How Much Wood Could A Wood Chipper Chip If A Wood Chipper Could Chip Wood?

I woke up yesterday to a text from a dear friend, who lives in another city. I have known her my entire adult life, so, I felt certain I knew a lot about her. But she sent me a text at 2AM that said:

“The fat one won’t fit in the wood chipper. What do you want me to do?”

Yeah. Exactly. Shades of Fargo, right?

fargo2

Well, I reasoned, she does live on a lot of land and does a lot of outdoor type stuff, so maybe she really was, for some reason, chipping wood (that’s an actual thing, right?) and had sent the text to the wrong person. Because we all know I am worthless in any kind of outdoor situation, let alone an outdoor situation that involves machinery.

As far as I know, and I feel pretty certain about this, she has never harmed anyone and/or shoved anyone into a wood chipper. So I wasn’t too concerned. Still though…I texted back and said:

“Umm, what exactly is going on in [name of her city]?”

I won’t say where she lives because it might give away her identity to mutual friends who would probably want to mock her. And I think I’m doing enough of that for all of us.

Then I waited. I had a lovely day hanging out at CJ and Lisa’s pool, but kept an eye on my phone because Wood Chipper Girl was still on the loose. She finally texted back:

woodchip

And it made me laugh out loud, because it’s such a brilliant idea. Right? So I told her I love her, because I do, and then I got back into the pool because it was hot out. I floated around with barely any thoughts at all about who or what might be in a wood chipper somewhere. And I certainly didn’t think about that terrifying clown. Not for a minute.

But I might watch Fargo again, because, wood chipper.

fargo

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Movie Of The Week: A Very Mellow Cat

Believe it or not, I had never seen the movie Beaches before, so I watched it last night. It was made in 1988, the same year I got married. So I’ve been busy! But I finally got around to it.

You probably know that it’s a story about two best friends, one named CC played by Bette Midler, whom I love. CC is a talented singer/actress always starved for attention, who hates her out-of-control curly red hair. So, other than the part about her having talent (which I could be developing any day now) she is very much like me. The friend Hillary, played by Barbara Hershey, is a pretty, wealthy, WASP with really awesome hair. The kind of girl you really want to hate but you can’t because she’s all nice and everything.

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I’m not going to issue a spoiler alert, because the movie is nearly 30 years old. But in case you’ve been busy like me…spoiler alert.

Hillary dies at the end, and yes it’s sad, but you see it coming for a long time. I was more worried about a little piece of foreshadowing: the cat. Hillary’s little girl has a cat, and they show it several times, including once when Hillary is holding it on her lap at the beach, and the cat’s not struggling at all, which is kind of weird. In my experience they only show a pet that much because it is going to have something to do with the plot. Usually nothing good.

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I started to get very concerned that something bad was going to happen to the cat; I mean, beyond just being dragged to the beach like it’s some kind of dog or something. Like maybe the cat was going to die along with Hillary. It was hard for me to focus on anything other than the fate of that cat. How much drama am I supposed to endure in one movie? I mean OK, a person is going to die, but what about the cat? Cruel. Pandering. Cruel.

I had a box of tissues at the ready, and yes, I cried when Hillary died but I was still preoccupied with the fate of the cat. Would kitty be OK? Yes. You will be relieved to know that as it turns out the cat is fine. Totally fine. It lived happily ever after in a big house filled with toys and cat food and warm, sunny windowsills. Oh, and CC and the kid are also fine. I’m sure they too lived happily ever after and all that crap because after all, someone needs to take care of the cat.

To recap, the movie Beaches is about a cat who absolutely, positively does not die, but somehow holds still to sit on someone’s lap on the beach. There are some people in it too. I give it two paws up.

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WTF Wednesday: Did You Miss National Candied Orange Peel Day?

Perhaps it’s because of social media, hashtag trends, etc. but it suddenly seems like every day is a national or international something or other day. Some are cute or funny; naturally I’m a fan of National Cat Day, and aaargh matey, National Talk Like a Pirate Day. And in the course of my rigorous research for this blog post, I learned that today is Towel Day, a worldwide tribute to the late Douglas Adams. The day is a reference to the author’s Hitchhiker’s Guide series of books; if you’ve not read those books then I urge you to do so immediately. I mean, right after you finish my compelling blog post. Trust me, by next year you will join me in celebrating Towel Day.

