Monday, April 24, 2017

Beauty Marketing 101



There's lots of great things about being a woman.  Like being able to bring new life into the world and being the only one who can properly replace a roll of toilet paper.  Not to mention knowing how someone is feeling before they even feel it and then there's the constantly feeling like you're not enough.  I didn't ask for these gifts.   It's just that they come absolutely free with price of estrogen. Like it's Clinique bonus time all the time, but everything in the bag isn't your color and makes you break out, so you just use the cute bag it came in to carry around your tampons.  

As women, we're all insecure about our looks.  All of us.  Lucky for us, we have the beauty industry to confirm just how hideous we are.  Not to mention Snapchat, which corroborates, you really are a dog.  And even at that, you need an industrial strength filter to pull that one off.  

We all have some basis for feeling less than.  Mine was acne. (There are more issues than that, but let's stick to the zits here or this is going to be a novel.)  Not only did it cover my face, I also had backne.  I was extremely self conscious about it and never went anywhere without foundation to try to hide my blemishes.  And I envied everyone with clear skin.  I tried every over the counter product to make it go away, mixed with some prayer, cause god knows it couldn't hurt.  Finally, at the ripe old age 40, my acne disappeared and was promptly replaced with fine lines, blotchiness and rogue chin hairs.  Yay!  How can you grow a 2 inch long straggly chin hair overnight?  Ugh.  Turns out, the only thing worse than estrogen for a woman, is testosterone.  

Even though, I have clear skin now, I'm still self conscious about it.  Not only that almost two years ago when I went for a mole check, I had a dermatologist suggest I get laser treatment on my face to smooth out my skin tone.  And I was really offended, but only after I considered it because she's a skin professional confirming I'm not good enough.  She must be right.

It took me a while to realize, there's nothing wrong with me.  Or actually, there's lots of things wrong with me, but my skin wasn't actually one of them.  Is there no such thing as aging gracefully without an expressionless Botox filled, laser burnt face anymore?  It's not that I'm so secure in how I look, cause I'm not.  It's that I don't want to look like that celebrity cautionary tale.  You know the one.  Cause there's lots of "ones" out there.  

Anyway, let me get to the point of this whole tale already.  So, I found this completely great homemade face mask a couple years ago that I love and faithfully use twice a week.  It clears up blemishes (which I still get every now and again), plus it brightens and doesn't dry out my sensitive, combination skin.  And bonus: there is no marketing to make you feel inadequate or coax you into using it.  It just works.  Imagine that!

So, why when I'm perusing through the beauty aisle in Target, would I buy an expensive mask when I have one I'm extremely happy with at home?  Also, why do I go down the cosmetic aisle every time I'm in Target?  Marketing.  And preying on my old, blotchy and wrinkled insecurities.

Want to know how to sell to me?

1.  Package your product one of the most sublime shades of green.  
2.  Mention kale or any other vegetable that I can simply apply topically and don't have to eat.
3.  Tell me it's vegan and cruelty free so I feel absolved of any societal guilt.
4.  Make me feel completely and totally inadequate by using the word "overhaul". 
5.  Jack up the price, so it's kinda affordable, but still way too expensive so it feels luxurious.

The only thing that could've made the mask I was ogling over more appealing to me is if they mentioned that for every tube sold they planted a garden to feed starving children kale in Africa.  I probably would've paid double for that!  

I knew I was being manipulated by my insecurities and yet I bought it anyway.  Oh yes, I did!  And I know what you're thinking: does it work?  I might get some.  And I bet you already know the answer.  No.  Don't do it.  It's a total waste of money.  And now I'm back to my homemade, completely guilt-free mask.
  
Don't believe the bullshit.  
Not the beauty industry's.
And definitely, not your own.
Most stupid decisions in life begin with feeling insecure.


Matcha Green Tea Face Mask:

1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1/2 tsp honey
2 or 3 drops tea tree oil
1 or 2 drops water to make it into a paste

Leave on 10 minutes.  
CAUTION: it stains.






Thursday, April 20, 2017

Almost OCD


Let me be clear, I do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  But, you don't need to be diagnosable to have ritualistic things you do that don't make sense to anyone else, that you can't stop yourself from doing.   I call it Almost OCD and everyone's got it.  It's the equal opportunity mental illness.  The only prerequisite is being human.

It all starts for me with my morning rituals.  Coffee and twitter.  Compulsively scrolling and searching for content I can share by retweeting it.  Which is exactly where my compulsion meets my addiction.  After that it's time to get the kids up and off to school. Which requires at least three rounds of attempting to wake the dead before I get the teenagers out of their beds.  (Please note: this part is not voluntary.)  By this time, the coffee has kicked in and I'm really ready to start obsessing.

When the kids leave, the counter stools are all pulled out cockeyed.  Every single morning.  Why do they do this?  Why can't they push their chairs in?  My adrenaline starts.  And I have to push them all back in and line them up perfectly.  Which is how they'll remain until the kids return from school.

It's about this time that I have to decide what's for dinner.  I can't plan a week of meals ahead of time.  Because dinner depends on two important factors: the weather and my mood.   And how am I going to know these things ahead of time?  I'm not psychic.  Well, I am in that I know whatever I make my kids are going to hate it, so none of this even matters anyway.

By the time I get in the shower, I've figured out dinner and made a list of things I have to go get to make whatever comfort food for whatever emotion needs to be fed that day.  If I don't have it figured out by then, I start to get panicky.  Yes, at 7am, I'm stressing about what to make for dinner.  And that's when I'll forget to shave a leg, which will drive me insane for the rest of the day.

When I get out of the shower that's when I need to take all the laundry downstairs to the washing machine.  Because I do.  I'll tell myself not to go in the kids' rooms and check their floors or the floor in the bathroom.  But, I can't stop myself.  And I'll begrudgingly pick up their clothes they failed to put in the hamper, even though I told them I wouldn't.  I hate that! And take it all downstairs in one heaping pile I can't see the stairs over.   I don't know why it's so important that I make it in one trip because I will go upstairs and re-check the 2 hampers, 2 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms at least 3 more times, just to make sure I got everything before I start the load.  It's imperative every article of clothing that's dirty be in there.  Even though 5 minutes later there's more laundry.

Then, I'll stretch and work out on the pole where I'll either attempt to do something new and/or perfect something that's old.  And I will do the same move over and over.  Sometimes in excess of 50 times.  (Or until I've broken the capillaries in my knee pit, pull a muscle, get motion sickness or start to get a migraine because I tweaked my back again.)  And it still won't be good enough.  I'll tell myself that I'll only try it one more time.  But that's a lie.  So I bargain with myself.  I'll keep doing it until the end of the song.  Or, I'll stop at 9:30 or whatever arbitrary time I make up.  And when I do finally stop (well after I promised myself I would), that's when I start berating myself for not being better.

Now, it's time for errands.  I'll hop in the car and find a radio station I like.  But, only after searching from all the available choices.  And then constantly checking to see if there's a better song on another station.  And then volume needs to be on an even number.  Or a multiple of 5.

