Friday, April 29, 2005

From La Chat Noir's Inbox

Hey, Ali, file this under "things that make me go EW!"

-----Original Message-----
From: Assistant Sales Director (who is also our custodian)
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 11:01 AM
To: Everyone in the office with ovaries
Cc: Nice, if a little dumb, HR guy
Subject: Women's bathroom

I don't know who had the issue in the back women's bathroom today and I don't care to know, but this has happened more than once and needs to stop.

Whoever used the women's bathroom in the back and clogged the toilet should have enough courtesy to unclog it with a plunger so the next innocent victim walking in isn't forced to deal with it. If whoever did this had enough time to go, flush, wash and dry their hands, they surely left the bathroom knowing the toilet was clogged.

All I ask is that you take the additional 10 seconds it took myself and [chicky sales rep] to unclog it. Have some respect for others in this office who use the same restroom you used.

Assistant Sales Director


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Um, EW! And might I add ... NOT ME!

I rarely have need to use the facilities in back ... cause I have my VERY OWN bathroom right next door to my office. Complete with barefoot summer help.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Scrabble is for smarties

I love playing board games. It's one of my favorite things to do with family and friends. I'll play just about anything ... except Scrabble.

I've been banned from Scrabble.

Part of the problem is, I only like to play at games where I have a chance of winning. And for me, there is no hope in Scrabble.

I have no patience to wait for another player to mull over tiles. My vocabulary mirrors that of a foreign-speaker who has mastered a fourth grade comprehension of English. Did I mention that the ENTIRE game is spent WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO PLAY THEIR DAMN TILES.

But Scrabble players are the worst. They get so damn cocky. They take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to put down tiles. Then, when they've come up with something TRULY brilliant, they sit back and grin at their smarty-pants play.

Bitches.

I used to beg LISBF to play with me. I used to promise that I would be good. It never worked out. I always end up getting too frustrated. So I've been banned.

Last night, when LISBF and his son, BoyOne sat down for a game ... they even had to take the dictionary away from me. I got frustrated with the stupid game and I wasn't even playing it.

LISBF tried to calm me down. Saying that maybe tomorrow night, we could play another game. Something more my speed ... maybe Hungry, Hungry Hippos, he said.

That'd be sweet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Seen, yesterday at quitting time

Assistant Sales Director (whom we V. much like) vacuuming up "30" confetti that was strewn all over the hallway by sales reps ... in honor of his 30th birthday.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I really needed to hear that

M2 to LCN, yesterday: "You know that the two of us will still be friends long after girlie has forgotten about me ... right?"

Bringing home the bacon

Saturday night, Lil' Sis and I found ourselves in the basement of an American Legion in Hicksville. It was NASCAR night.

We arrived too late to draw drivers, but enjoyed the race ambiance nonetheless. The gathering was an invite-only afterparty that followed a day's worth of family celebratory events.

It was dingy, smoky and seedy. They had free food (hamburgers, hotdogs, cheesy potato something) and cheap drinks. Although it was a V. complicated ordering system. First you have to buy tickets, THEN you take your tickets to the bar for your drinks. And if you want anything girly or fruity ... forget it! Lil' Sis and I were told to go to a "real" bar.

I was further intrigued by the member's only room, which we had walked through to get to the NASCAR den ... and caught many a scowl along the way.

But nothing beat the meat.

They ran raffles of meat ALL NIGHT LONG.

NY strips, butterfly pork chops, big, thick rolls of sausage ... and BACON.

Have I mentioned how much I love BACON?

We're talking a big ol' slab of porky goodness here, people.

And I wanted it.

You could buy a "pull" for a dollar to get your chance to win one of the various meat products. The slender, skanky legionette would walk around, showing off the meat, selling pulls.

Basically, one dollar gets you a pull of five tabs. There's a tip number that you must look for on each of the tabs. Then, after all the pulls have been sold, skanky legionette pulls her tab to reveal the pull number. If you have any tabs with the tip number AND the pull number ... YOU'VE JUST WON MEAT!

