective and the 1999 hardcover!  I TOTALLY own those comic books!  All of them!  Including that exact one on the wall!"

Alan:  "Yes, dear.  You realize you just totally outed yourself as a bigger geek than any of the geeks on the show, which is a show that stereotypes geeks in massive hyperbole, and you have just proved you're a bigger geek in real life than anything CBS could imagine in fiction."

Me:  (muttering)  "Whatever.  I still own all the Sandmans.  And two DC limited edition action figures."

Alan:  [facepalm]

Hell yeah it's mint-in-box.  That's how we roll in The Shire.

Monday, April 07, 2014

I want to tell you guys about this thing Alan and I have been doing.  We signed up with Graze and every other week, we get a box of nutritious, healthy snacks (sweet and savory) for only six bucks.  And it's $6 total, not $6 for the box plus $12 shipping and handling - six bucks period.  Once you sign up, you go through their list of available snack items and rate them:  trash (never send this), try, like and love.  For example, we both hate shaved coconut (the texture, not the taste) so all the dried fruit items that featured shaved coconut got a "trash" from us.  Then once a thing has been sent to you, you can go on their site and change the rating based on how you liked it in reality vs. in theory.  There isn't a quota, like you have to sign on for 6 months minimum or anything - you can participate for as many or as few deliveries as you like.

So far, it's been totally yum-tastic.  We've had black pepper cashews, chili-lime pistachios, spicy "fire" pepitas/sunflower seeds, soy-roasted pepitas/sunflower seeds, banana shortbread with caramel dipping sauce, soy puffs with Thai chili dipping sauce, tomato-basil breadsticks, garlic crostini, basil/oregano almonds  - it's just a few mouthfuls of each (because hey, it's six bucks for a box of four different snacks) but it's so tasty!  We have enjoyed everything we've been sent thus far.  Besides the fact that the snacks are delectably enjoyable, a big part of the fun is the surprise: not knowing which things they will select for you this time, and sampling each new item.

We are really enjoying our Graze boxes - you should try it!  If you want to sign up, you can use my friend code and the 1st and 5th boxes are free:  HELLYB7WP.  I is not a paid spokesblogger for Graze and I receive nothing for this post - it's just healthy, nomtastic, fun. inexpensive, we're greatly enjoying it and I want to share!

Alan says:  Delicious snacks and well worth the nominal cost.  I wish we could get a Graze box every day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nearly every night as we eat dinner, Alan and I watch Jeopardy!.  We like the intellectual aspect and also, we have very different areas of knowledge.  I have a classical education so anything Latin, Greek, literary or religious is fair game, but I didn't even know there WAS an Azerbaijan until Alan answered it in a geography category, much less what it bordered and whether or not there were ports.  Yes, as it turns out; it's bordered on one side by the Caspian Sea.  Who knew?  Well, Alan, not my fat Irish ass.  He's also better at world leaders, cabinet members and military things, like names of aircraft and ships and destroyers and stuff.  We are hit and miss on pop culture, because some things we're really into and others, we've barely heard of, much less seen/heard.

So tonight, although not technically this evening's Jeopardy! - we DVR it and watch from one to several days behind - the final was (I think) a real toughie.  It was a triple stumper for the contestants.  I am certain that I would not have thought of it if I were on the show; my first few ideas yielded nothing and I'm sure if I were standing there, I'd have thought that too much "think music" had gone by and there was no chance of me getting the correct answer or having time to write it down, so I'd have given up but at home I kept thinking and I got it!  I totally got it! 

The question was: Nickname shared by George Armstrong Custer, Native American Chief Crazy Horse and a member of a 1930s comedy team.

The first thing I thought of was the Marx Brothers, but I couldn't figure out why an American general of the late 1800s, much less a Native American chief, would be nicknamed Groucho, Harpo, Gummo, or...Hippo, or whatever the other ones were (Chico and Zeppo, it seems - no Hippo after all, what a pity).  Then I thought of George Burns and Gracie Allen, but Burns and Allen were their names, not nicknames, and really?  Who would call Crazy Horse "Gracie?"  That's just...uh, crazy.

I dismissed the Keystone Cops - did any of them have names, or nicknames, anyway?  I just remember random bunches of Keystone Cops.

