Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nosiness and caring are such curious bedfellows

So many friends dropped by the house tonight while we surveyed our new digs. It was funny because I peered out the window just as a couple friends were doing a very slow drive-by. I ran out of the house and begged them to come in to behold the before picture.

They were the only ones who beheld it because as soon as they left, we started peeling up the carpet. By we I mean Scott. I tried to tie up the carpet in bundles with the twine we purchased over at Highland Hardware, but apparently I'm lame because Scott got up half a room of carpet before I tied up two bundles.

Things with the floors are not quite as grim as we feared. There is a pine floor underneath layers and layers of carpet. While pine isn't ideal, it's in WAY better shape than we thought from peeling up the corners and peeking during our showings. Of course, we will still need to have them sanded and finished, but we thought we might have to install new floors right away (I can't live with carpets on account of my allergies). A finished pine floor might not last our whole lives, but it will last a few years (during which time we can save up our money for everything we think we want to do).

The real chunk of heck may be the kitchen, but Margaret and I brainstormed some ideas that might really bring that room into the glory it deserves. Getting the floor up in there, though, may be a bit of a chore. Scott pulled up the carpet, which is glued to linoleum, which is glued to some kind of papery something or other that's glued to something made of wood, though we're not sure it's the pine - indeed it may be the subfloor. It's still a mystery.

But this is good news. There's a lot of work to do, but it's the kind of work I said I could do back in the day:

I want a house where people have made stupid paint and flooring choices or have maybe put up a stupid light fixture or two. These are the kinds of things I can handle.
Remember when I said that?

Anyway, the point here is that everyone cares so much about us that they had to stop by right away, but I also think they maybe were filled to overflowing with a bit of nosiness as well, which I don't begrudge one bit. Sometimes the two go hand in hand. Also, I have a caring/nosy streak a mile wide.

If you know us in real life and you know where the house is and want to do a drive by, I will welcome your caring and nosiness. If you bring your work gloves and want to help peel up the carpet, all the better.

Oh! I almost forgot. It turns out the neighbors have four kids. One of them recognized me right in my own yard! He said, "Hey, aren't you a stand-up comic?" I said, "Aren't you too young to hear any of my jokes?" It turned out that he used to go out with one of the teenager comics that comes to my open mic. He was a little older than he seemed. The kids just keep getting younger and younger looking.

The Artist also came by and surveyed things. He brought over his rototiller so he could dig us up a garden this weekend. He also brought by the plants he picked up at the farmer's market. While Dad builds us a garden on Saturday, I will be peeling up the carpet and the plastic-y crap off the walls in the bathroom. Yes, there is carpet in the bathroom. As far as the plastic-y crap goes, I don't know what they were thinking: Margaret lifted a spot and found beadboard underneath! I'm sure it will need attention, but still!

Anyway, the end. More on all this later.

Labels: , ,

Jennifer Myszkowski, home owner

Everyone told me there would be a bunch of signing, that my hand was going to hurt, that it was going to go on and on. Turns out it wasn't so bad. Maybe it's because everyone prepared me so well that it was like a breeze.

Now the real work begins.

You may be interested to know that I didn't cry at all at the closing. I did cry a little bit at the walk-through, but that's because I'm a human. On our way to the walk-through, I had to rush to a nearby Dunkin Donuts to avoid soiling myself from the nerves.

All in all, though, we made it through with flying colors over here. Now we just have to wait for the deed to be filed this afternoon, then we can go pick up our keys (the seller's lawyer is crazy old-school and wouldn't let us have the keys until the filing).

If anyone wants any recommendations for such things as mortgage broker or real estate lawyer, please e-mail me. I'll be glad to pass some names on to you.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thinking only happy thoughts

Thursday morning at 9 a.m. we are going to our new house to have a walk through. At 10 a.m., we are proceding to the lawyer's office to sign papers and hopefully not have a nervous breakdown. Directly following, we're going to the ReStore to see if we can find things we need for low-low discount prices. Then we're going to get an oil change for the car (we haven't been able to fit that in with all the hubbub), then we're going to go to our new house and start working.

Holy hell.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Taking time in the outdoors

Both yesterday and today, Scott and I went down to the dinosaur tracks off of route 5 in Holyoke. Previous to these two forays, I only tried to go once some four or so years ago and, finding the tracks covered in snow, turned back and didn't return until yesterday.

