Category Archives: Humor

Ding-Dong, Go Away

I can’t say the grass is getting green just yet, but spring is in the air nonetheless. Instead of leaving work and heading home in darkness, I walk into a few more precious hours of daylight. The light coat I wore to ward off the morning’s chill is slung over my arm, no longer needed in the warmth of afternoon.

Once home, I leave the door open and crack the windows, letting in the gentle breeze and the soothing sounds of birdsong. I wander about barefoot, relishing the thought that pretty soon I won’t have to wonder about the fate of all those socks the dryer eats. There won’t be any socks to dry.

I live for fall and spring. Winter’s bitter cold and summer’s swampy heat both turn me into a bitchbag. July, August, January and February are like loud, overbearing friends who sometimes make you smile but more often zap you of energy with their drama and noise.

But October, November, April and May? Love them. They are those lifelong friends you can hang out with and not talk at all. They are a breath of fresh air.

So as April approaches, I take time to feel gratitude. I walk barefoot in my living room and think of the hikes I’ll take before it gets too hot, the flowers I’ll plant, the leisurely outdoor meals I’ll have, the writing I’ll do while sitting on my deck. I feel energized and inspired.

And then YOU knock on the door.

Like an animal trapped in its lair, I am caught. Because I have the door open, so you know I am here. Your eager eyes are peering through the screen door. You knock lightly and flash a hungry smile, even though you’ve had a glimpse of that deer-in-the-headlights look on my face already.

You come when I am catching up on Walking Dead or Vikings or Shameless. You come when there’s a book in my hand. You come when I am pecking away on my laptop. You make my fingers freeze over the keyboard as I think “well, shitweasels and douchecanoes.

It doesn’t matter which of those things I was doing – any of them are better than talking to you. You see that in my eyes, and plow forward anyway. That’s how you (steam)roll.

“Hi! I wanted to ask you a few questions about your internet provider and tell you how (insert random company here) could give you faster service AND lower your monthly payments!”

Or:

“I’m from (insert random gas and/or electric company) and I’d like to tell you how much better our services are than (insert local huge energy provider that can be a pain in the arse but is ultimately always reliable AND leaves me the heck alone).”

Or:

“Would you like to talk about The Lord today?”

I don’t know what it is about my street that draws door-to-doorsies. It is an uphill, dead end road boasting a relatively small number of homes. We haven’t gotten trick-or-treaters in ten years. Why would they trudge up the hill when there are a buttload of flat streets with more houses so close by?

That always bummed me out. I like trick-or-treaters. I wouldn’t mind some little ghouls and goblins. I DO mind salespeople, but my street seems to inspire rather than deter them. Probably because unlike the kids, they’re driving instead of trudging uphill.

I don’t know anyone who likes door-to-door salespeople. I know they are just trying to pay the rent, mortgage or college tuition and that most of them don’t put on their sales-face thinking “Yee-haw – I get to go bug the shit out of some folks today!”

I try not to hate them. But they just won’t GO AWAY.

You interrupt a critical, hot-main-character-might-get-whacked moment in my TV binge-fest to tell me about your super-fast, top-notch internet services? Go away, because I’m about to use my current internet magic to tweet about what a douche you are. Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones is talking about the God of Tits and Wine and you show up telling me that your version of God will save my soul if I just keep my own tits covered and stop drinking so much wine?  No thank you. Go chase down that internet services provider dude who was just here and save him.

I actually WAS frustrated with my internet provider a few years back and decided to switch. I did some research, chose a company and was nearly fed up enough to make a call. Then a representative from the company I had chosen showed up at my open door on a balmy spring day.

He was polite. He was nice. But I axed my plan to switch providers and am still with the same company. Because screw that. No matter how bad I might want what you’re selling, if you show up at my door trying to get me to buy it, I will either go without or get it somewhere else.

I am an introvert. I extrovert all day at work because I have bills. I go out and socialize with friends and family because I love them too much to let my deprived inner hermit keep me from seeing them. But that’s all I’ve got. My home is my sanctuary. It is where I recharge in peace, quiet and solitude.

If you invade that space and force me to extrovert enough to politely tell you to row your douchecanoe on up the road just because I had the audacity to open the door and let in some fresh air, I will never buy your shit. You and your company now have a Scarlet Letter.

Only the “A” stands for “Asshole.”

