Category Archives: Uncategorized

Should You Use the Self-checkout?

I have written several times about the victories and defeats that happen each and every time I set foot in a grocery store–which is a minimum of four times a week–but there’s one thing I can no longer stay silent about.

Well, there are many things I can’t stay silent about, but this one is tops on the list–the self-checkout lane.

What should be an easy process–get in line, scan, pay, leave–is complicated by the fact that a) machines are machines and b) most people are not in fact smarter than the machine and make me question the whole theory of evolution.

So because I’m a helper, I have created a series of simple questions that will determine whether or not you should use the self-checkout lane.

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1. Can you count to 12? 

First of all, I’m referring to the Express self-checkout lanes. The sign says 12 items or less. It does not say, “Everything you can stick in the small-ass cart you chose instead of regular cart.”

And that does not refer to the number of item types, but the actual item count. For example, those 35 cans of soup that took you 15 minutes to pick out does not count as a single item. You are not a special snowflake. If everybody ignored this rule, it would just be a regular line.

So if you can’t count to 12, go through that regular line.

2. Can you form a straight line? 

In most cases, there are two sets of checkouts–three on each side. This does not mean that a line forms behind each one. There is one line–ONE LINE–that forms in the middle behind these two rows of machines.

And this is the important part: If you’re the first person in line, do not stand eight feet away from the middle of the two sides of checkouts, therefore blocking the rest of the floor for all the other shoppers and causing the line to snake all the way back through the produce section.

One line. A couple feet back from the registers. Not complicated.

3. Can you find the barcode on a product or match a picture on the screen to your product?

In order to scan an item, you have to scan the barcode. Find the barcode, scan it, and move on with your life. If there is no barcode, as is often the case with produce, they provide a menu on the screen that looks like a children’s matching game. See banana? Press banana button.

Yay! Look at you!

4. Can you put items in a bag?

You must place your scanned item in the bag. If you actually remembered to not only bring your reusable bag from home but also remembered to bring it into the store–showoff–use it and bypass trying to open the plastic bags provided (pretty good call.)

Either way, place the item in the bag. That’s it. If you put it back into your small-ass cart, the voice will yell at you that “an item has been removed.” If you place it there before you scan it, it will yell that there is an “unexpected item in bagging area.”

It’s all about timing. Scan. Place in bag. Proceed.

5. Can you flatten money to insert into the slot?

The voice coming out of the machine gives you two clear options–swipe card on the PIN pad or insert cash. That’s it. They’re telling you what to do. Don’t act surprised and look around, don’t pull out a wad of crumpled bills and expect them to be accepted, and don’t ask if you can write a check. 

You will always have to pay for your groceries. Swipe, insert bills, get a gold star. And seriously? A check? 

6. Can you move along when you’re done?

If there is a long line behind you, do not stand there when you’re done and read your receipt and all 300 extra pieces of paper that get pumped out of the printer with it like it’s a treasure map. There is nothing on that paper that is so important that you need to throw on the brakes and cause a backup.

Shuffle up a few feet and by all means, feel free to make a day out of your perusal. Just don’t block the now-vacant machine. Move it along there, buddy.

So I think that sums things up.

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, reflect a bit on your limits, swallow your pride, and proceed to the nearest employee-manned checkout. 

Don’t be a hero.

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Cutting the Cord

Last week felt like that moment you get in your car and hear only the last two seconds of your favorite song. Things most certainly could be worse, but it was a series of frustrations—a $200 bee exterminator fee, a leaking faucet, etc.—that culminated with me actually writing a blog post.

(I know. I should have called my sponsor for an intervention.)

Anyway, to say that Comcast is a frustrating company is to say that a Kardashian takes a selfie or two now and again. This won’t be a (well-deserved) Comcast rant—but it’s an important detail to the story.

I was working on Friday morning when all the sudden both my TV and Internet went out. Great. I immediately freaked the hell out—in part because I work from home and in part because that’s my default mode when things are out of my control, which is super helpful.

