I walked into Bree’s house the other day and laid my coat across the bench next to the door–out of reach of her new puppy Scrappy that loves to eat in no particular order hats, mittens, boots, hems, anything hanging off your person, etc.  As I put my wool coat down, the zipper magically connected with a plug that was slightly pulled from the wall and shorted the entire house– literally– and burned two perfect tong marks into my circular zipper pull.

After Bree and I spent many many minutes with the fuse box, including one terrifying moment when the smoke detectors started beeping and I was convinced the house was going to blow, we managed to get the lights back on.  The only additional casualties was a small burn mark on the inside of my coat, our blood pressure and a now-black outlet cover.

“Damn,” Bree said, “I wonder if there is something wrong with my electrical circuit?” (I should be clear here– we had no idea what we were talking about.)

“Or Rachel finally got her super powers,” her sister said.

I’m thinking definitely the latter.

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February 19, 2014 · 4:15 pm


An official roundup of OKC messages from people I never ever would go on a date with–

Do you want to chat?
Your profile really interested me.  If you feel the same then we can talk further and see how it goes?
No way a woman as beautiful as you should be on okcupid this close to valentines day!!! 
Gee, thanks! 
I like your charming smile , you are so pretty 
Thank you.
What’s a pretty girl like yourself doing on this site 
Care to talk a bit?
Hey! Saw your profile and thought I’d say hi.  However, I just wanted to point out I’m married up front and understand if that’s an issue.  Otherwise, happy to chat!
Fuck no. 
And a link to a youtube video that I 100 perfect did not open.

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Small Town

I did some light google stalking before an OKC date last week and discovered that the gentleman in question worked for a company that I interviewed with during the Great Job Hunt Weight Gain of 2012.  He clearly presented as a good ol’ fashion D.C. do-gooder, previously working to  “eradicate child labor in the Uzbekistan cotton sector.”  I have never thought of Uzbekistan cotton sector.  Not once.

He was delighted to learn of our holy-mother-this-town-is-small connection, telling me the person they did hire for the job I’d interviewed for sat next to him.  And the woman that sent the “thanks, but no thanks” email was his ex-girlfriend.  In D.C., the seven degrees rule of separation is more like two degrees and one of those degrees is real fucking awkward.  It’s a fact.

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Conversations with strangers

While waiting for a stop in play to go back to our seats at the Caps game last night–

Strange Girl #1 to me: You look like that actress.
Me: The one from “Orange is the New Black?”  I know.
Strange Girl #1: The one from “American Pie.”
Me: Yeah, Natasha something-or-other.  She always plays slutty girls.
Strange Girl #2: Well, you don’t look like a slut.  
Strange Girl #1: Yeah, no slut vibe.  I mean, unless you wanted to give off a slut vibe.  I bet you could.
Me: Thanks.

While walking past a whole lot of high schoolers last night–

Me: Excuse me.
High School Student #1: Let this cracker get by!
Me: Did you really just call me a cracker?
High School Student #2 to #1: That was rude!  How would you feel if she called you a [insert incredibly racist word here]? 
High School Student #3: I’m sorry, he’s drunk.
Me: Carry on.  

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February 7, 2014 · 9:13 am


I walked by J’s house Tuesday night and there was a cat in the window.  I stood on my tip-toes to peer in and saw a lamp in the hallway, a clock on the mantel—all things that weren’t there before—and then there was the cat.  He’s allergic to cats.

Whoever is living with him in his home, whether it is a new girlfriend or friend or stranger.  And whether the motives financial or a favor or love—whatever may be reason, the cat in the window was the final betrayal.  For he is living with an animal that he’s allergic to for the benefit of someone.  An out-of-your-way kindness.  And a blurring of his strict boundaries that he rarely extended to me.  It was the final nail in the coffin that spurred me quickly and finally from anger to depression to acceptance.  Because fuck him.  Seriously, guys, breaking up is hard to do.


I wrapped a giant marketing project this week at work—and as I signed off on the final draft, felt a mix of overwhelming fear that I did something terribly wrong and huge sense of relief.

So I went out last night with the frat boys and an old friend from Chicago to congratulate myself on a job well done.  I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and chicken wings and french fries.  And a celebratory shot of fireball (or two).  And I stayed out past midnight on a school night.

I don’t see the frat boys often these days, but the shorthand is still there.  We still eat off each other’s plates and laugh at each other’s jokes and mock each other relentlessly.  I’m lucky in that way.   Lucky in many ways, in fact.  For I have better friends than any girl has right to—friends that show up on my front porch on a Tuesday night with a bottle of wine without me having to ask, and read and respond to long emails about cats on a Wednesday morning, and buy the first round of shots on a Thursday.  They’re good like that.

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I had an OKC date Saturday afternoon with a gentleman I was 100% not interested in.  And not only because he spent 10 minutes running me through the four “comforting” plot stages of heist movies.  

