Category Archives: Adventures of a Consumer

Real Talk: To Poo Pourri or not to Poo Pourri

The other day, as I innocently watched television via my friend’s parent’s Xfinity account computer, I was taken aback by some gratuitous poo talk. Granted, the commercial was for a poo-smell-negating product but it was offensive nonetheless. OKAY…have you guys heard of Poo Pourri? If you haven’t, it’s a lovely little spray you use before said pooing occurs, which eliminates that yucky odor that tends to remind us humans that we’re all slowly rotting away from the inside out — some worse than others.  (SPOILER: in the following paragraphs I may hint at the possibility that girls poop.)

poo-pourri girl

I know what you’re thinking right now: Aly, you’ve literally talked about bowel movements in 75% of your posts, what’s so gross about a well-mannered Brit elaborating on her poop processes  First, check it out for yo’self:

 

So, my beef is with the Orbit-esque nature of the ad — the whole concept that a prim and proper British lady with a pearl necklace is the the only qualified female able to talk about “unladylike” stuff like pooping because the overwhelming nature of her refinement neutralizes the words “tenacious skid marks” when they flow out of her mouth. And sure, it’s not like I wanna live my life obsessed with the literal act of shitting:

Exaggerated enactment of what life would look like if I only talked about my digestive mood:

“Hey, Aly, how’s it going?”

“Well, judging by the box of pizza I’m still pretending I didn’t eat last night, today’s going to be loose and uncomfortable. But enough about my bowels, how are you doing, Bob?”

No one wants this– not Bob and not me.

The ad just makes me think of a room full of advertising executives throwing out ideas and one of them yells out, after watching remembering how cool the “put a bird on it” episode of Portlandia was: “Hey, let’s put a British accent on it! That’ll make it watchable!” And thus, poop was classed up a bit. Made more ladylike and acceptable for those men still uncomfortable with the idea of a women sitting a toilet, emptying her tiny, fragile, lady bowels.

And then I come to find out that Bethany Woodruff, the poo actress, is actually Scottish. Alas, the British nature of this ad is totally purposeful and a lot creepier. Should we blame Mary Poppins? Is it our fault?

There’s a larger problem at work here — the problem of society not accepting women for anything besides being female and all that the term implies. Femininity is obviously not synonymous with taking a shit but if we put a pretty, proper girl in a nice dress, throw on some pearls, and plop her on top of a toilet, voila! It is now acceptable for her to talk about her bowel movements.

Take her out of that scenario, things get weird again:

Clearly, this guy is a little uncomfortable with the topic at hand. It’s like he’s not sure if it’s okay to ask the agreed upon questions for the interview.

Interviewer: What was the hardest line for you to keep a straight face?

“I think tenacious skid mark… not often do you hear a female say my skid marks are tenacious..know what I mean?”

“I’ll take your word for it because I don’t know how tenacious they are…”

Awkward laughter ensues until the camera goes to a female newscaster who says:

“Just for the record, I don’t do that.”

So yeah, girls talking about poop is still awkward. Even if she kind of sounds like the Queen. We’ve come a long way.

 In all honesty, I’ll probably try this product because why not? And if we could take the stink aspect out of poop, maybe us girls would feel more inclined to join the conversation. 

Would you Poo Pourri? Does one of your coworkers need to Poo Pourri? Potty humor welcome. 

Customer Service Karma and Becoming a “Gym Person”

somethingaboutmary

Anna has witnessed by bangs do the exact same thing (minus the man protein).

It’s as simple as when you wake up, go pee and then jump back in bed and spoon with your dog instead of staying awake. You pray you can get your shit together by 10:30 because at the moment, your right arm is entirely asleep and your hair is an enviable remake of Cameron Diaz’s in Something About Mary. Ughhh but there’s so many more episodes of Hell’s Kitchen to mindlessly stare at and having the queen bed to yourself for a few hours in the morning is just, everything.

This guilty, self-indulgent feeling is the mark of some serious karma coming your way. Feel bad about spending three hours of your life watching The Bachelorette? Of course you do. This week’s karma special: customer service.

***

“Where has she been the last few days?” is the question none of you are asking yourself right now and yet, I’m going to tell you. It all started with Groupon. Moving closer to my goal of a fulfilling career where I wear pencil skirts and Chiffon tops, I decided it was time to purchase the proper self styling tools — namely, a hair straightener. When I was an adorable four year-old camera leech, I had hair like Shirley Temple in the best way possible — all curls, no frizz. As an adult, my hair is more like Sarah Jessica Parker’s in Square Pegs.

meandsjp

I’m happy that my life decisions have led me to a place where this split image can exist.

