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My love of singing. Also, a fart cartoon.

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.

English: Treason!!! John Bull emits an explosi...

I’m sorry. When else would I get to use a photo like this? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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….

English: Mariah Carey performing live in Las Vegas

I imagined it appeared similar to this.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Blogging counts as exercise, right?

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.

Pro female bodybuilder Nikki Fuller performs a...

Not me. You know, in case you were confused. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Urrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhh!

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.

Why My Freshly Pressed Experience Has Deceived You

I fear that most of you who are reading this don’t know what you’ve gotten into.

You see, most of you – I’m speaking to my dear subscribers – joined me this week in response to the post “What Every Music Teacher Wants You To Know.” And you see, that’s not a great representation of what this blog is. The featured post was tagged under “Education” and I’m sure you all expect this to be a teacher blog. It’s not.

“Well then, what is it?” you ask. Shhh. *strokes your hair* I will make it all clear in time, dear reader.

For some yet to be discovered reason, the WordPress gods smiled upon me on Monday and bestowed my very first blogging honor: Freshly Pressed. Of course, that’s what brought most of you here. Let me tell you what life on this blog was like before this week. It was lonely. Sometimes I would have conversations with my echoes. Even they didn’t care enough to read it. I abandoned the blog for many months, after accepting that no one besides my close friends would ever read it. When I came crawling back last month, there were cobwebs on my Stats page. I was down to about 12 hits per day.

I was feeling inspired and ready to write again. I had an idea about ranting about the sorry stereotypes of music teachers, so I clicked “New Post.” The website coughed up a tumbleweed and asked me if I was sure.

Me: Yes, I’m sure. Now give me the damn text box so I can write it.

WordPress: Ooh. Looks like someone’s feeling spunky today. Like anyone is going to actually read this drivel? It went really well for you the last 15 times.

Me: Ok, so it’s not going to become an international phenomenon. I get it. But my 25 or so music teacher friends will probably read it, and maybe even Like it on Facebook.

WordPress: Whatever. It’s not like you have anything else exciting going on here. Give it a shot. Your perseverance is adorable.

And so I published the post. I woke up Monday morning and opened my laptop. My email indicated 160 new emails. Wtf? I usually have about 6. They were all from WordPress. What the hell? I was even more baffled when I logged on here and saw about 43 new comments – more than I had received in all of my previous posts combined. I started to read them and responded to every one. About 10 comments down, I got my answer.

They were congratulating me on being Freshly Pressed.

For a second, I was convinced they were playing a cruel joke on me. My blog is a needle in the haystack of the blogging world. How could anyone think to find mine? After heading to wordpress.com, I realized it was true. There I was, front and center.

Naturally, this has been a glorious week (and for my stats) and I’ve been blown away by all of the kind comments and generous reblogs. I can’t thank everyone enough for reading and taking the time to click “follow.”

But, I feel that I have to come clean.

I’ve deceived you on our blind date. I’m not who I pretended to be. I write about potty humor. After all, my most recent post had the word “poop” in the title. I make fun of people – usually, myself. I tell stories about my family that no one should have to experience, but I do, so I feel that the least I can do is share them with you.

I hope that you all stick around and read anyway. Judging from my stats page, that’s not going to be the case.

Yeah, I know the number on top looks nice, but check out the views on all the other posts. I’m such a one-hit-wonder, I make “MmmBop” look good.

So, whaddya say? Can I have a second date?

How To Get Rich Quickly Using Rubber Poop

Husband has recently decided he’s a minimalist. Of course, he didn’t use that word for it, and I had to explain what “minimalist” meant when I told him that was what he was going for.

Coincidentally, I had discovered The Everyday Minimalist on Pinterest the day before. My typically anti-reading husband read about five posts before diving in head first and declaring that he wanted to purge all the junk from our home.

