Tag Archives: family

A tragic tale of self-employment

I started working for myself this past March. Despite the abysmal pay and lack of traditional employer benefits, it’s the flyest gig ever. I may not get health insurance or paid vacation days, but my boss sure is understanding. She’s like Ja Rule’s dream girl, a certified down ass bitch. Because she’s myself, and I treat me like my number one.

I am at once the best employer and best employee that ever existed. The synergy between me and myself is outrageous. We are so, so synergetic. That means we’ve synchronized our energies. (We’ve also synchronized our cycles—a convenient side effect of being the same lady.)

For instance, let’s say I want to take a long lunch break. Maybe I want to go on a half-hour bike ride to the rock gym, climb a while, go to Wendy’s for a baked potato and a frosty, and bike the half hour back to the office. My boss is 100% cool with it, because she also wants me to spend the majority of the workday playing and eating.

Or perhaps I want to take a little rest on the office couch and cruise Craigslist for kayaks and kittens—two things I have no intention of actually buying.* My boss encourages it! She too enjoys perusing the catalog of kayaks and kittens available along the Eastern seaboard.

Our company is the best employer in the country. Dogs are allowed, pajama casual dress is worn, and snack breaks are mandated every seven minutes.

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All right, that’s enough. You get it. I LIKE WORKING FOR MESELF.

I gots a little office in the downstairs of the Weight Watchers center where my mom works. It’s huge and cement and empty, but my space is cordoned off with a bunch of hanged-up sheer curtains. It’s kind of like being inside of a shower all the time. I have a couch and a mini-fridge and a desk Curtis bought me for Christmas where I do freelance work.

I don’t have any coworkers—a sad reality of working for yourself, since coworkers are good—but I at least have my mom upstairs. She’s even better than a coworker because she grew me and gave birth to me and is thus required to love me unconditionally and sometimes buy me lunch and drive me to work.

If I walk outside through my downstairs exit, my mom’s office windows are right above mine. Now that the weather’s nice, I’ll sometimes go outside to peel oranges. If I feel like having a chat, all I have to do is chuck a couple of orange peels at my mom’s window and wait for her to open up. She gets pissed but only because she thinks it’s a bird flying into the glass. And boy, nothing gets my mom madder than a bird’s death. That’s one of my most vivid memories as a child—my mom losing it whenever a bird flew into her car’s windshield.

“GODDAMMIT BIRD SHIT I KILLED YOU GODDAMMIT MOTHERFUCKER I DIDN’T MEAN TO BASTARD ASS UNLCEFUCKER GODDAMMIT TO HELL.”

She likes birds.

Anyway, two weeks ago I went outside and felt like having a chat. I didn’t have any orange peels but I needed something to throw at my mom’s window. They always use pebbles in the movies but that seems dangerous. The only thing my mom hates worse than an innocent bird’s death is the prospect of getting showered with shards of broken glass because a rock smashed through her office window. So in lieu of rocks, I decided to throw pieces of mulch.

This may be news to you, as it was to me, but individual pieces of mulch are hella hard to throw. It’s almost impossible. They’re not at all aerodynamic and they don’t have enough heft for heaving purposes. They suck. It’s like trying to throw, I don’t know, a single corn husk. A wadded piece of dry toilet paper. The top to a tube of chapstick. Anything light and stupid, you name it.

So I threw pieces of mulch at her window and none of them would reach. They’d get really close but they’d never quite make it. I could have given up—could have walked 100 feet and just gone to her office, or I could have called or texted or emailed her—but I didn’t want to. I wanted to throw a piece of goddamn mulch at her window and have a chat.

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I tried a million different ways. Overhand, underhand, super forceful, less forceful (in case the force was too much and was actually slowing down the mulch’s velocity—logic that makes no sense to anyone except me). I tried curving it left, curving it right. It’d come within inches of her window but would never reach. (Know that this was all done in sight of many, many motorists—the Weight Watchers building is on the corner of a busy intersection.)

After four minutes of trying every mulch-throwing technique I could think of, I still wasn’t ready to give up. I picked up a new piece of mulch and gave it my most powerful hurl yet. So powerful I probably would have thrown out my shoulder had I not instead violently twisted my ankle and crashed to the ground in a cloud of dirt and mulch.

