The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem

I’m going to write a book on how to shorten the moving process.  It will be titled Burn it Down, and will have exactly zero pages. 

I will be rich.

Of course, a literary bomb like this would require me to actually burn our beautiful house to the ground, a thing I haven’t done and honestly may not get around to, since 1) I'm not quite sure how C would react, and 2) I haven’t nailed down the extent of the physical incarceration consequences. 

Does this look like the face of a girl who would commit arson?  Don't answer that.

I don’t want to jinx it yet, so I’ll whisper the big news:

I think we’ve sold our house.

We’re under contract with a nice young family (I say “nice” because I can’t bear to think of them as anything but a set of perfect human beings - adequately clean, dreadfully hospitable and exceedingly hip), so C and I have begun the process of moving, also recognized in our marriage as dancing through the house with cardboard boxes in our arms, wearing bubble wrap tutus and waving curly streamers made of reinforced tape.  We’ve gotten so good at packing that we can spend our time doing jazz ensembles instead of any real work.  This isn’t true of course, but what is true is the fact that we are becoming proficient at squashing any emotional turmoil surrounding our decision to sell.  When people ask how “it” is going - you know, “tossing through the memories bound within the walls of your first home” - I have a reliable if not canned reply:

It’s like war. 

You can’t think about casualties. You can’t second-guess decisions.  And above all else, you can’t give in and start crying on the bedroom floor.  If you do, you’ll wind up huddled in a dark linen closet with Blue Christmas playing on repeat, or something worse - and what could be worse than that??

We’re working hard to avoid the other great challenge of moving, one I think we can all relate to on some level.  Over time, we humans have this unfortunate tendency to form emotional bonds with things.  When I was a kid, I would go ballistic if I had to throw away old socks.  Socks.  Or, I’d be so upset that mom wanted me to take on a new toothbrush that I would wrap the old one in tissues and slide it into a clear ziploc bag before placing it gently in the least repulsive corner of the bathroom trash, whispering some parting words as it settled in to it's Kleenex coffin.  In the same way, we adults like to hang on to things that serve little or no purpose to us, such as the knick-knacks we keep on our bookshelves or sometimes even the books themselves.  We find ways to justify hoarding old yogurt containers, half-used chapstick tubes, and empty cleaning product bottles.  We hold on to unnecessary ceramics and superfluous furniture pieces. 

Well friends, no longer are we are in bondage to our hoarding ways – we are sorting through our knick-knacks with an iron fist and selling our wares to the highest bidder.  Need a side table?  We can help.  Always wanted to own a non-reclining recliner? Call 1-800-WE-GOT-IT.  Framed pictures of our vacations and family holidays?  Creepy, but we’re open to it.  You see, it’s not worth placing all of our desperate hope and separation anxiety on the shoulders of inanimate objects that aren’t capable of offering any love or hope in return.  Why else would we have pets?

I apologize in advance if I’m untimely with my posting in the next few weeks, but just remember that a transition like this has plenty of potential for spousal blowups, misplaced financial records, damaged stemware, and the occasional box-flew-off-the-back-of-the-truck highway accidents.  The laughter that I hope you experience over my mishaps is the shining light that keeps me from veering off the tunnel tracks. 

Or striking a match.


Ooh - Is That A Reindeer?!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… there’s freezing rain coming down, a sheer layer of ice on the driveway, and moderately-large forest animals walking around on our roads. 

The moose are out, and when I say “out”, I mean absolutely everywhere.   

Do you ever have those late night drives when you know that you're going to need a serious jolt to stay alert?  You know, when twilight has faded and your heavy eyelids begin to droop?  When the car feels warm and cozy, and somehow your otherwise uncomfortable driver’s seat has miraculously converted into a plush recliner with proper lumbar support?  When you cover 10 miles of sharp S-turns only to notice that you can’t recall driving through them, much less how you avoided crashing through the side rail and careening off of a cliff into the river?  Well, I’ve got just the thing to wake you up, and it’s totally natural – no pills, no super high-test coffee, no drugs - just pure, old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill adrenaline. 

You see, moose don’t really appear as concrete objects when they go strolling across the pavement at 8 o’clock on a moonless night.   They seem to be more the absence of something, like a large dark hole in the fabric of the world.  On rare occasions, you might be fortunate enough to glimpse your reflected headlights in a pair of big eyes, or spot a patch of lighter-colored fur on the back of a 6-foot calf, but the vast majority of sightings begin as a strange and blurry sci-fi wormhole hovering in the distance.  It goes like this: you think you might see something in the hazy blob ahead and take a second to squint and clear up the image, then - WHAM - it’s a moose.  The animal is unmistakable, and it's not because squinting enables you to see it more clearly (though it does seem to help when I forget my glasses at home), but is rather because in the three seconds it’s taken you to crane your neck forward like a kid in Driver’s Ed and scrunch up your face, you’ve traveled 200 feet and you’re suddenly a car’s length from what you now really wish was actually a hallucinogenic portal to 2nd century Egypt.  And you’re adrenal glands are buzzing like sugar-laden elves on December 24th, because past experience tells you that these giant beasts don’t do the old "stare-and-run" act like other animals.  Wiser animals.

