Tag Archives: Alaska

Moving: The Definition of Why

We are back in the remote village of Hoonah, Alaska for 8 months. We did live in Juneau, across the water by 35 miles, for about 20 years before trying our luck in the “Outside.” Hands down, we are delighted to be back in a place where life moves slower and everyone knows you. (In fact, it moves so slow here the speed limit is 20mph and everyone waves when you pass them on the road.)

The Outside, as the lower 48 is known, was not all it was cracked up to be for either of us. Too hot, too loud, too many people, too much traffic. Just too much. When the call came with job offers to return to Alaska, we gave an enthusiastic, “on our way.”

Of course, when you’re going to live somewhere for 8 months out of the year, you have to figure out what to do with your stuff. Luckily, 6 years prior we had downsized when we moved out of Alaska, passing on quite a bit of our stuff. Now we had a smaller collection of stuff, but it’s still stuff to sort through. For two months our life consisted of various piles around the house:

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Occasionally I would throw something out….literally into the rubbish bin or put it into a donate pile only to discover it back in the cabinets/closet a few days later. I began announcing, “I’m throwing these socks out. They have holes. DO NOT remove them from the garbage.” It was time to put down the rule with my husband, “If you see something in the trash or donation pile, do not remove them. They’re there for a reason.”

For example, I tried to donate 3 little rectangular trays you’d use for breading items. You know the kind, one for wet, one for flour, one for crumbs. We never used it and I figured Goodwill could find it a new home. Three days later, it’s back in the cabinet. I had a little cooking pot I bought from IKEA that we never used. That also was in the donation pile yet somehow ended back up in the cabinet….

With moving, we had to think strategically and look towards the future.

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Since we were giving up our home on the east coast completely, we had to think, after 8 months where are we going to spend the remaining 4 months of the year before returning to Alaska? We decided on Arizona. Now we have to plan for two destinations.

So the packing began.

All photos with exception of a very small handful go into storage.

Pots and pans, they’re 20 years old. Donate.

Living room furniture. Sell or trash.

Christmas and halloween decorations. Storage. (Try not to buy more in the meanwhile.)

Books. Donate. Keep. Take.

Garden supplies. Donate.

Cat toys. Take.

Second car. Sell.

Spices. Take.

Soda Stream cartridges. Take.

Favorite hot sauce. Take.

Cat snacks. Take.

Brush lettering supplies. Take. Store.

King size bed. Leave as freebie at the community recycling center where everyone leaves their odd household items.

I know what you’re thinking….moving the king size mattress had to be a nightmare. Not really. We threw it off our balcony. (Yes, we checked there were no people or turkeys in the vicinity. Mostly worried about turkeys.) We were only on the 3rd floor, 4th if you count the basement, of our apartment building. The mattress itself didn’t fly, it dropped like a cinder block, but boy those two box springs got some distance. They floated down like leaves on an autumn breeze. It was like watching a flying carpet.

Luckily, we didn’t keep a bunch of furniture, however our storage unit is quite full. I have no idea what is actually in the storage unit. It’s just stuff. Keeping guard is my favorite halloween decoration, Stan the skeleton, sitting in the office chair. Don’t worry, Stan is backed up by his posse of badass homies….a metal goat and two cows…and a giant paper mache turkey vulture.

After awhile the boxes we mailed to Alaska began to show up and it was like Christmas. One box weighed in at a cool 69 pounds…..1 pound less than the USPS limit. When the boxes arrived, my husband was in Juneau, of course. Since our Post Office is small, I couldn’t leave them there. Trying to lift and carry boxes weighing between 50 – 69 pounds into a 15-passenger van, was like watching the Three Stooges, only I was two stooges short. I swear one of the boxes was as big as a washing machine. How am I going to get my arms around that?

First of all, there is no trunk space in a 15-passenger van. Luckily the van I had was missing the last row of seats. I was like a contortionist trying to heft those boxes from the post office loading dock into the back of the van. Not to mention the way things were positioned, it was impossible to slide them into the van, I had to lift them up into the vehicle. My arms were like silly putty.

