Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend

Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend (Theme from Kate and Allie) (1984)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s song is the theme from Kate and Allie, a sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1989. Were you a fan? Nope.

2) The show was about two divorced women who live and raise their children together. Were you ever a single parent? Were you raised by a single parent? No to both, although when my dad was deployed, my mom was effectively a single parent.

3) Allie is proud that she can make a perfect cup of coffee: “Just the essence of the bean. No acidity.” Kate is proud that she can belch the alphabet. What are you proud of? My work ethic.

4) Kate and Allie share half of a duplex in Greenwich Village. Many episodes had them doing laundry in the basement. Where are your washer and dryer? In a tiny little room off of the kitchen. Eventually, one of the things I want to do in this house is make that space more efficient. They’re old appliances, so when they crap out on us and are ready to be replaced, I’d like to put in a stacking set to free up some space and do something to make the drainage and venting a little better. Everything’s kind of crammed in there and set up a little weird, but look, it’s a major upgrade from shared apartment laundry that was $2 a load, $4 if you dried.

5) Kate was played by Susan St. James. She was familiar to viewers as the “wife” in McMillan and Wife. Without looking it up, do you know who played McMillan? Nope.

6) Allie was played by Jane Curtin. She was one of three women in the original Saturday Night Live cast. Without looking it up, can you name the other two? Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman, but I did Google to double-check the spelling of Laraine’s name.

7) On the set, Jane Curtin ran a poker game for the cast and crew. Do you think winning at poker takes more luck or skill? A little bit of both.

8) The Kate & Allie theme was cowritten and sung by John Lefler. Years later, Mr. Lefler wrote the theme for the Pokemon show. Is anyone in your life into Pokemon? The only reason I’m not playing Pokemon Go right now is because the app needs updated, as do most of my apps. My brother plays, too. My mother makes fun of us both.

9) Random question: What’s the last thing you whispered? I don’t know what the exact word/phrase was, but it was something to my mom at the movies last weekend when we went to see Mamma Mia.


Friday 5: Repeat

  1. What’s something you are repeatedly asked to prove? I can’t think of anything, really.
  2. What’s an album you can listen to on endless repeat? Ooh, this is tough, because I really, really don’t like repetition, so even with albums I really love, I’d never do this. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is a solid one, though.
  3. What’s a story you’ve told several times? I can’t think of specific ones, but I know I have my go-tos. Everyone does. A lot of my mother-in-law stories get repeated, particularly ones about wedding planning.
  4. What’s something you always order at a certain restaurant? I am notorious for finding a dish I love and rarely, if ever, straying from it, while also always talking about how I need to try something new. At Mad Mex, a local Tex-Mex chain, I always get the tofu tacos, although the last time I was there, I did branch out and get a wrap. It was good, but I ended up kind of wishing I’d gotten my tacos. And then at Green Mango, my favorite Thai place, I always get the pad thai. In fact, I almost always order pad thai in any restaurant that serves it. I always get the same sushi, too, although that’s also because I’m a vegetarian and the options are limited.
  5. In what way do you hope this weekend will be exactly like last? The downtime. It was our last weekend to empty the apartment, which took a lot longer than planned, but we did have some time to chill. We made our Sunday trip to the coffee shop in town, I went to the movies with my mom, we had dinner, all that fun stuff. So more good times, please! At least I know I won’t be cleaning out the apartment, so the odds are in my favor on this one.

As always, from Friday 5.

At last, the apartment lease is up and all of the moving is done. Up to now, we’ve been doing small trips to clean and pack, mostly leaving once the car is full, and then the last few days we’ve been working harder at doing more. I got really, really frustrated with it Monday night because although we at least weren’t moving the bulk of our stuff in a hurry, we were more rushed than I wanted. We closed right at the end of March and my goal this whole time was to get shit done in chunks to avoid the exhaustion we’re feeling now, so I had a nice moment of extreme frustration Monday night, especially thinking about how slow a process it was to get the floors done and how much that held things up.  Fortunately, I have an attentive husband who knew going to get tacos as a late dinner would mostly fix things.

The next step is to unpack all the shit, but I’ve declared we’re not doing anything at least through this weekend. We’re worn out and frankly, the idea that, like, we’re going to have nothing but quiet evenings in the house for the foreseeable future is weird. What do you mean we don’t have to pack and clean at the apartment?

But we’ve had some fun, too. My company picnic was last weekend, so we enjoyed a second free trip to Kennywood this summer, and a few hours later, my mom and I went to see Erasure. She spent the night–and let me tell you, is it great to have a spare bedroom to stick visitors until we have kids–and we hit this spot for a very late breakfast that was really lunch that I’ve been meaning to try for a long time, they just keep difficult hours. They open and close early which is perfect for people working in town, but it means it’s not really an option for evenings or weekends. But it was nice on a Monday off to fuel up for work around the house. Mom helped rearrange some furniture and store some stuff up in our tiny attic space, and that’s one of those extra spaces we gained that’s great. We had a small storage unit in the basement of the apartment, but this attic runs the length of most of the house. You can’t fully stand up in it, but it’s perfect for storing seasonal items and luggage and stuff.