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Cryin’ in My Coffee

It was a Monday morning, and I was in tears.

Yes, I am one of those Debbie Downer people who isn’t too fond of Monday. I don’t hate my job. Sometimes I almost like it. But if I’m honest, there’s a list of 100 things I’d rather do than go to it. I read all the “Happy Monday!” positive thinking posts on Facebook and do my best to go down that sunshine road myself. I tell myself to be thankful for having a job that makes Monday, well … Monday. Then I realize that I’m also thankful for my cat. I love him. A lot. That doesn’t mean I bliss out on gratitude every time I scoop his litter box. Why would I? There’s poop in there.

If having a job is the cat I’m thankful for, Monday is the poop in the litter box. Even so, while its arrival makes me utter phrases like “douchecanoe” with astounding frequency, it rarely reduces me to tears.

Lee (my partner, for those who don’t know) had gone out and gotten me a cup of coffee from the nearby Farm Store. When I make my own coffee, I skimp on the creamer in the name of being calorie/health-conscious. When he makes it for me, there’s none of that. It tastes like heaven and there’s steam rising off the top.

That tearful Monday morning, I had a beautiful cup of Lee-coffee warming my hands, and all I was doing was bawling over it. How could even the Grand Mistress of Monday Haters not be soothed by the fact that someone loved her enough to go fetch her coffee to kick off the week?

All I can say is that while the Grand Mistress of Monday Hating was grateful, she was also heartbroken. You see, our coffee pot had given up the ghost that morning. Without warning, it had just up and died. That’s why he had run out to get me coffee before rousing me to face my Monday. No one who has lived with me ever wants to face the decaffeinated version of me while it tries to prepare for a 9 am meeting.

I admit I’m an over-emotional person. Dog food commercials can make me cry. But normally I’m not so self-centered that I’ll lose control over the loss of a replaceable convenience item. Especially not since losing Mom. Nothing puts not sweating the small stuff in perspective like losing that which is not replaceable, and which you’d never want to replace anyway.

The broken coffee pot wasn’t tragic because I’m addicted to java, or even because it was Monday and things tend to set me off just a little easier on that poop-scooping day of the week. It was a tragedy in my little world because Mom had given me that coffee pot to me on our last Christmas together. She had also given me my love — ok, addiction — to coffee. Growing up, I knew that if I tried to have a conversation with her before her second cup, she would glare at me like an angered Mommy Dearest even though in reality she was the gentlest, most giving mother in the world. When I grew up, I inherited that pre-coffee face just like I did her eyes.

Coffee and Mom are intertwined for me. She had picked out that coffee pot for me, her Bitch-From-Hell-Before-Her-Java offspring. Now she was gone, and the coffee pot was broken.

And so I sobbed over my nice warm cup of Farm-Store java, the kind of choking, soaking sobs you sob when grief is raw and fresh, even though Mom had been gone for 8 months. That’s what happens when grief blindsides you with an unexpected blow. You can armor up for the things you know will hurt – the holidays and anniversaries and just-yours family traditions that now have big holes in them. But those random moments in life where normally everything is OK and suddenly you realize that no, everything is different forever and ever? Those get you, and so you sob.

So that’s what I did, and then I got up and got ready for my meeting. And here’s the thing:  Those moments get you, and they hurt like the day you got the bad news and like all the awful things that happened after. But then you cry them out and you breathe and when it is all done, you might even feel just a bit more whole again.

I can’t use the coffee pot Mom gave me anymore. But she’s still with me every time I drink a cup, no matter where it came from. She is in the steam rising off the cup and in the Pre-Java-Bitchface I make before my first few sips. She is, and always will be.

Love You Mom. Like a Dog.

Whoopie Cushions in Heaven

Dear Mom,

So, I have a burning question. How long after you got there did you sit on your first whoopie cushion in heaven?

I can see you now, rolling your eyes and thinking “She’ll never be right in the head. Nothing I can do about it – I couldn’t fix it even when I was there. Watching too much South Park broke her.”  Once, you found me and the ex-hubs sitting in your living room cackling over Cartman and the boys meeting Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo. You joined us for a minute, then got up and escaped with your book because you said watching us laugh over a turd in a Santa hat was making your IQ drop.

But you can’t blame my whoopie cushion question on South Park. It was inspired by Ned Hickson. Ned is a blogger I discovered recently. I wish I’d found his blog while you were still here – I think you might have enjoyed it too.  At any rate, he wrote recently about his ongoing fake poo prank battle with his son. I got a good laugh reading the post, and it made me think of Aunt Fuzzy.

