It’s happening!

Spring is (kind of) coming! A little bit!

Honestly, it’s things like this photo that make me feel okay about living in a place where being 40 degrees in May is somehow acceptable. Okay, but not great.

Just living in a city with trees really makes a big difference in how I feel about the seasons. I really feel like I wouldn’t be as excited about the fact that spring is here if I lived in a city with no greenery. I mean, it wouldn’t even make that big of a difference, would it? Yea, it’d be warmer, but if you can’t see the trees getting greener and the flowers blooming, what else is there to get excited about? I would totally feel like there was no reason for it to ever rain (which it’s been doing constantly before this week) if I couldn’t see the difference in the greenness level of the trees. Is greenness a word? I’m making it one if it isn’t.

SIDEBAR: Speaking of making up words, we were at a BBQ last night for a friend of a friend who was visiting for England, and we were just sitting around the bonfire chatting. I truly can’t remember what the heck we were talking about, people getting hurt or something, but all of a sudden the word “mortilate” came out of Mister Man’s* mouth. Now, he has the tendency to say words wrong, like saying “uncapable” instead of “incapable”. I think it’s so endearing when he does that, because it’s just a unique part of him, and they are such little mistakes that it doesn’t affect the meaning of the word. But “mortilate” is not a word. I don’t even know what meaning he was trying to get across by saying that, but apparently he started using it in high school when he and some friends were demolishing a shed and it stuck.

If “mortilate” can be a word, so can greenness.

Today it’s warm, it’s sunny, Glee is on and I get to go to the Muddy Pig for a beer. Can it get any better? I don’t know how.

*Mister Man is what I call my boyfriend. I realize at this point that no one is reading this except me and whoever else I decide to let read it, but I figure he can keep his anonymity if I have to squawk about him. Plus, I’m really proud of that nickname.

checkout lane nightmares.

The great part about grocery shopping is that you control 99% of the experience. What you buy and how fast you buy it is totally in your control. I am not about wandering around the store, looking at all the food, and deciding which I want more, the Kashi with brown sugar, or the Kashi with brown sugar and cinnamon. I like to get in, get out, and get on with my day. Where the experience ceases to be in your control comes at the end of the trip. The worst part of the trip. The part that any sane person dreads.

Picking a checkout aisle.

You have roughly three choices for checkout lanes these days.

1) The self-checkout lane: God help you if you ring up produce in the self-checkout lane. There is a weighing system, and there are eight different types of tomatoes to choose from in the computer. You will end up calling an employee for help, which then has completely negated the point of doing the checkout yourself. If you do manage to get through the self-checkout alone, the next hurdle is getting your groceries bagged before the electronic lady starts ripping you a new one.

2) The express lane: 10 items or less. Who honestly goes to a grocery for 10 items or less? I suppose that I’ve run to Cub Foods for a pint of ice cream and nothing else after a particularly rough day. And maybe if you’re nothing like me (read: responsible), you can get by with one big monthly grocery run and smaller weekly runs for things like milk. For those of us that are incapable of that, the express lane might as well not exist.

3) The regular lane: This is the tried and true method of paying for your groceries. You unload your cart onto the conveyor belt, you let the employee swipe all your food, you pay, you pack and you leave. That sounds smooth, right? That’s because it is. The problem with the regular lane is not the process. The problem is that grocery shopper in front of you. You know the one I’m talking about. The one who looks like they have a small cart. Normal. But these shoppers in front of you are never a normal checkout. No. They have coupons (coo-pons, not cue-pons). They have questions. They forgot to get milk, so hold on a second while they run to get it. The shopper in front of you is the reason that grocery shopping takes so long and makes you avoid it like the hairdresser you hate but can’t fully get rid of.

One of my worst ever grocery shopping experiences happened on a day that I really shouldn’t have been grocery shopping considering the mental state I was in. One of my best friends had just moved away from St. Paul to Ann Arbor for six months, and my boyfriend, Mister Man, had just moved to Des Moines for an unknown amount of time. I had probably gone to the store for that pint of ice cream I mentioned before, but had decided I should get other things while I was there (see checkout lane #2). I had grabbed all of my things and had found a lane I was SURE wasn’t going to take a long time to get through. The first person in line had finished paying and had moved out of the checkout lane. The woman in front of me wasn’t moving so, very politely, because I was raised well, I said, “Excuse me, you can go through now.” She didn’t seem to hear me. Actually she seemed to purposely look away, but that was my imagination, wasn’t it? So I said it again, louder. She didn’t respond. There was enough room to move my cart around her, but when I started to make my move, she all of a sudden snapped to attention, moved her cart up to fully block the lane, and looked away from me. SHE PURPOSELY LANE-BLOCKED ME AND THEN GAVE ME THE COLD SHOULDER! At this point, I thought I might not be above hitting an old woman, so I went to a different lane.