Instead, they stare, and then they chew on a little of what they’ve been keeping in their 4th stomach.  And then they stare some more.  

No movement, whatsoever. That is, until you’ve sufficiently freaked out and are [probably] sideways in a ditch.

There is nothing going on in there.  Look at those eyes.

I don’t know if this news is coming across as fun and intriguing, or if it’s making you too nervous to ever leave your house in southern California.  Heck, those of you close enough might not even want to come visit after what you’ve read, but trust me - should conditions stay as they currently are – when you do come see us, you won’t need a third double espresso to stay awake, nor will you need to dump water on your face and roll the windows down.  The anticipation of a close encounter is almost as good as the jolt of energy you get after you slam on the brakes for a family of half-ton pedestrians. 

It’s really better than it sounds.  We’ll see you soon, I’m sure of it.


Reason #989 Why I'm Glad To Be A Grownup

I'm not sure why this crossed my mind today, perhaps because I was perusing a friend's baby registry, but I was again reminded why I am so perfectly happy to be an adult, and in this particular case, over the age of two.  Here's why.  We'll start with a shopping list.

Go with me, here.

Shopping list:
  • 1 roll of tape (preferably painter's tape, but I suppose electrical or duct tape would suffice)
  • 1 large Hefty outdoor trash bag
  • 1 pair brief underwear (men's, women's or underoos... any will do)
  • 1 ladies' maxi pad 

 (There are some further instructions for the pad purchase.  The purchased item must be classified as at least "super" absorbency, if not "ultra super-duper".  You must purchase the cheapest brand, and if you are going to be traveling by air soon, the ones that they keep in the plane's lavatory are perfect.  This thing should give you the mental image of bouncing on a bed.)

  • A ticket to the nearest outdoor or indoor water park
  • sandpaper
  1. Night before:  eat a big dinner, with lots of leafy green vegetables.
  2. Morning of: eat a nice farmers breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon, homefries and coffee).
  3. After breakfast: insert maxi pad into briefs.  
  4. Insert legs into briefs.  Pull up.
  5. Tear two leg holes into the bottom of the Hefty bag.  
  6. Insert legs into and through the trash bag.
  7. Tape each seam of the leg holes, which should now be around your thighs, very close to your underoos.
  8. Tape around your waist, being sure to snugly secure the bag around your NATURAL waist (ladies...).
  9. Scrape the sandpaper against the hefty bag.  Do this in various locations.
  10. Rip little tears in the seams of the tape.
  11. Drive to water park.  You should only be wearing your Hefty bag, along with a shirt and maybe some flip flops.  You also may need to pay off/ persuade/ bribe with snacks the employee at the entrance to said water park.
  12. Slide.  Slide like you've never slid before.
  13. Do it again.
  14. When your Hefty is sufficiently torn and seems to be taking on water, slide one more time.
  15. Drive home.  In your Hefty bag.
  16. Head to the bathroom. 
  17. Clean your Hefty bag [hoping desperately that you were able to "hold it" after that farmer's breakfast this morning, but if not, this will only emphasize the seriousness of my argument]. 
This is life with a diaper.  And if it's a cloth diaper, you get to do this again in a couple of days.  Wearing the same pair. 

Next time I complain about renewing my driver's license or paying taxes, remind me to read this. 


That's Why I Keep Lobster Bibs In The Top Drawer

Not 5 minutes after crossing the threshold of the beach resort where we’d spend our day on Grand Bahama island, I found myself peering curiously at a group of four transparent pitchers holding a variety of colored liquids: pastel yellow, soft orange, mint green, and on the right, a dusty pink.  After sniffing them thoroughly [and thereby killing any fellow interest], I was still having a hard time getting a whiff of the pink stuff on the right, which was the pitcher that really intrigued me, because hey - it could be a strawberry smoothie or something really good like that, right?

My plan was to pour a small “tasting” amount of the beverage into my glass, but there was this stubborn plug of fruit pulp in the neck of the bottle that was blocking the flow.  The mixture was frustratingly resistant to gravity until suddenly, when I had it practically upside-down, it wasn’t.  That's the moment I found myself standing in a large puddle of creamy watermelon juice that extended over to the dripping buffet counter and also coated my arms like runny oven mitts.

