Why does a childless woman need a Diaper Genie?

You may think women sitting around complaining in the office are wasting time. You would be wrong. Everyone knows summers in Arizona can be brutal. Most people know HOAs are a scourge to homeowners across the country. Add (wo)man’s best friend to the beige stucco box subdivision mix and you have a big, smelly mess.

That’s right; this is post is about poop. If you’re the least bit squeamish, I suggest you leave now.

Many HOAs disallow outdoor storage of the wheeled trash carts, meaning we have to store them in our garages. That’s fine until the temperature reaches about 80, which covers the majority of the year. So once we clean up after our dogs in the backyard, that trash cart gets RIPE. Thoughts and prayers for anyone who must enter my garage.

I just happened to ask a coworker how she deals with the stench of the dog poop in her garage and she said she uses her daughter’s old diaper pail. *record skipped* Say what now? Parents of human children probably think this is an obvious solution. I, however, am not a parent of human children.

It turns out there are diaper pails specifically made for pets. I read a ton of reviews (so you don’t have to) and was completely unimpressed. They all seemed to be made for tiny pets rather than the vile and disgusting creatures in my home. I only have weekly trash service so a larger capacity contraption was required. I settled on the Diaper Genie Complete because it’s large and it has a foot pedal. Based on the reviews I read, I ordered Target brand refill bags and then basically forgot about it. I must have been drunk shopping again.

When my Target order landed on my doorstep, I was super confused about why the box was so big for such a small grocery order.

Sherman dutifully performed a cursory security check.

Oh yeah…drunk online shopping.

It even has a cute little charcoal filter!
Bottom of the poop sausage casing

Lessons learned:

  1. That circumference of the opening is SMALL, y’all. If you have two large dogs and double bag your poop before it goes in the pail, you need to pick it up every day.
  2. You can’t just hit the foot pedal and drop the bag inside. You have to *work it*. Like, with your hands. Also, this is why I always double bag.
  3. This pail will hold a week’s worth of my dogs’ poop without any problems. If I still had Rottweilers, I might need a second pail but my two are 65 lbs and 85 lbs and it’s fine.
  4. You don’t have to insert a new bag every time you empty the pail. Apparently, you just cut the bag after you tie it at the top of the poop sausage and then make another tie to begin the next poop sausage casing.
  5. I’m a dumbass (see #4).

I haven’t noticed an odor coming from the pail. I still have some residual stench when I open the trash cart and will continue with the Lysol regimen. Was it worth it? Possibly. Ask me again in June.

It’s called vanity sizing…except it isn’t.

I was so close to going on an unhinged rant about vanity sizing. Thank God the Google machine stepped in and saved me from myself.

Not to brag or anything, but I’m a bit of a bargain shopper. I love designer labels but I also know how to be poor so the black pants can come from JCPenney all day long. Worthington has been my office attire workhorse for ages because it’s dependable af. I wait for the sales and then stock up on all of the basics. Unfortunately, they never-ever-ever have size 0 in stock in styles I like. WTF, people. I am not a size 0 but here we are.

My weight has fluctuated over the years and when you’re 5’1”, that can be an adventure. For the past year or so, I’ve been in the 104 to 106-pound range and I’m old enough to remember when that would be a size 5/6 or maybe even a 7/8. When I was in high school, I weighed about 95 pounds and wore a size 3 in Pepe jeans. Remember those? God, those were the days. I couldn’t wear Guess jeans because they were too tight in the legs and too large in the waist but goddamn, those Pepes were small in the waist and big in the ass. They were worth every penny at The Buckle!

So I was on the JCPenney website last night and I saw a Buy 1, Get 2 Free deal on Worthington pants. Game on! I expected the usual disappointment of everything in my size being sold out but I freaking hit pay dirt. THREE PAIRS of size 0 pants are on their way to my doorstep. I’m excited but also wondering if they will be too big. This isn’t a humble brag, people; this is a problem. Inexpensive clothes are just sized differently.

