10 Things to Avoid During Thanksgiving

Louis C.K., the sage of our time.

Louis C.K., the sage of our time.

Here are ten things to avoid during Thanksgiving, the first holiday that sets the tone for all other impending holidays. DO IT RIGHT OR NOT AT ALL.

 

1) DON’T drink before embarking on the adventure that is a new recipe. 

Put the wine glass DOWN. I have learned the hard way: just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean that the Food Network gods have suddenly graced you with culinary gifts. You still have to read the directions like a literate adult and if you have wine in your bloodstream, the ability to read is quickly ripped away like so many appetites upon viewing turkey gizzards.

Case in point: Last year, I tried making a pumpkin pie. I put in baking soda when the recipe called for baking flour… This resulted in an absolutely heinous salty pumpkin cake and also a salty discharge from my tear ducts.

Obviously not a picture of the horrible monstrosity I created. It was truly the Frankenstein of holiday desserts.

Obviously not a picture of the horrible monstrosity I created. It was truly the Frankenstein of holiday desserts.

2) DON’T make homemade cranberry sauce. 

That’s cute and all, but guys, can we all just agree that that canned stuff is AMAZING and King of All Things Cranberry & Delicious? Just because it comes out in the form of a gelatinous cranberry can does not mean it is not both mighty and majestic. It even has ridges to show you where to cut each serving.

Me: “How helpful you are, Canned Cranberry! With your evenly-spaced ridges and Jello-like consistency, I can never go wrong.”

Canned Cranberry: “You’re welcome.”

Mmmmm.

Mmmmm. Can.

3) DON’T exercise. 

Are you serious? That’s what New Year’s resolutions are for, dummy! Why start a habit now when your Old Year’s resolution should be to become a giant sea cow? Actually, sea cows are too healthy – they eat marine vegetation. Try for something larger, like a planet. Become a planet. Mercury, maybe?

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4) DON’T spend three-hundred hours blessing the food. 

WHAT IS THIS, DAY 1 OF THE PILGRIMS LANDING ON AMERICA?* Please, for the love of all things holy and unholy, this is not the time to list all six million saints in the Catholic canon. Take the time to say your thanks, give the sky a thumbs up, pat your friends and family on the head, and then eat! If you do spend three-hundred hours on something, make sure it is spent being grateful for Kimye and realizing what is truly important in this world: the existence of North West.

Calm down, everyone.

Calm down, everyone. The saints will still be here tomorrow.

5) DON’T eat at all except for dinner. 

I play a game every year called how-hungry-can-I-get-before-I-pass-out and this year is no different. Time to fast. It’s like a trendy juice cleanse except the juice is air.

I do love a good painted cheese.

I do love a good painted cheese.

6) DON’T send a mass Thanksgiving text. 

If you could opt-out of mass texts, then maaaaybe it would make them slightly more tolerable. But inevitably, your phone buzzes nonstop with the tangential side conversations mass texts tend to cultivate: “Who is 454-444-0456 number?” Just send a personal text or tweet. And by tweet, I mean, send a message to your loved ones by carrier pigeon.

7) DON’T talk about Black Friday or lament about the holiday season.

WE KNOW. WE ALL LIVE ON PLANET EARTH IN A CITY CALLED OBVIOUSTOWN, USA.

Black Friday Logic.

Black Friday Logic.

8) DON’T talk politics.

Uncle Bob, put down the butter knife and channel your political enthusiasm into aggressively washing the dishes or something.

“We. Are. Trying. To. Have. A. Nice. Day,” said hosts and hostesses through gritted teeth all throughout the land.

9) DON’T be ignorant of American history. 

You guys, Thanksgiving can hardly be boiled down to a bunch of white people high-fiving the native population.

10) DON’T be a cynical killjoy.

Wait a second…

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- M

* I am aware that Thanksgiving was not Day 1 of Pilgrims landing on America.

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Wisdom Teeth and Other Dental Hijinks

If there’s one thing I would like to avoid in this life, it’s getting surgery. Well, unless I end up living in Beverly Hills and decide that elective rhinoplasty would boost my writing career (because duh!). I guess wisdom teeth surgery is “elective” in that I “elect” to get them out now while I am under the magical umbrella of parental insurance for two more months before I am thrust in the savage world of DIY dentistry… or until I get a job with dental coverage. Anyway, my wisdom teeth have been slowly but surely moving in. And not only that, but there is one in particular that aches with an increasing intensity every single day.

It’s weird because usually I’m complaining about my knees… but now, as I get older, I slowly experience pain in places I would never have even dreamed about!

Ah, but really, I am looking forward to getting these little monsters out.

Not all things dental are bad but when teeth come up in a conversation, more often than not, it is part of a terrifying tale. A drunk girl once came up to me during a party and started babbling at me. I had time to respond a few times in the midst of her stream-of-consciousness  remarks. Apparently, those few seconds were enough time for her to appraise my teeth situation. She suddenly interrupted the already erratic rhythm of our conversation to compliment me: “Your teeth are so pretty and straight! I can tell you’ve had braces.” I replied in the affirmative, thanked her, and thought that that would be the end of it.

But, no.

She went on to say that she, too, had braces but in her living room with her aunt doing the procedure who, she assured me, was not a dentist. It seriously sounded like some backwards medieval level stuff . I just stood there slack-jawed and eyes wide open – not sure of how to react or what to say. Luckily, the girl in question scampered away after this to find the next recipient of her dental horror story.

The teeth are located in the abdomen.

The teeth are located in the abdomen.

Her description of braces was a far cry from what I dreamed about as a kid. I remember coveting every boy and girl for their metal-enhanced mouths in elementary school. I resolved that I, too, would have a mostly synthetic mouth and rubber bands that changed according to my whims.

I was a pretty frumpy elementary school student but even I knew the style potential of braces in the midst of my frump. Braces were like permanent jewelry for your teeth! Ah, yes. My naivete would be shown years later when I actually had them.

I had those fun Invisalign braces (which, by the way, totally not invisible) for the top teeth but my bottom teeth had the traditional metal kind. Man, not that fun!

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1) Getting hit in the mouth – instant, profuse bloodshed.

2) Popcorn – why did I even try? Seriously bad decision-making.

3) Getting the wires tightened – the wires were like taut guitar strings, except they were in your mouth and instead of music, they made your entire oral cavity quake in fear and pain.

So, in conclusion, I am not looking forward to this next dental adventure. I am looking forward to what sort of fun painkillers they will give me though!*

- M

* In a non-recreational, responsible sense. Of course.

No, I Can’t Help You, M’am, My Hands are Full of Broken Glass

I really thought that customers couldn’t reach a new low but they prove time and time again that, yes, they can lower the bar ever lower. There is no limit for debauched customers.

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For example, two days ago, someone pooped on the floor. Actually. Pooped. On. The. Floor. I’m extremely hard to gross out so I got some bleach poured it over the area in question and donned a hazmat-like suit (no, just gloves actually) and cleaned it. It wasn’t the way I wanted to start off my day but you know what, things can’t really get worse after that, can it?

OR SO I THOUGHT.

I’m going about my day, doing my assigned tasks and a coworker tells me that there’s a wine spill. Okay, no problem. Someone breaks a regularly bottle of wine probably once a week. I walk over to the wine department, expecting a small wine puddle but instead see a huge spill and broken glass eeeeverywhere. I saw a couple of customers by the spill but they skittered away once they saw me. Didn’t apologize or anything. That’s fine. Whatever. FOR SHAME, HUMANITY. FOR SHAME.