Now imagine trying to figure out all that while you're drunkard. Not easy.

The first time skanky legionette brought out the bacon, it went to the brother of the man my aunt left my uncle for (I TOLD YOU it was Hicksville!) so I was determined that if another slab of bacon came up ... it was going home with me.

I had lots of family support. Assorted aunts, uncles, cousins and town drunks (some of whom are one and the same) put down money for pulls. Our table practically bought out the entire card.

My uncle won. He immediately handed over my bacon.

It smells SO GOOD. Problem is, I don't want to eat it. The novelty of an edible trophy is still fresh. I mean, who would think that a gal like me could descend into the secret subversive society and emerge 10 pounds of bacon richer.

God bless the American Legion.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ugh with the grossness

The same summer help chick who walked BAREFOOT IN THE RESTROOM earlier this week, just came into the kitchen and started clipping her nails over the trash can.

GROSS!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

La Erotique

When LISBF and I were in Paris, we spent the better half of an afternoon pawing through folders and drawers at a lithograph shop on Rue LaFayette. I was hoping to find some sort of old advertisement or poster in the vein of Toulouse Lautrec ... but alas, I did not.

After searching through folders labeled posters, theater, mythology and several others ... I decided take a gander at "erotique."

And I came across one I wanted to buy. It was one of the tamer things in the folder. Mostly foliage in blues and greens. And in the center, you can make out a couple, drawn in cartoonish fashion. She lays on her back, her large, white legs squeezing his skinny black ones on both sides. As if she has engulfed him.

When I saw it, I thought it would be perfect for my bathroom.

This weekend, I found the perfect frame and hung it up.

It's perfect.

The other day, M2 and I were talking about the impending dinner gathering at my house for his relatives when they come to visit. It's V. exciting for M1 and me, because we weren't sure if M2 would EVER feel comfortable introducing us to his parents.

M1 and I are trying to plan a menu, which is hard because M2 is EXTREMELY picky and apparently no one in his family eats ANYTHING besides meats and grains (how do those people digest?).

M2 has said that he doesn't want me to change the house for them. I don't have to put away my stack of GQs (scandalous!) or hide the liquor (for shame!) but he would prefer it if I took down my erotique.

I told him I'd be happy to take it down for his folks (though it's staying up for mine!).

In it's place, I'll stick a Post-It ... "This space censored by M2."

Should make for interesting dinner conversation...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Message I left on M1's voicemail last night

Hey. It's me. Didn't get any e-mails from you all day. You must have been busy. Listen, I really wanted to tell you how the meeting went Sunday night, so give me a call, K? I'll just be home. Cleaning my toilet. So, if you get this before, say midnight ... call me. God, I hope it doesn't take me HOURS to clean the toilet ... Cause if I'm scrubbing it for THAT long ... well ... then I need to clean my toilet A LOT more often...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Only room enough for one of us in this here bathroom

SO ... earlier today, I was in the bathroom next to my office. It has two stalls, but no one EVER goes in if the outer door is closed. It's used like a private bathroom. An unspoken rule. The silly summer help doesn't know these things.

So there I was, taking a pee in one of the stalls when I was SHOCKED to hear a girlie come in! And then, whilst washing my hands at the sink, I was EVEN MORE SHOCKED to see that she was barefoot. In the bathroom.

Does she not know we don't employ a cleaning lady?

Disgusting!

Hear ye, hear ye!

My improv troupe is performing at a Shakespearean-themed downtown event this weekend. There are only four of us doing it, and the Ms are not involved. The plan is to tell the abridged story of Romeo and Juliet (instantly recognizable plot points) using games that we play in our shows as the vehicles to tell the tale.

After the second or third time through, we should have the schtick down. I have volunteered to be the MC/narrator. I like this for a couple of reasons. It gets me out of having to be a player, and it will allow the leader of our troupe to see me in the MC role. Because I would like to start MCing some of our shows, too.

But I still need to brush up on my Shakespeare.

I'm already armed with a Shakespearean insult kit ... Forsooth say I, you churlish milk-livered nut-hook!

