Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good-bye to my Dear Friend Bounty!

When you live alone, there are certain staple items that take a long time to get through. Obviously, I am not talking about the perishable items, as they go bad long before I can finish them. I cannot tell you the last time I successfully finished a bag of salad. Every week or two, I throw out a half wilted bag of spinach and various leftovers and produce. I keep buying them on the off chance that one day I will beat the clock and finish the food before mold takes over. I never win a battle against mold. Even brownies have fallen victim to the greedy fungal tentacles. Heck, I even have to throw out freezer items from time to time; a sad feat, since most frozen goods have a 1-2 year shelf life.

Outside the world of perishable food, items can exist forever in a single gal’s house. October 2011 will mark a momentous event, the end of my Bounty napkins. In August 2006, I was a fresh faced college graduate about to start vet school. This was my first time living outside of a dorm, so I had a lot of supplies to buy. One of these staple items was a 200 count pack of Bounty Quilted Napkins. Yes folks, over 5 years (FIVE YEARS) later, I am down to the last dozen napkins. This pack of napkins has been one of the most consistent things in adult life. I have moved this package of napkins five times, across two time zones. These napkins have been bagged up, boxed up, moved in professional moving vans, and kept in a garage. They have been stored in pantries, drawers, and on kitchen tables. I have used them to set the tables of dinners I made for both serious relationships in my life. I shudder to think how many Lean Cuisines these napkins have been paired with. These napkins have seen me go from a Ms. to a Dr.

I can’t tell you why it has taken me over 1,885 days to use 200 napkins. Perhaps it is because my frequent dinners of half a can of corn don’t merit the use of a napkin. Or maybe it is my slightly pathetic tendency to reuse napkins on occasion (I know I did not live through the Great Depression, so this behavior is a bit unacceptable). I can’t explain why, but I do know that Bounty has been helping to clean up my mess since 2006 and I am very thankful for this. While I mourn the loss of this dear friend, I look forward to the next five years and the memories a new package of napkins can bring.

P.S. It only took me two years and three moves to finish my 150 load bottle of fabric softener !!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You know the Relationship is Going South When Antarctica Comes Up

I am not an expert in successful relationships. Hell, I hardly know anything about them. But I am rather skilled in the failed ones and can sniff out problems in a relationship like a bloodhound can track the scent of a lost child. So why not take my painful lessons and share them with you? Let my firsthand experience be your guide and save you the heartache (all two of the people who read this and aren’t married)!

Today’s advice is extreme, but oddly enough, in both of my serious relationships, the guys considered this career path. Ladies, if you man ever suggests the idea that working on a research vessel in Antarctica seems like a fun idea- get ready for the boy to run. Any man who finds a job description that includes the statement below enjoyable, is a King of the Commitmentphobics.

“Contact with friends, family, loved ones is at a minimum; occurring mostly through e-mail transmitted by satellite. As the satellite time is costly, messages must be kept small and no attachments (pictures or similar) can to be transmitted except in emergencies and only with approval from the expedition leader. Telephone calls using Iridium phones are possible, but are limited.”

It’s hard to believe that both of the men in my life seriously read a job description with these statements and found it attractive enough to apply for the job. But yes, it’s true, I have only been in relationships with men that were attracted to the idea of sailing off to an uninhabited, freezing cold island where they could be in near isolation from the outside world. This is a red flag; no, this is an entire field of red flags waving in the breeze with a neon sign in the middle that flashes “NO FUTURE”. If you thought long distance relationships were hard, imagine one that only included two sentence emails every few weeks.

It may be a weird question to work into my first date routines, but the question “Would you ever consider applying to a job in Antarctica?” is becoming my ultimate weed-out question. If they say yes, there will be no date number two. Because men who are looking for adventure and to escape from the world, will eventually be looking for an escape from you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September My Saviour Has Failed Me

August was not a good month for me. In fact, it was a horrible month. There was a lot of crying, questionable hygiene, and on one really low night cheesecake for dinner followed by a wine/Nyquil night cap (not my proudest moment!). A large part of my downward spiral had to do with a boy. (Wait, no one saw that one coming did they? Women never turn to crying, complex carbohydrates, and liquor to ease the pain of their broken heart). For the first time, I was dating a man who had everything on my checklist and I was crazy about him. In hindsight, I should add emotional availability and no fear of commitment to my checklist. After a weekend trip to Virginia, he dropped me back home, hugged me, and told me to have a great week. I never saw him again. I even googled his obituary, but I believe he is still alive.

