Increasingly Socially Awkward

Last summer my husband and I were invited to a barbecue with two other couples. These couples are nice couples, upstanding citizens, god-fearing couples (unlike my heathen husband and I) who are the kind of people who, if they accidentally didn’t get charged for beer at the grocery store, would go back and pay for it, unlike myself who went “Free beer!” and drank some even though I don’t like beer that much.

So maybe I shouldn’t have expected to fit in. In retrospect, this makes everything pretty much my fault.

When we first arrived to the barbecue, our hostess informed us that, should we need to use the bathroom, we should turn right at the end of the hall. Use the bathroom on the right, not on the left, she very clearly said, and you better believe I listened carefully because when it comes to bathrooms, I am a rule follower.

There were no problems at first except for the fact that I didn’t consume any carbs with dinner but did drink the heck out of the “grown-up” lemonade. I had been craving lemonade. I hadn’t had any all summer so I immediately drank a whole cup of it before I ate anything, even though I wasn’t aware of quite how MUCH vodka was in it.

Obviously, when I needed to use the bathroom after everyone was finished with dinner, I turned right at the end of the hall and headed down it.

That’s when I got a weird feeling. I could see the bathroom door was open, but called out anyway just on the off chance that something bad might be happening, which it was. From the hallway I could see the reflection of our host in the shower doors. He was sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles. When he heard me call out he, of course, yelled “Occupied!” and pulled the sliding door closed, at which point I was already tripping over my feet backing down the hallway with the kind of urgency that only a person who has just seen another person they just met that night sitting on the pot can feel.

I then broke the only rule of the night and used the bathroom at the other end of the hallway. I was pretty much in shock at that point. As soon as I sat down, I leaned forward and put my face in my hands to take a moment to compose myself, and that’s when I saw the eye. The one eye. One eye staring directly into my face.

The reason we had been warned not to use this bathroom was apparently because a chihuahua with one eye was nesting in the bathtub for the evening, and now that it saw me sitting on the toilet, decided to check me out through the shower door. It watched me as I finished peeing, which you can bet I did pretty quickly.

When I got back to the dining area, all five adults were at the table, happily dealing out cards. At this point I figure the host and I have some kind of special bond because we both had an awkward encounter and now we would have to fudge our way through a pleasant evening. It would be equally hard for both of us but we would both be willing to make the sacrifice because we were ultimately good people who cared about the well-being of the group. However, when I looked at him, he made no sign that anything weird had happened.

That was when I realized that I had seen his reflection but he hadn’t seen mine, and he didn’t even know I had seen his at all. This awkwardness was mine alone to bear.

In desperation I looked at my husband and attempted to communicate a whole sentence to him via facial expressions, which has never once worked with my husband like it always did with my sister.

What I tried to say with my facial expression was: I saw Sam pooping!

Apparently my face just looked weird. So my husband communicated that back to me.

Husband’s face: Your face looks weird.

My face: I saw Sam pooping!

Husband’s face: You know I can’t read facial expression language.

My face: I saw Sam pooping by accident. Well, he wasn’t accidentally pooping; I accidentally saw him pooping! *pause* And I saw a one-eyed dog! Staring at me from the bathtub!

By then my husband whispered “What’s wrong?” but everyone was done dealing the cards and explaining the rules of the game and I decided to just barrel ahead with the evening. I had another glass of lemonade.

As you can guess, I did not behave in any kind of normal way that night; I became increasingly socially awkward, at one point illustrating an anecdote with an honest-to-god Jerry Lewis dancing impression. For this little venture I actually stood up and executed the dance in as Lewis-esque a manner as possible, the way my siblings and I has always done for fun. When I finished the little dance, every other adult was staring at me with their jaws dropped. No one had found it funny, no one had even seen that movie, no one else would have done that dance and THANK GOD AT LEAST I DIDN’T SING.

Obviously, they all had to conclude that I was just a crazy drunk lady, not, in fact, in a social situation that was very hard for me to survive in. For the next several weeks I lived in humiliation, and that is the story of how I saw a guy pooping and a one-eyed dog and gained a reputation as the increasingly socially awkward lady who doesn’t get invited back to barbecues although, if I did, I wouldn’t drink any lemonade because then I probably would not have had to pee.

The end.

