A Fish Called Zelda

We took Zelda to Minnehaha Dog Park this weekend, which covers 6.5 acres of trails along the Mississippi and is basically doggie heaven. In addition to perennial classics like tush sniffing and stick chasing, they get to slosh around in the river. Which is a huge deal, if you are a puppy. Zelda, Puppiest of Them All, couldn’t decide whether she wanted to run, jump, roll, slide, sloosh, sploosh, or swim. In the end she pretty much settled on zooming around in circles and trying to make friends with everyone, both man and beast.

People were mostly strolling along around us at a leisurely speed so their dogs could play, but suddenly a woman ran by yelling, “DUKE! DUKE! OVER HERE! HEEEEEEEEEEEERE!” Everyone sort of paused to look in the direction toward which she was flailing all of her body parts, only to see her dog calmly swimming down the middle of the Mississippi River.

WHAT.

By the time I processed the information that a hundred pound dog was in front of me trying to reenact The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he had already passed us. Because the Mississippi has a strong current. Because it is a large river. Nothing should be swimming down the middle of a large river unless it is made of fish or boat. I’m no science expert, but dogs are typically made of neither. Not a good idea, dog!

Duke’s owner was running to keep up with him, and soon we couldn’t even hear her anymore. Someone behind us said, “What if he ends up across the river?” and someone else said, “What if he doesn’t?” I squirmed thinking about worst case scenarios. Obviously no one was going to let anything like that happen. But no one seemed able to figure out how to help them.

So then, just because the situation was starting to feel a little dull, a barge rounded the corner right above us. At the same time, three speedboats started coming up from the other direction, about a quarter-mile down the river. I’m pretty sure everyone standing on the beach instantly had the same thought–”Oh god, what is going to happen to this dog?” We couldn’t tell if any of the boats were close enough to Duke or his owner to communicate with them, or close enough to each other to figure out some kind of strategy.

After ten minutes of waiting for something to happen, a megaphone on the barge switched on and said (to the speedboats, presumably), “UM, CAN SOMEONE PICK UP THAT DOG? WE’LL JUST WAIT.”

Unexpected barge heroism!

It took the speedboat people another 20 minutes to scoop the poor pooch out of the drink, and one of them got a tooth-shaped hole in the hand for his trouble.  But they dropped him off and were soon on their merry way, almost no harm done. They get, like, triple points in my book– yanking a soaking wet, huge, exhausted, dog into a boat is not high on Dena’s List of Most Excellent Fun Times.

By the time we made our slow, zig-Zelda way down the riverbank, everything had calmed down and the crowd had dispersed, but the woman and her dog were still resting. I stopped and asked how Duke was doing and she said, “He’s totally fine, but he’s not my dog. I’m dog sitting!”

She told us his owners said he loves the dog park and it would be fun to take him, but they neglected to mention that he also loves to swim. When Mr. Speedboat brought him back, he gave her a long lecture on how throwing balls too far into the water is dangerous and she should be more careful. She just said, “We didn’t bring a ball.”

When the Gentleman Caller and I got home, we practiced “Come!” with Zelda for a very, very long time.

Posted in The Usual | 1 Comment

You’re The Rocket Man

I’m sitting in the lobby of a fancy hotel in the ‘burbs on break from my department’s semi-annual sales meeting. The sales team flies in from all over the country, while everyone from my office drives six blocks down the road, for three days of bro-tastic adventure. Nothing but power points, plaques, cheesy inspirational quotes, and so many high fives.

Also, dick jokes. Can’t forget the dick jokes.

It’s my first time at this meeting, and it shows. Most people have attended for ten years or more and they’re way more comfortable in this environment than I am. Two people are in Hawaiian shirts and one guy is in an entire white linen outfit (Arizona represent!). Four people (who, it must be stressed, I had never met) have hugged me. At one point I ventured out from under the protective wing of my boss to talk to some fun looking young people, only to retreat in silent terror when I discovered they were discussing the effectiveness of drinking warm cough syrup to increase the chance of pregnancy.

