Just Enjoy the Walk

My mom’s dog Chauncey is allergic to bees.

We didn’t know this until he got stung for the first time a few years ago, which unfortunately, was when I was taking him out for a walk. His little 13-lb body swelled up within minutes to the point that he looked like a hideous, wrinkly, bloated caricature of himself and he started having trouble breathing.

I swooped him up and ran the half mile back to my mom’s house. She wasn’t home–which is why I was walking him–and so I threw him in my car and literally sped the 10 minutes to the vet with him cowering and shaking on my lap the hole time. Long story short, he was eventually okay after the vet gave him an emergency shot and sent me home with drugs and an epi-pen for future accidents.

But for the first few months after that, he wanted nothing to do with me taking him for a walk, and any fly that even came within feet of his head made him crazy. Understandably, he was scared it would happen again.

Eventually he got over it and I could walk him again, and while he still is extra alert with bugs, he’s pretty much back to normal. He loves going for walks.

For me, even though I know we have his emergency kit and I take my phone just in case, I’m still scared every time that I walk him.

I still remember that day.

In fact, I still remember “that” day in the sense that I remember all of those days. I remember traumatic things that happened 15 years ago, being stuck in the blackout for three days while living in the heart of Detroit, getting sick and being in the hospital, the day that I lost my job, the stress of this last big “basement filled with water and expensive repairs and cleaning,” experience, etc.

Of course you never forget those things, but with me it’s always been different.

Every time we get a storm, I get neurotic about losing power (and now about my basement flooding again.) Every time I start to slip down, I worry that I’ll end up in the hospital again. Now that I have a job that I love and adore, I’m paranoid it might get taken away.

Nobody puts this stress on me but me, but in a sense I’m always afraid to get stung, afraid to have it all happen again.

This is good in the sense that it makes me prepared. This is bad in the sense that it can also makes my OCD ramp up and I physically wear myself down to try and gain some control, but also suspicious of all the good things, wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.

OK. Now I’m rambling.

But my point–I think–is that sometimes bad things happen because you made a bad decision or sometimes for no reason at all. Sometimes good things happen because you work hard or maybe you just caught a break. When either of those things happen, you have to learn to just accept it.

joan

Shit happens. Sunshine happens.

I don’t know what that means but I’m just trying to say that you’ll never forget “those days.” Whether you were seriously ill, lost a job or a loved one, or suffered any type of trauma–you know you’ll never forget. It changes you, but it’s up to you to decide that direction of change.

As for me, through all the stuff that’s happened, I didn’t believe people who told me that things would get better. I wanted to, but when you’re in the middle of whatever that thing is, everything seems so far away.

Now that I’m kind of working on getting to that other side, I realize that they were right (have to insert “knock on wood” because, well, see above.)

Things might now work out exactly as you want them to–or when, but then again, maybe they’ll work out even better than you planned at a time they needed to happen. Whatever it is, you’ll get through it. And when you do and come to unfamilar place of “happy” or maybe “content”, don’t waste time wondering why.

In other words, don’t shit on your sunshine or shine the light on the shit or something kind of like that. Maybe a bit more eloquently, don’t be scared that you’ll get stung again.

Instead, enjoy the walk.

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Adventures at the ATM

There’s a good chance the Pope and his posse could pull up behind me in the Popemobile at the ATM and I would still think they were plotting to mug me or judge me for taking too long to complete my transaction.

In my defense, I had never even used an ATM before a couple of years ago. I have no idea why that was, but I have since remedied the situation and can say I’ve probably used one in an excess of two dozens times since that first jaunt. However, like most mundane activities, I can find something to complicate the situation.

atm

A normal person would simply drive up to the machine, insert their card, enter in their PIN, complete their transaction, grab a receipt and move on with their life. In case you are new here, I’m not entirely normal.

