Tag Archives: Random

A Walk in the Park

As I alluded to in my previous post, I was once an athlete. A field hockey player, to be exact.

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A pretty accurate visual representation of my field hockey career.

I realize that most people find this hard to believe as these days, my athletic endeavors are limited to chasing stray cats in my boyfriend’s backyard and the occasional lawn-mow (as illustrated in the photo below). In my defense, I recently gave team sports another shot. But after every tennis team I joined suspiciously “dissolved,” I decided that perhaps I’d better make a lasting transition into individual sports. So, I decided to get into running.

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My lawn-mowing face.

My favorite place to run is Cherokee Park. It’s full of pups, it’s relatively kid-unfriendly, and I always know exactly where I am in relation to the nearest bathroom. A few weeks ago, I was too tired and lazy to run, so I decided to power-walk instead.

But as I began my walk, I couldn’t help but feel a bit self-conscious. The only solo walkers were elderly women and strange men who believed that khaki cargo shorts were still an acceptable item of apparel. Certainly, I can understand the appeal of a nice pair of cargos — who wouldn’t want so many convenient options for storage? I myself was a cargo proponent for the better part of a decade, but I’m also the first to concede that they are in fact an assault on the senses.

But rather than let my insecurities get the best of me, I decided to put the negative thoughts behind me and make the most out of my walk. If nothing else, it would give me an opportunity to slowly enjoy the park, to see things I’d missed while running. Suddenly, my senses felt heightened. Like I’d splurged on an afternoon latte or, like Bran Stark, I’d opened my third eye. I began to examine every passerby with great attention to detail, realizing that this made me an anthropologist and that perhaps khaki cargos were a viable option after-all. Here are my observations:

1. Toe sock runners are dangerous

With heightened senses, I heard much of the world around me. The squirrels in the bushes, the birds in heat, the androgynous bikers whizzing past me. The only thing that snuck up on me, however, were the damn runners in those toe sock shoes. As an avid crop-duster, I’m fairly attuned to the gentle pitter patter of runners approaching me from behind. But due to the lightness of their footwear and the slenderness of their girlish calves, the men wearing toe sock shoes breezed by me without so much as a peep. It was startling and, quite honestly, unfortunate for all parties involved.

2. Big Foot probably smokes pot

At one point, I rounded a corner and was confronted with the distinct, skunkish smell of marijuana. I looked deeper into the woods to find said pot-smoker and saw what could have easily passed for the Germantown version of Big Foot — a man, casually strolling amongst the trees with long, unkempt locks and what looked like the remains of a tattered linen shirt. I couldn’t see his feet, but from my experience at Forecastle, I deduced that he was likely barefoot. I made eye contact with his chest hair and felt the blood rush from my face. I remained on-edge–practicing what I hoped would come across as a casual, yet passionate iteration of “I’m no narc”–until I realized that this fellow looked strikingly similar to one of sister’s ex-boyfriends. Certainly, a former Clark lover would cause me no harm, I thought. That soothed me. And I moved on.

This is an actual picture of an actual foot that I took at Forecastle.

This is an actual picture of an actual foot that I took at Forecastle.

3. Wildlife excites me

Obviously, this comes as no surprise. But at a slower pace, I realized that I was much more apt to spot critters. At one point, I even saw a turtle breast-stroking along with the current. It was almost too much. I stopped at every bridge to see how many ducks I could count, a treat I sometimes enjoy on my walk to work. To save money, I park in a free parking lot down by the Ohio River, which, for you non-Louisvillians, is the liquid that likely inspired the popular sci-fy series, Alex Mack. The Ohio is certainly no environment for whales, but every morning, I cross my fingers and pray to God that it will be the day I see one. It’s moments like these I know I need to relocate to Seattle.

4. I’m becoming my mother.

About five minutes into my walk, I thought to myself, “This would be really wonderful if I had a book on-tape.” It was jarring. And I rather not comment on the matter any more than I already have.

And those are the four things I observed at the park. To summarize, here’s a picture of my sister and I blowing away the competition at my first mini marathon.

