Valentime’s Day, Or As I Affectionately Call It, Singles Awareness Day

Don’t you hate it when people call it that?  There is no M in Valentine.  Do you also hate it when people call it Singles Awareness Day? Tough, it’s my blog.

So I had a party for all my single friends on Singles Awareness Day.  We went to the bowling alley.  You should know that I am a terrible bowler.  Really awful.   I don’t know why I do this to myself.  You remember Thor?  He claims to be the worst bowler ever.  I say this with love – he’s pretty bad.  I have another friend who doesn’t see too well.  Her vision started to go when she was young yet she has adjusted beautifully.  She’s an okay bowler.  We had some new friends come to the party who tried their hardest to lay claim to the title “Crappiest Bowler Ever”, throwing gutter balls and missing pin after pin.  Y’all want to guess who got the lowest score in every game?  Want to know who was so spectacularly bad at the bowling that breaking a 40 was considered a fantastic accomplishment?  That is correct – yours truly.

One of the new friends whom I shall call Flash pulled me aside on the last two frames of the game to give me some coaching lessons.  “Jimmie,” Flash said, “how do you feel about me giving you some pointers so that maybe you can tie for last place instead of being dead last all by yourself . . . . again?” 

“Sure, why not.”  And so Flash coached me, enabling me to get a strike AND a spare and thus I tied for last place with a guy who fervently tried to convince us that he had never bowled before.  I am amazing.

Lest you think I am a total loser, I do have things at which I excel. 

For example, I am excellent at lecturing men on what constitutes a good Valentime’s Day gift.  Simply look at this post, which can be used for almost any gift-giving occasion in which women are to receive tokens of affection.  I used it with great success on a guy at work, whom I shall call Yao Ming (he is tall and I like standing next to him). 

“Yao Ming,” I said as I cornered him in the supply room, “what are you doing for your wife for Valentime’s Day?  You have planned ahead, correct?”

“Uh . . . .” said Yao Ming.  “I usually do pretty well on ValentiNe’s Day.  I’ll get balloons or flowers or something.”   

“Well, you better giddy on it, Yao Ming.  I do not want any of my friends in the dog house because of a lame Valentime’s Day gift.  I once knew a girl, my sister-in-law actually, whose boyfriend gave her a set of free weights and the advice that she could use lose a few pounds.  She was a rail already but either way, that boyfriend spent a lot of time recovering from that snafu and I do not want the same fate for you.  I like you too much for that, Yao Ming.” And then Yao Ming made some excuse about all the work he had to do and fled to the other side of the hall. 

I used this same argument successfully with the postman, the UPS man, and the Fed Ex guy.  I am very popular. 

Another example of things I do well:  I am excellent at playing with other people’s children in bowling alleys.   I know this because after coming back from a routine visit to the restroom I found a small child hanging out in our lane.  He was a tiny little black boy with the cutest curly Mohawk you’ve ever seen.  He was less than two and had the sweetest eyelashes.  His elbow was propped on one of our chairs and he watched our game intently, probably fascinated by the wildly spinning colorful balls that flew all over the lanes.  Ooh, I snatched him up immediately, cooing “Hi, muffin. What’s your name?”

He looked at me with giant eyes and then turned his attention back to the out-of-control game we were playing.  He leaned against me, completely content.  Oh, I could have held him all night.  After a few minutes, though, I could see the realization dawn on his family that they were missing a kid.  I held him up to show I had him, that he was safe and while they rushed over to rescue him from the wild woman who bowled as if she had a muscle deficiency, they were very kind in letting me get a hug from him before taking him safely to his own lane.  We bonded, though, because he waved good-bye to me as he left.  He was my Valentime. 

I also have other assorted skills like layering on glitter eyeliner in thick, even lines; backcombing my hair into a giant poof; matching my socks to every occasion and outfit (up to and including Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Equestrian holidays, Dog holidays, and Valentime’s Day); asking Boss for gifts that he never sends; and making friends easily.  You know why I make friends easily?  It’s because I never throw people under the bus by telling stories on them when they are crappy bowlers (Thor) or when they get super excited about the nerdy Tupperware gift they received for Valentime’s Day (Yao Ming). 

This is a pretty impressive list, don’t you agree?  Y’all want to hang out with me this weekend?  We should go bowling.

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Guest Post: Dammit Todd, P.E. – A Rant

Proper Elevator Etiquette

If you’re trying to get on an elevator, wait until the people (all of the people) who are on said elevator get off of said elevator  Do not try and brush your way past like you are more important than God.  Do not stand idly six inches in front of the elevator doors making it difficult for me to exit, and generally making me feel the insatiable urge to punch you directly in that messed up lump you call a face.  Because even if you manage to gain access to your cherished chariot to the heavens above, you ain’t going any-f@#%*$#-where until I leave.  Consider yourself grounded.  That is all. 