The original theme of the gathering, “Put A Rocket Up Your Sales Team“, while catchy, wasn’t super corporate friendly. So a last-minute change watered it down to “Let’s Rocket Up Our Sales Team”– which still didn’t stop jokes about the props getting confiscated at the airport.

We’re halfway through and I’m having a great time. I’ve finally met all the people I’ve been rudely chastising via email for the past year, and it’s exciting to awkwardly converse with them face-to-face rather than online. If they didn’t remember me before, they’ll sure as hell remember me now.

Oh, you’re Dena! It’s nice to meet you!”

“Yep, I’m the one who’s been cyber stalking you. You’re way younger than I thought you’d be, but it’s nice to meet you anyway.”

Networking is fun!

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If You Want To Make An Omelet. .

Snail mail at my job is pretty minimal; we rarely receive anything but paperwork. So when a co-worker dropped a large box off at my cube today, I knew it could only mean one thing– my stalker had struck again. And that means chickens. Lots and lots of chickens.

When I worked downtown I had a the “Extraordinary Chickens” calendar pinned on my cube wall. It’s filled with (spoiler alert) ornate portraits of chickens, and held a certain inexplicable fascination for the office population. People would detour past my desk on the first of the month just to check out and discuss each new bird in detail. They sure loved those chickens. I was a VIP, man.

At some point it was decided the calendar meant I was Official Keeper of the Chickens, because I started receiving anonymous pictures of fancy fowl in the inter-office mail. Sometimes they were shiny chickens cut out of magazines, sometimes they were special occasion chickens on greeting cards, and every so often I’d receive an actual physical representation of a chicken (my boss was very clear that if any live chickens appeared, we would have a problem). On my birthday I found chickens taped all over my desk, stuck into random files, and hidden in drawers. I was still finding them for months afterward.

Naturally, the Chicken of the Month Club was very intrigued. We were on high alert for a chicken drop and when anything surfaced a crowd of excited bird watchers would form around my desk to discuss possible clues. Who was that masked man, anyway?!

Unlike everyone else, I wasn’t super interested in uncovering the identity of my Secret Birdmirer(s). The whole thing was too hilarious. The person buying poultry magazines and doing art projects for was clearly way into this game, which made me way into it, so why would I want to win when I could keep playing?

The chicken incidents eventually slowed down. Maybe because the original rate of delivery was unsustainable, or maybe because how many professional photos of chickens can possibly exist? I’d still get a tickler every few months, something to remind me not to forget the Secret Birdmirer who clearly had not forgotten me. The chickens even followed me when I moved to a different office about year ago. They still take me, and my new co-workers, completely by surprise each and every time.

Which brings us back to today, and the big mystery box sitting at my desk. Even though I hadn’t gotten any chicken stuff in a while and couldn’t have told you exactly what would be inside it, I was still pretty suspicious. I mean, what else could it possibly be?

This is what I found inside.

Secret Birdmirer, you are the best stalker ever. (Also, please don’t murder me.)

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The Great Email Meltdown of 2013 – Reporting Live!

This morning a high level executive at my company sent an email out to everyone in his division, which totals around 10,000 employees (we are teeny ants in a giant maze of corporate anthills). It was basically a short, informative, feel good message updating and thanking people for their efforts on a few different initiatives.

No one thought anything of it until some rube in a cube hit reply to all, asking everyone in the omniverse why he was on this mailing list. And thus began our inevitable slide into Armageddon. The first thirty or so responses were the usual argle bargles requesting to be removed also, please, and have a great day! or hollering impotently, “PLEASE STOP REPLYING TO ALL!!1!” After receiving another dozen, people drunk on the pure adrenaline rush of opening emails started getting cocky. A few of the more interesting responses included:

“Is the reply to all train kinda like the crazy train? Bazinga!” 

“When someone yells ‘STOP’, I never know if it’s in the name of love, it’s Hammertime, or I should collaborate and listen.”

