Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Conversations With Jess: Burgers, Beyonce, and Break-Ups

JESS:  Hey, Linda McCartney, how's the vegan diet going?

ME:  Oh, you know. . .I had to make some minor tweaks to it; needed to allow for some lenience. . .

JESS:  So, you fell of the wagon?

ME:  Like Lindsey Lohan on a three-day weekend.

JESS:  Bacon?

ME:  Yup. 

JESS: Well, it IS the gateway meat.

ME:  Of course, I had it served atop a half-pound burger with blue cheese.

JESS:  Good Lord.  That's like going straight from the convent to a gangbang.

ME:  Moderation is for pussies.  Go hard or go home, my friend.

JESS:  Did you go to Titan Burger?

ME:  Boo.  Titan can suck it.  I won't go there any more.

JESS:  Why!  Titan is the bomb-dot-com.  Their onion rings should be their own food group.

ME:  First of all, they no longer take debit cards.  It's cash ONLY.  What kind of Communist douchebaggery is that?

JESS:  I think you mean Socialist.

ME:  Pfft!  Whatev.  And second, the last time I was there the guy rolled his eyes when I asked for mozzarella instead of cheddar on my Western burger.  Rolled.  His.  Eyes.

JESS:  And he's still alive?

ME:  It wasn't the eye rolling that got me as much as the implication that my judgment in condiments was somehow misguided.  He actually told me that anything but cheddar would "compromise the integrity of the burger".

JESS:  That poor child had no idea who he was dealing with.

ME:  Umm, especially when I haven't had meat or dairy in over a month and I have the blood sugar level of Lot's wife.  But I kept it together and politely affirmed that at the age of 42 I was fully capable of navigating the complex schematic of the Titan Burger menu.  What the hell?  You don't start choosing my food for me unless I'm unconscious, or we're sleeping together. . .or both.

JESS:  Wait, isn't that backwards?  Aren't you supposed to tell them to buy you dinner BEFORE you sleep with them?

ME:  You have your priorities, I have mine.

JESS:  Hmm. . .still trying to figure out if that makes you dyslexic, or just slutty.

ME:  Either way, yay me!  So, how's Trent doing at his new school?  Does he like it?

JESS:  MUCH better.  You were right, a smaller, more intimate program was exactly what he needed.  He even came home the first day with a new best friend. . .although. . .I'm not sure I'm totally down with this kid's name.

ME:  I'm going to be sorry I asked, but. . .

JESS:  ((sigh))  Kanye.  His name is. . .Kanye.

ME:  No.

JESS:  Yes.

ME:  NO!

JESS:  I swear to God.  But it gets better.

ME:  Better than 'Kanye'?  I sincerely doubt that.

JESS:  Ah, but you have not yet heard his sister's name.

ME:  Oh, no. . .

JESS:  Oh, yes.

ME:  Please tell me it's not Beyonce.

JESS:  I'm afraid I cannot do that.

ME:  They named their children Kanye and Beyonce?  You have got to be shitting me.

JESS:  Oh, I shit you not.

ME:  Can you imagine what it's like in their house?  "Kanye!  Don't talk back to me!  Remember -- '18 years, 18 years, you're one of my kids, got you for 18 years'!"

JESS:  "Beyonce, Honey, will you bring me that Play-Doh?  Not the one on the right, the one 'to da left, to da left'."

ME:  "Kanye, please turn off the lights in the playroom.  Not just that one, 'all of the lights, all of the lights'. And do it quickly; 'I need you to hurry up now, cuz I can't wait much longer'."

JESS:  "Beyonce, why are you being such a 'naughty girl'.  I swear, you 'got me lookin' so crazy'."

ME:  Are we total assholes for making fun of these kids?

JESS:  This is nothing compared to what the other kids are going to say to them.  Besides, I think little Beyonce and Kanye's parents are the REAL assholes here.  

ME:  Valid point.

JESS:  So, in totally unrelated news, when do you get to move into the new house?

ME:  In a couple of weeks.

JESS:  You must be completely stoked.

ME:  Well. . .yeah.

JESS:  Oh, THAT was heartfelt.

ME:  No.  It's not. . .I mean. . .I'm TOTALLY excited about the new house and I am so over apartment life, but a small part of me is actually starting to feel sentimental about this shithole.

JESS:  Come again?

ME:  This was the first place the shorties and I moved when we left Gil.  This was the place we rebuilt and redefined our concept of "family".  I have a soft spot for that.  I'm going to miss having someone on call to do my repairs, I'm going to miss gabbing with the girls in the office, I'm even going to miss the crazy stoners downstairs and the passive-aggressive shenanigans between me and the Ed Hardy wearing fist-pumpers next door.  Is that crazy?

JESS:  No, Honey. . .that's Stockholm Syndrome.  Eventually even P.O.W.'s start to bond with their captors.  Take a deep breath, and let it all go.

ME:  You're right.  I know you're right.

JESS:  I always am.  Are your parents going to come up and help you move?

ME:  Jess, my dad is 72 years old.  I really don't want to be the one responsible for his hospitalization when he gets bludgeoned by a rogue ottoman careening down the stairs.  And my mom is not one of those heavy-lifting, East German kind of women.  She will go all "Design On a Dime" in your home like Genevieve Gorder on crystal meth, but Allen-wrenching an IKEA table or schlepping boxes?  Not so much.  I'm saving her talents for the "staging" process.

