Official Retraction

I would just quickly like to issue an official retraction from my last blog post. For those of you who forgot, or for gosh sake’s didn’t read it, the post was about my poor cooking skills, and what it looks like now that I live on my own and have to cook for myself.

In one part, I wrote “Bad cooking is a curse that was bestowed upon my family, and unfortunately passed along to me.”

Since the post was published, I’ve gotten a heavy amount of backlash from a reader who wished to remain anonymous. This reader reminded me that I come from two separate families, one of which is actually very culinarily talented.

This reader then reminded me of all of the delicious nightly dinners she cooked for me over the years, the daily school lunches she diligently packed, and the highly anticipated Saturday morning pancake breakfasts I enjoyed as a child.

This reader also reminded me that I wouldn’t be here were it not for the nine months that she spent caring for me in her womb. Which seemed unrelated somehow, but I guess she thought it was important.

So, reader, I apologize for not making that part more clear, and in the future I’ll be sure to be more careful to specify when placing blame about my lack of cooking abilities.

Food Porn. Or…the Off-Brand Version

I’m not a very good cook.

Look, I’m not just trying to be humble, or cast out a fishing line in search of compliments and reassurance.

I really just have no patience for cooking, or interest in learning. Bad cooking is a curse that was bestowed upon my family, and unfortunately passed along to me. Just ask my dad, who kept Shake ‘n Bake in business during our childhood and made it popular long before Talladega Nights.

Or my grandma, who once almost burned down the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

This is a true story.

Anyone who knows me, or has to live with me (God bless you, Kathleen…) knows that I have plenty of talents, but culinary arts simply is not one of them.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t cook. I actually cook all the time. I’m just not necessarily proud of anything I make, nor would I ever dare to share it with someone else.

Anyway, as you can imagine, I’ve never been one of those people that takes pictures of my food. You know the type. Those people who make some sort of incredible paella dish or brunch feast, and document it on Instagram for everyone to see and envy? Those people that I half hate, half desperately want to invite me over for dinner once in awhile.

But bad cook nonetheless, I did start to wonder what it would look like if I was one of those take-pictures-of-their-meals people.

And here’s what happened.


 

Soup

For best results, add enough hot sauce to eliminate other flavors.


 

Popcorn

It didn’t burn!


 

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Close enough.


 

IDK

I can’t remember what I meant for this to be.


 

Ranch

Lettuce + dressing = salad!


 

Chipotle

The reason to have a roommate is for their leftovers splitting rent.


 

Tuna

No dishes required.


 

Tuna Crackers

Or pair with crackers!


 

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Ingredients for grilled cheese: some sort of bread, some sort of cheese, some sort of pan.


 

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Ketchup…


 

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Solves…


 

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All…


 

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Problems.


 

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Just kidding, it’s from a cookbook.


 

The Daily Digest, Again

Ah, the Daily Digest. You may recall from my post a couple of months ago, where I discuss the Daily Digest, my apartment building’s daily wrap-up of the community message board.

For a long time during the winter, neighbors were complaining about the uncontrollable amounts of dog poop around the area. Which made for a lot of angry and passive aggressive posts, meaning LOTS of entertainment for the rest of us.

But now the weather is getting warmer, and people aren’t cooped up looking for something to complain about. Lately, all of the posts have been about selling furniture, watching the Bachelor finale, or seeing if “anyone is doing anything for St. Patrick’s Day because I’m a little lonely.”

Pretty mundane.

So the other night when I checked the Daily Digest and saw this rude, passive aggressive gem, I just knew I had to share it.

Here’s a quick recap: a resident in the building two blocks away from me apparently has been struggling with his noisy upstairs neighbors. What they’re making noise with, he doesn’t know, but he most certainly wants them to stop.

3/16/17 11:32 a.m.

Brendan Joyce writes:

To a 6th floor resident of Lucky Strike, I don’t know what you’re doing up there but please find a time sooner than 10:30-11:30 PM to:
a. Let your kids run and jump all over your apt/floor
b. Practice your bowling
c. Host soccer practice
d. Let your elephant out of its cage
e. Work on your, from the sound of it, terrible dance moves
f. All of the above
Sincerely,
The 5th Floor

I’m not sure how this got resolved, or if it did, or if the bad-dancing, late-night-bowling, soccer-practicing, elephant-owning parents of wild children even saw this post. Unfortunately, us neighbors see the complaints but never find out how the incidents wind up.

