Wow, can you believe another year has come and (almost) gone? It flew by in such a haze of joy, stability, and stocked shelves! I’m so excited to share some of my 2020 highlights – and, gosh, I hope your year was as awesome as mine!
In January and February, good friends gleefully gathered for birthday parties, clothing swaps, tubing with drag queens, and snowshoeing…
This is going to be the BEST YEAR YET.
In March, I–OH MY GOD FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE WHA-? WHY? HUH? TOILET PAPER??
I, like many others, focused on what I could control.
I wasn’t worried about the calories because, hey, this would all be over soon and I was training for a marathon! Which wound up being steeped in cheers, medals, and merriment.
Speaking of, April also found me “celebrating” my birthday alone, surrounded by friends I found in magazine pages.
And then I hit a new low.
Once I realized the answer to my expanding waistline wasn’t in cauliflower form, I began weightlifting with a generous COVID bubble friend/former personal trainer.
Stacy, you say, “You made vegan mac and cheese 14 days in a row” like it’s a bad thing…
Feeling a little better immediately, I made the monumental decision to get bangs accept my first date in weeksmonths let’s not talk about it.
Quickly remembering why I don’t date, Uncle Jesse and I planned a series of hikes where no one would tell us they never called like they said they would because they were waiting to see if they could take someone ELSE out on a date that weekend (YES THAT’S A THING THAT HAPPENS).
We first tackled a spectacular canyon hike and had a great time both got burnt paws.
And then, a month later, just when we were sure things couldn’t get worse…
It would be many weeks before we trusted each other again.
Well, no matter, later in the summer, we scaled new heights during a hike that was supposed to have one of the best views in central Oregon!
For our next stunning hike, we climbed on our hands and knees for a half an hour and found a pile of rocks! I wondered if we would need them before the next toilet paper run.
Earlier this week I told you about THOSE G.D. CHURCH BELLS that go off at ALL HOURS one block from my new apartment.
After four months in this neighborhood, I’m starting to wonder what the ever-loving chipmunks is going on. The church bells are just the beginning. Odder still, this town is a mere two miles from where I grew up, and yet it’s as if I’ve stepped into The Upside Down. Nothing here makes sense, and it’s starting to scare me.
Since everyone else seems to have accepted this lunacy as status quo, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.
Go Jules Go, keeper of peace, server of justice, lover of being alone and eating peanut butter straight from the jar without any interruptions thank you very much, HAS ARRIVED.
First order of business? Handing out citations to the town’s most egregious offenders. Aside from His-Church-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, behold:
A few weeks ago, someone left -I’m not making this up- a red package labeled “TNT” on top of a mailbox on my block. A passerby notified the police, and within moments, the bomb squad arrived. These cartoonish hijinx shut down my street and kept me from enjoying the eight cases of wine I’d just purchased from Trader Joe’s for an entire hour.
Hi. Meet my dessert. She comes from a restaurant around the corner from my apartment, where they also consider Bachelorette tea parties the height of merriment. Don’t they know it’s not dessert unless you hate yourself afterwards?
The town center’s crowning Christmas jewel, and the view from my living room all December long.
And last, but certainly not least…
I found this note in my mailbox on Tuesday, from someone I had only briefly met when I first moved in. “Phoebe” later revealed her question via text: “Hey, would you be interested in swapping apartments [from your studio to my much more expensive 1-bedroom]? My boyfriend and I just broke up :(.”
I’m sure this won’t be the last of the nefarious acts in my new topsy-turvy world. Stay tuned. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. Sheriff Jules, over and out.
Since moving to your neighborhood late last year, your house of worship has turned mine into one of horrors.
Today, a cold, rainy Saturday perfect for staying in bed, your bells rang out at 7:24AM, 8:00AM, 9:37AM, 10:32AM, 11:24AM, 12:00PM, 5:24PM, 6:29PM, 8:01PM and counting, each time lasting no less than one full minute.
Have you a gargoyle in training?
I wish I could say this event was extraordinary, but alas, your belligerent bells remind me daily that sleep is for sinners. Were I to understand the reasoning behind your inventive cadence, perhaps I could rest soundly.
Concerned Heathen Citizen,
Can anyone explain this? Am I missing something (besides sleep)??
This week has been filled with a delightful series of diversions. It’s amazing this post even ma–
Is that my backyard?
I got home yesterday and someone had planted flowers. Lovely purple, orange and yellow, ah, daisiesgeraniums I-don’t-know-’ems, just to the side of my door.
I assumed it was the landlord, but even still, like any New Jersey native, my first instinct was suspicion.
I immediately texted a photo to Babs (my mom).
“Check the house. Is anything missing?” she replied in two seconds flat.
