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Don’t be jealous of my W-2

  • February 24, 2009

I’ll always remember 2008/2009 as the “maybe Dave’s getting laid off years.” When your household only has one income, the possibility of that income going poof can be quite unsettling. And it’s not like I’m kicking anything in to pay the bills. I have the coolest job in the world, as a stay at home mom, but unfortunately it’s not a very lucrative gig.

If I were able to find a job right now, I’d take it. I’m not super positive about being hired in this economy but I am thinking ahead about what I might do next fall when the offspring go back to school and the economy has (hopefully) rebounded.

Top 5 Careers and Training for Social Butterflies

I saw this headline on the MSN homepage Saturday morning and thought, “What a coincidence. I’m totally a social butterfly and I could really use a job. Perhaps I should see what this article is all about.”

Apparently, social butterflies can’t get through the morning without checking Facebook, MySpace, e-mail, and text messages (so obviously we have the attention span of a fruit fly). Personally, I also have to check for new posts on fifty-seven different blogs, see if Lostpedia has posted any new Lost theories, and confirm whether anyone at Classmates.com has signed my guest book. Sometimes I also go to TheHairStyler.com and put different hairdos on a picture I’ve uploaded of myself. (Maybe these sites are not so much for networking purposes but rather because I have a pretty wicked Internet addiction and too much free time).

The article listed the top five jobs for anyone who craves social interaction. The first career they recommend is Promotions.

To determine if I’m a good fit for a career in Promotions, I was to ask myself if I always seem to know where to find the best parties. Absolutely! They are all at my house. Then I was to ask myself if I’m always shopping for the latest trends before my paycheck can catch up with me. Yes! Wow, this is so accurate it’s freaky. And probably they mean Dave’s paycheck because technically I don’t receive one of my own (which is why I’m reading the article in the first place). However, for the last six months it’s only been pseudo shopping and not real shopping. I have online shopping carts filled with all kinds of crap but I never actually click the checkout button anymore. Progress, yes?

And guess what? For a managing position in Promotions, you need a bachelor’s degree in business administration AND I HAVE ONE OF THOSE!! And Advertising and Promotions managers earn annual salaries in the neighborhood of $91,100. This just keeps getting better and better. Dave would probably do cartwheels if I got me a Promotions job.

The next career recommended for a social butterfly is Culinary and Hospitality, which sounds a lot like cooking and cleaning to me. I do a lot of both (though maybe not quite as much cleaning as blogging these days). I actually thought of going into catering because I make the most awesome chicken enchiladas you’ve ever had but probably you can’t build a catering career from one recipe. And even though I love to entertain and will spend days planning menus I only like to do this if I’m also going to be eating, drinking, and getting tipsy with everyone. Working as a Catering Manager or Executive Chef means I’ll be making stuff for other people to eat and drink while I just watch so I’m going to have to pass on this career.

The third career recommendation is Fashion Design. This one in not going to work for me either. I love Carrie Bradshaw but if her wardrobe on Sex and The City is considered fashionable by designers then I’m not qualified. Please, did you see the butt ugly hat she was going to wear to marry Mr. Big? It had a big fucking bird on it! Blechh! Plus I think fashion designers might have to sew and I’ll have none of that.

The fourth career that might be a good fit for me is Nursing. Another big coincidence because when I was a freshman in college my major was pre-nursing. Then I hit a little snag called Chemistry. I have flunked chemistry once and dropped it twice. Three chemistry strikes and I had to change majors. I’m totally cool with science classes like biology and anatomy (except when I took anatomy at the University of Iowa and we had to go to anatomy lab with real dead people and it grossed me out so bad I refused to breathe through my nose or eat chicken for two weeks). Any science class that also requires math means I’m out. If your bus was determined only by math abilities, I’d have arrived at my elementary school on the short one. This is too bad because have you seen how much money nurses are making these days? They’re really in demand right now.