JESS:  So who's helping with the heavy stuff?  Ryan?

ME:  . . .

JESS:  Not Ryan?

ME:  . . .

JESS:  OK, so "not Ryan" because he has to work that day or he has a herniated disc or some chiropractic shit like that, or "not Ryan" because you and Ryan are no mas?

ME:  . . .

JESS:  OK, obviously you don't want to talk about it.  Tell you what, tap the phone once for "Ryan is temporarily incapacitated" and twice for "Ryan OBVIOUSLY couldn't handle my level of magnificence and was therefore unworthy of my affection".

ME:  ((tap-tap))

JESS:  I'm sorry, Sweetie.

ME:  I don't get it.  I try to be a good person.  I don't drink or do drugs.  I support myself and have an amazing life, incredible kids, I'm pretty upbeat and positive 99% of the time, and I have impeccable hygiene.  So, what is it about me that's so horribly wrong that no man wants to be with me?

JESS:  Jen, it's because you're all of those things that men are afraid.  They see you as a strong, confident woman and they probably feel like you don't need them.

ME:  So, basically I have to act all Amanda Seyfried for a guy to be interested?

JESS:  No, if you acted like that then, yeah. . .you'd get tons of guys.  But none of them would be the RIGHT guy.  You need to find someone who respects those aspects of your personality and isn't intimidated by them.  You need someone who will challenge you, give you crap, and call you on your bullshit.

ME:  So, basically, I need to find a male version of me.

JESS:  A frightening concept, but. . .yeah.

ME:  Hmmm.  Not sure the world is prepared for that level of combined awesome. 

JESS:  When the time comes, we'll all be ready.  Just remember: the reason you're still single is because God just isn't done writing your love story yet.

ME:  Wow.  That was beautiful.  Dr. Phil?

JESS:  Pinterest.

ME:  I don't get Pinterest.

JESS:  Not much to get, really. It's like. . .Fantasy Football for women.

ME:  . . .

JESS:  Are you OK?

ME:  Yeah.

JESS:  You know you'll go to hell for lying.

ME:  At least I know you'll be there too.

JESS  ((laughing)):  I'll save you a seat by the firepit.

ME:  I love you, you know.

JESS:  I know, Kid. . .I know.


PS:  If you haven't voted for me in "Oh, Noa"s League of Funny Bitches All-Stars, there's still time.  Just click HERE and tappity-tap on the box next to my name.  It's quick, it's easy, and it will provide me with the external validation I'm obviously  in desperate need of.  Thanks!  

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Love Everyone...Except Jessica Chastain, Apparently.

Walking through downtown Portland the other day with my friend Gina and the world's third cutest baby, my godson, Milo. . .*

*Ain't nothin' cuter than my short people when they were babies.  

. . .I was yet again struck by the beauty and eclectic charm of my fair city. Portland is a metropolis replete with artistry, culture, lush verdant landscapes, and more gastronomically glorious food carts than you can shake a dead hipster at.

"Dude, when I was pregnant I LIVED on pierogies and sour cream".  I told Gina with a solemn nod.  "There was this amazeballs Polish food cart about three blocks from my office and the dude who worked there would hook a PG sistah up, yo."

Gina sighed, a blissful expression crossing her perfect features.  "I haven't had pierogies in a dog's age,"  she moaned.  "Is that cart still around here?"

"No,"  I replied sadly, "unfortunately, there aren't any Polish food carts left on this side of the river."

"Hmm," Gina mused. "I wonder why."

I shrugged noncommittally.  "Dunno.  Maybe they couldn't keep the lights on."  Gina stared at me blankly.  "You know, not enough employees to screw in a light bulb."   Cackling like a couple of coked-up whores, we continued to wend our way down the street in quest of lunch.

"Didn't that kick-ass Thai cart used to be over here?"  I asked, watching in awe as Gina veered Milo's stroller through the foot traffic.*

*Seriously, that girl can maneuver a Peg Perego like Hackman in The French Connection.  It is a thing of beauty.

She squinted at the phalanx of carts before us.  "I think so.  I have no idea where though."

"Well, Mama needs her Pad Se Euw," I scowled with determination  "and I'm fully prepared to go all 'Zero Dark Thirty' to hunt that shit down."

Suddenly, I was met with a furious glare as the girl standing before me whirled around.  "ExCUSE me!"  she hissed angrily, "but for your information, I am one-half Persian and I REALLY don't appreciate your racial bullshit!"

Gina and I gaped in stunned silence.  "Wait. . .what?"  I stammered lamely.  The girl rolled her eyes and tossed her glossy brown hair.

"Zero Dark Thirty?  Osama Bin Laden?  What, so you're going to hunt the food cart down like a terrorist?  Because ALL Iranians are terrorists, right?"  she said with a knowing smirk before rolling her eyes and turning away.

