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So I’m driving home from my BIL’s house on a highway near me and got behind a truck hauling some earth moving machinery and that always makes me nervous because you should never trust anyone to secure their loads well enough and I didn’t want to be behind him if that thing slipped off its bed and landed in my face so I got in the passing lane to scoot around him and sped up enough to get back in the right lane ahead of my exit home except I didn’t go fast enough and couldn’t find a space to move over so I missed my exit and that’s when I decided to just keep driving to the next exit where I could get off and stop at a Shammy Shine to get my car washed and so when I got there, I paid at the drive-up kiosk and got in line for the wash and was so proud of myself that I followed the directions of the guy at the start of the wash queue well enough to get my wheels aligned on the track thingy and you should consider yourself skilled if you can do that in one shot, but while I was patting myself on the back for getting my wheels in place and I was all set to put my window up so I don’t get wet and prepared my iPhone to film going through the car wash because that’s so fun, that’s when I made the mistake of putting the car in park instead of neutral and the guy screamed at me “Neutral! Put it in neutral” and I thought “OK, mister. I have all this stuff to do making sure I don’t get wet and all, and now you’re yelling at me to put the car in neutral and I meant to do that, swear to God, but I forgot and geez, man, who the hell ever puts their car in neutral gear for anything except car washes and give me a second here and cut me some slack, jack!

Here, have a soothing video of my car wash. It was hell getting it.

Soothing Shammy Shine Purple Haze or Purple Rain: Take your pick! - YouTube

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You know the fork. The one that you’ve kept for 25 years but has no business being in your silverware drawer because it’s so ugly, and it doesn’t look like the others, and you believe it actually makes your food taste bad, and you just hate it to pieces.

That one.

I was reminded of which fork I hated after seeing this post on a friend’s Facebook wall this morning.

Hilarity ensued. And then I decided to get a little creative about my own fork that I really need to part ways with.

Enjoy!

Everyone has that one fork - YouTube

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One of the problems with buying an ice cream cone in the middle of a hazy, hot, and humid summer is melt speed.

Get a large cone and you’re forced to inhale it to minimize the inevitable dribble-down-the-hand mess, but you risk brain freeze eating too fast.

Plus, when you suck down ice cream the ability to savor the flavor is diminished by 79.4% according to a study in the Journal of I Made That Shit Up.

Sure, you could order your soft serve in a cup, but what fun is that? It’s not. You twist-cone your soft serve. You cup-pack your hard scoop. It’s the law.

What you might do to mitigate the lick-to-melt race is downgrade to a regular cone and be satisfied with that. But what if you wanted more than a regular?

This is what you do:

Your husband drives you to Rita’s and you order a regular-sized cone and tear in. Mere blocks away, he notices that you’re almost down to the cone already and there’s another Rita’s nearby.

He says “Kath. You’re making good progress on that. Do you want another?”

“Yes. Yes, I do. Next Rita’s, please.”

In the time it takes to get to Rita’s #2 you’ve just polished off the bottom tip of the cone, you know, that part – the best part – that serves as a handy reservoir for all the melty goodness that collected at the bottom. That last crunch is the delicious period on your ice cream sentence.

You pull into Rita’s #2, get out, order a second regular twist on a waffle cone, pay, and dig in again.

A mile out, you begin to realize the error of your ways.

1. Regular + half a regular = uncomfortably full.

2. You don’t want to finish Part II of the Twist Plan because you’re not a garbage disposal and your waistline wants no part of those unwanted calories. Your driver rejects them, too.

So now what?

This is what you do:

You ask your husband to pull over at the next out-of-the-way place so that you can dispose of .5 of a regular ice cream cone.

“Where?” he asks.

“Over there. The cemetery.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

You pull aside and scooch up close to the grass. You lower the window. You stick your arm out and with one flick of a wrist the cone contents come flying out  – TTHHWWIIIIPPP! – and into the grass, where ants within a ten foot radius can’t believe their good fortune that the sky delivered them ice cream like a screaming meteor and plopped it at their feet.

Ahhhhh! Much better.

