Tag Archives: neurosis

Be Kind, Rewind

I actually rented a movie a couple weeks ago. This is news because I have the attention span of a manic gnat with ADD and prefer just to watch TV shows that max out at an hour.

And going to a movie? It’s been years.

I judge a movie by whether it’s better than spending two hours watching a squirrel perform Cirque du Soleil moves on the feeder, a ballgame or a “Chopped” marathon on Food Network, and you have to admit that’s pretty hard to beat.

Plus, it doesn’t cost $10 or force you to deal with strangers loudly slurping their pop.

At any rate, because I’m old I can also say that I remember VHS tapes—those things that came before DVDs. When I was younger, my favorites to watch were classics like all the Rocky movies (I still know every word,) Troop Beverly Hills, Camp Cucamonga and Mariah Carey Live.

They were often for research purposes, as I would give elaborate concerts on the front lawn before organizing cut-throat games of the home-version “Double Dare” game show complete with plastic helmets with sticks to throw wet sponge hoops at.

I was a recreational pioneer, people.  

The first time I watched a DVD I remember being amazed that I didn’t have to “be kind and rewind.” Brilliant!

But I soon learned that while DVDs are convenient, there are certain things about them I detest. For one, they don’t always let you fast forward through the FBI warnings anymore, and second, they can skip.

There’s nothing worse than getting into a movie and having the damn thing just stop and the timer vacillate between two numbers before skipping 20 minutes ahead and ruining the flow of the show.

You can bet that after staring at the frozen screen, trying to “scan” back and forth and yelling a stream of words that would earn an “R” rating, I march back to the video store and get a credit on my account (for the $1 movie I rented for five days a year after it was popular.)


There is something worse—if it’s an exercise DVD and Jillian Michaels suddenly sounds like she developed a stutter and you end up doing squat jumps for 3 minutes straight before realizing the DVD is just skipping.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I watched a couple movies that didn’t stink and avoided throwing my remote at the DVD player while cursing modern technology.


And considering baseball season is here, I’m good until October.

Like the blog? Buy the book.

What are the movies you always watched as a kid? I have a bunch, but I’ve already shared too much.

Abby’s Ark

Considering I’m pretty much a minimalist when it comes to everything in my life—save for words, as my rambles demonstrate—it will come as no surprise that the chances of me appearing on “Hoarders” are about as likely as me appearing on “The Bachelorette.”

But with that said, I often feel the need to have at least two of the same things around. Not so I can use both of them at the same time, but so I know that if something happens to the first one, I won’t be left without.

Because of course, anything that could produce even a minor inconvenience should be avoided at all costs.

For example, I have two Hot Shots. If you don’t know what a Hot Shot is, then you haven’t really lived life to the fullest. When your “happy time” revolves around tea every day, this thing lets you heat up water in less than a minute.


I bought the first one at Target a couple of years ago and then they stopped carrying them. My mom realized the gravity of this situation and ordered one for me online as a surprise almost a year ago. I haven’t had to use it yet, but it’s waiting in my pantry.

My pantry also has a backup vegetable/rice steamer that I ordered six months ago when I feared mine was on the fritz (as I use mine at least twice a day), a backup toaster, an extra case of my tea, etc. And I don’t think I have to say that when it comes to food, you will never open up my fridge to find an absence of any of my staples.

But I do have only one fridge.

I will buy a new stick of deodorant, but use the old one until the container scrapes the inside of my armpits. I will squeeze every last drop of a $1.99-tube of toothpaste like it cost me $20. I would use a tube of chapstick until the plastic hurts my lips, but I still maintain that anyone who can keep a tube of chapstick around until it’s gone without losing it is some sort of genius.

Newsflash: I am not a genius, as evidenced by the fact that I read a to-do list note to “clean stove” as “clean Steve” the other day.

Anyway, when it comes to blogging, I continue this doubled-up pattern of neurosis. I like to have another post “waiting in the wings” before I publish one so that I can a) not stress that I have no new ideas or b) hurry up and publish something new if my last post sucked.

