Friday, July 31, 2009

The Pre-Dating Interview: What They Don't Ask on e-Harmony

First off, thank you for the valuable input in the Exit Interview research. We had some notable additions in the comments for new questions that were all *fantabulous* - and one such comment by my friends Robyne and Pat led me to thinking: what would a pre-interview questionnaire look like for the non- online dating crowd. How would it work?

Would it be like an evite kind of thing that you'd send before going on your next date? Would you make them submit to filling it out shortly after you've met, prior to a possible next meeting?

Before I begin, however, let me just go on the record now to say if anything ever happens to my husband (like he comes to his senses and leaves me, is trampled by rabid Twilight fans or runs away with Dita Von Teese), I will remain single for the rest of my days, but will have lots of bunnies. (No, Pat. Not that many bunnies.)

So this is what I've come up with for my pre-qualification survey. I also think that, depending on the answers, you should anticipate different levels of dateyness. Like - a 75 percent would be coffee... 85 percent would be drinks... 95 percent? dinner! it's like rewarding your compatibility.

Side Note: Do people go on dinner dates anymore? (How have I suddenly turned into a 60 year old woman??)

So back to it. Here's my pre-dating survey. Please weigh in on the comments - because I so enjoy the comments.

The Before Survey

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey. But frankly, I think it'll save time for both of us, no?

Question 1. We've hit it off initially, it seems. There was laughter, a meeting of the minds, you seem witty and charming and I can see myself leaning into you before the night ends. So tell me - when will you call me?

a) Two days, ma'am. That is the rule set forth by the great Vince Vaughn.
b) As soon as it seems feasible that you've slept in adequately but haven't yet made plans for the next day so that I may pencil in some hang time in the afternoon.
c) I've already texted you funny thoughts that occurred to me.
d) I was going to call you when I got home. Is 2 a.m. too late?
e) When I want to hang out next... maybe Thursday? Maybe next week?

Question 2. What would your ideal plan be for the next date?

a) I don't know. Whatever. Maybe hang out. Maybe catch a flick. Whatevs.
b) I'd love to take you this great little tapas place and maybe catch some music afterward, grab a drink... go for a stroll around WH Center.
c) Have you ever been kite flying at the beach? We'll pack a picnic.
d) My mom makes an awesome chicken parm. You've gotta come by.
e) Let me check with my wife.

Question 3. When is the appropriate time to make your first move?

a) Me? Oh no. It's all on you.
b) I realize it's a family restaurant, but what the heck...
c) Third date? Fourth date?
d) When I walk you to your car and I make you laugh really loudly. I'll be so smooth you'll barely realize the awkwardness that inevitably comes with the first kiss.
e) On our wedding day.

Question 4. What is appropriate dinner conversation should you ever have to meet my parents?

a) Your conception. I'm fascinated by how you were created.
b) Oh, you know. The usual. Religion, politics, the economy, labor unions.
c) Their recent home renovation. Although it happened sometime in the 90s.
d) My ex-girlfriend's parents.
e) Whoa, Nelly. I don't meet parents.

Question 5. My BFF just broke up with her boyfriend...

a) He's an ass. He never deserved her.
b) Would you like me to pick up the Ben and Jerry's before we head over?
c) That sucks. I have tickets to U2 and will meet you at the concert. Don't be late, ok?
d) I'm sorry to hear it. Let me know if you want to meet for a post chick flick drink.
e) The hot one?

OK. This is harder than I thought. I need some help. Please provide audience participation....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things the world needs: Exit Interview for Ex's

So I had this conversation with a very good friend of mine that I would link to if she wrote a blog but she doesn't so that just makes this an awkward long sentence.

She has had some bad luck with dating recently, and was telling me about it. Wisely, she was not seeking my advice because I don't really claim to be any sort of an expert on that, with notable exceptions.

For the most part, it's KAT that is the expert on the dating thing. Though since we're both out of practice, I thought I'd try to approach this latest dating dilemma my friend is going through with an approach I'm most familiar with: a business approach.

