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Don’t sell to smd619 in San Diego, CA

November 26, 2014

Growing up we never celebrated Halloween as children. It was the Devil’s holiday – only ghouls and demons came out to enjoy such a dark, evil day in October. But for as evil and menacing as it may have been, somehow all the other kids in the neighborhood came back with pillow cases stuffed with candy, not some American Horror Story demonic possession. So when I finally got to celebrate Halloween for the first time, I was 21 years old. I think UMBC saw about four costumes that first year from me in 2005, two new costumes and a couple of re-creations the next year, I handed out candy to small kids in another outfit the next year at my nana’s house, then moved to Boston and bought another costume, got a sweet job at Del Frisco’s and bought another two costumes before finally purchasing my very last costume: Bridget’s Peachick Halloween Costume.

Absolutely stunning!

Absolutely stunning!

Yea, pretty flipping’ amazing. I wore the costume out to a holiday bash in Boston in 2012. No one, I mean NO ONE had the same costume as me! Everyone was still doing the Black Swan thing. But as luck would have it, I’m not in college anymore and I’m not running around flashing these types of legs much any more either. So, I decided to sell my Peachick outfit on eBay. I had sold several costume on eBay a couple of years ago – a cop outfit and a little Bo Peep costume too. I’d never had an issue. So I put little Miss Bridgette Peachick up on ebay around the first of October to see how I would fair. It’s always so much fun seeing how many people are viewing or watching your item! I had paid $179 for this costume in 2012 and it was still in pristine condition. You wear it once a year, what could go wrong? I had supplied the ad with this photo as well as my own personal photos which showed the illustrious tale, the lovely blue corset, and the glimmering skirt. Everything was in fantastic condition so I asked for $139.99 for the Peachick. I figured this was a fair price and would hopefully notate to potential buyers that I had every intention of finding my beloved costume a suitable home. I wrapped everything very carefully in plastic-wrap to ensure the peacock feathers on the skirt didn’t bend, folded up the corset, and placed everything on top of the tail inside the original packaging. She was ready for a new home!

Then the big day came! Someone in San Diego, CA had purchased my costume! The purchase came after the peachick had been online maybe five days or so. I felt like I should have asked for more money… I mailed the item out Priority Mail 2-Day delivery, complete with tracking number and an ETA of Oct 16th. I always include an invoice with my sales and I emailed the buyer, a girl named Sarah D, to let her know the package was on its way!

Tracking number, date of shipment, address, oh look I even bought stamps...

Tracking number, date of shipment, address, oh look I even bought stamps…

The funds Sarah sent me were set to release on Oct 20th, if I remember correctly, so when I didn’t hear from her or see the funds in my PayPal account, I emailed her to double-check she received my package. Didn’t hear anything back, but she did release the funds. Yippee! I had $139.99 plus shipping in my PayPal account. I was sad to see my lovely costume go, but someone ought to wear it!

Then a funny thing happened. I was getting ready to go out to dinner with Jason on Oct 31th instead of romping around at a Halloween party when I received a message from smd619 via eBay. I opened the email to find this: Sarah was trying to return my costume after receiving it on the 18th, claiming the corset was ripped at the seams when she received the garment!!?? The email from eBay stated I would have until Nov 4th to respond to her claim. This meant she would have five additional days to wear and return the costume OR and more likely, I suspect Sarah wore my costume, ruined it because she didn’t fit the corset/had a wild night at a Halloween party and was trying to return the costume as though I had sent her a faulty product!

Such a beautiful tail!

Such a beautiful tail!

Ladies, what happens when you buy a costume? Do you wait FIFTEEN DAYS before trying it on? No. You rush home and immediately upon on your costume and dance around your room. I was dumbfounded. She knew I did not accept returns as it clearly stated in my seller’s agreement but she was trying to put off that I shipped her damaged merchandise. I didn’t know what to do! I was literally terrified this issue would put me into bad standing with eBay and PayPal. I’ve been selling with eBay off and on since 2009 and I’d never had a problem. In my panic, I pushed “accept return” and immediately Sarah was refunded the money from my PayPal account. But not before I sent back a response to this cheap skate:

What the shit? On Halloween Eve no less...

What the shit? On Halloween Eve no less…

The damage was done however, I couldn’t think of anything else that evening. This bitch had purchased my costume with the intention of never keeping it. What’s the one rule about purchasing a costume from a Halloween store? There are no returns. Ever. It doesn’t matter how much you belly ache. You ain’t gettin’ a return. I couldn’t believe my misfortune. I was hesitant to even sell my beautiful Peachick costume in the first place, now I have homegirl trying to return the costume AFTER Halloween. She thoughtfully crafted this email response back to me moments later:

Very witty.

Very witty.

Since the mature part of the evening was over, I decided to call eBay the very next morning to see what could be done. I mean the MOMENT that I woke up on Nov 1st, I was on the phone with these people. Clearly this wouldn’t stand, right? After being on hold for only 7 minutes, I spoke with a woman at length about this matter. She said there were MANY cases like this happening over the last couple of days and that I needed to wait until Nov 4th to escalate the case. Apparently since Sarah had requested a return and in my nerve and I accepted without correctly processing the issue, we had to wait until Nov 4th for the return to start. An arbitrary date, but whatever. I didn’t respond to Sarah. I was dealing with a scam artist. You can’t reason with people like her who are set out to abuse innocent sellers on eBay.

