Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Saturday Morning with the Clarks.

If you’ve read my Buckwheat Poisoning post, you’ll understand the chaos that is my weekend mornings. Fortunately, this Saturday morning I was not hungover or breaking out in hives. However, that does not make the following conversations anymore bearable:

I’m sitting down at the kitchen table, trying to enjoy my breakfast. Then, my dad walks in.

“Who ate my eggs?!”

“Tommy,” my mom explains, “Tommy ate your eggs.” Tommy – the bearded dragon.

“Tommy? You gave my eggs to Tommy? He doesn’t even clean the pan.”

“Here, Rich. I just cleaned it.”

“It’s clean? You didn’t put him in it or anything?” As if baking Tommy in a sauce pan is an entirely conceivable morning activity.

“No, Rich. I did not put Tommy in the pan with his eggs.”

This is where I decide to get involved, because I’m sick and tired of Tommy’s high-maintenance nutritional demands.

“Why can’t Tommy just lay his own eggs?” I ask.

“He can, Jo. Just like you.” Yes, just like me.

“Ew, Mom. Doesn’t he need to be fertilized or whatever?”

“Thomasina!” My dad blurts out. We still haven’t actually confirmed that Tommy is indeed a male lizard, but my mom’s pretty sure he’s a boy.

“No, Jo, he doesn’t. He can lay eggs, just like you (if Tommy were a girl, she means).” Then my mom launches into a graphic and disturbing “adult version” of the Sex Ed course she teaches to her middle school students. All while I’m eating my cereal.

I can't imagine Tommy attracting any mates until he takes care of that fingernail situation.

Clearly uncomfortable with discussing fallopian tubes over breakfast, my dad quickly changes the subject. “I can’t wait to dig up that hydrangea with you tomorrow, Jo. We’re gonna wait for a nice, cold day. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 30s.” Awesome. Just how I imagined spending my Sunday morning.

I stand up and leave the room before they can dole out any more weekend slave work. Actually, I go straight to the computer to begin typing up everything they’ve been saying.

“Jo, look up ‘how to change a belt on a Nordic Track treadmill’. We want to get your ass skinny again (such a flatterer, my dad). Just kidding, just kidding. Oh wait! AHA! directions! Come help with this, Jo.”

I don’t respond.

“What are your plans for the day, Jo?”

I don’t respond.

“Wow, this cat has 26 toes, Jo,” my mom says while reading the paper. She knows what’s important to me.

“How many do you think Buster has?” I ask, obviously intrigued.

“Probably around 18,” she says.

Buster's Toes

A few minutes later, when my dad has taken a break from deconstructing and diagnosing our 14-year-old treadmill (I wonder what’s wrong with it?) my love life becomes the topic of discussion.

“Jo already learned that some men are pigs — not all men, just some men. I had to change my stance on that to create some openings,” my dad says. (“All men are pigs” is what my dad has been telling my sister and I for the past 23 years. My sister recently wrote a hilarious blog post about this, I highly encourage you to read it.) By “openings” my dad means potential love-interests to get my sister and I out of the house. Since the odds of me landing a full-time job are about as likely me walking barefoot through White Castle (barefootphobia), my dad has resorted to Plan B to get me out of the house: Marry me off. I told him that there’s no way I’m likely to marry before my 40th birthday, especially since when I asked him how much my dowry was, he said, “Buster. He gets Buster.”

“Won’t it be great when you move out?” My mom asks.

She has no idea.

Welcome to the Zoo (Part 2)

Continued from previous post...

Tommy reading the Sunday paper.

I’ve only recently started to warm up to Tommy/Lawrence. My dad senses my apprehension and is determined to forge a bond between the two of us. “Look! Come look! He’s just like you, Jo,” my dad will say every time Tommy sits in the sun. Tommy loves to “have tanning done,” which is what my dad says when he means “lay out”. My dad’s right — I do like tanning, but these days I’m more into spray tanning than actual sun tanning. Lawrence should really consider switching to a faux-glow, as well — he’s looking more and more like an old Sperry everyday.

I can’t exactly pinpoint the source of my animosity towards Lawrence, but I think part of it stems from jealousy — my dad makes Tommy an omelet every morning for breakfast. Not once has my dad provided such a service for me. The only thing I get from my dad in the morning is an invoice for how many lights I left on the previous night or an assessment of my “illegal” parking job. As if one could park illegally in their own driveway.