But, if I had to guess, here’s what I imagine their response would be:

Dear Brendan Joyce and the rest of the 5th Floor,

First of all, we would like to sincerely apologize for the consistent disturbance of your 10:30-11:30 pm hour. We know that’s a crucial period in your late evening, and we recognize that you prefer complete silence at that time.

But here’s the thing. We’re busy, working people. We have full-time jobs, plus many extracurricular commitments outside of that. By the time we get home, cook dinner, and clean up the elephant poop, we barely have time to relax, unwind, and practice our various hobbies. So, we’ve determined that it works best for us to cram all of them into one hour, before heading to bed and starting the grind all over again.

So when 10:30 p.m. rolls around, we first let our pet elephant out of his cage (he’s been cooped up all day!). Then we get our kids out of the beds we just tucked them into and encourage them to run and jump all over our apt/floor. Next we roll out the bowling alley, and practice our strikes (last week my husband got a seven-ten split!). After that, all of our friends come over, and we host a quick pickup soccer game. It’s great bonding time, and our team is getting really good. Then when our friends leave, we throw on our tap shoes and work on our terrible dance moves. And once 11:30 strikes, we put everything away (including the elephant!) and call it a day. It’s quite an hour!

Anyway, Brendan, thank you for your inquiry about our late-night activities. We’ll certainly try to keep it down in the future, but unfortunately all of our hobbies are pretty boisterous, so I don’t know how successful we’ll be! Might I suggest earplugs?

Either way, please do let us know if you would ever like to join! You might even enjoy yourself!

Sincerely,

A 6th Floor Resident of Lucky Strike

 

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What St. Patrick’s Day Looks Like at 29 Years Old

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. Technically it’s the day that Saint Patrick came to Ireland and saved a bunch of people or something. But in reality, we’ve managed to turn this into just another excuse to wear tacky outfits and get really drunk.

When I was younger, I will admit I was part of that population. For me, this holiday used to represent Irish car bombs, whiskey shots, four-leaf clover sunglasses, Guinness, and shirts that said things like, “Kiss My Blarney Stone,” all wrapped up in one day and topped off with lots of green-colored throw up.

Now that I’m in my late 20’s, however, St. Patrick’s Day has started to look a little different.

6:30 a.m. Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

6:40 a.m. Alarm goes off again. Get up.

6:45 a.m. Get in the shower. Get dressed.

6:55 a.m. Leave for job at local independent coffee shop.

7:06 a.m. Arrive at aforementioned local independent coffee shop.

7:10 a.m. Brew and serve coffee for customer while thinking about coffee for yourself.

7:35 a.m. Coffee.

Continue the cycle of brewing, chatting, steaming, and pouring until your shift is over.

3:08 p.m. Grab keys and paycheck. Leave.

3:09 p.m. Drive to the bank.

3:21 p.m. Get to the bank and fill out deposit slip. Hand it to the teller with checks.

3:23 p.m. Smile and make stiff small talk.

3:25 p.m. Get back in your car. Drive to Kroger.

3:34 p.m. Arrive.

3:36 p.m. Pick out groceries. Smile and wave at all those random acquaintances you always run into.

4:23 p.m. Get home to your apartment building. Use your two bags of groceries as an excuse to take the elevator to the second floor instead of using the stairs.

4:27 p.m. Unpack groceries.

4:38 p.m. Go to the gym downstairs.

4:50 p.m. Get home.

4:59 p.m. Take a shower.

5:36 p.m. Make dinner.

6:14 p.m. Clean up dinner and the rest of the kitchen.

6:26 p.m. Vacuum apartment.

6:52 p.m. Turn on TV. Catch up on Netflix.

7:35 p.m. Look at the clock. Say “screw it” and put on pajamas.

8:05 p.m. Roommate comes home. Make small talk about each other’s days. Complain about the president.

8:32 p.m. Turn on bad reality TV.

9:07 p.m. Make popcorn for yourself and your roommate. Continue watching bad reality TV.

10:24 p.m. Look over at roommate. Ask, “Hey, wasn’t today St. Patrick’s Day?”

 

Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day. I simply can’t wait for next year.

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Boy, the Crazy Thing About Richmond is that They Really Like Smiling

To all both of you who asked when I was going to do a follow-up to my last blog post about Dunkin’ Donuts (one was my mom, and one was my mom when she was drunk), here it is.

First let’s recap: I went to Boston, it was a great city, I enjoyed myself, and I had a heated run-in with a Dunkin’ Donuts employee where very little smiling happened.