Post-spill.  I got a nice full glass.

I wish this event didn’t throw me into a foaming wave of pasty pink flashbacks, but unsurprisingly, it does.  During my four years of undergrad, I developed a somewhat regrettable relationship with the cafeteria frozen yogurt machine.   I’m the first person to encourage a dessert course, whether it’s after breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, so it should come as no surprise that I was a frequent visitor to the frozen goodie station of our dining hall. 

One weekday after an early lunch, I strode over to the dessert counter, blindly reached for a sugar cone (which I could have done in my sleep), and held it in my left hand under the Columbo yogurt nozzle (flavor of the day: raspberry) while I pulled the white lever with my right hand.  Instantly, the device began gushing pink, frothy, room-temperature liquid in a 4-foot circle around my feet… all in view of 400 or so peers who I would spend the next month trying not to look in the eye.

To challenge any generous assumption that I’m a fast and thorough learner, an identical event happened on a second occasion, this time leading to strawberry- flavored results.  I eventually did get the message: Don’t try to satisfy a fro-yo fix before 1 o’clock; DON'T DO IT.  Because if I do decide to pull that lever and try my luck, I’ll just have to waste another Rhetorical Theory class showering syrup the color of Pepto-Bismol off of my legs, and I doubt that Dr. Chase is inclined to accept that excuse more than twice.  At least not without laughing in my face first.

Despite many years scattered with a multitude of bittersweet accidents, I want to encourage each of you to keep on filling that sugar cone.  However, if you’re standing in line and you feel even a shred of doubt, just go ahead and let someone else pull that lever, because while you can clean up the sugary stink, there’s simply no sponge in the world that can scrub away the shame.


Way, Way Too Much Of A Good Thing

Sun, sand, turquoise tropical waters, 24-hour pizza and ice cream… it sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?  It is.  Especially when you’re traveling with your older sister and your mom, two people who have the ability to singlehandedly make any ordinary occasion, to say the very least, extraordinary.

To celebrate my sister’s milestone birthday this year, we arranged to take her on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Renee has, until now, never had the joy of steaming along on a floating Las Vegas resort, so it was particularly exciting to watch her eyes absorb all of the neon lights, read the gluttonous menus and revel in the slothful lifestyle of our little adventure at sea.

You can probably recall from previous posts my extreme affection for soft-serve ice cream, but what you don’t know is that it runs in the family.  We are also a clan of chronic snackers, on which I’m blaming the extra 3 or so ”souvenier” pounds I’ve returned home with.  Everyone knows that you can nosh your way through a cruise, but hardly anyone really gives you the pathetic details of their sorry, over-indulgent foray into gastrointestinal chaos.  The following is a single day’s account of where my 3 pounds might have come from.  I promise you’ll find yourself speculating how far I am rounding down the wreckage.  I’ll never tell, but if you see me in person, you'll probably be able to without my help.

9AM - room-service breakfast, taken in stateroom: smoked salmon, fruit, bread products, coffee, yogurt, mimosas
10AM - breakfast #2: coffee, fruit, bacon

11AM – ice cream break, coffee
12:30PM – lunch: jerk chicken, curried vegetable salad, calamari fritters, beef in puff pastry, pizza, fruit, ice cream….

After reaching her max, my sister seems appalled at the fact that I, friends, am a bottomless pit.  It's a talent, really.

2PM – ice cream break #2
4PM – ice cream break #3
5PM – visit to the sushi bar (cultivating my very own maki roll, located just above my belt line)
7PM – dinner (2 starters, 1 entrĂ©e (or two, if you’re Renee), and as many as 7 desserts before Welly, our waiter, begins jogging in place as he prepares to log roll each of us out into the foyer.  Apparently, we’re not the only ones regretting that last scoop of bread pudding.

Get your own dessert table.

9PM – the last, is-it-even-possible ice cream break of the night.  Probably.

Add a couple of drinks in there, and you’ve got something like 8 million calories.  Or 4 pant sizes, which explains why I can’t even fit into my stretchy pants.


So there you have it, folks.  I have more stories to tell and other pictures to share, but right now it’s after 2PM, and I need to go find a soft serve machine somewhere.  What can I say?  Some habits die hard, if they die at all.  


I promise I'll post later today, so please don't give up on me!

I just got back from an incredible trip with my mom and sister to the Bahamas during which we ate like animals ("ate like kings" somehow seems lackluster), sunned ourselves with abandon, and laughed until we peed a little.  Okay, that last part was just me.

I'll share more this afternoon -  I swear on my cat, which means a lot more than you might think.

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