The last career to consider is Entrepreneurship. Ding, ding, ding!!!!! We have a winner folks! It says this career is for people who march to the beat of a different drum and for whom the traditional work week has never held much appeal. A bachelor’s degree in business administration (check!) can pave the way for me to own my own small business, franchise or entrepreneurial idea.

Now I just have to think of an idea.

Thinking.

Still thinking.

That big empty vacant space in my noggin doesn’t seem to be producing any viable ideas. This is harder than I thought. I’m sure a fabulous idea will come to me if I’m patient.

I could run some ads on my blog but I think I’d earn like seventeen cents a month so probably blogging isn’t going to pay the bills either. My W-2 for 2008 shows I grossed $18 for one hour of freelance work I picked up last February but if I can earn $36 blogging in 2009 then I will have doubled my income from last year so I won’t rule it out.

I’m sure I’ll find something. Dave’s been supporting everyone all by himself for a long time and I want to help him out. If companies would start doing more hiring and less firing that would have a positive impact on my job search.

I would actually love to find a Promotions-type job. I think I’d be pretty good at it. Until then, I’m a mommy-blogger-enchilada maker-wine drinker. The pay may not be very good but the job satisfaction is incredible.

Tweet Tweet

  • February 22, 2009

I’m on Twitter.

I don’t know how it works.

Kind of like when I first joined Facebook and had no cool applications.

I’m stalking Ashton Kutcher @aplusk.

He’s an Iowa boy.

My tweets are boring.

Do I need to spend more time on the Internet than I already do?

Probably not.

If you are a Twitter expert, can you help me out?

If you’re on Twitter, leave your user name in the comments section and I’ll follow you.

If you can.

Comments aren’t posting well these days.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I don’t know why.

Tweet.

I was cool with everything but the spiders

  • February 21, 2009



(click on photos to enlarge)

There’s some land in rural Iowa that’s been in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s been handed down from my grandparents to my dad and now to my brother Georgie. He and his wife Stefanie live there in a house they built.

It’s a beautiful place and I have a lot of childhood memories of time spent there. There are acres and acres of land to explore.

There’s a lot of wildlife too. One time the trail camera Georgie set up in the woods took a picture of a large bobcat, which freaked me out. Some time later, when we saw a fox in our yard, I called Georgie right away. I had to tell him he wasn’t the only one who had wildlife on his property.

There’s a pond where we used to swim when we were younger. I don’t really like to swim in the pond now because the water isn’t as clear as it used to be and I’m convinced there are giant scary fish in it like the gargantuan catfish Trish caught when we were ten. My dad threw it back and I’ve always wondered what the life span of the average catfish is.

When I was about nineteen Georgie, Trish and I were fishing in the pond, and Georgie didn’t look before he cast his line. We had to drive to the urgent care clinic in town to have the purple mister twister lure removed from my jaw.

The pond is just big enough to be able to ride a jet ski on (sort of) so you have to pay attention not to hit the bank. And it’s a Jet Ski that you have to stand up on, not a wave runner where you can sit comfortably while you ride around. You steer a Jet Ski by shifting your weight and you have to keep your speed up or you’ll tip over. It’s kind of like riding a bike on the water and it’s not easy.

Trish was taking a turn on the Jet Ski once and crashed into a tree that grew at the water’s edge on the south side of the pond. Even though we were all yelling at her to slow down, I don’t think she even backed off on the throttle.

A few years ago, we went down to Georgie’s and I was riding the Jet Ski. I could hear Georgie yelling something at me as I went by. “What? I can‘t hear you,” I yelled. I had to do another lap and come around again. Georgie yelled a little louder this time. He said, “My ice fishing shack fell through the ice because I didn’t pull it off the pond in time when it started to thaw. It’s under the surface of the water about three feet so don’t crash into it. “

I got off the Jet Ski immediately. I would rather come face to face with Trish’s big mutant catfish from 1977 than wipe out on a jet ski and then body slam into Georgie’s submerged ice shack.