Like most services you pay for, you expect a package to arrive to its intended destination, especially when Groupon has already told you it’s been delivered. But somewhere in between pissing off everyone that works in my apartment’s office, getting to know Carol the USPS lady better than i’d like, Jim, also from USPS telling me I need to “open up an investigation,” and then giving me a non-working number to contact,  I started to feel like I wasn’t going to get my package but that I might finally get to engage in a revenge plot fantasy. So I did what any white girl with a dwindling savings account and business women aspirations would do: go buy a cheap straightener at Target.

***

Flash forward a bit to me impetuously trying to finish a post on Friday before Matti gets home from work. WordPress has always been there for me, how could it now be cutting out of connectivity, unable to load pictures, and unable to load the customer support page? The internet ganged up with karma and was sticking it’s tongue at me the only way the internet knows how: by choosing which websites it will functionally load like a security guard at the airport choosing which person to search.  That’s totally fine — I didn’t spend five hours on this post already or anything and I love dealing with technical issues more than most things… said nobody, ever.

time-warner-cable-logo

Even this cute little girl hates you, Time Warner Cable

I received an email (rather quickly) from my good friend WordPress telling me people with Time Warner Cable were having similar issues. Is Time Warner Cable a real company or is a big consumer April Fools joke? When I called up the big guys at TWC, aka Tim with customer support whose name was definitely not Tim, they told me that wireless internet is very “finicky” and do I have an ethernet hook up. Apparently TWC thinks 2001: A Space Odyssey is still a glimpse into the future because they are stuck in a pre 2000 dial-up, plug in internet world.

“You know what Tim? It’s weird but when I bought wireless internet I thought it meant that I would be provided with a working wireless connection. I must’ve missed that sales pitch when I chose your service: Our wireless is finicky but we still love your money! Should I assume every service you provide is “finicky” or is that just with the new and upcoming wireless technology?”

Time Warner Cable is so funny because it’s as if they don’t know how badly they suck. You’d think after losing CBS they’d be a little more self-aware. Tim told me a representative would be by in a few days to put a bandaid on my internet.

***

Cut to me on the couch watching Gordon Ramsey tell his contestants to piss off as I shove an almond milk ice cream bar down my gullet and contemplate the amount of ways you can cook beef cheeks.

“So I guess I’m not gonna go to the gym tonight,” I said out loud to myself, looking at Matti, as I grab and squeeze my tummy fat like a stress ball. Three hours earlier I told Matti he wasn’t allowed to not let me go to the gym that night — I think my overuse of negatives may have confused him into inaction. I GUESS I should also take responsibility for my own fitness…

pictures-gyms-funny_4615978502391325So I did. The next day I went to the gym and gleefully realized they have the machines with the TVs on them. After running on the treadmill for a mile, to the surprise of myself and everyone that has ever known me, I went to the elliptical and realized the ear plug jack worked! Karma be damned — I was about to burn off the 300 calories of pure olive oil I consumed that day while watching the Kardashian/Jenners pretend to be a family on a farcically posh Greece vacation. While I subconsciously tried to out-elliptical the girl next to me as we both laughed out loud individually at Kendall’s spoiled rich girl tantrum, I had an epiphany.

I always hated running and I hated every person that ever had the audacity to claim they loved doing it. I’m sorry, I don’t believe you and if I wanted to clear my head I’d take a bath. But for first time in my life I had muscles in my stomach that were almost visible and I wasn’t going to let that change! I realized I didn’t need to have a romantic parisian love affair with running or exercising to enjoy it — I just had to be watching trashy reality television (or Shark Week). I knew I would be back at the gym when I got offended by the girl next to me not wiping down her machine after she smeared her girl sweat all over the machine.

I stopped in the mailroom on my way out of the gym for no real reason besides I wanted the lady inside to see how exhausted I looked drenched in sweat to solidify my gym experience and as I opened the box I saw a slip with the words I had been waiting two weeks to see: You have a package in the office.

note

Nailed it, karma.

The Walmart Microwave Hunt

Welcome to Wal-Mart. Sorry are the giants bin displays of fun pops, batteries, and aloe vera in your way?

Welcome to Walmart. Sorry are the giants bin displays of fun pops, batteries, and aloe vera in your way?

I would’ve put up a better fight, but I was feeling bloated and hungry and the appeal of a cheap and easy nuking machine beat out my conscience.  So we went to Walmart for a microwave. I don’t take this sentence lightly, I assure you — I spent an entire semester Sophomore year of college on a journalism research project about the class action suit brought up by women against the corporation; I’m convinced I only got an A- because my teacher was halfway through having her tenure revoked and fully on her way to becoming a crazy conspiracist.

