The Cabin

I think of it often. My heart never forgets its pull. In my dreams, it’s just as it always was when I was young. Its imprint on my memory, it’s image like a photograph, burned into my heart. When my eyes close, I see it. There sits a humble cabin on a quiet bay of a picturesque mountain lake. 

Every summer of my childhood was spent in heaven, paradise, our own personal Elysium. Every month, week, and day leading up to the summer was spent in heart-aching-anticipation of this special place. 

From my earliest memories, I recall the cabin on Coeur d’Alene Lake and it’s profound magic. 

The cabin is many things, but mostly it’s…

800 miles of sticky skin on sticky skin, drooling cousins, hot air whipping in through the windows, and knowing it all will not be in vain. 

A dark-haired, pig-tailed girl and a toe-headed boy eagerly sharing they are “going to Idaho” to anyone they meet along the way in Idaho who inquires. 

Friends. Foes. Ballers. Cousins.

The lazy susan that just maybe will reveal Lucky Charms on its next go-round instead of Raisin Bran.

Soft sunlight peppered through the curtains, the sound of familiar voices, the smell of coffee and toast, the feeling of an unburdened soul.

Bud’s Big Burgers and the time someone tagged, “Bud’s Big Boogers” on the side of the building. 

The smell of our family’s past in the musty throw pillows and dusty books. 

The taste of milk in vintage Harvest Yellow plastic tumblers and powdered Nesquik sprinkled on Darigold vanilla ice cream.

That particular bend in the road as you’re  coming from town where the temperature drops ten degrees and you know you’re truly at the lake.

Grandma’s tomato soup with elbow macaroni and the best dried garden herbs from The Herb Lady. 

The crystal clear waters that cleanse the soul and clear the mind.

The summer when Return of the Mack was popular and Mom thought Mark Morrison was singing, “We’re Tearing Up the Moon”. 

Check out this video on YouTube:

It totally sounds like that, Mom. (No, it doesn’t.) 

The sound of a car door on the landing, followed by Uncle Gary’s unmistakable voice, and the exciting knowledge that he’ll either have ingredients for an exotic dish, a new lake floaty, or, even better, a new crazy story. 

Captain Gary

Water-logged, pruney, sun-drenched skin and a satisfying tiredness that only comes after a day on the lake. 

Grandma’s favorite-Julio Iglesias, or Lee Greenwood’s Mornin’ Ride (that we only recently discovered is not about an early morning horse ride) blaring in the car, as we hug the curves around the lake, toward the cabin. 

Check out this video on YouTube:

I envisioned an innocent horse ride through a dewy meadow. My brother always thought of a virtuous truck ride in the early morn. When we discovered the true meaning, my mom was appalled and my Grandma never chose to believe it was about a ride in the hay, and by hay, I mean bed. 

The smell and presence of Grandpa in the old board games stacked in the closet, the ancient, but clean linens, and the worn gold-colored armchair. 

Pool Noodle Ballet in the deep and how that’s the only kind of ballet Mom and I will ever be good at. 

Fireworks, reflecting on the water, damp life jackets, and the sound of gentle waves lapping against the boat. 

Finally entering the Idaho farmland from the desolate desert drive and feeling the pull of the cabin and the lake in your bones.

The time Uncle Gary lost his teeth in the lake and offered up $20 to whoever found them. That was me. 

The tiny Jewel Box Gem Shop in Harrison and the treasures you could find there.

“The Hootie”*, its unpleasant smell, and the time my brother almost lit it on fire, used the Brita water pitcher to put it out, and then dropped the pitcher down the hole.

Isn’t she cute?

Butt to butt in the tiny kitchen, the smell of bleach water, and calling dibs on being the dish dryer. 

The annual Great Carlin Bay Swim: 42 people belonging to one family, 672 floaties, and a whole lotta racket, echoing off the water of the bay. 

The scary night when we almost became a bear’s midnight snack, my heroic grandma and how she scared the garbage-can-digging-by-the-window-creeping bear (It was a dog).

Night swims that sometimes turn into skinny dipping, and the time the neighbors came home and turned on all of their 8,000 lights. Mom and Aunt Dana are still pruney in places. 

The sound of a faraway boat, speeding down the channel. The creaking of Grandma’s hanging Rattan chair, and her melodious humming as she stares, her blue eyes a perfect reflection of the water. 


There are so many more things that make the cabin what it is and was to every member of my family. I don’t know why I was suddenly inspired to write a post about my summers spent on Coeur d’Alene Lake. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been in many years and I feel the pull of it in my bones and I crave a swim in its cleansing waters. That must be it. 
*”The Hootie” is our very fancy outhouse. It comes complete with its own deck, curtained-window, built-in magazine rack, and a very intricate ventilation system that Uncle Gary jerry-rigged together after a particularly hot and smelly summer.
 

Emetophobia? Say What?

I think I’ve mentioned here a couple thousand times or two that I’m a germaphobe. If you know me personally, you would most definitely say that hand sanitizer is the one item I’d choose to take to a desert island. 

It’s true.

I always try to play it cool, like I’m not afraid germs will jump right off surfaces straight into my mouth. 

When I first started at my school, I tried not to be the token germaphobe teacher. I thought I was doing well until our old (as in, not-at-our-school-anymore-old) counselor made some joke about me almost certainly having a black light app on my phone (We were in a really shady bus. I’d explain why we needed a black light, but I think you know). 