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Accidental squirrel hunting

 (Disclaimer: There’s a pretty gross picture in this blog post — which may or may not surprise you based on the title. Nevertheless, please proceed with caution, especially my fellow vegetarians.)

2012 has been a wild ride in terms of my interactions with animals. I’ve spit up a spider, assaulted a snake, walked a cat on a leash (finally!Taking Milo on a walkand been subject to Buster’s midnight howl-and-hump routine more times than I care to admit. Thus, it is only fitting that a few weeks ago, I truly topped off the year when I accidentally ran over a squirrel with the lawnmower.

It was late November…

I dread Sundays. If there were ever a day for me to inject myself with buckwheat, it would be Sunday, “The Lawn’s Day.” These are the days when my dad has “big plans” for me. The last time he had “big plans” for me, I ended up insulating the garage. Three months later he told me the materials we’d used were carcinogenic. I’d hardly call that quality bonding time.

Sure enough, when I pulled in the driveway that fateful Sunday morning, the garage door began to rise as if I’d triggered some sort of “Dependent Daughter” tracking device, one that monitors my whereabouts and notifies the local authorities when I’m carrying my mom’s debit card within 100 yards of a gas station. My dad then emerged from the garage, all but vibrating with chipperness in his signature head-to-toe denim outfit.

“You ready to mow today, Jo?”

“Meh,” I grunted, shielding my eyes from the blaze of his acid wash jeans.

“Well let’s go! I’ve got you all set up here!” Clearly. He was literally bouncing around the garage on his heels. I hadn’t seen him this excited since the last power outage. His frantic behavior and spastic movements reminded of a manic Carrie Mathison and I was tempted to see how he’d react to the words “green pen.”

Being the dutiful tenant that I am, I agreed to cut the grass in exchange for another day’s cable and shelter. Homeland was on that night, so I was in no position to risk eviction. Ten minutes into mowing, I approached a tree and heard a loud “POP!” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something fly out from underneath the machine. I shrugged it off as another dulled blade (one less reason for my dad to ask me to mow again), but that’s when I saw it: a squirrel thigh directly in front of the mower. A piece of tail to my right.

I screamed and shut off the ignition. Maybe it was a stick — a furry stick with paw-like growths. Maybe it was a cat toy, one that Buster had scoffed at and spitefully attempted to bury in the lawn (he doesn’t react well to inedible gifts). Feeling confident that it was all a misunderstanding, I peered over the front of the lawnmower and saw the following image:Thighs in the grass

Well, there was no denying it — I had definitely mowed over a squirrel. Its lone paw flapped in the breeze, a small reminder of the squirrel that was. I frantically searched my body for bits of squirrel debris that might have landed on exposed skin. I had a developing spray tan in the works, and I wasn’t interested in adding a fur coat to such a premature faux-glow. The thought of a botched, unintentionally tufted spray tan was just too much to handle and so I began to cry — for my tan, for the squirrel and for my soul. Sobbing, I wondered how Buster did this everyday… and then it hit me: I had just committed my first official cat act — the irreversible act that would propel me into a life of eternal Cat Ladydom. I felt like a spry young PNM again on the cusp of sorority initiation: I had no idea what I was in for, but by God, I knew it would be creepy.

There was an unfamiliar closeness to Buster brewing in my heart, as if the sacrificial squirrel had unlocked a new level of our relationship and forged a brethren of hunters. Gone were my afternoons of Real Housewives marathons and cheese quesadillas. My weekends would now consist of prowling around the backyard with Buster, stalking the slowest of squirrels and settling down for a nap within 3 feet of them (Buster’s signature hunting technique — we’re still not sure how he catches anything). We’d hunt for hours until we caught something, or until Buster’s balding forehead could take no more sun.

This is how Buster hunts. Believe it or not, he catches quite a few critters. We call it the Opossum Effect.

This is how Buster hunts. Believe it or not, he catches quite a few critters. We call it the Opossum Effect.