Dave and I went to visit Georgie and Stef when Matthew was about two. It was summertime and I noticed there were daddy long-legs spiders everywhere. I hate spiders and even though daddy long-legs spiders aren’t as bad as a wolf spider or a brown recluse, I still don’t like them. I went to Girl Scout camp when I was ten and instead of tents, we slept in teepees. The teepee walls were covered in daddy long-legs spiders and our cots were pushed right up against them because the teepee was so tiny.

The spiders were crawling all over Georgie’s deck. Dave and I commented that we had never seen so many all in one place before.

Georgie tried to freak me out. “Tracey, daddy long- legs spiders are the most venomous in the world but their fangs are too short to penetrate human skin,” Georgie said. (He was totally lying but I didn’t know that until I got home and googled it. It’s actually a popular urban myth).

Later that night, after we put Matthew to bed, Georgie built a huge bonfire in the fire pit. I was wearing a white t-shirt and Stef said, “I think there’s a spider on your shirt. I see a little dot and it’s moving.” I jumped off the tree stump I was sitting on and started doing the spider dance, brushing off the front of my shirt while simultaneously screaming. I managed to calm myself down and returned to my tree stump.

Georgie and Stef had to leave to fill up their giant water tank so they could add water to their well. They said they’d be back soon so Dave and I waited for them on our stumps around the fire pit.

As the flames grew and the air above the campfire heated up and filled with smoke, about fifty squillion kajillion daddy long-legs spiders started raining down out of the pine tree branches that hung over the fire pit. I jumped off my tree stump shaking my arms and legs and I flung my head up and down and side-to-side to dislodge all possible spiders. I had a complete and total kook-out meltdown and by the time Georgie and Stef pulled back into the driveway, I had relocated Dave and I back onto the deck. That wasn’t good enough though because the spiders were still all over the deck so I went into the house, changed my clothes, medicated myself with beer, and refused to go outside for the rest of the night.

Everyone thought it was hysterical. Maybe I slightly over-reacted but I can’t imagine trying to relax around a nice campfire if there are spiders crawling all over me.

Now whenever we go to visit Georgie and Stef I keep a close watch on Matthew and Lauren. I scan the horizon for wild animals and I make sure no one goes near the pond without a life jacket.

The last time we were there, we let Matthew have a turn on the Jet Ski. He did a good job riding it. There was no ice-fishing shack to watch out for but there are still a couple of trees.

And I didn’t see a single daddy long-legs spider anywhere.

  • February 19, 2009

If you click on the picture you can see the Weight Watchers sign near the top of this building. This is where I weigh in every Thursday morning and as of today, I’m down 17.4 lbs.

Put that in your cone and LICK IT Baskin Robbins!

Ha!

Valentine’s Day, Dave and Tracey Style

  • February 18, 2009

For the first Valentine’s Day Dave and I celebrated as a couple, Dave sent flowers to me at work. When the receptionist called to tell me she had a delivery for me I was thrilled because Dave and I had only been dating a few months and I wasn’t sure if he was going to send me anything at work.

I acted a bit smug when I got the call because one of my work friends had started dating her boyfriend around the same time and we had been locked in an unspoken competition all morning to see who was going to get flowers first.

Possibly my return to my desk would have been a bit more triumphant had Dave sent a dozen long stemmed red roses and not six carnations that had a scary red Valentine’s troll doll with Don King hair sticking out of them.

I deserve an Oscar for the performance I gave that day, both in the office and at home. I was madly in love with Dave so even though I hate carnations, I acted like I loved them (I threw the troll doll in the back of my closet and piled a bunch of crap on top of it).

Over the years, as Dave’s Valentine’s Day budget grew, he did start sending the long stemmed red roses until I finally told him not to spend so much money on flowers that were just going to die anyway.

This year Dave gave me a card with a dog on the front. I was confused because I thought maybe it was from Chloe but when I asked him he said “No, it’s from me. I bought it almost a month ago! But I didn’t get you any candy because I didn’t think you’d eat it.”

He’s right about that. This is the second food-centric holiday I’ve missed out on since I’ve been on Weight Watchers but I don’t really mind skipping chocolate as long as there’s wine.

