Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Being frivolous under the sea

There are some things that just feel odd to me, like eating breakfast for dinner, a steering wheel on the other side of the car and an Indian wearing a cowboy hat.

I added a new odd pairing to my list yesterday when I LISTENED TO MUSIC UNDERWATER with my new WATERPROOF MP3 PLAYER!!!! (By far the most high-tech thing I own).

I sat at the edge of the pool ready to swim laps, the player strapped to my goggles, and said “NO FREAKIN WAY!” to myself five times before I submerged my $134 present, convinced that it would break or blow up.

"HAHA!" I imagined the manufacturer saying from behind a big desk somewhere. "LOOK AT THIS IDIOT WHO BELIEVED YOU COULD LISTEN TO MUSIC UNDERWATER! PERHAPS I CAN SELL HER A “ROCKET” TO GO TO THE MOON NEXT YEAR!"

But, NO! the player actually came through on its promise. The minute I put my face underwater, Black Eyed Peas suddenly became loud and crystal clear.

Wide-eyed behind my goggles, I smiled big and then popped my head out of the water immediately, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Then I put my head under again to hear the music and then back out, and then under, and then back out, because it felt so…weird.

The lifeguard thought I was nuts.

Getting the underwater MP3 player wasn’t an easy task. I needed to wait until a birthday came around because that’s when you ask for something expensive and frivolous.

I also needed to convince my parents that the underwater MP3 player was a safe gadget.

My dad, who subscribes to Consumer Reports and thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, supposedly read that underwater MP3 players cause ear infections and told me that he wasn’t going to be responsible for that affliction.

“I’ll be safe, I promise!” I begged, which reminded me of the time I wanted to get my belly button pierced in high school. “I’ll clean it everyday! I’ll follow all the rules!”

Our phone call ended with him saying he’ll “think about it” and my birthday passed with no gift (which happens when your family lives in a different city or state).
But I didn’t give up.

I spent time researching the different types of players here, (and ignored a warning that playing music too loud underwater could cause nausea....I mean, uh, awesomeness, dad) and I emailed him a link to the player I wanted on Amazon, and he actually bought it. SCORE!

It arrived in the mail on Monday and I envision this new piece of equipment will turn me into Michael Phelps in a few short weeks.

My arms and I are pretty convinced that I indeed swam faster yesterday (owwwww!!) thanks to Rage Against the Machine pumping through my ears during flip turns.

If not, there’s always next year, and that underwater Pogo Stick (oh yea) I saw in Sky Mall.
I promise I’ll clean it everyday.

-Jenny

Monday, June 28, 2010

Memories of Michael Jackson

Like most little children, I was afraid of Michael Jackson.
(Not how you’re thinking, though. Hahahaha.)

I remember watching a Michael Jackson concert on TV when I was 9 years old, and I was frightened by all the people who passed out and had to be hauled out of the crowd by security guards.

I am certain I even saw someone in a wheelchair being airlifted out of the crowd (a clip that I doubt is on YouTube).

To this day, I still don’t get why people screamed, cried and passed out when they saw Michael Jackson on stage….Passion? Excitement? Roofies?

The real puzzle, however, was why, and how, I was watching a Michael Jackson concert on HBO in the first place. I can’t imagine the King of Pop being an approved artist by my parents.

Yet, I have a clear memory of watching the concert and I remember it ending with MJ flying away, strapped to a jet pack.
(I FOUND IT ON YOUTUBE! IT WASN'T A DREAM!!)

"Michael is going to hurt himself!" I remember saying, and being very concerned, until my dad explained that it was a fake Michael Jackson strapped to the machine, and then I was kind of disappointed.

I was born on the wrong side of 1980 to know Michael Jackson in his “Thriller” years, at least in real time.

My live action Michael Jackson has always been the “new” Michael Jackson, with the funny nose and the yellowy skin.
Still, I thought the music video for “Black or White” was the coolest, coolest thing I had ever seen (and so was Maculky Culkin for that matter.)

Thanks to my older brother, I did see the “Thriller” video, and got scared when MJ sprouts teeth and tries to bite/molest that girl.

I do remember being thankful I watched it later, when I got to be super-cool and identify “Thriller” Halloween costumes that year...or were those Wolfman costumes??

(I have also incorporated “Thriller” dance moves at parties, namely this one. Big crowd pleaser.)

As I got older, Michael Jackson didn’t scare me as much, since he definitely sang the theme song for Free Willy.
I also secretly liked his (pansy) “You Are Not Alone” song, although I would never admit that to ANYONE in middle school.

