Actually, I let the dogs out what seems like three dozen times a day, but it’s probably a lot more than that. It’s normally an incident-free type thing: open the back door, let the dogs into the backyard, and close the door.
This morning was not incident-free.
When I opened the back door, a bug that looked very much like a cockroach but moved so fast I couldn’t be sure came running into the house.
I screamed. Holy mother of fuck, what the fuck is that?
The bug was probably just about as freaked out as I was.
It had been sitting on the back stoop, minding his own business, when suddenly this huge thing (the door) came flying at it and two massive animals (each weighing under 10 pounds, but massive compared to him) jumped over it.
I ran to grab a heavy book – a college English textbook, which honestly isn’t good for much else – and by the time I got back, the bug that could have been a roach was hiding under the edge of the dog’s chewy toy.
Clever, right? It was a smart little bug, which made me question its roach status, and I had yet to get a clear look at it.
I kicked the chew toy away and tossed the book where the roach *should* have been, but instead the little bastard was too fast and ran under the black ottoman.
I pushed the ottoman around, still holding the book, and it came out and hide under the big plush green hippo there.
Clearly, this was not a roach. Or if it was a roach, it was the most brilliant roach I had ever crossed paths with.
I decided to reason with it.
I put the book down.
“Just go outside,” I told it. “You’ll be okay, I’ll be okay, and you’ll get out of this alive.”
Maybe it heard me and understood me. Maybe not.
But when I came back with a broom and opened the back door, it managed to get under the sweeping part of the broom and made it out the door.
It righted itself on the concrete of the back porch, and stared at me.
Was it a cockroach? Was it more than that?
I don’t know.
I got distracted because the dog wanted to come back in, and by the time I looked back at where it had been, it was gone.
Yes, you. The mom with the stroller. Or maybe the soon-to-be-mom with the bun-in-the-oven look going on.
Wait, who the hell called it a bun in the oven? What kinds of buns do you have that get so big that they distort the oven itself and then burst free? I don’t think I ever want to eat at your house.
Anyway, yes, you! The one who either has children in strollers, a fetus that is currently acting as a parasite and destroying your body in ways that it will never recover from, or both.
I stole your parking spot.
First off, though, let’s be fair: it’s kind of weird that the library made *that* it’s go-to rallying cry that got two marked spots right up front by the door.
I mean, I know that there are a billion kid events, especially over the summer, but don’t pop ‘em out if you can’t bundle them up and drag them screaming into the library.
Please note: I didn’t specify if they were screaming out of joy or misery. I think that’s pretty dependent on the event, the kid, and a whole bunch of other kid factors, including whether or not they were able to share the dog’s food in the morning.
Second, if you’re going to put them there, then why right there? I mean, they’re next to the accessible spots. Do you honestly believe that anyone with a disability wants to deal with your screaming kids?
Again, no blame for why they’re screaming. Just saying that it’s a distinct possibility that they will be screaming.
Third, first come first serve, bitches. If I’m there, and if that spot is open, I have every right to it. There is no fine. There is no real reservation. Just a “please kindly listen to the sign,” which, being from New Jersey, I have absolutely no respect for.
Fourth, well, my fourth reason is my real reason.
There was a single accessible spot left, but there were two mother spots.
We have an accessible tag in the car for my son – he has disabilities, and while they are not physical, they do affect our ability to function in a parking lot at times. Like lately, with all the weather we’ve had moving in, the skies are filled with seagulls. And for reasons I don’t understand, the parking lots and skies are also filled with grackles. Big ass, bitchy ass, annoying ass grackles. They sit on cars, swoop down low, and even hide in the bushes.
And that’s the problem.
Simon is pretty much straight out terrified of them. If you’ve read my blogs over at Not So Simple Simon, you’ll see that he cannot handle birds when they are in quantity or when they seemingly threaten him.
So, back to the point: there were two mother spots, and one accessible spot.
I took the mother spot.
Come at me, bro. Just not with your screaming kids.