But Walmart’s just so much cheaper. Sometimes, we compromise our supposed morals for low prices (especially when unemployed) and, of course, for the chance to watch an entire family go from clothes shopping to vision appointments to toy shopping to grocery shopping and finally, to a quick dinner at McDonald’s without having to leave the comfort of their local Walmart SuperCenter — It’s like watching the ultimate Supermarket Sweep challenge live.

mckayla-notimpressedBut Walmart still triggers the spoiled six-year-old brat response in me — My face morphs into a McKayla Maroney “I’m not impressed” look like a true diva. If walking down a frozen aisle where there’s fifteen freezer doors worth of frozen pizza variety and only six worth of frozen veggies doesn’t elicit an automatic face-palm-response then we obviously just wouldn’t get along.

I knew I was losing my mind when Matti held up frozen mozzarella sticks with a remember-how-I-used-to-eat-dairy-and-fried-foods-before-I-met-you face and I said, “Are you fuc– well, actually, I’m kind of in the mood for mozz sticks.” Translation: Sure, I’m kind of in the mood to turn into Ursula from the Little Mermaid later, when the fried dairy starts to Perfect Storm my stomach — but at least I won’t know when it’s coming.

But when we get to the microwave aisle I’m less “not impressed” and more about-to-turn-into-the-Hulk because it’s not even that cheap — it’s basically the same price as Target except I don’t get to venture off next door into the aisle of plates that perfectly matches our apartment’s color palette as Matti pays for makes the hard microwave decisions. (I can sense olive green home decor from an unparalleled distance.)

But we have to get the microwave, because we’re here, in Walmart, and I’ve already started drinking my unsweetened tea without paying for it. As an attempt to make this trip worth it I stop to glance at the bath mats, since we’ve been using a dirty white towel with the word “fun” on it since we moved in. Apparently though, bath mats are the only product where the price, despite the store, never changes. I swear to Mindy that I’ve been in 20 different places looking for a bath mat and they never get cheaper — no, not even at Walmart. What are you good for, Walmart, if not for everyday low prices?

flowersI start to get mad at Walmart like it’s my half sister– what’s up with your flower section? You have carnations, carnations, florescent carnations and dying roses. You could maybe utilize the space being taken up by the giant bins of batteries and fun pops in the middle of the main aisle for a blossoming, slightly neater flower station. Maybe? How about just getting that old man that works in produce to get his hand out of his pants?

I leave Walmart right after handing the cashier an abandoned rotisserie chicken left on top of the People Magazine rack. She seems appreciative and I immediately start worrying about what they are going to do with the chicken. How long could it have been sitting there, getting cold, decomposing, alone in an aisle of candy and soda and last minute grabs. I hoped like me, the chicken would get out of there soon.

When Will I Feel My Mouth Again and How Did You Become a Dentist?

scumbag-dentist_o_656833When it comes to going to the dentist, I am a seven-year-old boy — I have at least three new cavities every time I go and I’m loath to admit how scared I am of power drills being inserted into my mouth.

The receptionist, however, never misses a chance to call me ‘sister’ and treat me like Kourtney Kardashion (‘cuz Kourt’s the hip, grounded one) — today is no exception. As I sit in the waiting room I wonder if it’d be weird to invite her to my wedding, mostly because I like her blue framed glasses and feel like she’d be the type of friend to monitor my bad dental habits without being too naggy. My BFF daydream is interrupted, however, by who I can only imagine is an ex-reggae star turned dental hygienist. He is way too talkative, and in case you were wondering, he’s from Florida, has two crowns, and his grandmother also has digestive problems.

The dentist comes in and I recognize him as the one who doesn’t believe I brush my teeth. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE when a dentist gasps and then adjusts his tone to say, “wow you actually have kind of white teeth.” It’s super confidence-boosting. I have prepared for him today, however, by brushing my teeth before entering the room, scrubbing my tongue of all coffee residue.

I start exercising my mouth like I’m trying out for the lead part in Dentistry Training Video: When a Patient Has a Grape-Sized Mouth, when I realize I forgot to put on the stunner shades Ziggy Marley handed to me before Doctor-I’m-a-real-Dentist walked in.  I slide them on.

So regretting not

Do you think the dentist will take a picture of me in these will my mouth pried open if I ask really nicely?

“Do I look like I’m in the Matrix?” I ask the two uneasy men who now look at each other, their eyes screaming “there’s ALWAYS one.”

“Yeah, definitely,” says Ziggy Marley and I’m immediately grateful for all the life decisions that brought him to this moment.

Doctor-real-dentist is now sticking needles into my gums and shaking my lip like I’m being shot up with heroin and I’m thinking hey, buy me a drink first, guy.

Halfway through the procedure, doctor-dentist chuckles to himself and says, “Girl you are a saliva factory.” I’m sorry, sir, is the spit filling up in my mouth crowding the four hands and twenty drills that are currently occupying my grape sized pie-hole? My mouth can barely fit around a hot dog and you’re stretching my lip to my ear while complaining about my overproduction of saliva? Were you not here three minutes ago when you pumped my gums full of the tinglies? Do you realize half my face is paralyzed?

