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Holy moly I have not blogged in a long time.  Ridiculous.  Gonna get back into it with a recent life experience.

A couple of weeks ago, I accompanied my Mom to Las Vegas for a conference.  It was really cold.  And expensive.  But, we had a blast.

At the airport on the way home, I made a pit stop into the ladies room.  Out of habit, I set my phone on top of the toilet paper dispenser thing.  I don’t keep it in my pocket anymore for fear that it might suffer the same fate as my keys once did (got flushed to the point of no return).  On par with my short term memory, I do my business, flush and peace out of the stall, forgetting my phone.

I stop at the Coffee Bean to buy a drink, then slowly waltz back to where my Mom and I had set up camp.  It’s when I sit down that I realize I don’t have my phone.  Panic sets in.  (This is the second time I’ve done this in a month… thank goodness for the FInd My Friends app).  I race back to the restroom to discover that out of all 20 stalls, the one I was in is the only one currently occupied.

I decide to wait it out, thinking it shouldn’t be more than a minute or two.  At this point, the bathroom attendant, who is mentally challenged, comes by.  I decide to ask her if she’s found a phone in the last 10 minutes, but she has not.  I told her I am going to wait until the lady comes out of the stall I was in to see if it was there, because I’m pretty sure I left it in there.  She’s not quite as patient as me, and goes up to the stall and knocks, “IS THERE A PHONE IN THERE?” (I use all caps because her tone of voice was comparable to shouting).  There’s a grumble from within the stall, and the attendant and I both take that as a “no”.

I wait around another 3-4 minutes, because I want a look for myself.  The lady in the stall doesn’t leave, so I realize this is a different kind of pit stop than the quick one I made earlier.  I leave the restroom and go ask the nearest ticket counter if they’ve found a phone.  They have not.  I go back to the restroom.

By this point, the attendant has become grossly annoyed that the lady has not left the stall yet.  I’m a little more patient (we had like 3 hours to kill before our flight).  She starts talking to the lady in the stall, “HELLO, WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG IN THERE?  ARE YOU GOING POO POO?”.  I’m not even kidding when I say that’s what she said.  Then, in hopes that the lady might need a little motivation, the attendant starts giving her a countdown.  “COME ON!  3, 2, 1 FLUSH!”.  There’s no response and I am starting to have a stroke from witnessing this much awkwardness.  Obviously the lady is going number two, but how embarrassing to have someone cheering you on from outside the stall.  I don’t know about anyone else, but my system doesn’t do well under pressure.

After a another 5 minutes, the lady emerges.  Headphones in, my iPhone in hand.  I’m immediately relieved to see my phone and the fact that she had headphones in during that whole ordeal.

But then it sets in that my phone spent the last 10-15 minutes in that stall with that lady doing that kind of business.  I gave it a good wipe down, but I’m afraid things will never be the same.

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If there’s one thing my friendship with Kelley has taught me, it’s to never be afraid to BS with strangers on irrelevant matters.  These days, I’m a Netflix (streaming only) subscriber.  Every once in a while I get on there to search for a movie, or a tv show or an actor.  I’ve noticed that each time I search, my search results return something that is in no way related to what I searched for.  They might share a LETTER, but that is all. 

Today, I searched for Elvis Presley (in anticipation for what movie options I’ll have for August 16th) and I was not pleased with my results.  Maybe it’s the day or maybe it’s that time of the month (month end close… gotcha), but I lost my cool a little bit.  I got THREE results related to Elvis Presley.  I also got results ranging from Elvis Costello (I could have let this one slide) to ELVIRA (why is that shiz on Netflix) to Jamie Foxx.  All I wanted was what they had on Elvis Presley.  I don’t want 5 pages of results related to bologna I did not search for.  I decided to drop them some feedback.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), my only contact options were chat or to call them.  Since I hate talking on the phone, I opted for the chat session.  Here you go:

Welcome to Netflix Chat. How can we help you?
You are now chatting with: Jonathan

You: Hi Jonathan

Jonathan: HI there! Who am I chatting with today?

You: Emily

Jonathan: Hey there Emily. How can I help you today?

You: Well, I was hoping to find a place on the site to leave a comment/feedback about the site. Is this the best place to do so?