I didn't even think of Laurel and Hardy, which I should have because, although the wrong answer to the Final Jeopardy, Oliver Hardy was born in Harlem, Georgia, not far from us.  We pass the Laurel and Hardy Museum when we go to visit Alan's parents.

Then I thought of the Three Stooges, whom I enjoyed each afternoon after elementary school thanks to TBS.  Larry, Moe and CURLY!  CURLY!  I remembered something about Custer's lovely blond hair, and though I couldn't imagine an American Indian chief with curly locks, it was the only thing I could imagine that would fit.

"CURLY!" I exclaimed suddenly to Alan.  "It has to be Curly!"  Because nobody would call Crazy Horse 'Gummo' to his face and live to tell about it.

Now, I totally allow it makes no sense because when have you ever seen a Native American with curly hair? - but it has to be!  CURLY!

And it was.  It totally was.  I was right.

I shall be milking this Final Jeopardy victory for the next several months.

I keep popping into the study and telling Alan, "Curly!" - because I got Curly.  Out of nowhere.  From nothin'.

He sighs patiently.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Secret Identities

A couple of weeks ago we were at Target to buy some things such as puppy treats, trail mix, wintergreen LifeSavers (you know, necessities) and more black socks for me.  I have quite a lot of black socks but then they start to disappear and even though we do laundry with some frequency and regularity, I often find myself in a dearth of black socks.  But that's not the point.  The point is Minecraft, which Alan plays and enjoys, and so my eye was caught by this cool Minecraft t-shirt in the mens' department, which I purchased for Alan.

On the same shelves as the Minecraft shirts were a plethora of DC Comics heroes:  Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel...I wanted one.  I chose Green Lantern, which was less from a particular superhero affinity than because I have red hair so green looks good on me.

Yep: comics geek and fashionista, all in one.

Imagine my surprise when, after only two or three "after work/evening lounge-around-the-house" wearings, my Green Lantern t-shirt that I must have paid at least EIGHT WHOLE DOLLARS for began to leech green dye upon my person and my undergarments.

Here's the weird part: even though the green dye showed no signs of wanting to remain on the cotton of the t-shirt, it won't come off of me!  It's mainly along my sides, on the insides of my arms and (until a vigorous laundering with much OxyClean) all over my favorite bra.  But despite me taking baths with soap and everything many times in the interim, I'm still, well, sort of green.

Alan does not believe that my secret identity is Green Lantern; he thinks I'm turning into The Hulk.  Which makes absolutely no sense because as everyone knows, The Hulk is Marvel, not DC Comics.

If you know me personally, you know I like to make up alternate lyrics to songs, a la Weird Al.  I have songs for the pets, I often sing along to whatever task I'm performing, and this was no exception.  Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, 1980, when The Vapors had a #1 hit with "I Think I'm Turning Japanese".  For a while now, I've been singing to Alan, "I think I'm turning lantern green I think I'm turning lantern green I really THINK SO!"

Then today, I started getting all these emails from Facebook that many people had accepted my friend requests.  The difficulty is that I'm not on Facebook.  (Yes, I'm the one.)  Then Facebook started emailing me trying to confirm my identity because I was, not surprisingly, having trouble with my Facebook notifications since I hadn't actually joined and someone else had put in my email address when he set up his account.  At first I simply thought, "Oh, someone's made an error," and deleted the emails, but then when Facebook started demanding that I send photocopies of a government-issued ID, I started to worry about scams.  I emailed Alan, a Facebook user, to apprise him of the happenings and ask if I should be worried.

By this point I knew the Facebook user's name - first name Helly, but a different last name that was clearly ethnically Indian, as were all of the friends accepting his offer of friendship.  Then Alan looked up the Facebook page and emailed me, "On Facebook it seems that you're a man and you love motorcycles because your profile picture is a motorcycle. It's a BMW bike, so you still have good taste."

I wrote back, "So the truth emerges, after this many years of marriage.  When I'm not out, busy being Green Lantern, I'm a motorcycle-loving Indian dude.  Sorry you had to find out this way."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sticker Shock

On Saturday we went grocery shopping, as we normally do each Saturday.  I had a vague sense that our bill was higher than normal, but I'd purchased wine, which I usually buy at the warehouse club at a cheaper price; however, there was nothing else we needed from the warehouse store this week, so I just got the wine at Publix.  I figured that was the cause, though I didn't give it much thought or analysis - just, 'oh, yeah, it's probably the wine'.

