May 3, 2009

Getting to Know Zhou (Part 1)

Last week we learned that Zhou knows Kevin pretty well (she was officially given a grade of 82.1%). However, the true test comes this week as we discover how well Kevin knows Zhou. Kevin's been bragging for years that the reason he's never seen Mel Gibson's biggest hit is because he already knows what women want, so it's time to put his money where his mouth is. So with no further ado...

(1) Favorites:

Favorite college class: As much as Zhou loved the Econ / Finance department and the professors there, they all took second place to her photography class senior year. This is because they took a lot of pictures and at one point, the teacher called Zhou her “star student.”

Favorite movie: Easy one. Princess Bride. Have you seen the deluxe edition DVD where the cover says “Princess Bride” regardless of whether you read it right side up or upside down?

Now you have.

Favorite food: Zhou goes through phases of just about everything in life. (This sometimes makes me worried about my status, but I have luckily made it almost five years and am still around.) She’ll get mysteriously hooked on random TV shows (currently Home Improvement), she goes through different shampoos and haircuts, and she’ll crave a food for about two weeks at a time. At the moment though, I’d say it’s a tie between pepperoni, her homemade yogurt and Casserole Queens’ chicken pot pie.

Favorite animal: Charlie! But I’m not going to put a picture of her here.

Favorite book: Count of Monte Cristo and Pride & Prejudice

I don’t remember Libby ever calling me her “star student,” but I’m sure it must be true! And yes, I was that kid. I’m sorry, it’s just how I am.

(2) Most prized material possession (that Zhou is taking on the trip):

Zhou loves her Zhou-sized Yaris with the duct-taped side-view mirror. She also really likes her Rubik’s cubes (all [five] of them) and her new iPod Touch, but I think if it came down to it, the one thing she couldn’t do without would be her face cream. She hates having dry skin almost more than anything else in the world, so I can’t imagine how crazy she would act without her lotion.

I really do hate having dry skin, and my one beauty splurge on the trip is taking a 2 oz. bottle of Hope in a Jar. I’m impressed that Kevin picked up on that.

(3) Biggest pet peeve:

She hates it when people waste things and pollute the environment, but I’d say Zhou’s biggest pet peeve would be when people wear one sock but not the other. She doesn’t mind if the two socks don’t match, but if you ever really want to bug her walk around with just one sock on. Better yet, make sure that one sock has big holes in the toe – she wouldn’t know what to do.

It’s true, I don’t even want to talk about one-sock wearing people (Matt!) – and you know what my other biggest pet peeve is right now? Coach on Survivor. I’m not watching the show again until he gets voted off. I also hate it when people stand two by two on the escalator (unless everyone in front of them is doing it also, then it’s ok) so you can’t pass.

(4) What will annoy Zhou most on the road: There will definitely be a lot of tough times for Zhou, including not being able to clean (herself or her surroundings) and having to deal with things not going according to plan. She will also be annoyed when she keeps telling me “just try some – it’s really good!” and I refuse to try it.

I really don’t like being dirty. Maybe I should practice before we leave. But I agree that the hardest thing will be the lack of control I will have on the trip – but I think it’ll be really good for me too.

(5) First memory:
This is a tough one, but I would have to say it’s of these ducks she used to have back in China. (It’s funny because some of my fondest early memories are of watching Mighty Ducks over and over.) The story as I recall is that her Grandma brought home four baby ducks one day because they were lost in the street. They named each duck after its color, but the only one I remember was little Butter. Butter and his siblings stayed in a laundry basket in the garage and were fed well and treated like royalty, until one day the three siblings escaped. Butter was so heartbroken that a few days later he died of depression, and the young Zhou discovered him dead in the garage. At first she didn’t believe her eyes – Butter was like a brother to her, but eventually reality set in and she got a real brother named Alex, who is really good at his doubles and Chinese Checkers.

