Posts Tagged ‘hindsight’s 20/20’

Years ago – when I was old enough to know better, but still prone to stupid mistakes – my parents left me at home with a friend while they participated in a progressive dinner. They were hosting the main course, so they’d be back eventually, and my only instructions were not to touch the pot roast that was cooking upstairs.

No problem.

Cara and I were downstairs watching a movie when we got hungry and decided to make ramen. To this day, I’m not sure why I didn’t just pause the movie, go upstairs, and make the soup. But then again, hindsight is 20/20.

I decided to boil water in the downstairs microwave, which was situated so that I could still see the TV.

The next thing I knew there was a fire in the microwave.

You see, the “still prone to stupid mistakes” part of me didn’t think about the fact that I had used a metal pot – with a plastic handle – to boil the water.

It was the handle that caught on fire and was slowly burning up, blackening the formerly white microwave and stinking up the entire downstairs.

I grabbed the first thing I could find – a ladle – and tried to fill it up with water to toss on the flames. Cara, the calmer of the two of us, pointed out that the bowl (next to the ladle) would hold more water.

Good point.

We safely extinguished the fire and nervously waited for my parents to get home. Even if I could have hidden the microwave, there was no hiding the smell.

I remember wondering just how mad my parents would be, and what they’d say when they walked through the door.

First words from Mama:

Whatever happened, that better not be the pot roast.

I thought there’d be more, but they had company coming, so my microwave-shenanigans weren’t fully addressed that night.

Fast forward a few weeks to Christmas morning, opening our stockings.

My mom has always been an expert stocking stuffer. She manages to find the perfect mix of fun doodads and incredibly useful things that you didn’t know you needed until you open them. But always smaller, lighter things (and each individually wrapped, to make it more fun).

My stocking that year, however, was fully weighed down in the toe and as I made my way through the rest I was both excited and curious.

The last thing I pulled out – the heavy thing – was probably about seven inches tall and cylindrical. And I couldn’t even begin to guess as to what it was.

I certainly wasn’t expecting the huge can of heavy duty microwave cleaner. Though maybe I should have been.

I imagine that my mom must have been smirking as I pulled off the wrapping, but I don’t remember that for a fact.

I do know that, given the damage I did to the microwave, and the smell that permeated the house for at least a week, I was lucky that the cleaner wasn’t the only thing in my stocking that year.

And no, I haven’t boiled water in the microwave since.

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Back in 2007, after graduating in May, I was spending the summer at home searching the job boards and sending out resumes left and right. I wasn’t set on DC; I was open to anything. But when August rolled around, and I still wasn’t getting many responses, I realized I had to do something drastic.

So I moved.

On September 1st I left my parents’ house and moved to Ballston. Cla, who was already down here and working, and I had found a place close enough to the metro, and cheap enough to fit our budget – and hadn’t yet realized the difference between DC and DC Metro Area.

The first couple weeks were fun. I played housewife and decorated the apartment, cleaned, cooked, and applied for jobs while Cla was at work during the day. I went out for runs, exploring my new neighborhood, finding trails and shops and restaurants.

But then two weeks turned into a month. And then a little longer. And then a little longer. And once you hit that point it feels like you’re never going to find a job. Ever.

I’d had interviews, sure, but nothing that I loved. And nothing, to be honest, that I was ultimately offered.

By the time my current job called me back, it had been about a month since I’d turned in my application. They asked me in for an interview in mid-October; for a second one by the end of the month; and then I started, November 12, 2007.

In hindsight, two jobless months doesn’t seem so bad. And had I known it was only going to be two months, I would have taken more advantage of my free time. But while I was going through it, those two months were excruciating.

The office has changed a lot in three years. Employees have come and gone. I’ve loved it and hated it and loved it again.

More than ever, though, I realize that for a kid right out of college who barely knew what she was doing, this was a pretty sweet first-job to land.

And I’m so grateful for that.

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Well, I did it. I went to see Harry Potter this past weekend.


I went to a 5:30  showing on Friday, totally underestimating the number of people who also had summer hours. But, despite the packed theater, there weren’t very many children – no one under 13 that I could see. Except for the little boy, two seats to my right. “Little” as in 5 or 6 years old. As in, he couldn’t sit through the previews without listening to his mom’s iPod. As soon as I saw that, I had misgivings about spending the next two and a half hours next to them, but by then it was too late. My only other option was to sit all the way up front and risk straining my neck.