My brain doesn’t always let things work out that way—see “I am not a genius” above—but I work with what I have.

And what I have is a veritable Abby’s Ark of things I just can’t be without. Well, I don’t have an extra car or phone or computer, but I do have an extra Hot Shot and vegetable steamer, and sometimes that’s all that I need.

Like the blog? Buy the book—or two.

Power to the People

Alternate title: Reason No. 873,298 why I’m neurotic

Whether it’s hot or cold, an earthquake or a hurricane, people love to talk about the weather.


Living in Michigan, there’s usually a lot to talk about.  While we don’t get hurricanes, we do have pretty much everything else. Summer days can reach 100 degrees while winters can bring 100 inches of snow, and sometimes the temperature can vary as much as 30-40 degrees from morning to afternoon.

When the fall colors are in full bloom and nature paints an indescribable picture of beauty, I’m grateful for the season. When it’s oppressively hot or my 25 min. commute takes an hour in the snow, I’m grateful for Vodka.

My point is that we deal with a lot of weather-related things out of our control, and for the most part, I roll with the meteorological punches by lamenting the fact that Mother Nature hates me and wants me to be unhappy.


However, there is one thing that totally makes me go ape shit and elevates my level of neuroticism to new altitudes—losing power.

Let’s get one thing straight—I’m really not high maintenance. But good lord, when the power goes out, all rationality and Zen-like tendencies go right along with it, not to be restored until Consumer’s Energy plugs things back in.

And you can be sure I obsessively call Consumer’s Energy or check online (briefly, of course, to conserve energy) to get a restoration estimate, usually being told it will happen at some point hours or days after I totally lose my shit (which is, of course, the second that I lose power.) 

Here’s the general order of operations:

  • The semi-creepy weather rolls in and I get on high alert. Like a hunting dog catching the smell of its prey, my eyes get big, my head jerks up and I immediately assume that rumbles in the distance are an impending weather-related disaster headed directly for my house.
  • I will text my mom and ask her if I should be worried. Knowing what a weather weirdo I am, she will usually beat me to the punch with something like, “Chill the hell out. It’s just thunder. You’ll be fine” or “Can I have your couch if you get swept up in the storm?”
  • If I’m at work, all productivity ceases while I play out various scenarios in my head, check radar online and take into account exactly what I have in my fridge/freezer at home, as food waste is my main concern with possible loss of power. If it’s winter, I figure I can throw things outside and warm up some food on the stove. If it’s summer, I freak out and pack that bitch up like an igloo.
  • If I’m at home, everything not related to obsessively watching the weather channel and lighting candles ceases while I play out various scenarios in my head and take into account exactly what I have in my fridge/freezer. If there’s Vodka, I rationalize that using a straw is acceptable and than nothing should go to waste.
  • Mini-blinds will be shut and the TV will be turned up loud, as to drown out not only the sound of the thunder, but also crazy neighbor lady yelling at her dogs to “go poo-poo” and bitching about how the wind puts her cigarette out.  Her Vodka was gone by 7am and she rarely consumes solid food, so that’s not a worry for her.
  • I will perfectly situate my flashlights and I will wait. I will make promises to unseen higher powers that as long as I don’t lose power, I will be fine and work on saving the world in the morning (a task that would conceivably require electricity, therefore eliminating me from the impending power outage.)

Of course most of the time nothing happens, as storms will roll through and all will be fine. Plus, things smell delightful given the fact that I’ve lit every candle in the house. My mom will text me to make sure I’m not in a blankie fort in the basement or curled up in the bathtub and I will tell her how insane her suggestion is while slowly crawling out from under the dining room table.

But those few times a year when I do lose power, when I’m forced to miss the game on TV, am disconnected from the Internet and stress about my perishables in the fridge?

I can predict my own neurotic natural disaster—no power required.