Post-Game Wrap-Up

First of all, the game was pretty exciting. I didn’t mind watching at all, though I couldn’t care less who won. No one at the party was a super-fan so we didn’t have any problems with guys in face-paint going berserk when some dude dropped the ball.

Twenty-two guests showed up. Scott, Gunther, Gordo, Polly, and some other obvious candidates, plus the dry cleaner Ramon and believe it or not, letter carrier Hung. The Whole Foods contingent came en masse, and the fun thing was, a lot of people brought a friend or two, so there were new people to meet.

One of the best things about the party was that it was such a weird mix of people that practically no one (besides me) knew more than a small percentage. So everyone was meeting a lot of new people. But hands down, my favorite new person is Astrid the check-out girl’s boyfriend Cesar. He works in marketing, but mostly for appliance manufacturers. His job is to “humanize” appliances by making boring features seem more intelligent. Example: He pointed to my toaster oven. It had a setting called, “Bagel.” He asked me, “What do you think that does?”

I had never really thought about it, but I did use it every time I want to toast a bagel. I said, “I don’t know, some kind of sensor makes the toaster heat penetrate a thicker dough of a bagel?”

He said, “That’s what I do. I make you think the toaster is smart. ‘Bagel’ setting increases the toast time by 10%. That’s it.”*

Turns out, there are only two things that are adjustable on the toast setting. Power and time. You can make the power go from 10% to 100% and you can adjust the time it toasts. That’s it. Putting a button on the front that says “Belgian Waffles” doesn’t change the fact that there’s only those two variables.

I love this guy.**

Anyway, the party was a big hit. Everyone had fun. It was good seeing Scott again. And Gunther even got along with his ex Monica. (I should have mentioned that things didn’t work out with 19-year-old aspiring TV personality Marta. It didn’t long. I think they broke up in December.) I’m not sure, but I think Gunther and Monica may have left together. So maybe if that’s back on, I can add matchmaker to my resume.

* Bagel setting also makes only the top element heat because it assumes you sliced your bagel and placed both sides face up, unlike the normal toast setting which toasts on both the upper and lower element simultaneously. But I already knew that part.

** I will post another entry about the rest of our conversation. I just love it when I learn something that never occurred to me but is so obvious when someone tells you.

Gathering the Troops

This week has been fun trying to invite people to my Superbowl party. The first and only rule is: no emails as it kind of defeats the whole purpose.

I don’t have a Rolodex of everyone I’ve met in the last 18 months but that’s okay. It’s an excuse to track people down and talk to them.

So first, I called the people I know well enough to have phone numbers for. Gunther obviously. And his stupid friend Gordo. I also called Monica but she wasn’t home and I left a message. I called Scott and we caught up for a bit. He’s been auditioning a lot and has a new girlfriend. I invited people from work like Janet, but not Neil and Kyle because they’re just co-workers not strangers I talk to.

I ran into Polly and she’s coming. And my new friend Luke from the pet store.

Tracking down the rest has been a challenge. I left a note for Maria the cleaning lady but I’d be surprised if she showed up. I also left a note for letter carrier Hung and Pedro the newspaper guy.

But I visited Ramon the dry cleaner in person. He was actually very helpful in explaining who was playing and the backstory for the game. I also invited the Cheese Guy and Check-out Girl in person because I was Whole Foods anyway and it was easy. The check-out girl (with the nose ring) is named Astrid and I made sure to invite her in front of Michelle so she didn’t think I was asking her out. She asked if she could bring a friend and I said the more the merrier.

All in all, I invited a couple dozen people and I have no idea how many will actually show up. But I’m buying a lot of beer and a couple party subs from Bay Cities so hopefully it will be a decent turnout.

Dog Groomer

I’m still learning about how to take care of a dog. Polly has been very helpful and she gave me the number of a dog groomer.

I would give Tad a bath myself, and I have, but he’s been scratching a lot lately and Polly said he just needs to get a real bath by a professional.

