I Can’t Have Anything Nice

Pee-Tah gave me a shop vac once. It’s really nice, a very manly vacuum.  It can suck the paint off the walls if you try hard enough.  I’ve broken it once by hoovering up a bunch of water with it and not turning off the filter.  Or changing the filter.  I really don’t know what I did but it was something with the filter, and Pee-Tah fixed it by purchasing a new filter and installing it.

The other day I tried to clean my dirty new car, and as I stood there with the shop vac hose suctioned to the carpet, I noticed that nothing was cleared. The same dirt I started with was the same dirt I was left with. I was dismayed, thinking that the nap on my new dirty car carpet was too tight to release the hay pieces I picked up somewhere, and I could picture me with tweezers trying to get them out.  (Not really.)

I mentioned this lack of shop vac power to more than one person, and before I tell you their suggestions, I’m going to tell you another story. I’m nothing if not a story teller.

Back ages ago, when I was young and firm (cry), I lived in Colorado. It was a glorious time because Colorado.  It was also glorious because my mother, after having driven my tiny tin foil Karmann Ghia on I-65 through Nashville rush hour traffic, traded that Karmann Ghia in on a giant Jeep Wagoneer with the paneling down the side.  Those hummers are like tanks.  There’s not a lot of damage one can do to a Jeep Wagoneer with paneling down the side in an interstate scrape. I do not know this from experience – I promise you, the only car I ever wrecked was my mother’s Suburban when I backed it into a tree.  Anyway, I had that Jeep Wagoneer which was perfect for Colorado because it had 4-wheel drive and a heater that worked really well.  It also had door locks that would randomly choose to engage and the propensity to eat a starter.  I think I bought five starters during the four-year period I owned that Jeep.

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Representation of a Grand Jeep Wagoneer

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Representation of a wrecked Grand Jeep Wagoneer, which you can see is barely scraped.

Upon reflection, until I bought this silver SUV that looks like every other silver SUV in the world, I’ve never owned a car that didn’t need a lot of unusual vehicle maintenance. The Karmann Ghia had no heater, no defroster, windows that would not go down and an exhaust leak that made me smell great.  The Wagoneer broke starters all the time, and then in one unfortunate incident, the motor seized up which required the purchase of a new motor.  The Dodge Shadow had a paint job that would peel off in huge sheets as I was driving down the interstate and it spent a lot of time in the shop because it would never start. The Rodeo went through brakes like I can go through a bag of cherries, and then I got the Sonata.  98% of this blog is dedicated to Sonata problems so we are all familiar with that.

But! In Colorado, where I was truly on my own for the first time, I dealt with a behemoth of a vehicle that would collapse under the weight of its own greatness every now and again. It didn’t take me long to meet a nice mechanic.  Really, that should be the story of my life.

“Tell me about your life, Jimmie.”

“Well, I met a nice mechanic. Works on cars like a champ.”

Mike was the mechanic’s name, and he could handle tears well. He was responsible for the installation of one of my four starters, and also responsible for fixing my Jeep when it got stuck in 4-wheel drive.  He taught me how to navigate the automatic door locks that would randomly engage, introduced me to Van Morrison, and one day, when my Jeep wouldn’t start, Mike drove up the mountain in the snow to check it out.  I had just driven it and it was fine until it wasn’t.  Mike clambered out of his big truck, over a snowbank, and into my big Jeep.  He popped the hood, checked the 4-wheel drive, turned the key, and then suddenly laughed.

“Jimmie,” he said, “a car won’t start if it’s not in park.” He ratcheted the gear shifter into park and started it right up.  The flames on my cheeks were from the tears, sure, but also the humiliation.  Sigh.

Back to the point of this article – I asked a few people about my shop vac suddenly not sucking and one super nice person said, “I’ll just check the filter for you. Hold on.”  Out he trotted to the garage, and immediately he trotted back in as he bellowed, “Fixed your shop vac! I sucked some paint off the walls with it, just to make sure. Works great!”

He was holding my missing scarf, the silk one that Auntie Anne took from Auntie Susanne to give to Madre, the silk scarf that Madre gave to me when I got a corporate job, the silk scarf I had been looking for over the winter because it went with my nice coat and was professional. It was covered in grease and dirt and crumpled up like a grocery bag, unsalvageable. I have no idea how I sucked that thing up into the hose of my manly vacuum and DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT. How do you people even stand me?

With flaming cheeks I threw my ruined silk scarf into the garbage. Later, to celebrate, I shattered my Pyrex 8×8 pan full of cooked chicken, the pan that I use at least once a week, and dropped my cell phone into a full-of-water sink for the third time.

I’m taking applications for new friends if anyone is in the market. My old friends will surely dismiss me after this.  I bet Pee-Tah never talks to me again.