THEN, as I am very obviously cleaning up a spill (literally, I was in the middle of a sea of wine and glass) and handling broken glass, a customer asked if I could help her. I didn’t even try to veil my absolute disgust at this woman as I turned around and said, “Actually, I can’t help you right now because I’m cleaning up broken glass that I don’t want other people to step on.” She says, “That’s fine, I’ll just ask my question as you work.” She then proceeds to ask an extremely specific, detailed question that I do not have the answer to, so I put down the shattered glass and get a coworker. But really, REALLY? I understand that the customer is important but COME ON, BROKEN/SHATTERED GLASS IS IN MY HANDS, do I really look like I’m in any position to assist you? Unless you are planning on buying broken glass, then I can’t help you.

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Thank goodness for amazing coworkers! They’re all I have in this (retail) world.

- Daughter

That Moment When the Dullest Tool in Shed in Class Interrupts the Dude with the PhD

Disclaimer: I don’t think people who have a doctoral degree are better than plebes or anything, this particular student (who is an older, Dad-ish-aged guy) just kills me.

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

I try to call upon Buddha and Jesus and Mohammad (sometimes I need all three, okay?) to calm myself and center my chi (?) but…THIS GUY. I didn’t pay money to listen to his inane drivel (“inane drivel” is also how I describe my blog coincidentally) when there’s a person with 20 years of teaching experience and stories and PhD-ness in front of me giving a great lecture. A lecture that I need to hear so I know what will be on the tests. So, I, and everyone else, can pass the class. SO DO NOT INTERRUPT HIM CONSTANTLY TO SAY THESE THINGS:

“I think Confucianism goes real good with Buddhism.”

“Well, the Mongols are basically terrorists. They strike fear in MY heart, that’s for sure. *laughter that extends for too long*”

NO. STOP.

There is no hand-raising. There are no thoughtful contributions. This person only shouts out baaaarely related information that are mostly his personal reaction to historical events that we cover and causes a class-wide epidemic of second-hand embarrassment.

The professor, clearly the consummate professional, is always able to turn around this person’s (who, for our purposes today, shall be christened, “Jim”) comments into something relevant while also steering the conversation back to his actual lesson.

Just so you know, Jim, when the professor asks a question, unless he says the words, “Does anybody know…,” IT DOES NOT WARRANT A RESPONSE. There is such a thing as a rhetorical question.

But he will never understand. And so I will continue to close my eyes in pure frustration when, for the sixth time in ten minutes, this student interjects with ignorant or silly comments.

Here’s more things he’s said:

Professor: “But there are also controversies surrounding the Ming Dynasty. For example, there onc-”

Jim: “Well, in my mind, I think that-”

Me, in my head while cringing in real life: Please, please. This time, Professor, just shut him down. Just say no. Just ignore him. Just tell him to raise his hand.

—-

Professor: “Taizu had a positive impact on China but he was also considered a tyrant.”

Jim: “THAT’S RIGHT HE WAS!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!”

Me: *SWEAR WORDS* Why is he laughing???? What? 

—-

Ohhhhhhh Jim.

For the record, I had a guy in his 80′s take a class at my “fancy” college and HE WAS AMAZING. So intelligent, so smart. So friendly. So respectful. JIM, GET ON HIS LEVEL.

- Daughter

Tutor Fail or, I Can’t Teach Yo’ Kids Nothing

I applied for a tutor position several weeks ago and man, did I FAIL. I claimed I was an expert at AP English and of course, I had to prove my excellency in some way so they sent me a little quiz. If I scored a 9/10, yay, I iz a tutor! If I scored lower – back to the drawing board, sonny.

I wasn’t worried about this quiz at all. I had AP English on LOCK four years ago – what was stopping me from being an AP English genius now that I’ve gone through four years of college? I must be about the same intellectual level as Shakespeare by now! 

Well, I scored a 6/10.

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

I think I scored so low because I went through a miniature panic attack with each question. And also because I have trouble focusing in general. I’m horrible finishing books, for example, and finishing – well, anything. I also get caught up in long tangential discussions… but I digress.

As soon as I saw a long passage in front I me during the tutor quiz, a small voice starting screaming obscenities (like “gosh darnit” or “oh poo,” Mom) because man, it was a Friday night! What was I doing answering questions about Shakespeare? Do I really want to help some angsty teen get into Harvard? No, I don’t. If I couldn’t get into Harvard, nobody else should get in. It’s only fair.

But I kept at it. Sort of. I tried. Really, I tried.

And I failed. I got a D.

And, that’s not even the worst part, guys. When I didn’t pass this stupid quiz to be a tutor, I immediately e-mailed the lady who invited me to take the quiz and begged her to let me try again. Literally. Begged.

smart i swaerNo response.

Apparently, capital-letter-ridden e-mails and desperation are not qualities they are looking for in tutors at this time.

That’s fine. I’m going to go not finish that book I’ve been meaning to finish but can’t because I have trouble both starting and finishing things. Such is my life.

- Daughter

Job Applications Make Me Weird(er)

I’ve been halfheartedly sending out job applications as of late. Not with my full heart because, well, I don’t think employers necessarily want somebody who can’t work for another four months because she’s in school. I mean, I might be wrong about that but I’m preeeetty sure I’m right. Nonetheless, I’ve been applying to jobs like it’s my job.

I do not space out these applications; I binge-apply to every company I vaguely approve of as a long-term option in a time window from 1am-4am. It is in this three-hour period that the genius flows through me and I think up the most wonderful cover letters and resume ideas.

So, there I was the other night, happily applying to jobs at two in the morning when suddenly, I read one of the job application requirements a bit closer: “send a handwritten letter about optimism to such-and-such in San Francisco”. Oh, man. This is going to be soo good. I tried to be very sincere in my letter and came up with what I thought was a great symbol for what optimism was to me in my life: my bedazzled cast.

This is not a photo, it’s actually a drawing. I know it’s hard to tell because of my art skillz.

I wrote about the time period in college when three out of four of my limbs were broken simultaneously and somehow threaded in optimism in there. And, you know what? I sure was optimistic. I survived looking like a Transformer for three months. And I think what got me through it were those rhinestones shining into my eyes every time I walked outside. How can you be sad when your arm is a veritable Claire’s store*? How can you be down when a little piece of the sun is permanently affixed to you? How can you be depressed when God himself never created something so beautiful as what you created on your arm? Answer: you can’t.

Or at least, that’s what I argued in my letter. Now that I think about it, I should have added a tiny rhinestone to my letter. Oh well, I did think to include a picture of my cast with all of its bedazzles with the caption: “This is what optimism looks like”. Honestly, I think there is a pretty small chance that I will snag this job in SF but somewhere in that city, the editor-and-chief of that publication will chuckle to himself as he is blinded by the picture of my cast.

NOBODY CAN TAKE AWAY MY SPARKLE.

- Daughter

* Because this is a reference Dad won’t get: Claire’s is a store that shills cheap jewelry to gullible preteens, such as myself… ten years ago.

Reflections: Backpacking, Day 4

This is the last post of the backpacking series because, well, as far as I can remember, things pretty much ended the fourth day because we went home after unless I have amnesia or the memory of a goldfish – both of which are distinct possibilities, but I digress.

Day 4.

