Babysitting:

Me:”Can you promise to not die, panic, burn the house down, or get lost in the woods in the minute and a half minutes it takes me to go move my car?”
Kid:”I’ll try…No promises…”

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A fine line (of socks).

My cat loves socks. He will steal them, and he will horde them, and one day when I’m cleaning out my closet I will find a small mountain of socks, compressed into a cat-sized sock next, covered in a dense layer of fur. He is like kitty-Smaug, except instead of gold he has socks. He is fur…he is scritches.

One time when my brother and I were younger, probably elementary and middle school, my mother had just picked us up from our dad’s because it was a Wednesday, and brought us back to her place. She worked late on Wednesdays because we weren’t home anyway, so the house was dark when we got home.

We walked in, and my mom stopped short. There was a perfect straight line of socks leading down the hallway, and one on each step going upstairs. Mom desperately tried to remember if the door had been locked when we came in, and shooed us to the neighbor’s house, while asking said neighbor (a tough Scottish man whose son was my age) to come check the house for murderous intruders with a sock fetish.

While they were searching the house, my brother and I were on the neighbor’s porch, confused, when we heard an uproarious laugh. We ran back to the house and up the stairs (bad idea if there was a laughing sock obsessed murderer in the house), where we found my neighbor clutching a tire iron and laughing his ass off, as my cat carefully carried a sock (in his mouth) from my laundry basket to the end of the hallway, where he was lining them up in a perfect straight line.

I guess that’s the story of how my cat almost got his head bashed in by a Scottish guy with a tire iron.

 

That time my cat nearly got stabbed.

I’m not joking. My cat did almost get stabbed.

Not recently, years ago.

He’s always been a little nutty, and yowls and mutters to himself. I’m thinking kitty dementia, because he’s old as dirt and probably gonna outlive us all.

Okay. So at the time, my brother and I were still in school, and Monday nights we were with our dad. My mom was doing an MBA class that met on Mondays, and her cousin, who was living with us then was home alone.

Now, I’m not saying it was a dark and stormy night, but let’s be real, Ohio in fall, it probably was. My mom’s cousin was sitting in the family room watching TV, when she heard the basement door rattling, and muttering coming from behind the door. She is reasonably petite, as the women in my mother’s family tend to be, but badass, as the women in this family also tend to be, and just a little reckless. So instead of leaving out the garage door, the back door, or even the front door (all of which stood between her and the rattling basement door) and going to a neighbor’s house where there was no [presumed] intruder, she grabbed her cell phone in one hand and a large knife in the other, and proceeded to throw open the basement door to confront this threat.

Look at this smug bastard demanding belly rubs.
Look at this smug bastard demanding belly rubs.

It meowed.

The cleaning lady had been there that morning, and forgot to let the cat out of the basement when she left, and the cat apparently took great offence.

And almost got stabbed for it.

Tell Me What to Read

The last book I read is called American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History, which comes as no surprise if you know my academic background (Criminology, International Security). It’s exactly what it says, an autobiography of this guy, a Navy SEAL, who was/is a sniper, and got the most kills. Ever. It’s a riveting book and Desiree told me to read it, and I think you should read it too. 

But for real, tell me what to read next, in the comments. 

xoxo

What went through my head as I took the GRE (lots of cussing)

What is that awful beeping? Shit fuck hell damn it’s my alarm. What time is it? 6:00. Who the fuck wakes up at 6:00? Sociopaths, that who. This is the murder hour. 6am is the reason for road rage. Those fuckers are sleep deprived.

……Beeping again. God damn I hit the snooze button. Why did I hit the snooze button? Now I don’t have time to shower. Fuck. Okay I have to wake up and get dressed…

Dammit. Hit the snooze button again. Okay. Up for real this time.

God damn why did I turn on the light it is so fucking bright in here is that an extra lightbulb?! No, wait, normal amount of lightbulbs. I have to pee. Bathroom bathroom bathroom. Dammit, cat, why are you sleeping in the tub? Turning the shower on just to spite you…hehehe. No, get out. Out, out, out, I will let you drink from the faucet later, let me brush my teeth, wait no I have to pee. Okay. Teeth. Where the fuck is my toothbrush? Did mom get a new cleaning lady? Did she hide it? Why would she hide my toothbrush? Oh wait. I left it in the shower next to my toothpaste. Fancy ass toothpaste. Better whiten my fucking teeth…

Okay clothes. Dammit I left the pants I wanted to wear at dad’s house. Wear are my legging? Oh. Laundry. Should have done that three days ago. Oops. Do these leggings smell weird? *sniff* Nope, we’re good. Leggings it is. Sweater…where are you sweater? Dammit cat, your fur is all over my sweater. Big shirt…let’s go big shirt…covers my ass,good enough.

Hair. Shit ow ow ow ow why am I brushing this?! Detangler where are you?! Ugh. Mom took it. Not going in there. Um…it looks okay right? Right. I’m hungry.

