Tag Archives: Morning

Flakes From the Sky

Remember when I complained about this snow? Well, I’m kind of missing it right now. Here’s what my commute to work looked like this morning:

As I said, I’m a Californian. I don’t do snow. Last night my little convertible VW couldn’t even make it home. I pulled off the road and called Zack to come rescue me. This morning the snow was thicker and, even though I drove Zack’s 4 wheel drive truck, he insisted on following me to the main road at 6am on his day off. He says he wanted to make sure I made it ok, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he wanted an excuse to do this:

Either way, love him! Have a fantastic weekend, I will be shivering my buns off at home where the power is currently out and the plows are not reaching our road.

 

PS If you haven’t noticed, Unladylike Behavior has a new look!

My new header, buttons, and signature are all courtesy of Ashley from After Nine to Five - she is awesome! Everyone go check out her blog and tell her how exquisite my new lovelies are.

Tales of a Small Town Girl: Grocery Store Confessions

I never knew I grew up different than most people until, well, I grew up. See, I was raised not only in a small town, it was a Seventh Day Adventist town. I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s a summary for you: Church on Saturday, no meat, no alcohol, no jewelry or revealing clothing (read: shorts that come above your knee), and no doing anything on Saturday. Anything includes watching TV, shopping, listening to music, playing mini golf, or swimming. (Note: You can wade in the water, just no swimming. Don’t ask why, no one can tell you the answer.) My family was on the liberal side of the religion (we enjoy Cabernet and watching a good film on a Saturday afternoon) but I did attend the SDA high school in my small town. There were 24 students in my graduating class, 7 of which were girls.

My first job was working in the grocery store in my home town. Yes, for those of you who caught that, I said ‘the’ grocery store… there was only one. There was a grocery store, a post office, a gas station, and a credit union. That’s it. The grocery store, in SDA fashion, sold no caffeine, meat, or liquor of any kind. (Also not sold: condoms or cigarettes.) The store is conveniently located as the last stop on the main road to the most popular lake in the area. I always felt bad for people who swung in on their way thinking they could pick up their burgers and beer on the way finding their day on the lake would have to be meat and liquor free.

I started out as the drink girl. At a buck’o’five, I was tiny. I would load up a cart with cases of beverages that weighed more than me, wheel them out to the floor, and keep the drink cases full. Partially through my stint as Drink Girl the store did something so controversial, so modern, that some of the older customers talked of taking their business elsewhere… we began to carry caffeinated beverages. That’s huge in the SDA world. Also, keep in mind that this is a college town. A town based around a college, and said town carries no caffeine. Imagine your college days, cramming for tests until 3am, finishing papers at 5 in the morning, and all with no cup of joe to perk you up.

Shortly after the caffeine scandal, I was promoted to a warehouse worker. Instead of being limited to the beverages I had full run of all grocery items in the warehouse. This is when I discovered the secrets to the store….

That Thanksgiving we were ‘accidently’ shipped a load of turkeys… which we disposed of by selling them out of the back dock. I also found that we did, indeed, sell meat in the store itself. As a part of the WIC program (great program, google them) we were required to have canned tuna available for our customers. So we did. You could find two rows of canned tuna fish on the bottom shelf in the cat food aisle. And finally, the biggest shocker, if you were to peruse the healthy and beauty aisle, you would find a row of condoms discretely placed on the shelf. I personally believe the only reason the elders did not go ballistic over this last one is because no one in their right mind would purchase condoms at the store where there was a reasonable chance they might run into the pastor in the check-out line.

I have fond memories from my time at the grocery store. I went from Drink Girl, to warehouse worker, to cashier, to front-end supervisor over the years. I remember many a Sunday morning sitting out back and smoking cigarettes and playing roshambo to see who had to answer service calls. (I also recall one Saturday night where my friends, who all happen to be my coworkers, and I went out together. The next morning we all called in sick… unaware that the others had, too. There were literally two people working in the store that day, a manager and a cashier.) This was back in the time where calling in sick was acceptable, being late didn’t matter, sitting in the back warehouse on a cart and chatting for an hour while eating corn chips and guacamole went unpunished. The produce manager, a friend of mine, had the task of disposing of all old items in his department. He would save them up until Sunday mornings, at which point we would have chucking contests… tossing melons, tomatoes, onions, etc as far as would could to see who had the biggest explosion. I remember bundling up in a jacket one day and taking a nap in the freezer because I knew no one would find me sleeping there. Oh, to be young and unaccountable again…

(Um, ok, this is awkward… I do feel the need to point out that I was young when these events occurred. I am a responsible, hard worker… Ok, I feel better.)

