Thursday, January 31, 2008

So...yeah....when you say "simmer", what temperature is that exactly?

I strapped on my roller skates and hauled tail around the Veloway for an hour this afternoon. Bad idea when it's Cedar Fever season. I'm going to go to bed soon, but not before I share my dinner success with everyone.

Some of you have heard me mention 'Scrambled Dogs' in passing. Probably I've mentioned them too many times. Regardless, Scrambled Dogs is a dish I saw when visiting a client in Columbus, GA. I never actually tried this dish--I just liked the name and became obsessed with them. I kept threatening to make them, but never did. "Scrambled Dogs, Scrambled Dogs!" I'd declare at gatherings. "I'm going to make Scrambled Dogs for our Super Bowl party!"

In light of the fact that the Super Bowl is a mere three days away, it ocurred to me tonight that I'd better find a way to make Scrambled Dogs or I was going to lose face!

Here's what I subjected Husband to this evening (you will see that Tots are a staple in this house):

Okay, upon looking at this picture on an actual computer (as opposed to my phone) I can admit that 'Scrambled Dogs' look disgusting.

But they're not! They're delicious and Husband declared so over and over! He cleaned his plate in, like, three minutes and that means he loved them!

Here's how I they're made (unofficially. Remember, I've never actually had them before):

How to make a Scrambled Dog--the best dish of your life

For the Chili:
1 pound ground chuck
1/3 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 large yellow onion, chopped (set aside ¼ of this onion for garnish)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 (14-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, chopped
1 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans

For the hot dogs:
4 hot dogs (I used Ball Park Franks Grillmaster Smokehouse Franks which I highly recommend)
4 hot dog buns
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1 cup sharp grated Cheddar

Using a Dutch oven, combine the ground chuck, sausage, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the meat is browned, stirring the meat to break it up as it cooks. Drain the pan drippings. Stir in the chili powder, flour, sugar, oregano, cumin, mustard and salt, and stir well. Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (this is where I got confused. I mean, how exactly do you simmer meat!?). Add the tomatoes and beans, and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill to med-high. Brush the hotdogs and the inside of the bun with the melted butter. Grill the hot dogs until they char, approximately 7 minutes. Place the buns on the grill for approximately 1 minute to toast them. Once removed from the grill, slice up the hotdogs and the buns width-wise. Lay the bun across your plate as if it were still intact. Place hotdog slices over the bun. Ladle chili over the whole mess and top with cheese and the onion that you set aside.

You can make them yourself *or* you can come over this Sunday and I will make them for you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guess what? I'm watching you too and he listens to me.

Now that I have no professional career of my own, I have all sorts of time to insert myself into my husband's career. This week we are in Palm Springs participating in Demo 08 Live ( Demo 08 Live is a two-day conference whereupon 77 entrepreneurial companies have six minutes each to demonstrate their new product innovations. I managed to convince my husband that it was a good idea for me to sit beside him at the conference and give him my opinion on the various demonstrations. Since we are both technical people with divergent interests, he readily agreed. As a venture capitalist, he's always on the lookout for the "next big thing"--the next YouTube or MySpace. The fact that he cares about my opinion is flattering. Unfortunately, the $2800 price tag for my ticket made that scenario impossible. So here I sit in our hotel room watching the demonstrations over live streaming video. My husband and I text our thoughts about the various companies and I take notes on those that I intend to test over the next few weeks.

We've seen some really cool social networking sites, new technology from the makers of Leap Frog, some awesome financial planning software and a shopping price comparison service. A lot of this stuff is free in its beta state, so I plan to go through our notes and post some of the coolest services here for you to try as well.

