There’s Just No Funn After the Summer Ends

Well, friends, summertime is winding down. Which is sad for a lot of reasons. For example, it’s going to start getting cold. The days will be getting shorter. I can’t call out of work to go to the pool.

But it’s really sad because the end of summer means that baseball season in Richmond is over.¹

I attended the last Flying Squirrels game of the year on Labor Day as a way to say goodbye, I’ll miss you, and thanks for the memories. Also because I had nowhere else to be. And the Big Gulp sized beers.

I’ve been frequenting the Squirrels games more and more each summer, and these events have slowly started to become one of my favorite summertime activities.

And if they’re not yours, well…let me try to convince you otherwise.

This is the closest thing to a sports team Richmond has

We don’t have a national football team². No major league baseball to watch. No NBA all-stars. Go to any sports bar and everyone is cheering for a different team. Guys, the Flying Squirrels is all we have. Well, I guess we have college sports (RIP Shaka) and the Richmond Rough Riders (I know, I had to Google it too).

They’ve given us something to debate over

Do you ever feel like Richmond is a little too cordial? That everyone gets along a little too well? Thankfully a few years ago, the debate over whether to move the stadium to Shockoe Bottom or just keep it where it is caused a whole stir among the city. It created a division among friends, neighbors, and immediate family members. A lot of relationships were ruined, because why would you associate with someone who disagrees with your viewpoint to move the stadium downtown?³

They’ve given us something else to debate over that I just thought of

Does anyone really know why the word “fun” in their slogan, “Have Funn, Go Nuts” is spelled wrong? Is it a typo? Is that the Olde English way of spelling it? Is it because of their phone number in letter form spells “funn”? No one knows! Let the argumennts continnue!

The games are really funn

Ha! Just a little humor I thought I’d throw in. But really, the games are a good time. Plus…

Those wacky mid-inning games keep you on the edge of your seat!

The Nut Race: will it be John Walnut, Eric Cashew, or Tom Almond4!? The t-shirt toss: what rolled up shirt am I not going to win this time!?5 Molly Maids plus ‘Nsync?! Never thought I’d see the day.6

You never have to worry about the game going into overtime

Unless the other team doesn’t score a run either.

Those exclusive fireworks

I mean, where else in Richmond can you watch 10 minutes of loud but colorful fireworks?7

The possibility of a foul ball coming your way is exhilarating

The sound of people screaming “heads up!” after a hit immediately opens the door of possibility. You might grave the ball with your fingertips and have a good story. You might even catch it, for a priceless souvenir. Or you might get hit in the head with a baseball going 90 mph, for the opportunity to sue the Richmond Flying Squirrels for, holy crap, a lot of money.

I get free tickets through work

This is unrelated, but I just like to tell people about this.


Anyway, that’s about all the reasons I like going to the Squirrels games.

No, just kidding, I of course have to mention the:

32 oz craft beers for only $10 each

Because why would anyone else ever go?

So, farewell to those beloved Flying Squirrels of ours. You’ve provided me with numerous hours of entertainment, funny stories, and hangovers. Farewell to Parney and his weird pants. Farewell to the baseball players whose names I can never remember. Farewell to John Macadamia Nut.

You’ll be on my mind all winter.

See you next spring.


¹ If you’re thinking that actually, the ending of summer technically doesn’t mean that baseball season is over, that there’s a little thing called “the playoffs;” first of all, stop being such a know-it-all. Second of all, you’ve apparently never seen the Flying Squirrels play.

² Don’t you dare say the Redskins because first of all, what a waste of money for the city and second of all, their training camp is really boring.

Oh, and third of all their name is racist.

³ And anyway, we ended up keeping the stadium where it is. Ha, ha! Oh Richmond!

I don’t actually know their names. If you do, please advise.

5 This is a subtle hint to the Flying Squirrels representatives to give me a free shirt because I have never managed to be in the line of fire during those t-shirt toss things. I mean it’s just not fair.

