Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toilet Paper: Reprise

I have long believed that it's perfectly okay to just set your roll of toilet paper on top of the spool instead of actually putting it on the spool.  Please read the blog I wrote about it before you read this post. 

And now, I have a big announcement.  Brace yourselves.  You might want to sit down.

I am shocked and deeply saddened to report that last night, all my beliefs about toilet paper were rocked to the very core when my husband dropped the entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet.

This is my version of what happened:

This is an actual photo I took right after he said, "Could you come help me, please?"

And that was Angel Soft, mind you, not the crappy generic stuff that feels like it would be better suited as a party decoration.

For your further edification and amusement, these are the exact words Ari used in response to this ordeal:

"I'll tell you what's happening right now:  the entire roll is going on the spool!  How's that, miss smarty-pants blogger?  Chances of ENTIRE toilet paper roll going in the toilet while it's on the spool:  ZERO!  What do you think of THAT?  How's THAT grey poupon*? …Okay, I don't know where I was going with that."

Again, that is a direct quote.

I guess in our household, we are just too clumsy to do anything innovative with our toilet paper.  I offer my sincerest apologies to all my faithful followers and fellow believers.  The toilet paper spool beat me, but it doesn't have to beat you.  Just be really, really careful not to drop your toilet paper in the toilet.

* I Googled "grey poupon," and it is apparently some kind of mustard.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Apocalypse Will Be Awkward

Congratulations to all of you who survived the apocalypse today!  If you're my age, you have now survived the apocalypse not once, but twice.  (And maybe some other times I wasn't aware of.)  Give yourself a pat on the back.

My other brush with the end of civilization (and possibly yours, too) happened when I was eleven--the dawn of the year 2000.  The popular theory at the time was that the double zeros in "2000" were going to confuse the computers and cause the world's entire infrastructure to collapse, at which point Jesus would decide to come back. 

I mostly didn't believe anything was going to happen, and if it did, I figured my family would magically survive somehow.  But on New Years Eve 1999, as we watched the ball drop in Times Square from my grandparents' living room in Alabama, I suddenly caught myself expecting all the lights to flicker out and screams to erupt in the distance, perhaps accompanied by an explosion or two.  Maybe we should have bought a whole truck full of canned green beans and cat litter, I thought. 

Then they showed footage of Sydney, Australia, where it had already been January 1, 2000 for quite a few hours.  All their lights were on, and nothing was on fire.  I pretended that I hadn't spent the past 30 seconds silently panicking.

Another apocalypse was scheduled to occur today at 6:00 PM, and most of humanity seems to have escaped this one unscathed as well.  Either that, or there were so few souls worthy of being raptured, the rest of us haven't even noticed they're gone yet.

Before you let your guard down, though, don't forget the next apocalypse is scheduled for December 21, 2012, according to a Mayan prophecy and a movie I haven't seen.

This all begs the question:  What is the best apocalypse strategy to adopt?  Whether you stockpile food in your basement or smugly do nothing, you're really taking a gamble either way.

Let's say you take all the necessary precautions:  sand bags, bomb shelter, emptying the shelves of your local Big Lots.  You go to bed the night of the apocalypse feeling safe and warm in your bulletproof bunker, confident that your family will survive the impending rain of molten lava and repopulate the earth.

Then you wake up the next morning to a bright, sunny, totally normal day.

And then, what if the apocalypse does happen, but you've prepared for the wrong kind of apocalypse?

Or let's say you're like most people and do nothing to prepare for the apocalypse.  How stupid are you going to feel when you wake up and discover the sun has been blacked out and all your potential sources of sustenance have been annihilated?

No matter how you look at it, the apocalypse will be awkward for someone.

But for now, I'm going to assume that if the apocalypse passed up the millennium, we're probably not going to have to worry about it for a while.  Sucks for you, generation of the year 3000.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bogo's Big Victory

We adopted both our cats from the same shelter at the same time.  Bette was two years old; Bogo was seven.  The personality card on Bette's cage classified her as a "Secret Admirer."  Bogo's classified him as "The Leader of the Band."  Over the past year, I've come to believe those cards were really, really accurate.  Bette is content to cuddle and nap, and occasionally stare lovingly at you for minutes on end.  Bogo wants to play nonstop and watch birds outside.  When he wants your attention, he'll follow you around until he either trips you or you pick him up or start dangling his favorite ribbon.