A couple of prithees, fains and hithers ... throw in some "nots" after verbs ... use ye for plural you ... thou for singular your ... thy for plural your ... thine for plural your when the following word starts with a vowel ...

Easy, right?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

If only he knew

The Ms and I went out for a drink last night around 9pm. M1 was downing the vodka tonics. I had only one Amaretto Stone Sour (which M2 bought! Scandalous!) and M2 stuck with water.

We needed to catch up. I had a "talk" with a mutual friend (if you can call it that) of all of us, and they wanted the dirt. M1 was V. excited that he was flying to LA this morning for a whirlwind trip. He's a publicist and something he's been working on for a long time is going to be featured on a major national talk show. So even though he'll be behind the scenes, it's a great opportunity for him.

But I digress ... M1 said that he had something he wanted to tell me, but he was afraid I'd make fun of him.

He visits a number of internet message boards, many of them sports-related (he's a big fan of the chickball) and there's a guy in Arizona that he's been talking with. They've exchanged pictures and Mr. Arizona gave M1 his number, asked M1 to call him.

M1 and I tease M2 pretty mercilessly about all the internet-only friends he has (did I MENTION they're planning a camping trip in FLORIDA this summer?) and M1 was afraid I'd be just as hard on him.

If only he knew that I just received a box of cookies from Baltimore last week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Win yourself a buick ... or two

At Mon Apr 11, 05:06:44 PM, darth said...
very sweet...is there a contest to guess what those initials stand for?

At Tue Apr 12, 08:23:05 AM, La Chat Noir said...
Darth ... sure. Let's have a contest. Whoever correctly guesses what the two abbreviations stand for gets a million dollars ... and a buick.

At Tue Apr 12, 12:36:54 PM, darth said...
..and..if we guess only ONE of them...TWO buicks?

At Tue Apr 12, 02:06:32 AM, La Chat Noir said...
ABSOLUTELY! And maybe an air freshener in the shape of a foot.


All righty folks ... the abbreviations in question are SPB and FTDF. They're old pet names that LISBF and I had for each other.

Now taking guesses ...

Nothing like a Pop Tart buffet

Monthly company meeting this a.m. and the marketing department was in charge of breakfast. Since we are one of the smallest departments, we only have breakfast duties about once a year.

Most departments do your run of the mill bagels, donuts, breakfast pizza, egg McMuffins ... we like to do something a little unexpected.

Last time, I had the FABULOUS idea of making waffles. We bought all sorts of assorted toppings and the boss and I manned nine waffle irons. It went pretty smoothly, after we finally figured out that the reason half of them wouldn't heat up was because we kept blowing out the fuse.

This time, we wanted to have one giant bowl of cereal. Like a huge punch bowl or something. We would carefully pour different kinds of cereal into areas of the bowl, so each type would be sectioned. Then, just dump in the milk.

Too funny.

But the president of the company didn't think people would find it funny. He thought they would be mad that they didn't get their free breakfast.

So we went with a Pop Tart buffet instead.

YUM!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Not so fast

LISBF called me at work this afternoon ...

LCN: Did you think about me at 8:02 this morning?

LISBF: Hmmmm... ya know ... I think it didn't go off today.

LCN: WHAT!?!

LISBF: So, the answer is... nope.

Let's talk about something nice for a change

When LISBF and I were walking yesterday, we started talking about his cheap watch.

He bought a cheap watch right before we went to Paris so that one of us would have one. I never wear a watch, and his semi-nice watch had just quit. He's already replaced the battery, so we're afraid there's something more wrong with it.

The semi-nice watch has sentimental value because I bought it for him and had our "initials" engraved ... SPB and FTDF. Which are less initials and more abbreviations for pet names.

Anyway ... when he bought the cheap watch, it was a huge ordeal. It's digital, and he doesn't like digital watches. He doesn't like pressing combinations of buttons to set the time. Starting a timer when he wants to set an alarm. Having buttons beep at you. So I was the one in charge of setting up the cheap watch that served as our alarm clock in Paris.

