Addlestone Library

I have this project due at the end of the semester.  Part of the requirement is that we have 7 sources, and 2 have to be physical sources.  We collectively groan and sigh and carry on like 9th graders learning that the cafeteria is serving sloppy joe’s again today.

Being that I am the opposite of a procrastinator, I start my research the day after the we get the assignment, and I find my 2 paper sources. Apparently these sources do not exist at the College of Charleston library and they need to be loaned from another library somewhere in space. Fine.

I get an email, “Dear Stephanie, your book is ready to pick up at Addlestone Library! Hooray! Love, The Book Fairy”

So the friday before fall break, I gleefully skip into the library to get my book so that I can successfully complete my project (early) over fall break.

There is a man at the counter, “Hello Library Man! Please! Assist me on my quest for academic knowledge and procure the book for which I have ordered and was told is currently on the premises!”

Then, Library Man sighs and says the following:

Library Man: “Name?”

scoccaro: “My! Name! Is! Stephanie! Ann! Coccaro! YAY!”

LB: “No, your last name…”

scoccaro: “Coccaro. c-o-c-c-a-r-o. Coccaro.  Used in a sentence: my name is Stephanie Coccaro”

LB: “You have nothing here. Be gone with you now, you’re annoying.”

scoccaro: “But you see, Library Man in the cut off sweatshirt and ponytail, I got an email and it says my book is ready for checkout”

LB: “Look, this is not Macy’s ok?  We don’t go pull books for students.  We are not elves. You need to go back and find the call number and go upstairs and find it yourself. All of you think that we have some magic bank of books and that all we do is go find books for students.  We don’t.

scoccaro: “…I…um…ok..I’m really sorry…”

LB: “What was the name of the book?”

scoccaro: “I don’t remember, something about magic and faustus.  f-a–”

LB: “we have nothing like that here.”

scoccaro: “ok? thanks?”

He was already walking away as I thanked him.

What a fucking prick.

But now I know.  The library is not Macy’s.

Homeostasis Beagle

I have had Maggie about the same time that I have been bipolar (I didn’t just wake up one day and all of a sudden my hair is alive and I can taste color. I have been bipolar my whole life, but it wasn’t super prevalent until about 10 years ago).  We weren’t really on the same page for probably the first 5 years of her life.  She was just a dog, and I was just a person, and once in awhile we would go to the dog park where she would stand around like, “dogs? Why am I here with…DOGS?”

In 2008, I was officially diagnosed bipolar I rapid cycle with all kinds of other “disorders” and “syndromes” following behind it, but my chief diagnosis is the whole bipolar thing.  So anyway, around that time I was moving in with @jaredwsmith and Maggie was coming with me, and we had Charlie of course.

Charlie has a big personality, which most dachshunds do; well he rubbed off on Maggie.

Let’s talk about how smart Maggie is.

As a puppy, she was in the garage drinking her little filtered puppy water out of her little metal puppy bowl, and my mom and I were standing there doing…whatever, and she was almost out of water in her little puppy bowl, so she picks up her paw and places it on the side of the bowl so that all the water can pool to one side.  She finishes drinking, puts the bowl down, and walks away, like no big fucking deal. Later that week, she was behind me coming into the house and I didn’t know it so her right paw got caught in the door and she cried because I think more than anything, it scared her.  Well, Maggie was queen for the day, she got whatever she wanted because we all felt like total shit for slamming a fucking puppy’s paw in a big scary door.  Maggie is 9.  Maggie still holds up her right paw when she wants something. She has taught the other 2 to do it as well.  So when 5:30 rolls around and I have not made my move to prepare dinner for them, they all stand around with their right paws lifted telling me to go make them dinner.

If I have been anywhere near a Publix, she is all over me. If there is a Publix sub anywhere in the house, or even just a wrapper of a Publix sub, she is beside herself.  She paces, she cries, and when you leave the room, she attacks.  She will chew through drywall just to be able to lick a Publix sub wrapper.  Now, if I go to Publix, I come home with chicken fingers for the dogs. She has trained me to do that for her, because if I get them just for me she wails like it’s the worst thing in the entire world to happen to her if she does not get a single crumb from a Publix chicken finger.  It is worse than the door thing from 9 years ago.

We had a “dog proof” garbage can.  When we lived in DC we did not, so we just threw the garbage away with the can on the counter-height table after we would come home to butter wrappers on the leather couch and raw ground beef trays on the carpeted floor. She learned that she could tip it over by somehow getting the bag out of the little bag holder and pulling it down and then somehow opening the lid. The first time that she did this; she had gotten the entire garbage can into a totally different room of the house before she could plunder. She actually threw out her back doing this.  It cost us hundreds of dollars; she was on medication for like 6 weeks, we thought she needed surgery.  Now, we keep the broken dog-proof garbage can in the garage, which is one of the only doors in the house that she can’t open.

Maggie has always kind of been clingy with me, and I think that’s because when she was a puppy, the first two nights I had her I put her in her little puppy crate and she cried, and cried, and CRIED probably because she was alone and not on the Beagle Farm where I got her anymore, so being that I was like 22 years old, I opened her little crate, and we snuggled all night.

Then my mom found out and told me she has to sleep in her crate.  This is probably why she’s crazy like that; I think Freud would have a field day with this topic.

Maggie doesn’t like crates.  When I lived with my parents and I had her, my mom wanted me to crate her, well it never worked, and she would hide until I eventually gave up. So when I moved out, we bought a crate. Like all of a sudden, Maggie would be totally cool sleeping in a box.  This dog would rather sleep outside with the squirrels and deer in the rain than sleep in a fucking crate.  This crate is a palace.  When we put it together, and put it in our bedroom so she wouldn’t be lonely, me, Jared, Freakin and we got Maggie in there, we all fit, and we closed the door. And we hung out for like 30 minutes in the fucking crate.

