Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beer and Blood

I passed my hunter's safety course last weekend.  In New York, as in many states, you must pass a 9-11 hour course in order to purchase a hunting license of any kind.  Most future hunters, it seems, take the class when they are eleven so that they may begin shooting animals the minute they turn twelve - if they are blessed enough to be born during any of the hunting seasons. 

My sister, as I may have previously mentioned in this blog, is a vegan.  She's a "double-whammy" vegan, at that: she doesn't eat meat because she doesn't like the taste, and she also doesn't use any animal products because she has love for the furry and the feathered.  She isn't burning down leather stores or throwing blood on people wearing fur coats, but I'd say it's possible that's just because she's too busy. 

When my sister heard I was going to be learning to hunt and getting a license, her first reaction was to say (via a text message, which is really irrelevant information because I know my sister well enough to transpose her voice, tone, and facial expressions into every type of media, including text):

"WHAT boy is ever going to marry you if you are always covered in beer and BLOOD?"

Oh yes, the age-old question.  WHAT member of the opposity sex will EVER marry someone like me?  Does the single 20-something change who they are, what they are interested in, their personal style and lifestyle in order to hook a man?  Or do I sit calmy, continuing with the interests and activities that I enjoy, waiting eternally for a boy to drop from heaven (or at least the back hills of central New York) who will "love me for who I am"?

The most important thing to understand in this post:  I am not single because I have had no offers.  I am not single because every guy breaks up with me.  I am not desperate for love, marriage, or someone to share my living space with who will leave dishes in the sink, mud on the rug and pee splashes on the toilet seat (but never wash a plate, pick up the vacuum, or break out the lysol). 

I am single for one very simple reason.  I haven't found what I want yet.  So, in order to put to ease the inquiring minds of my friends and immediate family (the latter of which, I suspect, are the only people who read this), I have compiled a short list of the absolute, steadfast qualities that I require in a potential mate.

1)  Must Love Denim.  A boy must love denim because it is, literally, all that I wear.  I work in jeans (usually with holes and oil spots), lounge in jeans, go out on the town in jeans, and sometimes, after the occasional over-indulgent evening out, sleep in them.  What's not to love?  Do you even realize how many times you can wear jeans before you have to replace them?  All you really need are a few good pairs. 

2) Must Drive a Pickup Truck.  This is really quite self explanatory, I think.  And no, it's a real one.  It's non negotiable.  This is my blog and my life and I can want what I want.

3) Must Have Facial Hair.  Again, not joking here.  I'm 26.  If you don't have a beard, I am going to assume it's because you are incapable of growing a full one.  And that makes you a little boy, not a man, and I'm no longer interested.  Period.

4) Must Honestly Like "Me".  When a guy meets me and says "oh, the thing I like best about you is that you're comfortable going to the bar in jeans and a t-shirt", he better get used to it.  That's not a rare occasion, that's every occasion.  If you think I am going to begin dating you and you're going to see me at a downtown bar, or restaurant, or any place casual in a skirt, heels, or a dress, you're wrong.  It's not part of my wardrobe.  So a guy better either a) not care about clothes, or b) find jeans, tshirts, and baseball caps attractive, cause they aren't going away.

5) Must Tolerate Cats.  I don't have one.  But I fully intend to someday, and not as a replacement for a boyfriend/husband.  Yup, that's right, Future Mate:  We will be having a feline in the home.  Possibly two.  Possibly more.

6)  Must Read.  I know I have thus far described a perfect man as someone with a beard and a pickup truck, but they have to possess SOME intelligence.  I don't care if you read the articles in Outdoor Life or Sports Illustrated from beginning to end, as long as there's interest.  The last guy I dated didn't read for enjoyment.  When I told my mother this, a long pause was followed by the statement:  "Cory reads".  Cory is the vegan sister's boyfriend.  Which brings me to my next point...