November 4th came around and I again called eBay. This time I was not as successful. I could not for the life of me understand a word coming out of the customer service rep’s mouth. I asked for a manager and waited on hold for over 30 minutes. When I finally got a manager, he said that since I had initiated the return, I couldn’t do anything further and I had to accept the return. I told him over and over again that the buyer was abusing the return policy by returning a costume AFTER the holiday. He couldn’t grasp what I was saying at all. He kept saying “well, your buyer? he wants to return the item since it’s damaged.” The buyer is a SHE, idiot, it said her full name right on the transition page! I decided to try again with hopefully a woman customer service rep. Then this happened:

womp womp

womp womp

Since I had accidentally started the return process due to my nerve and fear about being in bad standing with eBay, Sarah was waiting for me to PAY her to ship my damaged merchandise back to me. I once again got on the phone with eBay to wait another 25 minutes before yet another female rep told me to not provide this buyer with any information and to wait until the buyer escalates the case. Bottom line, no one at eBay agreed with what the previous six people had told me. My first customer service rep told me on Nov 1st that Sarah couldn’t return the item to me after Halloween and after owning the item for over two weeks, then the man who was confused about pronouns told me I had to accept the return, and NOW this rep said I shouldn’t do anything and I should just wait for Sarah to report me as a seller. All the while, my PayPal account sits in the negative. Thanks… I responded to Sarah as professionally as possible. I still can’t believe I didn’t start swearing at her but every time I was on the phone with eBay, the rep would say “let me check your notes and communication”, so I didn’t want to be the ass who had prissy, spoiled-rotten blonde roommate tone… like Sarah did.

I don't wish her well...

I don’t wish her well…

So she escalated the case and I was alerted that eBay had reviewed our claims and… sided with Sarah. Sided with a bitch who was trying to return a costume after Halloween which she had owned since Oct 18th. Simply amazing. I called yet again to advocate for myself and my selling reputation as Ms Sarah had threatened to leave a bad review about me. Once again, I received advice from the eBay customer service rep completely contrary to everything else I’d been told! This rep told me that since the case had been decided in Sarah’s favor, she would need to ship the item back to me herself. I would wait for a tracking number and then issue a refund. Under no circumstance should I refund the buyer prior to receiving a USPS tracking number – the rep was very happy to have that information for me and repeated it constantly as if every time he did, somehow my situation got better. And if she didn’t provide me with a tracking number, I asked, what then?

“The um, the buyer has seven days to provide, uh, provide you with the tracking number or the case is closed automatically,” the customer service rep stammered. How does it close automatically? It would close in my favor, he assured me. If the buyer does not provide a tracking number within seven days, eBay protects its sellers and closes the case automatically.

Okay. So I waited for seven days to pass.

And they did. No tracking number. I called eBay and again waited on hold for over 30 minutes. This customer service rep happily told me the case was closed due to the buyer neglecting to provide a tracking number and I didn’t need to worry about it anymore. Woo hoo! Sarah was too stupid to send me the costume back! Or decided not to be a bitch and kept the costume that she had ripped apart in the first place.

Then Nov 24th came around. Mind you, I have now been on the phone with eBay nearly twice a week trying to sort out Sarah’s disgusting behavior. November 24th comes around and what is sitting on my parents’ stoop? mail

I haven’t lived at the Thorpe St address in four years! I updated my billing and mailing address a while ago. The only way she would have gotten this incorrect address as opposed to, oh I don’t know, the one on the box I originally shipped to her or from the invoice I sent her with my current information on it, she would have had to look through previous sales I’ve made and chose to mail my beloved costume across the country which would hopefully buy her time within that seven-day window so she could claim she returned the item on time! I looked on PayPal immediately and sure enough, they had returned her the money and I was in the red again.

The kicker though? Sarah kept the tail. She didn’t even return the whole costume. That whore kept the peacock tail for herself, expecting an entire refund. Guess what I did next?? Yup, called eBay to report smd619 for sending me a damaged costume and for keeping the very best part of it: the Tail! I can’t even take a picture for you all to see what was in the package, it’s just so disgusting. The costume was completely destroyed. The corset wasn’t just ripped, it was in shreds. The skirt and its lovely feathers were crooked and bent. Then of course, the illustrious tail was just gone. I spent the better part of my Monday afternoon on hold with eBay. When I finally connected with someone, I was very stern and emotional about what had happened – how as a seller, I was completely taken advantage of by this buyer. Thank God I had a woman customer service rep. At first, she said there was nothing they could do but removed Sarah’s bad comment about me that she apparently left. I didn’t see it, eBay took everything down. I told the customer service woman that it was entirely unacceptable that as a seller who typically doesn’t accept returns to make an exception only to have half the costume returned and in unusable form?! A customer can’t do that at a department store, they shouldn’t be able to do it with eBay either. Again I waited on hold as she advocated for me with her management. Finally, the woman came back.

“Um, Laura, we have decided to extend to you, um, a courtesy credit since the buyer did not return the whole item to you. We will refund the money to your PayPal and remove the comments from this buyer,” she explained.

You can't go to a department store and return half of an original good - you shouldn't be able to on eBay either!

You can’t go to a department store and return half of an original good – you shouldn’t be able to on eBay either!

“That’s all well and good but this woman stole from me! I can’t do anything with this costume and more! I can’t sell it, I can’t wear it, I expect some compensation from her. She’s a thief. And eBay, as a facilitator of trade, needs to hold her accountable,” I explained. The woman said they would investigate the buyer and I hope they do since they’re paying me back for her theft.

Sent on Oct 14th, received Oct 19th. Returned by Nov 24th. You do the math - eBay can't...

Sent on Oct 14th, received Oct 19th. Returned by Nov 24th. You do the math – eBay can’t…

I gotta say though, I’m done selling on eBay. The fact that they sided with Sarah after she tried to return my costume, alleging I sent her a ripped costume is astounding. Any ounce of common sense would led one to think, huh, this girl in San Diego is a conniving bitch who is having buyer’s remorse after she ruined a really beautiful, expensive costume… I don’t know what sorts of barriers prevented natural common sense from shortening my negative experience and angst with this buyer, but bottom line? Sarah got away with it. EBay is doing the right thing by eating the cost but I do truly hope they go after her; I doubt they will.

Lesson learned – I’m never selling on eBay again. The customer service people don’t agree with one another, scam artists are able to take advance of good people and bottom line, I have a torn up, half costume that I can’t use or ever want to see again. Don’t be me. Don’t sell to smd619.

