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Dear State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations:

Clearly you are not a state to do things by half measures.  It has been snowing now for 48 hours, and is showing no signs of stopping.  I am sorry that I ever doubted you. Though I am a bit stir crazy, I am still content.  As I pointed out to Gentleman Caller, snow days such as these really allow all of my food-hoarding and desire for sustainability to shine.  We are well fed, though finally out of pierogies, well entertained, well-rested, and well lubricated by alcohol.  Wee Watson (kitty), has been sleeping soundly on my Slanket, and though snow days are no different from his daily routine, I think he enjoys having me around.

We left the house for the first time, and ventured into the driveway to shovel and marvel at the wonder of nature.  I got to wear my water boots (which I always forget to do when it’s raining), and though they are not snow boots and my feet did get cold, they provided resistance against the wet, and a lot of traction.

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I get bored by shoveling and decided to take pictures instead.

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Winter wonderland.

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Snow-covered boughs.

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Snow-covered cars.

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Also, now that the snow has turned to a rain/snow mix, I was able to make a delightful snowman named Orville.

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ORVILLE!

What I like best about you, Rhode Island, is the fact that when snow days like this happen, the Governor discourages me from traveling unless absolutely necessary, which makes this house-bound sloth seem like I’m just doing my part.  I like that you have the highest unemployment rate in the nation, which means that I have very little reason to leave the house since I have five days off a week. I like that you waited to give me a snow day until after I finished up all my schoolwork for the semester so I can bask in guilt-free slacking; and I like that the shoveling I did was a full-body workout meaning I don’t have to feel guilty about two days of constant eating paired with very little movement.

Thank you, Rhode Island, you have made me very happy.

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The meteorologists starting predicting snow about a week ago, but since I don’t watch the local news I heard about it first from Jewish Friend. Being from Albany, she was mostly concerned about having to drive in it, and by concerned, I mostly mean annoyed.  “I just don’t want to,” she said.  I was glad to hear we were finally getting some snow, because after I’d heard that it was snowing in Las Vegas, I got a bit petulant and jealous.

Then on Thursday, I was watching the local news at the gym and all they could talk about was the snow.  Every school in the state was canceled, employers were urged to stagger the release of their workers to avoid clogging up the roads like last year.  I watched the news for  45 minutes, and there was not one story on there about anything but the impending snow– not snowstorm– but snow.  It was a pre-panic panic the likes of which I could not have imagined.

Now that classes are over, and I’ve been laid off from fancy library, I have more free time than I know what to do with.  When I realized that I could effectively bunk down and not leave the house for the duration of the snowfall, I decided that that would be the best course of action for me.  I have plenty of food, entertainment in the form of movies and books, knitting, and Gentleman Caller and I went to the Wal-Mart and bought six new board/card games.

The snow was predicted to hit around 3pm, but actually came at 1:45, thankfully, we were prepared.  Presently, it’s still snowing and I can hear drivers struggling to travel down my un-plowed streets.  If I was in Fargo, I would think nothing of this, but now I look outside and think I can’t drive in this.  That’s now actually true, I just won’t drive in this because everyone else is probably still out there panicking (plus the governor urged me not to travel, and I’m doing my civic duty).

At almost 24-hours of being holed up in the house, I’ve read about 150 pages of a trashy novel, watched one movie and 2 episodes of 30 Rock, knitted about six inches of a quilt square, played 2 games of Trivial Pursuit and one of Scrabble, and done 2 loads of laundry all while the snow falls quietly and prettily outside.

I love snow days.

What a strange week it has been.  As I mentioned before, I wasn’t too shocked with the news that I got on Tuesday, but it’s still an adjustment.  Wednesday, I was at Gentleman Caller’s house for a while, eating dinner, and distracting him from school work, then I left to meet friends for drinks.

I got outside, and couldn’t find my car anywhere.  I walked the length of the street over and over, eventually punching the panic button repeatedly just in case I had forgotten what it looked like.  The car was gone.  I called Gentleman Caller and said, “I feel like I’m losing my mind, but my car seems to not be here.”

He came outside, looked around, and announced, “Well your car can’t have been stolen, this is the East Side.”  I gave him a dirty look for that comment, and then he called his cousin who lives across the street, to see if she knew anything. “The white car?” she asked, “yeah, it got towed.”