With the happy dating life gone, I sunk into a depression and realized I was generally unhappy with the overall direction of my life. But with the end of August approaching, I took a Pollyanna like approach to September. September was going to be my month: a New Year’s four months early. I created the usual lofty goals of eating better, working out more, figuring my life, getting my shit together, doing more activities, etc.

Today was the start of September: the month meant to save me; the month of promise and renewal; my month. But let us not forget, this is Cherry we are talking about and I have bizarrely horrendous luck. I woke this morning at 4 am and had an almost two hour bout of insomnia, where in a weak, sleep-deprived delirium, my mind replayed my relationship with the man I swore to stop thinking about. I finally feel asleep twenty minutes before my alarm went off. So, of course when it went off, I ignored it and overslept 40 minutes (one of my new goals was to get up on time). I finally got up and after a vigorous session of oral hygiene, in which I was too overzealous in the tongue cleaning, I threw up a dozen times. It was there staring back at my neon yellow vile, I had the horrible realization that September may not be savior after all. My social evening plans with a friend were cancelled, leaving me alone with a large plate of Rice Krispy treats I made for the occasion. They were my dinner (there goes the eating healthy). All in all, the first day of my September renewal failed me terribly. But just when I was about to give up, the musical iPod shuffle gods reminded me to “Don’t Stop Believing”. Ok, Journey, I trust you! Bring it on September 2nd.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Overthinking, Insomia, and Late Night Infomercials


I overthink things a lot. I over-analyze, create alternative implications, and apply greater depth of meaning to things than is usually required. And if you are a friend of mine, at some point you have told me to “Stop thinking”, “you are over-reacting”, “get out of your head” or my personal favorite “Calm the fuck down Cherry” (sorry for the language but sometimes I need to be told that).

For an overthinker, bedtime is the ultimate playground. Forced to lay in the dark with no distractions, my mind can devote untold hours to analyzing the tone and subtle nuance of a text message, the meaning behind the purchase of a pack of tic-tacs, and the future involving untold numbers of animals that will inevitably eat my flesh. When you are that inside your head and when you head is that “unique”, your sleep patterns tend to me messed up. I rarely sleep through the night. And in times of extreme stress, I barely sleep at all. I remember a period after my father’s stroke where I stayed up watching Eastern European Ballroom dancing at 2 am. However, European ballroom competitions can only last so long. Thankfully, they created infomercials just for the uptight, over-wound, insomniacs, like me.

The Ronco food dehydrator, the “Set it and Forget it” Ronco rotisserie, the Food Saver- vacuum sealer, the untold number of knives that cut through car doors and still slice a tomato paper thin. All these wonderful inventions with their slightly scary pitchmen have filled my nights for years. I have always enjoyed guessing how many payments of $19.95 they will knock off the price if I call in the next ten minutes. And let’s not get started on the bonus gifts that are yours to keep even if you return the product.

Of all the infomercials, the gadget I wanted the most has always been the Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer. Watching a spry octogenarian combine an untold number of fruits and vegetables into a machine that makes magical juice has always excited me. It’s no secret I love juice. I need my morning juice like most people need coffee. The thought of being able to make fresh juice daily seemed too good to be true.

I became the proud owner of the juicer after graduating from vet school. It was an impulse purchase with graduation money, but I am so thankful I bought it. Last summer, freshly minted as a doctor, I entered the adult world unable to find a job and forced to return to my high school bedroom. The only friend without a job, rejected from multiple positions, and with no real offers insight, I sunk into a depression. No one imagines they will become a doctor and not be able to get a job. They don’t plan to lay in bed at night at 26 years of age having their Breyer's model horses from fourth grade staring down at them. It got to the point that juicing became my only form of excitement for the day. I would apply for a job a day, and then go to the grocery store to buy a fruit/vegetable combination to juice. Thinking of new juice variations actually kept me going. Odd, yes. A bit pathetic, sure. But Jack LaLanne gave me an outlet of creativity when I felt so otherwise worthless. Plus the prep and clean up takes forever, so it filled a fair bit of my day.