After that incident, I concluded that the stereotype about rude northerners and warm southerners was accurate: all northerners are mean, and all southerners are hospitable and friendly to everyone they meet.

Then I realized, maybe that’s not fair. Maybe it’s just all Dunkin’ Donuts employees who are cold and unfriendly. So I went to one in Richmond to find out for myself. And during my experience there today, the cashier gave me a survey code to fill out online.

Survey

Did you wait in line to place your order?

Yes

√ No

What Dunkin’ Donuts item did you purchase for yourself?

Food only

√ Beverage only

Food and beverage

Please select how you placed your order:

Placed order using the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app

√ Placed order with a crew member inside the store

Placed order using the drive-thru

Please rate your overall satisfaction with your visit at this Dunkin’ Donuts:

√ Highly satisfied

Satisfied

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

Dissatisfied

Highly dissatisfied

Please rate your overall satisfaction with your visit at the coldhearted Dunkin’ Donuts up north:

Highly satisfied

Satisfied

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

Dissatisfied

Highly dissatisfied

√ So dissatisfied I don’t think I could ever return

Did you come back inside to get some ice in your coffee because we serve it so gosh darn undrinkably hot all the time?

√ Yes

No

Did the cashier roll her eyes and wish you would go away, or abide by your request with a smile?

Rolled her eyes and wished that I would go away

√ Abided with a smile and even offered to stir the ice into my coffee so that the temperature wouldn’t get off-balance

Did the cashier bid you a good day as you left?

√ Yes, it was so nice!

No, not even close

Please tell us what you liked most about your experience at this Dunkin’ Donuts.

Where do I begin? The second I walked in the door, I was greeted with a huge smile and a meaningful “Good afternoon.” This kind of service does not happen everywhere, I can tell you that.

And then, she was so eager to know how she can improve, that she gave me a survey to fill out. This kind of service also does not happen everywhere.

After I ordered, I walked outside and realized it was too hot to drink right away. What a dilemma! So I went back inside and asked Karen for a few ice cubes. She was so helpful. She walked me through the whole ordeal with ease, even giving me a new lid so as not to spill the coffee everywhere. This kind of service…well, you know.

How would you suggest we can improve our service at Dunkin’ Donuts?

I think you should send all of your Richmond Dunkin’ Donuts employees to Boston to train them how to be nicer.

 

 

Boy, the Crazy Thing About Boston is that They Really Like Dunkin’ Donuts

So I went to Boston over President’s Day Generic Monday Holiday weekend with my Boston-native boyfriend. He had mentioned before that Dunkin’ Donuts is “kind of a big deal,” as in “the only coffee that actually matters” in Boston.

I wasn’t so sure about that, but he encouraged me to keep track of all of the Dunkin’ Donuts (oh, hold on, sorry, I mean “Dunkie’s”) establishments that we came across during our three days in Boston. So I did (and succeeded), including the locations in which I spotted them (sort of succeeded).

They were as follows:

  • The one at the airport
  • The other one at the airport
  • The other other one at the airport
  • The one in downtown Roslindale
  • The one in Hyde Park
  • The one at Walcott Square
  • The one we drove past when I didn’t know where I was
  • The one with the dogs fighting in front of it
  • The one right down the street from that one
  • The three we saw but I forgot to write down because I was drunk
  • The one across from the Sephora pop-up shop, which is a thing I didn’t even know existed!
  • The one next to the adorable outdoor ice skating rink
  • The one next to the enormous yacht
  • The one with the homeless man holding a cat on a leash
  • The one with the snow pile in front of it
  • The one I had to squint to see
  • “The one idk.” That’s actually what I wrote. I’m not sure what I meant by that, I might have been drunk for this one too
  • The one with “Dunkin’ Donuts” written in chic black instead of pink and orange

You’re probably thinking I must have really loaded up on coffee and donuts, what with all of this temptation surrounding me in Boston. But in the three days that I was there, I actually only imbibed once, and only for a cup of coffee.

And here’s what happened.

Exhausted from our 6:00 am flight, we drove into the parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts (the one across from the Sephora pop-up). We walked in and ordered our coffees (his: iced coffee with cream and sugar, mine: a medium black coffee). The cashier who took our order wasn’t overly friendly (as in, I didn’t see her smile at all).

Now, I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life, so I’m just used consistent pleasantries and southern hospitality. I realize that perhaps friendliness, and smiling, are different [nonexistent] up north. So I just tried my best to be nice and brush aside the fact that she looked at us like she would prefer we weren’t there at all.

