I kill me!

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Florida: Because nothing goes together like beach volleyball and thunder storms!

Florida: Because nothing goes together like beach volleyball and thunder storms!

I’ve made it no secret that I’m a little bit out of love with Florida right now. A week in Canada (yes, I really went, and yes, I’ll eventually edit and share photos … probably) reminded me that it’s possible to walk five feet without creating a line of underboob sweat and now that’s basically all I can think about.

But, you know, I’m an optimist. Most of the time, anyway. So I’ve come up with a few slogans that the Florida Board of Tourism will probably want to look into licensing* from me to increase summer travel to the state. I mean, COME ON. These are gold.

Florida: We hardly have any sinkholes!

Visit Florida, where only half of the snakes are venomous and/or deadly!

Florida: Because sweaty is the new sexy.

Summer in Florida: Hey, it might** not rain!

Florida: Perfect for people who hate feeling dry!

Florida has it all! Saltwater, freshwater, sharks, and alligators!

Florida: Because that “dry heat” is for pansies.

Florida: We’ll let you wear jorts!

Why Florida? Because you didn’t want to be outside between noon and 6 anyway.

Florida: Get a close-up view of the country’s craziest news stories!

Florida: Where else can you get a 2nd degree sunburn on a cloudy day?

Florida: Almost nobody gets eaten by alligators anymore.

Florida: There’s no better place to play Old, Asshole, or On the Phone***!

Florida: Things really heat up at the Early Bird Special. (No, really — it’s RIDICULOUSLY hot at 4 or 5 every day.)

 

Umm, how many more months until it starts cooling off?

 

* For licensing opportunities please contact me at zomfgFloridaIsSoFreakingHotKillMeNow@aol.com

** It will definitely rain, unless you’re in the eye of the storm.

*** A favorite driving game in our household. You see a car being driven like an idiot is at the wheel, slowing down and speeding up, or cutting in and out of lanes, and, before you see the actual person, you guess what they’re going to be: Old, Asshole, or On the Phone.

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The other day at swim class, we worked on backstroke. And by “worked on backstroke” I mean I tried valiantly to keep from crashing into the lane rope while also not drowning. It didn’t go all that well, but I survived.

Part of the problem was that I kept laughing mid-stroke, which, well, was sometimes due to the fact that I’d crashed — yet AGAIN — into the lane rope, but also because I kept thinking of the video below.

See, our coach kept giving us drills focusing on rotating our bodies but not our heads, and also, trying to find a rhythm. And I had this going on in my head. Also it was 6 in the morning. You can imagine how this went.

H/T to The Bloggess for sharing this video.

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I’m still here, still kickin’, still paying for the domain so I’m thinking maybe I should actually, you know, use it.

I’m going to try, I swear, and isn’t this a good start? I think it’s a good start. Rudi does too.

Hollie thinks it sucks. In fact, not seen in this picture is me holding the white dog back with my left arm as she barks her head off at the ridiculous hat that made its way onto Rudi’s head. Thank god pictures don’t include sound.

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A lot of people who work from home actually work from a bunch of locations — coffee shops, restaurants, shared office spaces, you know. Not me. I work from home. I occasionally change locations and work from the living room or the back porch instead of at my desk, but that’s about it.

Until today. Today, after my morning meetings, I decided I wanted a coffee, and maybe some food that I didn’t have to make. I headed over to my local Starbucks, which is in the same center as my gym, so I figured I’d have a coffee and late breakfast, work for a few hours, get in a quick workout and head back home to finish out the day. I threw on some gym clothes, packed up my computer, and headed out.

It was, for the most part, pretty damn successful. I ran into a neighbor and said hello, but other than a child who sat down across the table from me, singing and tapping my laptop and trying to force me to make eye contact while his mother giggled, that was really the only break I took. I didn’t even take a bathroom break.

Which is why I didn’t notice until a few hours later, when I was walking over to the gym, that I’d been out of the house, working in public all day, with my pants on backward.

What do you even do with that? Besides, of course, walking as nonchalantly as humanly possible to the gym locker room to turn one’s pants around.

Obviously, I’m never leaving the house again.

 

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The other day, while walking the dogs (well, let me clarify — while walking each dog separately, because while they’re sometimes not terrible on their own, together, they can go from zero to raving mad lunatics with just a glimpse of another dog who dares to walk on their sidewalk), I sauntered past a group of kids playing outside.

Now, this is not unusual. I have never seen a neighborhood where the neighbor kids go outside and play together as much as they do here. It’s kind of awesome, and kind of like the ’50s. Not complaining. I can still beat most of them in basketball. I think.

Anyway, a few of these kids belong to a family that moved in very recently; like, a few weeks ago, maybe. I know this because I know everyone in my neighborhood. After all, there are only about 60 houses in the entire subdivision, and I walk and run from end to end to end to end over and over, so, you know, if people leave their homes, I see them. Bottom line is, though, I had not yet met these kids.