I Am On A Budget. And I Have Some Addictions. These Are First World Problems. (Part Two)

So money is tight. I’ve told you that before. It’s okay, I’m not complaining. I’m learning actually. I’m pretty good at budgeting and stretching a dollar and I’ve always been the queen of planning. I view this era of my life as a challenge and as a growing process, so it isn’t bad.

Now that I have written the “rah, rah” section I will now begin the “huh, this is . . . fun” section.

Due to lack of funds (see above: Budget) and lack of dates (see entire blog: Single) I now occasionally find myself in the enviable position of having a Saturday night with absolutely nothing to do. Nothing. Not a thing. No thing. At all. Enviable, right? When that happens I’m not sure what to do with myself. Usually. However, lately I seem to have overbooked myself professionally and socially and so when I understood that I was going to have a weekend that did not include people in any format at all, I began to rejoice. Honestly, I was getting rather emotional and snippy as I had had no alone time in weeks.

Also, remember when I hired Ernesto, my house cleaner, and I was jazzed that he came every two weeks and folded my toilet paper ends into points? Remember how I loved him and swooned over his work? Well, I miss him (see above: Budget). My house does too.

These were my plans when I went to bed Friday night: to sleep as late as possible (7:00 a.m., baby! I am a sloth!), and to clean my miserable (miserable) wreck of a house. Do you think it is sad? Do you feel a little sorry for me? Don’t! It was marvelous!

Following is a list of what I accomplished:

Two carloads full of stuff were taken to Goodwill, some mine and some Kasi Starr’s. (There is another story here – tune in later for that episode.) By full, I mean there was room for me and that’s it. I could see out the front driver’s side windows and that’s it. It, I tell you.

The areas where one of the kitties vomited unspeakable things onto the carpet were shaved off with a razorblade. Gross. I’m currently not speaking to Murphy or Miss Kitty.

My garage is completely organized according to girl code. Boys, you have no dog in this fight. My garage is perfect. I do not need your advice about how to arrange my storage space according to your strict and non-negotiable standards of tool/garden object/car/cleaner areas.

The interior of my car was vacuumed and scrubbed.

The trunk of my car was emptied and vacuumed. I hope you guys caught that. The trunk. Of my car. That I have not really touched since April when I was laid off. Was cleaned out. It was sad a little. I had a whole life at that company and that whole life was stuffed into my trunk where I did not have to face it. But after I threw a whole bunch of that life away, I felt lighter somehow. Also, look at it!

Before

Before

After.  Ain't it beauty-ful?

After. Ain’t it beauty-ful?

I cut my thumb open with a vegetable peeler. Not only was I not cooking anything, but I had been whipping about a razorblade all morning with no ill results, yet the moment I washed the dishes, I nearly bled to death in the kitchen. It was a scary time.

I lost my car keys. How I did that in this spotless, completely organized house is beyond me. I don’t know how you guys stand me. Really. I can barely stand myself.

I organized my closet. And here, my friends, is Addiction, Part Two.

Wall One

Wall One

Wall Two

Wall Two

You see all that? Those are hoodies. I love them. I can never have too many. I am on the never-ending quest for the perfect one and despite what you see here, I have not yet found it. One of those hoodies was stolen from an ex-boyfriend. It was literally the only thing I kept from that relationship of one whole year and my whole heart. Two of them I stole from a guy I went on two dates with. Four of them I stole from Coach (you see how I’m his fake wife?). Martie recently purchased one that I covet and the minute she gives even a whiff of letting me borrow it, it will be mine. That gray one there in the middle, it’s my favorite. That Titan’s one has a matching scarf Madre knitted for me. That pink one is for sleeping. Madre tried to borrow the purple one for just a week or two and initially I said yes, but as she was trying to put it on, I kept pulling it off and not letting go and eventually she just gave up and stuck it back in my closet. Some of them are specifically for use in the gym. Some of them are for house cleaning. Some of them are for dates (as if). Some of them are to be paired with jeans on casual Friday. Some of them have matching socks and t-shirts although all of them look good with a lacy camisole. That one up there with the bleach stains? You should know that the zipper is broken meaning I have to wrangle it closed with pliers, and it is two sizes too big, yet I cannot seem to part with it. You want me to go on? No? Really?

