Category Archives: family and friends

No One Wants to Hear About Your Workout

Many of you know that I’ve been working on getting healthier; exercising, losing some weight, eating a less-mashed-potato-centric diet.  That’s part of the reason that I haven’t been around very much – the more I get into working out and eating right, the more it is the only thing I can really talk about.  And really, is there anything less interesting than listening to someone go on and on and on about their workout regime or awesome new protein shake?  Other than, perhaps, listening to someone detail last night’s dream in excruciating detail or take you step-by-step through their work drama.  (“And then Lisa, I told you about Lisa, right?  The one with the boots?  Argh.  Stab me in the eye with a fork.)

My point is, I didn’t want to flood those of you kind enough to follow this blog with a whole bunch of stuff you’re not interested in.  So I created a new site, completely separate from this one, where I can blab on and on about trying to do a side plank and nearly breaking my face without boring everyone to tears.  I’d love for you to take a look at it and follow along with me  - but if it’s not your thing, feel free to pass it right up!

This is the site link: http://undieter.wordpress.com/

This blog will be back to its regularly scheduled asshole cat and partyboy neighbor stories shortly.

Workout

So very true. I get it. I just can’t stop myself.

 

How to Run Your First 5K

If you follow this blog or are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I ran my first 5K this past weekend.  If you didn’t notice, you should probably get your observation skills tested by a professional because I’ve been basically shouting it from every form of social media I have at my disposal.  I’m not going to lie – I am proud of myself.  Proud of myself for signing up, for following through, for finishing, for signing up for more.  It may not seem like the biggest deal; I was among thousands on that day alone, let alone all of the other people that run miles more than that every day. But was a big deal to me.

That being said, I think I may have been overoptimistic and conveniently forgot that the 5K was not just a big party and that before all of the good feels that would come with finishing, I would actually have to run three miles.  While I knew I could do it, I was much more involved in the atmosphere and fun than the actual running portion.

And thus I present to you:  My First 5K – A Narrative

  • It’s RACEDAY, BITCHES!!
  • Sweet Jesus, it’s early.  Is that the moon?
  • I don’t get up this early for work.
  • Whatever.  It’s raceday!
  • NO YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WEAR A SOX JERSEY TO THE RACE TO WRIGLEY, TONY.
  • This is great!  Look at all of these other runners on our bus!  How fun!
  • Yes, yes, I am a runner too, people.  I have the commemorative shirt on, just like you.
  • Which is a bit smaller than I would like, I must mention.
  • I must have been drunk and optimistic when I ordered this size.
  • We’re here!  Look at all the people!  There’s my mom and dad!  Yay!
  • I have to go to the bathroom right this second.
  • Apparently raceday for me starts in a porta-potty.
  • Okay, I see how it works.  The 7 minute milers start here.  (Show offs.)  I’ll head back a bit.
  • Where, exactly, is the 15 minute miler start line?
  • I’ll just stand back here with the people pushing strollers.
  • They’re all stretching.  I should stretch.
  • Except I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I usually warm up with a brisk walk.
  • I’ll just walk in a little circle for a bit.
  • Yeah, now you totally look like you’ve done this before.  Stop it.
  • Starting horn!  We’re underway!
  • Except my group isn’t moving.
  • Here we go!  There’s the start line!
  • This is awesome!  So many people cheering! Woohoo!!!
  • There’s my mom and dad again!  Look at me!  I’m doing it!
  • That picture they took is totally going to be my profile pic.
  • Wait, why does this hurt already?
  • OW.  Should have stretched more.  That’s okay.  First couple of minutes are always a little tough.  You got this.
  • Awe, look at this awesome couple!  He’s pushing his wife in a wheelchair!  How great are they?
  • I’m kind of sad that I just saw that because he passed me up….
  • Huh.  I thought they were going to mark each mile.  Must have read that wrong.  Because surely we’re past the first mile?
  • I’ll just check my watch.
  • Seven minutes?  It’s only been seven fucking minutes?!
  • Where’d all the cheering crowd go?
  • I should have brought my headphones.  Listening to myself huff and puff is not super motivating.
  • Okay, okay.  Beautiful day, first 5K, we’re doing this!  Look, there’s the first mile marker!  You’re almost done!
  • Yay!  They have one of those water tables and I can totally be one of the runners that grabs a cup of water and downs it without stopping, defiantly throwing the cup on the ground as I continue my strenuous run.
  • Except no one is handing me water.
  • Oh, yay, someone did!
  • Yeah, I’m not sure what made you think you could drink a cup of water and run at the same time.
  • Because now you’re choking.
  • Also, you’re an asshole, because no one else threw their cup on the ground.
  • I’ll just double back and throw that in one of the fourteen conveniently placed receptacles.
  • This went a lot different in my head.
  • Where’s the wheelchair guy?
  • Here we go!  The girl in front of me has on a Marine Corps shirt.  And I’m keeping pace!  You, unknown soldier, will be my motivation.  I shall keep up with you.
  • That bitch just picked up a toddler, put him on her shoulders, and sped past me.
  • Well, there’s like 475 reasons you wouldn’t be a good Marine – this is just another one.
  • Wait, no one said there was going to be a hill.
  • Now’s probably a good time for a little walk.
  • Hey, guy?  On your front porch?  Who just yelled, “Good job!  Only four miles to go!”  You’re an asshole.
  • Water station!  That means mile two is done!
  • Let’s try not to fuck up so spectacularly with the water this time, yeah?
  • I don’t want any more water, anyhow.
  • Wheelchair guy!  Yay!
  • Don’t think about the fact that you’re celebrating catching a septuagenarian who is literally pushing the weight of another human.  Concentrate on the positive!
  • Hey, there’s my mom and dad again!  And friends!
  • Hell yes, it IS almost bloody mary time!!
  • It’s entirely possible my parents have covered more ground this morning than myself.
  • Hey, lady?  With the stroller containing three children?  You are hurting my feelings.
  • Yay, more cheerleaders!
  • Almost there!  I see the field!
  • I do not, however, see a finish line.  Which is unfortunate, because I’m kind of getting done with this whole running thing.
  • WTF do you mean, we still have to run around the whole field before we go inside?
  • DO YOU KNOW HOW BIG THIS STUPID FIELD IS?
  • Maybe just another short walk.
  • Heading into the concourse!  I did it!
  • Except this is kind of uphill, too.
  • And I totally have to pee again.  I wonder if the bathrooms are open?
  • It would probably be the shortest line ever for the bathroom at Wrigley.
  • No one will ever let you live it down if you stop to pee in a three mile race.
  • There’s the finish line!
  • And there’s all of my favorite people that came to see me!
  • That picture?  Is totally not going to be cute.
  • FINISHED!!!
  • This?  Right here?  With my best friends and family, who got up at the crack of dawn to watch me chug past the finish line?  This is awesome.  I love everything.