Most of this last weekend was devoted to moving and cleaning, but Mom and I took a few hours to go see the new Mamma Mia, which was a good time. The Onion’s review kind of nails it. It also managed to replace the Erasure songs that had been in my head on a loop.

The one silver lining in this chaotic moving week is that it’s made it go by fast–I was surprised to realize it’s Wednesday. Our only weekend plans are a birthday party, and due to some accidentally brilliant scheduling, I’ve got a four-day weekend. Sure, I’ll get shit done because I can’t not because that’s just who I am, but man, is it nice to know that at the end of a few days of cleaning and packing and moving, I have a block of four whole days where I’m only committed to going somewhere for a few hours. And it’s so fucking nice.

Saturday 9: Love Is All Around

Saturday 9: Love Is All Around (1970)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s song is the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom that originally aired from 1970 to 1977. Were you a fan? Not really.

2) The song tells us that Mary Richards can turn the world on with her smile. Yet the real-life Mary Tyler Moore said she was uncomfortable with her “wide mouth.” If you could improve on one of your facial features, which would you choose? I’d make my face/neck thinner.

3) We also hear that Mary can “take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.” What do you think makes a day “a nothing day?” Boredom.

4) Mary works in the newsroom at WJM. Her desk is neat as a pin. Are you neat? Or do you lean to the sloppy side? I’m messy, but my work desk is quite neat.

5) Mary’s best friend, Rhoda, worked as a window dresser at Hempel’s department store. What department store did you most recently shop at? What did you buy? I’m not sure. Does Target count? It was a Target in a mall. I bought closet organizers.

6) Mary Richards lived in Minneapolis. What city is nearest to where you are right now? The closest proper city is Pittsburgh.

7) Originally the part of Mary Richards was written as a divorcee, but in 1970, there were no TV shows that centered around a divorced woman. Think about the women in your life. Are most of them married, divorced, single or widowed? Most of them are either married or in committed relationships–my best friend is divorced but in a new-ish relationship with a great guy, and most of my other friends are either married or in long-term relationships.

8) The MTM production company logo featured a mewing kitten. The cat was found in a Minneapolis shelter, and, after her sequence was shot, she was adopted by a crew member who named her Mimsie. What’s the name of the last cat — or dog or hamster or rabbit — that you petted? My brother and sister-in-law’s two cats last weekend, Persia and Timothy.

9) Random question — Would you rather have a job that kept you seated on your fanny or standing on your feet? Seated, I think, although I have one of those now and it is kind of overrated. I think being on my feet all day would be more tiring, but sitting at a desk isn’t always comfortable.

Friday 5: Performance Evaluation

  1. In what way do you maintain a tidy and efficient workstation? Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Janelle, everyone knows you’re a mess, there’s no way you keep ‘a tidy and efficient workstation,'” but I’m here to tell you that would be wrong! Somehow, that’s the one area I can keep neat. Probably mostly because there’s not a lot I need at my computer. My cubicle before, when I was working in an office, had more stuff from the person I shared it with, and now that I’m working from home, I haven’t put anything on there. I do often snack at my desk here at home, but I often get up and move away from the desk while I’m downloading a video or after I’ve finished a task and am ready to move on to a new one, so when I do that, I take any dishes or garbage with me. And I’m actually pretty good at keeping shared spaces clean–I have more consideration for the other person, so that’s incentive.
  2. In what way do you maintain positive relationships with others? So I’ve gotten kind of selective with who I spend my time with, for starters, and I don’t mean that in a crotchety, antisocial way. A couple times in my life, I’ve had to distance myself from people for my own good, and I just feel like there’s no reason for me to spend time with people who are difficult or negative or draining, or if have no choice, limit that time the best I can. And in some cases–my mother-in-law is a good example–tread carefully. Not like walking on eggshells or, like, being super fake, but being aware that I’m with someone who has a reputation for being difficult and using that to inform things like how much I say and what I say. I do think I need to be more up front with people who are problematic for me, though, but that said, I’m  easy to get along with, so from my end, I’m not being the kind of person I try to avoid, you know? Not everyone gets along, nobody’s perfect, there are always personality clashes, and there will always be people who don’t like me, but I’m not rude or disrespectful towards people and I don’t dominate conversations.
  3. What effort do you take to be punctual? One might argue zero, and that might be valid. I have trouble leaving on time, and the reason depends on the situation. Normally, it’s either I hit snooze too much on my alarm or it takes longer to get ready than I thought or a combination of both. However! Working from home, at least so far, has me in a good routine. I get up 20-30 minutes before my shift starts, boot up my computer, let it install updates while I eat breakfast, and I’ve been clocking in exactly on time for the last two weeks. That hasn’t happened probably since my first few weeks on the job.
  4. What are your strengths and challenges in communicating effectively? When I feel comfortable, I’m excellent at it. Like, communicating within my marriage? Nailed it. When I’m afraid of someone’s reaction–because more often than not, I don’t want a negative reaction, so I don’t speak up when I really, really should, which is bad–I tend to not communicate at all, or at least not initiate something. If I’m confronted, or really pissed off, I do okay. I can typically say what I feel I need to say but it comes out probably a little harsher than it would have otherwise.
  5. What will be your focus for growth in the coming year? Clearly, communicating better is one! Punctuality is another ongoing one, but at least when it comes to clocking in for work, I’m good. And I’ll throw in being cleaner and more organized–more space in the new house will help with that a lot, but I write this surrounded by unpacked boxes, so…

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Gidget

Saturday 9: Gidget (1965)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Gidget was a sitcom that ran only one season. Have you ever seen it? Nope.