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Ruint Scarf, Complete with Grease

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Busted Pyrex, Ruint

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Pee-Tah, Ex Friend

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Must Love Dogs, Peru

Do all you get my Christmas card? If not, do you want to? Look, I know cards are pretty when they sit on your mantle spreading cheer for the three days you display them before Christmas, and they make a nice garbage can filler when you toss them, but I do understand that not everyone is enamored of them. Usually they include a poem about someone’s specialness, either the recipient or the Lord, and occasionally you get a signature that says, “Love you, XOXO” but otherwise there’s not a lot of substance. My favorites are the ones with pictures of your family, whatever that format looks like. I don’t have one of those to put on a card but I do try to make my card special with glitter and also a letter in which I am charming and funny. Sometimes I’ll make you cry, and I’ll be honest, that is intentional.

This past December I wrote in my letter about the loss of my kitty varmints, one to old age and one to a sense of adventure (hopefully). It was with no sense of regret that I threw the litter box away although it did take me six months to do it because I remained hopeful that Seamus would return with a wife and children in tow. I do know he lost his neuters at the tender age of “kitten” but a girl can dream.

Anyway, if you receive my card you already know this but if you don’t, surprise! I’m animal free and have been since September which is often really lonely. I pee alone all the time now and I sleep with all six of my pillows all to myself. It’s nice until it isn’t.

Also, since I can’t (won’t) seem to write with any regularity anymore, I’ll also tell you that I recently redid my living room. I got new paint and new furniture and a nice new rug that mostly covers the cat barf stains, and the orange fur coating that once blanketed my house has virtually disappeared. Things look nice and clean, and I’ve been very pleased. It’s just, I guess I can’t have nice things because since the orange fluffy loves of my life disappeared, all I can think about is a dog. YOU ARE NOT TO ENCOURAGE ME. My looking at the Humane Society website daily is encouragement enough. Also my Instagram stalking of all cute dogs, and my seeking out people with dogs, and my researching adoption policies for doggie rescue centers – that’s all I can take.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am not ready for a dog. I have a nice new clean living room with a new rug and new sofas. I travel way too often. I work way too far from home. I do not have expendable income to be spent on bowel surgeries after a dog eats the socks I lost under the new sofa. I don’t particularly like dog licks. My bedroom linens are solid white. I am not prepared. I still want one.

What will save me, I think, is my list of requirements for a dog. I have potential suitor requirements, found here, and I now I have dog requirements. Both of them are strict and if my ring-less left finger is any indicator of how well my strict process lends itself to actually putting a ring on it, I imagine I’ll be dog free for quite some time.

  1. The dog cannot have a dumb name. I’m really over the Hendrixes and the Cobains and the trend of naming pets after weed and then abandoning them to a shelter because you are too burnt to take care of them.
  2. My dog must wear t-shirts. Cool ones but not ones in memory of Hendrix or Cobain or weed.
  3. My dog must not be interested in showing affection by licking.
  4. My dog must not smell like Fritos.
  5. I need a tall dog, a burly dog, a dog with large feet.
  6. My dog must not have social anxiety or panic attacks or need any medication to control his mood disorder. A thunder shirt is fine, though.
  7. No puppies! I need a stately dog, with some wisdom and potty training.
  8. My dog must not need more grooming than me.
  9. My dog must be able to be a couch potato sometimes. We are not taking up distance running, no thank you.
  10. My dog must love dogs.
  11. My dog will be a rescue or adoption.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

I went to Peru, do you remember? Most of this content was a lead in for that question, and for the following photos, a collection I affectionately call “Street Dogs of Peru.” Guys, lookit them!

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I might have tricked you.  One of these might be a llama.  These dogs (and llamas) will also try to trick you. They will look at you with those sad eyes, in a posture of pitiful, but they aren’t, not even the hairless ones.  They are the most well-behaved, healthiest, cleanest dogs you have ever seen.  Happy, too.  Not when you walk by with American pizza, of course, or a street taco, because they want you to feel bad so you will share your delicious treats, those fat little beasts.  Some of them wear clothes and some wear collars. Some of them just roam all night like alley cats.  You won’t catch their names yet they have friends everywhere.  Aren’t they all so cute? Even the hairless ones!

Real Peru coming soon, not just Peruvian dogs.

 

Bye, Friend

Driving home from work yesterday, I passed a granny blue Hyundai Sonata on the back of a tow truck. I looked into the cab of the truck and saw the driver bouncing happily along, knowing he was making money off of that tow, and the passenger looking miserable.  I raised my fist in solidarity as a nod to the passenger and she looked over at me and sighed.

