As I Ramble On…

I’ve tried writing a blog post so many times this week. Between work, Jack, life, and family visiting it has proven to be nearly impossible. Those are excuses. I know. But it’s also a lot of truth.

A promise is a promise, though and so I shall write a post and in the spirit of multitasking I will also write my grocery list. I need help…

Grocery List:

Healthy Snacks (whatever that means, I’ll know it when I see it)

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit, but nothing that’s not in season because that just gets left for the gnats

Vegetables… what can I buy and let rot in the fridge drawer?

Protein – are we pescadorian? Are we trying for vegetarian? Are we eating meat? Absolutely no pork ever, that’s just not happening.

Milk – Whole for the baby, but are we back on Almond?

Half and Half I need the fat in my coffee, I don’t care if I’m lactose intolerant or not, just get the half & half.

Yogurt – full fat, YOLO!

Cottage Cheese? This is not a substitute for actual cheese.

Cheese – Sliced, Shredded, a wedge of goat’s milk gouda, string for snacking? Is this a lot of dairy?

Hummus – all the hummus.

Lettuce! I know the last bag went bad, but we’re working a lot. I just want to eat salads all day. Every day.

Kidney Beans for salads.

Tuna Fish – unless we have some, make sure to check before we leave (I know we won’t. This is why we have like 12 cans of tuna)

Ice Cream? No.

Cookies – Biscotti is not a cookie, it’s a compliment to my coffee

Pitafor all the hummus… or should we get veggies?

Eggs – I wish we could afford the brown ones they sound more humane

Meals for Jack – what does this mean? I’ll think of it when we’re there. Technically this means meals for all of us, but you know it’s important he eats well rounded and balanced meals.

Chips? Okay, but sweet potato chips, less sodium… and I don’t know… So, Salsa?

Pasta – lots of it. Gluten free, full gluten, stars, let’s just get all the pasta, Jack loves pasta.

**AND make sure no register impulse buys today. Dammit Trader Joes you make checking out impossible.

 

Someone Stole A Towel

3332e5238659a1b6115fe907e33b69a7Someone took a towel.

We’ve all done it before. Taken a towel from a hotel. Most of us out of necessity, but someone took a towel from the AirBnBeeber.

Someone stole a towel.

Writing the word “stole,” sounds a bit savage, premeditated… aggressive even. I actually do not think that it was aggressive. No, this was not an act of malice, I’m positive. And I’m 73% certain that this was an isolated incident by whichever individual took the towel. However:

Someone did pilfer a towel.

Listen, and I’m serious now, you don’t accidentally pack a large, fluffy white bath towel in your overnight luggage from your AirBnBeeber without noticing. No, you take it, snatch it, loot-abscond-with-nab-heist-borrow-it, but you do not accidentally pack it.

Like I said, we’ve all taken a towel from a hotel before. And honestly, for the most part, hotels are big corporations, not people, and do not notice a towel missing here or there. In fact, I’m pretty sure they have it fixed in their quarterly budgets to replace overused and missing towels. Just in case this is a bigger issue for corporations than I am giving credit, for those of you working in Hotel Hospitality, no need to correct me. I’m sure your loss prevention team has made all staff very aware that towel disappearance is your major expenditure and you need to nip it in the bud. But that’s off topic, let’s get back to the little guy and why you should not steal my towels at the AirBnBeeber.

Towels are expensive. Like very. If I didn’t put nice linens, fluffy soft, clean white towels in the unit, you would leave me a low rating, a less than five star review and I would suffer bookings all on account of the fact that I didn’t provide nice towels. So you get nice towels, and I got robbed.

There have been toilet paper thieves, excessive coffee pod thieves, sugar thieves, books and game thieves, and now towel thieves. You guys, seriously, even purchased at Costco towels are EXPENSIVE. Please stop stealing towels.

