Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's on.

Dear Old Neighbors,

Let me just start off by saying you were the best neighbors. The best neighbors.

Royce and Linda with your two kids and your two Bernese Mountain Dogs. You invited us on bike rides and over for turkey burger dinners. And you, Karolina, with the body of a model and the face of an angel and the personality of my best friend. After you guest starred on House, you talked to my mom about it for 20 minutes in the front yard. It was precious. And Kumail, you're a total big shot now, you and your lovely wife Emily. After being hilarious on Portlandia, you'd think you would have been an A-hole to me after I scraped your white Honda with the front of my car. But when I saw you at LaMill and confessed my crime, you both just laughed at me. To be fair, it wasn't the fanciest Honda. I hope a big time comedian like you is at least driving an Accord by now. You deserve it.

And Michaela. Oh, Michaela. The best neighbor ever. You never wore your shoes inside the house. You gave us gift cards when we picked up your mail. You never balked when Rob set up his kit and started banging away on the drums like a lost Blue Man. And we could always tell when you were in a writing frenzy, because that's when you blasted Bon Jovi. It was adorable.

Dear New Neighbors,

I mean, we finally have a driveway. No more double-parking in the two-way street that should be a one-way street, flipping on the hazards, and unloading groceries like the Flash after a Costco run. It's perfect as long as there are no more than four cars in the driveway. And yet you, you who is one person, manages to squeeze three cars onto your side of the driveway. And then, sometimes you lose the key to that third car! The one I need you to move so I can get to work!

Yesterday, when I was complaining about you to some friends, Rob said, "Well, she's not that bad. She doesn't blast rap music at two in the morning."

(Rob. Why? Why did you have to say that?)

Because he's right. You don't blast rap at two in the morning. You blast rap at seven in the morning. You blast rap at seven in the morning from that third car that's squeezed into the driveway.

But guess what, neighbor. Rob's had enough. He's declared war on your ass. Music war. And you don't want to start a music war with a guy who has two sets of drums, a butt load of guitars, and a grudge.

It's on.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fritz whispers and eats off of a fork.

Don't worry. We didn't share the fork.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On PuppyCats and the Feet Thereof

This is my puppycat.

He has a tumor in his little dog foot. But it's a friendly tumor, which means he's going to be fine.

But when your dog is your only baby and there's something wrong with his little foot, you get a lot of worrying done. Even though he's just dumb dog who can't even talk yet, knowing that the vet said his foot looked abnormal just sucked all the happiness out of the world for me. I'd find myself gazing at him wistfully while he was sleeping, and worrying that his already too-short life span would be cut even shorter by some stupid growth in his stupid foot. That's how crazy I am.

And this is why I can't have human children — because my dog's totally benign foot problem became an almost earth-collapsing, soul-obliterating catastrophe for me. I don't know much, but I know human babies get sick, and injured, and other horrible things, and I am telling you I will not stand for it. I will not be able to tolerate a health crisis of human proportions.

And that is why we don't have babies.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Digs

We moved two months ago. Left our perfect neighborhood and our lovely little cave for a slightly bigger cave in a slightly less perfect neighborhood. But we're happy here. If these walls could talk, they would sing because there's music in this place all the time. You can even see Rob tinkering with the record player.

This is what the living room looks like if you stand in the middle of it and turn around in a circle.

Utah friends: do not be alarmed by the bars on the windows. It's a CA thing. And by that I mean Los Angeles is very dangerous.

And this is Rob's studio, a place I once foolishly called the "second bedroom." Mistake!

Never mind the puffy blue coat hanging in the corner. Its for ... uh ... soundproofing.

And here's our little bedroom.

Use your imagination machine to pretend the lightning and composition of this one are any good. Actually, do that for all of the photos. K, thanks!

And that's about it! Thanks for stopping by! I'd show you the bathroom, but no, eew, gross, plus Rob is in there. 

Photos of the patio area to come!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hashtag: Done!

