Category Archives: living

Go Faster! Hurry! Outta My Way!

I lived in Southeast Alaska for 20 years, where there isn’t a rush hour, there are rush minutes.  It doesn’t take an hour to go 15 miles.  In fact, there were only 40 miles of road before you ran out of road where I lived.  Of those 40 miles only 9 could be considered a true highway, meaning two lanes in each direction.

Every day now that I live in the suburbs of a big city and work in The City, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my car going to and from work.  I spend a lifetime in my car.  It is the practice of patience.

Now, I love my car.  I brought my car with me from Alaska.  He’s been to Alaska.  He’s been to Florida.  Now he’s in Massachusetts.  He’s perfect for me.  I can see over the hood.  I can reach the pedals.  I can reach over and unlock the passenger door without effort. There’s not much to him.

In fact, he didn’t come with anything fancy…

No automatic door locks.

He has hand crank windows.

No radio (had to have one installed)

No beep beep to unlock him.

No rear window wiper.

No seat warmers, GPS or USB plugs.

What he does have is a great spunky attitude, cause his name is Norman and he is Absolutely Red.

How do I know he’s is a boy?

Stick shift.

Of course, when I take him into the doctor’s office for a check up, they always get a chuckle and laugh.  “Oh, you drive a unicorn.”  Well.  I guess you could say that too.  He is a rare, mythical being.

For a 3-door hatch back, that you could almost park in a 4 yard commercial dumpster, Norman gets around.  When we brought him up from Florida, he was packed with quite a lot of our household goodies.  Nobody could be believe all this fit in my Norman.

(Note: Cat not included, she arrived separately.)IMG_0312

The other thing great about Norman is winter driving.  Granted, he isn’t going to be climbing Mt. Washington any time soon, he’s not a Subaru…..let’s not get crazy.  But, weigh him down with 150 pounds of cat litter in the back and no problem!  Did I mention Norman is coming up on his 11th winter?  He’s the bomb at winter driving.  Small but mighty!

The one thing however, that is NOT Norman’s speciality is speed.  Well, it depends on where you live.  Speed for Alaska, Norman was a champion.  Speed for Miami we managed as it was mostly giant highways and we just had to stay out of the way.  Easy enough. Speed for Boston, there isn’t enough highway and way too many people.  Mostly angry, impatient people.

Norman can go 80mph.  In fact, he could go 90mph.  He doesn’t like it and will tell you all about it with a rattle and hum.  His comfortable maximum cruising speed is 70mph.

When Norman reaches 70mph, that’s when he has to call in the reinforcements.  The squirrels…. to back up the little chipmunks that normally power the car.  When you have to ring up the squirrels, it’s never a good thing cause they’re usually in the middle of their bocce ball game, taking bets on who is going to beat Marge and Harry.  Then you have to bribe them with extra peanuts, which they don’t take, they want walnuts and not just any walnuts…they want the good ones with the gold star from California.

Now here’s the thing driving in Boston.  It’s three to four lane highways.  It doesn’t matter if we’re going into The City for work, going home from work, going to the volunteer at the animal sanctuary on the weekends….Norman and I are smart enough to know.

Stay to the right.

We aren’t the fastest.  We’re not fooling anybody.   Can’t you see, I’m actually leaning forward in my seat a little to try and go faster?

I’ll be damned.

Without fail however.

It doesn’t matter.

I always get someone behind me.

A Lexus.

A Honda.

A (insert brand here) pick up truck.

A BMW.

A commercial van of sorts.

Who is insistent on riding my bumper.

Now this is what I alway say out loud.  “If you look to your left, there are three other lanes to choose from over there.  Look at all that space over there!  What makes you think by choosing to ride my ass, it’s going to make all of us go faster?  News flash….I’m in a Yaris.”

Then it dawned on me.  Apparently, Norman has magically powers.

Obviously these City people think Norman has The Power….maybe it’s because he’s a mythical Unicorn….but they think he has The Power….to control highway speed.

To date, my little Norman, the Absolutely Red Toyota Yaris, has yet to transform into a  Ferrari.  If he does, I’ll let you know.  Until then, we’ll continue to ride on the right….more power Marge and Harry!

 

 

 

 

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Drama of Apartment Hunting

We thought we might want to move into a new apartment.  Save some more money, move into a location that has more green area and basically go see what’s out in the wide world of Massachusetts apartments .  We’ve been in our current location for 3 years, but our rent keeps going up and it’s a bit absurd….so we thought we’d go look.

In reality, we miss thunderstorms.  Where we live now, we’re a weather vortex.  No thunderstorms.  Very little snow.  Notta.  In three years, I can count on one hand how many thunderclaps we’ve had here.  Everyone else gets them, but not us.  After studying the weather patterns, it’s obvious we need to move north or west.

So there you have it….the search is on for a thunderstorm location.

I have been using an online app that allowed me to filter by every requirement imaginable:

Location, cost, allowable pets, travel time to work, a/c in unit, how many bedrooms… etc.

On the weekend, we set off with a list of 6 apartments, we visited 5.  Came home with one potential.  Out of the others, the 6th location’s office was closed due to a showing and we waited but they didn’t return.  I was okay with this as one set of homies were hanging out in the back of a pick up truck and the another set of homies were having a party in the commons.  The other three, as you may guess, provided blog material that I couldn’t make up.

Let me walk you through the contestants.  Mind you, on the app, these looked like winners!  And yes, the communities have had their names changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent…so it appeared.

Contestant #1: Castle in the Woods.  Going north of town…the online description was lovely.  You could even rent units that had a turret!  I want a turret.  We arrived and proceeded to do our customary drive through the development.

All the buildings were set within a wooded development.  It was a very cute tudor style concept.  We drove around and around.  Kids playing in the pool.  Several areas for grilling with picnic tables.  A few people of various nationalities walking around the development.

