Sunday, November 7, 2010

Agility. Grace. Balance.

Three things that I clearly do not possess. 

Have you ever slipped on a patch of ice?  Or watched someone else slip?  I have decided, based on many years of observations and hand-on experiences, that there are two ways to handle such an attack of gravity.  And individuals tend to lean towards one of these two tactics.

The first style is very similar to that of a toddler resisting being dragged to bed early, or that of a peaceful protester being removed by the authorities.  Go Limp. Dead Weight.  You feel yourself falling/slipping/losing control, and simply allow gravity to take over.  The theory is that there is nothing to be done to prevent the fall, therefore you should simply go with the flow, as it were. 

The second style, one I find myself employing in any situation where my feet are no longer solidly on the ground, is the Flail and Panic.  This technique involves wrenching one's body in ways a contortionist would envy and swinging your arms and either leg not on said slippery surface in all directions in a frenzied attempt to not land on one's posterior.  This tends to do more damage than good.  You may not end up on your tuchis, but you will pull every muscle, tear every tendon, and wring every joint involved. 

I only bring this up because it happened to me today. 

Not on some ice outside, but in my own shower. 

Agility.  Grace.  Balance.

Not me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rant of a Rant. or something to that end.

I recently finished reading the book Waiter Rant, based off of the blog Waiter Rant.  I picked it up at the AWESOME Half Price Books we discovered a few months ago.  I had heard of the book before, not paying it much attention.  But when I saw it this time, I felt it was speaking to me.  I mean, I Wait Tables now.  I am a Waitress.  The author and I were in a brotherhood of sorts. (Waiterhood?) There was a big build-up to this book for me. 

I was disappointed.

I've read other books written from blogs (Jen Lancaster's series based on her blog Jennsylvania makes me cackle out loud continuously), but Waiter Rant spent a good portion of it's pages talking about how hard it is to work and try to meet a deadline at the same time, or how no one the author worked with knew what he was going through trying to write a book. I thought I was reading a book about waiting tables.  Hopefully a snarky one, based on the title.  But instead of Waiter Rant, I feel like I got Writer Whine.

He also bitched about having such dreadfully slow nights sometimes so as to only take home a couple of hundred dollars in a shift. 
Excuse Me, but Fuck Off.  Not all wait staff are so lucky as to work in a place where a multiple-hundred dollar evening is even possible, let alone call that a "slow night".

(that's my little Waitress Rant)

I hit a point a few chapters in where I wanted to continue reading with a red pen in hand.  I am a big nerd for proper grammar and spelling; mine may not always be perfect, but I try.  However, when paying money for and consequently spending my time reading a supposedly professionally edited work, I expect proper use of then/than.

(that's my little WordNerd Rant)

His descriptions of the customers were universal (at least from what I've experienced), and at times, hysterical.  So he gets points for that.

I'll probably continue to read the WaiterRant blog, but I won't be buying his next book. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Theory on Human Behavior

I am currently working on a Project.   This Project involves Other People.  I am very firm in my belief that some of these Other People were never properly socialized to the point of being able to work well (or at all) with others.  To the tune of Passive Aggressive Verbal Abuse, Rudeness, and Delusions.

(I'm purposefully being vague.)

I am, however, VERY proud of myself for how I am handling this situation.  (she types as she stuffs her face with Trader Joe's Cheesy Poofs and washes them down with cheap beer in a wine glass.....don't judge me.) 

I took a hiatus from theatre work about 8 or 10 months ago because I was always angry.  Angry about the work, the people, the schedules, the money (or lack thereof), and I am pretty sure it contributed at least partly to the weight struggles I've had, the cholesterol struggles I've had, and general moodiness ( i know... me? moody?  no.....). 

This attitude is something I've tried to be hyper aware of as I tentatively dip my toes once again into the frigid, sometimes violent waters of A Career in Theatre.  And I definitely find myself reacting strongly to being treated so poorly and unprofessionally. This time, though, it's more a fleeting flame of frustration, and then simply amazement.  I've learned that all I can do is shake my head and laugh at how it's the End Of The Universe if that light cue isn't perfect, or All Kittens Will Die if that dress isn't precisely period, or The Entire Show Is Ruined if that picture frame can't be 2 inches smaller. 

Seriously?  I mean, I get it.  We all want to be good at what we do (the best?), and prove that to everyone around us.  But when it really comes down to it, we all get to go home at the end of the night (ok, well, hopefully... this is theatre, afterall, and sometimes you don't get to go home until tomorrow.  but EVENTUALLY, you do get to go home).  Hopefully we are lucky enough to have someone we love to come home to, and something more important in our lives than focusing that light or upholstering that chair. 

