Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thanks Dad! Sorry We Lost All Your Money

I went to a casino with my parents last week. 

Casinos are full of old people, and people who look like crack addicts, but mostly old people in power chairs.  I guess when you've outlived all your loved ones and you're too decrepit to appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, you cash in your hard-earned retirement checks and go gambling.

I kind of felt like I was at a funeral, except with lots of flashing lights.

Since I'd never been to a casino before, we thought the slot machines would be something easy I could do.

We were wrong.

We sat down at our slot machines.  Dad started giving me instructions, and I realized the slot machine required math, which made me instantly resent it.

Just as I was glaring at my slot machine in frustration, a tiny old lady appeared at the machine to my left.  She moved with such purpose and conviction, like she'd been doing this every day since the birth of the cosmos. With an expression of intense concentration, she used both hands to push buttons on each side of the machine in a complex pattern akin to morse code, and her machine responded obediently with a series of cheerful beeping noises.  I'm pretty sure she won about ten dollars.

She rose from her chair in a businesslike manner and hobbled away with a silent, arthritic grace.

At that point, I decided I was just going to push the same button over and over again until all my money was gone, out of pure spite.

Next time we're thinking about going to a casino, I'm going to suggest we do something a little more fun with our money.

And we won't even have to leave the house!


***Disclaimer:  I did not actually gamble with any of my own money.  I am still as broke as I claim to be.  My kind-hearted father, on the other hand, is out fifty bucks.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Not Caulk Your Bathtub with Construction Adhesive

Step 1.  Do not realize your shower door is leaking the day before you're supposed to have company for Thanksgiving.

Step 2.  Do not scramble to make a list of things you will need for your first-ever caulking job by Googling "how to caulk a bathtub," even though you need to leave for work in under fifteen minutes. 

Step 3.  Do not proceed to ask your husband to go to Lowe's to buy things on said list so that you will have more time to get ready for work.

Step 4.  When your husband returns from Lowe's with a tube of something that doesn't have the word "caulk" anywhere on it, do not accept his explanation that it "has to be caulk because it was in the caulk section."

Step 5.
  Do not get home from work at 7:30 PM and start caulking your bathtub even though you're really tired and you still have some misgivings about this weird tube of stuff that does not claim to be caulk. 

Step 6.  Do not assume that using a caulk gun will require anything less than godlike upper body strength.  More importantly, do not start thinking about the fact that your eighty-two-year-old grandfather re-caulks his bathtub all the time and you can't even squeeze this stupid trigger with your pathetic stick-arms.

Step 7.  Do not put down the caulk gun so that you can slump against the shower wall for a moment, sweating and gasping for breath, only to look down and discover that a steady stream of (what you still believe to be) caulk has been oozing onto the floor of your bathtub because you didn't loosen the twisty-thing on the caulk gun.

Step 8.  When your husband gets home from work three hours later and you are still caulking that freaking bathtub, do not accidentally turn around and put your elbow in the area you just spent an hour caulking and then start crying and screaming obscenities.

Step 9.  When you fail to follow steps 1-8 and the "caulk" you worked so hard to apply turns to goo the first time you take a shower in that bathtub, even though you let it set up for 24 hours just like the instructions said, show the mysterious tube of something-other-than-caulk to your mother-in-law's husband, who will point out that you have sealed the edges of your bathtub with construction adhesive.

Step 10.  Remove all evidence of the construction adhesive goo and call your landlord to see if he'll re-caulk your bathtub for you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Blog to Say I'm Blogging Again

When I go through a long stretch of not posting, I feel like my next post needs to be more and more and more awesome to compensate.  I can't just jump right back in after not saying anything for so long.  That's like running into your best friend from high school and saying, "Oh, hey, how'd you do on that history test in 1982?  I think I did okay on the multiple choice." 

But when I try to create a post of indescribable awesomeness, a post worthy of the buildup I've created during my weeks of not posting, I get stuck in an infinite loop of doubt.  I try to write something worthy of a two-week wait, but then that takes another week to write, so now I have to make it funny enough for three weeks, but then that takes four more days, and it goes on and on and on until my head explodes, or I decide to just give up and go to bed, or Hubs gets home from work and says, "Hey, do you want to watch some Ugly Betty re-runs on Netflix?"  Sometimes all three of those things happen, in that order. 

This time, instead of getting caught up in the infinite loop of doubt, I'm writing a post to catch you up on what I've been doing while not blogging, and then maybe we can just move on like nothing happened and I'm still your favorite blogger ever. 

Here's what I've been up to lately:

1.  I drew a blind monkey for MOV in honor of this post on her blog.

2.  As a perk for being a super-successful, blind-monkey-drawing blogger, I received a copy of MOV's new book, Mom's Had a Rough Day, and have been reading it non-stop for the past 72 hours at great risk to my personal health and safety.  Okay, I might have taken a break to sleep and eat and occasionally go to work (usually in that order).  But seriously, you should pick up a copy*.  It's on Amazon, so you don't even have to get dressed or brush your teeth or drive!

3.  I accidentally re-caulked my bathtub with construction adhesive.  (I actually wrote about it, but then I got stuck in the aforementioned infinite loop of doubt and ended up relegating it to my "Unpublished" folder and writing this post instead.)

4.  I wrote 21,000 words for National Novel Writing Month before stopping altogether because it was Thanksgiving and I was doing important things like playing a three-day-long game of Phase 10 with my in-laws and going to a casino with my parents.  (I wrote about the casino, too.  It's languishing in the "Unpublished" folder right next to "How to Not Caulk Your Bathtub with Construction Adhesive.")