{Expletive} Snow!

Snow.

I’m a Californian, which translates to ‘I don’t do snow’. In the small town that I grew up in we got roughly an inch of snow once a year and everything would shut down. No school, no work, no going anywhere. I’ll be the first one to admit that we Californians do not know how to drive in the snow. And that’s ok with me. I would rather look at it from the comfort of a heated home anyway. Recently I relocated to an area that, supposedly, gets more snow. That has yet to be true, and I thought that I was in the free and clear. That is until yesterday. Yesterday I woke to a winter wonderland. I was a bit perplexed as Phil had informed us that there would be no more winter… darn you, Phil! Really, what good is a groundhog if he’s not going to be reliable?

Anyway, winter wonderland.

Beautiful, right? One little problem. I have the steepest, longest driveway in all of California; maybe even the entire US of A. Luckily Zack was home and was able to get my car to the bottom for me so I didn’t go careening through the neighbor’s fence.

I knew when I returned home in the evening that I would have to park at the bottom of the driveway and hike up. I knew this, and yet I still went grocery shopping. It didn’t dawn on me until I parked my car at the bottom of my driveway that I would have to carry the four bags of groceries all… the way… up. Crap! I got out my car into the darkness and stood looking at the looming mountain ahead of me. Oh well, no sense in waiting…

I loaded my arms with the groceries and managed to lock my car before I start my climb. For each two sideways steps I made forward, I slid and stumbled back one. Here’s a little sample of what my neighbors heard last night:

“{Expletive} driveway… if I didn’t have these {expletive} groceries I could {expletive} make it to the {expletive} {expletive} top!”

I’m sure my neighbors just love me.

About halfway up I remember that Zack had asked me to call him when I got home. I was to let him know how bad the driveway was and if he would be able to make it to the top in his truck. I needed a break anyway so, huffing and puffing, I paused and pulled out my phone. Then I decided to continue my hike whilst talking on the phone and juggling four bags of groceries.

I didn’t make it far.

I was steps away from the top when it happened. I slipped, dropped the groceries, and throwing my phone. I landed hard on the driveway, drenching myself in cold, slushy snow and bruising my elbow, hip, and ego. (“Expletive-expletive-expletive-expletive!”) I was soaked and the groceries where everywhere. At least they didn’t roll down the hill (I do have a story about that, but I’ll save it for a later time). I stood up, gathered the groceries, and realized that I still hadn’t picked up my phone. Great, don’t tell me it’s water-logged and now broken! I can’t tell you how many phones I’ve lost to water damage. Then I heard a faint voice from the darkness… “Amber? Are you there? Hello?” It was Zack!

“I’m here!” I hollered, “Where are you?” Stupid question, he’s on the phone… “Er, I mean… keep talking!”

“Amber, did you fall? Are you ok?” Zack’s tiny voice floated through the air. Seriously, where is that {expletive} phone?!

Then I released another chain of expletives telling Zack the story about how I fell. Then I realized that I was now shouting this story and accompanying curse-words at the top of my driveway for the entire neighborhood to hear. Admitting to myself that it probably wasn’t the most appropriate dinnertime melody, I muttered one last swear under my breath and yelled for Zack to keep talking. Finally I found him, or rather my phone, in a dark hole in the snow, wet but not soaked.

I stomped the snow from my shoes and made my way into the house, all the while expressing my lack of joy at the events that had just unfolded to Zack. After he ensured that I was ok, we said goodbye and hung up. Captain was thrilled I finally made it home and was torn between shaking his toys in an attempt to get me to play with him and licking me head to toe, his way of showing gratitude that I was home. All I could muster for him was a sigh and a pat on the head. “Not right now, Captain.” I told him, “Mommy needs a glass of wine.”