Jonathan: Absolutely, we love feedback. I’m all ears.

You: I’ve noticed that a lot of times I will search for a specific movie or actor and when I get my search results it contains a plethora of other artists/movies/shows etc that have nothing to do with the artist/movie/show I searched for.

You: For example, I just searched Elvis Presley. I got three results related to him and then a whole ton of others. Like Elvis Costello, Elvira and even Jamie Foxx. Is there a reason for this?

You: I’d rather only have the three search results that directly related to what I was searching for. Short and sweet. I don’t see the need to cloud the search results with a bunch of other mumbo jumbo I have no need for.

You: I hope this makes sense. Thanks for listening.

Jonathan: Of course, that’s a great call out. From my understanding, the search is mostly intuitive with closely matching names or things you could’ve possibly have been meaning to type. This an absolutely great suggestion though that I’ll pass on to research. I really appreciate you taking the time to call this out.

You: No problem – I’ve noticed this a few times and find it a little frustrating. Thanks for being warm to my feedback. I appreciate it and promise I am not a crazy person.

Jonathan: No, I totally appreciate your feedback and completely understand the craziness!

You: Thanks, Jonathan… have a great day!

Jonathan: Absolutely, you have one, too!

Now, whether or not he’ll actually mention my feedback to “research”, I have no idea.  But, at least for my piece of mind I voiced my complaint and managed to waste about 5 minutes of his time today.  It feels really good to BS with strangers sometimes.  I’m just glad I learned that lesson young. 

If in a month or two, I search for something and notice that the results only contain exactly what I searched for, then I’ll know that I effected (affected?) change for the first time in my life. 

Yes I can!

Recently, my Mom put in a request that I write something about her.  I agreed, but it took me a week to figure out what story I wanted to share.  I knew something would come to me and sure enough it did over lunch today.  Two months ago, I was helping her set up for her clothes/trunk show (called “ETC”).  She put me in charge of organizing the two racks of sale clothes out in their garage, which was bordering on furnace level heat.  Is it still child abuse when you are 30?

After an hour of working, I decided to take a small break.  I began to look around at the garage and noticed some very interesting objects and object placements.  Thinking to myself that this would be great blog material, I snapped a few pictures.  In no particular order, aside from the last one being my favorite, here’s a peak at the inside of my parents garage.  It’s definitely used more than just for parking cars and keeping boxes of my elementary school artwork and projects (Mom, I promise when I house sit in July I will go through these).

Observation #1: The life size cactus

The Christmas Cactus?

The Christmas Cactus?

Observation #2: The stuffed chicken in a chair

Just takin' a load off

Just takin’ a load off

Observation #3: The body of a mannequin (side note: when ever you hear the word “mannequin” does it remind you of that awesome 80’s movie about the mannequin that comes to life?)

Close your eyes kids!

Close your eyes kids!

Observation #4: Dan’s childhood baseball certificate properly displayed on a shelf

50 years later and we're still proud!

50 years later and we’re still proud!

Observation #5: The chair on a chair in the air

Just hangin'

Just hangin’

Observation #6: My Christmas tree fully decorated and under wraps

After this post, there might not be any presents under this tree this year

After this post, there might not be any presents under this tree this year

Observation #7 (my favorite): The doll resting on a trash bag full of something with her leg propped up (I promise I did not do that)

Nobody puts the baby doll in the corner

Nobody puts the baby doll in the corner

Just as I was getting ready to leave for work today, I looked outside and it was pouring.  I decided I had better drive across the street to work today.  After I grabbed my car keys and headed out to the garage, I saw my car, still glowing after being freshly waxed on Sunday, and decided I didn’t want to risk getting it dirty in the rain.

I went back inside, threw on my rain jacket and sneakers, and then bolted out the door.  I sprinted across the street to work and arrived to my office soaking… and sweating a little. 

My decision was totally normal, right?

The other day, as I was doing my dutiful job of watching Rocky drop Lincoln Logs, I was approached by a random passer-byer.  She made some kind of random comment/joke about watching my dog poop and I gave her the courtesy laugh and assumed that once she walked on past us, that would be the end of our interaction.