“Maybe he’s just trying to be nice?” My words sounded weak, even in writing.
“Did he use the flowers from your flower box?” she asked.
“No…” I answered.
“I hope they’re not flowers FOR YOUR GRAVE.”
“I hope I don’t come home tomorrow and they spell, ‘YOU’RE EVICTED.'”
It’s not that my landlord is a bad guy. No, no, no. He just, well, he seems to be of the more frugal variety, and in almost two years of renting, I haven’t seen any other display of Mother Nature’s bounty.
I’ll keep you posted. Random acts of kindness must not be trusted.
Have you had any surprises lately?
P.S. – Seriously, guys. What the hell kind of flowers are those?
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.
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:
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.
When he opened the 5th floor door and I saw it wasn’t an interrogation room, I breathed a sigh of relief.
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.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a compromising position?
Oh, hi blog, it’s me, Jules. You probably didn’t recognize me because I’VE LOST MY F%$&%@ MIND.
Remind me never to buy real estate again. In fact, remind me to never buy anything again, ever. Okay, maybe toothbrushes. Those get really gross after a while.
Trying to sell your house is like having to, every day for, possibly, ever, tell a 6-year-old Santa Claus doesn’t exist. You don’t know how bad it’s going to be, but you know it’s going to be bad.
Especially when you’ve lost your job and are convinced you can do everything yourself.
Case in point: Buying this year’s Christmas tree became a rushed, haggard ‘staging’ opportunity, as opposed to a magical, fragrant event wherein I blast John Denver and the Muppets and drink egg nog rum.
Case in point part deux: In the past month, I’ve learned things about my vacuum that, frankly, I think I was better off not knowing.
In fact, I was so desperate to get out of cleaning the downstairs coat closet, when Babs (my mom) mentioned needing help at the office yesterday, I gleefully volunteered. She works for an allergist, and while I was sure I’d be of no use whatsoever, she was more than willing to perch me in the front window for the day.
Questions I Was Not Able to Answer
Can I come in for a flu shot?
Can you talk to my primary care doctor about sending over my blood work?
What is your fax number?
Can I still have peanut and sesame oil?
Question(s) I WAS able to Answer
Can my child have a sticker?
How often do you replace your toothbrush?When did you find out Santa Claus wasn’t real? Would you like a sticker?
I mean, just something I want to warn you about, should we ever vacation together.
I like to do things.
I’m not the Energizer bunny or anything, but to me, going on trips is more synonymous with adventure than relaxation. If you take me to the beach, I’m going to try to book one of those wave runner or zip lining excursions. If you take me to the city, I’m going to look up event calendars and comedy clubs.
And if you take me out to dinner after all of this doing of things, I’m going to drink. A lot.
And after I drink a lot, I might look around and think, “That wall should be blue. I mean, like a really classy, Nautica-looking navy blue.”
And before you know it, I’ll be painting your vacation home.
This is precisely what happened when first Hub, Peppermeister, and I, stayed in my aunt and uncle’s summer house in Long Island last week.
“Are you sure you want to PAINT on your vacation?” Peppermeister asked.
“It’ll be done before you wake up.”
“I don’t know why I asked.”
I may have made a few other adjustments…
So what do my aunt and uncle think of my impromptu makeover?
I haven’t heard from them in days.
What kind of vacationer are you? Less is more or go-go-go? (For more of my Long Island adventures, check out how I almost died!)
Disclaimer: Though my aunt and uncle own it now, this is an old family home, and I checked with my parents before painting. It’s not as funny with the disclaimer, is it? I should’ve just let you think I was a presumptuous asshat. Dammit.
“I can’t wait to rent a boat in Long Island!” my first husband, Peppermeister, said several times before we headed east last week.
Once again, my aunt and uncle were generously letting us stay in their vacation home for our anniversary. We had fond memories of relaxing bay side, playing mini golf and binge drinking waterfront dining.
“Let’s scope out this place, The Station,” Peppermeister said. “They serve food and rent boats.”
While recreating one of the menu photos…
…we noticed an entertaining boat name:
“Do you think that’s the boat they rent?” I asked.
“Nah, that one’s too nice,” Peppermeister replied. “They probably rent those.”
He pointed to the glorified row boats on either side of Butthead. I quickly let go of my mai tai drinking, bow bathing fantasies.
“We’ll come back on Monday – the weather’s supposed to be beautiful.”
And the weather finally WAS beautiful, on Wednesday. The young man preparing our boat barely put down his sandwich to attach the motor. Knowing nothing about boats, I brushed off my first thought: “Is that from a lawn mower?”
At 10:15am, we were finally ready to hit the open seas Shinnecock Bay.
In between bites, our boat hand, who shall henceforth be referred to as “Boris,” explained where to fish for fluke, and gave us a map with the emergency phone numbers on it.