Replace ‘glass’ with ‘bottle’ and I would have been telling the truth.

{Expletive} snow!

The One Where They Go To Reno

As you remember, Zack and I went to Reno with some friends over the weekend. I found out that, in addition to it being Valentine’s Weekend, it was also Chinese New Year, another reason why it was difficult for me to find a hotel room. The hotel we eventually settled on was, in traditional Reno style, conveniently located next to a wedding chapel. The city lights, slightly blurred from the alcohol, the romance in the air, also slightly blurred from the alcohol… with the combination of it all how can you say no to a Reno elopement on Valentine’s weekend? (Don’t worry, Mom, it was a joke. Seriously, put the phone down. I didn’t get married, you don’t need to call.) The weekend was fun, albeit short. I found I have a new talent for video poker, along with a not-so-new talent for not knowing when to say no and losing all the money I won.

Here’s a recap of our Saturday night: Watched a girl kick another girl’s ass, met some famous fighter I’ve never heard of, lost a jacket, woke a girl sleeping in the bathroom to see if she was ok, found a jacket, won some money, got mad at Zack for yelling at an old man, moved seats because dirty old man wouldn’t stop leering, forgave Zack for yelling, lost some money, drank some wine, became addicted to Wheel of Fortune slot machines, spilled some wine.

The morning after our Reno debauchery (Re-bauchery?) we made our way to the buffet for some much-needed breakfast. I decided that what happens in Reno, stays in Reno, so… gluten and dairy and corn, oh my! I loaded my plate (ok, plates… it was a buffet, after all!) with eggs, cheese, English muffins… anything I could get my greedy little hands on, and sat at our table located next to the main walkway in the casino. A couple minutes into the meal, we heard it, echoing through the casino and rattling in our heads… the Chinese New Year parade. Out came the ‘dragons’ and drums, marching up and down the walkway. Up and back they walked, repeatedly tramping back and forth by our table where we sat in our hung-over state. Maybe they saw the looks on our faces and thought it would be funny, maybe they just didn’t have a large enough vicinity to do a full parade. Either way, whoever thought it would be a good idea to send three enthusiastic Chinese drummers and two equally enthusiastic dragons to dance and pound away in casino on a Sunday morning should be fired. There’s nothing like the sound of pounding drums to add to your already pulsating headache.

The Sweet Smell of Skunk

Last Monday morning I was, as usual, rushing to get out the door and to work on time. Earlier that morning I had let Captain out to “do his business” (that’s code for poop). I opened the door to let him in when – SMACK – the putrid odor hit me in the face and filled my nostrils. Skunk…

I immediately snatched Captain up, rushed outside, and did the only thing I could think of to remedy the situation… I yelled for Zack. My watery eyes narrowed as I held the squirming Captain out, demanding that Zack smell him. Captain, oblivious to the fact that something might be wrong with the scenario, wiggled in my grasp and attempted to lick any part of Zack and I near to him, resulting in a sort of air-licking dance.

Zack and I both needed to be out the door in about, oh, right then, and could see no other option but to put Captain on the deck for the day, stench and all. On my way home from work that evening I picked up some tomato paste (we figured tomato juice is supposed to take the smell out, so tomato paste should be extra potent, right?). When I opened the front door I was once again overcome with the rancid scent of skunk. Captain was only inside for two seconds! In a flash I gathered all the candles I could find and distributed them around the house. The resulting aroma was a bouquet of floral-skunk that lingered for several days. While I was lighting candles, Zack volunteered to slather tomato paste on Captain. Not five minutes after he started I heard him calling my name. When I walked into the garage and was greeted by this scene:

 

Captain, covered head to tail in thick red paste, was attempting to eat it off his body as fast as his little tongue would allow. He was in heaven. I can only imagine what he was thinking: It’s food! They’ve covered me in food!!

I just hope he doesn’t think we were rewarding him for chasing the skunk away and attempt to do it again!

