Category Archives: reality

Don’t Let the Cobwebs Gather in Your Elbows

Juneau, Alaska. Check.

Miami, Florida. Check.

Boston, Massachusetts. Check.

Restart…

“We want you both to come work for us.” That’s how the story began.

Girls, pack your cat nip. We’re going back to Alaska. Someone hit the reset button.

Sometimes, it takes you six years to figure out what you prefer in life. Sometimes you take wrong exits off the highway before you figure out your GPS has given you faulty directions and you have to get back on the highway. And sometimes, you have to go out there and see other places so you can extend your family and have more experiences in life.

We’re Off…Like Cats Looking for the Open Can of Tuna!

Once we fired off the confetti cannon and made our decision to go, we quickly packed up our three furry kids, dropped off the two lizards to the nieces and selected some creature comforts to get us through a couple of months of Alaska living. We will be back to Boston in November to remote work and pack up our house, then go back to Alaska in March for the next summer season.

Packing for a second household is interesting. Which garlic crusher do you take? What about cutting boards, one or three? Are we going to need the blender? Better take the mini food processor. Do you think we should take the Learn Spanish DVDs so we have something to do? How many pairs of jeans are you taking? Don’t forget the favorite cat toys. And whatever happens, don’t forget the cat treats. Better pack a Keurig and a bubbler (Sodastream, as I love my bubbly water.)

One would think, if you forgot something, just go to the store when you get there. Right? That’s the thought of 99% of everyone who is traveling to new locations. Except where we’re going, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

We’ll be spending most of our year in Hoonah, Alaska. Population 750 give or take. About 3 miles of paved road and 150 miles of dirt logging roads. Ever see that show, “Alaska Bush People” back when they were in Alaska? Yeah, well, they lived in Hoonah. And no, they were not really living in the wilderness. Talk about fake news.

Hoonah is the largest Tlingit community in Alaska and is located on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska. It’s about 40 miles west of Juneau or a 20 minute flight. It also has the largest concentration of coastal brown bears in the world, although I have yet to see one. Lots of bear poop on the road, lots of poop.

(What is a coastal brown bear? Apparently, those in the know, decided to make a different class from the typical grizzly bear and classify the coastal brown bear. As I understand it, the coastal brown bear found mainly on Chichagof and Admiralty Islands eat mainly salmon and are therefore bigger in nature, therefore you get a different type of bear. )

Back to the story…

Anyhow, there’s no mall, no Walmart, no Target, no Walgreens, no Kohl’s. There’s a hardware store and small grocery store, whose motto is, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” The other day I was desperate for a pair of plain old regular scissors for home. You know the kind with the orange handle? Went to the hardware store. Found them. $16.

I’ve ordered some things from Amazon, you know I’m a Prime member and all. An electric throw blanket. I thought I’d pick one up at Costco in Juneau, WHEN I FLEW OVER TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING, but they didn’t have them. Normally, Prime is next day delivery or two days, right? Here….it’s two weeks. My blanket should be here by September 27th.

Please Keep Your Claws Inside the Carrier at All Times.

Traveling with the cats is always an experience.

Liggy, our 20-22 year old is a pro. She’s been from Alaska to Miami to Boston. And now she’s gone back to Alaska.

Monkey and Taku, well…they’re a little unimpressed at the whole process. They joined us in Miami, so they’ve only done one journey with us. A flight to Boston. Needless to say, as soon as the carriers come out, all hell breaks loose.

Monkey sings the song of her people, which sounds more like someone who has just eaten a meal that hasn’t agreed with their system and their bowels are about to explode.

Taku silently glares at us. Placing what are undoubtedly triple strength, unorthodox feline hexes on our souls, cursing us into damnation. No snuggles for you.

We break up the flight, overnighting in Seattle as a cross country, to Alaska flight is too long to be stuck in a kennel. Going from Boston to Hoonah is a three flight journey, even with non-stop flights. The upside was once we got to the Seattle hotel and blocked access to behind the beds, the girls decided there was safety in numbers! STICK TOGETHER! Normally, they don’t hang out together….