We go to the office, explain our requirement:

  1.  Washer and dryer in the unit
  2.   Access to outside via balcony for The Girls
  3.   Air conditioning

Everything else we can kinda work around, but these are must haves, without question.  Without these, we don’t move forward.

We are then taken on a tour of an available 2 bedroom apartment. Great, one is available, so this is perfect, as looking at the model is never ideal.  As we make our way over to the unit, the manager tells us, “All 2 bedrooms with w/d are on the first floor.” By first floor, I mean, subterrain.  Yes, as in underground.  This defeats our number 2 requirement of, “we have to have a porch or balcony for The Girls.”

Huh.  Okay.  We proceed into the building where you could have popped open the “security door” with a screw driver.  Inside the apartment, the laminate floors were bubbling up and the musty/mildew smell hit you like the odor of strong blue cheese.  Not to mention the rotting wood on the outside of the building.

We inquire when the buildings were constructed.  1971.  Oh, so these are retro original designs?  Great.

Upon the conclusion of the tour, we get back into the car and I’m trying to be somewhat positive about the whole experience.  “Well it had a lot of cabinet space.  We could make the stackable washer and dryer work.”  The Mister looks at me after awhile and says, “It was a shit hole.”

Whew, what a relief, cause I didn’t want to live there.

Contestant #2: Fields of Fancy.  We next drive to the location,  west of the city, as I had found a cute little development that had HUGE balconies.  Perfect for The Girls.   The website mentioned newly renovated interiors and the property is next to a big state park!  Sounds perfect.

We make the 45 minute drive, from the northern apartment hunting locations and drive through the development for first inspections.  Several red lights begin to flash in my mind:

  • Some units have curtains that are sheets or blankets – not usually a good sign.
  • There’s also some screens on the ground and some rain gutters as well.  Warning sign number two in my book.

However, we drove all the way over, so it’s worth stopping in to at least check it out so we can say we saw them.

After a few minutes, we find the leasing office, park the car and make our way inside.

  • Warning sign number 3 shot through the air like a flare,  when we saw the note posted on the door indicating that access to the pool was an additional charge.  What?

We go inside anyway.

The leasing agent currently has someone at her desk and the resident is very upset.  The Mister and I try to give them some privacy, which is hard to do, when you’re standing in an office area as big as an elevator car.  Luckily they had a coffee area off to the side, so we made our way over there to view the floor plans that were posted on the wall.  The Mister proceeds to make a coffee and the conversation begins unfolding like a movie.

His concerns went something like this:

“If you don’t do something.  If something happens to my wife.   If something happens to my dogs.  I will sue this entire company.  I am calling the police!  I will bring ICE in here and haul out the illegals by the truck load!”

At this point, I look at THE Mister, shake my head and tell him NO.  He says, “I’m not going until I get my coffee.”

The resident continues, “My wife’s right bumper of her car has already been pulled off and there is a scratch on her car!  She is a legal resident of the United States.  I am going to sue this place if anything happens to her or our dogs.  I even spoke to the woman who lives downstairs and she’s happy I’m doing something because those guys in the car are nothing but trouble.  I will bring ICE in here!”

I give The Mister the look again. This is getting awkward.  We need to go before we become part of something.

Without looking back, we make our way to the door and exit.  The Mister, with his coffee in hand, of course.

We get to the car, The Mister advises, the coffee is nothing but dark colored water….and he dumps it out.

Obviously,  Fields of Fancy is a big nope.

Contestant #3: Welcome to Paradise. Another western development, that looked gorgeous online and was advertised as spacious homes was Welcome to Paradise.  All two bedrooms faced a green belt, it’s near the commuter rail, has granite kitchens, theatre room on site etc.  I truly thought, this could be a good possibility.

However, when we pulled up, we should have taken our cue when an unattended car, left in reverse, rolled into one of the employees’ cars….which rolled into a resident’s car….and dented the shit out of it.  But you know, accidents happen.

We were off to a great start.  They have limited 2 bedrooms come open due to their popularity – a good sign.  But they may have something when we are looking to move.  The agent advises she does have one unit open for viewing, A9, the new tenants are due to move in next week, so it’s currently vacant.  It’s the exact floor plan we’re interested in so we can quickly go view it.

Fantastic!  She advises, “since the last tenant has just moved out and the new ones have not yet moved in, we haven’t turned it yet, so it will be a little messy.”  By turning it, she means they haven’t had the professional cleaner come into the apartment yet to prep for the new tenants.  Not to worry, we won’t care.

The three of us head over to the building next door and head up to the 9th floor to see the unit.  It’s like going to a fancy hotel.  Very she-she.  You walk into the main lobby and they have a big round reception table with flowers and then a bank of elevators behind that.  On the 9th floor, we get off and step on plush carpet and the walls are a beige and royal blue color – very nicely chosen.  I think, I could do this.  Very nice.

Once at A9, the agent knocks on the door, just to make sure and then inserts the key.  She opens the door and the first thing that catches our eye is a Whole Foods shopping bag.

?

She opens the door a bit more and yells out, “Hello?!  Welcome to Paradise management, is anyone here?”

She opens the door a bit further and we see several pairs of shoes and flip flops and an areas obviously set up for a baby.

?

Then a voice comes from the back of the apartment, “Yes?”

The agent says, “I’m with Welcome to Paradise management, is it okay if we enter?”

The voice and now person, who is a young man…with baby crying in a bedroom in the back somewhere says “Yes.”

I look at The Mister and think, “SQUATTERS!”   Then I take a step back and think, “We aren’t really going to go in are we?”

Next thing I know the agent it going in and apparently so are we.

OMG.

The previously tenants very obviously had NOT moved out at the end of their lease, 3 days ago.  This gentleman had apparently been sleeping, by the looks of it and was caught completely off guard.