Next time, though, I’m bringing my headphones.  Ke$ha and Avril Lavigne are infinitely more motivating than my inner monologue.

Finally!

Finally!

To Baby Girl, On the Day of Your Birth

I started writing this before you were here, Violet Mae.  Before you were you, before I saw your head full of hair and your blue eyes and your precious little fingers and toes.  Before your mom and dad were a mom and a dad, before I saw her little nose and mouth and his eyes looking back at me from your tiny face. Before the waiting room, before the joyful anxiousness of looking up every time someone walked by the door, craning our necks, waiting for your daddy to come tell us you were you and you were perfect.

There is no way to impart all of the wishes I have for you in a short list.  What I want for you is infinite; I don’t think I could describe it if I wanted to.  I certainly don’t have all of the answers, and by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll probably know that already.  But believe it or not, I have learned a few things along the way that I’d like to pass on to you, baby girl.

  • There are beautiful people in this world, and there are ugly people.  The trick is to learn very quickly that this has nothing to do with their looks.
  • Your mom and dad are very, very smart.  You won’t always think this.  In fact, you might be tempted to stop reading right here.  Don’t.  When they talk, listen.  When they don’t talk, ask why.
  • Find something you love and pursue it.
  • There is something great to be seen in every single day.  Sometimes it’s a beautiful rainbow and sometimes it’s simply that it’s not raining.  Find the joy.
  • Never be afraid to be silly.  It gets harder, the older you get, to allow yourself to be silly.  Don’t stop.  Being silly just to do it, for the sole purpose of laughing, is a great feeling.
  • You are very loved, baby girl.  Not everyone is.  Always remember that and consider it when you may want to judge others.  It’s hard sometimes.  But do it anyway.
  • Never stop singing out loud.  I don’t know yet if you will have the voice of an opera singer or a scalded cat.  It doesn’t matter.  Find music you love and belt it out.  There’s few things more freeing.
  • There will be days that you can’t wait until they’re over, and days that you wish would never end.  It is up to you to decide whether you have more happy days than sad days.
  • There are people who say the phrase “Attitude is everything,” is a cliché.  Those people have bad attitudes.  Don’t be one of them.  See above.
  • Don’t worry about other people’s opinions.  You will never please everyone, so don’t try.  Be nice, and be kind, but know that you won’t be able to win over everyone, no matter how hard you try.  Never spend more time trying to please other people than you spend trying to make yourself happy.
  • In our family, people can be loud.  The same is true with most situations in life, whether it be your friendships, co-workers, or family.  Learn to be loud enough to keep up, but quiet enough to make yourself heard.  It’s a fine line to walk, but an important one to learn.  Ask your grandpa.  He does it well.
  • Your grandma would bend the world for you, if she could.  And because I knew her mama, I tell you this: No one will love you in the way your grandma will.  In her eyes, you will never have flaws.  Look at yourself through her eyes when you’re having a tough day.  She’s usually right.
  • Your mama is awesome, and so is your daddy.  I know I already told you that they are smart, but there are a lot of smart people that aren’t so awesome.  Your parents will undoubtedly teach you the difference, and you won’t always believe them, but this is one of those circumstances you just have to trust me on.
  • Every year, on your birthday, take a moment to remember that in 2014, the day you were born, was the happiest day in the lives of so many people.  The moment you were born, the world tilted in a beautiful way.  I don’t say this as a burden, baby girl, but as a reminder.  You are special.  You are important.  You are amazing.  And you are so, so loved.

I know you’ll be happy, because I know your parents.  I watched them today, as new parents, gauging and learning your moods and noises as you were only a few hours old.  They never faltered, because they already know you; you’re the best parts of both of them.   I watched your daddy be gentle with your mama and make her laugh in the same minute and I watched your mama make you both smile just by being her; to have parents that love like yours do – it’s a precious thing, baby girl.  It’s one of the many things you’ll learn.   In the space of moments, you became the center of their world and the heart of them both.

There are so many things I wish for you, Violet Mae.  I can’t wait to see who you will become.

Love.

Love.

Am I The Only One??

