Wednesday, February 21, 2018

OlymPICS or it Didn't Happen

If you're a true American with no social life like me, you've been starring at a series of wintry sports that make little to no sense for about two weeks now. Unfortunately, the winter Olympics is often referred to as the lesser Olympics because America is like...not that great at the winter Olympics. I mean you know me, USA all the way. But even I had the face the facts that maybe sometimes America is better at meddling than medalling. Doesn't interfere with my mad love for this country.

I have red, white and blue cat ears. That's a normal, patriotic thing to have.*

,
And red, white and blue leis.


I have an America blanket my aunt made me. Baby Fin sold separately.
 

On top of that, I happen to love the Olympics. I get into the themed Snapchat filters.


I even participated in whatever this filter was. Really Snapchat, get it together.


It's a family affair, we all take it seriously. I guess cuddling Fin in that American flag blanket at an early age helped foster his own Olympic ambitions.


This winter, I discovered that Emily and I would make excellent Olympic commentators. And the real gold medal goes to anyone who can live with me through an Olympics. So far Caroline holds the record, surviving 2 Olympic games.

Emily's first Olympics experience with me was figure skating and she had a lot of good points. However...all of her prior knowledge of figure skating comes from Blades of Glory so when we're 10 minutes in and no one has been beheaded she gets frustrated. And I think she accidentally cursed the American figure skating team so earlier this week I banned her from watching any further skating. On the first night we watched, things were going so bad we both called for America to boycott the rest of the games entirely. We started chanting "warm up the bus" but thankfully no one listens to us because Mirai went on to become my personal hero.

In an article of the best tweets about the Olympics someone said that Mirai Nagasu and Adam Rippon are our president and vice president now and I'm perfectly okay with that. I'm at an age where several decorated Olympians are part of a completely separate generation than me and make me feel more inferior than I already do, see below.

But I'm also at an age where many Olympians could be my friends if they for some reason wanted to ski down that black diamond. So Mirai, Adam, Bradie, Red, Shaun, Tommy, Jared, Chris, Ted if you're reading this - click on ads. And hmu. And Jamie, what conditioner do you use?

I feel like the Winter Olympics is all about turning one thing into like half a dozen events. Like why is skiing on a half pipe a thing? Snowboarding is sufficient. Do we really need both luge AND skeleton? Can someone remind me what the difference is? Laying on a board and going downhill, it seems like we're only a few Olympics away from water sliding as a sport. And the whole skiing and shooting thing. Who invented that? Let me tell you. A long, long time ago, some kid didn't make the bobsled team and he thought "I'll show you all! I will be the best at something!" and then the only thing he was good at was the sport...and I use the term sport very loosely here...that he Frankensteined from two completely unrelated activities. I'm really good at setting a volleyball and then skipping down the court. Why doesn't that get to be a sport? Because there's not enough weaponry involved?

Here's our opinions on skiing. First of all...moguls. What even IS that? Is it speed, is it tricks, no one knows. Makes no sense. 0 of 10. And NBC did this touching special on how Lindsey Vonn has fought through so many injuries to be here, but from my perspective, if you're getting injured all the time are you really that good? What is God trying to tell you? Maybe skiing isn't your thing honey.

And finally, our hot take on the Pyeongchang games...we really don't get why the Russian athletes are allowed to participate in team events. I tried to explain to my brother that the athletes were allowed to compete as individuals just not as Russia. I said they have an abbreviation that was three letters, something something R and he filled in the gaps as USSR. I love that kid. We're fine with the athletes competing in individual events, we just find it unfair that the athletes from Russia can compete as a team for team events. So in my opinion, they should be disqualified from the team skate. And if that means the US goes home with a silver medal, so be it. Let's just let the medals fall where they may.

Because at the end of the day and the Olympics, no matter what, USA is still bae.
 


*You may recognize some of these pics from another blog post I had about how much I love America and the Olympics. Oops.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wreckless

It's Valentine's Day so I'm blogging about something super romantic...traffic accidents.

Here's a sentence I bet you thought you would never read - I was in a car accident and it wasn't my fault. I'll spare you the gory details and give you just the carfax.

