Dingle Town

Lately, I have really been feeling the wanderlust. I am a travel blogger, by heart, who does not have the means to travel near as much as is requisite to be an actual travel blogger. Adulting and all that crap… So, when I prefer to be strolling the cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh instead of participating in the usual grind, I take a mental vacation back to the best vacation I have ever taken. Back in 2010, I got to spend three glorious weeks in the U.K. and Ireland (the parts not belonging to the U.K., hence why I said ‘Ireland’ separately-just thought I needed to clarify that). There are days I can still smell the curry take-aways in London, feel the salty Dublin Bay air on my skin, and see the smiling faces of my friends in Edinburgh. In honor of my intense longing to be anywhere but here, I am posting from my first blog, BigCityBetty, a post I made about Dingle, Ireland. I will be writing up a long-awaited review of the hostel we stayed at there, The Rainbow Hostel, because this funky place popped our hostel cherry, and what better way to do that than with stray, mangy cats, nude men, and pooping Frenchmen. Without further ado, my Dingleberry post:

On the way to Dingle. C
On the way to Dingle.
Dingle Town. Gaelic is taught at school as a means to preserve the dying language.
Dingle Town. Gaelic is taught at school as a means to preserve the dying language.
I mean, it is almost too beautiful.
I mean, it is almost too beautiful.

While planning our week in Ireland, my travel friends came upon a most amusing name for a town. This town? Dingle. Yes, Dingle. First thing my boyfriend says? “We HAVE to go to Dingle, so we can pick some berries!” I rolled my eyes and told him there was no way we were going to go clear across the whole of Ireland just because the name loosely referred to a poop crusted piece of toilet paper hanging from butt hairs. Did he think that was a silly reason to go somewhere? Heck no. So, obviously, from the get-go, I was not too keen on the idea of Dingle. Not only did I think of stinky butt crack adornments every time it was mentioned, it was incredibly far from anywhere else we were planning on visiting. Regardless, I had two whiny men simply begging to put Dingle on our itinerary. Just to silence the “picking berries in Dingle” and “shall we make a dingleberry pie” jokes, I caved and Dingle was to be a future destination. The jokes, however, did not stop. Men.After some research on Dingle, it didn’t really sound all that bad. In fact, Rick Steves, himself, calls it, “The epitome of Ireland”. I decided if Rick Steves liked it, I would too.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we almost died on the road to Dingle. Several times. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but the entire time spent white-knuckling it to Dingle, I was growling that it better damn well be worth it. As we passed green, luscious, rolling hill after green, luscious, rolling hill to the far western coast of Ireland, I began to see why Dingle was the epitome of Ireland, and we hadn’t even gotten there yet. By far and wide, the area in the 100 mile radius of Dingle was the most green and gorgeous of all we had seen. It was almost too much. As we drove slowly into the town of Dingle, we saw row upon row of quaint shops and pubs, all squeaky clean and perfect. The town was nestled in the same green, rolling hills we had oohed and aahed over for hours. Dotting the hills were cream and yellow colored homes that looked straight out of a storybook; the entire town looked like one I had seen in one of my childhood fairytale stories. It was dusk and getting dark as deep, gray, foreboding rain clouds kissed the hills. As I exited the car, I could taste the sea and feel the wetness of rain yet to come on my face. We decided exploration of this incredible town was in order. Everything was in Gaelic; people walking past spoke the strange, beautiful tongue. This place was amazing. This place was Ireland. This place was worth it.

Our time spent in Dingle was too short and the hostel we stayed at was, well, let’s save that one for a later blog post…Despite our strange lodgings and the terrifying drive in, Dingle was one of the most beautiful and untainted places I have ever been. If I ever make it back to Ireland, Dingle will be my first stop.

Oh, and yes, there were berries to be picked, but they never ended up in a pie.

I Can’t Be Allowed to Adult Unsupervised

Somehow, someone deemed me fit to be an adult.

WHO APPROVED THIS?

Someone in the Adulting Main Office must have had no more fucks to give the day I was being reviewed. So, when my file came across their desk, they just stamped “ADULT”, without even reviewing it and, thus, allowed my incompetent ass to slide right through into fully verified adulthood.

That’s the only way I can figure I’ve been allowed to adult for this long. I’m wholly unqualified.

If the garbage disposal confusion wasn’t evidence enough (I never knew it wasn’t meant to ground up fully intact foods, like an entire chicken breast), I reckoned they’d figure me out when I failed to ever check my engine oil. On more than one occasion in the not-so-distant-past, the service station attendant has had to deliver the shocking news, “Ma’am, you have no oil. Like, none.”

I knew the Adulting police had to bust me for not owning an ironing board and ruining my kitchen table trying to hastily iron a dress for a wedding I was running late for, because I was playing Words With Friends, instead of watching the time.

