Monthly Archives: January 2012

Canada O Canada

The Man recently went on a whining kick. Apparently, we have been “doing winter break wrong.” One should sleep all day, refuse to do anything productive, and one should never have to deal with inordinate numbers of family members or with graduate applications. Therefore the vacation he took from his real, adult-like job did not count. He declared a redo was necessary, and we prepared to leave for Lake George, NY for a weekend of “real break.” He had a list of demands: no cell phones, no laptops, no alarm clocks, and please… no driving and driving and driving. We were going to relax…. OR ELSE! (I think he was a little broken at this point.)

Aligning with our tradition of vacationing in resort towns or visiting attractions in the off-season, Lake George seemed like a perfect candidate! As we drove into town we started to understand just how off-season this was.

Everything was closed! And when I say everything… I mean everything. Mc-ubiqui-Donald’s was even amidst the masses of businesses that decided the winter wasn’t worth their time. My universe went off kilter, just a bit, at the site of that sign. (I must say… Lake George in the off-season with very little to offer STILL is more functional than The Man’s incredibly-tiny-town that he calls home. At least we could find a bar!)

Due to the lack of anything whatsoever to do, we were forced to comply with The Man’s rules. We could do nothing but dine at the local dive bar and then return to the hotel for happy-go-jump-on-the-big-bed time and also enjoyed watching TV ad nauseam. We began with a bit of the Travel Channel and then the Food Channel. Then we got sucked in to the point of rooting for questionable characters on a show called Winter Wipeouts. (Japanese game show spin off. People run through snow and water on foam-covered obstacle courses of hilarity and inevitable doom.) We then decided to be entirely socially-acceptable and watch the Republican Debate. We added a drinking game JUST TO BE SAFE and not lose our young people cards for all of eternity due to a moment of indulgent, morbid interest. The TV stare was in full swing, and I thought we had finally “done break right.” The next morning we even traveled to a restaurant that provided us with a gluttonous breakfast experience fit for the gods. No, seriously. I ate an omelette in the morning and could not fathom eating another meal ever again. It was THAT good.

After the obligatory 45 min of ooh-ing and ahh-ing about the culinary experience that just rocked both of our worlds, we set out for the day. Rather than go directly home, The Man got a strange look in his eye. It should have made me stop in terror, but I went with it. THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE! We were quickly speeding to the highway to go on a random road trip up, up, up, to the tip-top of NY State. We decided we were going to Plattsburgh for absolutely no reason at all! Come to think of it… we’re known for making those random road trips far too often for either of us to claim temporary insanity.

As we neared Plattsburgh, The Man turned and asked if I would like to wave at the Canadians. This seemed harmless enough, and we decided to pursue the US/Canadian border with nothing but glee and wanderlust to guide us.

As The Man passed the Last US Exit, I pointed out that we did not have our passports. He kept going, though. For a moment, I believed him when he told me he could sweet talk our way through the check point just to say we had put both feet in Canada. Having had some extensive experience with customs all over the world (none all that good), I was a tad worried — but it’s Canada after all…

As we pulled up to the check point, we handed over drivers licenses. That’s when I started to panic. Not because I am a terrorist hoping to annihilate Montreal or even because I have a history as a political extremist. It’s because I don’t know my own address due to my life being a “cray cray” excuse for an existence. Just to give you a brief account… My driver’s license says that my permanent address is in Indiana (where I lived before college), but my parent’s just moved a week a half ago to Maryland. Therefore on every application my address is now Maryland. But if you want to mail me something, you need to send it to New Jersey. Even more, though, if you need to send me something around the holidays you should really send the mail to Massachusetts. So that’s… 4 addresses to keep straight in my head, let alone a customs agent’s head. And to make matters even dicier… how on earth could we answer why we were where we were?? We were at least 2 hours out of the way of our vacation… let alone The Man’s Massachusetts home and about 18 hours from my license’s Indiana address.

Needless to say, the customs agent was not entirely pleased with our faces when we explained that we really only drove up there to see Canada and could we just go home now.

The first lady delivered a very pleasant speech about being “at” Canada rather than “in” Canada and forwarded us to immigration to plead our case. The Man is an avid proponent of Quebecois French and could only be a shade of giddy when the agent began to speak with the iconic accent, since he was terrified at this point that he had crossed international lines of doom and despair. I could only giggle because we were able to be apprehended by Canadian customs for being ridiculous.

Never to fear, though. Canada is free to be kind and happy with their maple leaves and any and all aggression focused into hockey matches. The agent informed us that it is actually perfectly legal to enter Canada without a passport or even a birth certificate.