Once we got home and put our purchases away, Alan tossed the receipt onto the counter.  Later in the afternoon, he happened to glance at it, and much to our shock and surprise, we had spent OVER TWENTY DOLLARS on pineapple!  Seriously.  Pineapple. Not prime rib or foie gras or truffles - pineapple.  Each week, we buy a container of cut watermelon, or pineapple, or one of each.  We eat a lot of fruit - heck, I had to buy a second lead-crystal Waterford fruit bowl because one couldn't contain a week's worth of our fruit.

Keep in mind this is after Alan has eaten three days' worth of apples; I prefer the clementines.

It never occurred to us to look at the price, the way we do when buying meats.

We often buy meat in bulk at the warehouse store, or decide which cuts to buy based on what's on sale, but it never in a million years crossed my mind that this dish of pineapple would be more than three or four bucks, that I even needed to check.  It was a regular sized container, too, not a fifty-gallon drum of pineapple.

See?  It's the larger sized container, yes, but $10.68?!?  And we bought two.  Sheesh.  Every time I've seen him eating a piece, I have mock-admonished Alan that he really really needed to enjoy that pineapple nom, or he's commented that he is savoring every morsel of his delicious fruit.
This was a photo I took a few weeks ago before The Pineapple Realization, just because I thought it was funny that we needed two fruit bowls for just the two of us, and also the apples were pretty.

Both lead-crystal fruit bowls were purchased from Macy's.  Y'know, in case Macy's appreciates product placement and wants to give me another one.  Because obviously we're going to need more of these bowls and less of the plastic refrigerated containers, and at this point Waterford crystal is cheaper than pineapple.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Back when we visited his family at Christmas, Alan's mom wasn't sure the family would be able to come up for his birthday party so she gave me a gift from her (them) to give him at the party:  her grandfather's, so Alan's great-grandfather's, gold stick-pin with a diamond at the tip.  I hid it in my purse and lied to Alan about what we'd been discussing, and once home I hid the stick-pin in one of the drawers in my jewelry armoire.

Then one evening when he was at class, I retrieved the diamond stick-pin, found a box, got out my wrapping paper and supplies, and crafted a lovely box with a fancy bow.  Then, I hid it.  I don't know why, or what twisted ganglia of my warped brain dictated that I must hide the wrapped gift - it's not like he was going to go scouting the house like a 9-year-old searching for Santa's stash; even if he'd seen the wrapped present it's not like he'd have instantly known, "Oh! It's my great-grandfather's diamond stick-pin!" - all that would have happened is that he'd have left it alone until his party, but for whatever reason I thought it needed to be hidden.  So I hid it.

A couple of weeks later, Party Day dawned.  Alan left earlier than I because even though the party didn't start until 5, the bakery where I bought the cake closed at noon.  He and Matt were going to get the cake because I ordered rather a huge cake - it was definitely a two-person job, not a "sit it in the floor of the back and go", and we both have manual transmissions.  We thought the cake would fare better if we picked it up in car with an automatic transmission.  So he left, I was supposed to be getting stuff together, locating supplies and loading my car, which I was, but the most important thing as far as I was concerned was for me to pack the gift box containing the diamond stick-pin.

Except I couldn't find it.

It wasn't anywhere in my jewelry armoire.  Why, OH WHY, hadn't I put it back there?!?  I looked in the three or four most normal (out of the ordinary, but not totally obscure) places I'd usually hide something, and - NOTHING.  I started tearing the house apart, neglecting the party things I was supposed to be doing like loading food from the fridge into my car, collecting tablecloths and personalized napkins and decorations, and assembling plastic wine glasses, instead progressively losing more and more of my shit because I HAD LOST ALAN'S GREAT-GRANDFATHER'S DIAMOND STICK PIN AND I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE THE STATE AND CHANGE MY NAME AND NEVER SEE ALAN AGAIN BECAUSE I COULD NEVER FACE HIS MOM EVER AND IT WAS TERRIBLE AND MY LIFE SUCKS AND I LOST HIS GREAT-GRANDFATHER'S STICK-PIN AND I'M A HORRIBLE PERSON!

