It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.
Mothers shield their young children’s ears from hearing stories of it.
Still, it happens to the best of us, and it happened to me just this past weekend.
Allow me to start from the beginning. Husband’s family had a Christmas gathering at a local restaurant and the group was leaving. I decided to use the restroom before we left since we planned to do some shopping afterward.
Normally, I wouldn’t give so many details about my toilet habits, but this is an essential part of the story. You see, I really had to pee. After that long and satisfying emptying of my bladder, I reached for the toilet paper and got this:
Both luckily and unluckily for me, I heard someone in the stall next to me. I had a decision to make: to ask for toilet paper or not?
Many thoughts went through my head. She was rustling around and grunting over there. It sounded like things weren’t going in her favor. Do I dare speak up and bother her in the midst of her crisis of the bowels? The other option left me in a
wet sticky bad situation, as well. I decided that I’d better speak up before she left and I missed my opportunity, leaving me with wet pants.
“Um, excuse me. Would whoever is in the stall next to me mind passing me some toilet paper? This stall is out.”
To my surprise, a jolly Latina accented voice replied, “Yes, but wait a minute, please. No problem.”
More grunting and rustling.
“Sorry, it’ll be just a little bit longer,” she said.
“No problem,” I told her. So I waited. More grunting.
Finally, she passed a gargantuan mass of paper under the stall divider.
“Here you go. Is that enough?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Thank you so much.”
I figured when I walked out to wash my hands and saw her at the sink that we would have one of those closed-lipped smiles, share an awkward knowing glance, and she would be on her way. Instead, I made a new lifelong friend.
In broken English, she rattled on something about her son and needing to get back home. I made the expected polite responses, but I seriously have no idea what we actually talked about. I do remember that we talked about how finding no paper in your stall is the absolute worst. I’m also pretty sure that we exchanged cookie recipes and I have a necklace now with “Best” and she has the other half that says “Friends”.
I walked toward the front door of the restaurant and Husband was sitting on a bench.
“What the hell were you doing all this time? Did you fall in or something?”
“Ugh. My stall was out of paper and I had to ask some random lady next to me for some. It was so embarrassing,” I responded.
Husband gave me a stern, questioning look. “Did you sit down on the toilet seat?”
Ok, cue the scratching record sound for a small back story. Husband and I have had this ‘sitting on the toilet seat’ argument more than once. He’s a true germaphobe at times and one time, the fight was so bad that I finally conceded defeat and promised him that I would never again sit on a public toilet seat. I’m serious.
So anyway, I instantly knew that this funny story I was telling him was going to turn down a treacherous path, and quickly. There really was no escaping the interrogation. I’m a terrible liar, so I couldn’t just say no. And if I said yes, he was going to flip.
“Well, I had to. I had no choice. There was no paper and I had to wait for the woman next to me to pass some, and I caught her at a bad time.” The feeble joke clearly made no difference in his mood.
So, a fleetingly short, but still uncomfortable fight ensued. I had to hear for the 27th time about the dangers of public toilet seats, such as herpes, MRSA, AIDS, and Kristin Stewart movies. I had to promise (again, but really really promise, like for real this time) that the toilet seat and my thighs are never, ever, ever, getting back together. Like, ever.
Another holiday with Mom has passed and I managed to survive. There was no alcohol, so you should be extra impressed. For those of you who are just joining, you might want to read some previous posts for background information on Mom. I would start with the time we ate at Golden Corral, then read the time she needed help buying a computer, and finish with our most recent Mother’s Day.
I’ll be here when you’re finished. All done? Great.
This year, Husband’s Parents decided to take one for the team and graciously invited Mom, Mom’s Weird Boyfriend, and Grandma to their family’s Thanksgiving festivities. I think they’re trying to earn extra credit points with Heaven or something. Whoever is in charge of those points needs to email Mother In Law a gift certificate, stat.
My day with Mom began before I left my house, when my phone rang. I already knew who it was, and why she was calling.
Mom: I’m on the road and I need directions.
Me: Mom, you’ve been there at least 15 times. I know that you know how to get there.
Mom: If I knew how to get there, I wouldn’t be calling you! Now, don’t I take ___ to ___ and turn onto ____?
Me: Yes, Mom. You’re right. See! You knew how to get there.
By some miracle of nature, Mom ended up arriving before Husband and I did. I felt horrible about it because this is similar to the concept of leaving a wolf enclosed with a group of chickens.
