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.

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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.

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.

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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!

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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.

 

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. 

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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.

What Confucius Would Say Today

If pressed to give an answer, I would have to say that Confucius is my favorite Chinese philosopher whose name sounds like my constant mental state and who also has a bunch of funny parody quotes attributed to his name.

For example, “Man who make mistake in elevator wrong on many levels” or “Man who stands on toilet high on pot.”

Anyway, I sure he would be thrilled to be a thread on Reddit or a meme sensation right alongside Grumpy Cat and “Keep Calm and Confucius On” if he was alive today.

But I have to think that if he was around today, there might be a little bit different meaning and motivation behind the quotes he did actually write. So the editor in me took the liberty to “modernize” them as if he was writing them today.

Plus, who knows? Maybe he was initially misquoted. I think that happens on the Internet once in awhile.

Then: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” 
Now: I changed my mind. The exception to this rule is clearly illustrated below.

motive

Then: “Mens’ natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.” 
Now: For example, you can tell just by talking to some people that they lift up the car door handle every time that you go to unlock it.

Then: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” 
Now: Spoiler alert! Apparently you can’t just go and pull up to a drive-thru pharmacy and order what you want, so that’s a bit disappointing.

Then: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” 
Now: And if that fall happens to be off the treadmill in front of a crowd, simply start kickboxing like a manic Jackie Chan as if it’s part of your fitness routine. No one will mess with that crazy.

Then: “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” 
Now: Actually, don’t bother because people on the Internet will let you know your mistakes in .02 seconds.

Then: “The cautious seldom err.”
Now: Which is why I dive behind my couch when someone pulls into my driveway like I’m hiding out from the mob or entered in the Witness Protection Program.

Then: “He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.” 
Now: Such as, “Why is the meaning of life” “Why are we here on this planet?” “What is a Nicki Minaj and is it contagious?”

Then: “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” 
Now: By “silence,” I now mean “pizza.” Pizza is a true friend who never betrays, except when the directions instruct you to place the pizza directly on the oven rack. That means you cook for 13 minutes, and spend a week cleaning the crap off of the oven.

Then : “You cannot open a book without learning something.” 
Now: Let’s be clear about the word “book.” Some people need to pick up a real dictionary, not Urban Dictionary.

Then: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” 
Now: I should add that now, “I have a wonderful vocabulary of words I can only use when I write, simply because I don’t know how to pronounce them.”

Then: “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
Now: I actually never finished this one. It should have said, “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change their shirt if they’re fairly certain no one saw them wearing it the day before.”

Then: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” 
Now: I would like to redact this one completely, as I’ve just returned from Walmart on a Saturday and now I stand corrected.

walmart

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Some News and Some Links

I’ve been waiting almost four months to write this post and now I’m not quite sure what I should say so I’ll just blurt out that I finally have a new job!

While it’s a contractor position and nothing is permanent (and I’m creating scenarios in my head that don’t exist because I have so much to learn,) I’ve been brought on as a full-time Writer and Viral Content Creator at 22 Words—a site I’ve been freelancing for for the past couple of weeks. 

What is 22 Words, you ask?  

This Esquire story is a couple of years old, it interviews the creator and explains it better than I probably can. Basically it’s ranked among one of the top viral aggregations sites online with millions of page views a day and shares everything funny, heartfelt and relevant to every type of reader.

The difference between 22 Words and other sites is that it’s run by a relatively small staff, meaning there’s always that human angle and it’s not nearly so corporate or bland. Yay!

Anyway, I’m going to be writing there full-time, and to say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. Of course I will have much more to say on this whole journey, but right now I need some time to gather up my thoughts and settle into a new routine and reflect a bit. Plus, now I’m freaking busy. 

Deal? Deal.

vocab

This picture has nothing to do with anything, but the page needed some color. 

What does that mean for this blog? Not much. I promise not to completely skimp out on you and am sure I’ll have ridiculous insights and lame attempts at humor just as much as I have in the past here and on Facebook and Twitter.

And even though I would love for all of you to follow 22 Words on Facebook or check the site on a daily basis, I also know that’s not possible for everyone.

So I think once a week—maybe Sundays—I’ll do a quick recap post of what I wrote over there during the week so that you can click on the links and read my stuff and I can keep my job.

But humor aside, I’m still completely humbled, not just by the support everyone has shown me here but by the whole experience. It’s far from over and I still have a lot of uncertainty in the future, but at least I’m waking up every morning now excited to work, excited to see what else I can do and being rewarded for my efforts with respect.