“Let us all remember that we put on our big boy and girl pants on today. This is really an annoyance to those whom are actually trying to do their job.”

“What isn’t this?”

 “Since we are all gathered together, I have to ask…has anyone seen my car keys? I have seemed to have misplaced them…”

“7 weeks til 49ers football season!”

“NSA secrets are buried somewhere in this email chain….”

“Man, this is BULLSHIT! I don’t have time for this crap. I get one more email, and I am forwarding on to Upper management, and making a corporate complaint! STOP!”

And my personal favorite,

“I AM IN ST. LOUIS, MO AND HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT.”

Eventually the emails trailed off, the entire office stopped chuckling and everyone managed to get some work done. Until another inevitable Real American Hero couldn’t control his razor-sharp wit. “Thanks for quitting responding to all, everyone.” And you keep fucking that chicken, sir.

Instant pandemonium in the streets once again. At one point the executive assistant of the original sender responded back to everyone with a curt, “You were ALL supposed to receive this email. Thank you.” But her voice was drowned out by the collective screeching of the mob.

Somehow, despite the turbulent cloud of excrement hurtling through the company servers, my manager managed to get a note out to the three of us who report up to her. “In case any of you didn’t realize it’s not a good idea to get involved in this, it’s not a good idea to get involved in this.” I almost responded back, “PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM THIS MAILING LIST, THANK YOU,” but kind of figured it was too soon.

It’s almost comforting that out of the 10,000 employees on that message, only about 150 (that’s just 1.5%!) are completely bonkers. Some days it feels like that number is much, much higher.

UPDATE, 3:50pm: It appears that the screamy, sweary guy (see above) freaked people out enough to stop the flirty responses. Emails are still pouring in but have returned to the basic “please remove me” template.

UPDATE, 8:57am next day: The golden age has passed. All I have to report is the somewhat disappointing, “I’m not even the right Megan!” Why can’t you be more like the other Megan, Megan?

Posted in The Usual | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Legend of Zelda

Well hello there, internet!

I bet you thought I’d abandoned you. But there was no reason to fret, for when the hour was darkest and you thought you’d be blogless forever, work got boring and so I have returned.

Since we last parted ways that whole house thing happened and was crazy for a while, and then became less crazy again. In brief, we packed, we moved, we unpacked. We shopped. We cleaned. The Gentleman Caller filled the garage with all sorts of outdoorsy, dangerous looking contraptions that require all sorts of additional outdoorsy, dangerous looking contraptions to make them work. I found a place to set up all my action figures. We drilled and painted and got real cozy with the entire staff of Home Depot. They’re adorable over there.

And then we were settled in! Or were we?

A few weeks ago we had a case of the midweek shpilkes and ended up going to the Animal Humane Society to look at puppies. And when I say look at, I mean we came home with one because of course.  

This is Zelda. She’s only four months old and is already a total smart ass. It’s awesome.

Zelda, Twilight Princess

She zooms around the house after a toy that’s still her favorite even though she already ripped all its legs off, tries to eat frogs, sleeps with her tongue hanging out and is so gassy we may have to change her name from Twilight Princess to Wind Waker.

Zelda, Destroyer of Chew Toys

She bravely defends us from the villainy of rawhide bones.

And laughs at all Jon Stewart’s best jokes with us.

She prefers Colbert

People keep asking us if we named her after “the character in that Great Gatsby movie.” First, there is no such character in The Great Gatsby, movie or otherwise. You refer, perhaps, to the author’s wife, who was made of real live human meats and probably has real live human legacy that doesn’t need to include a dog. Second, do we seem like the kind of people who would name a member of our family after a character in a movie? It is clearly a video game reference, you square.

Right now the three of us are getting to know each other and dealing with that whole pooping on the floor situation (the Gentleman Caller is a total poop rock star, by the way) (dubious compliment). But pretty soon it’s going to be all walks and games and ocarinas and I cannot wait.

