humor, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Kvetching, PSAs

An Udder Fail

Go Jules Go An Udder Fail Title Graphic_9APR19

It’s mud season in rural Maine.

I know this because, despite being a New Jersey native, I’m spending most of April in one of my favorite states.

Uncle-Jesse-Maine-sunset
I mean come on. This doesn’t even have a filter.

I can do this because I quit my job and now my life is filled with rampant lawlessness.

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Did someone say “lawlessness”?

When I arrived in rural Maine, intending to volunteer on a friend’s farm sanctuary for two weeks, I didn’t immediately realize my cell signal had given out. A half hour earlier.

I diligently followed my friend’s instructions to “look for the next driveway after the sanctuary’s entrance,” where my cabin was located. Instead I saw train tracks and a sign that read, “Pavement ends.”

pavement-ends-sign
Say whaaa…?

Being from what you might call a New York City suburb, I interpreted that to mean, “TURN YOUR CAKE ASS AROUND, JERSEY.” I did so happily, heading back towards the sanctuary’s driveway instead.

Big mistake.

Farm Sanctuary driveway Go Jules Go
What I should have done, and soon learned to do: Park at the foot of the driveway and make the mile-long, uphill walk by foot.

“Mud season” wasn’t just a cute saying. My non-all wheel drive sedan squealed for mercy as I attempted to haul her up the hill.

“Oh my GAWD are you f*@#&$ kidding me?” I imagined her saying. “I am sooooo going to need a pedicure after this.”

I had gotten AAA before the trip, though, and felt cavalier mildly confident. (Until later, when I realized I wouldn’t have even been able to call AAA if I HAD gotten stuck.)

Once I made it to the sanctuary, the owner looked confused. I explained that I couldn’t find the cabin. Apparently I was supposed to charge past the “Pavement ends” warning and go another mile or so to “the next driveway.” I felt silly explaining that in Jersey terms, “the next driveway” is usually measured in feet. Sometimes inches. I kept quiet and accepted her gracious offer to lead me there – something I knew she didn’t have time for.

Running a farm sanctuary is No. Joke.

“Thank you so much. Just a warning that I’m going to keep a safe distance from you going downhill.”

She smiled knowingly, casting a glance at my mud-spattered pansy car.

We soon reached the small cabin, which was clean and well lit, warm from gas heat and equipped with the basics. Except internet. Which, I quickly began to realize, was going to throw a wrench into this whoooole plan. I checked my phone; still no service whatsoever.

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Hello…? Is anyone out there…?

“This mayyyy be a problem,” I said, feeling the panic start to rise in my throat, the extent of my remote location settling in.

Let me just text… No.

Let me just look up the nearest… No.

Let me just check the weather for tomorrow and… No.

I waited until she left to execute what would come to be the first of many, many strategies to try to make the next couple of weeks work out.

I’m just going to drive towards a town, and see when my service picks up. I didn’t even bother unpacking, just loaded Uncle Jesse (the dog) back in the car. As I made the first turn, my stomach flip-flopped, trying to memorize my surroundings. Holy god I miss Google maps. The sun would set in less than an hour, so after just a few minutes, I decided to give up and turn around in a church parking lot. The last thing I wanted to do was make the situation worse by getting lost.

As I did a U-turn, I noticed the church’s sign.

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Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

I decided to go back to the sanctuary -walking from the bottom of the driveway this time- and borrow someone’s phone to let my family know I had arrived safely. A volunteer was sorting vegetables and happy to offer her phone, so after I successfully texted Babs (mom), I helped sort produce for the next couple of hours, chatting and feeding Uncle Jesse stray bits of cauliflower.

Go Jules Go farm sanctuary sorting vegetables
One for the bin, one for Uncle Jesse, one for the bi-Uncle Jesse…

Thankfully, my phone still worked as a flashlight, and we made it back to the car and our cabin. It was pitch black. As I unpacked the car, I caught a glimpse of the stars twinkling brightly – the way they only could when not overpowered by street lamps and cramped houses. I stood still, and for the first time in hours, took a deep breath.

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Maybe this will all work out…

I finished unpacking, popped some potatoes in the little oven for Uncle Jesse, and cracked open a bottle of wine, deciding to make the most of my off-grid night. I’d sort out my phone issues in the morning.

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Microsoft Word and random downloaded iTunes songs from 2016: entertaining spoiled New Jerseyians since…I don’t know when, because my phone doesn’t work and I can’t look anything up.

Fast forward two days, and my phone -even with a new, more expensive carrier- still wasn’t working. Nor were my pseudo, DSW-purchased “muck boots,” which I managed to puncture by repeatedly tripping on a sharp rock while cleaning the rabbit houses.

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Thankfully, my $900 paperweight phone’s camera still pulled through.