As Rocky and I proceeded to go back inside my apartment complex, she turns around and starts walking towards me.  She says, “Hey, do by chance have any herb to sell?”.  I almost start to giggle, because I’m such a square that I would never in a million years have any “herb” to sell, let alone use (please no comments from the NYE peanut gallery).  Of course, unless she was interested in the dead herbs I have currently resting in peace on my balcony.  I would have been willing to make her a sweet deal on those.  Instead, I told her no, but that she wouldn’t have a hard time finding any in this town. 

So, either she was pretty desperate or I need to start rethinking my wardrobe.

I just walked over to Starbucks to get a cup of coffee and as I was pouring cream in my coffee, the barista asked the gentleman waiting next to the bar how his day was going.  His response, “Oh, just another day in paradise”.  I though it was funny.  In fact, I think all barista-customer exchanges are interesting.

I walked back to the office and hopped on the elevator with two other gentleman.  They apparently knew each other, and one asks the other how his day was going.  His response, “Just another day in paradise, man”.  I had the same “that’s funny” thought as I did after the Starbucks exchange, and then two seconds later deja vu hit and I realized I just heard that less than 5 minutes ago.  It’s not necessarily an unpopular response to the question, but it’s definitely not the “ok”, “pretty good” or “fine” (my childhood favorite) that you hear most of the time.

As I sat down at my desk and began to search for the song on my iPod, it dawned on me that I ran to that song this morning.  Normally, it comes on my Shuffle and I fast forward because it’s kinda slow.  But, today I was in the mood for it.  How bizarre.

Now I’m listening to it, because I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something today via Phil Collins. 

And I’ve listened to it.  The universe is pretty twisted if it’s trying to tell me it’s another day in paradise for me, Peter Olinto and Tim Gearty.  Because it’s not.  I’m sick of studying.  It is NOT paradise.

I am really loving the new Cee-Lo album.  Of course, my love for the F you song was what initially got me to buy the album, but I’m really loving the rest of it, too.

On the second track, “Bright Lights, Bigger City” there is a spot where you hear the faintest sound of a siren in the background.  Every stinking time I hear it, I immediately hit the brakes and look in my rearview mirror for an ambulance or fire truck.  When I see nothing, I realize I’ve been tricked again by the song.  You’d think I’d catch on, but this has happened close to 10 times.  I’m obviously not catching on.

Why am I so gullible all the time?

In boot camp this morning, we were using the Bosu balls.  After I started jumping on mine, it began making a squeeking noise each time I landed on it, as there must have been a hole.  Upon swapping it out for a new one, my friendly competitor who is vocal, obnoxious to some, yet entertaining to me, stated to the whole class, “Emily is an accountant, she’s used to busting balls”.  Oh my.

I always enjoy a good complement, but it’s the out of the ordinary ones that really tug at my heart-strings.  First, there was the random lady at Bally’s who said, “Girl, you’ve got Tina Turner legs” as I was getting off my weight machine.  Then, there was the mailroom guy at the law firm in DC that said, “Hey, you’ve got a great walk, a great stride” as I was leaving the supply room.  And, last night I got my most recent installment of the random compliment.

My low tire pressure light came on the other day and so, on my way home last night I decided to visit the nearby gas station and try to figure this puppy out.  Yes, I’ve never checked tire pressure nor put air in my tires before.  Laugh all you want.  Luckily, I’m quick a quick learner and figured it out on the fly.  As I was putting the caps back on my tires, a random fellow on a bike cruised up and said, “Hey, you look really good putting air in your tires”.   And then he kept going.

Fortunately, this gentleman didn’t witness the next 10 minutes of my life.

I decided to go ahead and get gas while I was stopped.  The first pump I pulled up next to didn’t have a pump, so I got back in the car drove to another one.  As the gas was pumping, I set my wallet on top of my car so I could use my free hands to clean out my backseat.  The pump soon stopped, I replaced the nozzle and was on my way.  Feeling accomplished and productive, I cruised across the street to the do-it-yourself car wash.  I normally steer clear of these car washes based on the fact that I will always remember the Austin-Colleen Reed-West 5th Street Car Wash abduction in 1991.  And also the hours upon hours of fright I accumulated watching Unsolved Mysteries with my 82-year-old babysitter, Miss P.