Well we put the crate in Jared’s office because she cried all night.  She would keep us up for about an hour or two crying, and then she would stop.  We figured she just got tired and gave up.  Beagles never say die. Ever. The next morning we would wake up, and Maggie would be in bed with us.  We would go into the other room, the crate would still be intact, door closed and locked. I actually even made her a bed; it was one of exactly five things I have ever used my sewing machine for.  She shit on it, and then rolled in it.  So I guess she didn’t like the bed.

Beagles usually aren’t picky eaters, she is. As of this last month, she has decided that she no longer likes American cheese.  No American cheese, singles? Boars Head? No, no American cheese.  I learned this by putting half a Kraft white American Single on her food.  She wouldn’t eat.  She walked away. She knew there was pork tenderloin the refrigerator because that is what I gave her for breakfast. I took the cheese off, she ate. The next night, I let her pick her own cheese; she wanted Boars Head imported Swiss. She ate that. The next morning, I put Boars Head white American on her cheese.  Without skipping a beat, she picked up every bit of that fucking cheese and put it on the floor and then ate her food and then went and drank out of the toilet.  In fact, I gave her cheese this morning to see what would happen and I closed the lid to her favorite toilet, she spit the cheese out then went into the bathroom and cried because the lid was closed. I told her to get out of the bathroom which she did, then she went back in and I heard her drinking from the toilet. Somehow she got the lid open.  And like what am I going to say?  I can’t get mad.  That’s like telling your kid the A she got on her paper about why school sucks is bad.  Good thinking, Maggie, keep that brain sharp.

So, why is it relevant that I told you my psychiatric diagnosis? Because I keep very detailed charts of my mood, how many hours I sleep, my daily activities, et cetera.  About once per month, I go back through, usually before an appointment, and I read through my notes and charts, just to get a feel for any kind of pattern that might be happening.  I write a lot about the dogs, especially Maggie because she is so weird and she is always kind of in trouble. And I am noticing days where I am getting up around 3am and being hyper productive, or just manic overall, she wakes up with me and I note it on my chart.  I don’t think anything of it; I think she is just being clingy. On days that I am getting 8-9 hours of sleep and feeling totally normal, she doesn’t get up with me. I have to go make sure she is ok and like not dead or pouting because of the fucking American cheese.

She knows when I am manic.

And it’s really scary.

Think back to your ab psych class, I told you I am bipolar I which means I am primarily manic and I am prone to more severe manic episodes than someone with bipolar II who is more likely to have depressive episodes and an occasional hypomanic episode.  I am hypomanic probably 70% of the time, a lot of that was suppressed with the drinking and drug use, now that I am sober we are trying to find a new normal.  And that’s what is going on with this dog. She knows something is abnormal with me, maybe she can smell it?  I read that beagles have noses that are 1 million times stronger than a human nose. I need to pay better attention to her.

From the drinking and drug use I have gotten myself into some chronic GI distress. It was really bad when I first quit, Maggie was right there, she was like a bad habit, I couldn’t shake her. Even right now, as I write this, she has a big, tasty bone that she was working on in the living room; I sat down to write this with a headache, she’s currently snoozing under my desk.

I had heard about a service years ago for dogs for people with mental illness and I thought to myself, “yeah! For people who have depression, animals will make them happy and stuff! Great idea!” My therapy dog tells me when I am about to have a manic episode.

Let’s also make one thing clear, she pats herself on the back a little bit for being Therapy Dog of the Month in our house because when I am not sleeping and I am manic, she sleeps on Jared’s side of the bed.  Not like, “aww, Maggie, ok, let’s snuggle,” but like she is saying, “fuck you, you’re sleeping in your office tonight because we have a 3am wake up tomorrow and I need to be on point. Go away.” Like if I sleep vertically in bed, she sleeps horizontally on J’s side so there’s no slipping in and spooning. She probably wouldn’t let you spoon her anyway. And don’t think about moving her, she rolls on her back, gives you a dirty look, and if you persist, she growls. If things are going to be kosher the next day, she permits my husband to share the (king size) bed with his wife.

She is my homeostasis beagle, she is my therapy dog. I need to listen to her a little more carefully. I have been talking for the last year on my charts about triggers and patterns, well the barometer for that is currently snoring under my desk.

DOOR!

So, ok, we have 3 dogs. Two of them combined weigh like twenty pounds, the third is a forty-four pound beagle. Excuse me, (she looked at me when I wrote that) she is a forty-two pound beagle.

So here’s some background…

Maggie the Beagle: She is going to be 9 in January 2015 and she’s brilliant. We used to joke that she is community college material, no, she’s a genius. When she was a puppy she was drinking from a bowl, when there wasn’t much water left, she lifted her paw and set it down on the edge of the bowl so it would pool to one side. She did this without batting an eye. She broke the dog proof garbage can and has trained us to walk across the house to throw items from the kitchen away in the garage.

Charlie Freakin’ Brown (the dachshund): The pain in my ass and the apple of my eye. He can’t figure out how to push doors open with his nose but he can climb on top of 80% of the surfaces in the house and obtain whatever happens to be on them for his pleasure.

Roxy Freakin’ Face (the other dachshund): She’s community college material. We got her second hand (we also got Freakin’ second hand but he was still pretty young) at an elderly age. We are thinking she was 10-12 when we got her two years ago.   How can you throw a dog away after having her for 10 years? She doesn’t bother anybody, all she does is sleep all day, and she doesn’t really even eat much. How awful.  And no, we didn’t pick the name.