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The Perplexing Dynamic of 1403

July 11, 2014
image-2

MAN BEAR PIG in their yard

I lied. My next post won’t be about the Indian food Jason and I unfortunately ate. It will be about the odd situation that is House 1403. A month ago, I received a note on my car when I apparently parked too close to an unmarked spot which my neighbors in 1403 have most decidedly claimed as their own. “It’s NOT okay to park here” – it read. What the shit?? Why not? There are no towing signs or handicaps memorabilia. No. Rather, this was a section of the road staked out for 1403. The large, creepy house which would rather use their driveway as a porch for BBQs while taking up the entire cul-de-sac for their own. Adorable. So this got me wondering: Why the hell do they need the whole cup-de-sac for their cars? The area can hold four cars comfortably – why am I receiving posted notes? I wrote back: “Passive agressive notes are dumb” and left for the weekend to visit Maryland. The cars in front of 1403 all rotate, save for one: A massive 1970s suburban. That’s always there, windows rolled down and saddle-cloth seats proudly displayed for all to view. What’s really striking is the inconsistency with these other cars. Every four days or so, there’s one of those dumb YouRent/Go Cars – you know the type, the little lego cars which constantly clog up Seattle’s parking spaces. Then there’s a Hybrid of some sort and most recently, two to three motorcycles of varying value have taken up the cul-de-sac. Also intriguing: the license plates aren’t always local. A few weeks back, there was one plate from some provence in Canada… I forgot to take a photo as I was coming back from an exhausting run.

The dreaded suburban

The dreaded suburban

I can only conclude that the suburban owner rents out portions of his home OR, and maybe even better, he subscribes to the couch surfing population! While housing the traveling masses, suburban has opted NOT to use his driveway but rather the entire dead end for his visitors. Which would be perfectly cool if he lived in Kansas and didn’t need to share the col-de-sac with other members of society. :photos & more to come: The most recent addition to this parking debacle has been the presence of a maroon Toyota truck. Maroon truck has taken upon itself the task of parking as close to my very steep driveway in order to prohibit the parking of any other car on the left but also prohibits the parking of any car to the right as the maroon truck makes sure to park in a complete dick-head manner. You can’t park on my steep driveway; your car will literally roll down the hill. But no one can park to the right of the damn truck in the col-de-sac because the driver of maroon truck AND suburban have clearly discussed how to obscond the entire area with their cars: Maroon is on the far left, Suburban in the far right. ONE CAR IN THE MIDDLE. That car is usually the obnoxiously earth-conscious Prius. Three cars clogging up an area that could easily hold four – five, really, if we were so bold. If you have a driveway and yet you’ve chosen to turn it into a sitting area, you have a Man-Bear-Pig in your yard to welcome neighbors, you drive a fuckin’ 1970s suburban and you rent out your couches to random vagabonds, couldn’t you maybe find it in your heart not to be a total dick and share the cul-de-sac with the rest of the neighbors? I don’t care if you want to whore out your house, just stop whoring out Warren St’s dead end.

2008 Knights Bridge Cab

June 7, 2014

For my 30th birthday, I wanted to open something special. Naturally. While my wine collection consists of barely 20 bottles, I can reflect upon where and why I acquired each of them. In my opinion, this shows the quality of a collection. I may never have a 20,000+ bottle cellar, but I do have gems that are priceless to me. Of such was one 2008 Knights Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2012, I was working the floor one afternoon at Del Frisco’s. It was a Sunday but we were crushing it! I’d received a $50-bill-handshake, several tables were financially on board for magnums and I believe there was a 3-liter of Cain Five on table 50. We were rocking our previous 2011 numbers, so I took a moment to stop selling and enjoy the room.

I’ve never seen a venue equal to that of my former employer, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Right on the waterfront in the Boston Seaport, no other steak house in Massachusetts could touch our numbers or service. The amount of money spent on raising up the pillars and glass walls was only matched by the exorbitant size of the checks signed each and every night. The dining room was one enormous entertaining stage; dinner and a show I always said. The hum of the guests, the bustle of the servers, the click of stilettos and the gaff-ah of buzzed businessmen created an unforgettable soundtrack. And it was on a night such as this when I met Jim Bailey.

At table 62, right along side the massive windows which pushed your gaze out to the harbor, sat a well-dressed elderly gentleman. He was alone but with him, he carried a small dark business bag. My evening was going so well –  I couldn’t help but take a moment to greet this single guest. I walked up to introduce myself and perhaps offer some assistance with our 32-page wine list. He offered his name back as well:

“My name is Jim Bailey,” he stated and extended his hand. We shook out a greeting and got to talking about wines. Jim told me he made wine. To be frank, I heard this all the time. Everyone and their mother makes wine. Not everyone and their mother makes good wine! I faned interest until Jim told me where he made wine.

“I have a winery in Knights Valley called Knights Bridge,” Jim Bailey told me. “My vineyards are about a football throw’s away from Peter Michael.”

That’s Sir Peter Michael. Yes, he has been knighted. How befitting that he should have settled in Knights Valley and revolutionized the AVA which shares territory between Napa and Sonoma. Peter Michael is a titan in the world of wine. After starting his vineyards in 1982, he quickly rose to the top of his class by crafting some of the most coveted wine in Sonoma before venturing over the Mayacamas to Napa. Peter Michael spares no expense creating his wines and bottles sit on wine lists between $330-$500 a pop. He practices biodynamic and sustainable farming; hand crafting in my opinion some of the most memorable Bordeaux style blends. Name dropping typically doesn’t impress me, but this caught me off guard. Also: You can’t just BUY property in Knights Valley. It’s beyond expensive and as allocated as DRC. It’s something you’re essentially born into like royalty.

Jim went on to talk about his Cabernet Sauvignon project and how he’d been working the AVA since 2006. While I’ve never been to Sonoma, I distinctly remember a photo in my Jancis Robinson wine book which shows a glorious photo of Knights Valley. There’s this massive tree, hanging heavy with age and from the moss grasping the branches. The tree is in the forefront of the photo but behind it is a large vineyard, bathed in the sunlight. The tree is lit up with sunbeams shining through the long, dangling branches and the trunk is knotted and craggy. For me, this was Knights Valley. For me, this was where Jim kept his grounds: Knights Bridge Winery.

“I happen to have two bottles here for you,” he reached into his business bag and brought out two dark bottles with pristine medieval labels. I stared at the gift: 2008 Knights Bridge To Kalon Cabernet and the 2008 Knight Valley Cabernet.