Yet, no one has come to revoke my Adulting license.

HOW CAN THIS BE?

Had someone interceded, or, at the very least, monitored my every day Adulting charade, perhaps I’d have learned that leaving a candle burning for too long is not only a fire hazard, but a smoke stain disaster waiting to happen.

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?

I wanted to get rid of a winter-themed candle from Bath & Body Works that I have in my bathroom, because spring is bound to show itself eventually.

I figured I’d let it burn for an evening and I’d be well on my way to having room for my spring-appropriate bathroom candle (this is a very important thing, obviously).

What I found when I went to brush my teeth for bed was nothing short of shocking.

First, the candle was on fiiiiiiiiiiya. Like, duh, it was burning, so fire. But, it was raging. It was also hot to the touch (and on the top of a cabinet), so I’d have to stand on the toilet to blow it out.

Because I didn’t want to rip the toilet out of the wall, I sort of stood and half-leaned with my right hand on the bathroom counter.

At this awkward position, I couldn’t really get at the top of the candle to blow the son-of-a-bitch out appropriately.

I decided one, quick stand on the toilet to blow it out would have to do the trick. Crossing my fingers for the safety of my toilet, I stood, blew, and was thanked with a splatter of hot wax all over my face (how it didn’t splatter the wall really just explains how things go in my life).

On the way down, I noticed the wall above the candle looked curiously dark.

When I looked closer, I realized the wall next to the candle was also a nice shade of charcoal.

As my gaze widened, my shock went much like this:

First, I was all:

Then, I was like:

And, finally, I went:

(I wanted these all to be gifs, but my WordPress app wasn’t having that for some reason.)

The candle I had burning for hours, spit out a coat of black soot on all four walls and the entire length and width of the ceiling.

The offending candle. My mom says only cheap candles coat entire rooms with soot. Hmmm. What do you have to say for yourself, Bath & Body Works?

In panic mode and since I’ve been binging on Nightmare Tenants and Slum Landlords, I quickly wet a rag and went to town wiping off every square inch of the bathroom walls and ceiling. I can’t ever be confused for the disgusting pigs that destroy other people’s property.

After cursing, re-wetting and wringing-out a now black rag, scrubbing furiously, and basically having a FREAKING heart attack for a good half hour, I felt my bathroom had been returned to its former glory.

I sheepishly went out to the living room, sweaty, covered in soot, and sat calmly on the edge of the couch. I turned to my boyfriend (WHO WAS MERRILY WATCHING TV THE WHOLE TIME) and asked him if I was the only 30-something who didn’t know burning a candle for too long would turn a small, confined room into the inside of a chimney.

He just responded, “Baby….how did you not know that?”

I DON’T KNOW.HELP.I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

If anyone reading this has some pearls of wisdom they think I need, please, share them in the comment section. I need all the help I can get.

From Gaerwen to Blackpool: At Least We Didn’t End Up In the Black Pudding

We left off last time just barely arriving in Blackpool in one piece.

Despite having finally found Blackpool after what felt like 83 years of driving, it was now up to my car sick and useless-with-a-map travel companion to find our B&B.

We knew nothing about the B&B other than it had an available room with two twin beds and it was somewhere in Blackpool. Oh, and I guess we had an address. Duh.

We had no idea if it was near the shore or some other distinguishing landmark that might have served useful when explaining our dilemma to the 20th petrol station attendant we’d spoken to that day.

When we knew we’d be way past check-in time, we used our trusty Samsung Vodafone to get a hold of the woman managing the B&B to assure her we would be arriving, we just weren’t sure in what century.

She was super friendly and assured us she’d “keep the light on”. She even went so far as to ask where we were and tried to guide us that way.

“Oh, you’re by a brick building with white trim? Erm…”

“It’s by a fish and chips take away? Well…”

“What’s the street name? Egg Road? Dearie, I don’t think that’s a road…”

(It was Haig Road.)

After tons of miscommunication and a very poor explanation of our surroundings on our part, she eventually gave up and merrily predicted we’d be arriving in no time.

In no time, we still had no idea where the fuck we were.

When I recall this moment on my trip, I always wonder how we drove around Blackpool for a solid hour like complete imbeciles.

I guess the only real reason is that I have zero sense of direction. When I was in college, I’d leave one of the buildings, just blindly going in whatever direction felt right. My friend would have to run after me and steer me in the correct direction. Even after a year of being at the university, I had basically no idea where I was going every single day.

It comes naturally, as my dad is the same way. Except worse. So much worse. After a prime rib dinner at one of the downtown casinos one night when I was around ten, my dad and I left in his truck and lost the rest of the family convoy. Two hours later, we made it home, but not before circling the city three times and almost driving across the state line. My mom almost called search and rescue.