I think you can tell how I was feeling. Also, I didn't come with that hat. It was part of the game, I swear.

I think you can tell how I was feeling. Also, I didn’t arrive with that hat. It was part of the game, I swear.


P.S. This is not even the first time I’ve seen a guy I didn’t really know sitting on the toilet. In 7th grade my friend and I were playing hide-and-seek indoors and I walked in on her dad sitting on the toilet with the newspaper all a-spread in front of him. At least in that instance he was aware that he had been spied, and we both avoided each other in mutually earned shame for the rest of our lives. Like you do.

My Mind on KonMari and KonMari on My Mind

I recently learned about Marie Kondo and her method of decluttering. KonMari boils down to the philosophy that every single thing you own should be enriching your life and, if you own something that isn’t enriching your life, it is actively detracting from your life.

Marie Kondo named her method KonMari which I’ve been fitting into every other sentence for weeks now. My husband thought “konmari” was a Japanese word for “get rid of it!” so every day he comes home and asks me what I “konmaried” that day. Now, every time he gets rid of something (for instance: terrible terry-cloth green pants he’s had since he lived in Orchard Park, New York twenty years ago) he yells “KONMARI!” In what he imagines is a Samurai voice when he throws it in the donate pile.

Naturally, I also yell it that way now. It does add a whole element of celebration to getting rid of crap.

And my house stays so clean most of the time now that one of my kids (the laziest one) asked why we even have to clean at all. “I mean, since you bought that book at Costco everything stays clean anyway.”

Of course, I still think floors need to get swept and dishes need to be washed but I was informed that I shouldn’t have had any kids at all if I didn’t want to take care of them. Touche! If 14 years old isn’t the cut off date of doing everything for your child, really, what is?

No Means No, Adele

I’ve heard that Hello song a lot of times now and I’m still trying to figure out why Adele wants to meet up years after a breakup to “go over everything.” Speaking from personal experience, an ex who keeps popping up years later to talk about old stuff is creepy, especially after you’ve been very clear about wanting to be left alone.

This is not even the first time Adele has done this. In the song Someone Like You (which I love, same as everyone else does) she sings about showing up at an ex’s uninvited even though she knows he is now married, simply to tell him that she’s still hung up on him and she’ll just have to try and find someone like him.

Adele, I think you’re great. I really do. But things are getting a little Twilight-y around here and you don’t want to be the stalker vampire in the equation. Don’t be that guy.

Untimely Movie Review: Cloverfield

As I’ve never in my adult life been able to see a movie or read a book as soon as it was released, I get to share my thoughts on such works only when they have already become egregiously irrelevant. Since I was busy in 2008 when Cloverfield was released and people are talking about a sequel being released, my husband and I decided to go ahead an watch the original this weekend. It was super fun to watch but neither of us was expecting to laugh so hard and worry so deeply about the survival instincts of New Yorkers. To make the experience interactive, I’ve designed my review as a multiple choice test to find out if you are any better at guessing what people with terrible survival skills would do if a giant dog-spider monster attacked their city.

  1. A bland, blonde male protagonist who appears to be in his mid-twenties lives the following life:

A) Gets kicked out of his own band, gets a job at Chick-Fil-A, is a general loser.

B) Is in a fraternity and every once in a while turns in a paper for a college class.

C) Is wealthy enough to have a Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park and has just been made vice president of a Japanese company (even though he doesn’t speak Japanese) because prestigious companies prefer their executives to be 24 years old and wet behind the ears.

Answer: C. Because I guess we couldn’t respect him if he wasn’t superficially successful.

2. When the city experiences a power out, full grown adults at a grown up party:

A) Go looking for “torches” because their kids watch too much Peppa Pig and talk like Brits whenever there’s a “Power cut”.

B) Scream in terror because their municipal god has abandoned them. There is no method of coping with a power out.

Answer: B. No one has ever experienced a power out before or foreseen a way to handle it. (The A answer is what we do in this household because Britain is trying to take over America using episode after episode of Peppa Pig.)

3. When people are screaming in the streets, talking about a giant monster eating people, and the monster comes down the street overturning cars and destroying buildings you:

A) Go down there, hug the wall of the of the building you just came out of, and proceed to the nearest bomb shelter.