7)  Must Love My Family.  Anyone who does not find my family and their friends (read: My mother and her best friend) as hilarious and entertaining as I do is probably either a) unintelligent, or b) humor-less.  Both of which are intolerable.

8)  Must Fish, Ride a Four-Wheeler, Work on Cars, Own a Tractor, Build Houses, Ride Horses and/or Bulls, Kill Animals for Meat/Trophies, and Wear Camo.  Ok, I admit I just threw that in there for my sister's benefit.  I'm not serious.  Any 3 of the above will do. 

To recap, I believe that any "boy" who possesses all of the aforementioned qualities would be happy with a girl who is covered in "beer and blood".  Sure, my requirements might be a little steep, but with all the things I have to do (learn to hunt, shoot a turkey, paint my apartment, bake regularly, patch up my jeans, go out with my friends, and read the 50+ unread novels in my bookcase), I'm sure I can keep myself perfectly busy until he shows up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I've read a lot of articles, mostly since the start of the recession, that list a hundred different ways to cut back your grocery bill.  I've even read about a movement of people who call themselves "Freegans" (not to be confused with Vegans, and no insult to my sister here), who never spend money on anything material, including food.  While raiding the dumpsters of upscale restaurants is a little far for me to go (mainly because we don't really have any upscale restaurants around here), I thought I would try something for a week or two.

I'm not spending money on food.  Or drinks, for that matter.  I started on Monday night, after spending $3 on a morning coffee and snack and $6 more at lunch on a mediocre, gas-station turkey sub (which, incidentally, bore a "code" sticker with the code "F" - something I suspiciously took to mean "Friday").  It occurred to me, suddenly, that I had just blown enough cash to pay for 2.5 gallons of gas, which is enough to get me to and from work for 2+ days.  What a waste!

Monday night, I dined on a bar-warmed hot dog from my place of part-time employment and a small plate of macaroni salad, leftover from a party at the bar on Saturday.  When I arrived home, I surveyed my kitchen.  In my cupboards, I found:

- 2 boxes of spaghetti, one multi-colored, one plain
- 1 half of a box of penne
- 2 boxes of generic-brand macaroni and cheese
- 1 box of extremely stale cheerios (sadly, they went in the trash)
- 1 jar of gravy
- 2 boxes of stuffing (one for chicken, one for turkey.  As if there's a difference.)
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- 1 can of cranberry sauce
- 1 packet of "nacho cheesy pasta mix"
- pancake mix (fully inclusive, just add water)
- taco shells
- powdered milk (I don't drink the real stuff, so I keep it on hand for cooking)
- pumpkin coffee

In the refrigerator and freezer, I found:

- 2 half-full jars of salsa
- 2 half-full bags of shredded cheese
- 1 large potato
- pasta sauce, opened
- maple syrup
- lots of condiments
- tons of butter and margarine.  Probably 3 whole boxes altogether.  All I can say is, wtf?
- 2 pieces of chicken, left by the boy I recently broke up with (thanks, Dan)
- frozen blueberries

Not a bad haul, altogether.  At 10:30 Monday night, I cooked 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese, separated them into four small tupperware containers, and went to bed.

In the morning, I made myself blueberry pancakes and pumpkin coffee, probably a more balanced breakfast than I have had in weeks.  Off to work I went, where my coworker, Jim, provided me with several bites of his breakfast sandwich, as he does regularly.  Totally set until lunchtime, when I heated up some of the macaroni and cheese.  However, after relaying my plan to my boss, he felt bad for me and announced he was bringing me beef stew for lunch the next day.  Score!  The vehicle manager in my department gave me a handful of trailmix as an afternoon snack, too.  Again that night, I ate at the bar.

Today, more pancakes, and delicious beef stew for lunch.  Another coworker brought donuts in to share, so I managed to grab a snack, as well.  Tonight, I made the "nacho cheesy pasta mix", added some penne to stretch it, and grilled and added the Guilt Chicken that Dan left.  Separated into 3 parts, I now have 2 containers of macaroni and cheese and 2 containers of cheesy pasta chicken thing in the fridge.