Do dentists need to take a course in condescension to graduate? There’s no place that more adequately reminds you of the consequences of your poor life choices than the dentist. Me, eat too many sweets? No way. Oh, you found pieces of cookies in my teeth? Well, okay, I guess you’re right.

“You need to rinse your teeth after you drink coffee,” says the dentist devil as he spears my gums.

legitimate attempt at smiling while mouth is temporarily paralyzed. This wasn't the first take incase you were wondering how I get my beauty to transfer so gracefully

legitimate attempt at smiling while mouth is temporarily paralyzed. This wasn’t the first take incase you were wondering how I get my beauty to transfer so gracefully

I immediately spit out the gauze pad soaking up my drool and look at Ziggy to back me up, “you saw me brush my teeth before I came in! Didn’t I?” He barely nodded. Clearly there was a dentistry code being played out here. Finally, my third and final cavity is filled and I am set free by sir-judges-a-lot. Of course, I receive no lolly pop or treasure box like the other kids, just a ridiculously hefty bill and an ultimate case of lazy mouth.

 

Women Are Funny and Smart (and we make up over half the population so remember that)

Today I started talking to my dog as he was performing his “butt rocket” routine — an attempt at itching his little doggy butt hole by sitting and using his front legs to drag his bum against the plush feel of the (thankfully) beige-colored carpet.

“Tengo, you know that humans use toilet paper to wipe their butts?”

He didn’t answer. I was also beginning to wonder why I said “their” and not “our.” I should definitely be including myself in the human category. I should also not be in my house at 10 am on a weekday having a conversation with my dog because I believe him to be smarter than all the other dogs.

I think I’ve been unemployed too long.

If we could at least stop memes like this from happening, there will be some victory

If we could at least stop memes like this from happening, there will be some victory

Maybe I should be vying for swanky careers that offer things like insurance, like these exciting new professional-sounding positions I found while job searching: “Dell Product Specialist” or “QA Engineer III” or “Technical Specialist.” These positions would definitely help make back the money I wasted on college pay back my student loans.

There is the problem of not having a degree relating to any of those positions. Who would have thought that a degree in Creative Writing wouldn’t yield a high-paying power career whereby I immediately, upon graduation, move to California and start working on a new hit series with Mindy Kaling and Zooey Deschanel about how their lives changed when they met me:

“It’s good to have a fresh face and comedic mind to work with,” Mindy would say.

“I just….want everything in her closet,” Zooey would swoon.

In the midst of my hypothetical stardom, however, while doing really important research for my writing online, like marveling at  Kelly Oxford’s tweets and stalking ex-boyfriend’s Facebook profiles, I came across this video:

Despite the fact that I have never wanted to be an engineer (though I’d love to have the skills to have that option), this video is totally kick ass and inspirational. I call this the “badass-ifaction” of little girls and I’m totally down for the movement.  This toy aims to squash the notion that girls should play with barbies and leave the problem-solving and building to boys. Debbie, an engineer and Goldie Blox’s CEO claims this came from her reaction to the lack of females in the engineering world.

Maybe I should go blonde again?

Maybe I should go blonde again?

As a young women trying to break into the comedy writing industry in whatever way I can, I absolutely love this. We live in a world where Christopher Hitchens claimed “women aren’t funny” as an empirical fact without his car getting tamponed. Come on, my car got lo mein noodled in high school by a girl just for looking at her the wrong way. See, girls are funny. Also, I’m way funnier than my brother, and he has an engineering degree!

If my Hitchens example didn’t make you a believer, check out this experiment by author Maureen Johnson revolving around the gendering of book covers and how that dictates what we choose to read:  “A man and a woman can write books about the same subject matter, at the same level of quality, and that woman is simply more likely to get the soft-sell cover with the warm glow and the feeling of smooth jazz blowing off of it.”

As much as I like the idea of feeling smooth jazz blowing off my book cover, I think I’ll pass. I imagine my book cover having something more controversial like me and my dog, Tengo photoshopped into a picture with Robert Pattinson or something equally as edgy.

Seriously though, when is the last time you saw a book with a female author and said to yourself gee that could use a woman’s touch, maybe a little more pink. The answer is never. That conversation has never happened.

Isn’t it just time that we stop telling girls what they can’t or aren’t meant to do altogether? Yes, yes it is, says the crowded studio audience of feminists inside my head. You guys, if I had had this toy growing up I would have hours back of my life that was spent making u-turns due to an inability to read a map. My map navigational abilities come to a glaring halt whenever I am required, in any capacity, to know which way east or west is.

