Friday, September 25, 2009

Waiting for Grey's

The following is a cross post on Joe Jenkins' blog joeonthetube. Richie and I were glad to write a guest post for Joe and look forward to contributing to joeonthetube in the future.

A night without ESPN ~ Can men & women be TV friends?

When Harry Met Sally...Image via Wikipedia

The classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally asked the probing question, “Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning?” The answer turned out to be no. This post will pose an equally important question; “Can two lovers watch TV together and still sleep together at night?”

If your house is like many, your first instinct might be to answer the same way that Harry, Sally, and many others have over the years. Constant battles over the remote pit spouses against each other in one television homes. This was particularly difficult in pre-DVR days, and although there is no hard data to support my assumptions, I believe it may have been one of the leading causes of divorce, surpassed only by squeezing the toothpaste from the middle and not putting the toilet seat down.

Even now with our best friends Tivo, DVR, and multi-room satellite feeds, tension still runs high and arguments can erupt at a moment’s notice. It is easy to understand how both spouses would immediately forget their sworn vows to love, honor, and obey and trade twenty years of marriage for bloodlust to duke it out to see who gets to watch Tom Delay shake his 80 year old hips on the 60 inch plasma and who watches Tom Brady on the 36 inch analog in the bedroom.

Richie and I made a decision early on in our marriage that we would not put a television in our bedroom. Since we only had a two room apartment that left us with only one television. Ten years later, we have several more rooms in our home, but still only one TV. By default, this caused an interesting dynamic to occur in our marriage. We became TV friends. I started watching sports with him and he started watching things that I was interested in.

It doesn’t always work. He still likes things that I don’t or likes them more than I do and vice versa. But sitting down and watching things together gives us some common ground that we didn’t have before. This blog is designed to show you that men and women can, in fact, be TV friends – sometimes.

Season 6 Grey's Anatomy Premiere
The first three minutes of last night’s Grey’s Anatomy premiere revealed that George would not survive and Izzy would. For those of us who have heard the buzz around the show and knew that T.R. Knight was leaving it was not unexpected. Still, we watched the first 20 minutes of the show and neither of us actually cried, but neither of us talked either, which is a sign that i

Grey's Anatomy Season 6Image by LiGado em Série via Flickr

f we talked, we might cry. The writers did not disappoint and moved the story lines along by bringing in new patients; a woman who lost both arms and a leg in a boating accident (who Christina seemingly inappropriately nicknamed ceviche), and a teenager with unexplainable pain (whose mother was played by the homely girl from The Goonies).

The biggest plot twist came as the board asked Derek to be the Chief of Surgery, which he took to mean as a coup to overthrow the current chief. In the last minute of the show we find that instead Seattle Grace will be merging with its biggest rival, Mercy West (where, coincidently, Callie took a job as a resident after an inappropriate, but funny, blow-up with the chief).

Izzie’s cancer stops growing, which is good news that she doesn’t take as well as you would think. Christina and Owen finally talk about the choking issue, which means they can consummate their relationship. And Meredith and Derek can’t stop consummating theirs, which leads to the eventual eviction of all of their roommates. Izzie and Alex move into Derek’s trailer and Lexie moves in with Mark (just across the hall from a very hot, often inappropriate Callie).

He Said/She Said
Best plotline:
He Said - The proposed merger. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out. I think it has good potential for future story lines.
She Said - Izzie and Alex. As someone who has recently gone through dealing with chronic pain, it is interesting for me to watch her try to get her life back. He thought he was going to lose her and I could understand how he didn’t want to do that again, but I could understand more how alone she felt. I thought that part was very real.

Best line:
He Said - How gay are you? On a scale of 1 to gay.
She Said - How gay are you? On a scale of 1 to gay.

I could have lived without:
He Said - Kerev being a jerk to Izzie outside at the picnic table. I understand that it might have set something up for later or brought him back to some dark place. That was just difficult to watch.
She Said - The whole scene with Izzie telling Amanda to “Go live her life” out in front of the hospital. I understood Amanda being sad. I understood her coming in because she couldn’t sleep, but enough already. I thought that was cheesy and totally ridiculous. They lost me there.

A little something for the fellas:
He Said - Mark’s new place across from Callie. He has the best of both worlds. There is definitely potential for good story lines.
She Said - What Richie meant to say was Callie got undressed in the hallway. Worth tuning in for gentleman.