Our house is up a hill. Although its March, we still have mountains of plowed snow on either side of the drive. Knowing there was no way I’d be able to carry these boxes the length of the van into the house, I set about doing a 42-point turn in the driveway. I’m sure the neighbors were delighted, the back up beeper kept going off for a good 20 minutes.

“Just back the hell up lady!”

Yeah, well I was working on it.

Obviously, I am not a professional weight lifter. If I was, I could have thrown these boxes on my shoulder and walked them into the house. No chance. Go to Plan B.

Back the van up as close as possible to the house.

Open the van’s back door.

Gently drop boxes to the ground.

Roll said boxes to the house like square tires.

What. The. Hell. Did. We. Send?

Cat beds, blender, food processor, cat toys, clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, hand soap, shampoo, craft supplies, rice, coffee, hot sauce, coffee mugs, books, pillows, quinoa, chia seeds, yoga mat, blankets, cat snacks, Costco boxes for the cats. The list went on and on.

Now granted, where we live, there isn’t the ability to run to Target and pick up your hair gel, face cream, socks or favorite pasta sauce. We have one grocery, with 4 aisles and a hardware store. The motto goes, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Which explains why I sent 3 bottles of body wash, 4 bottles of hair gel ,12 packs of cat treats and 3 Costco size boxes of snack bars among many other things.

If we don’t need it in Alaska, like the high speed blender, food processor or pasta maker, then we might need to take it to Arizona….which explains the warmer weather clothing, lighter shoes and more cat toys.

The funny thing about our spot in Alaska, is it’s only temporary for the season. We move all of our stuff into the little house only to pack it up and move it out again at the end of 8 months. As I was unpacking things, I started a new box for donations at the end of our stay….multiple water bottles and a tiny purse for starters. I’m not sure why I thought I needed to bring a crossbody purse. I currently travel with a daily bag that is big enough to not only carry my purse, but my reading material, notebook and all the other little odd ball items I don’t want to be without.

It’s not like I’m going to spend the day shopping or need a small purse to go to a concert or spend the night on the town. There’s none of that here.

Speaking of books, I sent two boxes. Downsizing from a big bookcase to a one-ish shelf is a feat. I’d have better luck putting my leg behind my ear like the cat does – than limit my books. Fiction, non-fiction, art and cookbooks. Have you ever experienced the anxiety and panic that sets in when you don’t have something lined up to read? My point exactly. For me, the feeling is about equal to when a cop car shows up behind you on the highway.

There’s only so many times you can read the back of packages. Some of the books will come with me to Arizona. About 12 boxes went into storage. One box, with my cookbooks is currently on tour with the USPS and I’m hopeful it will turn up. That box also has a smaller version of Rex, the dinosaur from Toy Story. Everyone can identify with a Toy Story character and he is mine. “Rooooooaaar. Were you scared? Tell me honestly.”

(Update since writing the blog. My box on tour did finally show up today. Not in it’s original box, with half of the items missing….including my talking Rex. The rest of the items are dirty and damaged. The good news is the Disney Store had a Rex….and he is currently on his way to me.)

However, no matter how much I planned and sorted….I still found things I regret not packing which we used on a regular basis. Our favorite salad dressing. Taco sauce. Cinnamon. Mixed nuts. While those were definite forehead slapping revelations, I also didn’t pack the hanging octopus drying rack! What was I thinking? Where was I planning on drying my delicates… over a tree branch? Amazon had a lovely blue octopus. I love it.

That’s the thing about moving. It’s all about the stuff. You sort through your life’s collection of stuff and wonder, is it worth keeping? Do I need this? Do I even like this? If I take it, will I use it? What was I thinking when I bought this? Didn’t even know I had this. I’ve been looking for this! Would someone want this? What in the world is this?

After you settle into your new location, regardless if you’re moving a household, office or dorm room, there’s three activities everyone gets to experience:

  1. Murphy’s Law shows up and reminds you, yes, you should have sent the octopus.
  2. Hide and Seek is a new game where you regularly ask yourself, “Where the hell did I put that?”
  3. Tetris skills are required to figure out where/how to store all of your stuff.

