I Can’t Believe I’m Telling You This.

When I pulled up to my rental cottage in northern Maine this past weekend, I let out out a sigh of relief. Ten hours in the car with a distressed Labradoodle, two wrong turns, and a long, steep decent via gravel road had been worth it.

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I had booked the cottage nearly nine months earlier, anticipating my summer residency, a week-long retreat required as part of my Humane Education Masters degree program. (YES, it’s a THING.)

I knew after nine-hour days of singing Kumbaya and braiding my cohorts’ armpit hair, this New Jersey native and closet introvert was going to need some alone time.

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I think we all remember what happens when Jules tries to be a team player.

I arrived at my little rustic gem with a view and, per the check-in instructions, headed straight for what I thought was the front door. “Doors will be unlocked,” the instructions read. “The key will be inside in an obvious location. Should you need a spare, it will be under the back doormat.”

I jiggled the handle. The deadbolt, apparently, was working overtime.

I jumped from foot to foot, having had to pee for what felt like 127 hours.

127 hours

I walked around the side of the cottage and saw another door. “Ah, of course,” I said to myself. “This must be it.” I turned the handle and once again – door locks working the night shift.

My bladder screamed as I tried both doors again. I checked and rechecked under both doormats. Uncle Jesse, my dog, bounced around me as if to say, “Is it time to go back to Jersey yet?”

I groaned loudly and walked back to my car to retrieve the check-in instructions. I called all four numbers listed on the paper and not a single person answered. My bathroom situation went from a slightly unpleasant Kevin Costner film to Waterworld.

Waterworld

I looked around surreptitiously. People were sitting on the porch at the house to the left, but they were almost entirely shrouded by trees. The house at the top of the hill had a partially obstructed view of Fort Knox my cottage, but, maybe no one was home?

There was no time left to wonder. I grabbed a battered box of tissues from my car and tiptoed to the side of the cottage. With one more wary glance up the hill, I said, “F*ck it,” and, well.

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Like we haven’t all peed on the side of a rental cottage in Maine.

The relief was as sublime as the view. I was a woman on a mission now. After wrestling with several ancient windows held secure by what I think were pine tree shivs, I managed to pry one open.

I climbed inside, unlocked both doors, and started unloading my overstuffed car when I saw a man walking down the gravel driveway. He looked like a cross between a young(ish) Jeff Bridges and a basket handwoven by fruitarians.

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That rug basket really pulled the room fruit together.

I gave a shy hello, crusted in sweat, shame and ten hours of car funk, assuming he was headed towards the small staircase that led to the coastline.

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As he neared, it started to feel increasingly awkward. Maybe he was one of the numbers I’d just called? I took a few steps forward and held out my hand.

“Hi…. I’m Jules. …I’m renting the cottage for the week…?”

“I just happened to notice you pull up,” he said. “I live in the black and tan house that’s shaped like a teepee built in 1971 by a blind nudist colony.” He pointed up the hill, his long brown locks swaying in the breeze.

“Oh, yeah, so,” I stammered. Holy hell. He saw…everything. “I couldn’t find the key and no one answered the emergency number, so, I peed my brains out on the lawn and climbed in through the window…”

“I think I know where the key is,” he said without missing a beat. He headed towards the porch and knelt down by a crack in the wooden staircase. “The owner was just here two days ago.” He handed me a small silver key. “Want to give this a try?”

“Wow,” I said sarcastically. “I feel really secure now.”

He laughed and waited for me to try the key, making small talk about my dog and having once lived in New Jersey. Rattled, I tried to shake him off, and he soon headed down the stairs towards the water, as if that had been his plan all along.

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And perhaps it was. Say hello to my new makeshift curtains.

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Tour de Fail

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This is going to be the best day ever.

Because I thought this is what my therapist meant when she said “get a hobby,” every year I now train for a 100-mile bike ride in September. As part of the training plan this year, I signed up for a series of organized bike rides throughout the summer. These bike rides come with roadside support, fully-stocked rest stops, and an ugly t-shirt to commemorate the ride.

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Is that brown or gray? Or both?

This past Saturday, the training ride was a 63-mile charity event for which I signed up namely because the registration fee was cheap. #foreshadowing.

My first second mistake was in thinking a “Stockton University charity bike ride” would leave from Stockton, New Jersey – about an hour southwest of my house. Nay. Stockton University is in Galloway Township, New Jersey (two things I’d never heard of!), a.k.a. exit 44 on the Garden State Parkway, a.k.a. Might As Well Be Cuba.