It wasn’t until I graduated high school (and even a few years into college) before I realized and appreciated Michael Jackson’s full catalog of cool, older songs like Billie Jean, Beat It, Wanna Be Startin Something — even that ABC song.

My lack of Michael Jackson song knowledge was a problem when I studied abroad in Spain and met a local named Lucas, who was absolutely, absolutely obsessed with the King of Pop.
He could — and did — repeat every word from every Michael Jackson song on countless CDs, but had no idea what the words meant.

“Could you translate?” he asked me one day, wide-eyed and hopeful.

“I don’t…actually know all the words to Man in the Mirror,” I told him.

“QUE?!??!?” Lucas yelled, and almost fell out of his chair. I don’t think I’ve ever disappointed anyone more in my entire life.

Not all Americans idolize Michael Jackson, Lucas! I mean, some people don’t even like black shoes and white socks together, OK?

(Man in the Mirror, ironically, now takes the number one spot as my favorite Michael Jackson song of all time. It may have something to do with this performance. He’s really feelin it.)

I stopped “following” Michael Jackson news when I saw his crazy-person outfit that he wore to court one day, which was a blazer and pink pajama bottoms and a surgical mask and umbrella.
It frightened me, like the crazy fans at his concert.

When Michael Jackson died, approximately one year ago, I was at a boy’s house who I no longer talk to, and our relationship died shortly after MJ did.

I remember wondering how Lucas was handling it. Did he die, too? Maybe he just passed out.

Speaking of which, excuse me while I try and find that clip of the wheelchair being lifted out of the crowd.

-Jenny

Thursday, June 24, 2010

April can handle twins

When I first met April in the dorm freshman year in college, I made her repeat everything, like a parrot.

I had never heard a South Carolina accent before, and I was fascinated.
(I don’t have an accent, you see. I’m like Katie Couric.)

I made April repeat all kinds of things: My name, my twin sister, Joy’s name, lines from movies, and, of course, “ya’ll.”

When April says the word ya’ll, it sounds like “YAW.”
Also:
“Oil” sounds like “OLLLLL” and “heels” sound like “huuuuuls.”

Haha. I’ve picked on her about her accent for nine years now.
Nine years! Holy moly!
I know it's been nine years because it was her birthday two weeks ago, and birthdays are always a good way to remember how long you’ve known someone.

So, yea, it’s been almost a decade since our very first meeting, when I asked April to say the word “Bubba” — because that word should always be said with a Southern accent.

It would be impossible to explain in a single blog entry how different my life would be if I hadn’t met April.
I could talk about all the superficial things, like how I wouldn’t have traveled to exotic places like Greenville, SC and Clemson, SC, or even to “Club Amnesia,” a bar in her small hometown.

(“I don’t remember going to Club Amnesia!” we joked.)

I wouldn’t have lived in the reasonably-priced apartment in college that April found.
I wouldn’t have gotten a fool-proof fake “novelty” I.D. with my actual picture on it from a flea market in Atlanta, had April not taken me there.

(Side note: After I took a picture for my own “novelty I.D.," I took my hair down and my jacket off and took another picture as “Joy” and then mailed her the card. She became the most popular girl at LSU.)

April also had no problem letting me borrow her car in college, which was especially helpful when I interned at a weekly newspaper.

Part of my job was to drive to the scary police station every week and scour police reports for the funny "blotter" column.
(“You should not be riding your bicycle here!” the police chief told me my first week on the job. “I don’t want to see you pedaling here again!”)

April is also much girlier than I am, and has done my hair and makeup countless times when I needed to look professional. She's also the only one I trust when I need an honest opinion about whether I should change my outfit or cut my hair. Or shower.
But that’s all superficial stuff.

The best thing about April, and what makes her my best friend, forever and ever, is how she handles being best friends with both me and Joy.

Not everyone can handle twins, you see.
Over the years, we've had former friends and former boyfriends who literally could not stand the fact that we had an identical counterpart.

Joy and I have been chastised for “putting each other first,” physically separated when we would get into obnoxious giggling fits, and frowned at if we took a phone call from our twin.

(“YOU TALK TEN TIMES A DAY! WHAT COULD SHE POSSIBLY WANT NOW???”)

Seriously.
Some selfish souls have even tried to play us against each other. Those people are no longer around.

So, no, twins are not for everyone. April, however, is the best friend a twin could ever have — she's best friends with us both. Equally and wholeheartedly.

She’ll listen to us whine about the other without burning bridges. She doesn’t take sides. She won’t exclude us from one another.

She’s understanding about how much we talk to each other on a daily basis, she’ll laugh at us when we get into giggling fits and she won’t even call us by the wrong name (unless she’s had too much vodka, haha).