If I have an appointment, I'll plug the address into the GPS, even if I know how to get there.  It's just a little insurance policy.  When I arrive at my destination,  I'll check the address, to make sure I'm in the right place.  Then I'll re-check again.   And then again.   I'll still be at least 10 minutes early because I'm always habitually early for everything.  If I'm on time, in my mind that means, I'm late.  I've tried so hard to break myself of this habit because it sucks to be the first person at any social gathering.  Although, I reason that if I'm the first person there, I can leave first.  Which totally makes sense to me.

Shopping isn't any better.  Say after an exhaustive search, I finally find a denim shirt on-line to replace an old, dying denim shirt that I love and buy it.  Then it arrives and it's not denim at all, it's chambray.  And chambray isn't denim!  But, otherwise I love the shirt.  And even though I keep the shirt, I can't wear it.  Because I have to wear my old one out completely before I wear the new one.  But, I can't wear the old one out, because I don't like the new one as much because it's a lighter fabric and therefore not a good replacement for the old one.  So, now I have two shirts I love that I won't wear for fear that I'll never find an equivalent replacement for either of them.  It's the same with jeans.  And sneakers.  I know it's stupid...


but, I can't stop.
Maybe I have Overly Critical Disorder.

Monday, April 17, 2017

ID Check

My kids go to high school on the Air Force Academy. Which requires, that all of us have special ID cards to get us through the security checkpoint and onto the base.  I get it.  It's imperative that our military installations are secure.  I'm all for that.  



Except...
that
think  
the
photos 
on 
the 
ID 
should 
be
a
good 
picture
of
the 
person.

Not for vanity reasons.  For security reasons.  Maybe a little bit of vanity, but mostly the security thing. 

Exhibit A:  

My old ID to get on to base taken in 2014.  


I don't know if I was chewing gum, trying to get something dislodged from my teeth with my tongue or about to sneeze.  But what the hell was I doing with my mouth?  Also, why don't I have a neck?  I look like Beaker from the Muppets.  And why would anyone let me onto a military installation with this ID that: 1.  Doesn't look like me 1.5 Please tell me it doesn't look like me  2.  Makes me look like a terrorist.  Please note the sunglasses on top of my head.

So, I was so excited my ID expires this school year and I had to go get a new one.  Because really?  You can't get worse than this photo.  Or so I thought before I went in to get my new ID.  I asked the guy at the counter if he was going to take a new photo.  He said he could.  And it was settled.  I sat down and waited to be called back to the counter while contemplating if I should smile for the photo or not.  Then I remembered my last photo.  Smile.  I'll definitely smile, but I'm not showing teeth.  Because: 1.  It's unrealistic, I rarely if ever smile and show teeth 2.  It's too much pressure and it's bound to look forced and make me look even more like a terrorist.

Finally, it was my turn,  so I could stop staring at the official photo of Trump that hung on the wall.  No matter what happened, I wasn't going to look like an orange, smug asshole like he does in his pictures.  The guy asked me to take off my sunglasses that I'd pushed up on top of my head like a hairband.  So I did.  Ok, there's a set protocol for the ID photos, this is a good sign, like there is for a passport photo.  He snapped it, checked it and then printed up my ID card.

Then he handed it to me...


...and I look like a blurry, orange, smug asshole.  
Maybe it's the Trump filter. 
And just like Trump, this ID doesn't make me feel any more secure about anything.   

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Floored


It all started with a toilet that overflowed in the middle of the night and a subsequent call to the insurance company the next day when we discovered it was raining toilet water in our basement.  I admit, I didn't expect much.  But our insurance company had someone come out the same day with an estimate on the damage and a plan to fix it.  Including new wood floors on the main level and carpet in the basement, adding up to thousands of dollars of damage they'd cover.

I was floored!

Of course, we'd have to move out of our house and into a hotel while they were sanding, staining and polyurethaning the wood.   Then, the insurance company picked up the tab for 6 people and 2 dogs for 2 weeks.  Which was another few thousand dollars.  

Again, I was floored!  

When we finally were able to move back into the house, there were still baseboards that needed to be put back, drywall to replace, doors to be stained and polyurethaned, painting and a new toilet and vanity to be installed.  Adding up to two additional weeks of workmen in and out of my house.  And trying to schedule my workouts, writing, dog walks, carpooling and meals around them.  Because you know what's really weird when you have people in your house all day?  Eating.  Do I offer them some?  Are they judging me for what I'm eating?  Or that I'm eating again?  I mean, I did gain weight during the hotel stay and then again on spring break.  You can't really work out in an RV, you know?    

The thing is, when you get near the end of a project and then you get a cold and start slamming hot tea to hydrate and soothe your dry throat cause you're mouth breathing, you have to pee a lot.  And I mean a lot.  So, since I don't have a bathroom on the main floor, that means I'm running either upstairs or downstairs to pee.  While it's a fantastic StairMaster workout, by the time I get to the bathroom (any bathroom) there's either a kid showering or using the toilet.  Now, after running up the stairs, my nose is running like a faucet with snot headed due south, straight for my mouth.  Nooooooooooooooo!!!

I'm floored that this work isn't done yet! 

So yesterday (the day before yesterday by the time you read this), the plumber was supposed to come  and install the toilet and the sink in the vanity.  I waited during my designated window of 3 to 5pm for him to show.  Which he didn't.  Today, for round 2, his window to redeem himself is from 1-3pm.  Right now as I sit in my old, creaky office chair and finish writing this, it's exactly 1pm.  So I don't know how the story ends.  But, I sure hope it's with a flushing toilet.

Either way, I'll be pretty floored!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Ladies Night Out

My delusion of what we look like on Ladies Night Out
PC:  soheather.com
The five of us have been friends for over a decade.  Four of us have birthdays in December and one in March.  So semi-annually, we have a ladies night out to celebrate, which at our age is actually more commiserating our birthdays together.   I'd say it's a big affair, but the biggest affair is trying to schedule it.

Seriously, why do I have so many Scorpio/Sagittarius friends?  November and December are already insanely busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not to mention Christmas vacation.  THIS IS A REALLY INCONVENIENT TIME FOR BIRTHDAYS!  I don't even like my own birthday for this very reason.  March is usually a tad easier.  But, there is spring break to contend with.  The e-mails to organize LNO started in February.  And yes, old people make arrangements on AOL.  Which is precisely why we're not old yet, because we have Gmail or yahoo accounts.  Duh.

After several proposed dates and a month of e-mails back and forth, finally we confirmed a date all five of us could commit to and we marked it on our paper calendars in ballpoint pen.  Ok, maybe I'm the only one who still has a old school calendar featuring beautiful vistas hanging next to my home phone. Yes, I still have a land line.  Although, my girlfriends are more tech savvy than me, making me the old bitty of the group, even though I'm actually the youngest.

