Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I heart Laura Dave

Last summer, when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life and generally losing my mind, I started reading a book called London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave. I was sitting in a QDoba late one afternoon, reading that book, and burst into tears right there in the middle of my chicken nachos because it was just SO GOOD. It was the best kind of book, the kind where you want to read it as fast as you can but drag it out at the same time, so it won't end too soon.

Lucky for me, Laura's next book had just come out, so once I was done with London I promptly read that one too: The Divorce Party. My friend Allee and I have a little informal book club, where every time one of us reads a book we just love we make the other one read it RIGHT THAT SECOND so we can talk about it together. When Allee was in the middle of The Divorce Party, she said, "There are just so many great, true lines in there, I feel like I want to highlight half the book." I was like, I KNOW! Here are two of them from The Divorce Party (nothing that will give anything away, I promise!):

"She has learned, over time, that the way someone laughs often mirrors who they are. How they are."

(I liked this because I have one of those big laughs, those "I'm laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes" laughs. I hope instead of going, "Oh, my gosh, there she goes again" maybe people just think, "Wow, even though she can unleash a stream of expletives with the best of them when strange animals chew up her car, she sure does like life.")

and

"Love doesn't leave you. Not all at once. It creeps back in, making you think it can be another way, that it still can be another way, and you have to remind yourself of the reasons that it probably won't be."

So, so true.

The Divorce Party is out in paperback this week and is SUCH a perfect book to take on vacation. Here's the official book description:

On their 35th anniversary, Gwyn Huntington and her husband Thomas have invited friends and family to their Montauk home. Instead of celebrating their decades-long love, they are toasting their divorce. This also marks the weekend that their son brings home his fiancée, Maggie Mackenzie, for the first time. Maggie thought she was joining a perfect family, but she is about to reckon with some uncomfortable truths about the man she wants to marry.

A multi-generational story about what it means to share a life with someone, The Divorce Party brings us two immensely appealing women: Gwyn who is stumbling upon the end of her marriage, and Maggie, her future-daughter-in-law, who is trying to navigate the beginning of hers. With emotional candor and surprising humor, these two women find themselves trying to answer the same questions: Can you ever really know someone? When should you fight for the person you love most, and when should you begin to let him go?

Me again. I'm planning a vacation this summer full of nothing but beach and books. What other reading suggestions do you have? I'll pick one comment and send the winner a fun little package. Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things I don't understand

* The guys at the gym who walk around with their arms out, like their muscles are sooo big they can't even put their arms down, even though they're like 150 pounds (MAYBE) dripping wet.

* How every night at 7 pm I feel like I'm ready to go to sleep for the night yet at midnight the only thing that would get me into bed is if you told me George Clooney was in it. I get a second wind at 9 or 10, and it's all over.

* How even very grown-up boys can act like 6-year-olds around a woman.

* Why anyone cares how many followers Ashton Kutcher has on Twitter.

* How no matter how good I manage to look when I walk out the door in the morning, I end up looking like a train wreck by 3 pm.

* How the guys on Dancing with the Stars can move their hips like that. It's like they have spaghetti noodles in there instead of bones! (P.S. A good thing.)

* Why it still practically feels like winter even though it's almost MAY. I DO NOT LIVE IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH! I WANT 70-DEGREE DAYS! WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

* Why I downloaded a Celine Dion song the other day of my own free will. And why I am not nearly as ashamed of that as I should be. (Except when I was playing it a smidgy bit too loudly at a stoplight next to a bunch of teenage boys. They looked at me, and I swear the look on their faces aged me about 30 years in 2.3 seconds. Then I was mildly ashamed. Mildly.)

You?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Animal house

I have had two days off in the whole month of April so far, which means I am behind on like EVERYTHING. One of these things was getting my oil changed. The light had come on about 1,000 miles ago and I’m like, next week. OK, next week. OK, the week after.

Things have finally settled down a little, and I was off today. I had a $7 off coupon at Valvoline that was going to expire at the end of the month, so I was like, OK, TODAY. Today I will get my oil changed. So I drive down the street to the Valvoline and settle in the waiting room with my book. It’s my little car’s first oil change, so I’m thinking this is going to be the easiest, breeziest trip to Valvoline ever. “It’ll be like 15 minutes,” the guy tells me. Noooo problem.