She was also Joy’s first best friend in South Carolina when Joy moved here post-Hurricane Katrina.
I don’t even know if I’ve ever told April this, but I will be forever grateful for welcoming Joy during that horrible time with wide, open arms.

Must be that South Carolina hospitality. YAW.





-Jenny

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don’t read this while eating, unless you’re bulimic

People don’t believe me when I say this — because I’m from New Orleans and drink more than I should — but I’ve only thrown up three times.

Two of those times were from food poisoning, and they occurred well before the year 2004.
(In a related note, stay away from the chicken nuggets at Wendy’s people!!!)

I remember the Wendy’s experience well — I was a senior in high school, on Christmas break, laid out on my parent’s bed holding my stomach and wailing, watching bad TV.

My twin sister, Joy, had just gotten her wisdom teeth removed, and she was in another bed, holding her face and also wailing, also watching bad TV.

The timing of my food poisoning did not bode well for Joy, who was upset that I was getting more attention than she was.

My dramatic reaction and moaning didn’t help, and Joy was upstaged when friends and neighbors came over to see how she was doing. They saw me first, looking pathetic.
“Oh, no, Jenny, are you OK?” they would ask.

“What about how am I doing??” Joy said as loud as she could with chipmunk cheeks. “I’m the one that just got SURGERY! All Jenny did was eat a bad hamburger!”
“Chicken nuggets!” I cried. Then I cried, again.

Joy was ignored while my friends helped me call Wendy’s to complain about the food. I was told they “documented” the call and if they had other similar calls, they would let me know. I never heard back.

After an afternoon of discomfort, I finally rolled out of bed and walked to the bathroom, and then got dizzy, dropped to the floor in front of the toilet, promptly threw up*, cried, and went back to bed.

For (dramatic) people who don't throw up, the act is a terrible, traumatic experience, worthy of tears and reflection and a general “woe is me” mindset.

I’ll deal with feeling miserable and nauseous from a hangover all day long rather than throw up. No question.
I could never be bulimic.

Most people have no problem throwing up. I have friends that throw up in bar bathrooms and then wash their faces and continue to take shots. I know people (boys) that throw up for fun and videotape it because they think it's funny.

Two of my friends — who last I checked were engaged — first met when they both happened to be staggering home from a bar one night and threw up in the same bush. (Not my idea of a love story.)

I, on the other hand, don’t think throwing up is OK. When I see people throw up in movies, I cover my eyes, and hit mute.
When I hear people throw up, I distance myself as far away as possible. It’s a phobia, like spiders and roaches.

I heard there is this movie called Event Horizon, which sounds like a movie I would never see, where everyone is faced with their biggest fear when they board a spaceship or something.
My biggest fear would probably be vomiting.

When Joy and I lived with The Worst Roommate In The World, I would wake up everyday to her inexplicitly throwing up in the hall bathroom.
For three months, I’d wake up to the noise, assess the situation, cover my head with a pillow, turn on the TV and hum to myself until I heard the toilet flush.

It’s a good thing that my boyfriend doesn’t have this same neurosis phobia that I do, because I totally RALPHED outside his car this past weekend. My little version of hell.

It was not only traumatic, but also embarrassing and concerning.
I somehow managed to throw up outside his car door, outside his co-worker’s engagement party, while wearing a nice dress.

I was certainly hungover from the night before, but it was seven o’clock the next evening and I’ve been way more hungover than that. And again, I don’t throw up. So this was particularly shocking and traumatic.

My stomach had maliciously turned on me the minute we pulled up to the gorgeous, million-dollar house and I could see people filing in the front doors, looking appropriate, when suddenly I couldn’t see straight and every pore in my body started to sweat.

I stuck my face a centimeter from the air conditioning vent and announced that I was going to throw up, right as I threw up inside my mouth a little.
(Not a line from a movie. For real).

With my hand covering my mouth, my boyfriend made the executive decision to drive up a block and then one over and I opened the door, leaned over, and with my seatbelt still on, puked* onto the ground.

(People who puke frequently may know this already, but you should always pull your hair back. Just sayin.)

Oh my God, I’m so embarrassed!” I said to my boyfriend when I sat upright again, as he handed me a napkin. I'm sure he wanted to throw up himself after that display. I then added, “DON’T LOOK AT ME!!!”

I held my no-longer-clean-hair back into a ponytail, popped two mints and sat as close to the window as I could (as far away from him as possible, so he wouldn’t have to see me or smell me) as he drove me back to his apartment.

“I NEVER THROW UP! I NEVER THROW UP!” was all I could repeat. Then I started getting the shakes, and became paranoid that he noticed the puke in my hair.