Cats snuggled in at Seattle hotel, safety in numbers.

When we travel, the two youngest go underneath in the traveling pet cargo area. Which I told them was a disco for pets. I’m not sure they believed me entirely. I did tell them to go easy on ordering the Alaskan beer and mimosas on the flight as altitude can sometimes do crazy things with your alcohol consumption. Liggy travels as my carry on and goes under the seat, she’s a first class pet. Of course at her age, she should be.

However, when we got to Juneau and loaded up into our final plane, Liggy’s eyes were as big as golfballs as she was loaded into the back of our little plane. At least we were all together on this one, everyone was seated in the same compartment. I could turn around, look past the cargo net and see the three girls. Hang on everyone, here we go. One more flight. At least Monkey wasn’t serenading us. If only because Taku had her muttering out the unorthodox feline hex as well. Bonding at it’s finest.

Welcome to Hoonah-lulu

Ah, what a relief.

Not that we finally arrived after traveling for two days, with three cats and five pieces of luggage. One of which was the cat’s suitcase, I kid you not.

But we arrived back where we’re supposed to be.

A good friend greeted us with open arms at the airport, we dropped our stuff at the house, got the girls situated so they could find hiding spots inside the house, then we drove 2 miles of paved road to the grocery store.

It felt like a giant scratchy coat had been shed and cast aside.

I could finally breathe.

I was lighter.

I wasn’t stressed about having to drive down the Boston highway with 14,839 crazy drivers, making left hand turns from right hand lanes. Or taking 90 minutes to go 16 miles. Or swerving lanes as they text on their cell phones.

All of the frustrations of my previous job slid off like waves on a fine sand beach. No longer my issue. Not my problem.

The next day we went into work, doing what we know best…cruise tourism. People are excited about the future. Excited about the possibilities. Excited about the potential. There’s talking, laughing and sharing ideas. There’s big ideas, big plans and things are happening.

There’s no time to sit back. It’s time to jump in and see how we can help. What can we do? Where do we start? It may be the countdown to the end of the 2019 season, but the 2020 season is already in planning and new projects are unwrapping faster than birthday gifts.

It’s thrilling to be back.

Wait, did I mention the view from work?

Animal Loves

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. – Martin Buber

Animals.

They come in all shapes and sizes.

Tiny lady bugs to towering giraffes.

Smooth skinned snakes to rough hided rhinoceros.

Feathered hummingbirds to furry giant cows.

Kittens with quiet meows to dogs with barks as large as a lion’s roar.

Pocket sized desert mice to dump truck size elephants.

I could go on and on about the many types of animals we see in our world and the list would be extensive.  The variety of animals greatly outnumbers the variety of homo-sapiens on this planet.  We are a small variety, yet vast in number, populating this planet.

Earlier this week, Facebook popped up the photo below.  It’s from ten years ago.  When I tried to convince my giant friend Tater, he too, could be a lap dog. Now the first time I ever met Tater, he came bounding out of an office running to meet me like I was a long lost friend that he couldn’t wait to see.  We had never met before but for whatever reason….he couldn’t wait to see me once he heard my voice.  It was like that ever since our first meeting.  I always called him my boyfriend.

tater on couch

Tater, passed away recently.  When I sent this photo out to a couple of people, including his mom, she wrote back:

Aw!  He loved you so much.

And I loved Tater.

Think about it.

If you have a pet.

How much do you love and care for your pet?

I would bet some days you love your pet more than people.  I would even say you carry on conversations with your pet.  You may even take better care of your pet than yourself.

Our animal loves do not utter one word to us.  They do not carry on intelligent conversations with us, not where we’re able to say, “Oh my cat Monkey’s head hurts today…she told me.”  Nor are we able to say, “Lenny, our puppy, said he doesn’t like the liver treats, but he prefers the chicken ones.”