You’re now left with just the cone, coated in a bit of residual ice cream, in all its crunchy goodness, with only enough calories you consider reasonable to eat.

Yes, I will still order soft-serve in scorching heat. No, I will not get it in a cup. Yes, I know that’s easier, but it’s just not the same. Summers are for twisties and sprinkles and improving melt management skills. This 50-something kid still has a lot to learn.

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So today I poked myself in the eye with the corner of some tri-folded paper towels that I reached up to grab off a shelf when I needed to wipe my mouth after brushing my teeth over the trash can in my office because I was too lazy to walk to the ladies room and do it there. It freaking hurt and then I had to go to a meeting and explain why I appeared to have been crying, but only out of my left eye. At least I smelled minty fresh.

Why didn’t I want to walk to the ladies room?

Because it’s like a quarter mile from my new office. I had easier access to the restrooms at my old office, which is being turned into study space for students in the library where I work.

The good thing is that I earn extra steps when I use the new rest room, but it’s totally inconvenient when I have somewhere to be in a hurry, like today.

BUT!

I just found out yesterday that I can walk through the fire door next to my office that leads to a stairwell that leads to another rest room just above my office.

I have been assured that the sign that reads “Do not enter. Alarm will sound” is false. It’s only there to keep students from accessing the stairs.

I even watched the building manager walk through the door today and it did not sound.

BUT!

I’m still scared to walk through it because it would just be my luck that one day the locksmith office will discover the doors are not alarmed and will alarm them for safety and I will walk through it and people will ask “Kathy, did you not see the sign that says you cannot walk through the door because the alarm will sound? How stupid are you? Can you not read?”

BUT!

One time I used my master keys in a building I used to work in to let myself into an office that I didn’t know was alarmed.

It sounded.

And it sounded loudly throughout the whole building and I had to wait in a state of terrible embarrassment until the campus police came and turned it off.

I’m not taking any chances.

The nearby bathrooms will have to remain a off limits to me.

I haven’t blogged in a long time, but in case you were wondering …. yes, it’s still exhausting being me.

The End.

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When I was in my mid-20s, I lived in an apartment that had its fair share of problems: green shag carpeting, pitiful air conditioning, and a laundry room buried in a dark and scary basement next to the boiler system that ran so loud you wouldn’t hear if a murderer walked in to kill you until it was too late.

But I lived close to work and shopping, and the rent was dirt cheap. Despite the chance of being killed and no one finding my body until they had to do laundry, I couldn’t complain.

Until the summer of the thousand leggers.

Circa 1987 my apartment suffered an infestation of thousand leggers, known to entomologists as the Scutigera coleoptrata. They’re like tiny hair pieces that can move at cheetah speed.

That summer, I would find five or six of them every day in various places: on walls, in the shower, and inside appliances. No place was off-limits.

I feared I’d start finding them nuzzled up in bed with me, just waiting for me to fall asleep so they could crawl into my ear and burrow through my brain.

For the ones that were on the walls and stayed still, I’d grab a can of what had become my “go to” for instant bug death – Aqua Net hair spray. I chose this over bug spray because it wasn’t toxic to me and one long blast of it caused Scutigera coleoptrata to shrivel up and die within seconds.

I co-existed with the thousand leggers for weeks and we had a loose agreement. You don’t touch me. When I spot you, you will die. But I promise to give you a quick, merciful death. Sound good? Good.

They didn’t hold up the agreement.

I recall coming home from class one night, unlocking my apartment door, and reaching inside the hallway to turn on a light.

I felt something.

Bumpy.

Hairy.

And it moved.

The light illuminated one of meaty, leggy intruders that had parked itself on the light switch. “Evening, Kathy! Where’ve you been?”

I dropped my books and my purse, went screaming through the apartment looking for my Aqua Net, and prayed I’d find it in time for our agreed-upon merciful death.

I didn’t. When I came back to the hallway, it was long gone, free to move about the cabin, or – go tell its friends that I was home and they could begin their reign of terror into the night.

I slept with the Aqua Net.

Another day, when I pulled down the door to empty the dishwasher one fell out. On. To. My. Bare. Foot.