The home they moved into is next to the house that backs up to our back yard. Said house (the one behind us, not where the kids live — have I lost you yet?), has been abandoned, which I know isn’t uncommon right now, but it hasn’t happened too much in our subdivision. And — here’s the weird thing — although nobody’s lived there for a couple of months, the lawn stays pretty well manicured. Like, better than half the lawns in our neighborhood. YES, these are things I now notice.

So, the kids were playing in the yard of the abandoned home, and when I walked by, a couple of them ran over to pet Hollie (who was very good, by the way), and told me that the house was haunted.

“Are you sure? How do you know?” I asked.

“Because it’s been empty for a really long time. And it’s really old,” said the boy. For the record, the entire neighborhood was developed five or six years ago.

“Also?” he continued, “We found a flip flop near the back door!”

If you ask me, that evidence isn’t nearly as solid as the fact that, obviously, the ghosts are also keeping the lawn mowed. And, I mean, they’re right behind us, and it’s not like the fence should hold them back. The only question is, what do you offer a ghost to get him to mow your lawn?

(And what do you have to throw in to get him to trim some hedges while he’s at it?)

 

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As a freelancer, I pay a lot in taxes. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact. I’m used to writing out a sizable check each quarter and sending it off in the hopes that April doesn’t come around and put a dent in my savings.

Of course, if it does, that means the quarterly estimates based upon the previous year’s earnings were too low. Which means I made more money than the year before. Which, generally, is awesome.

I’m always, always nervous about tax stuff. Probably because I don’t understand it (which is why I don’t like clowns. Are you happy? Sad? I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE SMILING BUT HAVE A TEAR DROP COMING DOWN YOUR FACE). But we’re big rule followers, and our accountant seems to have a reasonable grasp of how the tax stuff works, so I can generally keep myself from getting too worked up.

Except for when I get a bill in the mail from the IRS for TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. For those of you who are more numbers than words, that’s $27,000.

In case it’s not obvious, we do not make the kind of money that would ever put us in a position to owe $27,000 after paying quarterly taxes all year. Or even without paying quarterly taxes all year, really.

But in the moment of reading this letter, as I walked back from the mailbox, all I could think was ZOMG TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!?! WE’LL NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN AGAIN. EVER.

And then I started hyperventilating. And getting dizzy. And sitting down, then standing up, then sitting down, then standing up, then leaning against walls and yelling, “TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?!?”

Fortunately, Jared retained his reading comprehension skills and realized that a 1099 we’d submitted in 2010 for $600 had been read as $60,000. And you’re damn right we didn’t pay taxes on $59,400 ON TOP OF what we made that year. Nope. That’s a few too many zeros for me.

The situation is getting squared away, and I’m breathing (mostly) normally again. But I will never, ever open a bulky letter from the IRS again without a fainting couch very near.

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Jared (calling on his cell phone telephone): I’m stopping by Publix. You want anything?

Me: What are you getting?

Jared: Printer paper. And chips, to eat with my sandwich.

Me: Oooh! Yes! Chips! And Brussels sprouts!

Jared: Ok … why do you want Brussels sprouts?

Me: Because I also want a sandwich. *eye roll* So get me salty chips, alright? Oh, it’s gonna be so good. Tomato, too, please!

Jared: So, chips, tomato, and … Brussels sprouts?

Me: Yep. I cannot wait for this sandwich.

***

We hang up, and 30 seconds pass. The phone rings again.

***

Jared: Are you sure you meant Brussels sprouts?

Me: Of course I am oh my god why won’t you just get me things to make a damn sandwich?

Jared: So, you do not want bean sprouts? You actually want Brussels sprouts?

Me: … Oh. Oh jeez. I … oh my god, I hate Brussels sprouts.

Jared: I know.

***

And then we both fell over laughing and I realized that I will always have to be married to him because someone else might actually bring me Brussels sprouts and, obviously, then I’d have to kill them. The end.

 

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I admit it — I had no complaints when I walked into the mall just after Halloween and saw the first hints of the holidays. You want to start trimming trees and ringing bells in early November? I’m not going to stop you. Although I might stare at you longingly, because someone in this house doesn’t believe in holiday decorations before Thanksgiving. I’m not naming names, but it’s not me. Or the dogs. Or the cat.

I even love Christmas music. I don’t think there’s any music in the entire world that makes me happier than Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy — honestly, I can’t help dancing to pretty much anything from The Nutcracker Suite. And I’m a big fan of carols. Hell, I can even sing Silent Night in multiple languages. Well, two, anyway, thanks to the German roots of my old Lutheran church. (Shut up. It’s a good party trick.)