To walk across the fire for you????  Ha!  Now that I have that song in your head, you’re going to want to read on, right?  I wasn’t even planning on going there but as soon as I typed the title, Melissa Etheridge was all up in my brain so I had to share.  Aren’t you glad?

Anyway, it’s been a long week.  Well, it’s been a long several weeks, as most of you living in Chicago understand.  I’m not going to write about the weather because it makes me want to punch everything in the face and wish that wind would become a solid, physical thing for like forty seconds so I could kickbox it to death instead of it calling the shots and propelling me face-first over ice disguised as sidewalks and sonofabitch if you people would just shovel this wouldn’t happen….Ahem.  Suffice it to say, it’s been a bad winter.  When the best part of your day is NOT getting impaled by an icicle falling off of a building, the winter has already beaten you.  Trust.  So us Chicagoans have been pretty much of one mind the past couple of weeks, which consists mainly dreamily remembering those beautiful days last year that didn’t require fucking boots.

I saw a picture on Facebook yesterday demonstrating how we can save ducks’ lives by cutting the plastic rings from a six-pack so they don’t get caught in them and choke.  A year or so ago, I wrote this post on that same topic, as I was surprised that other people didn’t do this all the time.  It got me thinking about some other things that I do or think that I assume are perfectly normal, but other people consider to be a teensy bit crazy.

Am I The Only One?

  • That Thinks We Need to Leave Bieber Alone?  Yeah, I said it.  Leave. Him. Alone.  Is he a punk kid with little respect for authority?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve the wrath of an entire country actively awful upon him?  No.  One, making jokes about how hilarious it would be for him to get raped in prison?  Doesn’t make us look very smart.  Ditto for starting a petition to get him deported that received so many signatures the government actually had to act on it.  Folks, if we deported or imprisoned every nineteen-year old that made a couple of really stupid, arrogant decisions, it would be the end of the population as we know it.  Do you not remember being 19?  Hell, I was an asshole at 19, and I was a rule-abiding kid from the suburbs with only $45 a week to work with.  If I’d had access to millions of dollars with no supervision, the least of my problems would have been smoking pot and drag racing, I promise you that.  Is he a shit?  Yes.  Did he make some mistakes?  Absolutely.  In one way or another, he’ll pay for them.  I hope it’s in the form of realizing he’s a shit and straightening up.  Hoping for him to fall into the revolving door of drugs and rehab like so many celebrity teenagers before him, hoping for him to fail, is just mean-spirited.

 

  • That is Completely Terrified about The Missing Plane?  Is it just me, or is this some Langoliers shit come to reality?  Two hundred people and thousands of tons of metal just gone into thin air?  How have we just gone on about our business, like, “Oh, well, can’t find it, that’s weird.”  I just picture them all in some abandoned airport in an alternate universe all, “What the fuck?  Why are we not the top story on the news?  What is WRONG with these people?”

 

  • With the Musical Taste of a Preteen in the 90′s?  I’ve been running a lot, and I’ve found there is a direct correlation between how long I can run and how much 90′s angsty pop music is on my playlist.  Ludacris and Eminem have taken some top spots in the rotation to keep me going, but the number one song that pumps me up and propels me to keep going?  Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.”  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any reason to hate someone’s girlfriend, and if you really listen to it – which I have, often – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Yet here we are, and every time it comes on, I go faster than I did the day before.  If the folks in the park had any idea what was blasting in my headphones, they’d actually be LESS scared of me than they already are, which is a tough spot to find.

 

  • That Has Notebook Paper Decorating the Fridge with Magnets, Despite Being Childless?  Currently, my refrigerator boasts a notepad, three coupons for Family Dollar, a picture from 1980, a pen-draw picture of an eyeball, my sister’s baby shower invitation held up by a Bert and Ernie magnet, and a note scribbled in Magic Marker that says nothing but, “SOUL TRAIN IS ON.”  The notepad?  Not for grocery lists, or things we’re out of.  (Which is likely we make frequent trips to above-mentioned Family Dollar at 9PM for things like toilet paper and cat food.)  No, it has sports predictions for the upcoming week.  The eyeball was drawn by a friend late one Saturday night and we deemed it a work of art.  The Soul Train note?  My husband was on the phone one Sunday morning and he would not appropriately respond to my frantic gestures to run into the living room for this grand moment in television programming.

Everyone has their little pockets of weird, right?  Right????

Adulthood.

Adulthood.

 

 

 

 

The Running Diaries

Last year, I starting riding a bike to work in an effort to not murder someone on the CTA and hopefully improve my fitness at the same time.  I learned a lot in those first couple of weeks; drivers in Chicago despise bike riders more than Steve Bartman and Lovie Smith combined, speeding joyfully down a hill whilst reminiscing about the freedom you experienced as a child riding a bike lasts only as long as it takes for a car to pull into the intersection at the bottom, and people should really pay more attention before whipping their car door open on a busy street with a bike lane.

I loved riding the bike to work and can’t wait to start it up again. Of course – it has to be mentioned – this is partially because this winter is by far the biggest bitch I have ever encountered and the CTA, as hard as it tries, cannot possibly keep up.  There’s too many people, there’s too much snow, there’s too much slush, there’s problems with Ventra, everything is freezing to itself – it sucks.  My commute, on a good day, should be about 30 minutes, door to door.  This year?  It runs between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, and that’s on a day it’s NOT snowing.  Which isn’t often.  So the thought of walking out my door, not almost killing myself on the stairs, getting on a bike, riding through the wind and sunshine, and arriving at work not swearing and covered in salt and slush is extraordinarily appealing.