I’m not sure what my friend’s excuse was other than he must have been sniffing glue or picking boogers when they learned about maps in the 3rd grade, because somehow he was worse than me at directional intelligence, and that is saying a lot.

Perhaps the most stressful aspect of all of this was the fact that we were inconveniencing some poor woman. Had we made arrangements at a hostel, we’d likely have just accepted defeat and slept in the car.

After our 10th orbit in one particular roundabout that we were sure had to let out on the street we were looking for if only we went round enough times, we noticed a police car parked further up one of the streets.

In utter desperation (and I was getting really, really cranky at this point), I decided we should go ask for directions.

“You can’t just drive up behind a police car and get out. It’s like the opposite of what’s supposed to happen. They pull up behind you and they get out to walk up to your car, so…,” replied super-helpful-friend.

“SAYS THE PERSON WHO CAN’T READ A MAP, WON’T ASK FOR DIRECTIONS AND HAS NO OTHER SOLUTIONS.”

I wanted to pummel him.

So, of course, since he was incapable of going into to the last 12 petrol stations to ask for directions, because he’d “for sure barf” if he did, I had to walk up to the police car after pulling up behind them like a total creep.

Turns out, they were very friendly (and pretty amused) and willing to take us in the correct direction as far as the edge of their beat. I totally didn’t feel like a moron asking for police assistance in finding our B&B. Not at all.

After the policemen got us going in the right direction, we very quickly found our B&B. It’s amazing what going in the correct cardinal direction will do for you.

The B&B was completely not what I had imagined. All of the B&Bs I’ve ever seen and stayed in have been older houses, with the rooms converted to accommodate for guests. This place looked exactly like the hotel in Fawlty Towers. I.shit.you.not.

The woman who we had gotten to know so well over the phone welcomed us in her robe, slippers, and, if I am remembering right, she even had rollers in.

She was really excited to see us.

She greeted us like long-lost, beloved family members. I think her overly-excited behavior had everything to do with the fact that she could now finally go to sleep.

I don’t even remember checking in. It was all a whirlwind of, “You both must be exhausted! Here, let me take that. Oh, it’s no bother! We’ll be going up the lift, if that’s all right. Well, not me, but you two. And your luggage.”

All I recall from check-in is her excitedly stuffing us and our four pieces of luggage into the smallest elevator in existence*.

We could barely utter, “Are you sure this is going to work?” before she used her entire body to push the rest of my fat still bulging out as the door tried to close.

Once the door was shut, we couldn’t move at all. I’m not even exaggerating when I say every square inch was taken up by our bodies and luggage. I had an elbow in my back, a suitcase handle in the neck, and a carry on bag somehow balancing on my head.

I risked decapitation by American Tourister to turn my head to get sight of my friend. He looked thrilled, his face smashed into my bright pink floral Vera Bradley carry on.

We were only going up two flights, but the ride TOOK FOREVER. Not only was this rickety contraption barely the size of a fucking refrigerator box, it moved about a millimeter a minute, and it sounded like it was dying a very painful and dramatic death the entire ride.

“WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?” I wanted to scream.

An hour later, the elevator stopped, the door slowly creaked open, and a cascade of bags, arms, legs, and a random shoe fell out of the elevator.

We stumbled, stunned and exhausted to our room.

After a few dazed moments, I asked, “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?”

“Dude, I think this place is creepy as fuck, and she’s totally going to grind us up in her special human-sized meat grinder. We are going be served as black pudding tomorrow for breakfast, ” my friend asserted**.

Normally, I would have totally bought into the fear and would have been like, “OMG NO WAY HOW DO YOU KNOW ARE WE GONNA DIE?” but I was too tired to care that the place was a little off.

I told him he was ridiculous and rude and that was that.

Because we couldn’t even remember the last time we had eaten, we ventured out onto the boardwalk to find anything open at the ungodly hour it was.

I can’t even accurately describe Blackpool, other than to say it was exactly like my experience on the shore in New Jersey (other than the British accents). I’m sure it’s a lovely place, but I really have no idea.

The first open take away restaurant we found, we ordered, ate, and miraculously found our way back to the B&B in our exhausted stupor in short order.

My friend was so out of it, he thought he’d finally found his Irish goddess in all places- a dingy Blackpool fish and chip shop.

On our way up to the room, my friend noted that no one else was about in the B&B and for sure we were her only victims for the night. Or, the others had already been taken.

For once in my life (because I’m always the one who is sure a place is haunted and full of murderers), I was the rational one.

I told him he was crazy and that no one was around BECAUSE IT WAS ONE IN THE MORNING. I then promptly went to sleep while he stayed up, watching out for Norma Bates.