But, at least it was going to be a leisurely, social ride on a beautiful day – 75 degrees and sunny. “The best day of the weekend!” forecasters declared.

That morning, my alarm went off at 4:45am and as I headed out the door, a blast of cold air took my breath away. “Geesh!” I thought, “It’s June 3rd! Well, I’m sure it’ll warm up in a bit!” I grabbed my coat, picked up my sister, and we headed for the Parkway.

A few minutes in, raindrops hit the windshield.

“No matter!” I said. I checked my trusty weather app and it looked like it would be just fine by the time we arrived in Cuba Galloway Township.

When we parked at Stockton University (seriously, is this like Trump University? Have you ever heard of this place?), we realized we were going to have to wear our winter cycling gear because it was still 55 degrees.

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Where sunshine goes to covfefe die.

As the clock rounded 8:00am, the official start time, an overly cheerful man got on the microphone by the registration tent.

“We just have a few announcements to make…”

My sister shot me a look. We hopped from foot to foot trying to keep warm, and forty-seven announcements later, we finally took off with a huge pack of men going 21 MPH. In the rain. We got sand in our teeth and dirty water splashed in our faces as we pedaled at full race speed.

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Mile 1.

By mile 30, we were starving, soaking wet, and one meltdown in (mine. I am not proud). That’s when our friend, Jen, got a flat tire. Despite being experienced tire-changers, we managed to use up all of our supplies without actually fixing the tire, and were forced to call the roadside support number given to us during registration.

A girl answered and said, “What? You’re where? Your bike has a flat tire? Hang on, let me see if I can find someone. …No, you have to call a different number. Do you have a pen and paper?”

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Oh, yes. Please do hold whilst I grab my trusty scroll from the back of my bi–NO I DON’T HAVE A F@#$^% PEN AND PAPER!

“At least the fully loaded rest stop is only two miles away!” we said a half an hour later when we were back on the road. “Mmm, what do you think they’ll have? Bagels? Peanut butter & jelly?? Cookies???”

By then, our mouths were watering more than the skies overhead. We pulled up to the rest stop and looked around. There were three port-a-potties and one square folding table holding water, four gel packs, and half a dozen green bananas.

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Oh thank god. I was afraid I’d have to ride another 31 miles in the rain without any food.

We shared the fig bar I had stuffed into my saddle bag and readied ourselves for another cocktail of gravel and tears (did I mention it was an out and back, all flat ride, meaning you never stopped pedaling, mostly into headwind?). Before we made it two blocks from the rest stop, we heard a hiss coming from my sister’s front tire.

As I turned to head back to her, I started tipping to the left. My left foot was clipped into my bike pedal, meaning there was only one thing that could happen next.

*splat*

Splayed on the road and hovering close to the double yellow line, I unclipped my foot, leaving my shoe dangling from the pedal.

“It’s not that I’m not helping you!” Jen shouted from a few feet away. “I’m just stopping traffic!”

I hobbled over to the curb, avoiding eye contact with the line of cars inching past us.

Four years later, we finally finished. Our prize?

A two and a half hour car ride home.

Tour-de-France-lies

We shoulda gone to Cuba.

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An Idle Mind is Santa’s Workshop

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One week off.

One glorious week off.

I can hike!

I can read magazines!

I can blow dry my hair!

Or:

Anyone feel like getting together for a jam session? We can just eat jam if you want.

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Nailed it.

Once upon a time, I fancied myself quite the crafter.

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I literally couldn’t find any examples of my crafts that didn’t involve bacon.

I even got two of my closest friends on board for an annual Kristmas Krafty Korner. Or at least that’s what we called it until we realized we were holding yearly KKK meetings.

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That’s the house where we gather to burn the books!

This year, I thought I’d combine my crafting and planet-saving endeavors to make soy wax candles out of recycled wine bottles.

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I mean how hard could it be?

I’d seen this amazing glass-cutting trick involving yarn, nail polish remover, and fire, which I think we can all agree sounds like a good time. My mom, Babs, and I diligently emptied wine bottle after wine bottle all week, until we had enough to get going.

We wrapped those bottles in nail polish remover-covered yarn, lit them on fire, and…

Nothing.