I looked outside and there was literally a cable cut and hanging out of a tree into the street in front of my house.

Not a good sign.

Long story short, it culminated in more than 13 phone calls to Comcast, five live chats, etc. and being told that since it was a safety hazard it was a “top priority” and “escalated” for techs who would be out there that day by 1…and then by 4 and then 5.

See where this is going?

It was a whole day of supervisors lying to me, apparently, because no one actually showed up to my house until 1 pm on Saturday. In fact, the energy company had to remove the cable from the road because of safety reasons that Comcast evidently didn’t find quite important enough to address.

Anyway, here’s the moral of the story (other than the hatred I have of Comcast.)

Internet

I enjoy my job. My job is 100 percent online, and I enjoy being online even when I’m not working. But there comes a point when you’re forced to go without it, and you’re forced to face reality—and not in a virtual sense.

I should preface this with the fact that the issue goes way deeper than just being online with me—my OCD, depression, exercise addiction, etc. have been out of control these past months and it’s a separate post.

But it took literally having this cord cut for me to realize how much I retreat to a repetitive world, covering the real issues with a virtual Band-Aid.

In those rare moments when I’m not working, I mindlessly click around the same few websites, TV show in the background that I’m not really watching anyway.

It’s really a metaphor for so many other issues with me (see above.) Is it easier to dig deeper and take steps to be healthy and happy long term or distract myself with overexercising and the Internet and worry about real life later?

Click. Walk. Click.

The thing is, it’s easy to rationalize.

I don’t have a smartphone because I don’t want to be one of those annoying people constantly checking my phone in line, in the car, when talking to people, etc. Yet everyone ignores how destructive this behavior can become because there are so many other people who do the same thing.

It’s easy to rationalize my OCD/exercise addiction because there are so many people who ignorantly claim to “wish they had my problem,” even though my health is so bad I should probably be hospitalized and the emotional (and physical) investment I place on these routines completely disrupts—and in fact, pretty much rules—my life.

Maybe part of it is that we (I) don’t always feel like there’s really anything else to stop for because these things become the life that we’ve created, for better or worse. To cope with certain things, we develop habits that have nothing to do with actual meaningful goals just so we have a distraction, a way to fill the time.

For me, even living with the constant “something is seriously wrong here” feeling, I often can’t make myself stop doing what I know isn’t healthy.

It would take being put in the hospital again to get me to stop exercising. It would take having my depression get so bad that I scare myself in order to go back to therapy. And it did take having the cord literally cut for me to realize how purposeless so many things have become.

Yes, we all need distractions—they aren’t all bad, that’s for sure. But we (I) also need intention.

I was able to work from my mom’s on Friday and Saturday, and once the basic stuff was out of the way and I had “fun” time, you know what I did?

I sat staring at the computer screen wondering what the hell I was doing. It took me 10 minutes to go through Facebook and Twitter and email, and then…mindless clicking. And then something clicked. There was nothing I needed that second that wouldn’t be there when things worked at home again. 

So I shut it off.

I went home and finished a magazine. I put in a DVD (that still worked even though cable was out) and actually watched it—not just had it on in the background while I was online. I wrote a rambling blog post that probably 10 people will read. 

And while it was a pain in the ass for two days, life went on, as it tends to do. 

Because unlike service from Comcast, you can always depend on that. I owe it to myself to pay attention. 

So do you. 

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Proof That Kids are Clueless

As kids, we’re pretty much clueless (a state most of us maintain through adulthood, but whatever.) Anyway, I thought you could get pregnant by just kissing someone and that everyone could pretty much use their grandma’s bra as a hammock.

In other words, until we’re told the actual facts–and in the case of the birds and the bees, wishing we never knew–we just operate on assumptions.

Where am I going with this? I have to peruse Reddit for work, and there was a thread about misconceptions people had as kids. It’s funny, so I’m sharing some of the gems below.