“Wow, that’s really embarrassing,” Joy said, when I called her from his couch 20 minutes later, after washing my hair and brushing my teeth three times. In tears.

It hasn’t been determined if the vomit was a bizarre, delayed hangover reaction or a bout of the stomach flu that someone I was around the night before had.
Maybe it was the idea of an engagement party and marriage. Haha just kidding, mom.

Either way, I don’t think I can ever look at that dress again.

I've now been nauseous since Saturday night, and the only thing that sounds appetizing is mashed potatoes.

It's not helping that once every few hours, I have flashbacks of hurling outside the car door, it stuck in my hair, the dizzy awful sweaty feeling beforehand and the embarrassment afterwards.

Yes, thinking about it makes me even more nauseous. But I will obviously be dealing with the pain.

-Jenny

*definitely chicken nuggets
*definitely something pink

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Movie deprived, and I don’t care

I’m a child of the 80s, but my movie trivia would have you think otherwise. The number of “classic” movies I haven’t seen would freak even your mom out.

The ones that tend to get the biggest reaction from people are The Goonies, Indiana Jones, Star Wars (any of them) The Godfather (any of them), Rocky (any of them), Terminator (any of them), Caddyshack, Spaceballs, Lethal Weapon, Stand By Me, Animal House, The Big Chill, Beetle Juice, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Endless Summer, Karate Kid, Teen Wolf, Super Troopers, Roadhouse and Flashdance.

I also don’t remember a lot of Back to the Future, if I’ve seen it at all.

I blame this partly on my parents’ strict policy of not letting their children watch a lot of TV growing up, but it’s also because I enjoy watching the same movies over and over.

I don’t like to venture out; I’m very boring and particular. (I would probably not even go to the movie theater to see new films if hot, buttery movie theater popcorn wasn’t my favorite food in whole world.)

When trolling the shelves at Blockbuster, I will pass up Jaws (I’ve only seen half) repeatedly to continue to rent Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13. I’ll watch Friday again and again, I don’t care how "good" Braveheart is. (I don’t really dig epic pieces, anyway.)

That’s another problem; I have a strict comedy or action-only policy when it comes to movies, and I don’t want to see anything scary or else I’ll lose sleep.
Seriously. I’m a huge baby. Tom Cruise in Collateral scared me; I was home alone and kept the light on.

(Scary movies got to me early: my mom told me I had to sleep in her and my dad's bed when I was 4 after seeing the “bad guy” in the My Little Pony Movie. Seriously. And, I actually still remember what the bad guy looks like. But I don't want to talk about it.)

So, keeping up with the no-scary-movie-policy, I will not see The Excorcist, A Clockwork Orange, Silence of the Lambs (I saw the first 20 minutes and almost lost my lunch), Traffic, Gremlins, Chucky doll, The Shining or The Blair Witch Project.

I also rule out movies that make me make sad, so no, Joy, I will not be watching the end of that movie with Charlize Theron where she sues everyone for sexual harassment when she was a mine worker. So sad. Cut out my heart why don’t you, North Country!

My twin siser, Joy, has a much more big girl attitude when it comes to movies although I do know for a fact that we have both cried at Little Giants. (Yes, with Rick Moranis. I hope Joy doesn’t read this.)

The hardest I ever cried at a movie was Titanic and it was in the movie theater. The tears didn’t end there. I actually cried for two hours after it was over and I was terribly depressed. I think I was just really in love with Leonardo Jack.

So, in order to avoid depression, the movies I’ve simply heard are sad, that I won’t watch (unless I'm forced to with a gun in my face) include Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes, Fargo and Sophie’s Choice. Oh, and that Dear John movie? Hells to the no.

I also don’t care for old movies including Gone With The Wind, Citizen Kane and that other movie with “Roooosebud!” at the end (Wait, is that Citizen Kane??) And, let’s just forget about Shindler’s List.
I haven't seen any cowboy movies or anything with Clint Eastwood in it, either. (I hope my boyfriend doesn't read this.)

My “fun only” policy also applies to television, which is how I justify watching what some people refer to as “crap” TV.

Reality dating shows, reality modeling shows, reality cooking shows and reality designer shows are my jam, and, of course, The Office.

Joy loves “Law and Order” and “Law and Order: SVU” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” but I don’t see the appeal in knowing exactly what investigators would do if they found my murdered bloody body in an apartment in New York. (AND the camera work makes me dizzy.)

My TV motto: No comparisons to my own life unless it makes me feel good about myself. (I'm selfish like that.)
It’s very similar to my movie motto, with one addition: Repeat watching the same movies as often as possible.