Jojo the rat

I’ve noticed that my sister has managed to extend an effort to get to know Lawrence a little better, so I feel as if I should do the same.

Jojo the rat is the only one of these creatures that I’m actually willing to get to know a little better. At first I was apprehensive, especially once I heard that my mom had named him Jojo (which is my nickname). Things get a little confusing around the house with the two of us sharing the same name. I imagine this is how it is for families that name their kids things like William Jr, or William III.

Almost every afternoon, my mom will walk in the house and say, “How’s my Jojo today?”

I’ll start to answer, “Oh, well, I’m —” until she breezes right by me and heads towards the rat cage — and I realize that the question was directed towards Jojo the rat.

Now, I’m not sure if I’m allowed/supposed to discuss this sort of thing, but to put it mildly, Jojo is hung. Why my mom decided to buy the most well-endowed rat in the pet store is beyond me. To make matters worse, she brings the rat to school during the week to share with her middle school students. That’s right — middle school. With what Jojo’s packing, the boys must be doubled over with laughter/envy and the girls must be terrified of things to come.

Buster after a trip to the ER.

Finally, we come to Buster. The first picture is of Buster after he returned from a late night trip to the ER. By the way, I absolutely love taking pets to the vet for the sole purpose of hearing them say, “Buster Clark, we’re ready for you.”

We took Buster to the ER because he was acting very cuddly and affectionate — which is extremely out of character for him. He also seemed to be in a lot of pain, hence the cuddling. As it turns out, he has degenerative disk disease. The vet suggested acupuncture, but we opted for the morphine treatment instead. As a result, Buster developed a small drug habit, but I’m proud to say he’s on the road to recovery.

Buster also suffers from male pattern baldness. He has two bald patches on his forehead that are very susceptible to sunburn. My sister had to put aloe vera on his forehead the other day to sooth the redness and irritation.

Enjoying a little espresso and the morning paper.

Buster actually has three bald patches on his forehead if you count his Harry Potter scar. This particular scar came from Wang, a kitten I had for a few months in high school. Wang was a surprise gift from an ex-boyfriend. He picked her up one night at a Mexican restaurant and dropped her off at my house while my parents were out of town. When he brought her to me, she was all wrapped up in his Tall-Tee, so at first I thought she was a long-haired rat baby or mangled chipmunk left over from Buster’s latest hunting spree. She was about the size of my palm and smelled of Black & Mild cigarillos. She had the beginnings of a beautiful potbelly, so I knew we’d become fast friends.

Wang, contemplating her next victim.

Unfortunately, Wang had left her mother far too early and thus developed a severe antisocial disorder. She had no social interaction skills whatsoever, and she attacked everything that moved. One day while I was at school, she scalped both Buster and our other cat Zoe. She ripped the skin right off of their foreheads. My mom took them both to the vet, and Buster has had a scar ever since. My parents made me give Wang away shortly after the scalping incident. It was a sad day.

Action shot

After reading these past 2 posts, you’re probably questioning the sanity of my family. Of course I love to poke fun at my parents, it’s impossible not to — they provide me with such good blogging material. But I love them for it, and I’m so fortunate to have a family that makes me laugh every single day (whether they’re trying to or not).

(I’d include a picture of my parents, but they said “ABSOLUTELY NO PHOTOS, JO!” And my dad has threatened to start a “counter-blog” to protect his reputation).

Welcome to the Zoo (Part 1)

When Buster Attacks.

I hope my family will forgive me for these next few posts.

Since my mom came home a few weeks ago with a new pet rat, I’ve decided it’s time to give a little look inside my household. I live with my mom, dad and older sister, Jessie. I also live with some sort of bird, a bearded dragon (and his live cricket snacks), Buster (of course), a worm farm (I think), and, most recently, a rat named Jojo. I live in a zoo — and not the kind of zoo I’d pay money to visit, but the kind of zoo that keeps companies like Pest Control in business.

It all started when I left for college — every time I’d come home from school, I would find a new cage housing a creature that my parents falsely believed constituted as a pet (my parents were obviously grieving the empty space I’d left in their hearts and home). For that reason, I have diagnosed them with a severely debilitating case of Empty Nest syndrome.