Your mission–should you choose to accept it–is to add your own in the comments. Entertain me, people.

misconception
I thought new words came about by important people in suits sitting in some kind of board room adding new words to the dictionary everyday, much like people pitching product ideas to a board.

I thought that signs that said “End Construction” were placed there by a group of people who were generally opposed to road construction.

I believed that maps only showed half of the Earth- the “front half”- and that there was an entirely different “back half” that you weren’t taught until you were older. I thought that’s where places like Oz and Neverland were located.

I used to think that “up yours” was a compliment, in much the same way as “upvote” or “thumbs up” is.

I thought that there were gnomes living in every single traffic light that were in charge of controlling it. Logically, one gnome wore a red hat, the other wore a yellow hat, and the last one wore a green hat. They had a little stepladder for the red gnome because he wasn’t tall enough to reach.

I didn’t discover that Alaska was not adjacent to Hawaii until I was twenty four. I thought you could practically swim from one to the other, and I couldn’t understand why their temperatures were so different.

I thought dogs and cats were the same species, just that dogs were male and cats were female.

I use to think my mom could “stop the rain”. When she was driving and it was raining, she would say “Rain, stop in 3..2..1.. NOW.” (Now would be right when we would go under a bridge in the freeway) and then say “GO!” when we were coming out from under the bridge.

Milk came from the white cows and chocolate milk came from the brown/darker cows.

I thought the signs that said “Do Not Pass” meant that you can’t go any further. I always got scared that we’d get pulled over whenever we went past one of those.

I was told moths ate clothing. I took this at its most literal meaning—that if a moth landed on me it would eat the clothes right off of my back. For years, I would run out of the room in fear if I saw a moth anywhere near me.

Thanks to the Alphabet Song, I thought “elemeno” was a letter.

The advertisements for pads and tampons confused me till I was 13. I thought they made you better at sports or helped woman be better at sports.

I was convinced because of black and white films that the “olden days” had no color in them and it was a 20th century thing. I often wondered who the first person was to make colored clothes.

I thought a mustache was created by growing long nose hairs and carefully combing them outward, away from the nose and above the lips.

I thought there was a black Michael Jackson and a white Michael Jackson.

When I heard people say, “I don’t drink,” I thought they meant they literally didn’t drink anything. When I saw a special on koalas and heard they rarely needed to drink because they ate leaves, I also just figured these people must eat lots of leaves and that’s how they never got thirsty.

I thought that each person only had a certain number of words they got to say in a life time and that if you talked a lot you’d use up all your words and run out.

I thought the “Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign incorporated all drinking, so I would spaz out when my dad drank water during long road trips.

In movies where they show a kid, and then flashed forward to him as an adult, I thought they waited all those years for the kid to grow up to film the rest of the movie.

I thought that prostitute was another word for businesswoman. My parents got called in after career day.

Because I heard, “Elvis is the king” so often I thought he was king of the world. I was just like, “Yeah, sure. Someone has got to be, right?”

I thought ‘potty training’ was an actual train.

I thought that you could only have one child per state. I was born in Illinois, my first sister in Ohio, and my next sister in Michigan. I wanted a brother so I started bugging my parents to move again. I just kept bringing up other states and it took my months to figure out why I wanted to move.

I used to think that a doctor determined whether a baby was a boy or girl by whether or not he cut the umbilical cord all the way off.

That the bank allowed adults access to unlimited amounts of money. So when my mom would say she couldn’t afford something, I’d chime in and tell her to just go to bank.

I thought clowns were a race of people just like any other.

I thought that going to a baby shower meant going to a literal shower and just washing babies. I was always very confused why other women would go to watch a baby take a shower.

I thought God had a wife named Gosh.

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The Holiest Thing About Me Is My Socks

It’s no secret that I’m not actually a fashion diva–or into wearing anything other than my “good” T-shirt or yoga pants when going out in public. 

look

But there are small little things that exemplify the ridiculousness of this situation. 