I think I've finally learned to let it go.  To walk away from a job well done, or sometimes a job done good enough (no matter what some Other Person might believe in their alternate delusional universe where life begins and ends on that stage). 

Some people may see this as a loss of passion.  I don't think it is.  I think it is more of a gaining of perspective.

My health, my sanity, and my happiness are not dependant on what I do for a living, and are not worth compromising for the next Project.  I will still strive to be great at what I do (be it painting, propping, or waiting tables), but I will walk away smiling about all the great people and things in my life instead of tossing and turning all night over that Project.

I raise that glass of cheap beer in salute to figuring out what is important.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I have joined A Gym.

No, that is not a typo.

And, no, this is not the typical Bride To Be fighting the Battle of The Dress.

I like my body.  I like my shape.   I really like the way I look in the Dress I found.

It's something else.  I have been amazingly stressed lately - as if you haven't noticed...  Moving to a city I'd previously spent a grand total of 6 hours in.  Moving into an apartment in abysmal condition, with landlords who don't care.  Finding a job in that city, then figuring out how to do that job.  Hardly seeing my fiance at all, since he's at school 12 hours most days.  Trying to plan my Wedding from across the state. Trying to deal with being 6 hours away from my family and most of my friends.

I've been feeling seriously lonely and isolated of late.  I go to work and then I come home and sit with the cat (when she deigns to sit with me) and watch dvds of old tv shows.  There's been a lot of crying.  Crying with no real reason behind it, no explanation, no specific thing to point to and know why.  Crying like I cried a few winters ago when I ended up seeing a psychiatrist and going on an antidepressant.  And it's scary.  I'm scared.

But this time, I want to fight it differently.  At least I'm feeling it and seeing it and realizing it now, and not in the middle of January when I can't even get myself out of bed or look at myself in a mirror. 

For a while now,  I've been trying to take a B vitamin complex on a fairly regular basis, but lately I can really feel a difference if I miss a few days, so I'm trying to be more dilligent.  I'm making sure to talk it out with Jake if I'm having a blue day.  He reminds me to take those vitamins, and that everything is going to be ok. 

And I've gotten that gym membership.  Just the basic membership at that famous $10/month chain, but if it gets me moving a little bit, gets those endorphins flowing a couple of times a week, maybe that will help.  Today was my first day.  I took it easy; don't want to beat myself up the first day and then never want to go back.  I plan on going back tomorrow.  Maybe I'll try to add another 10 minutes on that elliptical machine. 

Because I want to be happy.  I want to enjoy my life and my fiance and the excitement of planning my wedding to my favorite person in the world.  I want to be happy for me, and for him, and for us. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Home Improvement Solutions

Since the laundry facilities (read: one washer and two dryers) have been made functioning, I have been handling our laundry needs in house.  It's slightly cheaper, and I can easily do one or two loads as I need to, when I need to, without having to plan on an afternoon at the laundromat.

All's well, right?

Sure... except that the basement is still ragingly disgusting, having never been swept or cleaned out, and is full of the "maintenance" supplies that the highschool dropouts who have been hired by our rental agency have been using.

"Using for what?" you might be asking.... for some of the repairs we had reported to them over two weeks ago?


For painting the outside of the building.  yep.  the outside.  While there are still holes in my floors, doors that don't shut, and who knows what else.


Except that I saw a Cockroach in the basement.  A dead Cockroach, but still, a Cockroach.  The size of my thumb.  On it's back, legs all splayed in lifeless reach.  Ew.


Except that where there is one Cockroach, I am utterly convinced that there are always MORE Cockroaches.  There is never just ONE Cockroach.  They are not solitary creatures.  Part of what makes Cockroaches so ominous is the that there are always armies of Cockroaches.

Scads.  Hordes. Throngs. Oodles. 

And we still have holeS (plural) in our floors.  In our Bedroom Floor.  And behind the fridge.  Holes!  That our landlords have decided are not necessary to repair, at least not before painting the entire outside of the building.

So, we are taking matters into our own hands.  Jake has plans to jigsaw the holes square and cut pieces of plywood or other scrap to fit, or use spray foam insulation, or some other legitimate means and actually Repair the Holes.

I wish to take a more immediate, if passive aggressive approach.

Packing tape.