We couldn’t get a sitter for Valentine’s Day so I made dinner and a heart-shaped cake for everyone. I was really tired because Matthew and Lauren had gotten up at 6:30 AM to see what we’d given them for Valentine’s Day. They were so jacked up on sugar by 7:00 they were bouncing off the walls and wouldn’t eat a normal breakfast.

I told Dave I might have to go to bed right after we got the kids down for the night but he suggested I pour a glass of wine instead. He seemed worried that our Valentine’s Day celebration might entail him drinking and watching Saturday Night Live by himself.

The first glass went down so well I immediately poured another. I was still drinking Sauvignon Blanc from the night before because I’ve recently come to the conclusion that red wine gives me a bad headache (I tell myself the headache is from the tannins and not over consumption).

Dave was on his second glass too and I noticed he was doing something on the computer. I had left my Facebook page open and he was going around writing “burp” and “dude” on some of my friend’s walls. He was also friending people without asking me first. He wanted to know if instead of poking people he could “bitch-slap” them. I made him get off Facebook and told him if he wants to mess around he needs to set up his own profile.

We spent the rest of the evening in front of the fireplace drinking wine and listening to music. Tom and Amy started texting us and we sent some messages back and forth. Tom texted that they found another fly in their house. I texted that I’d used so many WW points I couldn’t eat again until Tuesday.

Eventually we stopped drinking and went to bed. We both had a bit of a headache on Sunday.

Maybe next year we’ll try harder to get a babysitter. Even though we stayed home this year and didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in the most sophisticated manner, at least we celebrated together. I’d rather have Dave than carnations or roses or scary troll dolls anyway.

100 more things

  • February 15, 2009

Keri in MA recently tagged me in her note 25 random things on Facebook. I enjoyed coming up with my own 25 things so much I thought I’d write a new list and try to come up with 100 more things.

Here they are:

100. Trish is five minutes older than me.
99. My parents went to the doctor when my mom was seven and a half months pregnant and they found out there were going to be two babies instead of one. My mom went into labor later that night and they didn’t have a name or a crib for me. I guess they thought Tracey sounded good with Trish.
98. We are fraternal twins meaning there were two separate eggs.
97. We look nothing alike but people still ask us if we’re identical twins.
96. I am a little bit taller.
95. Trish and I both have brown eyes.
94. I was born breech.
93. I have a really cool younger brother named George but I’ve been forbidden to blog about him. I probably will anyway. I still call him Georgie even though he’s thirty-nine years old.
92. I abhor jazz music.
91. Not crazy about R&B either.
90. Dave is always trying to convince me to like both.
89. I hate riding my bicycle.
88. And not because my helmet is super queer which is why Dave thinks I don’t like to go on bike rides.
87. I would never attend a spinning class at the YMCA either.
86. I have no desire to ever participate in RAGBRAI which is when thousands of bicycle riding enthusiasts pedal their way across Iowa.
85. But I’ll show up when RAGBRAI swings through Des Moines and drink beer with all the bicyclists. To show my support and stuff.
84. I just think biking is boring.
83. Dave’s always trying to convince me it’s not.
82. To me it is (shrug).
81. I make Dave’s lunch for him every day.
80. I make him a PB&J sandwich and throw in a carton of AE yogurt.
79. We only eat natural peanut butter. You have to keep it in the fridge and when you first open it, the oil and the peanut butter have to be mixed up.
78. I pack either strawberry banana or cherry vanilla yogurt.
77. I started packing his lunch because he works out on his lunch hour and he doesn’t always have time to go get something to eat afterward.
76. Dave appreciates that I pack his lunch and never takes it for granted.
75. Dave is way nicer than me.
74. “Hey, is that your real hair color?”
73. That was the pick up line Dave used on me the night we met.
72. I was a redhead at the time.
71. We met at a party being thrown by a guy I was pseudo-dating.
70. Pseudo because he usually just tried to booty call me. Or convince me to go home from the bar with him.
69. Luckily I would usually sleep through the booty call and not listen to his message on my answering machine until the next morning.
68. Which translated into me accidentally playing hard to get.
67. Which is why pseudo-date guy actually called me during daylight hours and invited me to come to his party.
66. And then IGNORED me the whole night.
65. Except for making a rude remark about my blazer (it was brand new, I bought it at The Limited, and it was THE blazer to own).
64. But then Dave uttered his magic pick up line and I fell in love.
63. That party was sixteen and a half years ago.
62. Dave is my best friend.
61. Dave and I are not car people.
60. We’ve only had one income for almost ten years so we had to choose between a nice house or nice cars.
59. Our cars aren’t nice.
58. I drive a 1999 Ford Explorer. It’s white and it does have all the bells and whistles like keyless entry and butt warmers.
57. I bought it from my dad when it was three years old.
56. It was in pristine condition because my dad is very clean.
55. I am super clean too yet the kids and I have managed to turn the Explorer (which we call “the exploder” for no apparent reason) into a giant garbage can on wheels.
54. Dave cleans out the interior every six weeks or so.
53. He’s usually muttering something under his breath about how filthy it was.
52. Dave drives a 1995 Honda Accord that we also bought from my dad and Debby. It was only two years old when we got it.
51. I’ve only had one new car in my life. In 1990, I bought a red Acura Integra.
50. I drove it for the next twelve years.
49. I was pregnant with Lauren when we sold the Acura and bought dad’s Explorer.
48. I loved my Acura.
47. It was a five speed.
46. I miss having a clutch.
45. I’m a pretty good driver. I haven’t had a speeding ticket in fifteen years and I had never had an “at fault“ accident until last winter.
44. I slid into a parked car at cost cutters when I took Matthew to get a haircut.
43. It cost $500 and we paid out of our pocket because it wasn’t worth submitting to our insurance company.
42. I love to read.
41. I just finished reading all eight Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery books by Charlaine Harris.
40. Currently I’m reading two David Sedaris books simultaneously.
39. I’m really into reading memoirs right now.
38. Dave and I still read to the kids every night at bedtime.
37. We started reading at bedtime when the kids were infants
36. Dave and I have read the first four Harry Potter books aloud to Matthew at bedtime.
35. I had already read all seven Harry Potter books.
34. So I’m getting really tired of Harry Potter.
33. Both kids are pretty good readers.
32. Dave and I drink more since having kids then we ever did before.
31. But I hardly ever drink Sunday-Thursday. I’ve never been a big “school night” drinker.
30. I’d rather consume seven drinks in a weekend rather than have one drink every night for a week.
29. There’s a name for people like me.
28. Binge drinker.
27. During the week I like to work out, get up early, and get things accomplished so I can have fun on the weekends.
26. With wine.
25. Or cosmos.
24. Or sometimes beer if it’s hot out.
23. I also really like iced tea.
22. Not sweet tea!
21. I like diet coke.
20. I hate pepsi products.
19. I only drink soy milk.
18. I hate spiders.
17. I hate snakes.
18. I don’t mind mice.
16. I don’t love mice but I can’t remember the last time I saw one anyway.
15. I’ve seen some scary spiders in my yard.
14. We had a fox in our yard two years ago.
13. Say it with me: Urban sprawl.
12. Matthew walked right by it on his way to the swing set.
11. He didn’t know what it was.
10. It ran away.
9. I don’t throw stale bread off the deck anymore.
8. Although I wish the fox would come back and eat Sandy the yeti.
7. But I’m afraid the fox will eat Chloe someday.
6. We have an invisible fence which will only keep out invisible foxes.
5. We are planning on putting up a volleyball net in our back yard this summer.
4. I am also going to teach the kids how to play croquet.
3. I used to love playing croquet in my yard with Trish and Georgie when we were little.
2. Except one time a bird pooped on my head when I was playing croquet.
1. One time a bird pooped on Amy’s head when she was at a cemetery.
*Amy wins.

