A Trip to the State Fair, Part Two: The World’s Blankiest Blank

At our state fair, you can find more blankiest blanks than you could ever dream. The World’s Biggest Horse, The World’s Smallest Horse, The World’s Smallest Woman, etc. They used to have a Giant Rat years ago, and when you wandered any where near this exhibit you could hear, over and over, loud enough to soar over all the other noise – “GIANT RAT! GIANT RAT!” The rat must have died because I didn’t see him this year (and by “see him” I mean see the structure that houses him, I would never pay to see a giant rat).

Two things I noticed at these exhibits – first of all, the descriptor “educational” for the World’s Smallest Woman:

“So you see boys and girls, if you are born below average size, you too can travel the country being displayed as a novelty for profit!” I’m assuming that is the educational aspect of it as I don’t think any kind of lengthy lecture on genetics is in the cards (they look so huge when she holds them!).

Second, the reassurance that all of these things are alive.

Yeah, of course they’re alive. If they weren’t they would have been deep fried and sold as a snack.

But, I have to say, as far as side shows go – I got to see one for free! You see, I went to the bathroom. Wait, tangent:

All the bathrooms had attendants – why? Because State Fair attendees are the filthiest people on earth and cannot be trusted not to turn every inch of surface into a toilet, that’s why. These attendants all had tip jars everywhere in these bathrooms. Some even had signs on the mirrors – “Imagine how bad this bathroom would be without an attendant.” While I appreciated that there were attendants, I wasn’t planning on tipping any. One was sitting on a stool (a sitting stool, not, you know…), eating a bowl of soup, saying “welcome” with her mouth full, for example. No, I do not tip for having to watch someone eat food in a public restroom.

However, I entered one bathroom, found an empty stall, and as I was closing the door a desperate cry rang out: “DON’T LET HER GO IN THERE, SHE’S GONNA GET PEE ON HER!” That fucking hero got a damn tip.

End tangent.

At a different bathroom, as I exited, this caught my eye:

Either this lady was taking a nap, or she was being punished by the Blair Witch. I don’t think she was a bathroom attendant, I’m pretty sure she was a fair visitor. I can only assume that eventually, someone built an exhibit around her and now she’s a fair side-show.

If at first you don’t succeed, try it on, try it on again. Unless you’re me.

I hate shopping for clothes. Even more specifically, I hate trying on clothes. I hate every moment of the experience.

First of all, I’ve seen too many “very special episodes” of TV shows about shoplifting to not know that there’s some person sitting at some control booth watching me change. We all know you’re out there, you mouth breathers with your bar-b-cue potato chip fingers, just waiting to catch me shoving tank tops and bras into my purse. When I arrive at the changing room and I do a weird dance in front of the mirror with both my middle fingers in the air – that is directed at you, sir or madam.

I also hate the number cards they pass out when you go and try clothes on. Never are my insecurities over my ability to count so tested as when I have to come up with the correct number of garments I want to wriggle in and out of as quickly as I can in that florescent nightmare of a room. What if I give the wrong number? Will I waste away in prison, cursing myself for my inability to correctly  tally up pants? Will those miscounted pants – the two I never had in the first place, become an enduring mystery, like D.B. Cooper’s money? “Nobody knows where C.E. Williford may have hidden those two pairs of khakis. We may never know,” Dateline will tell it’s viewers. “But I didn’t! I didn’t hide two pairs of khakis, I just count worse than a toddler,” I will yell, but it will fall on deaf ears.

I like to have pictures with my blog posts. This is a drawing of a pair of pants, just in case you’re not sure what I’m talking about.

Last week I had to face the harsh reality that I have grown too fat for all but two pairs of pants – one pair of capris, and one pair of black jeans. I live in the South, which means in the summer it feels like a sadistic grandma is smothering you with a soaking wet hot quilt. If my black jeans had them, they would have rolled their eyes hearing me explain that although it’s 102 degrees outside, I’m sure if I stay in the shade it’ll be fine. But, even I am not that delusional. I only had one pair of useable pants. This was a sad realization, and doubly so because it meant having to buy new pants.

I made my way to the local Super Target, grabbed 3 different pairs of pants of varying sizes (I did count correctly – things were looking up), and headed to the dressing room. Even if there’s a lock on the door, I have a constant fear of being walked-in on, like someone will pick the lock because they’re certain nobody’s in there. This has never actually happened to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t worry about it; it’s is a free country.