I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of the abductor, like, did they get take-out and spill some dark sauce and use the towel as a rag to sop it up. Embarrassed by their mistake they took the towel to leave no evidence behind?

Did they wash their underwear in the sink and it didn’t dry before they left so they took the towel to wrap up their damp items?

Or did they decide on a last minute trip to the beach before their flight when it occurred to them that they had nothing packed for a beach stop so they took a towel, but just one to share, out of courtesy as to not steal two towels. Maybe I should thank them.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

If you’re a towel snatcher, hotel robe abductor, extra soaps on the maid’s cart pilfer and feel you’re entitled because it’s there, here is a little sage advice – AirBnB is not for you.

And if you’re a compulsive towel snatcher may I suggest you start traveling with your own towels? Yeah, just pack one from home. Then you won’t feel the need to borrow (never to return) your host’s.

 

Confession of a Bully

In kindergarten I remember a kid I’ll call Marcus. What a jerk that guy was. I mean, sure, he was a 5-year-old jerk, but a jerk’s a jerk, right? Marcus was always throwing his weight around, knocking people’s blocks over, stealing milk and cookies, always climbing up the slide the wrong way so no one could come down…. Okay, I’m a little hazy on the details. I was a 5-year-old too. Point is: I have this memory of a feeling of, That kid’s a mean Jerkface and I don’t like him and I wish I could just beat him up.

So I did.

One day on the playground I walked right up to him and I pushed Marcus as hard as I could and I knocked that little sonofabitch right on his ass. And yeah, all the other kids on the playground saw, and erupted with boisterous reply. And if memory serves, I might have been hoisted on some 5-year-old shoulders and carried around the see-saw for a victory lap as the ticker-tape fell from the sky.

Thing is, what I don’t remember is the why. I mean, sure, Marcus was a big fat Jerkhole, and deserved all of the wrath and fury I could muster. But I don’t actually remember him doing anything to me. Nor do I specifically remember him doing anything to anyone else – not that day, anyway. Nothing that I could point to and say “that is the reason that I did this.” My action sort of stood on it’s own as an independent, isolated, 5-year-old-JERK move.

A bunch of years went by. Meek, skinny, puny years. Not that the years, themselves, were puny – I was just puny during those years. And other kids… weren’t. During that time, a club emerged amongst my peers, and the club had a name: “The Bathroom Beatdown Club.” Not the most imaginative of monikers, as it was a fairly explicit description of the club’s purpose and primary activity. Generally speaking, members of The Club would position themselves – sometimes hidden, sometimes in plain sight – in the lavatory, and wait for a non-member to arrive. Sometimes non-members would enter on their own, with their own agenda, as it were. Other times, they would be… lured. In either case, they quickly realized when the door slammed shut behind them that this would not be the bathroom experience they had anticipated.

Now before you go conjuring images of prison yard shankings and dropped soap fantasies, let me put your imagination at ease. I went to what is considered one of the finest private all-boys schools in New York City, and while we had our bullies, they all still hoped to get into Harvard some day. So while nobody left the bathroom bleeding, there were definitely some hidden bruises, vicious wedgies, and neckties soaked in urinal water.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I had my run-ins with The Club, but not often, and was never too badly abused. Over time, I got a little less puny and a little more beefy, and actually did a half-way decent job of fighting back. I actually became friendly with some of The Members. Friendly enough, that at a vital moment I received a Tip.

A new boy (we’ll call him Garrett) was being initiated into The Club. Initiation worked very similarly to active membership, except you had to carry out the Beatdown on your own. Now, Garrett’s worthiness of membership in this very exclusive fraternity was questionable at best. He was athletic, sure; but more of a running track or gymnastics floor routine athlete. So when Garrett was stationed away in the toilet, a Representative of The Club approached me with an invitation to join him in the bathroom for something “really cool.”

I know. Tempting, right? I mean… how often do you get invited to participate in something really cool? And in the bathroom!

I declined.

He insisted.

I resisted.

He persisted.