6 AND they manage to clean the field while they’re at it!

This is not sarcasm, I’m genuinely wondering where. The Squirrels only do it a couple of times a month, I’m wondering if there’s somewhere else I can go to watch fireworks in the meantime.7.1 


7.1 Look, I’m not always sarcastic, and now I’m actually a little offended that you thought I was being rude towards the Flying Squirrels and their fireworks display.7.1.1 


7.1.1 Sorry for my outburst. I’m just a little hungry. Sorry. I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.

 

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Farewell, Crossroads

Well, friends and readers, the day has come. I’ve found a full time job. Which means a whole lot of things, but one of them is that I’ll have to quit my part time job at Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream.

In all my experience in the service industry, this has easily been the most consistently laidback position I’ve ever worked. I’m going to miss the coworkers, the laughs, and above all, the free coffee. But what I’ll miss more than anything are the regulars.

A 14-year-old coffee shop located in the middle of a neighborhood on a high-traffic road is bound to bring in a lot of regular customers. I would like to take this time to commemorate each of them, but, to protect their privacy from my high profile blog, I’m just going to refer to all of the regulars by their orders instead of their names.


Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with One Egg Patty and a Side of Grape Jelly

I don’t really understand your breakfast preferences but you are the smiliest person I’ve ever met and are the only white person in my current life who calls me “Miss Rachel.”

Large Iced Coffee in a 24-oz Tervis Tumbler with Refill

This time two years ago, if someone had asked me if it was possible for someone to drink that much coffee in the span of 15 minutes, I would have said no. Thank you for showing me that anything is possible.

Large Coffee and a Cinnamon Chip Scone

It’s pronounced “scone.” NOT “SCON.”

Small Coffee with a Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

You’re shy and sweet and smile a lot, and you always insist on buying something you could just make at home. I will miss our brief interactions, many of which consist of me commenting on your scrubs.

Large Nonfat Decaf Latte

What’s the point?

Egg Sandwich on a Croissant with Pesto

Thank you for the weird cartoon you drew me last year, acknowledging how much you enjoyed the sandwich I made.

Pork Rinds

Hey, lady, I saw you sneaking pork rinds into Crossroads every day. And not buying anything. And getting mad at me whenever I ask you not to bring in outside food because it’s a health code violation. I sure am going to miss you. And your crazy eyes. And your bigoted conversations about gay marriage.

Everything Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese and Avocado

It took me forever to realize…

Egg and Cheese Sandwich on Wheat Bread

…that you two were married.

Large Mocha Smoothie with Whip

I’m sincerely sorry that you dislike your job as a teacher so much. I’m sorry that you have a classroom ratio of 30:1. I agree that the education system is really screwed up. I agree that teachers are treated poorly and severely underpaid. But please stop complaining to your baristas. And for gosh sake’s, tip them once in awhile.

Small Iced Mocha

I look forward to the day when I too can retire and spend my afternoons on the patio of a local coffee shop, wearing Hawaiian shirts and drinking cold beverages.

Large Vanilla Chai Smoothie with Whip

I thought you were kind of strange and then I read a local article about you and how you used to fly Black Op helicopters for the army, so now I’m too intimidated to talk to you.

Egg Patty on Gluten Free Bread with a Dry Almond Milk Cappuccino

You are a person that knows what you like, and I have to admire that about you. But please get yourself acquainted with some seasonings. Or some condiments or something.

Southpark Tie Guy

I couldn’t categorize you by your order because you’re wildly inconsistent, but let me just say that your ability to turn any karaoke song into a show tune is something in my life I never thought I would see.


pic

 

Farewell, Crossroads. And an extra special farewell to its regulars. You guys drove me crazy and kept me sane all at the same time.

Or was that the constant over-consumption of caffeine?

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

 

 

 

The Apartment Transfer

Well, Kathleen and I are moving. We’ve been in our apartment for two years; we love it, and we love its layout, and its views, and its memories. So the fact that we’re moving is not so much because we want to, as we’re being asked to.

And NO, before you ask, it’s not because of our raucous dinner parties or wine stains on the carpet or the time I put a frozen bagel in the microwave and accidentally filled the entire hallway with smoke.

It actually isn’t our fault at all. Calm down. I’ll start from the beginning.