Something for the ladies:
He Said - Mark’s shower scene.
She Said - When Callie told Lexie that Mark doesn’t look at her boobs anymore. I think that is what all of us would like to believe that our significant others aren't doing. What better compliment is there? Was Mark in the shower?

Something for everybody:
He Said - George’s mom talking to Owen. This allowed George’s character to resolve in an honorable way without being preachy. There were so many great things about that.
She Said -Watching all of the characters grieve for George in their own way. We’ve all had to grieve and I think at one time or another we have all felt like we were completely alone, partly because we didn’t know exactly how to grieve. Watching all of the different ways the characters grieved gives you a sense that it’s okay to scream, cry, work, have sex, or eat doughnuts, because at the end of the day, you have to make it through the day.

Who are the bloggers? Richie and Kristen are a happily married one-TV couple with two kiddos. Both have worked in the communications/PR field for the past decade or so. You can check out Richie's blog about all things PR and social media here. You have found Kristen's blog. Please feel free to stay a while and look around.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Waiting for Fall

When you grow up in Montana, fall is not a season one looks forward to. When you are a kid, fall means the end of summer break, thus ending long days of riding your bike in the street, running through the sprinkler, swimming at the community pool, fishing in the stream behind the mall, Tecmo Bowl tournaments and bare feet.

Sun Through TreeImage by YelmelNoBrainer via Flickr

When you get older, fall is when the temperature starts to drop, bringing with it snow to shovel, icy roads to be navigated, windshields to be scraped, frozen pipes, and higher electricity bills.

In Texas, I have learned, it is an entirely different story. After surviving summer months that are not only scorching and unrelenting, but seemingly endless, fall is not only welcome, but coveted here in the Lone Star State. Some of this has to do with the fact that the cool days provide a welcome relief to the hot, sticky (it's not the heat, it's the humidity that will get ya) past four or five months.

Much of it is because anyone who has lived in Texas very long knows that fall is likely to disappear as soon as it arrives. As opposed to having three months, or even three weeks of fall, like other geographic climates may be predisposed to enjoy, Texans understand that we must appreciate every brisk morning, every changing leaf, and every day when we can turn off the AC, open up the windows and suck in that fresh, free, cool , beautiful air. Why? Because we understand that even though today's high is 69 with a low of 49, tomorrow may very well be a high of 90 and on Saturday it might snow.

So this morning as I kissed my favorite boys goodbye and I felt that perfect brisk morning of fall blow in through the garage, I knew exactly what I had to do. I grabbed my laptop, a bottle of water and some peanut butter crackers and I headed out to the backyard to write, knowing if I didn't enjoy this morning I would regret it later.

Good choice, Kristen. Good choice.

seven day forecast for DFW

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Waiting to exhale, Cheyenne style

There was a time when people were unclear about the definition of irony. Is jumbo shrimp ironic or just an oxymoron? Thankfully, in 1996, Alanis Morissette cleared up all the confusion when she released her single, Ironic. Now when you need to know if you are staring down the face of irony, just ask yourself is it like rain on your wedding day or a free ride when you've already paid? Maybe it's that good advice that you just didn't take. Or perhaps it's like 10,000 forks when all you need is a knife, in which case I say start poking the idiot who gave you all the forks until he brings you a knife, but that is just me.

And then there are the times when you don't even need to ask because you know not only are you staring irony right in the face but irony is laughing at you while raining on you, stealing your money, and forking you all at once.

And to make things worse, you're in Wyoming.

I was born and raised in Butte, Montana. At 18 I made my way to the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where my brother was also attending college. About twice a year, usually around Christmas and Spring Break, I visited my parents in Butte. The choice to drive or fly was generally made by the health of my bank account.

In spring of 1996 (ironically the same year as Ironic hit the charts), I was broke, which meant one thing -- Road Trip! This was no ordinary road trip though it was my first girls only road trip. My roommate and best friend became my co-pilot, navigator, and karaoke partner. After growing up in Texas, she was looking forward to a week of snow and mountains, not to mention one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day celebrations and the only St. Urho Day celebration in the country.

It was a drive that I knew well, although I had only made it a few times without my parents. My 1994 Chevy Cavalier would take us through five states in 26 hours. We stocked up on beef jerky, Mountain Dew, and good music. We made it through Texas in a mere seven hours and New Mexico in two more. Three more hours brought us to Denver and I knew we were half way home. This would have been a logical place to stop, but with three states and four Mountain Dews behind us and the Sister Act II soundtrack blaring on the stereo we made a decision that only two twenty year olds living on beef jerky would make. We decided to drive straight through.