Koty, our old dog, on his 144th birthday.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gotten better since I’ve moved back in with them. Their animal hoarding behavior continues, and despite my best efforts, I’m afraid they’re on the fast track to a life spent harvesting cat nip and watching Whale Wars.

I’m not 100 percent sure what kind of bird we have, but his name is Mr. Darcy and I wouldn’t mind popping him in the oven and serving him au gratin to Buster.

Darcy admiring himself in the mirror. What a douchebag.

He’s incredibly annoying and I’m convinced he hates me. When he squawks at me, my dad says, “he’s just trying to talk to you, Jo” — but I know better. He uses a completely different tone with me than he does with my other family members. He “sings” for them. For me, he makes the same sound as he does when Buster enters the room. It is a song of violence and hate. I’m considering suiting him up in Koty’s old electric fence collar, but I’m not sure how that will stop his chirping…unless he tries to fly over the invisible fence, but that would probably be the end of Mr. Darcy (which I’d be okay with, but by the looks of my checking account, I’m in no position to piss off my parents).

Darcy watching ESPN with his former female companion and my dad, who is surprisingly Croc-less.

My dad loves to walk around the house in his Crocs with Darcy on his shoulder. The sight couldn’t make me any more nauseous. Darcy used to have a female companion, but I’m not sure what happened to her. I make it a point not to keep up-to-date with Darcy’s social life to let my parents know that under no circumstances will Darcy and I become friends.

The bearded dragon’s name is Tommy, but my sister and I like to think he looks more like a Lawrence. My mom carries him around in a little travel tote, not unlike the travel totes in which rich women carry around their teacup Yorkies. The other day, my mom told me that she had to run an errand while she had Tommy with her, so she “had no choice” but to take him into the store with her. I didn’t ask why Tommy was running errands with her in the first place, but I can’t say I was surprised. I’m honestly pretty upset that I wasn’t there to witness it, though — can you imagine? The women in the store walk up to my mom, hoping to catch a glimpse of the newborn puppy they think is sleeping in the tiny tote. And then my mom opens the flap and out pops Lawrence.

Lawrence letting his mani/pedi dry.

Other than when he’s in his travel tote, Tommy lives a pretty comfortable life. He has both an indoor cage and an outdoor cage, and my dad often lets him loose in the backyard to explore the garden. One time, my sister came home to find my mom and my dad standing in the front lawn staring at something. Upon closer inspection, she realized that my mom was holding a leash and taking Tommy for a “walk” in the front yard. Yes, Tommy has a harness, much like the Gentle Leaders that have recently become so popular with dogs.

To be continued….because there’s just too much to fit in one post.

Power Washing: I’ll add it to my resume.

Last weekend, my dad decided it was time to power wash the house. For some reason, he thought it sounded like a job I was capable of doing. If you’ve ever met me (or seen me) you’ll understand how unbelievable his assumption was. Although my gym rat routine has added a little more muscle to my frame, I remain incredibly uncoordinated. I couldn’t pass a field sobriety test if I was stone-cold sober with a few hits of Adderall for additional focus. I’ve taken 2 mirrors off the same van (at different times) while backing out of the garage. When I was 7, I fell off of a bridge into a pond. I’m just not cutout for tasks that involve heavy machinery and/or walking.

The power washer definitely constituted as heavy machinery. It sounded like a lawn mower and required gasoline and a crank-start, just like my ancient push-mower, so I thought maybe I’d be able to manage it. I don’t know if this makes it a pressure washer or a power washer, but I don’t really care.

Before we began power washing, the first thing my dad said to me was, “are you one of those people who’s afraid of heights?”

I barely managed, “I mean…” before he said, “Good. You need to work on that.”

And to the roof he sent me.

I stepped on the ladder and proceeded to climb. Unfortunately, my dad “needs a new ladder” because he “doesn’t know how safe this one is anymore.” Awesome. I’d barely reached the second rung when the ladder tipped over backwards. My dad caught me before I hit the mulch and then showed me “the correct way” to climb a (broken) ladder.

Once I made it to the roof, my dad handed up the power washer gun. My first thought was that it looked like a machine gun. My second thought was that I probably should have given it a practice spray before using it such a far fall from the ground.

Before pulling the trigger, I asked my dad how many mph the water came out. “It’s not in mph, it’s in PSI,” he replied, as if I had any idea what that meant. “Pounds per square inch, Jo. It comes out at 2500 PSI. Don’t shoot yourself in the leg. And seriously don’t take the paint off the house.”