If you read this post in time, you too can watch the demos at

Let me attempt to tie the title of this post to the content. Because this is a technical conference, the male to female ratio is roughly 200 to 1. If I'm alone, it's a guarantee that I will be hit on. Not because I'm pretty; just because I'm female. Yesterday, a gentleman asked me out right outside our hotel room door as I was searching for my key. When I indicated to him that I am married, his eyes bugged out, he cast a worried glance at our door as if my husband might open it at any moment, and he spun on his heel and left. Today, while at the Starbucks counter, I heard a male voice say, "Well hello! It's you again!" I turned to see a friendly 40-something gentleman smiling at me. I looked at him quizically and he continued. "I saw you last night in the restaurant. You were sitting next to some guy."

"Ahhh, yes. That was my husband." I responded.

"Oh! Your Husband! So, where are you all from? Are you here for the conference?"

"We're from Texas." I replied. "My husband, a venture capitalist is here for the conference and I am watching the demos remotely so that I can help him analyze the products." I briefly turn to pay for my latte.

"I love Texas women!"

Huh? Did I just hear what I thought I heard, or did he just tell me that he loves Texas weather? While I tried to sort this out in my head, he burst into song.

"Allllllll my exes live in Texas!"

Okay, so that settles that--he loves Texas women. Time to go.

The Starbucks exchange illustrates my point: While at this conference I am either looked at or looked through, but never am I looked upon as someone who might have any modicum of influence. And, in the grand scheme of things, I don't, really. But my husband does and he listens to me and I'm paying careful attention to you, so watch what you say and be careful where your eyes stray because a kickin' product coupled with unprofessionalism makes investors nervous.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I have some really awesome friends. I mean, super great, really wonderful, blow-your-mind-incredible friends. I'm lucky enough to be able to count loads of family members as friends too.

Today, in the middle of taking a practice GMAT exam, the doorbell rang and this was on my doorstep:

It's from my friend Kelly, in California. She sent it for no reason whatsoever! She just sent it to send it! Words cannot begin to describe how this basket brightened my day.

Among its goodies are seeds and gardening supplies. You'll notice a bag of tomato-basil pretzels (which I'm 'testing' right now), various dips, gourmet honey and a book on how to garden. There is even a tool that you use to stab things with and some gardening gloves. Probably you poke at dirt with that tool; I don't know. I'll look to the book to enlighten me.

Best of all is the box of strawberry-cream centered chocolates! I used to think that chocolate covered cherries were my favorite, but no more! THESE chocolates are my favorite!

'Kelly from CA' is the same person who selflessly offered up her glass firing kiln so that I would have a way to occupy my spare time. Being the awesome friend that I am, I made fun of her for having a glass firing kiln. Mea culpa, Kelly! You're the best! Thanks for finding another way for me to occupy my time once the GMAT's are over!

To lend credibility to the fact that someone thought enough of me to send me a gardening basket, I staged it next two my two plants and some tomatoes when I took the picture. Look--I can buy tomatoes! That proves unequivocally that I can grow them too!

So, in conclusion, I would like to offer up the evidence of this basket as proof that my friend Kelly is awesome. Thanks, Kelly!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Way to Put the Spin in Cinna-Spins, Roo!

Well, I received my Girl Scout cookies yesterday. Just in time for the cold, rainy weather where there isn't a chance I'll be able to work off the additional calories (I refuse to join a gym and will only exercise outdoors). Upon receiving the cookies, I immediately opened them up to ‘test’ them. I could have sworn that when my little, blonde, six year-old nymph of a cousin (Roo) described the Cinna-Spins, she mentioned something about a cookie with chocolate fudge and vanilla icing. My immediate thought was, “Hmmm…chocolate, vanilla icing and—cinnamon? What an unusual combination. Not sure that I'll like them, but what the heck? It's for the Girl Scouts.” Roo swore (with saucer eyes) that they were “really good” and I couldn’t think beyond the chocolate and vanilla icing, so I went ahead and ordered them.

I knew I was in trouble when I saw the words “100 Calorie Packs” on the box. Look, I'm not in the business of writing Girl Scout cookie reviews, but these ones are nast. Miniscule, hard and tasteless (insert obvious pervy joke here). This is something you'd eat if you were on a diet and *desperately* needed a sugar fix. Well, maybe not even that. Since when did the words "Girl Scout Cookies" and "100 Calorie Packs" become compatible? I think never!