Now, I understand we live in a society with zero tolerance for racism and by God, I embrace that.  But are you freaking kidding me here?  Amber Alert: We're probably ALL part Persian...and part Asian...and part Southwest Uruguayan Jew or some shit like that.  That's what this country was founded on; a bunch of inbred mutts that no one else wanted who decided to give their homelands the middle finger and build their own clubhouse in the U.S. of A.*

*By the way, does anyone else find it ironic that the most famous symbol of American racial and ethnic acceptance, the Statue of Liberty, was given to us by the French who freaking HATE us?  No?  Just me?  Never mind then...

You know, honestly, despite my untethered vitriol for my neighbors, I'm a pretty affable, happy-go-lucky kinda gal.  It takes quite a bit to make me go the full Limbaugh on someone and despite my cathartic rants on my blog, in the "real world" I'm about as confrontational as Deepak Chopra on Thorazine.  But if you REALLY feel the need to see me up in your grill like Joy Behar on Bill Maher, call me a racist. . .please. . .I dare you

In truth, it was only a matter of time before the youth of Portland rose up against me because they've been profiling me for years. I'm no longer bothered when people in the 18-25 year demographic look at me like I'm a soulless heretic.  I expect it from you guys.  I get it, because I was the same way at your age.*

*God, that makes me sound old.  Now let me get my my scooter chair, I need to be at Denny's in time for the Honored Citizen's special, by cracky!

Of course young people are indignant.  Of course they're all angsty and self-righteous and touchier than Mary Kay LaTourneau at a Cub Scout Jamboree.  Young people get offended by 90% of what I say because in their minds I represent the generation that jacked up their tuition rates and treated their planet like the dumpster behind the 7-11.  Their skin is still tender and sensitive as they have not yet acquired that rhino-like hide of apathy and cynicism  that comes from a lifetime of mortgage payments and dysfunctional relationships.  Don't fight it, little ones; eventually you all cross over and it's so much easier if you just stop struggling and let time and tide wash your innocence away like a cheap dye job.*

*We all float down here.

I'm not saying we should declare an open mike night on racial epithets, but for the love of Ban Ki-Moon can we stop being so damned hypersensitive and understand that not every innocuous comment is a hate crime?  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Sigmund.  Lighten the hell up.

As the girl before us retreated, Gina and I continue to stare at one another in confusion.

"Was I just called a racist?"  I asked.

Gina tilted her head in thought.  "Quite possibly."  she concluded.  "However, one could argue that the act of going all 'Zero Dark Thirty' on someone was actually a slur against Jessica Chastain.  You don't have a particular hatred for actresses of Scottish and Northern Irish descent, do you?"

"Not that I'm aware of."  I replied.  "But then again, I was unaware of my obvious latent hatred for Persians, so. . ."

"I love that she didn't have a problem with your 'Polish-screw-in-a-lightbulb' comment but went batshit crazy over an obscure movie reference." Gina chuckled.

I sighed.  "Apparently she is selective in her causes de jour.  I'm just glad I didn't make a joke about hipsters or she might have spit her soy chai latte all over her Urban Outfitters sweater."

Gina laughed.  "Yeah, she seemed so fired up that I didn't have the heart to break it to the poor girl."

"Break what to her?"  I asked.

"Osama Bin Laden wasn't Persian."  Gina said with a grin.  "He was Saudi Arabian."

And this?  Right here?  Is why I love my friends.  


PS:  Speaking of love, would y'all be willing to show me some?  Noa, of Oh Noa is holding her annual elections for the League of Funny Bitches All-Stars.  If you have a moment, your vote HERE would rock my world. You know...if you're comfortable voting for a racist, that is.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meh. . .

I realize I've been a little sporadic in my posting.  Between the new houses and taxes, I'm feeling more distracted than Neil Patrick Harris at a Ricky Martin concert; and that, combined with some pretty brutal roundhouse kicks to the ego this week has my creativity  blocked tighter than Paula Deen's colon.

I've been working on a post about the day I was accused of racially profiling Jessica Chastain which will hopefully be up tomorrow.  I'd hoped to have it up today, but after the events of the last two days everything I write is coming out all angsty and Leonard Cohen-y and to be honest, I think I need a night with the girls to binge eat pita chips and watch shitty Judd Apatow movies to get my mojo back.

Thanks for your patience while I drag my sorry ass out of this funk y'all.  It shouldn't take long.  In the immortal words of the great philosopher Cumbawumba: "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain't never gonna keep me down."


PS:  In the interim, HERE is my favorite version of that song, as performed by my homeboy, Homer Simpson.

Monday, March 18, 2013

SuperCuts Is My Personal Vietnam

Hair is a weird thing.  Basic, protein-based, filamentous biomaterial that regenerates, creates warmth, and for most of the animal kingdom, provides camouflage and allows for greater sensory perception.  But, as human beings are sort of the drunken redneck cousin of the animal kingdom, we have taken hair to a whole new level and allow it to both define us as a person and make us crazier than a shithouse rat when we wake up looking like Don King.

As a kid, I never gave my hair a great deal of thought.  For me, it was more of an annoyance than a status symbol, which may explain why, for the majority of my youth I either sported the short-n-sassy Dorothy Hamill bob, or a rather unfortunate Toni home perm that made me look like the bastard love-child of Gilda Radner and Bob Ross.*

*R.I.P., guys.  I hope wherever you are, you're surrounded by laughter, joy, and happy little trees.