Me (carrying four rolls of toilet paper to the bathroom)
DH: Don’t use them all at once!
Me: Don’t you judge my bathroom habits!
Which reminded me.
Years ago, I worked at a local teaching hospital, in one of the graduate programs.
I guess this other employee got bored one day, so she was complaining to me about the amount of toilet paper her husband used. Apparently she wanted him to ration it out, only using a certain number of squares each time he used the bathroom. I forgot the number now, but she felt very strongly about it, and talked to me about how she made sure to not use any more than that each time. It was a pretty low – and unreasonable – number. I want to say it was four, but it may have been five.
That complaint has stuck with me for a few reasons.
First – that she would count. I mean, it was the days before cell phones, so maybe she got really bored in the bathroom. She was older, so maybe number two was a struggle for her. Counting sheets could keep her busy when she was done reading magazines.
Second – that *this* was her marital complaint. She was almost ready to divorce over it. No problems with him cheating, him spending money, him lying. Nope. Not that he did those things, mind you. He just used too many damn squares of toilet paper. And I would totally not blame him for doing any of those things, especially because that would probably mean he got to use enough toilet paper to actually wipe his ass.
There are a billion (okay, maybe a billion and one) pieces out there that purport to provide the ultimate tests to see if your relationship will last or if it’s doomed to destruction. Based on some simple characteristics or a few innocuous actions, you’ll be able to dump your partner or live a life of bliss.
Those are all full of shit.
The real test – the only test that matters – is what happens when you have a refrigerator that doesn’t make ice. In July. In Texas.
It doesn’t matter if you or your partner farts. Or picks their nose. Or scratches themselves. Or doesn’t change the toilet paper roll. None of that makes any difference in how well your relationship will run. Nope. The only thing is that damn ice tray.
Here’s the thing: when we moved into our house, it came with a nice, new, contractor-special, low-grade, standard refrigerator. White. Plain. Boring. But it had an ice maker.
I loved that ice maker.
Ice, all the time.
I’m addicted to ice in my drinks. The more ice the better. I would put in two ounces of a drink and twelve ounces of ice, then let it melt. Cooooold.
Then that lovely refrigerator bit the dust. Repairs – if they would be possible – weren’t worth it. But we didn’t have much money. So we did what we had to do.
We bought the cheapest refrigerator that had a fridge and a freezer.
It didn’t have an ice maker.
That’s okay, we told ourselves. We can make ice. It isn’t hard. People used to do it all the time. And it’ll save $50! That’s more than a tenth the cost of the refrigerator! Totally worth it!
I want to go back in time and bitch slap myself.
I haven’t had to make my own ice in 10 years. Ten years. Now I’m doing it twice a day. (Yes, I use that much ice. Don’t you judge me.)
I’ve also learned the ice issues.
First, I bought the cheap ice trays. Cheap doesn’t mean bad, right? Yeah. Yeah, it does. They have to be seated a certain way in order to stay one on top of the other. Ask me how many times I put them the wrong way and have water well up, covering the counter, floor, and my feet? At last count it was about 467. And that’s only been in the past two months.
Second, you discover the ice tray tricks. Things like always leaving one ice cube in the bin so that you don’t have to dump out the trays and make new ice. Things like sneaking a single ice cube from the trays so that you don’t have to dump out the trays and make new ice. Things like choosing to go without a drink so that you don’t have to dump out the trays and make new ice.
Third, you also learn how quickly your spouse catches onto those same tricks when you go to get ice and find out that the tricks have already been pulled and you’ve been screwed into the position of being the ice maker.
We’ve been together for 25 years and married for 20.
All the things we’ve gone through. All the things we’ve done. All the stuff that’s supposed to make or break a relationship. But it all comes down to the ice trays.
I love reading the ‘Style’ section of the Sunday paper. Each week, I look forward to seeing what I can’t afford but what I should be breaking the 10th Commandment by looking at. They are kind enough to cover what girls should spend on their prom dresses (hint: hundreds of dollars, not including their purses and shoes) and then show how much people upgrade their homes and pay what could be considered a year’s salary for most of America in order to make their living rooms look even more sterile.