Ok, first of all, this story is a bit discombobulated – it was in Little Rock, and the ducklings (not ducks) lived in the backyard (yes, in a laundry basket). I don’t know where my Grandma got them from, but it certainly wasn’t off the street – probably from the local Asian grocery store. And Kevin’s “escaped” is a euphemism for “got eaten.” We did put Butter in the garage after the situation with his siblings – we were afraid he would get eaten too. I think he died of loneliness. And it weighs really heavily on my conscience that when I discovered poor dead Butter, I didn’t say anything to anyone. I just admitted this fact to my sister in the last year. She thought it was funny.

Secondly, that happened when I was about 12, so it’s not my first memory. My first memory is of being accidentally left in a parking lot. When I was five. In Las Vegas. In the dark. My parents drove off, my mom thinking I was in the front seat of the car, my dad thinking I was in the back with my mom and baby Amy. Luckily, their friend (with whom we were staying) saw me in the headlights of his car and recognized my outfit – a green corduroy jumper with a pocket shaped like an apple – and took me to his house, where I was tearfully reunited with my parents. I remember my parents’ friend telling me it would be a really funny joke if I hid in the bathroom. At the time, I was too hysterical to even consider that idea, but in retrospect, that would have been hilarious. When I mentioned this story to my parents a few years back, my dad looked at me and said, “I didn’t think you remembered that.” They haven’t been back to Vegas since then. Coincidence? I think not.

(6) Thing Zhou can’t do without in life:

The obvious answer: Charlie. The less obvious answer: TV marathons. Zhou will watch anything and everything as long as you put it into marathon form so she doesn’t have to wait a week between shows.

True. Mostly America’s Next Top Model or Law & Order. But really, I’ll watch anything. I think the reason for this is I am the absolute worst at waiting. I just always need to know what’s going to happen.

(7) Story from before we met that Zhou likes to tell most:

I hear many stories from Zhou twice, and I hear some stories three times. However, there’s one story that I’ve heard more often than I’ve heard Allen Iverson say the word “practice.”

Zhou used to live in a small town in Arkansas, before moving to a small town in New Jersey in the middle of eighth grade. In Arkansas, Sam Champion was the local weatherman, and each day the Zhangs would huddle closely around the TV as Sam came on to point his magic wand at the green screen behind him. His performance would bring tears of joy to the Zhang family’s eyes, and the time he was not on the TV was the worst 23 hours and 57 minutes of their day.

As you can imagine, moving away from Arkansas was not too difficult, because it’s Arkansas. However, moving away from Sam Champion was harder than learning that the Jamaican bobsled team would be disqualified from the Olympics. But the move had to be made, and the Zhangs would eventually have to watch some no-name Joe slog through updates on the New Jersey smog.

A few months after the move, Zhou was watching the news by herself when for a brief moment, a glorious face caught her eye. “Mom! Dad! Amy! Alex! Come here!” The family rushed downstairs to see what the fuss was about. A commercial had come on, so Zhou let the suspense build for a few minutes. But when the news came back, there he was – Sam Champion! The Zhangs jumped for joy and popped open a bottle of champagne. Five enormous smiles met in a big group hug.

Yes, Sam Champion had followed the family from Arkansas to New Jersey.

My version of the story goes something like this: “Did you know Sam Champion used to be our weatherman in Little Rock? And now he’s our weatherman here! Isn’t that funny?” But Kevin’s rendition is pretty good.

To be continued Tuesday…

Puzzles for Postcards (list of winners):
We have been told that the anagrams sometimes are too long, and therefore solving them becomes less about solving an anagram and more about solving context clues. However, we have already made a few more long anagrams, and will be using them up before making shorter ones.

No Dark Clouds By The Cliff Anagram:
Color in an Eye Signals Nice Weather

Scrabble Games: 40 (full log)
Zhou WPLB: 22; 368; 427; DOWnTIME, ASININE
Kevin WPLB: 18; 363; 461; MEANEST, PAgODAS, BROODING


  1. Sweeten Cheerios Inorganically, na?

    That's it right? O well, I'd rather read your post anyways.

  2. I can see clearly now the rain is gone.

  3. I have to interrupt my reading to squeal HOME IMPROVEMENT. :) I still remember the episode where she's dreaming that she's old and gets squished under the table. ( there a new home improvement?)