I was going straight, coming up to an intersection with a two-way stop. I did not have a stop sign, the other driver was stopped to my left, didn't see me and  tried to cross the road. I don't eat steak, but this was a T-bone. No injuries other than some bruises and my ego when I realized how visible the hair follicles on my legs are. Do yourself a favor...don't zoom in on this pic.


After a fireman on the scene helped me cross the street to stand somewhere safe I texted my boss, my mother and my roommate. Everyone else involved was local and all of their dads came while I waited. A police officer asked us if we were on our way to school. I think I'm supposed to be either insulted that he thought I was a teenager, or complimented that I look young but I was neither. He was right. I was going to school, it's just a school I happen to work at. I'd never been in a wreck before so I really didn't know what to expect. I just assumed they were going to take me downtown and book me. The policeman asked if I had a ride and that's when I realized I wouldn't be driving my car to work.


As you can clearly see, it was totaled...I'm an idiot. I told my roommate that I was fine while I waited for my dad to arrive. But I wasn't fine. I was in the process of freezing to death. It was 27 degrees. I was wearing open-toed shoes. So when the other driver's father asked if I wanted to sit in his car and warm up I said yes. And when he needed to go to his house quickly to get car keys for the wrecker I was along for the ride. In retrospect...that was weird. He was being nice and was a very kind gentleman but these situations seem to only happen to me. Should you get in a stranger's car and go to a second location? Probably not.

Luckily, my dad came and got me, helped me sort out some insurance stuff and gave me a car to drive. Many family members and friends checked on me, including my aunt who finished her phone call by asking if I wanted to just go home and crash...interesting choice of words.

When I did get home instead of crashing (again) I researched cars and watched Grey's Anatomy, thankful that Shonda Rhimes isn't the show runner of my life. I know how she did McDreamy! My accident could have been much, much worse. I was granted a rental car after paying a deposit of fifty dollars, which I will get back once I return the rental. I'm not a lawyer but...I think that's a fifty dollar car? That is going to be hard to beat.

As we scoured the internet for new whips, my roommate Emily and I decided to tell her sister that I was buying her car for next to nothing from their dad since she moved. Please note that she immediately called her dad and did not text me back for over an hour.


After terrorizing her sister, Emily helped me car shop while simultaneously searching for the Jeep she so desperately needs because I am tired of folding myself in half to get in her Camaro. Emily is a car person and she comes from a strong lineage of car people so she does all the talking at dealerships. We've been wheeling and dealing since Sunday. When one salesman asked me for the best phone number to reach me and I looked at Emily out of habit. Luckily she gave me permission to give them my phone number.

I've been trying to throw around key car terminology to make myself seem knowledgeable, like "torque" and "PRNDL." But as much as I have learned through this process, Emily still has to explain things to me. Like powertrain doesn't mean that the car comes with a complimentary electric train set. And when I saw this on a car and got excited, thinking it was one of those coupon dispensers that used to be all over Food Lion when I was little, Emily informed me that it didn't hold coupons at all. Unfortunately I will have to pay full price for my new car and 2 General Mills products.


Since coupons were no longer an option, I had to find another way to pay for a new car. I told my parents we would see what the insurance payout would be, compare to my life insurance and make a difficult decision. And that's the story of how I learned that my parents are not cool with committing insurance fraud.

So I needed a plan C. And I had an idea...

There's a lot to unpack here. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but this one will run ya at least three grand. The first message is my grandmother telling me good night on behalf of her pet parakeet named Pretty Boy. The next part is me asking my grandfather if I can morally sell some of my eggs and/or a vital internal organ to get some quick cash. It was a soft no from him. I tried to point out that the Bible is also big on not being in debt and he told me Jesus would rather me be financially bankrupt than morally bankrupt so now I need a car and a priest.

No car yet but I am very excited about one in Winston-Salem and the salesman told me that he would be sure to put some cookies in the oven so they're ready for my visit so I think it's safe to say that's a done deal.

At this point, I'm happy to say I'm a Chevy Cruze stan. I drove a 2012 Chevy Cruze, my rental car is a Chevy Cruze and I have searched exclusively for Chevy Cruzes. When I went to look at some options Monday night, a salesman asked if I was familiar with the car and I politely explained my situation to him and asked if he had any questions for me about the Chevy Cruze. I would like to extend that offer to my readers as well. If anyone has questions about what colors cars come in, please don't hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about body styles, trim packages, horse power or warranties, contact Emily.

