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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Terrible Tuesdays: The Dog Park

bi-polar winter
Today it was a beautiful day in Athens, Ohio. For those of you experiencing similar weather, I gush with you about this random spring day in January! For those of you who are still perhaps frozen, I apologize and heretofore stfu.

Anyway, today I had the misfortune of working my long shift, which is open (at 6:30am) to 3pm. It's a grueling 8.5 hour workday without any breaks, sitting, or time to think. And today especially it was super fun making vast quantities of iced delicacies for the thawed masses who decided today was the day to really screw their New Year's resolutions. Luckily, we had the door open, the breeze blowing, and behind the espresso behemoth, it was probably only in the mid-80s. (Side note: I fear summer.) Obviously, as soon as I could skedaddle out of that mess, I did.

As you may or may not know, my parents spent the better part of January on a tropical cruise through the Panama Canal. Yes, I did want to kill them and steal their tickets. But that is not the point. The point is that I was left home to care for my sweet little dog, Zoe. Aside from curing me of any desire at all to acquire a puppy at this state of my life (read: the lazy state), Zoe and I also had quite the adventure figuring out a schedule that worked for both of us. She likes to wake up around 8 or 8:30; I have to be at work by 6:30 most days. She enjoys sleeping on 90%; I require my half at the absolute minimum. And she never listens (deaf dog joke!). Towards the end of our solitary confinement (ask me how guilty I felt leaving her alone all day and then ALSO going out at night), we hit upon the perfect schedule: a quick jaunt around the block before work, a fast-and-furious run at the dog park mid-afternoon, then a long and lazy walk a few hours after dinner.

Well, today it was a gorgeous day, and even though the dog-walking responsibilities are again being shared between three people, I decided we should give our old schedule a go, and Zoe and I scooted down to the West State ballfields.

Naturally, we expected some mud. And honestly, it wasn't too bad. There were a lot of larger dogs tearing up the ground, which made the squish-factor a little higher, but more dogs = more fun.

the tree line of disaster, as it shall henceforth be known
So we tiptoed in, because Zoe doesn't like to make a splash and have all the dogs on her at once. Usually that ends with her getting humped and she is no hussy. Instead, we creep in through the trees while she sniffs at every clump of grass that has ever seen the business end of a dog.

Happily, today Zoe jumped right into the mix, and after nipping a big shaggy thing who was trying to get frisky, she was leading the pack around and around and around. My dog can turn on a dime, for real. Sometimes this is bad, and she'll get knocked down by a dog less adept at the fake-outs, but usually she shakes it off.

Well today, she immediately headed for the trees on the other side and was promptly followed by her adoring fan club. Next thing I know, she's decided to *ahem* leave her mark for all to see. I sighed, because of course my dog goes number two on the other side of the park, forcing me to traipse through the muck and puddles without getting knocked over by an errant canine. I approached the tree line, and got ready to do my dog-owner duty (doody, get it??). But I was faced with a problem: the poo had disappeared.

Listen, I know what my dog's crap looks like. She somehow poops 2-5 times a day, and it is distinctive. I do NOT want to describe it on my pretty little blog, but believe you me, there was no Zoe poop by the tree line. I looked everywhere, including the soles of my shoes. Zoe had moved on with her pack, and I saw a couple of them doing that big stretch-and-kick thing you see cats doing to "hide" their business. Which led me to thinking...

I know a couple disgusting dogs. They eat things they should not eat. They have lived under my roof; I know these truths self-evidently. It's gross. And I had a sneaking suspicion that one of Zoe's gang maybe liked her rear-end deposit a little too much, if you catch my drift. Dogs are fun.

she was just chilling the whole time
And then I was met with a conundrum: I was still with an empty Kroger bag. All the owners had seen my dog's awkward squat; they knew what had happened. Not picking up after your dog is cause for SERIOUS confrontation and ostracizing. I was suddenly nervous--even if another dog HAD enjoyed an afternoon snack just now, how could I prove it? Maybe I was just a lazy kid/college student/person who refused to pick up after their dog! Maybe they were all talking about how I hadn't picked anything up yet! I was about to have to discuss my dog's pooping habits and how I very clearly knew that her bits and pieces were NOT by the tree!

So what do I do? Like any sane, non-confrontational person, I waved my dog over and made a big show of asked her where she left her goodies. When she didn't reply, I made an obvious attempt at searching the premises, before stuffing the still-empty bag in my pocket. Then, I skirted the edges of the park, keeping out of the mud, and away from anyone who didn't have four legs. And finally, after 10 minutes, I made a big show of "TIME TO GO" and we clipped the leash and fairly skipped out of the park. No one said a word. But that doesn't mean they weren't judging me as a bad dog-owner. Can I ever show my face again?? (I hope so, because as we were leaving there was a TINY puppy arriving and I cursed the dog that ate my dog's poop.)

