Monday, December 20, 2010

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on?

Let's leave this until next week to get as much money for Heifer as possible. Talk to you next week. --

Just when I thought no one was paying attention because the Indonesian Blog, kewtawa lucu, is kicking my ass, someone sent me a note me about Nathan Bransford, who is raising money for a wonderful cause, Heifer International. Here’s the deal, if I link to his site and this cause, he will redirect people to my site to keep it going. So we should REALLY do this! For each comment that you post on mkromd, I will donate 25 cents on your behalf (up to $50 total).

Now, if you aren’t familiar with this organization, they use donations like this to purchase sustainable items for indigenous people around the world, many of whom I’ve personally offended at one point in time or another and need to apologize to en masse. Hopefully this will help me make amends (and improve my karma). And... for those of you who regularly read my blog, you know I need all the help I can get. You even already know that years ago, in college, when I studied in Sardinia, I was attacked by a passive-aggressive hair stylist who shaved my head. But, what you don't know is that, as tragic as that event may have been, it was far from the worst thing that's ever happened to me abroad.

That probably happened in India, after I graduated from college.

You see, every year my large co-dependent family vacations together in a place we've never been before. It's true, we pick some unfortunate destination and descend en-masse, and one year we decided to go to Asia. At any rate, there we were, visiting a mosque in India, when someone suggested that we see the, “lesser known Poor Man’s Taj Mahal.” If you've never heard of it, don't be alarmed. It’s more like a roadside attraction than it is a mosque, but the rules still apply: men can go inside, women cannot, and everyone has to take off their shoes regardless.

So there I was... walking around... outside... in India... without shoes on... when I stepped in bird poop.

If you know nothing about me, please know this - I’m a complete germ-a-phobe; however, luckily for me, there was a big pool of water right there. And, as a recently-graduated, culturally-sensitive Anthropologist, I hopped over to it and stuck my bird poop covered foot RIGHT in. No kidding, about twenty-five men immediately ripped their hands out of there the second I'd touched it. Being the polite idiot that I am, I was loudly apologizing/explaining and showing them my foot while saying, “Sorry – I stepped in crap and I need to get it off.”

Now, if you know anything about Islam, then you probably know the following:
1. That’s holy water and it’s used for men to clean themselves before they pray. Women don’t use it… EVER!
2. Never show a Muslim the bottom of your feet. It’s like giving them the finger.
3. Either one of these things is offensive.
4. Both of these things together can be life-threatening.

I now know that too…

That said, as I’m writing this, it dawns on me that the poop "incident" wasn't actually the worst one. The worst was definitely when I was living and working in London because of an international assignment. I tried to warn my boss this was a bad idea, but it wasn’t until I lost my knickers on High Street that he agreed.

However, before I can tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first.

You see, one morning, I’d gotten up and headed into the office to prep for a big meeting with my manager and his peers, all of whom are men. However, because God hates me, I didn't get to work early at all. In fact, I got there late because of traffic on the M25. Already tardy and frustrated, I quickly grabbed my stuff from the car and accidentally slammed the door on myself - which naturally resulted in a MASSIVE tear in my nylons. As I looked at my watch, I realized that I could pull it off (no pun intended) and literally JAUNTED (in heels) to Woolworths on High Street for a new pair.

Though I was able to successfully repress most of what happened next, I still remember running into the store, grabbing a pair of pantyhose off the rack, looking at the back of the package, and realizing that this wasn’t going to end well for me. You see, the problem with buying clothes in England is that the height and weight charts are metric.

Do you know how many stones you weigh or how many meters tall you are? OMG… ME EITHER!

But I grabbed a pair anyway and hauled back to the office where I went into the bathroom, pulled off my nylons, pitched the torn ones into the garbage, and opened the new pack. Clearly God hates me, because when I opened them, they were thigh-highs… for an Amazon. I’m five foot two, and in NO parallel universe would those have worked - even if I'd had a garter-belt, which I didn't.

So there I was, eyeballing the torn ones in the trash and running the numbers in my head, when I realized that it would require a lifetime of therapy if I went dumpster diving for my own used clothes. Instead, I tried to make my B Plan work.


After fifteen minutes of sheer hell (no pun intended), I walked over to my boss’s office, shut his door and said, “We have a problem.” It was (quite literally) five minutes before one of the biggest presentations of my life, so he was clearly upset by this declaration and asked why. That's when I stamped my right foot three times, and my thigh-high fell to the floor... engulfing my shoe. As we stood there, staring at each other, not sure what to say, the left thigh-high fell to the floor, too. And no, I hadn’t shaved. That’s when my boss said, “Take the damn things off and tell them you’re French. Let’s go.”

To think I was scared of what could happen on our last family vacation to Peru. No kidding, I was genuinely terrified that I’d hear a blow dart and wake up days later in some South American jungle hut without a kidney. Since that didn’t happen, I clearly still have amends to make before my karma can improve, so PLEASE help me out. Give to Heifer International. Or, post a comment and I will make a donation on your behalf (up to $50 total from mkromd).

Have a great holiday! Talk to you next week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Money. Money. Money. It's a Rich Man's World.