Not to mention, so are we!

Here we were standing in his hallway as the agent explained the layout of the apartment.

All I could think was:

  1.  I’ve never seen so many pots and pans in my life piled up in a kitchen.
  2. I don’t know what to say.
  3. I don’t even know where to look.
  4. Could the earth open up and swallow me?

We get past the pot & pan collection center, to the living room area and all I could utter was, “it’s remarkable how spacious it appears.”  Then I wandered over to the sliding glass door to look outside.  Yep, there’s trees out there.

At that point, the agent advised we wouldn’t be seeing the bedrooms.  Heavens no, I thought.  This poor man is about to have a coronary right here on the spot.

We all thank him and go back to the hall.  She locks the door and then we all look at each other, “Well that was awkward.”

While I can’t say that our apartment hunting was a failure, it gave us some great stories and we found one possibility up north!  Most people would only be lucky enough to experience just ONE of these experiences on an apartment hunting mission.  Leave it to us…..we get multiples.

I’m almost afraid as to what will happen the next time we go in search of our next nest.  We are creating the next list, stand by.

 

 

 

 

Would You Rather….Nope.

Everyone.  And I do mean everyone, has something that makes their stomach roll.

Something that really gets your goose.

Makes your stomach lurch.

Lord have mercy, I’ll do anything but that….

It’s your, “Would you rather….” kind of moment.

When people have this discussion, the talk can turn into the ridiculous and gross.  You know what I am talking about, we’ve all been in those drunken bar talks….”Would you rather eat shit or drink piss?”  or the typical “Would you rather bungee jump or play chicken with a train?”  or the oh so dull, “Would you rather eat a cricket or a roach?”

What I’m referring to are the oddities in our lives, that to others are absolutely normal.

Example number 1: Down the street from our house are two large Asian grocery stores.  We ventured through the first one and after wandering up and down the aisles purchased a large amount of fruits and veggies.  Next we went across the street to the competition, to check out their set up and see if they had anything different.

While we checked out the produce section, my better half motions for me to come over to the fresh fish counter to see something.  I head his direction and he points to something in a large basket.  I look down and there are about 7 enormous bull frogs sitting there looking up at me.

I don’t know.  There could have been 4 frogs.  There could have been 12 frogs.  There could have been one frog.  Doesn’t matter.  I’m terrified of frogs. All I know is they were huge, like the size of basketballs.  They were dark green.  And they were ready to jump.  Of course, I would too, if I was in a basket for sale in a market…

I ran away so fast, my feet didn’t touch the ground.   I ran straight across the produce department.  Down past the paper products.  Down past the noodles.  Stopping in hot sauce.

Frogs scare me.  Big frogs.  Little frogs.  Green frogs.  Yellow frogs.  All frogs.

I haven’t been back to the store since.

Example number 2:  Every day walking into the office I pull open the front door to the building and the handle is sticky.  Why?  I’m going to come down there with my Clorox wipe and clean off the handle, but in the meantime….how did the handle get sticky exactly?

And when did it become a public disgust to touch the public bathroom door handle to exit?  Did Ralph Nadar do a report on handle germs?  Now there’s usually a trash can immediately next to the bathroom door to capture the paper towels that may or may not make it to the can upon doing their final duty of being a door grip.

And if there isn’t a trash can, people just throw the towel on the floor anyway.

Here’s the thing though…how many people are using toilet paper to actually OPEN THE STALL DOOR?  You want to talk dirty handle?  There’s the dirty handle, people!

SIDE NOTE:  If you didn’t know already, women’s restrooms are disgusting. Filthy.  I’m not kidding.  Don’t let women fool you.

Example number 3:  Traveling or hanging around in packs of people leads to one thing.  Sharing things.  I’m not good with sharing things.  There’s a reason I opted to come into this world as an Only Child.  I don’t play well with others.  Unfortunately, sometimes things get shared whether you want to or not.  It starts at a young age and continues through life.

Two words.

Lice.

Scabies.

Count my lucky stars I’ve had neither.

Although, I am pretty certain if I had either, I’d be trying to figure out how to apply said banishing cream with wood spoons while administering vast amounts of Vodka.

When you’re a kid and someone gets lice, everyone puts their coats and book bags in trash bags at school before putting them into the coat closet.  Not sure if that how it works today.  But in the “olden” days that’s what we did.  Then you go home and have your parents check your head for the lice and pray to the heavens you don’t have any.

When you get older, you can get scabies.  So here’s the thing.  You can’t put your coat in a trash bag in the coat closet, cause you own the coat closet.  And the living room.  And the bedroom.  And the kitchen.  And the bathroom.  What the hell?  The only thing I can think is one of two things.

  1. Torch the place and start over.
  2. Seal it up and bomb it with a scabby bomb.

I mean really, what are your options?  I don’t know where you get scabies.  I don’t want to know but it sounds like an version of Aliens and well, that movie scared me.  When we went to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, that was the one haunted house that scared the hell out of me.  Damn aliens.

Another group shareable….pink eye.  I have had Pink Eye, in both eyes at the same time, and that was about one of the most disgusting things ever.  Crusty, slimy, yellow, oozing, sticky and blurry experiences ever.  Nasty.  Nasty.  Nasty.  Sick.  Not to mention, it was one of my “more un-cute” weeks at work.

I don’t like sharing.

Example number 4:  Moving ahead, there are definite things where it may not turn your stomach, but it does for others.  Like Mothers can wipe their baby’s butt no problem.

I have a 20 pound fat cat, who sometimes has fat flaps on her ass, if we don’t monitor her diet.  Yes.  She has these little peanut sized fat flaps on her ass, where shit accumulates.  Her ass needs to be cleaned.  I can clean her ass.  If I don’t, she gets cat diaper rash.  Some folks may have an issue with that.  Not me.  Time to wipe your butt, Wiggly.

