Sunday, June 30, 2013

If mice had a Facebook page, I wouldn't "Like" it.

Thank you for the kind suggestions about what to do with my little mouse-in-the-dog-food issue. Because I know the people are dying to find out what happened, I can tell you ... I followed Karen's advice and left the mouse in the closed dog-food container for my sweet husband.

Yes, I'm a feminist. But marriage is about collaboration.

I did not, however, follow Karen's advice to a T and flee to the safety of a margarita bar, where I would then call her for backup. This was, admittedly, a huge oversight on my part. However, because I stayed sober and on the scene, I was able to when My Guy showed up and thought he would capture the mouse in a cereal bowl.

Yes, a bowl from which we eat food. A shallow-ish bowl.

I looked at him and looked at the bowl. And earning triple points with Jesus, I refrained from saying, "Are you fucking kidding me?" No. Instead, I said, "Hmm. What will you do with him after you catch him?" You know, completely skipping over the fact that it was a cereal bowl and wouldn't even contain the varmint.

I guess my sweet husband was looking to appear to take charge without actually taking any action. He shrugged and put the bowl away, and we agreed that the mouse could lounge in the dog-food container until we came up with a better plan.

Two days later, we dumped the remaining dog food and the mouse in the trash can. Trash day is tomorrow. Either the mouse has eaten himself to death, or he's about to go for the ride of his life.

I guess it's the path of least resistance. My hope is that it's the ultimate mouse death - dying doing something you love.

I couldn't bring myself to flush the critter, per Jenny's advice. Much like reader Cinny, I have seen first-hand the devastation of a sewer backup caused by mice. Oh, the humanity!


I do think we should all take a moment and appreciate CookingWithGas, who reports that she drove around in a car infested by mice. That should definitely qualify for some sort of Girl Scout badge - maybe for creating an art installation, or just generally being a badass.

Me? I'm OK with skipping the mice-related badges.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Why adulthood needs a how-to manual.

I was really tempting fate by titling my last post "One of the worst things to ever happen to me."  I knew it at the time, but figured that Fate knew I was being cheeky.

Alas, Fate did not. She takes that shit seriously. Now, I'm facing life-or-death decisions.

Today, I received a text from My Guy. He had forgotten to feed the labradoodle. No big whoop! I can feed Big Doodle, no problem.

So, I trudged out to the garage and went to scoop kibble into Big Doodle's bowl. Except! Except the kibble was moving.

There was a very fat mouse in the big ol' Rubbermaid container that holds the dog food. Now, the container was almost empty, but this mouse had clearly gorged himself for a while. He was bloated and miserable - simultaneously at heaven's buffet and suffering in indigestion hell.

This infestation might have had something to do with the fact that the lid for the container was on the floor, next to the Rubbermaid tub. While I'm no expert, I believe that lids tend to work best when actually placed on top of the container.


There's nothing that makes me lose my housewifely mind like vermin in my house. So, clearly, the mouse needs to die, lest he end up in my silverware drawer. However ... how? I want to be humane about it. I kind of don't think that placing a mousetrap in the dog food container is going to get the desired result. Plus, I don't actually want to put my hand near the mouse. Because he could, like, gnaw my arm off with his huge teeth.

I might be getting a poor little mouse with an eating disorder confused with a horror movie rabid rat.

So, right now, the mouse is in the Rubbermaid container with the lid on it. Uh ... now what?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One of the worst things to ever happen to me - nay, to humankind.

The other day, I had breakfast with my mom's cousin. This super-fun lady is a mere 82 years old and has an energy level that puts me to shame. I just met her, but I lurve her.

She represents the very Irish, very Catholic part of my family. I like to think of them as my very own Knights of Columbus. All about the church, but they know how to party. Oh, and it's not a matter of if you've been to Ireland, but how many times, and did you look up cousin so-and-so.

Good people.

So, my cousin was especially excited to hear that my brother had lived in Ireland, and that I had visited him with my folks. She wanted to know all the details of Poochie's life in Galway, and where we had stayed on our visit, and all of it.