I woke up after crying myself to sleep the night before because my knee was twice its normal size and I had hypothesized the worst because after many years of brushing off injuries and pain during my spotty college athletic career, I’ve realized that intense pain usually means something is horribly, horribly wrong. However, when I woke up that morning, I could bend my knee which was a big step compared to the day before.

My friend and I traipsed through the campground and then went to the town center to rent some kayaks and wetsuits. I was mistaken for a 16-year-old when we signed the contract for the kayaks, however.

*Employee looks at my friend*: “Are you over 18?”

Friend: “Yep.”

Employee: “Great, please sign here.”

*Employee looks at me*

*I go to sign the contract*

*Employee brusquely takes away contract*

Employee: “Okay, let’s have your guardian sign this.”

Now, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here and recognize that my no-makeup-side-braid-hoodie-with-the-hood-up-and-windbreaker-with-the-hood-up look was very 12-year-old-esque. This didn’t stop me from being offended at the time though.

Me: “I AM 22 YEARS OLD, OKAY? I CAN SIGN.”

After proving my oldness, we slipped into our wets- hahaha. No, there was no “slipping” going on when we put our wetsuits on. The wetsuit was probably at least one size too small so I had to redistribute my fat by sucking in and then very strategically stuff myself into the wetsuit like a sausage in sausage casing. Oh it fit, alright. Sure, I was being chocked by the neck section of the wetsuit but on the bright side, the tightness of the suit acted as a kind of human-sized brace for my knee. Despite this, limping was (and is still!) my main mode of locomotion.

Finally, after I figured out how to bend my body in the wetsuit and get into the kayak without getting choked into unconsciousness, my friend and I paddled out and saw many sights almost worth mentioning: garibaldi fish, leopard sharks, a dead seal, a live seal, and many birds.

The leopard sharks in particular were fun to see. We paddled above them and each took a turn out of the kayak in the water with the snorkel gear to swim above them. However, one of my phobias is open ocean water where the depth is of an undetermined measurement and I can’t see the bottom. And my friend wasn’t too happy about being alone outside of the kayak in the open water either. Really, we snorkeled for thirty seconds each and then declared that the sharks had scattered so we needed to get back in the kayak. But I totally tell people I snorkeled with sharks because that sounds cooler than what actually happened.

I’m very interested in skewed realities, you see. Something my parents are quick to point out. Not that I have parents. This “Dad” that keeps writing blog posts just fills my psychological need for a father figure so my brain has created this curmudgeonly creature as a coping mechanism.

Just kidding, my dad is a real person. His two front teeth, however. Hm. Their realness is debatable.

 

- Daughter

Reflections: Backpacking, Day 3

Ah yes, where was I?

Day 3.

I woke up and immediately felt that there was something wrong. The fibers of my being tingled with the anticipation of horror. And I would not be disappointed. Well, I was disappointed but not for lack of horror. As I rubbed my eyes in the wee hours of the morning, I caught errant food wrappers blowing in the wind. Hm, those food wrappers look very familiar. 

I walked out of my friend’s tent that I had been sleeping in (from the night before when I was too terrified of the bison and the Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse traipsing through camp) and saw that my backpack appeared askew and suspiciously empty.

It took a few seconds of basic deductive skills but then I realized what had happened and ran to my backpack to confirm my suspicions.

Yep. All of my food: gone.

THOSE DAMN FOXES. I had thought they were so adorable and cute the day before but now I wanted to make nice little fox muffs out of them.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but I am a high-maintenance eater through a poor grab-bag of genetics that happened when I was conceived – THANKS MOM AND DAD. I am allergic to gluten and dairy and thus, mostly subsist on dairy-free and gluten-free items made by hippies. It also tends to double as bird food. And, as was the case during this backpacking trip, fox food. The point is, my special diet (or “funny diet” as my friend puts it) is expensive. I lost twenty dollars worth of food in one go. My wallet just made a sad face when I typed that out.

The foxes ate well, I can assure you. They went into my bag with their muddy little paws and just ran off with the entire bag of food. Yeah, I hear all you backpacking experts yelling at me, “ROOOOOKIE MISTAKE!! AHAHAHA YOU DESERVED IT, DUMMY.”

Well, at the other campsite, I tied my food away from where I was sleeping in a tree. In my sleepless delirium and bison-induced terror, I had forgotten to put my food into a safe area. Or, as we all saw that morning, into the FOOD LOCKERS on the other side of the campsite. Ah, well. Because I would starve otherwise, I had to make the entire camping group trek to the airport again so I could get a few things to tide me over. The whole time I was swearing about those stupid foxes and their stupid scavenging ways.

Then, a little later, I remembered how cute foxes are and got less mad. They were just doing their job of being sneaky little foxes and my gluten-free food probably fed a newborn fox. So, good job me!!!!! I fed foxes. I hope they got poisoned and die.

JUST KIDDING. I love animals. They’re probably fine, guys. Let’s get back to who was truly affected here: ME.

We made it to the airport restaurant at which point I ate something that tripped one of my allergy wires and immediately felt ill. Unfortunately, on the trail, there is no room for whining so I ate 45132434 TUMS and carried on. Plus, I knew I could come back and whine on my blog.

Finally, we arrived at our final campsite after 32 ish miles of mountain hiking and I set up my tent. My knee had ballooned to three times its normal size and I had to have my friend act as my crutch. Other people on the island seemed concerned that I was limping around like an injured prey animal but I waved them off. Secretly, I was crying inside because I was in so much pain. I couldn’t bend my knee so I got some help putting up my tent and went inside to rest. I decided that my food would only be safe if I slept with it in my pillow. WRONG. I should have just gone back to my wisdom of Day 1 and tied it in a tree.

During the night, a single fox came up to the tent. I was asleep and then I heard slow, shuffling feet coming close to me. I opened my eyes and saw a small shape outside of  my tent and immediately grabbed my flashlight; it was a stupid fox!! And when I shined my flashlight at it, it looked at me like, “LOLWUT?” I had to hiss at it to make it go away. (I’m not sure why that was my instinctive anti-fox noise, it just came out.) However, a few minutes later, it was back and this time I yelled at it and it scampered off. Then, I set my flashlight up so it would partly illuminate the area outside my tent. I thought this would be a deterrent. And it was! For foxes, anyway.

Not more than twenty or so minutes of drifting into a light sleep, I heard a mewing noise. My ears pricked up because any cat-like sound attracts my attention. I shined my flashlight and a deer was just walking through the campsite and looked as if it were on its way to my tent. So I shooed it away. DAMN, NATURE, GET AWAY.

Have I mentioned how nice it is to be in a place where the wildest animal I have to deal with is my father?

- Daughter

I Ran Five Miles but the Five Miles Ran Me


image (37)You’d think that after a few weeks of mediocre exercising I would be in better shape. Alas, binging on cookies and working out every other week leaves me in bad shape. I signed up to run a 10k at the end of August because in the beginning of November, I am running a half marathon. So, the 10k is supposed to make me feel like, “Hey, okay, I can do this whole running thing.”

Unfortunately for me and everybody around me, I will whine into I’m in good enough shape to run without mentally writing my last will and testament.

In preparation for the 10k, I ran five miles while my sister biked along. She was my water mule and I routinely begged her to stop riding and hand me water. More like yelled. There was yelling. “SISTER, I NEED WATER NOW.”

This is what my sister looked like as she was leisurely riding:

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And this is how I looked like as I ran:

image (39)

 

I felt great the first two miles and then after that, I slowed down to a speed that was little more than a quick power walk. I was also miserable and felt like the sky was closing in on me – or was that my lungs?