This is the message I got in the e-lectronic mail a couple of days ago. It let me know that after a second bachelor's degree, two years of course work, tutoring, teaching writing, and about eight solid months of cobbling together a bunch of thesis-related nonsense, I'm finally ... ten pounds heavier. Wait! No. I'm finally a master. Which sounds oh so douchey. Here I am, another over-educated, underpaid liberal arts professional. Just one more obnoxious person to tell people that they are using the word "literally" incorrectly. You're welcome, world!

Now that I've finished a bit of graduate school, I feel like I can offer insight to those of you who might still be considering it, even after reading post after complain-y post about how totally sucky it can be. It's gonna be a list because, as it turns out, Gretta Baby totes hates writing.

  • The more you learn, the more you realize you know nothing. Your brain is teensy, and really, it can only hold so much. So if you go to grad school and find you have to scrunch names and dates and theories in your cabeza, be prepared to forget other important things like your parent's first names or whether or not you put on deodorant this morning.
  • You won't have time to exercise or go to the dentist, but you will totally make room in your schedule for quality Internet and bad TV. It's called procrastinating and it is the best.
  • Graduate school has a povertizing effect. That's why even though you don't have enough time to floss your teeth, you could find yourself taking on one to two extra jobs to fund your Kindle habit.
  • The definition of fun changes. You think you like movies now, or maybe the beach. After graduate school, you think "fun" means a super-specialized conference, or maybe just a nap on the crumb-encrusted TA office couch. 
  • You can do it without alcohol, but you can NOT do it without caffeine. You just can't.
  • Everyone else thinks they're stupid, too. 
And that's it. That's literally every single thing I learned in graduate school (so far...there is talk in the Whalen house of some self-loathing someone pursuing a PhD). That and some silly, made up literary theory and stuff. But most importantly, I learned that the best way to get through hard things is to do it with a group of people you're in love with. What I'm saying is, the best way to get through grad school is to build a family of friends. If grad school were a MasterCard commercial, it would go something like this:

Tuition: $15,000+
Books: $Something inconceivable
A group of like-minded nerds that you'll love for the rest of your life: Priceless

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Low Can I Go?

I killed the urge to blast my sad mood today on Facebook. It was going to be a cry for help wrapped in a joke (just like most of my cries for help/jokes) — "Is there, like, a self-esteem store?," I was going to ask my Internet friends. And they would ask me what's wrong or tell me I'm great, and I would feel a little bit better about myself for being loved.

But that's stupid.

I'm not going to do that.

The truth is, I feel like a piece of garbage today. I feel so utterly garbage-y that I even checked the Period Plus app on my phone just to be sexist to myself and see if I could blame the bad feelings on my unwieldy lady hormones.

Nope. Not quite.

It's that pesky question mark in my soul. The one that keeps me from know that I, Gretta, am OK; I'm worth the time and space I occupy in the universe.

This is a hard thing to know.

Do you know it? Do you know that you are worth more than the things you accomplish? Do you know that I love you despite, and perhaps because of, what you deem to be your failures?

Well, I do.

(Because if you're reading this, you're probably related to me.)

If there were a self-esteem store, I hope they would be smart enough to sell it in bulk, like toilet paper. Because sometimes you need a lot self-esteem to wipe the mess off of a crappy day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Five-a-versary!

Did you know most divorces occur within the first five years of marriage? Does this mean we're in clear? Answer: yes, unless Rob cheats on me. But not even then, because if he does, I will end him.

In five years, we have:
Dealt with my lay-off and unemployment
Endured teaching seminary, Gospel Doctrine, and college English
Gained and lost and gained tens of pounds (that one's just me, actually)
Worked at least seven jobs, sometimes three at a time 
Moved once
Had zero human children, one dog child, and one master's degree (almost)
Inherited one sweet piano
Bought a crapton of music equipment
Made a zillion friends
Watched a buttload of Netflix.

Here's hoping the next five years are pretty much the same.