Even my dolls weren't spared my aversion to flowing locks as I tended to rip off their arms and go all G.I. Jane on them with the scissors until eventually my toybox looked like a diorama of Amputee Day at Lillith Fair. Of course, my sister Holly was the exact opposite of me and from a very early age showed her acumen as both a fashionista and style maven.  Holly was blessed with a torrent of gorgeous sun-streaked ringlets that over the years she has tortured like a Gitmo detainee in an effort to make it straight.  For years I watched as she stretched, ironed, chemically irradiated, and hot oiled her Nicole Kidman locks, desperately attempting to create the sleek mane she so desired but could never seem to attain.  It was like watching Michael J. Fox try to solve a Rubik's Cube; you knew he was never going to do it, but God bless that Brave Little Toaster for  trying.

I didn't really pay my hair any great concern until long after high school.  As it was the 80's, I rocked the requisite Tawny Kitaen spiral perm and Aqua Net bangs, and two weeks before graduation hacked it all off to the horror and dismay of my sister and my friends.  In the following years I wore my hair short, long, shoulder-length, and dyed it every color from jet black to 'I Love Lucy' red.*  

*When it comes to my hair, I have the attention span of a toddler on NyQuil.  

But while I am pretty fearless when it comes to cutting and coloring my own hair, the thought of going to an actual salon makes me about as comfortable as a 'Nam P.O.W. with a yeast infection.  Fortunately, I kinda won the genetic lotto with hair.  It's thick, and shiny, has just enough wave that it can be worn curly or straight, despite the myriad acts of chicanery I have forced upon it, my hair has rallied like a boss.  Like.  A.  Boss.  I don't know how both my sister and I ended up with "good hair". . .who knows what convoluted crimp in the DNA chain determines why some of us roll out of bed looking like a Breck Girl and some of us look like Dora the Explorer after a donkey show?*

*And if you just asked "What's a Breck Girl?" then you need to go Google that little piece of Americana, STAT.  Also,  now I know that you're way younger than I am. . .and I kind of hate you a little.

But, despite the fact that paying someone to cut my hair has me running faster than Charlie Sheen when he hears the words "open bar", there comes a time when even I know it's time to suck it up, lean into the strike zone, and take one for the team.  Generally, that time arrives when I find myself  fashioning hair accessories out of household objects in a desperate attempt to tame the wild beast

Yes, that is a Sharpie. . .and a small screwdriver.  But that's nothing; you should see my wicked rad binder clip barrettes.  'Yeah, boooooooooooy!"

So, eventually I cowboyed up, grew a (small) pair, and hauled my cheap ass over to the local salon.  I sat in the waiting area, leafing absently through a magazine with a clenched jaw, and posture stiffer than Perez Hilton interviewing the cast of "Magic Mike".  I sat in stony silence as women filed out of the salon, each one with a cut and color "edgier" than the last and gaped in abject horror as I watched them pay with checks that had more zeroes than a Star Trek convention.  For someone with my tight-fisted and penurious little Republican heart it was horrifying to watch all of that money pop its clogs like that. It was like. . .like watching a snuff film narrated by Bernie Madoff and Michael Milken.  So, ultimately, I stammered some ham-handed excuse about leaving the iron on or some fallacious shit like that and bolted out the door faster than Winona Ryder at a Nordstrom half-yearly sale.

Flash forward two weeks later where at this point my hair was pretty much being beaten in submission with duct tape and welding rebar when I ran into my friend, Naomi, at church.  Naomi is also a fellow denizen of my apartment complex of inequity and as she rushed over to hug me I stared in awe at her glossy raven hair, now cut and styled with thick bangs and loose waves like a pin-up girl.  I was mesmerized.

"Holy, crap, Girl; who did your hair!?!?"  I cried.*

*Because, apparently, in my mind 'Holy crap' is a perfectly acceptable way to greet someone.  Loudly.  In a church.  ((shame spiral))

Naomi laughed and flicked her perfect bangs to the side.  "Thanks!  I did it myself.  You really like it?"

I nodded reverently.  "Like it!?!?  Damn, Naomi, you're just a martini and a sexually euphemistic moniker away from being a bond Girl."

Naomi shrugged, grinning shyly.  "Thanks, Jen.  I used to cut hair all the time. . .you know. . .before."*

*By 'before', Naomi means before she got married and had four boys within five and a half years.  Whenever I complain about being in a two bedroom apartment with two children, I remember that she's in a two bedroom apartment with four children, a husband, and two dogs, and suddenly I feel like a complete asshole.  It's oddly comforting.

"You know," Naomi began, eyeing my hair scrupulously, "you could totally pull off bangs.  I can cut them for you, if you want me to."

Now, finding a situation where someone is willing to cater to my petty insecurities and perform a much-needed service in my own damned home is rarer than finding an NRA sticker on a Prius.  So I said yes. . .*

*Actually, I said "Hell, yes!". . .OK, I might have screamed it. . .Again, in church. . .I'm a terrible person.

So, two nights later, over the sounds of six screaming short people, a lot of laughter, and a steaming platter of nachos, Naomi clipped, thinned, and glossed my hair over the kitchen sink.

I let her curl it under threat of death if she made me look like Zooey freaking Deschanel.