Moving is just like coming home from grocery shopping…the goal is to carry it all in at once.

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?

Standing Room Only.

I’m not going to lie.
When we left Alaska, it was exciting to be going to Miami.

Daily sunshine.
Palm trees.
The beach less than a mile away.
Warm weather.
Rocking thunderstorms.
Eating outside.
Not having to wear a winter coat 8 months out of the year.
Disney was a short drive away.
Fresh coconuts.

Delightful.

After about a year, the novelty wore off.

For us Alaskans, it was always hotter than Hades.
The humidity was so thick even the cats’ fur was frizzy.
Christmas wasn’t the same without snow.
We didn’t speak Spanish.
The insanity of the drivers on I95.
Honking is relentless.

Enough already. So we started to look north to New England.

We landed just south of Plymouth Rock this February and couldn’t be happier.

Of course, we arrived in the middle of winter. And for anyone who is familiar with the legends of the 2015 Boston winter….you can only imagine what we faced. Of course, we were likely the ONLY people in the Boston – New England area that was THRILLED to see snow.

Need someone to help shovel? We’re on it.
No, it’s not too cold to go out for a walk.
Forgot something at the store? We can go.

Laying in bed at night, we were like little kids, “do you think it’s snowing yet?”

With the first snow storm coming down, the schools quickly started to broadcast on the TV who was going to be closed. Okay, when I was a kid you had to listen to the radio (1060AM) the morning of school to know whether or not you were making the trek into school. Things have progressed in the school districts!

Image

At any rate, we went over the public transportation again and reviewed how I would get to work on my first day. (Actually, earlier in the week we did the entire route just to be certain I knew where I was going on my first day.) I was ready to go.

Buzz-buzz-guess what?

The recruiter who had been along with me for the entire hiring ride, emailed me on Sunday night… “Work is cancelled for tomorrow. It’s a snow day.”

Really?

Huh. Okay. Well, this is definitely different than Alaska.

The next morning we awoke to multiple feet of snow. So exciting!

That night, the Mayor of Boston was on tv and says, “Due to the blizzard, all non-essential employees should stay home tomorrow.”

Well.

Am I non-essential?

I feel pretty damn essential.

How do you know if you haven’t been told if you’re essential?

Excuse me, could you tell me if I am a non-essential worker?

You see, I now work for the city, so yes…I could be essential or non-essential.

Buzz-buzz-guess-who?

My recruiter emails and tells me officially, “Day two snow day. No work.”

Apparently, I am non-essential. (Well, they haven’t seen my tiara yet…so just wait! Think that is what makes one essential. It’s really good when I bring out the confetti cannon.)

Day two snow day! Whoop! Whoop! Of course, at the end of the blizzard, approaching Wednesday. I’m suddenly filled with, like a little kid, “but I don’t want to go to work tomorrow!”

I wait in front of the TV to watch school closings. Few come.
I check my email for a note from my recruiter. Silence.

Okay, I’m going in.

Image 8

Fast forward about two weeks. Boston has been hit again, again, again and again with snow. People’s cars are buried until Spring.

You can’t see around the corner at stop signs. Wild animals are being brought to animal shelters cause they can’t find food. Even birds!

It was my goal all along to take public transportation in to the office however, lucky for me and thousands of other commuters…the snow storms have wrecked havoc on the public transportation system.

Multiple lines of the “T” are closed cause the crews can’t clear the tracks. People are left stranded. It has become a disaster. I would arrive to the T-stop in the morning along with 50+ of my closest stranger friends and everyone would stand together – looking down the tracks – waiting for the train.

We were like a bunch of penguins out there. Hands in coat pockets. Breathing into our coat collars. All positioned looking due east….anticipating the train.

If we’re freezing out on the platform, it’s okay because due to the snow levels and route cancellations….the train has become:

Standing
Room
Only

Seriously.

Image 3
NOTE: These aren’t my arms. These aren’t my body!

We all know how I like to snuggle up next to strangers. I might prefer to have lunch with a leper.

But the roads are bad enough that I don’t want to drive the 16 miles – so commute I must.

