So the Office is doing this Biggest Loser type competition (only they are obnoxiously calling it Biggest Winner instead, true story) and almost 50% of our site is participating. Not being one to be left behind, and despite never in my life ever having to lose any weight, I decided to get on board.

Millions of people reading this blog (true story) probably just threw up in their mouths right now. “never in my life ever having to lose any weight” they may be asking themselves with several exclamation points and question marks and maybe even some stuff that looks like this: $@#&%!  You horrible bitch, how dare your complain, they are thinking.  They may even say I am making a mockery of something that a lot of other people may be taking seriously and there is nothing wrong with trying to improve your health through frivolous office programs so just STFU you skinny biznatch!

And here comes the disclaimer: For those of you who have been playing along since, oh 1993 you’ll remember that I have a HORRIBLE INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISORDER AND HAVE NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER OVER THE FOLLOWING: my ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients like a normal person, when and how often I visit the ladies room, whether or not a particular food is going to make my stomach explode, and, among a number of other things, whether or not I gain or lose weight.

Why bother then?  Well the program promises to offer an exercise routine (I hate exercising but still should do it to keep my heart in good shape and help prevent the inevitable osteoporosis) as well as nutritional information (never hurts to get a reminder).  Also, Matthew is considering making more improvements towards the healthy, so maybe I can pass along what I learn.

So anyway. In order to join the program, you have to go in and meet with the health counselor (yeah, we have one in our office two days a week, wtf) and she takes your measurements.  Not surprisingly, my weight, BMI and hip to waist ratio are all in good shape, but today apparently my blood pressure, which is typically on point at 120/80 was super duper high.  I blame this on a number of things causing stress in my life these days (none of which are ready for primetime) and have now fostered much resentment for the actual, PHYSICAL trouble they are causing me.  I resent you, problems!!

Needless to say, with the exception of a hopefully lower BP, not a whole lot is probably going to change for me as a result of this little program.  I don’t foresee any of these types of pictures making their rounds any time soon.

This is real.

This is real.


Let’s face it, we all like a lot of things that are actually sort of inappropriate. Take, for instance, things like Papa John’s Tuscan Six Cheese Pizza, Family Guy and unprotected casual sex.  We laugh a jokes that are racist, bigoted or otherwise just in poor taste and then feel guilty about it afterward (if you’re like me, you also make a vow not to repeat the joke in order to make up for thinking it was funny for a second).

The “Mad Men” I’m talking about here is of course the AMC Emmy Nominated series about a 1960s advertising agency (this is not a “why do women always go for the bad guy” diatribe).  If you’ve ever watched it or read a review of it or even heard of it, you probably know my conflict here: overt sexism. The series is rife with it; secretaries (that’s what they were called back then!) are sexually harassed, sexuality is used as a weapon by both men and women, and cheating, beating and berating your wife is seen as a milestone in every relationship.

The excuse? That’s the point. Part of the draw of the show, I think, is to see how times they are a changin’ since 1960s Manhattan.  No longer do secretaries administrative assistants worry about what their boss thinks about what they are wearing or who in the office is the most advantageous to sleep with.  No longer do our male co-workers ogle us from the other side of a one-way mirror.  We do not have nicknames like hun and we don’t feel forced to cover for indiscretions in our boss’ personal life.  I don’t keep a fifth of whiskey in my drawer because I know that’s what Mr. Draper prefers.  Best of all, my administrative colleagues and I don’t face a glass ceiling and have just as much opportunity as our male equivalents.

What’s unfortunate here, is that to a large extent, none of that is actually true.  I am not Post-Fem enough to think that that these things don’t happen, at least to some extent, on a regular basis.  While none of my male (or female for that matter) co-workers have ever gone so far as to make me feel uncomfortable in the office, there is still a lot of this happening in offices all around the country. The thought of that glass ceiling pressing down on us is not only very real, it’s stifling, and very much exists.

A large percentage of this may be due to the actual nature of the job. It is the role of the executive assistant to do for the executive what he or she doesn’t have the time to do or learn how to do for themselves. By that very description, we aren’t meant to move on, but to stay forever to make them feel better about their day and handle the stuff only we know how to handle. Like reminding them to eat or go home for instance.

These details of the job haven’t changed, and to some extent, neither has the environment.  Watching something like Mad Men on TV reminds us that on the one hand, things have changed for the better and thanks to things like the Lilly Ledbetter Act, it’s being addressed by the right people.  On the other hand, standing at the photocopier, pencil behind ear, bosses coffee in hand, I sometimes feel very close to my sisters from the 60s.

I know, it must be like two months at this point, I have no excuse. Things have been going on and I haven’t been telling you about them. I know this severely stunts your day.  Not only that, it’s August and work is slower than latex paint on a radiator (??), so why don’t I jot a few things down during the day?

Like I said, no excuse. I go through these phases.  So. To catch you up on the one or two mildly interesting things that are going on, I will combine them into one post with short descriptions. Please post questions in the comments.

First, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for the basement. Or the light at the end of the stage one tunnel at least. We have installed new floor in the living/kitchen area and thusly designated a living vs. kitchen area in the main room. All we have left to do is buy doors for the closet and laundry area, touch up paint in the bedroom, tile the bedroom floor and hallway and um yeah CLEAN.  Stage one complete, we rent it out to some poor homeless Howard University student content with no kitchen, stash away that money and then spend it all at Ikea for a proper kitchen area. Done and done.

Take heed, that is not wood or laminate wood floor but the inexpensive, resilient cousin, vinyl!

Take heed, that is not wood or laminate wood floor but the inexpensive, resilient cousin, vinyl!

The second thing that happened is that Javier’s face nearly exploded!

No more walks to Rock Creek Park for you mister!

No more walks to Rock Creek Park for you mister!

Fortunately some ice and 3/8 of a benadryl brought the swelling down. I would have liked to have a heart attack when I first noticed his face (the bloating came on rather suddenly after a walk) the poor lamb. My first thought was, “Oh my god, he got in a fight with the rat” and my second thought was, “Oh my god, he ate a hypodermic needle off the sidewalk.”

The third and somewhat less interesting thing is that we got tomatoes.  On the plants ok. My own tomatoes that I sowed into the earth with love finally came to fruition like seven months later.  And promptly got blossom end rot.  We’re watering less and crossing our fingers more that the next round takes a bit better.  Now if only I can get the peppers to bloom too.

The maters in happier times.

The 'maters in happier times.

Finally, I leave you with the happy news that we still have three dogs, which should come as no surprise to anyone. And as I like to fill this blog with as many cute pictures of chihuahuas as I can, I leave you with the following regal gentleman.

Yeah. Hes in the toy box.

Yeah. He's in the toy box.

Well, that’s not really what this is about, but I did want to try to use the poll function and I am considering doing the following:

Buying an iPhone.

Follwoing are arguments for:

  • I love and have always loved nifty phones. This one is perhaps one of the niftiest, arguably.
  • Matt has an iPhone, therefore I want one too.
  • But going beyond that, switching to AT&T could provide us with valuable monthly savings via some sort of family plan.
  • I can probably afford to buy an iPhone in no less than six weeks of saving the dinero.

Following are arguments against:

  • My contract with Verizon isn’t up until like 2023. True story. There will totally be some sort of penalty fee.
  • What if I can’t keep my phone number, because that possibility exists. When I was toying with this idea initially, I plugged my number into the AT&T site and it said it wouldn’t port.  Of course normally there are ways around these things, but what if the number I’ve had since 1999 (true story) is suddenly no longer mine. It’s like my identity. It’s like my other middle name. (Then again, I could switch to a cool 202 number.)
  • If I’m going to be saving money for something, shouldn’t it be like tile, or paint, or a cleaning lady?  I mean, I want a Mexican to spend 3 days cleaning our house with a toothbrush as much as I want an iPhone I think.
  • Matt doesn’t get very good reception on his iPhone.  Then again, he also drops it in the toilet an average of once a week.

So there you have it, fair readers.  Pls halp!

Salty Chihuahuas from mmhorn on Vimeo.

I have a confession.  We added a third dog to our family.  I haven’t mentioned this for about a month now because animals now outnumber humans in the house and that is borderline weird maybe.  I mean, I’m completely comfortable with it, but I can totally see how this might be viewed as “irresponsible”. I just view it as awesome.

So here’s what happened: Matt somehow came across this woman/irresponsible college student who had just bought a puppy a week ago and had suddenly come to the realization that it was not a good idea.  Matt’s immediate instinct was to snatch this baby up and bring it into our fold.  Yes, he had seen the picture.  The puppy (who this girl had obnoxiously named Spencer – oh hell no) is the spitting-freaking-image of my Dad’s dog, Cheech.  And he’s a long hair. Which is what Matt has always wanted in a chihuahua.

The other dogs now stand in Sonnys shadow.

The other dogs now stand in Sonny's shadow.

We agreed that it would be a good idea to at least meet the puppy.  If this girl was looking for a good home for the dog, we would certainly be it, although neither of us were sure if it was a good idea (then again, what really is the difference between two little dogs and three?).  So the girl came over that night with her mom and the puppy.  Javier and Maya were intrigued at first but they got along after several minutes of the standard butt sniffing and now the three of them are the best of friends.  After the meeting, we agreed that the dog was awesome and that we would certainly rename him, but we decided it wasn’t the best idea for right now.  Matt called the chick the next day, who was decidedly disappointed.  She had liked the idea that he would have other young dogs to play with, two experienced dog owners and a family member who could get us good/free vet care (Matt’s mom’s works at a vet, for those who don’t know).  We were sad and a little bit regretful, but thought we had done the right thing… until she came back with a much lower price on him in addition to her reasons for wanting us to have him.  We had to help a sister out, of course, and also, the puppy was awesome.

So here he is, our newest family member, Sonny Coreleone Scouten (Matt picked the first name, Matt gets the surname).  Our plan is currently that we will take him and train him and make him a good dog (this might be tough, he loves biting ears) and maybe rehome him with a forever family.  We already have good friends who have a little bit of a crush on the guy and they would make a great pack together, and plus we would still get to see him frequently.