When people ask why someone with my heretic soul and rather. . ."colorful" vocabulary can possibly be a church-goer, I point to the people like Naomi, or the woman who spent hours helping my son with autism learn his Bible verses, or the woman who hugged me when I sobbed with fear over a health scare, or the men who anonymous paid the money for my children to attend camp when money was tight.  Christians come in many shapes and forms, y'all. . .they aren't all gay-bashing, abortion clinic bombimg, Westborough Baptist jagoffs; most of them are funny, and accepting, and generous, and irreverent as hell. . .and oddly enough, most of them have FABULOUS hair.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Day My Neighbor Kidnapped Harry Styles

You know that feeling you get when it's a month before you graduate from college or you've just given two-weeks notice at a job?  That "short timers syndrome" where absolutely everything about your current situation drives you batshit crazyand you find yourself trapped under an ungodly amount of "meh"?  Well, now that I'm in the process of closing on my new house, that is how I feel about my apartment.  Suddenly, the things that I used to find only mildly annoying have become like being seated between Fran Drescher and Carrot Top on a trans-Atlantic flight.  That is to say: unbearable.

Shows like "Friends" and "Sex And The City" paint such a glorious picture of apartment life.  But in reality, a part-time barista and a sous chef would be living in a one-room walkup on the lower East side, and Carrie Bradshaw would be giving handjobs behind the Payless Shoe Source to pay the rent between freelance jobs; not out tossing back $20 cosmos with her whore friends.  And before you even think about harboring any "Melrose Place" fantasies, let me assure you that the majority of the denizens sunning themselves by the pool look a lot less like Courtney Thorne-Smith and a lot more like Courtney Love.*

*Oh, Alison.  How I miss your lively banter and unresolved sexual tension with Billy.  What the hell ever happened to Andrew Shue anyway?    Oops, sorry.  Focus, Jen...

At present, the most pungent ingredients in my bouillabaisse of intolerance (outside of living in an apartment the size of a KIA glove box) are the mail system, and my downstairs neighbors.  Many is the time that I have ordered something online, or was told that a friend had sent me a card or a gift, only to be greeted by a mailbox stuff solely with Carl's Jr. coupons and credit card applications addressed to people who haven't lived her since the Bush Administration.*

*Senior, not Junior.

Generally, I'm unfazed by the fact that our mail system is more erratic than Gary Busey on Red Bull, but recently my friend Misty informed me that she'd sent me a Valentine's Day gift of such majesty that I raced to my mailbox each day, my fecund heart pounding with glee.  Well, slash forward to March...I dunno...whatever day it is today...I need to get a calendar...anyhoo, a month later and still no card or gift.  I was saddened, but as the Portland postal service hasn't progressed much since the heady days of the Oregon Trail, I just assumed that our mail carrier had died of dysentery and chalked it up to a loss.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday the shit got REAL.

I was walking out to the trash cans to dispose of my cleaned and separated items in their respective recycling bins. . .*

*Nah, I'm just messing with you.   Umm, hello?  Have you forgotten that I'm a soulless Republican.  My idea of recycling is picking my sweatshirt up off of the bedroom floor, sniffing it, and figuring 'Meh, it's good for one more day'.

. . .when I came face to withered Death mask with one of my downstairs neighbors.  Now, for those of you who have been following my shenanigans relationship with my elderly sisters from the south, you know that there's so much tension and paranoia between us it makes the Obama/Romney debate look like an episode of the Newlywed Game.  But, in the interest of peace, and being all grown-up and shit, I have gone out of my way to avoid them, and keep our brief interactions as civil as possible. So, I began making polite conversation, noting with no small amount of glee that despite the early hour she was already higher than a 747.* 

*Those crazy bitches might be flakier than a day old croissant but thank the Baby Jeebus they spend most of their days down here smoking stinkweed out of a hollowed out Precious Moments figurine they scored on QVC.

As we chatted, my neighbor began fumbling for her house keys, explaining that she was waiting for her ride to pick her up and take her to her morning A.A. meeting.*

*Yes, she goes to A.A. stoned.  No, the irony is not lost on me either.

I glanced down at the kyring in her hand and did a double-take.  Wait. . .is that. . .wait, wha-WHAT!?!?

"That's an. . .interesting keychain you have there."  I said casually, gesturing toward the plastic doll loosely clutched in her desiccated claw.

"Oh!"  she laughed, holding up the small figure"It showed up in our mailbox by mistake.  It's silly, and I don't even know who it is, but it makes me laugh!"

Yeah, well, I know who it is, goddamnit.  It's Harry Styles.  As in the lead singer of One Direction.  As in the last Brit to go spelunking in Taylor Swift man cave.  As in THE FREAKING KEYCHAIN THAT MISTY TOLD ME SHE SENT ME A MONTH AGO!!!

Swallowing the bile slowly rising in my throat, I sweetly. . .*

*Bite me, I can be sweet.

. . .asked her if there was, perchance, a card accompanying said mystery gift.  At this point she got twitchier than a 82nd Avenue hooker and started flip-flopping faster than Mary Lou Retton on crystal meth.

"Oh, well, ahhh. . ." she stammered lamely.  "I think there may have been; I don't really know."