I was happy to relive the trip with her. However, I kind of left out the part of our trip that is quite possibly 1 of the worst things to ever happen to me.

See, my brother lived in the attic apartment of a family's home. He could only stand upright in a few areas of his living space. He had a bedroom, a little kitchenette, and a teensy bathroom with an open shower stall.

To give you an idea of Poochie's housekeeping skills at this point in his life, I will tell you this: Upon settling in a new land, he purchased the most economic towels he could find so that he could be all domestic and also dry off his lanky frame after bathing. Except, when he got the towels home, he discovered that they were cheap because they were kitchen hand towels.

And then? He just lived with them for a year. Poochie used those hand towels as bath towels for 12 months.

I should also mention that he's 6'1". There's a lot of ground for a poor little hand towel to cover.

So, that gives you an idea of Poochie's level of domesticity. His attic apartment definitely had a bachelor pad vibe, and he had splurged on a can of Comet to keep things nice. Surfaces that didn't easily lend themselves to a quick scrubbing with Comet were just allowed to peacefully coexist.

One night, I stayed with Poochie instead of heading back to the bed and breakfast with our parents. My sweet brother took his spinster sister out, partying with his friends at a dance club where the DJ, inexplicably, kept playing "Sweet Home Alabama." I was submersed in Irish culture.

Poochie's landlord had loaned him a bare mattress and a comforter that smelled like BO, so that I could sleep over. I viewed it like camping, and a grand adventure. I was also comforted by the knowledge that there was a hot shower waiting for me at the B&B.

I did, however, do some basic girl stuff in Poochie's tiny, dingy, in-no-way clean bathroom. I brushed my teeth and washed my face. And I dealt with my contacts. Because I never, ever sleep in my lenses. Because I am meticulous about what I put in my eyes.

This was all well and good until the morning after my clubbing / camping adventure. I brushed my teeth again, and washed my face. And then, just as I was putting my contact it, it slipped.

I dropped my contact lens on my brother's never-been-cleaned bathroom floor.

The floor that I was careful not to walk upon barefoot. The floor that was some sort of linoleum, topped by decades of wax and grime. The floor that didn't even have a discernible color.

My contact was on this floor.

I scooped it up. I washed it off as best I could. And then, I did the only thing I could do: I put the lens in my eye.

I kind of expected an immediate outbreak of ocular athlete's foot, or some sort of seizure. I didn't immediately sprout a tumor, but sometimes these things take time.

I didn't say anything to Poochie, but later, with my parents, I admitted the horrible tragedy that had befallen me.

My mom looked stricken. "Oh, shit," she said.

"That's truly horrible," said my dad. And he meant it.

And that, dear friends, is the tale of 1 of the worst things ever. We still speak of it in hushed tones, as it's too terrible to forget or speak of aloud. Obviously.

What's something horrible to have befallen you?

Monday, June 24, 2013

An open letter to 12-year-old girls everywhere, wherein I disclose what I learned from not wearing deodorant for 6 weeks.

Dear friends,

When I was a tween, I became paranoid.

I became the girl who wouldn't leave the house unless I looked just right. I spent hours worrying over my appearance, and was convinced that every single time I was out in public, I was being judged for every small detail of my look.

I'm ashamed to admit that I regularly made my poor mom wait for me to wash my hair before we could leave the house. I was convinced that I would see someone I knew at Kmart, and my precarious preteen social standing would be destroyed due to the unruly state of my perm. Or the fact that I had blackheads. Or if I wasn't wearing cute socks.

I refused to go to the greenhouse to pick up marigolds on a 90-degree day without first washing and drying my hair. I also wore a "cool" outfit because, well, you just never know.

I was miserable at a basketball game because I got ice cream on my pink cable-knit sweater.  I was certain that everyone in the arena was aware of my food faux pas and looked down on me with harsh derision. People weren't watching the game - they were staring at the stain on my sleeve!

This stress made everything so much harder.

My friends, I have news: Nobody gives a shit.

Yeah, I'm using the word "shit" when speaking to 12-year-olds. Because I really, really mean what I'm saying. Also, I want you to think I'm cool.

But seriously.