I sprained my ankle and, worst of all, the mulch didn’t even make it to the window.

There are two lessons to be learned from this:

  1. If you want to get a person’s attention by throwing something at their window, DO NOT USE MULCH. It simply don’t work. Go for orange peels or, if you’re brave, a pebble. An apple core or banana would likely work too.
  2. If I ever offer you a job, do not take it. I am a stupid boss.

P.S. My mom did hear pieces of mulch hitting below the window, I’ve just desensitized her to it. I consider this my most shameful accomplishment.

P.P.S. I went outside to get a picture of the mulch for this post and couldn’t resist throwing a piece at the window again. I got it on the first try.

*I did buy a kayak. I couldn’t help myself, and I don’t even like kayaking that much.

 

 

Support the Rabid

Once, my sister Chris and her husband, Matt, woke me up in the middle of the night by pretending to be chainsaw-wielding murderers. Another time, they got an elderly Austrian woman (likely some sort of witch) and her cat to scare the crap out of me on a mountain. And yet another time, they terrorized me in my sleep with the tiniest and most bourgeois of weapons: a milk frother.

You can read about some of those experiences here, if you wish.

Recently, they gave me another scare, and it’s maybe the worst yet. ‘Twas a rabies scare.

Around Christmastime, I go to Chris and Matt’s house in Pennsylvania. I’ve gone there for the last three years and it’s a tradition that, until now, I’d planned to continue. I like Pennsylvania, and I like Chris’s cooking, and—mostly—I like their children. Love ‘em a lot, actually. Look at how lovable they are, even when you can’t see their faces!

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I didn’t want to show their faces. Too many weird peeps on these interwebs.

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This year, I went to their house the Monday before Christmas. As always, my dog Dizzy came with me. Over the past few years, Dizzy and I have established quite a nice Pennsylvania routine. We play with children, beg for meals, poop with the door open, and sleep in the third floor bedroom.

Up until the early hours of Wednesday morning, that routine ran very well for us. But it was in those early Wednesday hours that something changed. I woke up to the sound of flapping wings.

First, a brief aside: Except for college, I’ve lived in the same old house in rural Maine my entire life. The house is real old—maybe over 200 years old—and has a barn attached. I’ve seen plenty of mice and snakes and squirrels running round indoors in my day. But what I’ve never seen is no flappin ass bats flappin round indoors.

Back to last Wednesday. I was sleeping in the third floor bedroom, with Dizzy at my side, when the sound of flapping ass wings woke me up.

“Huh,” I thought. “Sounds like a winged creature.”

I opened my eyes, and not at all to my surprise, there was a winged creature ping ponging between the walls, flapping around like a fool.

Things moved real fast after I confirmed the winged creature’s existence. I shouted “WHAT DA FUCK,” grabbed the covers, and threw them over my head. My phone was on the bedside table. I snuck my hand out and snatched it real quick to dial Chris. It was 2:47 a.m., but by the miracle of crying babies, she was awake.

Chris: Hello?
Allie: I got the blankets over my head, there’s a bird or a bat or something in here. Save me.
Chris: What? You’re stuck in the blankets?
Allie: NAY, I SAY THERE’S A BIRD OR A BAT OR SOMETHING.
Chris: Oh. We’ll be right up.

Chris seemed very calm, and I suppose she should have been. Since moving into their house, Chris and Matt have seen a couple of bats, including one in their bed. Knowing that, I guessed the winged creature was almost certainly a bat rather than a bird.

Knowing also that bats sometimes carry rabies, I thought I should try to get Dizzy under the covers too. The dude wouldn’t move. When he’s asleep, he could not care less about what’s going on in the waking world. A squirrel could scamper up our bed and use Dizzy’s teeth to crack open an acorn and homie still wouldn’t rustle.

“Suit yourself,” I told him. “Shit you vaccinated anyway, li’l puppy dog.”

After a minute, Chris and Matt arrived outside my bedroom door. It had been shut the whole time, which is why I went under the covers in the first place—I didn’t want to open the door to run out and have it flapping around loose in the house.

