Blonde Moments, humor, Kvetching, PSAs

The Mountains are Calling and I Must…NO.

Go Jules Go Title Graphic The Mountains Are Calling and I Must NO_10JUL2019

I glanced at the clock. 1:15pm PST.

No matter! I’ve still got eight hours of daylight left here in beautiful central Oregon!

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It’s 10:00pm in Oregon. Do you know where your local hard cider is?

I checked Google maps and my guidebook. Gack. Seven miles too far. I turned the car around.

When I eventually pulled into my target destination, the Green Lakes trailhead parking lot off of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, I inspected the tags hanging from other cars’ rearview mirrors.

That kid at R.E.I. better have sold me the right one.

America the Beautiful Park Pass
Don’t be fooled. Apparently there are 47 different kinds of national/state/city park tags you’ll need to purchase if you want to (spoiler alert) suffer wildly.

On top of the colorful car tags, I also spotted a lot of these:

Mountains-For-Auto-Car-Bumper-Window-Vinyl-Decal-Sticker-Decals

The trailhead parking lot was nearly full, but I found an empty spot – thanks to someone who probably started their day before noon unlike some jobless hobos. I filled out a “day use voucher” (a.k.a. Evidence I Was Here Should Things Go Horribly, Horribly Awry), stuck one half in the slot beneath the signage and the other half in my backpack.

Since quitting my corporate job in March, I’d been hiking constantly. In New Jersey. Now, three weeks into my new Oregon life, I was seriously upping the ante.

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That’s how we do(odle).

The first five miles to Green Lakes, though mostly uphill, were breathtakingly scenic and only slightly buggy, with a well-marked, moderately trafficked trail.

By the time Uncle Jesse and I hit the lake and stopped to enjoy some peanuts and cherries, we were feeling bold.

“Once you’ve taken in the glory of the area, continue along the shoreline toward the east, where you’ll wrap slightly around the lake before noticing a number of side trails…” my trusty new guidebook read.

That sounds…confusing. I shook off any niggling doubts and headed east. At least, I was pretty sure it was east. Soon I found what was certainly the proper path. I persisted onward, but the lingering snow made it almost impossible to tell if I was still on a trail, let alone the right trail. I wonder what cougar tracks look like…

Every now and then we’d hit an open area and I’d gaze around hopefully. There is seriously no trail. Uncle Jesse and I bushwhacked for another seemingly endless stretch before I finally gave up. That’s it. Broken Top [mountain] is behind me, that means the water is in front of me. We’re going west (f%@&, it’s west, right?) until we hit the damn water.

The next thirty minutes felt like twelve hours, until at long last, I heard the familiar sound of rushing water.

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My Jersey self never fails to think it’s the din of ever-present highway traffic.

I spotted people on a wide, luxurious trail…on the other side of the creek. F%#&. We walked south along the water’s edge, constantly being forced back uphill to more level ground, stomping over fallen trees and coarse, woody debris. In spots where it might have been safe, if highly unpleasant, to cross, the bank on the other side was so steep, we’d never make it up to the trail.

Eventually I succumbed to our less than ideal Fate. Uncle Jesse, always eager to show off, sensed my resignation and bounded towards the water.

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It ain’t no thang!

“WAIT,” I said in my sternest Mom voice. “COME.” The water was rushing with the force of Donald Trump’s combover. Uncle Jesse stopped in his tracks, just inches from the crashing falls, and ran towards me.

I said a prayer and put both feet in. It was deeper than I thought, almost thigh-high. Okay. This is fine. It’s not so bad.

Uncle Jesse followed and immediately got scooped up by the raging current. I grabbed his collar, shocked by the water’s might. This won’t work. With not a second to spare, I gathered him in my arms, above the roaring waves, struggling to keep my balance. I made it nearly to the other side when my shin collided with something hard. A rock? A log? Holy s&#% it’s cold!

Uncle Jesse sprung out of my arms, and after a heart-attack inducing second or two, scrambled onto solid ground and up a steep hill. One more step, two, three… my head spun and my heart pounded. There. I clung to soil and suddenly realized my phone -secured in a race belt (all right, fanny pack) around my waist- had been completely submerged.

I freed it from its pouch as I crawled uphill, utterly amazed by my own stupidity.

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I suspect this will look more impressive over the coming days.

When I made it to the top, finally back on the proper trail, I looked for a place to sit down. I sucked in a few deep breaths, adrenaline coursing through my veins. You’re lucky no one is here to witness your fool self.