Scene 1: I’m walking across the tiled kitchen floor when I feel a cold spot somewhere on the bottom of my sock. I lift up my foot to make sure I didn’t step in something and notice a hole there instead.

Scene 2: I’m two minutes into a walk when my underwear either suction themselves into a killer wedgie or are too big and sag down instead.

Scene 3: I’m halfway to some ridiculous obligation that requires wearing the world’s most uncomfortable bra, which pretty much describes anything that’s not a sports bra.

In all three scenarios, the logical conclusion to each scene would show me removing said article of clothing and promptly throwing it away. After all, they are uncomfortable and/or old and falling apart. I am not a homeless person and I can afford to buy new socks and underwear and throw the old away.

But I also have a short attention span, so something usually distracts me between “remember to take off those socks and throw them away” and actually taking off the socks and throwing them away. My guess is it’s usually something shiny or that makes a cool noise…

Anyway, the bra is another story.

I have around, oh, one “big girl bra” that I can wear without feeling like a corset is wrapped around my chest.* 

*I realize I could go get fitted and get something fancy, but seeing as my concave boobs take up as much real estate as the mosquito bite on my arm, I’m really not willing to pay. Plus, I only have to wear a “real” bra every blue moon. 

With that said, I have a handful of bras and underwear in my drawer that serve no purpose. They are uncomfortable, but yet they’re still there and accidentally worn on occasion simply because I forget and, well, they’re still there.

They’re like those people you can’t stand that you haven’t seen for a while. You think, “Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they’re not that annoying and I can talk to them without wishing for a Xanax salt lick.”

But then “bam!” Two minutes in you realize you should have told them you had to go detail the cat litter box, or in the case of the underwear, you wish you had simply just thrown them away.

So let this be a cautionary tale to you.

If you have holes in your socks, if the elastic on a pair of underwear you bought in a Hanes six-pack is gone or the bra that you have is causing you to stab yourself in the leg with a butter knife, just throw them away.

Save yourself.

Learn from my mistakes.

Don’t be a hero.

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It’s Not Easy Being Me

I’ve never had my identity stolen, thank god, but I have had a few instances with identity theft-ish things with my taxes and debit card. Needless to say, it’s very stressful and not that much fun.

But with that said, these criminals obviously aren’t that bright if they’re trying to take my identity. Why?

Along with a variety of psychological malfunctions, you are also getting an intolerance to soy and bullshit. But even more than that, you’re getting a lot of responsibility. 

If you checked out my Twitter or Facebook pages, you would know that being me requires that you are:

First and foremost, a social butterfly who is totally a people person.

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Like a good neighbor, stay over there and be satisfied with the cursory “hello” head nod.

A chipmunk just ran into my leg, screamed and ran away. Given my history, it’s safe to assume it was male.

Relationship status: Just found an almond in my pajamas. This is as close to nuts in my bed that I’ve had in years.

I can tell just by talking to some people that they lift up the car door handle every time that you go to unlock it.

Age 23: Yay! Plans!
Age 33: Yay! Plans got cancelled!

I establish dominance at the store by never breaking eye contact with the person behind me when placing down the grocery lane divider.

Ever caught a 33-year-old woman singing “Uptown Funk” to the stray cat in her yard? If you’re my neighbor, you can say that you have.

I never talk on the phone while I’m driving. Or when I’m not. Basically I just avoid talking on the phone whenever I can.

I accidentally made eye contact with a creepy guy at the store while putting on ChapStick and now he thinks that we’re dating. 

Along those lines, you will be responsible for being a fashion icon.

I will never have the confidence of people who use magnifying mirrors.

Can someone else be a sex symbol today? My good T-shirt is still in the wash.

It took me two months to use a package of 7-day teeth whitening strips in case my dedication to beauty was ever in doubt.

