Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dogs Have Karma Too

Once upon a time, the Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy was a tiny little thing.

Just look at those eyes. Is it any wonder I brought him home with me? So sweet. So innocent. So adorable. Not at all menacing...


He turned into a monster puppy.

A year and a half later, Tucker came into our lives.

Just look at those eyes. Sweet. Innocent. Okay, maybe a little shifty. But he is a terrier, after all. Still. Doesn't that face say, "Love me?'

Unlike this face...

...which says, "I am the spawn of Satan."

From this, we learn several things.

1. There is a period of puppyhood in which puppies turn into monsters. This phenomenon is not limited to canines. Human toddlers also experience it. Their teeth, however, are less frightening.
2. Just because something looks sweet, innocent, and loving, does not mean that it will not attempt to eat its friends. This should be kept in mind for any alien invasions that we may experience in the future. 
3. Puppies who turn into monsters and eat their friends will grow up to be dogs who are eaten by puppies who turn into monsters and eat their friends. 
4. Therefore: Dogs have Karma too.


P.S. No puppies, dogs, humans, aliens, toenails, or cans of bugs spray were harmed in the making of this post. 
P.P.S. The dogs really do like each other. Most of the time. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

So About This Kelly Person

First, I should say that I'm posting this for two reasons.

1. I was supposed to go finish cleaning Kelly's house today. Instead, I slept until 2. And then ordered chinese. I'm hoping that, if I don't get there tomorrow to finish before she gets home, she'll forgive me when she reads this.

2. I miss the dork.

So. About this Kelly person. She'll have an aneurysm if she sees I've posted this picture of her. Or any picture, for that matter. Kelly doesn't like any picture of herself that was taken after the millennium. And I just don't get it, because, well, look at her. She's gorgeous, isn't she? I love her smile. It's catchy. And I also hate it. Because, well, it's catchy. And it makes it much harder to stay mad at her.

Kelly is 13 years older than I am, between December and September. This is the source of mass confusion among most of my other friends. When I tell them that my best friend has two children, they assume that my best friend must be closer to my own age. And then they think she's nuts, or worse. So I always feel compelled to tack on - don't worry, she's 13 years older than me. And then I feel guilty, because I don't think I'd like being described consistently by my age. Then my other friends, all three of them, look at me and wonder, but why on earth would your best friend be so much older than you? What do you have in common? Then, I tell them we've known each other for 7 years, they do the math, and their brains hurt. But I kind of like making people's brains hurt.

I was 13 the first time I had a conversation with Kelly. We met on a forum for a little video game obsession we shared known as The Sims. We started talking in instant messenger, because we both liked writing. Our first conversation included a several hours long game of word association. 

I have no idea why she kept talking to me.

Kelly is the reason that I live in Austin and go to UT. It's all her fault. She went and got pregnant. I was 16. Because my parents and I were sharing a 200 square foot travel trailer at the time, we came to Austin so I could go to the baby shower. And we just never left. My plans were always to go back to North Carolina for college, but by the time that came around, I couldn't really imagine leaving. 

So what is it, about this dork, that I love so much?

Maybe it has something to do with studying hearing science, and how she explain to me that I should think of the negatively charged hair follicles in my cochlea as pissed off magicians, because they have mini-trap doors on the top of them. Pissed off magicians. In my ears. I laughed until I needed to pee, but I darn well remembered it. She's good like that. She knows how to make me remember things. She pretty much knows everything about me.

She taught me how to wear tampons. Sorry. But it had to be said. 

She trusts me with her children. And those kids, by the way? She produces really great babies. If she weren't a woman, and if she weren't married to an equally great guy, and if science was progressed that far, I'd have her babies. They're that cute. 

Or maybe it's just because she's completely accepted me into her family unit. The five of us - Her, Dave, Me, and the kids... we're a functional family. Being at their house is easy, because it feel like my home.

And at this point, I just have to say that Dave is really something special too. Sometimes I wonder if this was how he pictured his life. A wife, two beautiful children, and a weird college student who completely and utterly unrelated to any of them, but who took up residence four years ago and comes over for dinner a couple of time a week minimum. Not a lot of men would put up with that. 