While there are moments of ATM glory, there are also moments of shame and most of those moments look something like this:

  • Drive up to cash machine
  • Reverse back the required amount to align car window to machine
  • Set parking brake, put the window down, glance around to make sure no one is lurking nearby
  • Grab purse and try to pry the debit card out of my wallet
  • Find mint and get distracted by my good fortune
  • Focus on card and then swear as it refuses to budge out of my wallet
  • Turn the radio down—too distracting
  • Precariously hang out of the window to insert card
  • Attempt to insert card into machine
  • Re-insert card the right way up
  • Glance around again for would-be muggers
  • Enter PIN
  • Enter amount of cash required
  • Press cancel and re-enter correct amount of cash required
  • Back up the car again to retrieve an envelope for soon-to-be-delivered cash
  • Retrieve cash and receipt
  • Glance around again for would-be muggers
  • Grab purse and place cash and receipt inside
  • Look for another mint but find only disappointment
  • Drive forward two feet
  • Reverse back to cash machine
  • Precariously hang out of the window to retrieve card
  • Grab wallet again and shove card into the slot provided
  • Silently memorize the facial features of the irate male driver/would-be mugger in line behind me
  • Drive forward two feet
  • Bath my hands in sanitizer
  • Move on with my life

You see how exhausting this is?

No wonder I held off so long.

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

 P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Grilled Cheese, Pie and Some Kids With Really Bad Hair

So…we meet again.

I’ll be honest in saying that I’m still trying to get my thoughts together on a more introspective post, but lately my thoughts by the end of the day involve introspection along the lines of, “I would like a second opinion on the fact this jar of hummus is labeled as eight servings” and “Why does the letter ‘W’ have so many damn syllables?”

alphabet

In other words, my brain is fried.

To be honest, these past couple of weeks have been a real emotional roller coaster. I’ve had some awesome unexpected things happen with work–I’m still one of those annoying people who loves my job–and my writing, but then I’ve also had some really unexpected crappy things happen.

We’re not talking life or death–I’m trying to keep perspective–but rather things beyond my control like a flooded basement with six inches of water and thousands of dollars of clean-up and sewer line replacement that wasn’t in the financial or emotional budget.

Let’s just say I’ve had more men going through my house this past week than I’ve had the past eight years combined. Unfortunately, none of them look like Bradley Cooper, unless Bradley Cooper suddenly morphed into a middle-aged, dirt-covered foreman with the stereotypical plumber’s crack.

Anyway, it kind of threw me because for the first time in a long, long time, I was feeling…happy? Content? I still have a long ways to go–and I need to save this ramble for that introspective post I’m pretending I will write–but I’m actually kind of okay. Not too high, not too low, but just settling into a new and slightly uncomfortable/unfamiliar normal. Then all this crap happened.

But, through the help of some friends and carbs, I’m trying to accept that something bad luck is just that–bad luck–and that good things happening are just good things happening. Sometimes it’s the result of hard work and sometimes it’s just a good thing. You have to accept both and not let either of them go to your head too much. It’s a constant work in progress.

But I digress–as usual.

Speaking of work, I thought I would drop a few links on you from 22 Words in case you want some good weekend reading. I’ll be back at some point with a more coherent post, but for now–what the hell is up with “W,” you know?

Detention Slips That Prove These Kids are Too Hilarious To Care (and hilarious comments on my Facebook page.)

30 Haircuts So Bad That These Kids Might Actually Hate Their Parents Now (We’ve all had a mullet…admit it.)

Hilarious Grocery Store Fails You Won’t Believe Actually Happened

30 Innocent Spelling Mistakes that Make These Kids Seem Completely Inappropriate 

20 Restaurants Where You Can Torture Yourself with Tasty but Insane Food Challenges (I’ll pass on 7 pounds of Italian food, thanks.)

Company Logos with Hidden Images You’ll Wonder Why You Didn’t See Sooner

40 of the Most Amazing, Mouthwatering Pies You’ll Ever See 

The Most Breathtaking and Dangerous Flowers in the World (Mother Nature is pretty kick-ass.)

Ridiculous Pet Products that Prove Some People Are Crazy (Three words: Dog sex toys.)

True Animal Heroes Who Saved People From Certain Death

35 Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches that  Celebrate April as National Grilled Cheese Month (Seriously. So much delicious. The end.)

And finally, I’m honored to say that I’m included among a fabulously talented group of women as a 2015 BlogHer Voice of the Year Honoree for my “10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping” post. I’m not tooting my own horn–I think it’s broken–but rather humbled and grateful and extending my congrats to everyone there on that list.

With that said, rambling over. See you back here next time.

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

 P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Home Depot: You Can Do It. He Can Help.

Hi! I’m Jake—not from State Farm, ha ha—and would like to welcome you to Home Depot. I couldn’t help but notice you looked a little bit lost, so please allow me to show you around!

depot

First, I commend you for taking on this mission on a Saturday afternoon. That takes great courage in my book, as weekends can make for a rough climate around these here parts when all the home project “entre-manures” come out.

