Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Love It or List It

If you've spent a lot of time in the waiting room of my dentist's office like I have (see root canals 1 & 2) then you've probably seen at least a few episodes of HGTV's hit Love It or List It, the show where homeowners have big budgets and even bigger must-have lists. Season 12 is almost all in Raleigh/Durham and I am really wondering why no one has made a series called The Best Nest where single men buy or renovate properties as a mating display and then eligible bachelorettes such as myself can come to the open house slash speed dating event. But since no one ever listens to me, instead of looking at paint samples for my Barbie Dreamhouse, I spent last weekend searching for a new apartment in Apex.

Here's what it would take for us to LOVE IT:
  • a miracle
Here's what it would take for us to LIST IT:
  • cheap
  • close to work
  • bathtubs
  • ice machine 

So my roommate and I headed out to view rental properties after I lost a battle with Alka-Seltzer and threw up approximately 7 times.

We had to pick outfits that said "responsible job holders seek modest abode and will always pay rent on time" without saying "possess disposable income and can afford to pay for garden tubs."

I told Emily "I'm wearing my college class ring because it says 'mama didn't raise no fool'" to which she replied "I'm not wearing mine, my mom won't let me keep it because she's afraid I will lose it since I already lost it once."

We decided to keep that information to ourselves.

After viewing the first place we headed back to the office to get our IDs and I noticed a beautiful display of what appeared to be salted caramel chocolate chip cookies - one of my many gluten-related weaknesses. I very timidly asked the office manager "Are those real cookies?" and when she confirmed that they were real cookies and not just plastic like the fake fruit some properties use to stage rooms, I had to indulge to make sure she wasn't a liar. It was pretty delicious and I am somewhat of a cookie connoisseur so that is high praise.

At the second place we quickly learned that our price range was much less flexible than we had originally thought. At the third place we learned that nice bathtubs cost a lot of money and that being right next to a Walmart is actually not that appealing when you're so poor you walk past gumball machines with longing. Having groceries, entertainment and beauty products just a quick walk away would be too tempting. Although I CAN afford to bet money that we would have never actually walked.

With our decision all but made, we sat in the parking lot and used Google Maps to make sure we were within close proximity to all of our favorite haunts. Walmart, Bojangles', Arby's, therapy, Zaxby's, Chick-fil-A, Michaels. Check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

So we went back in to look at the apartment one last time just to be sure. I helped myself to a fresh cookie and a fresh address.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Last weekend the infamous Populorums descended upon Carolina Beach making Hurricane Irma the second most dangerous phenomenon impacting the east coast. I headed east to reunite with my other family and celebrate my best friend's mom's wedding. Julie has now officially lapped me in the marriage department. I think I'm at the point where they just hand everyone a participation medal.

After a lovely ceremony on the beach at sunset, we danced to Men at Work at the reception and then returned to the 6 bedroom beach house that was home base for 3 uncles, 2 aunts, 6 cousins, 1 girlfriend, 1 photographer, and a few other hangers-on, myself included. Now I would love to say that after a busy 2 days of wedding festivities, beaching and family bonding we all came home and went to sleep. But this was Caroline's family. And those people are crazy. I can say that because I know they will take it as a compliment, as they should. So instead of getting some sleep, I went to McDonald's for a caffeine refuel, ate 3 leftover mini cupcakes and prepared for another long night with the crazy people I call my family whether they like it or not.

This is how it begins. I sit down at the table, preparing for what I'm sure will be another night of unsolicited They Might Be Giants karaoke and gossip when Caroline's aunt, Brigit, asks me if she made my Snapchat story.

Being the benevolent social media maven that I am, I tell Brigit (affectionately known as G because baby Caroline had a speech impediment) that I will put her on my Snapchat story. I also tell her that I have hiccups and they hurt. Which she thankfully recorded on her own Snapchat stories because these are the memories I want to have forever. Julie & Mike's eternal love and my painful esophageal issues.