"I see,"  I replied, locking her with my best 'Law & Order: SVU' interrogation face.*

*I "heart" you, Eliot Stabler.

"At any point in time did you attempt to ascertain if the addressee in question might be someone you. . .know?"  She attempted to look away, but I locked eyes with her in a gaze so replete with horror that it would make Quentin Tarentino flinch.

"We. . .I. . .you. . ."  she stammered lamely.  "I can't remember."

I smiled coldly.  "Well, perhaps this will refresh your memory,"  I whispered.  "my friend told me she sent me that EXACT keychain for Valentine's Day.  That.  Exact.  One."

Sensing that I was about to bust open a can of chili con carnage on her saggy ass, my neighbor grasped the keychain tighter and slowly began to sidle toward her door.  Not to be outrun by a half-baked octogenarian, I spun around and blocked her escape like Michael Oher.

"IT PUTS THE KEYCHAIN IN THE CRAZY NEIGHBOR'S HAND OR IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN!"  I cried.  Horrified, she tore the doll from her keychain, thrust it mutely into my outstretched hand and darted around me to her door.

So, epilogue to this random tale of Jen going all Fifty Shades of Cray on Betty White?  I got my damned keychain.*

*Thanks, Misty.  It's rad as shit.

And, while my relations with my neighbors are still more strained than the fabric in Oprah's yoga pants, we have come to an odd level of mutual respect. . .a connection not unlike Stockholm Syndrome.  It takes a low-swinging pair of brass balls to commit a federal offense and jack someone's mail, but it takes an even weightier pair to threaten an 83 year old woman with waterboarding.

Check and mate, bitches.


PS:  My hoopty home computer won't let me download images onto my blogsite.  My computer's a douche.  If you want to see Harry in all of his miniature majesty, he'll be appearing on my Facebook page.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Our House, In The Middle of Our Street

Many of you have been privy to the Heironymous Bosch-like odyssey that is my attempt to find a home.  You've watched with detached bemusement as my realtor Joel showed me more properties than a Monopoly marathon and listened as I whined like a little bitch about my neighbors, who look they just staggered in from a casting call for "The Hills Have Eyes III".  For those of you who have stuck around in spite of (or because of) my puerile theatrics, I thank you.  I understand that listening to my housing trials and tribulations has been more depressing than listening to Morrisey read "The Bell Jar", but I promise that the end is nigh.  For you see, on Sunday, I bought a house.

Buying a house in this bipolar market is a little like betting on a back-alley cockfight.*  

*Except. . .you know. . .with fewer Mexican prostitutes and more chance you'll get your ass pounded like a prisonyard narc.

And sadly, while I am a single working woman of the new millennium; bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the. . .well, I don't actually cook, but you get the general idea.  Anyhoo, while I seem to have very little difficulty navigating the stage-4 rapids of adulthood, when it comes to buying a home I am more out of my element than Alicia Silverstone on all-you-can-eat night at Sizzler.  But, thank the Baby Jeebus that I have a realtor who's known me for the better part of thirty years and is therefore smart enough to not let me eat alone at the grown up table quite yet.*

*Joel was actually my sister's senior prom date in high school and my Lambda Chi  neighbor in college. We love you long time, J.

After months of pounding the proverbial pavement, Joel and I were gradually becoming discouraged.  But as I am of the firm belief that if you put enough good energy out there it eventually comes back to you like some karmic Goodwill, we soldiered on, undaunted.  And then. . .one day. . .there it was.  Tucked away against a greenspace, surrounded by glorious pine trees and a mere half mile from both my children's school and the drive-thru Starbucks.  Three bedrooms, two and a half baths of spacious 2200 square feet beauty.*

*I understand that 2200 square feet might not sound huge to many of you but when you've been living in a apartment so small it makes Saddam's spider hole look like the Kennedy Center, your perspective alters just a scootch.

Of course, as many of you know, pulling the trigger on a new house is the fun part.  The myriad bureaucratic shenanigans that ensue?  Not so much.  You would think that with the massive amount of crazy I've encountered in my life I'd be less shockable than a discount joy buzzer, but you would be so very, very wrong.  I was ill-prepared for the lengthy paper trail that was to follow, and many's the time over the last 48 hours where I've been compelled to hide under my desk and rock back and forth in the fetal position until the bad voices in my head go away.  

First, there's the loan approval.  I was pretty lucky here because, (a) my homeboy Joel hooked me up with mortgage brokers extraordinaire, Tammy and Lisa. . .*

*These girls are rad as shit, yo.  Seriously, if anyone's buying a house in P-Town, let me know.  I can hook a bruthah up..

And (b), my credit rating is higher than Tommy Chong at 4:20 so the mortgage peeps were all over me like Warren Jeffs on a Girl Scout.  Unfortunately, even if you're approved, there is a requisite amount of dickery that ensues that can make you stabbier than a Manson youth at a Beatles concert.  I don't understand why mortgage companies make it so difficult.  I'm basically willing to risk being homeless in order to give them all of my money and be their bitch for the next 30-40 years of my life and they aren't sure if they can "approve" that?  What Paul Allen School of Business are these people operating from?  Just leave the door open a crack and I'll slip the money onto the nightstand; let's not make this any dirtier than it needs to be.*

*Again, this is not the fault of my mortgage chicas who made the experience as painless and streamlined as possible.  Have I mentioned how rad they are?  Because I love them mad hard and I kinda want to have a slumber party with them and braid their hair and prank call Joel.  I'm just sayin'.