I checked the YouTube videos again. And again. We tried a different nail polish remover. A different yarn. Heck, we even tried 90 proof booze. Nothing was burning through these babies. Finally, I sucked it up and bought a glass cutter from Michael’s, which looked like a cross between a guillotine and a giant protractor.

And that was great. Except for the part where that didn’t work either.

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A cruise ship bathroom door makes cuts better than this. (If you didn’t get that, I insist you drop everything and read this post.)

Here’s where you probably think I gave up. But nay! Babs had mason jars.

And at last:

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Any other holiday miracles happening out there?

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One Trashy Post

Oh, sweet, fuzzy, forgiving chipmunks.

I had high hopes. I really did. Despite adding a graduate program to my plate, I thought I could still check in on the reg. Now I don’t even have time to type regular.

Yet with twinkly lights shining and my local Trader Joe’s up and running again, I can’t help but think of how much I miss you! And in the spirit of spreading good cheer…

Behold, the final project for my Environment Ethics class.

Psst – Babs is in it.

Oh. Sure. Now you’ll watch.

How’ve you been?! What’d I miss?! …Michelle Obama ISN’T our next president? Wow. Um. Okay. 

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Are Polygamist Pumpkins Legal?

Whew, I’m exhausted from sorting through all of the entries to my Halloween contest! I barely had time to dust off my slutty chipmunk costume.

Ha ha ha. Just kidding.

There were only two entries.

And I loved them all both. Almost as much as I love my sister wife and our 47 children.

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My real-life sister and I took things to the next level this Halloween.

In fact, I loved your entries so much that I tossed them into my cauldron and brewed up a batch of winning for everyone!  That’s right. For the first time in Go Jules Go Halloween contest history, I’ve combined your entries into a single jack-o-lantern carving!

Congratulations Lone Grey Squirrel and Peg-o-Legs Ramblings! You WON!

In response to my question, How would the world look if YOU were in charge?, you submitted the following gems:

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Now that we have our winners, it’s time to get down to carving business. As usual, I was filled with self-doubt. Could I come up with a design worthy of Peg-o-Leg and Lone Grey Squirrel’s submissions? My fears compounded after visiting Rise of the Jack-o-Lanterns.

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Babs (mom) isn’t sure I can hack it.

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Most of the carvings were a YUUGE hit. This one was just a six.

Based on Peg-o-Leg’s comment that if she ruled the world all IRS employees would have to wear the same uniform, the Julesie Crest Ensemble, I began my design.

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Next, the design transfer.

And lastly, the expert carving.

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If only you could see what my floor looked like at this moment.

Okay, so maybe you’re not impressed. Just wait until you hear what this REALLY is. A hacked up gourd? Oh, no, no, no.

In homage to Lone Grey Squirrel’s entry, this pumpkin is THE ultimate teaching tool for any Cat Sensitivity Training program – the only program of its kind aimed at reducing squirrel and chipmunk anxiety. If the felines fail to pay attention, all you need to do is turn out the lights, fire up a match, and BAM!

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A chipmunk crest will be forever emblazoned in their vision, turning them immediately vegetarian.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Don’t let #47 stay up too late eating candy.

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Huh. Didn’t think I’d see THAT today.

It was just another Wednesday, albeit an unseasonably warm one in northern New Jersey, as I walked my dog through the neighborhood.

The autumn leaves were a Crayola box of gold, crimson, and green, and I snapped a photo when I reached my destination: a half-mile, gravel-lined walking trail near a local park.


I tried not to think of my mounting to do list and the fact that I was sweating profusely in mid-October as I walked briskly beneath the canopy. After thirty minutes, I reached my highest level of Zen (that is to say, an almost manageable degree of panic) and headed home.

Stepping back onto paved roads, I heard a strange shuffle to my right.

I looked up, and…

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There is a dog on a roof, said my Zen mind.

There is a DOG on a ROOF, said my anxiety.

There is a BLOG POST in your POCKET, said my inner chipmunk.

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Now that I’ve had time to consider this sight more deeply, I’ve come up with a few possible explanations:

  1. He’s a watch dog for a new K-9 super breed who can fly, bend steel with their minds, and resist the smell of crotches.
  2. He’s trying to catch a glimpse of Canada, so he knows what to expect after the next presidential inauguration.
  3. Anything is better than hearing his owner complain about work. I mean seriously, how hard is it to neglect pets for a living?
  4. He is a she, and she’s waiting for the right stud for whom to let down her tail of gold.