That escalated quickly. We embark upon an epic Snapchat battle royale that had my followers saying "who is this random woman" and had her followers saying "Brigit why are you so obsessed with Rachel? We know she's a cultural icon but let her live."

Brigit had zero maternal sympathy for my brutal hiccups. She laughed at me. 

All I wanted was a heartfelt "awwww I'm sorry let me run right out and get you some seltzer with no concern for the 18 other cars parked in this driveway" was that so much to ask? Yet after refusing to drop her sister-of-the-bride, mother and adult responsibilities with reckless abandon for my hiccups, G insists that I still love her.

This lady doth protest. At this point I think it's important that we all thank Sara for doing my makeup (and everyone else's) because without her this blog post would not have the visual aids as my face post-10 PM is not consumable for the general public. We're talking pores the size of Mary-Kate Olsen's head, a T-zone that makes Rudolph's nose look dull and eyebrows that are not twins, sisters or even cousins.

But since I realized I actually didn't look my normal level of heinous (thnx Sara) I decided that this very Snapchat war would be featured on the blog.

Although we were at war I very diplomatically warned Brigit about the loss of anonymity that would occur once she was featured in WGW blog post. Her life is about to completely change.

I also think that I inadvertently taught her how to use Snapchat more effectively. What have I done? I am Frankenstein. She is my monster. But I want to be Mary Shelley so I'm pretending Frankenstein is an autobiography.

Carol finally makes it home and is warmly welcomed by Brigit and Erin (or G and Eh Eh because baby Caroline's lack of speech therapy almost tore this family apart) I explain that "pickle" is our safe word.

I then learn that Caroline had no idea that pickle was our safe word. Either she's a bad friend or pickle is actually my safe word with Taylor. This explains a few frantic conversations that I thought were about rescuing me from an awkward situation while the other party thought we were discussing condiments.

I'm still pondering this safe word debacle when Brigit starts remixing Sir Mix A Lot after someone offers her a burger because my car went to McDonald's on the way home and placed 5 separate orders for 4 people in the drive through. We did apologize profusely and only meant to place 4 orders, the extra 5th order was for cookies and y'all no I couldn't pass that up.

There are no words. I'm going to let this one speak for itself.

All night Brigit is telling me to refresh my Snapchat so I can see the newest additions to her story. If you look at this photo closely you will notice she is holding a large wooden spoon. In most families these are used to serve food. In this family they are used as microphones to serve up some Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It's a truce. We end our Snapchat war for the good of the world and to avoid losing Snapchat friends which are pretty scarce on both sides. We have no social media followers to spare.

 And I must admit...I do love G.

Thank you Populorums. There's a little birdhouse in my soul for each of you. Whatever that means.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How to Find a Guy in 5 Dates

Not gonna lie sometimes I think that Anna Faris stole her podcast idea from me because I swear all I ever do on this blog is give unsolicited and unqualified relationship advice. Look y'all. It's the blind leading the blind.

Recently my friend Chelsea told me about an article she read that was like a road map for first dates. It specified 5 unique types of first dates that studies show lead to lasting love. I was super interested because A) it seemed like a modern day love potion and B) I'm dying to know what a "date" is. So I scoured the internet looking for the article. All of my exes can tell you that I am amazing at online stalking but I could not find a trace of this article anywhere. Chelsea, I'm not calling you a liar, but I ain't calling you a truther.

So instead of doing some serious research and going on these so-called "dates" and reporting back, I'm doing what any self-respecting reporter would do. Making it all up. I took what I remembered from our conversation and filled in the gaps. I was able to recall the basic premises of the dates and most of the order. I think. I improvised the rest. Enjoy.

Date 1: Simple
I definitely remember that the very 1st date was supposed to be a super basic, get to know each other type thing. Make small talk. Weed out the serial killers. You know. So here are my suggestions:
  • Watch paint dry together.
  • Go to a golf...I wanna say match? Game? Event?
  • Read Heart of Darkness together. Snoozefest.