Yet somehow we communicate with them on another plane entirely.

Yes.  I love you too.

Yes, let’s get dinners.

Let’s go outside.

Do you want to snuggle?

You are such a good girl/boy.

How was your day?

And we talk with them.  Ask them how their day went, what they did and we tell them how our day went.

Animals are truly people in fur, feather, scaley coats.

They give us unconditional love.

Fill us with happiness.

Bring us great joy.

Our days are brighter and provided with purpose.  They’re our companions and confidents.  Even if they can’t utter one logical sentence, we tell them our darkest secrets and biggest fears.  We share with them our most hopeful dreams, filled with unicorn sparkles and make wishes with them as we blow out birthday candles.  When we’ve had crappy days they’re the ones we share our sadness with and pull the sheets up over our heads with while hitting the snooze button.  On weekends if we want to be lazy and eat chips while watching a binge on Netflix, they’re happy to snuggle with us.  We celebrate holidays and muddle through tragedies together.

On Saturdays, I volunteer at a farm animal sanctuary, Unity Farm Sanctuary.  I work with   everyone from miniature horses to alpacas to chickens to cows and goats.  Everyone and I do mean everyone, has their own individual personalities.

Take for example, Audrey and Elliot, the two cows I visit with every week.  Audrey is a brown Jersey and Elliot is a black Holstein mix.  They are both about 800 pounds (still growing) worth of love and they enjoy helping with chores.  They’re really good supervisors.

Elliott and Audrey Helping

These two are like giant puppies.  In fact,  people often call cows….grass puppies.  When I come through the gate, they can’t wait to say hello and get their pats.  Without saying a word, I know these two are happy I’m here.

They follow me around the paddock as I clean up. Getting chin scratches and head pats between scoops of poop removal.

Finally….they say….

I break out the brush and take turns brushing my bovine friends.  Elliot is notorious for grooming me while I brush him.  He loves to lick any part of my body he can reach while I brush.  My back, leg, foot, head….

I brush.  Elliot grooms.

And yes, his breath smells like hay.

Thank you Elliot.

Audrey, is just content to be brushed and enjoy the conversation.

However, if I stop brushing her and go back to brushing Elliot….without fail, she’ll come up and either bop me in the butt with her head, as if to say, “hey lady, you aren’t done with me yet!” or muscle in between Elliot and I to get more brushing.

Audrey is also one to play with the ball….roll it across the paddock and she’ll chase after it.  Do it again, she says.  Looking at you.  Daring you to come and get it just like a big puppy.

Audrey and ball

 

Our animal loves are our everythings.

All without saying a word.

We connect to one another through our hearts.

All without saying a word.

We understand one another.

All without saying a word.

We support one another.

All without saying a word.

We take care of each other.

All without saying a word.

Isn’t it amazing?  Different species.  Caring for each other.

Without saying a word.

Then you look at the homo-sapiens. Who according to the Oxford English Dictionary, currently have over 171K words available to use by today’s guidelines.  These are only the words in active circulation.  Yet, we can’t get along to save ourselves.  We’re too busy finger pointing, arguing, backstabbing, having malicious contempt for each other and one-upping through social media.  It’s ridiculous.

We have the ability to communicate which could lead to many great outcomes, yet we can’t figure out how to do it effectively enough to solve problems, end suffering or love one another.  Why is that?

Perhaps if we follow the lead of our animal friends and learn to acknowledge one another on a different level, we might be able to go past the anger and self-righteous in our world and fill it with understanding and compassion instead.

Elliott Kisses

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Drama of Sleeping

The last time I had a good nights sleep was in the womb.

While I love to sleep, I would not get a Girl Scout badge for being able to get a Good Night’s Sleep.   My sleep is disturbed on a nightly basis.

Many of us encounter sleep hindrances at night.  Like the boogie man of our younger years.  It’s like dangling your feet over the edge of the bed and taunting the monster who lives underneath, “Come and get me.”  Who will it be tonight?