Every two minutes, I thought of some reason I needed to use my phone, or get online. Upcoming bills I had to pay, friends with momentous events I had planned to check in on, ASMR videos on YouTube I needed to watch, travel plans I’d yet to make…

Shame washed over me in endless, sickening waves. I am so fu@*#^% soft. Here I thought, with my tiny living and frugal spending, I’d become so flexible! So strong! So adaptable! But 48 hours without a phone broke me, and after Sunday’s full work day, I fled back to my comfort zone, checking into a pet-friendly motel 90 minutes south, in one of my favorite parts of Maine.

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And near one of my favorite people, Darla from She’s A Maineiac.

“Does the dial go all the way up to ‘donkey’?” I asked Darla when I stopped by the next day to do laundry.

Laundry donkey setting Go Jules Go

~*~*~*~*~*~

How would you fare if you were unexpectedly off-grid?

~*~*~*~*~*~

 

Kvetching, New Jersey is breathtaking, PSAs

WTF? You’ve Been SERVED.

citation note pads

Earlier this week I told you about THOSE G.D. CHURCH BELLS that go off at ALL HOURS one block from my new apartment.

Church-bells

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.

stranger-things-winona-rider
New Jersey: As confounding as Winona Ryder’s comeback.

Since everyone else seems to have accepted this lunacy as status quo, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

That’s right.

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.

Jules-old-timey-sheriff
Helloooo, sweet, cinnamon-swirly justice!

First order of business? Handing out citations to the town’s most egregious offenders. Aside from His-Church-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, behold:

CITATION #1

Wile-e-coyote

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.

WTF-citation-coyote

CITATION #2

sad-dessert

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?

WTF-citation-dessert

CITATION #3

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The town center’s crowning Christmas jewel, and the view from my living room all December long.

WTF-citation-tree

CITATION #4

And last, but certainly not least…

Neighbor-note-doctored

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 :(.”

WTF-citation-neighbor

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.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Any heinousness happening in your neighborhood?

~*~*~*~*~*~

New Jersey is breathtaking

New Jersey: The Greatest Country in the World

In angsting over pondering what to write about this week, it occurred to me that I needn’t labor so hard. After all, it’s Labor Day weekend for us Americans, and the only work we should be doing is squeezing every last, sweaty drop out of summer before she packs her bags and says sayonara for another year.

So, from the bottom of my Jersey girl heart fringe top, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy holiday. And to my fellow chipmunks across the globe sharing in the season’s end: Yes, yes you have every right to judge us.

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‘MERICA.

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

 

New Jersey is breathtaking

Rendered Powerless by Hurricane Sandy

I’ve been a little cut off from civilization, but I assume everyone has heard about the storm that rocked the Northeast earlier this week.

Hurricane Sandy.

Frankenstorm.

Peppermeister (Husband-For-Now) and I got lucky, and so did our friends and family.

For us, this was the worst of it:

The trees landed in our driveway, but didn’t hit anything but more trees.

We were able to clear the driveway pretty quickly, thanks to chainsaws, brute strength and the kindness of strangers neighbors.

Our neighborhood seems the worst hit in town, as far as trees going down, but luckily none of them hit houses.

It’s hard to tell, but this is just dangling in the power lines, unattached to its base.

So this is our life now. No heat, no running water, no internet, no TV. Rotting food. Mile-long gas station lines. Headlamps.

We expect to be without power for two weeks or more. Here’s a shot from 10:30am Wednesday (Halloween). You can’t see the vodka, but it’s there.

Cancel Halloween? Over my dead ‘doodle body.

Exactly. It could be a lot worse.

How are you Chipmunks doing? If you’re looking for somethin’ cool to read, Hey! What the hell is cooler than a headlamp? Marlene over at My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours posted an update on her pilot web series. I’ll be blogging about the amazing filming experience next week. With or without power!

Animals, New Jersey is breathtaking, Uncategorized

Snakes Aren’t Scary (Except When They Are)

So you’re probably thinking I’m going to start this post like I always do, by greeting you as my fuzzy, wuzzy, li’l Chipmunks. Well, I would, but Peppermeister (First Husband) told me snakes eat chipmunks. And I just don’t want to take that kind of chance here.

You see, on Saturday, amidst hour number 8,002 of yard work, I went over to the pool filter and lifted the cover so I could clean it out. We had just had a big storm, so I knew it would be full of crud.

Oh, I was right about that.

Yup. THAT just happened.

I’d like to take this time to remind you that I live in New Jersey. The reason I stay here is simple: NO SCARY CREATURES (unless you count our politicians). No scorpions, no box jellyfish, no dementors, and no grizzlies (I don’t think. Don’t burst my bubble).

Now, okay, this snake was probably only 18 inches long, and a harmless garter at that, but that didn’t stop me from letting out a strangled cry and jumping back 5 feet.