Finally, 47 minutes later, I was done. I pretty much collapsed on a bench and my sister rode up on her bike and said, “Are you okay?” I don’t know why. Just because I had ruptured my spleen, broken all my limbs, and acquired a rare, tropical disease due to my run, didn’t mean I wasn’t okay. I was fine.

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All I can say is that I look forward to December.

 

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- Daughter

 

Insomnia: Things Happen

During the last few days I have not been sleeping at all. This isn’t new. Obviously, I’m not dead so I have been sleeping for a few hours here and there but nothing near what I need or want. Why is this? In part, because I cannot keep a regular schedule (okay, Dad, congratulations, you win!). Sure, in an ideal world, I would love to go to sleep by midnight or 11 pm each night.  In reality, I have friends, ideas, and a preference for the 8 pm to 2 am time slot. I have always been most productive, most energetic, and most creative in this time period. That’s why when I can’t sleep, impulsive ideas strike and I get up and do ridiculous things. It’s my natural inclination to be up at this time so why not make the most of it?

Not me.

Not me.

Last night when I didn’t sleep, I planned out a backpacking trip complete with a budget, how much needs to be saved each month, and what the average day would cost on the road. This was not a requirement for anything in my life. Just my own flight of fancy.

Tonight, I have also not slept at all and it is currently 3:30 in the morning. I didn’t sleep last night either and so I’m on a non-sleeping high where every idea I have seems amazing and everything I do, say, or see is hilarious. (I think that’s how I function all the time now that I think about it…)

Tonight, I have had a line of different baking products.

First, I made chocolate covered frozen bananas with almonds on the outside. They’re pretty gangster. I didn’t pressure them into that life. They chose it. Believe me, I’ve tried coaxing them out of the gang life. But it turns out that frozen bananas are a hard bunch.

(PUNS.)

After I made those bananas, I said to myself, “Wow, you know what you are going to want tomorrow? Homemade protein bars with lots of chocolate that you can play off as healthy since all the other hippie stuff you put in it balances it out!!” I proceeded to melt chocolate and spoon it into my mouth occasionally and then haphazardly added ingredients that made sense in my head. I didn’t follow a recipe book because, to be honest, that only works out about half of the time. I have a better record with baked goods when I go with my instincts. My instincts tend to lead me to a lot of chocolate. So, some chocolate, oatmeal, protein powder, almond flour, almonds, and rice milk later, a big sheet of protein bar legendaryness was created. After it had hardened in the freezer, I took it upon myself to cut and individually wrap each square with the love and attention of a male seahorse (whatever you do, do not YouTube: “male seahorse giving birth”, the horrors etched into your retina will never be buffed out – these images will forever scar and wound you, tainting even the most delightful of occasions).

After that, I said, “Hey, it’s only 2 am, that’s not late!! I still have time to brew extra strong tea blends and put them in a pitcher for iced tea in the morning!!”

So then I did that.

And now, I am admittedly exhausted.

Sleep, maybe? Nah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. *keels over*

- Daughter

Regularly, I am a Sure-Footed Mountain Goat and in Heels, I am a Newborn Giraffe

When I wear flats and other sensible shoes, I feel as if I am a mountain goat and the entire world is a rocky mountain that I confidently traverse without hesitation. Each step is deliberate and meaningful. Walking is an expression of my capability and prowess. 

image (35)Then, I put on heels and everything changes for the worse. I am a newborn giraffe, just released into the world – an unforgiving, obstacle-filled world. I am barely able to stand without falling over and my limbs are always awkwardly akimbo.

image (36)

 

I really do like heels. I really do. I like the way they look and I don’t feel fancy or dressed up unless I am significantly taller than I usually am on a day-to-day basis. I guess I’ve been socially conditioned by the High Heel Mafia. But it’s fine. 

Anyway, before I even went out with my friends for a night on the town, disaster struck. I was sitting in my car, fixing my makeup that had run away from the targeted areas of my face. I finally managed to blend my makeup into less clownish concentrations and went to leave the car. However, as I did, my heel caught on the door and I fell straight into the loving embrace of the road. 

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image (32)After I was on all fours on the street, I looked up to make sure nobody else was out and had seen this sad display. Luckily, I was alone in my embarrassment so I scrambled to my feet and examined the damage. 

In case you didn’t read yesterday’s post, my leg already had a four inch, very noticeable scratch on my leg from inexact shaving methods. So, in addition to that injury, now I had road burn and bloody knees.

image (33)Unfortunately for me and everyone else, that was not the end of the embarrassment because I went out in public after I cleaned myself up. I was talking to people at a very cool, suave rooftop bar and telling a story very animatedly, as I am wont to do. Sadly, a heat lamp was in the way of my story and expressive Italian Hands. I completely knocked into it and almost toppled it over. There were hundreds of witnesses to mark this special occasion. Luck and grace were really on my side that night. 

 

image (34)Am I surprised? No. 

- Daughter 

 

Country Line Dancing: The Hillbillies Strike Back

On Friday night, I went line dancing again. Not that I wanted to. There has never been a time in my life where I have said to myself, “Wow, all this day needs is a large dose of embarrassment in front of hundreds of strangers.” But, it was my friend’s birthday weekend and you are legally required to do whatever a birthday-haver wants.

I had an eight hour shift beforehand but took a three hour nap and intravenously pumped caffeine into my body as soon as I woke up. I was fully prepared to make it look like I was a functioning human with arms and legs that work most of the time.

I met up with my friends after successfully getting ready and was only thirty minutes late (practically a record). All of my friends were dressed in their Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots. They also all spoke with a Southern twang and chewed tobacco. That’s how I remember it anyway.

Then there was me. I was the only one not wearing cowboy boots and I wore the most obnoxiously red lipstick I could find. All of this was to the chagrin of my country-fied (or should I say, country-fried) friends.

When we got to the country bar, everybody was dancing in perfect lines, totally synchronized. My friends jumped right in and either already knew the dances or picked up the dances very quickly.

I, however, struggled immensely.

At some points during the night, I wondered if it was possible to die from embarrassment. I’m sure it is, but luckily, I am still alive even though my friend helpfully told me that I was the most “uncoordinated person she had ever seen.”

Eventually, I got tired of pretending to dance and stood on the side of the dance floor. A guy immediately told me to get back on the floor because he said I gave up. I looked at him as he talked at me. He was wearing a trucker hat which encouraged me to paint a little vignette of his life in my mind:

I told him there was no chance in that I was getting back on the dance floor and then asked if he drove his tractor to the bar. He laughed. And then he drank. I don’t know if I was the reason he was drinking but I like to think I was.

Eventually, I tired of failing and sat myself out permanently the rest of the night. My ego took as a hit as I realized that I was not a country line dancer.

 

However, as soon I got home. I ate an entire plate of cookies. There are always cookies to fill the void.

 

- Daughter

Insomnia: Smoke Alarm Chinese Water Torture

I have problems sleeping and I’ve written about it before. It is one of the most irritating feelings in the world lying awake at night knowing you have to get up in five hours and being unable to sleep. It must be similar to what Lindsay Lohan feels like when her drug dealer dies and she has to find a new one – grumpy and restless. However, I thought that I’d gotten over my problem. I thought that maybe I found the right combination of activities and habits to make bedtime something I looked forward to rather than something I actively dread.

I’m more like a toddler when faced with the prospect of going to bed now: “I DON’T WANT TO. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME. NO. NOPE. NO. I’M GUNNA STAY UP FOREVER.”