Mucking out farm animal barn stalls….I got that.  Cow, pig, goat, sheep, chicken, turkey manure….check…got that covered.  No problem.  There are days when there is nothing I’d rather do more than shovel poop.

Bodily fluids aren’t fun. Even your own.  If you have ever had the Norwalk virus, AKA Norovirus you know what I mean.  Tends to hit large packs of people.  Schools get it, the traveling public get it.  I got it.  The problem with it is you can’t keep anything down – not a sip of water, for days.  One sip of water and you’re in the bathroom going in circles trying to decide if its coming out your ass or your throat first.  In the end you’re on the toilet holding the trash can on your lap.

Example number 5:  A friend of ours was house sitting, which is very common in Alaska.  The house came with a cat named Simon.  Apparently, while Simon loved his owner, he was not a fan of anyone else.  Simon, from the photos I had seen, was a lovely long haired ginger.  Just lovely except his eyes were glowing, but I chalked that up to the camera and reflection of the flash.

His house sitter thought otherwise as Simon had her cornered on the stairs on day and made her late for work, by several hours if I’m not mistaken.

Long story short….it was known Simon had a few matts of hair that needed to come out.

It was a challenge.  I accepted the challenge.

Enter….the Cat Whisperer.

With brush in hand.  I walked the house looking for Simon.  Everyone was certain I would be wearing an eye patch by the end of the evening, like Captain Sparrow, if not a peg leg to boot.

Upstairs under the bed – no Simon.

Behind the couch – no Simon.

Curtains – no Simon.

Tension, filled the house as you could hear him growling from his mysterious hiding location.

I sat on the floor in the living room and ever so slowly….here came Simon from across the room.  Lured by the international cat sign for “come here kitty.”  He climbed into my lap and after a few moments, I brought out the brush.  Shocking to everyone, brushed out the two large mats around his neck and happily Simon continued on his way.

Same with our wild turkeys.  Many say, “they’ll kill you!”  And I simply say, “It’s all in how you present yourself.”  If you put out you’re terrified, they know.  We’ve have a group of 40 wild turkeys surround us and they’ve been nothing but gentle and kind.

However, put me next to a lama and I will go the other way!  Shifty eyes…and they’re taller than me.  Not to mention they seemingly like to follow me.

Example number 6: Thank god for doctors and nurses.  Now there’s a bunch of jobs I couldn’t do.  Maybe it’s because you have to be a touchy person and I’m not touchy.  Maybe it’s because you have to like body parts and well, I don’t need to be about your feet or your ya-ya or bend you into various shapes to fix your spine, or continue to ask if A is clearer or B?  One word – dentist.  Nope.

Being a doctor is a special breed of person.  Patience, lots of patience.  Apparently when I saw the line in heaven for patience, because I have bad eyesight, I thought it said PATENTS and didn’t get in line for any.  Therefore, I have none.  Hence, being a doctor or nurse was not an option for me.  But I’m very thankful for all of those folks who saw the sign and got in line.

So you see, everyone has something they think twice about and would rather not encounter.  Think about all the possibilities.  Here’s just a short list to get you started:

  • eating off of public utensils.
  • trying on bathing suits – really how many others have tried on that same one
  • rotten fruit
  • bird loose in your house
  • limp, lame, sweaty handshakes
  • pop a zit
  • greasy head prints on the subway windows
  • green snot
  • food spitters, and I’m not talking babies
  • hair in your food (pet hair, your hair, stranger hair, any hair)
  • spider on your toilet paper roll – surprise
  • someone sneezes into their hand then extends it for a handshake
  • a dentist with bad breath
  • the constant cougher next to you on the plane
  • when your better half asks, “does this make me look fat?”

Yet there are folks every day that go out and face our fears head on, challenge our stomach rolling, rather not do that moments and attack them with a gleeful smile.  To them, it’s normal.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It’s life.  Go forward brave souls, we all have our moments.

 

 

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Don’t be a Dick

Yep.

That sums it up.

Number one rule in life:  Don’t be a dick.

How difficult is that?

Apparently, it would be easier to count the grains of sand in an ant hill. Even counting the grains in a fire ant hill would be easier I’m thinking.

Shoot, taking a gallon of ocean water, waiting for it to evaporate and then counting any sea salt grains would be easier….than trying not to be a dick in to day’s world.

Being a dick, it seems, is second nature for nearly everyone.  Whew, now isn’t that a relief.  Except for those of us who aren’t a dick, then we’re annoyed as hell with you.

The problem it seems, stems from a singular mentality:

It’s all about me.  Me. Me. Me. Me.  It’s all about me.  Got it?  M.E.

Seriously.

Take driving for example.

It doesn’t matter if you are going 3 blocks to the grocery store or 15 miles to work or 100 miles for vacation.  Go the speed limit, go over the speed limit or drive in the far right lane of a 4 lane highway ….  it still doesn’t matter.  There are Dicks to be found.

Everyone has one thing on their mind – themselves.

Some days driving home after work,  it’s the driver game of Survivor.  It’s all about ME.  No, no, no…..really.  By all means.  Please.  Go ahead.  I was at the four way stop before you, but please, don’t wait your turn.  I’m sorry, yes, go ahead and run the red light.  Yes, you should definitely honk your horn as soon as the light turns green because the four cars in front of you obviously can’t get through the light fast enough.  I love it when you cut me off to turn left….From. The. Right. Hand. Lane.   If you could tailgate me, that would really make my day.   Since all of the traffic is doing 12 mph, you trying to climb my fender just makes so much more satisfying.  I like being able to see my bumperstickers in your grill.

All this before I even get out of the city!

Society has created a demand for instant gratification.  Everything NOW.  Impatience is rampant.  Common courtesy  has gone the way of common sense – right out the window.

