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Weather taunters

I live in the Midwest. It gets cold and snowy here. And apparently this winter, it’s getting cold and snowy in lots of unexpected places too. We call it winter. Others call it the end of the world. 

I’m so tired of people talking, hearing, singing, texting, posting and praying about the weather.  The way I see it, those that I see posting from their fancy iPhones or calling from their Bluetooth really don’t have much to complain about.  I mean, not compared to people struggling to pay their heating bills or get food when pantries are closed. But that’s for another day; The day I talk about how people are so myopic they need to be reminded to be compassionate and grateful.

No, this missive today is about weather taunters. First, If I hear one more person at the grocery store smugly say “so much for global warming,” I’m going to personally ram Al Gore’s arm up their bung hole to remove their larynx. And THEN there are people that moved away from the Midwest to warmer climates. Why is there a need in social media or even via a birthday card through the good ole USPS, that people are compelled to gloat about their sunny weather– snapping pictures of their drinks on the pier, commenting on their sweaty hike at the park?  Beach dwellers cannot fathom why someone would not want to live in an area with big spiders, waves or collapsing earth that swallows up houses, parades of silicon implants, fake spikey grass and fugitives hiding out in dirty motels or seaside trailer parks. But we exist. And many of us choose to stay in four seasons.

There is this classism element in their comments reminiscent of an aristocrat on the Titanic offering commentary on the elements of their steamer trunks to those of us staying below the deck, clothes packed in a potato sack.

“Natalie, while you’re shoveling snow, I’m doing this,” says a Facebook post with a photo of her sandy feet with the glistening ocean in the background.  My response in my head: Sand spiders & melanoma, cool.

“Why I moved to L.A. #noblizzards #iamtoasty #chicksinbikinis365”.  Attached is the temperature gauge in their cool car.  Response in my head: Even if you were trapped in a lambo in 150-degree heat, chicks in bikinis wouldn’t save you, you douche.

I don’t say these things, aloud. Not yet. But now, the past week or so with the frigid temps sweeping the country, the taunters have become whiners. Now they have to find socks to wear because It’s 50 degrees. Cabin fever starts in on day 2. The liquor displays at all stores have been decimated. Gone are the stylized photos with filters. I hope they will survive.

On the other hand, we Midwesterners have hunkered down, amped up the fireplace, dug into our always ready supply of booze and have shipped the kids to the neighbors for a play date.

I gotta go, I need to instagram a pic of my fuzzy slippers in front of the fireplace, with my dog Sam sleeping peacefully nearby. Taunt this, whiners.




Celebrity Dating Double Standards

Why is it that celebrities seem to be able to pull off most fashion choices? I mean, except for Billy Idol, but come on, it was the 80s and anything was game then. But seriously, I see a video with Keith Urban rocking out, casually owning his guitar, singing smiling and I think “ahhh, lucky Nicole”. But at second glance I start pondering. 

Why is it sexy for Keith Urban to wear that Kate Jackson hair? I mean, he’s frickin’ adorable and part of the image is his no-fuss yet perfectly perfect hair framing that smile. But if I were sitting across the bar from a regular guy with that haircut, I would not likely think to myself “bet he’s a killer singer and devoted dad, maybe an organic cook.”  Instead, I might think, “bet his drives a van with lots of smoke billowing out of it.”  And there is Jesus, I mean Jared Leto. Holy hell! I would totally wash his feet. But truth is that I’m more likely to let him forgive me sins long before any average Peter or Paul fishing at the beach.

And celebrity fashion. Why the double standard of acceptance on my part? I am so forgiving when I see it on the pages of rumor mags but if pass by a super cute guy in skinny jeans, a la Harry Styles, at the grocery, I secretly snarf to myself. When I’m drooling over a photo of Matthew McConaughey in a green velvet jacket or Hazza with hair band and shirt unbuttoned to his pubic hairs, I try to think of what my reaction would be if Joe Schmoe showed up at my door dressed like this. (I actually envision the board of the 1970s game Mystery Date.)  If I opened that door with the tiny little knob and saw my date with too much hair product, shiny boots and torn jeans, how would I react? Would I politely smile though my butt-hole scrunched up forming the words Oh Geez?

Or would I ask for his autograph?

TV envy

Note to self:  When you’re unemployed, single and dateless, do NOT watch day-long marathon episodes of Sex in the City.  You’ll end up hating your life, your clothes, your unhatted head and your over-4-foot-over-110lb frame.  And you will loathe every man at the bar that doesn’t send you a drink poured into a Manolo Blahnik.