Breakfast. Ugh I hate breakfast. Who drank half my smoothie? Motherfucker’s gonna get a beat down with my tiny fists of fury! Hahaha Nick Fury. Avengers. Jeremy Renner…wait. Breakfast. Half a smoothie. Let me stick an applesauce pouch in my bag for later.

Fuck it’s cold out. But I’m not going back in for a sweater, mom will just say told you so. In the car. Wake up, GPS, time to go. Come onnnn. Fine. I’m starting without you. Dammit, I forgot my water bottle. Not going back. Radio. Talk show. Talk show. Talk show. WHY do we need to hear your opinions on tattoos? No one cares. Wear sleeves. Done. Where am I? Oh. Wait. When did the ramp get to the other side of the highway. Fuck you, road construction. HOLY SHIT WHERE DID THAT SEMI COME FROM?! Okay I’m still alive. Let’s make it there in once piece, okay? I can’t get into grad school if I’m dead. Okay. Off the highway. Why is my GPS telling me I’m here when I’m clearly in front of a Walmart? Oh. There it is. 7:30, right on time, let’s go.

WAIT. WHY ARE THEY CLOSED?!? Is it the right day? What time is it? What’s going on?!?!?! Okay. Just gonna sit in my car and wait. I’m watching you, Prometric Testing Center….why are these radio hosts still talking oh my god. Oh look, they turned on a light. I’m going in. Okay. Forms to fill. What, I have to write in cursive?! Who writes in cursive? I haven’t done this since the third grade. “You’ll use this all the time in high school” my ass. I barely handwrite anything any more. Forget cursive…

Okay. Starting the GRE. The hell sort of writing prompt is this? Wouldn’t a better way to judge my writing be by asking for a writing sample on something I have more than thirty minutes to write? I have a twenty five page paper about legalizing prostitution to lower the overall crime rate I could submit. Or fifteen pages on how Sadaam Hussein was a megalomaniac. But this? This I can do nothing with. Good thing it’s only three points. Bullshit cannon, go! Okay. Next prompt. This is slightly more manageable. Slightly. Still, that prostitution paper got me an A in capstone, you should really read it…

Alright. Verbal. I’m good at this. Shit. What does that word even mean? It’s got way too many letter. Damn damn damn damn damn. Okay. No. Reading comprehension. Shit fuck hell damn I hate this it’s so boring whyyyyy…. I’m so tired. Why am I so tired? Did I even sleep? Ugh. I hate taking tests. I’m a bad test taker. Can I write these guys a note saying I’m brilliant in real life but suck at taking tests? Probably wouldn’t fly. Okay. Done. Math. I fucking hate math. Hey, this isn’t so awful. SHIT. What the fuck? Are these numbers even real? How? I- I’m just gonna cry for a sec, okay? I know you can see me, test proctor, but just ignore me for a sec.

Okay. Let’s finish the test. Verbal. Math. Verbal. Math. Verbal. Okay. One of those was experimental, right? Let’s hope it was the math because man I fucked that shit up. What time is it? Holy hell, 10:20? I finished the GRE in just two hours and twenty minutes? Am I super human? No. Damn. Okay. Let’s go home without getting squashed by a semi.

Nap time.

It’s always good to have a contingency plan.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this (I probably have) but I studied Criminology in college, with minors in Psychology and International Security. One of my best friends, Desiree, is an International Security major. As a result, our conversations are a little abnormal. Somehow, we’ve managed to come up with a contingency plan in case one of us gets kidnapped by terrorists. See, we’re just assuming that one of us is going to do something that gets us kidnapped by terrorists.

And what is this brilliant plan? Oh, it’s simple. If one of us gets kidnapped by terrorists, the other has to overthrow the entire terrorist organization to rescue the one that got kidnapped. Easy enough, right?

We haven’t quite figured out how one small 22-year-old girl is going to overthrow a terrorist organization. We’ve always assumed that we’d pull together a ragtag group of friends who somehow fit into television archetypes (the tech guy who hangs out behind a computer, the panicky language expert who keeps saying he should have just stayed home, the grumpy gunslinger with a shady backstory) and just come up with a plan as we go.

Here’s to hoping neither of us is actually kidnapped. But let’s be real, it would totally be her. Which sucks because then I have to take down a bunch of terrorists. And my combat boots broke last week.

Dress shopping is my own personal hell.

Guys, I hate dress shopping.

I’m super picky about dresses (although every dress I buy tends to be dark blue or black), and if I find a pattern/cut I like, the chances of it fitting are slim to none. I’m sure if dresses fit me I wouldn’t mind as much. But right now, dress shopping, clothes shopping in general, is another reminder that I’m fat. That I don’t fit into normal clothes. That I’m not good enough for normal people stores. I have to find my clothes online, hidden away in my bedroom, behind a computer screen where nobody can see me. Or in specialty stores that cater to fat girls. Where everything is expensive and poorly made and in wild patterns. Because fat people don’t deserve normal clothes.