I already have the greatest dog story to share now that we have the three totally used to each other.  It is unarguably the cutest thing in the world ever to happen.  Matt was working his double shift the other night, so it was just me and the dogs and we went up to bed early to watch some TV. When I finished watching To Catch a Predator, I got up to do my teeth and take out contacts and just left the dogs in the room (the gate was up so they couldn’t follow me) – they were asleep under the covers anyway and probably had no intention of moving. Well when I came back from the bathroom, all three of them were sitting next to each other on the corner of the bed looking at the door waiting for me.  I said “aw you guys!” to them and they all three reacted at the exact same time (Maya did her signature head tilt, Javi opened his mouth to grin and Sonny waved his ears back) so I came into the room with my arms out to hug them all for being awesome and they all three got up at the same time and started wagging their tails and getting excited.  It was freaking adorable.

Having dogs is so cool.

Sonny always has some sort of stick or bit of something in his mouth.

Sonny always has some sort of stick or bit of something in his mouth.

I would like to start by saying thank you to the neighborhood for not forcing us to call the cops for the first six weeks of living there.  You have impressed us greatly despite having pretty much everything going against you: a strip club, drugs in the alley, countless liquor stores and more than your share of Punk Ass Kids.  So here’s to you, Petworth for NOT totally freaking us out until last night.

OK, we weren’t really freaked out so much as we finally reached our breaking point.  Let me begin at the beginning.  I managed to leave the office at 5 yesterday witht he plan of FINALLY going to get my toes done at that salon across the street.  Literally it is across the street, roughly 50 steps from my front door and yet somehow I have managed to not go there for about four weeks in a row now.  Partially this is because I knew what kind of place it was and since I didn’t want my hair braided or relaxed and nor did I know I single other customer or stylist, I would be horribly out of place.  That and I’m the only white girl for miles.  Yesterday was my day though.  I opened the door to the little salon and stepped in expecting the worst.  It wasn’t bad.  Don’t get me wrong, I was being stared at by every soul in the place, but no one seemed disturbed by my presence, just a little taken aback perhaps.  I asked if anyone had time for a pedicure and the woman (who was not sitting at the reception desk, incidentally and I wasn’t clear if she actually worked there in the first place) told me they didn’t do pedicures.  Really?  The website said you did and there are bottles of nail polish here…

Dejected, I returned home where Matt and I decided we would celebrate (more on that later) by making the glorious Key Lime Pie Shots.  So off I headed to the corner store a block over where we previously found the whipped cream.  Evidently the store closes at like 4pm on Tuesdays, so no luck there.  Matt hadn’t tried the CVS before (you would be surprised at how difficult it is to find whipped cream in these bodegas) so I headed down the other way to try my luck there.  As I approached I noticed yellow tape, “Hmm,” I thought, “they must be redoing the sidewalk, I wonder if there is a side entrance…”  As I got closer though, I realized it was crime scene tape and the sidewalk was totally fine.  Shit had apparently gone down.  This morning, thanks to the 4D police tweetstream I discovered there was an armed (gun) robbery.  Dejected once again, I headed to Jefferson Liquors not expecting whipped cream, but instead compensating with a six pack of summer wheat beer.  Good enough.


It was a disappointing afternoon, but we weren’t completely discouraged so we enjoyed some dinner on the grill (do not eat chicken hot dogs, ew) and a couple of margaritas before heading to bed for the night.  And this is where it all fell apart, because we had gotten pretty used to living two doors down from a strip club, but there is only so much a person can take at 1:42am.  We have learned that the club closes at 1:30 (or maybe that’s just last call and at that point, why stay, because it’s not for the girls) and shortly thereafter there is some ruckus that lasts only about 5 minutes while people buy their last round of crack, say their goodbyes and/or wrap up a domestic dispute int he middle of the street and head home for the night.  It gets pretty loud, but historically it doesn’t last long enough for us to get annoyed enough to get up and either a. yell at them or b. tell on them.  Last night was totally different though.  I don’t know if they were serving sambuca there yesterday or what, but people were angry.  Like livid with one another.  And some jackass was either messing with someone’s car alarm or screwing around with his own.  I have never heard such noises: a cross between a dying heffer, a cat in heat and, well, car alarm.  The entire scene lasted around half an hour (it could have actually only been ten minutes, but in this situation, time literally slows down, especially if you want to go to sleep) and included screaming bitches (it couldn’t have been any other type of person) obnoxious laughter and general noisiness combined with background music from someone’s car and the dreaded car alarm insanity.  I briefly considered leaning out the window and screaming at them to STFU, it’s goddamned TUESDAY, but decided against it as there were almost certainly 10-15 people with guns and/or flamethrowers out there.  The only solace I take in the entire incident was the moment when Matt finally woke up (that guy will sleep through WWIII) flailing his arms toward the alarm clock at the sound of a particularly obnoxious moment with the car alarm.

I snapped of course and made him go downstairs to call the cops.  We made it so long, but after that evening I think we had both just had enough.  We are those people. The white ones.