I quickly tried on all three pairs of pants. I bet I looked like a contestant on Double Dare trying to get through the obstacle course in time. One after the other – none of them fit. They were too small. After removing and individually cursing each pair, I gathered my things and left the dressing room. As instructed by the attendant (is that the right word for that job?), I left the unwanted and now cursed pants on a giant pile for someone else to put back (that always bothers me, I feel like I’m shirking my responsibility to put things back where they belong).

This is when a rational person would then get some larger sizes to go back and try on. No. I don’t go back in to dressing rooms after I’ve gone once. I take the information I gathered from the first trip – “those pants were too small for me” – and jump to conclusions – “the next size up is obviously the correct choice.” I went to the pants what were the least tightest and bought the next size up, being so thankful that I’m smart enough to outwit a second trip to try pants on.

The next morning I woke up and grabbed my new pair of pants and I swear I heard my formerly sole pair of pants, a crumpled, broken heap in the corner of the room, crying tears of joy.

The new pants are too big. Did I return them and resign myself to another voyage to the fitting room? I think we all know the answer to that. No, they’re not so big that I can’t wear them. I just need a belt. If the belt were a tied rope, yes, I would look like a hobo. But, I would rather look like an overweight hobo who still somehow manages to have pants that are too big than take my clothes off at a place other than my own home for the second time in a week.

Life is about growing, learning lessons that help you improve yourself. With age comes wisdom and all that jazz. What lesson did I learn from The Ballad of Buying a Second Pair of Pants? Fuck lessons.

This post was in response to Studio30 Plus‘ writing prompts this week.

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The Five Phases of a Stomach Flu

Last Monday my mom came down with a nasty GI bug. Then, the next day, Tom  got sick. We’re pretty sure they both got it from my 3 year old niece.

During those few days I was magically unscathed, I took care of them figuring I’d get sick Wednesday or Thursday. I even tweeted about it.


But then Wednesday came and went. Then Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday. “Holy fucking shit,” I thought to myself, “maybe I’ll actually be spared.” And that is what the germs were waiting for. They don’t just make you sick, they are sick.

At about 1:30am early Sunday morning, I woke up. I didn’t feel so good. Deep down (in my sick stomach) I knew. But, this was the very beginning, the Phase 1. Phase 1 consists of me steeling myself to not get up and barf because if I don’t, then I’m not sick. This is a sad, proud phase. I think even the germs feel sorry for people during this phase, because they know this is a stupid phase, and they know you know it is, too.

Inevitably, I just felt too bad to not get up and barf, and so I did. And you know what? I felt better. This, I believe, is the germs’ favorite phase. Phase 2: throwing up the one time and then thinking, “that wasn’t so bad, I think I’ll go back to sleep.” Oh, how the germs revel in that last grasp at optimism, that naive hope.

Soon, Phase 3: the aches and fever set in. I couldn’t sleep, but everyone else was asleep, so I couldn’t complain to anyone. That left me with my thoughts. My weird, crazy, stomach-virus-fever-thoughts. The two I remember were:

This would have killed me.

-My feet were cold, but I didn’t want to move to get any socks and also thought I would die if I tried to put socks on. So, instead of getting socks, this played in a loop in my head: Get your feet iced up, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit. Over and over and over.

– “I feel so bad, if someone were to prop me up next to Hitler, I would probably just let them take a picture of us together.”

At 3am, after accepting the fact that I was not getting back to sleep and deciding that my fever thoughts were not the best way to pass the time, I went downstairs to watch TV. I watched two and a half hours of Three’s Company, with violent vomit episodes coming to knock on my door once every thirty minutes. This brought about Phase 4 – “oh my God, there’s nothing left in my stomach, I should not have to barf anymore, isn’t there some kind of form I can fill out and turn in that will stop it?” No, there is not. This is the phase of deciding the bathroom floor is as good as any bed, and deciding that food is for chumps, I’m not bothering with it anymore.

Then, morning came, and I could boss Tom around and tell him to do things for me and I didn’t have to throw up anymore, and a Futurama marathon came on, and Phase 5 arrived: the only time I ever, ever eat Jello. And it was good. I ate my Jello, and besocked my own feet, and felt thankful that the worst was over.

Any good fever-thoughts you’d like to share with me so we can all laugh about them since it’s in the past?

How Moving and Cat Poop are Related

We officially no longer live in our house. But, it’s still our house, which means we still have a mortgage. While our renters wait for their house to sell, and while they decide if they want to buy our house, we don’t have an official home. We’re staying with my mom while we wait for everything to straighten itself out. My mom is generous to have us and while I don’t mind being home-home, you still don’t want to be in your mid-thirties and living with your mom even though it makes the most sense and reduces the amount of times we have to move our stuff. I just don’t want to hate my stuff more than I already do.