I did not take off any weight after starting this regimen.  In fact, I gained some.  That was disappointing – I mean seriously, who gains weight after going from zero activity to riding a bike six miles a day?  The answer is someone who carb loads as if they are training for a marathon instead of mildly exercising for 40 minutes a day.  (Very mildly.  I’m so slow on the bike that everyone passes me.  Old people, young people, overweight tourists on the Divvy bikes – everyone.) Baked macaroni and cheese, loaded mashed potatoes, and my favorite creation entitled spaghetti monster – baked spaghetti with cream cheese and mozzarella in the sauce – this is what I lived on.  Unsurprisingly, by the time Christmas rolled around, I was a giant, puffy version of myself and more closely resembled John Goodman than I ever would have liked to.

Something had to give, and that something was carbs.  I won’t bore you with all of the details of my newfound love affair with cauliflower as a substitute for every single thing I used to make - take a look at my Facebook and you can see plenty of that as I am, unfortunately, that person who now posts pictures of their dinner with alarming frequency.  (But seriously – cauliflower pizza?  Genius.)  So I’d been feeling good, had taken some weight off, had more energy – all the good feels you get with eating better.  And somehow, somewhere in my brain along the way, I got it in my head that I wanted to run one of the 5K’s that Chicago always hosts throughout the year.

Let’s get something straight right here.  My family?  We’re not runners.  Even my little sister, who does run, who has run a half-marathon, who attends those terrifying-looking fitness classes that make me want to vomit just watching them – even she admits we are not runners.  It’s not that we’re lazy or have never been athletic; in fact, some of my favorite memories are bike riding in the forest preserve as a family when we were younger.  My sister and I always played softball or soccer, and she was a cheerleader and - believe it or not - I was in my high school dance troupe for two years.*

*People are always surprised by this.  For some reason, they are never as surprised when I tell them I played the tuba.  Go figure.

At any rate, the most I had run since high school was at a haunted house about 15 years ago when one of the actors chased me out the exit with a chainsaw. I ran about fifty yards out of sheer terror before my body realized what it was doing and I collided into a tree.  So when the thought of running a 5K first crossed my mind, I dismissed it as pure madness.  Like, Okay, Courtney, we’re not drowning in a vat of mac and cheese every night – let’s just go with that win instead of getting all crazy here, okay?

But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and soon I found myself researching 5K’s and how to get started running.  I found a program called Couch to 5K promising to turn me from a couch potato into someone able to run three miles in nine weeks.  I found myself looking up success stories and starting to think that I might be able to do it.  There were other people, both smaller and bigger than myself, with pictures of themselves smiling with medals and thought, well, it’s worth a try.  And I decided I would start the next day.  And I did, which is possibly the first thing I’ve followed through on in three years.

Week One. Longest run time – 1 minute.  I learned that when one is 35, out of shape, and an ex-heavy smoker, running for even such a short amount of time should be approached with more caution than exuberance.  By the third repetition of the “run” portion of the workout, I was running slower than I was walking and being outpaced by toddlers in snowsuits.

Week Two. Longest run time – 1 1/2 minutes.  An increase of a measly thirty seconds.  Pssht.  That’s nothing, right?  I learned that thirty seconds is a really fucking long time when you’re trying to run.

Week Three. Longest run time – 3 minutes.  This time, I knew.  I knew it was going to be harder.  So I downloaded some inspiring music to keep me going.  I was feeling good and enjoying the challenge, so I really wanted to keep it up.  I learned that just because you like a song does not mean that it is good to try and run to. (Eminem’s Lose Yourself?  Good.  Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe?  Not as much.)

Week Four. Longest run time – 5 minutes.  This is the week that I got hit in the ear with a piece of rock salt by a passing car so hard I almost went blind and Mother Nature dumped a whole shitload of snow and horribleness on Chicago – again – and I had to repeat it over the course of about three weeks.  I learned that I should pay more attention to cars in my path and that Mother Nature is fucking pissed beyond belief at us for spraying all that Aquanet in the 80′s.

Week Five. Longest run time – 20 minutes.  I know.  Hell of a jump, right?  It was eight minutes the first day, then the last day of the week – WHAM.  Twenty minutes.  Like you weren’t huffing and puffing through 90 seconds just a few weeks ago.  I learned that this stupid app on my phone has been right since January, which is a longer track record than I’ve had in quite awhile.

I’m signed up for three 5K’s this year.  The first one is the Race to Wrigley in April.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to run to the whole thing.  My app says I can, so I’m hopeful.  But I do know that I will finish, whether it takes me 35 or 60 minutes.   And if the Cubs’ past few seasons are any indication, it is the happiest Cubs fans will be all year at Wrigley unless they’re going to a concert there.

So there’s that.

To be fair, I only make that face when I'm about to fall.  I don't look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

To be fair, I only make that face when I’m about to fall. I don’t look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

 

So, There’s a Live Animal in Your Wall.

Thursday, 10PM.  “Hmm, why are the cats skulking along the baseboards in the kitchen?”  “Oh, there’s a loose floorboard.”  “Hmm, I hope that rat/mouse I saw in the summer doesn’t try to get in.”

Friday, 7PM. “Aaah.  Excellent.  Long week complete.  Time to sit down and relax with a drink.  Hey, you’re home all alone for the first time in forever.  This is sort of nice.”

Friday, 7:48PM.  “I’ll just go ahead and stir this pot roast.  What a great dinner this is going to be!”