We've decided really, all parties would be best served by an exit interview after the last date. The problem with administering this kind of thing is that you sometimes don't KNOW when the last date is. Problematic *and* potentially embarrassing.

This is why I propose an online Exit Survey that can be administered to the man/woman who so recently decided to "go in a different direction" - mainly, away from you. (I'm totally going to create this - don't go stealing my idea, Interweb. I'll kick your pixels from here to Al Gore's house.)

So here's my sample survey, but I'd love to get some more input from the Interweb. Please add your questions in the comments.

1. Describe the main reason we won't be romantically linked going forward:

a) I'm just not attracted to you
b) I'm attracted to you, but I find myself drawn to everyone else *more* than you.
c) I have recently decided to pursue other options (the waitress from last night's date, your best friend, your sister, your ex-boyfriend, etc)
d) You are way too serious for my liking.
e) You're the bees knees, honey, but I have been kidnapped by aliens.
f) You scare me a little.

2. How would you describe my abilities as a love interest:

a) I've made out with my hand and evoked more enthusiasm.
b) You were okay, but frankly, I'm more into me. Tell me more about my eyes.
c) You were brilliant, but alas, your brilliance is intimidating.
d) You need to step it back, honey. There's no need to pack me my lunch and send me off to work with a silkscreened lunch bag says says "SJ loves J 4Ever" - on our second date.
e) You would be awesome if you showed one iota of interest in just something I did or said.
f) You were an awesome love interest. But I found a better one.

3. Does your not seeing me anymore have anything to do with (choose one):

a) me not sleeping with you?
b) me sleeping with you?
c) that time I threw up on you?
d) that time I dropped my beer all over you?
e) the fact that all of my friends (appear to) hate you?
f) that time I made you miss the Red Sox game to go to my cousin's wedding?

4. What was your favorite quality of mine?

a) I'm hilarious.
b) I'm incredibly intelligent.
c) I'm bee-you-tea-full.
d) I have tons of super awesome friends.
e) I have a really nice car/house/apartment.
f) I am incredibly fun to be around.

5. What was one thing I need to work on?

a) I need to have a better sense of humor.
b) I need to read more.
c) I need to work on my fashion sense/overall look.
d) I need to find new/more friends.
e) I am too involved with work/charities/organizing other people's lives.
f) I need to figure out how to better relate to humanity.

So. There you are. My first draft. What do we think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

This may explain why I don't have many friends...

Sending an email to my college friend Tiffany the other day reminded me about one of my funniest stories-- and the best practical joke I ever pulled. Tiffany was the first person I met on our first day at college and was my roommate in our senior year. I should explain that Tiffany is from Great Britain and A LOT more reserved than I am (she's totally fun, but definitely more refined than yours truly). So she made a great target for my practical jokes just because it was so fun to shake her up a bit.

One time, as we were sitting on our beds studying, I offered her the last pierogi on my plate. She declined. "C'mon." "No, thanks." "I don't want to waste it. Please take it." "No thank you." "If I throw it at you, will you eat it?" "Well, OK." So I launched the pierogi across the room, it smacked the wall above Tiffany's head then fell onto her lap. And she ate it.

Anyway, as we approached graduation, I came up with the best practical joke ever. Tiffany and I were in the marching band at our school for our freshmen year before she quit. I stayed in another two years and, for some reason, had acquired some letterhead from the band director. Rather than letting it go to waste, I composed a letter to Tiffany saying that records showed she had never turned in the school's flute after she quit. The letter said she would have to pay $500 for the missing instrument and that the dean had been notified so she would not be allowed to graduate until she did.

Then, I put it among the other envelopes from our shared mailbox, gave her the stack and hung around to await her reaction. She.went.nuts. It was probably the most unrefined I'd ever seen her. She was ranting and swearing and saying, "They had three years to tell me. Why would they wait until right before graduation?!?" Keeping a straight face, I made things worse by saying things like, "Well, do you still have the flute? You should just give it back."