And that, my friends, is the awkward case of the missing dog crap. And just another lovely story of my life. You're welcome.

this is her "wtf is wrong with you,
do your job" face...so sweet
And now, Terrible Tuesdays can go nowhere but up...because how could I possible go lower than a story about poop?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Terrible Tuesdays

Hey remember when I wrote in this thing?

....right.

So I've decided I'm going to start doing some weekly feature-type situations, where I post regularly on a certain subject every week. A lot of successful blogs (by successful, I mean interesting, hilarious, and cool) that I read tend to do this. It definitely gives a somewhat random blog a bit more structure...plus it gives you readers something AWESOME to look forward to! Like Postsecret on Sundays, except probably not like that at all. Like the idea of Postsecret. It'll probably execute more like...drinking too much on a Friday: disastrous, but predictable.

The first weekly feature (oh, there may be TWO or THREE eventually!) I have decided to implement, which I think goes along with the original intent of the blog quite nicely, is called Terrible Tuesdays. On Tuesday, I will tell you a real-life story of something tragically preventable and altogether completely ridiculous that happened to me in the past week, in horrifying detail. I call it Terrible Tuesdays, not because I am a pessimist or anything, but because I am an alliterator...an alliterarian...an allitigator. Because I like alliteration.

Well look at that! This means I have to post tomorrow. Are you excited? It could be something astonishingly cringeworthy, like when I completely didn't recognize someone from high school on Friday and instead ignored said person because I thought I didn't know them, only to realize I had causally dated them in high school. I dated around two people in high school. YEAH. Or maybe it will be a slow-motion breakdown of the time I gently set two glass shelves in a sink of soapy water to sanitize, only for one of them to shatter in the sink. Or maybe it will be a poetic muse on the fact that I have been "cleaning my room" for around 6 hours today and there is still a decorated, tinsel Christmas tree in my room. If you guys like this feature then maybe...maybe, someday, you will get to see the instructional "Wobble" dance video I made as an early wedding present for my friends.

Oh, it's gonna be good.

(FYI, some posts will probably just be a ridiculous photo of me. Like the one below.)


just pretending to sleep, while standing up in my kitchen...average night

See you tomorrow!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Midwestern Blogging

Hi friends! In an effort to emerse myself more into the blogging world, I'm going to be joining up with some other awesome Midwestern lady bloggers in a collaboration of sorts. Even though LA and New York are the blogging hot spots of the moment, there are a ton of cool blogs written by people just like me(!) nearby. I'm excited to learn more about promoting my blog and how to focus my writing and content into something perhaps a little more marketable. It's a new step for me, and so I'm just saying...watch this space!!


The mastermind behind all this is La Petite Fashionista up in Wisconsin. Check her out! And don't worry--I will keep you abreast of all newness in my blogging world, and I will definitely link to my work elsewhere (like on the Midwest Style Blog).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Time To Talk Tips

Don't worry, I'm not about to launch into some speech about the proletariat versus the bourgeoisie; I'm not here to make you feel guilty about tipping or the amount you tip or who you should tip or whatever. That's all your business. You are entitled to do what you want with your own dolla-dolla bills, y'all. I'm just going to talk about my own experience with the tip jar.

My job is not dependent on tips. I am not a server or bartender; tips are not expected at my job. However, they are a super tangible perk that I can see accumulate as I steam gallons of milk each day. But why am I writing about them? Well, tips are not quite as simple as all that.

that crazy $20 tip
First of all, my tips vary WILDLY day-to-day. Sometimes, on a 5-hour weekday closing shift, I'll come home with $2 and change. Most days it's around $7-8 for one of my shifts (between 5-7 hours). Not bad right? Effectively I get to add a dollar to my hourly wage! Yay! But some days the tips are much higher--Thursday morning I made $13, Tuesday it was $15. Before Christmas someone dropped a $20 in my jar, giving me a record high tip count of $33.50!

So sometimes people give a dollar or the change from their dollar, and some days they don't. But I can't figure out what makes a person tip and what motivates them to pocket the $0.35 I hand back. (Please, let me be clear here: I do not begrudge a person keeping their change! I do that, too. Sometimes you need quarters, sometimes you feel super poor, and sometimes you just don't want to give up your damn money!) I think I am equally nice to everyone who comes in. If you know me, even a little, you know I am pretty upbeat and happy. I try to ask everyone how they are, even if there is a long line. I smile all the time, even if I just dumped cold brew on my crotch or chipped a nail. I engage in small talk, about the weather, the new semester system at OU. I humor those who think I'm 19, and I give small personal details to people who think they know me (they usually do...small town).