Maybe if I had put down the my-size barbie as a kid, which come to think of it, was one of the most anti-social toys I owned — I spent months telling friends, when asked on play dates, that I was busy with my new friend from California — I could’ve learned how to properly draw a human figure or build a simple machine. A child once asked me to draw them a barn and that was the last time I was ever asked to draw a barn. The children I nannied for have also stopped asking me to help fix their blanket forts.

Play Title: Best of Friends

Play Title: Best of Friends

I mean I always knew I wanted to write so I don’t have too much of a right to be so pissed about my lack of engineering skills. My family recently informed me they will be throwing away all my childhood memories selling my childhood home and that I should start gathering my shit. I took this opportunity to fill my checked suitcase with a favorite end table (best idea I ever had) and all my childhood journals. The first play I wrote was gold.

So sure, I already knew I was destined to be the next big thing, especially by my ability to spell interlude at age six. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have benefited from some construction toys. I totally could’ve used some legos to build houses for my beanie babie habitats — instead, I hung them on my dresser by sticking their beanie bodies through the drawer handles.

I just feel like I missed out on the boy toy fun my brother had growing up, and with how awesome I am without having had those experiences, imagine how amazing I would’ve turned out if I had a chance to develop my scientific brain to its full capacity? My jokes would be more intricate! It wouldn’t take me a half hour to change my camera lenses! I wouldn’t have to spend an extra ten minutes before each trip making sure I know where I’m going! The ability to read maps seems like such a luxury. Also, the kids loved the male teacher I worked with so much more when he taught them how to make robots out of toothbrush heads and tiny batteries. I want such adoration! When I would try to get the kids excited about writing a story they would all groan and ask when they could to the gym to throw balls at each other at high speeds.

I guess I’m still pretty cool and talented without having a profound understanding of machinery or engineering though. No, I don’t actually want to be “QA Engineer III” but it would’ve been nice to feel like that was an option as a child. For now Im totally content to just keep sending unanswered tweets to Mindy Kaling until I get famous.

What toys did you play with growing up? Do you think it had a part in shaping your awesomeness today? Do you also talk to your dog? What about women in comedy and writing — what’s your take?

Related Articles:

My So Called Post-Feminist Life

The Gender Coverup

Technology Fail

DPChallenged!

The Plight of the Sign Spinner

Dear Mr. Sign spinner,

I’m sorry you keep dropping your sign. It makes me sad because I feel like I know you, which may be because you wink at me when I drive by, as if you can see how good-looking I am from that far away. Do you want me to run away with you, sign spinner? I know you wink at all the girls but am I different? Are you looking for a way out, sign spinner?

I wonder what your day is like. It’s fucking hot outside — like, over a hundred degrees hot. Do you have a personal fan? Do you wear a bathing suit all day? Maybe tear-a-way shorts? Has anyone ever stopped to come to your food truck because of your sign spinning abilities? Do they have sign spinning competitions? When people are walking by, do they ever ask you to sign something? Do your sign spinning moves have names? Like a double axel spin or a sideways spin? Did you have to try out to be a sign spinner at such a prime location? Is sign spinning a sport? For your sake, I hope it is.

I recently learned that sign spinning was invented by a contestant on The Bachelorette. I bet that makes you mad. Hey, I understand, I didn’t think the contestants on that show had real jobs either.

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You’re smile is not fooling me, sign spinner. I see those beads of sweat oozing down your face, dampening the sideburns you just trimmed that morning. Your hands are sweaty, aren’t they sign spinner? That’s why you keep dropping your sign. I don’t doubt your sign spinning abilities, for there has been many a time where I was impressed by your taco/shaved ice display. But not today, sign spinner, not today. You look lost. Would you rather be doing acrobats? Maybe martial arts? You seem like you’d be good at that sort of thing.

Do you have a degree, sign spinner? I’m sure this isn’t how you imagined ending up. At least you don’t have to wear that statue of liberty costume like some spinners. You’d probably do really well teaching yoga, you seem limber. I just think maybe it’s time to give up the sign spinning. Your sign is falling everywhere. Clearly, your heart is not in it anymore. You’ve literally almost gotten run over by a smart car three times after your sign has sprung out of your hands and into the street. I have been at this stop light for long enough to see your plight. And I, myself, have now almost gotten into an accident making sure you’re not actually Weird Al Yankovich.

So just give it up, sign spinner. There are better ways. Take some of  your advice, go get some shaved ice and maybe a breakfast taco, call it a day.

What’s that, you say, sign spinner?

You make $60 an hour?

How the hell do I become a sign spinner?

Keep Your Imagination; It Makes You Look Cooler

Teach me how to Heely...

Teach me how to Heely…

While at Thundercloud Subs the other day, a future punk strolled by on Heelys, forcing Matti (my nicer half) into a mini rage: “I fucking HATE kids with wheelies, I wanna clothesline them every time.”