Still not completely following, I asked him to translate this information into how many elephants were in 2500 pounds. My dad shook his head. We’ve never seen eye-to-eye on mathematical equations.

I practiced walking on the roof to get a feel for my balance. After 3 steps, my dad told me that I had better power-wash from a seated position. He went inside to get bleach, leaving me alone to sunburn on the roof. As I sat and watched the neighbors drive by, I realized how horrifying I must have looked — there I was, crouching on a roof, glaring at every passerby (I was cranky, for obvious reasons) and holding what looked to be a machine gun. If it weren’t for my hot-pink athletic shorts and glittery nail polish, I’m fairly certain I could have been mistaken for a sniper.

By the end of the day, my arms were burning worse than they did my first day as an (un)official gym rat. I went to sleep that night feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve — I couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning and flex my newly formed enormous biceps and forearms.

Even though I enjoyed the body sculpting, the worst part about power washing was the bleach. My dad made me wear safety goggles to protect my eyes, but I was more concerned with the effect it would have on my spray tan.

Once we were finished, my dad and I sat in the garage and had a talk about my future.

“You know, Jo, you could make big bucks doing this. I’m serious. People pay big bucks to have people do things like this.” Big Bucks is the term my dad uses to convince me to do something. “You want to paint the shutters next weekend? Big bucks, Jo.” Or, “we’re going to need someone to move mulch around the garden — big bucks.” I’ve yet to receive a paycheck from him, big bucked or otherwise.

At the end of the day, I walked away with sculpted biceps, a streaky spray tan, and a fresh idea to mull over: I hadn’t considered becoming a professional power-washer, but at least now it’s an option on the table.

I’ll probably be power washing again this weekend since we didn’t get to finish one side of the house. Can’t wait. I’ll try to take a picture to add to this post.

Versatile Blogger Award

I’m always amazed when people tell me that they’ve read my blog or liked one of my posts. Actually I’m more than amazed — I’m flat-out shocked. I decided to start blogging this summer because things were getting a little ridiculous on the home-front — my days consisted of landscaping, dog grooming, Buster pampering, liquor/grocery shopping for my parents and any other miscellaneous task that my family members didn’t feel like tackling themselves. When I realized that I was buying more beer for my parents than for myself, I decided that things had reached an all-time low.

But I was wrong.

When my mom brought home a pet rat named after me, then I realized that things had reached an all time low.

So, I decided to start blogging to document the awkwardness/slew of rejection that is my post-grad life. I never thought people would read it, let alone enjoy it. When someone tells me they liked one of my posts, my reaction is somewhat similar to how I imagine redheads feel after every spray tan: pure and utter elation. (But seriously, the feedback and support I get from my friends and family makes me happier than I can ever explain. Thank you all!!)

When Katy Stuff gave me the Versatile Blogger Award, I very nearly emptied my inhaler — I was ecstatic!! I can’t thank her enough for how amazing she made me feel. Now, to claim the award, I have to fulfill each of these conditions:

Versatile Blogger Award

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!

I already mentioned how thankful I am that Katy Stuff gave me this award. If she only knew how much she brightened my day!

Now for 7 things about myself:

1. I put Frank’s hot sauce on everything. The fact that so many restaurants provide only Tabasco sauce disgusts me.

Hot sauce casualty.

2. When I was little, I cried because Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia wasn’t real. I guess I’ve always been an awkward animal lover.

3. I don’t like going on dates. Dates are uncomfortable, I’m uncomfortable — it just doesn’t work out. I also don’t like occasions that require I change out of my yoga pants. I especially despise restaurant dates. I guess you could say I prefer bar dates, a fact at which as she reads this, I’m sure my mother is shaking her head disapprovingly and drafting me an email about her concern for my future.

My dusty pair of Jordans I wore for DZ intramural basketball games. We won twice in the 3 years I played.

4. I own 2 pairs of Jordans, one pair of Timberlands and at least 5 velour track suits. I had a phase in high school. My poor parents — I often wonder what they thought of me during that questionable time in my life.

OPI addiction. Just a few of my colors.

5.  I’m addicted to OPI nail polish. I don’t want to count how many colors I have because I don’t want to know much money I’ve spent on them. But, if I had to guess, I’d say my OPI collection is worth more than a few good velour track suits.