Primal Scream is the name of a British indie rock band from the early 80s. It’s also the sound I made when this thing landed on me. Not only did I make a sound I didn’t know I was capable of, but I jumped up and down so loudly that my downstairs neighbor came up to see about the hubbub.

“A thousand legger got me,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” said she.

We shared a moment of exasperation, then I shut the door and began a recon session, Aqua Net in hand.

Spot, spray, die. Spot, spray, die. Spot, spray, die.

This went on the rest of the summer and luckily the infestation lasted only that year.

A few years later we had bees and by then I decided enough was enough. An elderly neighbor had them too, and I learned she was allergic to bee stings. Our apartment didn’t allow pets, but she’d been grandfathered in before the new policy was enacted and didn’t want to make waves with apartment management by complaining.

I had nothing to lose, so I called the Health Department.

Bees no more.

So why have I called this story “You’ve come a long way, baby?”

Because I just saw a tiny thousand legger crawl across my kitchen floor.

They’re here.

But I let it live because someone posted on Facebook yesterday that Scutigera coleoptrata are super good at eating other insects and you want them in your house.

Lucky bastard. I just gave you merciful life.

Carry on.

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Testing … testing …

Is this thing on?

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OK, so I know I haven’t been able to shake a five pound weight gain from a  recent vacation due to the following ice cream and ice cream-related events:

1. Sept. 24: chocolate/vanilla twist

2. Sept 25: chocolate/vanilla twist, chocolate custard waffle cone

3. Sept 26: chocolate twist, cookie dough/hot fudge sundae

4. Sept 27: chocolate custard waffle cone, cookie dough/hot fudge sundae, chocolate/vanilla twist.

5. And for good measure, Oct 1 – Oct 12: Post-vacation ice cream events too numerous to mention.

I know. I have a problem. Note taken.

The caloric nightmare ain’t over, or maybe it is.

I just went to the store for some things and picked up the lowest calorie snack of all the high-calories ones I perused. That’d be a 12-pack container of mini-whoopie pies that clocked in at 1,200 calories (vs. others I wanted that started at 1,600).

When I got to the register and the cashier rung me up, she couldn’t get my precious whoopies to scan.

“Hmmm,” she says. “That’s weird.”

She tries again, this time entering the code manually. No dice.

Gets another cashier to try. Also no dice.

She turns to me and says “That’s never happened before.”

“What never?” I ask.

“It says ‘Item not for sale,’” she says.

“So what you’re saying is it’s not for sale for me,” I suggest.

She chuckles and the other cashier offers to go back and find another. I wave off the offer, thank her for saving me 1,200 unnecessary calories and I leave snackless.

I’m crestfallen. But I’m also relieved.

I know I need to get serious about these five pounds now because if you don’t stare a gain like that down and do something about it, you wind up getting used to it, add another five, get used to that, and suddenly you weigh 193lbs again.

Thank you, grocery store scanner for refusing to sell junk food to me.

Except I still really wanted it.

 

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When you say “It looks like someone has too much time on their hands,” all I hear is “I’m sad because I don’t know what creativity feels like.”

I read this comment on a blog almost a decade ago and haven’t forgotten it since. I can’t be certain where I saw it, but I believe credit is due the artist Terry Border, an incredibly talented man who began a blog called Bent Objects to showcase his whimsical art, and followed up over the years with eight books, one of which has become a musical.

The comment stuck with me because I’ve been on the receiving end of it a bunch of times over the years (especially during the Windy years) and again just recently when I posted this picture to Facebook, with the caption: “Astonished sidewalk guy.”

Someone commented “You have too much time on your hands,” to which I replied “I really hate that comment.”

Boy, do I.

A lot.

I was thinking of replying with a different comment, one that would have addressed the time factor, as in “Really? The three seconds it took to take the shot, then the five seconds to post it to Facebook, qualifies as too much time?

But that’s not a comment that speaks to the real problem with the accusation.

The real problem is that no one needs to justify the time they spend for anything creative, no matter how small or insignificant others might think it is. That’s the beauty of art and creation.