I think one of the reasons cats have such a holier-than-thou attitude is because they've seen the way dogs react to their poop.

What does this have to do with cat poop? When you have cats AND dogs, you have to spend a surprising amount of time trying to figure out how to “protect” cat poop. If you have cats and dogs, you also probably know the term for cat poop that is used to describe a dog’s maddening love of it – Tootsie Rolls.

Every time you move with your dogs and cats you have to re-figure out how to keep those precious tootsie rolls from constant threat. I think it’s one of life’s strangest predicaments. For us, the solution usually involves a closet and a baby gate.

When we move, I forget about this predicament because we did a really good job of solving the problem in our previous abode, like when people let their guards down during times of peace. Of course, it’s only a matter of time (that amount of time is easily measurable – it is the exact amount of time it takes for the cat to take his first shit in the new house) before I’m reminded that a fortress must be built around the Kingdom of Litter.

Our dog Ed is a turd connoisseur. I think he was feral at some point, which probably started his terrible hunger for poo, as it may have been his available meals. If Pizza Hut sold a Turd Lover’s Pizza, he’d eat it every day. His favorite soup would be turdle soup. He’d be disappointed by a pu pu platter. We don’t let him pick what he has for dinner, is what I’m saying.

He has the well-earned nickname “Turd Burglar.” He’ll burgle turds at every opportunity. Turds tremble in fear when they sense he is near. Seriously, the dude loves turds. That’s why, when Tom wanted to practice on his new photo editing program, he chose to create this:

You may be a world-class turd burglar, Ed, but this time the local tootsie rolls will only have folklore legends to pass down from generation to generation. “Hair as orange as John Boehner’s skin and a collar as green as grass, and he’d just as soon eat you as look at you.”

Rest easy, sweet turds, you’re safe for now. Turds in the backyard, I’m afraid you’re on your own.

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Adding this post to the Yeah Write weekly challenge. I had a lot of fun last week reading new blogs. You can lurk, hangout, or enter a post in the weekly challenge, then vote for your 5 favorites. Go check it out.

My Bad Habit: Writing Posts to Further Avoid Having to Talk to My Neighbor

I have many, many bad habits. I pop all my zits (fuck you beauty magazines), I can’t have junk food in the house because I will inhale it in a day, I will stab your sentimentality with a broken bottle, etc. But the bad habit I’m currently suffering from is social avoidance. Which, admittedly, isn’t exactly a habit, it’s more of a neurosis, but I’m not splitting hairs, which is also a bad habit.

You see this? It’s a giant dead tree. It has a leprosy-like oozing wound towards the bottom. It looks like The Jolly Green Giant has been kicking it. All of its branches are on one side, because, and this is just a guess, when the tree was alive, it also was socially avoidant.

This big, dead, dented tree is leaning towards the electricity, internet, and cable-making lines. Every day (ok, twice a week), when I leave the house, I think, “I sure hope that tree doesn’t fall,” and then I think the same thing when I get home, twenty minutes later.

Since we’re trying to sell the house, we think it’s in our best interest to get rid of it (and, you know, because it will kill civilization when it falls), but the problem is, it’s right on the property line with our neighbors. We’re pretty sure it’s on their side of the property line because of a row of now-dead formerly fluffy ornamental plants, which we assume serve as a natural dividing line.

The logical thing to do is walk 200 feet or so, knock on their door, and ask them about it. The neighbor husband works from home, so it shouldn’t be hard to catch him – I’m home all day, too.

I’ve spoken to these neighbors probably 4 times. The first time was when I met them. The other times involved the fact that they let their dog out in their unfenced front yard and forget about him. I don’t like this about them – we live on a very, very small cul-de-sac, right near a busy road. Their previous dog was hit by a car. They haven’t pieced together the problem yet. So, not only do I have my general social anxiety and avoidance to contend with, I also have crazy thoughts like, “I don’t want to go over there when the dog’s not out because he’ll let the dog out when I come to the door and then the dog will get hit by a car and I’ll never be able to live with myself.”

I’ve actually come to the conclusion a few times that I’ll just pay to have this huge tree removed to avoid having to have a 2 minute conversation with my neighbor. But, then I realize that’s crazy, and then I reset the feedback loop.

And so there sits the tree – a giant, dead monolith commemorating my inability to initiate a conversation.

I’m not even going to get into my next bad habit, which will ride the coattails of the current one. Once it’s settled, if I have to deal with the tree, that will involve a phone call, and then we’re talking another month or so of avoidance.

This post was written in response to Studio30 Plus’ writing prompt, “Bad Habits.