Anyway, so she handed us our coffees, and mine was scalding. Like I could barely hold it even with the coffee sleeve on it. But I paid and took it out to the car anyway, because, I’m from the south and I’m too polite to say anything that would cause any sort of inconvenience. Once we got into the car, however, I began to have images of my burning tongue, the agony that would ensue from a scorched mouth and numbed taste buds. I thought long and hard about going back inside to ask for a few pieces of ice to put into my coffee, just to make it drinkable.

But then I thought about her non-smile, her impatience, and how angry she would be if I interrupted her from standing around.

I had an angel-on-one-shoulder-devil-on-the-other moment, with one side being my polite southern self afraid of what she would think of me, and the other being the fear of a devastatingly scalded mouth.

But I couldn’t stand the thought of a burnt tongue (and I really couldn’t stand the thought of having to wait for my coffee to cool down), so I put aside my hesitation and walked back inside.

“Hello!”

She looked up. Non-smiled at me. Willed me to go away.

“Hey! Hi, quick question, could I please bother you for please a few pieces of please ice for please my coffee, please?”

This is what happened next, and I’m not making this up: she rolled her eyes at me. Rolled her eyes. Like I had just asked her to help me change my flat tire, or give me a ride to the airport, or be my surrogate. She reluctantly scooped up a few pieces of ice in a lid, and asked me “if this was good enough.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

“Not everyone up north is that unfriendly, it was probably an isolated incident by a woman having a bad day.”

Wait, no not that.

You’re probably thinking: “The Dunkin’ Donuts employees down south are probably a lot friendlier, because Richmond is friendlier [better] than Boston. But just to be sure, you should try and see by going to a Dunkin’ Donuts here in Virginia as a side-by-side comparison.”

I thought that exact same thing.

To be continued.

dunkies

 

 

 

Thank You for the Birthday Gifts

Just when you all thought you were done hearing about my birthday, you were wrong. There are just a few acknowledgments I need to make before officially moving on to my 29th year. I want to thank the people who helped me celebrate my birthday last week, but in particular, the people who gave me stuff.

Zucchini bread

Thank you, Ben, for bringing me that slice of zucchini bread that your wife made. Tell her it was pretty good.

A birthday voicemail

Thank you, Melissa and Jack from 103.7 Play, for calling me while I was at lunch with my mom and wishing me a happy birthday. I have absolutely no idea how you got my phone number or how you knew that it was my birthday, but it was really nice of you to say something. And it made for a great story that all of my friends enjoyed hearing over and over.

A card with a bunch of money in it

Thank you, Dad, for giving up years ago on trying to buy me something I might like, and switching to straight up cash.

A happy birthday email

Thank you, River Lofts, for not only providing me a place to live for the past three years but also sending me an email with a small birthday cake graphic, acknowledging my special day. That was really above and beyond.

The offer of a free croissant

Thank you, Alex and Greta of Lecker Baking Company for offering me a free birthday croissant, that I do one day intend to redeem.

A bike that I bought for myself

Thank you, Rachel, for buying me that bike. I know I’m really going to get a lot of use out of it. That was super thoughtful and literally, exactly what I wanted.

A gift card to Union Market

Thank you, Sarah, for fueling my already excessive habit of frequenting this Church Hill establishment. I’ll use it wisely (on beer).

A book about going to strangers’ houses and documenting their lives

Thank you, Josh, for the book that you wrapped and brought to me at work. So far it has provided me hour of entertainment.

Tickets to the Book of Mormon

Thank you, James, for combining two of my favorite things: theater and organized religion. Oh and for wrapping the tickets in that box of chocolates that you got as a Christmas gift from your company. I know you didn’t actually intend to give that part to me, but you let me take it anyway. That was really nice.

An iced coffee refill

Thank you, Katelyn from Urban Farmhouse, for refilling my iced coffee for free after I told you it was my birthday, even though technically you were supposed to charge me a dollar. Birthdays are important, coffee is important, and now I consider you important.

Some books

Thank you, Mom, for those books you gave me. I can’t wait to read them.

Oh, and also thank you for giving me life all those years ago, etc.

A virgin Mary candle with Amy Poehler’s face on it

Thank you, Brittany, for always knowing what I need even before I knew I needed it.

A beer

Thank you, everyone who bought me a beer the night of my birthday. I totally forget who the heck did, but gosh I know I appreciated it.

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