I remember thinking, “How did she know?” 

After some self-reflection, I realized she knew, along with everyone else who’s come into contact with me, because I put on hand sanitizer precisely 537 times a day. 

I really thought I was stealth about my hand sanitizer use.

Also, I’m that person sending death glares to adult you-should-know-better creeps who don’t cover their mouths. 

Additionally:

1. I have to be minutes from death before you see me in an ER.

2. If someone close to me looks like they’ll be sick, I’ll run for the hills/call for an adultier adult/point to somewhere far away from me, indicating that’s where I’d like them to be.

3. I use my shirt to open doors with questionable handles. 

4. I ask my boyfriend if he washed with soap after he uses the bathroom. 

5. I’ve been known to put hand sanitizer in my nose if forced to breath in someone’s sneeze or hot death fart. 

In all seriousness, I have problems.

I’ve always had a fear of vomiting-hearing it, seeing it, smelling it, doing it. Nope times ten million. 

Also, I hate having someone see or know I’m sick. Just leave me alone. Better yet, let me hide in the hole I’ve just dug until I’m human again. 

Shit got real about 10 years ago when I worked at a daycare during college. There was a huge norovirus outbreak, and it fucked with my mind in a major way. Like I mentioned before, I’ve never been a fan of puking, but when we went so far as to bleach crayons and books to prevent the spread of a virus, something clicked in me. 

This is bad shit. Literally. I don’t want to puke and poop, involuntarily and simultaneously. How long does this illness from Hell last? Will I have to go to the ER with a puke bucket? OMG. No. We’re all gonna die. HELP. We’re.All.Gonna.Die. 

So, during the great Norovirus Outbreak Freak Out of 2006, I would go to serious OCD extremes to “protect” myself from getting sick. Really, these were just compulsions that made me feel safe. 

When I got home after being stuck in the hot box of germs all day, I’d strip at the door. Before scalding myself in the shower, I’d wipe my purse, keys, and phone down with Clorox wipes. 

This was an everyday thing and I didn’t feel *OK* until my routine was done. 

So, yeah. 

*coughs

Whenever an illness starts making its rounds, I try to play it cool. Even after I hear of the 58th person I know to bite the dust, I try to act like I’m not about the worrying life, but then I find myself spraying my face down with spray hand sanitizer whenever someone’s breath comes a little too close to my face holes.
As much as being sick sucks, I realize that vomiting is not the end of the world (I mean, if you are vomiting due to Ebola, that might mean the end of the world. But, that was so 2014). 

I’m not as OCD about getting sick anymore, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend two days on my bathroom floor.

So that I’m not the only freak in the room, tell me what you’re phobic about. Any fellow emetophobics? If so, how do you calm yer tits when shit gets real? Let me know in the comments! 


Remember this from my But Don’t Do That post? Even this is a lie. If you’re puking in my house, I’m packing and heading for Mexico. NOPE.

Don’t Be a Debbie Downer 

Blog comments-I live and breathe by them. I mean, my life would obviously go on, and I’d figure out how to get oxygen the good, old fashioned way if I suddenly didn’t have WordPress. But, no shit, my day is made exponentially better when I see a slew of love waiting for me to read in my WordPress app. 

That is, unless it’s an unnecessarily rude/bitchy/salty/passive aggressive comment. 

Those aren’t my favorite. 

Way back when I first started putting my ridiculous thoughts out *there* for God and everybody to read and critique, I was scared out of my ever-loving-mind. 

What if my humor doesn’t translate well to others?

What if my use of the word “fuck” offends the  majority of those who attempt to relate to me?

What if the only person who thinks I’m funny is me?

What if what I write about is too TMI, and the people in my life start regarding me as a loud, unfunny, crass imbecile? 

These were very real concerns. 

The response over the years, however, has been incredible.

Somedays, I don’t even believe that I’m able to put together some words and those words mean something to others.

Somedays, I have to check to make sure it’s me who’s getting the laughs about unfortunate yoga flatulence and insane vacation fails. 

The love has been real, immense, and supportive. 

Except, when it hasn’t. 

There’s always gotta be that person. You know who I mean: 

The guy who has to ruin the good time with their overly concerned beliefs or their inability to get a joke, even when it slaps them in their dopey face. 

Only very recently have I had run-ins with some haters making their presence known on my blog. 

I’ve always heard or read stories about relentless haters from other blogs and bloggers. To be honest, I only half believed that someone was being harassed by strangers over their content, language, or grammar usage. 

Really? Does that *really* happen? (There’d always be an eye roll, too, for good measure.)

Well, I’m just a little late to the game, ya’ll.
Yes, people actually take time out of their day to comment on minor grammatical errors.

Yes, people actually miss the entire main idea of a post and then make their disdain of a tiny kernel of an idea known in your comment section. 

Yes, people actually make it a point to sound as bitchy and passive aggressive as possible when commenting on a harmless subject, like book suggestions. 

I can’t even.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m always first in line to spread some bitter all over the comment section of dumb articles or videos on social media. I have too big of a mouth to not. 

And, I’d be lying if I said I was never tempted to comment on terrible grammar or topic choices when reading blog posts. 

But, here’s the difference between myself and your average Comment Creep: 

I understand that blog posts are off limits in regards to unhelpful, just plain salty opinions.

A Facebook post took seconds, and likely, very little thought. Yet, a blog post, almost certainly, took hours/days/weeks, tons of creative energy, and a shit ton of guts to post. 