Yesterday, I took all my normal precautions to avoid insomnia: I exercised for an hour, I sat outside in the sun for a while, I read before turning off the light, and I took one of my mom’s herbal remedies for sleeplessness (it also gives me magical powers).

It was all for naught.

The first problem occurred when my fan malfunctioned. I cannot sleep without background noise. My preferred background noise is provided by a tower fan. It’s just loud enough to block out any weird creaking my house makes at night but soft enough to allow me to sleep. But, it has developed a very high-pitched, intermittent squeak. I tried to ignore it but it was too much.

I got out of bed and turned off the fan. The deafening silence that ensued was better than the squeak but then the silence gave way to dogs barking, cats meowing, various forest creatures walking in the yard, birds tweeting, the house creaking and settling, and the wind rustling the plants and trees outside.

2 sleep

This symphony of the night was not conducive to sleep. Exacerbating the problem was my paranoia that every unexplained sound was an ax murderer who was outside of my window, peering in, waiting for his chance to strike. I started to get anxious thinking about all the different ways a person could break into my house and kill me. I would literally jump and have a mini heart attack each time something resembling a sound occurred.

Eventually, the sounds dissipated. Ah, problem solved. BUT NO. PLOT TWIST. The silence that occurred thereafter made my ears ring. I started listening to my own breathing and thinking about horrible things that happen in very quiet moments in horror films. Oh, great. Yeah, I’m definitely not sleeping ever again. 

3 sleepEventually, I got tired enough that the silence was almost soothing and I felt the sweet relief of sleep come over me like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s night or a nutella crepe.  Unfortunately, a piercing beep occurred at the moment just before unconsciousness. The smoke alarm had chosen that moment to say, “BATTERY’S DEAD, FOLKS!!! LET ME PLAY YOU THE SONG OF MY PEOPLE.”

It was incredibly loud and beeped every thirty seconds. The predictability was insanity-inducing. I would have a build-up of anxiety as I waited for the beep and then a small release of tension when the horrible noise filled my ears and echoed in my cerebellum.

image (11)

 

My mom got up at one point and I thought it was because of the smoke alarm. But it was just because the dog needed to go outside. She  walked into the hallway where I was under the impression she would attempt to dismantle the alarm but instead, she walked into her bedroom – clearly intent on making me suffer through my insomnia-induced madness.

I crept into the living room and shut the door. It blocked out the assaulting noise of the smoke alarm. The Mama Cat, who normally hates me and ESPECIALLY hates when I wear fuzzy socks, followed me out and kept me company as I finally, FINALLY fell asleep on the couch.

5 sleep Where I slept until noon. Naturally.

6 sleep

 

- Daughter

 

How Not to Kayak

My dad put the kayak rack back on the truck after a few days of begging. I love to kayak. It makes me feel at one with the ocean and a warmth always radiates throughout my body when I’m out on the water – oh, wait, no that’s just a sunburn. Regardless of the harmful UV rays, kayaking is one of the most peaceful but challenging ways to spend your time. And when I say ‘peaceful,’ I mean, there are many moments in which you think, “Well, it’s been nice existing. Goodbye, world,” because you will probably die if you don’t make that turn and ram straight into that cliff. So, it’s peaceful in that it forces you to make peace with death.

What colorful deathtraps.

What colorful deathtraps.

Once, my best friend and I spent six straight hours circumnavigating the world  an island and only rested on a rocky beach for a brief moment. We laid down on the shore and put hot rocks on our closed eyelids (because we thought that’s what rich people did at spas – note to self: they don’t). After that hot rock treatment, we continued on our merry way. We kayaked through caves and only almost crashed into a cave wall four times, which is really quite impressive.

Anyway, after that particular excursion, I felt pretty on top of my kayak game. I took a tandem kayak out with one of my friends who was very excited to try kayaking. Unfortunately, there was a high surf advisory that we had failed to notice. When we finally launched the kayak into the water and got past the rolling waves, we paddled toward some interesting caves. However, we would periodically rise five feet and then drop five feet because of the crazy ocean current which was scary but also fun – sort of like those questionably old carnival rides from the 70′s that are not up to code but everybody rides anyway.

We were basically on our own Discovery Channel show. Definitely not Shark Week though. More like one of those really slow-going nature shows with a male British narrator detailing the mating habits of shellfish.

Things would have been better had an Eskimo been there to show me the way.

Things would have been better had an Eskimo been there to show me the way.

Although our time in the ocean was fun, it was getting late so my friend and I prepared to make our re-entry on land. I watched my brother go before me in his single sit-in kayak and swiftly make his re-entry like he had been doing it his entire life. My friend and I waited for the right moment to ride a wave back onto shore. Unfortunately, we were doomed from the start because the waves were entirely too large for  the bulky tandem kayak to  navigate.

We missed the key wave we were trying to catch and another much larger wave followed behind and instead of safely riding that wave onto shore, the big wave combined with the smaller wave in front of us with such a force that it nosedived the kayak into the sand below and flipped us all the way over.

My friend and I were okay, if not a bit shaken up. Physically, we had survived but as we trudged up the sand, we looked onto the beach and saw we had a crowd of at least fifty people watching us on our walk of kayak shame. I’m pretty sure I saw somebody do a slow-clap but my eyes were watering too much from seawater and pollution to be absolutely sure.

Anyway, the point of this story is to stop being stupid on boats. The ocean is a fickle lady.

- Daughter

Wax On, Wax Off… Not a Motto Applicable to Eyebrows

During the last four months of college, I completely neglected my eyebrows and other facial hair. I had nobody to impress, after all. But when I came back to San Diego, I felt like a lowland gorilla. I was a few days away from being followed around by Jane Goodall. It was a serious situation.

Before waxing appointment.

Before waxing appointment.

Luckily, my mom came to the rescue and gave me the business card of her trusted eyebrow lady. I went to the appointment relaxed and ready to say goodbye to my faint mustache and unibrow. I’m not Frida Kahlo so I don’t feel like I can pull off  the whole facial hair thing.

You go, girl.

You go, girl.

I lounged in the chair of the salon as the waxing lady made small talk. The conversation was interrupted by a burning sensation underneath my left eyebrow. Now, I’m no eyebrow wax amateur, I knew this burning was par for the course. As she deftly removed the wax, I felt more pain than usual but wrote it off to misremembering the intensity of the pain after not waxing for four months.

To add insult to injury, as she was waxing off my cool handlebar mustache (just kidding, it was mostly a Frida-like mustache – very feminine, very in this season), she asked if I wanted my lower lip waxed. Oh great, now in addition to my  ‘stache and unibrow, I’m growing a BEARD??? Of course, I replied, “Yes, please.” 

Finally, the hair-ripping was over and I gazed into the mirror.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Who is the hairless-est of them all? 

You are, my Queen. But there is one who will overtake your hairlessness. She lives underground and her name is Snow Naked-Mole-Rat White. 

As I looked into mirror more closely, however, I noticed a patch of red below my left eyebrow. The waxing lady asked, “Oh, do you have sensitive skin? It’s quite red up there.”

It took all of my self-control not to retort: “No, I don’t. You just suck at waxing and ripped part of my face off in addition to giving me third degree burns.”

As I left the salon, I immediately put huge sunglasses on my face and there they have stayed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful I have groomed eyebrows and all, I just wish it didn’t come at the price of facial disfigurement.