Ikea at Check Out: Awkward

Ikea at Check Out: Awkward

Impulse shopping for kidnappers?

Snooze Button Math

And so begins my morning battles when, in my mind, the notion of stepping out of bed is like deciding to leave a velvety room to run barefoot across a frozen field. Calculations of how long it actually takes to ready for work are constantly revisited.

Out Of The Woods

What is the fascination with Sasquatch? I’m not certain I understand the Yeti fever. First, I would argue that I’ve seen Sasquatch time and again on Because apparently a girl like me only attracts men the size of trucks covered in fur coats. So, I’m not sure why it’s considered such a rare sighting.

Is it because he is wandering in the elements, in the cold? Or the notion that he is not wearing pants and enjoys a cat hors d’oeuvre from time to time? I don’t know. But I can’t tell you that watching TV shows that interview parodies of people to verify the presence of the elusive Big Foot, does nothing to legitimize his presence. Mostly, it makes me google “effects of glue sniffing in cabin life”.

Another Boys’ Weekend In The Rinse

It was the annual boys’ trip for the State basketball tournaments. It was an assortment of men of various ages from our small hometown, which was comprised of a lot of characters and mostly professional recreational drinkers. My best friend Schlit and I were prepared to host the out-of-towners with some bad pub food, strong drinks and co-ed bars where they can drool over young girls that think of them as grandfathers. The first night was too much fun. Schlit and I decided to rent a hotel room rather than drive back to our homes. We crashed at a Hampton Inn, me fully dressed on a pull-out couch, he face down on the bed in the bedroom. At some point, I hear Schlit leaving the room, saying he was going to grab something to eat. I grumbled, rolled over and was back to sleep in no time. A matter of time later, I hear him return to the room, shuffle to the bed and plop down. But then….I sensed something. Lying on my stomach I looked up to the chair next to my bed. And there sat a strange man.

“What the?” I jolted up in bed.

“Um, wow, this is awkward,” confessed the stranger. He went on, “I ran into your friend in the lobby. He said there was a party up here.” Then behold the world’s longest pause. He didn’t know how to continue so I helped him.

“Clearly there isn’t”.

And he got up and walked out of the room as easy as if he’d simply dialed a wrong phone number.

When Schlit and I woke on Saturday, I chastised him for bring home strays then we laughed and made a plan to go grab lunch. You can’t be mad at Schlit when you’re hung over and hungry. We grabbed lunch and, with little discussion with each other, both ordered drinks. And Day Two of our fun was soon underway.

I intended to go home at some point to shower and change. That never happened since fun kept me in its grasp. I called my roommate and asked her to bring me clothes. I changed in the bar bathroom. I’m classy that way. The day ran into night at the Ringside Tavern where it’s not unusual to see drunks hugging each other or sleeping by 11:00am. It became our home base and strangers came and went and more of our friends came streaming in to join us as the day ran on.

And then.

A drunk Schlit was standing at the bar. He may or may not have brushed his hand against a fit young woman’s buttocks. I cannot confirm nor deny as I didn’t see it. What I did see though was this young gal’s behemoth boyfriend walking toward Schlit from the other end of the bar, eyes glaring red, I think I heard knuckles cracking. Schlit was clueless as he leaned on the bar sipping his drink, occasionally looking at himself in the mirror hanging behind the bartenders. I did what any friend would do and tried to intervene — by jumping on the giant’s back just as he was reaching Schlit. Arm around Andre the Giant’s neck, I wriggled and kicked and scratched and kicked. The caveman was caught off guard and reeled like one would if a tiny bird came out of nowhere and flew into your wig. Hangs flailing, my clinging and swinging from his neck, Optimus Prime staggered backwards – away from a still unsuspecting Schlit. Schlit not ONCE looked into the mirror to see the arm-waving comedy that was happening just behind him. Sully stepped back… back… back through a door and then we were in the men’s bathroom. Adrenline kicked in and as he stumbled backward, my feet touched the ground and I wrenched my choke hold to the right. King Kong was on the ground. “Now what,” I thought to myself in disbelief. Luckily, bar staff and helpers – not Schlit, by the way – rushed in to my aid and the guy was kicked out of the bar. Turns out said Jolly (not green) Giant and his girlfriend had a habit of fighting in the bar. Great.