I’m not even going to discuss the ancient old night time sleep suckers of:

  • Over active brain: computing the answer to mathematical coupon codes and grocery balances only Mrs. Brady would be proud to solve.
  • Night sweats: so horrendous you think you just went through Niagara Falls.
  • Wiggly Leg Syndrome: where you too, can pretend to run the marathon.  Any marathon.
  • Snoring: Your partner’s participation in the “1912 Overture” inserting their snoring as the cannons.

We could go on and on. Eating too late, drinking coffee too late, put down the iPhone for crying out loud!  Uncomfortable bed, too many blankets, exercised too late…maybe your counting sheep are on strike. (told you to buy the second cut hay.)

However, I’m finding my sleep is being interrupted by absurdities.  The ironic thing?

I’m not willing to give them up.

Case one:

Take this morning for example.  Literally.  5:15AM.

I woke up to a “gobble gobble gobble.”

“Gobble gobble gobble.”

“Gobble gobble gobble.”

“Gobble.”

“Gobble gobble.”

Sounds lovely doesn’t it?  Right below my window.

Nature’s alarm clock.

Not one.  Not two.  Not three turkeys.

Try 20.

All chatting. Gobbling.  Talking over one another.

Obviously, about how well they slept.

Imagine a gaggle of elderly ladies all shouting about how wonderful their grandchildren are…or better yet a group of people standing in line at Starbucks waiting in line and the machines go down…”Where’s MY COFFEE?!”  “MINE FIRST!”

Case Two:

Next up are the party animals.

At first you don’t notice them.  Just a bit of loud casual conversations. Next, the group gets going into a roar and then it’s a howler and everyone is in on the whooping and yelping.  Good grief I always think.  There’s only a few of you…amazing the noise.

I don’t keep late hours.  So when this gang gets going somewhere between 9:00PM and 3:00AM…they’re killing me.

Seriously, I love my coyotes though.

I have to laugh, if they start early enough and I’m up and doing something in the living room…..often I think… “that’s a really odd emergency alarm.”  Nope.  It’s the coyotes out back.

I post their voices regularly on my FB page through video….it’s something else.

***

Speaking of sleep habits, last week I woke up in a panic and was immediately annoyed with myself.  I realized I had overslept.

I woke up my better half and told him, “Oh my god!  I overslept! I missed my dentist appointment.”

His response was, “When was your appointment?”

I tell him it was at 10:00AM and it’s NOW 10:30AM!  I overslept!  I missed my appointment!

By this time, I was out of the bed.  I’m completely baffled how this could have happened as I set my alarm.  He gets up at a ridiculously early time every day, before the worms and birds are even up.  He would have made sure I was up. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

My better half says, “Your appointment was on Thursday?”

I say “Yes! At 10:00AM!”

He looks at me and then says, “It’s 10:30PM.  It’s NIGHT TIME.  Go back to bed.”

I look at him.

I look at how BRIGHT it is in our bedroom.

I don’t believe him.

All the clocks (three of them) say 10:30.

He tells me again, “It’s 10:30 at NIGHT.”

Doubting him still, I go out to the living room and look out the window.

Well hell.  He’s right. It’s night time.

You see, we recently purchased a Himalayan Salt Lamp for the bedroom as several people have told us how wonderful they are for helping with various issues such as migraine headaches. They’re also, when they don’t have a dimmer switch, VERY BRIGHT.

Damn Himalayan Salt Lamp. Case Three

Last night, again, I woke up in a panic.

I thought our bedroom was on fire.

Nope, just the damn lamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

.

 

 

Disneyland + The Mother = Long Shot

You ever get asked to participate in something and think to yourself, “Sure. Sounds fun. I’ll do it.”  Knowing all along it isn’t going to work?