Ok, enough of that boring stuff.

Well, I reckon, about 18 months ago we had to take all three dogs to the vet at once (which is always a mistake). We go to Banfield which is located in PetSmart. They will let you bring your dog in in the morning so you can go about your day and they can work them in and they just call you when its time to get them. Kind of like daycare but with more needles (which if you go to daycare in Newark, it might be the same amount of needles.)

Charlie and Maggie we used to walk and if you have ever owned a hound you can hear my teardrops hitting the keyboard when I recall all the negotiating I would have to do in DC on a winter night when they catch wind of something and want to go on an expedition. We have a fence now and the backyard has cooties so I never go back there. That’s another story.

Where was I going with this?

Oh! They figured out how to wiggle out of their collars! Much like a toddler who doesn’t want to do something its mother wishes it to do, they go limp, roll over and wiggle around.

Anyway, where was I? We had all three dogs at the vet at the fucking crack of dawn. They want you there at 7:00 in the morning to drop them off. And this was when I was still drinking, so I was hungover and probably had day-old mascara all over my face. I may or may not have been wearing a bra.

As you can imagine, nobody wants to go to the vet, between all 5 of us, I think Jared was the only one who was pro-vet that morning. So we are talking to the nurse? Vet tech? Whatever they’re called, and I am not paying attention to Charlie all of a sudden I hear a familiar sound of his nails on tile. He has gotten out of his collar and is running toward the door.

I do not run at 7am while hungover.

Jared does not run at 7am. Ever.

We used to run together in the mornings, but that was at 8am a very long time ago.

Jared has a look of sheer panic, I figured we needed a new dog anyway, while we’re here at the pet store, we could probably pick one up.

The vet tech behind me screams, not just yells real loud, screams “DOOR!” and then two guys at the other end of the store respond with “DOOR!” in unison. I guess they closed and locked the doors so he would be unable to leave PetSmart. They bring him back and I put his collar back on and I put him on the floor. Because that is where he belongs, on the floor, because he is a dog.

For whatever reason the check in process is taking an extremely long time and we’re standing around doing whatever when I hear “DOOR!” again. I smiled to myself glad to know I am not the only one with a neurotic pet. I look down to tell Charlie that I am proud of him and he’s gone. And so is Maggie.

Meanwhile, Roxy wears a glow in the dark cat collar with a bell so we can hear her coming and we can see her in the dark. Since it’s a cat collar, she could have joined them on their quest for freedom since cat collars breakaway. But she didn’t, because she was too busy pooping on the floor.

Our dogs are returned to us and ultimately handed over to the vet tech who carries them away to the back where they will be stuck and pulled and things will be put in their butts but on that day, they deserved it.

 

 

Senior Citizens and Coupons

Today is senior citizen day at Publix. Are you surprised? Senior fucking citizen day.

So I never remember senior citizen day at Publix until I am in Publix. I should remember because it’s every Wednesday. Its not until I am through produce that I notice there are a lot of elderly couples at the store and there are a lot of carts left unattended in the middle of aisles with old lady purses in them. It is only until I get to the cereal aisle that I say to myself “motherfuck. Its Wednesday, isn’t it?”

Today I arrived at Publix to buy two things. I bought a bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley and a pint of heavy whipping cream. My total was $4.65.

Checking out is always fun on fucking senior citizen day because senior citizens come in pairs. Apparently when you get old and your faculties start to go you need your life partner with you at all times to pick up the slack. Either that or its like that old people dating site “Our Time” and they feel they spent the last 50 years of their marriage “apart” so now they need to make up for lost time by pissing everyone off around them. I have actually explored this with my mother, she told me, as my father gets older he has gotten more clingy to her and can’t do anything by himself. Maybe it’s the drop in testosterone? Maybe I don’t give a fuck.

I got in checkout lane 10 right behind some wandery woman with a notepad and an open purse. She didn’t have a cart but she was old and old people ask a lot of questions, so I assumed she was going to ask the cashier where the soup aisle was or something. She looks at me, gives me a tight smile and MOUTHS “my husband” and points to some vast space beyond my vision. I walked away.

I got to the next aisle, Rich was checking out a couple of old people and he looked like he was finishing up. Rich is a nice guy, but I really don’t have the patience for him. Yo, fucking….I didn’t go to Publix for two months because of school and Jared was going or I was going to Teeter, I show up during finals week and he hugs me. Like we’re old pals. He bags my fucking groceries. What’s Publix’s motto? The friendly place? Where you can get sexually molested and pay 10% more for groceries? We got fried chicken? I really don’t know.

These people in front of me had two carts. It’s not a holiday, they didn’t have kids around them, what are these two people in their 70’s doing with two carts of groceries? He finishes checking them out. Apparently they had quite the rapport during this transaction because Rich keeps pausing between looking up their bags of green onions and their boxes of Triscuits to tell them jokes. All I want is to pay for my parsley and heavy whipping cream.

The she pulls out a baggie of coupons. I notice that the bagger is still trying to bag all 15 jars of their peanut butter. Rich dutifully scans each, and every one, of their coupons. They saved $17.37. For fucking $17.37, I will dig out the change from my bag and give it to them just to get them out of the store faster.  I understand why the elderly use coupons, fixed incomes et cetera.  But I’m also on a fixed income, its called a salary.

I don’t understand the allure of coupons. I mean, critically, yes, you can essentially pay $0.10 less for a can of hairspray than someone who didn’t spend an hour of their time hunting down the coupon and cutting it out and then remembering when to use said coupon thus pissing everyone off because sometimes the coupons don’t work. Or worse, you have to buy two of the same product in order for the coupon to be valid so you send your spouse or child back to the aisle to pick up another can of hairspray while you smile tightly to the people who already have their shit on the thing and are committed to being in this aisle and say “he’ll be right back.”