Read immediately, if not sooner

Read immediately, if not sooner

But how many Day Days can we actually have? Umm, a lot. A ton. I can’t get an accurate count or even a comprehensive list, because in the course of my rigorous research for this blog post I found that I would have to spend more than 15 minutes researching in order to bring you any actual, credible information. I think we all know that was not going to happen. So you’re stuck with info from the handful of websites I decided, in my infinite wisdom, are excellent sources on this critical topic.

Here’s what I do know. About this, I mean. Some national days are “official” in the sense that members of Congress, promoting something or someone from their home district, present this kind of crap as a resolution. I’m just making this up as I go, because as I explained above, rigorous research revealed that research would have to be rigorous to thoroughly vet all this stuff. But let’s say that if there’s a National Baked Potato Day, which may or may not be a thing; if it is a thing, I guarantee it’s because legislators from Idaho sanctimoniously opined on its importance.

A fine Idaho spud, the pride of America

A fine Idaho spud, the pride of America

According to one source that emerged during my 12 minutes of rigorous research (I know I said 15 minutes above, but who are we kidding?), today’s Days include things like National Brown-Bag It Day, National Tap Dance Day, and by popular demand, National Wine Day. I can always hope that there is also a National Whine Day, because there’s one I could really celebrate.

In the course of my 7 minutes of rigorous research (yep, 12 minutes was also a stretch) I found that other Days in May include National Crouton Day, National Dance Like a Chicken Day, National Lumpy Rug Day, and of course, May 4th, when we all celebrated National Candied Orange Peel Day by dancing around the candied orange tree.

Now I’m off to the linen closet to choose something wonderful for Towel Day.

Don't leave home without it

Don’t leave home without it

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I Have A Twitter Account And I’m Not Afraid To Use It

I think it has been well established, time and nauseating time again, that I am a Bravo TV Superfan. It’s a mantle I take seriously. Responsibilities I must uphold. And that’s why after watching just two episodes of The Real Housewives of Dallas, the newest franchise, and not enjoying it at all, I had to convince myself to continue to watch.

OK, it wasn’t that hard a sell, because I don’t have a life and what else am I going to do, but there is the Logo channel to consider. And the POP channel, that shows reruns of quality programming like The Love Boat and has weekend long Facts of Life marathons. So as a consumer, I have choices.

I figured I should at least take to Twitter and chirp away about it though, because what else does one do? Surely the world was waiting for my opinion. So I tweeted one of the Housewives a comment about the show and its lack of story line and abundance of bad jokes about poop. A fan of the show responded to me with what I thought was a very funny comment, alluding to the fact that I have a whopping total of 240 followers and the Housewife involved has more like 12,000. I told her that was the kind of humor I was looking for! She went on to apologize for making the comment, which just about ruined it for me. I mean, I was asking for it, right? It was disappointing, especially since she calls herself “Bitch-aint-havin-it” on Twitter. Apparently, Bitch-was-havin-it.

The whole conversation is below. Enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy, tell me. I can handle it, honest.

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Kids, Don’t Try This At Home: The Nastygram

You guys know how much I miss my career, right? Or have I been remiss in whining? I miss my career a lot. I loved working. I had a couple of short-lived, crappy jobs over the years, but for the most part enjoyed my day-to-day work. That includes the fine art of office politics. Admittedly, I was frequently on the losing end because I wear my heart on my sleeve and I never, ever suffer fools well, but when I wanted to play the game I was good at it.

I was especially good with email because, you know, I’m a “writer” and all. Right? The invention of email was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me. I think before that we used to write memos, print them out and distribute them, but honestly I don’t remember that far back. I spent many years working in branch offices of large firms. Places where I never even met half the people with whom I worked, because they were in far flung places around the world. Or, because at a certain point I had been banned from headquarters, but you know, sh*t happens.