XOXO - Consummate Professionals
 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

America's Least Wanted

I have not been on a lot of dates. The lack of love in my life is a central theme of this blog as well as my therapy sessions. However, for the small amount of dates I have been on, a large percentage of them have been weird. I've been strawberry picking in the rain, hotdog eating in the snow and hot chocolate sipping in front of a Great British Bake Off marathon to name a few. But my most recent misguided romantic misadventure really takes the show-stopper challenge cake.

I suggested that we go to Target. Target is the perfect date location. There's shopping, reading, Starbucks, slushies and a Pizza Hut Express that's oddly never open. I've had several Target dates and I am not sorry about that at all. It's called multitasking. And this weekend, I happened to need some curtain rods.

So we hit the shelves. First we picked up my curtain rods, but not just any curtain rods. I was partial to the cheapest ones for aesthetic reasons - their price tag looked the best. I needed TWO curtain rods and the offerings ranged from less than ten dollars to almost forty dollars. I knew my place. But my date said those weren't good enough for me, I deserved the best. I mean, he's not wrong, but unfortunately my bank account had to disagree. He managed to talk me into a mid-price option and I started to wonder if he was part of the Target sales force, sent on a top secret mission to pretend to date me in order to persuade me to up my weekly contributions to Tarjay Incorporated. I snapped out of this when I realized that I already spend so much money there without outside influences but that's the level of self-confidence we're dealing with here.

Once that was finished, my date suggested we get cookies because I had mentioned liking cookies a few dozen times in our previous conversations. I have never said no to a cookie that wasn't oatmeal raisin. Don't get me started on oatmeal raisin. He also had me pick out some bath bombs because I had mentioned using a peppermint one to open my sinuses. I was flattered that he listened to me, remembered and wanted to get me some bath bombs just because he knew I liked him. That was a kind gesture not expected from a girl who usually orders a kid's meal on dates and has been dumped by not 1, but 2 unemployed males.

So I was even more surprised when my date grabbed the curtain rods I had been carrying around the store as we headed for the self-checkout. I didn't want to be presumptuous as I presumed that he was paying for my curtain rods, so I acted like I thought he just wanted to carry them for me. Being the feminist icon I think I am as of late, I let him think that the strain of carrying curtain rods that were probably at least fifty percent aluminum was a burden I was all too happy to be rid of. At self-checkout I insisted that he didn't have to pay for my curtain rods and he ignored me. That last part happens on all my dates so I assumed it was normal.

Sounds like a good date, right? Nope. Fast forward like an hour. We've been chilling in the Starbucks, chatting, flirting, I'm mentally designing our wedding invitations, you know, the usual for a first date.

I know what you're thinking. It's a bold font choice but I'm happy with it. And to anyone who says I won't send out wedding invites with a selfie of just me, Snapchat filter and all, I say...bet.

Out of nowhere, he says "I feel guilty." My mind immediately jumps to the worst possible conclusion and I'm afraid he's about to confess that he voted for Bo Bice on season 4 of American Idol. But maybe it wasn't that bad. Maybe he just has a secret family. Or only dated me as part of his official Target job duties. Maybe he's a secret cannibal and I'm a few hours away from being a Lifetime movie. None of my worst case scenarios could have prepared me for what was about to happen. After a pause more pregnant than Kylie must have been last week, he said "It's not that I feel guilty about spending money but that was my rent."

Taking a page from his (coupon) book (that was a low blow I'm sort of sorry), let me explain my reaction to that. It's not that I'm mad he didn't buy me things, it's that HE insisted I get the nicer curtain rods. HE texted me all week about how he wanted to buy me jewelry but nothing fake because I was too good for that (any guys reading this...I'm definitely not, I will accept any and all jewelry). And HE was the one who took the curtain rods from my hand and insisted on buying them. So I'm not mad that he didn't buy me anything, I'm mad that he misrepresented himself, or at the very least, his financial situation. 