And while we were walking yesterday, LISBF turned to me and said, "Ya know, my watch still goes off at 8:02 every morning." (I NEVER set alarms for rounded, even times, always something like 8:02 or 6:37.)

LCN: Ya know, I could fix that for you. Turn it off.

LISBF: Nah.

LCN: Why not?

LISBF: I like that it goes off every morning.

LCN: Really?

LISBF: It reminds me of Paris. It reminds me of you.

Alphabet Update

The Ms and I went out for dinner Friday night, as we often do. M2 was reserved, distant, hollow ... like a zombie. It was V. weird and uncomfortable. I decided to stop by M2's place after my crisis center shift (as I often do) so that we could talk. When I drove by at 1am, he was not at home.

I made LISBF big, fancy breakfast Saturday morning and he went off to work, I went off to pottery. I decided to stop by M2's place after my pottery (I drop by unannounced all of the time) so that we could talk. When I drove by at 2pm, he was not at home.

Three strikes in 48 hours. No more driving by M2's place.

Then, he called.

He came over. We talked. He knows how much he hurt my feelings (sooooo many things that I will not go into for you people ... suffice to say, do you remember junior high? It was a lot like that) and he apologized.

I told him that, not being a Baptist, I'm unclear of how this whole asking for forgiveness thing works. And that if he's waiting for me to say the words "I forgive you" ... well, I suggest we just move on.

(Later, I was telling LISBF about it. And he said you don't have to be a Baptist to forgive somebody. True. But I think that if you say "I forgive you," you should mean it.)

Afterward, I went over to V's house to see her. I brought work, she was sewing. And we just talked. It was really nice. Being there with her made me realize how many other friends I've been neglecting this past year. I've poured so much energy into building a friendship with M2, that I've not spent much time with some others. That's something I need to fix.

Saturday night I went with M1, M2 and B2 (aka the girlie, she had been added to the invite list and no-one wanted to tell me) to see a friend perform in a community theater production. It was weird, but not nearly as awkward as it would have been if M2 hadn't come over to my place to talk things out that afternoon.

Sunday, LISBF made me breakfast. We took a walk through the country down a path where railroad tracks used to run to this old railroad bridge that crosses the river. We took some time to look for mushrooms in the woods. It made me think that we were hicks. It made me realize we haven't done this kind of thing enough. It also made me think of how much I have been neglecting him, too. That's something I need to fix.

Sunday night, I went to dinner and yet ANOTHER show with B1 (who has always been my favorite of the Bs ... why is it that all of my friends have the same names???) and had a marvelous time. It was our first one-on-one hang out time. And now that we've had our first date, I can call her up any time to hang out.

A had called from Florida while we were at dinner. M2 had called while we were at the show.

I set out for my half-hour drive to LISBF's country house. I resisted dialing M2. That's what I usually do. I call him, and talks to me the entire drive (lame as it is, I am scared of the dark and therefore scared of driving through the middle of nowhere in the dark).

I called A instead. I was so bummed that he didn't answer. Partly because I wanted to talk to him, but mostly because it meant I had no good reason not to call M2.

I knew he would be with B2, and I didn't want to interrupt. I would not be able to tell if he were talking to me because he wanted to, or because he felt like he had to. I didn't want to hear him relaying our conversation to her in the background. I didn't want him to hear in my voice that I was calling because I felt I had to, not because I wanted to.

It's a funny thing about me ... I'm one of the best liars I know, but I'm one of the worst about hiding my emotions.

I called. We talked. It was fine. He tried to sound like he didn't want to get me off the phone. I tried to keep my answers succinct.

This is what I do. I pull away.

This has happened to me before.

Am I testing him?

Am I trying to hurt him?

Am I wondering how far he'll go to pull me back?

Am I willing to take that risk...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Karma is going to get you

Just yesterday, I was cleaning out my inbox. I have tendency to let things pile up in there. Three messages up from the bottom was an e-mail from A. It was an impersonal, mass e-mail listing his new contact information in Florida.

A was a very dear friend of mine while I was in college. We worked together at the student newspaper. Somehow, when I think back on memories that include him ... at least one of us is drunk in nearly all of them.