So to anyone out there who feels like their life is a bit out of control or they have lost their purpose, to you dear friend I say watch an infomercial and purchase the one kitchen gadget that excites you. You may just find that 6 east payments of $19.95 can save your soul!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leaving the Pink Bubble

Have you ever experienced a moment in life so wonderful, that you wish you could find a way to alter the time-space continuum and just continue on in that moment forever? Honestly, I have not had this feeling many times. Even when I am enjoying myself, I am still thinking ahead, always knowing the feeling has an expiration date.

Last weekend however, I had one of those amazing, please don’t let this end moments. I was back at Sweet Briar College for my 5th year reunion (Holy smokes I am getting old, but let’s save that missive for another post). If you know me at all, you know I consider SBC (affectionately referred to as the Pink Bubble) a veritable heaven on earth. As of yet, it has been the best years of my life. I credit this amazing institution, its professors, and most importantly, all the incredible women I met there, to having given me the confidence to be who I am. There on the dell, stupidly dancing around with no fear of judgment, surrounded by friends, I remember thinking “Lord, please don’t let this end. If I could just stay in this one moment I would be truly happy.”

Oh course pure moments of bliss cannot last forever. Eventually the travel visa will expire and you must exit your Pink Bubble and rudely return to your real life. It has been hard since I have been back. Various conversations with friends and professors have forced me to acknowledge the surface buried truth that my life is not what I hoped it would be. Like countless other fresh-faced adults, I entered my career with the dream of making a difference. I never expected to be a world changer, but I thought I could do some good. I always loved the quote from E.M. Forester’s Room with a View:

"We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine."

Maybe it’s the permacloud covering Ohio, but I don’t feel like I am even living up to this quote. I live alone, I work alone, I drive thousands of miles, and am a glorified paper-pusher. Days come, days go, May turns to June. All in all, my existence if pretty unremarkable and this bothers me. Maybe it was childish to believe I could go to bed at night satisfied I had made a difference. Heck, I would settle for feeling that way once a month. I guess I am still looking for my place to stand with all my worth.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I was single, I mingled, and now I am done!

I am sure you are all familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark. Here is a children’s Sunday school refresher: the world has become incredibly sinful and the Lord decides to start over. He tells Noah, the last good guy standing, to build an ark and gather his family and two animals (male and female) of every species. I can imagine what it would feel like to be zebra number three watching all the animals go into the ark two by two. “Two, two, two….oh shit it’s just me!”

The older I get the more I feel like the extra zebra, lion, rhino, etc. My twenties seems like a proverbial Noah’s ark, with everyone I know pairing up and heading into the ark of relationships, leaving me without an umbrella. Lest you say I am overly sensitive, I have strong (ok shaky) Facebook statistics on my side. Being a scientist by nature, I like to deal with facts. They are harder to refute than the vague emotional feeling that the world is pairing up. So I went to Facebook, and yes, systematically went through every person I am “friends” to determine their relationship status. My categories are as follows: Married, Engaged, In a Relationship, Single, and I have no clue about your life because we really aren’t friends and you do not provide information about yourself (understandably shortened to unknown).

Nearly 40% of the people I know are married and another 23% are in some form of a relationship. Finally, an actual numerical justification for my feeling that I may soon be the last single woman left among my friends. But here is the thing, I don’t really mind being single, it’s the fact that no one else is that makes it hard. You can only be the third wheel at so many events before you get a little tired of it. And then there are all the questions you get. Moving to conservative Texas, and then to Ohio, the past 8 months have been same annoying queries over and over. “Are you married?” “So you really just moved out here to a place where you know no one for a job?” “Aren’t you lonely?”

To be honest with you, dating was never a priority. For the past fifteen years or so I have been nearly neurotically focused on my education and career. If some man came into the picture and didn’t mess up my plans, then sure I would be interested in that. Clearly, this never happened. Now that I am starting to get settled in my career, I decided maybe it was time to focus on my personal life (ok starting one). For all my friends out there, staring comfortably at their significant other, let me tell you what it is like in the late twenties arena of dating. IT IS PURE HELL! I work alone, I live alone, I travel a ton, and I seem to enjoy moving to states I have never been to about every six months. So, how is a girl like me to meet eligible men? That’s right the internet. No long a disturbing, desperate move, online dating has become the new standard of meeting people. The virtual bar world, with less cigarette smoke, better music, and the comfort of the keyboard to bolster your communication skills.