But back to Kelly. I miss her. Can you tell? And I'm ready for her to come home. Because, in the whole wide world, there is no one I trust more. She's the one I want to run to when something happens so I can tell her. She's the one I know will slap me upside the head if I do something stupid. She's the one who has been with me through so many emotional crises I can't imagine what I'd have done without her. She makes me laugh on a daily basis. And sometimes she pisses me off too - but she's someone I know will always take me back, even when I'm an idiot. 

For all intents and purposes, she's my sister, and I love her very much. And she's never allowed to go to Iowa again. Mainly because I never want to have to scrub her tile again. Do you KNOW what this woman makes me do while she's gone? *grin* I am a good friend. 


Why The Heck Am I Still Awake?

It's three o'clock in the morning. Yesterday, I spent something like 12 hours cleaning my best friend's house. She's out of town, and in order to pay her back for relentless biology studying last semester, I told her I'd go clean for her while she, the husband, and my two favorite children in the world were in Iowa. Which I hate. Did I mention how much I hate Iowa? I can't compete with Iowa - there are GRANDPARENTS there. Thus, I hate it.

But I digress.

It's three o'clock in the morning. I spent all day today working on the TV cabinet that dad and I built last weekend. He brought it up this morning. We sanded. We nailed. We did some ikea hacking. And then the painting started. White paint. So much white paint.

I think the fumes are starting to get to me.

The paint is everywhere. It's on my elbows. It's in my hair. It's on my knees. It's even on my hands, and while this is bothering me greatly, I'm trying to be a good little girl and not go wash them. Yet. The paint is on my toes. It's probably on my clothes.

It's on my dog. But I put it there. See the above message about paint fumes affecting me.

In any case. I don't think I can live in this mess much longer. I don't even want to think about it. Instead, I want to think about happier things, such as:

  • Warm, velvety, fuzzy Cooper Puppy ears. I love them. They have magical healing powers. And that spot between his eyes too. And his lips. I love his puppy lips. 
  • The fact that Kelly and the kids will be home the day after tomorrow. Of course, between the potty training and the teething, I may well want to send them back to Iowa in a week or two. But for now, I'm ready for them to get home and entertain me.
  • The way my bed feels under my body.
  • How good a shower would feel and smell with the Eucalyptus Spearmint soap I splurged on at Bath and Body works a few months ago.
  • Anything except for the copious amount of crap that needs to be put away.
  • Anything.
  • Anything at all.
  • Except maybe mold.
  • Or clowns.
  • Or spoiled milk.
  • Or... Okay. fine. I'll go clean. Soon. Just after this nap.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Confession #1 - Mold and Metchup

Despite my best efforts, my apartment does not always stay clean. Sometimes the laundry piles up.  Sometimes I only vacuum once a week. Sometimes the Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy gets hold of a role of paper towels and makes it his personal mission to manufacture confetti. And I have to wonder, what good is having obsessive-compulsive disorder if it doesn’t mean that my apartment is immaculate, organized, and perfect all of the time? Why doesn’t it work that way?

Suffice to say that it doesn't. Sometimes, having OCD makes cleaning even harder. Case in point: The Mold Phobia.

I am unequivocally afraid of mold. I don’t know why. I don’t know when it started. I don’t think I had any bad mold experiences in my childhood. But somewhere along the line, I decided that mold was evil and bad and grandpa-drops-his-pants-scary. The irony of this is that my fear of mold means I am much more likely to manufacture it than the average person. Why, you ask?
Because cleaning out the refrigerator scares the bejeebus out of me.  I have to work up to it. I have to talk myself into it. I have to, I kid you not, take my prescribed anti-anxiety medication (Ah, Xanax, how you are loved.) I have to suit up. This entails slipping into a pair of rubber gloves from one of the three boxes I keep in the laundry nook (both rubber AND latex. Just in case. In case someone comes to my house and decides I am unworthy because I don’t have one of the other. I know. I’m weird. Feel free to leave at any time.) And then there is the bandanna, tied around my head to protect my mouth and nose, and obscure as much of my vision as possible. The sight of mold will make me shriek and run away. I kid you not.