You see, Mom likes nothing more than to complain about the recent events in her life, and this week, she happened to have a minor surgery. No big deal. She’s ok. However, I was sure this would be blown to open-heart proportions in her head, and I wasn’t there to act as a buffer between Husband’s normal family and my dysfunctional version.
When I walked in, Grandma was sitting on the couch by herself. She can barely see anymore, and she didn’t know I was there until I sat next to her and gave her a peck on the cheek. Within 5 seconds, I had gained a fuchsia lip print on my cheek and warm compliments about how nice it was to see me. Grandma is one cool cat.
I headed toward the spare bedroom where I always leave my coat and purse, and Mom followed me in. Naturally, we made nice and wished one another a Happy Thanksgiving. She asked me to put her necklace on for her, and I obliged. It seemed like this could be a normal day. Then, I turned around to leave.
Mom grabbed me by the shoulders and brought her face within inches of mine.
“I need you to be respectful of me, little girl,” she said.
“Don’t get nasty with me on the phone just because I don’t know how to get here.” She squeezed my shoulders harder as I tried to wrestle away.
“Mom, you repeated the directions to me on the phone. You DID know how to get here.”
For the next few minutes, we had a circular conversation on this lovely topic, until I finally broke loose and escaped to the couch, next to Grandma. Grandma is pretty lonely, as people her age get to be sometimes, and she eagerly began telling me about her friend who drives her places. Capital letters represent Mom, who began interjecting sentences between us from a few feet away.
“My eyes aren’t good at all anymore. I can’t drive, of course – YOU KNOW I HAVEN’T BEEN HERE IN YEARS – but my friend picks me up and takes me to go out to eat and so on. It’s so nice to get out of the house, you know. I can’t really watch TV anymore – YEP, I BET THE LAST TIME I WAS HERE WAS WHEN YOU GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL – but sometimes I turn on my lamp and magnifying glass – MAYBE I WAS HERE FOR ANOTHER THANKSGIVING. BUT YOU KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO GET HERE – and I try to read 3 or 4 pages until my eyes just give up.”
The food was great, you guys. Mother In Law instituted a kid’s table even though the youngest person there was 23, which was Sister, to be specific. All 23-30 year olds sat at the kid’s table and we had a great discussion about the semi trailer that now resides in my yard and the chicken coop that Husband wants to build underneath it. This is my real life.
Now I’m thinking about all the amazing food I ate yesterday and now I’m starving, but I don’t have much to make except frozen buffalo wings from a bag. Pretty sure they call this post-holiday depression. I just call it hungry as hell.
Anyway, Mom behaved pretty well for the rest of the day. She even brought me flowers for inviting her, and admitted that it was Grandma’s idea to get them. Mother In Law says that Mom made polite conversation at the big person’s table (ages 30-90), which made me proud. My girl is growing up. All in all, it was a good day, full of good food…
I think I have a date with a plastic bag of frozen food and my oven.
Before I discuss my intended subject, I feel that I need to address this:
Yesterday, someone found my blog with the search term “stories about sisters smelling each others farts.” I wasn’t sure what I’ve written that would cause my blog to appear in those results. So, I did what anyone would do, and searched for it myself. My blog didn’t appear on the first results page and I felt too creepy to look on the second page, so I just closed the tab and decided that someone was searching really deep for those fart smellers of sisterly love.
Half of you are searching for it right now, I bet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I probably just lost 25 of my subscribers.
My original reason for posting today, though, is to discuss my love for singing. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, but mostly I sing alone. Before I started driving, it was difficult to sing alone and there were multiple times when I was caught. Usually, the person who caught me singing is my younger sister and she would always burst out laughing because I was typically belting out a particularly embarrassing guilty pleasure type of song. It was always a pretty mortifying experience. It usually went something like this:
The year is 1999. My 13 year old self is locked in my room with my boom box. My sister is down the street with a friend and my mom is at
work an Al-Anon meeting. “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey is blaring from the cheap speakers. I’m belting out the high note with sappy vibrato and my hands outstretched….
The door bursts open and Sister falls into the room, cackling and clutching her stomach. My friend from down the street is with her, also giggling. Gasping for breath, they tell me they’d been listening outside the door for the past few minutes.
“Shut up!” she says to me. “No one wants to hear you sing!”
My first car brought with it a place where no one would discover my singing sessions. Unfortunately, my first car also had really junky speakers. I used to crank up my Evanescence CDs so the music’s volume would match the volume of my voice. Within a few months, I had blown out one of the rear speakers. Husband (who was Boyfriend at the time) replaced my speakers for me, though the speakers were probably worth more than the entire car. I think you can guess what happened to the new speakers.