Date 2: Adaptability
Date 2 I believe was doing something new together. You''ll have to forgive me, I've never actually made it to the 2nd date phase. Since I can't seem to get past level 1 I kind of tuned out when Chelsea started talking about this.
  • Have you ever changed a car's oil? Nope? Do it together! 
  • Conquer a hidden fear with immersion therapy.
  • Try strange foods together. Maybe cabbage. Or asparagus.

Date 3: Creativity
Another date was supposed to be a chance to be creative. For someone who spends as much time (and money) in Michael's as I do it's surprising that I never make it to the date 3 round.

  • Let the person you've been on 3 dates with pick a surprise tattoo for you.
  • Try graffiti. Put the awww in vandawwwlism.
  • Spoken word. Karaoke. Slam poetry.

Date 4: Collaboration
One of the dates for sure involved working together so you can accomplish a goal as partners. Teamwork probably releases some chemical in the brain that makes women happy and men bossy.
  • Is the Amazing Race still on? Or Fear Factor maybe.
  • Break a world record together. Might I suggest most insects eaten or most nasal piercings?
  • Swap kidneys. Why not?

Date 5: Vulnerability
The final date was something that is out of your comfort zone...something that shows your vulnerable side. Here's some ideas:
  • Colonoscopies for 2.
  • Swap middle school yearbooks.
  •  Couples therapy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Parental Guidance

Did anyone else watch the MTV show Parental Guidance where parents didn't like the person their child was dating so they would find new prospects for them and then the kid would almost always choose to stay with their original boyfriend or girlfriend because teenagers are stupid and we never listen to our parents even though they normally know best? There's a run-on sentence to write home about.

To my knowledge my parents never watched this show but that doesn't stop them from trying to sell me on complete strangers all the time. Once my mother actually made me a Christian Mingle account while I was dating someone because she didn't like him for me. SAVAGE. Part of this is my fault because I have repeatedly asked for an arranged marriage. And I think to them that means "set me up!" but what I actually mean is just find someone who has an income and make a deal. I have 2 brothers. Trade one of them? I don't know how these things work, I'm not a lawyer or a 17th century aristocrat.

So my mother has been trying to set me up with some guy and keeps telling me that he's attractive and nice and attractive and a Christian and attractive. Here's the thing Mom, telling me how beautiful someone is really is not the way to pique my interest it just intimidates me. I'm thinking if this poor guy agrees to a date she has waaaaaay oversold me.

I thought I had convinced her to give up the dream but then my father got on board and also told me how attractive and athletic and attractive this guy I have never met or spoken to is. I tried to reason with him. I explained...

Me: "Do you see why you telling me how good-looking he is is scary? If he is as amazing as y'all seem to think he is, why is going to want to date me?"

And after confessing my deepest insecurity, a very Carrie Bradshaw-esque "Will I ever be good enough?" moment, do you know what my father says?

Dad: "Well, you never know."

Thanks Dad. Now I feel much better. I might just fire my therapist.

Me: "Dad! You're supposed to say that I'm beautiful! Not tell me 'idk, maybe he's a 10 who wants to date a 3' I'm your only daughter! You have to think I'm perfect!"

It's a very simple concept he can't seem to grasp. I do the self-deprecation, you do the coddling. I mentioned this exchange to my mother considering she may want to write it down for the next Chicken Soup devotional or nominate it for Hallmark Channel's feel good moment of the year. And she launched into another spiel about this guy. I swear if my parents put in half the legwork for me that they do for this rando, I would have been married off during Obama's 1st term.

Somewhere in between my mother explaining the importance of a good, Christian spouse and the phrase "just one date" I interrupted her to explain that in this state you actually need both parties to consent to a date. This, for some reason, prompts her to admit "I'm not sure, he may have a girlfriend" which in turn prompts me to excuse myself from the table for an exaggerated pause.

My mother is practically begging me to date someone who for all we know is engaged - or maybe his wedding ring is in the shop. For as much as my dad tells me I have a face for radio, my mother really does think I'm beautiful in a conceit by proxy type thing that forces her to attempt to pawn me off on strangers from time to time. Bless her heart.