Going into the city, I NEVER got a seat. Since some routes were cancelled, hundreds of additional people crowded on the available trains.

Image 2

(NOTE: This is just the stop before mine – hundreds got off.)

After a week of riding out of the city, I figured out a system and I GOT a seat. It was euphoria when I figured this out. At the main station, my train always came into the same track. Although it was to arrive at 5:40PM, with the weather, sometimes it didn’t show up until 6:15PM.

I would wait calmly, well bundled up, close to the area where my track was outside. As soon as I saw the headlight make the turn towards that track, I started walking.

Excuse me.
Pardon me.

Sneak around this guy and that woman.

By the time I got towards the front of the pack, a few people…usually men…would start to walk down to the track. (Technically you’re supposed to wait for the train to come all the way into the gate and stop…) Nope, not happening for a select few. I was in the front herd. Those that don’t listen to the directions. I joined them.

The result? When the train came to a complete stop, I was usually by one of the doors!

Yahoo! I beat the system!

Why wait for the pack of hundreds?

When you’re small and sharpen your elbows, you can get anywhere.

Now, I too could get a seat. Not just any seat. No. I had MY CHOICE of seat as I got on.

Yeah me!

No more bumping and grinding with strangers.

Image 4

Then someone told me about the ferry. I can take a ferry from close to my home, right into Boston.

REALLY!? I checked the schedule and sure enough….it was operating.

I took the ferry into work. It was delightful.

That night, I took the 5:40PM ferry home. It left on time. But we hit a small bump.

Multiple small bumps.

Actually, some weren’t so small.

The harbor had iced over. We were hitting sheets of ice. All I could think of was the Titanic.

Image 6

No, we didn’t spend the night on the ferry, we spent an extra hour on the ferry waiting for the US Coast Guard Ice Cutter to come and free us.

This is when I discovered….there’s two bars on this ferry.

Case closed, this is how I’m traveling henceforth.

(Note: I’ve been trying to figure out how to use the word, “henceforth” so there.)

Now, the ferry isn’t what you would imagine, or maybe it is. It’s a sightseeing boat in the summer time. Some times I get the GIANT vessel that seats several hundred. Sometimes I get the cute little one. Both offer a decent selection of beer and for me…a chardonnay please… $6.

Image 10

Now I leave the driving to someone else!
I catch up on some reading.
Enjoy a great boat ride.
Have myself a chardonnay and relax on the way home!

So much easier than bringing my airplane bottles of vodka on the train. In those ass bumping moments, sometimes you need to self-medicate and it’s pitiful when you run out and haven’t even left the station yet.

Image 9

Whole Foods…a Vortex to Acting Like 5 Year Olds.

I was thrilled when I moved here to discover a Whole Foods right around the corner from my house. Coming from Alaska, this was a brand new experience. I had heard stories about the LUXURY of shopping at a Whole Foods.

Vegetables are like diamonds encased in security sealed cases.

Cheese by the pound is on display by region.

Fresh meat all organically grown, petted daily and humanely put down for sale.

A salad bar worth drooling over.

Fresh this and wholesome that.

Vitamins, detox mixtures, tonics and fresh squeezed orange juice….oh my fucking my.

Seriously….people…this is heaven on earth.




Yeah, it’s heaven on earth if I want to be ignored by the staff, nearly run down by patrons and….on top of it all pay out the ass for a 4oz container of guacamole, of which I could make better at home.

What am I missing here?

I simply don’t get it. There are several things that slap me in the face when I go in there:

1. Their customer service SUCKS. Granted, they have good produce. Every time I dash in to pick up something, it always happens the produce guy has his little cart right in front of whatever item I need in the produce aisle:

Corn on the cob? Check.

Tomatos. Check.

Apples. Check.

Potatoes. Check.

Vegan salad dressing. Check.

Doesn’t matter, he is parked there and it never crosses his mind to MOVE THE FUCKING CART a foot to let me select my green beans, snow peas, broccoli or peppers. It annoys the hell out of me. I’m sorry. It’s common sense. You have a customer approaching, with a basket on her arm and obviously looking at the produce right in front of you.