When I’m done, the gloves get thrown out. The bandanna goes immediately into the hamper. My hands get washed. And most of the time, it takes more than an hour to recover from the horrors of fridge cleaning. Even when the damn thing is mold free. I didn’t realize just how bad this was until I was watching Iron Chef America last week, and the secret ingredient was blue cheese. Anyone know what they make that stuff with? Anyone? Want to take a guess? I’ll give you a hint. It ain’t food coloring. And ten minutes into the show, I felt the familiar thud of my heartbeat as it sped up and tried to launch my body into fight-or-flight. Over images of mold on the television screen.

What do I think this mold is going to do to me? Grow uncontrollably until it takes over the apartment, sprouting teeth and eating me? Become toxic and infect me with a virus that will cause a slow and painful death? Develop into a walking, talking alien species that will eventually take over the planet? I have no idea. All I know is that it scares me. It is an evil, EVIL monster, lurking in the depths of my refrigerator, just waiting for me reach my hand in so it can wrap its green/blue fuzzy hands around my wrist and suck me into the fridge to live forever. Or something.

Since the method of beating phobias is typically to expose oneself to what one is afraid of, I really can’t see myself getting over this any time soon. I, for one, do not have a burning desire to become one with the mold. I want it to die. I want it to suffer. Or at least to be as afraid of me as I am of it.

All of this reminds me of something that happened in the fourth grade. No, it wasn't mold related. But it had to do with something I was equally grossed out to see: Metchup.

I knew a girl in the fourth grade (which was a sucky year for me, by the way) named Kristen. Kristen was nice enough. She was friendly. And I might have become good friends with her, had she not committed a crime at lunch one day that was so heinous, I knew then and there we would never be close.
Kristen mixed her Ketchup and her Mustard. Then she dipped her chicken in the sick looking orangey-pink concoction, and ate it. And I wanted to hurl.

I never told her that this was the reason I didn’t like her back then. I don’t think I ever told her that I didn’t like her. And we did eventually become, at least, friendly acquaintances. But I never could get the image of the Kustard-Metchup mixture out of my head. It’s still there. It still makes me feel a little sick.

Much like the Fussy Handed Mold Monster, the sight of those two sauces mixing together bothered me. I wish I could tell you that the food-mixing problem went away, and I grew up to be a normal adult. But you all know me. You’d know I was lying. I’m not normal, am I? NO! True to form, I still hate to see some foods mixing. But I will say that I no longer make snap judgments about people based on their choice of dipping sauces. I even have friends who eat Metchup. These days, I just try not to look.

And Kristen? I’m sorry. I was a weird little kid. 

Now that I've purged my soul, and scared you all away, I'm going to clean my best friend's house. Because that's a good penance for being a freak. Right?


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Am A Girl

Hard to believe sometimes, but it's true.

I am a girl who builds. I am a girl who uses power tools.

I am a girl who runs three computers at once. I am a girl who knows how to
dismantle and rebuild said computers.

I am a girl who wrestles with monsters.

I am a girl who rafts.

I am a girl who swims with big fish.

I am a girl who knows how to rock to Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin.

I am a girl who shops, alone, at Home Depot.

And occasionally, I am a girl who forgets to make sure the wood she's buying for her home improvement projects will actually fit in to to the back of her tiny little Volkswagen.

I'm sure the ducks were laughing about this one for hours.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Laundry and The Labrador

I did not make it to IKEA. I did not finish my laundry. I did not unpack. Except the dirty laundry. I got that pulled out of the bag and shoved in the pile on the floor with the rest of the dirty laundry.

I did not mop.
I did not sweep.
I did not dust.
I will not sleep.

Wait. Stop. I'm channeling Dr. Seuss. Must... Stop.... Rhyming...

Tonight, I had what we might call a massive productivity failure. It wasn't that my intentions were bad. I really did mean to go to IKEA. But by the time I was ready, it was 4:30. Which meant it would have been nearing rush hour. And rush hour in Austin is something that one doesn't do unless one is crazy... um... crazier than I am. Which is really saying something.

I thought, I'll go to IKEA tomorrow. I'll do my laundry tonight. I will handwash and fold and remove the labrador hair. It will be glorious. 

I got as far as piling the laundry up in my floor. I ordered chinese and decided to make a night of it. And then I came back from the closet and found this.

