Category Archives: reality

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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Bloody Hickie!

Okay that came up at a dinner with good friends a few weeks ago.

“….a bloody hickie!”

Hold the dogsled…a what?

These friends live thousands of miles away from me.

When I heard they were coming to town and asked if dinner was possible, I nearly burst into tears I was so happy.

True.

They are kind.

They are genuine.

They are real.

It does my heart good to know when these people are coming…a big sigh of relief washes over me. No matter what chaos my little row boat is facing. No matter if I’m riding an ostrich of insanity. If I’m having a week of walking the fire of idiotic nonsense. It’s going to be okay, good people are on the way.

I can be me. No judging.

Arriving to dinner in rubber boots, jeans, fleece jacket and messed up hair – this crowd would have said, “hell yeah!”

It’s comfortable.

Like going to the beach on a Sunday. It calms me. The sound of the ocean. Floating on the water. Watching the waves. Looking for fish. Aaahhh.

But most importantly….back to the bloody hickie.

Why do people do what they do to themselves?

I drive down the highway and there are billboards….upgrade your breasts. Lift your butt! Tuck that tummy. They offer photos to show proof.

The problem?

The original boobs looked just fine to me.

The original butt. I don’t know which one I am supposed to like – they both look nice. One is thiner than the other. Isn’t that what we want?

No.

This is Miami.

Well, hell. Give me a break.

I’ll give you the tummy ads. They need those.

Why don’t they put the men up there with 40 pound man boobs? Hello? Plastic surgeons! You are missing an entire market!

You don’t see a snap of a man’s ass up on the billboard…with the tag, “Lift it high, lift it proud!”

Have penis sag? Not a problem. There’s a solution for that, let us show you how.

Something isn’t right.

Our bodies. Costumes we wear on earth. (can’t wait to see my angel outfit….or at the rate I’m going I could be collecting some horns.)

Okay so over the last few weeks I’ve had two zits on my collar bone.

Yep. Front and center. Right there. About 2 inches apart.

I have made up a story about them. They’re from a piercing gone bad.

“Yes, I’d like to have my collar bone pierced please….Mr. Tattoo Man.”

Maybe not all piercing professionals are tattooed, however the one that did my……well, he was well tattooed.  In Vegas.

Since I’ve been staring at these two bumps for what seems like eternity, I’m now actually considering a collar bone piercing.

I mentioned it to my other half the other night and he nearly spit up his wine.

But then I ponder the eternal question…………………………………………..WHY?

Why have my collar bone pierced?

Okay 7 ear piercing? Fine. Nipple piercings? Possibly.

Tongue? Too painful, but okay for oral excitement…if you can get through the piercing….good on you. No. Wait. Good on me!

Have you seen this guy? Okay, watch the link. FANTASTIC.  And oddly sensual.

The oddly colored hair doesn’t interest me. Everyone does it. No challenge. Nothing bold about it. Meh. Like a hairball on the carpet.

Zombie Boy? Well now he’s something. (Hint: see the link above)

It started with boobs. Fake books. Woman needed (and still want) bigger boobs. Ok, I’d go one size larger. But what happens if you want to return them?

Fake eyelashes? Eye lash extensions? Odd. There’s a Group On currently…if interested. Do men get eye lash extensions?

Hair extensions. Which, if you’re going to wear them, I don’t want to see the little strips of tape. Get a lesson on how to wear your hair! MEN – warn your woman if her tape things are showing. (Yes, that is the technical term thank you. After all, your woman is a reflection of you!) And what do you do when you’re getting ready to roll around with the hottie? You have to have a disclaimer: “Excuse me but my hair isn’t real?” Otherwise, he may pull out a chunk and we’re into a horror story in 20 seconds flat! But how do you even bring that up in a conversation? I know someone and I asked her that question.

Yep. That’s basically it. Hey….something I need to tell you.

Really? At my age? In that position? I have other things I need to worry about. News flash……the hair on my head isn’t one of them.

Of course, I have been tempted many times to try extensions.

If I had to confess about them to my romance cover novel superstar….I’d say something like….”Unlike those you see in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I may not have a glass eye, peg leg or octopus whiskers….but my hair is fake.”

Ear lobe disks. That’ all I’m saying.

If I could get something done to my physical self…..I’d ask for height. Run Forest Run!
As a shorter person with top shelf grocery aisle issues, I’d be fine with 4 more inches.

Four inches can do a lot more than you think.

Just saying.