“Thank you so much, I’m not familiar with Knights Bridge,” I admitted. Jim and I spoke about this wine project he and his business partner, Tim Carl, had started in ’06 and cultivated over the years with sustainable means. Both men were Harvard legends who caught the wine bug hard. And one of them was sitting at table 62.

I brought the wine onto my Del Frisco’s wine list immediately from one of my distributors, Carolina Fine Wines through Martignetti. This was what wine was all about: Relationships. Who walks into a steakhouse to eat dinner and makes a placement? It was serendipitous.

2009 Knights Bridge Release Party

2009 Knights Bridge Release Party

Jim Bailey became my friend. He invited me to the release of the 2009 Knights Bridge, complete with the new vintage of Chardonnay and their Pont du Chevalier Sauvignon Blanc. Jim’s house was like a chateau in the middle of Cambridge, MA. The grounds were groomed to perfection with a reflection pool in the middle of the yard, surrounded by tables of wine, gorgeous flower beds and lavishly dressed guests. Further into the yard, stood a massive gold statue of some Greek deity. The entire event took my breath away. I was in love with Knights Bridge.

I left Del Frisco’s and joined Martignetti – I started selling Jim’s wine in a different manner, but still with a proud smile on my face. I apologized to no one for the price. If you had to ask how much it was…. well. The wines performed for me at accounts like Cirace’s in the North End and I received another invitation to the vintage release of Knights Bridge. The 2010 vintage party out did the 2009 party – being on the Bailey grounds made me feel like I was a part of something so much more incredible than simply selling grapes and water. I was proud of his wine; I was proud to have them in my portfolio. It made me remember why I loved wine.

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2008 Knights Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon

So I turned 30 this year while living in Seattle.  I moved back to my birth state about two months ago with a job and my family waiting. At first, I had reasoned to turn 29 again since my last birthday was very difficult for a mirage of reasons. However, since I’ve been home, I’ve started seeing someone and I feel hopeful and happy again. I wanted to pop open something special to commemorate my birth year. While I pondered over my small collection, my eyes fell to the 2008 Knights Bridge and I remembered Jim Bailey. I remembered being happy at work and venturing over to introduce myself to table 62. I remembered him giving me the two bottles and hearing about his amazing winery. I remembered feeling like royalty at his vintage parties and I remembered selling the wine table side and then to accounts with Martignetti. Just looking at the bottle made me feel happy all over again. So I selected the 2008 Knights Bridge for my birthday dinner.

And I was once again, happy.

 

These things I’ll never say

May 20, 2014

I came across old college photos last weekend while arranging shelves in my new apartment. There were the typical pictures with duck-face lips, ice looges, fake tanner accidents and weekends full of excessive wild rompous. But I stumbled upon several photos of myself with an old sorority sister with whom I no longer speak and I found myself forgetting why we stopped speaking in the first place. Rather … I found myself wondering WHY that reason was so damned important. I remember she and I were roommates in college and we ditched about three weeks of classes to watch every single episode of Sex in the City all cuddled up on her bed with heaps of junk food and Coors Light surrounding us. She’d let me wear her Tiffany’s jewelry until I finally had a few pieces of my own. We swapped Coach shoes, v-neck tops and went to the same dumpy nail salon on Thursdays. She always smelled expensive too. 

Then we fought about something. Something to do with her boyfriend, I think. He wasn’t allowed in the apartment for safety reasons and the other two roommates we shared a place with had drafted into our lease agreement that he couldn’t set foot in our home. But she brought him over anyway. One night in a bit of a haze, I yelled at her about the whole situation. Our other roommates just laughed as my friend tried to defend herself against my tirade. I was unstoppable. After that, there were no more Sex in the City parties, no sharing of clothes, no cigarettes outside to escape the other two girls. There was nothing. Just awkward passes to the bathroom and closed doors.Image

We fought over text message on our Razor phones. Back when you had to pound up to three times on one key for the letter you wanted. She was bat-shit crazy about something and I was a raging bull in a china shop. The insults flew back and forth but again, I really couldn’t say what they were regarding. We both went to bed livid and I turned off my phone, my heart pounding hot blood throughout my face. I couldn’t read the insults she was hurling my way for a second longer. That’s the thing with close friends; they know where you’ll hurt the most.

The next morning she apologized in some backhanded manner. I never saw or spoke to her again.

Two years ago, I went to a wedding and saw several of my old sorority sisters who knew this girl as well. I openly admitted to missing my former companion. People suggested I call her and someone gave me her phone number. I still have it saved in my phone. I’m yet to hit send.

How much money do you make…?

January 11, 2014

Isn’t it funny how we present ourselves to perfect strangers? A dude sitting next to me at one of my favorite pubs once blurted out his annual salary unprovoked. I’m pretty sure I said something to the effect of “good for you”, but what I found more intriguing was the nature of this boast. Why, oh why, would you belch out a yearly figure to some random girl in a Jack Wills sweatshirt sitting on a bar stool? The obvious answer is to try and be as enticing as possible; however, how many Facebook posts and shared news articles from HuffingtonPost label women as gold diggers and cash-hungry bitches? Who’s really propagating this?

Cash for Dinner...?

Cash for Dinner…?

There’s an online site that one of my friends was once a part of wherein socially awkward, yet wealthy men bid on women for dates. These women would then go out to some of the nicest restaurants in Boston for free on this goofy, loaded dude’s arm. Nothing sexual needed to happen or was even expected – the men just wanted to go out with a pretty lady for a change. Who’s worse here? The girl who took the money to pay her bills or the man who couldn’t pull it together and ask a gorgeous woman out the traditional way. Someone without blame, please throw a stone. Some man actually prefer to make more money than their ladies anyway, so why the hell does it matter if everyone knows she’s WELL taken care of? A man wants a beautiful wife, a woman wants a wealthy husband. This website helps both parties, I suppose.