When you work with people who don’t have to face you every day, it’s easy to get in the habit of emailing nastygrams, saying how you really feel, because there’s no uncomfortable eye contact over the water cooler. I would like to say that I was always the recipient, and never the sender, but that would be a complete lie. I will say that when I wanted to, I could get my message across quite well, with seemingly no snark, while still building in plenty of snark. Especially with people who aren’t particularly bright, because typically sarcasm eludes them. Ooops, that right there was blatantly snarky. And yet, true. The recipient would be suspicious, because it was coming from me, but unable to put their finger on any specific thing that would indicate I wasn’t playing nice. So it had the built in bonus of frustrating the hell out of the other person.

memesvault.com

memesvault.com

The honest truth is that on occasion I used these exercises to amuse myself at work. But the majority of the time I was really just trying to get some work done. Stuff that needed to be done, and could be done with little fanfare, if I wasn’t relying on someone in another office to hold up their end of the work. Super annoying to take a task or project nearly to completion, and then have to turn it over to someone in another office, who may or may not be a complete moron as motivated as I would like.

memegen.com

memegen.com

I suppose that when I miss working, that’s one of the things I miss. Because I am not mentally stable, which explains why I did these things for a living in the first place. So I was delighted when a friend FaceTimed me recently and asked me to help him compose a delicate email. Something that screamed you are a lazy idiot while seeming to calmly say hey, let’s get this task done. It was exactly the kind of precision, stealth operation that is my trademark. Everyone is good at something, right? That’s my something.

Together, in just 10 minutes or so, we crafted a really solid missive. It accomplished both things, while also providing my friend a lot of CYA in writing. The trifecta. My friend was really happy with the final product.

I don’t like to brag, but when we were done he rewarded me with a huge compliment. “You are really good at coming up with BS.” High praise indeed.

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WTF Wednesday: Why Is Everyone Worried About What’s Under Someone Else’s Dress?

This transgender bathroom situation is a wholly manufactured problem. There is an implicit social contract when we use the restroom; we assume we’re all there for the same purpose, and no need to ask for birth certificates. It never crossed anyone’s mind to be concerned because there was no reason to be concerned. But the North Carolina legislature poked a hornet’s nest, and now we’re all getting stung.

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  1. Transgender people are not pedophiles. They don’t have a sexual perversion. They were born in one body and have neurons and such wired for a different body. Or something science-y like that. I myself feel like a tall blonde inside and am shocked each and every time I look in the mirror and see a short redhead. Also, I walk around all the time imagining that I have a waist. Don’t ruin it for me.
  2. Why do I care if Jane, in the stall next to me, used to be John? Exactly in what way does that affect me? For all you know, I used to be Joe; it doesn’t change your opinion of my blog, right? We all grudgingly agree that it is occasionally semi-humorous whether I’m Jill, Joe or a space alien. No further comment on that by the way.
  3. Public restrooms are disgusting because people are pigs. Other people. People we presumably don’t know, who don’t care about those who follow in their, umm, footsteps. I am much more concerned about whether or not a person washes their hands after using the restroom than I am about what parts they are sporting.
  4. Anyone, transgender or not, could be kind enough to tell me when my skirt is tucked in to my pantyhose or when I’m trailing toilet paper on my shoe. Yet no one ever is kind enough. I have learned though, that when people are pointing and laughing at me as I exit a public restroom, it’s likely there’s a problem. I’m not saying it happens a lot, I’m just saying it happens enough that I learned my lesson.
  5. Your kid is something like 100X more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know than by a stranger. This is completely true; I was just too lazy to look up the actual percentage, which is probably a lot higher. A bigger number than my brain can process cause it stops at 100%.
  6. It is endlessly annoying that transgender women typically look better than me; more put together. No runs in the pantyhose, make-up that stays put, perpetual lipstick. Let’s start making some laws about that.
  7. Do you think that transgender people, who have probably been suffering their entire life what with being in the wrong body and all, are looking for more trouble? Because telling everyone they know that although they were born male (female) who they really are is female (male) isn’t painful enough? I once had no choice but to tell my mom that I flunked 10th grade PE, and I would be mortified if the whole world knew! I’m guessing working up the nerve to tell folks you are transgender is just a tad bit tougher.
  8. Nearly everyone who was ever a teenager has gotten drunk and peed on something or other outside, while trying not to pee on their jeans, even though they are laughing hysterically with their girlfriends who are doing a terrible job of standing guard. I mean, that’s what I’ve heard. If you got through that you can get through the immense trauma of not knowing the anatomy of the person in the stall next to you.
  9. People seem to be very confused about what transgender means. So check out this HRC glossary. You will learn that transgender people are not big hairy, scary men in skirts waiting to harm someone. I, however, haven’t shaved my legs this decade but I still use the women’s room. That should frighten you.
  10. My new most favorite person in the world is comedian Trae Crowder, the Liberal Redneck. He has additional salient points. Caution: lots of adult language and other potentially offensive stuff (another reason I love him).