Brilliant, right?  Sure, if I could find it.  Somehow in our unpacking and putting things away, we have lost the roll of packing tape.  My Brilliant Solution for my Fear of Cockroaches is lost somewhere in our disordered apartment.  My OCD nature won't allow me to use masking tape, of which I somehow have rolls and rolls of. No, it must be clear packing tape.  Less invasive and eye-catching. 

If I can't find it by tomorrow, I'm going out after work with whatever meager tip money I have earned and buying some, damnit.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Series of Letters

Dear Bike-Riding College Douchebags-
Please learn that bikes are vehicles.  Like cars.  And should thus be riden (driven?) in the streets.  Not the sidewalks.  Also, when riding (driving?) your bike in the street, please ride with traffic, not against it, as you are a vehicle in traffic, just like a car.  ALSO, when riding (driving?) with traffic, please follow the appropriate rules of the road, just like a car.  Stop at red lights/stop signs.  Ride (drive?) through green lights with traffic.  Do not stop/hesitate in the middle of the cross road and stare at me blankly when you have the green and I am waiting for you to cross so that I may complete my left-hand turn that you should be keenly aware of thanks to my blinking left turn signal.

Dear Upstairs Neighbor who has Three Dogs and Walks Around like an Elephant in Wooden Clogs-
I like dogs.  I'm sure I would like your dogs.  But please stop trying to teach your dogs how to tap dance.  It worries Zelda.  Her nerves aren't what they used to be.  Also, listening to them try to dig to China through our ceiling when you come home and call to them on your way up the stairs is also not cool.  And if you decide that they need some exercise, might I suggest taking them for a walk OUTSIDE as opposed to playing fetch INSIDE in your hardwood floored second floor apartment.
And one more thing.  Please take off your shoes when you come home.  You are not all that delicate of a walker that high heels are ok in a hardwood floored apartment on the second floor.

Dear Behind Us Neighbor-
I like dogs.  I'm sure I would like your dog.  Except for the fact that when you leave for the day, your particular pooch feels the need to howl, yowl, yip and cry as if it were being kicked repeatedly.  Part of me feels bad for it, until my ears start to bleed.

Dear Couple who Thought it was Appropriate to Leave a $2 tip on a $25 tab When You had Me Running Around for More Dressing, Napkins, Drinks, Straws, and Who Knows What Else -
It isn't.  But thanks anyway.

Dear Woman Who Left Me a $9 tip on a $31 Tab -
Thank you!  You made my day :)

Dear Town of Wilkinsburg-
There have been full cans of trash on our curb for two weeks!



editor's note:  since i wrote this blog and stashed it away for later publishing, we have discovered when trash day is.  Fridays.  not Mondays, like we were told by the rental company. Friday.  there.  one thing solved.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our New Digs

Our neighborS (plural) have dogS (plural) and it's kind of funny and kind of sad to see how alert Zelda gets when she hears the scuffling or barking.  The ones that live behind us might just get an anonymous gift package including, but not limited to: a Gentle Leader collar,  a Barker Breaker, and some Doggy Downers. Other suggestions are welcome.  Little yippy buggers back there.

There's also a guy in the house next door whom we have lovingly nicknamed T-Pain, given his resemblance to the rapper.  Each afternoon he brings a big rubbermaid table and wooden dining chair out onto his front porch and sets up with his macbook, a plate of food and a glass of orange soda.  It looks like he is studying something, but we haven't struck up any conversations yet, so I'm not making any assumptions. 

When we visited in June, we were told that this apartment (and the whole building) was being totally renovated.  Refinished hardwood floors, new appliances, fresh paint, new duct work and heating systems, nearly new (repurposed) cabinetry and closets, and secure storage in the basement were promised.


A few new Definitions I have learned since we moved into this apartment.

"Refinished Hardwood Floors" = Hardwood floors that once were new and lovely, and that could be salvaged by a good sanding and stain job are instead coated with a thick, shiny, oily brown paint(?) that is peeling up already.  The flooring in the kitchen actually looks new, but is made up of  two different kinds of boards that don't really match.  Not bad, just strange, I suppose.  I could just be being picky. 

"New Heating System" = Exposed vents and ductwork (that we were sort of warned about) that look like afterthoughts in some rooms.  One of the closets (that looks like it used to be a walk-in utility closet) was cut in half to house the heating unit. Other accessories include irregular holes in floors approx 2 inches around from where the old radiators were pulled up.  One such hole was found to be plugged up with a piece of cardboard that had been filled with caulk and then painted over into the hole.
Which, on a side note, leads me to a certain clause in our lease that states that "mice are inevitable".  Well, sure they are, when you leave perfect little mousy sized holes all over the place that practically scream "come on in, it's nice and warm in here!"  Idiots. 