They're pretty prounouced, the Anchisaurus prints. These Anchisauruses were totally hanging around the Connecticut River, all casual-like, millions and millions of years ago.

Yesterday, we walked down the embankment towards all the fossils and we found an area where the younger Anchisauruses must have been hanging out, since their feet weren't that-that much longer than mine, despite my man-sized feet (though they are significantly wider and also there are other prints that are much bigger than my feet). I stood in their footprints and shouted, "Argh!" and then pretended to smoke cigarettes like a teenager.

The reason we went back again today is that if you walk down the little path and cross the train tracks (which is illegal), you can sit on the shaley banks of the Connecticut and just watch the river run by. It was so nice, the sitting and watching the water. It was so nice that we had to go back again.

We started packing and breaking things down in earnest in the apartment today. Our closing is on Thursday and we're going to move over the course of June (while trying to also do a few home improvements). After all the packing, a sit down on the shaley banks of the Connecticut was just the thing to help us transition from packing machines back into our normal selves.

Today when we were walking back up towards the car, Scott said, "Don't you want to stand in the dinosaur tracks and shout again?" Of course I wanted to. So I did.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Afirmación, por favor

The thing about that article I linked to the other day is that I totally can relate to wanting the world to give a shit about me. I want attention and affirmation so badly that I do such things as talk frankly about my own asshole on public stages and with a microphone. It's a sickness.

And it's dangerous. Imagine if I didn't have such quality outlets as comedy and the radio and the careful blogging to get my need for affirmation filled. It scares me to think of what I could be doing instead.

Also, I think I used to feel like if I said something out loud and in public that it couldn't hurt me, that I was invincible to the pain associated with whatever I was saying. This, of course, is bunk.

(Aside: If you work in Corporate America and you want to say something is bullshit, you should say it's bunk instead. That's what I do and it has been working like a charm.)

One thing that scares me is that a young friend of mine needs constant affirmation like I do, but about 6.02 x 1023 times worse. She doesn't get the attention she needs (no single human has that much time), so she manufactures attention by any means necessary (shouting, crying, acting a fool), which annoys the people around her to no end (young and old alike), which perpetuates the cycle of people not paying enough attention to her.

I admit that I don't pay quite enough attention, mostly due to sheer annoyance. It is so hard to do right by young people, even when you're trying!

It's so hard to be a human.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Here's an interesting article from the NYTimes Magazine about a lady who over-shared on the Internet. It's fairly long, but worth the read. The end of the story is a little anti-climactic, but I think it only seems that way because the rest of the story is so...oh, I don't know. Something.

I used to do a lot of over-sharing on the Internet. Now I just share, I think. I try to keep what I say to my own business and I try not to include anything that is other people's businesses. Of course, it's hard to tell a compelling story without mentioning other people. But you know.

I did some serious over-sharing on a stage last weekend wherein I discussed my asshole, Scott's asshole and the economy, and, well, it was really quite something. I've got a lot of great new material that I think you're sure to love. That is, if you love my asshole.

Actually, people gasped in horror and stifled laughter, perhaps to avoid looking like they were laughing at my asshole. Of course, from my vantage point on the stage, it just seemed like stunned silence. In fact, if people didn't come up to me later and tell me how much they enjoyed the show and how funny they thought I was, I wouldn't even know.

Of course, I got plenty of out-loud laughter for things that weren't quite so controversial. Like the economy. I have to say, this economy joke, which I will not tell you here, is about the best joke I've written (with Scott's help) in some time. It kills me that I will only be able to use it for a little while.

Oh, the humanity!

Anyway, I'm opening for the Gay Men's Chorus on June 7 at PACE, though I think I'll keep the subject matter a little tamer for that crowd. Also, I'll update my shows list so you can actually come to one, maybe.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's time for everyone's favorite show!

Girls! Girls! Girls! is Saturday night and you're invited!

You know who else is invited? The ladies who are performing: Ann and me, Andrea Henry, Ellen Moschetto and Maria Ciampa. How about that?

The show is at 8 p.m. at PACE.

If you've seen me perform comedy before, I've got lots of new material, including a bit about my asshole, so maybe it's time to see me again for the first time.