My dad, alarmed at the sound of my non-laboring, jerked me back to reality by yelling out the window, “What’s wrong?”

“I ran over a squirrel leg!” I yelled.

“Squirrels don’t have eggs!”

“No. I ran over a squirrel and its leg.”

“Oh,” he said.

Silence. After confessing aloud to what I’d done, the sadness and panic began to return. I had just killed a squirrel. Regardless of whatever carnivorous kinship I had suddenly formed with Buster, this had to be against my vegetarian beliefs. I began to panic and tried to focus on long, deep breaths before things got asthmatic. After a few steady breathing exercises, I realized that I was inhaling whatever molecules of squirrel still lingered in the atmosphere. Surely such fumes were toxic. If my soul wasn’t blackening by the minute, I felt positive that my lungs were.

I ran inside to escape the tainted air and to call for help. My mom would most likely call a funeral home, and I could still hear my dad cackling upstairs, so I decided the best, most reasonable option would be to call my sister.

“Hey what’s up?”

“I ran over a squirrel with the lawnmower.”

She screamed. Not the consoling reaction I was hoping for. After a minute, she said:

“There’s no way it was still alive, Jo. Remember when we used to try to catch squirrels with our lunch bags? They were so fast! There’s no way you could have hit one.”

“You’re right, I guess…”

I hung up, unsatisfied with her reasoning. No, we hadn’t ever been successful in our squirrel wrangling, but what if this one had been deaf? What if he had been sleeping? Dreaming of telephone wires and bird seed, only to wake up 5 yards from his lower limbs? I searched high and low for a tailless 3-legged squirrel, fully prepared to take him and his thigh to the nearest animal hospital.

In the end, I found nothing but bits of tail and fur, barely enough to knit Buster a modest tunic. The fact that I could find no trace of the remaining squirrel made me feel a little bit better — perhaps he had already been dead, after all. Perhaps Buster had simply forgotten to clean up after his mid-morning snack. This soothed me.

Present day…

It’s been a few weeks and I’m almost back to normal. My conscience feels lighter and I’ve yet to show any signs of toxic squirrel inhalation. I’ve also been excused from all lawn-mowing, which has been nice. I was nearly to a place of peace until my dad discovered what had actually killed the squirrel. This happened a few days ago:

“Jo! I figured it out!”

“Figured what out?”

“What killed the squirrel. It was lead poisoning! Those damn squirrels have been chewing through the roof!”

I know that he meant well by this — he was trying to reassure me that I did not in fact kill the squirrel. But somehow the thought of inhaling a toxic, lead-laden squirrel did not do much to quell my concerns.

When Thirsty Spiders Attack

Today, I experienced one of the worst things that could happen to a hypochondriac:

A spider crawled out of my mouth and bit my face.

I wish I could say this was a joke — but as I’m writing this post, the perpetrator is sitting on my computer desk, grooming himself without a care in the world. You might be wondering why I haven’t killed him yet. The answer is that I’m keeping him in case the emergency room that I will undoubtedly check myself into needs him for further examination.

Spider trap. Where he will stay pending further investigation.

It went like this:

Early this morning, I had some blood-work done. We hypochondriacs like to do this on a monthly basis, so I was a bit overdue for my checkup. My doctor and I have an understanding — every time I come in, I tell her my symptoms (fatigue, possible over-consumption of milk and cheese, arm pain probably linked to bone cancer, suspicious looking freckles, etc.) and she tells me why these don’t necessarily mean cancer or imminent death. We bicker for a few minutes, and then she agrees to test my blood to prove that I’m fine, if not sleep deprived.

So, after having my blood-work done this morning I was feeling a little woozy (this is quite an improvement from last time when I flat-out fainted on the scene). I came home, fixed myself some oatmeal and a little cup of espresso. I set my cup down by my computer and wandered around the house to make sure Buster was inside on this hot summer morning, as he is in the high-risk group for air quality alerts.