I thought the phenomenon was called vanity sizing but I was mistaken. I stumbled upon an older blog dedicated to this misconception and I stand corrected. A coworker told me this morning that I need to up my game and buy more expensive pants if I want them to fit. Once again, she is 100% correct. It is true that each individual clothing line (even among the same brand) has a target customer and some are sized larger than others. I found this when shopping for Calvin Klein dresses recently. The lower tier sale priced dresses had a different size chart with larger proportions than the higher priced dresses that were not on sale.

So just like with everything else, the key to finding clothes that fit properly without leaving your house is to be an informed consumer. Know your measurements…your actual measurements, not the numbers in your head. Study the size charts and understand that a shift dress will look like a burlap sack on you if you’re my size. Also keep in mind petite lines are for people who are 5’4” and under, not just skinny people. I’ll make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

Not Today, Satan

I received a message via LinkedIn at 0853 today saying, “Give me a call.” But why? My exact reply was, “Why would I do that?” You guys, I’ve seen this movie and I know how it ends.

I met a guy I’ll call Houdini on Match in mid-2012. He was in the military, was a very involved father to his two children, and seemed to be a (mostly) mature and responsible adult. We had similar interests and values. We lived in the same general neighborhood. I got along great with his kids and dogs. He was a great cook.

We ran into a problem when one of the features turned out to also be a bug. He coached his son’s football and baseball teams and was *extremely* committed. I totally did not fault him for that and I still don’t. My issue was with him hiding behind his commitments. He then started coaching his son in wrestling. He would make plans and then suddenly remember he had <insert sports thing here>.

I would think we had plans and then he would go radio silent. By that I mean he would completely disappear off the face of the planet. I would go a week or two without hearing from him and then he’d pop back up when it was convenient for him like nothing ever happened and expect me to jump. Then it was all about how “perfect” I am. This jackwagon actually used the term “plug and play” because I didn’t have any family commitments. He was just looking to fill an open position and I met the requirements.

I was born at night but it wasn’t *last* night. And he really didn’t seem to like me at all. He seemed to be really into the idea of me but the reality of me didn’t fit his carefully crafted narrative. I’m not the type of person to just wait around and I strictly adhere to the Three-Text Rule. If you don’t reply to my first two texts, there will not be a third. This was clearly going nowhere.

This went on (and off) for a year and some change and I would only spend time with him and his family when it was convenient for me. I really started feeling guilty about the example I was setting for his teenage daughter, though. I wouldn’t talk to her dad for months and then all of a sudden she would come home from the mall and I would be sitting in the kitchen drinking a beer. She and I would stay up until all hours of the night talking about the most random things and I felt she needed more consistency. It was great that I was around to bake her birthday cake from scratch and help host a sleepover but she never knew when she would see me again.

I finally had enough and stopped replying to texts. I bought a house at the opposite end of the county, which meant a hour long one-way drive if I caved. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Houdini reached out in September of 2016 and tried to make dinner plans for a Wednesday night. I laughed and agreed because I knew it wouldn’t happen. I suggested a place halfway between our towns to discourage any after dinner plans. Two days later, he texted me to reschedule because he forgot about a football dinner. It was all going exactly as I predicted so I agreed when he suggested we meet Friday. Ah, but then he asked where. I was on to his scam so I told him the same place. He was thinking I would be all about an overnight stay since it was the weekend but I wasn’t having it. Thursday morning he texted saying he had to fly Friday night or he wouldn’t be current on night vision goggles. I didn’t even give him shit about it. He said he would make it up and I didn’t reply.

The next day, he texted about how he really wanted to see me and he woke up thinking about me. I replied that things could have gone differently but that was three years ago. It went downhill from there. The conversation ended with him saying maybe we could hang out once in a while and my reply was “maybe.” That was October 1, 2016.

On September 24, 2018, I accepted a LinkedIn invitation from Houdini. I figured enough time had passed so it wouldn’t be weird. I was wrong. Within minutes, I received a message on LinkedIn that said, “Finally. I lost my phone after the last time we talked.” I asked when he sent the invite and he said it was probably in December of 2016. OMFG, y’all. I accidentally ignored his invite for nearly two years! He replied with his phone number and I failed to reply. He may have lost my number but I certainly did not lose his.

