The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Monday, March 24, 2008
When the going gets tough

...the tough go shopping.

At least, this is what happens to me.

I've decided that it's dangerous to my wallet for me to feel sorry for myself. The other day I was lamenting the fact that I don't have any women friends who are close by for spontaneous lunches, a girls' night out, or just a chat on the phone. Everyone lives so far away - it takes quite a bit of advance planning in order to actually meet up with someone, and then you have to add the expense of transportation to everything. Any call I make to the city is long distance and winds up costing too much. I've tried to push Skype on them so that we can at least talk via computer, but so far, only my friend Kanani has been successful setting it up. Dan's a great husband, but he just can't make up for the lack of female companionship - or so I thought. There are, of course, some things that only a woman friend can provide. Heck - most men I know want women friends as well as men friends.

As a result of feeling like I needed my women friends around, and feeling bored and rather unfulfilled in the estrogen mingling department, I decided to get onto eBay and purchase a new designer handbag. I've come to the conclusion that designer handbags have substituted in recent years, for the lack of women friends that I have readily accessible to me. In fact, I never owned a real designer bag until I moved out to Australia, unless you count Stone Mountain as a designer label.

I had every good intention of only getting one bag. After all, even on eBay, they aren't cheap. I came away with THREE. The first one wasn't so bad - even with the postage, it cost me less than $100. Not satisfied with that, I found more that I desired. Did I want a pink bag? Or gold leather? Or the calf hair leopard print one? I called Dan to me. He was going to have to substitute for a girlfriend.

"Help me decide," I pleaded.

"You already have two pink bags," he said. "So that cuts that one out."

I sighed with disappointment as I removed the pebbled pink leather Coach handbag from my Watched Items list.

"That leaves the gold leather Bebe bag, or the calf hair Michael Kors bag," I told him.

"I like both of those. Which one do you like better?"

"I like them both," I confessed. "That's why I called you in here. Help me decide."

"Get both of them," he said.

Spoken like a true substitute girlfriend. He could have said "You already own too many handbags," but he didn't.

I told my friend Kanani about my addiction. She's been on eBay bidding on vintage gloves - five pairs. I think we miss each other. I hope our wallets will recover!

Listen to the audio [5.9 MB]

posted by Melanie O. at 12:00 PM - 5 comments
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Ginger Kitten Update
Well - some good news. It looks like the cat lady found the ginger kitten and took it back to the cat shelter, where s/he has now been made the "poster child" for pet de-sexing. See here: (You have to scroll down the page about 3/4s of the way.)

I love a happy ending, don't you? At least, for this kitten, there's one. I just happened to stumble across the photo while looking for a potential pet to adopt, and Dan spotted it right away. I think he was dumbfounded. Happy, but dumbfounded.
posted by Melanie O. at 4:36 PM - 3 comments
Friday, March 14, 2008
Dan's Health Kick
One day, out of the blue, many men become health conscious. I think this happens between the ages of 40 and 50, when they become acutely aware of their mortality. I think that this realisation happens to women earlier. (Cue the jokes about a species that bleeds every month but doesn't die.) Many men take a bit longer to come to this realisation, but, when they do, they start taking more responsibility for their health and general fitness - and they rope you into taking more responsibility for them, as well. At least, my man does.

I don't know what prompted this - I think he must have heard an announcement on the radio one day - but Dan decided that he needed to take Omega-3 fish oil supplements. He talked about this for days: next time we went grocery shopping, he wanted Omega-3 fish oil. I said fine. After all, there's nothing wrong with wanting to look after your health.

Dan became a bit obsessed and insisted for the entire week that he should have Omega-3's in his diet, so at first opportunity, I gave in and bought both of us a large bottle of fish oil capsules. For myself, I read that they may help alleviate the inflammation associated with arthritis. For Dan, I hope they will help lower his blood pressure. So, I had no problem with spending $40 on fish oil. At least Dan was taking an interest in his general health and well-being.

Dan read the instructions on the bottle, and began dutifully taking his Omega-3's with every meal. In fact, he was so proud of this addition to his daily regimen, that he decided to point this out to me one evening, about a week after our purchase.

He then stopped, in the middle of his boast, and asked, with a puzzled look on his face:

"What are these good for, again?"
posted by Melanie O. at 1:57 PM - 4 comments
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
The kitten
Dan was out driving and was speaking to me via his mobile phone (I know... I know...). Suddenly he stopped mid-sentence and exclaimed: "There's a kitten on the curb!"