What I thought I iwas getting:

What I got:

A quick perusal of revealed no such chocolate/vanilla mix. I believe I was had by a six year-old.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Whatever Happened to the Miracle?

So...I go to Macy's today because the Christmas gift card I sent to my sister-in-law never made it to her house. You've got to love a place that will replace a lost gift card with the flash of your gift card receipt. At least, that's what their website tells you. Their personnel? They see things differently. See, this was my second trip to Macy's to get that replacement gift certificate. The first time was Saturday and on Saturday no one seemed to know what a gift card receipt was.

On Saturday night, my husband and I pulled up to Macy's and scored the number one parking space next to the entrance. "Your elation ends here," I warned my husband, "this is Macy's after all and they will swiftly suck the joy out of you with the arch of an eyebrow."

Ever since their merger with the May Company, I've noticed that the level of customer service in Macy's has taken a steady nosedive. Clerks are surly and inattentive. Lines are long. Good luck getting anyone to help you in the shoe department.

Macy's didn't used to be all bad. Macy's used to be quite good. In fact, I hear that there was once one on 34th street that performed miracles. Not anymore. The only 'miracle' performed in Macy's that night was that I didn't reach across the counter and throttle the sales girl.

"May I help you?" she asked, bored and put-out that she had to do some actual work. "Er, yes. I purchased a gift card here right before Christmas and it was lost in the mail. I am here to (insert clerk shaking her head 'no' at me here) replace it (faster head-shaking) and I have the original receipt."

She kept shaking her head 'no' as she reviewed the receipt I handed her. Ready for the inevitable fight, I began to explain the guidelines for replacing a lost gift receipt as set forth by Macy's website. "You see, I called the number listed on your website and had the old gift receipt cancelled. The Macy's rep who helped me told me to come in here and..."

"No, uh uh!" the clerk interrupted. "You shouldn't have cancelled it. Now you're not going to be able to replace..."

"But the Macy's website told me to." My turn to interrupt. "The customer service rep told me to come into the store for a replacement and I..."

Clerk turns her back on me and picks up the phone. Husband and I raise our eyebrows at each other. I prepare myself for a throw-down.

Clerk mutters into the phone for a while. Says things like, "I know, I know-- I told her that! Well could you come down and tell her? I don't want tell her."

Finally, she sets down the phone and turns back to me. "You can't get a replacement gift card without a receipt." My husband jumps in, "That's the receipt in your hand!" Clerk directs a vacuous look toward the receipt in her hand. "Oh...well...anyway, you're going to have to come back on Monday and talk with someone else because no one here knows how to help you tonight."

And why should they? Why ever would Macy's staff their store with someone who could help me on a Saturday night?

But that's neither here nor there. The real reason for this post is to describe what happened when I went in this afternoon to get that replacement receipt.

I walked through the entrance and took a detour through the shoe department 'cause that's how I roll when Husband's not around. I immediately spotted a pair of girly boots that I had to have. I looked this way, then that way for a clerk, but no one would meet my eye. I finally approached the clerk closest to me, "Excuse me. Do you have this in an 8?" She just stared at the boot. No smile, no word of acknowledgement, nothing. Finally, she looked at me. "Well, not out here." Then she turned on her heel and walked into the back.
"Uh...okay." I thought as I moseyed around the rest of the department. "I guess she's coming back." A few minutes later she reappears through the door with the boots. "Are these on sale?" I dared ask. "I don't know!" She snaps. "I'll have to scan them." "Good, do that then, you snot." I thought. Man! What is it with these Macy' employees?