Obviously, it’s a sign, the second you hang up the phone the Vegas bookies start running the numbers and setting the odds on the various outcomes of said adventure.  You and the bookies are fairly certain the event will have a dubious ending.  You proceed, caution flag raised proudly, you’re already wearing  hip waders.  No stopping now.  What the hell.

Yep, that about covers the trip to Disneyland with The Mother.

A few weeks ago, I had a business trip that took me from east to west coast and I worked in a quick visit to see The Mother in between meetings.  I was looking forward to exchanging cold weather for hot sunshine.  Little did I realize, I was trading snow for the “storm of the century” listening to the weather forecasters of LA.  Although, having the opportunity to drive in torrential downpours was something I haven’t had the chance to experience since I left Miami.  It was a pleasant reminder of Mother Nature’s many talents.

During my visit to southern California, The Mother  had one thing on her mind.  In the past, usually she wanted to go to a particular restaurant or a local venue of some sort.  Nope.  Not this time.  Determination was set on a new target.

Disneyland.

Apparently, unbeknownst to her, having lived in the desert for over three years, Disneyland is basically  a stone’s throw away from her door step.  Relatively speaking.

To verify, this accuracy, The Mother checked with MapQuest, AAA, the neighbors Tim & Susie across the street who frequently drive the highways and as well as with the local grocery checker at Albertson’s supermarket.

So.

If you’re a rolling stone.

In good weather.

With a decent tail wind.

Jump on the I-10 and head west out to the wild west…to the land of the Great Mouse.

Throughout my trip, The Mother had a mantra… “don’t do anything that would hamper missing the day’s adventure to Disney.”  Roger that….going to see The Mouse….got it.

Our plan was to depart first thing Sunday morning.  Day trip only.

My only request was we MUST depart early, because The Mother would definitely need an electric scooter due to all the walking.  On a previous visit we went to the local zoo.  Unfortunately, they don’t have motorized scooters thus we rented their version of a standard wheelchair.

Not quite a normal wheelchair.

Not quite a a wheelbarrow.

It was more like an adult bucket seat push cart.

I nearly killed myself trying to push that plastic contraption in the desert heat.  There’s a reason wheelchairs are made from fabric, not plastic! Mind you, I am all of 5 foot 1 an a sip of water on a good day.  I was sweating like a sumo wrestling champion sitting in a sauna.   I probably left a sweat trail like a slug leaves a slime trail.

Gazelles? Missed those.  I was laying under the tree over here, panting like a cheetah trying not to let the sweat sting my eyeballs and turn my mascara into a ghoulish creep fest. But hey, let me in to see those dwarf goats.  I’m just going to sit with them for a while and communicate with them baaaaccccck to the mothership.  I digress…..

We needed a motorized scooter for Disneyland.  If I had to elbow my way through the crowd to get a scooter, by God we were getting a scooter.

Before bed, The Mother looks up the weather for Anaheim and it’s to be cool with an 11% chance of rain.  I figure that’s a high percentage of rain for California.  I say if she doesn’t want to go, I’m okay with that.  Best not to be miserable and we can go next time.

The Mother hesitates for a moment.  Nope.  We’re going.

I go to bed, knowing….you know how you just know?  You just know in the pit of your stomach.  This isn’t going to go well.  Trust the gut.

You know you can’t talk someone out of something.

No matter what you say.

You could tell them they’re going to throw up on their shoes.

They want to go.

You could tell them they’re going to be miserable.

They want to go.

You could say 400,000 people will be there.

They want to go.

You could say it isn’t really what they will want to do.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to make my /your eyes bleed.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to be a disaster.

They want to go.

Why fight the process.  It’s easier in the long run.

To just go.

The day of our big adventure arrives and our plan was to depart at 7:00AM.  I am awake early due to stupid jet lag and do not hear The Mother stirring.  Silently, I think, maybe we aren’t going…..

At 5:50AM I hear The Mother yelling through the door, “Donna, are you getting up?”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

I get into the shower and proceed with the morning routine.  When I get myself pulled together, I go out to the living room….there’s heavy fog outside the window and grey skies.