Well, no sooner do I wave at the little girl in the waiting room, sit down and open my book does the guy come back in. “I need you to come look at something,” he says. In my head, I’m like, you’ve GOT to be kidding me. I KNOW I don’t need a new air filter, I KNOW I don’t need a fuel cleanse, just change the oil and let’s go already. But I get up and walk over, and as he’s holding the door for me, he shakes his head and goes, “I’m taking a picture of this.” And I’m thinking, Okaaaaaay, Mr. Over the Top, I know the economy’s bad and you need to make money but I’m not an idiot! The air filter can’t possibly look THAT bad!

So we go outside and there are like three people gathered around my car and HOLY FREAK FREAK FREAK. There is a NEST under the hood of my car. A FREAKING NEST. A nest put together BY AN ANIMAL under the HOOD OF MY CAR.



No one wants to touch it, no one even wants to get near it, because, I mean, HELLO! It’s a NEST THE SIZE OF MY FREAKING ENGINE!!! There could be a whole family of raccoons in there!

“Do you live in the woods?” they ask.

“I live RIGHT DOWN THE STREET!” I tell them. “AND I park in a garage!”

“When was the last time you popped the hood?” they ask.

Uh, like, NEVER, I think, but then I remember—I helped a woman jump her car in the Walmart parking lot like six weeks ago. A MONTH AND A HALF. In the last month and a half, some LIVING CREATURE has snuck into my garage, into my car, and built itself a little McMansion.

“What do you think it is?” I ask.

The guy thinks about it. “I’d say a rat,” he said, “except it has to be something pretty big to carry this much stuff in there.”

Ewwww. They send me back into the waiting room to freak out in there instead, but a couple of minutes later they call me back. “See that?” they say, pointing under the hood. “It’s been chewing on your wires. This thing’s a fire hazard. You better get it to the dealer, like, ASAP.”

I’m like, OK, now you’ve REALLY got to be kidding me. MY BRAND-NEW CAR has been gnawed to pieces from the inside by some crazed animal and could now blow up into a BALL OF FLAMES as I drive down the street. “Can I wait until next week?” I said. “No way,” they replied. “ASAP. Like today. It could catch on fire any second.”

SUPER!

So I leave and immediately drive back home to Google directions to the closest dealer, the whole way calling everyone I know so I can COMPLETELY SPAZ OUT over the phone.

Me, to my mom: You will LOSE YOUR SHIT when you see this picture. I am not even kidding.
Mom (slightly more concerned about the “shit” than she is about the fact that her daughter is driving around in Yellowstone National Park turned moving death trap): Well, I don’t know about THAT.
Me: TRUST ME.
Mom: (Pause.) You probably, like, chewed up its little babies when you started the car.
(This is the part where I shriek, a sound something like blaaaeeeechhhhhaaaaa, and throw the phone.)
Mom, after I retrieve the phone from under the seat: It’s funny, this thing you have with animals.
Me: OK, a) it’s not THAT funny and b) what are you talking about?
Mom: Remember the dead bird down the chimney?
Me: OK, SICK.

One of the guys from work is near my house and meets me there to talk me off my ledge. We find a dealer sort of by work, and he follows me over there to make sure my car doesn’t go up in flames. (Or more appropriately, I guess, so he can be the one to deliver a first-person account to Eyewitness News when I die.)

In the meantime, another friend from work, one I called to ask about dealers, has called me back. I tell him what’s going on and then hang up. A few minutes later, I get this text from him:

“Did you check the backseat to make sure the rat or possum is not in your car right now? I would if I were you. It may jump out and gnaw on your neck.”

Ha freaking ha.

We get to the dealer. Unfortunately, my warranty does not cover “Mother Nature.” Bright side, they can fix it while I wait. Two hours and $192.39 later, my car is almost as good as new. Both places tell me that to keep the animal away, I should hang mothballs in stockings around the edge of my hood. 15 minutes and 30 mothballs later, I smell like a 95-year-old woman’s closet.

But that’s not the end of the day, ohhhhhh no. While I was paying for my car, I dropped my phone. I picked it up. I dropped it again. I picked it up, and the screen was black. I turned it off, and then on again. No screen. I try calling it. No screen. I try charging it. No screen. I bite the bullet and go to the Verizon store on the way home. Good news, the guy says, I can replace your phone for free. Bad news, you lose everything on there, including every last phone number.

I am going to go hide under my blankets now so nothing else breaks. For, like, a week.