Now, where is that DVD of How High again???

-Jenny

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cops hate me

Yesterday, I was leaving Old Navy when a cop flashed his lights.
I nervously ran a list of reasons why he could have pulled me over. I ruled out speeding, drunk driving and being a fugitive.

Perhaps he knew how many outstanding parking tickets I have? Or that the grocery store put a bag of apples in my cart that I didn’t pay for?
Did he know about all that moonshine I drank a few weekends ago???

The cop came up to the passenger side window, peered in the backseat, circled my car and walked up to the driver’s side window.

“Excuse me, but a black man dressed as a woman just robbed a bank nearby. Do you know anything about that?” he asked.
(Really, I couldn’t make this up.)

I blinked twice.
“What?”
“How long have you been in this parking lot?” he interrogated.
“Just a few minutes!” I said. “I literally just ran in and out of the Old Navy.”
“Do you know anything about the robbery?”
“No.”
“Have you seen anything suspicious?”
“No!”
“Hmm.” (He actually said “Hmm” like he didn’t believe me.)
He then let me go, and made a crazy illegal U-turn and sped off in the opposite direction.

I sat there for a minute, considering that I might have just been on hidden camera. Do I LOOK like a black man dressed as a woman? Do I look like an accomplice?

That story provided a great deal of comic relief at the office, helped by the fact that the police department emailed our newspaper the release about the robbery, and a photo of the she-man, who, really, looked nothing like me.



Twins?



Yesterday’s encounter wasn’t the first time that a police officer has pulled me over, but it’s the first time I got pulled over without getting a ticket.

Two years ago, I was speeding (OK FINE I ADMIT IT) and a cop car pulled out from behind some bushes and promptly flashed his lights.

I was lost in a small South Carolina town (Is there a limit as to how many times your car can execute 3-point turns??) and I was late for something.

The last thing I needed was two cops (Yes, two!! Were two really necessary??) coming up to both sides of my car, peering in all the windows.

“Excuse me, ma’am, is there a reason why you are speeding?” the cop near my window asked.
“Yes, officer, there is,” I said. “See, I’m a newspaper reporter, and I have to go cover a story about some disabled kids putting on a school play…at the church.”

I was totally serious, and figured it was a good enough reason to get out of a ticket.
DISABLED KIDS? SCHOOL PLAY? CHURCH? It was like the holy trinity of law enforcement excuses.

The cop looked at me, emotionless.
“Look, see?” I said, grabbing my reporter’s notebook with the address for the church and the time, 2 p.m., in big numbers, circled twice.
I looked at the clock. It was 2:02.

“Look, I’m really late and I don’t know where the church is, so…” I trailed off.
“Hold on one minute.”

He came back at 2:12 with a sloppily written speeding ticket.
“What!” I said. “I really got a ticket?”
“Yes, ma’am, you were speeding.”

“That heartless BASTARD!” I screamed to my twin sister, Joy, over the phone, on the way to the church.
“I’m not surprised. Cops are assholes,” Joy said.
(Joy is deathly afraid of cops, and literally thinks they will cherry-pick her Ford Explorer out on a busy road and arrest her for something.)

I ended up being 20 minutes late to the church, but it turns out disabled kids don’t exactly start things on time, so I didn’t miss anything. But, still. I was in the market for a punching bag that afternoon.

Another time when I was speeding (OK FINE I ADMIT IT, AGAIN) I not only got a speeding ticket, but another ticket for having a Louisiana Driver’s License when I had “clearly established myself in South Carolina.”

“But, it’s not expired yet!” I protested.
“That doesn’t matter,” the cop said. The ticket was for $250.
“If you get a South Carolina license and show it to the judge at your court date, he’ll drop it,” the cop said.

So, that’s how I got strong-armed into getting a South Carolina Driver’s License, and it was a complete pain-in-the-ass.
I got all the way to the DMV and waited in line for 30 minutes only to be told I had to bring a utility bill in my name to prove my address, and the water bill didn’t count for some reason.
“But it’s a utility!” I screamed.

No matter. It all got figured out, and by the time I got to court, I had a nice, shiny South Carolina Driver's license with a decent picture.
The courtroom was like a big auditorium, and the judge spoke into a microphone so all 60 people in there knew who was in trouble and for what.

We all raised our eyebrows when a very well-dressed older man approached the bench for a cocaine and assault charge.
My name was finally called and I approached the bench.

“Do you have your South Carolina license?” the judge asked, flipping through my tickets.
“Yes, your honor!” I said and opened up my purse.
I then turned white. My wallet was not in my purse.