I think that’s the big thing right there. So far I have been nothing but impressed with the people there and am excited to work with them going forward–and you know I don’t just say things to say things. 

Anyway, I’ll try and get my thoughts together in the next couple of weeks, but for today…yay!

And here’s what I’ve got for you to read. Like I said, I have two or three posts go up there every day–including some on dog restaurants, infomercial products and inappropriate children’s books in the next week, among others– so I would advise you to stalk the site when possible and share my stuff.

Deal? Deal.

The Fun Stories Behind 40 Famous Company Names

25 Dollar Store Hacks to Make Every Parent’s Life Easier

The Foodnited States of America

15 Brilliantly Creative Ways to Use Leftover Wine

16 Versions of Normal Animals That Prove Mother Nature is Drunk

Vince Vaughn is Promoting His New Movie By Posing in Hilarious Stock Photos

15 Unexpected Ways Your House is Trying to Make You Sick

15 Sneaky Ways Grocery Stores Try and Control Your Mind and Your Money

Meet the Funniest Russian Brother-In-Law on the Internet

The First Covers of 30 Famous Magazines

And of course, thank you again. 

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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.

Senior Citizen Bingo: They Play for Keeps

Have you ever spent the day playing Bingo with 25 people over the age of 75 on the medical side of an assisted living facility? If not, I’ll let you in on just what you’re missing.

Me, my mom and my grandma and are pretty close—three generations of Polish snark not lacking authenticity or attitude—for better or for worse. Gram’s at a home half a mile from my house, my mom goes to see her every day and I generally go once a week.

She’s been getting a lot worse the past couple of years—dementia—and now at 92 the “fun” times are few and far between. But there was a time when if we could plan it correctly, we would be there for the daily activity held in the activity room.

I’ll set the scene:

It’s four people to a table, two cards to a person, one bowl of Bingo chips for each player. Wheelchairs are locked and they’re ready to roll.

This seems innocent enough, but let’s get one thing straight. These people have been through wars, marriages, children, deaths, Depressions and depressions. Now they no longer worry about recessions as much as they do if Gertrude next door stole the extra Nutter Butter from their snack tray last Thursday.

They’ve got nothing to lose and they play for keeps. Or rather, they play for candy, which along with popcorn, is the geriatric equivalent of crack.

The activity director—a small, demure blonde girl with a huge heart—will call out the numbers like an NFL quarterback calling a play.

“B 14,” the caller will say. “B one four.”

Someone will ask “before what?” while at least two others will mistake “B14” for something either in the “N” column or as a directive to complain about the fact that it was supposed to be beer and popcorn night.

More numbers will be called and silence—save for a few rogue coughs or bodily functions—will blanket the room. This is either due to the fact that concentration is required for placing each chip, or that half of them have forgotten what they’re doing.

“O 63,” the caller will say. “O six three.”

Madge, sitting right next to the caller, will ask her what was said. This will be repeated after every number called, annoying Gram who will passive-aggressively express this annoyance with a Morse Code of exasperated sighs and Polish cursing.

I will have to remind her that Mary is 100 years old, to which Gram will reply that after 100 years, she should know her way around a goddamn Bingo card.

Leona will win twice in a row, pretty much guaranteeing evil glares and a public shunning by the women until she repents in some way—throwing a game or throwing a hip—to get herself back in good graces.

This might sound harsh, but remember, candy is at stake.

After each triumphant “Bingo!” is called, my mom will distribute that candy by prancing around the room with a tray like an old-fashioned cigarette girl in a bar. (With the exception of June, who will be given a pudding cup if she’s fortunate enough to win, as she is unfortunately on a puree diet.)

The winner will go one of two ways—either directly for the junk food jugular by grabbing their favorite chocolate-covered treats, or the less manic route, pondering this decision as if a Twix is the last thing they will ever eat in their life.

Which, to be fair, just might be true.

After everyone’s told that their cards must be cleared, the next round of play will begin.

“G 55,” the caller will say. “G five five.”

Mary will ask what was said, Gram will sigh heavily enough to move Julia’s card across the table and Leona will hide the fact that both of her cards contain G55. Out of nowhere Richard will ask where the beer and popcorn are and where the waitress went.

I will remark that a beer sounds good, at which point Gram will remind me that if I wasn’t so picky, I could be out drinking beer with a nice man like Richard or the maintenance man who hung the shelf in her room last week.

I will have to remind her that Richard  is 94 years old and the maintenance man was actually a very butch woman, to which Gram will reply that after 30 years, I should lower my standards.

O66,” the caller will say. “O six six.”

But then I would miss all the fun. 

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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.