Ellen and Maria are first-time Girls! Girls! Girls! performers. Andrea, who has been featured on actual and factual television, hasn't been on the Girls! Girls! Girls! stage in more than a year.

Fresh, steaming-hot comedy is yours for the taking Saturday night.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The latest

Well, we had our house inspection on Friday, and it all went off without a hitch. There are a few plugs with reverse polarity and a couple other small issues that we'll deal with after we close. It's happening in earnest.

I had a total meltdown - like total - on Wednesday night. Instead of celebrating our love, I spent the night crying out loud. The stress of the house buying just blew up over a very stupid request from the bank granting our mortgage. I got a raise on April 1 and they wanted me to submit a written statement explaining why it happened gradually over two paychecks. It happened gradually because it was effective on April 1, but April 1 was in the middle of a pay period, so one paycheck was partially my old rate and partially my new rate. My telling them this was not enough. I had to write a statement about it.

I don't know why this made me insane, but it totally did. I was actually howling from it.

It was, I guess, the last straw. I have given those people just about everything they could possibly want from me short of a blood sample. They took copies of my tax returns, pay stubs, then even more pay stubs. I signed forms, then more forms, then even more forms. I wanted to shout at them, "This raise means I will have more money to pay you back. What's wrong with you people?" Instead, I shouted and cried out loud. Scott lost patience with me for a little while, which scared me because he generally has an unending well of patience, but in retrospect, I can see why. I was completely out of my goddamned mind.

The good news is that I'm back in my mind. The other good news is that I ran into an acquaintance who recently went through a very similar situation and told me that she lost her mind for a while too. This gave me great comfort.

Scott and I both took the whole day off on Friday for the inspection and I'm glad we did. We were both so exhausted from all the recent madness that we came home after the inspection and slept all afternoon.

I've also gotten a lot of bad news lately. It seems like people are dropping like flies. Generally speaking, I'm not surrounded by death or disease, but lately people are falling ill or dropping dead. It's been taking a toll on my outlook.

I don't know if I mentioned that the bastard plantar fasciitis is back, but it is. I stopped having pain of any kind, became too excited about it, went for a regular walk and was fine, and then went for a too-vigorous walk and was decidedly not fine. I saw the podiatrist and I'm sort of starting over, which is disheartening, but okay, I guess. This time I at least know what works and what doesn't. I should get over it much more quickly - and when I do, I'll be sure not to go for any vigorous walks and will opt instead for bike rides.

My massage therapist who I see for painful massages about the feet suggested that I consider having a regular full-body massage to help me cope with all the stress I'm under. At first I was kind of thinking that she was too smooth an operator and she was trying to capitalize on my stress (she is an extremely smooth operator), but then I realized it was a good idea. I called her today and she had an opening and now I'm a little bit slimy, but I feel much better.

I'm off to pick up a Mother's Day present for a lady who deserves more presents than I can give her. My mother has been dealing with about a thousand more stressful things that I have PLUS she's been hauling around No-legs, who, incidentally, is a bigger asshole than he's ever been. I wish there was some kind of putting-up-with-more-bullshit-than-anyone-else award because that lady would win it in spades. That he's still alive defies modern science; that my mother puts up with his bullshit proves she's got more compassion than just about anyone alive. She'd give the Dalai Llama a run for his money.

Anyway, that's about as meandering as an update could be. We've covered a number of topics and I think we're done.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Look what craigslist did

On this day in 2006 at 1:30 p.m., I had a blind date with a fellow at Haymarket. He didn't show up until 1:40, seemed scattered, had paint on his ear, wore boots with shorts and, frankly, didn't ring my bell. I looked into his eyes and thought, "Here's a guy I will never see again."

A few hours after our date, I did see him again at the intersection of Main and King. He was by Silverscape and I was by the courthouse. I crossed to the Sweeties side of the street and kept my head turned so that he wouldn't notice me. I didn't want to complicate things by talking to him again.

I bumped into JBo at the Stop & Shop and told her about the date. We assigned him a name and decided that I should probably send him my non-rejection rejection e-mail -- "It was nice meeting you; good luck in the future" -- or not e-mail him at all.

But then, later that same day, I got an e-mail from him that was the sweetest e-mail I ever got in my life. Also the scariest, because this guy figured out in about 90 minutes what it took me five years of quality therapy to figure out about myself. It certainly gave me pause. "Maybe I ought to give this guy another chance," I thought.