Luckily, some concealer and dark lighting makes it less visible. And I can’t even see it when I’m in a pitch black room! So, that’s something.

Now, if only I could convince my father to take care of those giant caterpillars trying their darnedest to meet together to form an even bigger, monster caterpillar.

- Daughter

 

Out of Shape… Still

I’m in my early twenties but my injuries are already healing slower than they used to and older anatomical issues nag constantly – like what I imagine I will be like as a wife (sidenote: stereotypes are bad, but are sometimes funny). Every time I run, I feel the ghosts of these  injuries past.  It’s sort of like those ghosts in Pac-Man that bear down on you until they consume you and you die what I can only assume is a slow, painful, and pixelated death. Those very ghosts bore down on me today. Old stress fracture sites, old ankle sprains, terrible knees – they all combine together to form a perfect storm of misery. It almost makes me regret that the words “contact sport” were ever in my vocabulary. (Just kidding, sports = the best.)

2cat

So, anyway, today, I tried to run up a hill, into the wind and, well, it wasn’t so successful.

At first, I felt like I was in a Nike commercial. This was my hill, I was going to get over it. I was going to conquer this hill. But then the hill kept going. And going. And then, I made it!!  Over the  first crest from the vantage point of which I could see the many other hills that lay before me. And that’s when my commitment to getting over the hill faltered like a fading star in the night sky. Nah, it was more like an asteroid on a collision course with some other galactic body. CRASH AND BURNNN.

I slowed to a walk and of course, other runners chose that particular time to appear out of nowhere and pass me. They all gave me judgmental looks and I stared right back, defiant. Nope, I didn’t. I just looked at the ground. Dignity in failure is not one of my strong points.

1cat

I’m supposed to sign up for a half-marathon soon because clearly, I’m masochistic and want to slowly grind my joints into a fine, chalky powder. I hear once you’re mostly powder, you can’t feel pain anyway!! So, that’s my goal. My “hill,” if you will.

- Daughter

Somebody’s Drunk in the Kitchen

I have a recipe that I hold near and dear to my heart. It was passed down for centuries in my family. It represents health, community, and spiritual well-being within my clan. Not really. I just found it this year on a Google search. But that doesn’t make for a very good story.

Anyway, during the last four months of college, this particular recipe has been a staple. It became comfort food. What is it, you ask? Kale and shrimp. It doesn’t sound impressive but this recipe is seriously magical. And, the best part of it is that it is impossible to screw up.

Unless you’re me.

I have made this recipe probably one hundred times. There are less than ten ingredients. It takes a maximum of thirty minutes to prepare and make. You’d think I’d have it down pat.

Mais, non.

I was so excited to cook this meal for my family because for once, I knew what I was doing. I confidently sauteed the kale and shrimp. I disregarded the directions a bit because I added more kale than the recipe called for. Ah, well, I should make more sauce to balance it out!! So, I added more vinegar to the sauce. Worst. Decision. Ever.

Immediately, the steam coming up from the pot turned into a noxious gas that made my eyes water. Well, maybe it’s one of those foods that tastes better than it smells! 

Nope, it wasn’t. I put a small sample in my mouth and I might as well have taken a shot of vinegar. Now my mouth was burning in addition to my eyes.

Luckily, my mom came to the rescue and was able to water down the sauce to less terrifyingly-vinegary levels. Nobody died after eating it so I guess I made something edible. Checkmate.

- Daughter

Unpacking < Packing

I felt very optimistic when I woke up this morning. I set up my mom’s juicer and juiced the sh heck out of vegetables and fruits indiscriminately. The resulting juice was the color of toxic waste but it actually didn’t taste that bad considering it was mostly kale and carrots. I felt like a hippie as I drank this disgusting-looking liquid but there are worse things in the world than feeling like a hippie.

This juice thing is supposed to replace my go-to beverage in the morning: coffee. I made the impulsive decision to stop drinking coffee and today is day 1 of what I foresee to be a very Poor Life Choice(tm). I already got a migraine-like headache from the lack of caffeine and felt distinctly less energetic and jazzed about life. To be honest, my will power is only so-so currently. We’ll see how long this lasts before I break.

After I was thoroughly juiced up and sans-coffee, I started the process of unpacking. It felt like forever as I opened box after box without any visible progress or improvement. I looked at the clock, expecting it to be a few hours later than when I had last checked, but no, it was only THIRTY MINUTES past when I had started. I dramatically laid on the bed with my hand on my head and re-enacted the scene from Gone with the Wind when Scarlett O’Hara says, “I’ll think about that… tomorrow.”

I didn’t realize I had so many clothes until I opened up those nifty vacuum-seal bags they were all stuffed in. Every time I broke open the vacuum seal I wanted to yell out, “RELEASE THE KRAKKEN!” Instead, I sighed as the small bag suddenly expanded with overflowing garments and sheets.

It was kind of like the OPPOSITE of Christmas morning: I didn’t want to open any of these bags or boxes and unleash the hellfire within. But, I persisted and now the unpacking is about halfway done. My room looks less like a storage locker and more like a room where somebody might sleep.

And tomorrow, the unpacking continues. As does my misery.

- Daughter

Road Trip Diaries: Homeward Bound, Part V

Dad’s Version of Events:

Dante’s Inferno had nothing on us today.

I have seen The Apocalypse, and its name is Southwestern Texas. We awoke this morning to a cool breeze in Dallas, which lulled me into thinking the heat and humidity we drove into yesterday had broken.

Cruelly, that was not the case.

Not only did it turn out to be as miserably hot again today as it was on Saturday, a gale force wind worthy of The Perfect Storm reared its ugly head – in our faces. All day.

It was intimidating.

But let me return to the heat. How hot was it? I noticed several cars driving in the opposite direction (with the wind) with those heat-reflecting shields partially deployed in their windshields.

I imagined the associated conversation thusly:

“Good, God, the sun is burning my eyes through the windshield. Dear, please grab that aluminum foil heat reflector thing and pop it up on your side, would you?”

“Isn’t that going to affect your view? I mean, don’t you need to see out the front of the car?”

“Nah, it’s the passenger side. Not much happens over there and, besides, you’ll warn me if something’s about to explode or run into us.”

Yep. Something like that.

And I’ve never, ever seen people deploy their shield while driving. Parked; of course. Driving? Come on.

I am happy to reveal that I did not witness such behavior on our side of the Interstate but, then again, Daughter’s crap sh belongings pretty much obscured my vision anywhere to the back or side of us.

And the wind. My God, the wind!

Big rigs were weaving all over the place. Dust devils danced through the landscape around us. And occasionally a gust threatened to blow open one of our doors.

Well, not really on that last point, but it sure seemed like it, at times.

Prior to this leg of the journey, my trusty pickup was averaging almost 22 mpg. But today it plummeted to 17.5 mpg. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s a head wind.

Out in the middle of nowhere, between the garden spots of Odessa and El Paso, there were actually two bicyclists laboring along the shoulder of the Interstate. They were clearly in the middle of some masochistic bike “adventure,” since they were festooned with sleeping bags and panniers. As we sped by them, I estimated they were tootling along at about 1.73 mph, with 24 miles to the next town of any significance. I thought it was illegal to bicycle on an Interstate Highway, so if there are any law enforcement officials reading this post, please note the location of these two cyclists.

Even though it’s been about six hours since we passed them, I figure they are still out there and have maybe managed to cover all of two miles in that time.

I’m telling you it was windy.