She got more and more angry until she decided to call the band director and give him a piece of her mind. I stopped her as she picked up the phone and let her in on the joke, which she took well. And, to be honest, after writing this out, I have to say I'm surprised she stayed friends with me. I like to think I made her life a little more exciting.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fun with Pictures: A conversation with Speckles

This is Speckles. Speckles is my surrogate rabbit that resulted from the famed SJ's experiment with animal husbandry.

Speckles may look a little on edge in this picture.

There's good reason for that. Meet "Good Reason."

We also like to call him E. He's the son of my oldest sister JAL who often likes to comment on our blog but should obviously have her own.

I was able to catch up with Speckles recently when we were all gathered at my parents' house celebrating my birthday this past week.

Me: Speckles, what's up? You look a little on edge.

Speckles: Where's the kid?

Me: What kid? Do you mean E?

Speckles: Don't toy with me. You know the one. I'm going to look for him under this rocking chair.

Me: Well, honestly, Speckles, I don't think that's your wisest choice.


Me: That's not the ceiling. It's the chair. I told you that wasn't a smart choice.

E: Who you talking to, Auntie SJ?

Speckles (sotto voice): Do...Not...Tell...Him...I'm...Under...Here.

Me: I was just talking to... Uncle J.

Speckles: Thanks, lady. I owe you one. Now, can you excuse me? You're kind of in my bathroom.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is why I'm not a receptionist...

Since we were short-staffed at work today, I helped out by answering the phone. About my third call in, I got a call from a guy who, as soon as I answered with the name of my company, told me his name was Jim, said where he was calling from and added that someone had requested some information about debt consolidation.

I began to ask him for the name of who called his company so I could direct his call accordingly, but he started talking again. So I waited patiently but realized he was giving me the sales spiel intended for someone else. So I politely tried to interject. And he kept talking.

So I waited, figuring perhaps he was required to give a short speech at the beginning of the call. And when he paused, I again started to interject to tell him he was calling a business and I wasn’t the correct person to speak to. And he started talking over me!

So then I was angry. “Sir? Sir? This is a business. Sir? Sir!”

I paused, thinking perhaps the phone had cut out and he couldn’t hear me despite me still being able to hear him. When he paused again, I shouted, “Sir!” And that’s when he continued with, “To speak to someone about his offer, press 1.”

Well played, robot, well played. You got me this time. Damn those companies with their recorded phone calls!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SJ's birthday "if only..."

Oh SJ, what's with having your birthday fall on a Tuesday (and during my busiest week at work)? What's with that? If only you could have scheduled it for a weekend or something, I could have made you something decadent to celebrate, like this:

(grasshopper bars: creme de menthe, chocolate and sinful deliciousness)

And I wouldn't have given them to you in a glass dish with the knife still in it. No, I would have wrapped them up nicely, like this:

And, if I had the time like I usually have on the weekends, I could have bought a funny card, written something funny in it and put it with the grasshopper bars, like this:

And then you could have put them into your fridge to keep cold until you ready to eat them, which would look sort of like this:

No, wait. Actually, it would look exactly like that. Or, if you stepped back, like this:

Check your fridge when you get home, SJ. Because no one should be without alcohol and chocolate on their special day. Happy Birthday, my friend! Hope it's a good one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I think I'm hilarious. The PH? Not so much.

The Pretend Husband called me at work yesterday and asked me to fax something-- anything-- to him so he could test his fax machine. I hurriedly wrote up a letter to my "lover" and faxed it over. The fax said:
Dear Mark,
Regrettably, I must end our torrid love affair. I think my husband is starting to suspect something. Also, now that he has his own office, he's home in the evenings so you can't come over. I'll never forget you. Love, Your Pooky Bear

After I faxed it to the PH, I called him and said, "I'll fax you something in a minute. I just had to fax something to someone else."

"Very funny," he said.