THE GREAT FLOOD

One evening, I was sitting in my apartment, doing apartment things, when I heard a stream of water. “Weird,” I thought, because I didn’t leave any water running. I followed the noise to my laundry room, and saw a PUDDLE of soapy water pooling out from beneath the door and into the attached kitchen.

“Oh my GOSH,” I thought, because boy, it was a lot of water.

I knew I had to call maintenance immediately to prevent any further flooding. I ran over to my living room window (because I don’t get service anywhere else in my apartment), waited a few minutes for my phone to pick up a bar or two (la dee da, hurry up), and frantically dialed emergency maintenance.

Someone arrived a few minutes later, turned off the water, did some maintenance-y stuff, and resolved the issue.

“Well that was an ordeal that I hope never happens again,” I thought, because it was an ordeal that I hoped would never happen again.

Fast forward one week. I’m again sitting in my apartment doing apartment things, when I heard a stream of water. “Weird,” I thought, because I didn’t leave any water running. I followed the noise to my laundry room, and saw a puddle of soapy water pooling out from beneath the door and into the attached kitchen.

You probably know the rest of the story, ending with me thinking “Well that was an ordeal that I hope never happens again.”

FAST FORWARD TO ONE YEAR LATER

That ordeal that I hoped to never happen again happened again almost every week for a year.

They sent in specialists. They tore apart our laundry room. They flushed the pipes. They moved the washing machine to the dining room and cut open a hole in the wall.

A couple of weeks would go by, we would think that the issue had been resolved, and then suddenly it would happen again. The floor tiles started cracking, the wall behind the washing machine started crumbling, and our entire apartment started smelling like mold.

“When will the madness end!” I thought. “I’m tired of wading through my kitchen!” I also thought.

THE COCKROACHES

So, considering we live in an apartment building with hundreds of other tenants, right above a restaurant, in the middle of downtown Richmond, the fact that we hadn’t had a single cockroach sighting in two years was a minor miracle.

Until this summer…

It was a dark and stormy night. I was just coming back from a long day at work, and couldn’t wait to get home and go to sleep. I walked through the hallway of my building. Unlocked my front door. Let out a huge sigh. Set my keys on the hook. Turned on the lights. Looked at the kitchen floor.

And laid eyes upon

The largest

Cockroach

I’ve ever seen

In my entire life.

It wasn’t so much a scream that I let out, as much as a…well, what’s that noise that mother elephants make when their baby is being taken away from them?

Tenants were emerging from their apartments. Dogs were howling. The police arrived. The governor declared a state of emergency.

By the way, I don’t like cockroaches.

This was the first of our cockroach sightings. In the months that followed, both Kathleen and I started finding them in various places around our apartment, including the bathroom, the laundry room, the linen closet, and Kathleen’s bedroom. Then one morning, I was innocently making my bed when one emerged from the covers.

You’re thinking that’s gross and horrifying, and thinking that I must have really panicked when I saw a cockroach crawling around in my bed that I just got out of.

Well joke’s on you if you thought that, because I, in fact, handled the situation very well.

What better way to deal with that kind of thing than hyperventilating through tears in a ball on top of your kitchen counter? And refusing to move until your roommate gets home? And silencing all frantic phone calls from your friends in fear that the cockroach will hear your voice and then know where you are? I know, I can’t think of a more appropriate way to handle it either.

Here’s a picture of it in fact, on the corner of my bed, taken by my much braver roommate before she ended its stupid and meaningless life.

ew

“WE MEAN BUSINESS”

After the multiple cockroach incidents (in particular, that time I just mentioned about the one crawling in my bed. I lied earlier, I didn’t actually handle it very well), Kathleen and I decided that something needed to be done. So we put on our most “we mean business” expressions and went down to the management office together one afternoon.

Our “we mean business” expressions must have worked because they pulled us into the conference room, shut the door, and apologized profusely for all of our troubles. Oh, and gave us $300 off our rent which I thought was kind.

And then they suggested that perhaps we’d like to transfer apartments, and offered to show us some other ones in our building.

So they did. And we picked one without a flooding laundry room or an insect problem.

THE NEW APARTMENT

Is bigger, so that’s cool.