I feel pretty confident that fellow bloggers understand this code of conduct, but the “others” obviously don’t.

I know excuses for constructive criticism might come up. My opinion on “helpful” suggestions is that they aren’t welcome unless specifically asked for by the author/blogger. 

Also, respectful dialogue and discourse on a topic that is controversial is fine. There’s nothing better than having a lively discussion with someone who believes differently than you do. 

I’m strictly speaking of rude-ass comments that make you feel stabby, yet, instantly self-conscious. 

The.worst. 

So, here’s where I need your help.

What do you do when you come across a rude comment? Do you delete it? Do you ignore it/not approve it? Do you comment back? Do you dust off your voodoo doll? 

How do you deal with Debbie Downers? Let me know in the comments! 

We Were Stupid AF

“Um. Dude. You might want to leave work…” 

“Uh…why?”

“Well, we have to be out of the apartment by five tonight, or they’ll be calling the police to escort us out…”

At some point in everyone’s lives they’ve had a stupid-af-era. If you’ve never had one of those, you’re the exception, not the rule. Count yourself lucky, too, because you probably have minimal debt, own an appliance larger than a blender, and you know what an annuity is, and you likely have one. 

So, none of the above is me. I’ve had my stupid-af-era, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure I ever left said time in my life. 

Back when I moved out of my parents’ for the first time, I lived with two of my best friends. 

We were all almost 21, and so idiotic it was a wonder anyone was brave enough to give us our own apartment. 

We apartment hunted for a long time, wanting a cheap apartment in a not cheap neighborhood. Finally, we had to settle on a two bed, one bath. Best Friend #1 and I had to share a room, but it was worth not being woken up by my dad banging on my door, looking for the crusted-over bowls hiding under my bed. 

Living on our own was better than I had ever dreamed it would be. On the first night, I overflowed the toilet. The second night, our secondhand dryer broke. On the third night, we spilled Sour Apple Pucker on the carpet. Really, we should have stopped while we were ahead. Yet, every moment was magic, because independence was a beautiful thing. 

It was simply glorious being footloose and anal-retentive-parent-free. 

We stayed up till all hours, drinking Bartles & Jaymes Wine Coolers and watching Santa Clause 2. 

No one (Mom) ever yelled at me for hogging up the phone line so I could change my AIM away message twenty times in one day.

If all we wanted in the fridge was a jar of questionable pickles and eight varieties of Boones Farm, so be it. 

We were independent ladies, forging our way in the world. 

Along with the wild 8-and-up card game nights, we also had nights when we fought. 

My two best friends, while being my good friends, didn’t exactly love each other. 

One was too over-bearing and motherly. The other left her thongs, crotch up, in the bathroom. 

Some nights, we’d throw keyboards, curling irons, or said thongs at each other. 

Other nights, we’d drown each other out with loud mariachi music. 

During the six months that we lived in the apartment, we never once got a complaint from a neighbor. I’m not really sure how that was even possible. Maybe our downstairs neighbors were as loud and obnoxious as us? Or, they were stone-deaf. 

This gorgeous chaos soon came to a head after Best Friend #2 brought home a cat, which was against our lease agreement (it also didn’t help that the little fucker’s favorite thing to do was hide under the couch or behind the bedskirt and then attach itself to our flesh when we least expected it). 

Best Friend #1 and I were a lot of annoying, juvenile things, and one of those things was we were big rule followers (I guess that didn’t apply to underage drinking, though). As soon as we could, we returned the cat to the humane society.

Obviously, hijaking someone’s cat and taking it back to the cat store doesn’t sit well with some people (most people). 

This single act started an epic war between three extremely petty, passive-aggressive bimbos.

Because living at the apartment was becoming awkward as fuck, Best Friend #1 went back home and I sought refuge at the new boyfriend’s house.

When the portion of the power bill owed by Best Friend #2 wasn’t paid, we snuck into the apartment and removed every single lightbulb. Our not-quite-fully-developed brains figured this was the obvious solution to an issue that could have been handled by simple communication.

Best Friend (or Enemy, at this point) #2, went to management and told them all about our drama. 

Turns out, shady apartment managers don’t like dealing with dumb college girl drama. 

They didn’t even want to hear it and told us we all had to be moved out before 5 PM that same day. 

After quite a few years under my belt, and some serious renting experience, I realize now that what they did was likely illegal. 

Well, after the phone call from Best Friend #1, suggesting I maybe come home to completely vacate in less than 5 hours, I called my mom. 

(Shamefully, I’m pretty certain that every gray hair and wrinkle on my mother’s body is thanks to my brother and I.) 

Her response was: “Well, that’s just fabulous. You better call every Goddamn person you know to help you. You also better call your father, because I’m not. Good luck with that and goodbye.” 

At some point during the Great Pack Up, Best Friend #1’s mom was on her hands and knees, in the kitchen, frantically throwing kitchen items into a box while simultaneously yelling about how disgusting we were. 

My brother was vacuuming for the first time in his life, going over and over every square inch of carpet like his life depended on it.

My aunt was asking what she thought we should do about the moldy towels in our 6-months-broken dryer. 

My mom was yelling orders at all of our family and friends, and even some random people she caught walking down the street. 

My cousins were hauling loose items like lamps, throw pillows and towels to our cars, while cursing us under their breath. 