And, well, I'm glad I did.

He is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to have him. I can't imagine my life without him in it. I almost didn't have that initial date. I almost dismissed him out of hand. If he hadn't written me that e-mail, I might not have written him. It gives me a pain about the heart to think of all this beauty I could have missed.

Scott Welsch, you make me the happiest I've ever been. Happy second first-date-iversary, darling.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Compassion where I least expected it

Scott and I watched American Experience: George H.W. Bush last night and tonight.

To be more precise, Scott watched last night's program while I slept through about ¾ of it. We watched the second and final episode tonight.

I always welcome an opportunity to develop compassion for someone, particularly when it's a person I don't like. I don't often turn up liking them, but I enjoy understanding their point of view a little better.

This program was so well done that I wrote an e-mail to the producers telling them so the moment it was over (about 10 minutes ago) and I'd like to encourage you to see it if you haven't already. Check your local PBS listing for a rebroadcast date.

Of course they glossed over some serious problems with the Bush 41 presidency, and that's to be expected in a piece like this, but they showed him in a very human light -- a light I don't think he ever showed himself in. It was a refreshing change of scenery.

Also, in my head, I've lumped the George Bushes together, but George H.W. was no moron. I have a decidedly different world view, by and large, from him, but he made every move with deep thought and he acted with the courage of his convictions.

Old Dubya acts with the courage of his convictions too, but I don't think he's had a deep thought in his life. They actually showed a photo of Dubya and H.W. together in the oval office and Dubya was smirking and acting a fool and H.W. was super classy.

I suppose this will be no surprise to you, but I was weeping openly at the end of this program, so much so that the Count had to do a little mocking. I can't say I blame him.

Anyway, I recommend you watch this program if you can catch it.

Thank you and good night.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 5, 2008

Lard-asses Anonymous

Remember a couple years ago I invented Lard-asses Anonymous, the support group for lard asses who are trying to get in shape? Remember, we were supposed to meet once a week and talk about everything that was troubling us about being and trying not to be a lard ass, and then we were going to take a group walk?

I never really got it off the ground, I'm sorry to say. I contacted some of my lard-ass friends and everyone seemed into it, but then I was confounded by the bastard plantar fasciitis and couldn't go for walks and it seemed like it wouldn't work out.

I'm wondering if any lard asses out there might like to give it another whirl with me. I can't walk yet (I tried and hurt myself bad), but I can ride my bike. Maybe group bike rides?

I think making bike rides a social occasion could be just the ticket. Maybe?

If you're in, e-mail me. I've been frequenting the Manhan rail trail, but will go nearly anywhere so long as it isn't too hilly.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More about advice

Remember a couple days ago I was talking about people giving me advice like I was a moron?

I would like to make clear that I'm not anti-advice. I'm just anti- people talking to me like I'm a moron. I think JBo's comment on that post are exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. "Make sure you know the address." Indeed!

There's been a new bit of business which is people looking at me like I'm a moron for using a realtor. It's a waste of money, they say. What the fuck?

Seriously, this is the first time (and maybe even the only time if we're lucky) I'm buying a house. I took a class, sure, but other than that series of checklists and sample contracts, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm glad there's a nice lady who gets paid to tell me what I'm supposed to be doing and when.

"Without realtors, you can negotiate a lower purchase price because the seller won't have to pay them."

Okay, except that without my realtor, I'd be floundering in the dark over here. I can't believe anyone would suggest that a first-time home buyer should not engage the services of a qualified and licensed realtor. Seriously? I mean, come on!

Thank you. That is all.

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I have to develop a callous (first I have to grow some skin!)

I went to my bank this afternoon to have money taken from my savings account and turned into a bank check in the amount of my down payment.

I was at the radio station this morning getting ready to leave and do that very thing and I started feeling shaky just thinking about it. I was having a bit of anxiety and ended up talking about it with my buddy Jeff. We talk every Saturday after my radio show for a little bit. He's on the air right after me at our sister station. It's funny how we've made friends just from talking casually for about 10 minutes every Saturday.