I’ve never won the lottery, but I did just find a piece of cereal in my bra so I imagine it feels something like that.

If you played connect-the-dots with the stains on my shirt, it would reveal a picture of a grown woman who should probably use a bib.

I think I just blinded a chipmunk with the whiteness of my legs.

Well, set the “Consecutive days gone without spilling food on myself” calendar back to zero. It was good two day run.

An old man told me I reminded him of his late wife. I’m hoping he meant while she was alive. 

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, but there is a certain domestic goddess status to maintain.

A good indication of your cooking skills is when you’re asked to just bring ice to a party.

A “Woman vs. Food” show but just me attempting to get food from the fork to my mouth without dropping it in my lap first.

I just used four paper towels to wipe out one Ziploc bag to reuse. I think I’m doing recycling wrong.

I just accidentally hit the switch for the garbage disposal instead of the light again. In related news, I no longer fear death.

The food isn’t done until the smoke detector says that it’s done.

I just burned my hand on the toaster. There will be no more fancy breakfasts around here.

I threw old kale under my feeder last night and now the squirrels are requesting coconut water and wearing yoga pants.

And finally, you are expected to be a motivational force, inspiring people with your knowledge.

Saw a guy pushing a “pull” door several times and instead of helping him, I said, “Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live.”

Sometimes I impress myself. Other times I try and get out of the car while still wearing my seat belt and wonder how I made it this long.

You say “bed.” I say “nocturnal worry pod of overanalysis.” It’s really just semantics.

My weekend to-do list just reads like a menu of things that I want to eat.

That’s one small step to the fridge, and one giant leap back to the couch.

The woman who cut in front of me at the store had a box of tampons, ice cream, and wine in her cart. I wasn’t about to mess with that situation.

All I’m saying is that I’ve seen more people smiling while eating than smiling while out on a run.

I just threw away my to-do list. Like I need that kind of stress in my life.

Stop, drop and roll is also great advice for when someone unexpectedly knocks on your door.

I woke up planning on being positive, but my spoon fell into my oatmeal and so now that plan has gone to hell.

If you’re happy and you know it, stay in bed. It only goes downhill from there.

Okay. So the answer to my problems wasn’t at the bottom of that jar of almond butter, but the important thing is that I tried.

If I burn my mouth on pizza one more time I will continue to eat pizza because it’s delicious and I can’t hold both a grudge and a fork.

“I’m in no mood for this today.”- Me, any time of any day when anything slightly inconveniences me.

I try to find the good in every situation. Wait. That was a typo. I meant “food.” I try to find the food in every situation.

I never forget a face. Just names. And dates. And why I walked into a room and where I was going with this.

See? It’s not easy being me, so you should probably just move on to someone else. Remember, I have issues.

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This Post Is Completely Awkward

Ironically, even spelling the word “awkward” is, well, awkward. It’s just one of the small annoyingly awkward things that we’ve all faced at some point in time—usually multiple times throughout a day.

They’re unavoidable. They’re consistently awkward. They’re part of everyday life. And fortunately—unfortunately?—we can all relate…awkwardly.

hello

Bumping into someone at the grocery store and saying goodbye, only to see them in every single aisle after that.

Passing a slow driver and then getting stuck next to them at a red light where you have to pretend to busy yourself and avoid awkward eye contact.

When someone catches you accidentally staring at them…twice.

Watching a movie rated anything above PG with people you’re not that familiar with and having a steamy scene last a little too long.

When you see someone waving and think its directed to you and begin to wave back just to learn it was meant for the person behind you.

Giving an automatic reply, such as “You, too,” “Love ya, “ etc. in situations where it absolutely makes no sense.

Trying to hurry up and put your change back in your wallet while people are waiting in line behind you.

Having to go around the room and say something random about yourself while everyone sits there staring pretending to care.

Pushing on a pull door. There is always a witness.