But, this time I reasoned that it was broad daylight and my home was two blocks away.  I pulled into an open stall and parked.  When I went to reach for some change, I realized I didn’t have my wallet.  And then I realized I left it on the roof.  I jumped out to see if it was still there. It wasn’t.  So, I quickly drove back across the street to retrace my steps.  It wasn’t near my pump and just as I began to doubt the integrity of my neighborhood folk, I walked into the gas station only to see a good Samaritan handing my wallet over to the clerk.  Apparently, he rescued it from the middle of the street (Question: Should I have tipped him?).

Wallet in hand, I cruised back to the other side of the street to resume my car washing attempt.  I think I lost a lot of change in the wallet debacle, but I scrounged up enough for one cycle of wash which lasted 3 minutes.  Seemed like a long enough time.  I rinsed the car off, then applied a round of soap, then began to rinse again.  Halfway through the last rinse, the water cut off.  Of course it did. I managed to swipe a towel from my trunk and wipe it off the soap suds in all their streaky glory.  In doing so, I noticed that one of my tire caps was missing.  In one final gusto, I drove myself back across the street to retrace my steps again.  Thank goodness I found the cap.

Moral of the story: Enjoy the random compliments, but don’t let them lose your focus.  It only takes seconds to look like an idiot again.

About a year ago, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop getting Starbucks every morning.  I attempted to make a home-brew Monday – Thursday and then treat myself to the real deal only on Friday’s. 

I lasted the better part of a year.  Morning coffee is a tricky formula to get right.  There’s the issue of transporting it.  Even with using the 4 Starbucks tumblers I had purchased, there was still significant amount of spillage.  You wash those in the dishwasher ONE time and the plastic get’s jacked up.  Just screwing the cap one would cause a few dribbles of coffee to fall on your hands.  Or your clothing.  Not the best way to get the day started.  There is also the issue of temperature.  By the time my 30 minute commute to work is over, my coffee is cold.  There is the option of reheating it, but you can’t to that in the tumbler.  Plastic would leak into my coffee and I would die.  I could pour the coffee into a mug and reheat that, but that involves way too many variables for a simple cup of coffee.  And sometimes it hurts.

Long story short, in order to save my health and mental sanity, I decided it’s best to just pay $2 a day for a good, strong cup of fresh coffee.  I reasoned that since I am single, I work hard and I don’t eat lunch out, I can afford it.  Which brings me to the point of this post.

I’ve been stopping at a new Starbucks the last couple of months.  I used to stop there often until one Friday I had a run in with Bob Marley.  Since it’s convenient, I’ve been going back.  Carefully.  About two months ago, I noticed this grungy guy standing behind the cream and sugar kiosk.  He would kinda of watch me and one day he said, “Hey”.  I wasn’t sure if he was homeless or just creepy.  Turns out he works there because a few days later he was behind the front counter. 

He seemed like a pretty nice guy and I always love having a barista know my order by heart.  He’d see me walk in and would grab my grande decaf, so it was ready by the time I checked out.  Occasionally, we’d share small talk.  He once told me it was “always nice to see you”.  I just thought this Starbucks branch was exceptional with customer service.  And then came the big one.  Yesterday.  Donovan was pouring my coffee the moment I walked in the door.  I said to him, “Wow, you are fast”.  He said, “Well, I saw you drive up”.  He asked how my day went and then as I was turning to walk away, he says, “Hey, I was wondering if you’d like to have coffee with me sometime”? Surprised, I said, “Um, sure”.  He responded, “Ok, well you know where to find me”.

Which means now I am in a pickle.  Donovan is really nice and I enjoy having an attentive barista, but he is not really my type.  And I don’t really want to jeopardize our “relationship” because I do enjoy the service.  So, I’m not sure what to do.  I stalled today and went to another Starbucks.  But, that can be blamed on the “arctic blast”… for all he knows, maybe I’m a teacher and had the day off.

I am open to suggestions on how to make this not an awkward situation.  Do I have coffee with him?  Do I just avoid the subject each time I see him? 

It’s funny to me that he choose a coffee date.  I guess he figured he was safe in asking me to do something we both have in common.