Friday, 7:51PM. “What’s that scratching?  Hmm, I never noticed that hole below the kitchen cabinets.”

Friday, 7:53PM. “OMG SWEET JESUS THAT WAS A FUCKING PAW THERE IS SOMETHING SCRATCHING ITS WAY INTO THE APARTMENT.”

Friday, 7:54PM. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK STOP IT STOP IT OH MY GOD OH MY GOD HELP!!!”

Friday, 7:56PM. “No, I don’t THINK there’s a rat in my wall.  There IS something in my wall.  I saw it. Send help, like right this second.”

Friday, 7:57PM -Friday, 8:05PM, Pounding on wall frantically whilst yelling out loud. Go away!! Oh my god oh my god!!!

Friday, 8:05PM to 8:35PM. Hysterics.  There’s no other word.

Friday 8:35PM to 8:37PM. Silence.  No one cares.

Friday 8:38PM to 8:42PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy, motherfucker!  I’m going to get you!!!

Friday, 8:43PM to 8:51PM.  Camped out at kitchen table, making as much noise as possible.  “Come on, Ramon, hiss at the dirty shit filled rodent – yeah, okay, it’s a mammal – trying to attack our lives.  And my pot roast.”

Friday, 8:52PM to 8:56PM. “Why are you throwing up, you stupid cat???  This should be your shining moment!  Your one chance in your eleven years to do something that doesn’t make everyone angry!”

Friday, 8:57PM to 9:01PM. OMG this is totally worse than when that possum got onto the porch.

Friday, 9:02PM to 9:05PM.  And when that stupid skunk had babies in the backyard and they were all digging everything up and trying to act like they were cute but were actually horror-filled stink bombs that ruined entire weekends.

Friday, 9:06PM to 9:10PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy!!!!  Ima get you!!  You’ll never sleep again!!!

Friday, 9:11PM to 9:15PM. Yes, yes, I do believe it’s time for another vodka drink.

Friday, 9:16PM to 9:21PM. “Die, motherfucker!” yelled while pounding on the wall.  “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE!!”  (that’s me screaming, if you didn’t catch it.)

Friday, 9:22PM to 9:30PM. Maybe it died?  Or fell asleep?  Does that happen?  Do they just give up?

Friday, 9:31PM to 9:45PM. “All is calm, All is bright!”

Friday, 9:46PM to 9:47PM. I am not losing this pot roast.  You don’t scare me, rodent!

Friday, 9:48PM to 9:51PM. Seriously, this has to be the one night in six months that the partyboys upstairs haven’t come home around this time to gear up for the night.  I don’t know that they’d be that much help, but this is one situation I’m not ashamed to admit I really wish there was someone of the opposite sex here to give some advice.

Friday, 9:52PM to 9:57PM. Am going to be found here, alone, eaten by rodents.  I swear, Mom, I was just about to clean up and organize that dresser.  I got sidetracked.  I’m sorry.

Friday, 9:58PM to 10:01PM.  Might as well have one last drink.  The thing has been quiet for a few minutes.  I can only assume this means it is gathering reinforcements.

Friday, 10:02PM to Present. Clutching glass of vodka, head spinning as if on a swivel, just waiting for the noise, spontaneously yelling and/or stomping feet.

Just know I loved you all.

Image

See that little hole right underneath the cabinets? That’s where the scary monster is trying to get in.

Jimmy Kimmel is Awesome and Please Calm Down

By now pretty much everyone has seen Jimmy Kimmel’s video montage of the reactions of children after their parents tell them they ate all of their Halloween candy.    If you haven’t seen it, please take a minute or six to take a look.

Priceless and hilarious, yes?  Apparently not everyone thinks so.  Here’s some quotes from folks outraged at this horrible example of parenting.

“Is it just me, or does anyone else thinks this sort of borders on emotional and mental cruelty toward children??  It’s pretty darn close to bullying, isn’t it?” Commenter on NBC article.

“Cruel and potentially damaging.” Child psychologist Mark Barnett.

“Inappropriate parental behavior.” Psychologist Jane Annunziata.

That’s just a couple of the criticisms, but you get the gist of it.  These parents are only out for a couple minutes of fame, and by participating in a prank, may be causing lifelong damage to their children’s psyches.

People?  Get the fuck over yourselves.  It’s funny.  It’s CANDY, for fuck’s sake.  They didn’t tell them Santa hated them, that the Easter Bunny didn’t exist, that their favorite teacher was actually an alien, that the dog was dead.  They told them someone ate their candy.  And they didn’t even do it!  The kids got their candy back!

I’m just going to point out two things and then leave it alone.  One – most kids that have parents willing to buy them a costume and take them trudging around in the rain for several hours trick or treating are probably reasonably in tune with their children and whether playing a prank on them is going to destroy their entire life.  Two – if your kid reacts like some of them did, such as the two-year-old who called someone a bitch, they probably deserve a spanking a lot more than a bag of candy, anyhow.

Hell, I believed my dad built the Sears Tower until I was probably eleven.  My cousin Carrie – who isn’t actually my cousin, MORE LIES, MOM AND DAD - was told that Santa vacationed with a bunch of girls in bikinis in the off season.  The list goes on and on.  We’re fine.  These kids will be fine too.  Get over yourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Pay Someone for That??