I try on the boots and decide to make the purchase. Manning the register was another woman who was much more personable. "And who helped you today? Rick?" she asked cheerfully. "No, it was a lady." I had to bite my tongue to keep from using some other word in the place of "lady". She completed the transaction and then went to bag my boots. I watched her try to wedge the large box sideways into a bag that was clearly too small. Meanwhile, she makes sure to tell me all about Macy's online survey that allows me to detail my wonderful experiences with the Macy's clerks. "Yeah right," I think, "you don't want me online, recounting my tales to Macy's Headquarters."

The clerk finally gives up and fits the boot box lengthwise into the bag, but the bag isn't long enough and the lack of handles makes it unwieldy. "I know just what I will do!" she chirps, "I will make you one of my special handles!"

"Hmmm..special handles..." I ponder as she bounces off, "I wonder how she's going to do that? Do they have some sort of plastic handle-type gizmo that hooks onto the bag?" I think back to my days as a department store clerk and can't recall such a device. I turn just in time to spy her reaching into that box they put out for those complimentary please-try-our-shoes-on-with-these hose. She plucks out one, then two hose and makes her way back to me. "Here we go!" she says proudly as she loops and twists and ties the pantyhose to make a "handle". "Now you won't have any problems carrying your boots!"

Stunned, I mumble my thanks and shuffle away. Feeling ridiculous, I try to hide my pantyhose handle from passersby. "What in the...?" I think to myself, "This Macy's shares real estate with stores like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany's. Is she kidding me? Those stores would never give you a pantyhose handle!"

With that I decided to end my relationship with Macy's. The shame of the pantyhose handle was simply the last straw. Good bye forever, Macy's!

Well-- until your next shoe sale, that is.

Probably You Should Call Me "Homme"...

I am a better handyman than housewife. This past weekend I tossed aside all duties of the housewife variety and donned a drill. Here's what I created:

A Laundry Center (okay, I did this last week, not weekend, but still I count it!) (note the blue shirt that I'm 'pretending like I'm ironing' which, in reality, I pulled out of the closet for the sake of this picture) (I'm hiding the scorch marks on the ironing board):

A place to hang the dogs' leashes (note the wall-mounted iron holder that is part of the Laundry Center):

A new dual-rod towel rack:

Shelves for our garage:

Here's what I did Friday, before I dreamed up all these ways to occupy my time:

I have loads of fun with that wig! I think for my next trick, I shall place it in the trunk with tufts of hair sticking out-- enough to make people think there's someone in there. Then I'll drive merrily around town.

In addition to organizing our house, we also ate well because:

1) Our friend "C" cooked on Friday night. It was awesome. I ate a ton. Enough to store up and see me through this week, and
2) We ate out on Saturday night as well, and
3) We ate out Sunday night too!

See how that works? I either pick up a drill or a spatula, but not both. Good things come out of the drill, baaaaad things come out of the spatula. My husband will probably set me to work building a fourth floor by the time he's had one month of my cooking!

Don't worry, I start a-cooking again this evening, so I'm sure it will be eventful!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Housewife Progress Report: Another Day, Another Horrible Dinner

I'm am destined for Super-Housewifedom, I just know it. I am a master of the house, in control of all that I survey. Yesterday, I did nothing but demonstrate my ability to remain in complete control...

My two smallest dogs got into a throw-down yesterday after walking a mile. You would think that someone only three inches off the ground would be too tired to scrap after a walk like that, but no siree. What were they fighting over? An empty walnut shell. By the time I pulled them apart (which consisted of me yelling like a maniac and lunging for them while they artfully dodged my grasp (while still grasping each other)) Bunny was coated in Butter's saliva and Butter was limping. The thing is, my dogs look like wrestling teddy bears when they fight so it's hard to yell at them after the fact. Have you ever seen a pissed off teddy bear trying to shrug off a fight as he walks away? That's my dog! Now don't get me wrong, it's upsetting to me when they squabble and I certainly do everything I can to discourage it, but it's hard to stay mad at them when it happens.

I spent the afternoon grasping complicated GMAT math concepts (I believe the chapter is called, "Math Fundamentals"). I scored 100% after 100% after 100% on the practice tests, then it was time for the assessment test (which counts). My score? 53%.