Best Friend # 1 and I were throwing belongings into boxes, not caring whose crap it was. I think there’s still some random storage shed somewhere with our priceless Anne Geddes art and plastic blow up lounge chairs. 

And, Best Friend #2? What was she doing? At precisely T-Minus two hours, she was still crying in her room. 

After attempts by my mom and Best Friend #1’s mom, my dad had to finally pound on her door and threaten her with his dad voice. Eventually, she appeared with 85 garbage bags, filled to the brim with her stuff, ready to be hauled out.

Somehow, we all (Mom, Dad, Brother, Best Friend #1’s mom, dad, and brother, Best Friend #2, a handful of friends, my cousins, and random passerby) managed to leave the place looking spotless (not even a random hanger or a half-used roll of TP was left) with only two minutes to spare. 

I learned a lot of lessons from my first time living on my own. Namely, don’t live with friends and don’t leave bitchy notes for your roommates that read, “I love waking up to your bowel movements everyday. Can you please run the fan and courtesy flush? Also, the phone bill is due. K thanks.” 

I’m still learning. 

I just learned the other day that disposals aren’t made to mash up large quantities of food. They are just for those odd bits. Who woulda thunk? 

Also, don’t prop up your feet that have been in your sweaty shoes all day on the coffee table within five feet of someone. Especially when they’re eating. 

So, even though I’m doing slightly better than I was when I first lived on my own, somedays, I think I’m still firmly planted in the stupid-af-era. And, some days, I change the batteries in the smoke detector all on my own. 

These days, Best Friend #1 is winning at life. She owns her own home and seems to always be jetting off on some trip. The bitch. 

Best Friend #2 is married with two beautiful children. I don’t think she owns a cat. 


For some reason, this is the only picture I could find of our first apartment. Notice the message board, where super friendly (bitchy) messages were written. I have no idea who the half-naked guy is, but a poster of a wet/greased up/sweaty guy in the kitchen is always a good idea. Also, WTF is happening with my “bangs”? 

Autumn-Loving and Basic AF

Whenever summer starts to loosen its death grip on the weather, and crisper mornings start to require a little more clothing, I feel my heart become lighter, brighter. 

Surely, we all know, since I’m Fatty McCupcakes, that part of why I love autumn so much is because it means no more exposed chub. Hands down, autumn and winter fashion is my favorite, not only because more of my body is covered, but because I love what I get to cover my body in-cardigans galore, plaid scarves, and every type of boot imaginable.

Pumpkin-flavored-everything starts to be available, and my inner, wannabe-baker starts to stockpile sprinkles, sugar skull cupcake liners, and bags of baking sugar. And, sometimes, I actually get around to baking something delicious. 

Warm, rich stews appear in the dinner rotation, and suddenly, homemade hot apple cider sounds like a good idea. 

I start to purchase huge bags of candy for trick or treaters (no, these never get busted into before Halloween), and I start creating my next, too-involved Halloween costume for school.

So, essentially, I’m just like every other basic, white bitch, dusting off her Uggs. 

And, so-fucking-what? 

If it’s basic to love a season so much that you go hog wild on doing positively everything that makes said season fun as shit, then label me Basic AF, with a capital Chambray and Chevron. 

I don’t even care. 

But, if you love autumn and all that comes with it with every fiber of your being like I do, it’s likely due to something deeper than PSLs and artsy wet leaf Instagram shots. 

You probably had loving, involved parents  who pointed out the changing leaves and talked to you about why the seasons change. 

You likely had a family who took you to pumpkin patches to pick the *perfect* pumpkin to carve. And then you went home to make hot apple cider. 

Maybe your mom took you on Sunday drives in the rain, so that you could witness, first hand, the changing season in all its resplendent glory.

So, it’s settled. I’m a basic, but Canva-graphic-deep, autumn-obsessed bitch. 

I’ve said in earlier posts that when the seasons change, I think of Elko. I don’t know what it is about that place. Especially since I positively hated living there the better part of the first year. 

Still, after so many years, when autumn arrives, it reminds me of the beauty that is Elko. 


Ready for the deep, artsy wet-leaf-Canva-graphic part? 

Here’s what really sings in my heart when autumn rolls in with the dry leaves and fireplace smell: 

Muddy roads and slanted rain on dusty windows.
The smell of rich earth, wet leaves. An old heater. Burning wood. 

Heavy, low-lying clouds, blanketing brown sagebrushed hills. Wet, dark, slate.

The blue-tinged sunshine. Crisp blue skies. Orange, brown, red. 

The taste of cinnamon and cloves. Pumpkin. Yeast. 
Enveloping darkness and lighted windows projecting warmth and a story. 

This is autumn. 

This is autumn, bitch. 


WTF Wednesday #I’m Too Lazy to Look-Liebster Edition

I was nominated for the Liebster (my autocorrect really wanted that to be ‘lobster’. Mmm yum!) Award by the lovely Gloria at We Are Holistic.


I haven’t done an awards post in awhile, so I figured it was the perfect timing to be nominated for one!

(I think I owe Angela at You Are Awesome a book tag post! I promise it’s coming!)

Also, I’ll just be honest. I had nothing ready for this week’s post. I’m so busy and stressed that I’ve had very little motivation to write.

So, I’ll apologize now, as this’ll probably be a stinker! I really hope I can do right by Gloria, though. She’s a super cool chick!

That intro went on way too long, so why don’t be just begin…

The Rules
I’ve found that the rules vary slightly but they’re all similar!

Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.