Aunt Fuzzy was actually my great-aunt. Her real name was Alma, but I don’t think I knew that until I was 10 or so.  She and Grandmom also had four brothers, and they also all went by their childhood nicknames. The oldest brother, Uncle Darrell, died before I was born. But I knew the others as Uncle Weach (Wade), Bunny (Hugh) and Hop (Frank).

They all lived in West Virginia. As a kid, I visited for weeks at a time each summer, bouncing from house to house, escaping Baltimore and tasting country girl life. Staying with Weach meant rowboat rides on the Cheat River, fishing in his backyard pond, and roller-skating at the old building he’d turned into a community rink. Staying with Bunny meant milking cows and weeding vegetable gardens as big as our entire neighborhood back home and horseback riding with his daughters Cindy and Mindy.

Staying with Aunt Fuzzy meant fart jokes. Her personality was a perfect match for her red hair and sparkling eyes. She was short, but larger than life. She lived to laugh, and nothing made her laugh more than farts.

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Me and Aunt Fuzzy

Mommom told us stories about growing up with such a prankster for a sister. Their father, Great Grandad Ruggles, was gone before I came along. But Mommom portrayed him as a good man who liked his booze and got  cranky after a few drinks. When Aunt Fuzzy started dating Uncle Don, she didn’t ease him into getting to know her cantankerous father. Instead, she invited Don in and hid a whoopie cushion on the couch so he would sit on it. Great Grandad looked up from his drink with a scowl and asked his future son-in-law what the hell was wrong with his insides.

Uncle Don knew that marrying Aunt Fuzzy would mean a lifetime as the brunt of fart pranks, but he did it anyway. Like most women, Aunt Fuzzy’s purse held her wallet, keys and lipstick. But hers also contained an arsenal of items capable of producing fart sounds.

When I was 8 or so, I went with Aunt Fuzz, Uncle Don, Mommom and Grandad to Ponderosa or some similar buffet-style restaurant. While we were at the salad bar surrounded by strangers making their own dinner plates, Fuzz reached into her purse and squeezed something that produced a noise like a rectal emission. She made a wide-eyed shock face and cried “Don!” in a mortified voice.

Me and Uncle Don

Me and Uncle Don

He should have been used to it by then, but Uncle Don turned red as the beets on that salad bar anyway.

She didn’t limit her fart torture to Uncle Don. Everyone was fair game. She got me too. Once, we visited her and Uncle Don after they had relocated to Williamsburg. We all went to the Pottery Factory. I was a self-conscious preteen who wanted to fade into the background. But there was no blending into the scenery when Aunt Fuzzy tooted one of her horns and called you out as a fart machine right in the middle of a bunch of old ladies while they oohed and aahed over hand-crafted bowls and jars.

My most vivid Aunt Fuzz memory is one that I think actually pissed Mommom off a little. Aunt Fuzz and Uncle Don had come to Baltimore, and we were all sitting around in the living room. The local weatherman, Marty Bass, was on the news. Mommom excitedly mentioned some event (at her work, I think) where she was going to meet him and get his autograph.

Fuzzy wasn’t impressed. She looked at the weatherman and started crooning “Marty Bass has gas in his ass.” That sure put a damper on Mommom’s brush with local fame.

Marty is still around, and I hear Aunt Fuzz sing-songing that line in my head every time he pops up on TV.

She passed away when I was in my early 20s, but her love of laughter lived on in all of us. And in some of us – like me – so did her potty humor.

I knew you wouldn’t mind me asking you to share a space on “your blog” with Aunt Fuzzy, Mom. We talked about her so much over the years, laughing at her antics over drinks at the pub or a cabin campfire. It makes me smile to think of you two chatting again now.

But that brings me back to my opening question – have you sat on a whoopie cushion in heaven yet? Because if you can reconnect with loved ones in the afterlife, I know damn well that Aunt Fuzz has one waiting for all of us, and that it didn’t take her long to give you yours.

Love you Mom. Like a dog.

 

Summer Swampitude

I get along very well with three of the four seasons. Fall and I have beautifully changing landscapes, long walks in the woods, and FOOTBALL. Winter brings the hope of the occasional snow day – since I work at a college I still do the school-kid “squee” when there’s a chance we might close. Spring is gardening, and more long walks.