2) Gidget is a high school student who is more interested in surfing and boys than in the books. When you were Gidget’s age, was your top priority getting good grades? Or were you more involved in the social side of student life? Somewhere in the middle–I prioritized my fun, but I didn’t go out a lot, especially around 16, because my dad was deployed, and in what was effectively a single-parent household off and on for a couple of years in my teens, getting said parent to drive me to the movies or a friend’s house could be a struggle. And I get it. She worked all day, and often, my brother’s basketball games and practices were the driving priority. But it’s tough to be that age and feel like you’re missing out on all this time with your friends, and I was met with refusals to take me anywhere or scheduling conflicts so often that at a certain point, I just quit asking and never did anything. That said, I wasn’t exactly hitting the books, either. I was never a terrible student, I just never tried as hard as I could have. I’ve always been a procrastinator, and while that’s never really changed, I’ve gotten better at it. I did a lot better in college than in high school.

3) Gidget’s father was nearly always unflappable when it came to his daughter’s high-spirited shenanigans. Who is the coolest, calmest person you know? Most of my friends are, I think, in terms of most interactions on a day-to-day basis, myself included–in fact, I think I’m quite a cool, calm person. I rarely freak out about anything.

4) Gidget spends as much time as she can at the beach, hanging out with her best friend Larue. Fair-skinned Larue doesn’t share Gidget’s passion for surfing and prefers to stay on the beach blanket, wearing a floppy hat that protects her from the sun. Are you a sun worshipper? Or, like Larue, are you careful about your exposure to the sun? Both–I love being out in the sun, but with such fair skin, plus dyed hair I try to be careful about maintaining (it’s a very light green with a deeper pink at the tips right now) I do make sure to protect both.

5) Gidget, the quintessential California girl, was created by Freidrich Kohner, an Austrian-born screenwriter. Can you think of another Austrian import? Nope.

6) Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller wrote this week’s Gidget theme. They also wrote the 1960 hit song, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool.” When is the last time you felt foolish? I made some pretty dumb work mistakes my first day working from home, likely just due to new processes and things.

7) This is the show that introduced Sally Field. She went on to win two Oscars and four Emmy Awards. When you think of Sally, what role comes to mind? Mrs. Doubtfire first.

8) Today Gidget is a grandmother. Sally reports that her grandchildren especially enjoy “sleepovers at Granny’s.” Where were you the last time you spent the night away from home? I think a hotel. We spent the night after a friend’s wedding, and I don’t remember sleeping anywhere else since.

9) Random question — Describe your perfect lazy afternoon. I don’t do true lazy–I always have to do something productive. I hate how I feel if I don’t, and the greatest example I have of this is the time I hadn’t written any articles in days and felt a wave of relief when I had time to. So it would be an afternoon where I didn’t have to be anywhere but could still do things, typically a good combination of things like reading and Netflix with writing articles and such.

Friday 5: Acromony

  1. When were you recently SOL? Probably cleaning out the apartment. We still have over a week to finish doing it, but my father-in-law came over with one of my husband’s brothers today to move furniture and I hadn’t made nearly as much progress cleaning and hauling shit out as I’d hoped.
  2. What was a recent SNAFU? My first day working from home, which was last Friday, I made a few pretty dumb mistakes on a show. I chalk it up to being distracted by getting thrown on a rush job in the middle of it and just not being super attentive to it.
  3. From what social gathering were you most recently AWOL? A couple–my best friend’s brother and his wife did a brunch at a coffee shop in Pittsburgh, which I always enjoy going to, but it was moving day. We did have time to make it out there, but we were exhausted. The other is the family reunion, which we missed for like the third year in a row. This year was potentially moving day and that ended up not being the case, but a friend of my mom’s wanted to get together for lunch, so she opted to do that instead and so the rest of us didn’t go either. And last year, we were deep in wedding planning, and the year before that, we were deep in planning my brother’s wedding.
  4. When has someone reminded you to MYOB? Not recently! Look, I’m nosy as fuck–where I come from, we call it nebby–but I’m not obvious about it. Although one time, my best friend did call me a “neb shit.”
  5. What might get in your way this weekend as you TCB? My body. I completely wore myself out at the apartment last night–my whole lower body aches, and I’m not sure if it was the cleaner I was using in the bathroom or kicking up dust in the whole place or both, but I was sneezing and sniffling a ton. It happens sometimes and normally is fine a little bit later, but I haven’t slept it off yet. It doesn’t feel like it’s turning into a bigger problem, fortunately, just one that’s not going away, and with bad timing–tomorrow is my company picnic at Kennywood, followed by an Erasure concert. At least I took Monday off.

As always, from Friday 5.