The week of LNO, that was scheduled for April because no one could do March, one of us bails.  Three of us have kids who are seniors in high school and she's taking her daughter for one more look at a college before she makes her final choice and she's leaving the Friday night we're going out.  Ironically, she's the one with the March birthday we're going out to commiserate.  And we can't reschedule because do you know how long it took to schedule in the first place?  Plus, April and May,   are chock full of attending senior breakfasts with our kids, sending out graduation announcements, organizing parties and scheduling a session to go cry at our financial planner's office because how are we going to afford all this?  So, the birthday party will go on without the birthday girl.

And that's what we did.  In our mom jeans paired with breathable cotton tops and sensible flat shoes.  We all wore earrings though, which in middle age in casual Colorado basically constitutes evening wear.  When we arrived at Till, a hip new restaurant filled with millennials, just before 6 we ran to the bar to catch last call before Happy Hour ended.  Because we're practical like that.  And we're saving money so our kids can come home from college at Christmas.  Forget Thanksgiving, it's way too expensive to fly your kid home then. They'll have to find another student with a family that's local to take them in and be thankful with on that holiday.

That's when things really got wild.  I ordered a spicy, carb-loaded green chili gnocchi.  Spicy food often triggers my Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  And after just coming back from vacation, the last thing my sluggish middle aged metabolism needed was carbs.  But, this was a special occasion.  My friend's birthday.  My friend who wasn't even there.  And since we're breaking the diet anyway, we need to get her a cake.  And then text her a picture of us eating it.  Happy Birthday Bailer!

We sat at the table for hours talking about our kids.  Because we're lame and had no plans to go out to a bar afterward.  Where would we even go?  Downtown?  Are you kidding me?  That's like 15 minutes in the other direction!  Then we'd have to find parking and shout at each other over the music. The waitress kept coming around.  "More water?"  Which everyone knows is server code for "Get the hell out of here already!"  So after a few rounds of water on a Friday night, at about 9 or maybe 9:30 we all headed home.

When did we go from Girls Gone Wild to Girls Gone Mild?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My Baggage


I've done a lot of travelling.  And if there's one thing I'm pretty good at, it's packing a suitcase.  If there's one thing I'm terrible at, it's pretty much everything else.  I'm not good at timing a vacation, making the correct travel arrangements or having the right visa when I get there, among other things.  So, let's just focus on the luggage then, shall we?

I rarely take my massive orange suitcase anywhere anymore because it's just too big. Not to mention, the broken zippers and torn handles from being manhandled all over the world.  These days, I've replaced my cumbersome luggage with a brick colored backpack that's smaller and more portable.

But, every once in a while there's an opportunity to break out my old school rolly bag.  Like last month when we moved into a hotel for a couple weeks while my wood floors were being refinished after a toilet overflowed.  I didn't need anything easily maneuverable, because it was only going into my car and then driving it 3 miles down the street to the Staybridge Suites.

However, it was still too much suitcase for me as I travel light these days.  Mostly because these days I'll wear the same clothes for a couple of days.  This is the advantage of working from home.  No one knows I picked yesterday's outfit up off of the floor to re-wear it the next day.  So, no one cares.  Especially me.  This also works on vacation.  Because are you going to see anyone you know on vacation?  Ok, so I just ran into someone I knew at the Grand Canyon last week.  So, it happens, but she didn't know I was on day 2 or 3 in those clothes because I didn't wash clothes on the trip.  Unless she saw the food stains on my shirt.  But, they could've been fresh stains.  How would she know?

Anyway, back to my baggage in the hotel room where I washed clothes all the time because they had a free washer and dryer at the hotel.  And because I have 4 teenagers who are clothes whores.  

To solve the too-much-suitcase-dilemma, I decided to share it with my husband.  Which we have done many times before in our earlier, more bumbling travels.  So we know to share it exactly 50-50, just like our marriage.  Maybe 60-40.  Or 70-30.  Whatever.  It depends on the day or the year, really.  Either way, when we're packing up to leave, there are no suitcase squabbles.  Even when we get wherever we're going, there's no issue.  My husband prefers to take his clothes out of the luggage and put them in a dresser or on a shelf, depending on the space.  While I prefer to commit to the suitcase and sprawl out onto his side of the luggage.  It's like getting the whole bed to myself.

Packing back up to go home is when the argument starts.  The same recurrent argument we have every time we share a bag: fold or cram?  My stance is, everything is dirty and going into the laundry when we get home anyway so why bother folding?  And his take is that folding makes things fit into the bag better.  Even though I am a master crammer and I can get everything in that bag and still close the zipper and he's totally wrong.  Maybe the caveat is "better".  And better is always subjective.  To me the least work is better.  To him, not ruining the suitcase by breaking the zipper from cramming everything into the suitcase is better.

Six of one, half dozen of the other,  I suppose.
Even though I'm totally right.  
This is my baggage.

Monday, April 3, 2017

RV Road Trip Rules


For spring break I spent over a week in an RV travelling to the Grand Canyon with my family of four teens, my husband and his mother.  Here is some practical advice if you're considering a similar trip.

1.  NO SHIT, SHERLOCK

No one poops in the RV.  I think it goes without saying that 7 people should never share one bathroom.  Ever. But, put that toilet on wheels and contain the other 6 people with the noxious fumes of one and now we're just talking the preservation of humanity here.

Unless of course, you boondock at a free State Campground and the toilets are all closed.  

2.  DON'T CUT THE CHILL WITH CHILI

While it might be tempting to make a batch of down home chili for the road, DON'T DO IT!  Everyone knows, no one eats chili without farting.  Little known fact: Eating chili is the leading cause of homicide on RV trips.

Turns out, that black bean pasta with a queso-salsa sauce wasn't a good choice either.  Neither was hummus...

3.  SOCK IT TO THEM

Remember to check that your kids packed a change of socks and underwear before you leave on the trip.  Don't wait until it becomes revoltingly apparent your kid who's old enough to know better didn't actually know better and only packed 1 pair of fresh socks.

Also, the same kid will probably be down one pair of underwear after he drops a pair on the ground on the way back from the shower.  Only to be discovered the next morning after a night of freezing rain.  

4.  WET WIPES SAVE LIVES

On days you can't shower because you're boondocking or you have to walk a mile through the cold to pay $2 for an 8 minute shower in a national park,  that's when you take a baby wipe shower.  Including all the crevices and feet before putting on fresh underwear and socks.  (Please refer back to #3)

I know you're thinking, but you have a shower in an RV.  But, the shower is used as a wet bar for beer and the storage of other beverages.  Duh.

5.  ALCOHOL:  DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT

After a whole day of listening to your teens fight over who gets to charge their phone in the one working outlet in the RV, you'll need some alcohol.  And yes, you can get alcohol while you're on the road. But...

...you don't want to be in the bad part of town in Albuquerque buying your Colt 45 when the cashier is behind bulletproof glass and you're not.  Safety first.  

Sure, I could give you lots of other little tips.  But, I've got this bottomless pile of laundry to tackle and an empty fridge here at home to fill.  I'm sure you'll figure the rest out when you're on the road.  Safe travels!



Monday, March 20, 2017

In Other News...