Why yes, I would like some of those carrots with the green leafy tops still on….all five of them for $9.99. Could you excuse me?

So

I

Could

Just

Reach

The

Damn

Carrots?

Oh, no wait, I see the issue. You are too busy laughing it up with the guy who is stocking up the pineapples and grapes. Never mind. Don’t want to bother you. Let me climb over your cart. Who is the customer here?

Apparently the overhead they charge for the produce also includes a gym membership fee.

Who knew?

It annoys the shit out of me.

AND, the people who check you out never smile. Tonight, when I ran in to grab corn and tomatoes, the guy walked away from the counter without saying a word so he could go throw a paper out two rows away.

REALLY?

I always approach and say HELLO! HOW ARE YOU?! Nothing.

If you really hate your job so much that you can’t smile and greet your customers, such as Michael this evening at my local store, then you need to go work somewhere else. The lady at the corner hot dog stand has better customer service than these people. It never fails. Save the overhead and have self check out!

Wait! Do you think because people are paying $5.99 for a pack of gum….gives you the permission to ignore your customers and treat us like shoe leather? Oh wait, you thought we were the plastic shoe leather? Pleather? THAT explains so much then.

But should one of their friends come up to help bag, whoa! It’s all fun and games….my, how the tides turn. Did I just slide down the rabbit hole? Apparently you are just hard of hearing and you didn’t hear my greeting.

Maybe I should just start yelling at people.

Let’s move forward.

********* The Salad Bar *********

So the tremendous salad bar. They have a great selection of soups. If you enjoy soups.
I don’t.

The salad bar is a typical salad bar. A variety of leafy greens to select and toppings. Nicely done.

Then the opposite side is mixed salads, rice salads, weird shit and shit I wouldn’t eat as I don’t eat weird shit or limp shit, or shit I can’t pronounce.

I’m sorry but when you see zucchini and squash that has been sliced lengthwise and then grilled….placed under heat lamps….it’s not right. They’re limp. They’re gross. It’s veggie abuse. Same goes for the eggplant. It is a horror flick right there in the deli. I have to turn the other way as it makes my stomach turn. Kind of like smelling sour milk.

Imagine holding up a piece of limp grilled zucchini in your hand….it falls over. So sad. It was excited at one point, I’m certain of it. Who wants limp shit? Okay, maybe a starving Sasquatch.

But apparently someone out there is enjoying the limp shit. Desperate, hungry, rich people, that don’t know about crisp veggies. Imagine holding up a piece of limp grilled zucchini in your hand….it falls over. So sad. It was excited at one point, I’m certain of it.

The thing I hate about going around that damn salad / deli area are the people.

No

Sense

Of

Personal

Space.

Which brings me to another point of the experience at Whole Foods….

2. The regulars. Maybe it’s where I live. I think it’s a feeling of entitlement. I’ve started to wonder what’s happened to two things: personal space and common courtesy. It’s not like we’re on the NYC subway here….ass to coot-chy …. DAMN.

Bumping elbows, watches, shoulders, baskets, hips…..okay – BACK THE FUCK UP!

Unless you are planning on popping open a bottle of wine in aisle 9 and then taking me to dinner, you are way too close to me. Knock it off.

There is no reason for your shoes to be hitting my shoes – there is plenty of space to go around me. I am all of 5’2 on a good day and it’s not like I weigh in like a gorilla. I don’t even have a cart! There’s simply no reason to be up my ass, over my shoulder, climbing up my eyeballs to get around me.

Take a breath.

Take a step to the side.

Go around me.

SAY EXCUSE ME! It’s not difficult!

If I stop to look at something, you are going to have to adjust your plan and detour. Don’t roll your eyes and huff at me. I’m not your child and am certainly not your spouse. Life does not revolve around you, jackass. Get over it. I’m putting my basket down and looking at this colon detox powder for the next ten minutes or until you stop glaring at me. If you’re going to continue, I will pick up this anal itch cream and ask you if you’ve tried it.

Don’t tempt me.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah….life sucks….get in line with the rest of us. Waaaahhhhhh.

Oh my god….if you are going to shop in here, suck it up and act like an adult.