I emerged from the bathroom, sheet white and shaking. Schlit remained in his own world, singing at the bar, never for a minute knowing what happened. But suddenly his attention was drawn to the girl, because she was crying. “You know why? Because her boyfriend was kicked out after he and I scuffled,“ I wanted to yell, but Schlit was oblivious to this. So, soon, he is trying to befriend the girl. And then he invites her come back to the hotel with our crew. I try to update him on the goings-on and alert him that Mr. Massive is still “out there” and we would surely be jumped – this time the oaf would be on MY back. Nonsense, Schlit conveys. I walk away from him to keep from jumping on HIS back and dragging him into the men’s room to toss him onto a urine-covered floor.

I stood waiting for the rest of our party to finish beers and gather for the walk back to the hotel. I see a Martha Plimpton look-alike standing near me and we make eye contact. I tell her I like her hair color. She says thank you and then rambles “Thanks. He likes this color. He told me stand here. So I’m standing here.”  I think to myself “ho boy” and start to slowly inch away.

Eight Mile with hood up comes bounding up and flings his arm heavily around Martha’s neck.

“Hey, what’s up?”

 I nod and smile awkwardly.

“Hey, you and your friends gonna go party? Want to party?”

My freak meter is going off. “Um,” I start. “We are going to go drink somewhere else.”

“Cool. You like to party,” he inquires, taking a step toward me, Martha’s head still in a lock.

Abort. Abort. The freak meter is squealing.

“Well,” I look around nervously for my friends. “We just drink. We aren’t into drugs, if that’s what you mean.”

Eight Mile found this delightful and cackled, dropping his choke hold from Martha. He shifted to an aggressive hand hold, one in which the recipient is not really considered a participant. He leaned his hoodie too close to me.

“No. No.” he chuckled and felt it important to clarify. “No, party with us. You know, a threesome,” he slithered as he gave me the once-over.

In that moment, I felt everything go completely silent. Not even a needle-on-an-album scratch for effect. I was craning my neck for someone, anyone. I made frantic eye contact with a stranger nearby who sensed my S.O.S.  The stranger stepped forward and said “Hey” and stood near me to indicate we were friends.

“Hi,” I said to Samaritan-Man, then I turned to Eight Mile and said “No thanks. I’m not interested.” Why did I have to say “thanks” as if I was just offered a cream with my coffee?

Eight Mile shrugged his shoulder and shifted his attention to Martha. Lord knows what conversation followed.

“Thank you,” I said turning to the stranger who preserved my dignity. And we shuffled a distance away from the two-some-seeking-threesome. I finally got a look at this Samaritan. “Hey, you look familiar. Do I know you?”

He shifted his eyes to the floor and kicked his toe at something not there before he responded, “yeah, um, I was the guy in your room last night.”

My crew of friends came swarming at me in that second, ready to continue drinking at the hotel as the bar was closing. Somehow, the stranger was also at the same hotel so joined our party. Blessedly, Schlit’s A.D.D. mixed with drunkenness meant he forgot about inviting the crying girl to join us. Whew. Stranger guy and his 3 friends and several of my friends sat in the lobby with some bottles of whiskey, chatting and continuing the party. The desk clerk didn’t seem to care. I sensed he needed the company to work that night shift. I hadn’t noticed the Schlit left the table at some point but then one of the guys said “your friend is calling you from down the hall.”

Huh? I made my way in the direction they pointed and found Schlit with his head poking through the cracked door of some room. “Hey,” I offered.

“Hey, do you have any quarters,” he asked unflinching as he opened the door wider only for me to discover that he was standing in the hotel guest laundry room. And he was standing in only a shirt. ONLY a shirt.

“Do you have any quarters,” he repeated, fixing on keeping my eyes locked with his.

“Oh, yes. Hold on,” I tried to say casually as I walked back to my purse sitting with the guys in the lobby. They inquired what was happening but I had no idea how to explain it so I just kept walking back toward the door; The door where my half-naked friend was washing his shit-stained pants. Sigh. My life.

“Thanks,” he said taking the quarters. I turned to leave him but couldn’t help but think what he was going to do while the clothes continued their drying cycle. I backed up and looked into the window in the laundry room door. There he was, in all his drunken naked-ass glory, elbows leaning on the washing machine like he was waiting for the AAA representative to finish mapping out his trip tik.