What do YOU think? 

P.S. – You still have one more day to enter THE GREATEST GIVEAWAY CONTEST EVER (ends MIDNIGHT EST, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21st)!

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Rule the World AND Win the Greatest Giveaway – Leave a Comment by Oct 21, 2016!

My Fellow Chipmunks,

It’s that time of year again! Orange heads at every turn, scare tactics full of fluff hay, stress eating Tootsie Roll pops…

And oh yeah, it’s Halloween!

That means you can enter THE BEST contest ever known to the interwebz for a chance to win a CUSTOM JACK-O-LANTERN, carved poorly by yours truly!!

All you have to do is leave a comment describing how you would rule the country. Or the planet. Or the universe.

Here’s how I would do it:

The Rules

Simply leave a comment below describing what the world would look like if YOU were in charge.

The Prize

A custom jack-o-lantern, carved just for you by Go Jules Go. Don’t think that’s the greatest thing you’ve ever heard? Think again!

For more on past winners, click here, here or here.

The Deadline

MIDNIGHT EST, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21st. (Winner Announced 6am EST, Monday, October 31st.)

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I’m so excited I could pee brush my teeth.

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I’m Engaged!

To: Worldwide Staff

Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016

Subject: “EET” This: The Latest Lip Service from Your Employee Engagement Team!

Dear Colleagues,

Do you like to think outside the box? Hate reinventing the wheel, but love moving the needle? Together, let’s unpack some of the issues that keep us from leaning into our BEST SELVES.

Today, we’re hitting the ground running with a new web platform where you can network, collaborate, innovate, ENGAGE, catalyze, inspire, and LIVE OUR SHARED MISSION.

Now is the time to remember that there’s no “i” in “team”…but there is one in “iPad” – and you could win one just by SOCIALIZING your IDEAS into ACTION!

Sound like a plan?

Come take the 30,000-foot view while simultaneously digging a little deeper into what makes our company so great – YOU.

LINK TO OUR VALUABLE NEW WEB PLATFORM

With High Regard for Your Uniqueness,

Employee Engagement Team

P.S. – Getting too many emails? Hit “reply all” and let us know!

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Strangers Are Just Friends Who Will Arrest You

The other day, one of my Masters program professors reminded me of an old adage: Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.

Corny, sure, but it suddenly seemed like a fun challenge. In light of my landlord’s recent display of kindness (of which I am still highly suspicious), I thought maybe I, too, should adjust my attitude with this platitude.

I played out a scenario in my head first:

INT. GROCERY STORE – EVENING

“Hi!” I smile while the teenaged clerk checks the price of my almond butter. Forty-seven dollars, I want to tell her. That is the going rate for dry roasted almond pulp.

“Hello,” she grimaces.

“It’s so nice to see you, Kim!” I say, eyeing her name tag and assuming my role as transient bagger. “Let me do this. You’ve had another long day.”

She keeps her eyes on the task at hand.

“How’s your mother doing?” I ask.

“Um, fine,” she replies, glancing up briefly.

“And your dad?”

Kim stops, mid-scan, and stares at me.

“Do I…do we…I’m sorry. Do I know you?”

“You do now! Did you see Sully yet?”

“Um…”

“I love Tom Hanks. Aren’t he and Rita Wilson so inspiring? You should really try to find a guy like that. Enough with the bad boys.”

“Who’s…Rita Wilson?”

“Just a friend we haven’t met yet!”

Then, armed with the confidence only new confidants can bring, I’d go into situations like the one I was in on Wednesday night -seeing Amy Schumer live- with guns blazing. (Not actual guns. Amy and I don’t like those.)

“Amy! Amy!!! Hi!” I shout from 17 rows back. “It’s me! Jules!”

When Amy fails to acknowledge this attempt, I stand up in my chair.

“It’s JULES! Remember the time we never met?!”

I step down from the chair and flag a security guard.

“Can you please tell Amy I’m here?”

The security guard warns me that I’ll be removed from the theater if I stand on my chair again. I nod, wait two minutes, and then sneak down the aisle towards stage left.

“Amy!!!” I whisper loudly, taking the first step onto the stage. I wave a fluorescent pink band. “I brought you a slap bracelet!”

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No matter how many times I run through this in my head, I wind up in jail.

How about you? What stranger would you like to turn into a friend? (And do you think you could do it without getting arrested?)

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