So I confronted: “Why? You think I want to come to the bathroom so I can get beaten down?”

And he confided: “Look, it’s Garrett in there. Just him. You can take him.”

And you know what? I knew he was right. I took off my sportcoat and hung it on the back of my chair. I unbuttoned my cuffs and rolled up my sleeves as I followed this harbinger to my fate. As we arrived at the door, I exhaled, then filled my lungs, and pushed. It swung open freely, revealing the empty space, and Time took a time-out. The odor of ammonia and pine penetrated my sinuses and lightened my head. The echo of the dripping faucet slapping the porcelain sink reverberated against the beige tiles that spanned the room. The steel stall doors hung ajar, revealing grimy latrines that seemed to wear hungry open-mouthed grins. I exhaled, and crossed the threshold.

The door clapped shut behind me.

The lights went out.

In darkness, two hands clasped my shoulders. Garrett’s hands. And I was ready.

I beat the crap out of Garrett that day. And you know what? It felt damn good. And you may be thinking, ‘that’s not bullying – that’s standing up to a bully.’ And you’d be right, if that’s where the story ended. But stories rarely end when they stop being told.

You see Garrett didn’t get to join The Bathroom Beatdown Club that day. I did. And while I was never quite as active a member as the psychopaths who founded that obscene institution, I was a participant. I was given the option to be a bully, rather than be bullied, and I made the easy choice.

I have a young son now, and while our conversations mostly consist of me pleading with him to take a nap so I can finish writing about my experiences with bullying; before I know it, the time will come to talk about how he should handle bullies, and how he should not bully others. And I’ll be honest here: I’m really not sure how that conversation’s going to go. I hope I’ll steer him in the right direction. I hope he will heed my good advice. But I also hope he will tactfully reject my more foolish ideas, in favor of his own better instincts, whilst skillfully placating my tender ego so I can feel like I did a good job as a dad.

College Dorm Life – Rough

I’m going to die of heat exhaustion. I can’t breathe. Is SADS a thing (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome)?

Those were the most prevalent thoughts I can remember from my freshman year in college. Waking up in my pitch-dark dorm room to the sound of any one of my three female roommates performing fellatio… oral sex… giving head, to a strange (and some-what stinted) male cohort.

With the spine of an ostrich, I would quickly, quietly, pull my comforter up over my head and shallowed (is that a even a verb?) my breathing so as not to draw any attention to the fact that I was awake. I would stay there, sweating through my pajamas in my saturated bedding like a frightened child without bladder control.

My hair (now matted to my forehead and neck) started producing droplets of sweat on it’s own, one drop after another slowly started down my brow and splash, splash, splash they fell into my eyeball one after the other. Why wasn’t I blinking? Were all my reflexes shutting down? Panic consumed me and I would think, I’m going to die.

I thought it so loudly, projected it with all my might that surely one of them would hear me and stop what they were doing. If not from embarrassment, then from knowing they were about to kill me. How did they never hear me thinking!? How did they not hear the loud pounding of my heart, the echoing drips of my brow sweat or the sloshing of the pool created in my bed from said sweat!? Were they deaf? I can still hear my heart pounding like an echo from the past. Loudly.

So, suffocating, wet, and unable to sleep I schemed how I would get back at them for attempted murder.

And just as I’d figure out how I would build my time machine, go back to the beginning of the night to give a strongly worded speech on basic roommate etiquette, I’d pass out.

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I thought I would love my first college roommates. I thought we would form bonds that would last a lifetime. On move-in day, I walked into our itty-bitty, teeny-weeny dorm room and thought, “this place is huge!” There were four beds, four desks, four dressers, and a bathroom. It was twice the size of my room back home (that I shared with my sisters) and had one bathroom to share between the four of us which were way better odds of ample bathroom time, than the single bathroom I shared for eighteen years with six people.

