Friday, August 27, 2010

It takes a village...

Have you ever played the game Marco Polo, where you close your eyes and shout, "Marco," and the other people reply, "Polo," until you find them? It's like hide-and-go-seek, but you rely on sound instead of sight. I was always really bad at it since I'm deaf in one ear. I'm also a vegetarian who is short, blind as a bat, and has a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology with a double minor in Women's Studies and Peace Studies (yes, really).

In other words, I don't have any real "life" skills.

And as shallow as that sounds... and it is... it never bothered me until this month, when I was working on my house, and I had to paint ceilings, wallpaper bathrooms, stain decks, and plant flowers. None of which I knew how to do, and I still don't... unless you want to buy my house, because - in that case - I did an AWESOME job. Besides, who doesn’t want to live next to a guy with crop circles? Because, I promise you, if you buy my place, you will definitely make time to watch the grass grow, even if it isn't your own.

But that’s not the point. The point is that, at the end of last week, after hours upon hours upon more hours of manual labor, I was so exhausted that the only thing I could do was watch TV. And that’s when I became addicted to a show on the Discovery Channel called Dual Survivor. Have you seen it? Two men, one of whom is a complete Naturalist and the other of whom is an ex-Army guy, go into remote terrain with very little supplies and survive on their own merit. While both of them are amazing, one of them - the granola environmentalist - is the MacGyver of fire. I swear, he can make it from used chewing gum that he found in a river. All jokes aside, it's pretty impressive to watch. Because prior to this show, I thought "Lord of the Flame" meant something very different. In fact, I would have told you, "Not only do I know the Lord of the Flame (SA), he's a good a friend of mine, and there is NO way in hell that he's on a mountain or in a desert. He's on his couch watching Glee." And if you had added, "He's in a cave with an ex-Army guy." I'd have said, "What happens in the rain forest, stays in the rain forest, and if you don't want to know then don't ask, don't tell. Personally, I'm already texting him for details."

And that shallow queen would totally provide them... but I digress.

The point is that, after watching this show, I began thinking about human evolution and how the keeper of fire would have been a pretty important person in the village, which made me wonder, "What skills would I have brought to the tribe?" I could not have been a Hunter, because the only thing I'm capable of catching is a cold, and I loathe gardening so there is no way in hell that I could have been a Gatherer. And that's when it dawned on me...
I started out a berry picker, but I ended up as dinner.

Yup - I invented cannibalism.

Seriously - just hear me out. This makes total sense. I'm round, I'm slow, and I'm deaf. I'd never have heard you coming. And, at some point, there would have been a shortage of food, so I would have been complaining... again. At which time, someone would have thought to his or herself, "Self, I wish she would shut up, and I'm SO hungry. Hmmmmmm...." At any rate, if I wasn't the justification for cannibalism, then after a miserable day of gathering - I invented expletives and you should thank me for giving you George Carlin, who used them better than anyone else in history and who also once said, "Your village called. They want their idiot back." Who knows, maybe that was my job instead.

Talk to you next week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A rose by any other name... still means yardwork

Have you ever seen the show, Pimp my Ride, where they take cars and trick them out? If you haven’t, they basically start with a pretty normal vehicle and add things like spinners to the rims and shag to the interior. It’s a huge hit! They even have a version in Asia called Pimp my Scooter (yes, I’m serious).

If you haven’t watched either show, that's OK. I'm actually more interested in whether or not you've read a book that was published YEARS ago by SMITH Magazine called, "Not Quite What I was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure." If you haven’t, do! It’s fabulous. In fact, when it came out, I loved it so much that it changed my entire mode of communication. And I don't mean that I found my inside voice... because I didn't. I mean that I began limiting my responses in conversations to six word summaries. When I told TB, she said, "Finally my prayers have been answered." After I caught the sarcasm, I told her I decided that my six word autobiography was, "My karma ran over my dogma.”

Ergo the name of this blog....

However, those days are over (the karma... not the blog)! I'm bound and determined that the remainder of this year will be better than the first part of it, and my fate will not overrun my philosophy again. From this point on, I’m going to Pimp my Karma so it’s FLY! I have to. I’ll need all the good luck I can get for the remainder of 2010 since DB and I have finalized our blueprint and picked the lot to build on. Now we just have to get two houses sold so we can break ground.

Scratch that. First we have to get the houses ready to sell.

For my place, the realtor said that I needed to, "Enhance my curb appeal," but what she really meant is, "It's clear you spend more time at Ann Taylor than in your yard." Now, if you know me, then you know that's true. I hate manual labor like the Grinch hates Christmas. In fact, after eight hours of moving mulch and staining deck rails, I was positive that I was suffering from dé·jà vu. Without a doubt, I was certain I'd read about this very experience in Dante's Inferno. So much so that I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased a copy in Italian... just in case landscaping was dropped from the English translation.