Everybody else is so worried about themselves that they don't have time to worry about you.

OK, I got a rash in my freakin' armpit like 6 weeks ago. I went to the doctor and got a bunch of different types of cream, and blah blah blah, the rash is just now going away.

You can't wear deodorant when you have an armpit rash. You also can't shave your pit.

So, as the weather is heating up and it's really starting to be sweaty season, I have had 1 normal armpit, and 1 hairy, stinky armpit.

My inner 12-year-old girl (yeah, she never goes away) was pretty sure that the entire universe knew of my pit situation. Yes, my inner 12-year-old girl was embarrassed to be associated with such stink and was also convinced that all my friends would disown me. People in the grocery store would abandon their carts and run out of the store when they saw me. I was that gross.

But guess what? My inner 12-year-old girl was wrong.

Nobody noticed by armpit leprosy. No one was overcome with the fumes from my stinky pit. And even if they did notice, "Gee, that woman hasn't shaved under her arm for a while?" Well, they didn't care enough to say anything. Because it wasn't worth their time. Because they did not give a shit.

The armpit was a huge deal to me. And only me. And all the energy I spent worrying about my pit's outward appearances was wasted. I could have knitted a scarf or written and recorded a number one pop song with that energy. But alas!

If I can walk through the world with a lovely disaster of an armpit, you can go to the grocery without curling your hair first. The world doesn't really care if you've got a zit, or if your shoes are the latest style. The world is just happy you're wearing pants.

Relax. You are beautiful, exactly as you are. Own your beauty.

Cha Cha

Friday, June 21, 2013

In which I open myself up to ridicule.

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day. Since I work from home, I guess this means the dogs felt gypped. To show his disapproval, Foxie Doxie got in the ladytime trash again.

This time, instead of just enjoying the delights of ladytime trash, he left bits of used, half-eaten ladyproducts in one of my shoes.


In an effort not to kill my dachshund terror, I have compiled a list of all of the pet names I use to refer to my canines. These are names of adoration, the monikers of love. You know, what I call them when I'm not saying "Who did this?" or "We go POTTY OUTSIDE."

I'm trying to channel the adorableness in hopes of forgetting the assholery.
They're so cute when they're unconscious.
Actually, this guy is pretty OK all the time.
When they're cute, well-behaved, and / or asleep, I call them:
  • Babies
  • Chickens
  • Little chickens
  • Baby chickens
  • Fluffy chickens
  • Chicken pot pies
  • Sweetness (this is a collective name, kind of like "Dawn" of "Tony Orlando and Dawn")
  • Baby puppies
  • Pumpkin bears
  • Lil' pumpkins
  • Baby bears
  • Honky bears
  • Fluffy honkies
  • Honkies
  • Crazy paws
  • Love (again, another collective, back-up singer-esque name)
  • Puppy loves
  • Chow hounds
  • Noodles
  • Noodleroos (at last, the mystery of my blog title is solved - I named it after my dogs)
So, yes, I'm That Lady. But I have no doubt that there are awesome dog monikers that I'm missing. What do you suggest? What do you call your furry pals?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The truth about being a cougar. From Iowa. Who has decent etiquette.

My Guy's cousin recently graduated from high school. The graduate is a really cool guy, and we were happy to send him a card with a little cash.

Because I'm a giant dork, I bought him a card from The Onion. And inside I wrote, "Follow your dreams and stuff."

I don't know why I don't work for Hallmark.

So, today, we got a thank you card. It was a masterpiece of 18-year-old boy wordsmithing:

My Guy and Cha Cha - 
Thanks for the card and the cash. I will spend it well. I will think of you lots at college.

I couldn't help but laugh. However, My Guy did point out that the thank you arrived with expedient aplomb. It was actually really impressive, as I'd sent the card just a few days ago.

My Guy: I don't remember writing my graduation thank yous that quickly. I don't think we even had a party.

Me: You didn't clean out the garage, set up folding chairs, and have a party with sheet cake and ham buns?

My Guy: Ham buns?

Me: Yeah. You know, buns from HyVee, sliced open, with ham in 'em?

My Guy: You mean ham sandwiches?