I knew at that moment exactly where it was. It was in my cute “going out” purse that I had taken to the bar last night, that was still on my bedroom floor. I hadn’t moved my wallet into my “day purse.”

Panicking, I kept rummaging around my “day purse” thinking it would magically appear.
“Um…” I nervously giggled. “I…I don’t have my wallet.”
The judge peered down at me. He then took to the microphone.

“Do you mean to tell me that you have a ticket for not having a South Carolina Driver’s License and you don’t have your wallet with you today?” he asked, for all to hear.
I cringed.
“Yes your honor.”
“And, I assume you don’t have any money to pay for these tickets?”
“No, your honor.”
“And you drove to court today without a license?”
I looked up, with my most pathetic face (it wasn’t hard).

“I don’t know why these things HAPPEN to me!” I finally wailed. “I’m really sorry. I did get my license, I swear!”

He groaned and stamped something on a piece of paper and pointed (yes, pointed) his finger at me.
“You drive home RIGHT NOW and get your wallet, young lady!”

I nodded. My court date got pushed back a month. I didn’t look at anyone on the way out, who had heard the entire exchange on surround sound.
I knew what they were thinking: Dumb blonde.

Yes, dumb blonde. Dumb blonde indeed.
NOT black man dressed as a woman.

-Jenny

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How to accidentally kill yourself (and other JOYS of home ownership)

My life almost ended in my bathroom last year when I tried to paint the ceiling.
At least I would have gone out knowing the periwinkle really tied the room together.

Sometimes I can get away with blaming things on being short. However, in this case, sheer stupidity would have been to blame had I crashed to my death into the tub.

I would have been on one of those “dumbest ways to die” lists, right along with the guy that accidentally shot himself in the nuts with a gun he placed in his waistband.

The reason for painting the bathroom in the first place was that my twin sister, Joy, and I were expecting out-of-town company and we had ignored the splattering of mold on the ceiling and tacky turquoise paint for long enough.

The solution (according to Google) was to spray the ceiling with bleach and scrub it with a special brush and then paint two coats of mold-resistant something-or-other on it and dry it with a fan and…blah blah blah….See: $40 at Lowe’s.

When we got home, we looked up at the ceiling of the small bathroom and scratched our heads. How the hell are we going to be able to reach the ceiling?

“No problem!” I said. “I’ve got an idea.”

I retrieved two tall bar stools from the kitchen and placed one inside the tub.

We can stand on these! I said to Joy. The stool’s four wobbly legs balanced unevenly on the tub’s curved bottom.

Joy frowned.

“Don’t worry, I’ll just hold on to the shower curtain rod for balance!” I said.

We then decided that this task would be best with some white wine.

Twenty minutes later, we were ready to start improving the bathroom, but we ran into another problem.
We wondered how we were supposed to prevent the ceiling paint from dripping onto the stools. They had a small cushioned seats that are not removable.

“No problem!” I said. “I’ve got an idea…”

And that’s how I ended up balancing on a wobbly stool inside the tub with a SLIPPERY PLASTIC GARBAGE BAG over the top of it as I faced upwards to roll paint on the ceiling.

(I can just see the tombstone: “Here lies Dumbass Jenny. She was a nice person, but had the safety skills of a 5-year-old.)

I’m pretty sure it was the plastic garbage bag that caused me to slip a short time later, because I remember my foot sliding a bit to one side and then the whole stool shot out from under me.

I fell backwards into the tub, arms flailing in circles like a cartoon, trying to avoid the stool which hit the faucet and somehow “bounced back” at me. I missed grabbing the shower curtain rod because I grabbed the wall on the other side instead.
(Yes, my first instinct was to grab the wall. Fail.)

Four sad, periwinkle streaks were seen from the ceiling down the wall from where my fingers had tried to hold on. It was like the claw marks from Silence of the Lambs.

In what I can only chalk up to cat-like reflexes, my arms locked onto the sides of the tub and I caught my fall. No injuries except to my feet from the F***ING “bouncing” stool.

Joy started laughing hysterically, watching the whole thing from an aerial view from the top of her own stool by the sink.
“Why are you laughing??” I demanded. “I could have broken my neck!”
“Bahahahahahahaha!”

Not long after that fiasco, Joy was unloading the dishwasher and opened it only to have the entire thing fall out of its slot and into her hands.

She stood there, pigeon-toed, trying to lift the dishwater back into place, as it had come out more than halfway, it’s steel siding showing. She stood there completely confused (how does a dishwasher come out of the wall, really??) and scared that she was going to drop it and hurt herself. And smash all our dishes.

(We did not touch the demon dishwasher for a week, when thankfully our dad happened to be visiting us from New Orleans and fixed it.)