Wyoming state welcome signImage via Wikipedia

For those of you who have never driven straight up I25 through the middle of Wyoming, you aren't missing much. It's about a five hour drive, but it feels like 14. It's hilly, it's windy, and if you don't hit a deer with the front of your car it's pretty likely that one will go ahead and jump right into the side of your car. I'm not sure why. Maybe they are hoping you will open the door, pick them up, and drive them out of Wyoming.

Now before all the Wyomingites start hating on me, let me say a couple other things about Wyoming. I have quite a lot of relatives that live there and every time I have ever visited I have met some of the nicest people, which does make it worth the trip. There are also some beautiful parts of Wyoming. Straight up 25 just doesn't happen to be one of them. So when Kim suggested we drive through it in the middle of the night, I popped open another Mountain Dew, put on Bon Jovi's greatest hits, and settled in for another 12 hour drive.

About mid-way through the Cowboy State (approximately 1 a.m.) we decided we should probably stop and stretch our legs. One thing you should know about Wyoming is that cities do not come frequently and when they do finally appear, stores are not open 24 hours. Not even gas stations. Luckily we found a rest area that was open and well lit (another perk in WY is the well maintained rest stops).

We headed in to wash our faces and brush our teeth. Ladies, I want you to think back with me for a minute to the mid nineties when you did not leave home without your Noxema. Well lucky for us, we did not. Unfortunately, we did leave home without towels. And Wyoming apparently was ahead of the curve with green movement because there were no paper towels, only hand dryers, a fact we failed to notice until our faces were dripping wet (and smelling like Noxema). Wyoming in March, is, how should I put this, freezing and we had left Texas that morning where it was 85 degrees so both of us were wearing sweatshirts over our t shirts. We decided with the lack of a better option, these would make good towels.

As we giggled like little girls we saw an actual little girl come out of one of the stalls with a somewhat frightened look on her face. Not thinking much of it, we gathered our stuff and walked out as one of us (I honestly don't remember which one) said, "I bet she thinks we're drunk."

Five minutes later we were back on the highway headed north. I was driving about 10 MPH under the speed limit on the lookout for suicidal deer. Ten minutes later I saw red and blue lights behind me. Confident he couldn't be after me, I kept driving. In fact, I was pretty sure he must be after the car that had been tailing me for the last five minutes and had just raced past me. As the lights got closer Kim finally said, "Kristen, I think you need to pull over."

Let me replay the conversation for you. The officer's words are in blue because, you know, he's a police officer and mine are in green because, you know, I was clueless.

"Ma'mm. Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"No sir. I really don't."

"I'm going to need to look at your license and insurance."
"Yes sir."

"Have you been drinking this evening?"
"I'm sorry, what?"

Hello irony! This is where Kim burst out laughing, which I seriously doubt helped our case much. I explained to the officer that not only had we not been drinking that night, but neither Kim nor I had ever had a drink. I told him that we had been driving since about 5 a.m. and explained what had happened at the rest stop. As I got to the end of the story (which knowing me was about 10 minutes long) I could see him start to smile under what I'm sure was one of the largest cowboy hats I have ever seen. My story matched up with the call that he received from the parents at the rest stop. I started to breath a sigh of relief.

"I'm going to need you to take a breathalizer test."
"I'm sorry?"

"Although I don't believe you have been drinking, state law requires to give a breathalizer test to anyone who we receive a tip for suspicion of drunk driving. Please step out of the car."
More hysterical laughter from my passenger.

As I stood on the side of I25 holding the breathilizer machine up to my mouth I thought about the irony of the situation. Here I was a white 20 year old college student who had never taken a drink of alcohol who was reported for drunk driving by a 10 year old. I didn't know whether to be offended by the whole situation or proud that the family cared enough about their safety and the safety of others to call the police and that the state cared enough about everyone's safety to test all suspected drunk drivers. Now that I have my own family I think I fall more on the side of proud.

I blew a 0.00. The officer let me keep the print out as a souvenir since I told him nobody would believe that I would get pulled over for drunk driving. I still have it in a box under my bed.

As you plan your Labor Day celebrations remember that many cities and states now have a no refusal detail in which police can get a warrant to draw blood to check the blood alcohol level from people who refuse a breath test. Me, I think it's much easier to just get a designated driver, even if you just plan to have a couple drinks or if you forget to bring a towel -- especially in Wyoming.