That’s what I don’t get. To shop in Whole Foods, you have to have money, yet all these people in here act like five year olds.

They’re playing chicken with their carts in the aisles.

I’m not moving….you are going to have to climb over me if you want to get that hot sauce, fucker.

They will run you down to get to the salad bar – and block it. MINE! IT’S ALL MINE!

Missy is going to be a defensive blocker for the vegan cheese display and then at the organic wine area.

Sorry, did you want to get in the front door? I’m cleaning my cart handle off with the sanitary wipe. Sorry.

Clint is on his phone shouting about his latest trade while trying to choose what bread to get sliced. PICK ONE!

For the love of all things holy – concentrate – get your shopping done and move out of the way for the rest of humanity.

******* The End Result *******

I’m done with Whole Foods.

We have found a fabulous farmer’s market up north we go to every weekend. We can fill up bags and bags of fresh produce for just dollars. It’s fantastic. Right from the farms. I can go to our little guy and get what we affectionately call…”Hooker Vaginas”….but we have to get there early as he sells out. We get a quart for $10 and then I usually get my own for $3 and enjoy it in the car on the way home. Eric sometimes gets one as well. It’s good for us yumminess.

I would rather drive 30 minutes and go to a Trader Joe’s than go through the non-sense we continue to experience at a Whole Foods. I don’t get it. It’s not worth it. They’re not making me feel like a valuable customer and I’m not going to support them as a business. It’s ridiculous. Yes, they may be easy and healthy, but there is lots to be said about good customer service and feeling welcomed into the establishment.

Thanks for letting me vent…..I feel lighter…..like dandelion fluff or glitter in a confetti cannon.

This Way to the Pink Flamingos Please.

One night my better half says, “Oh yeah, next week I have a dinner engagement.”

Oh, okay….whatcha doin?

“My company is a sponsor for the Pink Flamingo Awards, so I”m going to go.”

My response….blink blink. Blink blink.

Pink flamingos?

You didn’t think I’d want to go?

A. It’s an award show

B. There’s pink flamingos

I say, “Okay so can you bring a date?”

He says, “Well yeah.

Okay then…I’m coming.

He then advises me its to support the local LGBT Visitors Center and they’ll have Drag Queens.

My jaw hits the floor.

AND YOU DIDN’T THINK TO TELL ME ABOUT THIS SOONER? Hello? How long have we been together? This is right up my alley. These woman are fabulous!

To double check, I ask if this is a dress up event. Yes. Wear a dress.

Perfect. Got the perfect black dress.

He then says, because up until now, I’ve had a shit day…..you could wear one of your wigs.

Stop the train! REALLY!

GET

OUT!

I immediately ran to the box where I keep my wigs.

I knew exactly the one I wanted. Got it out. Got my comb. Brushed it out. Tried it on. Was delighted.

So excited.

The Wednesday arrived and the plan was hatched….meet at the Miami Convention Center at 7:00PM and enjoy the night. Silent auction, dinner, cocktails, award show – oh my! Whoop, whoop!

5:30PM I call the Mister and tell him I’m heading over to our company gym to shower and get my wig on. He says, “oh that’s too early, might as well wait.”

Okay, well you know what? Don’t listen to a man, when you know how long it’s going to take you to get ready. What the hell do they know anyway?

They know bubkiss.

They’re a PIMA. (Pain. In. My. Ass.)

I thought he might be right. So I waited until 6:10PM.

Went over to the gym.

Jumped into the shower.

Did my make up.

Put almond oil all over my arms and legs so I have not only a nice scent but subtle glow to my skin. Perfect!

Add the perfume and then take my black dress out of the cotton garment bag.

I pulled my grey and black shoes out and my satin handbag…finally, it was time to get dressed.

Please note: At this point in the evening’s program, we have a problem Houston…

It all went to hell in a hand basket and we were in the express lane. And the express lane was free of charge tonight. Of course.

Knew it. Should have went with my gut. Why? Why, listen to a man when it comes to getting ready?

Unless he is a Drag Queen or a prima donna – they’re clueless. PIMA!

I am so unimpressed at this point.