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What The World Needs Now: Another Adorable Cat Story

I feel like I’ve been overdoing the cat blogs lately, but then again with four cats I’m overdoing the whole cat thing, so I guess it follows suit. 

We’ve not had a TV in our room for a couple of years now, but since I’ve been sick a lot lately we set one up again and good old Dan sprung for another satellite box and everything. So suddenly the cats had access to a very exciting TV cabinet that had been closed up for a long time. We knew that they would jump behind there, and possibly even get stuck, because it happened with our last batch of cats. 

Tempting to any cat, obviously

Tempting to any cat, obviously

Janet helpfully demonstrating how a cat could climb behind the TV and get stuck

Janet helpfully demonstrating how a cat could climb behind the TV and get stuck

Dan ended up cutting out a hole in the back of the bottom of the cabinet so stuck kitties could escape.

Chrissy helpfully demonstrating use of the hole

Chrissy helpfully demonstrating use of the hole

Sure enough, Helen goes flying back there one morning. I hear her pawing around. See her head pop up. She makes attempt #1 of 483 lame tries to leap back up out of the cabinet, succeeds only in bashing her head against the wood shelf.

I open the bottom of the cabinet to see why she isn’t climbing through the hole and it is immediately apparent that although the hole is big, it’s not Helen size. I mean, so few things really are. Now Helen is meowing up a storm and I don’t know if she’s caught on cables and stuff or what, and I have no choice but to call Dan, who then uses his lunch hour to dash home and somehow lean all the way back there and grab her and yank her out. Where she promptly stretches, yawns, and strolls away. Ingrate!

So when Dan got home that night, out came the saw. He enlarged the hole so even Helen can fit through if necessary. For now.

The new, enlarged Helen-sized hole

The new, enlarged Helen-sized hole

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I Have Reached The Promised Land

In the glory days of ancient Rome, I imagine emporia brimming with earthly delights. All manner of items. Which leads me to, well, Wegman’s. We recently got a Wegman’s convenient to me. As I entered for the first time, I heard the flutter of angel’s wings as their voices soared to the high ceilings in the wood-floored, climate controlled, colorful and beautiful store.

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There is light pop music playing. Something contemporary but hummable by all ages. The lighting is bright…but soft. The fruits and vegetables are gleaming and dewy. The store is vast. Huuuuuuge.

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I try to comprehend all that is before me. There is an Asian food bar. A Mexican food bar. A Mediterranean food bar with at least six different kinds of hummus. A sushi station with what appear to be very authentic sushi roller people speaking to each other in Japanese. There is a bakery (bread and pastries, separated of course), a dessert bar, a coffee shop and even a pub. They handcraft candy in the store. Before my very eyes. There is a bulk food station with nuts and granola. One corner of the store is reserved for big box store style pallets of goods so that if I really wanted to, I could buy hundreds of rolls of paper towels and thousands of cans of cat food quickly and easily. There is even a freakin’ cave aged cheese section. I mean, not just any old Kraft singles or one impressive wheel of real parmesan. Cave aged is serious business.

wegmans

There’s no two ways about it, I am smitten. And then I discover that they have awesome tuna salad. Tuna, celery, mayo. That’s it. Now I am star struck and head over heels in love. They have organic everything, which I think is a scam but still nice to have the option. They have entire aisles of vegan foods. Rows of gluten free foods. All you have to do is think of a possible type of food and it seems to magically appear before you.

My fellow blogger Kate will be thrilled to know they have a dazzling selection of lemon meringue pies. A dazzling selection of everything.

But perhaps what is most impressive is that they have actual employees. Smiling, helpful people everywhere you look. Want to sample something before you buy? No problem, just ask. Not sure if you are holding an organic miniature Argentinian potato or just a regular old miniature Argentinian potato? Simply ask, and your knowledgeable and friendly Wegman’s employee will tell you. It’s raining outside, perhaps you’d like someone to walk you to your car while holding an umbrella over your head? Yes, perhaps. Not raining but just want an escort? You got it.

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I’m notoriously bad about checking prices and using coupons and whatnot. So for all I know a gallon of Wegman’s Carefully Crafted Milk costs $28, to pay for all the beautiful goods and incessantly helpful staff. I don’t know, and I don’t care. It is a small price to pay for people to pretend they really, really care about my well-being. The bottom line is that I want to live at Wegman’s, but the only thing I can’t seem to find in the store is bedding. No problemo, I can bring my own.