Now, I studied in Italy in college, and my Italian is pretty rusty, but when I got to the Seventh Circle: Violent Sins, and I read Canto XV-XVI - Sins toward Nature, I was sure I'd found it - the missing passage. It talked about getting fucked and paying for it. To me that means wasting insane amounts of time and money on gardening. Turns out, to Dante, it means sodomy. Really... it's kind-of the same thing; we're both on our knees, and - one way or another - someone's ass is gonna end up sore at the end of the day. That said, even though neither activity is my cup of tea, I know lots of gay men who think it's better to laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

But I digress...

As for DB's house, it - on the other hand, is in pretty good shape. He did a lot of the work last summer, which is how we actually started talking about co-habitating. See… we were at his place, playing Frisbee with the puppy, when she saw a skunk. Remember, she eats her own poop. So when she smelled that damn thing and it bolted, she immediately thought, “Sweet – fast food,” and she chased it… and then she caught it… right in the face. I immediately ran inside to get a towel and she immediately ran in right after me. I looked at her like, “Really dog! Could you be more destructive?” And she looked me back, dead in the eye, like, “I could be if I had more time, but it’s almost dark now. Thanks for asking!”

And while I wanted to take her to my mean, little neighbor's house so she could run through his place instead of DB's, I thought to myself, "Self - that would be wrong. Do you have ANY idea what your car would smell like if you drive her over there right now? Besides... what if he's home?" So I didn’t do it. Instead, we chased her around the house until we got her outside, and then we divided and conquered. I took the puppy home to bathe her, and DB started ripping the rugs out of his house and doing laundry.

You know, I don’t know who got the short end of the stick in that deal. He had to get carpets scrubbed and laundry done for days afterwards, but I had to drive around for weeks with my car smelling like ass. I literally drove EVERYWHERE with my windows down, and at one point, I parked beside a friend and co-worker, and she said, “If that stank gets on me or my car, we aren’t friends anymore.” I can’t say that I blame her.

Anyway… around that time, we were lamenting that his house and my car would forever stink, so we started looking at And that’s when we found it. This amazing, modern, open floor plan, fenced in yard, home that was more than we wanted to spend but worth every penny. So I called the realtor… which was a mistake… because we all immediately fell in love with this house. When the realtor asked DB if he had a home he wanted to sell, my partner looked at him and I’m sure thought, “No – I’m going to burn mine to the ground to get rid of the smell, and I’m going to use the insurance money as a down payment on this place.”

After the walk through, when I told TB about the place and asked her what she thought (in general), she said, “Oh Sweet Jesus! Do you remember what you were like when I bought my new house? The only thing you moved was your ass… from room to room… talking… non-stop… while I did all of the packing. You do know that when it’s your shit, you’re going to have to move more than just your mouth?”

Turns out it was a wasted conversation... It sold before we could make an offer, and that’s just as well - because our blueprint is AMAZING! It's unique and it's modern and it's warm. And the lot is big and its wooded and its private and its perfect... and we love it. This won't simply be a house. It will be our home. Besides, now that my car and his house don’t stink anymore, and the stank-induced headaches and nausea have stopped, we can take our time and get our houses ready to sell.
And we really are making progress. Not as much as I intend to make with my fly, new karma – but progress.

Keep your fingers crossed that my 2010/2011 six-word autobiography will be better than my last one. I’m hoping for something along the lines of “ Perfect man, great kids, loving home.” Talk to you next week!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good fences make good neighbors

At this point in our relationship, I need to introduce you to my neighbor and my dog. First... the puppy. She eats her own poop, masturbates on her dog bed, and costs me a small fortune every month. She eats my glasses, pisses all over my home, shits on the carpet, and cries all night if she’s locked in her crate. In fact, at one point, the crying got so awful that the neighbors started complaining.

Now, let me introduce you to my neighbor - a mean, little man who hates dogs, children, and... well... me. This person is the reason I cannot win the lottery. The universe would never allow me to have millions of dollars because it's wise enough to know that I would waste large sums of money just to fuck with him.


To give you an idea of the level of animosity between us, the other day at Barnes and Noble, I saw a "Do it Yourself Crop Circles" kit and I immediately texted TB to say, "This is not a drill. Want to help me carve 'ASSHOLE' into my neighbor's Kentucky Bluegrass?" The only thing she texted back was, "What night?" Clearly, this is why we're best friends. Sadly though, both of us are pretty busy these days, so we didn't do it - even though he deserves it. That said, I bought the kit just in case. After all, it's better to be prepared for an opportunity that never happens than to not be prepared for one that does.