As I am putting my shoes on, I say to The Mother “You know, this is your last chance to back out. The weather doesn’t look so good with the fog today.”

She is surprised I suggested we not go.  What do you mean?  Of course we’re going!  After all, there’s only an 11% chance of rain.

Alright then.  Coats, sunglasses, jackets, lip balm, purses etc…..let’s go.

Two hours on the road in and out of rain showers and sun spots, we arrive to Disneyland.  The mecca of fun, happiness, laughter and of dreams that come true with the sprinkle of magical fairy dust with Mickey Mouse leading the way.

It’s starting to drizzle again.  But over that way, the skies look clearer and certainly it will clear up.  We agree, the shower will pass.  It just isn’t supposed to rain at Disney right.

Of course.

The first parking lot’s ADA area is filled, so we  traverse the lot like a drunken snake towards the exit with a neon pink exit sign flapping like a flamingo under our wiper.  This indicates to the Disney parking attendants we’re aiming to exit like mice in a maze looking for cheese….so they don’t continue to point us into a parking spot.

As we’re making our way through parking area,  a family is literally walking down the middle of the aisle.  Not a care in the world.  Why should they – it’s Disneyland!  Their minds are filled with memories from the last time they were here, where they threw up,  where they lost Billy, how Mary got ejected from the water ride because she thought it was a wet t-shirt contest and how they can’t wait to see their favorite characters.  They’re excited.  It’s Disney.

Did I mention?

Patience is a virtue.

Three.

Two.

One.

“You think these people would get a clue and move over.”  Advises The Mother.

 

Yep….as I continue to creep along behind the family.  “Well, this is how it’s going to be today.  Lots of people.  Lots of lines.  This is Disney.  You know, it’s not too late to head home.  Now’s the time. Last chance.”

Nope.  Not changing our mind.  We’re going to the other parking lot.  We’re going to Disneyland.

About 15 minutes later, we make our way to the Toy Story lot, park and make our way aboard the shuttle bus to the entrance.

NOTE: For those that have experienced any Disney park, you know what it’s like….the shuttle buses, security screening, ticket purchase and entrance lines…..all within the main entry area.  This is where we’re located.

By 10:00AM we’re through security and head over to the far side of the entrance gate to get in line for the electric scooter.

It continues to drizzle.

We get The Mother signed off on an electric scooter for $70 and head back to the ticket line, where she decided to wait off to the side while I venture into the serpentine line for our day passes.  Not long after being in line I start to hear, “DONNA!” (Can’t be for me,   right?  Ignore.  Ignore.) More people begin shouting, “DONNA!”  I look up and at the front of the line….there’s an arm flailing above the crowd with a flapping hand attached.

The Mother.

The Mother waving at me.

…..along with the crowd shouting my name, “DONNA!”

Good lord.

I start to duck under the rope barrier.  Excusing myself  along the way…

“Sorry, that’s me….I’m Donna.”

I get up front to The Mother….” What’s going on?”  I’m thinking maybe she played the ADA card and got our day passes some magical easy way without waiting. I mean this is Disney, anything is possible.  Right? The Mother says, “Let’s go.  I’m not waiting in line for this.  There’s too many people.  It’s raining and I’m not paying this price. It’s so disorganized.  Do you want to stay for this?”

Nope. I nodded my head.  Looked at my watch 10:37AM.  Knew it. Okay, let’s go…..

On the way back to the car in the shuttle, The Mother asked if I was mad….as she pinched my cheek, no less. I told her sometimes you can’t talk people out of things they want to do, but I knew we’d end up going home.   It’s kinda like going to the dentist and getting a shot of Novocain, which you don’t want to do in the first place.  But you take the shot and as an added bonus….you get to talk funny afterwards!

 

Alright then. Who placed the bet for: 37 minutes at Disneyland’s entrance?

 

And yes,  I was able to get a full refund on the electric scooter.

 

 

 

 

 

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.