When the dental hygienist continues to make small talk that you can’t reply to because her hand is stuffed in your mouth.

Crafting the perfect voicemail and then having someone actually pick up the phone.

When people show you a picture of a wrinkly newborn and they’re like, “Isn’t she/he cute?!?”

Putting a dirty plate in the sink when someone is doing the dishes.

When you run into someone you should probably acknowledge and talk to, but they’re talking to someone else and you have to stand there waiting for them to finish.

Thinking there is one more step than there is and taking a giant awkward step/fall over seemingly nothing.

Walking down a hallway, an aisle, etc.—and someone you know is coming towards you, but you don’t want to make eye contact too soon. But you don’t want to miss that window, so you look at them , quickly look away, then look up again a second later.

Being with a group of people or in a quiet room, taking a drink of water, and having it go down the wrong pipe causing you to launch into a spastic coughing fit.

Trying to walk past someone on a motorized scooter without looking like you’re trying to race them.

When something you’re wearing or sitting on makes a noise that sounds like it could’ve been a fart and then trying to cover it up so everyone knows it wasn’t a fart.

Being stuck in the break room with a coworker you don’t know that well and forcing small talk while you wait to use the microwave.

Talking on the phone and interrupting each other over and over, eventually ending up with dead air, and “no, you go ahead” back and forth.

Accidentally walking into the wrong bathroom, or walking into the right one and making incidental eye contact with someone through the crack of the stall door.

Asking a question, ignoring the answer and being too ashamed to ask again because they’ll know you weren’t paying attention the first time.

Running into someone you’ve met a few times, having them call you by name, and having no clue what their name is.

Making eye contact with the store employee while trying to refold a shirt and put it back on the shelf.

Standing there on the other end of the leash while you wait for your dog to do his “business,” and then waving at someone with the plastic bag full of dog poop in your hand.

Being left alone with a person you kind of know yet have no interest in getting to know better while the third mutual friend steps out of the room.

The complex decision-making process of figuring out the right time to go into the revolving door, and if there’s time to go in there with someone or wait it out.

Having the toilet clog or not flush anywhere other than at your own house and being forced to let someone know.

Say goodbye to somebody and then realizing that you’re both walking the same way at the same pace.

Going into a store and deciding not to buy anything and being paranoid the staff thinks you’re shoplifting.

What would you add to the list?

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P.S. For some reason the text with this post runs over onto the images on the right for a few people. I don’t know why because I’m not a freaking genius. However, I’ve found if you refresh the page, that weirdness goes away–not the weirdness of the post, but of the spacing. 

Advice For the Class of 2015–Welcome to Adulthood!

Hello Class of 2015!

Congrats on moving that tassel over to the other side and grabbing that diploma. Now I know you’ll be getting tons of great advice about adulthood from family and overpriced Hallmark cards you’ll take the money out of and then pack/throw away, but I’m a true helper.

How? Because I know eventually your idealism will be replaced with realism and if you’re not prepared, life can feel as rough as waking up in a frat house called the “Ass House” wondering how your bra got on the ceiling fan…hypothetically speaking.

Anyway, here are a few bits and pieces about adulthood that may or may not pertain to you, but that you should be prepared for nonetheless. Remember, you’ll get the job and “hopes and dreams” stuff from everyone else. I’m just keeping it real.

exhausted

It’s true. Being an adult is mostly being tired all the time and acting incredulous any time someone tells you what the date it. “What? Where did the summer go? How can it be December already?” Yeah. Get used to that.

And while you think you’re tired now from studying (partying) and working (at a job 20 hours a week), it all changes when you’re an adult. You don’t even have to stay up late, as in, after 10 p.m. One morning you just wake up, look at your alarm clock—the lamest game of Whac-a-Mole ever—and count down the hours until you can be back in your little nocturnal worry pod of overanalysis (your bed.)

So there’s that.