Being a small business owner I am constantly doing math. Simple math, relax. For instance, if I charge $100 per hour for my time that means that I am able to bill up to $2400 per day. Sometimes if I don’t take my medication, that actually happens. Let’s say I sleep for 6 hours, mealtime’s equal about 3 hours, 2 hours a day for miscellaneous things, that takes about 11 hours leaving me with 13 billable hours. The hard cost of a Sunday paper is $1.50. But let’s take into account gas and mileage to wherever I am going to buy this paper because I do not have a subscription to the daily newspaper. Let’s say it costs me another $1.50 in gas and mileage to get the paper and that’s if I don’t buy anything else. So we are up to $3. I am going to leave out the snarky comment about the Post and Courier and just say I get my news elsewhere, so the sole purpose of buying this newspaper is for the coupons. I am spending money to be advertised to.

Let’s say it takes me an hour to get through all the ads and cut out all the coupons, that brings my billable hours down from 13 to 12, and lets say round trip to buy the paper was another 30 minutes, so 11.5 hours. Now I have to make my weekly shopping list to accommodate all the coupons I clipped, factor in another hour for that. 10.5 hours.

What if I need to buy multiples of things in order for the coupon to work? The purpose of a coupon is not to make you save money, but it’s a way for you to betray your brand loyalty and try a new product. Do you think Johnson and Johnson really cares enough about you to have you save $0.15 on a bottle of shampoo? They don’t, they want you to try theirs and be utterly convinced that its superior to Proctor and Gamble’s shampoo and you will buy J&J’s shampoo at full price next week. It’s the whole “you have to spend money to make money thing.” Another way that corporations get you to spend more money is by convincing you to “stock up.” It’s why the old people in front of me bought 15 jars of peanut butter. That peanut butter will turn rancid (or they will die) before they eat it all and even if it was $1/jar, that’s $15 out of their pocket and into Publix’s.

Alright, I got my list, I am at the store, taking into account gas and mileage to my Publix, we will factor in another $1.50. The reason I am accounting gas and milage into this budget and not into another budget is because coupons expire, so I am assuming that I will need to make a special trip to the store to use them. Let’s also consider that sometimes not all coupons work at all stores, for the sake of this argument I am assuming that I will only go to Publix, but in reality I may end up at Earth Fare and Harris Teeter as well. Especially since I will only buy meat at Earth Fare or Whole Foods. But that’s for another time.

A lot of times when things are on sale, the shelves go empty and you have to flag someone down and have them look in the back, or give up. Both of these things take time. An average shopping trip for me is about 25 minutes. The reason it is 25 minutes is because I know there are some aisles I don’t go down and I know where the stuff I buy is so there isn’t a lot of wasted time. In the event that I were to use coupons I would have to find the items. So let’s say, for the sake of round numbers and arguments that I am using 15 coupons on my shopping trip for 15 new products I wouldn’t normally buy making my shopping trip 20 minutes longer bringing it to 45 minutes.

Coupons are usually for new products that are more expensive to begin with. For instance, if you usually spend $10 on a package of five razors, and you get a coupon for new razors at $2 off but they are also $10, but there’s only three, you are spending more even though it seems like less. One other way to look at this is that the new razors may have new technology thus making them last longer, so it actually could be a wash.

It’s time to check out, factor in an additional 5-10 minutes for coupons, also there is a lot of fine print, so you may not be able to use some of them anyway.

Where we at?

$4.50 hard cost

And about 3.5 hours billed at $100/hour for a total of $354.50 just to use coupons. Let’s say you save $10 using coupons ignoring that you may have purchased an inferior product or more product than you actually need that you will now have to store, your actual cost is $345.50.

I don’t use coupons not because it makes no sense fiscally but because I can’t get a coupon in the Sunday paper for produce or meat, only flyers which are free at the entrance of the store.

Anyway…Yeah…Senior citizen day.

It’s a small world, after all.

Summer 2007 was an epic summer.  I was house sitting an oceanfront home in Sea Pines on Hilton Head for about 6 months.  Apparently there were cats in the house; I think I saw them once.

Sometime in May, Heather (whose father recently passed away so she took that opportunity to get sleeves tattooed on both arms.  Who knew? She always seemed so stuffy), Teresa (St. Teresa), and myself were on a bike ride and wandered down a road near Teresa’s house and we found a little restaurant with a deck and all they served were sandwiches.  It was right on the water.  So we decided we liked it.  Well, about two weeks later they started serving beer so then we decided we really liked it.

I had a job at an agency on the island where I had just been made sales and marketing director.  When I asked if I could get an increase in my salary, I was told “when pigs fly,” and then I was given a wooden pig with gold wings that you hang from the ceiling.  It’s been in every office I have had since.

At this point in time, Teresa had a dog, and of course I had the Beagle, so we went to the dog park a lot.  One day we saw a girl about our age there putting flowers on the path, so we started talking.  Her name was Jen and her mom had died at the dog park about 4 or 5 months prior.  Apparently some big dogs knocked her down and she hit her head.  She seemed normal and nice, so we invited her to Up The Creek with us that afternoon.

At this point we would spend days at Up The Creek.  It doesn’t hurt that I was sleeping with a guy who worked there.  He would open at 10:00 in the morning so we would get there at 10:00 and start drinking until they closed at 2:00am. His name was Woody.  He was fertile.  At the time he had 3 kids from his ex-wife and he had gotten my friend (acquaintance, I never really liked her) pregnant.  We pretended like nobody knew.  Everybody totally knew what was going on. He has since gotten married (again) and fathered yet another child bringing the grand total of children for Woody (whose last name…I am not sure I ever knew) to 5 from 3 separate women.  My friend now has 2 children from 2 different guys, neither of which she married. I believe this type of lifestyle is called “blended,” or just plain “white trash.” Anyway. I was 22, give me a break.