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My old friend, at home on the back of a tow truck

That raised fist would have been better accepted, I think, had I been in my own granny blue Hyundai Sonata, but I wasn’t. I was in my sporty new Toyota Rav4, boring silver in color like 90% of American SUVs.  It runs like a dream, though, and the money I would have spent over the next ten years fixing dumb stuff like the catalytic convertor, the starter (three times), the alternator (twice), the compressor, the blower motor, the bushings, the brakes (countless), etc. I spent in advance to purchase a more mechanically sound vehicle.  I love it.  I’d love it better if I could find it more easily in the Target parking lot amongst the sea of other small silver SUVs, but I do love it.

A week after Woney and I got back from Norway, where we spent all our money, the dashboard in my car lit up like Las Vegas. Every bell and whistle sounded and every light flashed and every buck a bronco could give you kicked off in the engine of my car.  It was humiliating.  I turned the ignition and rode that fair ride all the way to 5th Gear Automotive where Austin said, “Seriously, Jimmie, it is past time.”  Then he sighed and said, “Let me see what I can do.”

Turns out it was one of three things, all of them expensive, and Austin fixed one in the hopes it was the right one. It was, but only for a day, and then I drove my bucking fair ride back home and to work again.  There was no point in spending another $1000 to fix something that was just going to break again anyway and I was tired of meeting tow truck drivers.  Plus every penny I had managed to put into a savings account over the last five years was withdrawn to pay for another fix for that car.

Over the next few days I loaded up with Daisy in her nice, clean, mechanically sound vehicle and we test drove every single affordable SUV on the lot over at CarMax in Rivergate. William was my sales guy, and bless his heart, he was so patient. “Do you even know what you want,” he asked.  Nope, no I did not. I was supposed to wait another year before buying.  I had another year before I would be ready.

Here’s what I could tell William.

  • I wanted leg room
  • I wanted something that was mechanically sound
  • I wanted to be able to make out with my theoretical new boyfriend in the back seat
  • I did not want silver
  • It could not smell like dog or smoke

“That’s not a lot to go on,” he said.

Daisy said, “You don’t even have a boyfriend.”

“I know,” I said to both of them, “whatcha got?”

I drove a Mazda CX-3, a Honda CRV, a Honda HR-V, a Nissan Rogue, a Nissan Murano, and a Toyota Rav4. William kept pushing for a Ford but I wasn’t having it.  Some of them drove like bobsleds and some of them drove like marshmallows, and I realized that I cannot really afford a marshmallow drive which is a shame.  I liked those. I also drove SUVs that smelled like wet dog and smoke, SUVs that were painted silver, and SUVs that were too small to make out with anyone in any backseat.  To test that particular theory, I made William, who was no small chicken himself, get in the back seat with me and have a conversation.

He laughed the first time I asked him to do it. “I’m serious,” I said, and when he looked over at Daisy with his eyebrows raised, she simply nodded at him. He was getting no support from her. In he clambered and in I clambered and Daisy stood guard in the parking lot until I was satisfied we had ample room. Then Daisy clambered into the back seat while William and I took our regular spots and off we’d drive.

Madre came up for the last round of test driving wherein William presented me with a silver Rav4. “I don’t want silver,” I said, and William opened his mouth to let forth a torrent of expletives.  No, I’m kidding.  William had the patience of Job. Actually, I forgot to weave this in, but when driving any of the cars across the lot, William and I had to switch places so that he was the driver on their property.  He never put his seat belt on and the vehicle would ding all the way across the lot and out the gate.  It drove me nuts.  I’d say, “put on your seat belt” and he’d ask, “oh, is it dinging” and I’d roll my eyes and huff, “Yes!”

“Jimmie,” he’d say, “I’m a man. I can tune out any noise.  I can drive this thing from here to Arkansas with no seat belt and never once hear that ding.” I am not that patient.

Anyway, I said, “I don’t want silver” and William said, “We can keep looking.” He meant it.  He was in this with me.  I looked over at my granny blue Hyundai Sonata and remembered how it bucked and rattled and made a disgrace of me and a nuisance of itself, and then I signed the paperwork on my new silver Rav4 while Madre wandered around looking at all the cars I had driven over the last few days.

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My new friend, dirty and mechanically sound

The Sonata now belongs to Pooh who will be 16 soon enough and can use a car. I know you feel some horror upon reading that, but look.  Giving a 16-year-old a nice car is the worst thing you can do.  They get a sense of entitlement and snooty pride which having a car that breaks all the time will destroy.  Standing on the side of the road waiting for your daddy to come get you builds character and makes you appreciate things later in life like silver Rav4s that run great and have plenty of room and don’t smell like dog.  I am slightly shamed by the fact that the door handles have all fallen off the Sonata now.  Only one left on the passenger side back seat door, and it’s likely hanging on by a thread.  Coach is looking into buying new ones but he can only find chrome or black ones, so Pooh is going to be rolling in style.  Builds character.

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I asked Pooh and Tigger the other day this question – if you could pick any car in the world for your first one, what would you choose? Tigger had some elaborate something or other that I cannot recall, but Pooh said, “the Sonata, the same one you gave me.”