Awesome. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the trash can. I love to throw away useless crap, and even sometimes, crap that really isn’t crap and that I wish I still had. On the flip side, Husband is one of those people who owns more stuff than many people three times his age. It’s baffling, really. Probably about 10% of the stuff in this house is actually mine.

Junk Tower

Honey, I think it’s time to go through the bedroom closet. (Photo credit: sigma.)

Thus began our quest to go through the contents of the house and sell it all. Husband was convinced that we had a personal gold mine of possessions and that the eBay community would be tripping over themselves to get to the computer before it was all gone.

A competitor collapses just prior to the finis...

NOOOO!! Must…buy…before…gone….(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We started in the game room. Neither of us could bear to part with our vintage game systems, which include the Intellivision, Atari 2600, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo64, and original XBox. However, we did realize that we had about 30 games that we never play. Husband and I are not sports fans, so all of the sports-themed games went into the sell pile. Eventually, we put most of our CDs, records and a few VHS tapes in there, too. (Except for the signed copy of a George Jones LP. Husband couldn’t bear to part with it.)

For years, I have been begging Husband to part with The Silly Shelf. The Silly Shelf is – you guessed it – a shelf. It contains the most ridiculous of trinkets and toys from Husband’s lifetime. It has made its ugly home in our bedroom and makes one think that a 12-year-old boy lives there, rather than a married couple. Here is a breakdown of the type of items on this shelf:

  • A radio in the shape of an orange
  • A rubber pile of poop
  • A “Fart Fan”
  • A plastic cat that dances when you squeeze the buttons on the side
  • Numerous Bart Simpson trinkets
  • A Homer Simpson watch that says “Mmmm…burger” when you press it
  • The Taco Bell chihuahua
  • A block of soap with a Troll suspended inside
  • About 25 similar treasures

Unfortunately, when Husband’s father heard that we were parting with The Silly Shelf, he couldn’t bear to see it go away. He asked to keep the treasures, which means they’re still around. Le sigh. Anyway, they’re out of my bedroom.

So, we continued our quest into the office closet. This is another area where Husband and I have disagreed upon what should be there. His software, which consists of mostly floppy disks for DOS games, has taken up an entire shelf in our closet for years. Thankfully, he kept about 5 of his favorites to play on the 486 computer that’s in our bedroom and put the rest in the pile.

Since Husband works during the day and I’m on summer break, he put me in charge of the Sales Department. I began to scour eBay for the worth of our beloved treasures. Honestly, I was kind of excited. Yes, I thought. We’re going to get rid of all this junk and get a ton of money in return!

In the words of Dwight Schrute…

FALSE.

It’s all worthless. The completed listings were filled with red (non-selling) prices, such as $1.99 with free shipping. In other words, we’d have to pay someone to take this crap from us. So, does anyone want a copy of Madden ’94 for Super Nintendo?

I’ll even throw in a fake rock made of foam.

For $300, you could have a drunk person vacuum your house, too.

I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m a lazy piece of crap.

Thermometer-lazy-4

Thermometer-lazy-4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This isn’t exactly a world-stopping revelation. In college, I would stay up until 3 am and go on 4 hours of sleep because I was too lazy to get out of my chair and go to bed. Most of my big papers were begun around 9 pm, the night before they were due. These days, I usually wait to do laundry until Husband is on the verge of turning his underwear inside out. I’m currently drinking a glass of wine from a bottle that I wrestled the cork from opened using an automatic cork remover. Yes – I pressed a button and it pulled the cork for me. It’s awesome. And let’s face it ladies – I know I can’t be alone when I say I don’t exactly shave my legs regularly during the winter. It helps to keep me warm. (Insert cringe from all male readers.) Due to laziness and lack of inspiration, I haven’t posted on here in a few months, even though the original goal was to post about once a week.

However, last night was the kicker.

I started to consider purchasing a robotic vacuum and thought, Ok, maybe I really am a slob.