Matt came in and turned on the light while I stayed securely under the covers.

“It is a bat,” said Matt. “I’ll catch it in my hat. Maybe I’ll give it to the cat.”

Nah just playing, he didn’t say all that. He did truly say it was a bat, though. Then he caught it with a butterfly net, which they keep in the crib for situations bazackly like the one we were in.

Once I knew it was caught, I took the covers off my head.

“Good job. That was hella spooky.”

Matt suggested I leave the bedroom while he got the bat out of there. I didn’t have any pants on and told Matt as much (what kind of sicko sleeps in pants?). He didn’t mind, so I scooted out.

He put the bat in a box and taped it up. Apparently if a bat’s in a room with a sleeping person, you got to get it tested for rabies. I was fairly certain I didn’t get bit, pooped upon, or drooled upon, but I guess it’s possible they can bite you without you even knowing. Plus, seeing as I’m a hypochondriac, I would have never slept again if it hadn’t gotten tested.

The results came back negative, which means the bat didn’t have rabies and neither do I, even if the adorable little monster had nibbled on me (which I’m sure it didn’t).

In the end, it was only another scare at the hands of Chris and Matt.

P.S. R.I.P. Sweet Bat. I’m really sorry humans build beautiful, warm houses and then kill lovely creatures like you when you seek shelter within them.

Should I Get a Dog in My 20s?

Are you in your 20s and trying to decide if you’re ready to get a dog? Do you want an adorable creature to take pictures of, but not sure if you’re really up for the responsibility of caring for it? Lemme give you my version of the lowdown on dog parenthood.

What to Expect During Puppyhood
Puppies are cute. They got this stank skunk breath that smells wonderful, despite the stank skunkiness of it. They hip hop around and chase butterflies and are soft and snuggly and floppy. And yet, much like Ben Franklin, puppies are the devil.

They pee and poop on your things—usually your floor, but sometimes other things, too. Like your bed. When my dog, Dizzy, was a puppy, he peed on my brand new mattress in the middle of the night. I took him outside to finish any remaining business, he didn’t do anything except sniff, we came back inside, and then he pooped in the hallway while I was trying to clean my mattress. I texted my mom and said “I WANT TO PUNCH HIM SO BAD RIGHT NOW.” That’s a terrible thing to think and to say, but I did want to punch him. Peeing in my bed I could forgive, but pooping in the hallway! After I’d just taken him out! I didn’t punch him, but if he were a person I maybe would have.

If you don’t want your puppy to pee and poop on your things, you’ll have to take him outside all the time. And you’ll have to follow him around the house to make sure if he does pee or poop, you can catch him in the act and tell him to quit it. Even if you work really hard at that, it still might not make a difference. Dizzy was still pooping inside after eight months. The little bandit pooped TWO TIMES during dog obedience school—in the middle of class, right in front of the dog trainer. Watching puppies all the time is exhausting, and it doesn’t even necessarily make a difference.

Other bad things puppies do: chew your things, chew other people’s things, bite you, bite other people, bark, try to eat stupid things that will kill them, take up all your time, take up some of your money.

Before getting a dog, you only ever have to worry about yourself. After you get a dog, you’ve got a real live creature whose well-being depends almost entirely on you. It’s a big adjustment. Before bringing home a puppy, make sure you got back-up. If it weren’t for my parents, I don’t know if I would have made it through Dizzy’s first couple of months. It was weirdly sad and lonely. Felt like I had postpartum depression or something (I say “or something” because I’ve never had a human baby and I don’t know what postpartum depression actually feels like). Dizzy and I are super tight now, but puppies are dicks. Know that it’s not all snuggles and selfies.

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BUT STILL SOME SELFIES Y’ALL

What to Expect During Doghood
Having a dog definitely gets easier once they get a little bit older. They stop with all the indoor peeing and pooping, mostly. They can be left alone for hours at a time and trusted not to eff up too much of your stuff. Though they’re probably not as cute as they were as puppies, they’re still cute and they suck way less.