On to dinner where I'd planned a gourmet meal of seared scallops on seasoned greens. The recipe directed me to heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in the pan on high for five minutes. "This can't be right," I told myself, "Wouldn't that catch the oil on fire or, best case scenario, ruin the pan?" Ignoring the voice of reason, I decided to listen to Pampered Chef instead and followed the directions. After five minutes, I dropped the chopped vegetables into the hot oil...

You would have thought I set off a smoke bomb. By this time my husband was home, cheerfully recounting his day as I 'cooked'. As soon as the veggies hit the pan and started smoking, he stopped talking (mid-sentence) and went into auto pilot. I guess I've done this to him before because he knew exactly what to do. "I wonder if I should go get the fire extinguisher?" I thought as I glanced over my shoulder, "Nah, that might freak him out." Husband was behind me, frantically fanning the smoke detector with one hand while opening the front door with the other. "Smart move!" I thought as I continued stirring the vegetables. "I wonder what temperature oil has to get to before it catches fire?" My eyes started tearing. The dogs started running. "Hmmm...I wonder if dogs are like canaries? Do the dogs know something about impending danger before I do?"

The inside of the $165-wedding-gift pan began to turn yellow, then brown, then black. By now tears are streaming down my face and the dogs are gone. "If I don't panic, no one else will." I told myself as I calmly (and stubbornly) continued charring sauteing the vegetables. "I should probably throw this out--it smells terrible." I quickly struck that thought from my head. No matter what,we were going to have scallops over sauteed vegetables for dinner, by God!

"Butter's gone." My husband reports, interrupting my revelry. "What?" I ask, "Are you sure?" "Yep. The front gate was opened and I think he was scared and ran away." Hmmm...I never considered that outlet before. When scared, run away. Just tear through the front gate and go! I imagine what would have happened if I'd done that when the pan started smoking...

"Okay, well, get Summer (our Lab) and go look for him, I guess." I may have seemed calm, perhaps too calm, but again I was working on the premise that if I didn't panic, no one else would. Husband and dog depart. My cooking exercise is peppered with intervals of wandering out into the front yard, calling Butter's name with the promise of "treats". Husband and Lab return 15 minutes later without Butter. Husband looks distraught.

"This is all my fault!" He says, miserably. "If I hadn't left the front door open he never could have run away. What was I thinking?"

My heart broke. "Don't worry-- we don't call him 'Boomerang Dog' for nothing. He'll come back, he always does. Do you know how many times I've gone looking for him only to find him waiting for me on the front porch when I got home? Besides, his tags are up-to-date and he's micro-chipped. Now eat your scallops."

Husband chews thoughtfully on the sauteed spinach. I opt for a bite of buttery scallops. Neither of us is very hungry. "Hmm...not bad!" I think as I try to keep my mind off Butter. It's not working. I find myself growing more and more anxious as the minutes tick by. We are seated by the front window and continually cast our glance out onto the porch in the hopes that my prediction will come true.

Then I take a bite of the rice. "Blech!" I declare as I spit it out. I remember that when I salted the rice, I tipped the salt container the wrong way and a whole bunch came out. "This shouldn't matter." I said to myself at the time, unconcerned. Clearly it did matter.

Husband has cleaned half his plate at this point. I feel sorry for him.

Time to taste the spinach--double blech! Somehow, even though I didn't put any in, it tastes like I repeated the rice-salt mistake but with pepper. "This is terrible!' I tell my husband. He looks guilty; he thought it was terrible too.

"I'm not hungry anyway." I mutter as I push back from the table. Husband looks relieved to be excused from eating the rest of the plate of food. I go outside and yell for Butter some more. I listen for the sound of his collar jingling. Nothing. I then proceed to open every door in our house (it's not unusual that we lose a dog only to find it in the pantry or bathroom). I go upstairs to check under the bed...