After a few years, that car drove its last mile and I got a new car. It had a 6-CD changer in the trunk, so I had variety in my solo karaoke repertoire! That car didn’t last long, though, and neither did the next. I currently have a car with a fairly nice factory sound system. There’s a subwoofer in the trunk and it certainly has great sound quality. My in-car concerts have never been better.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make in a long-winded and round-about way is even though I’m a music teacher (as discussed in my most popular post), I get very nervous about singing in front of people. The better I know the person and the more intimate the setting, the more scared I get. More than once, Husband has asked me to sing for him and I vehemently refuse. To this day, I have never sung for him by myself. It’s a completely irrational fear because the people I’m most afraid to sing for are the people I know are the least likely to judge me or put me down.
I have no problem singing for large crowds. In high school, I played Laurey in Oklahoma and naturally, I did a lot of solo singing during rehearsals and for crowds of about 500 people during the performances. During college, my friends and I loved to go to Karaoke Night on Mondays. On occasion, I would win tanning gift certificates, which I would give to my friend who wished to submit herself to cancerous rays. I even sang for my school a couple years ago during the talent show with another teacher.
So, how about you? Do you sing in the car? In front of other people?
Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. My mother is always wonderful material for my blog, so you can expect a hilarious recap of my turkey day later this week.
Help me. They can smell the fear. Only one day remains on the calendar until their release, and they’re scratching the walls. They have begun to become violent, picking fights and yelling obscenities.
Still, others have become lethargic, believing that freedom is a mirage that will fade once they believe it’s possible.
Packs of them circle me, blocking my path from sure escape.
“Can I go to the bathroom?” they ask. Others need a drink, and some need to know if they can change seats.
Yes, folks. It’s 5th and 6th grade – one day before Thanksgiving break. I have become weary from this journey. Provisions are running low, but the end is in sight. A weaker woman would have surely perished by now, but I trudge forth, past the Sea of Parent Emails and the Land of Lesson Planning.
Send me courage and strength, my friends. And also Starbucks. That will do wonders.
Everyone under the age of 30 who doesn’t have a smart phone, raise your hand!
No, seriously, guys. Why am I the only one with my hand up? Let’s try this again. No jokesters this time. Still me? Crap.
I started thinking about this while I was eating lunch in the teacher’s lounge last week. As I looked around the table, every one of my colleagues had their smart phone either in their hands or on the table. My sister has a smart phone as a substitute for internet service. I even had a fifth grade boy ask me to hold his phone for him last week, and to my dismay, I noticed that I was holding a phone nicer and newer than my own.
My phone is somewhere in the middle ground between those Jitterbugs on the commercials during The Price Is Right and a smart phone. It has a keyboard and a touch screen, and even internet access. However, it likes to randomly shut off if I click on any links when checking my Facebook and the touch screen isn’t nearly as sensitive as it should be.
I went through a phase earlier this year when my phone wouldn’t load any web pages. Coincidentally enough, it was exactly when my contract was up and I was due for an upgrade. I went to my Verizon store to see if they could fix the problem. My Samsung Rogue wasn’t even two years old yet, so I figured it was a software upgrade issue. I couldn’t believe my ears when they said my phone was no longer supported. Instead of helping me, they gave me a sales pitch to get me to upgrade to a smart phone. My monthly bill would have increased by about $100.
I basically told them to suck their smart phone and fix the problem with the current phone, which they were eyeballing like a geriatric. No dice. So, I left.
Over the next month, I was inundated with phone calls, texts, and emails from Verizon, all of which begged me to pretty please give up all of my disposable income for a phone which would enable me to do little more than what my current phone does, but for twice the cost. Like a Catholic teen, I continued to resist temptation.
After about two months of constantly refreshing my web pages and dealing with the “Network Connection Lost” message, my connection magically began working again. Verizon finally must have gotten the message.
And now because I love lists, here is a list of all the things I could buy each month, rather than paying for a smart phone:
1. 100 items from the dollar bin at Target
2. 20 grande lattes from Starbucks
3. 10 albums from iTunes
4. 2 pairs of shoes
5. 100 boxes of Spongebob shaped Mac & Cheese
6. 27 gallons of gas
7. 3 or 4 meals at a decent restaurant with Husband
8. 2 professional massages
9. Pay 100 people a dollar to read this blog
10. Several apps. Oh, wait.
morning afternoon when I woke up and logged into Facebook, I was greeted by a notification:
“[Anonymous friend] has invited you to play Farmville2.”