So this is an open letter of apology to everyone my mother has ever asked to date me. Except my mother is really not that bold so she probably just talked to me about you or talked to your mom about me. She means well, she really does. She just wants me to marry well and set her up with a beach house which is a perfectly noble (and unrealistic) goal for a mother to have. But if you're not trying to date me...hide your moms and hide your Christianity and you should be safe.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


If you've been following this blog for some time, 1st thank you and 2nd you know that I once fell asleep in an Uber and if I had a less abrasive personality I could have easily been kidnapped. I don't think I live dangerously on purpose I just lack common sense for the most part and more than make up for it with obscure knowledge of Iran's Pahlavi dynasty which almost never comes in handy.

I recently made another egregious auto error. Since my experiences with Uber are often terrible as you can read here, I decided to drive myself to a going away party downtown. My friend Jean-Luc is moving to Atlanta. Many of you will recognize Jean-Luc since he is frequently featured on this blog and most people from my hometown think I'm dating either him or Brendan.



I say let the voters decide. (We obviously dance a lot. We've also been known to marathon.)

Jean-Luc has gotten really into the Raleigh running scene in his time here and I was actually going to get involved too but he's moving so oh well. He did his farewell tour at Runologie in downtown Raleigh after running a mile in jeans. I never really got that part of this whole shindig and I definitely did not participate. He knew not to put me down for cardio.

Since the party was downtown my parking choices were a parking deck, metered spot, or street parking. All of which were unappealing to me. I feel most comfortable when parking at a Walmart, Target, McDonald's or Michaels. Anything beyond that is stressful. So once I got in the general area of Runologie, I found a parking deck and went for it. I even backed into my parking space, what confidence! Here's a little foreshadowing...this is going to go south real quick.

My 1st mistake was choosing a 2-hour parking spot. I don't know. I just picked a spot. I panicked. And I didn't know how long the party would last. We're all old. We have bed times to meet and pets to care for and reality shows that aren't going to watch themselves. So I exited the parking deck and used my phone to navigate the streets. My phone got super confused, I had no idea where I was going, and somewhere along the way I realized that it may be a good idea to remember the location of my parking deck. But I was no longer at my parking deck. So I made a note of Tasty 8's and thought "perfect! I parked by Tasty 8's" without realizing how completely insufficient that information was.

Had I simply walked from my parking deck to Runologie and then back to the deck, I probably could have figured it out. I would have walked down Hargett Street until something looked familiar. But I was really thrown for a loop when we walked from Runologie to a restaurant. At the restaurant I was too busy eating to worry about the fact that I now had no idea as to where my car was. I ordered a side baguette, to be served on the side of my water. I would normally say ice water but we were all served water in liquid form only, not a cube of solid water to be found. It was like Europe without all the...and I have to be really careful what I say here because I'm big in France right now so I'm gonna go with...English tea? Polish sausages? German cars? Croissants are great though. Can never have too many croissants.

Once everyone was leaving I realized that locating my car was going to be much more difficult than walking to Tasty 8's. But what else was I going to do? I got Jean-Luc to point me in the direction of the mediocre hotdog restaurant and embraced the "figure it out as I go" approach that has served me so well in the past. It's dark. I'm walking around downtown Raleigh alone. I can't find my car. I'm looking for landmarks but all turned around because we walked all over Wake county that night. Since when do parties involve so much foot traffic? But don't worry y'all. That's when God intervened. I followed a couple into a parking deck - under normal circumstances that would be weird but considering my situation, it was very weird. How did I think having more witnesses to my stupidity was going to be helpful?

By some miracle, that very parking deck happened to contain my car, smugly staring at me from the 2-hour spot I had reversed into a mere 5 hours earlier. "Hey stranger, remember me?" I literally LOLed at my good fortune and bad real world skills. Very sorry to the couple I followed into a parking deck at night while giggling to myself. There are no words. I'd love to promise that it will never happen again but I think we both know that would be another case of my mouth writing a check that my brain (or lack thereof) just can't cash.