So Jen becomes part of the pack for the summer.  But she is a little flakey.  I never really gave it too much thought because I was always drunk.

I don’t remember how it came up, but I told her that I wanted to go to Maine and go camping.

Ok, let’s define camping.

Camping for me is driving my very large, very fast Jeep into the woods, walking around, drinking some beer, and then when I am too drunk to be driving, I will drive anyway to the closest Holiday Inn because that is camping.

So she was like “yeah, let’s go!” Thinking the conversation was over, I didn’t give it a second thought.  A few days later she brings it up and tells me that she was going to go to Maine anyway in a couple of weeks if I wanted to go. Being 22 with a large amount of disposable income, I was like “alright!”

I went home and told my dad, who laughed. Then he told my mom and she told me to be careful not to break a nail.

So Jen calls me out of the blue, because she had been MIA for like a week. She calls me and is like “lets go tomorrow.” So, I told my boss I had to go to Maine to get in touch with nature for a week, and he just laughs and tells me to keep my cell phone on and to avoid trying to pet bears.

She shows up at my house and my dad goes out to meet her.  She too drove a jeep, a red one, that like myself, her dad bought for her.  The difference between her Jeep and my Jeep was that she had Red Sox shit everywhere. I have never had any luck with people who like that god awful team. More on this in another post.  Let’s stay focused.

I threw my new, expensive backpack, my 4 new organic cotton Patagonia t-shirts, and my running shoes in the back. FUCK YEAH! Let’s go hiking!

I thought we would alternate driving or like stop or something.  We were making good time, so we would just stop when we felt like it. She tells me that we need to stop in Massachusetts “for some family thing” for a day or whatever, then we would be off to Maine. I was like “okay,” we were already an hour from home, what was I going to say?

As soon as we get on the beltway in DC the sky starts shitting rain.  It didn’t phase her.  It was dark and we were flying through traffic.  At this point, she turns to me and says “oh my god, I forgot my medication.  Its ok though!” I suggested we stop at a Walgreens or something and get a refill. She insisted it was fine, and that bipolar disorder didn’t need medication.

This was before I was diagnosed. I had never met anyone with bipolar before and I didn’t understand it, all I knew is that there was some bitch next to me who is off her meds and driving too fast.

She was telling me about this guy she met in Charleston named Spencer (who worked at Blackbaud) and how they dated and then they broke up but she thought she still had feelings for him.  So around 1am, she calls him. And he answers.  She sobs into the phone about what an idiot she has been and that they should get married.  And he agrees.

That’s when I decided that this was a bad idea.

We drove all night, well she drove, I silently prayed that I would live to see tomorrow.

We arrived at her aunt’s house at like 6am. She promptly went upstairs to crash.  This was Thursday morning. I too, went upstairs to take a nap.  Around 1:00 in the afternoon I woke up and wandered downstairs in search of food.  Her aunt was there and she made me a sandwich.  Then she made me another one because I hadn’t eaten since before we left.

We hung out, watched TV, did whatever.  Then we did whatever some more because by 9:00pm my travel companion was still sleeping. By 10:00 I decided it was time to go to bed for real.

Friday morning, I wake up around 8:00, go back downstairs and her aunt makes me eggs and then we just sort of sit around until noon when Jen decides to wake up. I tell her we ought to be making our way to Maine because I have to go back to work on Tuesday and apparently I just needed to get some fresh air or some bullshit.  She whines, and her aunt tells her we have to go, at least for a day.

So she sucks it up and we go.  Here is a list of things we did in Maine:

  • LL Bean
  • The Burberry Outlet
  • A Micro Brewery

Here is a list of things we did not do in Maine:

  • Visit a National Park
  • Hike
  • Camp

We did, however, stay at a Holiday Inn.  So that is kind of like camping.

We wake up the next morning and she tells me she has a friend in Boston who she wants to see and if I wanted to go.  What am I going to say? Whatever, I said yes.

We are in our hotel room and he shows up.  He looks like a douchebag. I don’t even remember his name, it was like TJ or JT or something.  For the sake of this post, we will refer to him as BJ. He drove a BMW, but like he did stuff to it to make it fast or whatever.  I don’t even know, all I knew is we were driving around Boston at 60 MPH and I was sliding around the backseat.

That’s when they ask me if I have a trust fund. Who asks that?

They decide to be “all up in the club” or some shit.  I don’t do “clubs,” the only “club” I do is a country club. So we go, everyone is dancing and such, except for me. So I go to the bar and order 3 shots of Jack.  I figured if we are going to do this, lets do it right.  Well they don’t like Jack. So I did all 3. The booze was so watered down it had no effect on me.

Da club be closing.  So we left and went back to the hotel.  BJ was too tired to drive home so he crashed.  In Jen’s bed.

I wake up very early naturally, so when I got up around 6am, I silently packed my shit and got in a cab to the airport.  I paid far too much for a ticket from BOS to SAV and I never spoke to her again.

Until today.

I am out getting tacos and she walks in. I didn’t notice her at first, but her outfit was really cute then I saw her face, and I heard her tell the taco man that she was picking up for “Jen.” All of a sudden I got very hot and a little lightheaded.

People are picking up their orders and leaving and I was just hanging out…waiting.  I think she saw me, but how can she recognize me because I was staring at the floor with my sunglasses on?