I navigated to my Apps Requests page to clear the invitation and saw that she had invited me to play this stupid game 29 TIMES. Yes. Twenty-nine. Times. Somehow, in the last 28 times when she received no response, her immediate reaction was to click “invite” one more time. At this point, I sort of felt bad for her. Was this like the time in middle school when the popular girl was having a party and she held onto the fleeting hope that she might be invited, just this once? It also made me recall the time a few years ago when one of my students friend requested me on four separate occasions. Shortly after that, I became unsearchable on Facebook.
The Apps page of Facebook is the one place I typically avoid at all costs. I find 99% of the games and other apps to be a complete waste of time and brain cells. Unbelievably, I learned that there’s an app called “Obama 2012” while I scrolled down the page. Seriously? Yeah, because an app is going to convince my staunchly Republican family members to vote for Obama. Right.
There was a tab at the top of the page where I could view the “Top Grossing” apps. Hold the phone. People pay actual money to play these inane games on Facebook? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why would I pay money to be entertained when all I have to do is view the status updates or “jobs” of some of the people I keep on my friend list for the sole reason of entertainment? High school acquaintances are great fodder for that particular area. If we haven’t spoken in the last month either online or in person, chances are, I’m laughing at you, not with you. Feel free to use the “unfriend” link as you wish. Based upon my suggested friend list, some of them have already realized this on their own.
It’s hard to believe they didn’t want me to be able to view such classic updates anymore, such as:
“Gonna go to work now.”
“Bby daddy be here n a few n i gotz 2 get bby grrl up n dresed. y do i have so mch drama. u no i hat teh drama.”
“Home from work now. Going to bed.”
“Going to work again.”
But, back to the money thing. Apparently, there are millions of you on the interwebs who spend your precious, hard-earned money on this:
It was under the “Top Grossed” tab. 51 million people play this game and I’m going to assume 90% of them couldn’t tell you one real fact about farming. They sit in their 500 square feet apartment, surrounded by noise and buildings, and harvest their cartoon crops. But it’s 3D! I can almost feel the adorable animals through my screen!
Here’s an idea. How about you get a REAL adorable animal, like this one?
She’ll keep you so entertained, you won’t have time to send me 29 requests to play Farmville2.
At this time last year, I was on my way to gettin’ ripped. I was slathering myself with baby oil and doing dead lifts on a daily basis. Okay, that last part may have been an exaggeration, but I was working out with a trainer once a week and eating healthy foods.
Last summer, I would go to restaurants with Husband and ask them to substitute cottage cheese for the fries. I paid twice the price of normal bread for fancy whole wheat bread. About three times a week, I went to the gym and worked out until my muscles trembled. For the first time in my life, I was able to run for more than 30 seconds without feeling nauseous. When people started talking about exercising, I actually had something to contribute, rather than listening awkwardly, as I had previously always done.
I wasn’t exactly looking different, but I felt stronger. Husband was amazed that I could push his new snowblower and that I could help him lift an engine without struggling.
Then school started again. And with that, came the time commitment of marching band.
At first, I was convinced I would continue my new lifestyle. I knew it wouldn’t be as easy as when I was on summer break, but I tried. I packed my workout bag the night before and brought it with me in the mornings. After school, I went to the gym instead of driving past the exit toward my house, and my beloved bed. I took the extra 10 minutes to change clothes, take off my jewelry, and put my hair up before working out.
Finally, I would get home, about 12 hours after leaving in the morning.
“What’s for dinner?” Husband would ask. “I’m starving.”
I would like to say that I whipped up a healthy dinner full of vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, but by this point, I was beyond exhausted. So, the processed foods started creeping back into my diet. Gradually, the evenings at the gym became further apart. I told myself it was because my life was consumed with teaching band, and once marching season was over, I’d be back with a vengeance.
November came, and I
hit the gym every day abandoned it completely. By March of this year, I hadn’t been there in five months. Husband finally started to demand that I cancel the membership because it was a waste of money. I put it off because canceling seemed like conceding that I was giving up. I told myself that once summer began, I would have the time and energy to restart.
Last week, I decided to see how out of shape I was. When I was working with the trainer, I could do about 20 consecutive push-ups. So, I got on the floor and braced myself.
I could barely lift my 100 pound frame one time. Apparently, I’m 20 times weaker than I was last July. And what did I have to eat yesterday? Pizza for lunch and Madagascar-shaped mac and cheese for dinner.
When school started last year, I finally had something interesting to say for What I Did Over The Summer. Somehow, I don’t think “I blogged and drank a lot of overly sugared coffee” will have the same effect this year.