They will continue to cost you money. Dog food and dog toys and vet visits aren’t cheap. They will continue to take up your time, because they rely on you for entertainment and exercise and love. Also they get a little bit smellier. Most dogs will seek out rotten things outside just so they can roll in them. Their breath loses its puppy scent and instead smells like old hamburger and salmon. Dogs with long fur get poop stuck in the fur around their b-hole. If they’re like Dizzy and they suck at peeing, they splash pee on their legs and smell bad that way, too. Expect to do gross things, like pull rope out of their butt and cut matted fur off their wieners (if they have wieners).

Besides the gross parts, though, grown dogs are the bomb. They love doing activities and will be down for almost anything, unless it involves vacuum cleaners or fireworks. They’ll probably stare at you a lot and that’s annoying, but they’ll also be stoked when you come home from work and will keep you warm in bed if you let them sleep with you. All good things. Remember though: They are work. They need exercise and love. Be a person that’s cool with exercise and love.

For real: You ready?
In your 20s, most people are used to living young and wild and free. So what you get drunk? So what you smoke weed? You’re just having fun, you don’t care who sees. So what you go out? That’s how it’s supposed to be. But then you get a dog, and all that gets much harder. You want to drink booze and smoke marijuana? Your dog needs a walk, not a rain shower in the studio, Wiz Khalifa.

A few questions to answer before getting a dog:

1. Do I like dogs?
2. Do I like the dog I’m thinking about getting?
3. Do I have enough money to pay for food and vet visits?
4. Am I OK with spending that money or am I too cheap?
5. Am I lazy?
6. Do I mind gross things?
7. Am I all right with the outdoors?
8. Am I cool with exercise and love?

If you answered yes, yes, yes, yes—OK with it (not cheap), no, no, yes, double yes, then you’re probably ready to get a dog. Good luck!

A Christmas Miracle

I have a great and very heartwarming Christmas tale to share.

Several years ago, my Aunt Mariah* came to town for Christmas. She came in a few days before the 25th to help with decorations and gift wrapping, because she is a nice, thoughtful lady. She is so nice and thoughtful, in fact, that she took on the burden of decorating the Christmas tree all by herself.

Aunt Mariah worked hard on that tree, so to keep her energy up she ate an English muffin with peanut butter while decorating. It was chunky peanut butter. Chunky peanut butter is the most delicious kind of peanut butter and, typically, is the kind you should always go for. The sole exception, however, is when you’re a lady named Aunt Mariah and you have gold crowns on your molar teeth. There are chunks in chunky PB and if you bite down on a chunk wrong, you’re going to eff up that molar crown in the baddest way.

And of course that’s what the crazy ho did. She was concentrating so hard on hanging tinsel that she didn’t pay any attention to the peanut butter chunks and next thing you know she bit down wrong and effed up her tooth crown. And then she swallowed it down whole! The nut!

The thing about Aunt Mariah, though, is that she actually wasn’t a nut at all. She was (and still is, bless her shart) an extremely practical person. After she swallowed that gold crown, she did a quick mental calculation and figured out that a new gold tooth could cost well over one thousand dollars! “Heck if I’m going to pay that,” Aunt Mariah thought. Instead, she ran down to the local grocer and picked herself up a metal strainer and a plastic mixing spoon. She was going to go a-gold-digging.

And by that, I mean she decided to do all her pooping in a strainer and sift through it in search of her gold tooth.

Well, that’s just exactly what Aunt Mariah did. Poor woman did all her crapping in a strainer for two days straight and didn’t see a flicker of gold anywhere. She was just about ready to give up when, on Christmas morning, the impoopssible happened.

“THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!” Those are the words that woke me up on Christmas morning 2006 (I think it was 2006, but I can’t remember for sure). My Aunt Mariah ran up and down the hallway, banging on every bedroom door in the house, screaming “THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!! IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! MR. HANKY THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!!! THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!!!!!” (I’m serious. That is what my sisters and I woke up to on Christmas, word for word.)

Despite the failures of the days prior, Aunt Mariah decided to give it one last try on Christmas morning. She took a dump in the strainer, used the spoon to go through it, and found a glint of gold amid her crap. She plucked it out, rinsed it off, threw it in a pot of boiling water, and said a prayer to the Christmas Poo. She took it to the dentist a few days later and came home with her gold poop tooth glued back down in her mouth, looking something like the ice man Paul Wall.