Go to the grocery store and people will run you over with their cart.  Think they’re going to share the aisle with you?  Not a snowball’s chance in hell.  It’s all about me and I own this aisle, go get your own aisle, bitch.  Forever gone are the excuse me and pardon me moments that used to follow the moment you shoved aside someone to reach the ketchup on the top shelf.

If you come across a shopping carriage blocking the aisle, you have a decision to make.  Do you move it?  Do you wait impatiently?  Moving it causes the owner of said cart immediately to glare at you as if you were attempting to make off with her carriage full of Double Stuffed Oreos, iceberg lettuce, bananas, single-ply butt wipe, Rocky Road ice cream and Captain Crunch cereal.  If you stand there impatiently waiting, chances are she will continue to ponder for eternity which brand of ranch salad dressing to purchase….Hidden Valley or Grocery De-lite.

I’m not asking to see your license and registration.  I’m asking you to share the space and move the hell over.  Oh but wait, it’s all about Me.  That’s right.

In produce, people can’t wait for you to get out of their way so they can get their pick of the oranges, apples, grapes and bananas.  There are only so many times someone can swish open their plastic bag ….I get the hint, but you can wait your turn.  It’s called patience.   Give me 30 seconds, I will be out of your way.  However you never see them at the pineapple, starfruit, coconut, plantains, dragon fruit and kiwis….all those exotic and sassy fruits.  Instead, they’re busy thumping watermelons and squeezing cantaloupes.  I’m thinking I may take up the exotics next time….I could be on to something here.

Walking down the city sidewalk.  It’s the Wild Wild West.  Too busy on the idiot box, which used to be the TV and now are the damn cell phones.  People can’t get off them.  It’s as addictive as crack.  In the next 50 years, babies will probably be born with necks already bent to watch the idiot box perfectly in their hands.  Put it down and pay attention people.  But no. Nobody is paying attention to the world around them, regardless of the phone or not.  It’s all about them.  It’s the Me Bubble.

Side Note: My observation about the cell phone.  People are too damn busy taking photos  about the moment they’re in, so they can have a “look at me moment” to put on social media.  They’re missing being in the moment.

 

Living in the world of NOW,  patience level is nonexistent. Patience has gone the way of drive-in movies, tv dinners in tinfoil trays with the yummy apples for dessert, riding bikes without helmets, metallic wallpaper patterns, roller skates & roller rinks and Tupperware parties.

It doesn’t matter if you work in an office, school, medical center, factory, scientific institute, art and design establishment, recycling center or transportation industry.

There are days at work, when you think to yourself….

  • I’m going to have to lock myself in the bathroom and beat my head against the wall before I  loose my mind.
  • If I wander away, would anyone notice?
  • How much longer until 5:00PM?
  • Did I really sign up for this?
  • Who the hell are these people? They’re crazy!
  • Other duties as assigned?  Are you fucking kidding me?

I’m right…..I know.

It’s funny cause most of us are in the same boat.  Ask anyone.

We should all be living our dream, but chances are we’re grinding it out trying to get to our dreams.  In the meanwhile, we’re all trying to run each other down on the highways. Or run each other over in the grocery aisles.  Better yet, trying to knock one another out at work on various levels.

We live in a singular world.  It’s all about me.  I have to be first.  First in line.  First through the door.  First through the light.  First with the photo.  First to park.  Look at me.  Look at me go.  Get out of my way.  It’s all about me.  Me.  Me.  Me.  Me. Grocery, shopping mall, book store, coffee shop, hair salon, gas station, highway, etc.

Well, hair salons are different.  There, you are being sized up.  Women come in looking like they have just been rolled out of the bushes by some raccoon when they show up…hair is every which way, sweat pants and oversized shirts.  Or the yoga pants and they’re obviously not doing any yoga.  That’s a whole other blog.  What’s with the stretch pants?  Don’t get me started….

Fast forward a few hours, by the time ladies are ready to leave the salon,  they depart acting like they are in a Pantene shampoo commercial.  Every other woman waiting her turn to see her stylist is sizing her up as she leaves….seriously.  Better do the hair flip and make it look good. Or what’s the shampoo commercial where the woman washes her hair in the airplane bathroom and acts like she had an orgasmic experience? (Of course, on several airlines now she’d probably be charged a fee for that and then arrested.  Or she might be asked to do a show, who the hell knows anymore.)

The other place you don’t see people trying to run you over with the piss-headed idiot syndrome is the liquor store.  Honest.  Next time you go in, look at how polite everyone is to each other.  They know.  They get it.  You are just grinding away the daily work life.  The liquor store is almost like a therapy session.

“What you need?”

“We have a sale – two for one.”

“Have a good one.”

Is there any doubt why some states have liquor warehouses?

I think not.

 

 

Roadway Droppings

Depending on commute time, you can spend a lot of time in your car each day.

Probably a third of life is spent in the car.

Sure, cities say, help the environment….carpool.  What about my mental health?  Carpooling does nothing to help that precious, limited environment.  Who wants to be stuck in a box with a random bunch of strangers with odd habits?

  • Mouth breather
  • Teeth sucker
  • Strange body odor, that you can’t quite figure out
  • Constant talker
  • One upper/know it all/celebrity in their own mind
  • Nose picker/sniffler/throat clearer
  • Continual noise creator: singer, whistler, chatter…anything to fill the silence
  • Cell phone communicator on YELL volume tendency
  • The Convertor to my way of ……fill in the blank for whatever belief.
  • Just to name a few….

Having to go to work on a Monday is annoyance enough, thanks.

There we all are, thousands of us, shuffling along the highway, heading to our cubicles and walls of importance.

Sigh.

Side note: Whoever invented the actual cupholder for the car, rather than the plastic clip you put into the window lip, was a genius.  How many years filled with hot coffee crotches did it take for them to figure that out?

