Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Adventures of Schmugly Bear and Carlicious: A Mess

Have I ever told you about Eric? Oh Eric, one of my very best friends. He is the male version of me, except full of surprises. Eric is the most wonderful boy in the entire world to me -- we have more fun than I can even describe and sometimes when I'm with him, I laugh so hard, I simply have to scream, because I cannot laugh fast enough to get everything out. I love this boy.

The feelings were not always mutual, apparently. Having grown up in the same church, Eric and I have literally known each other our entire lives. We did plays together at the Civic and co-MCed the Senior Banquet for our Youth Group and spent four years causing trouble in the back row of Sunday school. For some reason, though, we never hung out outside of those activities. Finally, the summer after we graduated, I roped him into going to dinner with me and we stayed at Applebees until it closed that night, lying in the booths because we were laughing so hard. As we walked to our cars, practically gasping for breath, I said, "Why have we never done this before?" and he just kept laughing and said, "Well, I really couldn't stand you!"

And so the truth came out. I don't know what happened that changed his mind, but despite the shady beginning, Eric and I became fast friends. I love everything about him, except for the fact that he goes to school in New Jersey, or, the Dirty Jerz as we have come to call it. Consequently, I don't get to see him often. I don't love that at all. After six long months, though, I drove to Detroit to pick him up at the airport on Thursday and the scene that ensued was priceless. I pulled up to the curb, screamed his name, ran into his arms, and caused quite a commotion in general. My heart was full in that moment. It was the most platonically romantic experience I think I've ever had, if that makes any sense.

Unfortunately, he's only home for a short little bit, and I feel bad for his poor mother, because I inadvertently monopolize his time. We had the drive home, which was fun [despite the fact that I accidentally sideswiped a construction barrel and lost the passenger-side mirror on my dad's car -- not important in light of the fact that I was reunited with my long lost friend, right? Right...] and I didn't take him home until 2:30 in the morning. Whoops. I shared him on Friday, though...I didn't see him at all on Friday, I just talked to him on the phone 37 times. No big deal.

Saturday, however, was different. Eric had the audacity to call me at 10:00 AM, which in Carly-time is painfully early. I obviously didn't answer, because the last time I answered the phone when Eric called me while I was sleeping, he said nothing except how I sounded like death for a solid 10 minutes. No thanks. THEN the jerkface called the house phone and recruited my mother to wake me up, which she was only too happy to do. Rude.

Forty-five minutes later I pulled into his driveway and he answered the door, practically beaming. "Follow me," he said as way of greeting. I followed him through his house, into his garage and he turned around. "Have you ever been kayaking?" he asked me.

"" I said. His smile grew.

"Well," he said, "This is Boris!" He pointed at a blue kayak hanging from hooks in the ceiling, introducing me to the day's activity.

Before I really knew what was happening, we had loaded the kayak into my parents' van and driven to Austin Lake in Portage. I took off my shoes without really thinking about where I was, only to step in something brown and mushy. "ERIC!" I screamed, "I JUST STEPPED IN DOG POOP!!"

He started to laugh and said, "Actually, it's probably a goose..."

Have I mentioned how much I hate birds? Yeah.

Eric showed me the basics of kayaking [it is as simple as it looks] and then put me in Boris. Kayaking really isn't difficult, it's just tricky to find your balance in the beginning. Eric just stood on the shore, wheezing at my attempts to control myself and paddle around in front of him. A group of men stood on a dock near us and stared at me, unsure of whether or not I was amusing or pathetic. I wasn't sure either, to be honest.

I felt bad hogging Boris, so I made Eric try to sit on him with me. Yeah, that worked REALLY WELL. He effectively soaked his pants and nearly sunk the one person kayak in three feet of water. While this doesn't sound inherently hilarious, trust me when I say that it was.

Anyway, we paddled around for a while until we were bored with Boris, and then we went to lunch at El Jimador, where we made a list of the movies that we needed to watch this summer and started to plan a trip to India. Some things that I love about Eric: he loves movies, traveling, and ethnic foods almost as much as I do. It's wonderful. Also, he tolerates my addiction to musicals, which is helpful. We also made tentative plans to hit up New York City herself when I fly out to the Dirty Jerz in August. Now THAT will be an adventure.

Do you know how when you're on a diet, the first week is always the hardest? It's like, all you can think about is how much you want chocolate or cheese or buttery popcorn, but you can't have any of it? But then, after a little while, you're used to not eating it, so it's easier to stop obsessing? That's how I felt when I said goodbye to my Eric today. He flew back to the Jerz and even though I'll see him in a month and a half, it still sucks. I miss him more today than I did a week ago.