Why yes, that is my underwear. And yes, that is my Labrador, looking at it lovingly. Let's see if I can alliterate a few more times in this sentence, shall we? Big L, Little L, what begins with L? Lovingly looking Labradors, lust after lurid laundry.

Ack. I'm channeling Seuss again.

I'm not sure what Cooper was trying to tell me, but a few things came to mind.

I need a bath, mom. Put me in with the laundry.

Gee, mom, your laundry stinks. Why haven't you washed it?

There's a raincoat in this pile, dimwit. You don't wash those in the machine.

He's certainly got a point with that first thought. After splashing through the pond in Lockhart, and rolling in the sawdust, he smells worse than the laundry does. And he makes me sneeze. It's a good thing I love him.

He isn't far off on that second one either. And why there was a raincoat in my dirty laundry basket, I couldn't tell you. I sat down to ponder this, and finally decided that I didn't care. I didn't care about the raincoat. Or the laundry. Or the fact that the Labrador wanted to eat my dirty underwear. Nope. I didn't care at all. I gave up, and sprawled out on the laundry pile with him.

He was quite content to crawl between my legs and pass out. I was quite content to play Family Feud on Facebook (Big F, Little F, what begins with F?)  while talking to my girl Mellie about faces in dog-butt hair. Don't ask. I guarantee you don't want to know. Or ask her. She'll tell you. It was all her fault anyway. Check out her blog. It's awesome!

IKEA will wait for tomorrow. I just hope I don't fall asleep in the laundry pile before then.


Monday, May 24, 2010

The Unibomber Building Crew

I love to build. Been doing it since I was old enough to hold a hammer. And I've always thought that I was pretty good at it. Most people don't expect a little girl to be able to use a chop saw with the same proficiency she uses a blowdryer. Wait, I'm not sure I should make that analogy. I hate blowdrying. Never mind.

In any case. I love to build. But seldom to I get to actually see myself doing it. I just suit up and go. 

I'm in the middle of an apartment rearrangement frenzy. More on that later. Just got home actually, and will be off to IKEA to purchase bed slats as soon as I finish this post. And walk the dog. And start the laundry. Ugh. Why am I blogging? There is entirely too much to do! Anyway, I spent the last week in Lockhart with the parental units. I arrived prepared, with my sketch and my measurements. Dad and I headed off to Lowes  where we bought lumber, glue, and brand new sanding belts. 

(Why does Lowes hide the hacksaw blades with the tape measures? That is what I want to know.)

So we started building this unit of mine. And like always, I suited up and started. We took pictures. The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy ran off into the pond and came back soaking wet. It was a good time. Then it happened.

I saw myself in the door. And it hit me. I look like the Unibomber.

Building requires a few special considerations for me.

1. This is Texas. It's hot as hell. And it's only May. MAY, people, and we're already hitting temperatures of over 90 degrees. I might as well be building inside of my oven. Though that would be tough. The oven is small. So that lovely shine you see? I don't naturally glisten like that, no. It's sweat. And sunscreen. Because I am a sunscreen nazi. Hmmm, my second politically incorrect joke of the post. Perhaps I should leave now and just go to IKEA before I offend all my readers. Ahem. My one reader. Are you offended yet? No? Okay.

2. I am allergic to sawdust. And grass. And mold and oak and pecan andhayandpollenandLIFE. Building outside is like opening my sinuses for a house party and inviting three-year-olds. Then giving them hammers. And that isn't any fun at all. My sinuses, like my oven, are small. I don't have room for hammer-wielding three-year-olds in there.

3. I have OCD. I wasn't kidding when I said that last time. What it means is that I can't deal with dirt on my hands. Dirt bothers me. Germs bother me. BIG TIME. Wood glue on my skin? No way. I'd be washing my hands for the next three weeks.

You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Just ask my former coworkers what happened when a tube of super glue exploded on my hands. It wasn't pretty.

Thus, when I build, I end up wearing heavy gloves, a mask, sunglasses, a hat, and copious amounts of sunscreen. And from the neck up? I look like the Unibomber. 

I think maybe I'll start a company. The Unibomber Building Crew. We build it, we blow it up! Think it'd sell? No? Fine. I'll just stick to building television cabinets in Lockhart.