I tend to stick more to the traditional carols, although I’ve found myself listening to the Indie Holidays Radio on Pandora lately — yes, I’m one of those people who likes Zooey Deschanel’s voice. But, I’ve noticed more and more over the past few years that some of the traditional songs are pretty messed up. Allow me to state my case.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Sure, it starts off all sweet: “We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!” but then it takes a devious turn. The little turds start demanding you bring them some figgy pudding, and a cup of good cheer! And if you don’t? THEY’LL NEVER LEAVE. Bastards. I’ll tell you where I’ll put your figgy pudding, you little jerkass.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

“Say, what’s in this drink?” Seriously? Dude, she said she really must go. Her parents are worried, and you’re giving her a reputation that she’s clearly concerned about. Back. Off. Stop being creepy.

Frosty the Snowman

It’s kind of a final binge, you know? He knows he’s nearing the end, so he’s just running around, breaking laws, thumbing his carrot-y nose at the cops. And then he dies. That’s a bad example and also sad. No thank you. (Oh, and I’m sure the kids *found* an old silk hat. Those hooligans totally ripped it off of some unsuspecting and law abiding old man.)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Okay, fine, if you really want to make a snowman and pretend he’s a freaky goddamn circus clown, that’s your prerogative, I suppose. I won’t be joining you, but, whatever. Still, as much as I do not like clowns (*shudder*), what’s the deal with the other kids knocking him down? Did you go around knocking down other people’s snowmen when you were a kid? I just find that rude.

I know there are other totally inappropriate holiday songs out there that I’m missing. Lay them on me — whatcha got?

 

 

Below is an actual* conversation that took place as Jared was preparing for a trip, meaning he was determining which movies to take with him, and, being the good husband that he is, he tries to take movies I have little to no interest in seeing. See why I keep him around?

Jared: Do you want to see The Adjustment Bureau? It’s the one with Matt Damon.

Me: Matt Damon, like, fat and with a mustache? Or hot?

J: …?

Me: I mean, it matters.

J: No mustache, I think. How about Unknown? It’s like Taken with Liam Neeson.

Me: But who does it have in it?

J: Liam Neeson.

Me: But Taken had Liam Neeson.

J: Yep.

Me: So, he did the same movie twice?

J: Do you want to see it or not?

Me: Again?

J: You haven’t seen this one.

Me: But … ok, fine. Yes. I liked it well enough the first time.

J: *eye roll*

I should probably mention that he listed, like, six other movies that I swear I’ve never even heard of. I don’t understand. I watch the television. I occasionally go to the movie theater. Is it that everything that’s not Harry Potter just fails to make an impact on me? Except I knew what Arthur was, because I love the idea of Helen Mirren and Russell Brand being all inappropriate and flirty during the promotional tour.

*Of course, by “actual” I mean as I remember it, which may or may not be accurate because, uh, memory of a goldfish over here. Oooh! Bubbles!

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I just saw a commercial for a meatloaf pan, and it got me wondering how many special pans/spatulas/gadgets the average kitchen dweller has. I mean, does anybody really make meatloaf so often that they need a special pan for it? Is there still some 1960s housewife out there who’s sticking to Meatloaf Mondays with all the Heinz 57 she can find?

Clearly, there’s a market for a ridiculous number of specialty cooking and baking tools, especially now that we’re all glued to Food Network and learning about how the pros make fancy cakes and create homemade pasta using their fancy-ass pasta cutters and freaking organic, I don’t know, wheat from their sustainable roof garden or whatever — which I’m sure they need a million OTHER special tools for. But really, are the rest of us buying it?

Don’t get me wrong — I guess I have a couple of rather specific cooking tools that don’t care to live without. I have my garlic mincer (which, I found out today, also works nicely for mincing ginger; speaking of which, what else can I mince? Because two things is great, but if it can mince, like, five things, it might earn a spot in the front of the utensil drawer), and a fancy hard boiled egg picker-upper (which I don’t use all that often, but when I do, I love it so much I kind of want to make out with it). And I can’t forget the quesadilla maker we snagged when Jared’s grandma last moved — I’m sure people can make mango/camembert quesadillas with just a single hot surface, but why would anybody want to?

And for grilling, we have our fish holder, and our veggie basket. And when it comes to baking, I do have a yet-to-be-used flame thrower thing for making creme brulee, which, well, I’ve thus far stuck to ordering in restaurants rather than attempting on my own.

Okay. Fine. I do own a bundt pan (and have used it once), and have a cute little cake pan that bakes flower shapes onto a cake (but, because I always frost cakes, I’ve only used this a couple of times — it’s adorable, but not so useful with the icing added).

And, well, I’m not gonna lie — I want a Slap Chop like nobody’s business. I have an apple slicer, which is awfully handy, but the Slap Chop! Have you seen it? It’ll chop your nuts! And your fruit! And you can picture crazy eyebrow guy while you’re using it!

Aww, hell. Hand me the phone. And the number for the meatloaf pan. I’m sure I can come up with a veggie substitute, and when I do? I’m gonna need that pan.

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