6. I still sleep with a stuffed animal. Needless to say, I’m single.

Buster & Buster.

7. My favorite month is October. Actually, I’m pretty much obsessed with it. October is the start of the holiday trifecta: Halloween (and my birthday), Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m very much looking forward to the next 3 months as they’ll be my only source of income for the unforeseeable future.

Now, here are the 15 blogs I’ve recently discovered and really enjoyed!! (and yes, this did involve a fair amount of creeping) Be sure to check them out!

I’m passing the Versatile Blogger Award to:

http://unknowledgetree.wordpress.com

http://applescout.wordpress.com

http://theblackboxdiaries.com

http://oatsnbows.wordpress.com

http://sarahsypniewski.wordpress.com

http://mybeautifulair.wordpress.com

http://thekarinachronicles.wordpress.com

http://collegiatecrusades.wordpress.com

http://goingtogermany.wordpress.com

http://hippieinbloom.wordpress.com

http://realfunfood.com

http://bloglikeitshot.com

http://jhointhecity.wordpress.com

http://wanderlivin.com

http://danielsfunny.wordpress.com

Buckwheat Poisoning

(Disclaimer: I usually try to keep most of my posts fairly PG so that potential employers don’t write me off for any poor decision-making. However, in this case, this story requires that I raise the topic of hangovers. Please keep in mind that I am of age and, due to a hindering 2-3 beer tolerance limit, tend to drink responsibly)

Living with your parents has several advantages, most of which include free dining privileges. However, I’ve recently run into a recurring problem, and I don’t think there’s anything (short of moving out) that I can do to fix it.

In college, most Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings were dedicated to recovery. My roommates and I treated our hangovers like fragile medical conditions. Cold rags, ice packs, french fries, albuterol inhalers (in my case), the works.

Hangovers at home are a different story, although I can’t discount the fact that things have gotten easier since I am now an “adult”. This means that I no longer have to craft a ridiculous story as to better explain why my mascara is down to my chin. Now that I’m a seasoned 22-year-old college graduate, I come home and let my true colors fly. The only bump in the road I’ve run into thus far happened the day after college graduation, when I returned home to Louisville missing part of a tooth.

The downside of being at my parents’ house in such a delicate condition is that they take great pleasure in my suffering and force me to engage in ridiculously painful amounts of social interaction. As soon as my big-toe hits the kitchen floor, my mom launches into a debriefing so intense I often wonder if I should have an attorney present.

“What’d you do last night? Who’d you see? You look like you don’t feel well. Any developments in the rooooo-mance department? I hope you didn’t meet anyone at the bar — seriously, Joanna, every man you meet in a bar has a character disorder (she tells me this every night I leave the house). Does _____  still have a girlfriend? Has Buster been fed? (My dad shouts in reply from upstairs: “DO NOT FEED HIM AGAIN — we’ve got a ralph situation up here!”) Never mind, don’t feed him — he just threw up. Your father wants you to mow the lawn today. Have you washed your face yet?”

Since all of this information is far too loud and far too much to process, I usually squint one eye and try to focus on one question. “No mom, I will absolutely not mow the lawn today.”

I then sit down at the kitchen table and try to enjoy my cereal while pretending to read the paper. This is when my dad walks in and begins his portion of the Q&A.

“Oh-hoh! Well look who it is! You look like you had fun last night (translation: you’re a real mess, Joanna). The lawn needs mowing, Jo. Can I count on you to do that? Also, I need lunch meat. Carol (my mom), do we have any lunch meat? Jo, I’m thinking barbecue for dinner (it’s 10 am). You’ll eat chicken right? (absolutely not) No? You still won’t eat meat? Well you’re on your own then. I can’t go out of my way for you and Jessie just because you’re both weird. What’s for lunch, Jo? I’m thinking smoothies. We’ve got some mushrooms that need to be eaten up (mushrooms that needed to be “eaten up” at least 2 weeks ago). Smell these mushrooms, Jo. Do you think they’re ok?”

All of the above is background information to better explain the ordeal I went through last weekend. Imagine the aforementioned interrogation process of a normal hungover morning in my household, but throw in a parakeet, 2 sleeping pills and a few hives and you’ll have a glimpse of how I spent last Sunday morning.