So fast forward to this morning. He said he was hoping I would want to call him. Oh, honey…no.

Dinner with La Fufi

I’ve been putting off describing my dinner at Caffé Milano in Tucson for weeks, mainly because doing so meant I would first have to listen to a soft jazz CD.

Allow me to rewind. I chose Caffé Milano because I saw somewhere on the interwebs they have live jazz the first Saturday of the month and I heard the food is incredible. I wanted to wear a dress that has a jazz kind of vibe so it seemed like a perfect fit.

Because winter in Tucson is truly a delight and because I am always tragically early (even for reservations), we chose to eat on the patio. The people watching was phenomenal. There was a man yelling at the sky in the middle of Congress Street. We got to see a woman jump out of a moving vehicle to get a mediocre street taco. I gave her a 10 for her flawless dismount. There was what looked like a gaggle of street walkers about to catch their deaths in the “cold” wearing dresses up to their ass cheeks, hanging on arcade security guards. Perfection!

Speaking of perfection, I had the Salmone al Sauvignon Blanc with a bottle of Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio and finished with the Spicy Mousse au Chocolat for dessert. Honestly, I could have just stuck with the bread and the wine and been fine for the night but I’m not a filthy savage (anymore). I was promised a flawless meal and I was not disappointed. That’s about all I remember from the meal because I did drink a bottle of wine.

So about the jazz. I didn’t realize the “live jazz” would be a woman channeling her inner Sade to a karaoke machine. And I’m not saying she can’t sing because she does have a decent voice and I give her mad props for putting herself out there. It’s just…not exactly what I had in mind. I was looking for something with more of an edge. The playlist was better suited to an elevator. Or hold music. Or a nursing home. It may be obvious by this point that the singer passed out her demo CD at the end of her set. I admire her hustle but man, I will not listen to it twice.

Basically, downtown Tucson in December is a hot mess and it is glorious. They don’t call it the Dirty T for nothing.

Shit My Therapist Says

“You don’t have to like it.”

Welp. If that isn’t my life in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.

When I lived in Boise, I had a therapist who was more like a girlfriend I would have drinks with than someone who was forcing me to do serious work. She told me about her abusive ex-husband who was also a vice cop. I complained about not wanting to be married anymore. She told me every week that I needed to deal with that. As a result of that superficial little dance, I found myself in social situations with people who began sentences with, “My therapist says…” Don’t get me wrong; those conversations were hilarious but they were not particularly helpful.

I am generally quite adept at convincing myself that emotions do not exist. Feelings are for sissies and you need to KEEP THAT SHIT IN THE VAULT. The ability to detach is what enables me to work in Human Resources. I must be prepared to discipline people I like and support people I dislike. When people complain that I’m mean because don’t like them, I always ask what the hell that has to do with anything. My focus is on employment laws, policies, and equitable treatment. Whether or not I like someone is completely irrelevant. Also, I’m mean to everyone.

That’s great in HR but not so great in real life. In real life, people want you to feel something. They expect you to care. They expect you to answer your phone. I’m terrible at all of those things.

My current therapist refuses to let me off the hook. Every week, she forces me to dredge up some memory that I would rather leave forgotten. “Tell me about the first time you remember feeling <insert feeling here> .” I attempt to deflect and generalize. Then she tells me, “You don’t have to like it but you do have to acknowledge it.” Fuck. Okay, fine. So I describe it and then she directs me to my happy place for processing. I hate it and I don’t want to do it. My throat closes up and I can’t breathe. I’m dizzy; I’m also sweating and I have mascara streaming down my face.

Then it’s over. I fix my makeup and get on with my day. Because there has to be a middle ground. I see people wearing their pasts on their sleeves and just wallowing in the misery of a nonstop pity party. I get that my denial is just as destructive. So deal with it when it’s time to deal with it and then just leave it the fuck alone. Also, don’t call me unless someone died.