Psst, Cupid

  • February 13, 2009

Dear dude with the arrows,

I need a favor. My sister Trish had a date last Friday with a guy named Ian. She met him on match.com and discovered he was just as attractive in person as his profile picture promised. He was also really nice and he and Trish had a lot in common.

They went out for dinner and then to a bar. Ian asked Trish if she wanted to do a shot and she said “sure!”

Trish does not do shots.

Trish certainly does not do tequila shots.

Yet somehow Trish had five tequila shots on her first date with Ian.

How she managed not to turn into a big vomit volcano is beyond me.

When they got back to her place, Trish changed into her bathrobe and did a lot of dancing and singing in the kitchen. Ian tucked her into bed, alone, at 3:30 AM. Trish didn’t remember much of it. She texted Ian the next morning to apologize and he filled in the gaps.

He must be quite a gentleman considering Trish slipped herself a tequila roofie.

And yes, I gave Trish a good “talking to” about how dangerous it is to drink a crapload of liquor and then invite a guy she just met back to her house.

Trish hasn’t heard from Ian since, except for a couple texts. She knows she might not have made the best first impression and she’s worried it might have cost her a second date with a great guy. I’m still secretly hoping Ian will ask Trish to be his valentine and that’s why I need your help cupid.

Could you please shoot Ian with a big-ass arrow? I know you’re wicked busy but I’d sure appreciate it if you could help me and Trish out.

Lots of love,

Tracey

P.S. I know you’re not santa but could you also drop off a box of chocolates at my house? A very small box will be fine, as I will mostly be celebrating Valentine’s Day with sauvignon blanc and my extra weight watchers points will only go so far. Please make sure there are no chocolates with pink, white, or maple centers because if I bite into one of those I’m just going to spit it back into the box and Dave gets all bent of out shape when I do that. Thanks in advance!

The Marble Jar Method, Is It Working?

  • February 13, 2009

Recently I wrote about a positive behavior reinforcement method I implemented to help me manipulate my devil’s spawn offspring into listening to me and doing what I wanted. I am pleased to announce that the marble jar method, when executed properly, will absolutely allow you to modify and/or eliminate the undesirable behavior of anyone participating. However, the plan is only as effective as the individual administering it and that’s where we had some problems.

When I first set out the marble jars, not only did Matthew and Lauren keep acting like hooligans, they weren‘t even trying to earn marbles. I couldn’t figure it out. Why weren’t they participating? Weren’t they excited about getting cool stuff? It finally occurred to me a day later that for a positive behavior reinforcement method to work there needs to be some positive reinforcement.

The next morning I gave Lauren a marble for being so cheerful when she came down to breakfast. I gave Matthew a marble for answering me quickly when I asked him what he wanted to eat. I gave both of them marbles for brushing their teeth, putting on their boots, and walking to the bus stop.

They were thrilled. “You mean this is all we have to do to earn marbles?” they asked.

“Yep”, I said. “Just keep doing what I ask and you’ll have a jar full of marbles by Sunday.”

The more positive behavior I reinforced, the more positive behavior they exhibited. The backpacks were hung up, the boots were put away, and all the dirty clothes were placed in the laundry basket. Matthew and Lauren said please and thank you to each other. Whenever Chloe rang the bell to let us know she needed to go out, Lauren ran to the front door to open it, screaming, “I get a marble, I get a marble!”

By the end of the week, Lauren earned enough marbles for a new DS game and Matthew earned enough marbles for duct tape, glue, paint, and other building supplies for a project he’s working on in the spare bedroom.

Clearly, I am some kind of rock star mother. If my eggs weren’t so old and Dave hadn’t had a vasectomy, I might consider having another baby since parenting is so easy for me. I thought about writing an article detailing how effortless it is to raise polite and obedient children and sending it to Parenting magazine so other moms and dads could learn from my example.