I decided to keep walking, glancing down at the rushing rapids. If I hadn’t caught Uncle Jesse… I tried not to think about what might have happened; the next half mile was even more treacherous than where we’d crossed.

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Quick question. Why are you so dumb, Mom?

We trudged the final, endless mile back to the car, swatting away hundreds of blood thirsty mosquitos, the pain in my left leg growing.

107…108…I did not know it was possible to sustain this many mosquito bites
and live to tell about it.

When we reached the parking lot, I peeled off my soaked, mud-covered socks and collapsed in the driver’s seat. Thirty minutes later, a dripping wet, bug-bitten, bleeding blonde could be seen purchasing several bottles of wine from the local Fred Meyer.

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And this souvenir was spotted in my trusty guidebook. (Vegan disclaimer: Many, many bugs were harmed in the making of this post, but not on purpose.)

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Had any fun run-ins with Mother Nature lately??

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Blogging, Blonde Moments, Booze, humor, Just For Fun

Caption This: Birthday Edition

Hi there! …What’s that? Why are my eyes so bloodshot? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m fully committed to the fine art of weekly blogging. I definitely planned ahead for this one. It’s gonna be a good one. Hoo boy.

…Are you ready? Today’s post is called, “Caption This!” I came up with it all on my own. Here’s how it works. …Are you sure you’re ready?

Okay.

I’m gonna post a bunch of pictures that may or may not be from last night’s 37th 25th birthday celebration -and- (oh my God this is so exciting) YOU GET TO CAPTION THE PHOTOS YOURSELF.

I know. The things I do for you.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I love you.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Blonde Moments, humor

Would You Like Fries (and a concussion) With That?

Go-Jules-Go_concussion_title-graphic

“My father-in-law and I have this friendly banter going,” my friend, Stacey, explained over dinner the other night. “We like to bust each other’s chops.”

“Wait ’til she tells you about the latest,” her wife, Lauren, added. “My dad decided he wanted a new shed, and being the way he is, he had to get all of the measurements–”

“Like, all of the measurements, including the weight, so he’d know the impact on the grass,” Stacey said. “The whole nine.”

“Technically you need a permit,” Lauren explained.

“Hang on,” I replied. “You need a PERMIT to get a SHED? Just a regular SHED?”

9.-Small-Shed
Reason #1,654,923 I’m glad I sold my house. Photo credit

“Yeah,” Stacey nodded. “But no one does it. Including her dad.”

“Wait for it,” Lauren smirked, raising her eyebrows.

“So,” Stacey grinned. “He got his ‘illegal’ shed a couple of weeks ago. And I decided I’d prepare a little letter from the county zoning office. It took me four hours.”

Go-Jules-Go_prank-zoning-letterI stared between Stacey, Lauren, and this magical document, mouth agape.

“No,” I finally managed.

They explained that they had waited until an evening when they knew both of Lauren’s parents would be home. Lauren’s mom was in on the whole thing. On the chosen night, Lauren’s mom got up from watching the evening news and surreptitiously rang the doorbell, pretending someone was there. She returned to the living room, holding the letter out to her unsuspecting husband.

Needless to say, it was a slam dunk.

None of us could have ever predicted that only moments later I would need to recruit Stacey’s letter writing abilities for myself…

In the midst of discussing the many merits of Lasik eye surgery with my friends at the other end of the table, I leaned forward a couple of inches to take a sip of my drink.

“I’d do it again every year if I had t–”

*BAM*

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Photo credit

Everyone turned and looked to see where the alarming *THUD* had come from. My eyes welled with tears.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” our waitress exclaimed while I tried to gather my bearings.

What…Huh…?

I blinked.

It took me several seconds to realize our waitress had snuck up, ninja style, on my right, to clear a very, very pointy plate. Our fates collided the moment I decided I was parched, leaning forward a few millimeters…

*CLUNK*

The corner of my right eye nailed the corner of the plate she had just lifted.

Go-Jules-Go_dangerous-plate-ahead

No one knew what to do. I didn’t have enough wits about me to explain that this was the only manner in which I ever got injured. Randomly. Freakishly. Embarrassingly. (I think it runs in the family. …All of the family.)

  • Age 7: Broken crotch: Balance beam or playground torture device? Jury’s still out
  • Age 15: Left butt cheek scar: Courtesy of a jagged bathtub faucet when I bent to get the soap
  • Age 19: Right eyebrow scar: Eyebrow ring + glitter eyeshadow. ‘Nuff said
  • Age 30: Left wrist scar: Pushing a tray of cookies too far into the oven
  • Age 34: Sprained sesamoid (“Turf toe”): Too-small high heels and an over-caffeinated stride

This time, though, there was clearly someone else at fault. (And yes, the above list is but a mere smattering. You’ll just have to wait for my memoirs.)