Me: They're called "ham buns."

My Guy: What is wrong with your people?

Me: You're just jealous.

My Guy: I don't even remember what I received for graduation gifts, besides lots of Bibles.

Me: Bibles? I guess people thought you really needed The Lord?

My Guy: I guess.

Me: The best gifts I got were from these 2 little old ladies at church. They were sisters - Mary and Alice. Alice gave me stationery, and Mary gave me stamps. At college, those stamps were like gold!

My Guy: Stationery? What did you do with that?

I looked at him. And then I realized that our 5-year age difference really matters here.

Me: I went to college before the Internet. I wrote letters ... like the pioneers.

My Guy: - blank stare -

Me: - grey head in weathered, elderly hands -

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I watch it so you don't have to: Rock My RV with Bret Michaels.

Everyone's favorite reality teevee rocker is back!

No, Bret Michaels isn't starring in a mobile dating show called "Slut Bus," or a whodunit called "Who Gave Me The Herp?" Instead, it's "Rock My RV," wherein Bret transforms broken-ass recreational vehicles into probably uninsurable tricked-out behemoths.

Basically, it's "Pimp My Ride," but with RVs.

Evidently, calls it "The best reality makeover show yet." Umm ... OK?

Thus far, the show has taken on projects like transforming a 20-year-old RV into kind of a family pimp palace, and turning an old ambulance into a Bigfoot tracking vehicle.

You know that part of me that saw the same poolside waiter 4 years in a row and immediately became concerned about the guy's retirement plan? Yeah. That same part of me thinks that none of this dumpy RV rehabbing is economically responsible. But that aside ...

... Yeah, it's still a bad show.

I know. I know! I can't help it - I'm so annoyed by Bret acting like he comes up with these designs and then is actively working on the team who does all the implementation. He's like the smarmy kid in a group project who doesn't do anything but tells the teacher crap like, "I feel like we really pulled together as a team."

Bret helps with demo. They once showed him doing some spray painting. But other than that, he uses "I" and "we" a lot and slaps down design docs and says stuff like, "I want 4 pop-outs. Can we do it?"

Evidently, in Older RV Land, 4 pop-outs is impossible, due to, like, science and stuff. And the fabricator dude was like, "Ehhh ... I can't do 4, but I can probably do 2." And Bret was like, "I know you're great at what you do. Try to get 4 out of here."

So, he's That Guy. That Guy who also says, "I really wanna honor this vehicle, you know what I mean?"


Perhaps I am not the target demographic for this show. I hate camping. And I can't help but hold it against Bret when he pronounces "philanthropy" as "philantropy" or uses terms like "reimaginated."

Why wouldn't that stuff get edited out? Do the producers want Bret to look dumb? Because it's working.

At the end of every show, there's the big reveal. The RV is hidden behind a curtain, and Bret hollers, "Rock! My! R! V!" Then, 2 scantily clad women called "The Bretettes" drop the curtain, and the RV in question appears, surrounded by fire.

It's so cheesy, it's almost awesome. Almost. I just can't get around the ego at work here. Because Bret's ego is the only part of him working. Maybe I just have PTSD from too many group projects gone bad. And that PTSD is combining with my fear of camping, and this is just not the show for me.

Then, there was my husband's comment: "I'm really disappointed by the lack of sluts in this show."


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paint fumes are real, people.

I've been painting baseboards.

I've been painting so many baseboards that I started thinking that I am the most amazing baseboard painter ever. My skill at free-handing trim paint is the thing legends are made of! My steady hand and raw talent is revolutionizing home rehabilitation.

Then, it got weird.

I started thinking that I'd probably be feted at the Kennedy Center Honors in recognition of my skill with a 1 1/2" angled brush.

Who would talk about me? Would they get Bob Vila to wax poetic about how I am a huge inspiration to him? Would I have to act like I wasn't pissed off when some big boobed, botoxed HGTV host who pretends to be a contractor but really just gets in the way talks about me? Except the Kennedy Honors shows seem to be really chill and classy. They'd find some good folks to talk about me.