B) Go down there and waltz down the middle of the street like you’re the Macy’s parade on the Yellow Brick Road, and proceed to the nearest phone store where you steal a battery so you can call your girlfriend.

Answer: B. Because priorities.

4. Since the monster is above ground and doesn’t appear to know about subways, you descend to a subway station where you proceed to:

A) Immediately head through the tunnels out of the city as fast as you can.

B) Sit and cry for a while. Who knows. A train might come, right?

C) You don’t do this. You get down to the docks and steal a tugboat and toot the horn on your way out of dodge.

Answer: Obviously, it should be C. But in Cloverfield it’s actually B. Also, why is the movie even called Cloverfield? Is that what they named the giant dog-spider?

5. When you finally realize a train isn’t coming, you stop sniffling and decide that the only course of action now is to head out through one of the tunnels. THEN a million rats start running in one direction as fast as they possibly can, so you:

A) Run as fast as you can in the direction the rats are going. One million rats can’t be wrong.

B) Stop walking in the middle of the tunnel and say, “Gross!”

Answer: Ladies and gentlemen, once again the answer is B! When a million rats are obviously running for their lives, you have to ignore that. The important thing is that rats are nasty and you should take a long moment to reflect on that fact, even when you are running away from a goddam monster.

6. You decide to go back above ground (after being bitten by one of the smaller monsters the larger monster appears to shed) and proceed to the Leaning Tower of Girlfriend’s Apartment Building. It is literally leaning against another building. You:

A) Realize girlfriend is a lost cause and you and your acquaintances should try to save yourselves instead of mount a rescue effort.

B) Mount a rescue effort.

C) Mount a rescue effort, attempting to ascend the building using elevators even though the power is out in the entire city.

Answer: C. When you push the button on one elevator and it doesn’t work, frantically start pushing all the other elevator buttons because you still don’t understand how power outs work.

7. When, by some miracle, you find the girlfriend alive but impaled on a piece of rebar and decide to go ahead and pull her right off of that thing, the appropriate response from that actress while being dis-empaled is:

A) Scream like there’s a power out!

B) Kind of go, “Ahhhhh” at a medium volume and without vigor.

Answer: In a surprise turn of events, the answer is B. Maybe you’re being dis-empaled, or maybe you’re annoyed that they’ve awoken you from a nap and you’re a little irritable about it. Who can tell?

8. When a rescue helicopter can take only one of your group away from the city, the person you choose to go with them is:

A) The girl who has just been dis-empaled by rebar and is in severe need of medical care.

B) The girl named Marlena, who was bitten by one of the little monsters in the subway and is in severe need of medical care.

C) A perfectly healthy member of your group who is in need of no medical care but apparently wasn’t interesting enough to keep in the movie.

Answer: C. Of course.

9. Marlena explodes. No question here, I’m just telling you what happens next. I wasn’t expecting it.

10. When you end up on the ground in front of the giant dog-spider and it is going to eat you and you can’t run away, you:

A) Stand very still and at least try to get a good look at the thing that is about to eat you, then get eaten.

Answer: A. This is totally what I would do, too. I mean, what is that thing? Is it breathing with exterior head lungs? Are those head lungs? What is it about this thing that makes it look like it could be friendly under the right circumstances? Is that why they named him Cloverfield? Because he used to be a pet?

Conclusion: This was still a fun movie to watch, assuming you still like the found footage story device (which I do) and you have a high tolerance for the most useless people whoever existed.


Am I wrong? It could be nice under the right circumstances.

Wire Art: Angel Amputee




My grandmother gave me a pair of angel statuettes a few years ago. This one plays a flute and the other a lyre. I keep them on top of my piano and I think they’re fancy. However, I tend to bumble and break things when I’m trying to dust, and this angel was not my first casualty– I simply shouldn’t be allowed to touch things.

Before anyone thinks I’m making fun about amputation let me say that I don’t mean that at all. The grandmother who gave me these has been in the hospital recently, is receiving hospice care, and did not recognize me the last time I saw her. So damaging the statue she gave me just before the Alzheimer’s worsened was sad for me.

I thought about gluing it back together but was afraid it would look obvious and blighted. My husband gave me the idea of making a prosthetic wing and it seemed like a perfect idea. I don’t have to try and hide imperfections; I’m not denying the damage at all.