I feel much better now that I've given you guys an update.  I'll be resuming my weekly, mediocre posts soon!  Hey, maybe I'll even get all crazy and post two things in one week.

*I am telling you to buy this book because I am bossy and everything I like is awesome.  No one has asked me to review it or offered to give me stuff in exchange for recommending it or anything like that.  You have my word on that, as a totally professional blogger.  Now that that's cleared up, I'm going to go stalk people on the Internet while eating pre-wrapped slices of cheese, or as I like to call it, "researching the competition."

Friday, November 18, 2011

There is No Trade-In for Kids

Whenever people say anything even remotely negative about their kids, like maybe, "My three-year-old was being so annoying in the car today!" they always hurry to add, "But I wouldn't trade them for anything!"

This is basically their way of saying, "My three-year-old was being so annoying in the car today... but please don't report me to child services because I'm not an unfit mother I swear!"

It's sad that some people really would hear an innocuous comment like that and go running to report it.  Personally, I would never judge someone for having a moment of parental humanity every once in a while.  It's refreshing, actually, to talk to people who are honest about their kids.

I would only get concerned if someone started being really creepy about it.

But I digress. 

What bothers me about people saying, "I wouldn't trade them for anything!" is that we all know you can't trade them for anything, even if you really wished you could.  There is no trade-in value for kids.

Maybe we could settle on a more truthful phrase to use instead of "I wouldn't trade them for anything," like maybe, "I would never sell them to Somali pirates on the Internet using a Swiss bank account."

Because we all know it's better to use cash in those situations.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bette Doesn't Like to Jump

If you don't see much of me this month, it's because I'm doing National Novel Writing Month, which involves writing 50,000 words during the month of November.  Toy store job, blog, the fact that I'm probably developing pneumonia because I have a cold that won't go away… I totally have time for this!  At this point, I'm only about 11,428 words behind where I should be by Day 9.  I can definitely turn that around, right?  If you're also a Wrimo, as we're apparently called, you should look me up!  My username is Haley Wolfe because I'm terribly original like that.

I guess I'm telling you all this because, as in any time of severe stress, I am going to resort to writing about my cats.

Bette is not much of a jumper, probably because she is shaped like an adorable, cuddly pear that is full of squishy, but very heavy, rocks.

I think that's why she's mystified when our other, more agile cat does typical cat stuff, like finding his way to the top of the refrigerator.

Beds, chairs, couches, and low tables are within Bette's range, but even then, sometimes she seems to forget how she's supposed to transport herself to these places.  Since jumping obviously does not come naturally to her, I don't think it's always the first solution to come to mind, or else it sounds like a lot of work and she's hoping an alternative will present itself.

Take this morning, for instance.  Her normal routine is to come back into the bedroom after she eats her breakfast and jump up onto the bed for her mid-morning nap.  But instead, she stops short at the foot of the bed and just stares up at it.

She sniffs underneath the bed.

She looks at me as though expecting guidance.

She stares at the bed some more.

I can only assume this is what she was thinking:

Finally, laziness prevailed, and she just walked away.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Last Halloween

When I was ten, I went trick-or-treating for the last time.

I don't know where I trick-or-treated prior to that year.  Our house was on a main highway, which wasn't very pedestrian-friendly.  I assume my parents carted me to some other area of town.  Wherever we went, I do remember we always went after dark, and every single house seemed to have Halloween decorations.  You could guess which ones were going to give the best candy based on the number of tombstones and skeletons festooning the front lawn.

But that year, my mom decided all the places we normally trick-or-treated were too rapey, and the only way we could avoid being hacked into tiny pieces by an axe-murdering zombie was to get all this trick-or-treating business done before dark.

I was scandalized when Mom announced that we were leaving to go trick-or-treating at five o'clock.  I tried to impress upon her that NO ONE went trick-or-treating this early and that the sun wasn't even going to START setting for another hour at least and that people might not even be READY to hand out candy yet.  She brushed off my dire warnings as illogical whining and inwardly chuckled at my inability to comprehend the grave danger we were avoiding.

There was a golf course across the highway from our house, and in the middle of this golf course was a brand-new development of houses inhabited primarily by retirees from places like Michigan and Massachusetts who figured they'd save a little money by migrating to South Alabama instead of Florida.  Mom had selected this neighborhood as the only safe place to go trick-or-treating, so we set forth on our short journey, the radio covering our stony silence.

I had arrived at that awkward age when you want to look kind of sexy but it really just makes everyone around you uncomfortable because you're ten.  To exacerbate this, I had decided to dress up as a Spice Girl.  I looked like I'd been sold into child slavery and forced to work as a hooker.

This is a pretty accurate rendition of my Ginger Spice costume.  Mercifully, no one took an actual photo.

The late-afternoon sun blazed down on me as I clip-clopped up the front path of the first house we stopped at.  The street was filled with an eerie, bright silence, broken only by the hum of our car idling at the curb.  There was nary another human being in sight, much less another trick-or-treater.  The pastel-colored houses and neatly-trimmed lawns were entirely void of fake cobwebs and jack-o-lanterns.

Nervously, I rang the doorbell.  The sound seemed to reverberate through a cavernous space on the other side of the door.

I waited for a whole minute, but nothing happened.

I felt stupid walking back to the car empty-handed, so I decided to ring the doorbell just one more time.  This time, a middle-aged woman answered.

To protect this woman's identity, I have made her considerably more attractive than she actually was.

I walked back to the car in shame.

When we told my dad about our Halloween mishap, he had a very strong reaction.

From age 5 to age 15, I never saw my dad without a baseball cap.

Now that I've reached adulthood and gained a little perspective, I've come to a realization about that Halloween. 

We should have egged her house.

Monday, October 24, 2011