And let’s not forget the dead tree in the backyard.

“We have to get it removed!” Joy insisted one day.
She was on a long phone call and walked into the backyard and noticed the state of the tree and became obsessed with its removal.
“We have to do it now!”

Joy spent the next few days looking on Craig’s List for someone who could remove the tree, and found someone cheap and (on an unrelated note) young and good-looking to do it.

“Does he have insurance? Is he bonded?” I asked, using a big girl term I learned recently.
Joy paused.
“I looked him up on Facebook and he’s got a really cute kid!” Joy said.

“OK, but is he insured? If he hurts himself on our property, he could sue us.”
Pause.
“Well…?”
You’re going to have to call him and ask him about the insurance thing,” Joy said.
“Why?”
“Because I already told him he could do it.”

I told him over the phone a few minutes later that he was going to need to show Joy his paperwork before cutting down our tree.

“Look, if I hurt myself cutting down that small ass tree, then I shouldn’t be a landscaper,” he said.

“Well, things happen sometimes,” I said, ignoring his attitude. “Sometimes smart people do dumb things.” (Like balance on bar stools in bathtubs.)

He promised me he’d show Joy his insurance before doing the work, but he didn’t, and he cut down the tree anyway.

Because he knew I’d be pissed, he turned the entire tree into usable firewood that he piled high against the fence and cut out large rings from the tree and made rustic little stools and placed them around the fire pit.

I wonder if they’d fit in the tub.

-Jenny

Friday, June 4, 2010

What’s yo sign?

I read my horoscope today and it was depressing.
It pretty much said, in not so many words, that I need to “calm down, take a deep breath” and stop being a bitch.
But, how did they know???

My horoscope is always depressing. I’m an Aries, and apparently that makes me stubborn, hard-headed and...bitchy.
Cosmopolitan Magazine even had a “what’s your astrological sign style?” and the “Aries girl” was wearing all red with leopard heels with a big fat “FIERCE” written on the top of the page.

(“Fierce,” by the way, is just a nice way of saying, “bitch.” Thanks, Cosmo. I actually look better in green, so suck it.)

I think horoscopes are funny little things, and even though I am a total bitch skeptic, I read mine as often as possible.
I also read my boyfriend’s horoscope and an ex-friend’s, just to see if either are in imminent danger. I’d prefer the latter. Ha

I remember really wanting to be a Gemini sign when I was in high school because that’s the sign for twins, and I am a twin.
How cool would that be?? My twin sister, Joy, and I would say. We’d have to get Gemini tattoos!
But, no. We are both Aries and our sign is the ram. An angry bull. Not tattoo-worthy.

When we all had fake I.D.’s (uh, to get into R-rated movies, mom) my friends and I would memorize what our alter ego’s sign was, just in case the bouncer…I mean, ticket attendant asked.

“Okay, okay, she was born in May, so she’s a Taurus!” we’d practice. Turns out, nobody asked us for our signs. Ever. It was a complete waste of information.
Perhaps memorizing the correct spelling of my decoy’s last name would have been more useful. (D’OH!!)

Sometimes astrological signs can rub people the wrong way.

My friend, Ashley, was at a bar and ordered birthday shots.
“Oh, it’s your birthday?” The bartender asked. “Mine was last week!”
“Oh! So you’re a Libra, too?” she asked. “Do you have trouble making decisions, too?”
What could have been flirty banter quickly turned ugly. She hit a nerve.

“NO I DON’T HAVE TROUBLE MAKING DECISIONS!” he screamed. "WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN??"
“Geez, what’s his problem?” we all wondered.

I once bought underwear that said ARIES on the front and listed my supposed qualities on the butt including “outgoing, smart, happy, determined.”
(they were red of course)

I find it hard to believe that the month you were born can dictate your personality. I mean, if Joy and I were born one day later, we’d have fallen under the Taurus sign (which is supposedly a very level-headed, serious and pleasant person). Am I supposed to believe that one day can mean the difference between a pleasant person and a bitch?
Doesn’t that have more to do with one’s upbringing? Or how much alcohol they’ve had to drink?

I actually think that all horoscopes can apply to everyone, and if you cover the name of the sign and read the description you could relate to each and every one. Scorpios, Virgos and Capricorns call all agree:

Hey, I’ve got “new investments that seem promising!”
I "meet new and exciting people!"
I… “get so lost in ideas that I temporarily lose touch with the material world?”
Oh, whatever.

I’m still waiting to read that a dumbbell will drop on my ex-friend’s head.

-Jenny

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thanks, Lorne Michaels

It always works out that my mom will walk into the room right when a steamy sex scene is on the TV. Or when someone is talking about steamy sex. Or just plain naked.

