Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Things I Need to Complain About to Someone (Watch This Post Devolve Into Something Quite Different Than What It Was Supposed To Be About)

1. Back in the day, I really loved This American Life. I would inevitably miss the actual airing on the radio and I would check the website compulsively every Monday waiting for the new show to be uploaded so I could listen to it.  Seriously, some of the funniest stories I have ever listened to (the unicorn story in Act One of the "A Little Bit of Knowledge" story will sometimes make me just start laughing when I even think about it and the list of things that had to go wrong for this poor shmuck to make him a suspect of terrorism in Act One of the  "Not What I Meant" episode still makes me simultaneously feel really badly for the guy and snort out loud) are from this show.

So imagine my surprise when I realized earlier this week that I hadn't checked in with TAL since before Thanksgiving.  A very long time. And imagine my dismay when I saw there were only two new episodes. I started listening to one and it was boring. So boring. I turned it off before I was even halfway through.

Somewhere along the line, TAL stopped being stories told by people about things that happened to them in their normal, everyday lives. They started doing investigative reports, sending correspondents overseas to write stories about wars and horrible factory conditions in China, and doing historical analyses of relations between Native Americans and European settlers in Mankato, Minnesota.  Those are important topics and could be done interestingly, but guess what?  I don't tune into This American Life for those things.   I have Fresh Air, All Things Considered, and Tell Me More for that.  I want TAL to give me stories about This American Life - the life you and I lead in all its silliness, misunderstanding, and difficulty.

I have replaced my TAL addiction with an addiction to the podcast The Moth, but I wish I could have them both. (Actually, I have some problems with The Moth, too. It tends to tell a lot of stories about famous people or brushes with famous people and I just want good storytelling from average folks.  But I guess that's what makes storytelling so challenging, right? If all us average folks were good at it, we wouldn't need shows like these.)

2. I've talked about my holiday card rules here before, so I won't rehash it, but I am so, so, so tired of getting cards addressed to Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName.  It is wrong on just about EVERY LEVEL.  He is Dr. HisFirstName HisLastName.  I am Ms (or Mrs. if you absolutely MUST) HerFirstName HerLastName.  This is NOT hard. I have sent out postcards with our new address that make this abundantly clear.
This postcard that was sent to everyone on our holiday card list makes it clear that my name is my name, yes?

I get amused when I get cards from my grandmother with the names wrong, but when it is someone I have had conversations with about not changing my name or someone who was at my wedding (read: should know me better than this bullshit), I get rage-y.  Incredibly rage-y.  The holiday spirit is not with me when I check the mailbox these days.

I want to just get over this, but here's the deal. This is my name. It is my identity. It is incredibly difficult to know that people JUST DON'T CARE.  Blech.

3. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth here because the cat (sweet, darling, pain in the ass cat) chewed through the cord to our tree lights so we couldn't use the cord anymore.  We immediately moved the tree, but then I spent a futile afternoon attempting to track down a strand of clear mini-lights in the greater Madison area to no avail. I found some C3 "clear" lights at our local Ace yesterday, but they are not CLEAR, they are BLUE and I am dismayed and Dr. BB knows it is killing me because it makes our tree look tacky, but I can't justify anymore of a search for clear mini-lights because I have a life and a job and a crazy cat to watch.  *sigh*  (Some people like colored lights at Christmas - I do not.  I have very, very strong opinions on this that Dr. BB knows well. You can like colored lights and I'm sure they look lovely on your tree.  But not on mine.)

Anyway, after tears were shed, I got over it and just made a note in my calendar to look for a strand of clear mini-lights the day after Thanksgiving next year.  This is not a joke. I actually put it in my calendar with reminder alerts for the week after Thanksgiving, just in case I decide that Black Friday is not my deal.  I will suck it up for this year, but you will not be getting any pictures of our tree this year because BLUE LIGHTS.

Oh, and there has been even more wailing and gnashing of teeth trying to find someone to watch Meow CrazyFace when we go see my inlaws for Christmas.  The pet boarding places around here either only take pre-existing clients over the holidays or only take dogs. I finally tracked down a place about a half hour from here, but I'm nervous because I heard a lot of dogs barking when I talked to the lady over the phone and my cat she doesn't like the dogs so much.  I would prefer that one of the many people who answered my ad on SitterCity just come over to our house once a day so my kitty doesn't have to deal with dogs, but the boy is uncomfortable just leaving our house key with a stranger.

I would then like to kick him in the shins because the reason everyone is a stranger is because he won't introduce me to anyone at school and then I feel guilty because he is so much more on the introvert side of the scale than I am and I should be more understanding and then I think that this whole finding someone to watch the cat clusterfuck could be avoided if we would just spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day there and then come right back home and we could leave Zelda home alone for two days, but no he won't let that happen because he wants to spend time with his family and then I think what about my mother and sister spending Christmas all by themselves and how come we never go see my family and then I start crying because I've left them all by themselves year after year and then I realize the whole argument about the pet boarding versus a pet sitter is about an entirely different thing, namely my resentment that we never do anything with my family and then I go eat a dozen cookies and workout compulsively for three hours in a failed attempt to burn off the calories and then I realize that maybe I should just have a talk with my husband about these feelings but I want to avoid any and all confrontation and then I just take a shower, fall down on the couch, and fall asleep with the cat on my lap because everyone knows that when I wake up my problems will somehow have disappeared.

Except they haven't.

Here's a picture of my cat.


  1. My grandparents address things to me this way:

    Mrs. Hisfirstname (Myfirstname) Mylastname-Hislastname

    Punctuation included. It confuses them to no end that I still have the same name that I was born with, and to which they have been addressing things for 32 years.

  2. (And also, I think that splitting family time is incredibly difficult. It causes no end of "heated discussions" in my house. You are not alone.)

  3. I hyphenated and get frustrated with people not acknowledging it, too. For the exact reasons that you do. It also pisses me off when I'm filling online forms and they tell me that a hyphen in my name is an unaccepted special character! Stupid.

    I can not tell you how many times I'm upset about one thing and make a big deal but then it changes and I realize it is all because of something else. I hope you can find someone to care for your cat and also find a way to spend time with your family. Christmas is hard and things are often more challenging than they 'should' be. "The picture is lovely, but the reality never seems to look like it." (Sorry, I'm rambling. I'm sick and my brain is fogged over.)

  4. You seriously do need to air all of this with him!

  5. #1 YES. THIS.

    #2 I can be of no help.

    #3 Yes, talk to Dr. BB. Obviously, it's really bothering you. No, naps don't help...all that much (except they're awesome so take another one). If I had any cookies, I'd offer you one. Man, the holidays are stressful! Luckily, they're nearly over.

  6. I hear you on #2 and #3! I am consistently surprised by the number of people who are offended that I didn't change my last name. And here I was thinking it was up to me! As for #3, hubby and I switch off families from year to year for Christmas dinner for exactly that reason - although it took me about 5 years to get to the breaking point, eep!


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