In the morning, after a full night’s rest (for me), all was right again. We saw the other guests (definitely none were murdered in their sleep) during our delicious full English breakfast in the dining room (just like the one in Fawlty Towers). But, we didn’t eat any of the black pudding. Just in case.

Instead of doing any sightseeing along the boardwalk, we decided to see the Irish Sea before heading off to Scotland.

We had no idea what these booger things were, but my friend had a pretty good guess.

For the end of June, it was really, really cold.

*How I didn’t feel it necessary to photograph said elevator is a total mystery.

**She was adorable. Don’t listen to him.

I Just Want To Make You Laugh

I felt I should, out of respect and because I’m a teacher, mention something about the senseless tragedy last week.

It was and is horrific that these acts continue to plague our world.

But, because this blog is not the platform I would like to use to speak my mind on hot button issues, I’m not even going to go there with a political stance or a statement on what’s happening and why.

(But if you do want to lose friends over a difference of opinion or get in a fight with your childhood best friend’s mom, Facebook is open all day for your convenience.)

This blog space has and will always be a place for everyone, regardless of sex, gender, race, political affiliation, or stance on whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza (it does, in case you were wondering, but I totally still love you if you hate it).

Not only do we have enough of the ugly side of the real world all over our social media, we need some comic relief, even during the darkest of times.

It’s this reason I’m not sharing politically-fueled or potentially segregating posts here and why I’m going to continue spreading my humor.

This can be your place (if I so humbly declare) that you can come to to maybe get a chuckle or to not feel so alone because you realize now that you’re not the only one with overly hairy toes.

So, amidst the sadness and fear I feel for my students and my fellow teachers in the trenches, I feel a need to continue to smile, to find the good, to laugh.*

source

*This doesn’t mean you can’t also fight tooth and nail for what you believe in, because do that too ✊🏻.

The Avocado Incident

You know how when you have a really stressful, crappy day the only thing that will make it better is massive quantities of carbs and a good angry conversation with yourself in the car on the way home?

Well, when you’re on a “diet” and all you have at lunch that even halfway resembles cake is an avocado (and it’s not even close to car convo time), that shit’ll do.

I brought an avocado for lunch with the intention of cutting it up and adding a few pieces to my Mexican-style salad.

After a morning where positively everything went wrong and after hearing some not-so-happy news, my emotions were conflicted and I was HANGRY.AF.

I almost forgot I even brought that damn avocado and didn’t recall my salad’s one saving grace until I had already choked down my plain lettuce and farty black beans.

I also forgot the butter knife I meant to take so I could cut said avocado.

It was almost animalistic what happened next.

I needed that avocado and not a few measly I-have-self-control-look-at me pieces.

I took the end of my fork and I just mauled that avocado like a savage until the skin was ripped to shreds and I could start inhaling the poop green goodness.

I sat and angry ate an entire fucking avocado.

And, it was a big boy, too.

Even when I bring healthy food options, I end up figuring out a way to royally fuck it up.

I need help.

Have you ever eaten a whole avocado in one sitting? Maybe I’m impressed/shocked/disgusted over something that’s not even a big deal. If not an avocado, have you ever eaten an entire *something* and then immediately felt like a fat bastard?

I need to know.

Things My Optometrist Says

My family and I have been going to the same optometrist for decades. My grandma and grandpa saw him for their ocular needs many moons ago and my aunt first started seeing him when she was in high school in the late 70s. I first met him when I was around five and I got a piece of shell stuck in my eye.

We’ve loved him like he… Oh, you want to know how in the heck I got a piece of shell stuck in my eye?

(I’m gonna be really long-winded here, so bear with me.)

Well, so, there’s this lake in our neck of the woods that is all dirt, shells, clay and, of course, water. Not a single tree or bush, save eight billion sagebrush bushes. No matter the season, time of day, or day of the week, it’s windy as a mofo. I’ve witnessed more tents, sleeping bags, water floaties, and coolers succumb to the elements and be dragged out to the middle of the lake to never be seen again than you can even wrap your head around. So, I think you can imagine now how a piece of shell could lodge itself in one’s eye. Thus, my first encounter with Dr. M.

When I turned 12 and was immediately struck nearsighted, (actually, that’s not how it happened. I was probably half blind for a year before anyone realized that why I was so bad at math was that I just couldn’t see any of the equations on the board. Except, that’s TOTALLY not why I’m bad at math. Anyway…), I started going to Dr. M regularly.

My grandpa died when I was a mere babe, so getting to see Dr. M every year for my check up was what I imagined hanging out with my grandpa would have been like.

My entire family and I are truly fond of him, and whenever one of us has an eye appointment, the rest of us wait with bated breath for a new Dr. M story or classic line we can chuckle about for years.