...and there's Butter. Hiding, frightened and sweet as he can be. I scoop him up in my arms and carry him downstairs. My husband's so relieved, he forgets all about his lousy dinner.

Happy and hungry again, I pull a pizza out of the freezer and turn on the oven. "That was just a guise to make you appreciate it when I serve you prepackaged, frozen food!" I declare, finger pointing toward the sky. "What we're really having for dinner tonight, is pizza!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crafts 101

Now that I am a housewife I've found that I have time for crafts. Nevermind that I've never taken an art class, have no understanding of the color wheel and can't so much as imagine a straight line. This morning was different, however. This morning I found myself making a 'Snowflake Starbucks Coffe Mug'.

Here's how you do it: Grab your brand new won-it-at-the-office-Christmas-party Starbucks coffee mug. I happen to like this particular mug because it's shiny and silver (I'm rather to partial to shiny things like, for instance, diamonds). Pour some luke warm coffee in it. Stick it in the microwave. Jump ten feet in the air when bolts of electricity start shooting out. Thrust open the microwave door and voila! There you have it--the 'Snowflake Starbucks Coffee Mug'!

If you look *very carefully* you can see the snowflake pattern etched in the finish (it's between the scorch marks and the missing laminate). I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here somewhere but I haven't identified it. I can't wait to do this stuff with our kids!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Be Glad You're Not My Husband

Here's what I served my husband for dinner last night:

Okay, Everyone, say it with me: "Poor guy!"

While perusing my cookbooks the other night I came across a recipe for a dish called "Hot Browns". I've never had a Hot Brown before but I had to serve this dish! I envisioned myself stirring something at the stove, all sexy in my heels and belted house dress calling out gaily, "Honey, your Hot Browns are ready!"

My husband, of course, would be off in another room, perhaps the laundry room, wrench in hand fixing some broken appliance. He'd be wearing a fitted white t-shirt that showed off his rippled biceps, sweat glistening on his brow, a look of determination on his face. I'd take one look at him and we'd forget all about Hot Browns...

Just kidding, Dad!

Anyway, that was just my Hot Browns fantasy; the reality was quite different. In reality I was standing at the stove wearing jeans and coated in flour. I'm not one for heavy, flour-based sauce dishes so I'm not sure what I was thinking when I chose this one--it was virtually tasteless. In fact, it just occurred to me that the sauce had the taste and consistency of paste. Wait--doesn't flour go in paper mache paste? Did I serve paper mache paste sandwiches last night? I completely forgot about fixing any side dishes since the recipe I had for Hot Browns was so confusing and complicated (Hot Browns are open-faced turkey sandwiches with bacon crumbles and brown gravy--don't ask me why this was so confounding to me). I finally remembered and warmed up some Tots (I love Tots and will even serve bowls of them at parties). For good measure I set some snow peas up to steam and forgot about them until they were wilted and mushy.

We sit down for dinner and it's the moment of truth. Since I love Tots so much, I happily eat those first and am thus oblivious to what's going on next to me. I finally turn to ask my husband how he likes his Hot Brown only to realize that the turkey and paste have conglomerated and stuck in his throat. I can literally hear him talking around the sandwich as he chokes out, "It's good! Good!"

Encouraged, I take a bite of my Hot Brown. Four minutes later, after I manage to swallow it, I declare, "Honey, this is disgusting!"

"No, it's...(cough cough)!" My husband wouldn't hurt my feelings for the world. I start to wonder if I should slap him on the back to help him choke it down. Just in time, he clears his throat and declares, "Really, it's very good."

"Honey, I could literally see that ball of scourge make its way down your windpipe! Look at the greasy Tots and the limp snow peas! Ketchup doesn't even go with turkey! In no way could this meal be considered "good".

Finally, he relented. "'s not your best..."

"Done!" I jumped up and dramaticallly tore up the recipe.

We still cleaned our plates. We'll eat anything (forget that little tidbit the next time you have me over for dinner and I tell you that you're cooking is awesome, ha ha!)