Years ago, in college, I said that I wanted to fix the world. I had no idea that meant one damn thing in my house after another. As with all requests that I put out to the universe, perhaps I should have been more specific.

You see, I live in the Mid-West, and we - like so many other parts of the world - were hit with an Arctic blizzard that dumped over a foot of snow. Now, this is fine... if you're an Eskimo. It's NOT OK if you're a single woman who owns a home but doesn't own a snow blower to go with it. And you may say it's my fault that I wasn't prepared, but I would tell you that there's only so much money in the budget, and I needed those Burberry galoshes.

At any rate, the morning after the storm, instead of blowing the snow out of my driveway, I shoveled it... fashionably.

And for ten minutes, I didn't even mind. Then my neighbor came out of his garage, started his snow blower, waved at me, finished his driveway, waved at me again, then went back into his house. I swear, if I had been a man, I'd have pulled down my snow pants and pissed the word ASSHOLE into his yard. I would have. Instead, I just threw snowballs at his house and kicked snow into his driveway.

I honestly looked like a toddler with Tourette’s syndrome having a temper tantrum.

And... because I’m shallow – I was OK with that. In fact, I was OK until my garage door froze SHUT and then it froze OPEN. Seriously, how does that even happen? Then… as I stood there, eyes freezing shut from crying, shovel in hand, cursing, I realized two things:
1. I literally come from a broken home, which made me cry harder.
2. I have NEVER seen an igloo with a door, and clearly this is why.

So I went inside and sent the following e-mail to my boss, "Hey there, I'm stuck at home. My garage door was frozen shut (?), and now it is frozen open (?). I've called Sears to come fix it. Until then, I'm working from home. Call or e-mail me if you need me. Sorry!"

But this is what I wanted to send to her, "Good morning. I'm sure you already know this, but I'm not at work yet. I'm at home… being held hostage by a garage door that hates me almost as much as I hate it. The damn thing froze shut and then... it froze open. I’m sure had I watched the Weather Channel, this event wouldn’t have shocked me as much as a person who was tazered and never saw it coming, but I didn’t. Instead, I was watching Netflix, which I am tragically addicted to. You should also know that I have PHYSICALLY moved two feet of snow, offended small children in my neighborhood, and actually threw my shovel at the snowplow because he pushed a foot of snow BACK into my driveway once I was done. I’m not proud. So, to make myself feel better, I let the puppy mush into my neighbor’s yard and pee. Don’t worry – I covered it with snow. See you tomorrow."

And I'll talk to you next week!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

These boots are made for walking...

Regardless of the fact that my sister and I are polar opposites (she’s perfect and I’m a train wreck), I love her to bits. We’re incredibly close, and the universe made no mistake by putting her first in our family’s birth order. She’s brutally honest, amazingly sweet, and is the one person who will always walk in when everyone else is walking out.

She’s also the reason I have an expensive love-affair with good footwear.

You see, when I was four, we went to see Cinderella at the theater, and when I begged to see it again and again and again – she indulged me. When I asked her if she saw it over and over because she was getting paid to babysit me or because she liked it as much as I did – she said, “Any woman who figures out that the right shoe can change your life, deserves to live happily ever after.” And that winter, she bought me my first pair of dress boots for Christmas. Please know this - I loved those boots more than a pimp loves money. I wore them all day, every day, regardless of the event or the season. I even wore them to bed. And when I finally outgrew them, I wept. I also refused to wear shoes for two days straight, until my mother said, "Clothes don't make the woman, but naked people don't get very far in life. Let's go shopping."

As fate would have it, that experience not only had a profound impact on my psyche, it prepared me for Aunt-hood… when my beautiful baby niece fell in love with the fairy wings from her Halloween costume. She wore them everywhere for everything. We all let it go, thinking she’d outgrow it, until her pre-school called and said, “It’s becoming an issue.”

That’s when we staged an intervention.

As my entire family sat around the dinner table, explaining to her why she couldn’t wear wings to school anymore, I shared that I had ‘literally’ walked a mile in similar shoes and could relate to her pediatric passion for fashion. And that’s when my adorable, waifish niece looked me dead in the eye and said, “I’ll give up the fairy wings, Auntie... but it’ll cost you.” So I picked her up, carried her to the car, buckled her into her car seat, took her to Bloomingdale's, and bought her a pair of boots.

I love my gene pool. Though it's shallow and could use some chlorine, it gives me hope for the future.

But I digress. This post isn't about my niece, it's about my sister. And years ago - when I graduated from college and needed clothes to interview in - I flew home to go shopping with her and my mother. So there we were… in Macy's… bickering over the difference between what’s fashionable and what’s trendy… when my mother handed a pink, cashmere sweater-set to me. Being the dutiful daughter that I am, I begrudgingly tried it on. When I walked out of the dressing room, my sister looked at me, then looked at our mother, then looked back at me and said, "If God doesn't destroy that outfit right now, he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. She looks like the tooth fairy on crack." And instead of defending me, my mother said, "I just thought it would look better on." … on fire, maybe.

Clearly, I'm not a sweater-set kind of girl. I'm the go-go boots kind. I guess I have been all my life. Just ask my sister. Talk to you next week.