For those of you who are new around here, I lived in Morocco for two and a half years with my family when my husband worked for the Peace Corps there.  (I also wrote a book about our time living in Morocco, which you can find on Amazon.com)  Even though my husband didn't work at the U.S. Embassy, much of our life in Africa was heavily dictated by the Embassy rules because my husband was working for a U.S. government program.  Even if we were just a bunch of hippies, two standard deviations from the Foreign Service norm.

We lived in a massive house that was built both to impress and entertain, chosen from a pool of houses pre-approved  by the Embassy.  Complete with a house staff and lots of security.  We got to use the U.S.P.S. to mail and receive packages at the Embassy.  We had diplomatic passports for travel.  Our kids went to the American School, where the kids from most of the Embassies located in Rabat went. Where the general of the Moroccan Army's kids went and the King of Morocco's niece went.  We lived in a social bubble of privilege; hobnobbing with people from all over the world wondering who was gathering intel from whom for what end.  And everyone speculated about it in whispers from the comfort of their own informal cliques, which form spontaneously when you're an expat.  

We participated in the mandatory fun of Christmas parties at the U.S. Ambassador's house and the Hail and Farewells that welcomed new arrivals to the Embassy and to say goodbye to those departing at the DCM's  (Deputy Commander of Mission) residence.  It was all part of the gig.  Mandatory fun was rarely any fun at all, but it provided lots of fodder for the bubble gossip circuit. Although, we never suspected anything as salacious as the story that hit the papers a few months ago.

The news that the DCM's husband, Labib Chammas, was convicted of sexually abusing their Moroccan cook.  I'd met him on a few occasions at some obligatory functions and always thought he was a bit weird.  But then again, I thought that about at least 50% of the population of the Embassy bubble. The expat world is a magnet for eccentrics.  However, I never expected sexual predator weird.  Which is exactly how sexual predators operate.  Covertly.

But, what is truly remarkable about this case, is an American man in a position of power (his wife was next in command at the Embassy after the Ambassador) was convicted of sexually abusing a Moroccan woman.  This in a country where women rarely receive justice for crimes of sexual abuse.   In fact, they are often victimized by their abuser and then the justice system.  Just a few years ago in 2012, a 16 year old Moroccan girl named Amina Filali was raped by a Moroccan man and her court ordered punishment for his crime was to marry him.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Rather than comply with the judge's order for her to marry her rapist, she killed herself by ingesting rat poison.

In a world full of atrocities where men often get away with crimes against women.  In a time when the world seems more divided by nationality than ever.  Where the only certainty is that injustice exists and even thrives, especially for women and those without financial means.  This time justice was served and a Moroccan woman prevailed and an American man served prison time for sexually abusing her.  An outcome that wouldn't have been likely if it was handled by the Moroccan system.

While the outcome in this case is promising, it's only one story out of millions.  And  it only leaves me with more questions.  Like, how many other women have been victims of this man or other men like him?  And how many victims are likely to endure the shame, humiliation and condemnation to speak up and be heard in the pursuit of a conviction that isn't likely to occur?   Even here in America. And how many more sexual predators are out there because sexual crimes are under reported?


The article detailing the matter in The Daily Beast can be found here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'm a Cheater



He's twenty years younger than me. We both have someone else. But, it doesn't matter. He makes time for me.  And he makes me feel young and beautiful.  He appreciates that I'm older and I can afford the finer things in life.  Especially him.  Because nothing is free, especially kept men. Because he's paid to  keep my secret. Driven only by my desire.  The desire to look like a natural redhead.

I'm ready!  Let's do it!

It all started out innocently enough, as these things do.  He was my dance instructor by night and by day he's a hairstylist.  One day six months ago he texted me out of the blue looking for a hair model.  You know, a real challenge.  Like someone who has mousy brown hair and insists on coloring it herself from a box.  Someone so careless she doesn't even bother to use the same color twice.  Who only uses semi-permanent color out of fear of commitment.  With more stubborn grays by the day, that are anything if not impermanent.  Where could one find a woman so desperately in need of a color makeover?

I'm your girl!  Have your way with me!

And he did.  His capable hands knew exactly what to do.  Taking me from a dark auburn to a bright copper.  It was everything I didn't even know I wanted.  Before I knew it, complete strangers were stopping me to compliment me on my hair.  Which, I'm not going to lie, is a little creepy.  But, in a nice creepy way.  Except for the woman at the wine tasting, who remembered seeing me (specifically, my hair) somewhere before, but I'd never seen her before in my life. I think she was either on a lot of meds or off of her meds completely.  But, definitely one of the two.  And then there was the drunk lady at the hair salon who said I looked like Merida from Brave. (I can't even write the completely inappropriate stuff she said to my hair stylist.  Suffice it to say, she wanted him to have his way with her.)  So what if the compliments I get come from inebriated people?  Either way, I was on a hair high when it hit me.  

I'm a cheater!  

My long-standing hairstylist is going to notice that I've changed.  How do I tell her that she's not the only one anymore?  That I'm seeing someone else?  That I didn't mean for this to happen?  It was just a one time thing that accidentally turned into a regular thing.  It's not you. It's me.  I've changed.  But, I don't want to lose you!  We have a history together and I still want you in my life cutting my hair.  It's just that I have someone on the side now.  Just for color.  It doesn't mean anything.  It doesn't diminish our relationship.  It's just that I want you both.  For different reasons.  Please tell me we can stay together and work through this!  




Monday, March 13, 2017

Million Reasons


I could give you a million reasons why I hate that song Million Reasons by Lady Gaga.  But, this post isn't about that.  It's about me writing my novel.   The first draft is three-quarters done.  But, the deeper I get into it, the more I stall on sitting down to write.  I have a million reasons for doing this.  And not doing that.

First of all, my kids.  I mean does anyone finish anything after they have kids?  No, they don't.  You live a life of potential, complete with incomplete projects and thoroughly disappointing yourself once you're a parent.  Your life isn't about you anymore.  It's about providing for your ungrateful kids and embarrassing them even when you're trying not to.  And I know you're thinking, but your kids go to school and they're teenagers, you must have tons of time on your hands.  (And if you thought this: A. you don't have kids  B. you have toddlers C. you home school D. your kids are grown and you're senile.)

I spend roughly 2 hours nagging my kids to get up, clean up after themselves and get out the door every morning. Every other day I spend 3 hours, because my senior has a late day.   Oh, but then you have time right?    Well, then I work out, run errands and walk my dogs.  After lunch is when I write.  But, not if I have to take a kid to the dentist, pick a kid up cause they're sick, take a dog to the vet.  And then, that senior who goes to school late every other day?  He gets home two hours early from school every day.  Basically, he goes to school for lunch as far as I can tell.

Never mind when your toilet overflows, ruining a wood floor and a basement ceiling, and you have an impromptu home improvement project to deal with.  Plus your insurance company, shopping for new carpet, toilets and a vanity.  Not to mention, workmen coming and going to repair your house.  Sometimes calling 10 minutes before they intend to come over.   Then moving into a hotel with your family and two dogs for 10 days (maybe longer) while they refinish wood floors.  Who knew it took this long?