Anyway, I was saying to Jeff that I knew I'd be a little anxious about all the house-buying bullshit because I'm an anxious person in general, but I was surprised to be freaking out just giving a person a check. It's just that it's so much money. And it's not that much money in the grand scheme of things. But it took me SO LONG to save - I've been saving for damned near forever - and even though I have been saving for this very purpose, handing a sizable check to someone is a big deal.

He totally agreed with me, which was helpful.

I went to the bank and asked for a bank check. I told the teller that I was buying my first house and I was freaking out a little. Turns out she's buying her first house too, so she had the empathy. I had to fill out a form with all the information about the bank check, and as I was signing the paper, I thought, "Jesus Christ, I'm going to start crying."

She started entering everything in to the computer to get the check going. She double-checked spelling and made sure everything was right. The longer I stood there, the more my eyes filled up. I was in a total state of panic.

I was thinking about thousands of things about the house, but mostly I was thinking about how much money it is.

Of all the things I worry about, money is probably number one. I'm wired to worry about money. I cannot escape worrying about money to matter how hard I try - even when I have plenty of money. You can imagine my state of mind getting this check cut.

Up until this point, I kept my tears in my eyes, but when the teller walked over to get the check off the printer, it was basically over. I was crying; tears flowed in earnest.

She put the check in an envelope and handed it to me and I could hardly thank her for the tears. She smiled at me and said, "Good luck, Jen."

(Aside: I go to one of those banks that insists on calling you by name, but they want it to seem familiar and friendly, so they shorten your name into a nickname no one calls you.)

I gurgled something back to her and ran out to the car and cried out loud for a few minutes. Then I drove over to Margaret and Jeremy's and cried at their kitchen table.

Margaret said that from now on everything is going to cost a thousand dollars or some multiple of a thousand dollars and I'll need to develop a callous to it or I'm going to lose my mind. I know she's right. I just don't know how I'll afford anything ever again.

How am I going to make it through the closing without panicking and crying out loud?

I'm just not going to. I've met myself a few times and I know myself well enough to know that I'm going to panic and weep through every part of this process.

Here's the balm for my weary soul: I'm not just spending this down payment money. It's an investment. This house is a great bargain. I'm in an excellent position. I'm doing the right thing.

As Jeff said to me while I was coming undone at the station, "Deep cleansing breaths, Jennifer. Deep cleansing breaths."

Labels: , ,

Welcome, other Jennifer Myszkowskis!

Today, for the first time ever, one of the other Jennifer Myszkowskis contacted me. She used my lousy myspace page to do it. I don't care how she found me, I'm just glad she did. She's from Pennsylvania. I'm not sure that she's on my list of Jennifer Myszkowskis I found on the Internet by way of Google, but she's on my list now!

Soon, my not-so-secret Jennifer Myszkowski Reunion* fantasy will come to pass. Soon, a room full of ladies named Jennifer Myszkowski will mix and mingle in a casual and friendly way. Each will wear a nametag that says, "Jennifer Myszkowski", just so that the rest of us will know who she is.

Who's next? I've really got my eye on Dr. Jenny the pediatrician from Michigan.

If your name is Jennifer Myszkowski, consider e-mailing me: jennifer at jennifer myszkowski dot com. Let's make the Jennifer Myszkowski Reunion* a reality!

*Yes, I know it's not a reunion since none of us have met yet. Who cares! It's a funny name for a party.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not cigarette-y enough

Just now we were driving home from comedy down Dwight Street. We were stopped at the light at 7eleven when I peered over to the car next to me all casual-like.

There was a guy alone in a car and he was smoking. He was smoking one of those cigarettes that looks like a cigar, but is way too skinny to be a cigar, but is too big to be a cigarette. You know, the kind that old men smoke. It was the kind my cousins' other grandpa (not No-legs) smoked.

The thing is, this guy was maybe 21. And he wasn't smoking it like a person who smokes cigarettes generally does. It was just hanging out of his mouth all James Dean like, except it was too long and too not cigarette-y to be anything like James Dean.

Also, he was driving some kind of crappy car James Dean wouldn't be caught dead in.

I couldn't take the incongruity. I started laughing so hard that I cried at the wheel. I don't think he knew I was laughing at him, but Scott suspects he knew because he took off like a bat out of hell as soon as the light turned green.

Even after we parked the car and came in the house I was laughing. In fact, I'm still laughing now.

Labels: , , ,