But I digress.
This weekend, the paper was kind enough to include ‘A Dozen Ideas for Father’s Day 2015.”
$200 to $400 cologne
$65 bow tie
$40 shaving kit
$300 ‘emulsion’ to ‘[hydrate] a dull, dry face’
$70 swim trunks
$250 Fit Bit
Okay, admittedly, two of the items were $50 or less, so I suppose that you don’t truly need to be rolling in it to purchase those. But for what you get – a cheesy fedora or a shaving kit – I can’t help but think that the money might be better spent.
I decided to go ahead and come up with my own dozen ideas for those of us who read the style guide and giggle.
Here it is – ‘A Dozen Ideas for Father’s Day 2015 When You Only Have $20 to Spend’
Maybe not all my ideas were winners – or serious – but I think it shows that you can have a whole lot of fun for less than $20 and still get something good for your father. Unless your father is an asshole. Then get him this.
The day began waaaay too early. Like 2 a.m. early. A massive thunderstorm was moving through, and it woke me up, which was actually for the best since I had fallen asleep with my computer plugged in. I assumed the ashram wasn’t much for surge protection, so I yanked the plug from the wall, turned over, and tried to get back to sleep.
My fear of bugs and the super-itchy bug bite on my foot kept me tossing and turning for a while.
When I did finally fall asleep again, I got woken up at 6 a.m. by the quacking of my duck alarm. I reset it for 7 a.m. and went back to sleep.
My original plan had been to wake up at 6 and take a nice long, relaxing walk, shower, and head to mantras and breakfast (with more super yummy chai tea!). But with the rain coming out of the heavens at bullet velocity, I thought staying in my bed and getting a bit extra sleep might be a better option.
At 7, I woke up again and realized I didn’t have the urge to immediately check Facebook or my email. For the first time since I couldn’t remember when. My FB craving was subsiding, although I was still automatically and unthinkingly flipping to it on my phone, but I’d still managed to avoid actually opening it since I had checked in at lunch on Friday afternoon.
I climbed out of bed and decided to run through a quick shower, hopefully a more successful one than on day two.
Aaaaaand I got stopped at the end of the hallway again.
In front of each bathroom door.
Like they were taunting me.
I froze and made some sort of unintelligible sound, which alerted another person near me of the spiders’ presence.
She apparently was not a complete arachnaphobe.
She held them at bay while I dashed into one of the bathrooms – the good one! – and took a fast shower.
I re-read the sign next to the mirror. (I read that sign a lot.)
One of the instructions on the list, all about maintaining the bathroom and the purpose of the ashram, told us to look in the mirror and say “I love you.” I couldn’t do it without wanting to giggle hysterically, so I changed it up a little, and I instead would, after my shower or after washing my hands – point a finger at the mirror and say, “Who loves ya, babe?” Does that count?
The day went too quickly. I spent it reading, writing, drawing, and mostly just enjoying the quiet and peace. I kept realizing I’d be going home the next day, and yet I still hadn’t mastered the greeting of Jai Siddhatma. Maybe on the next trip. Yes, I was already thinking of my next trip.
Our group had dwindled by lunch, and the hosts, who had previously eaten nearby but not at our tables, came and joined us for food. One of them talked a lot about vegetarianism and how it had come to her. She talked about “eating the suffering” of the animals. Plants, she said, only had one sense – touch – and so they didn’t suffer as much as animals who had all five senses. But when we ate any food, she said, we ate the suffering of it. So if we ate plants, we would not consume as much suffering.