Admittedly, this diet lacks in some of the essentials, such as fresh vegetables (ok, ANY vegetables), but I'm confident that I can get through till Monday morning on what I have in the house.  I am thinking of making mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce this weekend - a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner (but not VEGAN, as my sister would point out, because regular stuffing has animal flavoring in it. Mmmmm).

I think the moral of this story is that you can definitely look in your fridge and cupboards and think "I have nothing to eat", when in fact you can most likely concoct several satisfying (if repetitive) meals from just the jars, boxes and cans that you keep on hand. 

Also, the second moral is that your friends and coworkers will absolutely never let you go hungry.  Gives one a certain sense of security.

P.S. Don't worry, Mom, I'm not starving and I'm not (totally) broke.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Watching Paint Dry

One thing, the most important thing, that anyone who plans to read this blog should know about the author is this:

I love baseball.

I am not a sports fanatic.  I do not have the stats for every one of my favorite teams memorized for each sport.  I don't analyze Sportscenter, read every article on or belong to a single fantasy league for any season. 

I can't name more than a half dozen football players or even three professional basketball stars.  I know nothing about hockey.  I have been known to get distracted by an interesting soccer game on television every now and then, but I couldn't tell you who's playing, and I mostly just watch it for the amusing commentary (European people are hilarious, particularly the British).

But, man, do I love baseball.

It's very easy to pick out a person who doesn't enjoy the sport.  I work at a bar.  In New York. If a Boston Red Sox highlight comes on Sportscenter and I rejoice, everyone in the joint who is a baseball fan (with the exception of the toothless miscreant who lives down the street and the senile blue-haired man who sings Frank Sinatra at random daily intervals - they both like the Sox) will have a nasty comment for me.  Those who are not fans (I like to call them "non-believers") either remain silent or feel the need to toss out a statement like "I can't wait for football season" or "I could never get into baseball" or the most recent, "baseball is so boring, it's like watching paint dry".

This last comment is entirely untrue on several levels.  Paint does not move at all (unless you're sloppy and leave drips).  Paint drying does not draw a crowd,  specifically a crowd of 37,493 for 650+ consecutive home games (if you're a Sox fan).   Fenway Park, incidentally, is the smallest ballpark in the major leagues.  So one can assume the attendance at most other stadiums is higher.

Drying paint doesn't turn you into a crusader.  In 1999, Sox CEO John Harrington announced that Fenway Park would be partially demolished to build a new, modern stadium for the Red Sox nearby.  The city of Boston, region of New England, and members of "Red Sox Nation" across the country revolted.  "Save Fenway Park"  stickers appeared on cars.  It is rumored that the city of Boston was uncooperative with the Sox ownership group, thus blocking the construction of a new park.  Myself, I like to think that city officials are just as big fans as we are.  Regardless of the real cause, Red Sox fans consider it a triumph for their "nation" that the Sox are able to remain at Fenway. 

Paint drying on a wall does not turn you into a selective historian.  I have heard teenagers babble on and on about the "Impossible Dream" season or about the Buckner tragedy of 1986.  I wrote papers in high school about Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Babe Ruth.  Having read his book twice, I consider myself a bit of an authority on Carl Yastrzemski (I just spelled his name correctly without having to Google it).  I have argued and analyzed at length about the events surrounding the ball-through-the-legs incident of '86.  And I was born in 1985. 

Drying paint does not cause emotions that you never knew you had.  When the Red Sox blew their chances in the 2003 playoffs, I curled into a ball on the single bed in my freshman dorm room and cried myself to sleep while my friends went out partying.   I still get goosebumps thinking about 2004, when I called my mother from a similar dorm room to celebrate the World Series victory and discovered she was crying.