I was aghast. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “but I really like it.”

That kid has character.

Healthy Eating

Mary Ann and I went to Newk’s for lunch today and enjoyed enormous Greek chicken salads. That salad features lots of goodies like lettuce (the spiny kind which I love and Daisy hates and also the wimpy leafy kind which Daisy loves and I hate), grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta, red onion (barf), slices of pepperoncini peppers, and artichoke hearts, something I can eat by the jarful.  There’s a delightful vinaigrette poured over it and you are welcome to supplement your lunch with Newk’s very own pickles, capers, jalapeños, parmesan shreds, roasted whole garlic cloves, crunchy bread sticks and/or croutons.  Newk’s also plays it fast and loose with their tea selections so really, it’s a very interesting lunch place no matter how you cut it.  I love tea.

Mary Ann and I yapped about changes at work while we ate to the very last lettuce leaf, yes even the wimpy leafy kind, and as we were leaving we saw a couple of men having the same kind of earnest conversations we just had. I’d say that they were enjoying salads with lots of additions but the truth is, only one of them was doing that.  The other man had the saddest looking salad I’ve ever seen in my whole life.  He had ordered the kale Caesar with no croutons, light cheese (apparently) and dressing on the side, so basically he had a bowl of raw kale fluff with four shreds of parmesan.  You could tell he thought it was sad, too, because mostly he sat at the table with his arms crossed while he talked and very occasionally he’d load up his fork with a wad of stiff kale and one corner of parmesan shred, delicately dip one kale curly into his dressing-on-the-side, and chew for six minutes while he tried to choke it down.  Look, I’m into health, truly, but you cannot convince me no how no way that a bowl of raw kale is an excellent lunch.  It’s not even an excellent side item.  I think he’s in the midst of a mid-life crisis, to be honest. He looked like the sort.

Speaking of men, and follow me here, I have a new roommate. He got here in September and then promptly got sent away for work so basically he pays me to store his things while he Armys off to protect dams and other federal structures.  In the month he actually resided in my home, I learned that he’s a huge fan of German food and also cake, which I can get on board with.  What I’m struggling with is that he enjoys cooking the German food and also baking the cake, and on the first pass I can see why you’d look at me in askance.

“Jimmie, everyone knows a man working in the kitchen is hot, hot, fire, and then usually there’s food afterwards, so why the struggle?”

Right. First, this is just one example of what my table looks like after his cooking is done.

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A tablecloth is not a cutting board, nor is it a napkin. You should see my floor, too, holy moly.

Secondly, new roomie wants to eat healthy. Again, “Jimmie, you have moaned about your extra hips for years, why is this a problem, you high maintenance heifer?”

Right. It’s just that his idea of eating healthy is to add red onion to everything.  Also, if we are being specific, garlic.  And then he substitutes the pork, beef, and chicken with turkey, the vegetables with spinach, any bread items with crushed Triscuits, sugar with agave nectar, flour with coconut flour, baking powder with tapioca starch, chocolate chips with grated unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and sugar free jelly for fruit. Plus he doesn’t read instructions so things like “add three whole cloves to the sauce” somehow means, “the recipe called for cloves but I’m not sure the quantity so since I have a full package, I guess 1/4 of it will work.”

“Would you like beef rouladen for dinner? You can have turkey with spinach, onion, and garlic but we will call it rouladen because it’s rolled.”*

“How about schnitzel with a potato dumpling? Sounds great!  Have this turkey with spinach, onion, and garlic!  It’s just like the rouladen but this one has a crispy Triscuit coating that got burned in the skillet.”*

“Want some cake? Pictured is a slab of chocolatey goodness covered in a fudge-like ganache but I subbed a few things and this patty of coconut flour sadness features lemon curd, a custard that never set but pooled in the center of the cake plate and on to your tablecloth, and more maraschino cherries than is good for a person.  It’s delicious and has a delicate clove essence!”*

*I might be paraphrasing.

*And he does eat a lot of red cabbage so maybe I’m slightly unfair.

You can tell he doesn’t even see the problem because he presents each dish with a flourish by waving the plate in your general direction and wafting the steam towards you with his hand. He also says, “TA DA!” and then struts around the house like a peacock while I drag the tablecloth to the washing machine for another bleaching. The first time he made a cream sauce with coconut flour, he poured the sauce over the turkey schnitzel and took a giant bite.  As his mouth worked against the glue the coconut flour created, he wrinkled his nose slightly and gave an involuntary, nearly imperceptible shudder as he said, “It works!  It’s good! Want some?”

I demurred, “I already ate, I’m stuffed, I couldn’t possibly take food from you as my tenant.” Look, I ate Roomie’s food all the time, and also Daniel’s and my cousin’s and the other roommate I never told you about, Amy.  It’s just, coconut.  Ugh.  You know?