I wondered what it was about Heelys that make so many people upset–you know those magical wheels that pop out of what seem to be normal shoes but are only socially acceptable for kids to use (because normal adults just rollerblade). It reminded me of a story I would tell the third and fourth graders I worked with about flying:

“Hey guys,” I pulled them aside as if to say I’m going to be cool now so you loudmouths better shut up, “I want to tell you the story of when I almost flew.” As Adam* began leading the group in a makeshift Gangnam Style routine I decided to try again.

“GUYS! Did you ever think maybe you could fly…”

Peter* was interested. He loved when I got into this mood and also when I was silly and talked with a lisp: “Can I have a ssship of your sssshoda for ssshussshtenance” was his favorite.

As their little, creepy eyes focused on me I told them how I used  to stand on my picnic table and flap my arms super fast and jump off.

“I swear you guys, I got a little higher every time.” And then I dropped my mic on the floor and walked away. 

Whenever I told the kids this story they half looked at me like I was crazy (which was fine) and half like I was the coolest person in the world. Who could blame them? As upper elementary schoolers they were entering the prick stage of adolescence where make believe wasn’t exactly cool anymore. Well, I want make believe to always be cool and I wish I still believed I could fly. Also, stop playing Minecraft on Gameboys you assholes (Okay, Minecraft is actually better for kids than most of those games).

So I think the hating on Heelys thing has something to do with us adults being super jealous of kids and losing our own sense of wonder. And no, letting your child still believe in Santa Claus doesn’t mean you still have a sense of wonder–it means you’re just like every other person that celebrates Christmas.

It may also be the fact that kids on Heelys are often punks that fly by you in the grocery store, forcing you to drop an Amy’s Chili on your bunion toe. I would laugh in Matti’s face if he were to start rolling around Whole Foods like an overgrown pre-punk with facial hair, but would it be that jealous kind of laughter where secretly you wish you were the one people were laughing at? Definitely yes. Always yes. I want to be the person rolling around in Heelys in Whole Foods, forever. Envisioning this makes me happier than most things.

Who knows, there could be an adult Heely gang out there I don’t know about and that makes me super happy. Let’s all jump off picnic tables together and roll off into the sunset.

How do you keep your wonder as an adult and would you join my Heelys gang?

*These names are made up due to the fact I don’t want to be sued.

DIYing for the Motivationally Challenged (CAUTION: DO NOT READ IF YOU THINK GIRLS DON’T POOP OR ACTUALLY, KEEP READING THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT POOP IN HERE)

After spending the majority of Wednesday night watching Matti sleep as I wrote down tiny sentences in my tiny owl notepad meant to be ideas to elaborate on later, I decided I needed to be more proactive. So I got up, found some sleepy medicine* and wrote a to do list in my tiny notepad–if you’re trying to imagine said notepad, think second grade party favor.

Among the ten things on my list, the first two were: Make coffee and take Tengo out. So, I felt good about how the next morning would start. The next thing on my list was to buy organizational stuff for my workspace, which, I wrote down as a way to trick myself into thinking it was okay to go shopping at Home Goods because it was a means of organizing my life. It worked.

One thing I have learned about myself recently is that although I’m a self-starter, I tend to do much better if I have someone behind me telling me how great I am and how amazing I’m doing at all times. In most instances, Tengo fills this role–his encouragement comes in the form of endless licks and that’s okay with me. But Tengo, being a dog, does not know much about home improvement or the next thing on my list.

The next thing on my list was to hand in my samples to the lab at the hospital. I’m going to TRY to be very delicate here but if you know me that does not happen often so let’s just be adults. I did in fact have to do some take home tests, or as I like to call it, the do-it-yourself-poop-kit. I was the lucky new recipient of a bunch of empty containers I would have to somehow defecate into.

The lady behind the counter handing me the poop containers: “Be careful with the two skinny bottles. They have toxic chemicals that could kill you if you touch or ingest. So, here’s some gloves.” Thanks lab lady, because defecating into tiny containers isn’t anxiety producing enough!

So, I walked in confidently to return my tests, wanting to yell to the lab technicians, “Look what I did! All by myself! I have a bunch of containers full of poop, dammit! Can I get a hand or something?” And I guess I was focused too much on the possibility of killing myself with these toxic crap chemicals that I failed to do every other poop test correctly. To be fair, the man was extremely apologetic that I had to do my poop tests all over again.

“And is it really safe to refrigerate my poop with like, food and stuff in there?”

He didn’t respond.

After finding out my DIY poop kit was a complete failure I was double determined to find the coolest, most vintagey, organizational gear I could get. Because once you are organized, you are successful–says everyone. I of course got sidetracked at Goodwill, because for some fucked up reason, Goodwill is now a hip store to shop at where you can find super fab one-of-a-kind pieces of art that you don’t and never will need. Such as these gems:

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We now have four different decorative pieces custom made in Hong Kong in our apartment that play songs like “Up the Lazy River” at random, inexplicable times.