But remember, the “D” in “DIY” doesn’t have to stand for “Destruction!”

Just stick with me, kiddo. I’m trained and know the path that runs along the electrical aisles and merges into the lumber supplies. We can flow freely through baths and faucets and I can help with any of your organizational needs. The windows and doors? Merely entryways into the land of purchasing power and ease.

Heck, are you single and ready to shingle? I can be your personal stud finder—ha!

Anyway, I know the merits of preparation, so let’s grab a cart, devise a plan and get started. We’ll move swiftly, like a Swiffer on a linoleum floor—Aisle 5!—and we won’t wander off the path to sniff the Glade scented votives—Aisle 12!—or check out the area rugs—endcap on Aisle 7!—unless those are things on your list.

By the way, what is the first item there on your list? Weather stripping? If only that was as sexy as it sounds, am I right? Sorry. I’m very lonely. Let’s move on.

(Ahem.)

Though our impulse may say otherwise, we will not look directly at the 1,353 different paint sample cards or stop to ponder why there are also candy and beauty supplies mixed in with the screws and power tools. We will simply accept that this establishment is basically stocked with enough supplies to survive the zombie apocalypse.

You would never have to leave!

Now I realize this can be overwhelming and that the smell of lumber can be intoxicating, so it’s normal to panic at times. But instead of cowering down in the pre-assembled clubhouses or getting tangled in the hammocks on display in the outdoor furniture area, I suggest you accept failure to remember everything you need.

Don’t think of this as your only trip to the store. No, think of this as the first of many on a journey to not just home improvement, but PERSONAL improvement. We learn from our mistakes, and buying the wrong size furnace filter doesn’t just build up your bill—it builds knowledge and builds character.

And don’t forget that no matter what happens: You can do it. I can help.

Like the blog? Buy the books!

zazzle.jpg

P.S. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to subscribe here on the blog and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

From PB & J and Sriracha to Adorable Animals and Inappropriate Books

I’ll have a real post for you next time, but I figure most people are either on Spring Break or suffering from a hangover that involves deviled eggs and chocolate and haven’t been dealing with a computer virus that was emotionally and financially draining and two broke appliances that is extremely stressful and crappy like someone I know. 

Anyway, I thought I would drop a few links from the gazillion things over at 22 Words in case you wanted to do some reading.

Because let’s be honest.

You’re probably already over the family time and no longer care where that final Easter egg that nobody can find is hidden. The smell will reveal the location soon enough, so curl on up and click a few links. 

online

These 25 Hilariously Creepy Easter Bunny Photos Are the Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of (Seriously. What were these parents thinking?)

 30 Mouthwatering PB & J Creations That Take the Classic to a Whole Different Level (I can’t believe I get to write about this for my job.) 

35 Revenge Tactics From People Who Are Over Your Horrible Parking Job

She Was Sick and Abandoned in the Cold, But Now Marnie the Dog is an Internet Sensation (you have to see her pictures)

30 Futuristic Inventions You’ll Wonder How You’re Living Without

30 Spicy Products that Prove Sriracha is the New Black (except it’s red, and hot sauce.)

How Two Abandoned Shelter Animals Created a Bond That Will Last Their Whole Lives (so much adorableness here I can’t take it.)

25 Incredibly Inappropriate Children’s Books You Won’t Believe Actually Exist

Anyway, those are just a handful of my posts because I’m sure you’re tired of me telling you to read things when you really want to go find that one last piece of chocolate you KNOW IS SOMEWHERE IN THE HOUSE. 

Good luck with that and I’ll see you back here next time. 

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

 P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

 

Dear Tooth Fairy: Get It Together

A text I got from my mom the other day that might give you a bit of insight into my early command of authority:

“I was cleaning out some drawers of mine and found a note you wrote the Tooth Fairy. OMG. You were so direct and authoritative. Made me laugh. Then cry. Thank you for being a wonderful weirdo.”

I had to investigate.

On a little 3-by-3-inch piece of paper was the following, word for word, scratched out in pencil:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

Hello again.

You need to know that this tooth was really a pin in the butt! I could twist it all the way around!! It was a lot of work!!!

Please leave the money under my pillow and sign your name on the line below:
X____________________________________

The pencil is on my desk. Please don’t use my purple pen. It’s my favorite.