We'd go out after work. We'd spend long nights playing poker. When all my other friends ditched me at a house party on my 21st birthday, he was the one who walked me around. I still grin when I recall the two of us going out back to take a leak together.

He would listen to my crazy stories. Let me bitch about such silly things. He could ease my paranoia. He was able to de-escalate the most out-of-control version of me. It just took a smile for me to know that everything was going to be all right.

He was smart, talented, funny, spontaneous, engaging. He was just so ... alive. I can't remember a moment when I was angry with A. He was just ALWAYS a good time. Always.

After graduation, I got a real job. He went to grad school. Both still here in town, we'd talk to each other occasionally, but we never really hung out after college. He was still a student. I was living in the real world.

Last summer, when A was applying for jobs, he asked me to be a reference. I had been his supervisor at the student newspaper. When the woman from the Florida college called to talk to me about A, she said to me "everybody has nothing but wonderful things to say about this guy."

Yeah. Me too. He's just a really great guy.

A got the job in Florida, moved down there with his girlfriend. I hope his life is marvelous, but I really haven't thought about him much.

Yesterday, while I was cleaning out my inbox, I hesitated when I came to the e-mail with his contact information, sent in September. I've barely spoken with him in the last four years when he lived here, I thought, I won't ever contact him now.

DELETE.

This morning, I opened my inbox and found the following e-mail.


-----Original Message-----
From: A
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 7:51 AM
To: LCN
Subject: howdy


LCN,

I got your Christmas card, but I didn't have your phone number. So, what's your number? How's work? How's life? How's the cat? What time do you get off work? Maybe we can chat during our drives home.

Me

-------------------------


How did he know?

I had written him off just yesterday, which I may have mentioned, was not the best of days. How did he know that I could really, really use a friend to brighten my spirits? How did he know how much I needed to hear from him TODAY.

I immediately sent him back a giant missive, catching him up on my life. All the little details of my last four years that he might have never known. I told him about the fact that I had chosen to delete him just yesterday ... and how grateful I am that he took the time to reach out. How much hearing from him cheered me up, just as he always did.

Of course, my commute home is only about eight minutes. And if our phone chats are anything like our e-mail communication, I'll be doing most of the talking.

Just like old times.

Dick and Cookies

Last night M1 and I went to see The Full Monty. It was fabulous. We have never had such a good time at a show.

It was funny to see our mostly middle-aged lilly-white audience finally "get it." WE'RE at the strip club. WE are the audience.

SHEESH!

So there was whooping and hollaring, and even a little whistling. The show was raunchy, engergetic and exciting. It kinda made me want to go to a strip club.

At one point, two male character ALMOST kiss. You could hear audible disgust all around us. "Ugh ... Oh NO! .... Don't .... EWWWW .... gross" ... and finally, M1 just snarls "OH! Get over it!"

I love him.

And there were SIX naked guys on stage at the end! We had been told that you only have about a second before they blare the lights of the Full Monty sign and blind you. So the secret is to focus on one guy.

M1 claimed he saw some swinging action. I got nothing.

We even stood up for it, and we are both quite picky about our standing ovations. He took me out for a bite to eat after the show. He is always the most fabulous date. Always the most fabulous friend.

Afterward, I decided to stop by M2's place, since I feel like I haven't seen him in a while.

When I pounded on the door (a la police raid ... that's my style) I heard her inside giggling. I froze up. I wanted to run away and jump in my car and drive off. It was 11:30 at night. What was I thinking?

But I imagined M2 had already said "that's LCN." So I stood there, awkwardly, while he opened the door. I immediately noticed his broad smile ... her disheveled appearance ... the two pillows from his bed, propped up against one arm of the couch. I joined him in a wooden hug. I felt like a complete idiot.

Fortunately, the cookies from ACW had arrived at M2's in the mail that day. So I tried to cover and make it look like I had a purpose for being there. That I didn't just count on being able to drop by unannounced so late on a weeknight to hang out.