So I called this guy and he shows up with a big mobile grooming van. Tad went up on a table and got groomed for an hour. I went to check on him and I saw the guy drying Tad’s hair and kind of mussing it in front of his eyes like a hairdresser would do to a model. He didn’t see me watching him but it was pretty funny.

After I paid the guy, I asked, “Just out of curiosity, how does one get into pet grooming? Do you go to school for that?”

He said he was a people hairdresser but he found that he loves animals more than people. He was kidding but maybe only a little. Apparently, you can go to school to learn how to properly groom a pet. He said some breeds of dogs require very specific techniques. He’s groomed Puli’s before and you have to separate the ropes of their hair with razor blades. Anyway, this guy really knew his shit.

I asked him, “So, do you still cut people’s hair on special occasions?”

He looked at me and said, “Sorry, I’m not going to cut your hair.”

I laughed and he said to call him in three months for Tad’s next appointment.

Dog Park

Sorry I haven’t posted anything all week.

I thought I was fine with Chloe breaking up with me, but it turns out I was actually pretty upset about it. I’ve been working long hours, too, and haven’t been in the mood to talk to much of anyone. Then, yesterday I ran into Polly with her dog Fellini. Fellini and Tad have hit it off since they met and Polly invited us to join them at the dog park.

The funny thing about the dog park is how everyone refers to themselves as so-and-so’s owner, not by their real name. But the dog park is a friendly place where strangers just naturally talk to each other and there’s always something to talk about: your dog. So I met some of Polly’s friends, a big bald guy with a lot of tattoos (Hunter’s owner); a bookish woman in her sixties (Mimi’s owner); an Asian guy who does something in the music business (Chulu’s owner); and a few others.

I really liked the dog park and Tad did, too. Polly and I walked back to our apartment complex and I thanked her. Then she said that she thought I seemed down and I decided to tell her about Chloe. She was sympathetic. She didn’t reach any conclusions or offer any advice. She just said, “Well, I hope the dog park cheered you up a little.” And it did.

4-Legged Dog Girl

I saw Polly again and asked about the new dog I saw her with. First of all, his name is “Fellini,” which seems a little pretentious.

Second, Fellini is a mixed breed, but mostly Lab. And third, unlike François, Fellini has four legs.

It was obviously a sensitive subject but I was super curious so I gently started with, “I noticed that Fellini has all his legs…”

She said, “I know, everyone is asking the same thing. The truth is, I looked for another special needs dog at the shelter but they didn’t have any. So Fellini lucked out.”

Turns out, dogs with missing limbs are the first ones euthanized, so Polly has had several “special needs” dogs over the years. In fact, this is the first dog she’s had with all four legs.

I told her that all dogs go to heaven and she’d be right there with them.

Three-Legged-Dogless Girl

Polly’s dog died.

I saw her in the complex without François and I said, “Hey, where’s your dog?” She told me he had cancer.

I was thinking, “Great, like the holidays aren’t depressing enough without thinking about dogs dying of cancer.” But what I said was, “Come here.” I gave her a big hug.

It’s weird. There are people who touch you without provocation (or invitation) like Janet at work who always puts her hand on your shoulder when she’s talking to you. It doesn’t mean anything. It just feels nice. I am totally not that kind of person (big surprise) and the thought of just touching someone seems a bit rude, but mostly just scary. Still, in this case it just seemed right and I hugged Polly for a good little while.

And I think afterward she felt better.

Three-Legged Dog Girl

I met a girl today in my apartment complex who was walking her dog. The dog was a French Bulldog (so she told me) and he only had three legs. I’ve seen her walking this dog a few times before and I’ve never stopped to say hello, but today the dog came up to me and starting humping my leg, so I felt like the time was right to break the ice.

I said, “Wow, this really brings back the memories.”

She pulled him off of me and laughed. “You have a dog?”

I said, “No, but I did some hard time a few years back.”

She looked at me kind of shocked.

“Just kidding. I’m Fletcher. I live in 1305.”

We talked for a while about her dog (François). He didn’t lose his leg in Nam, he was born that way. The girl’s name was Polly. She was not super hot by any means but I told her I’d see her around. And that if François wants to hump me again, he’d better buy me dinner first.