Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Does the boogie man haunt children in winter?

If last winter was a pacifier, it'd be in-side-out by now. That's how bad it sucked.

And I have to tell you. I'm not into it. At all.

Thinking about frigid temperatures, frostbitten fingers and cars un-starting makes me want to poop my pants if only to make my mom hold me. If you thought a firey hell was scary, try freezing it.

Last winter was an anomaly even by North Dakota standards. It was like Mother Nature overheard a "Yo Mama" joke and took it personally. Soon, she was pulling the winter equivalents of driving with a baby in the front seat, losing custody of her kids, shaving her head and dating a guy named Adnan Ghalib. And then she tried to convince me that Joe was the cutest Jonas Brother. Oh hell no.

Mommy's wack.

Last year should be a one time deal, but no one guarantees it won't happen again. And I don't think I can handle another seven-month winter. Not without gaining another 12 pounds. But I shouldn't complain. I'll lose it again... if not from my waist than from all the fingers I freeze off.

You think I'm kidding? Let's recap:

* My vehicle needed a new battery last winter-- no less than 10 months since I'd replaced it the time before.
* I used emergency roadside assistance so many times, my car insurance dropped me.
* More than once, I hiked through a driveway chest-deep snow, just to get to my apartment.
* I spent an hour digging my car out of its snowy coffin at the Fargo airport. With a shovel I packed. In my suitcase.

So you can understand my child-like fear and why I sleep with the lights on and a thumb in my mouth. If the winter of 08/09 was Freddie Krueger, than 09/10 promises scary of "I Still Know What you Did Last Summer" proportions.

Don't let your kids read these blog posts anymore. I don't want to be responsible for their nightmares.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

below freezing

Good morning.

The thermometer reads 30 degrees. Please send thermal earmuffs, wood-burning stoves and probably a furnace or two.

Winter cometh.

And if you're my mom, please send peanut butter balls too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

falling in love

with FALL, ya freak-os...

The weather around here is starting to smell of burnt leaves and apple cider. It makes me wish I had a kid, if only to take it to Vala's Pumkin Patch.

In the fall, patios should came standard with basement apartments.

As a child, when the autumn leaves fell, so did the dollar signs in my parents' checking account. The spending was legit: school tuition, new tennis shoes and the St. Stephen the Martyr craft show.

Pictures like this make me fear the snow, the grey, the death.

But pictures like these tell me the world will blossom again.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

country vs. city attire part II

I never thought t-shirts tucked in vs. tucked out was ever that big o' deal. Who cares, really?

That's because I hail from a land of Catholic schools where administrators removed a student's right to chose what clothing to wear and how to wear it, all in the name of Jesus loves you, but not if your skirt is too short.

Teachers used to give students demerits for unruly acts like untucked attire. The schools enforced it, but many a student with 10 t-shirt violations sat in Saturday school, awaiting the bell wringeth. That's how much they protested the shirt-in rules. Maybe that's why city people refuse, the untucked tails are our everlasting rebellion.

Of all the choices I get to make, though, skim milk or 2%? Black eyeliner or brown? whiskey or beer? ... whether to tuck my shirt in seemed pretty insignificant.

That was, until I moved north.

Here, tucked-in tops are so popular, some stuff sweatshirts into their shorts.

For Cowboy and I, this is a battle we've had before.

I, still of city mind, try to encourage variety. Untucked can be flattering, I try to persuade.

To him, untucked is too frat boy.

To which I say, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Apparently, some wars never end. See part I here.

Me: See, look at me. My shirt isn't untucked. It isn't the end of the world.
Cowboy: City people never tuck in their shirt. They never do, I don't know why.
Me: Well, cuz we're cooler than you. That's why.
CB: Not really. If I didn't tuck in my shirt, the girls wouldn't be able to check out my butt.
Me: Which girls are checking out your butt?
CB: All of them.
Me: All of them who?
CB: (pause) The jealous ones.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

driving to the east

For many people, a 5 a.m. wake-up call isn't too far from ordinary. Maybe they wake at 6 or 7, so while early, 5 a.m. isn't a huge stretch.