So, without further ado…

Things My Beloved Oldster Armenian Optometrist Says:

“Let me get you some extra sample contact solution, but you can’t tell any of *them*. You have to put it in your purse. Is this going to fit in your purse? Open up your purse, let’s see if it will fit.

“Do you use the good contact solution? No? Do you do lattes? Yes? Well, no more lattes and you can buy the good contact solution. Done.”

“You know *insert really famous actress he actually knows personally here*? She’s a really interesting person, but she is not a looker.”

The optometrist’s assistant *In a keep-this-on-the-DL-way*: “We are going to start in this room, but we will be moving to exam room 1 when it becomes available, because this room is too stuffy for Dr. M.”

Dr. M, leading me out of the too-hot exam room: “Let’s get out of here. This room is too hot. I don’t do hot!”

“I remember walking through the war-torn streets for bread for dinner. I was very young, but reliable enough that my mother trusted me to walk many blocks for our daily meal.”*

Saying to me about the optometrist assistant who was helping me find frames: “I have to ask her before I can leave. Can I leave now?

And, my mom’s favorite story about how he is too cheap/stubborn to get AC in his house, so he walks around his house naked, but his wife won’t let him sit on any of the furniture. He likely told my mom this story to garner some sympathy for his terrible plight.

Whether it’s a story about his famous celebrity friends he made while living in LA or it’s a randomly comical observation about the state of the world today, visiting with Dr. M is never dull or without feeling like I’m being attended to by someone who genuinely cares about my health and latte-buying financial choices.

I just hope that Dr. M knows how much he is revered and loved by all who have been lucky enough to know him.

*I’m not sure I got this right. Or, maybe Dr. M didn’t get it right? Either way, if he was referring to WWII war-torn streets, he lived abroad and he looks really good for his age. He might be referring to another war, or, hell, he’s a really great storyteller. Either way, needing to know more about this man’s fascinating life is a great excuse to make another eye appointment.

A face only a friendly optometrist would love.

How Do I *Make Shit Happen*?

Sometimes, I look at the lives of really successful, happy people and I wonder what I’m doing wrong.

All around me, people are purchasing their first homes, buying appliances and custom cabinets for said home, adopting pets, traveling, investing in IRAs.

And, here I am, buying a coat rack and feeling like that means I’m an adult.

It’s not like I haven’t tried.

I have.

It’s not like I sit around feeling sorry for myself all the time.

Sometimes I do, though. And, when I do, you better believe I really go all out with crying over dog videos in my onesie pajamas.

I tried really hard last year to find an affordable home to purchase that would provide me with the next step: adopting a dog.

I never found that home.

Maybe I was too picky, too hesitant, too scared of a major first step, but I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt on this one.

I chose one of the worst times to look for a home to buy in my area, as home prices are at a record high. I also wasn’t comfortable buying an overpriced home in a bad area. I’m no home buying expert, but that didn’t seem a wise investment.

Yet, still, I see people my age buying homes in my area.

What the actual fuck?

I’m planning a trip for this summer to the U.K., while at the same time, I can barely afford the gas to get across town during my monthly “week of poverty” before payday.

How are people, with huge families no less, able to travel so much?

What the genuine fuck?

I wonder sometimes if it’s my outlook. I try to have a positive outlook on things, but that’s hard when you feel like life is constantly beating you at some game you never knew you were playing.

I know a great many people will say that the power of positive thought truly exists. I’m not here to say I necessarily disagree.

But…until positive thought pays off my student loan debt, I’ll probably be a semi-skeptic.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m not a hard enough worker or I lack gumption.

I’ve been looking for a side hustle to help pay for aforementioned trip.

I’ve looked into VIPKID, which is an online tutoring company. You tutor kids in China, so that means I’ll have to tutor with my Flock of Seagulls bed head hair and with sleep crusties still in the corner of my mouth, because the time slots for my time zone are un-Godly-early.

(I’m still highly considering VIPKID. I’ll just be a total sleep-deprived grouch is all.)

I’ve gone so far as to schedule a vehicle inspection with Lyft, but I keep getting this text message:

I’ve rescheduled twice, and Lyft doesn’t like to give out a phone number so one can problem solve using spoken words.

I didn’t even want drunk people puking in my car anyway, Lyft.

I should probably just figure out a way to make a side job happen and quit my bitching, but a very dominant, stubborn part of me knows I already work my ass off as a teacher, so I’m not thrilled at the realization that my career isn’t cutting it in the having-money-department.

So, all this to say, my goal for this year is to learn the secret to making shit happen.

Maybe it really is positive thinking? Maybe it’s not being more concerned about binging on Call the Midwife, but binging on bringing in some Benjamins? Maybe it’s not worrying how old I’ll be when I finally own my own refrigerator?

In fact, my first order of business is to quit worrying about everyone else.