Once we got the mortgage loan rate locked and loaded, then began the paper trail.  Bank statements, investment portfolios, divorce decree, child support payments, tax returns. . .You know, it's a disturbing thought that all it took was three signatures and a drunken poker game for the U.S. to acquire Louisiana and Alaska, and it's taken me enough paperwork to bury a Chilean miner just to acquire a 2200 square foot home.  But as I am nothing if not dedicated, I amassed the requisite forms and am tucking them securely in their UPS return envelope even as we speak.

Now we are embarking on the inspection phase, which makes me edgier than a TSA agent at the Tehran Airport.  I know the house is solid, the windows are double-plated, the roof is brand new and I haven't seen Craig T. Nelson running around outside screaming "You moved the headstones but you left the bodies!!!"  But there's still that panicky feeling that one whiff of radon or a wily sewer gator will send the whole deal south.*

*Personally, I'm less worried about carbon monoxide and asbestos and more worried about any bodily fluids the current residents may leave behind.  I'm just enough of a germophobe that I'm apt to go tearing through there with a blacklight like Gil Grissom on crystal meth, hunting out DNA samples like it's an episode of CSI: HGTV.

And have I mentioned how expensive it is to close on a house.  Ho.  Ly.  Crap.  First of all, as many of you know, I ama Republican which means that I love money.  L-o-v-e it.  And as such, I'm a cheap bastard.  Trust me, I start screaming like Christina Aguilera passing a gallstone if I have to pay an extra 35 cents on Kotex so the thought of shelling out $200 for someone to walk through my house, nod, and say "Well that'll cost you another five grand" makes me lose my shit faster than a toddler with a rotavirus.  So these days I'm putting in as many hours as possible at work and taking on some additional writing projects on the side; working my ass off like some female remake of Glengarry Glen Ross.*

*Ooh!  They could call it "Glengarry Glenn Close".  No?  Just me?  OK, never mind then As you were...

It is my fervent hope that once closing costs are paid my children won't be huddled in a furniture-less home gnawing on a wedge of gub'ment cheese, but hey!  We've been through tougher times together, so this shouldn't be a huge bump in the financial road.  And the less furniture we have, the less to move, right?*

*Although, when the time comes, I doubt that the actual move will take long as, if my random acts of inanity are any indication, I have very little upstairs.

For the last three nights I've been waking up with an overwhelming sense of "HOLY SHIT!!!"  Not because I don't feel I made the right decision, not because I don't think I can handle the responsibility, but because it all seems so. . .grown up.  I feel a little humbled and bewildered by the process but am blessed to have people around me who have been down that road and are ready with a warm hug, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and a good sewer inspector.  And, of course, every time I start bemoaning my first world problems, I have that one friend who invariably reminds me that in most parts of the world women aren't even ALLOWED to own property and then I feel like an even bigger asshole.  Thanks for that, Kelly.

This weekend is the final inspection.  The last chance to duck and run.  But while my inner child is cowering in my chest whispering "Dude, you are SO not ready for this", my inner adult is telling me "It's time".  When I got divorced five years ago I never dreamed that I would go back to school and complete a graduate degree, I never dreamed that my children would blossom and thrive as they have, and I certainly never fathomed that I would one day be able to stand in a home and say "I did it.  It's MINE".

I love the smell of escrow in the morning.  It smells like. . .victory.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Week In Texts

PS: A few of you have asked how I download screenshots of my texts.  First of all, I have no freaking clue, and second of all, God bless you for thinking I have the requisite skill set to figure that shit out.  No, I simply transcribe the texts from my phone to a site called "iFakeText" and can then recreate images of my phone screen that can be saved and downloaded.  Bam!  You're welcome.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Goodbye"

My dear neighbors,

Well, perhaps you may have heard that I made an offer on a house the other day.  I don't want to jinx it (or run the risk of you leaving a flaming bag of human excrement on my doorstep) by disclosing the location so let me simply say it is a fair distance upwind of you malodorous cretins.  Don't get me wrong, our time together has been magical. . .if by "magical" you mean "a steaming cafeteria tray full o' crazy". . .but it is time to bid you all adieu:


Oh how I will miss seeing you and your veritable wealth of Ed Hardy swag crossing the parking lot on your way to your part-time gigs at Abercrombie and 24 Hour Fitness.  Remember the fun nights we've had together?  Me banging on the wall like Gladys Kravitz with a hard-on while you and your merry band of brothers loudly debated which was the hottest 'Teen Mom' and performed what I can only presume was some Theta Eta Beta golden shower initiation rite off of your balcony at midnight as the six foot walk from your deck to the bathroom was obviously more than your cirrhotic livers could bear.*

*By the way, the liquor bottles I periodically find thrown on the grass below our balconies are a lovely touch.  Our landscaping had been in desperate need of your personal brand of ghetto feng shui.