Maybe that sounds corny. I don’t know. But it made sense to me. I kept thinking about it. I had already begun reducing meat in my life – going down to meat one or less time a day – but what if I did more? I hadn’t had a headache since showing up, and I felt good, better than I had in a long time. And I hadn’t eaten meat or craved it at all since I’d gotten there. Maybe…
One truly awesome thing happened in the afternoon – my shower savior had borrowed my colored pencils because a friend had given her some for the trip. But they were miniature pencils. Super, super miniature. And while she liked them, she couldn’t use them without her hand cramping. So she asked to borrow my pencils (which were full size), and I happily handed them over because I also had thin colored Sharpies with me. Well, she liked my pencils so much, and I liked her minis so much, that she traded them with me! Super score! She was thrilled, I was thrilled, and now I have cool cool cool colored pencils!
At dinner, we found out that one of the hosts who was in training to be a monk was going to be teaching a free meditation class. It was his first teaching opportunity, and we were all invited.
I’d already been in the yoga/meditation building, and it was an awesome place.
The meditation class was just as awesome. I know it was his first one, and he was nervous, but he was sincere and knowledgeable. I had wondered a bit about how it would go since, when he does the mantras, his voice is always slightly off from the group, but when he was leading the meditation, he seemed more focused, and his voice was relaxing and right on track.
He spoke to us, got us breathing, and then told us to meditate for 20 minutes.
I shifted once – my foot was still bothering me from the bug bite – and only a few minutes after I shifted back, he started moving us out of it.
I had just meditated for 20 minutes! Twenty minutes! How had that happened? Where had the time gone? In the past, when I’d meditated, I’d spent most of it trying to meditate. This time, I thought I had actually achieved it. It was an amazing feeling, and I went back to the ashram feeling refreshed.
Now, I hate to be judgmental and bitchy…no, wait, I don’t. But still. There was one chick at the retreat who was doing a water cleanse. A serious, serious water cleanse. She had done a 20 day water cleanse last year, and had returned to do a 30 days one. Yes, you read that right. Thirty days with only water. We never saw her. She stayed in her room, came out to shower, brush her teeth, get water. That was it. Otherwise, you didn’t even know she was there.
Except for her roommate.
Crazy water-cleanse girl had opted to have a roommate.
But she was crazy. The water-cleanser, that is. She didn’t want her roommate to turn on the light, make noise, or, well, exist.
My take on it is simple – get your own room then! Yes, I know it costs more, but if the cleanse is something so intensely private or if its makes you that super sensitive and cranky, then you need to be alone. But, no, she had a roommate.
And her roommate didn’t want to room with her if she could help it.
I invited her to use the spare bed in my room. Even though I had a single, each room had two beds in it.
And that’s how I wound up spending most of the night with a queer* feminist slam poet (who, btw, is awesome!) in the spare bed. To make matters weird, when I woke up at 6:30, she was gone. I had to wonder what I had done to chase her away. I half didn’t want to ask, but after a walk, shower, and mantras, I asked her over breakfast (super yummy oatmeal with fresh cut fruit) if I had snored too loud or done something weird to chase her away. She reassured me that it was the spare bed – there were no sheets, and the mattress cover bothered her enough that she went back to her room. So hopefully she was telling the truth and I hadn’t been muttering some crazy ass shit in my sleep. It could happen.
*I wanted to note that this was her personal word choice for her sexual identification. I would not presume to call her queer otherwise.
(I’ve been told that apparently I’m mocking this too much…people are asking me if I actually enjoyed it. My response is simple: it was life changing. Honestly and truly. I loved it. It was unbelievably special to me. However, who the hell can take anything that seriously? If you’re looking for something serious, then you’ve come to the wrong place. There are very few things that I take too seriously…)
So maybe it’s just me, but I always love reading the “Style” section of the Sunday paper where they tell me how much I should spend on things. (Like $148 for a simple hat or $12,800 for a watch…both of which were featured in their what to buy for Father’s Day section.)
But the best part was when they suggested buying a scent diffuser for the man in your life. Cause every guy loooooves getting a little vase with sticks that smell good poking out of it. The suggestion isn’t as funny as the write-up, though:
“Let this diffuser scent your man cave…”
Ummmm, wait. What? “Scent your man cave?” Why does that just sound obscene? I have to say, I’ve never wanted my husband’s “man cave” scented. Ewwwwww.