My girlfriend had her fake tits paid for by her boyfriend two years ago. They broke up last December. Obviously he doesn’t get to take back those cans, but I know she didn’t date him with the intention of having plastic surgery paid for in full. Oddly enough, she never talked about breast enlargements till they started dating…. What a nice present though! However, given that her ex drove a really nice car and (shocking) pretty much immediately told her how much he made, I can assume she knew she’d be taken care of. But then he re-arranged her body – or encouraged her to do so and provided her with funding at least. Who’s the brat here? My friend for taking the free pair of boobs or her boyfriend for not accepting her for just the person she was?

If the pick up line you run on me includes telling me your salary, expect that I will either A. Think you’re lying, and refuse or B. Expect to be labeled as a money grubbing bitch when we break up, and refuse. And all you really had to do was something witty like… Say Hello.

So, how much money DO you make? Does it really matter?

Protected: Dating RugbyPhD

November 16, 2013

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That crazy girl at the …

August 7, 2013

1. Gym: The one who is weaving and swaying on the stationary bike, grunting and shaking  to the beat in her head. She stops every so often to stretch and hang her head in utter exhaustion on the handle bars. Tossing her head back and forth as if to fight off the inner demons/thighs crying for more rest, she regains her strength and starts to build momentum – pushing, pulling, grinding up that 80% hill. Go! Go! Go!

Gonna KILL uuuu!!

Gonna KILL uuuu!!

… this is all while the rest of the class is following the instructor and obediently participating in a seated sprint at a meager 60%. Thanks for the distraction.

2. Staples in Waltham, MA: Working alone on a project in a public space, you are a sitting duck to a variety of unfortunate events: pen theft, spilled coffee, the unexpected anti-immigration reform conversations. While constructing a proposal at a local Staples (my printer was out of ink and somehow this seemed easier), I was sitting near a girl who was working on her gorgeous wedding invites. The sparkling cut-out letters, wafting calligraphy and bright bows made her a beaming target. We’ll call little miss “Girl A”.

Girl A is proudly showing me her invitations like a toothy kindergartener when an odd woman shuffles up behind us and inquires about something with one of the customer service representatives. Whatever answer they gave her wasn’t acceptable, so she whirls around to face us with a gwuh-fah (say that out loud, it’s really fun!). Let’s call this woman “Old Bat” shall we? Old Bat approached Girl A and me to inspect what we were working on in a dreadfully tactless way of breaking into unsolicited conversation.

“You know? It’s all of these damned immigrants comin’ in here takin’ our jobs. That’s way I ain’t got no job. Some black person took it,” Old Bat explained to us as she picked up one of Girl A’s pieces of art. Much to the chagrin of Girl A.

“I’m sorry, what are you saying?” Girl A shot me a look of confusion and disbelief, I tried to go back to my proposal.

“That’s just the thang. I can’t get a job cuz of immigrants. They are takin’ everything we have!” Old Bat was really getting worked up and the customer service people were looking uncomfortable. Fortunately, Girl A was a woman now what with getting married and all, so she took matters into her own hands.

“I’m sorry. I can’t discuss this with you right now. We obviously have different views on things and I really need to finish this project. Thank you for understanding.”

Boom. Old Bat took her problems out of Staples and all Girl A and I could do was nervously laugh with each other.

“That literally happens to me ALL THE TIME,” Girl A lamented.

3. Bar/anywhere with alcohol: I once was with a customer – not the one who received the proposal from the previous example – and a woman came into the store to make a purchase. Things started normally enough what with the entry in through the door and all, but then things took a bizarre turn. She came right up to the counter:

“I really need a drink,” she sighed, placing her hands on the counter dramatically. My customer left the table where we were speaking to assist this to-be drunk woman. He couldn’t even get three words of greeting out of his mouth before this happened:

“My sister is going to jail for stealing from my mom! She even stole my cell phone and sold it for drugs. This is her fourth time in jail! I don’t know what to do,” the woman wailed. My customer looks over to me, my mouth has accidently dropped open, then we both look back at the woman who is so close to tears you can almost taste it.

“Well,” says my customer. “What’ll it be?”

4. What’s yours?

Eat, Pray, Seattle

December 14, 2012
Surprise, I'm home!

Surprise, I’m home!

Andrea turned 21 last week. As the oldest of four children, I have deemed it my unescapable duty as the eldest to properly ring in every sibling on their most anticipated birthday. I’ve flown to Florida to weather a hurricane and stalled out cars in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed the rains of Washington to celebrate with my brothers and now, it was Andrea’s turn. The trip started off simply enough. But as Day One of Four progressed, the trip morphed into not only a celebration of life but a serious celebration of wonderful food.

This is real life.

This is real life.

It started with the grande soy creme brulee latte from the Starbucks at Chicago O’Hare, the worst fucking airport in the world. If you are a cheap bastard (and I can be), you will fly thru this airport. I arrived from Boston with what I imagined was ample time to get a holiday latte before my flight. I had been up since 4am with a slue of family awaiting me in Seattle; therefore, I could NOT be groggy. I waited in line to order and receive my drink before hustling down the long walk-away all the way from the N gate to the H gate. I arrived literally as they were calling “Lora Doofy”.sazrak

“Oh, that’s me. I’m Laura Duffy,” I corrected the stupid flight attendent. I cleared through with my THREE bags (limit one with a personal item) and settled into my seat for the 3.75 hour ride. Mom and Dad picked me up in Seattle and brought the sunshine with them. The day was so clear that flying in I could see the Four Peaks: Rainer, Hood, St. Helens and Baker. It was absolutely breath-taking. Don’t see that in Massachusetts… ever. Mom and I wrecked the day with a trip to Nordstrom and a lunch date at Sazerak. The trendy speak-easy had the most eclectic assortment of small plates and we just were too hard-pressed to choose; so we got one of everything! We munched on dates with cheese wrapped in bacon, lightly salted Jordan almonds, wild mushrooms, a trio of cheese, a light apple and walnut salad while sipping on some of the restaurant’s signature drinks. Amazing.