It was a tiny pale ginger kitten - only about four weeks old. It's eyes were caked shut from an infection, most likely conjunctivitis. Dan was in a quandary. What to do with the kitten? He couldn't leave it in the truck all day.

"Call the town council," I said. "They must have animal control." I was feeling indignant. How could someone just dump this little kitten?

So, Dan called the town council. Their "cat lady" as they called her, was away at court and wouldn't be able to pick up the kitten. Dan called the RSPCA. They're understaffed and couldn't send anyone over to pick up the kitten. Dan felt frustrated. He had deliveries to make, so drove off and called me back.

"Can you drive back over there later after your delivery and see if it's still there?" I asked. I hoped the kitten would still be there. I'd ask Dan to bring it home and I could take it to a shelter if necessary, the next day.

Dan went back later in the afternoon. The kitten wasn't there. "I suspect it lives in a drain pipe," he said. "There are grates in the road and it can easily go down there and hide." It could also be feral and is good at avoiding being caught.

But it's only four weeks old, I'm thinking. And then I think about all of the people out there who just dump animals because they can't afford the vet bills or they get tired of taking care of something so dependent on them. And I feel helpless. It didn't help that earlier today I saw a video report on the growing population of abandoned pets in areas of the USA where unemployment and foreclosures are hitting people hard.

I'm hoping that Dan sees the kitten again tomorrow, or that the cat lady has found it and has taken it in to the local vet. Despite the fact that there are people who are low enough to dump pets, there are good people out there, too. I just hope it all evens out in the wash somehow.

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posted by Melanie O. at 4:39 PM - 3 comments
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Men and cars
From my experience, you can tell a lot about a man by the kind of car that he drives.

I've dated men who drove large, gas-guzzling 4 wheel-drive vehicles and seemed very proud of their vehicle ownership. So proud, that as a passenger, I never felt comfortable riding in them. For these men, their vehicles were a sign that they were prosperous (just being able to afford fuel for the beast was an accomplishment), but this kind of pride has never appealed to me. It's not that I'm a terribly "green" person - heaven knows I often forget my shopping bags and have to ask for "plastic." But when you ride around in one of these vehicles, there's a huge disconnect from the world and traffic around you, and I've seen several drivers forget about common courtesy and road safety while they drove around in their invincible fortresses. You often see the worst come out in people when they get behind the wheel of a car - and women are not exempt.

I knew guys who bought muscle cars and the cars became substitute girlfriends, upon which its owner lavished all spare time and attention. It was a Catch-22 for those guys. Were they without partners because of the car, or did they get the car because they were without partners? I befriended one guy like this. The first thing he wanted me to notice about him, was his car. Years later, one of the few things I remember about him is his car: a maroon Camaro Z-28. It's all he talked about - that, and his guitar. I often wonder if he ever found the girlfriend he so desperately wanted, but was afraid to go after. Muscle cars, I suspect, are easier and more predictable than girlfriends.

Life is interesting- experience is the best teacher. I've discovered that the kind of man that's the right match for me, is the man that holds onto a classic car and fixes it up and makes it better than when he first bought it. He doesn't turn it into something that it was never meant to be or embellish it with the latest fads. He just recognises its value, knows that the engine is good even though the body has some dings and the paint is faded, and doesn't mind if it takes years to restore it to a point where he likes to show it off. I married a man like this. It's comforting to know that there are men out there that see the value in a Classic. These men don't need the latest gadgets and the latest flash. Sadly, men like this often get overlooked by women. They're more often than not, the proverbial "nice guy."

Looking back over the years, I think about all of the flashy sports cars, 4WD behemoths, and muscle cars I could have been "seen" in, but I'll take our old BMW and my fix-er-up husband any day. Maybe it's just a sign that I'm getting older and flashy doesn't hold any appeal, except in a vintage rhinestone ring. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I learned the lesson. A car is not just a reflection of the man. My husband is a reflection of his car. He just keeps going... and going...and going. The paint's a bit faded, and he's had his share of dings - but damn it - the engine's good, he needs little maintenance, and he's reliable. A real Classic.
posted by Melanie O. at 6:30 PM - 5 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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