Looking something like a disco ball

Call it a smile on da rocks

Need proof that this really happened? Like all good Christmas tales, there’s a Christmas carol about it!

(Sung to the melody of City High’s “What Would You Do?”)

What would you do if you swallowed your tooth?
Would you sift through the loo digging up your poo
Cause you’re frugal?
And the only way to find it is to
Paw through your crap for something kinda shiny
Cause the gold cap’s gone
Somewhere in your butt now
In and out your gut now
You ain’t got a tooth now
Cause for you this is just Christmas morning
But for my aunt this is what she calls life, mmm

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the tooth swallower.

Dear Mom and Dad (a puppy proposal)

Mom and dad, Jackie and Tim. Seeing as I live in your home, I have a favor to ask of you.

Please let me get a dog.

I know what you’re thinking. “Allie, you are not responsible enough. You don’t cook your own dinner, iron your own shirts, or charge your own electric toothbrush.”

You’re right – I don’t. I’m bad at cooking and cleaning and charging teethbrushes. I don’t do any domestic ish. You know who else doesn’t do domestic ish? A dog.

My future best friend/dog, who I’ve tentatively named Jacktimlyn, will not like cooking or cleaning or brushing teeth, either. Fortunately I do not have to cook dog food (though I do intend to huff it, socially). Dogs don’t wear clothing so I’ll never have to worry about laundry. And I’ll get Jacktimlyn a non-electric toothbrush.

You might say, “Allie, we already have Chico. Isn’t he enough?”

Again, you are right. I love Chico very much – he’s more than enough puppy for one family. But, mom, Chico is yours. He’ll never love me as much as he loves you. You take him to Connecticut with you all the time — I barely see him these days! (And when Chico is at home, he’ll have a buddy to play with!)

You might say, “When Chico isn’t in Connecticut you complain about taking him for walks.”

This time you’re only partially right. I complain about taking Chico for walks at night. I am afraid of the dark. Are You Afraid of the Dark? You should be, because as soon as the sun goes down the men start a-lurking. We live across from a bar! And a tattoo parlor! You know the type of people around our home. And you know how tiny Chico is. He’s smaller than a baby! What would we do if someone tried to abduct the pair of us? We would be defenseless. Jacktimlyn will be a golden retriever. Goldens are a large breed; troublesome men will be sure to leave us alone.

“Your baby daughter will be safe with me.” Via Flickr http://bit.ly/208D283

You might say, “You work and do activities and things. We will be stuck caring for your dog.”

Don’t think of it as being stuck, think of it as an employment opportunity!  Dad, you work at home. If you agree, I will happily pay you to walk Jacktimlyn when I’m at work. We can discuss an hourly rate, and I can pay a full year in advance. Wow! How lucrative this could be for you!

Dolla dolla bills, dad.

If you cannot agree, father, that is okay. You think there are no other working, activity-ing people who own dogs? There are, I assure you! Billions, maybe trillions of them! Jacktimlyn can get a nice long walk before I go to work and then another couple walks when I get home, in addition to fun play sessions. Plus, many of my activities are dog-friendly, especially for a well-behaved dog like Jacktimlyn is sure to be.

Finally, you might say, “Dogs tie you down. Don’t you talk about how you want to travel?”

I talk about wanting to travel, but only to make myself sound cool and important. Traveling makes me nervous and hungry, and I don’t have a desire to do much of it. If I ever decide to move to a different state, I’ll have a lovely companion to come with. And anyway, dad, didn’t you get a dog (a golden, I believe?) when you were 23? Didn’t you move to Hawaii after you bought him? Wasn’t he the best trained dog you ever owned?

Obviously, dog ownership is a big responsibility. Here is a list of things I promise to do, and how I’ll do them. They are open for negotiation.