So how has it come to this? How does one get to the point where "lawn art" no longer means gnomes and flamingos? Instead, it means dressing in black and carving graffiti into a person's yard. Well, I guess it starts at the beginning. See, TB hates him because he yelled at her. In her defense, she had been drinking and was in the front yard, on her phone, bellowing in a drunken whisper, "Let me in." When I asked where the hell she was, she replied, "I'm outside... in your bush... and not in a hot way." In his defense, she happened to be standing in the wrong yard, and it was his.

Personally, I hate him because he answered the door in his underwear when I took lemon bars over to welcome them to our street. Really. What if that’s the last thing I think about on my death bed? I think if you traumatize someone like that, you should have the common courtesy to never look them in the eye again. Or, if you happen to do so by mistake, you at LEAST have the decency to not speak to them. It's still how I treat most of the people who've seen me in my underwear.

ANYWAY, after he complained the second time, I called my vet who suggested that I move the crate to another (more secluded) area of the house. That way, when she cried, it kept neither me nor them awake. So I did it. I moved her and I didn’t hear her at all. It was heaven. It was my first night of undisturbed sleep in months, so I left the crate there. And it worked. For several days and nights I crated her on and off in the guest room. No cries from her and no complaints from next door. I was convinced I could do Cesar Milan’s job… in pumps, but alas, hubris was the downfall of the gods.

One night, I came home from the movies, went to take the puppy out of her crate, got half way up the stairs and started gagging. There was this God-awful smell that was getting stronger as I got closer to the guest room. Against my better judgment, I opened the door and no kidding – I almost vomited. My guest room was like Amityville Horror, the home edition. I have NO idea how that psychotic dog got a hold of A TUB OF VASELINE, but she ate AN ENTIRE BUCKET OF PETROLEUM JELLY. Do you know what Vaseline does to a puppy’s digestive system? It’s like Ebola, but it’s limited to your asshole.

She was literally leaking poop… and it was EVERYWHERE! She had shit in her crate… repeatedly… and what she didn’t eat, she rolled in and shook off. It was on the walls, the carpet, the furniture, the bedding, the curtains, and the ceiling. She was literally SMEARED in glossy, greasy poop and she smelled like dog shit flavored Chap Stick. To this day I believe that I could have buffed my car with that dog’s ass. And do you know that it doesn’t come out of carpet when you clean it? It just gets smeared in and it gets BIGGER. After three minutes of trying to clean it up, I did the only respectable thing a woman who works sixty hour weeks could do. I called my cleaning lady, the carpet guys, and my sister (in that order), and all of them said the EXACT same thing, “Really… it smells like dog shit flavored Chap Stick?”

Clearly they missed the point.

Now I’m sure you get the whole ‘sister and the cleaning lady on speed dial’ thing, but you might be wondering why the carpet guys are in my cell phone’s emergency contact list, too? That’s because I call them every two weeks. They are at my house so often they know my neighbors (the nice ones anyway) and my garage code. Honestly though – I love them. I’m a complete germ-a-phobe, and they have saved me on more than one occasion, the worst of which was not the “Vaseline incident.” It was the time I got a phone call at work, in a meeting, with co-workers from Asia, from the sitter, who said, “The dog pooped.” So I step out of my meeting and reply, “She shits in the house ALL the time! Why are you calling me? Clean it up.” That’s when this person ACTUALLY said to me, “We did clean it – that’s why I’m calling you. How am I supposed to get dog poop out of the vacuum bag?”

Yes, they did it. They sucked dog shit up with my several hundred dollar vacuum.

So I’m in a meeting with a bunch of people who EAT dogs, and I’m thinking to myself, “Self… their culture clearly knows something I don’t.” And I excuse myself again and call the carpet people, who tell me they can meet me at home in one hour. I get there, and once again – I can smell my home before I enter it. I get out of my car in the garage and my vacuum is sitting there staring at me like, “I hate you and I quit.”

So I go inside, and I see that they have literally gone over the dog poop REPEATEDLY… just to get it ALL out (which really means that it’s smeared into the carpet… again). Luckily, the carpet guy walked in two minutes after me (cause they don’t even knock anymore) and tells me it looks like I killed a deer in my living room. I thank him, and as I’m writing the check, he says, “I’ll go hook up the hoses. If you could vacuum the room that would be great, it’ll make the carpet cleaner when I’m done.” Then it dawns on me – I haven’t told him what happened. So instead of telling the story, I say, “You don’t want me to do that.” He assures me that I do, so I go to the garage, I get the vacuum, I hand it to him, and I walk away. Honestly, he turned it on, and that was the hardest I’d laughed in months. Do you know how funny it is to see a grown man who also cleans carpets at crime scenes screaming, “OH MY GOD! SHUT IT OFF! SHUT IT OFF!” I mean really, you think you do, but you don’t… It’s funny.