I exchanged my "hi's" and "bye's" quickly. Walking to my car, I thought about how grateful I was M1 had told me about them. It kept an embarrassing situation from being mortifying.

So I went home to my empty house and poured myself a tall glass of rum and started in on the cookies.

Dick and cookies, the highlights of what was otherwise a horrible, awful, no good, very bad day.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The sweetest thing

When M1 and I first met M2, he was in a rough state. He had recently had his heart broken. He felt empty and lonely and worthless. He was consumed with guilt. He didn't have any friends.

We made him be our friend. I, more so than M1. In the last year, the three of us have been nearly inseparable. But M2 and I even closer.

All that is about to change.

It would seem that M2 has a bit of a crush on a girl. And she likes him, too. M1 was the one to break the news to me, because M2 was too afraid that I would be upset.

I think it is fabulous news. He has made other friends. He gets out of the house. He laughs. At this time last year, he had none of those things.

I am not saddened by the news that he and girlie may be spending more time together, but rather by the fact that he didn't want to tell me.

This signals the first in what will likely be many changes in our relationship.

Usually, it's not too big a deal for a gal who's in a relationship to have other male friends, but complications often ensue if a guy who's in a relationship spends too much one-on-one time with another girl. Let's face it, we women can be catty, jealous bitches.

I am faced with sadness that comes with the realization that even though we will still be friends, he doesn't need me anymore.

I will no longer be the first person he contacts when he has news. I can't depend on him always being available to answer the phone and talk to me while I make the 30 minute drive out to LISBF's house in the country. We may have shared our last late-night movie marathon. It's no longer a given that we'll be riding together to any event. I won't be his first call when he's standing in a store trying to decide which pants to buy.

I won't be his first hug when he needs one.

Last night, there was drama. Too much to go into here. But while I was on the phone dishing to 'Lil Sis about M2 having the sweeties on a girl (she was not happy with the news, SHE was planning on marrying him!) ... M2 called. And I didn't switch over.

I love call waiting. I ALWAYS switch over.

But I didn't.

Later, when I listened to his voicemail, I could hear the tears welling in his eyes as he told me that I was a good friend. That I've always had more faith in him than he has ever had in himself. That he knows he could never, ever forget me. That he thinks we'll always be friends.

His message ended with "in many ways, over the last year, you have saved my life."

How sweet is that.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Breaking the law

I forgot to renew my car registration ... again. I won't confess how long overdue I am, suffice it to say, it is more than a month.

Every year, I just ... forget.

Usually, the nice city policemen give me a friendly reminder in the form of a ticket on my window.

But now that I live in a house, and am not parking on the street so much, I have evaded the watchful eye of the 5-0.

I need to lay low for another 10 days, cause, ya know ... I'm broke.

At least next year, I should receive a friendly reminder in the mail. Since I won't be moving for the first time in 8 years.

That is, if I remember to have my address information updated.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Sharing Secrets

I heard the most fascinating story on NPR the other day.

It's about a guy who started an interactive art project where strangers create postcards about their secrets and send them in. He scans the postcards and posts them on his blog, www.postsecret.com.

The secrets range from sad to obscure. Frank Warren, the guy who came up with the idea, has a few rules.

One secret per postcard
Share your secret anonymously
It should be something you've never shared with anyone
Be brief – the fewer words used the better
Be legible – use big, clear and bold lettering
Be creative – let the postcard be your canvas

I found this project most interesting, especially in the wake of ACW's decision to come out. Of all the bloggers I visit, most are open and "out." I know where they live, what kind of job they have, names of important people in their life, sometimes I even know what they look like.

But I reveal little about myself. Only one person in my "real" life knows about my blog. I have never disclosed where I live, what I do ... I don't use actual names in any of my posts (save for Amber and Candybar).

Why is that? I'm not very good at keeping secrets. I think nothing of divulging personal, potentially embarrassing information about myself (or others) to casual acquaintances. Yet, here in Blogsylvania ... I'm pretty tight-lipped with the details.

But you keep on reading...

So, not that I'll answer ... but is there anything you want to know?