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.

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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.

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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.

~*~*~*~*~*~

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!”

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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.

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

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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.

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

 

 

 

Blonde Moments, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now

Nailed it.

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

GotC-bacon
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.

Gingerbread_Jenn_WTF
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.

nailed-it-wine-bottles.png
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:

nailed-it-mason-jar-candles-blog

Any other holiday miracles happening out there?

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Blonde Moments, Just For Fun, PSAs

I Got Stuck In A Stairwell (And I Liked It)

endless-stairs-jules

Last week, I spent a few days in New York City, watching many months of work come to fruition. As a project manager in the pharmaceutical industry, my colleagues and I had been planning a bioethics-themed symposium for ages. Finally, the event had arrived.

The symposium took place on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center. The views were spectacular.

7-world-trade-view

Things were going well on our first day, but I was anxious. There was a “networking lunch” at noon. Trying to pretend I knew anything about anything compassionate use of medicines for an hour and a half, among some of the country’s foremost ethicists, seemed daunting.

For the first few minutes during lunch, I checked my email in the hallway, doing my best to look busy and important. When I glanced up, I noticed an exit sign.

“I could do a little exploring,” I thought. “Stretch my legs.”

There wasn’t any indication that this was an emergency only exit, so off I scampered into the obviously post-9/11 constructed stairwell. The stairs were wide and well marked with fluorescent tape.

As I descended, I noticed each floor bore signs that read, “Nearest re-entry on floor 36.”

The floors in between had only locked doors, not even a pad to swipe your badge – if you had a badge.

The 36th floor did have a pad, but I decided onward and downward was the way to go. Also I had no badge. No doubt some floor would have public access, and if not, I could piggyback off of one of the people I was bound to see.

And I did see someone. Around floor 20. By then, I was determined to see this thing through. Because surely -surely- I could exit on the ground floor.

The final floors were daunting. There were no doors at all, and large, brightly lit ticker tape signs announcing, “EXIT THIS WAY >>>>>>>>>.”

I finally made it to the ground floor, wobbly-kneed and decidedly damp, only to see this:

emergency-exit-alarm

Knowing there was a red ‘call if you’re a moron’ phone back on the 11th floor, I turned around and began my long ascent.

When I reached the 4th floor, a tall, brunette man in a fleece jacket appeared.

“Can I help you?” he asked suspiciously.

He looked like Brody from Homeland.

“I’m trapped!” I blurted.

“Yeah. You’re supposed to be on the 40th floor.”

Which is when it hit me. Nicholas Brody had been watching me for forty. Floors.

“Come with me,” he said, leading me to the 5th floor. He looked like he knew 17 ways to kill someone with a rubber band.

Ma'am, you're, like, not even CLOSE to the 40th floor.
Ma’am, you’re, like, not even CLOSE to the 40th floor.

When he opened the 5th floor door and I saw it wasn’t an interrogation room, I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Bless you.”

He found someone to babysit me on the way to the proper elevator bank, and when I eventually made it back to the 40th floor, I ducked into a bathroom stall and desperately swabbed my head with toilet paper.

When I felt fairly certain I’d stopped sweating, I emerged from the stall and washed my hands. I looked up to see my entire forehead covered in toilet paper bits.

Guess it coulda been worse.
Guess it coulda been worse.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a compromising position?

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Blonde Moments, Dating

Dating and Hot Wax Don’t Mix

If you thought my year of eHarmony heartache (as evidenced here and here) might have deterred me from online dating, guess again.

For the past several months, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of Match.com. Stay tuned for future posts, Your Facebook Profile Says You’re Still Married and No, Thank You, I Would Not Like To See A YouTube Video of You Surgically Removing Your Toenails.

One might consider these experiences a sign. Take a little break, Jules, a little step back, they might suggest.

Ha!” I say. “Show me a REAL sign.”

Last night, I was getting ready for a third date with a delightful gentleman who discovered my blog before we ever met, so let me just again say he is especially delightful (and owes me a guest blog post).

He was picking me up for dinner, so I straightened up the house, got all dudded up, lit a few candles (to cover up any Eau De Dog-who-really-needs-a-trip-to-the-groomer) and anxiously awaited his arrival.

Ten minutes before he was due, I blew out the candles. One of them was the sort that has a tea light heating a scented wax cube.

wax-warmer
Apparently they’re called wax warmers. Well. That’s disappointing.

It was resting atop a wall sconce. I lifted it down, let’s just say, a tad carelessly.

Suddenly, all the hot, melted wax sloshed out.

Onto my face.

Onto my white dress.

Onto my couch.

It was red.

crime-scene-couch

crime-scene-couch

Have you ever had any last-minute blunders while getting ready for a big night out? (Come on, I know for a fact one of you has had a run-in with a curling iron.)

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Blonde Moments, Family Ties, humor

Oh F%#&. My Mom Got A Smart Phone.

Babs-smart-phone

You heard correctly, Chipmunks:

My mom, Babs, got her first smart phone!

Sticking with this would have been smart.
Sticking with this would have been smart.

The adventure started when my dad gave her a Radio Shack gift certificate for Christmas, intending to let me help Babs actually purchase the phone. Because he never really loved me.

Now, I love my iPhone, but wouldn’t exactly call myself a smart phone expert. My only solid advice was, “Get the gold one, it’s pretty.”

Wow, I really need to stop biting my nails.
Wow, I really need to stop biting my nails.

Two hours at Radio Shack and the death of my soul later, Babs got her first lesson from me:

“See this blue icon with the A? That’s your app store. Click it and type in Macy’s.”

Any good teacher knows you have to speak your student's language.
Any good teacher knows you have to speak your student’s language.

While she took to the shopping apps like nobody’s business, the past few weeks have looked like this:

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And my very favorite:

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…Wait for it…

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I [just called to say I] love you, Babs. Thanks for letting me use those screen shots for the world’s amusement.

How do you/your parents fare with technology? Any gadget gift fails?

P.S. – I suck royally for not responding to recent comments. Rest assured my absence has only made my heart grow fonder, and I totally want to have 10,000 of your babies.

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