It seems that I was blocking someone’s driveway, and they had my car taken away from me.  Let that be a lesson to everyone out there– don’t do that.

Gentleman Caller and I went to the police station a couple blocks away, where we found the door locked, and a tiny, blonde policewoman affixing giant sanitary napkins to a parked car.  I pretended not to see what she was doing for a moment, and asked her where my car would wind up after being towed.  She gave me a phone number, pulled the backing off another giant pad (with wings!) and slapped it onto the passenger’s side window.  “Are those adult diapers?” I asked her, “or just giant pads?”

“Just giant pads.” she said and then started telling a story about revenge.

The person who answered my phone call inquiring after my car, promptly muttered something I couldn’t understand then transferred me.  The next person looked up my plate, told me that yes, they had my car, and muttered that I would have to go somewhere to get it.

“Well, where is that?” I asked.

He sighed heavily, and muttered “hfjh.lf.lknmlEWR Washington Street.”

I cannot understand anything the police in this state say. It’s uncanny how ALL of them seem to have the thickest Rhode Island accents ever.

Gentleman Caller is really supposed to be using this time to write a paper that can determine the fate of his academic career, but I persuade him to drive me across town using the reason that I would rather not pay to have my car held overnight, and I cannot drive both his car and my own.

It has started raining heavily by this point.

Finding the proper building is a bit of a challenge since I couldn’t understand the number that the man on the phone had told me, and once we found the building, I had to make a phone call to Jewish Friend trying to figure out which door to go into.  After I got the release for my car, I had to then call the tow company and arrange to meet him fifteen minutes later after he finished cleaning up an accident.

By this point, Gentleman Caller has become anxious, “I don’t have time for this.  I’m sorry to be an asshole, but I really don’t have time for this.”

My agreement that I too, do not have time for this sounded a bit hollow since I was merely missing a night of drinking with friends.  Jewish Friend was called upon to relieve Gentleman Caller in the “get Andria’s car back” adventure, and he went back home to achieve.

45 minutes, and $125 dollars later, I have my crappy Malibu back, and Jewish Friend and I are eating pastry.  I mentioned to the tow-truck fellow that I had been laid off the day before (which I will be telling everyone who gives me goods and services for a good long while), and he talked the police officer out of ticketing me, saving me a cool $30.  He also informed me that I was barely blocking the guy’s driveway– he could have easily gotten around me– but apparently this guy is a total douche.  Speaking of revenge…

Then the following day, I rode to Kingston with Jewish Friend to work on my finals, forgot that I had driven to her house in the morning, and when she brought me to my place, my car was not there.

My heart stopped, and I was certain that the tow-truck guy was getting revenge on my for some imagined slight– I hadn’t been gracious enough about the ticket, I hadn’t looked properly horrified when  he told us the story about his niece being molested, I hadn’t said anything nice about his dog etc.

Since I locked my keys in my car the week before this, and now I keep misplacing my car, I will be fully paranoid for at least three months, perhaps longer.  At least now that I don’t have that job in Newport, I can almost stop driving completely– except now it’s cold out, oh bother.

Yesterday, I was at work, doing cataloging and putting spine labels on books when my boss came in and told me they would have to lay me off.

I immediately felt like a factory worker.

As I explained to Theatre MILF’s husband after she and I had a lovely dinner (which is kind of an odd thing to do after being told that someone is going to stop paying you, but the plans were already made), “It’s a non-profit, times are tough, they need to cut the fat– and I am that fat.”

Already this experience has made me start using phrases that I never thought I would, and also made me feel oddly introspective.

Everyone kept asking me, before I left, if I would ever come back to visit.  “Well, I have a book checked out.” I told them, “So I’ll have to come back in about three weeks.”  That made everyone relax.

It’s kind of funny because I’m not really upset.  My boss (a different one than the one who let me go) was very worried that I’d wind up starving in the streets until I told her that my real job pays me enough to keep me alive.  This was just my extra job, my fun job, my job where there is usually free food, and the paycheck that is very handy, but is not the thing in my life that stops me from turning to prostitution.  It’s still weird to be told not to come back to a job when you haven’t done anything wrong.

I feel like I should be re-evaluating things, and learning to live a different way or something– making head-cheese, sewing up holes in my patchwork clothing– but that’s unlikely to happen.

  • Footless tights.