It seems like a wonderful concept. You press a button and little Wanda (the name is a work in progress) goes spinning around the room, sweeping up your Cheez-It crumbs from 8 consecutive episodes of The Office last Sunday afternoon. As many reviews stated, “It looks like a drunk person vacuumed your house.” Excellent. I’m almost sold.

A friend’s review stated, “…It was mentally disabled and just kept getting stuck under things. Then it broke 6 months later. Robot vacuum fail.” Yes! Why wouldn’t I want to spend $300 on that kind of entertainment?

Admittedly, this was brought on by the fact that my sister got one of these as a Christmas/birthday gift from her fiance. (The only gift that makes the combined Christmas/birthday thing ok) She has a cat and a dog, both of which shed approximately 542 pounds of fur each hour. Naturally, I became insanely jealous after hearing her constant praise of El-Neato, and how nice it is to come home from work and hear your personal maid sweeping your bedroom.

So, my husband did what any kind, loving man does and gave me a guilt trip about wanting it.

“If you want it, go ahead and buy it,” he said. “It’s completely up to you. After all, you always get what you want. I can’t even think of the last thing that I asked for. I’m going to go outside and work, and you can decide what you want to do while I’m gone. My car jack is broken,  but if you really need this vacuum, I won’t get another one.” He even said it so sincerely, with a smile on his face.

Damn him.

All was well, though, because today I checked my phone at work and read a text from Husband which read, “I will sweep the house tonight.” And he did. Every square inch of it. He says he would rather become the vacuum than spend $300 on one that might break in 6 months. I need suggestions for a name.

Also, it’s time to go shave my legs.

Barry White is going to get me ripped, even if it kills me

Let’s travel in time to this past Saturday, shall we? My work-out buddy (hereby known as E, until I decide a better moniker for her) and I had our initial session with our new trainer, Heather. E and I got to the gym right on time for our 12 pm appointment, and waited. And waited. Heather finally decided to stroll toward our table around 12:10, plopped into her chair open-legged, and began talking with absolutely no introduction.

“Mbghio bfji rghio gthjiob tihhjri. Bdfijiti bhi ghign?”

That’s all I heard for two reasons.

You know those girls who make you do a double-take when they talk because their voice sounds like Barry White?

Barry White show 03

Barry White show 03 (Photo credit: Luiz Fernando / Sonia Maria)

The second reason is that she was mumbling in her muffled baritone toward the table. No eye contact. Something about metabolism, and water, and what do I eat. I answered her in my usual intelligent manner, making eye contact with the side of her face:

“Uhhh…I used to eat bad stuff….like…fried stuff and whatever, but now I eat good stuff, like fruits and vegetables, and like, turkey and stuff.” Man. I should really think about going into the nutrition field if this teaching thing doesn’t work out.

This intelligent exchange continued for the next five minutes or so, as Heather muttered into the table and shoved papers toward us to sign. I started to wonder if she would notice if I started answering her questions using only Barry White song titles since she seemed so uninterested in my answers.

Heather: So, what are your goals?

Me: Staying Power.

Heather: Have you had a trainer before?

Me: You’re The First, The Last, My Everything.

Heather: Do you have any specific areas on which you’d like to focus?

Me: Honey Please Can’t Ya See? You See The Trouble With Me.

Heather: Ok, we’re gonna go over here so I can measure you.

Me: I’ll Do For You Anything You Want Me To.

On Tuesday, it was time for our first workout. Heather led us to a corner of the gym and adjusted her package demonstrated the leg circuit for us. After the third time through it, there was a nuclear war happening in my thighs. She wanted us to do it ONE MORE TIME.

Since I’m paying for this, I want to give it my all. I’m not giving up. (Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up) I powered through the fourth time, huffing and puffing, wiping my nose on my shirt sleeve, then dropping the kettlebell to the floor and guzzling water. My heart rate was somewhere in the 340 range. That may have been slightly exaggerated.

We started to walk toward the bench press and I was feeling like a champ. I made it! My 11-inch thighs are gonna be ripped!