As my father and I dragged in the second hand, faded black, military duffel bag with it’s duct-taped handle (which until very recently I thought was actually ‘duck tape’ and could never figure out the connection between ducks and adhesive so I finally gave up), we heard three voices heading into my new dorm room.

With self-assured and measured pacing, three women (not girls) appeared. “Your bunk is there. That’s your dresser, your closet, and your desk. We put stickers on our items in the fridge,” said the tall blonde one.

“We have a fridge?” fridge was all I heard. It was mini, brown and the top worked as an extra shelf for what appeared to be a very thin, artsy, glass-vase (which I later found out was a bong).

“Well, we, rented it from the university along with the microwave. If you want to use them, you’ll need to chip in for the rental. Didn’t you read the welcome pack?”

Truth be told, I skimmed it. The welcome pack arrived late – only a day before move in, along with my decision to go to this university, so I was behind on everything. I had, however, memorized the names of my roommates, their interests, their parent’s professions, and of course each of their majors:

Kelly: Played on her high-school field hockey team, fought for the right to try out for the wrestling team, and won, but never played due to no guy ever matching her weight class. She out weighed them all and she wasn’t fat. Kelly’s father was a Waste Management Engineer… I’m still not sure what that means, but I watched Soprano’s and decided it was better not to ask. Kelly’s chosen major, Early Childhood Education.

Amy: Played on her high-school field hockey team (and was Kelly’s teammate). She and Kelly grew-up three houses away from each other and have been friends since birth. Amy’s long-term goals were to teach art at the pre-K level, open an art gallery in her industry-deserted hometown, and travel to the Louvre. Amy’s father was a Human Organ Transporter. Soprano’s, Soprano’s, Soprano’s. Amy’s chosen major, Art History.

And lastly there was Rebecca.

Rebecca: Played on her high-school soccer, volleyball, and girl’s basketball teams. Rebecca turned her life around after being caught using marijuana on her high-school campus 180 times (that’s everyday for an entire school year, people). Realizing the ill affects of her choices, she became a teen mentor to other kids heading down the path of marijuana addiction and was awarded a full scholarship to university for her humanitarian work. Rebecca’s mother was a CPA, a single mom, and grew marijuana for medicinal purposes. Rebecca’s chosen major was accounting.

I picked up the end of my duffle with the duck duct-taped handle and commenced dragging it sluggishly toward the empty bed when Kelly, tall blonde, grabbed the center handle, picked up the bag with minimal effort and tossed it onto my mattress. My father and I stared in awe.

If these were your average college freshman, then I needed a couple rounds of steroids and a few more years of hard living to catch up in stature and confidence. I stood alone next to my bed and as I turned around I saw the three of them, Kelly – tall and blonde, Amy – equally as tall and brunette, and Rebecca – oddly short with the thickest, longest, curly locks I’d ever seen – standing shoulder to shoulder assessing me. They stared me down like an opponent, they were the defensive linemen and I was the quarterback in the end zone missing her team. I immediately labeled them: Ladies-I-Would-Not-Want-To-Meet-In-A-Dark-Alley.

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As I lay, once again, trapped there in my bed pretending to be asleep for the twenty second time that month, I pulled out a mini Three Musketeer bar from the stash I’d begun keeping in my pillowcase. I quietly, expertly unwrapped what may have very well been the last thing I ever ate, as surely this may have been the night I succumbed to the lack of oxygen in the coffin that was my bed. Then I heard it, for the first time, someone spoke during this nightly ritual, “Open your mouth I need to cum,” strained, impatient, urgent and then silence.

NO MORE. My moment was now. The point of no return, I sat straight up, dripping sweat from my soaked head and I turned on my reading light, opened a book and began to reading. No mouths would open again that night, but a deep cleaning of someone’s bed sheets was in order.

The next day, after my classes, I returned to my dorm room to find my duffle bag packed, less my reading lamp – which lay, purposefully destroyed atop my bag, and a note that read:

“You should find a new place to live.”