I spent the better part of my childhood listening to the Boston Red Sox on the radio.  We didn't have a cable station available that carried the games, and we were lucky to get to see one every couple weeks on a network.  Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano (exciting in part because their names were fun to say) are the voices I remember from the radio.   "Way back, WAAAAY back, this ball is GONE!"  As it turns out, I don't know if I can tell their voices apart, but both are distinctly etched in my memory.  Trupiano's contract was ditched by the Sox in 2006, long after my parents got cable and also after my move to New York.  However, on the rare occasion that I happen to be driving through New England or sitting at my family's camp in Maine when the broadcast for a Red Sox game begins, they always play a clip of a Castiglione and Trupiano broadcast.  It's enough to make your chest get tight and maybe make your eyes water, depending on the kind of day you've had.  If you aren't a baseball fan, you'll have to take my word for it. 

I may be the daughter of a woman who really, really loves to paint, but I doubt either of us have ever felt that way about watching it dry. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cry, Cry, Cry

When I was a teenager, I wasn't a real big cryer.

Ok, that's not true.  I cried when my soccer or softball team lost the championship.  I know I definitely cried a lot when Nomar Garciaparra got traded to the Chicago Cubs (who did we even GET in that trade, anyway?).  But real things, like natural disasters and human suffering and all that?  Never.  Call it being conveniently (or generationally) detached.

In college, I only cried over boys.  Well, maybe the occasional bad grade or unfair ruling by a teacher on the policy of retaking a poor exam.  But mostly boys.  Boys whose names I can no longer remember without struggling to picture their faces.  Hours spent sobbing into my Red Sox pillowcase in a cinder blocked dorm room while my friends went out and I claimed to be "sick".  Call it late-onset teenage angst.

In the wake of reaching my mid-20's, I've started to realize I cry all the time.  Not about baseball (well, wait till October, anyway) or boys.  All of a sudden I seem to be a hub of emotions, springing up at the strangest times.

Things That Make Me Cry:

1)  Country Songs.  Not even necessarily sad country songs.  Happy ones, too.  Touching ones.  Songs about daddies and daughters and courageous mothers and the people we all grow up to be.  Mainly, these songs prompt a tear when I am alone, driving, in my rusted pickup truck.... did I just write my own song?  Sometimes a song invokes a little welling up, but there have been rare occasions where I find myself all-out bawling when I reach my destination.  Brad Paisley is always good for that.  And Reba!  Reba, the queen of a strong sob story.  I don't even need beer to cry my tears into.

2)  Movies.  Specifically movies that have no surprise left for me and that I have seen 865,000 times.  I watched You've Got Mail last week and cried like a baby, even though I have every line memorized.  The same goes for Field of Dreams, every time.  Kevin Costner, standing alone on his majestic field that he created, realizing suddenly that the whole thing came about because of a secret desire to see his father again?  "Hey, Dad?  You wanna have a catch?"  Waterworks kick off wherever I am.  I cannot watch that movie with others.  One, because I cry, and the second reason being because I recite every line word for word and it drives my friends to the brink of violence.

3)  Other People's Suffering.  I know you're supposed to feel for others, but I seem to have recently reached a whole new level.  I wept openly when I read an article in our local newspaper about a deputy sheriff who, at 25, died in a violent altercation.  He left behind a young son and a pregnant wife.  When his wife heard the news of his passing, she immediately went into labor and gave birth to a perfect baby girl.  Oh, the tears.  I don't even know these people!  I am sure we can all agree that it's sad, but I am NOT the kind of person who is driven to sobs by stories of strangers.  What is wrong with me?

Recently, I spent a day in the Emergency Room for a flu-like illness that was persisting into it's sixth day.  I ended up, as chance would have it, in the "room"(read: stall) next to a woman who works for the same company as I.  She recognized my voice and started talking to me, and for the rest of the 7.5 hours that they kept me there, poking and tapping me, I had to listen to her go through the various (apparently painful) stages of prepping for gallbladder surgery.  She cried several times.  I cried right with her.  When I was leaving, she tearfully told me they had to cut off her wedding ring.  Instead of offering my sympathy and heading for the door, I burst into tears all over again.  It was just so sad!  Again, what is wrong with me?