There were two essential highlights today. The first involved passing through an immigration checkpoint. When we realized what lay ahead of us on the road, it sparked a flurry of inappropriate comments from me to Daughter, such as:

“Be sure to turn the Spanish language radio station off when we roll the window down.”

“Remember to say ‘thank you’ instead of ‘gracias’ to the Border Patrol officer.”

Things like that.

The second highlight and, perhaps, the Tenth Festivus Miracle of the year was that Daughter was almost bright-eyed and bushy tailed for much of the drive, until she “hit the wall” later in the day and asked me why I wasn’t tired.

(Note to self: When traveling with Daughter, plan on a minimum of three coffee breaks before noon if there is any expectation of consciousness from her after 3:00 p.m.)

And tomorrow? If Allah and the Dust Devils are willing, we should roll up in front of our Home Sweet Home at some point in the afternoon, assuming:

1) We leave the hotel before 9:30 a.m.

2) The Tarpaulin Gods accept our sacrifice of Hampton Inn Shampoo and Conditioner.

3) We don’t get pulled over for an expired State of California license plate.

4) There are enough foo-foo coffee joints between New Mexico and California to keep us both focused and jazzed.

If all those things come true, we have a chance. If not, well, Hope Springs Eternal and Tomorrow is Another Day.

Or is that Tomorrow Never Dies?

I get it confused sometimes if I haven’t had any coffee.

- Dad

———–

Daughter’s Version of Events:

Miles and miles of.. nothing.

Miles and miles of… nothing.

I got up early for reeealsies today: 7am. Essentially the crack of dawn in my world. But I got up. My dad was probably pleasantly surprised that he didn’t have to drag me out of bed. Oh wait, nevermind. That’s never happened because I am the one always awake first on this road trip.

We made our way to Starbucks in the morning before hitting the road as per usual. I prefer local coffee places but my father has developed a taste for large corporate coffee with no personality. He loves to make fun of me for getting a soy latte which he terms “foo-foo” but I’m not the one who is constantly asking, “So, where’s the nearest Starbucks?” He is an addict.

I don’t love the coffee there but it’s drinkable and sometimes delicious if I use the powers of my imaaaagination. I like to call it Starbutts because it’s just immature enough to annoy my father. I don’t think I’ve actually said it out loud to him and to be honest, he probably wouldn’t notice if I did because he can’t hear most of the things I say.

Anyway, today I may or may not have angered the barista at Starbutts by asking if my drink was coming because it took longer than usual. I mentally berated myself because I was being the customer I always hated when I was working there. Sorry, hapless barista! I was just grumpy because the sun was waaaaay too close to the horizon for my liking.

After successfully acquiring coffee (I pray it was free of spit), we got back on the road and I fell asleep almost immediately. But then my turn behind the wheel came all too soon. It was incredibly windy so my usual multi-tasking was a no-no. I put my DJing, Starbucks-finding, and e-mail-checking to the side in order to keep the truck from blowing off the road. My Dad doesn’t know how to use my iPhone so I had to find Starbucks on my phone only at stoplights or slower portions of the road. Safety first!!!

Speaking of safety, my dad has avoided sleeping when I’ve driven the past four days because he doesn’t trust me or something. However, I happen to be a fantastic driver. I am the Danica Patrick of this road trip. And my dad is… he’s like the Ricky Bobby.

Well, anyway, today he stole my FaceTent(tm) and actually slept. Because of this, I had to rely on myself for two hours’ of entertainment. I sang songs with questionable content and  used the opportunity of him sleeping to push the speed limit a bit. Not a lot but enough to feel like I was James Bond or something. Going three miles over the speed limit is definitely equivalent to how James Bond feels.

Dad, stealing my idea.

Dad, stealing my idea.

As the day wore on, I got more and more tired. My eyes started to dry up and when I went to rub them, I accidentally got sunscreen in them. So, they ended up being dry and also burned with the intensity of one thousand suns (ironic considering it was, you know, sunscreen that caused this). I decided the best way to resolve my temporary blindness was to pour bottled water directly into my eyes while in the car. Surprisingly, it sort of worked and I was able to both see and blink without excruciating pain – success!!!

Not that there was much to see...

Not that there was much to see…

Tomorrow is hopefully the last day of driving. 9 or 10 hours of driving left! My dad is already asking if there’s a Starbutts around here.

- Daughter

How to Build a Box

Well, don’t ask me. Look how mine turned out…

 

The saddest part about this box is the fact that I am so proud of it. The handles were cut with a jigsaw that I was terrified of using. It turns out that being terrified of the tools you’re using does not make for controlled cuts in wood. It actually makes your lines horrible and askew. Despite the failings of the box, it is a box I created with my own hands and carpentry prowess. My carpentry professor approved of my construction and even went so far to say that, yes, “it definitely looks less crappy than when you started.” That’s a success in my book.

So, while I have spent the last four years of my college education learning some pretty obscure knowledge about things I will (probably) not have to use again, this seems to me the most practical and humbling course I have ever taken in college. Who knew that five pieces of wood could take multiple hours to put together? Who knew that screws make a terrible nails-scratching-across-chalkboard sound when they go through a high density material? Who knew I was capable of using a saw without chopping off limbs? Well, I know now. Sort of.

Unrelated: I have decided to give up my dreams of a career in writing to become a carpenter and inspire others to build boxes.

- Daughter

 

I Have Instincts

Or, rather, my body does. I swear, every time my body senses I am going to have fun or something like it, it shuts that sh stuff down so fast.

I was bouncing around yesterday, happily doing my laundry (“happily” = I had no clean clothes left so I had to) and, while I was folding my underwear, I realized I didn’t have that much to do on my thesis before the deadline next week. Therefore, I could definitely fit in time to go hang out with a friend at a bar that night. And then horror struck. My body, sensing that fun was imminent, immediately – and I mean, within the hour of deciding to have fun – shriveled up and receded into itself… like some sort of sick hermit crab.

I developed some sort of chest cold (although, I said “infection” to other people because it sounded worse and more worthy of pity) and was coughing all over the place. I cursed my lungs and the virus infecting them (?) (/I’m not a pathologist) and begrudgingly texted said friend and said I couldn’t go. I was very displeased.

So displeased, in fact, that I tunneled into my bed covers and sat there for a while, thinking dark thoughts about my lungs and their various treacheries.

Harry Potter gets me.

My new plan to have fun is to focus on achieving a surprise attack. I am only going to have unplanned fun so as to not tip off my body that fun is in the near future. I’m hoping that when I walk down the street I will randomly be pulled into a bar where I will proceed to fun.  (Yeah, it’s a verb now.) Or, maybe while I’m writing my thesis a llama and a mariachi band will pop in and again, unplanned funning will happen!! I’m really looking forward to surprise funning.

- Daughter

Being an Idiot in Carpentry Class

Today, my technical theater carpentry professor laughed at me. A lot. And I took it with my tail between my legs because frankly, I deserved it.

I'm really creative. At failing.

I’m really creative. At failing.

 

Let my preface this by saying I am in no way connected to the theater arts or activities-during-which-you-build-things, but every other single person in the class is a techie (not to be confused with Trekkie) who knows the basics of theater, scenery, etc. Then, there’s me. A lost little lamb in a storm of power tools and staple guns. 

My partner and I had to draft a 2D model and build a 3D model of a structure that would successfully drop snow on-stage. Naturally, I ended up drafting the most complex piece of machinery I could think up – I literally might have just accidentally built a computer. That’s just how I roll. When we were presenting our ideas, all of the other students had these brilliant, simple ideas that looked completely feasible.