Then, things started looking a little strange.

White spots filled my vision. Stomach churned. Room was spinning.

Great. Instead of impressing Barr…Heather with my outstanding endurance, I’m now sitting on a bench, breathing deeply and wondering if she would crush my head between her thighs if I puked right here. I’ve always been good at first impressions.

“You ok?” (What Am I Gonna Do With You) “You’d better take a walk.” (Baby, We Better Try To Get It Together)

Three days later, my legs are still sore. Barry’s on a mission to kill me, but if it gets me ripped, I can handle it. Just don’t expect me to look like one of those female bodybuilders. I haven’t had time to stock my baby oil supply
.

Never allow someone who has a mullet to do your hair for homecoming

Shiny, metallic pants must have been all the rage when I was in eighth grade. At least, I thought that was the case because I had three pairs of them in a variety of colors as my complete wardrobe that year.

Have you ever gone through old journals or pictures of yourself and thought, “Who allowed Richard Simmons to be my stylist?” or, “What would compel me to chronicle the details of eating at Frisch’s with my family as a quality diary entry?”

Going through boxes of childhood memorabilia can be a very humbling experience. Everyone tells you while you’re a teenager that you’re young and dumb, and of course that’s the last thing any kid wants to hear or believe. I went through a box of old stuff the other day and was appalled at how inane my writing was. The evidence that I encountered in that box argued that this is probably true. I decided that I must have been the most annoying thing on Earth in 1998 aside from Beanie Babies.

Exhibit A: Me at the pool with a friend, my grandma, and my sister. I’m probably about 10 or 11 here and if you could see Grandma’s “WTF” expression, you would know even she thought I was a lunatic.

Another poor life decision. Someone needed to have a unibrow intervention with me. (Just imagine brows like Bert and Ernie.) Also, sneakers should never have been worn with that outfit.

You see, the root of the problem is that my only example of fashion at this point in life was my mother. Mom dressed me until I was in fifth grade. There are pictures of me as a fourth grader sporting sweatsuits with cats, hearts and glitter on them. Even in 1995, this wasn’t acceptable. That was the day of bowl cuts, Michael Jordan jerseys, and flannel shirts. Wearing purple cotton from head to 4-inches-above-toe was how Mom thought I should roll. With that being said, we move to another disturbing image that I foreshadowed earlier.

There are almost no words for this. As I mentioned before, I had three pairs of these metallic pants in silver, pink, and gold. I owned no other pants besides these, as those who haven’t blocked middle school memories from their minds can attest. We won’t even go into the wig and hat.

We now move to the high school years. It came time for my freshman homecoming dance and my mom volunteered to do my hair. This ended up being the one and only time that my mom did my hair. You would think that the fact that she, to this day, has a mullet as her choice of hair style would be a gigantic red flag. However, it happened, and for hours that night, my friends had a multitude of laughs at this:

I was teased almost as much as my hair was that night.

Unfortunately, that was far from the end of my poor choices. This last gem falls into the “awkward prom photo” category. The best part about this one is that I coerced my now-husband into growing out his hair for my prom. Thus, I created a tragic image for both of us to treasure for life.

There are so many places to go with this one. Starting with the obvious, you have the awkward prom pose. Next, you have my horrid dress color choice, which blends into my pasty albino skin. Then, the decision to wear gloves which are too big for my spindly arms and a tiara, which no one should ever wear unless their mother is the queen. Finally, you can see I forced him into growing a circa 1999 Justin Timberlake white boy ‘fro, which speaks for itself.

Luckily, I attended Miami University (aka J. Crew U) after high school, where I learned that you never match your eyeshadow to your shirt and wearing screen printed tees with clever sayings is not as attractive as you might think.

I would call the subject of this post my awkward phase, but it’s not exactly a phase when it lasts for 20 years, is it?

It makes me feel better to know that everyone can relate with feelings of shame about your younger years. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?

Right?

Awkward pat on the shoulder, at least?