But I did finally get to Home Goods and I did spend way too much money trying to make myself feel successful. And it definitely worked for the ten minutes it took to get home. But now, of course, like most failed DIY projects I choose to try, I am mid project, and all the DIYing did was place another thing on my to do list before writing. So this is what I am left with:

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And what it all really comes down to is me blaming it all on Pinterest because Pinterest can turn the most unimaginative clown into a self-prescribed DIY expert. (Like this lady who might not be an unimaginative clown but who definitely NAILED IT).

Please feel free to share your DIY fails so I don’t feel like too much of an asshat.

*you know what kind of medicine I’m talking about

A thought about health care and Tom Petty

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time in health care facilities and speaking to health care people. It’s really quite annoying. The other day I was advised by a nurse over the phone to “get to the emergency room yesterday” for my stomach issues (A family history of colitis, you say?). So I went. Going to the emergency room as a young white woman feels wrong. Everyone looks at you like you’re playing a joke on them. I don’t blame them. For some of them, the ability to walk comfortably would be a luxury. That’s not a joke. But I have found myself in this position. The information attendant at the emergency room wears cushion platform heels and all I can think of is where do you buy shoes like that? I eventually get seen for three seconds after the eight stages of waiting one must go through and I have a follow up appointment at a speciality clinic. My bill is $315.

At the speciality clinic — The Paul Bass Clinic at Brackenridge Hospital — the clientele is a bit different but not by much. Again, there is the dreaded stages of waiting. Sit down and wait to be signed it, get signed in and wait to be weighed, get weighed then wait to be seen by nurse, get seen by nurse then wait in room for doctor, get seen by doctor for four minutes then go to waiting room to wait to be discharged.  I meet a nice woman at this clinic, a bit older, a bit hippyish.

“How long have you been here for?” She asks.

“Since nine. How about you?”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” She’s hoping I’m kidding with her. “Have you been seen by anyone yet?”

“Oh yeah, I’m just waiting to leave.”

“Fucking, right,” she says, “we’re all waiting to leave.”

I loved this woman in many ways. One, because we were watching MSNBC in the waiting room and when John Boehner came on we both looked at each other and winced. Two, because I don’t have a mother figure in Austin and I’m constantly and unconsciously searching for one. Three, because she didn’t get up in your space if you didn’t want her too —  she had made her way around the waiting room, sitting next to random people to spark up convo. But she took a hint — if the conversation was going nowhere she would let it. We also bonded over our inability to have healthy bowel movements, so, there was that.

Eventually my name is called as me and the woman are in the middle of a conversation about our upcoming colonoscopies.

“See you May 30th!” She says, and I get a little shy thinking about the tubes they use during the procedure and whether they reuse them and if there was any chance that the very tube that was to be going up my butt was previously up hers. Sometimes the mind wanders.

The woman behind the desk sends me to the lab where I wait to be given a bunch of empty containers that I am told I will have to defecate in and return. (Cut to my boyfriend texting me, asking, “Is your poop like hanging out somewhere in the house? Do I need to avoid a poop surprise somewhere?”)

As I wait or a lab technician to put stickers on empty bottles that will be filled with poop in the future, my new mom walks in.

“No FUCKING way. You’re STILL HERE.” Fucking way, I was still there. And she sits and we talk about the pitfalls of the healthcare industry but how lucky for us poor people that we can come in and get discounted care. I didn’t feel very lucky being late to work due to waiting for empty stool containers but hey, I got her point.

After 30 more minutes I received my poop containers and was off to the pharmacy where I would run into that cute southern guy who said “Morning” to me in the hallway when I had to run to my car to get my wallet three hours earlier. I am to hand over a prescription for a liquid you must take before a colonoscopy which is used to “clear you out.” So yes, my day is still going smoothly.

I ended up having to cancel my colonoscopy, leaving me with a sense of failure and sadness to not see my new mom again. The reason being my new unemployed status. However, I felt hope: Now that I am unemployed, I can’t be turned down by all those public assistance programs that said I made too much money before. WRONG!

Today, when speaking to a woman over the phone about my appointment later that day to see if I qualify for their health care plan she informed me I no longer qualified because I’m unemployed. Which was really funny after having the people at MAP tell me that I have too much money in savings to be qualified. The woman on the phone then referred me to “211” for more help on the matter. I figured she was joking.

So I find myself in this weird stage where I haven’t had health insurance for ten years but I’ve been too rich to get any public assistance the whole time. That translated into me not going to the doctor EVER until recently when I began to fear I was slowly dying of an unknown disease.