The only thing I can conclude is that this is yet another part of the eventual transition into My Mom.  I remember watching movies with her as a child, hearing a sniffle and glancing over with the inevitable obnoxious child question: "MOM, are you CRYING?"  It was always answered with a sniff and a "no" (liar), but I could never understand what it was about that kind of stuff that moved her to tears.  I guess now I can understand.  Just so long as it's not early-onset menopause, I think I'll be just fine...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Without TV

I don't have cable.  When people say this, it usually stands to mean that they have several "basic" channels (as in the case of my childhood, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and public television).  I have none of these.  Since connecting the cable in my apartment in December "just to see", I have discovered that one channel, ESPN, comes in crystal clear, and all the other channels fade or get blurry or lose sound the farther you get from channel 15.  I also get the workout channel (all women in sports bras, all the time), so I suspect that this arrangement clearly was set up by a former tenant of my apartment - also, clearly, a male.

I rarely find myself missing television.  I think if I had TV, I would have it on almost all the time for "background noise", something that I have discovered is completely unnecessary.  I also don't have a stereo, so sitting in silence is pretty common in my place.

Also, not having TV, you can avoid those silly conversations with most people.  "Ohmygod, have you seen that new commercial?  The one for Geico, where the guy is walking down the street and goes--"  can be cut off with a shrug and a simple statement of "I don't have cable".  This ends the description of the commercial that I haven't seen, and also detours the conversation away from the inevitable "well, you had to see it yourself I guess" moment.  In certain circumstances, the commercial watcher will continue with their description, assuming that their powers of storytelling are colorful enough to make me appreciate the humor and cleverness in the advertisement without ever seeing it myself.  (Incidentally people, please stop.  No one has those powers.)

One thing I do miss about television, however, is TV movies.  I swear, I can waste an entire afternoon (okay, weekend) on Lifetime movies or ABC Family originals.  The acting is horrible, the plots are predictable, and 9 times out of ten, the film is going to make me cry.  Nothing like a good made-for-television cry on a rainy Saturday afternoon, because  Kelly just found out that the boy who pressured her into sex, saying he would love her forever, not only knocked her up but also gave her syphilis.  Tear-jerker, everytime.  Or that Janie Doe, who thought she had a perfect suburban life, found out her husband was actually a stalking psycho killer with big-haired, shoulder-pad wearing girlfriends in 3 counties.  Now that's a good plot.

Ok, maybe I lied.  Maybe I really do miss television.  Because I have to admit that despite my love of sports, especially this time of year, ESPN just doesn't have quite the same affect on me...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Your Mother's Daughter

It's often said that people take after their parents.  I don't think I ever really understood that statement while growing up.  I assumed that theory was probably in reference to how you pick up another person's habits if you're around them enough. 

Then I hit my twenties.

This morning, I found myself looking up the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers logos online, so I could pipe 6 different colors of frosting onto two football-shaped cakes for a Superbowl party.  Why, you ask?  Because even though I work at a bar, where I know that no one will eat cake today (beer and sweets don't mix, ask anyone), when asked to "bring a dish" to any event, anywhere, anytime, my first instinct is to bake something. 

It goes farther.  After creating two less-than-perfect (my mother's would be magazine-worthy) logo cakes, my next instinct was to take pictures and post them online for all to see.  If any of you (if anyone is even reading this) happen to be "friends" on Facebook with my mother, you know that she does this almost daily.  "Food Porn" (a term invented by Mom and despised by my older sister) is all over her page, and including dinner on Thursday, my own now has three similar photos. 