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some weird amateur expose on prostitution or how sex sells.  Mostly because even if I wanted to, I don’t have the money to buy it nor the body to sell it, so it wouldn’t be all that interesting or factual.  Also because the last time I had a conversation about that subject, it devolved into an extremely stupid argument about whether Hooters girls are being exploited and sexualized or simply using the good looks they were born with to increase their earning potential while having to work as a waitress.  I’ve waited tables, and I can say with complete authority if I’d had the body for it, I promise I would have happily donned the fluorescent short shorts and a push up bra faster than you could say, “Excuse me, miss?”  with nary a qualm.   For all of you shouting, “Oh, but it’s so degrading for those poor girls,”  you know what else is degrading?  Wearing a vest and bow tie while trying to fish a lobster out of a tank in front of a cheering crowd for a four dollar tip.  Trust.

Anyhow, the other day, I got some random email from a site I must have registered for during my desperate days of unemployment.  It was advertising some degree and certification programs when one of them caught my eye and I thought, “Wait – the fuck?  There’s a certification program for organizing your house?  What is happening here?”  And thus came up with a list of jobs that are apparently born from the realization that we are so lazy and stupid that we are willing to pay someone to do almost anything so we don’t have to deal with it.  Here we go.

Life Coach.

Sure, it sounds good in theory.  Pay someone to help realize your untapped potential, uncover your hidden talents, discover what you were really meant to do in life.  Are you really SUCCEEDING as an accountant?  Should you follow your dream to become a world-famous sculptor instead?  Your life coach will help you find your inner happiness, your true calling in life.  Here’s the thing.  There’s a good chance that this life coach that you’re paying to help you realize your true calling in life?  Doesn’t have any fucking idea what theirs is.  Instead, they have some drive and ambition, a decent head for marketing, and a thousand bucks to pay for the course.  Do you know what that means?  That means I could be a life coach, folks.   I am fucking fabulous at taking tests – I promise you I could ace this class.   Sure, my husband decided to have popsicles for dinner and my cats are sitting on the kitchen table, but hey, your life?  I can totally fix thatI got this certificate to prove it.

Animal Behaviorist/Psychologist.

Nope.  Just fucking no.  Of course you want your pet happy.  I want my pets happy.  You know how I make that happen?  I feed them, clean up their poop, and give them a warm place to live.  I give them love and attention, I let them sleep on my head, scratch my furniture, and buy them toys and treats that are good for their well-being.  And if they’re not happy after that?  Fuck em.  I’ll still love them, I’ll still take care of them, but yeah, I’m going to resent them a little bit.  In much of my research as to why my small cat finds it necessary to occasionally relieve himself in places other than the litterbox, I found several articles from these professionals explaining that my pet is stressed, and is “voicing his displeasure,” by acting out.  You know what, doctor?  I’m stressed too.  You know what adds to my stress?  Waking up in the middle of the night and having to change my sheets.  You don’t see me taking a shit in the cat bed, do you?  No.  That cat is clean, well fed, and safe.  If he feels “threatened,” by the different noises in the new apartment, too fucking bad.  Adjust.  If I don’t get Prozac, he certainly doesn’t.  You know why?  He’s a CAT. He’ll be fine.  Promise.

Professional Organizer.

At work, I’m pretty organized.  My job often requires keeping a lot of plates spinning at the same time, and for the most part, I’m relatively good at keeping them all in the air.  At home, however, I kind of fall off the wagon.  In the past couple of years, the list of things I have lost (and found again) is simply ridiculous for a grown adult to misplace.  They include: my crockpot, winter boots, an entire set of tools, my good knife, a garbage can, winter coat, my Kindle, my husband’s wallet, two phones, a set of cutlery, the remote control, my neighbor’s favorite sweatshirt, a significant amount of Halloween decorations, and the glass shelves to my china cabinet.  Things I have never lost sight of include a random collection of forty dice, a solid brass monkey that holds a hackey sack, a singing stuffed chicken, four candles that I’ve had since 2005 and never lit despite having zero personal significance, and a box of collected rocks that neither of us can recall ever gathering.  One might argue that I could benefit from a professional organizer.  If you can believe it, there is a entire association of professional organizers, and you have to have been practicing in the industry for 1,500 hours before you can even become ELIGIBLE to take the test required to become certified.  So maybe they could help me.  Or, instead of giving them money, maybe I could use a combination of common sense – stop being so lazy and throw out the goddamn box of rocks, dummy – and my mother’s advice, “Get a goddamn calendar and put shit back where it goes,” and voila!  I’ve saved a couple hundred bucks and I can find my silverware.

Then again, all of these people are managing to make money completing basic, everyday tasks, while I go to work every day, so who the hell am I to judge?

Hi!  For thirty dollars a month, I'll organize your spices!  Interested?

Hi! For thirty dollars a month, I’ll organize your spices! Interested?

 

 

 

Is Marriage for You? An Easy Test.

There has been a lot of buzz the past few days about Seth Adam Smith’s recent blog post entitled “Marriage Isn’t For You.”  Take a look at the article if you aren’t one of the 20,000 people that already have.  From the thousands and thousands of Facebook shares with a “Hell yeah!” comment posted with the link, I think I’m somewhat in the minority in that I just don’t agree with his message at all.   Even a little bit.  The quote, “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy,” just strikes me as all sorts of wrong.  Everything I was brought up with taught me that marriage is a partnership that you want to be a part of because you make each other happy, not to blindly serve.  And while the idea of being married to someone who did whatever I said just to keep me happy has some bright spots – as in, I would totally never, ever wash any silverware or take out the garbage again - the reality is I would have a lot of trouble respecting someone who didn’t value their own happiness or opinion.