After about a week, when Matthew finally realized that letting Chloe out was a really easy way to earn marbles, he raced to the front door when he heard the bell ring. So did Lauren and since they both refused to yield to their sibling, they collided, got pissed, and had a knock down drag out fight about who was going to open the door. I sent them to their rooms, took a marble out of their jars, and let Chloe out myself.

A few days later, I asked Matthew what he wanted for breakfast. He thought answering me was optional. I asked him again and when he started demanding things for breakfast that we didn’t even have in the house, I got a little peeved. I gave him a couple choices and he decided to get lippy with me. I warned him that I was going to take a marble out of his jar if he did not answer me immediately. He said he didn’t care. I removed ALL the marbles in his jar and asked him if he cared now. He responded by sticking his tongue out at me, making a face, and opening and closing his hands up by his mouth to mimic my talking.

I snapped. I yelled so loud people in the next county probably heard me. I slapped my hand down on the island so everyone would be crystal clear on who was in charge.

I’m going through the “terrible forty-twos” and I’m not always able to control the temper tantrums that accompany this adult developmental stage.

I grabbed a slip of paper, wrote “negative 45 marbles” on it, and shoved it into Matthew’s jar. I put myself in a time out and barely got Matthew and Lauren to the bus stop in time.

It took me twenty-four hours to cool off enough to remove the slip of paper from Matthew’s marble jar and start him over at zero.

I’m not giving up on the marble jar method. I believe it works if administered properly. I will come up with an action plan for how to deal with occasional behavior deviations and I realize that throwing a parental hissy fit is not very effective in terms of positive reinforcement.

Matthew hopes to earn enough marbles next week to earn Mario Kart for the Wii. Lauren is thinking about another game for her DS.

And I’m going to try harder to be a rock star mom.

Farewell Top Nails

  • February 11, 2009

I decided to break up with my Top Nails boyfriend today. I needed to have my pink and white artificial solar nails filled again and I could not bear the thought of sitting across from him for an hour while he touched me with his clammy hands and tried to speak to me in Mandarin. I’m sure the tibia crushing sadist would have been there too, lurking by the pedicure chairs waiting to pounce on unsuspecting women with pain thresholds not nearly high enough to offset the misery she would likely inflict upon them.

I went to Elegant Nails instead. Unlike Top Nails, Elegant Nails did not have a single dude in the whole place. I’ve been to Elegant Nails before, with Trish and Wendy, and I’ve always had a good experience. It’s a little farther from my house, and busier than Top Nails, but it’s totally worth waiting a little while if you have to (there’s a reason they have a large clientele). I am sometimes the only customer at Top Nails.

The female nail technician who assisted me spoke excellent English and we were able to communicate with ease. Conversely, my Top Nails boyfriend likes to ask me questions and since I can’t understand him, I usually answer one of three ways: “uh-huh”, “yes”, or with an awkward giggle even though he probably just asked me my bra size and whether or not I like to watch pornos (36 C and occasionally).

The girl at Elegant Nails completed the nail fill in a speedy thirty-five minutes instead of the fifty minutes it takes my Top Nails boyfriend, thus proving that women are faster and more efficient than men at pretty much everything.

At Top Nails, I am forced to watch One Life to Live. At Elegant Nails, I was able to watch Ozzy Osbourne’s True Hollywood Story on E! This delighted me as I am a fan of Ozzy’s and used to love watching The Osbournes on MTV. I also live in a suburb of Des Moines and everyone knows Des Moines is where Ozzy bit the head off a bat in 1982 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Any mention of Des Moines that does not result in my city being ridiculed is good publicity in my book so I think I should support Ozzy whenever possible, even if it’s just by playing Crazy Train on my ipod or watching him on television.

She even trimmed my cuticles at Elegant Nails. I noticed she pulled the clippers out of a drawer and not, say, an autoclave, which probably means that sterilization guidelines weren’t totally adhered to but I don’t even care. I know it’s just a matter of time before I catch Ebola from one of these places so what the hell.

Overall, I had a very satisfactory customer experience. Elegant Nails will definitely be getting my business from now on.

Sorry Top Nails boyfriend. I’m just not that into you.

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