Nominate 5-11 people (comment on their blog to let them know).

Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.

List these rules in your post.

And most importantly…….have fun!

When are you at your happiest?

When I’ve just started in on a full pint of Ben & Jerry’s with the promise of, at least, 20 minutes of sweet, creamy gluttony. BUT, before the I’ve-eaten-it-all-again disgust sets in.
If you were to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, whose would it be?

Any shoes belonging to someone who is independently wealthy. I’d like to walk in some shoes that get to travel more than once every ten years, too. Also, can these shoes be stylish and plantar fasciitis-friendly?

What’s usually the first thing to pop into your mind when you wake up each morning?

“Are you effing kidding me? I just went to sleep. Noooooooo. Can I get away with a tenth day of dry shampoo? Do I really need my job? Oh, fuck all!”

I’d like to say I feel ashamed that I start my days like this, but really, who doesn’t?

Quit lyin’.

What’s your biggest regret in life? If any!

Since we’re all friends here, I guess I can just say it. I really, super regret shaving the baby hairs on my stomach. Ladies, listen to Aunt Fatty. Put down the razor. I repeat, back away from the razor. 

Go ahead and blow out your lips with some insane lip plumping contraption. Shit, wax off all of your eyebrows so you can paint them on again, nice and thick and fake. But, do.not.shave.your.belly.button. You will end up with a stomach that rivals a 70s bush.

If you were to be reincarnated as an animal, what animal would you like to be and why?

A sloth. Hands down. 

What’s your favourite smell and why?

I love the smell of rain, because we never get any. I love the smell of my classroom before farts rule the school. I love the smell of coffee brewing, because it tames the bitch within.

Are you a slow writer or can you whip up a good post in a couple of hours?

I take ages to write posts, because I seem to feel compelled to write full novels every week. I’m also paranoid about my grammar being perfect, so I have to read everything over 8,572 times. Sometimes, in a great while, writing just spills out of my brain. That’s very rare.

What household chore do you hate doing most? Or is there one you actually enjoy? 

I was just complaining about this to myself as I was driving to the store to get the laundry detergent I forgot the first time. I hate doing any and all household chores, but I love a squeaky clean house. If the laundry would just stay done and if the toilet would just remain pristine and errant pube-free, I’d be a lot happier and less stressed.

What colour dominates your wardrobe?

Black. I’m almost entirely goth. Or, is it emo? Black calms my fat just enough.

What’s your laugh type? Quiet & Polite, loud & boisterous, more of a chuckle, or a musical ha ha ha ha?

Loud and boisterous doesn’t even begin to describe what comes out of my mouth when I laugh. Hyena on crack/excited donkey hybrid if I have to be specific. However alarming it is at first, its contagious as hell. I’ve heard I’m fun to take to the movies.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Are you a romantic?

If date night means staying in so I can fart in my favorite position on the couch and eat pizza without judgement, then, yes. Super romantic.

The boyfriend enjoys these date nights, so it’s totally mutual!

So, I am not going to nominate anyone in specific. You are all nominated! You can also answer the questions in the comment section-I would love to see them!

Here they are:

Describe your personality using ice cream flavors. 

In your opinion, what is the easiest and least sucky exercise? (Asking for a friend)

Where is your favorite place on earth? Paint a pretty picture with words, please. 

What is your opinion on KFC? 

If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

What is your least favorite fashion fad? 

If you could transport one famous person to a “human” planet in another galaxy, who would it be?

What do you do to relax before bed? Let’s keep it PG, ya freaks! 

If you could go back to relive one day or moment, what would it be? 

What’s your favorite meme? Let’s see it! 

You can’t have your phone or any other electronic device for an entire week. Do you lose it? Rejoice? How do you spend your unplugged week?

Some Teaching Truths

In honor of Back to School, I decided to drop some fun teaching truth bombs (Also, I’m swamped this week and list posts are the easiest #sorrynotsorry). Even if you’re not a teacher, you’ll likely relate. If your job is high stress, but also high reward, you’ll for sure relate. Because I really should be labeling all the things instead of writing a blog post, let’s just begin:

1. Unless you’re crazily devoted to a fitness plan or you have a superhero’s will and control, you will eat every carb in your house after a bad day. 

2. Forget about the college “Freshmen Fifteen”. There’s such as a thing as the “Teacher Twenty”. Or, sometimes, the “Educator Eighty”. Also, this can happen during year one or year ten. 

3. You will eat your weight in mini-size chocolate candy. Sometimes in one day. 

#goals

Source

4. If the day after Valentine’s/Christmas/Easter clearance candy has been cleaned out, you can thank a teacher. 

5. You will get fat. So fat.

6. If food isn’t your happy place (congratulations on not being “pregnant” every year), you will drink copious amounts of wine and at some point in your career, consider rehab, but only the facilities that are more like spas and only because it would be the best sanity-saving vacation ever. 

7. If it comes down to toilet paper or a shiny new pack of Expo markers at the end of the month, markers win-hands down. 


Source
8. You save straws, bits of fabric, tissue boxes, and one 3 inch piece of string, because it all just may come in handy at some point. 

9. They never come in handy. 

10. Your teacher cabinet/closet/cupboard is a portal to Narnia or another dimension, because it’s where all of your supplies go to never be found again. 

I Googled “messy teacher cabinet” and this popped up. Two things: 1. Ya’ll lyin’ and 2. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Maybe someday I’ll be brave and share my Closet o’ Shame.