Bette was a stray before we adopted her; Bogo was brought in by his owner, an elderly man with a ton of cats.  When we adopted them, I think they both thought they were finally going to a home where they'd be the only cat, the sole object of the humans' love and attention.

But when they hopped out of their cardboard cat carriers in our apartment, they realized something had gone terribly wrong.  Another cat had tagged along somehow.

This imposter was going to ruin everything.

For the most part, Bette and Bogo accepted their new living arrangement.  It wasn't their dream home, but they did have two humans who loved them.

For the most part, they just ignore each other.  Occasionally, they'll nap on the same bed (just not too close together), but any time Bogo walks by Bette, he hisses at her off-handedly without even looking at her.

I think this is the cat way of saying, "I still hate you."  And then sometimes, they still have random bouts of cat rivalry.

Bette likes to sleep next to me under the covers.  When she does this, she usually stays there all night.

But one night last week, I woke up in the middle of the night with a vague feeling that a struggle was taking place.  I finally realized Bogo had laid down on top of Bette, effectively trapping her under the covers.

Bette eventually crawled to safety.  Bogo laid next to me for about five more minutes before getting bored and leaving.  I'm honestly still not sure whether he was trying to suffocate Bette, or he just thought he'd found something wonderfully warm and squishy to sleep on.

The next day, Ari and Bogo were playing with Mr. Mousey when Bette decided to exact her revenge.  Mr. Mousey is the one toy that belongs to Bogo, and only Bogo.  He is Bogo's most prized possession.

Bette could usually care less about playing, especially with Mr. Mousey, but this time, she leapt off the couch and thrust herself in front of Ari.  Without thinking, he offered her the toy.  As his arm swung in a wide arc toward Bette, I realized he was committing the biggest sacrilege in cat history, but it was too late.

When Ari turned back to Bogo, he looked utterly scandalized.

Ari tried to offer Mr. Mousey back to Bogo.

Ari followed Bogo into the kitchen to apologize.

No matter how hard Ari tried, Bogo refused to acknowledge him or Mr. Mousey.  They had both been tainted with betrayal.

Meanwhile, Bette had sprawled in the living room floor looking extremely satisfied.

Ten minutes later, we watched Bogo slink back into the room.  He trotted in a circle around Bette.  They locked eyes, and he glared at her pointedly.

Bogo then proceeded to approach Ari at his computer chair and nuzzle him until Ari patted his head a few times.

 Then he walked back over to Bette, nipped her on the neck, and chased her out of the living room.

These rivalries have gone on so long now, I've lost track of who started what, or who's won the most battles.  But I do know that this time, Bogo emerged victorious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm the Daniel Tosh of Blogging

Daniel Tosh does a bit in which he describes his ability to take a decent joke and then make it weirder… and weirder… and weirder… until only one person is still laughing.

I tried to find a clip of it online to show you, but I couldn't find one because apparently I'm that one person who actually thinks it's funny.

Anyway, that's kind of how my blog is.  (Assuming anyone ever laughs in the first place.) 

Let's take a look at some successful comedic blogs, like The Bloggess, or Hyperbole and a Half, or Just Inappropriate.  These bloggers poke fun at themselves, but in an endearing way.  They recount childhood mishaps or describe their kids doing something embarrassing, or they make observations of every day life that people can relate to.  They describe themselves in awkward social situations and put all their vulnerabilities and insecurities on the Internet, yet in such a way that everybody loves them.  The Bloggess and Hyperbole and a Half have both gotten book deals.  Just Inappropriate is still pretty new, but she's got 43 followers.  You could divide my followers into that 3 times and still have 0.35 of a person left over.  That person probably would not be very happy, or alive.  My blog probably wouldn't even get the good part of the person, like the torso.  I'd probably get the feet.  The torso would be like, "Screw this, I'm spending my last 30 seconds on earth reading the good blogs."

Think about my blog compared to those blogs.  I draw myself as a pus-filled monster.  I don't have kids to talk about.  As a matter of fact, I often gripe about kids getting on my nerves.  Sometimes I also gripe about adults getting on my nerves.  So I manage to offend pretty much my entire potential readership, unless there's an alien race out there somewhere that hates adult earthlings and loves hearing about my cats.