She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.  She did send me a wedding invitation, and I didn’t respond because I never wanted to see her again.

It’s a small island.

 

Get in the Hole Guy

I played competitive golf for many, many, many years and I still enjoy watching the game.  I haven’t picked up a club for its native purpose in probably five years, but I still understand the game and the fundamentals of a decent swing (I also used to give lessons).

I am watching the Players Championship with my dad, and if you have ever watched golf, you know that when watching a player putt, there is always some asshole that shouts “GET IN THE HOLE!” to all his fellow viewers and the television viewing audience at home. Nobody watching golf at a bar can hear him because bars don’t understand what closed captioning is. He shouts it with such violence and urgency that one can only assume he practiced it before leaving the house and the entire car ride to the course. I would like to think that he has money on this match, but nobody in their right mind bets on professional golf. Nobody.

I feel like this man never gets laid.  I would think that he would scare off all female golf lovers, not just because he cannot control the volume of his voice, but also because he is the asshole shouting at a golf tournament. Although, I am a little intrigued about what he would be like in bed.  It would be all “what are you doing?  GET IN THE HOLE! GET. IN. THE. HOLE!!!” and then his below average penis would hopefully get to where it was going.

I imagine this man lives by himself in a 2-bedroom apartment.  The master, he sleeps in, and the second bedroom is full of golf memorabilia, a Dell Inspiron computer, and a Casio keyboard.  Screaming “get in the hole” is the highlight of his week, I say week, because I assume he has no job.  He is a “freelance” accountant (read: unemployed) and waits tables at TGI Friday’s on the side just to make rent. He drinks MGD from the can while out with his friends, regaling them with the details of the match he witnessed that day.  His monthly expenses range from $600 for his Topeka, Kansas apartment rent to his $200 a month Kia Optima car payment and the remaining money he is paid goes to online poker and paid-access PGA websites.  He is into weird porn, the kind of porn he can’t afford.  He lost his virginity at 25 and is currently 45 pounds overweight.  He needs to justify his existence by disturbing everyone at an official PGA event. He feels like if he can immortalize himself on the golf channel then he is someone.

Never being an athletic one, golf would push his boundaries too much.  It would require him getting off the couch and getting some fresh air.  He prefers to spend his time between shifts playing Tiger Woods on his PS2. He tries to travel to as many PGA events as possible so that he can spread his love of the sport at all volumes.  I heard the PGA is tracking him and is trying to ban him from events.  He sits in the bleachers at the 18th hole as close to the cameras as possible while he sends his friends (who also find this hilarious) out to refresh his $8 beer.

Well, Get in the Hole guy, I don’t think I am alone in formally requesting that you shut the fuck up.  Golf is not a shouty sport, it’s a whispery sport with polite clapping.  If you want to shout, get tickets to an Eagles game and let your aggression shine.

Worst. “Meeting.” Ever.

Let me tell you a story. The story is about a man named Bill and his two friends.

I cannot accurately tell this story without first referencing what a MARTY is. Here is a down and dirty definition of a MARTY: “a MARTY is half party, half meeting. Complete with door prizes and a backdrop in which you can take pictures of yourself in front of hundreds of smiling LegalShield logos. Upon entering your MARTY, you will be given two drink tickets which you will hold on to for dear life and can be exchanged for beer or wine, both of which are a brand that would never cross the threshold of any respectable house. You will then be forced to talk to ‘entrepreneurs’ and alcoholics alike for the defined time of 120 minutes.”

So I’m at this fucking thing and I look like a gazelle on the plain, I was new, mostly sober, and not talking to anyone. That’s when I met Bill. He cornered me against some barstools where interrogated me about what I did and who I did it for. He proceeds to get a twinkle in his eye that says “sweet, a person who knows ‘computers’ and will probably talk to me.” In an effort to not be rude, I listened to him prattle on about LinkedIn and PowerPoint for about 20 minutes. Trapped against the bar, it’s not like I could excuse myself to freshen my drink so I loudly interrupted him stating that I needed another glass of wine. He then watches me turn around to order my drink and then he waits for me to turn back around to finish our one-sided conversation.

The LegalShield zombies were shutting the MARTY down and ushering everyone to the door because the bar had another party coming in (I am assuming there was no mandatory meeting associated with this party) and we needed to leave.

So Bill invites me to lunch to talk about some “work” he may have for us. Being that we were new in town and trying to get re-established, I agreed to meet him at the Holiday Inn some bullshit restaurant with a view.

The blessed day arrives. I’m wearing some semblance of clothing and I arrive early (of course) and he emails me to tell me that he is bringing a posse and he is running late but rest assured, he will be there. Thank god, because he said he would buy lunch.

I ride up in the elevator and decide to wander around and check out this view. It was nice, but the restaurant was filthy, that should have been my first clue.

Then Bill arrives with his fleet of people. He introduces me to the Smuckers Retard and the Guy Who Does Print.

We are seated. The waitress asks what we will have to drink. Bill responds with, “is tea included in the lunch?” The poor waitress says, “no, I’m sorry, it’s not.” Without consulting the rest of the table, Bill announces we will all be having water today. Without lemon.

The two other men grill me on what I do just like Bill, I’m assuming that’s why they are friends. Being that getting grilled is a hobby of mine, I was fine with it then subtly told them to eat a dick. I was already unamused.

The waitress comes back with our tap water and asks if we would like to see a menu. Bill, our leader, tells her that we will all be having the buffet today for lunch.

I don’t do buffets. If I need to eat something that has to be enclosed to protect it from your snot and saliva in the event that you sneeze, I will pass.

So we make our way to the buffet, which has fried chicken and other stuff that appears to be teeming with grease and cooties. I stick with fresh fruit. Fruit that at one time would be considered fresh.