Wake me up on January 2

This is not the most wonderful time of the year. I’m not ten years old and there is literally nothing to get excited about. Hear me out.

I live 1,000 miles from my nearest relative and I’m not into holiday travel torture. I don’t need to spend an entire day eating myself sick. My dogs don’t believe in Santa. The only Christmas music I can tolerate is “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC. My idea of a Christmas movie is Die Hard and I will fight anyone who says it isn’t. The Psychotic Hound is severely noise phobic so I spend New Year’s Eve keeping her calm.

I remember looking forward to the holidays but when I was a kid, there were people in my family who kept the party going. Plus, we were out of school a ton. My parents put up a Christmas tree exactly once so any festive cheer came from outside our house. Once the festive people were gone, there was no one interested in getting the band back together. If not for Facebook, most of us wouldn’t communicate at all.

My least favorite component is the pressure. I spend the workday after each holiday deflecting the “How was your <insert holiday here>?” barrage. I try to leave it at “good” but some folks probe deeper. People never know what to say when my reply is “Quiet.” Seriously, stop asking me questions. I took my dogs for a run and then sat my happy ass on the couch with an adult beverage and binge-watched <insert show here>. Why do I have to *do* anything? Who made you the fun police?

I am so incredibly thankful I no longer have in-laws to try to impress. Every single holiday felt like a job interview and it was absolutely exhausting. It just seems like so much of the holiday cheer is manufactured. People go into debt to prove…something. I don’t actually know what people think they’re proving. To me, it just comes across as very contrived.

People have such high expectations and I no longer try to meet them. This holiday season, I’ll be the one keeping it real with a frozen pizza in the oven. Check in with me after the First. Or don’t.

Down the Rabbit Hole

If you ever want to lose countless hours of your life which you can never get back, spend some time working on your family tree. I’ve spent most of my life interested in one line and am now obsessed with learning about the rest.

A DAR chapter registrar asked me the other day if I would be interested in helping with the registrar tasks, obviously hoping to have someone to train. I am interested, perhaps a little too much. Once you begin reading census records, you suddenly look up and wonder where the day went. Your dogs are starving and wondering why their mom doesn’t love them anymore.

At the last meeting, everyone was talking about Ancestry DNA testing. I have some privacy concerns but my grandfather was adopted and he died without knowing his birth parents. He reached out to the adoption agency in the late 1950s and they provided very little information. I’ve decided that I want to solve the mystery more than I care about what Ancestry does with my genetic information. My family tree has (literally) thousands of hints, after all. I can’t possibly follow up on all of them manually.

It has been suggested that I may have more links to the American Revolution than previously documented. Confirming or debunking myths and legends entails reading terrible handwriting with misspellings and inaccurate data. It means wading through disagreements between experts about whether or not lineage has, in fact, been verified. It means hoping irreplaceable records weren’t destroyed in a fire or other natural disaster. It means hoping document translations are accurate. It means squinting at faded, weathered, and damaged grave markers.

The thing is, it matters. All of it. Every single story led us here. Understanding the past helps us make sense of the present. Context is everything. I was looking at some information about my 8th great-grandparents, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1684. Two women were put on trial for witchcraft in Pennsylvania that same year. I’m not saying there’s a connection but I am saying that we tend to think about history in a linear fashion without considering what else was happening at that time. There’s so much more to history than names, dates, times, and places. And since History Channel isn’t really into, you know, HISTORY anymore…I’ll figure it out myself.

In case you’re interested in following me down the rabbit hole, Ancestry is having a holiday pricing special and Ebates is offering cash back.

The Bliss of Low Expectations

An appointment this morning made me think of a project assigned by my high school French teacher a million years ago. I think we had to create a collage centered around a particular phrase that evoked some emotion with which we could identify. That’s a pretty brave thing to ask from a room full of angsty teenagers.