I thought so.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tidbits: when there isn't enough for a full post

* As though life isn't exciting enough with the Pretend Husband starting his own business and kat's lil sis starting a second child, kat's lil bro had to get into the action by getting deep into the home buying process (he doesn't like it when I tell people he bought a house because it hasn't been finalized yet). When he made the offer, the PH told me I was forbidden to even pick up a paintbrush at lil bro's house until our house was done. He came home to find me painting the bedroom the next day and we rolled out the paint in the family room two days after that. I will not be thwarted in my quest to decorate lil bro's house.

* Do you think it's an indication I have a problem when I come close to finishing the renovations of one house and immediately start trying to figure out how to buy another one that needs work? I mean, just as we finished our first house, we bought the second and now that the second is almost done, lil bro has one ready for me to work on. The PH says we're not buying a third house when lil bro's is done. I may just have to start flipping houses to satisfy this weird urge of mine. Unless SJ is ready to buy a house and let me decorate it...

* Remember the guy who works for me who cannot get my name right? He happened to mention a few weeks ago that he drove by the office and didn't see my car (little creepy because he has not reason to be driving by and it's not even close to being on the way to anything...) Well, he upped the creepiness factor the other day when he stopped by my office and said, "Did you get a new car?" I had driven my brother's car to work that day, but I just said, "no." Then he replied, "Oh, because I thought I saw your license plate on another car." What?!? I'm not sure I even know my license plate number, so why in the world does this guy?!?

Friday, July 10, 2009

i have strep throat, but i've mastered the four point Wonder Woman turn


Strep throat?


So all weekend long i had this ridiculous fever that kept me from doing things like getting my hair dyed pretty colors that aren't grey, checking out my friend's band, going grocery (or any other kind of) shopping, etc.

But you know what I did do? I discovered Wonder Woman full episodes on and watched the first half of season 2 in my feverish state.

It brought me back all of the amazingness that was my childhood heroine. God I love that Wonder Woman. I totally had the underoos, the large silver bracelets which were made of silver, but let's pretend it was feminum, mmmk?

I have to say I prefer seasons two and three over the first mostly because Diana has some great 70s fashions. She rocked that wrap dress - and only Linda Carter could really get away with those glasses.

But when was a turban ever a wise non-religious influenced fashion choice?

I have to say that all of these new web sites popping up with childhood classic shows are really bringing back some fond memories - and there are so many shows I've forgotten about. Like... Remington Steele, Fraggle Rock, Small Wonder....

Gosh I love the Internet.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

We'll put this one squarely in the "better her than me" category

If you had the privilege of being an aunt to the cutest nephew in the world...

Would you do everything you could to convince your sister to have another child?
Would you pray that she would get knocked up so you could be the favorite aunt to not one, but two of the cutest nephews in the world? (or a nephew and a niece-- I'll take a cute niece!)
Would you hide her birth control when you went to visit in the hopes she'd throw caution to the wind?
Would you talk a lot about how Molly and Casey enjoy Peyton, but think it would be cool to have TWO cousins?

OK, I didn't do any of those things... and yet, kat's lil sis is giving me another niece or nephew anyway! Lil sis is knocked up, with child, has a bun in the oven, is expecting and is due at the very end of this year or the very beginning of next year.

She will be the proud (and probably very harried) mother of two children just 15 months apart in age. I'm not sure if I should be telling her "congratulations" or "good luck." But, either way, I must get to work on all the awesome (and totally inappropriate) Aunt Busty gifts in the quest to retain my title of favorite aunt.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

He drew the line at actually getting on the bus...

Yesterday was a big day for the Pretend Husband. After about five years at his job, he decided to open his own office. So, we have spent the last few weeks procuring bank accounts (him), creating marketing materials (me), buying office equipment (him) and buying items to decorate said office (me).

Yesterday was his first day in operation and while I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it with balloons and cake or anything (partially because he would think it was silly, but mostly because we are poor until his office starts actually doing some business), I figured it had to be marked somehow. So I made him coffee and a Pop Tart (it's a special treat around here...), wrote a note that I hid in his new laptop and made him stand on the front step and pose for a photo.