If you listen closely, you may hear Nero fiddling somewhere. Rome might be burning, but I’m ready to go down with it.

Something for everyone in the family!

Something for everyone in the family!

 

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WTF Wednesday: Why Must There Be Onion?

It is entirely possible that I will drop dead if I eat an onion. Well, that might be overstated. It is true though, that I will wish I was dead if I accidentally eat an onion of any kind, including shallots, scallions, chives. Raw or cooked, no bueno. I really, really hate onions.

onion

You know what I do enjoy though? Tuna salad. I love a good tuna salad sandwich. A tuna melt. A scoop of tuna salad on top of an actual salad. Love. The problem of course, is what is in the tuna salad. Like sneaky onions. Some people put relish in tuna salad. I don’t love it, but I can live with it. Celery is harmless enough, I even appreciate the crunch it adds. Onion, though, is a huge problem.

Why? Why do people insist on putting onions in tuna salad? It makes my life complicated. I always have to have a back-up order. “I’ll have tuna on wheat UNLESS the tuna has onions. In that case I’ll have two scoops of chocolate ice cream for lunch instead.” Seriously, sometimes it comes to that, because although I eat fish I don’t eat any other kind of meat. So my deli options are limited. Egg salad, I guess, although I think we can all admit that the elephant in the room is that it just doesn’t have the pizazz and glamour of a tuna salad. And sometimes people put dill and other crap in egg salad, that I can tolerate, but I don’t love. If I’m going to eat, it should be food that I enjoy, right?

tuna

I know there are people who are not opposed to onions, and people who actually really enjoy onions. Good for you! I’m happy for you, really. But can’t you just add onions to your salad or sandwich? Does it have to be incorporated into the tuna salad, ruining it for my delicate palate? I love tomatoes, but you don’t see those in tuna salad. I simply add them on. It works out fine, I promise.

Yes, this is the very definition of a first world problem. Beyond in fact. Starving children and all that. But this is my blog and I routinely use it to whine about inconsequential crap, and to lament the fact that the world doesn’t always revolve around me, so this is no different. In conclusion: tuna good. Onions bad. Make it stop.

Thank you for your support.

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B.F. Skinner Surely Never Tested Cats

As I’ve shared, we’ve been dealing with kitty dental drama. Helen accidentally lost a tooth, we had the vet pull a bunch of Chrissy’s teeth. It’s not good. At her most recent check-up we learned that Helen is developing a lot of tartar around her teeth. We’re hoping we can avoid having her teeth pulled, so Dan picked up some pet plaque spray.

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The instructions say to squirt it in the back of the pet’s mouth. Umm, sure, no problem. Have you ever tried to spray anything in your cat’s mouth? Is your nickname now Captain Hook? Dan decided to use the spray not only to address Helen’s plaque, but also to try to “train” her. Have you ever tried to train a cat? Is your nickname now Dumbass?

Helen has a bad habit of licking Dan’s hair. A lot. As soon as he settles on the couch to relax.

So he adopted a stance of spraying her as soon as she started in on licking. Do you think she learned anything? Hell no. She just kept going for it. Recently I wasn’t feeling well and was spending quality time in bed, and Dan was hanging out upstairs, keeping me company. Helen therefore missed out on her normal evening licking time. Sad. But she was not to be denied. She started climbing in bed and licking Dan’s hair as soon as he was in bed or was actually trying to fall asleep. She tried it with me too, woke me up in fact, but I swatted her away.

So the next night, I noticed Dan tucking something under his pillow. Turns out, he was packin’. Loaded for bear. Armed for an attack. Yes, he had tucked the bottle of plaque spray under his pillow. He was giddy at the thought of grabbing Helen when she tried to disturb his sleep, and giving her a rude awakening. The man is deranged.

Dan isn’t even licensed to carry the damn thing. I was convinced that he was going to accidentally blind the cat, or himself, or otherwise injure one of the three of us. Or what if one of the other cats got caught in friendly fire? Then what? No, I didn’t like the idea one bit. Dan swore up and down that it would be fine, and accused me of being dramatic. Ha! Me? Dramatic? I think not.

Anyway, thus far we have not had any midnight incidents. At the same time, Helen resolutely refuses to associate her behavior with a negative consequence. So B.F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning worked on intelligent mice, but…well, let’s just say he never met Helen.

Umm, do you want to lose that hand?

Umm, do you want to lose that hand?

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