(Maybe I can get this tattooed on my forearm?)

So, do you know the secret to making shit happen? Sharing is caring!

I Swear I Don’t Try to Be This Way

Ahhhh…massages. In a perfect world, massages are an über relaxing experience for the body and the mind.

But, when you’re an over-thinker, just because the lights are dim, there’s soft music playing, and you’re laying on a comfy, heated table, doesn’t mean your brain immediately takes a vacation. Usually this is when the brain is most active and alert.

The other day, as I was getting my massage, instead of finding my inner chill and namaste and all that other impossible-to-do-when-you’re-neurotic relaxation crap, I was instead obsessing over the fact that I forgot to shave my toes.

How could I have forgotten that those bristly bastards had gotten so out of control they were poking through my socks?

What else did I forget?

Oh.

Shit.

Did I wear my Limburger cheese boots without socks again?

Why are you the way that you are, dude?

They’re just really easy to slip on…

I’m forgetful.

I’m an asshole.

I’m sorry.

As my massage therapist worked closer and closer to my porcupine stubs, I reflected on all of the other things that I obsess/worry/think about before, during, and after a massage:

1. Did I shave everywhere? Like, what if an extra long downstairs hair pops out while she’s doing my thigh? Ugh. I’m basically Robin Williams’ knuckles.

2. For some reason, whenever it’s my monthly massage time, my body thinks it’s fart go-time. I probably am doing irreparable damage with all of the clenching I’m doing.

3. OMG. Can she tell I’m holding in a fart?

4. I always forget to have my boyfriend check for back decor. So, it’s almost 100% certain that at every massage I’ve ever gone to, I have some ugly, one-eyed puss monster that the lucky lady who has to touch me gets to rub over. *shudders*

5. I wonder if she notices how bloated I am this month? Bloated? Self, she knows you’re fat. She literally kneads your fat like bread dough. Never does she think you’re just “bloated”.

6. What does she think about as she’s rubbing my fat ankles and calloused feet? Does she think about having to hold down her lunch or is she mentally making her grocery list?

7. Do other people forget to shave their toes? Do other people even have to shave their toes?

So, now I feel the need to apologize to my massage therapist. I’m sorry that sometimes my body is prickly in random places and that my stomach sometimes sounds like a koala’s mating call. I swear I don’t try to be this way.

Anyone else feel like this during a massage or am I just insane?

The Christmas Eye Twitch

My eye has been twitching for the last week. I haven’t been thinking much about the reasoning behind why my eyelid suddenly breaks out in the Macarena, because all I need to know is IT’S ANNOYING AF.

Earlier today, I was trying to get to Target to buy a few necessities that couldn’t wait until after Christmas.

As I was trying to merge onto the freeway, some hot fart in a huge truck made it nearly impossible for me to get over before the next exit. He was just rolling in the far right lane, WHERE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO MERGE, at a pace that made it impossible to get in front or behind.

As I was yelling obscenities over my blaring Christmas music and shaking my fists in extreme disapproval, my eyelid started in on “Hey, Macarena!”

Later, as I tried to park at Target, but had to wait while a sloth-like, IDGAF woman unloaded her entire cart IN THE PARKING SPOT I WAS TRYING TO PARK IN, my eyelid again felt like it was Latin dance time.

Then, as I was snaking my way through every man in Reno doing last minute shopping, and all that could be heard was a child’s shrill screaming, my eyelid really started to break it down.

So, I must deduce that my eyelid is twitching BECAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Please, don’t get me wrong-I love Christmas. Like, so much so, it-has-to-be-perfect-so-don’t-even-try-to-say-you’re-not-making-your-famous-breakfast-casserole-this-year-mom-because-I’ll-die.

So, these are some of the reasons why my eye is twitching and most likely won’t stop until after Christmas, when I can finally relax in my euphoric food drunk stupor.

Worrying:

What if I run out of Tums/tampons/lipgloss/water on Christmas Eve, but I can’t go to the store, because it’s CHRISTMAS EVE?

Who’s going to get sick (and when) over the holidays? Please just let us get through Christmas without fevers, snot, or vomit.

What if I can’t find the 10 pound Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? What else will I get my dad?

Did I take enough ornament-on-my-tree and holding-a-Peppermint-Mocha-with-mittens photos so everyone knows I’m the most Christmas af?

Will I find my Amazon packages before the thieves who are obviously casing our tiny hole in the wall Midtown apartment?

Did I remember to buy expertly thought-out gifts for everyone that I will then elaborately wrap using $53 worth of ribbon, cellophane, glitter tissue paper, quality wrapping paper, and a real bird in a gold cage?

What if I forget to wash my new plaid thermal pajama pants and I don’t have them to wear Christmas morning with my Ugg boots? I’ll just fucking die.