What were we talking about? I think I got ever so slightly sidetracked with the hoodies and now have forgotten the entire point I was trying to make. But, uh, I’m on a budget (perhaps it was how you can have a no-money fun weekend? By cleaning?) and I have addictions and these are first world problems.

The end.

P.S. I also have a wrapping paper addiction and am on my second year of a three year wrapping paper purchase ban. I also seem to have great affection for the long sleeved t-shirt. If any of you forgot to buy me a birthday present and feel pretty bad about it, I could give you a few suggestions.

P.P.S. Also, pajamas.

Boy Loves Girl – A Story For Your Heart

There’s a little dollar store I stop in on my way home sometimes to pick up the occasional grocery item.  They don’t carry a lot of things but they have the basics.  They also carry seasonal items, and last week when I stopped to get some necessities, I swung through the Valentine’s aisle to check it out. 

As I was admiring the chocolates, cards, and stuffed animals, a woman walked down the aisle with her two boys.  Initially I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them.  I took my quick glances at the sweet stuff and then moved on to get the items on my list.  I then did a quick walk through of the store, just to see if I “needed” anything else and finally found a check-out line to stand in. 

In the check-out line was a Valentine’s balloon nearly the size of my car.  It was a monstrosity.  The mother and her two boys walked up to stand in line behind me and the youngest boy was instantly captivated by that balloon.  I heard him breathe in sharply and ask, “Mom, do you think she would like this?”

“Well, you already have chocolates and the dog for her.  That’s enough money for today,” she replied.

“But Mom, this would really work.  I just know it.  I’ll pay for it.  I’ll wash dishes,” he pleaded.  Let me clarify.  He was not whining.  He was asking.

“Don’t you think it’s a little big,” she asked.  “It’s probably expensive.”

“I love her, Mom. It has to work.”  I could hear the emotion in his throat. 

Her heart melted.  I felt it.  I turned to look back at him, to get a closer peek.  This boy was maybe nine or ten.  He had red curly hair with red-blonde eyelashes and a million freckles.  He was earnest and sincere and he had the sweetest little eyes.  He also had a stuffed dog under his arm and a heart-shaped box of chocolates with a picture of a guitar on it. 

He saw me looking and explained without my asking, “It’s for my girlfriend.  Well, she was my girlfriend and then I heard at recess that she’s going out with another guy and I have to get her back.  The dog I picked out because it’s colorful, like her, and the guitar I picked out because I like music and I want her to think of me.  Do you think she would like the balloon, too?” 

“I think everything you picked out is just perfect.  I think you chose really well,” I said.  “She must be very special.”

“She is,” he said simply.  “I love her.”  It was all he needed to say. 

They bought the balloon.  I watched them stuff the Valentine gifts in the car and I heard him telling his mom how many nights he would wash the dishes.  I hope that little girl is worth his heart because she sure has it, hook, line and sinker. 

funky-pink-heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I wrote a love story last year, too.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  It’s my favorite one. 

I Am On A Budget. And I Have Some Addictions. These Are First World Problems. (Part One)

I realized a few weeks ago that I have a Chap Stick addiction. I’m not even kidding. I never thought of it as an addiction, of course, because come on, flavored wax? An addiction? Anyway, I was in the airport heading back from Tampa and the TSA agents made us empty our purses of not only traditional liquids but also any lip goo or balm of any sort. I ignored them – always smart. When it was my turn to go through the feel-up-pat-down, they asked me to empty my handbag of all lip products (they were not joking) and go through again.

IMG_2283

The contents of ONE bag in my purse. This does not include my emergency hidden stash, what is at my desk, and the lip stuff stored in the cabinets around the house.

This is a sad state of affairs.

I was laughing about this at work with one of my co-workers who I will call Daisy, and as I was rolling on a layer of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Treatment, she said, “You know that is addictive, right?”

“No, it isn’t,” I said, as I slathered on another layer.

“It is, look it up,” she says.

And so I did. Did you know there are websites devoted to this problem? I mean, pages and pages of testimony and quotes from Dr. Oz (who we all know is never to be questioned), and therapy centers. These websites give tips on how to quit the habit and explain why lip goo is bad for you. I was astounded. I felt so . . . . wrong. I had no idea it was such a problem! Right there I vowed to quit. No way would that be hard. Addictive, my foot.

Day One – I took my shower, brushed my teeth and instead of putting on Chap Stick after my face lotion, I left my lips alone. By the time I was done drying my hair, my lips felt tight and crinkly but I persevered. I drank some water to hydrate my skin and drove to work.