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Old World, New World

Last week was my birthday. Not a particularly important one so we didn’t go in for anything fancy, just a delicious dinner and an early turn in. The perfect evening for a couple of Olds.

Also, the Gentleman Caller can melt ice and butter and large blocks of chocolate and my tear ducts with the power of his amazing gift giving. He gives good gift.

For the five years I’ve carted my record player around from apartment to apartment, it hasn’t worked. It just sits cold and dead in the corner, uselessly taking up space. This particular record player is a hi-fi from the 1950′s, about eight feet long, three and a half feet tall and weighing in at 350 pounds or more. So that’s, you know, humongous. And it’s just the turntable and speakers. That’s it–no drawers, no storage, nothing. It is a poetic monument to human inefficiency, and also my very most favorite piece of furniture. I’m not giving up on this thing.

Obviously, our inability to play records cramps my flawless hipster style. How am I supposed to experience all the intricate drama of the Original Cast Recording of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat using an iPod? Duh, I cannot.

So I asked the Gentleman Caller to resurrect the hi-fi, somehow, as my birthday gift. He used Boy Magic and screwdrivers to take the turntable out of its nest and brought it to a vintage music store, where they used Boy Magic and screwdrivers to give it a facelift and a hug (I’m fuzzy on the details).

It was ready just in time, and I came home from work on my birthday to this, all through the house, sounding exactly how accordions, trumpets and sepia-toned voices deserve to sound:

Best birthday ever.

Posted in Deeper Than Whale Shit, The Usual | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Housening

Please excuse the long silence, friends. I was on blogstrike until the day I could post and finally be done with some conclusive house news. That day is this day!

Many long months ago, in autumn of the Year of Their Lord: 2012, I wrote a little ditty about a little house on a little street that was just waiting around for someone to take it somewhere warm and nice and cuddle it forever. You remember, no?

Well, forget that house. That house was garbage.

What happened? After we waited around for one million days, the stupid bank tried to stupidly demand all manner of stupid nonsense from us, so we told them to blow it out their stupid bank hole. And thus we began the search all over again, and the Gentleman Caller drowned the world in his beardy tears, and it was just the goddamned dumps.

After many fascinating exploits (no), our broken hearts dared to love again. We found a house that was more best, in the category of All. We viewed it eight hours after it came on the market Wednesday morning. By the time we threw our hat in the ring at noon on Friday, we were up against four other buyers. Come at me, bro.

Suddenly, BOOM, we win at houses! Nes Gadol Haya Sham.

We are officially Future Homeowners of the Republic. The seller’s only request is that her monster of a moldy swing set goes with her. Knock yourself out, lady. This is called “negotiating”!

Now it’s down to sorting out the details. Closing is March 22nd and we will have a week to move at a relaxing, leisurely pace before our apartment lease is up. LOLOL we’ll wait until the last second to pretend to pack and then spend twelve hours zigzagging the city wanting to punch each other in the face, because that’s what grown-ups do.

The house is more beautiful than anything a couple of nebbishes like us deserve. It’s stately and classy and elegant; an extensive collection of sweatpants is exactly what it needs to round it out. Also, access to the upstairs balcony is through an oddly tiny door in the bathroom, of all places. This is called “charm”!

There is nothing we would change. We love everything about it, it is perfect. We may ditch the midget door.

Also, it’s in a great neighborhood– full of funky restaurants, bookstores and vintage shops ripe for the plundering. Down the street is the place where this happened, and there’s a pub around the corner that lets you play old school NES while waiting for your sammich.

Sadly, exploring and plundering are for people who haven’t just bought a building. The Gentleman Caller and I shall be limited to adventures of the domestic variety for a long, long while. Tales of Captain Netflix! Voyage of the H.M.S. Ramen! Masterpieces of the Great Paint Rollers of the 21st Century! We will be broke, that is what I am saying.

To donate furniture or Thin Mints to the Future Homeowners of the Republic, respond in the comments!

    

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