However, every marriage is different and what works for some doesn’t work for others.  What some women couldn’t deal with, others relish.  What some women love, others don’t understand.  Some men have to be protectors, some women find that overbearing.  For every woman who wants a sensitive man, there’s another one that cringes when her date bursts into tears at the movies.  To me, this article sounds like a justification, an attempt at explaining, “Well, no, I’m not happy, but I’m not supposed to be as long as she is.”  But I am not part of Seth’s marriage, so if it works for him and his wife, I’ll try not to judge too much.

That being said, I feel like if I weren’t married yet, this would confuse the fuck out of me.  Like, if we’re both only trying to make each other happy, how does anything get done?  It would be a constant loop of “Whatever you want,” “No, whatever YOU want,” until you’re both ready to scream, “I don’t care just pick a goddamn restaurant before we both starve to death!”  I met my husband at the tender age of 20, when I was still too young and stupid to have any concept of what marriage actually entailed and he was still naïve enough to think that I was actually going to keep looking like that.  We’ve been married for over nine years and haven’t killed each other or our pets and still laugh a lot, so I think we’re doing okay, and this makes us pretty lucky.  But for those of you still wondering if you’re with the right person, here’s a test.  Do all of the below things, together.  If you’re both still standing and aren’t actively plotting each other’s demise, you’re ready to get married.

 

Move a Couch Up Three Flights of Stairs.  Bonus Points for Narrow Stairways.

Here’s the thing.  There are people that can move shit and there are people that cannot.  You and your partner?  Will be one and the other.  One of you is a planner, plotter, and thinker.  That’s me.  “Okay.  Well, if we tilt it at this angle, then lift that side over the railing, and then completely flip it over, it will go smoothly.”  The other is spontaneous.  His thought process is this: “Pick up couch.  Move up stairs.  Fucking done.”  Railings, ripped fabric, the person trapped against the wall trying to help – these things are of no consequence or importance to him.  If you could harness your thoughts and talents together, the couch moving would probably go smoothly, because you’re both a little bit right and a little bit wrong at the same time.  However – and this is always, always true – there is no giving in to the possibility that the other person is right once you start moving the couch.  Being right somehow morphs into being more important than actually getting the couch up the stairs, and you would be more willing to cut it in half and throw it away than admit your way won’t work.

Get the Stomach Flu at the Same Time.  With One Bathroom.

If you can survive this, you can survive anything.  Nothing strips your pretenses and dignity like lying on the floor outside the bathroom, spouting lies such as, “I brought you a 7-UP!” while trying not to vomit on the cat.

Pack for a Trip.

Travelling brings out the worst in a lot of people.  Packing brings out the worst in most.  One half of a couple are economical packers, trying to fit as much as possible in a small carryon suitcase so as not to pay the baggage fee, optimistically thinking they will only need one pair of shoes and a couple of mix and match outfits.   They think they are a lot more organized than they actually are.  The other will need to be prepared for any possible situation, including but not limited to meeting the Pope, taming a tiger, being interviewed on television, playing on a organized sports team, scuba-diving, extreme heat, extreme cold, tsunami, blizzard, tropical storm, and mountain climbing.  You will each secretly mutter about what an idiot your partner is.  You will both forget to bring more than one pair of socks and stare at each other, uncomprehending, when one of you dresses in black tie for dinner and the other is wearing their bathing suit.

Get Lost.  Literally.

Tread carefully on this one, friends.  Technology has had many evolutions in the last fourteen years and none of them have improved our sense of direction, so we’ve gotten lost a lot of different ways.  Getting lost while following a map is actually much easier and less rage-inducing than getting lost while using turn-by-turn navigation on your smart phone, and here’s why.  When you get lost following a map, you don’t have a lot of choices.  You pretty much have to pull over and ask for directions.  When you get lost following the turn-by-turn directions, someone is always and clearly at fault because obviously, the technology knows more than either of you.  Worse, the navigation system makes everyone involved feel as though it will be simple to backtrack and easily find your destination.  It gives you a false sense of security.  Here’s a tip – the navigation system is a dick.  The navigation system will make you yell such nonsense as “Turn left 300 yards ago!  Aren’t you listening?  Idiot!”  while the driver aggressively pulls a U-turn in front of a semi-truck out of defiance; daring the navigator to criticize his driving.  At this point, the driver already has seventeen responses at the ready, just waiting for the slightest provocation.  He is a pot waiting to boil over, a powder keg ready to explode so that when the navigator says brightly, “Hey, there it is!” the driver can’t help but respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, you fucking think so, don’t you?  Is that it?! IS IT?!?!?!?!  Are you sure you don’t need me to keep driving right into this fucking lake like you wanted me to before, fucking Magellan???”

I think it’s a pretty fair test.  If you can do all of these things without taking a hostage or hitting your partner with a shoe, you’re totally ready for marriage.

It's funny because it's true.

It’s funny because it’s true.

Hey Macklemore, I’m Going Thrift Shopping. Again.

To my knowledge, I had never stepped foot in a thrift store prior to September of this year.  If I had, it was by accident and probably against my will as I generally regard shopping as a necessary evil to be performed only as a drastic last measure once I literally have nothing to wear on my person or feet.  Think I’m kidding?  Before my nephew could walk, he owned more pairs of shoes than myself.  This is not because he had an exorbitant amount of shoes, it’s because I literally had four.  A pair of ballet flats, a pair of rain boots, a pair of gym shoes, and some flip flops.  I hate wearing shoes and would walk around barefoot 24/7 if given the opportunity.  Same with coats.  As previously mentioned, I hate wearing them.  If there is a remote chance that I might be hot at some point while wearing the coat, I will rip it off and take my chances on getting frostbite.