At work, my two favorite lip balms sat by my phone. I looked at them with longing, feeling like my mouth looked like the Sahara Desert, but I tucked them away into a drawer. I reasoned that if they were out of sight, I’d be alright.

“I’m giving up Chap Stick,” I announced to anyone who came to my desk. “That’s why I look like this.”

“Like what?” they’d ask.

“Like I’ve been sucking on a salt lick for days,” I’d say.

“You look fine. I can’t see any difference,” they’d say, and in my head I’d call them a liar.

Daisy checked on me throughout the morning. “You doing okay?” she’d ask. “This dry feeling will pass, I promise.”

Through dry, cracked, dead skin lips I’d croak, “Okay . . .” and she’d go off to get a Diet Coke.

After lunch, where I liberally used a dry, sandpaper napkin, I felt like I had taken a nail file and scrubbed the outline of my lips. I just knew I looked like my lip liner had done something very, very wrong, and I don’t even wear lip liner.

“I’m giving up Chap Stick,” I continued to announce throughout the afternoon, mournful and full of regret.

“Why?” my co-workers asked.

“It’s addictive. I’m an addict.” I’d show them the contents of my purse and they would nod knowingly.

I made it through the afternoon. I’m not sure how. I spent the better part of the hours between one and five in the bathroom, passing through all the water I drank trying to hydrate my cement-like lips. Daisy continued to check on me, offering support and cautioning me to have patience. “I promise, Jimmie. This will pass. You have to give your skin some time to adjust.” I said okay, all the while shooting daggers from my eyes at her. It was the longest afternoon of my life.

At bedtime, I flossed my teeth and drank another glass or two of water. I tucked away all my lip products in drawers so I wouldn’t accidentally use any of them in the middle of the night (I’ve been known to do that.) I went to sleep, dreaming of waxy-like substances in every flavor (except cherry because everyone knows that cherry-flavored Chap Stick is gross). Let me tell you, those were some fulfilling dreams.

Day Two – I awoke to lips that felt . . . .soft. Not crinkly. Not tight and not like cement. I showered and brushed my teeth and smeared on face lotion, drank some water and went to work . . . .

. . . . where I sneezed and split my lip because it was so dry and pulled so tight across my face that there was nowhere for the skin to go except to split during the sneeze. I opened my drawer and withdrew my two favorite lip balms. As I was smearing it across the general vicinity of the lower half of my face, Daisy walked in. “Jimmie . . . .” she breathed. “No . . . .”

I didn’t even feel guilty. Not even a little bit. I put the cap back on my Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lip Treatment, put it by the phone in its place of honor, and then opened the blue tube of Chap Stick and rubbed it all around my lips, too, defiant and uncaring. There they sit to this day, proud, ever-dwindling, my best friends.

Call me what you will. I love lip goo.

P.S. I know I didn’t really cover the Budget portion of my title. Hold, please. This is merely part one.

The Top Five (no) Three (no) Four Reasons I like My Neighbor, Luke

The Top Five Reasons I Like My Neighbor, Luke

The Top Five Three Four Reasons I like My Neighbor, Luke

Why I Like Luke, a list by Jimmie (Gah!)

One – His name is Luke.  It’s my second favorite name of all time, right after Daniel.

Two – I never suspected him of stealing my garbage can.  (The neighbor on the other side of me, however . . . .)

Three – He answers every text I send him, even though most of them begin with the words “Hey, I broke something . . . . are you at home?”

Four – Every time I offer him food, he takes it.  You know how I love a man who eats.  Just last week we had the following text exchange:

Jimmie:  Hey, are you at home?

Luke, being a good neighbor, probably rolling his eyes and wondering what I broke this time:  I’m close.  What’s up?

Jimmie:  I have leftovers.  You want them?

Luke, being a man who loves to eat:  Of course I want them!  I never turn down food. 

And then before I could even send a reply text he was knocking on my door, dressed in a polar bear-sized coat, gloves and a hat.  I felt like I needed to explain that I’d begun a “lifestyle change” (not a diet) and that at midnight my cheat day would officially end and that I could not have the fantastic leftovers in my house or I would eat them and would he please take them off my hands.  He probably heard “blah, blah, blah, free man-food” and snatched it out of my hand, hollered “thanks!” and scampered back to his football game (or whatever) he was watching on his giant man TV. 

He is most helpful to me.  For this I am grateful. 

By the way, my “lifestyle change” is going really well.  I’ve lost four pounds, all of them in my butt.  Yay.

(This was supposed to be a list of five but then I struggled so it became a list of three but then I remembered one more so, a list of four. Writing at its finest, y’all.)