Thus I entered into an extremely awkward two month period of dating. There is nothing like dating to bring up all your half-buried insecurities. At some point in the journey, I decided I was an emotionally dead woman, with excellent people skills. And according to the guy who had a panic attack in the middle of coffee, “I am the most intimidating woman” he has ever met. Yes, that is right me. I have more amazingly weird dating experiences, but the wounds are still too fresh.

So after surrendering the fate of my love life to a computer data base somewhere in California, and having it shift through the apparent “thousands of people” that join daily, only to come up with nothing in the end, I have learned that single is just who I am (apologies for the world’s longest run on sentence). In fact, single is all I know. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, and there is freedom in it. By God, if I want to walk around naked, throw my stuff all over the floor, eat rice for dinner, and not come home on time, I can! I don’t report to anyone, I don’t have to check with anyone to see if I can do something, I just do what I want to do. Sure, I get lonely, sure I don’t want to be 47, alone with 500 cats, but I also don’t want to settle just so I can feel like everyone else. So go ahead and head into the ark all you couples, I know how to swim!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

Monday morning, I pulled my very full car out onto I-40 and headed east. As I passed the monuments of Amarillo that had grown so familiar, I took the time to look back on my short, but eventual Texan experience.

Accepting a job in Amarillo, Texas was the inauguration into my adventuresome and unpredictable life. Before then, my whole life followed a script I had developed in junior high. Back then it was mostly an outline, but all the major points where there and were precisely followed: go to college and major in Biology then go immediately to vet school at VT. The exciting/terrifying thing about graduating from vet school was that there was no plan for life after that. I never dreamed of a future past receiving my degree.

During my time in vet school, my passion for the non-traditional vet careers developed and I knew if I wanted to establish a career with the federal government, I needed to be willing to go anywhere to get my foot in the door. I applied for over 30 jobs, many in towns I had never heard of and required an atlas search to determine just where they were. I was so excited when I was offered my job, but taken back about the location of Amarillo. This particular job had openings in ten cities, I had ranked Amarillo #9 in order of places I would want to live. Sallisaw, KS home of a booming grain elevator manufacture was my last place.

I accepted this job with zero understanding of what I was getting myself into. There is no way to prepare an East Coast city girl for the Panhandle of Texas. There are no trees, real honest-to-goodness cowboys, and everyone is married before they can drink or at least before they can rent a car. Many of the licensees I worked with where so confused by a single girl moving to a new area for a job, not a man. Never in my life have I felt more of a spinster, but I hope I inspired, if only temporarily, the idea that being single is not a disease.

Amarillo was an incredibly challenging time in life. I was separated from my friends, family, and just about everything that was familiar to me. Suddenly, my routine life was thrown into nearly weekly trips all over the US, complete with hotels, airline travel, and inspecting species of animals I had not even heard of until that day. I have learned so much about flexibility and going with the flow. Plus, I feel like for the first time in my life, I actually have stories and experiences, not just school lessons. I learned how to depend more on myself and that I can handle much more than I used to give myself credit for.

I developed some amazing friendships in my time in Texas. True, were have different lifestyles, but these wonderful couples opened up their hearts to this crazy, out of place Virginian and put up with her constant comments about no trees and we don't do this where I come from. They looked beyond the "single" stigma and saw me for me. I will love and miss them all!

Before I even moved to Texas, I had an unexplained feeling that my time there would be limited. It was an important time for me. Sometimes you need to be taken away from everything that defines you and gives you comfort and put in an "Amarillo" to analyze what matters to you and what you need in life. Thanks to the past six months, I have such a better understanding of who I am and what I need in life.