As we were nearing the end of the required hour of together time, I requested he make sure my purse didn’t get stolen while I went to the bathroom, realizing after I left the table that I just left all my possessions with a stranger.  

“That was a risky move,” I said when I returned.  “You could have robbed me.”

“Well,” he said, “you know what they say about theft– it usually is by someone you know.”

“Actually, that’s what they say about rape,” I responded.

And that’s when our date came to a natural conclusion.  

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My brothers came, they ate, they drank all the good beer, they left.  Truly, we had such a lovely weekend together.  Wednesday was my grandmother’s birthday, as well as the first night of Hanukkah, so I had my dad, his girlfriend and brothers over for dinner–meatloaf, caesar salad and baked potatoes.  Not a particularly traditional meal, but I had my stomach set on meatloaf before I remembered the Jewish holiday.  My grandma often used to say that one day she was going to walk into a restaurant and order dessert first– so we had ice cream and her favorite cookies, mallomars, as an appetizer.


No one can make me cry quicker than my younger brother Timmy.  Like 30 seconds flat.  We rounded out Thanksgiving last year with a whisper screaming match in my living room with Roommate B sleeping in the next room hopped up on painkillers after getting tonsils out a couple days before.  We both got angry, I cried and then stomped to our respective corners to cool off.

After we did the standard “you’re dead to me” text messages from different rooms of the house, I relented, demanded he put his coat on and yanked him out the front door.  We walked to the corner store for a 6-pack.  We make up in 30 seconds too.  That’s how things are between us.

As we walked through Eastern Market Sunday afternoon, my father remarked about what a wonderful weekend it had been.  “And Tim didn’t even make me cry!” I said, triumphantly.

“There’s still time,” he said, smiling and putting his arm around me.


I met someone from OCK for drinks right before Thanksgiving– nicknamed GTR/HON for reasons I can’t fully explain.  We discovered over High Lifes that we actually had a friend in common, which always reduces the stranger danger-ness of online dates.  I told him I’d be checking in with mutual friend F to make sure he was an upstanding member of society.

Me:  Good news, F says you’re not a serial killer.
GTR/HON: Thank god, I was sweating bullets.
Me: That sounds like something a serial killer would say.
GTR/HON: No double jeopardy.  I’ve already been vouched for.
We’re meeting again tonight.  Lets hope F is a good judge of character.
Me to boss, re: performance reviews: Maybe you should have a couple glasses of prosecco before we do my review.
Boss: Please, you know you have nothing to worry about.
Did you know you’re supposed to buy gifts for other people at Christmas?  Not just yourself?  Weird, huh.  Also, I keep biking to work with hard boiled eggs in my pocket.  They seem less likely to get crushed that way.  That is all.

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I found out my grandmother died Friday evening—my father called from work to tell me, after receiving a call from my cousin Eric, and after calling my brother Tim who would tell my brother Jack.


My friend stopped by to give me a hug, drop off a pack of cigarettes (because it’s been a fall, guys) and a small bottle of scotch for my father, who was on his way over so we could be together.  I had already cracked open a bottle of red wine.  “Tell me your favorite story about your grandma,” my friend said.

“Well,” I said smiling, “she told me once I needed to lose weight in front of 50 people.  She cooked me a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch last time I saw her and forgot to take the paper off the cheese.  She always said she wasn’t going to be alive long enough to see me get married and have babies.  And I guess she was right,” my voice breaking from laughter to a heaving sob.


Gram was a piece of work.  She nagged me for not having a husband.  She hated our tattoos.  She asked me if I paid for the holes in my jeans.  No dog was ever well behaved.  But she loved us with her whole heart.  And delighted in nothing more than the successes and triumphs of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


A year or two ago a handful of us gathered at my cousin’s house in Frederick.  Gram was trying to watch her shoes, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, respectfully, as she did every afternoon and couldn’t hear over the raucous.  She moved closer and closer to the television, until she was standing directly in front of the screen, holding the remote in her hand and punching the volume louder and louder, before telling all of us to hush up to she could hear, clearly agitated.

“Hey, listen!”  I said, gesturing to the group in the living room—one of her daughters, five of her grandchildren, three of her great-grandchildren, a handful of dogs—“we’re all your fault, so I’m going to need you to calm down.”  She laughed and put her arm around me.


My dad and I drove up to Frederick Saturday afternoon to spend some time with my cousin, his wife and their two young children— to be around family and for the healing powers of snuggling their new baby boy.   As we walked from the car to a restaurant for lunch, I asked my 4 year old cousin if she wanted to hold my hand and she said, “no, Uncle Bobby’s,” walking up to my father.

As they walked in front of me, hand-in-hand, it was a sweet glimpse of the continuing generations—of my grandmother’s great-granddaughter holding the hand of her son.  And my of father’s future as a grandparent himself.  With grandkids who have holes in their jeans and tattoos—or whatever the style of the time that he doesn’t understand—that will talk too loud during his afternoon programs.