I chose “Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed.” Google Translate shows that as “N’attendez rien et vous ne serez jamais déçu.” Since language skills are extremely perishable, I can’t remember if that’s what my paper said all those years ago. I do, however, remember the look on my French teacher’s face when she saw it. She is one of the kindest people I have ever known and I thought she was going to cry.

That phrase has been my go-to for decades and it has served me well. Perhaps that’s why I have spent so much money on therapy. Regardless of the root cause or the emotional cost/benefit analysis, I leave plenty of room for pleasant surprises. Think of it as an extremely conservative emotional budget.

So back to my dental appointment this morning. My hygienist has a disposition which is far too sunny for that time of morning but she is truly a delightful individual. I was embarrassingly pleased with myself when she told me my gums “are in tip-top shape.” She also said, “Everything looks great.” I am the valedictorian of gums and she absolutely made my day. I will concede that is a sad state of affairs but consider the alternative. I’m pretty sure I win.

I attended a Daughters of the American Revolution luncheon last month and was asked if I am 35 years of age or younger because I could be eligible for a Junior Membership. The lady who asked the question was extremely apologetic because there’s just really no easy way for those words to flow. I burst out laughing and told her that was the nicest thing anyone had said to me all week. I missed that cut-off by nearly a decade and was thrilled to have been asked.

I guess my point is if you stumble through life expecting adoration, you will end up bitter and disappointed. The more satisfying alternative is to start out bitter and disappointed only to be proven wrong. Everything is awful; except when it isn’t.

The Great Famine of 2010

What do you do when your live-in boyfriend won’t leave?

Look, I get that people have problems. People go through things. They get depressed. They lose their motivation. They apparently decide to camp out in their girlfriend’s house and play computer games all day.

I was once involved with a man who will be forever nicknamed Soft Hands. Let’s just say he had obviously never repaired a barbed wire fence. He held himself out to be a successful financial adviser. He wore suits and loved to proselytize on the interwebs about everything. I was trying to be less shallow so I went for it.

After a while, he somehow ended up moving in with me and it went okay at first. He “worked from home” and was on the computer all the time. Because I frequently overheard telephone conversations about business, it never occurred to me that he was a complete fraud. Unfortunately, he also had severe hoarding tendencies and my house was soon occupied territory.

As the relationship soured, I abdicated my responsibility to address the situation. I was working 12-hour days in an extremely stressful environment and just didn’t have the bandwidth to notice what was happening with him, let alone deal with it. He rarely helped with any of the bills but I didn’t need the money so I let it ride. I figured since he was home with my dogs all day, it was worth it. At one point, I ended the relationship but told him I was fine with him staying as my roommate as long as he helped around the house. He had nothing to say.

I moved out of my own bedroom. I just literally couldn’t even.

One night, I snapped. The house was a wreck. My lawn was dying. The dogs hadn’t been fed. He was playing computer games day and night. I don’t know how long it had been since he had earned any income. I finally lost my shit and screamed to him, “Get your shit and get the fuck out of my house.” He gave me zero reaction. His phone rang and he took the call. He also didn’t leave.

I gave it a little time for him to process the information and find another place to live but nothing happened. I took photos of the hoarder’s paradise my home had become and emailed his parents for help. I served him with a 30-day notice to vacate and insisted he sign it in front of me. He just kept pretending nothing was happening with the flattest of affects. On the couch. Playing computer games.

My mom is the one who suggested I go medieval and starve him out. I had tried everything else I could think of so I stopped bringing home groceries. He was a soda addict and there wasn’t a drop in the house. I drank coffee at work where lunch was also served. For dinner, I would either stop at my mom’s house or grab fast food and hide the sack in the garage trash can. I was literally sneaking around to get food because the pantry was down to dry beans and flour. Neither of us ever spoke of it.

By the time SH finally began preparing to move, he had lost about 35 pounds. I wrecked my back helping him carry ridiculously heavy furniture. My friends even came to help because they would do just about anything to get him on his merry way. I cleaned my house for what felt like an eternity. I bought all new furniture.

In hindsight, I was an idiot. I just kept letting things happen without a boundary in sight. And as always, mine is a cautionary tale.

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