Our car is a little metal box of comfort.  We can reflect on the day’s list of events, review talking points for the upcoming meeting, ponder what the hell that dream meant last night, sing at the top of our lungs, talk to ourselves about the idiocy of our boss/wife/husband/sibling/friend or yell back at the talk radio commentary.  It’s similar to a therapy session crossed with a UFC match blended with a PBS documentary on daily life.  Fascinating and nobody gives a rip.

As you sit in traffic, it gives you time to reflect on the beauty that surrounds you.

Including the garbage. Plastic bags, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, garage sale signs, rope, wood slats, tarps, traffic cones and random bits of junk.  Then there’s the odd balls.

Car batteries and appliances.  Obviously, they’ve been dumped.  Easy to imagine a pick up truck slowing down on the highway in the cover of night and dark clothed individual in the back….quickly pushing the items off the back.

TVs are in the same category.  This is especially true if you come along a stretch of highway where they are plentiful.  There’s one stretch in the desert near my mom’s house and it’s littered with car batteries and TVs.  Like cactus.  It’s interesting.  When you drive through, you count to see if more have arrived.  Did they come on the last bus?  What flight just arrived?  I swear last time there were only four in that cluster, now there’s six.  Are they multiplying on purpose?

Seat cushions and dresser drawers.  Now those are poopers to loose.  They’re part of a set.  Did they fly out of the back of a truck on moving day? Are you going to drive back through where you came from and look for them?  What if you were moving across country?  Kinda hard to explain mixing and matching your seat cushions or dresser drawers.  Not like you can buy them in aisle 4 of Home Depot.  And what if it starts raining?  Or someone runs over your seat cushion?  Total failure at that point.  Might as well keep on going.  Guess you’re getting a new sofa.

Mattresses are a different story.  They could be dropped on purpose, to avoid the dump charge.  Or perhaps, they simply gave out.  Their flying engine booster cable expired and they simply fell from the sky.  Their magical genie was able to continue to on to safety, however the flying….oh wait….I was thinking of a flying carpet.   Never mind.

Have you ever noticed the amount of shoes you see on the road?  Last night a single slipper.  Tan with fake fleece lining. Lots of shoes.  It’s amazing.  Always only one.  What are people doing?  Taking their shoes off in the car and throwing them out the windows?  I HATE YOU SHOE!  You would think they’re going to need that shoe.  Sometimes you see the shoe-mate a few miles further down the road.  At least, if you needed a pair of shoes you could stop and pick them up.  Could be your size.

Speaking of shoes….what about socks? I saw one the other day along the road.  It was navy blue.  Mid-calf height.  Now why would a sock be on the side of the road?  Seriously.  Who is taking their socks off on the highway?  Last time I checked, the deer weren’t wearing socks.

Then there are the toys.  Tragic.  I imagine some kid thinking their stuffed friend wants to smell the air as they zip down the highway.  And poof.  Out the window they go.  Or perhaps the stuffed friend had been rescued by a community refuse receptacle displacementologist, who had strapped them to the grill of their vehicle.  Sadly, the stuffed friend could no longer endure the intake of bugs or simply had enough motion sickness and decided to jump off. Laying along the roadway was a better life than speeding along at the blur of a Concord.

I confess, this year, I lost an antler going down the highway.  Yep. An antler.  Norman, my little car lost an antler.  Completely forgot to tape down his magical reindeer antlers to the windows and when I opened it a crack for air off it went.  For a brief moment, since we were in the standard standstill “practice your patience” traffic, I did ponder stopping to pick it up but thought better of it.  So for the day, Norman was a unicorn.

Hands down, the strangest thing I have ever found along the roadway?

A set of dentures.

 

Airline Rodeo

I don’t get it.

We’ve all been there.

Yet it’s mind boggling.  It makes no sense.

None.

Airplane boarding.

Airplane de-boarding.

Let’s reflect, here at gate D-47.

There’s 15 minutes until boarding time, plenty of time to grab a coffee, visit the restroom, buy a newspaper, down a few shots of Jagermeister, make a phone call, snag a sandwich and some snacks for the flight but no.

Already passengers are lining up at the start of the catwalk entrance for the airplane.

Seriously.

The airline representative at the gate announces over the loudspeaker:

In a few minutes, we will begin the boarding process.  Please take note of your seat assignment and board when your row is called.

****

Right.  Like this actually matters.

Watch out, you’re about to get trampled!  Everyone and their brother pushes forward towards the gate.

Bags are hefted on to shoulders.

Pulley suitcases are squared up behind,  wheels double checked for quick launch and shoes scuffed against flooring, like bulls in tauromachia,  to ensure successful dodging of all slow pokes ahead.

Also remember at this time, your carryon bag must fit in the overhead compartment.  If it doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment, we are happy to gate check it for you.  (Side note: or just try and ram it into the overhead compartment while everyone watches while silently cursing you….as you are delaying the flight.. and see who wins, you or the Boeing 747)

****

Ladies and gentleman thank you for flying with Vexatious Airlines.  We are now going to begin boarding.

So begins the litany of prequalified fliers who are oh so savvy and much more dignified than you to actually BEGIN the boarding process:

First Class passengers.

Global Platinum Card Members  / Vexatious Advantage Shakers and Movers Members

Global Silver Card Members / Vexatious Advantage Unique Personality Members

Global Business Card Members / Vexatious Advantage Mediocre Members

*****

At this point you look around and a third of the gate has boarded the airplane.

Thank you for your patience.  We would like to continue boarding with our Vexatious Advantage Members who have reached Movie Star Status.

Those fliers who have reached Vexatious Advantage Soap Star Status, please board the plane now.

Thank you for your patience, our guests who have reached Vexatious Advantage Aim for the Stars Coupon Book Status please come down the catwalk.