There I am, half dressed in my cute black dress with not a soul to be found in the ladies locker room and the
fucking zipper on the back of my dress is stuck. I don’t just mean stuck as in I’ve gained a lot of weight and it won’t zip. I mean like it’s frozen and not going to move an inch.

There’s a good five inches to go before it’s zipped up to the top – which would be mid back.

My hands were previously oiled, so I wash them yet again.

Nothing.

I pull the dress down as far as I can.

Nothing.

I try and turn the dress around to the front to shimmy the zipper.

Nothing.

I pull the dress up higher and try to pull the zipper up.

Nothing.

I try squeezing the zipper together.

Nothing.

I contemplate going as is.

Not happening.

I ponder wearing my sheer black and white polka dot shirt that I wore to work over the dress.

(only if I’m desperate) And that’s not really an option.

I contort my arms to try again to pull the zipper up.

First, left arm over. UGH!!!

Then the right arm over the top…..

Maybe if I turn just a little.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I wait and hope a female walks in.

Tick tock.

Nothing.

I think about going out into the gym. It’s a guy at the desk and think…..He could zip it. What if he can’t? Okay that would be embarrassing.

On the way to the awards I could stop somewhere and buy something, which is a good idea.

But then I’d have to get OUT of this dress and I can’t do that either.

Well what the hell?

I stop and look at myself in the mirror. Sweat, is pouring down my face. I’m a total mess. Is the air conditioning on? TURN ON THE AIR CONDITIONING!!! THE ALASKAN IS DYING IN HERE!

You have got to be kidding me.

Maybe the sewn in slip is bunched up and I start patting down all the layers.

NOW! How about NOW!!! Arms go up and over to work the zipper.

I try and pull the dress up as far up to my arm pits again.

Nothing.

I rest my sweaty forehead against the mirror.

Fuck it.

I pack up my bag.

My plan is to go as is and my better half is going to have to figure it out in the parking lot. Mental note, pack black duct tape in the car next time.

I am pissed…..I don’t have time to brush my teeth and what is even worse…..

I
don’t
have
time
to
put
on
my
wig.

I have to go. I wash my hands and do a final makeup touch up. By makeup – touch up I really mean mop my face with paper towels. I return to get my bag and try one last fricking time with this damn zipper.

Just kidding! Zip! Tah-dah! No problem.

Are you kidding me?

For the love of Pete.

I get to the car and it’s 6:50PM. Zip over the Causeway to Miami Beach. The air conditioning is on FULL ARCTIC BLAST and I arrive at the Convention Center just in time for cocktails. I throw on the fascinator I made for a Titanic dinner in Juneau….and while it wasn’t my wig I got enough compliments, so I was happy enough.

We arrive and head immediately to the bar. I’m busy texting a friend about an item I bidder on him from the Floppy Rooster….I stop suddenly and when I look up we’re behind not one but TWO Drag Queens. Lady one, later advised the crowd she was NOT a Drag Queen but a transgender, which was fine. She was lovely. Reminded me of someone I know. The other one. Well, I admit…………startled the hell out of me. One of those, I couldn’t help but stare, but not stare for fear she’d call me out on it. Nope, no picture needed. Thanks!

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.

Drive! The! CAR!

Traffic annoys the hell out of me.

What I don’t get is, how can it be so bloody terrible?  If the people in the front would just go.  I mean really GO, how can there be all this back up?  If we’d all just GO the same speed it wouldn’t take us forever to get anywhere.  It’s called teamwork people.

What really gets me is the rubbernecking.

It’s like watching a stupid show on TV and after it’s over you realize THAT was a waste of your time.  Slowing down to see the crash or non-crash is….guess what?  A waste of time.  For you and me!  Good grief, Mr. Rodgers could have me a song out of this concept.

JUST DRIVE the car.  You have to actually step on the long rectangular pedal that’s on the floor on the right.    It’s a novel concept, but the car doesn’t go on it’s own – you have to assist.

Seriously.

There’s a car pulled over on the side of the road.   Everyone has to slow down to look.

There’s two cars pulled over – an obvious fender bender.  Slow down, let’s all look!