I will say this – he’s as skinny as a bean, much like Peter, so perhaps there is a lesson in here that I’m too obtuse to see?

We had a snow day recently wherein I got house bound by an entire inch of white powder. I took that opportunity to clean and organize the pantry, the spice cabinet, the cabinets under the sink, and the closet that holds all my books.  I also tackled the refrigerator and as I threw away my enormous bag of fermenting kale I truly had intended to use in a Caesar salad, I noticed several containers stuffed in the back of the fridge, hidden behind Roommate’s delicious Cherry Cokes.  Old containers of every cream sauce he has made with coconut flour, an entire bowl of crushed almonds that had been sweetened with agave nectar and left to harden into an almond mold that would not let go of the sides of the bowl, and a red onion growing fur crowded the shelf.  The true lesson here is that he doesn’t want to eat that crap either.  When he serves it, we sit at the table with our arms crossed while we have earnest conversations and very occasionally load up our forks with a wad of his “ta da” offerings to delicately dip one burnt turkey corner into our coconut flour cream sauce and chew for six minutes while we try to choke it down.

It’s great! Please bring dinner.

Hot Guys Of Norway

Good evening! Is today a good day?  I just made myself sleepy by looking at Norway photos where I had time to sleep as late as I wanted but not the inclination because the sun never really went down.  I gave you plenty of time to sort through my landscape photos and today we are shifting focus to the real reason Woney and I went to Norway: hot guys. <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

I was fully prepared to meet the love of my life in Bergen as evidenced by the weight I lost before taking the trip and the plumping lip goo I carried in my bag. I’m going to deliver a spoiler and tell you that I did not come home with a hot Norwegian man.  I would have lead with that via billboard and wedding invitation.

However! I did meet some hottie hot hotties and I’m here to tell you about them now.

First up was Marco. A quick aside about Marco.  He was the first thing in Norway to make me cry which will be included in a separate post titled: Things That Made Me Cry In Norway.  Please stay tuned for that.  Anyway, Marco was a pianist and also one of three tour guides for the two mile hike Woney and I took through the woods to a grotto (which in America we would simply call a cave).  We had visited the home of Ole Bull, more about that coming later, and after the house tour, we set off for a walk in the rain to the grotto.  We were implored to go ONLY IF our shoes could take the journey as it was gloppy and mucky.  No one mentioned appropriate footwear neither in the ticket booth nor on the informational literature so I had opted for fun over functional in the hopes I would find my hot guy on day one.  Well.

I asked the three tour guides if my shoes would work, making especially sure that I hiked my pants above my ankle so that Marco could see my well-turned foot bones, etc. and despite all of them musing, “meh,” I opted to go. Woney was going to do it on her new titanium knee and one of the tour guides was wearing rubber rain boots and carrying an apple basket so I figured I’d be okay.  How hard could it be?  I’d just go slow and hang on to somebody’s arm, perhaps Marco’s!  And for a while, that’s what I did.

But then what had happened was, I was following feet instead of bodies and some of those feet took a detour but in the rain I couldn’t really see that so I found myself at the top of a slippery precipice which featured stunning views but lots of rain and fog and heather and mud. “Huh,” I mused.  “Where’s the rest of the group?  Where’s Woney?  Where’s Marco?  Where’s the lady with the apple basket in the rubber boots?”  I found none of these answers but I found Margaret and her husband on the precipice with me, and we made our way down the rocks amongst the heather, Margaret clutching her husband and me clutching Margaret.  Things were going swimmingly until I hit one rock just the right way with my “meh” shoes, and in the space it takes a hummingbird’s wings to flap, I was on my ass in the mud, my head buried in a bed of wet heather.  I looked up to see Marco turn the corner, a look of horror on his face, and then he sprinted towards me.  You’d think I’d be pleased what with Marco sprinting in my direction to save me, but the truth is, Margaret was no spring chicken and I had taken her down with me.  Yes.  I took a white haired old lady down into the mud and heather, and not only was I humiliated, but I think I hit so hard that I peed a little which is not really the way to properly introduce yourself to a hot Norwegian man, even if he has already seen your well-turned foot bones, etc.

We all made sure Margaret was okay and we got most of the mud off my butt (Marco did not help) but the mood was ruined.  We then made our way to the grotto where I took this stunning picture so in the end, I guess I’m okay.

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No, I did not get a good picture of Marco.  Of course I didn’t.

A couple of days later, Woney and I took the Norway in a Nutshell tour (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) and I experienced the second and third things in Norway that made me cry. Stay tuned! Post coming soon! Part of that tour included a ride on the Flam Railway which is just about the most scenic trip I have ever taken in my life.  I guess it was the same for everyone because the great seats Woney and I snagged were soon squished with other eager passengers, two of which were Magnus and Stiegan, and Magnus was gorgeous.  Wait. Magnus was GORGEOUS.  My word, his legs, his oddly green eyes, his manly jaw.  He sat next to me and I thought my ovaries were going to burst.  Not only was he beautiful but he was interesting and friendly, not very common in Norway.  The Norwegians are not a friendly people.  Not unfriendly, mind you, but not in your face friendly like we are here in the South.