What was I supposed to do with that information? I told him he didn't need to buy me anything and I offered to pay him back. He asked if that would be weird. Um. YES. But I insisted it was fine and tried to find some cash. Mind you, this wasn't a quick "oh here's twenty bucks" type transaction. I looked through my bills, considered the curtain rods, Starbucks, the cookies and the stupid bath bombs and handed him forty dollars. Did he refuse it? Just once for social conventions? Nope. He put it in his pocket and said "sweet."

I asked Twitter what to think. Survey says...only 1 person thinks that guys should ask to be repaid for dates and that was probably just Ting trolling me. 


The worst part is that when we went to actually put up the curtain rods, the smaller one was too small so he is going to return it. And get a refund. Am I getting a refund on the cash I gave him? Nope. So he literally profited off this date. Come to think of it, I should have taken notes.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Salt & (Apple Cider) Vinegar

I'm writing this in recovery.

My roommate tried to kill me Monday.

Here's a before picture of us. Happier times. Before we were enemies. Before I knew what she was truly capable of.

She forced me to drink apple cider vinegar with her. Now she will claim that I wasn't forced but I'm a joiner and she was doing it so I think we can all agree that this constitutes coercion.

It was, in a word, completely horrific and disgusting and I will never forgive her. It tasted like feet and shame at my own inability to overcome peer pressure. I processed her betrayal in a series of stages.

Stage 1 was hatred.
I asked her how she could let someone she allegedly loves do that. I stand by that. Karma even came through for me right away. She drank a ton of water to dispel the taste of liquid foot, but drank out of a glass she had used to mix essential oils. So she got a mouthful of lavender water. I smugly chased mine with orange juice and a string of insults.

Stage 2 was complaints.
I complained that as North Carolinians we really shouldn't disrespect vinegar like that. I complained that my taste buds were probably permanently damaged. I complained that if this is what it took to have clear skin and lose weight, I'd rather just stay fat and ugly. I mean it's gotten me this far in life. And there are so many more important things to be in life besides pretty.
(Like being petty.)

Stage 3 was research.
If I'm going to talk her out of this sadistic nonsense I'm going to have to do it with cold, hard facts. So I turned to the one indisputable source of truth. The internet. It appears that most of the alleged weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar stem from the claim that it suppresses your appetite and helps you feel full. Okay, miss me with that. I very rarely eat because I'm hungry. I eat because I'm bored, because I'm sad or just because food is delicious! So a suppressed appetite will in no way stop me.

Another alleged benefit of apple cider vinegar is helping stomach issues. But how is that possible when thinking about ingesting vinegar makes me want to vomit? Apple cider vinegar is also supposed to help soothe a sore throat. But why would I take apple cider vinegar when I have a perfectly good excuse to eat ice cream? Trick question...I wouldn't. One study also claims that apple cider vinegar boosts your energy. You know what would boost my energy? Not having 70 teenagers fighting for my attention every day. But I love my kids and I hate apple cider vinegar. Easy choice. Plus, what do I even need more energy for? That might encourage me to like...do things. Pass.

So I think we can all agree that A) I should press charges and B) apple cider vinegar is useless and C) we're lucky I survived.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

MISSY Talks

TED Talks began because industry veterans had "ideas worth sharing" about technology, entertainment and design. Today I'm starting MISSY Talks because my mother has "lectures that I have to sit through" on maturity, Ian McKellan, staying safe and youth.

Don't tell her I said this but she is occasionally known to give good advice. NOT like when she gave me bangs for most of my elementary school career.

But like when she helped me deodorize my garbage disposal.

And I know she believes in me...probably to a fault. She got me a microphone for my 24th birthday and I promptly used it to sing her some of ABBA's greatest hits. I am, however, suspicious of those quotations she put over the word star. I think I'm a STAR! not a "star!" but it was a nice gesture nonetheless.

Here are the highlights from the most recent talk I received after I told my mother that a guy offered to fly me to Europe.


1. Don't owe a man anything.
Okay, I'm listening, good point. I don't want to owe the government anything either but no one will volunteer to pay my student loans. I tried explaining to my mother that I wouldn't be beholden to anyone for anything because the gift of my friendship is certainly worth a round-trip plane ticket to Europe. She, seemingly, disagreed.