Source

11. No matter how poor you are, you always find a way to buy $80 worth of crap from the Target Dollar Spot. 

12. No matter how frustrating your students can be sometimes, you’re fiercely protective of them when they’re criticized by another teacher who doesn’t know them as well as you. 

13. Your students are your family. Your tribe. You love them. Every year, your heart opens up to allow for 20 more spaces. 

14. You crop dust. It’s only fair. 

15. If you weren’t an emotional person or crier before becoming an educator, you can kiss your shyness/pride goodbye. 

16. You will cry over everything.

17. You will have to kindly remind your students that, “Maybe someone needs to go to the restroom” after toxic waste lunch bombs are dropped all afternoon. 

18. If your student’s book order money is short, you pay what they’re missing without a second thought. 

19. You only go to the bathroom during the day once a week, but during that exact time, admin will walk in. It’s basically a scientific fact. 

20. Your teacher look is such a work of art that an eyebrow raise, lip purse, and nose wrinkle can mean 875 different things and no matter the day, the kid, or the teacher friend, the message is always received loud and clear. 

Trainer at inservice day says, “Pick a partner”-Teacher Bestie and I look at each other like…

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Tell me, who was your favorite teacher and why? Or, make me laugh and tell me an hilarious school or teacher story. 

Comparison is a Bitch, Man

We’ve all heard the quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy” by Theodore Roosevelt. If you’ve never heard this one before, you’re welcome. 


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Ever since coming across this six word, seemingly inconspicuous sentence, my view on comparison has been utterly transformed. I think I’ve always known, we all know, that comparison kills the joy you possess for what you have in life. 

But, it’s just a subconscious understanding, only nibbling at your consciousness when you feel like poop after comparing your cracking pleather Target purse with your friend’s (still nice) pleather Coach bag.

So, I’ve always known on a deeper level that comparing myself with others never ends well, but it wasn’t until reading that quote did it marinate and sink in.

But, because I’m me, it was not a quick fix. I still compare myself, despite knowing it’s not helpful. This is akin to eating a donut everyday for breakfast. I know it’s not good for me, yet I still have chocolate cake donut in the corners of my mouth on a daily basis. 

I’m about to be real with ya’ll.

(I think by now you’ve probably gleaned that this isn’t my usual satire post. I hope I haven’t lost any of you from forehead-on-keyboard boredom.)

Lately, despite considering that quote on a regular basis, I’ve been comparing hardcore where I’m at in life, and with my blog with literally everything and everyone I deem “better” than me. 

Here are some examples:

So and so (x 10) bought a house, so now I feel like I’m failing at adulting. Some of my friends and acquaintances own more than one bed and the latest front-loading washer and dryer. The largest appliance I own is a fucking microwave. It’s easy to get down when you aren’t there yet, despite trying really hard to be. It’s especially fucky when you’re in your mid-30s and you’re still not quite sure how to become a real adult. 

So and so goes on luxurious vacations twice a year and I’m just over here like, “I went to IKEA in Sacramento…” It’s too easy to feel anxious and stir-crazy jealous when you witness endless world traveling on Facebook while you sit on your couch with a pint of ice cream and your only door, at the moment, to the rest of the world-Karl Pilkington and An Idiot Abroad. 

So and so can wear a tank top without fear of knocking over someone with their swinging turkey wings. This ones rough, because nice arms can be obtained, but it’s harder than all the effort needed to achieve everything else in this post combined. 

So and so has thousands of followers after less than a year and gets hundreds of likes on their posts in less than 24 hours. When I come across crazy successful bloggers, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Why have my posts never gone viral? Why have I never been Freshly Pressed on WordPress (and what is that even)? It’s almost scary how easy it is to compare yourself with other bloggers. When I do this (all the fucking time), I instantly feel less than or worry I’ll be completely irrelevant tomorrow*. 

After many discussions with my blogging buddy, An Historian, I’ve decided enough is enough.


Not only is comparing myself to others depressing, it’s killing my inspiration to be creative in my own unique way. 

It’s time I re-read, more than usual, if necessary, my favorite quote. Here are some truths I’ve learned since my comparison-quote-awakening:

1. Apartment-living ain’t half bad. Not only do I never have to pull a single weed or replace window screens with my own money, when I plug up the toilet beyond basic plunger repair with my abundant toilet paper use, I can call the landlord, instead of the plumber. Also, some people live in squalor. I have granite counter tops in my bathroom. Basically, appreciate the shit you have. Also, if I’m ever destined to own my own house, it’ll happen when it’s meant to happen. 

2. So many other less fortunate people in the world would kill to have my TJ Maxx special, but they’d use it to carry food home to their starving family. Buck the fuck up, baby! 

3. Further, it’s not about the material. When you’re dead and gone, your more-than-my-rent-expensive handbag might find its way to a thrift store where some meth head might steal it to store their meth. Or, some careless person who gets pen marks all inside might own it after you. Shit, maybe it’ll find its way onto the giant ocean garbage mountain and some Humpback Anglerfish might use it as its home. Did your bag really matter that much in the grand scheme of things? The answer is “no”**. 

4. Travel is one of the most sought after things in life. It’s worth it to skip the Starbucks to save a few bucks that can quickly turn into a few hundred bucks. All of that can be used to go somewhere that can mean more than any material object (even an Ombré Pink Drink). 