We didn’t even make it out of the marina before the motor stalled and we drifted into sand. We shoved ourselves off with our one sturdy oar, and Peppermeister got us going again.
The weather was so flawless, I paid little mind to the hiccup.
We cruised steadily west while Peppermeister grabbed a beer and we tried to pick out our own marina.
About 45 minutes into our cruise, the motor cut out again.
When it happened for the third time, we Peppermeister spent 20 minutes trying to start it.
“I’m just going to call the guy to come get us. This is a waste of time.” He fished out his cell phone from the Ziploc bag in his backpack.
Here’s a summary of how that went down:
“Landmarks? …Yes, there are buildings nearby! THERE ARE HOUSES EVERYWHERE!”
“We’re IN THE DUNES. DRIVE by the DUNES.”
“WE’RE DUE SOUTH OF TIANA BAY! DUE SOUTH! We’re IN the DUNES on the OTHER SIDE of the BAY. We’ve DRIFTED SINCE WE HAVE NO ANCHOR AND ONE OAR!”
“Like I said, we’re to the LEFT OF THE BRIDGE. DUE SOUTH OF TIANA BAY. We’re THE ONLY BOAT HERE.”
I tried to help, too.
One hour and five phone calls later, Boris arrived in none other than…
He, of course, managed to get our motor going, and told us to follow him back. The motor stalled a minute later, and it took him three minutes to notice we weren’t following. He circled back to tow us.
He tangled up his lines in his motor, and then attached one line to the front of our boat.
“He’s doing it wrong,” Peppermeister muttered. “You’re supposed to tow with two lines.”
We lurched forward, and Boris started swerving Butthead left to right, right to left, while we tipped from side to side in our boat.
I leaned forward and backward in the opposite direction of his swerving, trying to keep the boat level.
About halfway to the marina, the water grew increasingly choppy, as did Boris’s driving, and gallons of water sloshed into our boat. We tried bailing it out with our one bucket, a bleach bottle with the bottom cut out.
Peppermeister whistled loudly. Boris, who’d never once looked back to check on us, raised his eyebrows in mild surprise.
“Every time you turn, more water comes in! We’ve been trying to empty it this whole time!” Peppermeister shouted. “Will this boat sink?”
“No,” he replied, and kept driving, staring straight ahead.
The water rushed past our calves, almost as high as the seats.
Peppermeister whistled again and Boris stood there gawking.
Everything next happened in slow motion.
Peppermeister yelled, “You need to get off!”
With my brain still saying, “This boat’s not actually SINKING,” I grabbed our precious cargo -the backpack- and held it above my head. Suddenly, half the boat was under water. Good call on the Ziploc bags. As it capsized, my left leg got pinned beneath, allowing me to appreciate its sturdiness. Wow. No. I kicked off my flip-flops and paddled away, shouting,
“Here! The backpack! Get it on Butthead! Get it on Butthead!”
Because I’d be DAMNED if I was losing my cell phone and car keys over this little snafu.
Peppermeister threw the backpack at Boris, who let it hit his chest and slide to the floor. I swam for a second or two, watching the contents of the boat drift south (due south! Of Tiana Bay! Towards the dunes! In case you were wondering).
“Don’t worry about the boat! Don’t worry about it! Leave the stuff!” Boris called, finally looking rattled.
“Get a life jacket!” Peppermeister cried, and I grabbed the only one still within reach, passing it to him, confused.
Ooh, the water feels nice. It’s not as hard to swim in a denim jacket as I thought it would be. Bet I could swim back pretty fast. Great exercise.
“Do you need it? Put it on!” Peppermeister said frantically.
I took one look at his face and his next statement answered my unspoken question, “I’m freakin’ out a little.”
“It’s fine,” I replied. “It’s fine. We’re in a bay. You know how to swim.”
“I know, I know,” he said. “You get on first.”
Shouldn’t we get the stuff?
“Don’t worry about the stuff!” Boris called again.
“Go! Use our boat!” Peppermeister urged.
Our overturned boat was creating, I realized, a handy step up onto Butthead. Boris grabbed my arm firmly, “I got you, I got you.”
Man, I always thought that would be impossible, I thought as I tumbled onboard.
Once Peppermeister and I were safely seated, we began our 45-minute slog back to the marina. I didn’t realize why it took so long until much later.
Boris was towing our boat.
The Station owner was waiting for us on the dock when we returned.
“A ‘small’ problem?” he asked, glancing between Boris and his sodden passengers.
Boris stared at the ground while Peppermeister and I disembarked. Moments later, he handed us a full refund and two t-shirts.
“I’m so sorry about this,” he said.
He walked away, shoulders slumped, and I looked at Peppermeister.