So now, in addition to my family, the dogs, the insurance company and the workmen,  I also need to work around the maid who cleans the room at the hotel.  I know you're saying, but you don't need the maid to clean the room.  Have you ever stayed in a confined hotel room with gross teenagers and shedding dogs for an extended period of time?  Maid service is not optional.  So, in order to make this work,  I  take my dogs in the car with me on errands and then take them for longer walks to make sure they don't get into mischief at the hotel and to give the maid ample time to clean the rooms.  Which means I have to go to the bank to get singles to tip the maid every day.  Then I have to explain to the teller exactly why I'm getting the one dollar bills.  Because I do, if you know what I mean.

Oh, and getting the laundry done at the hotel is no easy task either.  Running upstairs and downstairs waiting for an open washer and timing your loads intricately so no one dumps your wet clothes on the floor and/or steals them.  (I've had both happen in the past, so I'm a bit paranoid about doing my laundry in communal facilities.)  And have you tried to cook in the kitchenette at the hotel with the can opener that doesn't work and cutting up chicken on the world's smallest cutting board with a dull steak knife?  Everything is taking me four times as long to get done at least.

And really, why would I want to finish writing my novel anyway?   Because then I have to decide what to do with it.  And then the scariest part, having someone else read it.  And failing.  Or succeeding.  Both are equally as terrifying.

I've got a million reasons not to write this book.  
And only one really good one to finish.
Because I don't know how it ends.  





Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Only Good Thing About Running



Being away from home in a hotel means I can't keep my regular fitness regimen which is pole dance.  Because this hotel is family friendly and doesn't have a stripper pole. Thus, forcing me to cross train.  It'll be good for me, I thought.  Because being away from home in a hotel also means I'm off my regular healthy eating regime.  Because there's a waffle maker at the breakfast bar, not to mention an array of other carbs. Some with frosting even.  But, everyone knows hotel/road trip/vacation calories don't count.  Somehow, even though I don't count them, somehow they still add up.  Which is why I need to work out.

The first morning after carb loading, I went down to the fitness center to redeem myself.  I'll just use the Stairmaster.  Hops on and can't figure out how to change the settings.  Ok, the treadmill it is!  I can't get the start button to work.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?  Alright stationary bike, looks like it's you and me.  You know what's worse than riding a boring, monotonous stationary bike for 10 minutes and seeing you've only burned 10 calories?  Watching Fox News while you do it because you  can't figure out how to change the TV channel either.  Ugh...this is just not working for me.  And I was desperate.  Not desperate enough to not eat waffles though, but desperate enough that I decided to run the next day.

I HATE RUNNING.
The only thing good about running is when you finally stop.

But, for the love of free cookies (which I'm also eating every day, because come on, free deliciousness), I've got to do it because god knows I'm not going to stop eating.  

So, I drop my youngest off at school and head to the park next to it where there's a nice trail with a view of the mountains.  I start running.  See?  This isn't so bad.  And it's gorgeous.  I feel so engaged with my surroundings.  Mostly because I was being cautious on the rocky trail so I wouldn't roll an ankle.  And also because I was watching for rattlesnakes who call Ute Valley home.  I should do this every day!  Also, I may have been running downhill when I thought all these thoughts. 

I had different thoughts running uphill.  I should mention, I live at almost 7,000 ft.  Hey, I bet it burns more calories running at a higher elevation than it does at sea level.  So, I could actually run less distance for the same result, I think.  That sounds right, right about now.  Oh wait, you know what's even better than a sustained heart rate for optimal fitness?  A variable heart rate.  Stops running and starts walking. This is completely justified. I only stopped running for my health, not because I wanted or needed to stop.  Even though I totally wanted to stop.  That doesn't count.  Sees someone coming.  Starts to run again.  Passes a 75 year old man walking so I can claim I passed someone while running.  Starts walking again when I get in front of him.  Hears him catching up to me.  Starts running again.  I will not be passed by a 75 year old man walking at almost 7,000 ft, I have my pride, you know!

When I don't run into anyone for a while I remember that mountain lions also call this area home.  Then I remember there's lots of deer to eat, so they have plenty of food so, they wouldn't want to eat me.  Except, I run slower than a deer.  Runs a little faster.  Wait, does running entice mountain lions to give chase?  I should probably stop running, not because I want to, but for my own safety.  Which bonus, also varies my heart rate.  WINNING!  Encounters other people on the trail.  Remembers reading the sign at the trailhead that said,  For your protection, secure your valuables in trunk.  Also remembers I left my purse in the front seat of my minivan.  Runs faster.  Gets the parking lot in my sight line and starts walking. Everyone knows you need to cool down by walking after a run.  The fact that my run contained a lot of walking is just a technicality.  

The only thing good about running is when you finally stop.
RUNNING IS STUPID!

The only running that isn't stupid is when you're racing to be the first to the waffle maker at the breakfast bar.  Which totally counts as cardio if you do it right!







Monday, March 6, 2017

This is No Vacation


Today we're moving into a hotel for five nights while our water damaged wood floors caused by an overflowing toilet are being refinished.  And while I'm excited about the new floors, I'm not excited about moving my 4 kids, 2 dogs and 1 husband into it.  Mostly, because I'm the person most affected by this temporary relocation, since I work from home.  Which also makes me the go to person to work around the workmen's schedule for at least the next month.  So, while my kids look at this like a fun vacation, this is no vacation for me.  Well, it is kinda a vacation in that I won't get any work done writing my novel.

Like any vacation, my kids are super excited and asking a million questions.  The same ones over and over.  You think that once they're teenagers, they wouldn't do this anymore.  But, really, it just means they have more detailed questions than toddlers and no matter what you say, they always think your answer is stupid.  And then they google it to prove you wrong.  When they're in their 20's do they skip asking and go straight to google?  I'm being too optimistic aren't I?  Don't even answer that, I don't even want to know right now.

So, as my kids ask me if they still have to go to school when we're in the hotel (Ummmmmmm....YES!), I have other concerns.  Namely, my labs, who are used to their routine and having a lot of space.  Not so much Bonnie, who's very sweet and docile.  But my dog, Clyde, who thinks he's the protector of the house.  Who fiercely and foolishly thinks he defends us from other dogs, deer, bikers, the postman, people he doesn't know in general and sometimes just the blowing wind.   Oh and sometimes he has accidents, especially when anything veers from his normal routine.  What if I go to the workout room and they (meaning Clyde) completely defile the room and/or bark incessantly?  Or will I forget to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and he mauls the housekeeper?  There is so much potential for disaster.

But, first we have to get to the hotel.  And the kids need to pack everything they'll need for the week. Including sports uniforms, a dressy outfit for the basketball banquet, work uniforms, contact lenses and solution.  Not to mention books, backpacks, laptops and hopefully a writing utensil or two.  And guess who gets to remind them of all this while they fight over who gets what piece of luggage.  And then guess who gets to take all this luggage to the hotel because everyone else will be at school and/or work?  Me.  It's the worst part of the vacation, without the actual vacation part.