As someone who works as many nights as I work days, I'm more likely to bed at 5 a.m., than to wake at said hour.

So to be awake, alert and driving by 6 can be a painful experience, especially when the morning was foggy and the streets unlit. By 7 a.m., however, the sun had risen and the view looked like this.

I don't anticipate waking at 5 every morning, but that day it was worth it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

home furniture shopping

Only in North Dakota can a person sip a cocktail and find used furnishings for purchase as well. The dart board on the left is not for sale at this bar in Ypsilanti, N.D. The armoire on the right, however, it's selling for $175.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday football

Cowboy: I really miss my 46-inch LCD TV right now.
Me: (blank stare)
CB: See, this is how I'm really affected by the flood.
Me: What do you mean?
CB: People who watch their see-every-pore football games, they just don't understand.
Me: Well, would your TV fit at my house?
CB: Maybe. Do you get HD with your cable?
Me: I don't know.


Me: I wonder if they make "Sex and the City" in HD...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

omaha is my home-aha

Every return to the city of my childhood, I feel like I've been gone forever but also like I never left.

Samantha P. and I explored downtown. The weather changes, but that skyline's been the same since circa 2004.

One of the benefits of city living is diversification in cuisine, competition in business and if one store doesn't carry what you want, another is a mile down the road. The problem was, every Office Max, Office Depot, Staples and Bed Bath and Beyond was out of "over-the-cubicle coat racks." And every mom-and-pop cafe was closed for Labor Day breakfast.

One dining destination, however, remained open.

Alpine Inn: better than Nascar and Natty Light. Together.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

chin deep

Differences are more than chin deep.

They’re in our heads too.

I make fun of the silly things country people do and while they’re infrequent, I make fun of silly things city people do too.

But today, I’d like to share with you one of the biggest differences between people from cities and people from no where.

In the city, we learn at an early age to mind our business and not meddle in the lives of others. Sure, we read tabloid headlines and smut magazines as much as anyone else. But we don’t run around telling people how hung over we are and how we just can’t stomach curry like we used to.

But it’s more than that.

In the city, we don’t share the quirks and intricacies about ourselves that we find unflattering.

In the country, everyone knows all that about you. They know you were the pimply-faced kid in high school and they know your parents bought your back-to-school clothes second hand. But there, it doesn’t really matter.

In the country, men ask pregnant women questions like, “So, yer tits hurt yet?” and expect an honest answer.

Women berate their husbands in public and sometimes, they even play darts with their butts.

So, in the few months I’ve known Cowboy, I’ve tried to push his limits. How many relationships have you been in? Why didn’t they work out? What didn’t you like about them? What are your life’s ambitions? Why haven’t you conquered them yet? What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you think about religion? Who did you vote for? How do you feel about “Jon and Kate + 8?”

And he’s answered them. No hesitation. No sugar coating. Take it how you want, he practically says. This is who I am.

If I don’t like it, it’s better to know now right? I just find that so liberating.

Country people don’t limit their openness to pals, partners and girlfriends/boyfriends either. They share these facts... with CO-WORKERS. Letting the world AND your place of business know who you are, where you came from and not feeling ashamed... Laz-y Boys can’t rival that level of comfort.

So tomorrow I'm going to walk into work, announce my most recent bowel movement, and watch as my co-workers sigh in adoration. Can you handle that, rocking chair? Can you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oma-holla back

When I return to Omaha, one of the first meals I consume will be at Alpine Inn, a bar-atmosphered restaurant in the north part of town where the loan entree on the menu is fried chicken.

There, dinner comes in a cardboard carton and napkins are dispensed from paper towel rolls. Coke comes in cans, checks are hand-written and patrons seat themselves.

"It's red neck heaven," as Jim D. put it. "Better than Nascar and Natural Light put together."

At Alpine Inn, people eat the chicken and feral cats eat the bones. Diners catch the action from the windows and even take pictures when the raccoons arrive.

This is why you can't take country people there. It seems like a a country person's city refuge, but be ye not so naive.

Country people wouldn't shoot the raccoons with their cameras, they'd straight up shoot them with their rifles.

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