As previously mentioned, I can't bring myself to vacuum (ever), I think framing photos, painting my furniture and re-potting my plants are higher priorities than cleaning the bathroom, and the last time I went to the grocery store with a friend, she rolled her eyes and walked away after the third time I tried to lecture her about the importance of "price per unit".  (Incidentally, price per unit is an extremely important thing to know about.  The smaller, usually orange price tag in the top corner of an item's price label tells you how much your product costs in units.  i.e. sure, the 4-pack of Charmin toilet paper seems cheap, but each roll only has 400 sheets - Scott has 1,000, making the "price per unit" significantly lower.  See, here I go, trying to educate the "masses" about the importance of saving 6 cents on your toilet paper.  Oh, God.)

The only conclusion to be drawn is that yes, what they say is indeed true:  we do turn into our parents.  However, I can also conclude that this isn't always a bad thing.  Sure, my house will never be clean, but it will likely always be creatively decorated.  And I may slowly fatten my friends with baked goodies, but at least I can take solace in the fact that I will always, always have plenty of cheap toilet paper.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Solo Living

For those of you who do not know, I recently moved.  This is nothing new:  I have now lived in four different apartments since I graduated from college in 2007.  4 places, 2 different roommates, 1 lost security deposit and endless boxes packed and unpacked later, I have my own place.

I have stewed with the idea of living alone several times before.  Each time it seemed either financially prohibitive or too lonely to tolerate.  And while everyone says that roommates come with a whole collection of problems, I had been lucky enough in the last 3.5 years to have lived with two different housemates (both males) with whom I got along famously.

Then I realized I was living 9 miles outside of "town" (town being the booming metropolis of Oneonta, NY, population approx. 11,000, not including college students) and driving into town at least once every day.  With a full-sized pickup truck (which I just HAD to have during my "all my friends drive big trucks and I want one too" phase), I figured I was spending between $6 and $9 a day on gas. 

Among a few other factors, this discovery spawned the search for an apartment.  My price range was quite limited, but I found a place in a building owned by a friend.  After my new landlord completed several minor repairs to the unit (including a bathroom sink that didn't drain and a leak in the ceiling), I painted the entire apartment.  Voila!  Home sweet home. 

I have been living in my apartment for about 8 weeks.  So many discoveries are made when you don't have to think about anyone but yourself.  For instance:

Garbage:  I have made exactly 3 full bags of trash since I moved in.  I am quite sure that Jeremiah and I (my last roommate) were disposing of about 1 bag of trash a week, sometimes more.  I haven't figured out exactly why I make significantly less waste, but I have been bragging about it to anyone who will listen.  Hey!  I'm going green!

Toilet Paper:  I have used about 3 rolls of TP since December 1st.  Don't worry, this doesn't mean I am neglecting my hygiene.  But it is interesting, since both of my former male roommates had suggested that I purchase the toilet paper because, as a female, I was obviously using more than them.  Ha!  Take that.  I'm going REALLY green.

Privacy:  My apartment is on the 3rd floor of a tall building.  In fact, the tallest building on the block.  When I look out any of my three dormer windows, I see the tops of other people's homes.  If I look down from my living room window, I can see what appears to be the next door neighbor's living room couch.  More often than not, the couch is occupied by a small gray kitten, so needless to say the view from up here isn't so bad.  I can also do anything I want in my apartment, with no chance of being seen.  Yesterday I baked 6 dozen cookies in my bra.  Talk about liberating. 

There are never dishes in the sink that I didn't use myself.  Every time I buy groceries, they're still in the fridge when I want to use them.  The perks are endless.  However, there are some downsides:

Cleaning:  I have never been particularly motivated when it comes to vacuuming.  I suspect this trait is genetic (sorry, Mom), but I never seem to think about vacuuming until I can actually SEE physical particles on the floor.  By this time the rugs are probably filthy with invisible dirt, but I so rarely have any guests in my apartment that it simply doesn't seem like a priority.  I also never put my boots or sneakers in the shoe rack where they belong.  You'd think this wouldn't be a problem, but that brings me to my next point...