Then at 10:34 AM I got a text from one of my BFFs, Anne.  "How goes things today?"  Me:  "Awful. I'll tell you later."  Anne: "Do you need help or anything?"  I told her what was going on, replete with LOTS OF CAPITALS and ex!cla!ma!tion! marks! and she totally talked me down off the ledge.  She calmed me down, told me to go do some other stuff, sit down and drink some water, etc. etc.  She was very calming.

Under Anne's instruction, I did a few things, I puttered about the house, I had a drink of water. Eventually my endeavors led me to my hall closet and Mah Bukkit, in which I keep scissors, ribbons, tape and wrapping accessories.  What else do you think was there???  The gift-wrapped diamond stick-pin!!!  Oh frabjous day!  Callooh!  Callay!  The jewelry of the great-grandfather had been located! I no longer needed to quit the state under an assumed name!

So then I got to the clubhouse with a loaded car and the requisite presents and my friends showed up early to help set up without even being asked, because I have the best friends EVAH! and we had a great party and it was fun!

Friday, February 28, 2014

I haven't updated the blog in some time, but in this instance it's sort of the opposite of writers' block:  instead of being unable to think of anything about which to write, there have been so many interesting and fun things going on that when I sit to try and write about them, I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  Even if I did know where to start, there's so much stuff the post would be too long and I'd never finish, and it's just too much and then I don't write anything.

The big thing occupying my time lately is that Alan had a milestone birthday this year and Tammy and I planned to throw a big bash. It was held at the clubhouse at her subdivision.  Instead of hiring a caterer, I cooked almost everything.  I bought his cake, red velvet with cream cheese frosting (his favorite kind) from the same bakery at which we bought our wedding cakes.  From our favorite pub, we bought chicken wings in three flavors:  standard medium, Thai chili and garlic/parmesan.  Tammy made Brookies (her invention, partly a pun and partly named for her daughter Brooke): a chocolate chip cookie baked inside a brownie, and her famous macaroni and cheese, Alan's favorite food ever. She makes it from scratch, starting with a bechamel sauce, adding cheeses gradually, pouring the resulting sauce over pasta with layers of shredded cheese - heart attack on a plate but it is SO. GOOD.

I made the following: raw veggie platter with ranch dip, fresh cut fruit platter, meatballs in spicy marinara sauce with shaved parmesan for sprinkling, ham and cream cheese roll-ups, chicken and bacon pasta salad, club sandwich roll-ups, meatballs in barbecue sauce, sausage/cheese dip, Key Lime pie (oh, actually I bought that from Publix), Little Smokies in (a different) barbecue sauce, imported cheese platter with assorted crackers, flank steak with soy/ginger/garlic/lime sauce.  For beverages I had water, Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite; beer: pilsner, lager and stout; wine: Riesling and Cabernet.

It was a good turnout; we had just over fifty people.  Alan's and my immediate family were all there, college friends of his from around the state and as far as Alabama came, colleagues, close friends from many and varied sources - it was a great crowd.

I was expecting closer to sixty but there were complications, as always.  One couple had a pipe burst thanks to the cold weather and were stuck at home waiting on a plumber.  One friend told me she might have to work, an unexpected project having come up, but she'd try to make it.  Another friend of mine works for FedEx and even though she's not a driver, FedEx was way behind thanks to the major ice storm so all FedEx employees had to work that Saturday, and she wasn't getting off work until 2 hours after the party started, at a location about an hour away.  So those things, I completely understood.  Still, some people RSVP'd yes and just didn't show, and haven't said anything to me since like, "Oh, sorry but [this] happened." That kind of hurt my feelings, but not in a life-destroying way.

I totally overbought on the food and booze, but that was no surprise to anyone.  I overdo it when Nancy is coming to hang for Girls' Day, or when we're getting together with one other family.  So we all knew I was gonna overdo it, I overdid it and the no-shows really had no impact on how bad I overdid it, because I would have anyway.

Next up:  my way total meltdown freak-out the morning of his party!