We all get settled back in and Bill pulls out a stack of papers. It’s copies of a For Dummies book on Internet marketing. He brought copies for all of us. He then proceeds to spend the next 45 minutes reading us these pages and not taking questions.

He breaks to get more “food” and in the time he is gone, Smuckers Retard tells me that he is of the “Smuckers family” (he then recites all the brands associated with Smuckers) and that he is trying to raise money to ride his bike…somewhere. It looks like this dude has never rode a bike in his life. I will donate to a cause for him to ride a bicycle anywhere. Really. He also tells me he is a photographer and that he would like to sign me up for his email list in which he sends pictures of fucking whatever and an “inspirational quote” every “morning.” So, being that I am in a small and confined locale with this man-child and I don’t want to make waves, I agree to give him my email with the intention of unsubscribing immediately.

Bill is back. Father Time interrupts what could possibly be round 2 of Internet Marketing for Dummies: a Dramatic Interpretation, to ask me what my hourly rate is for “print design.” I explain to him that we have a blended rate, however we don’t do a lot of print. And that’s the end of that conversation.

Bill opens his mouth to speak again. I interrupt him, sort of, by telling him that I have to be somewhere (like my house. Alone) and that I should be going. He would have heard this if he hadn’t talked over me about some bullshit LinkedIn thing.

I believe this is what he wanted to do: he wanted to “harness the power of LinkedIn” and mass-mail all his connections or friends or whatever, a PowerPoint presentation. What’s in that presentation? One may never know. Also, if LinkedIn did this, there would be so much spam in the world we would all die. Literally, die. I told him that it could not be done, so he rephrased the question, I told him again, it could not be done automatically. He tried to rephrase the question again, like I’m an idiot and missed the first two questions. That’s when I changed the subject.

So I repeated myself that I had do go while standing up. I graciously thanked him for my mushy fruit and cold tap water and left while he was still talking.

This was two years ago. Up until a few months ago I have been trying to get off Smuckers Retards mailing list. He does some kind of BCC thing from his outlook and mass mails everyone without a unsubscribe link. Being that I am an asshole, and from the Internet, I Googled him. I found his phone number. So I emailed him to see if it was current because he wasn’t responding to all my emails about being removed, so I thought I could call him. The next day I was off his mailing list.

Reverse X-Ray Vision

I never wear my glasses during the day.  It is not because my deficient vision is magically healed with the rays of the sun.  It is because of a very real, and very dangerous reason.

Did anyone that did not play a character in the Little Rascals or Sandlot actually light ants on fire as a kid with a magnifying glass?  There are several issues that I have with this, and they don’t all circumvent around animal cruelty. The main issue is where does one find a magnifying glass in 2014? Also, how do children obtain them? It seems like an awfully large waste of money to buy a kid with kid vision a device to make text larger.

Furthermore, nobody really requires magnifying glasses anymore because everything is on a screen, pinch and zoom, motherfucker.

We are getting off track.

I don’t wear my glasses during the day because I don’t want my retinas turning into the ants that may or may not have been murdered in 1957 by Alfalfa.

Think of it like x-ray vision, but in reverse with a side of irrationality and terror.

I understand that in order to fry my retinas like eggs, and pancakes, and bacon, oh, bacon, I would have to look directly into the sun for a period of time. I have looked directly into the sun for a period of time, right after my mother told me not to, and I was fine.  I was not blinded and disfigured permanently, not even temporarily.  I lived, guys.  So armed with this knowledge, I know that I can look into the sun and my brain will not tell me not to. What if I forget that I am wearing my glasses?  Or what if I am driving and the height of my car is not high enough for the visor to block out the deadening rays of the largest star in our solar system because the sun is at the right angle?

This is real.

What if I have to wear really dark sunglasses after I am blinded so that I don’t scare small children? Or like…what if I have to get Dragon Dictate?

I could get prescription sunglasses, but I went through about 10 pairs of sunglasses in the last year alone. I am too irresponsible to have nice things. I could get Lasik, but the whole lasers going into my eyes thing kind of defeats the purpose. Instead I will wax poetic about how afraid of the sun I am.

Things I Need More of According to Pinterest

  • Glitter
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • Mason Jars of assorted sizes
  • Self-Esteem
  • Crayons
  • Goat Cheese
  • Buttermilk****
  • Cupcakes of any variety
  • To be Gluten Free*
  • To be Married Multiple Times
  • Peonies
  • Daisies
  • Interior Paint**
  • A blog
  • A husband who doesn’t mind me spending all his money on aforementioned products
  • A job that isn’t really a job *****
  • A job in which I can work from home
  • More yoga pants
  • 15 children
  • No tastebuds
  • A 2000 sqft home that consists of one bathroom and one bedroom and the rest is a kitchen
  • Terracotta planters of all sizes
  • Chalk
  • Forgiving neighbors
  • Lots of friends ***
  • Cardigans
  • 1500 pairs of white sandals
  • Anything that has anything to remotely do with zombies
  • The ability to understand the allure of zombies
  • To know exactly what a zombie is
  • Possession of skinny jeans in all shades and colors
  • The ability to not look like a snocone in skinny jeans
  • To know exactly what Paleo is and want to do that as well
  • A steady hand to paint owls, squirrels, stars, hearts, and/or mini portraits of your family on your nails
  • The ability to add extra vowels to words for emphasis (i.e. SOOOOO, WOOOOOW, :)))))) without the slightest bit of irony

* Except for cupcakes.  No knowledge of what it actually means to have celiac disease is necessary

** The paint color needs to be so bright and so heinous for your “pop of color” on your “accent wall” that it will take the people who buy your house 3 coats of primer to cover it up

*** That you will hopefully meet while “pinning”

**** That you will only use 5 tablespoons of and then throw the rest away

***** So that one can spend all day “pinning” and “crafting”

My Friend Emily

All the bad shit in my life that I have done can be traced back to one person. Emily.*

We met in 8th grade. Me, Hannah* (who is dreadfully maladjusted and turned into a redneck somewhere along the way) and Emily. Hannah and I had known each other since 6th grade as she was new in town and was the 3rd oboe player in the band. It was me, Hannah, and Laura. We were not friends with Laura because she liked band just a little too much.