"All New Windows" * except for the two big awkward square ones in the living room and the strange wee tiny one in the bathroom.  Those can stay old, dirty, and heat-seeping.  Let's see how well that new Heating System holds up....

"Recycled/Repurposed Cabinetry" = 2 hanging and one standing cabinet in the kitchen that came from Goodwill, were not repainted or cleaned at all, and the standing one has a counter with a backsplash attached crooked and sideways.  In the middle of the kitchen.  With the drawers facing the hallway.  Also includes One Large Cabinet in the living room that would make a really great coat closet except that it still had the wierd racks in it that look like it was used for cafeteria trays or science lab trays or something.  Jake has since fixed that (read: removed the stupid racks and hung a closet pole), so that particular piece is actually rather useful now.

"New Appliances in Kitchen" = hmm.  ok, no this one's ok. Totally brand new fridge and gas stove (WOO HOO GAS STOVE!!!!)

"Storage and Coin-Op Washer/Dryer in Basement" = Well, yes, they are there, just not in any sort of working order....  There is one washer and two dryers (for 6 apartments) and the washer looks older than me and dirty, and the dryers have what looks like engine oil puddled in them, and no coin slot, therefore no way of turning them on.  I've found a less-than-shady laundromat a few blocks down from the restaurant where I work.  The storage units are in fact there - made from what looks like doors and shutters that have no doubt been pulled from this very building over the last few months - but they, unfortunately, are not securable due to gigungous holes in the framework and missing slats.  That's Jake's project for this week, since we told the rental agency about it a week ago and they have ignored our requests.

"Freshly Painted" = Yes, indeed, it was done recently, but either with such old paint, or by such a heavy hand that the doors to the built-in cabinets in the living room and the door to the bathroom don't close. Yes, the door to the BATHROOM doesn't close.  There's also tons of drops of this lovely thick paint all over the floor under the oil-slick of a treatment, which makes for some really pretty texture.....

A few minor notes, though no less frustrating:
~ Half of the outlets are installed upside down.
~ The security system for the entire building is in our living room, and chirps wildly starting around 8am.
~ Nothing in this apartment is level, square, plumb, or straight.  All of our furniture leans. Wildly. Drunkenly.

Not all is lost.  The place has really cool high ceilings, lots of natural light, a bigger kitchen than our last place - with a GAS STOVE!! (have I mentioned that yet?  I'm really happy about that), and room for a dining table!  We haven't had a dining table since Bristol!  The build-in cabinets in the living room are pretty neat (now that Jake has scraped enough paint out of the hinges for them to close), and there's a nook that's the perfect size for the big hutch we just acquired from my aunts.

Look at that, 2 posts in a week.  I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

resurrection. in pittsburgh.....

This time I'll try to actually keep up on this thing.  Try. 


yes, Updates.

well, Engaged!  yay!  May 9th.  wedding date May 28 (next year).  planning from Pittsburgh - priceless.

Jake got into Grad School!  ( I think I will continue my trend of capitalizing words that seem Important or Intimidating.  If you don't like it, stop reading)  Carnegie Mellon, to be precise. 

Which leads us to Moving to Pittsburgh!  Which we are currently in the latter stages of.  Read: unpacking tons of shit and trying to make it all fit into our wee apartment.  There have been 3 carloads of things taken to various thrift stores, and we STILL don't know what to do with all the stuff. 

Prior to Moving to Pittsburgh was a week of very well-deserved and highly anticipated Vacation.  Which led to the death of my car.  The Little Red Wagon (aka Strawberry Pearl) blew a spark plug into/through part of the engine, which led to various fluids leaking into and out of said engine, which would have cost way more than the car was worth to repair.  So we are a one-car couple in the Burgh.  Which is fine because Jake gets free bus rides with his student ID.

Which leads us to Stefi Learning to Drive Stick and Then Discovering that Pittsburgh is Nothing But HILLS!  We're all fine here.  I'm learning quickly and my patience is growing, and I have a wonderfully supportive and patient teacher, so it will all be fine.

I am still waiting to hear from the Monroeville Pier1 about transferring, but the manager I spoke with on Sunday seemed very interested and in need of someone to take day shifts (woo!  day shifts!)  and I still have to swing by the little bar/restaurant I filled out an application with when we were in town in June.

AND!  I've decided to start sending out my Theatre Resume again.  Maybe I'll have better luck in this town.  Maybe I'll be able to handle the stress better.  Maybe I'll be able to make a living this time. 

We shall see.