There are a thousand reasons why people innovate and create. It could be for utility or to solve a problem. It could be an outlet for stress or to move through a painful experience. It could be to learn a new skill, to seek a new path, to grow as a human. Or it could be to entertain, to enlighten or simply to bring a smile to the face of another person. That is me.

When I observe something off-beat or interesting, it makes me happy and I want to share it. It’s why I took up blogging. I always said about blogging that if I could make someone chuckle for five minutes out of their day, I’ve done my job.

And if it took me “too much time” to think of something bizarre, stupid, uncanny, or ridiculous, so what? That’s my time to spend. I have never accused anyone of spending too much time on something that gives them joy to make, to do, or to experience. Think of all the hours that people (including me) invest in passive activities, like binge-watching their favorite TV series. They’re not creating art, not creating music, not dancing, not painting, not writing. But they’re creating joy for themselves and I say “Go forth and be joyful!”

The last thing we should be doing these days is raining on others’ parades for doing something they love. If it’s not hurting anyone, why even care?

After I received the “too much time” comment, all I could think was that guy would have lost his mind if he’d seen what I did to this fallen tree on one of my favorite walking routes through the woods. I carried a hammer, some nails and plastic googly eyes for three and a half miles to make and take this shot.

Too much time? Not to me. It was time well-invested because every time I see it, it still cracks me up.

And when passersby laugh about it, take out their cameras and save it to share with others, that’s icing on the cake.

I do what I do first for me. If someone else finds it just weird enough to enjoy, then all the better.

It leaves me happy, because I do know what creativity feels like, and it feels pretty damn good.

Addendum: I just visited the Facebook page of the guy who made that comment to me. In his profile, I see where he graduated college and what he studied. Wanna guess what his degree is in? Can’t make this stuff up: Art History.

 

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Dear New Work Password,

I really tried hard to love you. In fact, to prepare for loving you, I practiced many other passwords first to see how quickly I could type them, while maintaining the strongest level of security. I even gave you that one special character I hold so dear, the asterisk. It truly is the star of passwords! I wanted to be your BFF for the six months I would have been with you before being forced to choose another yet again.

But I’m giving you up early because you just don’t flow freely from my fingertips like you should. We’re good together on paper, but in practice, it’s just not working. You just became too hard to get right. I misspell you constantly. I curse at you with your mixed case and nonsensical words. You’re even harder to get right when I’m typing you while standing or leaning in at an angle. ERROR! ERROR!

I know there must be that one special password out there for me. But deep down, I know I’ve already chosen all the good ones in years past. And since I can’t reuse an old password, I keep searching. Searching for the one that will be complicated enough, secure enough and easy enough to get right the first time.

I’m sorry I led you on. I really tried. It just wasn’t meant to be. Good night, sweet password. Maybe you’ll find someone else out there who’ll love you like you deserve.

Remember, it’s not you. It’s me.

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Every so often I perform one of my most-hated chores: taking our oversized comforter to the laudromat. Somehow time spent at the laundromat is some kind of wrinkle in the time space continuum, such that 1.5 hours is really a day. A whole staring-at-tumbling-laundry, God awful boring sort of day.

I load up all my crap in the car and lug the hulking blanket, along with my wallet, iPhone, car keys, detergent bottle and fabric softener sheets into the laundromat. Did I mention how much I hate this process?

So I get things going by pumping $6.50 worth of quarters into the Volkswagen-sized washing machine. I see a message on the display asking whether, for one more quarter, you want "Super Cycle."

I’m thinking "Yes, yes I would like a Super Cycle because that probably means it’ll be done faster. Like a lightening fast SUPER DUPER WASH CYCLE THAT’S DONE IN A FLASH." No, that’s not what it Super Cycle means.

I means it adds 10 minutes to the wash cycle.

10 minutes.

It’s like 4.5 hours.

But at least I had my iPhone! Did I tell you I bought an iPhone?! Changed my life. Gets you through the tough times, like waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line at the grocery store, and Super Cycles at the laundromat.

Smartest thing I ever did.

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