It’s always been this way. When I was ten we had a planner from school, and in it was a section where we could write our height, and weight, and other growth tracking statistics that children compete with. While my classmates were writing numbers like 64lbs, I scribbled down 99. And that was a lie. I weighed over ten times my own age. And that sucked. Kids are awful. People are awful. And they point out imperfections. Some imperfections are fine to have, like glasses or braces. Some are even embraced, like being too skinny or too small. And then there’s being fat. No matter the horrific cause behind it (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome here.), it’s your fault. ANyone can lose weight, apparently. All you have to do it eat less and exercise more. And when you eat nothing at all and walk miles and miles on a treadmill hidden away in your basement, it should work. But when it doesn’t, you’re defective. Not good enough. You don’t deserve nice things.

And I know it’s not in my head. People I love have told me I won’t get anywhere looking how I do. And they see me, practically killing myself every single day, and nothing’s working, and still I’m defective.

And trying to go out and buy clothes is a constant reminder that I’m not good enough.

Today my mom cut down a tree with a hacksaw.

Not a big tree, mind you.

Just a little sapling that was sprouted by the electric box.

Maybe I should start from the beginning. There was an oak tree that decided it wanted to grow near the electric box, and since it was growing inside of a hedge, no one noticed it until it was big enough to peek over the hedge. And then we were too lazy to do anything about it, so it kept growing and growing until it became a reasonably tall sapling, about as thick as a softball and a half.

This afternoon, I was coming back from lunch with my dad and cousin, and got roped into (Raked into, really. She came at me with a rake.) helping my mom clear leaves from the lawn. Because the giant tree outside my house is apparently on Australia time and didn’t bother dropping its leaves until fucking March. So there we were, raking leaves in the middle of spring (Well, one inkling of spring. This is Ohio and everything and anything could happen. It could snow next week for fuck’s sake.), and my neighbor came out of her garage with a hacksaw and asked me to hold down a portion of the hedge surrounding the electric box between our houses.

I complied, and held down the indicated portion of hedge. Scraped up my hand in the process, I might add.

She went at the trunk of the little tree with the hacksaw, just barely making a dent before my mom came over to investigate. In three seconds, my mom became a self-declared hacksaw expert and grabbed the other end of the hacksaw to help chop down that tree. After a few minutes it became evident that the hacksaw was doing nothing whatsoever, so my mother sent me down the street to the other neighbor’s house to get a proper saw.

They didn’t have a proper saw, but they did have what looked like a large switchblade-type knife that had these jagged teeth. So I took that and skipped back down the street and handed my mother the saw. It took her and my neighbor a few minutes to open the saw, and neither would let me help because at twenty-two, I am clearly not old enough to play with knives. Once the knife was open, they god to hacking at the tree. And noticed a big problem.

The neighbor’s car, right in the path of the soon to be falling tree.

At this point, neighbor’s husband came out and asked us what we were doing.

Chopping down a tree, duh. And holding down a hedge that really wanted to be upright.

Like any middle aged married man who knows what’s good for him, he merely rolled his eyes and came to help. He even took the saw and sawed for a while. And when the tree started tipping toward his very nice car, he grabbed a branch and helped me maneuver it away from the car.

Finally the tree was on the ground, and bigger than my neighbor had supposed it to be, apparently. It was too big to fit in any sort of bin, so my neighbor procured a chain saw (where was this chainsaw when we were trying to cut down the damned tree?!) and started to hack the tree into manageable pieces.

Perhaps using the chainsaw initially would have been easier. But then I guess it wouldn’t be as fun, right?

That sketchy house that always has a car for sale.

My parents have been divorced since I was eight, and even though technically I don’t have to follow the court order that dictated where I was at any given time, it’s just easier to go back and forth than endure the constant guilt trips about “you always spend more time over there than you do over here!” Fucked up, right? 

Whatever. 

On the way between my mom’s house and my dad’s house, there’s this sketchy little house right next to a freeway overpass. The thing is, this is in a reasonably affluent area, and all the other houses are real nice, with perfect lawns and functioning mailboxes. This house in particular is dinky in comparison. It’s closer to the road than the other houses, and the lawn is all sorts of torn up. The house’s paint is chipped and peeling, and the driveway is crumbling.

But the one thing that makes this house really bizarre is the perpetual presence of a car for sale at the end of the driveway. It’s not even the same car. Every few weeks, it’s a new car for sale. I don’t know if this is a legitimate business or a used-car black market. It can’t be a casual thing, because they ALWAYS have a car to sell. They range from old clunkers to really nice luxury cars. And when one car disappears (gets sold?) another one replaces it. Just one car at a time. Always. 

I pay attention to this house because the way the car for sale is positioned, just behind the bushes so you only see it as you pass, it looks like a cop car. Which would totally make sense, because that house is right inside a speed trap. The limit goes from 35 on one side of the overpass to 25 on the other, and I have to admit, I’m never quite down to 25 by the time I pass the sign. So I’ve done the paranoid glance every so often (every fucking time) to make sure there wasn’t a cop hiding back there. Nope. Every time it’s been a car just waiting to be sold. 

Tricky shit. 

I’m really curious though. How do they get all those cars? Do they buy cars and turn around and sell them for a profit? Or do they rent out driveway space to one person at a time to house a car for sale? Is that a thing that people do? 

I’m so confused.