Cheers with Dad

Cheers with Dad

Dad and I had a father-daughter day the next morning in Kirkland. I love Kirkland. We went to Trelis, a lovely restaurant inside a hotel that my dad was a part of creating. They serve brunch every morning till 1030am, so after Pops and I went for a run around Lake Larson, we set out to sample some breakfast treats. The place was dect out in holiday garb and while we were the only guests in the restaurant, Trelis was a complete success! I ordered eggs Benedict. Shocking. It’s what I always get whenever I go out for brunch. Unless of course I’m at Trina’s. When I’m there, it’s a bagel egg sandwich with a bean patty and Fernet with Tony. Anyway, the food was scrumpcious! With a cup of joe and a mimosa at my beckoned call, Dad and I gabbed about motorcycle trips, my girls’ weekend I’d recently had with work ladies

Me love cookie.

Me love cookie.

and talked about my boyfriend. The nom’ing didn’t stop there. Dad and I trekked down to Wine World in Bellevue to pick up something for dinner and bought a gourmet designer cookie as well – though we were still stuffed from brunch! I selected a snowflake cookie. It was so beautiful and perfect, I almost couldn’t eat it. But guess what happened…

Andrea claimed me for the rest of the day. After Dady and I were through shopping and eating, Andrea and I took him back to work in Seattle and ventured down into Seattle for some quality time at Pike Place Market. This is by far my favorite place to shop and eat. Sure, the things aren’t high fashion or 5-star michellen rated, but the smells and color sights make up for anything

Get me some!

Get me some!

that Yelp might bitch about. We walked around and bought flowers and painting, saw fish flying around, and took a picture for the PPM piggy. There was even an old school toy store where I found the Breyer horse figurines that I’d always wanted as a kiddo. They were always so pricey… good to see that some things never change! After grabbing a coffee at the original Starbucks, we drove in a search for the Space Needle. Where was it??? It’s not on 2nd… it’s not on Mercer… But lo, we found it near 4th and Broad St!!! So exciting, you can almost touch it! Annie B and I grabbed nibble at Tilikum Place Cafe and enjoyed a spice bean soup and split pea soup with pulled ham. They were almost closing for their hour break in between lunch and dinner but the wonderful server let us in anyways to enjoy our girls’ day out. Andrea went through my phone looking for pictures of our brother and his new finance.

Seattle Sippin'

Seattle Sippin’

I just kept sipping my French 75 and slurping on my pea soup. We called it a day shortly after and headed home to help Mom with dinner. As if we needed to eat more…

Good home cookin'

Good home cookin’

Mom wanted to go for a swim when she got back home from work. Mom is a very little lady, so we must keep her that way and allow for swim time. Therefore, I volunteered to cook up the salmon and corn she craved. The recipe was simple enough: salmon steaks with flour, parsley, sea salt and pepper to taste flash fried on either side and served with black berries in a raspberry vinegar. Dad and I had the football game on and I was sipping Col Solera’s grappa in a mug so no one would know. Very naughty. I forgot I bought the eau de vie in April. It was as potent as the day it was distilled. Dad and I bought two pinots to match with the salmon, one from Willamette and the other from Santa Barbera. They were okay, I naturally prefered the Willamette-dammit bottle of Pinot although I completely forgot the name like an idiot. It was bottle I first met while working at The Purple Tooth… (thanks Dad, it’s the Benton Lane 2010 Pinot Noir).

The last full day I was in Washington started off raining. I know, it was shocking to me as well. I spent the morning with Andrea and Carter Bear while we awaited Annie’s bus to work. Upon her departure, I prepared for my day of eating the best way I knew how: with a run. I jogged around Lake Larson without ear buds or any music at all. Washington air smells so wet and fresh that I am positively convinced if green had a smell other than pine or mint, it would be Washington air. The sounds and scent of damp forestry kept me going throughout my whole run and the light rain didn’t distract me one bit. I took Bear out for a quick poo when I came home and even though he’s ancient (10 years old for a Berner is nearly unheard of), he looped alone and smiled a doggy wet grin throughout the whole .3 mile jog. He’s a good pupper!  

After locking up the house, I ventured back

Slip and Fall into Kirkland

Slip and Fall into Kirkland

down to Kirkland for a coffee and a burger. I went to Tully’s where I used to work for a nostalgic coffee but after waiting for some barista to come to the register to take my order, I left disgruntled and surrender yet again to Starbucks. Doppio compana, if you please. The girl behind the register had no idea what I was asking for but the gal on the bar knew. Thank god. I sipped on my piping bevy and walked to The Slip. The Slip is a burger joint where I would work in the summers during college. Every staff member learns to do everything there from hostessing to waiting tables and even grilling. I make a mean burger, bitches. My old haunt still featured my favorite burger of all times: the Peanut Butter Bacon burger. Serious guilty pleasure to be sure! I ordered that immediately and sipped on another favorite, the Slip’n’Fall. It’s made with gin, rum, vodka and triple sec with a splash of grenadine. Good night. Oh, and I had two. The juice burger dribbled down my chin and the side salad did nothing to make me feel better about myself. Whatever. It was simply amazing. I chatted with the staff and stared at old photos from past Slip cast members. What a Kirkland gem!

Yogurt with Andrea

Yogurt with Andrea

I had made Andrea a solemn promise that I would visit her at Skinny D’s, a yogurt shop that my Aunt Regina owns. My aunt developed a similar concept in the 80’s and I can still remember going to her shop with my brother, David, and smelling the waffle cones fresh from the griddle. Aunt Regina would watch us sometimes and we’d always hafta finish our soup before she would give us a yogurt. Fortunately, I make my own decisions now and I’ll have yogurt whenever I want, thank you! Skinny D’s is a great place filled with homemade decor like purple and green hand-painted glass on the walls and a plethora of savory yogurt choices! I always fill my cup with Taro, a yogurt based on a forest root. Andrea was there waiting for me when I finally bumbled in around 2pm. We nabbed a Starbucks across the street before coming back over to her work to check the place

Yes I will have a latte and yogurt!

Yes I will have a latte and yogurt!

out. Skinny D’s has the warmest feeling to it, you can’t help but eat everything! There are little tasting cups for when you can’t decide which yogurt is best… or if you just wanna keep eating. Andrea showed me the new computerized gadget that Reggie installed and we sat at a sequins encrusted table to lap up our yogurt. I put a little bit of fruit over the top of my treat just to make myself feel better but ruined my attempt at health when I saw the frosted animal cookies. Oops. Taro yogurt almost has this sweet purple-esque green tea flavor to it. For being some type of root, Taro really is delicious!