Did that reindeer beanie I tried on at Old Navy have lice? Why didn’t I think of that before I thought to try it on? Wait. What if all store-bought hats have lice in them? I’ll become Amish and make my own everything.

What if I forget to buy wine? Is that even a thing?

Wondering:

Will drinking my third glass of egg nog give me diarrhea or do I risk it?

Will a gross of Clorox Wipes, hand sanitizer, and Lysol spray be enough for the holidays this year?

Will leaving your Christmas tree on while you’re at the grocery store cause it to spontaneously combust?

How much can I overdo it with the peanut butter fudge, Muddy Buddies, and Bailey’s before I’m comatose?

Why does overeating right before bed make me have dreams involving a centaur Jeff Goldblum eating a chili cheese hot dog? (Because you’re a sick freak.)

How many years will I have to workout to reverse the damage done this Christmas season alone?

Is there a special hell for adults who don’t cover their mouths when they hack up their lungs in public? Please say there is.

Why do I always go way over my Christmas budget? *puts two Bath & Body Works hand soaps in the bag for every one that’s meant to be a “gift”*

Maybe this ought to be titled, “Anxiety-Riddled and Barely Sane”?

So, tell me, what makes your eye twitch at Christmas?

This is my I’m-surprised-it’s-almost-Christmas-and-in-such-an-Instagram-worthy-way. Really, I just look like a giant puckered butthole. Also, I used filters on filters on filters on this bad boy.

A Christmas (Ghost) Story

Normally, Christmas isn’t a time for swapping ghost stories (unless you’re a stingy, cantankerous Scrooge who needs a visit from Christmas past), but this time of year always makes me think of my old Elko apartment.

If you know me personally, you likely know that I’m the highest form of wimp possible. If something has a slight bit of danger (I find leaving my cellphone charger plugged in without my cellphone one of the biggest dangers of the modern world) associated with it, I’ll opt out in a nanosecond.

Back when my parents first started leaving me home alone (I believe I was eleven), I would lock myself in the bathroom with our dog if I heard the heat kick on.

At the ripe old age of 34, I cannot sleep if my bedroom door isn’t locked at night. And, when the boyfriend comes in, I ask if he locked the door. Every.night. I ask this every night. He’s almost certainly is planning my murder.

So, obviously, I’m the best person to live in a house that’s haunted.

Can you see where this is going? Yeah, it ain’t gonna be pretty.

The apartment an ex boyfriend, we shall call him Carl, and I shared was on the “tree streets” in the heart of Elko. They’re called the “tree streets”, because they’re named after trees-oak, maple, etc. Our street was called Court. I’m no expert on trees, but I’m fairly certain that’s not a type of tree. Either way, I’m still 99% sure we lived in the coveted “tree streets” area.

It was a delightful part of town-full of gorgeous old homes, mature trees (obviously there were trees), and a serenely idyllic feel.

We had been on the apartment hunt for quite some time, as we were way past wearing out our welcome at his mother’s house (not to mention, we had graduated college, which was one of the conditions of living rent-free).

After a particularly exasperating day of turning up nothing that would suit us, home-wise, we happened upon a quaint white stone and green-trimmed row of apartment buildings. The way they were built, each duo were separated by a door that led into a shared storage and laundry room.

They were old. Like, built-in-the-20s-or-30s-old. But, they well cared for. They were also expertly updated to maintain the vintage charm and uniqueness they possessed.

This was after I’d added some of my own charm to the home.

When I peeked into the kitchen, through a window, and saw the awesome vintage metal cabinets, I had to live there. Later, I’d find the apartment held all sorts of vintage charm, like skeleton key locks and tiny, useless closets.

(It’s kind of ridiculous that I love vintage charm, but I’m terrified of vintage, lingering houseguests.)

When my ex found out he knew the landlord personally, we were a shoe-in and were new apartment dwellers by the end of the day.

The day we started moving in was a dark and gray November day. The living room walls were made up entirely of wood paneling, and the only reason I didn’t detest them intensely was because they were made of real wood and not the fake trailer home paneling one thinks of when they hear those feared words.

Wood paneling. The fucking horror.

Because the living room looked like it was straight out of an episode of Poirot, and the dark, low-lying clouds made for a very dark atmosphere, it was necessary to have lights on during the day.

This is where the story actually gets somewhat interesting (sorry for that incredibly long-winded preamble).

After many a box and armful of clothes, still on hangers (I’m a boss at packing for a move) were moved in, the ex and I decided to go take care of the power and cable.

I distinctly remember saying something like, “Let’s actually turn all of the lights off when we’re not in a room. We are paying the power bill now.” (We were total assholes.)

So, I know we turned all of the lights off. I know we did.

Yet, upon returning, the lights were mysteriously all on.