The good news is that the cabinet is coming along very nicely. I promise to post finished pictures next weekend when I get it in the apartment and painted. For now, I'm off to IKEA. If I come back alive, I'll let you know how I did. IKEA is, after all, a very dangerous place. While you're waiting - because I know you're all sitting here, waiting with bated breath for my next entry.... Right.....? Enjoy these pictures from my stay in Lockhart.

Dad demonstrates proper alignment to Mom.

Mom's Cairn, Tucker (known by many other, less appropriate, names)
crashes and burns after playing all day.

The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy and The Hawkinator.
Doesn't Coop look like a perfect doofball? And Hawk, showing his
best side.

Friday, May 21, 2010


This is the duck.

His name is Duck, or Duckie, if I'm feeling loving. Some people have tried to give him a more sophisticated name. One friend suggested Victor. But his name is Duck. Just Duck. That's the name he likes.

I don't remember where he came from. Neither do my mom, my dad, or my best friend, Kelly. He's been in my life and, more specifically, my car, for at least a couple of years. I recently had to repaint his bill, because the Texas sun is not kind to anything that spends as much time in it as Duck does. 

He is not just an ordinary duck. No - he is a traveling companion, a source of entertainment, and a fully functional GPS. 

Erm, well, about that last one. Maybe he can't direct me from my apartment to the WalMart in Bowlegs, Oklahoma, using step-by-step directions. Maybe he doesn't even know where Bowlegs, Oklahoma is. Or if there is a WalMart there. (Maybe I don't know that either.) But he is still a very useful duck. He helps me tell my left from my right. 

I know. I can hear it now. How old ARE you, anyway? And you can't tell your left from your right? The short answers to those are: I'm 20. And no. Just mark it down as one of those quirky little things that grow to be endearing. I hope. Right? RIGHT? Good. In any case, Duck sits on the right side of the dashboard of my bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle. And when I ask for directions, I ask for them in a very specific way. No left and right for me - it's Duck and Non-Duck. People laugh when I tell them this, and typically they ignore it. Until they tell me to go right, and we end up in Bowlegs, Oklahoma. And since we live in University of Texas country, Oklahoma is usually the last place we want to end up. (Sorry Mellie, it had to be said.) Needless to say, people only make the left/right mistake once, before they accept that in my world, Duck means right.

You hear me? That means the duck is always right.

So, about me. I'm a full time student at the University of Texas here in Austin. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. I'm studying Social Work, Psychology, and Slavic Culture. The first two are my chosen career path. The last... let's just say that I found myself in a class on vampires in my first semester, and never looked back. 

I live with a chocolate Labrador named The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy... or just Cooper. Or Coop. Or "STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!" He lets me sleep in his bed, and only demands steak and potatoes twice a week. Uh, wait. That doesn't make me sound good. That makes me sound like one of those crazy people who say their dogs are their kids. Uh... oh well. You caught me. The Cooper Puppy is my baby. But I swear, on all that is cheesy, you will never, ever catch me dressing him up in a sweater and rain boots. That's just creepy.

My parents live about an hour south of me, in a town of 11,000 called Lockhart. I should say that we aren't actually FROM Texas. Three years ago, because of a video game, we came for a baby shower and just never left. Yes. You read that right. I'll explain later.

The baby in question is now a wild and crazy three year old. Mono, my little monkey boy. He has an eight-month-old sister. Sometimes I call her Posa, short for mariposa, or butterfly. Lately, I call her please stop crying, please please please I know you're teething but I can't take it anymore! Both of these munchkins belong to my best friend Kelly, who is fourteen years older than me, and quite often, fourteen years wiser. She even helped me through biology this last semester.

I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorder. Really. Like Monk. Only, with less detective work. That might make it cool. Most days, it just sucks. But, in the immortal words of Popeye, "I yam what I yam."

Other, equally uninteresting things about me include my love of partner dominoes, webboggle, and scrabble. I also love photography, and shoot with a Canon Rebel. I'm a Mac. I wear Sketchers and Converse. And I hate bacon. 

I started this blog so I'd have somewhere to inflict my opinions...uh...share my ideas and daily life. It should be fun. Or at least funny. 

The Duck is my mascot. That is all you need to know.