I took my leave shortly after we finished our yogurt so that Annie could get back to work and I could go bother my parents are their respective places of employment and snag a wax from my girl, Becca, who was guest starring as a high-demand estetisian at the Aveda salon, Habitude, in Ballard all the way from Boston. Crazy that we were in the same town at the same time!

My wonderful family

My wonderful family

After giving Carter Bear way too many human food treats when I finally returned home from my very full day of adventures, I surrendered to packing up to leave for Boston. I completely decimated the room I was given like a ticking clothing time bomb gone baserk. To make amends, I put thoughtful notes all over Mom’s room and in her things. She has the best make up ever. After playing dress up with Andrea, we were finally ready to head over to my Aunt Reggie’s house for a birthday party where some serious munching was a promised activity. It’s funny how the memory works even after a nearly a decade. I haven’t been to Aunt Regina’s house in years but I knew how to get there. Over the mountain and through the woods to Bothell we go! Reggie’s house was lit up like a Christmas tree and the interior was even more surprising. A Victorian tree, twinkling lights, candles, green garland and glittering ornaments accompanied homemade hor dourves and dessert goodies. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. My nanny and pop were there from the East with Aunt Kerry and

Caramel turtles, chocolate crinkles and peaunut butter drops!

Caramel turtles, chocolate crinkles and peaunut butter drops!

Aunt La La. All the West coast family was there too along with 20 other good friends of Regina’s. The spread was incredible! Cheese trays, quiche offerings, a goat cheese-stuffed meat roll, fresh roll and cold cut fixin’s. And that was just one room. The kitchen had egg rolls with a savory sweet and hot dip, white and red wine with soft drinks and on the kitchen table where delicable dessert treats! Pecan bars, rice crispy peanut butter drops, chocolate crinkles and caramel turtles. Then for the cake portion of the evening, the Skinny D’s girls made several yogurt cakes! You can’t make this up, people, everything was simply amazing.

I can’t believe how much family time I was able to clock in during this trip. Seeing my East coast family while on the West was just incredible. I didn’t mean to not see anyone else but my kin, I was just to selfish for time with my mom and my family. The dining treats were definitely an added bonus and made the trip all the more memorable, but being a part of my sister’s 21st birthday was irreplaceable. How do you put a price on a memory? The moment your sister tried

I love you all!!

I love you all!!

Prosecco for the first time. Drinking a beer with your dad on the couch. Snuggling your mama at 2am before your 4am flight home. The potentially last precious time you get to pet your aging dog. For everything else there is MasterCard.

This was priceless.

Fantasy THIS.

September 5, 2012

Yes I will ring in the end of summer with a mimosa, a run around the Charles and a fit of fantasy football. My day off started similar enough to the rest: Do I go to the gym? Do I go to Trina’s Starlight Lounge for industry brunch? Is there a new Real Housewives of New Jersey in my TiVo que? A drafting session with my brothers and cousins was tentatively scheduled for mid-evening, so I had no qualms with starting my day off with a little mid-day drinking… at 1pm. Hey, it’s Labor Day (and a Monday), why wouldn’t you enjoy a beverage? And for cryin’ outloud, it’s the first drafting day of fantasy football – everyone should be in the proper spirit.

So I went to a Labor Day party. I instructed Andrew to bring over his laptop so that I could have my Iphone, my friend’s computer and also Andrew’s computer for my fantasy maddness. My strategy was simple yet sound: Pick the guy with the coolest hair, the newest smelling jersey and when in doubt; default to the Ravens or Pats. Since I live in Boston, I found the nod to the Pats to be appropriate. As for the Ravens default… well, they fuckin’ kill people so…

I showed up to Mark and Kathleen’s casa all set with warm M&M cookies and Cliff Lede sauv blanc, ready to get down on fantasy foot ball in style! Daniel call me to confirm that yes indeed, the draft would be starting at 9:30pm eastern time. I had about three hours to consume adult beverages, sample the delectable food that Chef Mark of Stoddard’s had whipped up and of course, gear up my three inter-web devises for the draft. Surrounded by chow and electronics, I would be an unstoppable force capable of massive ass kicking.

Chowin’ down prior to my draft with Andrew

Enter serious issues. I couldn’t get my Iphone to register my team name on ESPN because the usual pop-ups that go hand in hand with a sports website were boggling down my phone’s system. Plus a million other douche bags had the exact same idea I was currently trying to enact: Set up kinda early and drink for three hours. FML. I switched from my phone over to Mark’s computer but it had about 1.5 million programs running so you can imaging the cheetah-like speed that I was getting. Wrong. I started to absolutely lose my shit. I was yelling at Tony to fix it, he was yelling at me that I wasn’t drinking my Fernet shot, Mark was yelling that I needed my shock collar on again and I added wild hand waving to the equation just to be spicy. Fortunately, when Andrew showed up, he brought in his computer and I took off right away attempting to log into the guest network on a clutter free device.

Pink Drink with Tony

Except the guest network was overloaded with the party’s guest Iphones, Mark’s computer and now Andrew’s computer, so who couldn’t fit on the Internet? This guy. I was literally losing my mind. Tony wasn’t sure why I suddenly liked football and with all the guacamole around me, I wasn’t sure either. Just kidding. I had both my brothers, several cousins and it was rumored that Dad was playing too, all on the line counting on me to be that seventh useless player. C’mon, with all that at stake, you’d kill yourself for a computer too! So with my reputation and good name on the line, I left the party with Andrew on the good faith that I would indeed return after my draft to finish my shot of Fernet with Tony and continue to partake in the guacamole.

Andrew and I raced home to log on with three computers: My mini, his Apple and um… the somm’s computer that may or may not have just happened to fall into my bag before I left on Sunday 😀 Jen was home and we quickly set up a small operation’s table in the living room. I looked for sports paraphernalia to wear and I couldn’t find a damn thing, so I use the only thing I could get my hands on: a Husky’s hat. (thinking back on it now, I do have a Seahawks jersey upstairs. Stupid.) I figured out my log on, changed my name to Boston-kickin’urA$$ and got ready to draft.