My days will be spent running to and from the house to let the workmen in and lock up when they leave every day.  Driving the kids to and from school.  Ensuring the dogs get a long walk so they're less likely to destroy things.  Figuring out what to make for dinner, since we'll have a stove and a fridge.  Doing laundry. Driving kids to sports. And going to this basketball banquet I tried to get out of with the excuse that we were in a hotel and it would just be too much of a pain.  (When my kid called me out on anti-social...which is totally and completely true.)  Wait. This is basically what I do every day.  But now I'll just be doing it in a tiny apartment instead of a house.  And then the next week we'll be doing the same thing, when they stain the floors.

What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Laws of Home Improvement



A few weeks ago, our bathroom on the main floor overflowed overnight and when I discovered it in the morning, it was already raining toilet water in the basement.  Which is why our bathroom is currently gutted awaiting a new wood floor, vanity and toilet.  The work is slated to begin next week.  In the meantime, I've been spending more time in the other bathrooms in my house contemplating how dated they are.  It's still 1987 in the bathrooms in my house.  Do you remember how stylish homes were in the 80's?  No?  Because they weren't!  And although we've lived in this house over a decade, something must be done.  And it must be done right now.

 I'm not good at math, 
so I don't understand how these home improvement projects keep multiplying.

It's the Law of Home Improvement: as soon as something in your house gets improved, you realize how terrible everything else really looks. It's the exact same thing with cleaning, which is precisely why I don't clean very often. Why start what's destined to be a total pain in the ass and a helluva lot of money only for your kids and/or dogs to ruin?  Except once you get the idea, no matter how impractical, you can't stop yourself from imagining the possibilities. And how much better your life will be. Which it won't because you'll be broke and constantly worried about your new stuff getting broken. So, you become a raving bitch. But, of course you don't know that at the start of a project.

It started off innocently enough, I ran downstairs to the guest bathroom to pee. (I didn't realize how many times I peed a day until I had to go either upstairs or downstairs to do it. Which means my ever faithful bathroom buddies, my Labrador Retrievers, Bonnie and Clyde, also have to go up and down the stairs to watch me pee. It's a whole potty parade!) So, I was sitting on the toilet with two dogs staring at me, when I diverted my gaze from them to really look around. There's only one towel rack and we were on the verge of having two house guests. I know! I'd just get a couple hooks to put up to accommodate more towels.

But, you know that's not how it happened.
There is nothing that "just" anythings in home improvement.
Burning your house down would just be easier than improving it.

I studied the stock of towel hooks at Home Depot and Lowe's. Requiring at least five trips, before, it became clear to me. If I was getting new hooks, I'd need a new bath towel bar, hand towel loop, toilet paper holder, drawer pulls, faucet and light fixture to match. Obviously. Sure, I had only a few days til house guests arrived and I had other more important things to do to prepare the house for the floor to get sanded, but this would be a quick and easy install. I'd do it myself. Easy peasy. I'd be done by the time my husband got home.

But, you know that's not how it happened.

I got as far as taking off the old hardware, which is when I needed a drill. I went out to the garage, took the battery off the charger and attached it to the drill. And exactly nothing happened. It was dead. Why do we have a drill that doesn't work in our garage? I knew we had another one with a cord, so I went looking for it. I found the drill bit in the size I needed to drill new holes, but no drill. Meaning, it was somewhere tucked away in one of the boxes that line the high shelves in there. And I'd need a ladder to get to them. And now I think I finally know what Meatloaf was singing about when he said, "I'd do anything for love, but I won't do that." You had me a ladder. I'm not climbing a ladder to search through heavy boxes to find a stupid drill. That's when it was clear to me that I was going to dump this project on my husband to finish. Which is exactly what I did.

In order for the new light fixture to fit, the mirror glued to the wall had to come off. And when my husband was painstakingly removing it because it must've been attached with superglue, it broke. But, rather than help him with any of that, I went back to Lowe's to find the perfect mirror to match all the other new stuff in the bathroom.  I had no choice really, the Laws of Home Improvement dictated it's what I had to do.

To think this all started with one toilet that overflowed. And ironically, the only thing our insurance doesn't cover for that project is a new toilet. So, if you need me, I live in the toilet aisle at Lowe's now.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Unpleasantries


Life is filled with unpleasantries.  Taxes, cancer and living under the tyranny of an autocrat are among them.  But, there are more minuscule, everyday unpleasantries.  At least they seem minuscule until you encounter them in everyday life.  Then they're completely unnerving.

Like a couple weeks ago, when I was at my daughter's basketball tournament, which is already a whole excruciating day of sitting on wooden bleachers making mandatory small talk with other parents.  How could this situation get worse?  I'll tell you.  I sat next to the yeller.  THE YELLER, I SAID!  It's like he was coaching the team from the highest row in the bleachers.  Right in my ear.  So, I did what anyone would do.  Looked away and made sarcastic faces to no one in particular that conveyed, "Can you believe this guy?  Who does he think he is?"  And most importantly, "FEEL SORRY FOR ME!"  Of course, this tactic didn't work to change my situation.

But in a polite society, what the hell are you supposed to do?

This is why I take out my indignation on my children.  Because once you get to a certain age, no one will tell you when you're being annoying and/or disgusting.  Polite society begins to shun you.  Which is why I made sure not to sit next to shouting guy for the next game.  I waited until he sat down and then sat across the gym in the middle of the spectators supporting the opposing team.  A risky move if you consider I could've chosen to sit in the open seat next to their shunned shouting guy.  Which is probably why the seat next to him is available. 

One of the things I'm all over my kids (when I say kids, I really mean my boys) about is using a tissue.  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, USE A GODDAM TISSUE!  Do not loudly snort that snot back up.  If you're in the middle of the desert with no other option, you can lightly sniff and then wipe a bit on your sleeve.  No, not your hand, sleeve.  But, look for a leaf first.  Which is probably unrealistic in the desert.  What I'm saying is, loud reverse snot rocking mucus down your throat and/or wiping it on your hand is the absolute last resort.   AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WASH YOUR GODDAM HANDS!  SERIOUSLY, WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU WASHED THEM?  

Right now, you're thinking of someone who does this.  And if you're not?  Guess what?  More than likely, you're the offender.  And as I tell my kids, people will act like they don't notice these behaviors because it's not polite to tell people that they're making you want to vomit and/or punch them in the face.  BUT EVERYONE NOTICES!  AND THEY'RE ALL JUDGING YOU AND JUDGING ME, YOUR MOTHER, BECAUSE WHY DIDN'T I RAISE YOU BETTER?  BUT I DID RAISE YOU BETTER!  I DID!  

I say this because I went to a party recently where a perfectly lovely woman loudly snorted up her boogers exactly three times.  And no, she was not in the desert sans tissues.  She could've excused herself to go to the bathroom and blown her nose.  On three separate occasions.  But, she didn't.  I'm sure she didn't even realize she was doing it because it's such a habit.  Which is exactly why I'm trying to break my boys of these disgusting patterns and trying to coax them into using Kleenex.  This is actually where it gets more complicated.  Because using a disposable tissue, is only one step of a whole larger process.  