I love tights, but lately when I’ve been shopping for them, I find that all of the best ones are “footless.”  This is something that I genuinely do not understand.  Why would you want your tights to be footless?  Part of the appeal of tights is they act as both leg decorations and socks– take away the sock part, and what do you put on your feet?  Are they meant to be worn with ballet flats and looks a bit like stretch pants?  Is that what we’ve come to?  I bought a pair of these last year because I really loved the color, and thought I’d try it out.  I wear my bright red footless tights with knee socks, which I’m guessing is not what the cool kids are doing.  I’m worried that normal tights are being phased out in favor of these, and it makes me nervous.

  • Romantic comedies.

You know exactly how it’s going to end– the most attractive people who may or may not have hated each other will get together, there will be a major complication along the way, then everything will be wonderful.  Why do you want to sit through that?  I admit, I’ve been fooled plenty of times by romantic comedies that seem like they may be interesting, but they never are.  Also, lately they’ve been really long– more than two hours, that’s just unnecessary.

  • The appeal of Diane Keaton.

I love Annie Hall, everyone does, but aside from that I simply cannot stand Diane Keaton.  I think she was acting like herself in Annie Hall, and in everything else I’ve seen her in, I’m hyperaware that she’s Diane Keaton.  That’s not a good actress.  And while I’m aware that she’s Diane Keaton, I’m also aware that she seems rather abrasive and unpleasant.  Something’s Gotta Give was the worst movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

  • What people who don’t read do with their downtime.

Odds are that these people think they’re very busy all the time and will tell you about it, but this is something I’ve always wondered.  When I was growing up, I’d come home from school and just read, all night.  I had two jobs once I was in High School, and after-school stuff, and hung out with friends, but I always found more than enough time to read at least five books a week.  If you don’t read, what do you do?  There are a lot of hours in the day.

  • Why people freak out on me when I say that I plan to spend the holidays alone.

Last Christmas I had a great plan.  I had 3 James Bond movies, plenty of frozen pizza, and grandiose plans to sleep late and spend the day doing guilt-free slacking.  That all went out the window when I told people that these were my plans even though I can’t imagine in the telling I looked anything but ecstatic– certainly I wasn’t forlorn and “little match girlish.”  Eventually, after a handful of people felt so bad for me, I was told in a tone that broached no argument, “You’re coming to our house,” and I spent Christmas with The Appraiser and his family.  It was lovely, and I like them a lot, but I also had to drive 1.5 hours and put on nice clothes, which was not in the original plan.

  • Why UPS in RI seems so reluctant to do its job.

This afternoon, I have to drive to the UPS warehouse in Warwick (a place I hate so much that every time I go there, I get a bit twitchy even though that’s where the Trader Joes and Chipotle are) because my new black boots were shipped UPS and they just do not like to deliver packages.  I had them sent to Jewish Friends house since my neighbors still steal my mail, she found the slip that she had missed them, signed it, and stuck it back to the door.  Then she found another slip saying that they had made their final attempt.  In my neighborhood, where there are mail thieves and crackheads, UPS leaves packages on my steps to be secreted away by people who are not me; in Jewish Friend’s neighborhood, where there are hipsters and good bakeries, UPS will not leave anything.  I don’t want to have everything sent to work, because that exposes the fact that I buy far too many things online, but I think that’s what it will come to because I cannot specify to Amazon that I do not ever want things shipped UPS.  Do the delivery drivers just like to drive around in the truck all day and put post-its on people’s doors?  Fine if they hate their jobs, but just give me my stuff and go back to your sulking.

  • Dispensing financial advice.

suzeormanI have a secret dream of being a more fashionable, less abrasive, and heterosexual Suze Orman.  Problem is, all of my financial advice is based on growing up with a banker mother and making a lot of mistakes, but no matter. Jewish Friend said that her credit score has improved since becoming friends with me, and yours can too! Ask me how!

I have nice shoes; I make it a point to have nice shoes, but I get more compliments on my Danskos than on any other pair I own even though they’re two year old and look (I think) like hell.  Most comfortable shoes ever, except for driving.  It is because of my Danskos that I was asked to be a part of Culture Friend’s group for LSC 527, and why I didn’t have to do as much work as some people in other, small groups, and got to use the word scurvy during my part of the presentation.

  • People who pay attention to me.