2. Your goal in life is not to find a man.
Right on sister. I'm with you. But...one of my goals in life is to be a mother and society has really not made as much progress in the field of asexual reproduction as one would hope. So finding a man is still a goal if not the goal. I also want to publish a book, start a petition to rid the internet of those Buzzfeed listicles that force you off app to read a tweet, invent a drive-through slash gas station combo and, coincidentally, go to Europe.

3. Some parts of Star Wars could really happen.
So she got a little off track here...but I suppose she's right. I forgot which parts of Star Wars she was referring to so I had to ask her to repeat.


She filled me in and said she meant the overall themes of good vs. evil and never giving up. Then she quoted Revelation which I think is a bit of a reach but I'll allow it.

Her solution to my desire to go to Europe on someone else's dime was to offer me a trip with her to Busch Gardens. I'm not even worthy of Epcot. So instead of being flown to Europe to spend a week touring the Mediterranean, my mother invited me and a friend to ride 2 hours with her to a Virginia amusement park that offers $8 bratwursts and made-in-China souvenir berets. And I haven't even mentioned my mother's unique take on amusement park dining. It involves completely exiting the park to go tailgate in the parking lot with bologna sandwiches from a cooler in the trunk. A complete waste of time, energy and perfectly good fried food right inside the park.

So it's not my dream trip.

But it is my dream company.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Is Time Up?

Believe it (people who knew me during & post-college) or not (people who knew me in high school), I don't consider myself a feminist. Or at least, I didn't. What I do consider myself to be is a decent human being. Believing in the equality of men and women shouldn't need a label. But if we must label it, then count me in. Not due to an us vs. them mentality but because shared experiences forge strong bonds and marginalized members of society deserve to be part of the conversation surrounding their histories.

At first I didn’t want to post this because I read several other articles that I felt perfectly encapsulated what I was feeling in far better words than I could ever find. But then I realized that by not sharing it I would be perpetuating the problem. The problem of thinking there’s only room for one narrative.

So I'm not writing this attempting to speak for all women. That's neither my job nor my place. I'm just adding some of my thoughts to the growing conversation surrounding the Time's Up movement.

Recently, Aziz Ansari joined the growing list of men in Hollywood accused of sexual misconduct. And there are several articles on the internet that aim to exculpate or vilify him based on his actions...but maybe that's missing the point.

Stay with me here - maybe the article published on Babe wasn't about Aziz or even about Grace. Maybe it's about the idea that our society has some competing viewpoints about what constitutes consent and that's a dialogue worth starting.

I've sensed some frustration with the Time's Up movement and the new allegations that seem to pop up every day. It appears that some Americans are reacting with disbelief since it seems like so many women have dealt with these same issues while the victims who are finally being listened to are thinking "yes...that's actually the problem here."

So many issues live on a spectrum rather than sides and it’s not my right to determine where those points lie. I'm afraid that many of us are reading these articles and labeling them as on the spectrum or off the spectrum and moving on. That it's becoming an issue of he said, she said rather than every new allegation being considered individually as a separate incident deserving of independent consideration. Consideration outside of a dialogue that compares it to instances of better and worse, thereby discounting a victim's experience. This movement isn't about forcing everyone's stories into some mold created to garner public sympathy. It's about standing together in spite of varying stories and circumstances that are all worth sharing. And being heard is the first step to being believed.

So the fact that there are guys out there who are anxious thinking that they might be next in what they view as a witch hunt doesn't keep me awake at night. How do you imagine women feel knowing we live in a world where many of our families, friends and co-workers value their own reputations and wants over our free will and truths?

As for the people who are swearing off Master of None and burning their "Treat Yo Self" t shirts...I think that we’re having a problem in the social justice arena of condemning alleged perpetrators along with their actions. Is that throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Imagine all the sympathetic character archetypes out there. Professor Snape. Twisty the Clown. Maleficent. Sharpay Evans. Human beings (and even "wicked" Disney fairies) aren’t a dichotomy of good and evil. These forces aren’t mutually exclusive.

So can people make mistakes without negating all of their positive contributions to society? Can you listen to Chris Brown and still be a feminist? Can you think Ben Affleck is the best Batman and still be a social justice warrior? That's up to you to decide. Although I wouldn't recommend a career as a movie critic. I'm not asking you to forgive and certainly not suggesting you forget. Just offering another viewpoint so that we all remember to use our voices.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2 Christmases

I am relaying this story to you as it was told to me by my mother. I have not heard my father's version of events mainly because I haven't asked and also because I don't care. I think you'll agree once we get to the punch line.