Stacey immediately began drafting a letter to the restaurant from my “attorney.” While we awaited her final touches, I answered a text from my new bloggerunicorn-vegan retreat friend:

Outdoorsy-NJ-style

~*~*~*~*~*~

Any other freaky accidents happening out there? No? Just me? …Who are you? Where am I?

~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Blonde Moments, humor, PSAs

Top 5 Signs You’re Losing It

I admit it, Chipmunks. I’m slipping. Between working full-time, embarking on a 130+ hour practicum project, writing a Masters thesis, and designing a new website (…stay tuned!), I’m starting to crack. I’m even getting other people to write posts for me.

On the upside, this post totally wrote itself.

Go Jules Go Top 5 signs you're losing it title.png

1. You find yourself posting things like this to Facebook:

Jules-losing-it-FB-post-inside-out-pants
Always the butt of your jokes, I am.

2. You Could Give the 3 Stooges a Run for Their Money

I have spilled not one, not two, not three, but FOUR dinners in the past few weeks. First, there were the freshly grilled veggie burgers that flew out of the container and down the stairs, making friends with all of my stinky workout shoes. Then there was the bag holding popcorn kernels that gave up on life just as I was about to dump its contents into a pot. And let’s not forget the tray of vegetables that took a detour from the grill to the house via the grass on Mother’s Day.

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The crowning jewel was a tray of general Tso’s tofu, smothered in bright, red sauce, gleefully leaping from the confines of my plate and landing all over my gray living room carpet. I’m still finding sticky sauce in fun places, like underneath the dog’s bowls.

I would have recreated some of these moments for the photo op, but I promised Uncle Jesse I’d stop scaring him.

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For the love of God, woman, sit down. Sit. Down!

3. You Can’t Even Select the Right Address On Amazon

I’ve now sent a grand total of three packages to my parents’ house this month. Luckily nothing too embarrassing. Like ‘stache bleach.

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I’m kidding. It totally was ‘stache bleach.

Now that I think about it, I’ve also gone to the grocery store and walked away with everything but the one thing I really needed, lost or misplaced an umbrella, a phone charger, a water bottle top, a child, and even ordered a Redbox movie and tried to pick it up at the wrong location.

Losing it Redbox rental
I didn’t want to hear you try to do a Russian accent for 141 minutes anyway, Jennifer Lawrence! …Yes I did. I so did.

Oh, and I asked the woman at DSW Shoe Warehouse last weekend why my gift cards weren’t working.

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Ma’am…those don’t say DSW anywhere on them.

4. You Mistake Someone for a Different Person…and They Look Nothing Alike

The other day my sister texted and said, “Come meet Joe and I at the pizza place!”

“Give me a few,” I replied. “I need to put on pants and stop crying over my nonexistent love life a really sh*tty Netflix movie.”

I greeted my sister and Joe fifteen minutes later, and after we chatted for a while, Joe said, “Oh, what’s your thesis about?”

I tried to cover up my confused expression. Hadn’t we just discussed this a few weeks ago over drinks in my sister’s yard when we first met? Was my project that boring? I bit my tongue and simply explained it again.

It wasn’t until the next day that my sister cleared up the confusion.

“Um… we had drinks with Chris in the yard. Wait. Wait. You thought Joe was Chris? They don’t even look alike!” she sputtered, breaking into hysterics.

“It was dark!” I tried to defend myself.

While she got her ab workout for the week, I realized, “Huh. That explains why only one of them had an accent.”

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I also think this is a normal-sized pretzel.

And the number one sign you’re losing it…

5. Halfway through writing this post, you realize you wrote a post with the same title six years ago.

Go Jules Go Losing It original post

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I hope you’ll share some of your own ‘losing it’ stories so I don’t feel so alone.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blonde Moments, Booze, humor, PSAs

It’s All Fun and Games Until…

Janeen-Jules-all-fun-and-games-title

I know what we should do! We should get a tent, go to that place in upstate New York with the naked dancing, and just CUT. LOOSE.

I have this group of really great girlfriends who love to get together and enjoy a glass or ten of wine. Eventually, one friend or another says some variation of the above.