So basically we were free to enter Canada, take a multitude of pictures, and we could even grab lunch! The issue was whether or not our own government would let us return. That’s when we decided that though we had sought adventure, perhaps being prohibited from US-reentry was enough adventure and we could skip the lunch. We then asked to go right back to New York, please and thank you. A half hour later, a background check, and some giggles from the 5 US agents that had to deal with us — we were set to drive the 6 hours back home.

We got to do exactly what The Man wanted… we even got to be in Canada for a whole 10 minutes!

The moral of the story… You can never “do break right.” You’re bound to randomly drive to Canada when you actively attempt to do nothing.



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Anne Frank

The joy of engagement is twice the number of painfully awkward family moments (oh, and true love), and the holidays are stupendous about bringing those painfully awkward moments about twice as fast. Sometimes Aunt Bertha doesn’t like the holiday beef n’ noodles and wants to let everyone know as loudly as possible because her hearing is going and she just doesn’t give a rooster’s poop. Sometimes your adopted cousin’s bratty kid #4 forgets to say thank you and can’t quite muster a thankful face for grandma’s hand-made bunny-filled sweater set. It’s just always a precious time.

This holiday season was particularly exciting and fun-filled for The Man and I. Let me set the scene.

Since I finished the final exam period at my university on December 23rd (this is always spectacularly later than any other human-filled university) my PTSD was happening in the middle of a people-filled, awkward moment inducing, holiday season.

Let me explain that I am an only child of an only child. I am loud and rambunctious at times, but people are alien to me. I am what I like to call a “social hermit.” My family holiday meals are comprised of 5 people including myself. Last year when The Man visited, he increased our attendance by a whole 20 percent! The Man’s family, however, is notorious for entertaining anyone and everyone who so much as glances at the house or is somehow a known party by some distant family member. For example, a Thanksgiving guest this year was a cousin’s ex-husband (who is now a woman)’s adopted son. Yeah. It makes little sense to anyone.

Another joy of engagement is the vast majority of the earth’s population feeling as if they can only speak to you about wedding-related things, even if those wedding-related things have already been discussed and ruled out. For instance, cake always seems to be very important —- and to some flowers are the pinnacle of the experience. To elect to use silk flowers is a slight against all that is holy, and by all power in the world they will let you know. It’s fun!

To add to the glorious tension, The Man and I have created a self-induced haze of happiness by practicing religious traditions disliked by the rest of The Man’s family. Candles are for decorations, never to be burned, and in the name of all that is good they should never be burned for an hour every evening for 8 evenings! So in the name of familial unity and support, pork is served at every spare moment. We have pork covered in bacon, sprinkled with dried bacon. Again! Fun!

As The Man and I are haters of all fun and happiness, we ended up retreating to his living quarters hoping that the 15 people downstairs struggling through the construction of Lego worlds and pork withdrawal would indeed go away soon and not stay the night.

And since The Man lives in a tiny room in the attic… we were trapped. Unable to leave the house lest being spotted and offered more pork, jew jokes, or lectured on flower arrangements. It was a terrible sight. We tried to help ourselves maintain sanity through wedding planning, music listening, even some jokes and games.

But finally I had to speak out! I chose to harness my inner Linus and tell not the traditional Christmas story… but OUR Christmas story. And it went something like this:

And that… is our Jewy story of awkward, familial, PTSD-ridden, Christmas bliss!

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

told you I would start this thing and promptly drop off the face of the planet.

It was not because I became a successful author who could then look down on such pithy things as blogging.

It was not because I because I became the next Glee star filled with iconic musical ability and a depth for stereotypical emotion that will move Gleeks to the point of tears.

No. I can honestly say it’s because I am a bonafide crazay person who took ALL the life things and heaped them heartily onto a single plate and then decided to run as fast as I could because I thought I had a future as a track star.

I tried to take life by the horns and smack it into the ground to make it mine. I told it where it could shove it’s difficulties and important milestones, and it ended prrrrrreettttyyyyy badly.

And for these reasons, PTSD was inevitable. Like every semester of a college student’s career, finals week results in forgetfulness. Forgetfulness to bathe, to eat, sometimes to breathe. It is a horribly traumatic process, and only the strong survive. And those who are “strong,” limp woundedly to the finish line of winter break where nothing but the flu and horrifically awkward family moments await them.

Being the over-achiever that I am, I decided to add 10 incredibly important, life-altering, please-don’t-screw-these-up applications to an already ridiculous load of papers, exams, and grading (since I also decided to teach two classes this semester).

So basically I’ve been very little more than an incarnate, continuous cycle of post-traumatic stress.

Add a few moments of pure terror about font sizes and reference writers for a few applications, a cross-country move for the parents, and an extensive stay at the future in-laws.

BUT I am now a human, and therefore I will try to write once again. I have several months of funny, humorous, and awesome stories coming right up!

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