I am so socially inept that I can't even write about being socially inept.

Maybe someday I'll get offered a book deal by the Ursa Minor Division of Simon & Schuster.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Don't Think You're Ready for This Neti

Every year, all the world's oak trees decide to release millions of evil minions called "pollen" who are bent upon killing me.  Their stealthy plan of attack starts out with an innocent little sinus infection, which gradually spreads to include conjunctivitis, an ear infection, a sore throat, and bronchitis, until finally, I wake up one day looking like this: 

And that's usually when I drag myself to the doctor.

People have been trying to convince me for ages that a neti pot will solve all my problems.  However, I was reluctant to embrace this revelation because I knew it involved pouring water into one of your nostrils and letting it run out the other side.  How could that not be unpleasant?  What if you did it wrong and got water in your brain or something?  Sure, plenty of people use neti pots with no problem, but people do lots of things that look easy but almost result in my death or dismemberment when I try them, like riding a jet ski or feeding bread crumbs to a duck.

But this year, I finally worked up the courage to try a neti pot because my best friend told me I should try it, which is much more effective than anyone else telling me to try it, like, say, my doctor.

The neti pot instructions sound so easy, almost TOO easy, like the neti pot is flagrantly waving its simplicity in your face.

Step 1.  Please wash your hands and rinse the device.  (Check!  I even washed it with soap and hot water!)  Fill the NASALFLO ® Neti Pot with 8 oz. of warm distilled, filtered or previously boiled water.  You may warm the water in a microwave, but we recommend that you warm it in increments of five to ten seconds to avoid over-heating, damage to the device or scalding your nasal passage. 

Okay, starting to sound a little complicated and scary, but I'll just fill it with warm water from the sink.  Check?

Step 2.  Cut the SINUS RINSE (™) mixture packet at the corner and pour contents into the pot.  Tighten the lid on the device securely.  (It would really sound less sinister if they stopped calling it "the device.")  Place one finger over the hole of the cap and shake the device gently to dissolve the mixture.


Step 3.  Standing in front of a sink, bend forward to your comfort level and tilt your head to one side.  Keeping your mouth open, and without holding your breath, apply the tip of the device snugly against your nasal passage and ALLOW THE SOLUTION TO GENTLY FLOW until the solution starts draining from the opposite nasal passage.  Use roughly half the solution in the neti pot (4 oz.).  It should not enter your mouth unless you are tilting your head backwards.  To adjust or stop the flow, you may place your finger over the hole of the cap.  Do not swallow the solution; however, there is no harm if you do so accidentally.

Allow the solution to gently flow?  That's all you've got for me?  Those big red letters are making me pretty nervous.  And define "tilt" in this situation.  Are we talking a 45 degree angle?  A 90 degree angle?  Should I lean my head all the way forward, or should I lean it to the side a little?  I still did not feel adequately prepared to use this neti pot.  I was completely convinced that if I did not do this according to a set of precise specifications, something would go terribly wrong and I would die.

There was, however, a photo demonstrating what this whole process should look like.  It consisted of a moderately attractive woman smiling calmly with a tea pot spout sticking up one of her nostrils and a steady stream of clear fluid pouring out the other.

Eventually, I convinced myself that surely there would be some kind of warning if there were any chance of something really, really bad happening, and that I could always just sue somebody if something really, really bad did happen, and I decided to show that neti pot who was boss.

I got the neti pot to work by rolling my head around a la The Exorcist until it did its thing.  The fact that I managed to do it correctly probably means it's not very hard.  I was surprised that I actually didn't feel the fluid in my nasal passage at all.  It really wasn't so bad.  But I realized, as I stood over my kitchen sink with a plastic tea pot up my nose and a trickle of half-snot, half-saline solution coming out my left nostril as well as my throat, that I probably didn't look much like the neti pot model.  As a matter of fact, I really felt as though I had hit rock bottom in life.

There was the upshot of finally being able to breath through my nose afterward.  That was kind of nice.  And I was super proud of myself for managing to use a neti pot without dying. 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone else with sinus problems.  My only advice is, just accept from the beginning that you'll never look like the neti pot model.