Because my paranoia was no secret, when I said, “Uh. Didn’t we turn all of the lights off before we left?”, the boyfriend responded by saying we’d discussed doing that, but we didn’t actually get around to turning them all off.

He was dead wrong.

But, even I knew that if he admitted to the fact we did turn the lights off, my ass would have had my cheap World Market Chinese paper lanterns hung back up at his mom’s house quicker than you can say, “Oh, hell no!”

This event, on the very day we moved in, set the tone for the rest of my time there. I think someone wasn’t thrilled with us moving in.

I was never comfortable in this apartment. The vibe was all wrong.

What made things even worse was Carl worked from 6:30 at night until 2:30 in the morning. Five nights a week I was alone.

After we had moved everything in and made it our own, I took pictures of our decor to share on Facebook. Every single picture had myriad orbs. I know orbs are vastly contested, but coupled with the feeling I had there, I know those sonsabitches were orbs.

One of the things that made me feel the most uncomfortable was doing the dishes. The living spaces were not open plan at all. In fact, the doorway from the front room into the living room had a door (as in one that you can close, not just a doorway-I thought I needed to clarify). At the sink, my back was to the rest of the house. I hated the fact that I had no view of the other rooms as I was doing the dishes. I constantly felt the need to glance behind me.

Other than an overall eerie feeling, not a whole lot happened to me.

I never saw anything, but I felt something. It was unmistakable.

The only other major occurrence that happened to me was on an evening before a holiday, so I was gladly staying up until Carl came home. I was watching TV (it was some TLC special on medical oddities and quite fascinating. I have no idea how I even remember this). Out of nowhere, I heard a terrific crash. It was horribly loud and made me jump right out of my skin. It sounded like it came from the laundry room.

Our laundry room was accessible by a door from the living room that led into the entryway and stairs for the upstairs apartment, so naturally I had every kind of lock installed on the door, because laundry monsters are very real.

Logically, I knew that with the door guarded like Fort Knox with its 18 different locks, whatever was in the laundry room was likely not getting in, yet I was frozen in fear.

I called Carl, and since you can get anywhere in Elko in five minutes, it was no time before he was bravely, albeit annoyingly searching the premises.

I forgot to mention that the landlord had a workshop that he used quite frequently that was accessible through the laundry room. There was no back entrance, so the only way in was the main door for the upstairs apartment. However, that door was always locked as our neighbor preferred to use his back entrance.

Carl searched all over the workshop and laundry room. Not a thing was broken, toppled over, or misplaced. When our neighbor, who was out of town during this strange occurrence, got home, we asked him if anything was amiss in his apartment.

Nothing.

I think the very notion that nothing appeared to make the terrible crash freaks me out even more. It’s also entirely possible that something did make the noise, but Carl hid it from me, because he knew how I’d react.

The creepiest thing to ever happen I didn’t find out about until I was long moved out of that apartment and back in Reno.

The winter we lived on Court street was a very cold and snowy one.

The pogonip was in full force. Our view from the apartment was pretty satisfying.

My wreath made it look not haunted at all.

I took the train to Reno to celebrate Christmas with my family. My mom, so I didn’t have to ride the train back with all of my gifts and in order to see the apartment, drove me home.

We had a fabulous girl night full of chick flicks, the best Blind Onion pizza on earth, and so much laughing. My mom insisted on sleeping in the living room on her deluxe, raised air mattress. That was one of the only nights I truly rested easy, knowing my mom was in the next room.

Well, at least one of us rested easy.

Early, in the dead of morning, my mom was awakened by the sensation of someone sitting on the end of her bed, as the motion when that happens on an air mattress is unmistakable. She figured it was Carl coming home and not realizing he was sitting on her air mattress and not the couch.

She got up to investigate and saw that Carl was in bed, snoring and farting away. He’d been home for some time, as it was hours past the time he normally arrived home.

It was then that my mom was dead certain someone or something visited her that early morning.

This post is in dedication to my astute mother who had the foresight to know her fragile daughter would not have had the mental fortitude to handle the news of a mystery guest (resident) sitting on beds in the creepiest part of the early morning. She also knew, if she shared her experience, she’d again have a daughter as a permanent area rug on her bedroom floor for the rest of her nights.

I made it six months in the apartment on Court Street. The reason I moved out is a scary story, indeed, but not one involving ghosts. I’ll have to save that story for another time.

Even as I write this now, I have the chills. I keep rolling over in bed, making sure I’m the only one in the room.

Feeling in the Christmas spirit now? Maybe after some spirits, of the liquid variety (not the paranormal) it’ll feel a little more like Christmas!

One of the last photos taken in the apartment. All of the orb pictures are gone from Facebook and have been banished to an external hard drive. Sorry to disappoint.