It was a little surreal because it's the same step my mom made each of us pose on for the first day of school, capturing everything from the cute, I-can't-wait-start grin of the elementary years to the are-you-kidding-me,-Mom? eye-rolling smile of the high school years. The PH, with his laptop bag strapped across his body and toting a stack of folders in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other, fits right into that-- and I'm sure I don't have to tell you which pose I got from him.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My overdue recap of quotes after hanging out with KAT last weekend

So last weekend we got together for some awesomely not really planned until the last minute fun.

Which is always a good time.

And all we have for you, really, is this list of quotes. We think it defines what it's like to hang out with KAT, me, the PH and J just perfectly.

"Dude, your ten year old self would kick your own ass right now." -- J to the PH after the PH demanded KAT use the firepit to light off fireworks. (Note: Said fireworks pictured below.)

"You had to come down here and save me?" -- KAT.
"I'm coming down here to save the neighborhood." -- the PH to KAT, while standing immediately next to her with a hose in case that Roman Candle set the entire water-soaked lawn on fire.

"Stop pointing fireworks at my lawn and at the pine trees." -- PH to KAT (see above.)

"Are you offended I don't want to continue talking about your penis?" -- SJ to the PH.
"Whatever, just play." -- The PH responded sullenly. Note: To clarify, we were playing setback. Of course. Lots and lots of setback.

"Give the girl 3 martinis and she's 13." -- PH to KAT. which resulted in an:
"uhhhhhh...." from the rest of us and also for KAT to tell me:
"SJ, transcribe this entire conversation."

"That's fine. I'll take the PH home." J to me and KAT - I don't remember what prompted this, but I'm pretty sure it implied a romantic relationship between our spouses.

"When my wife doesn't work, she's going in the garbage." -- J (That's right, ladies. He's mine! Back off!)

"This is probably going on the blog." -- the PH

"If that's where I have to go to find love and support and people that don't pee on themselves..." -- KAT.

I had nothing recorded after that, as I had fallen into fits of laughter too hard to hold the pen.

Good news though. We're getting together again tomorrow night. Let the shenanigans rule!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

If you're still sad about any of the celebrities that died last week, you should probably skip this post

I've gone back and forth on whether to write about this topic because of the whole don't-speak-ill-of-the-dead thing and all. But it keeps rewriting itself in my head and I figured the only way to get it to stop is to actually put it down. And I'm curious to hear if people agree, disagree, could care less, think I'm a terrible person, didn't hear this news until just this second, etc.

So, a bunch of celebrities passed away in the past week. It's too bad and it's always sad when someone loses their life. But, honestly? I don't really care. They weren't my friends, I'm in no way related to them and I'm about as far from the person who gives up their day to stand outside Michael Jackson's house and cry while laying flowers at the gate as you can get.

I'm absolutely fascinated by the MJ story in terms of how the media has covered it. I couldn't believe how many people said, "We will all always remember where we were when we heard Michael Jackson died." Really?!? That's how much he means to you? His death is a life-changing event for you? Because it's not for me. I will remember where I was on September 11, I still have a clear memory of watching the Challenger explode and I can recall even the most minute detail from my mom's last day alive. But a washed-up pop icon with a questionable criminal history? Eh.

One article I read last week was titled, "For Generation X, A Really Bad Day." And it quoted a 38-year-old man talking about how MJ's death is a defining moment for Generation X and the moment that finally turned that generation into adults. Really?!? He's 38 years old and just getting around to becoming an adult? His wife must be so proud.

Was Michael Jackson a star? Yup. He did a lot for the music industry in his day and he was a heck of an entertainer. Was he also just a person with a whole lot of issues? Yes he was, and that's the part that seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. His death is sad, yes, and particularly terrible for its effect on his children (although I also question the effect his apparently daily drug use had on them...) but it's not the end of the world, the worst thing that's ever happened to me or a reason for the media to hype it into more than what it is. Let's all keep it in perspective, shall we?