I should have known where this was going and just left my cart and gone home, but I didn’t. Instead I stayed behind two women who were checking out two carts of groceries, one they could pay with for food stamps, and the other they paid for with cash. Which, fine, that’s a different issue, but my problem with it that day was that they forgot the pin number to their welfare cards. They called people on the phone to figure it out, they racked their brains until finally, 15 minutes later, they remembered it. Don’t ask why I was still in line. I don’t even know why.

By the time they had gotten through, I had been waiting to check out for more time than I had grocery shopped. I fought back tears of frustration as I checked out and packed my bags. I then swore that I would never wait that long in a checkout line again. I would just leave my cart, perishables and produce items and all. Putting yourself though an ordeal at the checkout line is just not worth it. If I had the money, I would get that mail order grocery service, because that is just a beautiful thing. You come home to groceries without waiting in line! Genius.

I’ve needed groceries for about two weeks now and I think I’m starting to realize where my hesitation is coming from. Maybe I’ll wait another week and just borrow some of my roommate’s milk until that’s gone too.

Just not feeling it

Are there ever days where you’re just not feeling it? “It” being anything from work to the gym to social activities to (ahem) your translation homework. I think those types of days really separate the weak from the strong, metaphorically speaking. I’m not an advocate of continuing to work for a job you hate every day, or participating in an activity just because you think you have to. Those situations aren’t “just not feeling it” days, those are cases where life changes are needed. “Just not feeling it” days are the days when you see what type of character you really have. Are you lazy? Well, then these days are just an easy excuse to continue that. Are you an extremely social person? These days will help teach you what your thresholds are.

I believe that the actions one takes when faced with a situation they would rather not be in shows what type of person they truly are. I believe that lazy people can pretend to not be lazy until faced with an easy out. I believe that social people can fool themselves into thinking they always need to be around people until they realize they may value some type of alone time. “Just not feeling it” days are good every so often, we need them so we can make mini re-evaluations of what really makes our skirts fly up in life.

This is all well and good, and I can spew this type of empowerment and self-awareness talk all day every day. That whole “walking the talk” thing is always harder than it should be though. For example, I just got home after playing a game of softball and then enjoying some beer and mini-Reubens at the local establishment. I should really be getting my bag ready to go to the gym tomorrow morning before work. But guess what? I’m just not feeling it. The questions is, will I do it anyway? What kind of a person am I who squawks about doing things even when you don’t want to so you can prove what type of person you are but then even considers skipping her early morning gym run? I DON’T KNOW EITHER!!!

So stay tuned.

But who’s right?

There is a little bit of a discrepancy when it comes to the spelling of my family name. Not how it’s spelled now of course, that would be a weird debate to have. The discrepancy is how my ancestors in Ireland spelled it. Legend has it that when the Whooley leprechauns came to America, no one could pronounce their name, which is supposed to be pronounced “Hoo-Lee” (Like the “whoo” of an owl, which is ironic, considering that’s how it was spelled. Hmm.). People kept trying to pronounce it “Woo-Lee”. Seriously folks. So, because they were an accommodating people (and, more to the point, they were sick of this crap) , they took off the W.

Which brings us to today. You’d think this would be an okay change to make. Normally you would be right. But that’s only if my friends’ parents aren’t involved. I made the simple mistake one day of telling the same story I just told here and I have yet to hear the end of it. My name has become “Whooley”, pronounced “Woo-Lee”. Whenever I visit, it’s “Whoooley” this and “Whoooley” that. I’ve tried to not answer to that name, but at some point, you have to give up and just give in to it. It’s gotten so bad that Mister Man even calls me that now when he wants to push my buttons. It’s truly become a point of contention in my friendships, especially as more and more people learn about it and the mispronunciation spreads like wildfire.

I just want to set the record straight here. My name isn’t pronounced like an owl hoot. It’s Hooley. With a W.