Anyway, we had a couple of hours to yap with Magnus who is an orthopedic surgeon (!) and also Stiegan who I do want to mention because he was nice although a little homely, and things were going quite well. I figured, “what the hey, I’ll see if I can get a selfie with him,” because I had used my lip plumping goo and thought we’d look nice together, but the minute I whipped out my phone, Magnus fell into paroxysms of “No!  I can’t allow photos to be taken!  I am terrified of biomolecular biological technology and facial recognition!” and I wondered if maybe he’s a wanted man?  Was I sitting next to a criminal of some sort, like a playboy ax murderer?  It felt a little weird and Woney and I made eyes at each other like, “Is he serious or just a fruit loop?”

Later Magnus and Stiegan offered us a drink but it was a warm can of beer out of a box and they were hiding behind a pole so that the train conductor would not see them drinking at the train station. Plus they both donned ladies sunglasses, so all-in-all, I think Woney and I dodged a bullet from a bonafide fruit loop.

You will understand that we did not get a photo of Magnus. Or Stiegan.  Trust me, Magnus was a hottie.  And sure, Stiegan was nice.  It was this train ride where I took this stunning photo so I’m okay with no hot guy photos.

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Finally, Woney and I took a second scenic cruise that featured a wad of fjords and also the fourth thing in Norway that made me cry. That promises to be an exciting post so be sure and look for it!  I was standing on the deck of the boat, my hair whipping in the wind and my mouth hanging open as I looked at our beautiful world, when a hottie hot hot guy said, “Hey.  It’s gorgeous isn’t it?” And that was it. We were off and running.  I’ve never met a more me person than me before until I met Dhruv.  “Hey, want to take a selfie real quick?” he asked.  DO I! “Hey, want to try my snacks?” he asked. DO I!  “Hey, can I have a hug before we part ways?” he asked. CAN HE!  “Hey, should we try to get together before we both leave for our home countries?” he asked. SHOULD WE!  Poor Woney.  She is used to me and loves me but I think it was a bit much for her to have two of me all in one spot.  Oh, she tried all the snacks and took all the selfies and gave all the hugs but it was more “your new friend is cute and you do what you like, but pajamas are calling my name” than it was “yes, let’s have lunch and breakfast and tours of the leprosy museum with a midnight meeting for some more food, yay, new friends!”

Dhruv and I tried hard to get together again but in one teensy way Dhruv is not like me (aside from his nationality and heritage and gender, of course) in that he wants to hike at every opportunity. I like hiking, sure, but I do get tired like a normal human and so it never happened.  He went hiking and Woney and I went shopping.  We are connected, though, and Woney and I plan on heading to London soon to meet up with some of our new friends, Dhruv included.

Yes, I did get some good pictures of Dhruv and I present him here for your viewing pleasure. Ain’t he cute?  Plus the whole vibe is “stunning photo” so I feel good about it.  I’ve got Dhruv’s deets for any of you interested in meeting a man with a British accent and excellent teeth.  I’ll take you with us to London.  Woney will be so pleased.  <insert Woney’s eye roll here>

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Crush: Addendums and Furtherances

I love Chipotle.

There, I said it. I’m not sorry. I remain unfazed in the face of norovirus and rat reports.  I would eat there every day if given the opportunity.

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This ^ is a Chipotle Chicken Bowl

 

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This ^ is some guacamole

 

Woney loves Chipotle, too, maybe with the same zeal that I have. This is convenient because soon she and I will strap ourselves in a plane to meet in Detroit, and we are hopeful to find a Chipotle. What, you don’t fly to Detroit to have lunch with a friend?  Just me?

Below is a list of my friends who like Chipotle:

  • Woney
  • Squash
  • Nurse Bananahammock
  • Felix
  • Kindle
  • Freddie
  • Quan
  • Javier
  • Martie
  • Madre
  • Pooh
  • Tigger
  • Coach
  • Daisy

I feel like Daisy is the one I have to most persuasively convince that we won’t die of Ebola if we consume some guacamole on top of delicious spicy chicken, but despite her affection for reading the news, I can usually manage to drag her in there. That’s because I’m bossy and she is nice.

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I don’t know how long her patience with me will last once she reads the below, though. I may lose her.

A story, by Daisy:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 52 times when I was a kid. I don’t know how my parents could afford it but my brother and I saw it every week for months.  Brother had Star Wars posters in his room, tons of them, and I would stare at Luke Skywalker all the time. I loved him.  I was eight, and this was real.  I knew that he lived in California because I read it in Teen Beat, and I knew that when I got to California and he saw me, he would love me back.  He would just know I was his and he was mine, I was certain.