I will recall with great affection the sound of you clicking your cars auto locks so that they screech "Beep...BEEP, beep!"  seven times in succession, thus ensuring the safety of your Brandon Roy bobblehead doll and vast collection of underage porn stashed in your ride.  I know that I threatened to go all Carrie Underwood on your car with a golf club and kick you in the sack so hard that your kids would be born cross-eyed but you know I secretly loved how you took such pride in your KIA Spectra with it's " 'Sup Cop" vanity plates.  Most of all, I will miss the sound of your shitty house music pounding through my bedroom wall at 3:00 am.  Remember last month?  You and your homies were playing Ministy from 10:00pm to 2:30am; enjoying a merry lark and secure in the knowledge that all were enjoying your private concert every bit as much as you.  And do you also remember the following morning?  When I left for work at 7:30am, after leaving a Taylor Swift CD playing at full volume, on constant repeat, with the speakers pressed against our common wall?  I'm relatively certain that after listening to about eight hours of that squinty-eyed freak you will never, ever, ever be pulling that shit again.  Like. . .ever.


You may be rude, and intolerant, and quite possibly suffering from a mild form of dementia, but by God, your mystical 'Grey Gardens'-like existence fills my blackened heart with so much joy.  Many is the time I have chuckled while reading one of the myriad notes you've left on my door commanding me (not asking or requesting, mind you, but commanding me)  to cease and desist all wearing of shoes in my apartment and only run my washer and dryer and flush my toilets between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm.  I am, of course at work during those hours but beating my laundry against a rock on the banks of the Willamette River and catheterizing my children is a small price to pay for your comfort.  Sadly, I can no longer reference the note where you insisted that my children "remain confined to their beds until 8:00am" as I summarily returned it to your door, along with several pamphlets for 55-and-Over communities in the surrounding area.  One would think that the amount of "medicinal" marajuana you are smoking would make you a scootch more  tolerant, but alas. . .no.  While I can't say I will miss how your midmorning 420 sesh makes my living room smell like the Port-a-Pottys at Burning Man, I can say that the hours I've spent laughing at the thought of you two passing the dutchie on the left hand side over an episode of 'Matlock' like the bastard love children of Betty White and Jeff Spiccoli have been well worth the aggravation.  Stay Golden, Girls.


For the last year I have been privy to your daily activities, due in part to your proclivity to perform said activities in front of your sliding glass doors and in part due to your obvious aversion to any form of window covering.  I have watched in bewildered awe as you performed some sort of interpretive dance wearing nothing but a Speedo and pondered how a man with seemingly endless pairs of banana hammocks could own only one shaggy mohair sweater.  It was not until I saw you briefly by the pool this summer that I realized the sweater in question was in fact a layer of body hair so thick it had Jane Goodall following you with a video camera.  I hear that you have a girlfriend now.  In fact we ALL hear that you have a girlfriend now.  We hear it every night. . .we hear it all weekend. . .and, on a particularly impressive occasion, we heard it for about four hours.  I get it.  You found yourself a woman who is hot for your kind of monkey-lovin.  Congratulations.  It's rare to find a woman who is not only sexually voracious but who obviously doesn't have an issue with bestiality.  Thank you for the nights I lay awake wondering when exactly you were going to "do it right there" or "make it hurt".   Thank you for the nights I had to assure my short people that the screaming woman who woke them up at 2:00am was more in need of a 976 call than a 911.  And thank you for reminding me that there is in fact, someone for everyone.  God bless.


*Thank you for coming to my apartment at 11:00pm when my oven wouldn't shut off and I envisioned some horrific Farrah Fawcett "Burning Bed" scenario.

*Thank you for responding to my repeated complaints about my neighbors without openly admitting that you thought I was crazier than ashithouse rat.

*Thank you for always keeping the grounds, the fitness center, and the common areas spotless and secure.

*Thank you for the massage gift certificate you "anonymously" left in my mailbox after I told you it was finals week and I was running around like a ferret on crystal meth.  I totally recognized your handwriting, Stephanie.

*Thank you, Jorge, for noticing the scratch on my car and showing up unannounced to help me buff it out.

*Thank you Dustin and Mike for helping me move when I showed up three years ago with a loaded U-Haul, $17 in my pocket, and two crying children.  I'll never forget it.

*Thank you for always making my short people feel like valued members of the community, and not something you merely tolerated in exchange for rent.

*Thank you for the Pokemon cards you gave my son.

*Thank you for the time we had a power outage and you threw an impromptu midnight candlelight pizza party in  the clubhouse.  My kiddos STILL talk about it.

*Most of all, thank you for those months when I struggled to make rent and you supported me with a hug and a whisper of "Pay what you can, when you can.  We know you'll pay us back eventually."  And I did.  At least monetarily.  But I can never pay you back for your faith and trust in me.  That was priceless.

Although my neighbors suck harder than an airline toilet, you guys on the front lines have been amazing.  I truly WILL miss you.  But I know I'll continue to run into you at the store from time to time.*

*You aren't fooling anyone, Darby.  I know you're totally hot for the deli guy.     Oh, and Amber Alert? He likes you too.  :)

Best of luck and love to you all.  Thanks for the memories.


PS:  OK, this may be a tad premature since I don't actually, you know, HAVE the house yet, but I believe in being proactive, y'all.  But, in case I don't actually get it and wind up living among these troglodytes for another year. . .destroy this.