5. My body isn’t perfect and never will be. Other than a few freak alien exceptions (Candice Swanepoel anyone?), we all have imperfect bodies. We all have body parts we wish were firmer, smaller, bigger, flatter, etc. Whenever I get to feeling really self-conscious around taught-skinned gorgeous women, I pretend they are hiding a huge skin flap on their butthole (I saw that on an episode of Embarassing Bodies, so that’s a thing now). Also, we can’t all be hilarious and gorgeous. 

6. Comparing myself with other writers, especially those in my same genre is the most detrimental comparing I do. I’ve decided that just because someone else is an exceptional writer and is genuinely funny, doesn’t negate the fact that I can be too. I have my own style and so does the next funny guy. We can all be funny. We can all support each other. Kumbaya and all that shit. 
 

7. Finally, there will always be someone who has better, looks better, and seems to always have all the luck. On the flip side, someone is probably looking at me, thinking, “Why, oh why, can’t I be like that magestic beast?” 

OK, that last one made me choke on my oatmeal cookie Halo Top. 

But, you never know.

Life is mysterious. Live your life in a way that makes your heart sing, your creativity blossom, and your belly feel happy and full without worrying about anyone else.

Fuck yo couch. 

*This in no way denotes that I do not appreciate the massive recognition my blog gets from my amazing supporters. I love you all times one million cupcakes. *muah*

**If you love material things, don’t be offended. I love the shit out of material things. Why else am I at Target every weekend scrounging through the discount bins for my 1,453rd cute pencil/magazine/flower/makeup/whatever holder? I feel you. 

The Mattole River Resort

You might remember that before we started this crazy little road trip down memory lane I suggested you bring along a spare tire, a life vest and rat poison. 

Have you been wondering where rat poison* was going to come in? No? You didn’t read that part? You just skimmed. OK. Well, we’re going to need it today. I guess you will just be eaten alive by monster rats. Sorry not sorry. 

(Actually, I am sorry, because I love you all, and I wouldn’t want to lose anyone of you in such a terrifying way.)

So, as we have all learned, my mom was an ace at finding great motel deals. 

These budget hovels saved money so that we were able to afford the expensive treatment for scabies that we’d need when we got home.

One of the absolute best, or rather, most memorable trips we took was to the Mattole River Resort.

Straight out of the California Chainsaw Massacre, this “resort” is situated along the Mattole River in Nothern California.

For those of you not familiar with Northern California, it’s good to be aware that it’s absolutely filled to the brim with hippie hill people. 

I don’t want to offend any potential hippie readers I might have. I’m a huge supporter of the notion, “You do you, boo”. So, I’m not hating on hippies, per se.

I’m just accurately painting the scene, people. I’m just setting the stage.

So, after a long day of winding roads, weird little backroad towns, and uncomfortable back seat living, we finally made it to our “resort”.

(I have to mention that before we made it to the resort, we stopped at a convenience store. The whole drive there it got foggier and foggier every mile we drove. If that wasn’t creepy enough, my mom said there were two men sitting out in the front of the store who were straight out of Deliverance. She said we don’t remember this part of the trip, because they wouldn’t let us get out of the car!)

Mind you, when one hears “resort”, especially one who watched their Dirty Dancing VHS on repeat, they think rustic, but posh, nicely furnished and expertly appointed “glamping” cabins. 

We all should have known better, for it was my mom (and aunt-I can’t leave her contribution out of this) who booked the place using her discount travel bible.

Again, Grandma is not having any of our shit.

The Mattole River Resort was far from being a resort. 

I remember little snippets from our stay at the Mattole Cult Compound. I think that I blanked out some of the memories to save myself from developing multiple personalities. 

I recall that, as we were bringing our belongings in from the car, doubt set in. The cabins were filthy. Positively disgusting. 

The woman running the place had promised enough beds, because there was a hide-a-bed in the couch. 

When we pulled it out, one of the necessary legs was missing, and instead of a mint on the pillow, there were mouse turds. 

Mouse turds, ya’ll.

In the bed.

When my mom and grandma were looking for another set of sheets, a blanket, hell, even a tarp at this point, they opened a closet to find an unexpected surprise. 

They had no clue what it was, but it was behemoth and a nest of some sort. My mom said they just shut the door and didn’t open it again the rest of the stay. 

I don’t even remember sleeping at this place. As in, I don’t recall being in a bed, covered with a blanket, nothing. I probably slept standing up or in the car. I don’t know how I didn’t just straight run away from my family at this point. 

Apparently, we stayed two or three nights. The first night we arrived it was late, so it’s understandable why we stayed. I’m not quite sure why my mom and aunt subjected us to this horror-story-waiting-to-happen for more nights than were necessary. 

My mom said it was because there was nowhere else to stay for a bajillion miles in all directions. We’d booked our stay, driven hundreds of miles, and it was going to be fun, damnit. 

My mom said, as beautiful as the surrounding landscape was, the Mattole River Resort was, “…horrible in every way.”

Three people who didn’t quite mind the Mattole River Resort were my two cousins and brother.

The daughter of the owner (who, my mom swears, couldn’t have been more than ten years old) took them down to the river and introduced them to pot for the first time.

My brother and two cousins recall that trip being pretty groovy, man.

Every picture from this trip is blurry. Our minds were probably negatively affected by all of the mouse poop. Also, in looking at how young my brother was, I’m wondering if only my cousin was involved in the Mary Jane incident?