I made Peppemeister repeat the process when he got home, so he too might have something to blog about. Which is when we discovered it was still very much alive.

Now that I’ve had a few days to recover, I’ve decided I’ve given this snake far too much power. And I know I’m not alone; so many people are terrified of snakes.

I’m going to take care of all that for you, right here, right now. It’s the least I can do considering you’re probably still pissed from hearing that I have a pool and haven’t invited you over.

Allow me to present to you:

BOB, the Worst Stand-Up Comic Snake of All-Time

And so you see, snakes are nothing to be afraid of. Until they start telling jokes.

Have you ever encountered any unwanted critters in your dwelling?

***SUPER IMPORTANT ALERT THAT YOUR HAPPINESS PROBABLY DEPENDS ON: I’m wrapping up the Go Guilty Pleasures slap bracelet extravaganza, so if you have any unseen slap bracelet pictures, the deadline is TODAY, JUNE 6th. I hope you’ll send them to me at Julie.Davidoski@yahoo.com. Oh and I think you’re swell. Even if you don’t have a slap bracelet.***

New Jersey is breathtaking, Uncategorized

New Jersey. Fuhgeddaboudit!

I got your greetings right here. Oh! Fuhgeddaboudit.

I’m from the land of opportunity, where the streets are paved in gold[en tanning lotion] and the hills run with honey [-colored highlights].

Where, when driving 35 miles east to work, I pass not one, not two, but three shopping malls. Fuhgeddaboudit.

Where, most importantly, it’s not considered at all rude to shout, “Get the hell oudda here!”

That’s right. These are my brethren bubbies:

I am likely no more than 3 degrees of separation from all of these people.

Being from “The Garden State” can be confusing. People fly into Newark Airport and, if not distracted by the acrid smell of industry’s finest power plants, come to realize there isn’t a flower or turnip in sight*. Fuhgeddaboudit.

If they ask for a hoagie or a pop, they may be met with, “Oh! Speak English!” We identify most with our ‘exit’ – the number of the Garden State Parkway exit you take to get to our hometown, whatever that might be (135 in the house, yo!). New York City is simply “The City” (if appropriate, a borough is specified), and getting the world’s best pizza and bagels from any seedy-looking strip mall is not so much appreciated as it is expected. Fuhgeddaboudit. You might have noticed my liberal use of “Fuhgeddaboudit” throughout this post. That’s another confusing thing about New Jersey. Not only can you get away with saying this (in joking fashion or with all the sincerity of a mother chipmunk tending to her teeny, tiny baby chipmunks), you can use it in a number of conflicting ways: You need a ride to the train station because you’re getting your Mazda tramp stamped? Fuhgeddaboudit! Your mother-in-law told your hairdresser to tone down your pouf? Fuhgeddaboudit! You tried those calzones at Vinny’s? Fuhgeddaboudit! As you can see, it means both “Of course! Don’t think twice!” and “Aw hell no!” Most commonly, though, as Urban Dictionary so eloquently states, it means: “The subject is unequivocally excellent; further thought and analysis are unnecessary.” …My head hurts. Does anyone want to do shots? What do you love/hate about your motherland? *Let us remember, though, I have a barn. Jersey has so much to offer**. **FuhgeddabouditPhoto Credits:#1 (postcard) – edisonnewjerseyhomes.com#2 (Jersey Shore cast) – jerseyshoreshow.org#3 (t-shirt) – raggedshirts.com

New Jersey is breathtaking, Uncategorized

I’m Going to Need a Lot More Money Before I Start Feeling Guilty

At the risk of divulging too much personal information In the hopes of finding my first stalker, I’d like to share some exciting news with you about my county. Hunterdon County, New Jersey, that is.

Turns out we’re rich.

Very rich.

According to a number of recent articles, including this one from Yahoo! Real Estate, we’re the second richest county in the nation.

I have a theory about how we achieved this impressive  embarrassing status. It’s quite simple. The CEO of Nasdaq lives in our town. That’s got to throw off the whole average, right?

New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S., has a reputation for housing a number of the world’s wealthiest, no doubt given our proximity to New York City, and Snooki’s poof. I was sure Russell Simmons’ stomping grounds of Bergen County would make the top of the list. (Click here for a neat WordPress article about stars in Bergen County.)

Not this place:

Picture I took of my 'hood for another amazing post: https://goguiltypleasures.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/things-that-confuse-me-when-i-walk-my-dog-a-photo-tour/

Does it change anything, you ask? Will I refuse to cross county borders now for fear that I might breathe in fumes of the poor? Will I now get to pronounce the ‘t’ in ‘often’ without feeling douche-y? Look for preschools for my yet-to-be-conceived children? Receive a special membership card? I just got an invitation for a Visa black card yesterday…was that it in disguise?

I’ll keep you posted. For now I’m going to go back to eating Ramen noodles in front of the fan.