It took ages to make all the individual feathers. They have a silver plated spine and copper ‘fluff’, which contrasts each other nicely. Here’s a close-up.



Here’s another:




Maximum Possible Blood



I’ve been watching that show Vikings lately and I find it impossible not to wonder how so many diverse cultures individually came up with the idea of human sacrifice. Because: really. What was even the thought process that led up to that? 

In order to figure out where these people were coming from I have devised a little thought exercise in the form of a very short play to imagine the origins of human sacrifice, especially in the case of the Aztecs who appear to have descended into a veritable extended blood orgy on a scale not often seen. Here is my Aztec play.


Brock (a surprisingly common Aztec name): Guys, we’ve all noticed that the weather has been dry around here lately. I’m thinking it’s time to put our heads together and come up with a plan.

Pierre (also a surprisingly common Aztec name): Well…………..okay, this is gonna sound crazy, but hear me out. What if we did some kind of dance? Like, a dance to the Gods asking them for rain?

(The group considers.)

Kanye (at least a million Aztecs were named that): That does sound crazy. 

Brock: You’re such an idiot, Pierre. This is why nobody takes you seriously. I’m just sayin’.

Pierre: You can’t just call someone an idiot and make fun of their legitimate idea and then say “I’m just sayin'” and make it better. 

Brock: Sorry.

Pierre: Okay. Let’s think of something else.

(The group considers.)

Kanye: I think I’ve got it. 

Brock, Pierre: Yeah?

Kanye: Yes. I was remembering this one time that somebody died and how, by apparent coincidence, the sun came up the next morning. But I’m thinking: what if that wasn’t a coincidence?

Brock: No way.

Kanye: Yes way. I mean, seriously, this lady died and the next morning the sun just comes up? What are the odds of that?

(Brock and Pierre exchange looks and nod.)

Pierre: But we don’t need the sun to come up. We need rain. How did you say that lady died?

Kanye: I cut her heart out.

Pierre: Huh. So cutting the heart out raises the sun.

Brock: What do you think causes rain?

Pierre: Yeah, what causes rain? Something less violent? More violent?

Kanye: I’m thinking blood. If we could murder someone in, like, a really violent way with the maximum possible amount of blood, that seems like it would somehow be connected to raining.

Brock: What would we do with the blood we take out? Like, roll around in it? Make someone drink it?

Kanye: I don’t know, but what if we took the blood of, like, a hundred people?

Pierre: Or a thousand!

Kanye: Yes, we’ll take the blood of a thousand people and just, like, pour it down the steps of the temple until observers start vomiting from the smell! 

Pierre: So much blood!

Brock: Ha! Yes! Blood! Blood for everyone! 

Pierre: So who do we start with?

(Brock and Kanye exchange looks and then both look at Pierre.)


The Best Weight-Loss Tip of Ever

I have this idea that, because I weighed less ten years ago than I do now, I’m much too fat. No civilization before us has ever had this particular idea but that doesn’t stop me from caring about what people if this particular civilization think if me. (Although YOU should not. You’re much smarter than the rest of us. Yes. You. Right there.)

Since I’m normal and eat more during times of stress, bounty, or celebration, I go through periods of being very perfect in my diet and periods of ‘feck it.” You know how that works…… have a very challenging child with special needs whom you love more than life but who drives you to tears regularly but whom you also feel the need to defend from the rest of the world so at the end of the day you go off your diet because you’re a good person who deserves some pleasure? Sure you do. And as you all know, this is a ‘feck it’ trial.

Right now I’m in a period of ‘feck it.” but I did ask a friend who was successful in losing a significant amount of weight (don’t know how you guys do it. I’m still pretty certain you’re all some kind of supernatural creatures with inhuman constitutions) for her advice on what I could do to lose weight. Since my tendency is to do great during the first part of the day before all the noise of other humans starts getting under my skin and then drink wine and eat popcorn at the end of the day (those things go together) as a way for rewarding myself for surviving life, my friend suggested I find a non-food way to reward myself at the end of every day.

She recommended a bubble bath.

That seemed like a great idea, so here I sit in the bubble bath I truly deserve WITH my glass of wine beside me. I can juuuuuuust reach it from here. I’d be surprised if I lost any weight from this method, but you know what?

Feck it.

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