And so, dear friend, thank you for coming home. Next time let's chronicle our adventures with pictures. Let's go to the zoo and Saffron and the Rave and the beach and play on the farm and see a show at the Civic and kayak with Boris again. I miss you. I'll see you soon, but never soon enough.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My New Roommate

When I think about what I planned my summer to be, I laugh. How different. How funny. While I would love nothing more than to be setting sail on an adventure around the world next week, I cannot imagine leaving. I think that's a good thing. Besides, my friend Christine? The one who was my travel companion? Well, let's just say, we ended up as roommates anyway, so it all worked out.

Christine is one of two of my close friends home this summer. I knew I would see her a lot, but I wasn't expecting to live with her. I'm excited to share my house and my family, but...well...there is one problem. I named this post "My new roommate," and unfortunately, it's not referring to Christine. It's referring to this one.

This is Cindy.

Did I mention that Christine has a pet rat? Oh yeah, no big deal. Just a RAT with a RAT TAIL. And RAT ACCESSORIES. Case in point:

Yep, the rat is wearing a hat. It gets better though -- today, Christine and I were downstairs when I received a text from Shelby. "Ask Christine if it's okay if I put Cindy in some Barbie clothes...because I am..." That's right: my little sister was playing dress up with a RAT.

It is a madhouse around here: everyone loves her!! I mean, except for me...I have yet to be sold on the idea of sharing my bedroom with a rodent. And yes, Christine insists that "rats are the dogs of the rodent world," which, if I'm understanding correctly, simply means that they are friendly and make sweet pets. Good for them. I still don't understand the appeal. Shelby was sold almost immediately, however, and now spends the days begging me to let Cindy "scurry across my shoulders," because once that happens, apparently I'll be hooked. She went as far as to place the rat on my neck tonight, causing my entire body to instantly prickle with goosebumps. Taylor, given his current state of psychosis, is madly in love. I think Taffy has reason to be worried -- he plays with Cindy in my room and giggles and coos to her as if she's his child. He's already taken a few dozen picture of her, which is a sure sign of his new obsession. It's baffling, let me tell you.

And my poor father...Fred has never asked for any of this. He is such a good man, a patient man, a dedicated and doting husband to an eccentric wife, and because of this he has found himself the proud owner of a hobby farm. Now this? A rat? I think it goes without saying that Daddy is the only one left on my side of being anti-rat. He's civil toward Cindy, but...that's about it.

Horrifyingly enough, I sometimes waver in my staunch position and almost begin to admit that she's kind of cute. Once in a while, I stoop down and look at her in her cage and she puts her tiny paws on the bars and looks back at me. The times that my siblings have placed her on my body, she licks me with her teensy tongue, and despite the fact that I'm repulsed, they say that means she likes me...I still struggle with that one. Christine refers to me as "Auntie Carly," though, and then I feel horribly guilty for not liking my quasi-niece. I mean, yes, she's a rodent, but Christine genuinely loves her, so maybe I should give her a second chance?

Gross. That might take a few more days.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Just so we're all on the same page, you should probably know that Pioneer Woman referenced Steel Magnolias and Sephora in two successive days. Did we just become best friends?? That's what I thought.

I've been deeply inspired. I'm going to go get mah roots dun. And play with makeup. And listen to my newly rediscovered Ultimate Broadway CD.

I'm such a girl.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Exciting Life

It has come to my attention that some of you think that I lead an exciting life. How amusing. While it is true that by day I masquerade as Carly Crookston, even though my true identity is that of Sydney Bristow, I didn't realize that you knew I need to come up with something to divert your attention away from my secret agent tendencies. Let's see...where do I even begin?

Well, I hung out with some Amish people last week. That was a treat. My mother pestered one of those cute lil' country boys about geraniums, and while we waited for his head to stop spinning from her flurry of questions, she tilted her head and said, "Like, do you know anything?" That was embarrassing. Note to self: Stop taking Julie on public excursions. Sweet Cletus [that's what I decided to call him in my mind] smiled shyly, and slowly said, "Naw, naw...I don't take no offense," when I indignantly cried out in his defense. It'a good thing Sweet Cletus is so sweet or else we probably would have had a whole bunch of Amish men with pitchforks and ominous looking beards chasing us. Needless to say, that would have been unfortunate.