The morning started out fairly normal. I came into the kitchen to try to eat breakfast with as little human interaction as possible. My mom offered me some buckwheat groats that my dad had made earlier that morning. Buckwheat groats are like oatmeal. My sister and I recently went gluten-free (ish) and buckwheat is supposed to be a great gluten-free substitute. Or so I thought. The groats looked like sautéed fish eggs, so I only took a very small forkful to sample.

The culprit

I sat down and began to eat some cereal. 5 minutes later, my face got very hot. I figured I was just having another menopausal hot-flash, as these often accompany my hangovers. After finishing my cereal, I went upstairs to find Buster. I found him in my bed, which is no surprise since I recently stashed catnip in one of my pillows to secure my place as his favorite family member.

The catnip pillow.

I immediately began petting him while giving him a full recap of my night. After a few minutes, I felt like my ears were going to fall off. I looked in the mirror and realized that my ears were turning an eggplant purple and that my face looked worse than Ron Weasley suffering from a bout of rosacea. My elbow itched and when I looked down, I noticed it was red and swollen — as were my knees, wrists and other elbow. My thigh looked like someone had repeatedly whipped me with a wet rag. I looked like bloated a redhead who’d horribly misapplied their sunscreen while tanning in Cancun. If things had progressed any further — well, I’m honestly not sure what would have happened, but I’m assuming I could have been cast as the new poster girl for sun poisoning and/or the potential side effects of chemical peels.

Being the hypochondriac that I am, I immediately thought I was dying. I ran back downstairs to the kitchen, only to find my sister writhing in pain by the sink with a severe leg cramp. My mom was yelling, “Mag-Cal, Jess! Take the Mag-Cal!” In the background, the pet bird Darcy (who hates me) was screaming so loud that I was certain our neighbors would call in a domestic dispute. All of this was way too much for my brain to process, so I wailed, “I have a rash” and proceeded to strip down to show the world my blotchy, reddening skin.

My mom couldn’t take it. My poor mother thought she’d wash her hands of my sister and me the moment we graduated from college, but no. There we were, her unemployed 22- and 24-year-old daughters, screaming, sobbing and swelling under the roof she’d raised us in for nearly 20 years. She looked to one corner of the kitchen where Jessie was doubled-over, starring in her own personal Midol commercial, and then to the other corner where I was hyperventilating and reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Finally, she saw my bulbous knees and decided I was top priority. “What did you do today? Did you touch anything unusual?”

Obviously, my first thought was that I’d just touched Buster. I saw him catch a chipmunk the previous day, so I was sure that I’d contracted a rare disease from him — most likely the chipmunk flu.

Tears filled my eyes when I thought about Buster’s (and my) imminent death. At least we’d go together, though. It would be just like The Notebook.

Death by chipmunk flu. (just kidding, he's tanning)

Before I could curse the chipmunk who’d brought this untimely death upon us, I realized that I’d eaten a forkful of buckwheat, which was something I’d never ingested before. My mom got on the computer and began researching “buckwheat allergy.” For whatever reason, she read aloud all of the worst case scenarios, sending me into further spasms of panic.

“If you start wheezing at all Jo, we’re taking you straight to the ER.”

“Wheezing? Why would I wheeze? Am I going to stop breathing?”

“No, but your throat could close. But don’t freak out!”

We were out of Benadryl, so I took two sleep-aid pills that appeared to contain comparable ingredients. I sat in an arm-chair and anticipated the moment that my life would begin to flash before my eyes.

Just then, my dad walked in the room. He saw me sprawled out in the arm-chair, overreacting as usual. When my mom filled him in on the situation, he said, “the things you will do to get out of mowing the lawn, Jo. First, the fainting now this. You know, maybe it would be good to sweat it out in the lawn? Get the allergy out of your system?”

As soon as the pills kicked in, I wandered upstairs and I fell into in a drug-induced slumber. Hours later, I opened my eyes to find my mom standing over me, poking my ankle and checking to see if I was still breathing. I fell back asleep. I later opened my eyes to find my dad standing over me. “You need to go to the doctor and get an epi pen. Also, I’m thinking homemade pizza for dinner. Be ready to throw in 30 minutes.” “Throw” is my dad’s term for “toss the dough,” or make the pizza crust. Throw is also the word my dad uses when referring to Buster’s post-meal projectile vomiting — Throw, as in: “Damnit Joanna, why’d you have to feed him again? There he goes, off to throw.”