Anyway, instead of taking the vacuum cleaner to my mean, little neighbor’s garage and swapping mine with his while he was at work, I took the carpet guy’s advice, and I carried it to the curb and put a sign on it that said, “Free to a good home.”It was gone by morning. To this day I laugh as I think about the poor college kid who must have passed my house, picked it up and thought, “Cool – a free vacuum cleaner.” But I still think it would have been funnier to give it to the asshole next door. Then both he and his vacuum would be full of shit.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jim Morrison said it best: Touch me babe

Last week, I turned thirty-nine. Well, not really. I actually turned 273 since I age in dog years these days. And even though that sounds ancient, I never really thought of myself as old until yesterday - when I was walking out of work and my twenty-six year old colleague asked what DB and I did for my birthday. Instead of saying, "I'd tell you how we celebrated, but you have the right to feel comfortable at your place of employment," I was honest and said, "DB got me an iPod Touch and tickets to see Robert Cray, both of which I love."

After she asked who Robert Cray was, she added that she was heading out to see Lollapalooza, then proceeded to tell me what that meant. When I told her that I not only knew what it was, but that I loved Jane's Addiction and attended the first Lollapalooza in 1991, she looked at me like I said I'd been to Woodstock. In fact, I'm convinced that, had I stood there long enough, she would have asked me where I was when Kennedy was shot.

At any rate, to make myself feel better, I called TB on the way home and told her what happened. That's when my best friend in the entire world said, "She might be twenty-six and you might be old, but you've seen Siouxsie & The Banshees. That has to account for something. Besides, you don't look a day over thirty-eight." She always knows just what to say, including, "Do us both a favor this year. GET YOURSELF A NEW CELL PHONE. Love you, bye."

No really, it's true, I need a new mobile. See, a few months ago, I met her for lunch… and my phone rang… so I answered it. TB stopped talking... mid-sentence... and stared at me in horror. In other words, I needed to hang up RIGHT THEN! I immediately wrapped up my call and apologized for being rude when she said, "I'm not offended that you answered your phone. I'm offended that it's Tampax pink. You look like mid-life crisis Barbie... complete with texting. And here comes seventeen year old Skipper with our food. Put that fucking thing away before anyone sees you with it!" I tried to tell her that pink is the new black, but she called bullshit and reminded me that forty isn’t the new thirty either. Anyway, as always, though it drives her crazy, I felt obligated to explain.

Like most people, I work on a PC all day, every day. So about once a week, I like to tune in, turn off, and drop out. I call it "technology free time." The TVs, laptops, cell phones and yes - even my swanky new iPod Touch - get shut off and put away. That lets me hang out with DB and his kids, read a book or a magazine, and write in my journal.

The rule is simple, between those hours, I act like I'm Amish… minus the pony.

Anyway, there I was, sitting on the couch, reading National Geographic, when I heard this slobbery munching sound. My dog, who eats her own poop, WAS EATING MY PALM. I thought to my self, "Self, I know where her mouth has been, and now her mouth has been all over my PHONE!" In other words, now... Amish night has become more like German performance art (again, minus the pony). And what was supposed to be quiet, quality time has ended up as me… chasing my bat-shit crazy dog… around the house… trying to get my damn phone back. I assure you, at times like this, while there may be a few Kodak moments, there aren’t many value-added ones.

But I digress, and after thirty minutes of therapy-inducing, Kafka-like, stimulus-response games with the family pet, I managed to extract my black Palm from her disgusting, crap-filled, canine clenches… And even if I weren’t a complete germ-a-phobe, which I am, it was simply too mangled to salvage. So, the next day, I rearranged my calendar and went into the cell phone store, where I explained what happened. And while the sales guy was sorry, he informed me there wasn't shit he could do about it (no pun intended), EXCEPT… he DID have a pink version of my Palm, which he was MORE than happy to sell to me for $50 less than my black one, so I took it.

But, the second I’d saved fifty dollars, it was GONE, because he ended his sale by telling me, "You should really get insurance for this one. I had a guy in here last week whose dog ate his cell, but it was on and it was roaming." In case you haven't been paying attention to my life, God hates me. If ANYBODY is going to end up giving a dog a body cavity search, it will be me.

Needless to say, I have an ugly pink phone but a rockstar insurance plan for it.

But... I have to be honest. Like always, I’ve taken TB’s advice to heart, and I rarely use my phone in public. Instead, I now text on my Touch and listen to Robert Cray at the same time. Because if I have to look like something, it’s going to be Blues-loving, Vintage, Ann Taylor Barbie – complete with house, car and 401K, not mid-life crisis Barbie who needs a new phone and a boob job.

Talk to you next week after the concert!