“I asked my parents for a plane ticket. They were in the kitchen cooking spaghetti for dinner.  When I asked, they laughed, a parents’ affection for their baby child.  It took them too long to realize I was serious, that I was not going to be placated.  They put down their stirring utensils and explained that I could not go to California. That was not possible.  They probably touched my arm and looked me right in the eyes with love.

“I weighed maybe 60 pounds but I flung every bit of that 60 pounds down the hall and into my room where I planted my face into my pillow and wailed. I was devastated.  That was my first real heartbreak.  All of my dreams were dashed at age eight by my mean, mean parents who never let me fly to California to meet my love.  I know exactly how Pooh feels.”

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A story, by Jimmie:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 28 times when I was a kid. Madre would make plans to go to the movies with her friends, and she would drop me and Martie off at the Luke Skywalker show and then go see her grown up movie sans children.  It was the 70s; people did that back then.

“I loved Luke Skywalker. I always preferred blondes.  I felt like if he had less nose and fewer ears, I could really fall in love with him, but he was still pretty cute. I’d have married him if he asked.”

I’m sorry, Daisy, but I loved him, too. Do you think we will come to blows over him?  I never told you because I want to keep you as a friend, and everyone knows once you have a catfight over a man, you can’t be friends anymore.  Sadly, I’d bet on you to win.  You are scrappy and I’m a marshmallow.

Daisy is driving me to the airport so that I can meet Woney in Detroit. I might have misled you when I said we were meeting for lunch.  We are meeting for lunch, but then we are going to strap ourselves into a plane to travel to Amsterdam and then do it again to travel to Bergen.  That’s in Norway, bitches!

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Bergen ^

 

Why Norway, you ask? Let me just tell you.  Woney and I were planning our next big trip and we made fancy lists on Excel spreadsheets detailing our travel bucket lists, the money we’d need to get there, and what we could do there.  Norway was not on the list.  Spain was, though, and that was mostly because neither of us would have to drive and because it’s pretty.  We were both gung ho about it until I found myself on Instagram following Pooh and Tigger and also some hot Norwegian guy named Lasse Matburg.  Also gung ho about it until Madre and I took Pooh and Tigger to Key West last year and then decided to stay a week in JULY which is HOT and also FIERY and also HOT.  I could not breathe, so when Woney called to yap, I opened with this:

“Oh, hello heifer, we are not going to Spain, FUCK THAT, it is hot as you-know-what down here and Spain is worse and I am not, I repeat, AM NOT going anywhere near the Equator, Woman, we are going to Norway where is it not hot plus there’s this Instagram model hottie named Lasse and I’d like to get a gander at those Nordic men, hey.”

And Woney said, “Well, hello to you, too. I could do Norway.”

So basically we picked it because it’s not hot and Lasse Matberg. Woney doesn’t like him at all which leaves more for me, yay! Plus I am bossy and Woney is nice.

I was lamenting to Daisy that I didn’t lose all those extra layers of fatty cushion I needed to so that I could look frail and cold in Norway and perhaps be comforted by Lasse or similar as I shivered on a fjord. Have any of you noticed that it is harder to find hottie hot hot men that that prefer squishy, white, middle aged women anymore?  Anyway, I guess I lamented too much because this exchange happened with Daisy last week:

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Is Daisy still being nice to me? Or is this a sick attempt by her to play upon my affections, my very 13-year-old teenage hormones/ heart longings in an effort to trick me into dying a horrible noro-Ebola virus death so she can have Luke Skywalker all to herself?

I still didn’t lose all the weight.

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^Hot

 

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^Fiery

 

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In case it wasn’t clear, this ^ is fiery hot Lasse Matberg

 

I stole all these pictures from the innernet, Lord, please have mercy on my soul.  And my ovaries.

Online Dating: A Nashville Woman’s Perspective

Women’s biggest fear in online dating is that they will be harmed in some way, that they aren’t safe. Men’s biggest fear in online dating is that their date will be fat.

~astute observation made by someone whose name I cannot recall

In the interest of fairness regarding Wednesday’s post, my last bout of online dating resulted in dates with five very nice gentlemen. It didn’t seem that any of them cared about my fat although one of them did dump me right after he asked for a second date.  It was my favorite way to get dumped, though!  He explained that he had a great time, that he wanted to do it again, and asked if he was tall enough for me.  I enthusiastically replied with all positive answers and then a few days later when I texted him, he wrote back, “Oh.  Hey, girl.”

If ever I find myself on the dumpee end of a budding one-date relationship, I’m using that! “Oh. Hey, dude”.  Effective, ain’t it?