*****

Another third have disappeared towards the plane.  Huh.

Welcome aboard to our Cat Lover Club

Welcome aboard to our Dog Lover Club

At this time, thank you for waiting, we would like to welcome aboard those guests who had tickets to the original Woodstock.  Those of you who had tickets to a Farm Aid concert, your time to board will be coming up, please wait for your announcement. 

Members of the press, we would like to offer you this time to board.

Families traveling with small children, or those who need extra assistance when boarding, you may board at this time.  If you need extra assistance, we hope you brought someone with you for that assistance.  If you are traveling with an emotional support pet please wait until you are called for boarding. 

Uniformed military personal, you can board at this time.  We thank you for your service.

Thank you for your patience, those who are too attached to their electronic devices to pay any attention to these announcements, we invite you to board at this time.   You aren’t listening anyway.

Prima donnas please board at this time and anyone who thinks they are all that, but aren’t even the pickle on the plate, please board at this time because you aren’t listening to any directions anyway because you think it’s all about you anyway.  

Our guests who are traveling with emotional support pets, including but not limited to: Golden Retrievers, teacup chihuahuas  himalayan cats, ferrets, ducks, teacup pigs, pygmy donkeys, ferrets, camels, spider monkeys, albino lizards, wallabies, hamsters, turkeys, porcupines, rabbits.

Farm Aid ticket holders, you are welcome to board at this time.

****

You look around and only a handful of people remain.

At this time we would like to begin general boarding beginning with the back of the plane. For those guests in row 35 – 20 please board now.  Oh, forget it.  There’s only 6 of you left, please figure it out and board now.  

 

****

Everyone is so anxious to get on the plane, they can’t hardly stand it.  It’s all about pushing and shoving. And for what exactly?

To be cramped in a tiny seat, with no leg room, shared armrests, crawling with bacteria and if you are damn lucky….your seat mates won’t be chatty. The toilets smell, unless bless the hearts of your flight crew (Who, by the way, have one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs in the entire world.  I thank them for all they do to make our journeys the easiest and most enjoyable they can.) have put a bag of coffee in the tiny little lavatory to absorb the piss-o-roma fragrance.

P.S.  Note, I don’t care about your kids, grandkids, your job, where you live or what book you’re reading or where you’re going. I don’t like to fly.  I only do it because it’s the quickest way to get there and I’m a little claustrophobic so please, leave me alone. I simply get into my seat, wipe everything down with my Clorox wipes, put in my earplugs and do my best to tune everything out.

As the fliers race down the gate catwalk,  waving their boarding pass in hand to be scanned, their magical entrance to the airplane granted and approved…quickly scurry beyond the doorway down the jetway.

Only. To. Be. Halted. 40 people back on the jetway.

Que the evil laugh.

They can’t wait to get out of the boarding area.  One of the privileged few.  Look at me.  See you suckers.  I’m outta here.  Yeah, well….guess what.

Here we all are.

Waiting.

In the jetway.

Aren’t you precious?

Let me grab my eyeballs before they roll out onto the tarmac.

Jackass.

You go from one waiting area to the next.  Why the rush?

Everyone gets on the plane.  No need to shove and sigh and huff and puff.

Bags stowed and we get into the air.

Eureka!

*****

For as absurdly impatient everyone was to get on the damn plane, it’s as if they had no idea everyone was expected to actually get off the plane upon arrival at the destination.

The plane lands, sometimes to the sound of applause…and arrives at the gate.

Passengers excitedly leap out of seats and annoyingly tap fingers and roll their eyes….annoyed we aren’t moving faster to get off the silver bullet.

Somewhere from the time we left the last departure lounge, to the time we arrived at the new gate…..the hundreds of passengers on this plane have had a mind fart.  Where has all the urgency gone?

Suddenly nobody can find their bags.  Where’s my glasses?  Where’s my book?  Where’s my chapstick?  Did I have a jacket?  Did I bring a water bottle?  What about the cell phone?  What gate are we going to?  I can’t find my shoes!  Is this my suitcase?  This isn’t my bag!  Where’s my husband?  What city is this?  Oh I’m not getting off here.  Can you help me close this zipper?

The circulating air has made everyone slow and stupid.  People who couldn’t get on the plane fast enough suddenly have spent the last 10 minutes, or longer taxinging from the runway to the gate picking their nose and pondering how daises grow rather than gathering their shit up from their seat and organizing their departure!

Fuck people – if you would pull yourselves together we could all get off the damn plane faster.  You idiots were so concerned about getting on first.  It’s all about me. ME. ME. ME FIRST. FIRST. FIRST.  However when we land, it’s like you’ve lost your mind.

Snap out of it and focus.  You are holding the rest of us up.  From the time the pilot said we have begun the 20 minute decent for landing, the smart ones started packing up.  Plan ahead folks….for arrival….not just the departure.  It works both ways.

Be smart.  Travel smart. Get out of my way.

 

 

 

 

 

Relax – Can’t Do It!

Here’s the thing.  I know it’s Easter and this post should probably, if I were politically correct, to be about Jesus’ rising from the dead.

It’s not.

Rather, it’s about my massage.

A few weeks ago, I set up a make shift standing desk at work, to help eliminate some of my back pain as I can’t sit all day long.  Complete with empty boxes, reams of copier paper and old ship awards….it dawned on me.  I need a massage.

My back had been driving me crazy.  Like a third arm was trying to make it’s way out of the right side of my lower back.  It’s that damn spinal erector set muscle. Of course, if I grew an arm out of my back…literally having an arm behind your back, might be beneficial.  I don’t know of anyone who does, but it’s hard to say.  It would be good for back scratching I suppose.  And washing the back.  And maybe a back rub.  I’d rather have eyes behind my head.