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I went on a date this weekend—our third in fact—with a lovely, delightfully tall, gentlemen with a nice smile and good sense of humor.  We drank beers out of mason jars and ate pork nachos on our first date, nachos and BLT sandwiches on our second, chips and salsa on our third (we also sensed the theme).  He was charming.  And I was mostly smitten, swayed by the tweed jacket and our shared love of Kurt Vonnegut.

But as we wandered through Adams Morgan late Saturday afternoon he said—I’m sorry, I really like you, I’m not ready to hop into another relationship—and I understood.  For I’d sat across or walked next to lovely men with nice smiles before, also too emotionally close to my last relationship, and knew like he did that I couldn’t engage at that time.  I’ve twisted myself into the same pretzel, I told him.  Take some time to untangle yourself.  And then we got ice cream cones and walked up to the zoo to look at the otters.

I am still untangling myself as well, to be fair.  But with every twist and turn there is release, as twisting yourself up into the tiny space another person makes available for you is a cramped, dark place.  And therefore, the untangling a relief.

And besides, other people’s baggage—such a bitch.  It really is about timing, huh?

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New house, some problems

After 3 ½ years, I officially moved out of the frat house last month—which I’m sure I haven’t mentioned.  It was something I’d been considering for a while and finally committed, sadly confessing my betrayal to the boys the day before I signed my new lease, swayed by promise of my own bathroom and a dishwasher.  The boys kept saying things my last night in the house like “you’ll be just down the street” and “we’ll still see you all the time” instead of throwing themselves on the ground sobbing, wrapping their arms around my ankles and begging me to stay.  It was weird.

But anyways, I really am just up the block in a small row house with two rooms on the second floor and a finished basement, which is where I reside.  With my own bathroom, guys, my own bathroom (and as such, with the absence of a shower schedule and knowing I had exactly 18 minutes before Roommate B would be banging on the door because it was his turn to shower, I have been late almost every morning)!

I live with girls now as well, which really isn’t so bad—there are more than four plates in the cupboard, we have things like a turkey baster, and a pizza stone and decorative plates on the wall.  There is not a sports poster in sight.  There are two cats—Gracie and Sam.  Sam has yet to come downstairs because Gracie is a bully.  Like a serious bully.  She held me hostage in my room for a whole half hour the day I moved in, swatting and hissing and blocking the my path upstairs until I established my dominance with the help of a broom.  She also likes to stand on the shelf near the front door and sneak attack me when I come home.  There is also a little dog named Lily that hops more than walks and is a touch on the dumb side.

Other marked differences—when I ask my roommates “how was your day?” I get more of a response than “fine” or “terrible” or “good.”  It’s more of a high and low of the day situation with girls.  There is more than just beer in the fridge, which I have mixed feelings about, and no designated mini fridge in the living room solely for more beer.  Sports have not been on the TV once.  And there is only one TV in the living room.  And now I actually have to do stuff.

When I moved into the frat house Roommate A told me—no female in his household would be mowing the lawn, which was just fine with me. I hate mowing lawns.  So I happily obliged, and didn’t even once consider mowing the lawn for the 3 ½ years I lived there.  When something broke, they fixed it.  When I couldn’t reach something on the top shelf, they retrieved it.  When I set the toaster oven on fire, I walked into the living room and said “Roommate B, I set the toaster oven on fire.”  That’s not to say that I’m not completely capable of these things of course—I was raised in a “don’t be a helpless girl” household, and would’ve put the fire out if I was home alone, obviously, but they always said they’d just take care of it.  And then they did.

So Monday—I had plans to make quiche and relax like a mother fucker and enjoy a quiet evening at home.  I put the quiche in the oven and was all ready to start watching Sons of Anarchy with ALL the lights on when I realized the 10 small ends off the asparagus and a couple egg shells I tossed in the sink had clogged the disposal.  And then I realized I had to fix it.  I tried baking soda and vinegar, a plunger, the power of positive thinking and a whole bottle of Draino before quitting for the night.  Google told me that the Draino may take 24 hours, so I crossed my fingers and went to sleep.

The next night I came home and we were in the same situation.  I’d had a couple cocktails.  I was in a great mood. I was looking forward to crawling into bed at 9pm with my book and going to sleep early.  But no. I had to shove my hand down a drain full of Draino and fish for hunks of food.  I had to attempt to snake the drain.  I had to put a bucket under the sink and take apart pipes.

I tried.  My roommate tried.  We texted her boyfriend.  We sent pictures.  I googled things.  I splashed gross water on my business dress, because a true lady snakes her drain wearing a business dress and pearls.  And nothing.  I could taste the Draino in my mouth.  I can still take the Draino in my mouth.  We finally caved after an hour and emailed the landlord, asking them to send over their plumber.  And while the dishwasher and my own bathroom and the decorative plates on the wall are great, I missed the days where I could really be a helpless girl at my leisure.  And the frat boys too, of course.

By the way—anyone know how to get the smell of Draino off your person?  Anyone?

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