The alpha female of the group (*cough* my sister) then pulls out her phone and starts pointing around the table, “WHEN ARE YOU FREE. WHEN ARE YOU FREE. WHEN ARE YOU FREE. OKAY….DONE.”

In these moments, I turn into a spastic owl puppet, my head spinning a full 360-degrees. I’m suddenly the only person who can see in the dark, wondering when the light will shine again.

funny-owl
Photo credit

As my little bird noggin spins like a top, everyone around me screams, “OH MY GODDDDD. BARRY CAN WATCH THE DOG AND I’LL TELL MY BOSS TO GO SCRATCH AND I’LL GET THAT SALSA FROM WHOLE FOODS AND YAAAAAAASSSSSS OH MY GOD YAASSSSSSSS!!!!!”

My heart starts racing. Once again, I’m becoming:

Chief Long Memory.

Jules-headdress

Chief Long Memory, ironically, is the member of the tribe with the least amount of responsibility — no kids, no mortgage, no sick ferret. In these moments, she sighs heavily, straightens her understated though decidedly fabulous headdress and gently reminds everyone what happened last time we thought signing up for horseback riding lessons in Tijuana on Cinqo de Mayo was a flawless endeavor.

“Um, hey, guys, yeah, it’s me. I was just thinking, I don’t know, remember that time we all spent 48 hours scraping neon pink vomit off our bangs –bangs which we did not have when this adventure began– and we couldn’t find Claire for, like, six weeks? I mean I don’t want to compare this latest discussion to the decision to film SHARKNADO 6, but, you ladies aren’t giving me a lot to work with here.”

sharknado-6
Oh. You thought I was kidding.

Take, for example, road cycling. For the past year, I’ve been trying to, er, broaden the group’s collective appreciation of what it means to ride very uncomfortable bikes very long distances in very inhospitable weather.

Jules-collapsed-on-floor
Spoiler alert: it usually ends like this.

I figured my case rested on facts included in this post and this post. (The CliffsNotes version: a 60-mile race in frigid rain with two flat tires and one fall, and a 30-mile epic Arizona mountain climb in oppressive heat with no water.)

What I didn’t realize: the untapped potential in pointing out the hazards of simply dressing for these hellish excursions.

Cue: Janeen.

Janeen-Jules-bunny-ears

Janeen is the member of our tribe who’s usually gleefully responding, “ALL THE TIMES!!!” to my sister’s, “WHEN ARE YOU FREE.” Where others go right, Janeen goes left. Where others say “Hell no,” Janeen says, “I’ll bring bean dip.” Despite what you’ve heard me say so far, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Janeen makes my project manager heart go thud. Janeen makes things happen in a way I haven’t seen since Britney and Justin at the 2001 American Music Awards.

britney-justin-denim
Photo credit

Lest you think Janeen’s an irresponsible wild child, she has every single one of her sh*ts together, working one of those smarty-pants jobs my bird brain can’t even understand, raising three children, and running a household in a lighthearted yet no nonsense way that would make Mary Poppins proud.

I mean, she even turns watermelons into sharks, paints like Bob Ross, and curls her hair before meeting us for lunch, for crying out loud.

This is precisely why I should have known that Janeen would serve as my ultimate ally in the Chief Long Memory campaign.

“Oh my god you’ll never guess what happened to me this morning,” she said the other day, tossing her purse down wearily and taking a seat at the dining room table. The tribe stared at her, sipping our wine. She looked…frazzled.

Janeen never looks frazzled.

Janeen-Kid-1-driving
Not even when she’s teaching Kid #1 to drive.

“I was in the car, all ready for the bike ride,” she began, “but then I realized I had to get Kid #3 something to eat. Mom guilt blah blah. I went back inside…to TOTAL BATSH*T CHAOS.”

She drew a long breath and continued.

“Shoes everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I trip, almost break my neck, get to the kitchen and find an ENTIRE BAG of bagels devoured by the dogs. Then I screamed at Kid #2 about the shoes — it was not my finest hour.”

By now we were all nodding sympathetically and filling her glass to the brim.

“Then I decide to go upstairs to grab my arm warmers,” she says ominously.

arm-warmers
Cycling arm warmers: It’s less what they can do for you and more what they can do to you. Photo credit.

“And now I’m late as hell, so I’m trying to hurl myself into them. I can’t get the damn things on, they’re so tight. I’m tugging and tugging and tugging. I finally get one halfway up my arm, and then as I’m giving it one final tug….

“BAM.

“I PUNCHED MYSELF IN THE FACE.