When I wrote the blog yesterday about the things I hate, I was gchatting with Jewish Friend and Map Fleece.  I couldn’t remember enough things that I hate off the top of my head because I was annoyed by one thing in particular, so I asked them, and they gave me a whole list.  This makes me feel special, and makes me believe I either complain about things over and over enough, or people are actually listening to my inane blather.

  • DINOSAURS!!diplodocus

Really, do I need to say anything about how awesome dinosaurs are.  I mean, damn, dinosaurs rule.  Look at that picture.  Diplodocus, longest of all the dinosaurs, is often compared to the design of a suspension bridge.  He lived in the late Jurassic period and first remains were discovered by S.W. Williston in 1878 in the Morrison Formation, parts of which are in North Dakota, although most of it is it Wyoming/Colorado.  Diplodocus is also my favorite dinosaur, and I think would have made a good pet.

lady-gagaSeriously, she rocks so hard it makes my heart hurt.  I’m only writing this blog because I don’t want to shut her off, I can’t bear to turn it down enough to read, and I actually finished putting away laundry.  This is “getting stuff done” music, except for the slow song, which is so unnecessary.

  • Skirts.

Swishy, comfy, fashionable.  I would like to be known as “the girl in the skirt,” and I think I’ve pretty much managed that, except that most people who talk about me know my name.  Perhaps there’s an entire group of admirers who don’t know my name who simply refer to me as “the girl in the skirt”– I’m fine withcheese2 that.

  • Free Cheese.

Paid-for cheese is pretty great too, but there’s nothing better than cheese for nothing.  Free food in general is pretty rad, but cheese, man, it makes me so happy.

  • On-site laundry.

I used to have to drive across town to my brother’s apartment to do laundry.  This wasn’t too bad because we ate pizza and watched TV, but it meant that I had to do ALL of my laundry in one day, get quarters, and sometimes wait for the machine.  I also, inevitably, needed to leave before it was all done and would have to ask him to take my stuff out of the dryer, which he always made a big production about.  Now I just go downstairs, sometimes in my PJs.

the-slanketThe ad copy calls it “The Best Blanket Ever,” and it is.  I will not shut up about the Slanket.  People ask me how my Slanket is, like it’s a living entity, and normally this would drive me nuts– not this time.  My Slanket keeps me warm from neck to toes, and I love it more than I could a human child.  Also the website includes this story:

Slanket Proposal
My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting Slankets for weeks, but hadn’t yet bought them. I came home on Saturday, and he said he got us early Valentine’s Day presents- Slankets! He had his on, and gave me mine. Turns out, he had had his mother sew pockets into mine, and inside the pocket was an engagement ring… He asked, and I said yes! Proposal via Slanket… what could be better?!
Jessica
Boston
  • Knee Socks.

Love knee socks, love them.  They don’t get all bunched up in my shoes, they keep my calves warm, and sometimes I wear them with my skirts, which makes me look like a schoolgirl (may the reason I get “holla’d” at by gross old men, but no matter).  Sometimes I don’t want to wear tights, or have no tights available because despite my wonderful on-site laundry I am still shockingly lazy– knee socks it is.

  • Shrimp.

Shrimp have a texture that makes me feel like I’m eating a sea-flavored finger.  Shrimp are not good.  Shrimp cocktail makes my tongue hurt.  When I was in Vegas, years ago, I got a $.99 shrimp cocktail, and a $.99 32-ounce margarita at The Fabulous Westward Ho.  I was in pain for days.  Also, I got into a fight with a roulette dealer (table guy?  ball dropper?  they don’t really deal anything), but that was hilarious.

  • Paying for things.

I’m not, I don’t think so anyway, a cheap person, but there’s nothing I loathe more than taking my hard-earned, or ill-gotten monies and giving them to people in exchange for goods and services.  I would rather put them in an interest-earning account and sit back watching greedily as they grow with no help from me, then splash out on something exotic and life-changing.

Uggs are just so ugly and stupid I can’t understand why they’re still around and popular.  I don’t care how comfortable they are– don’t tell me about it.  Having grown up on the frozen prairie I can safely and with authority say that no one needs Uggs, least of all the people who wear them the most.  At my most recent dental visit, the hygienist and I got into a lengthy discussion about how much Uggs suck while my mouth slowly went numb and I tried not to drool.  By the time we were midway through filling the cavity, I was reduced to making honking sounds and gesticulating, but we were still on the same page.

  • Homework.