Today I had to go to the doctor and my husband stayed home to wait for the garbage disposal repair guy (which had nothing to do with the Hot Browns, by the way). When I got back, I busied myself with wall-mounting the ironing board and iron holder (I can find one million projects that, at the time, are more important than studying for the GMAT) (I mean, whatever would I do if my ironing board weren't mounted to the wall right this minute!?)

Anyway, my husband kept saying that he was going to pack up and go to work but then continued sitting on our porch, researching his next laptop. Hours go by and, just as he gets up to leave (I'm on a ladder somewhere at this point) I hear him say, "Oh, we have some packages" and open the front door.


Anyway, I tear down the ladder and affect a casual stroll into the kitchen where he's examining two boxes. I take one. "Oh! This must be my new cookbook!" I declare since, after last night, it can be considered a legitimate purchase. Then I hear him say, "Custom Fortune Cookie Company...what's this?"

Oh crap! I spin around and tear the box away from him. "Nothing--it's nothing!" I say as I fling open the pantry door and toss the box inside. Shutting the door behind me, I lean up against it and conjure up a lie, "It's part of your Valentine's Day surprise and you just ruined it, Nosey!" (no, it's not).

"Well don't worry, I have no idea what's in the box!" he assures me and he means it.

"Really!" I challenge him, "You have no idea what's inside a package from the 'Custom Fortune Cookie Company'?"

A slow smile creeps across his face. "Ahhh..." is all he says. He's beaming.

"Double crap!" I think to myself, "Now I have to find some way to give him a freaking fortune cookie on Valentine's Day."

Okay, so some background here: Like I said, the fortune cookie isn't for Valentine's Day. I can't tell you all what it's for (in case Husband reads this blog) but it's definitely for him, just not on Valentine's Day. Now, to throw him off the trail, I'm going to have to serve fortune cookies on Valentine's Day. I HATE fortune cookies! Also, where am I going to get another custom fortune cookie without ordering one!? With my luck, he'd probably be home when that box arrived as well.

I decided that I am going to get takeout Chinese one night and hijack the fortune cookies before he gets to them. Then I am going to present them at Valentine's Day and act all offended when the message "isn't what I specified when I ordered them."

Yeesh--the lengths I must go to deceive my husband. I'm beginning to feel like I Love Lucy!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Housewife Progress Report

Here's what I served my husband for breakfast this morning, complete with burned-on-one-side English muffin halves. Dee-lish! I cut up some tired fruit in an effort to balance out all that butter. I used my mad restaurant skillz to artfully arrange the plate.

Poor guy.

This was at 10:30 this morning. At 7:10 this morning I awoke and, for reasons unknown to even me, found the inspiration to stuff my side of the bed with a few pillows to make it look like I was still there. For good measure I grabbed an old hairpiece and stuffed it under the blankets making sure that tufts were sticking out. My husband slept peacefully throughout this whole charade. When he awoke and come downstairs, he couldn't figure out how I managed to be in two places at once.

What's that saying about idle time and the devil?

Lucky Number Five

Last Thursday was the fourth best day of my life. In fact, I put it right up there with moving to Austin, meeting my husband, getting engaged and my wedding day. Oh, and the day that my husband was matched to me through eHarmoney was a pretty good day as well. So, that's five. Thursday was the fifth best day of my life.

On Thursday, as I was sitting in the VP corner office (that I'd taken over, after the VP was fired, without asking) answering the tech support line, the founder of our small technology company and the office manager walked in. "Oh no--do my passwords still work?" I quipped as I turned to my laptop and feigned logging into an application. Their nervous titters stopped me cold as I realized I'd hit the proverbial nail right on the head.

"We're so sorry..." the founder began, shaking, "it's not just you. Most of the company's being let go..."