The usual practice for me was to use a gadget from Brookstone called the iNeed pillow.  Four little balls go round and round.  I lean into that thing like a buffalo during a dust storm on the high plains.   Complete with the knot in my back passing over the balls like a buffalo stomping his foot to maintain an upright position.

Thump……thump…….thump……..thump…….thump.

Ahhhhh relief.  Sweet creator of the iNeed, I have relief.  Lord have mercy.

Thump……thump…….thump……..thump…….thump.

The problem doesn’t show up until the next morning when I get out of bed, stretch and think….WHAT THE HELL!  WHY IS MY BACK BRUISED? Ouch.  Ouch.  What did I do?  Then it dawns on me….I over did the iNeed.

But I really NEEDED it and NEEDED it.

Damn.

So I take a couple of weeks off from the iNeed and think to myself, I’ll go for a massage now that I can sanely touch my back without wincing from the over enthusiastic relief received from the iNeed.

One of the guys at work was talking about the massage plan at a local place and it sounded pretty good.  So I made an appointment and signed up for a massage on Saturday – let’s see what they’ve got.

My therapist was…..let’s go with Julie.  We talk about my pain, yatta, yatta and she explains how she has all these certifications and licenses in different areas and her focus is to  “work the connective tissues.”  I am keeping my fingers crossed this isn’t going to be a Rolfing session, which I’ve experienced and the Rolfing series nearly killed me.

She tells me to lay face up as she starts with reflexology first.  THAT sends me over the moon, as I love having my feet rubbed.  This is going to be great I think.  I can’t wait to fall asleep on the table.

I quickly undressed and climb under the covers where the heating pad was already warming up the bed.  She comes back in and we begin.

Rubbing my calve.  Rubbing my shin.  Rubbing my calve.  Rubbing my shin. Digging into my calve, along the shin bone.  Digging in around my ankles.  Focusing on the ankles.  Rubbing the calve.  Digging into the left side of the calve.  Digging into the right side.  This goes on for a good 7 minutes.  I’m mentally sending into the Universe; “Foot please.  Massage the foot.  Foot.  Foot.  Foot.  Foot.”  Suddenly she thumps the bottom of my foot and proceeds to the other leg.

Same routine.

I’m laying there thinking, “when does reflexology mean shins and calves?  It’s feet.”

It didn’t matter cause it still felt really good and I fell asleep for a minute.  I drifted off and started to dream about our cat Monkey.  Imagine my surprise when I jerked awake and for a brief second couldn’t remember where the hell I was.

Dark room with amber colored light and asian music playing.  WTF?

Of course, the other thing I’ve come to realize about going for a massage is, they need to make these rooms bigger.  You’re there to relax, destress, get your connective tissue back in line – and being jostled by the therapist moving the stool around doesn’t work.

You’re in the zen zone and then bump, shake, shake, scuffle, screech.  Don’t worry, just the therapist moving the stool around to work on your head.  Awesome.

The other part of my personality is I’m not a touchy feel person.  Never have been and don’t anticipate I ever will be.  Nothing against anyone.  I’m not a toucher.   Even public transportation is difficult for me due to limited personal space.  It’s just me.

I like wearing an imaginary hula-hoop.  Please stay outside that hoop unless I invite you into the trusted ring of space.  Very few people get an invitation.  Those of you that have, know who you are and don’t press their luck with the personal space thing.  I thank you for that.

Julie begins to work on my neck and shoulders, while I’m still face up.  Deep breath in….and OOOOOOUUUUUUUUUTTTTTT.  Okay.  Then she is breathing with me.  OUUUUT.  Breathing on me.  On my face.  OUUUT.

Oh lord.  This doesn’t work for me.

OOUUTT.

Going to my happy place.  Small fuzzy animals.  Snuggly little critters.  Happy.  Happy. Happy.

OOOUUUUT.

Well, at least she had minty breath.  Could have been worse.

Next it’s time to flip over to my stomach.  Safe zone!  Thank you!

Fine.  Here we go with the back.  Finally.

Then what’s that sound?  Rumble, rumble.  Rattle.  It continues.  It’s metal and something moving around.  Not a laundry machine.  No a cart going down the hallway.

Rumble.  Slide.  Shake.

Sounds like the air duct.  It’s just the air duct vent.  I’m sure of it.  I forget about it for a while.  Then it’s back.

Sounds now like something scraping against metal.  Whirling against metal.  Scampering against metal.

Dear heavens above, so help me if an animal comes shooting out of the air duct like some act on America’s Got Talent where they’re shot out of a cannon.  Now, as Julie massages the connective tissue in my back, with her elbow….all I can imagine is what the hell that noise is that is actually competing with the gentle spa music.

Could be an animal in the duct.

Could be workers upstairs.

Could be Mission Impossible Agent taking photos of Julie cause she’s wanted by the CIA.

Could be the air vent.

Could be someone in the hall doing something with a metal bookcase – like dancing with it.

Could be an animal in the duct.

Could be an artist studio upstairs and they’re working with a buzz saw.

Could be an animal in the duct….pretending to be a Mission Impossible Agent.

.

.

.

.

I don’t ask and I don’t want to know.  Julie doesn’t seem concerned, so neither am I, except I am pretty sure there could be an animal trapped up there in the duct.

FLASH BACK:  Years ago, when I lived in Seattle, I knew a bird managed to fall into our bathroom vent.  You know, the one you turn on when taking a shower, so it makes noise like it’s removing steam…but it doesn’t really?

Nobody believed me.  Finally.  I had to get maintenance to come in and look – as I was certain.  Yep.  There was a bird.  Told you it smelled like chicken

RETURN:

By the end of the massage the Secret Agent Critter in the air duct has gone away and I’m unable to ask about the noise.   Darn it.  However,  I did sign up for the massage plan.   I’ll see her again in two weeks….reflexology here I come….cue the Mission Impossible music.