“I CHIPPED MY OWN TOOTH. I chipped. My own. Tooth!”

I managed to stop laughing long enough to ask, “Did you still ride?!”

Janeen answered with this photo:

Janeen-chipped-tooth

On second thought, I may still have my work cut out for me in convincing this group to stay inside and do jigsaw puzzles with me.

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What kinds of trouble are your friends stirring up?

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Blonde Moments, Family Ties, humor

I Put the NO in NOLA (New Orleans)

NOLA-swamp-boat
The trip that almost…WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU.

My family arrived at Newark Liberty Airport last week with plenty of time to catch our 12:34pm flight to New Orleans. It was Spring Break for this family of (mostly) teachers, kids, and retirees, and we were eager to cash in on the opportunity to visit a city none of us had ever seen. Everyone stared at me while I pulled out my phone to retrieve our flight number, punching it into the check-in kiosk. I was skating on thin ice for not having checked us in the night before.

My parents looked around nervously, trying to catch a glimpse of the security gate. The lines were surprisingly dead for a Tuesday morning. As Babs (mom) stared at her baggage check sticker like it was written in Klingon, my sister swiftly tagged both of her kids’ bags and called, “Okay, let’s go!”

baggage-check-sticker
Put the who in the what in the where now? Photo credit

All six of us made our way to the security gate, where I pulled out my wallet to grab my driver’s license.

“What’s wrong?” my sister asked. She followed my gaze.

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“Oh my god. Where’s your license?”

I slapped my hand to my forehead.

“In my coat pocket,” I moaned.

Her eyes widened. I had quickly put my license in my coat pocket that morning in order to move my car to a tow-free spot for the week. It was still snowing in New Jersey, and I was thrilled when I put the puffy gray jacket back on its hook in the landing of my apartment, because, hey! It was 80 degrees in NOLA! Woo hoo! Let’s GO!

“I was trying to be responsible [and not drive around the corner without a license]!” I cried. I had never bothered to be so responsible before, which is why I didn’t remember to put the license back in my wallet.

jules-pmp-test-results
And I call myself a (moderately proficient) Project Management Professional.

I looked over at my father, halfway to the TSA pre-check line, and thought, If looks could disown. My sister and I had planned this whole thing on his dime and now I was about to ruin it all.

Being a 3-month-old meditating guru, I suddenly thought: This is a test. Don’t cry. Breathe. Stay calm. There is no f^&$@$ way they’re letting me on the plane!!!!

“Okay, let’s get on line and come up with a plan,” my sister said, snapping into teacher mode.

I only had time to chug what was left in my water bottle before we faced security, all the while trying to ignore the exclamation points firing in my head. People in airport uniforms hated me. I was searched every time, convincing me I had either “dumb enough to carry someone else’s crack-lined luggage” or “mail order bride” tattooed on my forehead. Because of this track record, I always got nervous, which then made them suspicious, and well, it was just a vicious cycle that ended with someone getting to second base.

The agent smiled (smiled!) at my sister BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DID and once she explained the situation, he politely said he’d call his manager, asking me to provide any other I.D. I might have in the meantime.

Did…did this mean…could I possibly… Nooo. I yanked out every credit card, health insurance card, student I.D., $3.08 Borders gift card (hey, how did that get in there?), and business card I had in my wallet, little pieces of my identity fluttering out like it was Mardi Gras.

Five (or two or forty-seven, who can tell when you’re wondering why you also forgot to wear an adult diaper?) minutes later, I was sent on through without so much as a pat down. I reached my family, patiently waiting on the other side of the security gate.

“Time for a drink?” Babs asked after taking one look at my face.

“All of them,” I nodded.

But I didn’t cry! And I made it through! Bring on the Hurricanes! And bring them on we did…

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…until two days later. When I started feeling…funny.

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And not funny ha-ha.

After an exciting and sleepless night followed by a raging fever, we concluded I’d come down with the stomach flu, a new friend who planned to stick around, Kato-style.

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F— my liiiiiiiife. Photo credit

Now that the fever’s finally gone, I feel reborn and ready to get my license tattooed on my arm. Except that my stomach is still to me what women are to men: a total mystery.

As for the rest of New Orleans? Also a total mystery.

NOLA-pop-jester-mardi-gras-museum
But I’m told this happened.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Any other travel mishaps you care to share? Please. Make me feel better.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Blonde Moments, humor, Just For Fun

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.

GoJulesGo-noodle
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.

Jeff-Bridges-basket
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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