When my joints deflated and my skin turned a more friendly shade of pink, I sauntered back down into the kitchen to help make dinner.

In the end, I didn’t have to mow the lawn. But I did momentarily give up on my gluten-free diet in lieu of 5-7 slices of pizza.

Walk of Shame

I just landed a 5-week dog-sitting gig. I’m excited to make some money, but I’m beginning to fear that my undergraduate degree was all for nothing. My mom thinks I should open a pet grooming salon or join a “club for people who like animals” (direct quote), and my sister thinks I should be a dog catcher. Clearly they’ve both lost confidence in my undergraduate degree as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the pup I’m currently babysitting. She’s the only one of my friends who will willingly watch back-to-back episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 on SOAPnet with me. I dog-sat her at the beginning of the summer and when it was too hot to play outside, we’d spend our afternoons gossiping about Brian Austin Green while I groomed her. We’re still not sure how we feel about Donna Martin, but we definitely agree that Dylan is far too emotional to stomach on a daily basis. That, and he looks closer to his 40th birthday than his 18th. I feel the same way about him as I do Dawson from Dawson’s Creek. No one looked that old in my high school, and if they did, they were probably with the DEA.

For blogging purposes, I’ll refer to this pup as Whitney. Whitney is, hands down, my favorite dog to dog-sit (see Wolfsitting for the worst). I honestly did love spending time with Fritz and Hannah (mostly Fritz), especially on the days that they didn’t bring me animal carcasses or rotting hoofs. However, Whitney is remarkably low maintenance when compared to Fritz and Hannah, and I doubt she’ll require the Heimlich as often as my dear mole-eating Fritz.

Whitney is a huge, furry black dog and could easily be mistaken for an enormous teddy bear. She sleeps next to me in bed like a human and we often wake up nose-to-nose. It’s no wonder my allergies are borderline pink-eye material. She tips the scales at about 100 lbs, and while I love big animals, she can sometimes be a little too big for me to handle. The first time I watched her, she dragged me on my back across the hardwood floor because she was excited for her walk. I don’t take her for walks — she takes me for walks. She literally grabs the leash in her mouth and parades me around the neighborhood like I’m some young piece of meat. I feel so used. People point and laugh, or slow down as they drive by and say things like, “Oh, looks like she’s taking you for a walk!” Very clever.

Here I am at a young age taking a cat for a walk. Notice that the cat bears a strong resemblance to Buster. Destiny?

Then, Whitney poops in their lawn, putting an end to all friendly communication. When this happens, I either do one of two options:

Option A: Bend down and make a fuss, pretending to pick it up. Walk away quickly.

Option B: Theatrically pat my pockets in a desperate attempt to locate a spare bag. Obviously I don’t even carry bags. I then look horrified and painfully embarrassed, like this is the one time I forgot bags! How could I! If it feels right, I’ll sometimes look to the heavens in a gesture that says, “why me? why this day!?” I wince and mouth “shoot” (or any variation of the word, depending on the audience), then walk away, throwing a final glance over my shoulder to make sure no witness doubts my sense of regret.

It’s easily the best theatrical performance I’ve seen since Cats, a musical I used to be mildly obsessed with. In fact, I brought in the soundtrack one day for elementary school show-and-tell.

Sometimes I wonder if I had any friends.

Anyways, my mom caught on to my negligence when I brought the pup over to my house. I wanted to take Whitney for a walk, but we needed a change of scenery. That, and I didn’t want her neighbors to catch on to our hit-and-run routine. When my mom saw me walk out of the house sans pooper-scooper, she ran after me like a neighborhood watchman (my sister and I call her “safety captain,” stemming from the time she sat in our driveway and yelled at/chased down everyone who blew through the stop sign next to our house. There may or may not have been a megaphone involved).

“Don’t you dare leave without bags, Joanna!” She was actually mad at me. I finally caved and pocketed about 20 Kroger bags to ensure maximum hand coverage and minimal seepage potential. I would have pocketed a few latex gloves, but I’d used all of them applying my self tanner last Saturday.

Other than that, things have gone smoothly with Whitney. We’ve reached a pretty comfortable place in our relationship, and I’m happy with where things are. A few nights ago, we watched the season premiere of Two and a Half Men together. Neither of us are big fans of Ashton Kutcher, especially now that he looks like a long-haired Al Borland, but I felt it was important that we take part in such a historical television event.