Years ago, one of my brothers had a girlfriend.  Let's say her name was Ellen.  Because her name was actually Ellen and I don't think she reads my blog and even if she did, it would really act as passive-aggressive public service announcement.  Because, if you haven't broken these vile acts of indecency by the time you're 18, it's doubtful you will, specifically because who's going to tell you?  Someone whose vile act is to call other people out on their vile acts, that's who.  And I think we all know, everyone shuns that person.  (Like the lady who yelled at me in my early 20's for using the nonsensical term 'irregardless'.  Which, I must confess, I've never used since.  So, while this approach is highly effective for the offender, it won't make you any friends.)  Anyway, let's get back to Ellen.  Ellen always had a runny nose.  Maybe she had allergies.  Maybe she was just a germ whore who didn't wash her hands.  I can't say for certain.  But, what I can say for certain, is she used a lot of Kleenex to blow her nose.  And then dropped the used tissues on the floor.  At  my parents' house.  WTF?  WTF, ELLEN!  Thank god my brother didn't marry her.  But, if he did we could've decorated the outside of their car for the wedding with her used tissues instead of tissues made to look like roses.  And why stop there?  We could've done the interior too!

I could go on and on about the unpleasantries of other people.  But, the thing is, none of us is immune.  We've all got something.  Like,  I'm pretty sure I'm the person you're talking to who has the assaulting garlic breath because I eat a lot of that stuff.  And we all know, it takes 3 solid days to get rid of garlic breath.  You can brush, floss, mouthwash and gum all you like.  It will still take 3 days.  It's the same with Dorito breath.  I'm also the person who doesn't know how to start or end a conversation with you if I don't know you.  And let's face it, the middle isn't so great either.  I will further mortify myself by admitting that I have committed the heinous act of accidentally releasing a silent fart mid-conversation only to be overwhelmed by a crescendo of stank while pretending it didn't originate with me.  Luckily, denial is an option with that unpleasantry.  Unless you're a frequent farter.  In which case, eventually people will discover it's you and you'll be socially shunned.

Life is gross.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nauseous


I get really motion sick.  I always have.  Except when I was little, I'd go on roller coasters knowing they'd make me sick.  I'd just get off the ride,  throw up and then get back on and ride it again.  Because when you're little, you're uninhibited and resilient like that.   But, the older I've gotten, the more I fear feeling nauseous because it lasts all day and I can't shake it.  Just thinking about being nauseous makes me feel like running to the toilet to get sick.

So, why would I even want to pole dance on a spinning pole?  Guaranteed to make me feel nauseous. First and foremost, because pole dance looks so much more beautiful and dramatic when it spins.  It allows the audience to see poses from more angles.   And, you can pause, holding a pose while catching your breath and it doesn't look like you forgot your routine.  It looks like part of it, which covers up mistakes better.  Plus, for competitive pole dance there is a minimum of 30 seconds you must use a spinning pole in your routine.  This is why I force myself to turn the screws in my static pole, converting it to spin mode from time to time.  Even though I know I'm going to feel nauseated when I'm done.  The only way to get over my motion sickness is to experience it.

The truth is, it's not that much different from how I feel most of the time these days.  Since the election.  I wake up, read the news and it starts.  What did our abhorrent, temperamental, impulsive President say or do now?  To whom?  Then, I start to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach.  How did we get here?  I still don't understand it, no matter how many times the question whirls around in my head.  And the fact is, knowing won't change anything right now.  The world continues to spin.  I've just got to acclimate myself.  The thing is, with pole dance I can control the speed.  But, I can't control the vortex of this whirlpool of fear and hatred that Trump is propagating.

No matter if the cause of my motion sickness is pole dance or the world spinning out of control, the solution is the same.  Find a focal point to look at.   It could be close or 4 years away.  Open a window and let the breeze in to revive you.  But, don't open a door and let the storm outside annihilate you.  Curling up into a ball will only make you spin faster, making the situation worse.  Instead, stretch your hand out, making yourself bigger and more substantial; thus, slowing down the momentum.   And maybe helping someone else who's suffering from nausea in the process.

After all, we're all in this together.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Massage Envy


I don't like massages.  I know that's weird.  And it's not that I'm modest about being naked in front of a stranger, cause I'm not.  Which I  know is also weird.  But, it's just about everything else about the process that makes me uncomfortable.  Because, it's actually my anxiety that keeps me from relaxing and enjoying a massage.

First of all, you have to make a phone call to make an appointment.  Ugh.  I  hate talking on the phone so much.  But, not nearly as much as I hate Skype or Facetime.  Which is why I don't do either.    The only reason I'd actually go through the hassle to make an appointment is if I got a gift card for a massage.  Which is why I got my first two massages in the first place.  I've only ever had three.

After you make the appointment, then you actually have to go to the massage place.  Which means beforehand I'm going to put on my cute underwear.  Which means I have to find it.  I do the same thing when I go to the doctor for a pap smear.  Because when they put you in a room and give you time to undress, I'm always worried I won't have enough time and they'll come in when I'm mid-change and I'll be in ugly undies.  Which is somehow horrifying to me.  Even though on a daily basis I wear mismatched, ugly undies.  But, no one would know that because they don't see them.  Unless you write a blog post about it, of course.

Before you know it I'm in the massage room, completely naked, folding my clothes because I don't want the masseuse to think I'm a slob.  Even though I'm a complete and total slob and I wouldn't fold them at home.  But, I don't want this person who's going to touch me naked that I'll never see ever again to know that.  This is when I hop up on the table, strategically placing the sheet over me and try to relax.  But, I can't.  Cause my mind doesn't stop racing.  And it's usually because I'm calculating the tip.  Then recalculating it over again because I'm horrible at math.  Oh my god,  what if the price went up?  Or what if they give me the wrong kind of massage and it's a different price?  Must recalculate all the possibilities.   And where do I put the tip?  Is there a jar?  Or do I hand it to the person?

The massage hasn't even started yet and I'm already distressed.  After what seems like an eternity with my own swirling thoughts, Hannah comes in to give me my massage.  Not to be judgy, but I'm kinda disappointed that she's smaller than me.  She doesn't look capable.  Does she really have the hand strength to do this for an hour?  God, I'm such an awful person for even thinking that.  Size doesn't mean anything.  You know what you are?  You're a misogynist, Marie.   

Ok, relax and just act normal already! 

She starts at my head.  Oh, this is nice.  What if I fall asleep during this with my head through the little donut hole, face to the floor and she has to wake me up and there's this big line of drool?  Wait a minute, do I have a zit on my head?  I did wash behind my ears right?  Her hands move down to my neck.  How doesn't this rainforest's music make her have to pee?  Wait...I think I have to pee.  No, you just peed before you came in the room.  You do not have to pee.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PEE, I SAID!

She's worked herself down to my shoulders, arms and hands.  Hand and foot rubs are my favorites.  So, I actually enjoy this part.  Except Hannah forgets to do one of my hands.  Should I say something?  I want to.  But, maybe she'll come back to it later.  She probably got distracted by all the moles on my back.  Dammit, I really need to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist.  And what about all the bruises all over my body from pole dance?  She probably thinks I'm a battered woman.  