It doesn’t matter if the scene is two minutes out of a two-hour long movie, my mom will somehow wander into the room during those exact two minutes, and will make everyone (me) incredibly uncomfortable.

“Um….excuse me?” she will ask me and my twin sister, Joy, while pointing at the actors undressing one another. “Is this rated R?”

“Uggggggh,” we’d groan, and pretend like we didn’t know what the characters were talking about.
“A gag reflex? No, I don’t get it, mom.”

I’m pretty sure that a parent walking in during inappropriate TV moments happens all the time. It’s a little gift from God to keep things completely mortifying.
It doesn’t help that my parents in particular were very strict about us watching anything “suggestive” on TV and would make loud, obvious comments that added to the mortifying process.

“You know, that’s NOT how people act in real life!” My mom would say pretty much anytime Samantha from Sex and the City was on screen.

“Ok, mom. Got it,” we’d say, hoping to end the conversation.
“No, really," she pressed on. "People don’t just sleep with men like that with no…”
“MOM!”

I find it’s worse when you are actually watching something with your parents and can’t change the channel and can’t leave.

You can try to avoid it, and only watch "PG-13" movies with them, but one day, you will find yourself sandwiched between mom and dad watching Avatar, and blue alien sex comes on the jumbo screen. In 3-D.

So, now you’re smack in the middle of pretty much the most awkward thing ever, and start to shake around your popcorn tub to make a loud noise to drown out the alien sex and then check your cell phone and stare at it until the scene is over. While sweating.

(Our mom’s movie-watching policy wouldn’t allow us to watch PG-13 movies until we were actually 13. It certainly didn’t get me or Joy any cool points.)

I suppose that mindset is still intact; when I see “suggestive” images when I’m around my parents — or people my parents’ age — I literally want to die.
It’s the most awkward thing I can possibly think of and I wonder if it's possible to die from having too red a face.

I haven’t had to worry about this problem as of late, since my parents live in New Orleans, and I live in South Carolina. (With the exception of the Christmas showing of Avatar of course).

However, this past weekend, TV awkwardness reached a whole new level. And my parents weren’t even there.

No, this instance involved my boyfriend’s parents and his 95-year-old grandmother.

We had all just eaten a nice meal at Nana’s house in New Orleans and were sitting in the living room with the television on, staring at the screen whenever there was a lull in the conversation.

The show “60 minutes” was on and it was boring — just the way I like it when I’m around parents of any sort.
The tide changed considerably when a “Best of Saturday Night Live” special came on. On a Sunday.

While the clips were very entertaining, it was pretty much the worst, worst, worst possible thing to watch with my boyfriend’s parents and his 95-year-old grandma.

The discussion about the making of “Dick in a box” wasn’t even the worst part, since the word “dick” was bleeped out. (Although, I grew increasingly awkward sitting next to Nana as Justin Timberlake — and his moustache — outlined the “steps” in making the present: “First, you cut a hole in that box.” Cringe.)

"Dick in a Box" was child’s play compared to the next two-minute-long skit where I literally almost melted into the couch. I would pay $100 to go back in time and have strategically gone to the bathroom at that moment.

Of course, everyone happened to be paying 100 percent attention to the screen when it came on. The skit started off with two women dressed in period clothing from the 1800s, sitting on a porch. Seemed PG to me.

A man in a military uniform comes up.
“Hello ladies,” he said, in a Southern accent. “Are you waiting for the Colonel?” (Although with his accent, it sounded like “Cuh-nal.”)

They women looked up and blinked.
Who?
“The ‘Cuh-nal!’ ‘Cuh-nal Angus!’”

I froze between laughing and dying. If I had been drinking anything, it would have sprayed out of my mouth. The R-rated word continued to echo throughout the living room: CUH-NAL ANGUS! CUH-NAL ANGUS!
Nana readjusted her position on the couch.

My entire face clenched up and turned red as I dug my fingernails into my thighs and shouted silently in my head OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!!!!!

“No, we don’t know ‘Cuh nal” Angus!’” the women on the TV said.
“Oh, well you should meet him! Once women meet ‘Cuh-nal’ Angus, they never go back!”

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD.

Miraculously, no one asked for clarification about the skit’s meaning, or else I would have died. Or thrown up.

After what seemed like a month, the skit ended and everyone moved on. I’ve never been more grateful to see a commercial in my entire life. And it was for a very PG-product! Chips Ahoy cookies! Not KY Jelly! (I mean, what is that stuff, mom? Nevermind. Let's just change the channel.)

-Jenny
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