900 miles down and one day left until I find myself in my new Ohio life. In truth, I am moving to another state I never imagined living in, another state I had never been to before accepting the position. This time, it feels like a longer stay (or maybe I don't want to pack my life up and drive again). I have no idea what the future holds for me here, but I am beginning to enjoy this wild and unpredictable adventure I am on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cardboard and packing tape

I'm moving again. Apparently, every 6 months or so I get this grand idea to box up my life and move across country to another state I have never been to or ever imagined living in. Am I crazy, adventuresome, in-capable of staying one place for long? Probably all of the above. 22 months and counting and still the longest I have spent consecutively in one place is nine weeks.

All around me is an assortment of boxes, most rescued from the dumpster of various Amarillo stores. Reading their sides is an amusing adventure. My hands-down favorite is "Caucasian Baby Assortment- made in China". What in the hell was in that box before I packed up my toaster-oven, and what will the movers think of me?

I'm on to my 11th role of packing tape and the tips of most of my fingers are thinned and rough. When I close my eyes at night I can still hear the rip of tape and smell the cardboard. Please someone remind me never to move again (or at least suck it up and pay the extra $600 for the movers to pack all this crap themselves).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Frank Discussion About Underwear

A few weekends ago, I had a new experience- underwear shopping. Before you begin to question my hygiene or choices in undergarments, let me clarify- underwear shopping with married women. As I riffled through the $2.99 sales bin at Victoria Secret with my two married friends, I had this realization: a relationship dramatically changes the objectives and motivations of panty purchases in women. My motivation for underwear selection is based on cut, comfort, material; it’s a bonus if I find something cute. Perhaps I am a bit too pragmatic, but come on, no one ever sees me in them and it’s a bit of fabric whose whole purpose is to cover up various orifices for bodily waste. And since you wear them practically 24/7, they better be comfortable. At least, this is the thought process of this single woman.

However, watching my married friends picking up tiny scraps of fabric embellished with lace and asking each other “Would [insert male name] like these?” made me realize a man changes your purpose in underwear selection. Suddenly, the objective becomes to find something sexy that will hopefully cause increased appreciation from your partner. I can understand this to a degree; I imagine if I knew someone would actually see me in my panties, this would inspire me to spruce up my collection. But I promise you this- no man will ever cause me to convert my entire underwear collection into thongs. There is not a man out there who is worth suffering through constant wedgies. To this day, ten minutes is my best record for wearing a thong before I ripped it off in disgust and went back to the comfort of my bikini brief. I would rather be hugged in fabric than strangled by it. More power to all of the thong wears out there, you are stronger women than I am.

Back on track! This sounds terrible to admit, but I generally think of men as being unobservant. I feel that on a day to day basic, they could not recall what their woman was wearing let alone her underwear selection. However, I fully admit I have no knowledge of men, so I consulted yet another married friend on the matter. She told me she used to believe the same thing, and stated the same idea to her husband. She was extremely surprised when her husband perfectly described her current underwear to her. So perhaps there is some importance to this underwear thing after all. Which poses the question- is underwear selection similar to the great quote from “The Field of Dreams”? If I wear attractive underwear, will a relationship come?

But why must women be the only ones to worry about pleasing their significant other with their undergarment selection? Here is a situation you will never see- several men digging through a bin of boxers, boxer-briefs, briefs, etc, picking up a pair and turning to their friend, saying “Do you think [insert woman’s name] will like theses? What do you think of the color on me?” It will never happen. To men its underwear and the only concern is comfort (sounds like me actually). And as women, we don’t care. As long as it is not stained or holey, we are unconcerned. Oh the undergarment double standard!

Thus ends my long missive on underwear. It’s time for me and my sensible single girl panties to go to bed.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Recent Quotes

People say the most amusing things.

“I love you but there is no way I am giving you fifteen dollars a month.” – my father in reference to an old account he created for me. Yes, love does have a price tag and it is less than $15.

High school senior to me “When are you going to settle down and get married and have kids?” I expect this from smug married couples, but 17 year olds, come on!

Numerous Texan licensees on inspection of my business card, “So is Cherry your married last named?”

Almost everyone I explain my job to “So are you ever going to be a real vet?”

Same high school senior, “What do old people do for fun anyway?” Geeh, I don’t know drink Ovaltine?

My father on listening to my weekend, “You really do need a man. Oh and I wouldn’t cancel your cable because you would have nothing to do.”