FREE BEER AND WINE AND PIZZA AND HUGS AND GRATITUDE

Although this will likely be the easiest move both myself and Kathleen ever deal with, it’s still a move, and therefore a hassle. So we’d like to invite anyone that wants to participate to help move all of our stuff from our apartment on the second floor of the building to another apartment on the second floor of the same building.

All participants will receive free beer and wine and pizza and at least one hug and unlimited gratitude (unlimited until we forget that you helped us).

Can’t wait to see you all on Saturday!

Dear Editors of the Richmond Area

Dear Editors of the Richmond Area,

I recently fell victim to the loss of the RVANews downfall, as a regular contributor to the website. I’m writing this letter to convince you to supply me with any writing assignments that you may have in the future. My past pieces of work have ranged from historical English writers to arcade game co-ops, but I’m not afraid of any article that you’ve got up your sleeve. Though I had only been writing for RVANews for about six months prior to their demise, I learned so much from them as a freelance writer.

For example, I learned that even if there’s something I know nothing about, I will learn about it. Like electric cars. I learned that sometimes you have to actually stalk people to learn more about their pinball co-op. And I learned that there are always at least [Five Things] happening every weekend in Richmond (even if one of those five things is “Go to that river of ours.”)

Actually, I would like to change this letter to address all persons of the Richmond area with any writing needs whatsoever. While many of my endeavors have been related to articles, my abilities are not limited. I’ve included writing samples below. My talents include:

  • Greeting cards
  • Invitations
  • Emails

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 12.14.59 PM

  • Fan mail
  • Skywriting (not really, but doesn’t everyone lie on their resume?)
  • Tax forms
  • Facebook statuses

Facebook

  • Notes from a lecture
  • Checks
  • Grocery lists

Grocery List

  • Love notes

Love Note

 

  • Addresses
  • Thank you cards
  • Photo captions
Me and Friend

Me and my friend doing a thing that we want to document!

  • Blog posts
  • Novels
  • Reminders

Call Mom

  • Postcards
  • Christmas cards
  • Texts

Text

  • Graffiti
  • Tweets

Twitter

  • Diary entries

Journal

  • Phone numbers on napkins to slip to that cute bartender that has been eyeing you all night and stayed abnormally on top of your water refills

Thank you to all of the editors and non-editors for your consideration of my services. For more information, I can be reached through text, email, Facebook, Twitter, postcard, or graffiti.

Sincerely,

Rachel

My New Year’s Resolutions

Now, I know that you’re only supposed to make one or two resolutions each year so as not to overwhelm your daily life. However, I’m an ambitious individual, and there are a lot of things I want to change about my lifestyle. But I think if I take it a day at a time, stay focused, and most importantly, believe in myself, I think I can really be a Better Me in 2016!

  • Incorporate more carbs into my diet
  • Quit this flossing habit I’ve acquired
  • Start smoking cigarettes
  • Put more cheese on everything I eat
  • Don’t jog anymore
  • Stop being on time for work
  • Go out to eat more
  • Enough with the “dressing on the side” thing!
  • Drink more alcohol
  • Stop using my turn signal while driving
  • Gain at least 15lbs by the end of the month
  • Quit volunteering for charities
  • Make as few friends as possible this year
  • Say “your” when I mean “you’re”
  • Eat more red meat
  • Post my opinions about everything on Facebook
  • Never throw anything away ever again
  • Spend less time with my friends and family
  • Ignore people’s birthdays
  • Take more naps
  • Try to sit as much as I can
  • Leave Richmond as infrequently as possible
  • Keep old grudges going, or create new ones
  • Eat more frozen and canned foods
  • Try to make more time for TV on a daily basis
  • Continue paying for my gym membership but stop going as often
  • Increase my caffeine consumption significantly
  • Deplete my savings account by the end of this year
  • Spend more time on social media, particularly judging what other people post
  • Start biting my fingernails
  • Try to incorporate “like” and “um” into my daily vocabulary
  • Read zero books this year
  • Ask my boss for a pay cut
  • Eat at least one chocolate thing at each meal (or for the whole meal)
  • Procrastinate all of these, and future, goals for as long as possible

New Year’s Resolutions can be hard, so wish me luck! I just know your going to be so proud of my achievements!