Regular clothes pose a bit more of a challenge as it’s illegal to go outside without pants – I think – and once it’s too cold for me to pull off sundresses, I have to figure something else out.  Left to my own devices, I’m perfectly happy to wear leggings, mismatched socks, and a hoodie.  But some people – TONY – refused to leave the house with me a few weeks ago so I was forced to consider that it may, in fact, be time for some new clothes.

Of course, me being me, once I decided I needed to new clothes, it distracted and bothered me to the point that I was in near tears every morning as I schlepped along in my outdated dress pants, scowling at the girls waiting for the train in their a-fucking-dorable skinny jeans and leggings.  It morphed from “Hey, I should probably get some new clothes,” to “OMG I NEED AN ENTIRELY NEW WARDROBE AND I HAVE FORTY DOLLARS AND I HATE EVERYTHING UNTIL I HAVE SKINNY JEANS AND BOOTS.”

Enter the thrift store.  There is a giant one in my new neighborhood, and a few weeks ago decided I would check it out.  Just figured I would take a look, see what I could see, maybe get lucky with a couple of new things.  Four hours later, I was walking home with a vintage Band-Aid dispenser, a wooden black cat statue Halloween decoration that scared the shit out of my cat, two t-shirts, and an obsession.  It. Has. EVERYTHING.  I was a little daunted the first time around, as it’s giant maze of humanity; the kids clothes are by the vacuums, the bathing suits (fucking ew, absolutely not, there has to be a line somewhere,) are by the electronics, the furniture is by the shoes, and the coats are mixed in with the dresses.

In addition to the disorganization, it’s simply confusing.  There’s these random, unwritten rules; for instance, you are supposed to take the clothes off the hangers when you get to the register and if you don’t are ostracized by fellow thrifters and the cashier alike, which – especially for the faint of heart like me – can be relatively tough on the self-esteem.  Also, the clientele at this particular store, due to its location, is comprised of stupid hipsters that are simply looking for the most ironic thing they can find, families that are there out of genuine need, and big, scary soccer-mom types who will muscle past you while talking on a cell phone and somehow traveling the aisles with three carts.  (Note: they’re the ones to watch out for.  Trust.)

All of that being said, there’s somewhat of a party atmosphere; there’s a guy with a cart outside selling elotes and tacos who inexplicably has balloons, and they play the most random, fabulous soundtrack of any store I’ve ever been in.  The last time I was there, in succession, they played the Spanish version of “Unchained Melody,” Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”  It was fucking amazing.

Certainly, you have to go in with an open mind.  You have to be willing to pretty much look through everything; clothes are grouped by color, not size, so there are size zero jeans next to size 22s, size smalls next to XXXL.  But here’s a secret – nothing will open your mind faster than getting six pairs of brand name jeans, two pairs of boots, and five shirts/sweaters for a grand total of $37.00. I have gotten more compliments on my thrift store finds in the past three weeks than I have gotten since I began my job almost two years ago.  And thus, an obsession has been born.  Almost without my realization or intent, we seem to be propelling ourselves there every Saturday morning (it’s HALF PRICE DAY!!  HURRY!!) and coming home only ten or fifteen bucks lighter, but with new clothes.

Downside?  It’s actually cheaper to buy new clothes than to do laundry in our building, which for two extremely lazy people will likely become a problem in the very foreseeable future.  Upside?  Aside from the obvious, it’s possibly the greatest people-watching on the planet save for Las Vegas, and it’s a lot cheaper and less stressful to go to Village Discount.

Case in point?  When we were there Saturday, the lines were outrageous.  This is obviously not a big surprise and again is part of the whole “open mind” part of the experience.  Expect to be there awhile.  Anyhow, we were about seventh in line once we finished shopping and settled into our favorite game which basically consists of  mocking others for sport.  While we debated the purchases of the three – seemingly unrelated – men at the register who were buying, among other things, a badminton racket, a dollhouse, four towels (fucking ew again,) and a VCR, when something caught my eye.

Or rather, someone caught my eye.  This girl a couple carts in front of us, all hundred and twenty pounds of her, wearing leggings with cute little patterned leg warmers under her knee high boots (seriously, I don’t even want to talk about how difficult it is to fit my pants inside my boots; you have to have a special kind of tiny baby-giraffe legs to wear thick knit leg warmers underneath them,) a teeny-tiny shirt, and super cute jean jacket.  She had curly hair all piled up in a bun in that way that is meant to look messy but takes most people three hours to accomplish.  She was pretty much stunning and what I pretend I look like when I am putting outfits together in my head, and she was hurting my feelings just for existing.

I looked down at my yoga pants and big comfy t-shirt – perfect for shopping! – and, noticing a stain, remarked to my husband, “Life’s not fair.”  Without missing a beat or taking his eyes off of her, he replied, “No shit.”  A couple of minutes later, he nudged me.  “Yeah, this is probably more our speed,” while pointing down another aisle where a woman was trying to knock a shirt down from a high rack by waving a Halloween scarecrow at it wildly, muttering, “Come on, come ON,” prompting me to burst out laughing so hard I couldn’t compose myself and he nearly sent me outside.

So yeah.  The thrift store pretty much has everything; entertainment, music, people watching, and every possible item you could ever imagine wanting for under five dollars.  Grab some friends and forty dollars – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

Is that your grandma's coat?

Is that your grandma’s coat?

 

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