If there’s cars on the other side of the highway – with lights flashing – let’s all slow down to look.  There’s even a big concrete wall dividing it and you can’t see anything!

There’s a terrible accident and people are nearly creating additional accidents just so they can see the carnage.  I mean really.  For what?  To see if their day was worse than yours?  I fucking guarantee it!  If their car is waiting for a tow truck and there’s flashing lights at the scene.  Guess what?  They are having a suck day.  They win.  Now DRIVE!

The other thing about the traffic and I’m not even going to mention the blatant honking of the horns – which is out of control in Miami.  My brain waves don’t even function that fast.  It could be a game show.  QUICK.  Try to get your foot off the brake on to the gas pedal before the jackass behind you is honking and gesturing wildly.  Yeah, well the Alaskan will get to going when she’s good and ready.  Keep your pants on.  Besides, we’re all going to be at the next light together in 200 yards anyway.

The privacy.  People, your windows may be tinted by I can still see thru them.  HEY!  Yes!  YOU!  Picking your nose – I can see you.  Unreal.  Flipping me off?  I see you!  Yelling at your partner in the car – I see you.  Thinking you are the next best thing sliced bread – I see you.  It’s exhausting.

Lastly, hang up the phone.  In today’s world with bluetooth technology – there’s no reason people need to have that rectangular block of radiation next to their face while driving.  If drinking and driving is a hazard so is anything connected to holding that ridiculous cell phone and driving.  My cat can drive better than some of these people with the phones attached to their heads.  The car was one of the last places on earth where you could escape to the solitude of your thoughts and favorite radio stations.   Not anymore.  Apparently people can’t survive 5 -30 minutes without constant technological interruption

Shit.

So here’s the thing with the traffic and the endless line of cars during rush hour.  In Juneau, it was a rush minute.  I’m not kidding.  Four minutes and you were done.  Now, some days it takes me an hour either way to or from work.  (Although, after being here a year I am working on a system to beat the rush hours.)

I love my little Yaris.  His name is Norman.   Yes, he’s a boy car.  How do I know it’s a boy car?  He’s a stick…..duh.

I’m looking to upgrade.

All I’ve wanted for years is a Camaro.  Midnight blue with the glitter paint flecks.  V6.  I want the engine that purrs to a stop.  Every damn time I see this car on the street a little bit of drool forms at the corner of my mouth.  They’re common, but not as common as the BMW here.  Which is as common as sliced bread.  If I wanted to be a trendsetter I get a Subaru!

camaro

I

LOVE

THIS

AUTOMOBILE.

It’s hot.  I’d look hot in the car.  Blue, I’m going to BE hot in this car.  I want this car.  I need this car.  This car….makes me purr.  This is a sexy car.   The curves…especially from behind….wow.  Wow.  This car makes me talk like a guy.

BUT then, as things would have it in life.  An option appeared, one I was not expecting.  Now, I am truly in a quandry.

We’re sitting at a light.  Up rolls a Dodge Challenger.   White with a racing stripe.

Challenger

Ohhhh well.  Hello.  You.

Now.

Look.

At.

That.

Me. YOW.

Now if that isn’t a stud car.  And boy did that have a purr.  It was like a roar….not so much a purr.  I think I broke out into a bit of a sweat.  Of course, I’d want a V8 for this car – because this is a definite boy car.  There is nothing soft about this baby.

So now I spend my days driving into and out of work – looking for my cars.  Every time I’m sold on the Camaro one of these Challengers goes past and I say one word:

DAMN.

Of course the kicker ….. as much as I love my Camaro, the other day one went past and a grandma was driving.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but then I was thinking….really?

NormanOn the other hand, I could keep on with my Norman.  He was transported all the way from Juneau.  Great, zippy, keeps up with traffic.  Although he’s not real thrilled about doing 80 mph on I95, but I’ve had him up there.  Swear!

He can out run the best of ’em – in our own minds.  Go Norman!

Of course, in a Challenger…..imagine the speed!  The tickets….no good.

The Camaro….imagine how cute I’d look!  So good!

I think I need to go for a test drive and let my heart sing.