But the tips? It's like a completely random system. I mean sure, I know certain regulars always give a buck. They are awesome. And I know certain regulars who usually pay with card will try to dump some change in the jar at least once a week. And, of course, I know certain regulars who never tip. It's the ones I don't know that I can't predict.

My brother, who used to deliver pizzas for Papa John's, once told me that old people and young women are the worst tippers. Naturally, I took offense to this (probably his intent) and have tried my best to defy people's expectations that I am crappy tipper just by default of my age and sex. Well, I have tried to figure out a pattern of who tips and who doesn't tip at my coffee shop, but it is much more complex than old people and young women. Sometimes a random 19-year-old will give me $0.50 after buying a Gatorade, when I did literally nothing for him. And sometimes a perfectly nice person who chats me up won't drop a dime. The only pattern I can discern is that people who pay with cards don't tip often. But that just makes sense--someone who is buying a $3 coffee with a card probably doesn't have any cash on them!

I think my favorite people are the people who buy a $1.95 coffee and dump the nickel in the jar. Whenever I hear something fall into my jar, I try to chirp a "thank you!" I figure that's just common courtesy, right? Unfortunately, it tends to embarrass those nickel-droppers, and then they apologize for only giving me $0.05. I prepared a little speech after the 3rd time I got an apology response ("it's cool--if everyone gave me a nickel, that would be awesome!"). But I think it takes a pretty self-aware person to apologize for tipping--and these people are usually the broke grad students, the busy moms, the old bachelors. And they probably need their nickels as much as I do.

Anyway, I try to pay my tips forward as much as I can--to the bartenders who serve me drinks, the people who work the same long hours I do, serving food and drink behind a cash register, on their feet all day. To me, a tip jar is an opportunity to make someone's day a little better: after they have swept up all the crumbs, thrown out the trash, and dried their dishpan hands, they get to count their tips. It's a sweet moment when your $60-a-day job is suddenly $75 a day. (That's 25% more!)

If you have any insight on the world of tipping, I'd love to hear it. My mathematical brain will keep trying to figure out a pattern. And may I just say, thank you for your tips. Remember--we tipped workers will hardly ever judge you for keeping your tips to yourself, and we will continue to appreciate every nickel.

how I feel about this post...and tips

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013

This year is almost over. Time has been speeding up on me; somehow I'm halfway through my 26th year. We are about to enter my least favorite months (January, February, March) and now tends to be the time when all of us take a good, hard look at ourselves, and make some harsh critiques. I do this every year without fail--make resolutions with noble goals. Rarely do these stick. I'm just not cut out for sudden changes.

So, of late, I've begun creating random to-do lists, full of vague improvements and specific goals I hope to accomplish, in the coming year, or eventually. This list is designed to give me opportunities to do better, without a specific way to fail. Hopefully I can cross everything off the list at some point, but also including vague items gives me the wiggle room I need to release New Years resolution pressure.

Obviously this list is not comprehensive; I have certain goals that I do not believe will be realized in 2013 (find my dream job, take a vacation that doesn't involve sleeping on a friend's couch/floor/spare bed, afford comprehensive health insurance), but this represents improvements I think I can make successfully, new things I want to learn/try, and maybe a few things I should already be doing...

TO DO IN 2013

1. Pay off my credit card from my time in Paris
2. Learn how to make pasta from scratch
3. Practice yoga more
4. Learn 3 designs to draw in latte foam
5. Plan a trip (hopefully abroad)
6. Squint less, moisturize more, stress less, communicate more
7. Pay student loans each month on time, plus at least $5 extra (but usually more) each time
8. Write (fiction, non-fiction, whatever)
9. Keep my room and bathroom neat
10. Work on posture and flexibility
11. Learn how to make a good dirty martini (vodka please)
12. Get a planner, keep it current
13. Keep better track of mindless eating, add more raw fruits and veggies to my meals
14. Take a road trip with a friend
15. Learn a new song on the piano
16. Make a better effort to keep in touch with old friends
17. Drink more tea
18. Make pickles
19. Continue worrying less about what other people think; compare myself to others less
20. Perform more random acts of kindness

All my instincts are telling me to start making daily checklists, measure out portions, purge my closet, find my running shoes, and email my bank accounts to my more financially savvy friends for them to budget me out. But I think this way is a lot less terrifying...and let's not lie, WAY easier.

Happy 2013, and here's to various fresh starts, new ideas, fun beginnings, and (always) old friends!