After we harrassed Sweet Cletus for a while, we talked to Roger, who is a blog all by himself. He grows the world's best hostas and hoooooo boy, did he love his job. He called his plants his "babies," which would have been weird if Mom hadn't have been nodding her head appreciatively. Gardening...I will never get it. Next, we went to a restaurant called the Blue Plate, and Mama Dugger was our waitress. I ate my weight in pie. That was fun and I definitely didn't regret it for the rest of the night [**rolls eyes**]. Overall, Amish Country was pretty legit.

My next adventure consists of myself and exorbitant amounts of lingerie. For those of you keeping track, I finally got a job -- at Victoria's Secret. I had my "onboarding" last night, and as part of my training I had to watch the most horrible, ridiculous, asinine instructional videos ever created. By definition, training videos suck, but these ones made me want to gauge my eyeballs out with a spork. Seriously -- it was PAINFUL. But after that torture [and practicing bra fittings with my brand new coworkers], I got to try on some, ahem, product. Every job has its perks, right?

Anyway, my first day was today and, as is usually the case with the jobs that I have, I was painfully undertrained when I hit the floor. I was supposed to shadow another employee, but the store was understaffed and busy, so my new manager told me to straighten the "panty bar." That's right: The Panty Bar. I now have to use terms like this in all seriousness, so back off. I mean, my job was simple enough: straighten the Pink panties that the hoardes of middle school divas touch and mess up. The problem is that I am too well trained in customer service to ignore women with imploring, puppy dog eyes, and that is where I made my first mistake. I smiled at a guest, and she pounced.

"How are you doing?" I asked her. Her response?

"Can you measure me? It's been forever since I had a fitting."

Now, okay, I know that Victoria's Secret is supposed to be all about the right fit and whatever [sorry, Furrow. No one is making you read this, you know.], and that it is part of my job description to help women choose a bra in the right size, because after all, 70% of women wear the wrong bra size, and that is just stupid. And it's not like I'm physically uncomfortable to strap a tape measurer around a stranger's chest [although maybe I should be?] and talk about things like "lift" and "swell." I could do that all day...if I actually knew what I was talking about. Since I'd been an employee for about 5 minutes, however, it was sort of awkward. You know that point of no return, where you make eye contact with a stranger and can't decide if you actually know them, so you continue to stare in a slightly mystefied way, until they look at you like, "WHAT DO YOU WANT, CREEPFEST?!" and then you're like, "Oh. My bad." and only then does it get outrageously awkward? That's what it was like as I stood inches away from these women, staring at my tape measurer as if it were marked with heiroglyphics and saying, "Um..I think...I mean, I would say you're a 36B...what size do you normally wear? 34C? Oh,'m new..."

So that was a blast and a half. I spent most of the day smoothing out the excessive amounts of panties that are on those little tables and trying to avoid eye contact. I have a feeling that I will love this job...but only once I can gain a little bit of product knowledge besides, "Well, this is a bra...and these are panties. What else can I help you with?"

After work, I went to dinner with Shelby and our cousin Mackenzie. We went to Carabbas and, given my dainty, ladylike appetite, I absolutely inhaled a steak. It was slightly embarrassing, but then I remembered that I don't get embarrassed, so I was over it. Besides, it was utterly delicious. What's more, our server was extremely impressed. I know, because he said so. His name was Nate and his tie clip was a fork. He was kind of weird, but in a cute-ish way...he looked like he would be friends with Old Navy Joe [be still my heart...consequently, I don't think that Old Navy Joe works there anymore. I suffer acute pains of disappointment everytime I walk through those once sacred aisles]. Anyone who is cool with Old Navy Joe is cool with me, so I left my phone number on the receipt. Stop judging. It was mostly a joke...unless he calls. Then we'll go from there.

Seriously, stop judging me. I never do this. It's literally the first time it's ever happened, and it's only because my cousin threatened to leave my number if I didn't and...whatever, okay?

So that about catches you up to speed. I also went shopping with my cousin Allie and found her the PERFECT dress for her 8th grade graduation...she looked beautiful. I made about 3 billion subs for Warner's open house, I bought some fabulous makeup in ridiculous colors, I've read roughly 7 books on the subject of creative nonfiction, planned a trip to New Jersey, perfected my Southern accent, joined a dating website as a joke, laughed a lot at said dating website, sighed in relief when said dating website terminated the trial membership, fought with my little sister, made up with my little sister, got talked into auditioning for The Amazing Race, received payment for my writing, and potentially landed the most incredible job in history. Whew.

So, those of you who think I live an exciting life? Maybe. But it's all a matter of perspective.