When you do pull yourself out of bed you will learn that “Snap, Crackle, and Pop” is no longer referring to cereal, but rather the sound of your joints.

Coffee seems to be a staple of adulthood, and while you’re probably spending 20 percent of your paycheck on overpriced bean juice in the form of lattes and mochas from Starbucks right now, get used to the plain stuff. Or at least that’s what I’m told.

I haven’t had coffee in more than 12 years because of health issues, which gets the same reaction from people as if I told them I club baby seals (which no, I don’t do either.) 

Anyway, if you drink coffee as an adult, you have to talk about how much you like coffee, need coffee, and want an I.V. of coffee hooked into your arm. At least that’s what I gather from social media, which brings me to my next point.

For every reaction, there is an equal and opposite overreaction—usually be someone on the Internet. Learn to weed through the noise and for god sake, live life offline and don’t depend on the validation from strangers. No one really cares what you look like in the bathroom mirror. Except you. Sorry.

As an adult you will concern yourself with more important things like remembering to put out the trash and the recycle bins on the same day—and if you do it before the neighbors, the feeling of satisfaction is equal to at least, like, five Instagram “likes” or whatever currently floats your boat.

Other notable accomplishments?

Putting laundry away the same day that it’s done, going to the store and NOT immediately making a list of the things you forgot at the store, using up a bottle of shampoo and conditioner at the same time, sneaking an expired coupon past the cashier, bringing in all the grocery bags in one trip—no man left behind!—winding up a garden hose in under five minutes, and making the right decision as to whether or not you should cut the grass now or if it can wait until later. Is it going to rain? Am I safe?

The weather. You will talk about the weather a lot. Or gas prices. 

“Make it a double” will no longer refer to the trendy drinks at the bar—when you’re legally old enough to drink, of course—but rather the Sleepytime Tea you will need to try and relax at night.

And if you’re single and your pilot light goes out more than you do—NO JUDGEMENT I LOVE MY COUCH AND MY COUCH LOVES ME, SO JUST MOVE ON—a “booty call” will only refer to being butt dialed by your gay best friend.

Whatever. I’m in a committed relationship with various vegan edibles and we’re very happy together.

My point is that things change, but don’t worry! Even though this sounds a little bit less than exciting, remember that every day really is a gift. True, some days it’s a regifted package of razors from the dollar store or something you would like to return for store credit or Kohl’s cash, but it’s still better than the alternative.

So go forth and prosper. Delight in your youth and the future that you get to write—yes, write. Don’t just text. Like, pick up a pen and some paper and write. But don’t ever become a writer—they have issues.

Or so I’m told.

Good luck!

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A Girl Has To Have Standards

It was the moment when he reached down into the console of his truck, picked out a used golf tee and started using it as a toothpick that I learned a) to always keep floss in my purse and b) that even though it means that waking up with hummus in my hair is the closest to breakfast in bed that I get, I was meant to be single.

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I would like to think I’ve given the alternative a pretty fair shake — I did the dating scene for a while with the traditional hits and misses — but this particular incident was simply the dirt-covered toothpick that broke this camel’s back.

Plus, I have high standards.

Growing up my crushes always fell into one of two categories—completely unattainable or attainable but not interesting after I attained them.

This wasn’t an issue early on because it’s not like I had that many options. It took me a long time to grow into my nose and grow out my spiral perms, and while I had friends, I wasn’t the “cute” girl in the group.

I was instead the one that was left over and relegated to holding the sweaty hands of the left over boy at the school roller skating parties while Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” played in the background.

However, I wasn’t all that concerned with that scene, as I had much bigger plans.

I was a tomboy and decided early on that I was going to marry a professional athlete. The crush varied depending on the season, but it usually included me covering my walls with their posters and creating elaborate situations in my head in which I held down the fort at home while they traveled on the road for their games.