Electricity:  My entire apartment is wired on one breaker.  13 outlets.  If I want to dry my hair, I need to be sure to turn off the television and most of the lights.  If I forget, pitch darkness ensues.  I woke up this morning at 6:00 a.m. to discover that my breaker had tripped in the night.  Curious, since I wasn't running any appliances or lights.  On my way out the door to the basement (tiny pen flashlight in hand), I tripped on 2 pairs of workboots and stubbed my toe on the door frame.  Ouch.

Now, if I can just figure out how to steal free cable to go with the neighbor's internet that I am illegally tapping into...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Why

Welcome, to the very first blog post I have ever written.  Well, perhaps I should amend that.  I had a "livejournal" in college.  On this public forum, I posted the intimate details of every illegal act I committed (from which lawn ornaments my friends and I stole to the ounce measurements of the beers we were chugging in bars at the tender age of 19).  Of course, that ended badly when it was discovered by my mother.  I don't like to think of that as a "blog" anyway, since it was more like an annoying, whiny diary that everyone in cyberspace could read.  Not that I think many did, because it was annoying.  And whiny.

Mainly, I am writing a blog because my mother has a blog.  While I don't have any delusions of being half the writer (or person) that she is, I like to think that it's possible the creative genes have been passed down in a diluted state and that I might possess some fraction of her abilities.  I guess that makes judges out of anyone who reads this.  Daunting.

I suppose I should take a moment to address the title of this blog.  In the event that I actually end up with any readers who do not already know me personally, here is a brief synopsis:  I am 25, have a four-year degree in history from a liberal arts school, and I work as a groundskeeper full-time for a large, multi-location facility for developmentally disabled children and adults.  I supplement my income by bartending part time, but that's a story for many, many subsequent posts.

A quick story about an event that drove me towards blog-creation:

At my place of work (called "Springbrook), the staff have the opportunity to collect boxes of goods from the local food bank.  The food bank provides Springbrook with items ranging from dented cans and boxes of food to returned items, such as housewares and kitchen gadgets with damaged or no packaging.  Whatever the homes and the school cannot use is sent to the staff break room, where anyone who works at Springbrook is welcome to paw through it and look for treasure.

Yesterday was a food bank delivery day.  I happened to walk into the break room, so I looked around.  I collected an ice cream scoop, a veggie peeler, a couple boxes of macaroni and cheese and one insulated beer "koozie" that looks like a referee's jersey.  One table contained several Brita water pitchers and PUR water faucet filtration systems.  These things are not cheap.  Since I have recently moved back into town, I have been drinking chlorinated city water for six weeks.  I investigated the table, but couldn't figure out what might be wrong with any of the items.  So, I gestured and asked a member of the education staff who had been placing things on tables, "what's up with all of these?"

His response:  "Oh, they're water purifiers.  You know, like to filter your tap water.  You can either run it through the pitcher or you can use one of the other ones that hooks on your faucet to filter it right there."

I almost slapped him.  Now, it should be noted that I strolled in around 2:30 pm, half an hour before quitting time and wearing my work clothes, which on this day happened to be a full Carhartt outfit and winter boots, all soaking wet and covered in grease and road salt.  None of this matters, as this particular staff member already knows I work in the maintenance department. 

I nearly opened my big mouth and informed him that I happen to be literate, could read the boxes that clearly described the items (with pictures!) and that, furthermore, I possess a 4-year liberal arts degree and choose to work maintenance because I enjoy it, not because I am unqualified for anything else.  I also considered noting that I happen to know that HIS job requires nothing more than a G.E.D.  Of course, I said none of this because I realized less than 5 seconds later that it would have been a tad of an overreaction.

And so, a blog is born.  A blog about the interesting (I hope) happenings in the life of an educated 20-something who is willfully choosing not to use her very expensive degree.  I guess I could have entitled it "My Unexpected Life", but maybe that will have to wait to be the title of the book.