The elementary school I went to was very odd in that students were not allowed to have homework before 4th grade.  This was also a very bad school where we spent the bulk of our time doing art projects.  Because I had/have very little artistic ability (though I am a very good colorer), I spent a lot of my time surreptitiously reading books and writing stories and then had to stay after school to finish these art projects.  I longed for homework as it sounded exotic and like something that “big kids” did.  I have since had a change of heart, and am officially sick of it.

  • Being called Jewish Friend’s sidekick.

This isn’t something that happens often, but the problem with Jewish Friend is that it’s very hard to outshine her, and that leaves people thinking that she is my leader simply because I talk less.  This is not the case as we have a very balanced relationship based upon a mutual love of eating, adventuring, and a carefully honed system of checks and balances.  I am no one’s sidekick.

  • Incubus.

The gym that I used to go to in Fargo had about 20 tvs mounted on the walls and one of them was always tuned to MTV.  For a while, I would go at the same time every day, and see the same videos over and over.  I’ve never actually heard Incubus, but in their video they seem incredibly self-important and “deep”.  the closed-captioning was always on as well, and I can say that the lyrics to Megalomaniac are like a terrible poem written by an emo 7th grader.

  • The way running shoes look.

I have to buy running shoes because I run, but I find them to be some of the ugliest footwear available.  Every time I go to a store and see a wall of running shoes, I recoil.  Also, they cost too much, but I know better than to cut corners on something like that.

  • When people assume that I must not have any friends.

This hasn’t happened in a while, but for a while it was constant, and supremely annoying.  “Oh, you haven’t lived here that long?  I hope you’ve made at least one friend.”  By the time I heard that last one, I had been living in RI for 8 months.  If I hadn’t had ANY FRIENDS by that point, I probably would have started paying people to hang out with me, but that didn’t happen, clearly.  Also, I think I would have seemed a bit sadder, but whatever.  Do New Englanders typically spit on/beat up any “outsiders” who dare tread upon this sacred soil?  Did I just get lucky when that didn’t happen to me?  I have friends, people find me to be quite charming and tell me so.  In fact, I think I may have too many friends, and need to cut a few people out if they don’t start pulling their weight.  Seriously, who thinks like this?

It’s 58 degrees today, according to my Firefox Forecast.  Naturally, I took advantage of this lovely weather, and put on a skirt that I planned on not being able to wear again until spring.  Perhaps this was foolish.

On my walk to work this morning, I got whistled at by four people who drove by me, got a “how you doing” from some guy waiting at a light, got the same compliment I always get from the guy waiting for the bus, and got asked for my number by an on-duty postal worker– this was all within 4 blocks of my house.  Apparently this skirt is magic because another time I was wearing it, I backed my car into a guy (his car, not his person) and the sight of the skirt calmed him down enough to stop him from yelling at me.

That’s all well and good, flattering etc., but with the price of stamps, I don’t think postal workers should be wasting time and gas following me around in the little truck with the wrong-side steering wheel and whistling.  Also, I just want to walk to work in peace, and I would like to stop writing blogs about getting whistled at.

Change of topic.

My boss has requested that I spend the next few days familiarizing myself with our new online learning program.  I know this will not take a few days, and therefore, I am sitting in my cubicle buying more footwear from the internet and blogging.  To be fair, my black boots broke a while ago (heel split), and I’ve been forced to wear only shades of brown and other neutrals since I’m too lazy to take the boots to a cobbler, so this purchase is slightly legitimate.  I could also stop being a lazyass and find a damn cobbler– but that really doesn’t sound like me.

Cobblers are something that I just never think of, and kind of assume don’t actually exist outside of fairy tales. Even though I could look it up, and probably find 1/2 dozen very close to where I live, bavarianin the back of my mind, I just assume that no one repairs shoes anymore.  I also picture any potential cobbler that I might find running his business out of a lovely Bavarian-style shop with smaller-than-average employees who whistle while they work and spontaneously burst into song.  I think if I found a cobbler who wasn’t operating under those circumstances, I would be very disappointed, and perhaps lose some of my girlish enthusiasm for life– there’s really no way to predict that though.

Point is, despite the advice of a very wise woman who after listening to my complaints about my boots being broken replied “Andria, find a cobbler.”  I will be employing my own method of boot repair, which includes some black electrical tape and a hot glue gun, and I’ll probably do it while wearing the new black boots I just ordered.