I returned to my desk, sat down and took a sip of espresso. I felt a clump on my tongue, but figured it was sugar that hadn’t properly dissolved. I sort of drooled it out, since it wasn’t settling right in my mouth. I felt the sugar scurry down my chin, which seemed to be traveling a bit fast for a clump of sugar, I thought.

Then my chin started stinging. Again, I figured the espresso/sugar combination must be irritating my skin so I reached out to wipe it off. That is when I realized that this clump of sugar was in fact a spider.

The Perpetrator.

At that point, I screamed and starting gagging. I ran around my room, projectile-spitting all over the hardwood floor in case any of the perp’s friends had also found their way into my mouth. Already queasy and light-headed from my earlier blood-work, I started to stumble around and crash into furniture, violently drooling and spitting like a wild animal hit with a tranquilizer gun.

Thus far, no identifiable marks have shown up where the spider bit me, but I’m assuming his venom is pulsing through my veins as we speak. My chin is starting to itch, and my tongue feels heavier than usual. My throat feels kind of tight and strange, but it could be from all of my gagging. I’m wondering if there is some sort of deal that would allow me to return to the doctor’s office this afternoon free of charge, since it is technically still the same day as my scheduled appointment. Maybe I’ll call and ask. I can’t say they’d be surprised.

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 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.

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

Use Caution, as Children May Shi(f)t in Flight

I won’t be blogging much lately because I’m on vacation. Actually, it’s the first family vacation in 4 years that my sister and I are allowed to come on. When most people think “family vaca”, they think Florida, Hawaii, or somewhere tropical or beachy. Our last family trip was on a cruise…. to Alaska. This year we’re in Washington State, on the North Olympic Peninsula. I can’t wait for our family reunion in Antarctica.

The trip here was quite an experience. I’m a very cranky traveler, so much so that I should probably be prescribed something for it. The flight from Louisville to Baltimore was fairly decent, and I managed not to burst into tears over taking my shoes off for security. However, on our 5+ hour flight to Seattle, things got a little hairy. As we were waiting to board the plane, I scoped out our future plane-mates. A large number of them did not reach my minimum age requirement, and so I knew there would be a high probability that I’d spend the next 5 hours dodging fruit snacks and slobbery goldfish. Before I could ask anyone for some precautionary wet-naps and a few Ambien, our boarding group was called.

My dad held back and let a few families go in front of us. I was surprised by his chivalry, until he turned to me and said, “Better let the kids on first. Then head aft to avoid them.” From the extensive spaceship knowledge I’ve acquired through Battlestar Galactica, I fortunately understood exactly where aft was.

Taking my dad’s advice into consideration, we chose our seats and got settled in. The flight attendants began cracking jokes over the intercom, obviously trying to make up for the fact that the only thing they had to feed us for the next 6 hours were peanuts. My mom sighed and said, “Oooohhh, this is going to be such a fun crew,” as if we were sailing across the Atlantic with the cast of Friends.

A woman plopped down in front of us with a 4ish year-old- girl and an infant. The infant crawled over the seat and looked at me, as if he expected me to give him a treat. I glared at him to discourage this behavior. I wordlessly put in my ear plugs and strapped on my eye shades to let him know that under no circumstances would this sort of interaction be tolerated during the flight.

30 minutes into the trip, things got ugly. The infant had a serious situation going on in his diaper, and unfortunately, since we had taken my dad’s advice, we were indeed sitting aft of the child. After realizing that this woman was not going to be doing anything to fix the situation, I decided I’d best find a way to defend myself. I moved my black silk eye mask down to cover my nose and mouth, pulled my hood over my head and tied it tightly around my face. I stayed like this for the rest of the flight, receiving several questionable glances from concerned passengers and suspicious flight attendants.

I’d like to say this diaper situation was an isolated incident, but it was not. I’m considering reporting this woman to child protective services, because clearly she had her infant on the Master Cleanse diet. Her other child was not as bad, but she did drop a few grapes and sticky snacks onto my carry-on bag. She kept looking out the window and asking, “Are we in the air?” And 5 minutes later, “are we still in the air?” I  don’t see any academic scholarships in this girl’s future.