It’s really difficult for an evening to really get any better – or worse – than that moment. Or so, you would think. I returned to the table and only the stranger was still there. We sat up awhile longer partially because it was late and we were flirting with brining a steamy closure to our initial awkward introduction. That would materialize, by the way. But the other reason to stay in that lobby was so that we could watch Schlit emerge from the laundry room as if he were casually stepping off the elevator. Priceless. I like it when the boys come to town. Lots of stories are created. And laundry washed.

Friends of Punxatawny Phil?

Last night I was on my way into a dinner party held in the downtown farmer’s market building.  I was meeting a small group of serious foodie friends to enjoy a private chef experience purchased at a silent auction fundraiser. 

The building, at this time in the evening, is closed to the public, so we were to be met at the entrance by the chef’s husband.  I’m running a tad late and making my way toward the building.  Oh, I should note that it happens to be Groundhog’s Day.  All day, there was news and posts about the Groundhog NOT seeing its shadow so we’d see an early Spring.  Hooray!  So, in celebration of the holiday, and in response to a cold snap & heavy snow, I wore my favorite Groundhog hat.  What?  You don’t have ANY Groundhog hats, let alone a favorite?  Shame on you.

My hat, warm and full of charisma, has furry ear flaps and a mid-sized stuffed Groundhog perched right on top.  Festive and practical, I say. 

So, I’m rushing into the market.  From a distance, I can see some people gathered not far from the entrance.  But there was a hockey game too, so I just figured hockey fans parked in the lot and were gathering to make the walk to the arena.  But as I got closer, I saw something so much more/different.

Facing the door, trying to gain access was, well what I can only describe as a cast member from Cats.  An adult dressed as a cat. Full on get-up.  I looked to the group nearby and realized that they too were in various states of fuzzy dress.  One had on fuzzy blue pants – maybe the legs of Thundercat?  Another held the costume head of some animal. Another was adjusting his tail.

Oh God, these are not hockey fans (well, I guess they could be hockey fans) – these were FURRIES!  I felt pretty certain this was not a troupe of hockey mascots having a pre-game huddle.  No, folks, these were Furries. 

Now, I know that the Furry culture is multi-faceted.  In basic terms, furries are people who either are fans of anthropomorphic characters – animals with human like features or tendencies (Fox McCloud, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc.).  But my exposure & understanding of the culture has been mostly around the Furry obsession as a fetish.  Yes, grown men and women, dressed like teddy bears and such, hooking up mission position and doggie style. 

And here I am about to walk through a group of bears, cats and unknown plush characters, while wearing a plump rodent on my head.

I can only think they looked at me with either disdain at my novice approach or with a big-sister-kitten desire to mentor the silly newbie.  Either way, I gave a smile & a nod (in essence the groundhog gave them a “hey” nod too) to the group and picked up my pace toward the door. I wasn’t judging them or afraid of them, but this rodent-clad sidekick didn’t have time to hang out with this fluffy gang.  And honestly there was no way in hell I was going to be mocked…or hit on…by Peter Rabbit.

No Daryl Hannah in this version of Splash

I have 4 brothers. They were not always thoughtful or tidy. Not always did they put the toilet seat down after use. And too many sleepy late night visits to the restroom resulted in my tiny self (then) slipping into the bowl of the john.  Sheesh!  Until I was about 12 years old, I thought that the raised toilet seat was simply for people with bigger behinds. A roomier throne for the deposit, if you will.  Only to learn, it’s less a symbol of one’s gluteus maximus as it was about maximum boy laziness.

Huggy Bear

Things I Think About.  Well, things I mostly thought about when I was young.  Mom would leave me sitting in the car while she ran into the local drug store or post office. I would sit and look at all of the cars and trucks around us intently, memorizing the license plates and descriptions. There was a bank in the same plaza and I was convinced that I would witness a bank robbery in progress. In the manner of Walter Mitty or James at 15 (remember that show?), I would fade off into the fantasy about how the chubby sheriff would look to me to help solve the puzzle of who would be bold enough to rob the bank in a town of 1,000 people. The dream would continue on to me being interview by my school newspaper, the town historian (this is history right?  Just as important as the spot where the creamery used to be). Then the “big town” newspaper would catch on, snap some photos of me outside the bank. I’d get on TV, maybe the radio. The cool guy in school would notice. And next thing you know there is a parade in my honor. All this because I memorized all of the vehicles around me while I sat idly in the car. Now, when I go to a store, I’m lucky if don’t walk past my own car.