Have a good night!

Let’s “workshop” this, shall we?

I like how I conveyed a sense of familiarity with the addition of “again” to my  hello. Then I get right to the point, telling her the necessary information surrounding the situation and the effort I had put forth to extract said tooth.

I also think it was a nice touch the way I built up the emotion with progressively more exclamation points each time.

Then I rounded things out with the call to action and verification of her status —money under pillow, sign on the line, avoid purple pen—to clear up any confusion, before politely wishing her well on the remainder of her rounds.

Yes, I am a wonderful weirdo.

However, so are the kids in this post I wrote for 22 Words  based off my own Tooth Fairy note. She has some high expectations to meet.

chaching

And while you’re there, here are a couple more of the gazillions of things I wrote over there I thought you might enjoy.

This Animal Shelter Has a Brilliant Strategy to Find Homes for Their Pups

30 Ridiculous Kitchen Gadgets You Want In Your Life (I want the Sushi Bazooka or Tex the Armadillo)

25 Fun “Frozen” Facts, Including Silly Mistakes and a Hilarious Note in the Credits

Bacon Lovers Unite! 35 Fun and Ridiculous Bacon Products (yes, I’m a vegan who wrote about bacon)

28 Brilliant Food Hacks that Will Make You a Kitchen Genius (Sorry this is multi-page. It’s annoying, but they’re looking into fixing some issues.)

32 Insane Baseball Foods That Put Peanuts and Cracker Jacks to Shame

Before you go, I have to bring it back to me—it’s all about ME—and warn you that putting a bra under your pillow like you do teeth for the Tooth Fairy will NOT result in waking up with big boobs. Highly disappointing, but I guess that’s adulthood.

Happy Reading!

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

 

How To Go Through a Car Wash

I’ve made no secret of my driving pet peeves.

horn

But one of the things I find most difficult about operating a motor vehicle is the car wash. In fact, at times I find it down right scary.

It starts with the Herculean task of lining my driver’s side wheels up with the tiny track line that leads into the car wash cave. I carefully watch the attendant for direction—he waves me a little to the left, to the right, no! no! back to the left!—before I finally receive his seal of approval, a raising of his hand and a stern nod of his head.

I quickly exhale and regroup before remembering I have to put it in neutral and take my hands off the wheel and my foot of the brake . This poses dual problems for yours truly, as first I am worried that I will somehow run over the attendant as he does the initial rising off of my car.

This has never been an issue in the past, but yet I have this concern.

Once I am confident I will not be dragging said attendant under my car throughout the rest of the rinse, I am expected to believe that even though I can’t see what’s on the other side of the soapy brushes and gushing water, both me and my vehicle are safe.

Evidence would suggest otherwise, as after the initial rinse, the big red things that look like giant bottle cleaners come flying at my vehicle in all their whirling glory.

At this point I’m still doing fairly well, considering I’m in a car wash, and comforted by the fact that I like clean cars.

But then the blue things start flying at the sides of my car with such force that my external rearview mirror is shoved forward. Considering I have no control over where I’m going and can’t see through the suds anyway, this really shouldn’t be an issue. However, given my OCD, I have to resist the urge to roll down my window and pull it back into its rightful position.

I stay strong. I resist. 

At this point I’m begin to freak out a little more because now I’ve got the big red things flying at my windshield and the big blue things flying at both sides of my car and long linguini-like rags slapping at the roof. I’m convinced that I will be the exception, that they will bust right through my windshield and suffocate me in their sudsy stealth.

So despite the fact that nothing except static will come through in the car wash cave, I blast the radio as loud as I can. I think this is somehow supposed to comfort me.

It doesn’t, but planning what I will say to the news reporters who will interview me after my harrowing experience does distract me until the rinse cycle begins.

Around this time I can breathe a little easier, although now giant dryers threaten to suck me into the car wash cave vortex. But  I literally see the light at the end of the tunnel and finally exhale a bit.

I wait for the blinking red light to turn green so I can perfectly plan the switch from neutral to drive as the track shoves me off. Approximately 2.4 seconds after leaving the car wash cave, I roll down my window and adjust the mirror, with the sight of my car’s clean exterior making the $5 spent all worth while.

Until I get stuck behind a car kicking up slush at my windshield.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. 

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!

zazzle

P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.