Small problem: I didn’t know where the drafting options were, how I could select anyone and oh my f*ck, I just had my very first QB pick washed away to default!!!! I called Daniel and started screaming, “What the f*ck is going on!?!?! why couldn’t I pick my own quarter back!?!?” The explanation was simple and logical: You select a play and push – wait for it – select player. I know. Science unfolding.

I waited with baited breath for my turn while Jen and Andrew checked stats and conferred with their own posse of people. Jen’s brother was offering advice, Andrew liked Texas and Ohio, I knew and wanted the Ravens and on my f*ck, Dad just took Tom Brady.

I called him and started swearing. He put my sister on the phone instead. My baby sister! Who does that??? I hung up on her. I was literally throwing things around the room as player after player that I knew I wanted disappeared from my available roster. I snagged a couple of dudes that I wanted: Antonio Brown, Tony Romo. My first picks kept gettin’ ninja’ed though: Aaron Rodgers, Tom of course, Eli Manning. My family was so cut throat during this whole ordeal that I don’t think Christmases will ever be the same. I was screaming and calling everyone all the names I could think of as players continued to disappear from my screen. I called Daniel twice, David hung up on me, Dad never called me back and oh my god… DAD JUST TOOK THE RAVENS DEFENSIVE LINE!!!!

My own father took the team from the state of my college career. What is this? Penalty for going outta state? Out of state tuition pay back? Hey. We don’t all wanna be cougars.

Cheers… and shakey hand syndrome is a true ailment.

I learned a valuable lesson last night. Get your quarterback and immediately grab up your defensive line. Otherwise your father will and you’ll be fucked because lo, you’ll be playing him for the very first game of the season immediately after the draft like me. I hate my life. So, concluding the draft, I immediately put civilized clothes back on (I threw my shirt during the Ravens DL theft), and went back to the Labor Day party to continue to lubricate my woes. Best of luck this season everyone. God knows I’ll need it.

Martha’s Messes

July 14, 2012

$700 a month for an apartment used to only include a room for your personals, maybe a bathroom or two, a kitchen of sorts and if you were lucky, a few doors for privacy. Well, my $700 a month also included a parking space! Right in front of my apartment, which is wildly convenient for bringing in groceries but also a safety measure since I typically get home late at night. This parking situation has carried on business as usual until just recently. Now I’m dealing a grotesque breach of contract and I feel like a paying stranger in my own living quarters. No, my roommate and I aren’t feuding amongst ourselves for parking rights or a lack of ability to cough up rent when it’s due as in most domestic partnerships. Rather, I am now struggling with a passive aggressive usurption of my lovely parking space! Lend me your ear:

I live in a three-story, multi-family house wherein the landlord lives on the right half of the house and my roommate and I live on the left. My landlord, we’ll call her Joy, has two degenerate children. I use the term children directly refering to the infant-like actions Joy’s offspring exhibit daily, but in no means does the word “children” coincide with their age. John and Martha (I don’t know the son’s name, but that’s the daughter’s real name… it’s just such a dreadful, cliché name that I couldn’t be asked to change it!!) are both between the ages of 25-31 if I judge correctly. John also has an 8-year-old daughter that lives with him as the mother is unfortunately legally barred from seeing the girl. Let’s count, that’s four people living in a small, left-sided apartment with then myself and my roomie on the right; this renders a total of six people in one narrow house. 

Wow.

Martha and John’s daughter enjoying a car ride together

Fortunately, John doesn’t have a car. He has a daughter and a drug problem, but no car. Joy has a car. My roommate doesn’t have a car. John’s daughter clearly does not have a car. I have a car. Aaaaand Martha has a car. Three cars for six people vieing for parking in front of a narrow house.

Now, apparently Joy is some kind of major property holder and gave her daughter, Martha, the keys to a house just up the road from my address. Martha fucked that up somehow when she slept with the current tenant who demanded his keys back in a 7am-blowout that happened on a warm Saturday morning when I wished I was asleep instead of peering out my bathroom window listening to southie dialect and screaming. So, Martha doesn’t live in her own house anymore and has pulled the noble move of “living with Mother”.

I wouldn’t give two shits about this new living arrangement if Martha didn’t come complete with morning drama and a snazzy white car to take up my parking space. Joy doesn’t allow me to park in front of her driveway because that’s where she parks. She once told me to move because I was blocking her garage. However, when the door opened a few days later, old AC units and impaled flotation devices spilled onto the driveway. Her true issue? I was in her personal parking space. Well, your damn daughter is in mine! 

Enjoy my spot, Martha. Don’t get hit by a bus on your way inside

I’ve lived here now since March and I have become quite accustomed to parking in front of or very close to my house. Why wouldn’t that be a normal practice? I pay to live here! Martha does not. She takes my spot, screams at boyfriends at all hours of the morning, and her car sits there all damn day. Fortunately for her, Martha doesn’t have a job. Joy does, Martha doesn’t. Joy’s car moves occasionally but good ole Martha’s just chills in the coveted spot that used to be mine… and silently mocks me.

Not what I want to walk down after 12 hours in heels…

Now, when I come home at all hours of the night from work… or play 😀 … I am plagued with finding a spot far up my own street. But more often than not, I hafta park on the main road and deal with the drunk degenerates hollering as I leave my car to walk down the street to my house. Last Friday night, I was coming home from work in my finest weekend eve attire, and a drunk man on a bike nearly followed me home yelling his name was Mark over and over again. The next morning when I walked out to my road-side park job, Mark had left his phone number and again his name on an old lottery ticket, encouraging me to call him whenever. This is just ridiculous. Joy once said that Martha sometimes lives with her… obviously this sleeping with tenants issue is a common occurence… but I wish she would just leave.

I miss my parking space… :C

I’m probably going to go and speak with Joy about this matter in the next few days as we’re going on 4 weeks of Martha’s Messes.

I just want to park my car in front of my apartment.