In hindsight, that may have been the better choice.

First of all, there was the mom. Apparently she had some very important business to attend to, because her phone was buzzing like crazy. I would hear the buzz, see the screen light up as she checked the text, then hear tap tap tap as she replied.

Once? Okay. Annoying, but I can deal. Consistently tap tap tapping for the entire movie? Get the hell out of the theater. I saw the screen light up with an incoming call at one point, and I swear she contemplated answering it.

If only...

When she took her son out of the theater, about half way through the film, I breathed a sigh of relief. But then, they returned; he was crying, she was frustrated. Call me crazy, but usually you take a crying child out of the theater. You don’t bring him back, still in tears. But what do I know? I’m no parent.

I had initially been skeptical about this kid watching the movie considering that, even though it was rated PG, it had some intense and possibly nightmare-inducing scenes (especially if you’re still at the age where you use a night-light). Apparently, that wasn’t an issue, because he got bored with Harry Potter and demanded (in an outside voice) the iPod back, in order to watch a different movie on there.

It’s times like those that I wish I were a confrontational person. I wish that I’d had the guts to actually say something, instead of shooting death stares to my right, every time another electronic lit up and clicked. I rationalized that 1) to say something would have made even more noise,  and 2) if the mom got feisty (which looked like a possibility), there was nowhere for me to move.

But honestly, if I can pull myself away from my Blackberry for two and a half hours, lady, I’m pretty sure you can do the same.

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More often than not, when it comes to TV, I find that I’m a day late and a dollar short. Even if someone raves about a certain show (The Wire, The Office, 30 Rock, etc), telling me that I have to watch it, it’s never too high on my priority list. Which is why last night was the first night that I finally got around to watching one of these recommendations: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

My first thought: Why did I wait so long?

I actually laughed out loud at certain points. There’s something so appealing about that cutting, sarcastic, I-know-we’re-best-friends-but-I’m-going-to-put-you-down-and-out-do-you-any-chance-I-get (get all that?) kind of humor that, before I knew it, I was through the first season. (That’s productive, right? At least, productive enough for a Sunday…) Season two: bring it on.

My second thought (as per one of the episodes): Wouldn’t it be fun to go to prom again?

Senior Prom

Senior Prom

Which was immediately followed by a little voice in my head saying, yeah, right – remember the last time you thought that?

My freshman year in college, I was still friendly with one kid back home who I had worked with at a summer camp. He was two years younger, and at a neighboring high school, but we stayed in touch fairly frequently. At one point during the year we were talking, and he told me about the upcoming junior prom. He seemed worried that he wouldn’t have a date by the time it rolled around – an idea that I thought was crazy, considering the fact that he’s a good looking guy, and had plenty of girl friends. So, when he jokingly (I thought) said, “So, if I can’t find a date, would you wanna go to prom?” I laughed and said, “Sure, why not.

Rookie mistake.

It turns out that he couldn’t (or didn’t) find a date. So here I was, finished my freshman year of college, going to a junior prom with one guy I knew (who I now suspected had a bit of a crush on me – I know, I know, I’m slow on the uptake), and a bunch of his friends, who I’d never met before.

I’m not sure which made me feel older – being at that prom, or being back on my college campus over a month ago.

I might have to go with the prom.

Not only was the dance itself awkward at best (after a freshman year of frat parties, I’d forgotten how to dance without alcohol), but the school-sponsored after party was…well, kind of a joke. I felt completely trapped by not having my own car there, and spent the better part of the after after party (at some other girl’s house) trying to figure out how to convince Junior that I really should be getting home.

This came up for "awkward prom dance." Pretty dead on.

This came up for "awkward prom dance." Pretty dead on.

With the combination of the Always Sunny episode and it having been prom season for the past month or so, I’ve thought back on each one that I attended (five total), and come to this conclusion: I had a great time at most of those proms, which would explain why I didn’t recognize that last one as a terrible idea. But, in hindsight, it was kind of like that last bite of ice cream, when you’re already too full. Or that last sip of margarita, when you already know you’ve had enough.

Sometimes it’s just better to quit while you’re ahead.

Now, I wonder how long before that lesson finally sinks in…

*Yes, “We’ve Got Tonight” was my super predictable and cheesy senior prom song. And at the time? I loved every second of it.

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