Y’all, I don’t even know why I thought I wanted to date men right now. I feel like I’m an amazing person, not in an ego way, but in the way that I’ve worked hard to have a nice life, a good attitude, joy, and peace. That makes me pretty special, at least to me, because I’m as close to the person I want to be as I’ll ever get. Then something gets squirrely and I find myself hopeful with a dash of wild hair and hop online to peruse my selections, like in a grocery store aisle.  Most of what I see is a huge disappointment.  I mean, I’m always going to select Vlasic pickles over some generic wimpy-looking pickle, but at least in Kroger there are entire shelves devoted to the many variants of the Vlasic pickle and I can make my selections accordingly. In Nashville, the men selections are becoming increasingly the same, the wimpy-looking generic pickle, and those generic pickles are a pretty pathetic substitute for my really nice life full of joy and peace and contentment.

I’d like to paint a picture for those of you who have never online dated but are curious about it. I feel like doing some quick math here will demonstrate my point.

Conservatively speaking, I’ve swiped either yes or no on about 1,000 men. I’d say that 88.2% of those men’s profiles said one (not more) of the following:

  • *crickets*
  • I’m just me.
  • If you want to know anything, just ask.
  • I’m fluent in sarcasm.
  • I work hard and play hard.
  • I’m looking for my partner in crime.
  • Oh, and add five years to my age.
  • Facebook made my age younger than it really is and I can’t change it.
  • Looking for spontaneous and adventurous (note: this means hookup).

You are probably thinking, “I see nothing inherently wrong with any of those sentences.” I would agree except our reasonable math here will explain my dilemma.  88.2% of that 1,000 equals  882 men, which leaves 118 men who did not type out one of the above phrases.  Or non-phrases if we are being picky.  When you read the same phrases 882 times, you begin to see a pattern, and I’d venture to say it becomes tiresome after reading it the first 200 times.

Now, of those 1,000 men, roughly 60% of them are in Nashville to pursue some kind of career in music, or if not career, then at least fame. That means that they post country music rock star pictures of themselves on a mountain with their thumbs hooked in the pockets of their tight Buckle jeans and wearing hemp choker necklaces, usually with a hat of some sort pulled low over their eyes which are looking pensively off into the distance.  Actually, that’s picture one. Picture two involves the instrument or mic of their choice and also usually involves someone’s arm in the right-hand corner raised up with a lighter.  The amount of fame increases the amount of arms.  Note I said fame, not skill.  To continue our math, and to make it easy, let’s say that of those 118 men left who wrote more than one original complete sentence, 60% of them are pursuing some sort of music fame.  That is 71 men.

It is relevant to note here that I will never date a musician. I have a thousand reasons for that, not least of which is the significant other is so far down on the priority list, after fame and fans and instruments, and groupies, and roadies and so on, that there might as well not be a significant other.  So my pool of potentials now drops from 118 to 47.

Going back to our original numbers, I’d guess that 30% of the men online are either A) married (you can tell by the lack of photos or the lack of non-dog pictures) or B) in a polyamory relationship (most of them say their wives are okay with it, but call me skeptical.) I, for one, don’t share.  No thanks.  So using our math skillz, let’s say 30% of the remaining 47 men are not available for a single monogamous relationship.  That leaves us with 33 men.

Now we must factor out my dealbreakers:

  • If I can’t see your eyes, I swipe no
  • If your name is Fred, I swipe no
  • If you have used every available filter readily available to you so that all of your pictures have BEER THIRTY emblazoned on the bottom, I swipe no
  • If you are an atheist, I swipe no
  • If you say your children are your entire world, I swipe no because clearly there is no room for anyone else in your life
  • If you say that at 50 you are hopeful to still start a family, I swipe no

I forgot to add in the scammers, all of which claim to be military men who have been stationed in a foreign country, because everyone knows that all lonely, sad, single women are patriots who cannot wait to send their money to the Nicaraguan claiming to be Army in Lebanon. For the sake of easy math, let’s combine them in with all of the above and give that group a conservative percentage of 20.  That leaves me with 27 men from whom I can make my pickle selections, and 20 of them are terrified that their dates will be fat.  So I got seven, five of whom I had at least one date with.  And of those five, I am terribly afraid to report that not one of them is my person for one reason or another.  Every single one of them lovely, a Claussen at the very least, but not mine.  And typical for my experiences with online dating.

The funny part of me wants to say, “I’ll just move to Alaska where there are .2 women for every 100 men and I’ll be wildly popular!” But the real part of me wants to say, “You know what? I’m okay.  I’m happy.  I’ve worked hard to be this person and I like her. I like her friends.  I like her family, and mostly I like her life.  So thanks, generic pickle, but I’ll wait on my Vlasic because a squishy wimpy soggy pickle is no substitute for the real thing, and honestly, I’m pretty happy with this bowl of olives that is my current life right here in front of me that includes no pickle at all.”

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