How is she timing when to move on to the next body part anyway?  Is there some kind of timer in the room somewhere?  Or is she singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in her head?  

She moves down to my legs. I hope it's not one of those days that I shaved one leg and then forgot to shave the other one.  Oh no, she's headed down to my feet!  Since, I'm the only girl in Northern America who doesn't mani-pedi, my feet are hideous.  Complete with cuts, callouses, over grown cuticles and a little sock lint under my nail.  But, god, that feels so good.  Wait a minute!  She only did my left foot.  Just like she only did my right hand.  WTF?  I should say something.  But, what would I say exactly? Says nothing.  Maybe it's just some new kind of asymmetric massage.  I wonder if I pay more for that.  Recalculates the tip again.

When she's finally done, she asks me if I want to use the shower.  Are you kidding me?  Oh god, NO!  I can't even imagine the anxiety I'd have about taking a shower at the spa.  I just want to get out of here.  Recalculates the tip again.  Before throwing on my clothes (it's surprisingly difficult to get jeans on when you're covered in massage oil), leaving a 20% tip on the massage table.  But, what if another massage therapist uses this room next and Hannah doesn't get the tip I left?  What then?  Whatever, I'll never see her again.

The truth is, I have massage envy. 
I'm jealous of anyone who doesn't have massage induced anxiety.

ADDENDUM:  The second time I called the same place to schedule a massage to use the rest of my gift card, I requested not to have Hannah.  Just to see if I liked it better with someone different.  And to my shock, who walked in but Hannah.  Turns out, when I scheduled the first massage they told me I'd have Hannah, but she was unable to do the massage and skinny-whats-her-face filled in for her the first time.  No, I'm totally not joking.  And my third massage?  It was in Morocco where a Thai lady massaged my boobs.  You know what they say, the third time's the charm.  Cause, that's when I decided massages aren't worth the stress they put me through.  













Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Lottery


Life is like the lottery.  Sometimes you win.  Sometimes it's cruel and twisted like the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.  And sometimes it's really hard to tell the difference.   Most times actually.

It was last Sunday morning when I woke up at the butt crack of dawn, headed downstairs to get myself a cup of coffee and some quiet time, taking a quick detour through the bathroom.  Except, it wasn't quick.  Because my wood floor was a wading pool of toilet water.  "Oh, Shit!"  I started water mitigation completely and utterly uncaffeinated with a full bladder.  By the time my husband came downstairs, the work was already done and cleaned up.  How lucky was he to miss all of it?

I, on the other hand, was lucky enough to escape my family for a couple of hours to go to a class and return mid-day.  During which time, things had gotten worse.  My husband had discovered the water leaked through the floor and it was raining toilet water in the basement.  "Oh. F%&k!"  When the water subsided, he ran out to the hardware store to get the parts for the garage door that also broke that morning.  That's when the water spread to a new part of the ceiling.  And my husband wasn't answering his phone.  This is totally the Shirley Jackson version of the lottery of home ownership.

When my husband got home and starting tearing the drywall off the ceiling, I called the insurance company with extremely low expectations.  After all, about five years ago we discovered the foundation of the house was sinking on one side from an external water mitigation issue and we didn't get jack shit for that.  But, that's not what happened.

They sent someone out right away to assess the damage.  Turns out, the valve on our original, ugly, tan-colored toilet from 1987 was faulty.  And apparently, toilet water is not only a contaminant, but also a breeding ground for mold.  Because it was such a health issue, the damage is covered by our insurance.  COVERED, I SAID!  But wait, what does that coverage cover exactly?

 A new wood floor, vanity and baseboards in the bathroom.  A new carpet downstairs.  Oh, and resanding and varnishing the floors on the main level to match the new wood floor with new baseboards.  Then a paid hotel and boarding for the dogs while the varnish dries, which takes a few days.  The only thing they don't cover is a new toilet.

I have 4 kids and 2 dogs.  Do you have any idea what my floors looked like?  I bet you can imagine.  And then imagine them to look even worse than whatever you initially imagined and that's what they actually looked like.    

It finally happened!
I actually won the lottery! 
Which only means any time now my house will be swallowed up by a big sinkhole.








Monday, February 13, 2017

Directionally Challenged


I freely admit it, I'm severely directionally challenged.  But, I've always managed to find my way somehow.  Even when we lived in Morocco without a map, with street signs I couldn't read, chaotic traffic and adding to the confusion, all the buildings were painted white, making landmark recognition even more difficult.  When we moved back to Colorado almost five years ago, I finally got a car with a GPS.

Even though admittedly Colorado Springs is the easiest place to get around that I've ever lived.  The Rocky Mountains are to the west.  Everything looks flat like Kansas to the east.  Anything trendy lies to the north.  And if the temperature is going up, you're headed south.  Seriously, it's this easy.  And yet, I still plug things into the GPS, especially if I'm going somewhere I haven't been before.  

Between GPS and autocorrect, 
I'm not sure I'm capable of critical thinking anymore.

It's really happened!  I'm an automaton that will do anything a computer tells me to.  The thing is, I'm not even sure it helps that much.

Like on Friday, when I was headed to my daughter's basketball game just 20 minutes east of town out in Kansas. Ok, it really wasn't Kansas because if it was it would've been chock-full of wheat fields and state troopers.  And I definitely would've gotten pulled over for speeding because it was getting dangerously close to tip off and I still wasn't anywhere near the high school gymnasium.  Plus, I'm not even gonna lie, I speed all the time.  ALL THE TIME.

So, I'm speeding when the GPS finally indicates I'm close to my destination.  Phewwwww.  And then it directs me into a neighborhood.  Filled with school buses dropping kids off from school.   Which I guess is a good sign because it means there's a school nearby somewhere.  But, it's bad timing because I have to stop for like three buses with their lights on and stop signs dropping middle schoolers off.  I'm all for stopping for elementary aged kids, but really middle schoolers?  If they can't look both ways before they cross the street by 13, I'm going to chalk it up to natural selection.  I'm in a hurry here people!

After I waste at least 5 minutes waiting for the stopped buses while the driver reprimands a kid for shooting spit balls or something because no one was even crossing the street, I drive a little further into the neighborhood.  Then the GPS announces, "You have arrived at your destination!"  No I haven't.  Because when I look around all I see are cookie cutter houses that are way too close together.  It's 3:30 and the game is starting and I have no idea where I am because everything looks the same.  Personally, I blame the HOA for that.

I'm going to have to do this old school style.  So, I found a middle school kid walking home alone from school.  And I pulled up slowly next to him.  Rolled down the window and wave him over.  Oh man,  I'm a 40 something year old woman and this feels extremely creepy and pedophileish, like the beginning of a bad after school special.  "Can you tell me how to get to the high school?"  I asked.  He looked relieved and gave me directions.  Three times.  Because I wanted to make sure I got it correct.  And I did.  The school was 1.5 to 2 miles from where the GPS said it was.  

Who's directionally challenged now, stupid GPS?







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