At no time did anything sexual enter these situations, as aside from putting my Barbies and G.I. Joe in compromising “mature” situations, those thoughts never crossed my mind. It was simply an infatuation that ran from one player to the next before progressing into Sylvester Stallone through the “Rocky” years—all five films—and then any other action star or famous male with either an accent or a jersey.

I had more realistic crushes in school, of course.

This usually amounted to me reading into a Valentine (that they were required to give everyone in class) as a declaration of love, scribbling their name in my notebook and keeping a stash of assorted flavored Lip Smackers at the ready just in case.

In case of what? I didn’t know, but at least my lips would be strawberry fresh.
Naturally things changed once I got older and declared myself free of the sweaty-palmed rejects and delusions of nabbing a major league lover. As mentioned above, I did the dating thing and decided it wasn’t for me.

Now I’m sure Toothpick Boy was/is a fine companion for some germ-loving gal who doesn’t mind using dirty sports props to pick lettuce out of a molar, but I like my space. I like my freedom. I like knowing that dental procedures won’t be performed with dirt-covered plastic.

Of course, there might be exceptions. I mean, Hot Gym Guy did say, “No thanks” when I offered to spot him as he was walking into the locker room, so there’s a chance that once the restraining order is lifted he might just give it a go!

But otherwise I’m happy just dating myself.

This post came about because of these awesome—as in so much awe that I use the word “awesome”—comments on my Facebook page about a post I wrote for 22 Words awhile ago dealing with ridiculous reasons for breaking up with someone.

Go read the comments. They’re better than this post, but first let me know:

What’s the most ridiculous reason you’ve ever broken up with someone?

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How to Change Your Sheets in Under an Hour

We all have certain chores that we don’t mind doing. Some people prefer washing dishes over vacuuming or taking out the trash over dusting the shelves. If you have more than one person at home, these tasks can be split up accordingly.

But when you live alone, all of these tasks fall to you. And aside from picking up that one string the vacuum refused to pick up, I have to say one thing I find extremely tedious is changing the sheets on my bed.

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Let’s examine the process.

It starts with simply ripping off the covers and throwing the pillows and blankets in a heap on the floor with dramatic flair—and about 1/100th of the time it will take me to remake the bed.

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It’s at this point I realize there’s no turning back and  swallow a small lump of panic. With the old sheets in the basket and the new sheets still folded in a pile, I am now committed to following through with the process if I want to sleep on sheets ever again.

Ever again!

Exhausted by the thought, I take the sheets from the shelf and let them rest on the bed for a bit while I rest for a bit on my own.

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I will usually get (intentionally) distracted by something more interesting like watching the squirrels and cursing Disney movies for leaving me so disillusioned about small woodland creatures and their willingness to help me with chores.

But I steel myself up and return to my task, plowing through the bottom sheet and two pillows and fighting with the corners of death.

corners

 You know what I’m talking about.

The only thing harder than fitting the elastic-ish corners of the bottom sheet across each of the four ends of the mattress without one popping off every time is actually folding the bottom sheet when it comes out of the dryer.

Tedious.

Enter a quick break to test out the sheets and pillows, at which point I stare at the ceiling and decide I should probably wipe off the ceiling fan at that exact minute.

About 20 minutes later I continue on with my journey of placing the top sheet on with equal amounts of sheet on either side of the bed.

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But no matter how hard I try, I end up walking back multiple times to pull the sheet a little bit more on one side before tucking it under the mattress.

If it’s too short on one side, I end up pulling the whole thing out when I get into bed. If I pull it too far up the front, my feet will poke out of the bottom and there’s a good chance I’ll wake up with the excess sheet wrapped around my head and panic that the cat’s trying to smother me.

Yup, still single, people.

Anyway, once sheet side distribution is complete, I triumphantly throw on the blanket with the flair of a matador waving his flag. After ensuring equal blanket distribution—see sheet step above—the task is finally complete a mere 45 minutes or so later.

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Holy sheet.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but at least now the bed will have sheets.

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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.

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.

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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.