My mother’s reaction to my news that a good college friend is engaged: “[long pause] I am so sorry Cara. I just don’t know when it will happen for you.” Interesting response, as I was nothing but happy about the engagement.

Matt at lunch, “I am so glad to have lunch with a doctor, a black man, a saxophone player, and three white women.” Me “So, am I not a white woman?” Matt: “You are a doctor, that is better.”

My vet school roomie commenting on my multiple year man drought, “I don’t know how you do it I would kill myself.” Married people, sheesh.

One of my licensees warning as I left her property, “Watch out for the wild boars.”

My neighbor/cat sitter upon learning I am moving: “I wish I had never gotten to know you.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joy in the Simple Things

A few weeks ago, I embarked on a radical mission to change my way of thinking. The combination of 2011 and my birthday caused the usual self-reflection/analysis and I was rather disgusted with what I found. I was plagued by the same struggles and insecurities that have been my demons since 2005. Reading my last journal entry, dated back in October 2008, was comical. I could have written it yesterday. It was the same issues, heartbreaks, and disappointments. Thankfully, somehow the combination of old journals and pondering habitual bad habits sparked a change in me.

Nothing about my situation in life has changed and I am certainly not living the life I imagined for my 27 year-old self. Trust me, I didn’t daydream about being a crusty, spinster cat lady West Texan who drives hundreds of miles staring at tumble weeds when I was a little girl. But the thing is, this is where I am right now. I have spent so long dissatisfied with what I don’t have and haven’t taken the time to focus on the amazing little things I do have.
For the past few weeks I have started taking joy in the little things. They haven’t been anything glamorous; you probably wouldn’t trade your life to do these things, but for me at this point in my life they are just what I need. Here are some examples
-Random Thursday night bubble bath with wine, candles, music, and a great book
- I took myself to the movies and saw The King’s Speech, which is without a doubt one of the best movies I have seen in years
-Finally went to the Cadillac Ranch and tagged cars with a great friend. It was kitschy and amazing; awesome memories for only $7.96 (the cost of two cans of spray paint)
-Ushered a symphony
-Went for a walk and marveled at the sight of over a thousand Canada (fun fact it’s Canada not Canadian) geese take off from the lake at the same time
-Reconnected with some old friends and developed better relationships than before
-Purchased Mumford and Sons CD- do it!

You want to know the amazing thing, when you allow yourself to enjoy your life regardless of where you at things seem brighter. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t go around with a smile plastered on my face seeing sunshine all the time. I’m still a very flawed human, I just give myself permission to enjoy that fact!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Birthday Cards

I didn't believe it years ago, but now I know it is true- birthdays just aren't any fun when you get older. Growing up it was a magical day devoted only to you. Parties thrown in your honor, presents wrapped in pastel ribbons, your favorite meal prepared; the only day in the whole year (except for all those spoiled kids out there) totally devoted to you. Eventually, you grow older, run out of important milestone birthdays (except for the terrifying ones that mark a new decade) and overall, no one really cares that it's your birthday. It's a natural progression, you can't go along demanding streamers and kazoos every year for the rest of your life.

A few days ago, I turned 27. It's an uncomfortable age, where for the first time you have to face the reality that you are deeply entrenched in your 20's, late 20's, staring down the barrel of 30. I know in the grand scheme of life it is not that old, but it is creeping ever closer to spinster cat lady years. Technically this year, many people remembered my birthday in the form of wall posts and a few text messages. An interesting side effect of our advanced technological times is the ability to be acknowledge by more people while at the same time feeling more alone. Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate the 35 happy birthday wall posts, but read on to understand my depression.

This year I received one birthday card, and no, your first guess is wrong, it was not from my parents. It wasn't even from some one I know personally, though they are famous! My only birthday card this year was from the Geico Gecko. Inside the card included such choice phrases as "It's your birthday and you're one year older. There's never been a better time to become a GEICO policyholder." Yes, folks, a car insurance company sent me my only birthday card. Even more disturbing, they are NOT my car insurance providers, yet somehow they know it's my birthday. The back of the card sent me the joyous P.S. message "See how much you could save now that you're another year older." What is more depressing about this situation: Geico sent me my only birthday card or GEICO rubbing in my old age?