As for me, I’m fairly certain my weird neurosis about germs, vermin, and motels with anything less than a four star rating is directly related to our typical Smith** Family stay at the Mattole River Resort. 

I hope my Family Vacations From Hell series has been enjoyable and at least mildly amusing. I hope my stories bring back funny and warm memories from your own past. 

Because I’m a satire writer, everything I write has some sass and asshole to it. These posts were no different. 

It’s important for me to point out, however, that as much as these true accounts sound horrifyingly hilarious, they are some of my most beloved memories.

Had my parents been like every other Dick and June, my memories wouldn’t be nearly as wonderfully ridiculous. 

This series is dedicated to my parents, because thanks to their annoyingly thrifty ways, my brother and I were afforded a childhood filled with amazing trips and experiences. Not only did we go somewhere exciting (or slightly terrifying) every spring break, we spent every summer at our family’s lake cabin, AKA Heaven on Earth. On top of that, they sent us both to Washington, D.C. on a school trip our 8th grade year, and it was my parents who funded the most rewarding experience to date-my trip to the U.K. and Ireland. 

Mom and Dad, you do you, boo. You’re perfectly imperfect just the way you are, sleazebag motels and all. Love you both. 

*Apparently, the cabin was only infested with mice and not rats. That makes it so much better.

**Not our real family name.

My Brother’s “13th Birthday” 

When we turn 13 in our family, tradition dictates that you get to have a big birthday celebration- one you won’t ever forget. This momentous occasion may or may not include naked hippies.
The year my brother turned 13, my mom planned a trip to the bay. San Francisco is only 3.5 hours away from us, and we grew up visiting the eclectic Crazy Street People City quite a lot.

You must know that my mom is quite thrifty. Before Expedia or Trivago were even a wild idea, my mom obsessively scoured the discount travel brochures and books. Part of what made all of our travel adventures so memorable is due largely in part to my mom’s awesome motel finds in her travel books (I’m saving her best find for the last post in this series).

My mom rocked the early 90s so hard.

My mom swore she found the hidden gem of all hidden gems in the heart of the city.

So, Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandma, and I packed into the car and schlepped over the hill.

The motel was a gem, alright. It was not only located in the center of the city, but it was smack dab in the middle of the worst neighborhood, on the worst street and it was the worst motel on said street. 

Because we are budget travelers through and through, we all slept in the same room-Grams and me in one bed, Dad and Brother in the other. My mom ordered a cot from the front desk, and slept with it right up against the door, because she was concerned the homeless man peeing right outside our room might try to come in to use an actual toilet.  

Throughout the night, we were serenaded with the sounds of men moaning, shrill female laughter, and the sound of a cat dying… or mating. And, it all sounded like it was right outside our window. 

It was sketchy with a capital how-did-we-not-get-bed-bugs. 

In the morning, on our way to see Alcatraz, there was a woman going absolutely bat-shit-crazy on top of a guy’s car. Like, she was on all fours on the hood, screaming and pounding her fists into his windowshield. The poor guy looked like he had no idea what to do as he was just sitting in the driver’s seat with his mouth agape. 

I would have just turned on my windshield wipers to try to wipe her off. 

Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

My Grandma was thinking, “Who are these crazy fuckers, and why did they bring me along for the Worst Side of San Francisco Tour?”

That same trip, we almost met our demise at the rest stop on top of the summit. 

The entire weekend was stormy and rainy. As we headed back home, the rain was immense. We felt like Noah’s ark as we parted the waters on the highway home. 

As we crested the summit over Donner Pass, it began to snow. Tradition dictates that we always stop at the rest stop on the top of the mountain. 

Forget that it was dark, snowing, and the rest stop was seemingly empty, no, we had to stop-it was TRADITION (someone probably really had to go: MOM). 

The vibe at the rest stop was bad. In hindsight, we should have just driven the hour more until home. 

My mom walked my brother and me into the main area, out of the snow. From there, we went our separate ways to the restrooms.

As my mom was waiting, she noticed two shady-looking men in the shadows. What normal, pure of heart and mind kind of person just lurks around an empty, freezing rest stop in the middle of nowhere, late at night? 

She said later that a ferocious chill went down her spine. Something just wasn’t right.

At this point, another vehicle pulls up, and my dad gets out of the car to retrieve something from the trunk.

As the lights from the car pulling up shine into the rest stop doorway, my mom glances over at the two men. From across the room, they give each other a “Not-this-one” look and they subtly shake their heads. 

They then disappear. 

She’s still convinced to this day that those two men were waiting around to do something bad. She thinks that they noticed that there were two other people in our car and then, when the other car pulled up, they figured whatever they had planned would not work on us. 
We all majorly had the creepies the whole way home. The entire car was silent as we counted our blessings/reevaluated our direction in life/cursed whoever’s idea it was to stop at the rest stop (MOM’s).

That, kids, is why you don’t go into rest stops-especially at night! Shady people try to do shady things at rest stops. Always find yourself a Starbucks restroom. Or a tree. Anything is better than an “empty” rest stop in the dark of night.

When we finally arrived home, exhausted, but grateful to all be in one piece, my brother says, “Next year, on my 13th birthday, can we just stay at home and do our usual thing?”

MY MOM FORGOT HOW OLD HER ONLY SON WAS. 

My mom felt pretty ridiculous having to admit that she miscalculated and thought he was turning 13, and thus, why he got such a big, super special Birthday. 

I think the next year for his birthday we did just what he wanted, and we were all pretty grateful.