We’re buds, me, fall, winter and spring. I try to get along with everybody. Well, almost everybody. Summer and I have issues I just haven’t been able to work through.

There I said it. I’m not a fan of summer. If you say you hate winter and being cold, you get nods of sympathy, hot tea and a blankie. Say summer brings you down, and all the sudden you’re a Joffrey Lannisteresque douche who probably kicks puppies when no one is looking.

I’ve always felt like an oddball for not liking summertime. I mean, everyone loves the dog days, right? Actually, no. We hear about SAD (seasonal affective disorder) quite a bit in reference to the lack of light in winter. But there is actually a variation of SAD (reverse seasonal affective disorder) that impacts a much smaller percentage of the population in the summer.

I used to wonder if I had reverse SAD myself, and who knows, maybe I do. But I think it is more likely that I’m now on year 20-something of a lifelong battle with I-don’t-wanna-grow-up disorder. More than any other season, summer reminds you of the differences between grown-upitude and childhood.

Here is my short list of summer piss-offs:

1. Rodney. You probably don’t know Rodney unless you live in Maryland. He is a make-believe lifeguard in a commercial promoting Ocean City MD. In the commercials, Rodney sees that you are stuck in traffic or mired in work at your office. He swoops out of nowhere, whisks you into his arms, and magically transports you to the beach so that you can have fun. The problem with Rodney is that the jerk never comes for me. He has probably been told to only do his swoop-rescue to people who can afford hotels and dinners out every night once he plops them down in the middle of the resort town. He can tell my truck doesn’t have AC by my wilted stuck-in-traffic face, and figures I’m not one of those people.

2.  Shaving. No, I do not test my Sasquatch imitator skills when the weather is cold. I shave year-round. But when summer rolls around and your choice becomes to have more skin hanging out or roast like a weiner on the grill, you have to be more meticulous about it. I don’t do meticulous well. I’ve always been a big-picture girl.

3. Heat. Yes, it is that simple. The only time I like being hot is when I’m poolside with a cold drink in my hand or sitting on a beach. I get to do those things occasionally, even without Rodney’s help. But more often than not I’m doing something more along the lines of going to work, traipsing to meetings, grocery shopping or paying bills. I did “hot” much better when summer meant sleeping late, going swimming, staying up all night with friends and chasing the snowball truck.

4. Mugginess. In Maryland, summer isn’t just hot. A thick fog of humidity plops its fat ass over our general region. I imagine that summer in Baltimore feels much like being a Lilliputian who gets sat on by Gulliver and is stuck beneath his sweaty buttcheeks.

5. Working. Yes, I work year-round. But because I work in higher education, a lot of people assume summers in my office are “light.” In reality, June-August is one of our busiest times of year. When people say “you have it easy in the summer at that job, don’t you?” I give them my own you’re-a-Joffreyesque-douche stare. In reality, my coworkers and I are busting our butts in an old building with such crappy air conditioning that it often feels nicer out in the Gulliver’s Butt Swampass outdoors. We use fans to blow around the stale hot air, and we bitch and moan a lot. All those cute summer tank tops and short-shorts and flip-flops designed to help you beat the heat don’t do shit for you when you have a dress code.

6. Thunderstorms. Yeah, I know. I am a writer who likes to make up stories of the weird and creepy. I’m supposed to thrill to a good flash of lightening and boom of thunder. In reality, I’m more like a big dog that wants to crawl under the bed or hide under a table as soon as I can smell the storm in the air. Besides, thunderstorms are contrary pricks. They rarely show up when you could sit and watch them from the safety of a porch or window. They prefer to drop by in in the middle of rush hour, or sneak around about midnight and knock out your power so you have to sleep without air conditioning.

My Momma always loved summertime. She waited all year for the few months that she could lounge at her pool and soak up the heat. It was her thing. When I was off and could join her, I was okay with summer too. It is when I have to function as an out-in-the-world worker-bee that my summer ughs take over and the Swampass and I become mortal enemies.

We should all get to be kids again in the summertime, don’t you think? Since I can’t make that happen, I’ll leave off by admitting that one thing I do like about summer is Swampass Gulliver’s Buttcheek Day Sunsets. sunsetThey’re beautiful. Especially if I’m observing them from my deck with my air conditioner just a few short steps away.