And the little movie about my paint transformations? Well, they could show before and after footage of my 3 houses ... and the countless rooms I've painted for friends. Most people have "The Truck Friend" who helps them move. I am "The Paint Friend," who also loves to caulk.

I got mad skillz, yo.

But what would I wear to the Kennedy Center Honors? It almost seems appropriate to wear my very stinky painting clothes. However, that might be kind of awkward, seeing as how everyone else - including the president - will be in black tie. Oh, conundrum.

This is the stuff I think about while crawling around, getting paint in my hair.

And yes, I do realize that I need to get out more. Out of the fumes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I'll take a kennel over a cubicle any day.

A year ago this week, I started a new job at Mega Corporate Behemoth. On my first day, I sat alone for 15 minutes in the lobby, waiting for my manager to fetch me. She was late because she had to stop for coffee. Because coffee was a higher priority.

I should have paid attention to the signs and run screaming from the building.

I have a friend who once took a new employee out for lunch on her first day. The newbie ordered an appetizer, entrĂ©e, and dessert, paid for by her new employer - and then never showed back at the office after lunch. Or ever.

My friend was horrified, but in a way, I admire that kind of moxie. Especially since sometimes, there are really obvious clues that a gig is not a good fit. See also: my first-day lunch at Mega Corporate Behemoth, wherein my boss and her harpy lieutenant invited me to dine, then ignored me and my attempts to join the conversation.

I was so unhappy in that job. Even thinking about it a year later makes me sad.

However, things are better.

I only had to sit in my Cube of Despair for 2 months until I was canned. That was a blessing.

In my next, equally boring but way-nicer gig at Globotron, I relearned that yes, there are nice people in Corporate America. I actually made friends. I also learned once and for all that I am not meant to be a cube dweller.

When My Guy and I agreed that I needed to say goodbye to Corporate America for good, he had 3 stipulations:
  • Be happier.
  • Don't feel guilty.
  • For the love of all that is holy, no more dogs.
Well, 2 outta 3 ain't bad.

I'm still struggling with the guilt. I don't bring in the cash that I used to. And how could I possibly be a productive member of society when I'm unshowered and wearing yoga pants? Yoga pants with dirty paw prints on them?

I'm also struggling with how to describe myself, or explain what I do. My friends ask how things are going, and I'm at a loss, except to say, "Great!" and change the subject.

I'm kind of being a housewife and kind of being a writer. And I'm toying with calling myself an artist instead of a writer, because people expect artists to be a little crazy and defy description. What kind of writer can't even find the words to describe herself? But an artist? Well, that's different.

Here's what I know: I have 3 dogs curled up under my desk and a giant canine noggin resting on my foot. A dachshund is snoring. I am blessed.

A little frustrated at my difficulty in figuring it all out. But blessed.

Monday, June 3, 2013

An open letter to the azalea in my front yard.

So, I'd never used a hack saw before.

Much like the fight scene in "Anchorman," I think we can agree that things escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

I'm so, so sorry.

I'm sorry, but I think we can agree that you were a little ... rangy. See, you're a shrub, right? You weren't ever supposed to be pushing 7 feet. I went in with my clippers to cut out all the dead wood, but everything above about 2 feet was dead wood, then more dead wood ... and then 3 leaves on top. Hence your extreme haircut.

The clippers weren't getting through the thicker branches, hence the hack saw. I thought I was just a weakling, but evidently, I was using a saw with a blade intended for cutting metal, not wood. This meant the trimming took forever and made my husband laugh. Well, he laughed at me after he got over his initial shock at the carnage.

It needed to be done. I was just surprised and saddened that it ended up looking so ... destructive.

Please trust that I had only the best intentions, and that I'm sure you're going to come back better than ever - full and lush and the envy of the neighborhood.

If you don't bloom next year out of spite, I understand.

Just please don't die. Because I really don't want to dig out your ancient roots. And because my husband is making fun of me already. Please, team up with me to prove that his foretelling of your demise is wrong. I love you and believe we have a future together.

Two feet tall is a really good look for an azalea. Work it! Own it! Please don't die! I promise I won't trim anything else without adult supervision!