  • Pay for everything: Jacktimlyn, the vet, food, training, grooming, and toys. I will not buy Jacktimlyn until I have many thousands of doll hairs saved. Pending your approval, I will get Jacktimlyn next spring. This means I can ask for puppy paraphernalia for Christmas and my birthday. How easy gift shopping for me will be!
  • Keep the house clean. I will vacuum and sweep the main living areas twice a week. That means every year, I will vacuum and sweep 104 times. That is approximately 103 more times than I currently vacuum and sweep.
  • Keep Jacktimlyn clean. I will bathe him when he needs it, brush him weekly, and pet the crap out of him daily.
  • Care for him. Cause if you let me, here’s what I’ll do: I’ll take care of you Jacktimlyn.

Mom, if you help me convince dad I’ll give you free reign of my Facebook account for as long as it exists.

Dad, you know what kind of vehicle can’t accommodate a dog? A scooter. Also, I promise I’ll never ask you to cut your hair again.

Pleasey?

P.S. If you don’t let me I’m going to get a sleeve of tattoos.
P.P.S. Just kidding, I’m not that spiteful.
P.P.P.S. But know that I could.
Another P.S. If anyone other than my mom and dad are reading this, please show your support of my dog ownership. For Jacktimlyn’s sake.

How Janet Jackson made me cry

My mom and I look alike. Though I have a moonier face, we’re basically twins born 35 years apart. We have nibbly knobs for chins, flapping lobes for ears, and huge gums for teeth.

Save for a dog-food-induced popped lung or two, we have identical health records, too. We both suffer from cold sores, occasional bouts of granuloma annulare, and an inability to be ashamed of our poop. As a self-diagnosed hypochondriac, it’s helpful to have my mom as a personal blueprint for my own health. Always looking for what disease I’ll inherit next, I have made a practice of surveying my trick mother. In 2009, whilst surveying my trick mother, I found a suspicious red welt on her forehead.

My dad had had a similar growth on his shoulder a few years prior, and it had turned out to be basal cell carcinoma — a benign type of skin cancer. Benign or benot, cancers is scary. As soon as I noticed the welt on my mom, I asked her to go to the skin doctor to get it checked out. After three years of my nagging, she finally did this past May.

It was basal cell carcinoma. Lady had to go and get her head all chopped up.

Battered mother

Battered chicken

As upsetting as it was to learn my mom had skin cancer, it wasn’t the most upset I’ve ever been by her health. When I was 12 and my sister Beanie was 14, my mom’s health upsat us so badly it changed our lives.

Me: Mom, you’re my favorite mommy. Want to do fun mother-daughter bull, like read gossip magazines?

Beanie: Me too! Me too!

Mom: Of course, sweet children. I love reading celebrity tabloids. Pass me one!

Me: Here! I know how much you love the VH1 movie about her family. You even named our cats after her brothers. Take this one!

Mom: Huh? Wha? Hibbidy jibbidy, who dat be?

(My sister and I break out into immediate, violent sobs. Our mom doesn’t recognize Janet Jackson.)

Me: Ooohhhh laaaaaaaaawwwwddd.

Beanie: What… does… this… mean?

Me: QUICK! GRAB THE OTHER MAGAZINE. MOM, WHO IS THIS?

Mom: C’mon! Everyone knows who that is. It’s that… guy. Who’s dating the… umm… the girl. Ya’ll know.

(Beanie and I cry even harder. She doesn’t know who Justin Timberlake is and can’t remember Britney Spears.)

About 30 minutes later, while my sister and I were still mourning the abrupt loss of our mother’s sanity, my mammy got knocked out by a massive migraine. Apparently her vision/mind had been funked up from the impending headache. That’s why, in addition to begging my mom to visit the dermatologist, Beanie and I quiz her on Janet’s face at least once a month.

…The health I have to look forward to!

Name that Jackson

30 second update

The past month or so has been crazy for me.

1. I turned 23.

2. I celebrated turning 23.

The classiest part of this picture is the lemon wedge that I sucked the fruit off and then returned to the glass rim.

3. I rediscovered shrimp.

4. I spent time with the cutest, sweetest, smartest girl and boy in the world.

Do you see the resemblance?

“Gurl please”

4. I befriended a coworker.

5. I learned that all the wood said coworker and I have been collecting and cutting in half with her cordless saw for the raft we’re building in the woods behind our office floated away with the rain and now all that’s left are the spears we sharpened with pocket knives and practice stabbing the water with.

Anyway, I should have more time for blogging this month.