I barely listened to them as my mind began racing. I'm getting laid off! Laid. Off. What will I do? Who will I become? Once I fulfilled my dream of becoming a sales engineer (not terribly lofty, I know) I made a pact with myself that I would get out of the technology arena all together. Now is my chance! I can do anything, be anything I want! What I want is to call my husband *right now*.

"...and it's nothing personal..."

I wonder what's going to happen to the customers. I'm one of two people manning the support desk (don't ask me why an SE mans a support desk---ridiculous) and the product we support is not run-of-the-mill. There were customers actively upgrading their system and calling me every few hours for help. There were customers with down systems who were waiting for me to exam their error logs and come up with a resolution.

" will get paid through January 15th..."

What's that? Darn! I was so hoping to be done with with my job today. Like clockwork an email came in. Another customer asking me to help fix his problems. This particular guy always had the toughest issues to resolve. A sense of relief washed over me.

"You have been a tremendous employee and we will bend over backwards to help you find something else..."

Uh-oh...shouldn't have bought that red Coach wallet yesterday! I wonder if I can take it back? That could cover our grocery bill for the next month...

"...and that's about it."

They looked at me expectantly. I stared back. Seconds ticked by, then it hit me: I was to pack up my things and exit the premise immediately. "Oh, I should go ahead and leave now?" I asked, stupidly. They just stared, unable to bring themselves to verbally kick me out. "Oh...okay then." Now it was my turn to shake which made no sense since moments earlier I was disappointed when I thought I had to stay until the 15th. "Well, I need to update a few cases and pack up my things. Should take around fifteen minutes--is that okay?" They looked relieved and nodded their agreement. "Great, I will do that and stop by your office on my way out the door."

They stood up and smiled. Handshakes all around. I think someone even clapped me on my back. "Please keep in touch," they urged, "we'd really like to help you."

Suh-weet! I needed a second referral letter for MBA school and now I know exactly who I'm going to hit up.

Cards were exchanged, numbers written down, more handshaking and, with that, I was done with my sales engineering career forever.

On the way to my car I called my husband, laughing. "I just lost my job!" I announced as he answered the call. "What?" he said, voice breaking up. "I can't hear you. What did you say?"

"My job--it's my job. I lost it!" I repeated slightly louder, suddenly becoming aware of my surroundings.

"Your what? I still can't hear you!" he said.

Oh for the love of God--how many times am I going to have to in-so-many-words announce that I am a loser? I glance around the parking lot and saw a few people within earshot. "Hang on," I told him, "let me just get into my car."

Once in the car I made my startling announcement for the third time.

"Oh my goodness--why?" he asked.

Let me stop here. For weeks, no, months my husband, a venture capitalist, has been predicting the demise of my company. In fact, last night at dinner he told me that my company was probably going to fold. And now he's asking me why I lost my job? I decided to toy with him.

"I got fired for stealing!" I announced.

"You WHAT???"

I couldn't believe the man actually believed me. "Stealing--I got fired for stealing!" Silence on the other end. "Oh geez, honey, I'm only kidding! I just got laid off because the company is going under."

The rest of the conversation went as conversations of that nature do. I filled him in on the events of that morning and then cut to the important stuff: "I need a new phone--they're taking mine back." The thought filled me with glee. There is nothing I love more than picking a new smart phone. I've had at least six over the past year. This time I wanted a red one.

"Fine, baby, go to the AT&T store and pick one out. Read the reviews on CNET first," he advised.

I put my car into gear and drove through the winding hills to my house. Ah, the freedom of being the master of your own time. How will I fill it? Whatever will I do? Will I sleep until noon every day? Will I sit around and watch afternoon talk shows? Will I engage in boredom eating? No, I will not! I will work out daily, study for my GMAT's and cook a delicious meal every night--from scratch! I will fire the maid and clean the house myself! I will grow a vegetable garden (never mind that our yard is shady)and cull the rewards for my husband's gourmet lunches. I will complete all of those outstanding home projects and take contract jobs to pull my weight financially. I will become something I've never been before in my life: a housewife.