We had weekly Friday night sleepovers where we rotatated whose house we slept at. In 8th grade the only alcohol I had ever had was a sip of scotch (which I hated at the time but grew to love as an adult). So one Friday night we are at Emily’s house. Hannah and Emily decided to go on a diet for the night and only eat carrots. We were wandering around the basement alternating between talking to older men on America Online and fretting over if we should call Dru [sic] Matthews.

Emily grows bored and wanders into the basement fridge where she finds a cache of Red Stripe. She asks us if we want to try it. We look at each other, shrug, and say “sure.” About 45 minutes later we figure out how to open the bottles. There was an entire case of beer in that refrigerator. We drank it all. I was fine all night (because I was a budding alcoholic and I had ingested more than carrots that evening). Emily spent the night vomiting and then crying that she got vomit in her hair and Hannah also threw up and then peed her pants on the floor. Have you ever smelled carrot and Red Stripe vomit?

Vowing to never drink “weird Jamaican beer” ever again (to this day, I have never tried Red Stripe again), we moved on to cigarettes.

There was a boy at school who had an older brother who would buy cigarettes and sell them to 8th grade girls at $10 a pack (yes, you read that right, $10 per pack of cigarettes. That’s $0.50/cigarette.) So we bought a pack of Marlboro lights. Emily’s parents were never home so we decided to “take a walk” around her cul-de-sac around midnight. We each took a cigarette and tried to figure out how to light it. I have never coughed so hard in my life. In fact, I coughed so hard I projectile vomited chicken with mushrooms and cream sauce in the gutter and onto her neighbors lawn. Thinking that was pretty cool and convinced that since my stomach was empty, it was safe to light up again. We smoked an entire pack of cigarettes between us three 8th grade girls in one night.

About two weeks later, we are back at Emily’s. When her parents were home, they were pretty cool. They fed us. A lot. Like when we got off the bus there was always cookies and dinner was always a thing. Then her parents would retire upstairs around 9:00. Thinking they just went to bed early we didn’t give it too much thought.

So the next morning, we are in the house by ourselves sitting in Emily’s room. She asks us if we want to watch TV in her parents room, so we collectively said “sure.” We climbed up on her parents poster bed and turned on the TV.

Well…we had never seen anything quite like it. It was a woman, with a mans (gigantic) penis in her mouth. We all kind of sat there and watched this porn star with longer than healthy yet, perfectly manicured fingernails fellate some dude.

Emily turned off the TV and turned to us. Well…fuck. We either need to rewind the last 20 minutes of whatever the fuck we saw so her parents don’t find out or…
Oh.
My.
God.

What was that?

Emily tells us “there’s more” and to “meet her back in her bedroom.” Dutifully, we complied.

Hannah and I were the queens of talking shit. There was silence. We didn’t even make eye contact.

Emily returns with her arms full of magazines. She states that she found them in her parents bathroom when looking for a tampon (for the mensus that began for the first time in her life last year).

She dumps them on the floor. Penthouse. Playboy. Hustler. At least it was normal, higher end porn.

But wait. There’s more.

She comes back from her parents bedroom with her arms brimming with dildos and vibrators. We had no idea what their purpose was, but they were shaped like dicks.

We didn’t know where to begin. We sat cross legged in a circle with the magazines in the middle.

I read the forum columns in maybe 5 of the penthouse magazines. The pictures weirded me out. It reminded me health class. All I was trying to do was block out the memories of the lovely, G-rated dinners I had with these people and the cookies. Oh, the cookies.

Hannah was grossed out, like to the point she wanted to leave the room. Emily was poring over the images like an 8 year old in November with the JC Penney Christmas catalog. I was fascinated with the writing. Even in Playboy, the writing was outstanding. Yes, to this day, I will buy Playboy or Penthouse just to read the articles.

Once we were satisfied with our new porn collection, there was the issue of the toys. Until that day none of us had ever even seen a penis that belonged to a real person and now we had silicone casts of them. This set an unrealistic expectation for when we did actually see a real, live penis in which I believe we all said “that’s it?”

We were more confused than anything. This was 1998. Before Google was prominent and urban dictionary. Knowing now what I didn’t know then, there is no fucking way that I would touch anything that had gone near a friends moms junk. Or dad, I don’t judge.

We heard the front door open and Emily’s mom yell “I’m home!” Frantically we gathered up all the contraband and stood there like “we can’t run back across the hall and put everything back while she is here” I guess we were under the impression that her mom was some sort of closet pervert who only baked cookies and masturbated all day. So we hid everything under her bed and went downstairs.

Anyway Hannah’s mom picked Hannah and I up and she took me home. We never spoke of it again, but Emily became less and less a part of our trio. I don’t remember why. It was probably something heinous like liking a boy that one of us liked or like showing us her moms dildo collection.

I believe we are friends with her on Facebook. She seems well adjusted, I guess. Probably more well adjusted than Hannah and I combined.

Anyway, that’s how I got drunk for the first time, smoked cigarettes for the first time, and saw a penis for the first time. Thanks Emily.

*Names have been changed to protect…well…everyone.