I will be honest and forthright here: The reason I was denied by MAP was due to a large sum of cash money I may or may not have in my savings account. Wanna know how I got this mula? My loving and hip-with-the-times mother wanted to see Tom Petty for her birthday (she has a tendency of singing “I need to know” completely out of tune so much so that my father would beg/scream at her to stop singing as he audibly masticated his butter smothered lobster). I’m the best daughter EVER and I took her, volunteering to be the DD. Also because at the time I had been listening to Tom Petty’s greatest hits like it was the last album left on earth. Mary Jane’s Last Dance was my anthem.

As I swayed to the music of this old man — clearly out of his prime but still rocking it — I watched my mom and my friend, Blair get drunk together as they listened too. Then I felt a thud and fell to the ground. Well, I more of leaned on Blair and slowly melted to the ground. Either way some douchebag threw an empty handle of Jagermeister into the crowd and it landed smack dab on the right side of my head, too close to my temple for comfort.

Some people have remarkable, meaningful moments that change their lives for the better and nothing is the same after that. I got hit in the head with a Jager bottle, got rushed out on a stretcher as Tom Petty began to sing American Girl — which to this day, I’m sure was a sign — as I sang along. By this point I had already been reasonably convinced I wasn’t going to die. After demanding Blair tell me how much time I had left she called my boyfriend to tell him what happened. He still is pissed about the whole thing — “She called and blurted out ‘Aly’s on a stretcher! She’s going to the hospital’ It was the literal worst way she could have told me.”

I just felt like such a celebrity (of course, it’s super easy to say that now). Everyone crowded around me like I was royalty — like I couldn’t be left to die in such a place. In reality, they were all rubberneckers trying to get a glimpse at the girl with the blood soaked headband — I loved that headband.

Ten stitches, five staples, a new history of vertigo and tens of thousands dollars later I would like to thank the asshat that threw that bottle in the air. You were not thinking of the damage you would cause, sir, but there’s no way you could’ve foretold the fortune either. I’m not gonna bullshit here and say if I could give back the money and have my life go back to before the accident I would. I definitely would not. That money paid off my car, allowed me to get current with two defaulted student loans, and pay for the ten other student loans I still owe on. It also has disallowed me from public assistance health programs which I sort of get but at the same time, screw you.

I’ve lived a long time now having to make choices between my health and the other category, whether it be school, transportation, work, money, MONEY, or more MONEY!

I have a big chunk of money in the bank but I owe more than double that in student loans. I feel like Oprah sometimes giving out cars when I’m paying my student loans. Sallie Mae, Discover, ECSI, Nelnet, Wells Fargo, Capital Management Services are among my “people.” By “people” I mean I talk to them more then my family and my friends and only SLIGHTLY less than my dog. If I don’t keep up with these loans my credit score stays in the negative. (I mean like, I-didn’t-know-they-made-scores-that-low negative).

My solution for now is to ALWAYS check public toilets for fear of dying from poisonous spiders like the people that went to an Olive Garden in Florida. I also became vegan. But that’s only helped me think of myself as cooler. I guess things could be worse.

Ikea or DIE!

I went to Ikea last weekend and now I am going to tell you what I think of Ikea. First of all, people are APPALLED if they find out you’re an adult who has never been to Ikea. It was not TOO difficult to miss out on this jarring experience for so long but who knows, everyone is different.

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Sometimes I feel like stores conspire against me. Like the store knows when I’m coming and what I like at that given moment. “You’re obsessed with olive green right now, are you? Well, let me give you 3,000 different items in that color. Some even have floral patterns!” What am I the typical woman or something? (Yes, yes you are, says the home decor industry).

It took a while to stop staring at the young family that was having a lesson in store manners. You know, that family that clearly does everything the right way. The kind of family that makes you feel bad for not walking your dog the last two days. The mom just had her shit together. She was all, “I’m gonna stay super calm and wait for you to be done being a child,” to her husband while the children wailed about how unfair life was. And hey, they were right. At six years old, a saturday afternoon at Ikea is a Normal Rockwell painting with the caption “Life is unfair.” I was more concerned, however, with how this dad was going to make it through the day. He looked like he’d rather be golfing in North Carolina and who could blame him? (besides every child who grew up with absentee dads that went golfing in North Carolina.)

A few days later I went to the store Home Goods for the first time and WHAT THE SHIT. First of all, do reusable bag holders and spice racks that can hang on your pantry door exist? Because this store had everything minus those two items. Since when were fake bird cages so hip? How many versions of beachy end tables with scrubbed off paint exist? Because I want all of them.

Back to Ikea. Sometimes I find myself at random stores looking around at the people that work there wishing I had there life. I did not do this at Ikea. In no way did I want to be Marissa, stalking different color coasters while I beg her, “Are you SURE there are no olive green placemats left?” No, I would rather be any place but here.