Picture it. Not Sicily but Goldston during the great snow of 2018. It was a blizzard that shut down the state for 5 days for myself and other teachers. Of course, in North Carolina that equates to about 2-4 inches of actual snowfall. Instead of the metric system we use the redneck system which states that southerners cannot drive if they can see snow from their car. Driving safely around any ice is an instinct we just don't have, like how northerners don't have manners.

It started snowing Wednesday afternoon. All after-school activities had been cancelled by the school system and around the county teachers and students waited for the phone call that would release them from school the following day. But at 6:00 PM it had only just started snowing. And it was my grandpa's birthday. So my parents and brothers headed 5 miles down the road to deliver his birthday present.

They drove to his house, gave him his present (probably a DVD or bullets) and after chatting for 15 minutes or so they headed home, completely underestimating the wintry mix that awaited them.

A car in front of them started to slide off the road. So my parents pulled over and left my brothers in the car while they tried to help push this car back on the road. However, another car headed their way and everyone had to move to avoid becoming roadkill so the car slid into the ditch, but the couple inside wasn't hurt. At some point, help was promised so my parents decided to try to finally get home. My mother, affectionately known as Missy, gave the couple her cell phone number in case they needed a place to stay and my parents got back in my mom's car with my brothers.

Unfortunately, while they were outside competing in an unofficial world's strongest man competition, snow had built up around the car tires and it wouldn't budge. My mother and brother got out to push the car while my dad, affectionately known as Carlos because his name is actually Charles and he hates it when I call him Carlos, steered and gave it gas. My brother was wearing a basketball jersey and shorts because he's a white male and refuses to dress appropriately for the weather. Missy told my dad that if he could get the car going to just keep driving slowly and they would catch up.

Once they got the car moving, my brother yelled motivations to my mother in what I can only imagine was Biggest Loser-style (having not witnessed this particular exercise or the show Biggest Loser). As they ran, breathless, uphill in the snow, my father kept driving. My brother was so confused and showed my mom but she assured him that once Carlos got to the top of the hill he would stop, he was just trying to get on level ground and not let gravity win this battle. She begrudgingly gave my under-dressed brother her coat and he continued to lovingly shout words of encouragement at her while they jogged onward.

After about half a mile of this nonsense, my mother and brother finally make it to the top of the hill. No Charles. At this point my brother is livid. My mother gives my father the benefit of the doubt and tells my brother that he's probably at his sister's house a little bit down the road, waiting for them there. So they run-slash-walk another half mile to my aunt's house. Again. No Charles.

My mom uses my aunt's phone to call the house where my youngest brother answers the phone because my father is on my mother's cell phone with the stranded travelers from earlier. My father's excuse for leaving his wife of 30 years and firstborn son stranded in the snow was that he decided to go home and return with my brother's car because it would drive better in the snow. However once he got home, my mom's cell phone rang so he answered it and forgot all about his family members getting frostbite.

Here's a question only I have been brave enough to ask...who is the beneficiary of my mother's life insurance policy? What about my brother's? I'm willing to bet half of the settlement that it's my dad.

Eventually, my uncle used his 4 wheeler to take my mom and brother home and pick up the couple that got stranded. My mother assured the couple she wasn't a serial killer and welcomed them into her home while they waited on someone to pick them up. Now here's where things get crazy...the couple had a dog. And my mother, who I swear would relegate a fish tank to the back porch, let said dog into her home. He probably even ate and drank in the living room, an activity my brothers and I weren't allowed to do until our late teens.

For the next few hours my youngest brother stood cautiously in the corner, lest the dog touch him and besmirch his new phone while my mom chatted up the couple and I can only assume that she offered up some of her precious Diet Sunkist. Someone came to pick them up around midnight and Missy and her new friends parted ways. No word yet on whether there will be a Come From Away sequel written about that night.

So my conclusion from all of this is that my parents are getting divorced. They have both denied this allegation but I'm going to start planning on 2 Christmases-and double the presents-anyway.