And then I presented my draft which had about 10 different arrows annotated with specific instructions all over the page. My professor looked at the draft, cocked his head, and said, “That’s certainly… creative.” Guess I’m going to fail this carpentry class. Cool. I’m literally going to fail a class because I have no actual life skills and can only read books. 

Well, today was the real test. I had to build this wildebeest of a project. I started out with a basic little wooden frame that I was very proud of – my professor even came over and said it was, “Cute!” And I said, “Yes, that’s what I was going for. It’s very applicable to my post-college life. When I’m being interviewed and the hiring person asks for my resume, I’m just gunna show them THIS *proudly raises up wooden frame like it’s Simba from The Lion King*” He chuckled and I kept building. And then I hit a roadblock. I had no idea how to get my complicated machine to work… and on top of it, the staple gun wasn’t working.
My partner went up to ask my professor about the staple gun who assured us that, yes, there were plenty of staples in it. But it just was not working. I was trying to staple fabric onto the frame but to my dismay, no staples were coming out. He came over to watch me use it so he could see firsthand why it wasn’t working.
Me: *presses on staple gun, nothing comes out* “SEE? It’s not working.”
Professor: …… *suppresses giggle* “….. that’s because you’re pushing on the wrong end of the staple gun… it’s upside down, not broken you idiot. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
I about died from embarrassment. I sat there laughing at myself but also shaking my head in disbelief at my stupidity.
And, as I was leaving, my professor couldn’t help himself and said, “Make sure you don’t forget how to use a staple gun between now and our next class.”
Who needs dignity and self-esteem anyway?
- Daughter

They Didn’t Teach Me This in Driver’s Ed.

I was out in Philly, driving around, pretending I knew where I was going. The usual. However, this time, things went terribly wrong and I almost died. Not to be dramatic or anything.

Here I am, in my truck, trying to figure out how to get to a grocery store parking lot that I could see but failed to actually find an entrance. It was one of those optical illusion parking lots. Or a mirage. Or a mirage of an optical illusion. Regardless of what it was, I could not get to it.

My roommate suggested I follow the cop driving in front of us, surely the cops knew their way around! Indeed they did. I followed them down to an underground police station parking lot. Internally panicking, I executed a three-point turn and  screeched drove quietly away.

Upon exiting the parking garage, I took a right as per my roommate’s suggestion. I thought to myself as I drove along the road: My, this road is awful narrow… they should do something about that. 

Of course, it was a one-way street and I was driving the wrong way down it. Luckily, there were no other cars except for a car that was about to turn down the street. That is, until they saw me whereupon they honked and made unhappy faces. There was also probably swearing.

In driver’s ed, they teach you defensive driving techniques. I was told to always assume everybody else on the road is an idiot. But what if the idiot is you? How can you defend yourself  against yourself? That, my friends, should be added to the driver’s education curriculum.

- Daughter

 

 

Allergies versus Hurting a Waiter’s Feelings

Sometimes, I ignore the fact that I am an unemployed college student and go out to dinner where people make food for me. This reduces the risk of me setting fire to things as I am wont to do.

My roommate and I, intrepid city explorers that we are, picked a trendy restaurant neither of us had tried. We were seated at a table overlooking the kitchen so we could watch everyone else’s food be made while waiting for ours, tantamount to torture when you’re hungry.

Eventually, we got our food and ate our way through three courses very successfully. So successfully, in fact, that at the end, we didn’t have room for dessert. And because of inconvenient food allergies, I couldn’t eat anything on the dessert menu anyway.

And this is where comedy ensues. The waiter handed us the bill for the meal in addition to a crème brûlée on the house. My roommate and I  looked at each other as he handed us the dessert;  we both happen to be allergic to dairy.

Our shared dairy allergy doesn’t veer into the “life-threatening” category so we occasionally have a bit of ye old cow juice and cow-juice derived products. But only after judging whether or not the food is worth the inevitable stomach ache and digestive issues that follow. However, this was not “a bit” of dairy, it was an entire crème brûlée.

It was culinary blackmail essentially. (Except for the fact that the waiter had no idea, but whatever.) If we didn’t eat it, we’d look like ungrateful jerks. If we did, we’d be consuming something knowing our bodies would ultimately reject it.

We decided to plunge in and eat it because we didn’t want to hurt the waiter’s feelings. He’d been too nice and accommodating to snub him in any way.

The drive back from the restaurant was what could only be expected: misery. My roommate and I  exchanged pep talks encouraging each other not to waste our money by throwing up the food we had just paid for. Positive thinking worked! We managed to keep and digest every last cent. We paid for that meal in more ways than one, however.

- Daughter

 

I Almost Burned Down a Hotel

Being the unprepared person I am, I brought my own food along on my three-day trip out to central Pennsylvania because of my various food allergies. (Food allergies are so hot right now – I’m right on trend. #fashionforward)

I was so happy to have my bagel with me at breakfast one morning that my joy washed away any sort of rational thinking, exacerbating my already-lackluster awareness that comes with being awake before noon.

In case you forgot, I am not a morning person. I stumble around blindly in the light of day until finally I realize that this is no nightmare, I am truly awake in the real world. Because of this, my decision-making skills in the a.m. are not exactly on par with, say, my afternoon and evening decision-making skills.

The fire in question was caused by a conveyor-belt toaster which had a very small opening between the conveyor belt platform and the heating implement. I’ve already learned once that I should not be trusted to cook things. I haven’t learned anything, apparently because what follows is the height of culinary idiocy. I can almost hear Gordon Ramsey banishing me from the kitchen on one of his reality t.v. shows.

I thought that my bagel –  a hulking Godzilla among tiny, weak breakfast foods – would fit into the toaster perfectly. In a fit of naive optimism I thought things would work out for me. Surely this bagel will fit! I will just cut it up into multiple pieces and push the bagel down so as to fit it according to the confines of the space!!!

My dreams of toasty, bagel-y perfection would be destroyed, however. Or rather, set aflame and turned to ash and dust.

By smashing the bagel into the conveyor belt, I did indeed make the bagel smaller. Unfortunately, I was also ensuring that huge pieces of sticky bagel bread clung to the wiring of the conveyor. I had also cut the bagel up in an effort to ameliorate the toasting process, quite unaware that those very pieces would congeal into a mass of horror at the back of the toaster. This mass completely jammed the conveyor belt and stopped it from moving. At this point, the crumbs on the wiring caught fire.

I nervously attempted put the fire out while simultaneously attempting to remove the congealed bagel from the back of the toaster. Another guest, slightly bemused at my horror and unease at this growing inferno, blew out the flames. SUCCESS!

But no, there would be no success on this day.

The fires came back with a vengeance. At this point, I call over my aunt who smartly turns off the heat. But, the flames continued. Eventually, I flagged down a woman who worked at the hotel who put it out without much fuss. She tells me it happens all the time and that she “doesn’t want me to feel bad”.

I looked around, the smell of acrid smoke completely enveloping the downstairs main lobby, and stared back at her and said with a straight face, “Oh, I don’t feel bad.”

And I didn’t feel ‘bad’. That is not the correct word for the feelings I felt. “Shame”, “embarrassment”, and “horror” are more apt.

I misjudged a toaster, what else am I misjudging? Whose crumbs have I crushed onto toaster wiring? What friends have I set aflame in a rush of ill-judgment? We will never know.

- Daughter

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