Any Way You Brew It…

There’s a running joke in my family about the way that we like our coffee (strong). I’m friends with a couple that swear Pete’s Coffee is so mild and delicious that you don’t need cream or sugar with it. I figured out, after having a cup of their brew, the reason you don’t need cream or sugar is because they make their coffee so thin you can see right through it – and barely taste the coffee in it. I had to have three cups of their coffee to equal the caffeine content on one of mine. (I have had two, not one but two, different employers ask me not to make the coffee at work anymore. One boss told me he stuck his spoon in the coffee and it stood straight up.) I often allude to my love of coffee on my blog and thought I would share two of my favorite stories relating to the subject.

When I worked in a small office a couple years back, the girls I worked with and I would order coffee every day. I typically order three shots of espresso in my lattes, four on a particularly rough morning. So there I was, ordering a three-to-four shot latte daily for the previous three-plus months, when I found out the girl who was making my lattes had been accidently using the double shot for each shot she put in my beverage. Let me make this clear: for the previous three months or more I had been consuming six to eight shots of espresso in my morning lattes. And that’s just the first one of the day! After I got over my shock at the amount of caffeine, I realized that I hadn’t even noticed the ridiculous amount of espresso. Hell, I hadn’t even thought the lattes were that strong! I quit cold-turkey for a while.

I’m borrowing this one from my mom. I was a witness to this event, but it’s really her story:
When I was 14 my Mom, Dad and I drive to Texas to visit my uncle. Once we reached Texas my mom and I found many things to dislike about the state (the heat, the lack of trees or mountains of any kind, the lack of good coffee…). The biggest of these, in our opinion, was the coffee. You could find coffee, but it managed to be weak and bitter all at the same time. And if you wanted a latte, forget it! Part way through our trip we stopped at a flea market. My mom asked one of the booth owners (a particularly handsome gentleman with a 5 o’clock shadow at 8am and most of his teeth missing) if there was anywhere nearby where she could get a latte. He gave her a funny look and said nothing. Then, recognition coming over his face, he said ‘Oh, a latte! I make my own lattes at home. I love them lattes.’ My mom, trying to hide her surprise at finding out this gentleman was the sort to froth milk, asked if he had his own machine. Again, a confused look followed by silence from our friend. Then he said slowly, as if my mom might not understand him if he spoke too fast, ‘No, I get them fancy flavored creamers, I make my coffee, I put them creamers in my coffee, and I got me a latte.’

What’s your favorite story involving coffee?

Proof My Car Hates Me

Is it just me or has Starbucks gotten a little… creepy lately?

This morning was one of those rare but wonderful mornings where I had time to go to Starbucks before work. I headed over to the one near my office, a different location than normal. I order my grande skinny vanilla late and pulled up to the window. The young guy working it popped his head out and said, a little too eagerly, “Hi! I believe I’ve seen you here before!”

I haven’t been to this Starbucks in months. He must have me confused with someone else.

“Oh, nope, not me.”

“Why do I feel like I’ve seen you in a different car?” He continued, as if I’d agreed with his previous statement.

Smile. Shake head. “This is my only car, and, really, I haven’t been here in, like… months.”

“Did you just buy it recently?” he asked, again ignoring my previous statement.

“Nope, I’ve had it for a while.”

“Do you ever drive a different one?”

Ok, Starbucks Guy, this is getting old and a little bit creepy. “No, this is the only car I drive.”

“I feel like you should be driving a different one.”

Yeah, me too. Now where’s my coffee?

Creepy Starbucks Guy leaned out the window and handed me my latte. I snatched it from his hands in a, ‘that’s mine! Don’t touch!’ kind of grab, ready to floor the gas and peel out. He started talking again, probably saying ‘What kind of cars do you like? I like red ones. Have you ever driven a red car before?’ when I slammed the car into drive, nodding a smile, and punched the gas.

My car died.

Of all the times for my car to die, and it chooses this one. My getaway was ruined. Creepy Starbucks Guy’s eyes widened and I waited for him to say “I really feel like you should be driving a different car”.

Yeah, me too, bud. Me too.